I regularly tune in to Dilbert cartoonist Scott Adams’ political rants on Periscope. During a recent philippic, he mentioned in passing that federal minimum wage laws recently devastated American Samoa’s once-booming economy. He basically painted a picture of a paradise-turned-ghetto with equality-of-outcome economic policies to blame. I, of course, had to look into this claim. Here is what I found.
On 28 November 2017, Florida’s District 15 medical examiner released bodybuilder Dallas “Big Country” McCarver’s autopsy report revealing his official cause of death to be “severe concentric left ventricular hypertrophy [enlarged/thickened heart] with coronary atherosclerosis [clogged arteries].” It further states contributing factors include “chronic use of exogenous steroid and non-steroid hormones.”
This is the autopsy report showing Rich Piana’s official cause of death. Rich Piana died on August 25, 2017, in hospital in Land O’ Lakes, Florida, where he had recently relocated from California. Florida’s District Six Medical Examiner’s Office, which serves Pinellas and Pasco counties, graciously provided this electronic copy of the report.
So, this morning at brunch, my girlfriend and I watched live news coverage of the Boston Free Speech rally and its infinitely larger protest. The narrative seemed to be that the protesters were all liberal bleeding-heart types and that the rally attendees were a bunch of racist, Donald Trump supporting, alt-right white folk. But, a few hours later, Scott Adams (the creator of Dilbert) took to Periscope asking if anyone knew for sure that the Boston Free Speech group was actually there to promote racism. And, of the 1,000+ people watching his Periscope, no one (myself included) seemed to know.
This is me trying to answer that question. Now, I don’t actually know for certain who all showed up to this event. What I do know is the list of speakers the group published shortly before the event. Here is the annotated list.
During the run-up to the 2016 U.S. presidential election, political pundits, comedians and others made sport of implying that Donald Trump either wanted to fuck his daughter, Ivanka Trump, or already had.1 2 3 GIFs of Trump’s daughters spurning his embraces, and video clips of him ogling them and referring to them as sex objects, circulated widely. While I didn’t think he had fucked them–and couldn’t possibly like him any less if he had–I couldn’t help but wonder: Why would Donald Trump want to fuck his daughter? Why would any father? So I Googled it.
Here in the United States it feels like a week can’t go by without a white cop killing an unarmed black man. It’s a distressing situation made that much more overwhelming by all the complicated and unresolved social problems it brings front and center for all the bobbleheads to poke and prod and jabber about but do nothing to change.
I don’t think I’m capable of adequately understanding and addressing all of those issues. Hell, I know I’m not. However, one question I can at least scratch the surface of is the question of caselaw. I spent a recent Sunday quaffing coffee and Googling the shit out of terms like “officer-involved shooting”, “deadly force”, “excessive force” and “police brutality”, and now I am an expert on the subject.1
What I gleaned through my Cyberian wanderings is that the caselaw deals with three subjects: the criminality of the officer’s conduct (Did s/he commit murder/manslaughter?), the liability of the officer (Can the victim’s family sue him/her personally?), and the liability of the officer’s employer (Should the state/city/agency compensate the victim’s family?). In other words, we’re dealing with criminal law (Should the officer go to prison?) and civil law (Can the officer/police department be sued?).
I’ll relate what I found regarding all of these, but we’ll start by defining our terms. Next I’ll talk about the civil law. I’ll end with a discussion of the criminal caselaw.
I bought Sarah Knight’s The Life-Changing Magic of Not Giving a Fuck the other day. It was one of those caffeinated-out-of-your-mind-while-wandering-around-Barnes-&-Noble kind of decisions. I’ve read about half of it now and have to say that it’s something of a primer. The reality is that, as Knight herself attests, she’s something of a #zerofucksgiven newb. I meanwhile have been giving zero fucks for most of my life. While a funny book that imparts advice many people really need to hear; as a primer, Knight’s book misses much of the nuance involved in not giving a fuck. So I’ve dedicated this blog post to one of those nuances.
My doctor prescribed me Zoloft a while back, and I almost immediately put on 10 pounds, and a question I’ve had ever since is, does Zoloft (aka Sertraline hydrochloride) cause weight gain? Well, let’s find out. (And let me preface all of this by saying that–as Jon Lajoie would put it–I’m just a regular everyday normal guy, not a doctor or scientist or whathaveyou; and I’m not giving advice, just dispensing wisdumb.)
A question I’ve had for years is: Whose input goes into the USDA food pyramid/guide? In conversation, a few people have told me that meat, dairy and wheat farmer organizations hire big-money lobbyists to heavily influence these recommendations. As something of a cynic, that’s always seemed quite plausible to me; but I’ve always retained some doubt. I mean, would a federal agency really compromise the quality of its dietary advice for decades in order to placate some farmers? Well, it kinda looks like the answer is yes.
From the time I was a kid, I was told I was special. I was special because my parents loved me. I was special because Caucasian Jesus loved me. I was special because I was born in the Muthafuckin-U-S-of-A. Et cetera. And I’m not alone. I suspect most of us grow up feeling somehow special, somehow significant. We all feel like the star of our very own Truman Show. One reason we spend so much of life being pissy is because we don’t understand why other people don’t treat us like the rock stars we feel we are.