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RationalWiki talk:What is going on in the world?

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[edit] Felonious murder

I can actually get behind the concept of felony murder (described here by NY lawyer Nathan Burney in convenient comic form). Say a bank robbery goes wrong and a bystander is accidentally killed by a security guard in the ensuing gunfight. The felony murder law allows for the hostage takers to be liable for that death, rather than having it ruled as accidental killing by the guard.

It's just cases like these where strict adherence (or overadherence) to the law means weird things happen. Kinda like the guy who got life in prison for stealing a handful of kid's VHS tapes. Noir LeSable (talk) 07:25, 27 February 2015 (UTC)

I can't get behind it at all. I can think of very few possible situations where it's justified and plenty where it isn't. WěǎšěǐǒǐďWeaselly.jpgMethinks it is a Weasel 08:32, 27 February 2015 (UTC)
Why exactly can't you make the hostage takers liable without making it a felony? 141.134.75.236 (talk) 09:03, 27 February 2015 (UTC)
I think it's weirder with the example mentioned in the source: If a bank robbery goes south and one of the robbers is killed in a shoot out with police or guards, then the surviving robbers can be charged with felony murder of their dead "colleague", now that's pretty effed up. ScepticWombat (talk) 09:55, 27 February 2015 (UTC)
This is one of those "only in America" conversations. It's as if the "good guys" can do no wrong whereas the "bad guys" can be blamed for anything and everything.This is what struck me about Ferguson - Michael Brown was believed to be a shoplifter - or, at the very least, he was guilty of being poor and black - so shooting him dead was just hunky dory.
Of course, in practically any other country in the world, a bank robbery that goes wrong wouldn't end up in a gunfight. Doxys Midnight Runner (talk) 10:32, 27 February 2015 (UTC)
I'm a big fan of holding people culpable for the likely consequences of their actions. I'm not a fan of holding people culpable for the improbable consequences of their actions. Reckless driving has a likely consequence of a crash, so by all means throw the book at them. Putting a leaflet through a door might give someone an anaphylactic reaction to the ink, but it would be so unusual that it would be foolish to hold the leafleteer responsible (unless they had good reason to know about the allergy, naturally). So I guess in this case it hinges on whether the US is fucked up enough that a hail of lead is a likely consequence of a simple house-breaking. Queexchthonic murmurings 10:41, 27 February 2015 (UTC)
FWIW, "felony" is (in most places, currently) defined as any crime that carries a potential prison sentence of a year or more. (Used to be that a felony was any offense punishable by death. Then again, pickpocketing was punished by death at the time.) The felony murder rule as Blackstone had it made any felon strictly liable if anyone died as a result of the crime, including his companions in crime and bystanders. Committing any serious crime creates a risk that somebody might die as a result; so if anyone does that's murder. The controversy in that case in Indiana comes because we've defined felony murder in such a way that makes it appear as if one of the felons has to do the killing. - Smerdis of Tlön, A ⇒ ¬A. 14:21, 27 February 2015 (UTC)
The problem, to me, is that so much of the US's laws are built around asking the question "Do they deserve to be punished?" rather than ignoring karma and just building things around minimizing crime through a mixture of disincentives, rehabilitation, and containment. Felony murder, where you hold people culpable for others' actions has no bearing on any of those. Ikanreed (talk) 15:04, 27 February 2015 (UTC)
"Karma"? And here I thought RW was all secular. Peace. AgingHippie (talk) 15:06, 27 February 2015 (UTC)
I meant people(of various perspectives) using the justice system to enforce a kind of notion of karma. War. Ikanreed (talk) 15:10, 27 February 2015 (UTC)
On a tangential note, that comic series is gold. Thanks for sharing. Mayo2017 (talk) 15:40, 27 February 2015 (UTC)

It makes zero sense to me that surviving criminals can be prosecuted for felony murder because one of their partners in crime has been killed by law enforcement. At most they ought to be prosecuted for manslaughter (along with armed robbery and what have you, of course), given that drunk drivers aren't (to my knowledge) prosecuted for (felony) murder for running others over while doing something that's also both criminal and extremely dangerous. And no, I was not making a case for introducing felony murder as a possible indictment in cases of people being accidentally killed in drunk driving accidents, just in case someone was wondering. ScepticWombat (talk) 16:04, 27 February 2015 (UTC)

It makes sense if your framing of justice is "making the bad guy pay for it." It really does. People want to see those who do things malevolently punished, and when bad things happen, they naturally blame the "evilest" person involved for it. It's dumb, but it's actually quite consistent with American attitudes towards justice in general. Ikanreed (talk) 16:08, 27 February 2015 (UTC)
We Brits have done our bit: Derek Bentley was executed although it was his under age accomplice who did the killing. He's since been pardoned, so that's OK then! Scream!! (talk) 16:18, 27 February 2015 (UTC)

In the two felony murder cases I've seen reported internationally (the Indiana one, as WIGOed, and this one in Florida which was posted on WIGO a few years ago), the 'murderers' were unarmed housebreakers whose companions were shot by homeowners who - due to state 'castle laws' - could shoot to kill with total impunity. I think there is something very wrong with this situation, & it's not comparable to the "bank heist goes wrong & someone gets killed in the shootout" situation described above. There's also a related issue around the use of deadly force in defence of property vs defence of life. Does preventing a crime from being completed really justified killing those involved if nobody's life is actually in danger? WëäŝëïöïďWeaselly.jpgMethinks it is a Weasel 13:48, 1 March 2015 (UTC)

The real life examples you cite are simply more absurd than my hypothetical one. As for the "castle laws" they certainly do seem to prioritise property over life and limb - but I guess the logic is that criminals "have it coming" and that home owners should not fear applying (deadly) force against any home invasion. Can't say I agree with any of these, but I'm not a U.S. citizen and so have neither an insight into, nor even an indirect connection to, the public debate and choices behind adopting such laws. ScepticWombat (talk) 14:04, 1 March 2015 (UTC)
I dunno, but when someone invades your home it's not just a matter of defending one's property. A home owner is under no obligation to correctly assess the motives and threat level of the invading party, so if they fear for their lives or that of loved ones, the option of using deadly force in defense may not seem inappropriate, even if it turns out there was no threat at all. 141.134.75.236 (talk) 18:39, 1 March 2015 (UTC)

[edit] Lobbying & prostitution in North Carolina

The State Ethics Commission letter cited in the Addicting Info piece explicitly states: "However, a lobbyist or lobbyist principal's provision of paid prostitution services by a third party to a designated individual could constitute a gift or thing of value, albeit an illegal one, depending on the particular facts." But Addicting Info says the exact opposite, reporting that "lobbying firms can hire people with the explicit goal to seduce and fornicate with politicians in order to garner favor" and repeating this claim throughout its article. Is there some subtle distinction that I'm missing here or is Addicting Info (and other news sources running the same story) just ignoring that part of the letter & misreporting? ωεαşεζόίďWeaselly.jpgMethinks it is a Weasel 13:55, 1 March 2015 (UTC)

I don't think you're missing anything. This is simply sloppy and sensationalist reporting. The NC State Ethics Commission issued a advisory opinion in response to what they apparently thought was a rather vague and somewhat confusing request for guidance from a staffer in the NC Secretary of State's office. They weren't issuing a formal ruling or a new regulation, they were simply trying to answer a question about the current law on the books. Their answer appears to be quite commonsensical: consensual sexual relations between two adults is neither reportable nor an ethics violation under NC ethics laws, but paying for a prostitute in exchange for official favors very explicitly would be. There does seem to be a loophole, in that, in my reading of the letter, a registered lobbyist could engage in sexual relations with a state official and informally trade sexual favors for official favors, as long as they aren't explicitly being paid by anyone to do so. But that seems to be problem with the ethics laws as written, not anything to do with the Ethics Commission or its opinion.67.209.3.60 (talk) 17:58, 1 March 2015 (UTC)
I think there's perhaps the additional issue that as prostitution is illegal, it's unlikely to leave much of a paper trail. So if an official had a prostitute paid for, even if that was found out then unless it could be proved that money changed hands there would be no violation as per policy. Which makes the enforcement of that provision somewhat weak. Also, it would appear that a madame or pimp could 'comp' someone and still be within the policy. Sensationalist, yes, but there's a germ of a concern in there. Queexchthonic murmurings 11:09, 2 March 2015 (UTC)
Well, yes, a prostitute could be hired without leaving a paper trail. But then a gift or "thing of value" - even a big fat cash bribe - could be given without leaving a paper trail, so I don't think that's what places it outside policy. I do think there's a valid concern that the letter seems to be indicating the state government wouldn't see a sexual relationship between an official & a lobbyist as any sort of conflict of interest - but I dunno, maybe this would be overstepping their authority? Anyway, I find it strange that all the coverage is focusing on the prostitution angle & suggesting that the State Ethics Commission is 'approving' prostitutes as gifts when the letter appears to explicitly say the opposite. WěǎšěǐǒǐďWeaselly.jpgMethinks it is a Weasel 23:47, 2 March 2015 (UTC)

[edit] That the rapist isn't remorseful doesn't surprise me at all

But this: The other lawyer, AP Singh, had said in a previous televised interview: "If my daughter or sister engaged in pre-marital activities and disgraced herself and allowed herself to lose face and character by doing such things, I would most certainly take this sort of sister or daughter to my farmhouse, and in front of my entire family, I would put petrol on her and set her alight."

Ho. Ly. Shit. 141.134.75.236 (talk) 11:46, 3 March 2015 (UTC)

Wow, what is wrong with that country? Can they really have a space program yet be so socially backwards? Super Dude,Where's my car? 01:16, 6 March 2015 (UTC)
Social progress isn't a prerequisite for space activity. For example, NASA had existed for 9 years before the US Supreme Court declared laws against interracial marriage to be unconstitutional. Frederick♠♣♥♦ 02:13, 6 March 2015 (UTC)
And it's not like Soviet Russia was notably progressive in its treatment of civilians while they were doing all that space stuff. 141.134.75.236 (talk) 13:31, 6 March 2015 (UTC)

[edit] weasels domesticating woodpeckers

We have witnessed the first case of the domestication of a wild animal by another species. Weasels are developing air transport ! Hamster (talk) 18:14, 3 March 2015 (UTC)

And with that, a society vastly superior to ours. We've got a lot of catching up to do. 141.134.75.236 (talk) 18:17, 3 March 2015 (UTC)
I have seen a squirrel being given a ride by a hawk, and a marmot going the same way. In both cases, the mammal was not up in the passenger compartment, but down in the cargo hold, presumably for use as a snack later. I don't plan to get all out of breath trying to catch up. Alec Sanderson (talk) 18:29, 3 March 2015 (UTC)
And we have Ryanair. I still think weasels win. Vulpius (talk) 19:56, 3 March 2015 (UTC)

[edit] "Yucky eunuch-y business" ?

While it's obviously bad that all these people got castrated because some bullshit a guru said, the phrase "yucky eunuch-y business" seems pretty eunuch-phobic. 141.134.75.236 (talk) 19:18, 3 March 2015 (UTC)

[edit] That Applebee's story.

I can't think of how it's of interest to this wiki, outside of "Religitard got burnt! Ayy lmao". — Unsigned, by: Hotwateramericano / talk / contribs

That actually describes a healthy portion of our contetnt. Peace. AgingHippie (talk) 18:38, 5 March 2015 (UTC)
The valid burning in this situation was not to his face, but more to his legal pride, and thus relevant here, I think. Trick (talk) 19:05, 5 March 2015 (UTC)
From what I can understand about the story, the reason his lawsuit was dismissed was because he didn't suffer actual damages, not because his case was without merit per se.— Unsigned, by: Hotwateramericano / talk / contribs
No actual damage & a context where he could have expected food & dishes to be hot & it to be unwise to put his face close to them. The "praying" aspect is really rather a red herring here. ЩєазєюіδWeaselly.jpgMethinks it is a Weasel 00:08, 6 March 2015 (UTC)

[edit] ISIS's anti-archaeological shenanigans

Don't get me wrong, I think the destruction of these ancient artifacts is atrocious and repugnant, but wouldn't it be telling/depressing/hilarious if this, the destruction of old sculptures and buildings, and not the mass killings of innocent civilians and population groups, is what shakes the world into taking real, decisive action against ISIS? 141.134.75.236 (talk) 13:29, 6 March 2015 (UTC)

The middle-east in particular has a real knack for selective outrage. Apokalyps2547 (talk) 13:51, 6 March 2015 (UTC)
The Taliban did the same to those Buddhist statues, which pissed off the world more than the subjugation of women and oppression of minorities thing. Then 9/11 happened and the rest of the world (except some of the Islamic parts) was rather happy the US went in to kick out the Taliban. Especially Pakistan, because they kept getting all that money for "fighting" terrorism. With friends like those, who needs enemies? CorruptUser (talk) 15:21, 6 March 2015 (UTC)

[edit] The rabbi kidnap-torture-divorce story

The link should maybe mention that the rabbis and their associates are hitmen and are not working pro bono. Narky SawtoothNarky.png (Nyarnyar~) 00:58, 10 March 2015 (UTC)

The WIGO entry already says "kidnapping and torturing". How on earth would you get "pro bono" from reading that? ЩєазєюіδWeaselly.jpgMethinks it is a Weasel 01:11, 10 March 2015 (UTC)
That article is going on two years old. Why now? Whoover (talk) 19:07, 10 March 2015 (UTC)
Usually because whoever posted it didn't notice that. €₳$£ΘĪÐWeaselly.jpgMethinks it is a Weasel 20:30, 10 March 2015 (UTC)
I'm a bit late on saying this, but: I meant "pro bono" in a "their mind" way. They're paid hitmen and weren't doing it solely from any delusions of heroism and justice. Narky SawtoothNarky.png (Nyarnyar~) 10:51, 12 March 2015 (UTC)
Hitman Rabbi would make a great prime-time show.--Madman (talk) 19:19, 10 March 2015 (UTC)The Madman

[edit] For your information ...

Those forty seven Republicans are heroes for going against Federal Law and undermining Obama's treacherous attempts at forming an alliance with the West's worst enemy, Iran and his attempts at undermining our relationship with our greatest ally, Israel. Obama should be impeached and imprisoned for high treason. He won't be but he should be. --Let Them Eat Cake (talk) 20:01, 10 March 2015 (UTC)

rational story, Boehner - David Gerard (talk) 20:12, 10 March 2015 (UTC)
The liberal parodists are among our midst, even as we speak! --Madman (talk) 20:18, 10 March 2015 (UTC)The Madman

[edit] Texan Teabagger

Interestingly, while "table" means "add to the agenda" in British English, it means "remove from consideration" in American. Or should that be "whilst"? Whoover (talk) 17:30, 11 March 2015 (UTC)

[edit] That measles "skeptic"

Best Schadenfrued of March, hands down. And good on the doctor who got the money. ikanreed You probably didn't deserve that 15:26, 13 March 2015 (UTC)

[edit] Evolution Marketplace's downfall

I hate, hate to bask in schadenfreude considering some people are broke, but come the fuck on. Do Bitcoiners really think that the fifth wave of darknet drug dealers will be more reliable than the last one? |₹Λ¥$€₦₦ Red rose 02.svg I reject your reality. 16:18, 18 March 2015 (UTC)

They all find various ways to frame these things: "I like when trust networks can fail because it trains people how the real free market works" or "They didn't implement X security protocol that will resolve these issues" or "Cost of doing business". Some of course, get fed up and abandon the market, but they don't continue to hang out on bitcoin forums promising that it's the currency of the future. ikanreed You probably didn't deserve that 16:27, 18 March 2015 (UTC)

[edit] Incoherent hate speech

Written with red paint, the vandals scrawled "Muslims get out" on a school wall. They also painted a swastika on the wall. The Hindu Temple and Cultural Center was tagged with a similar message and the same red paint.

One one level, this is amazingly stupid.

On another level, this confirms my belief that a major cause of "racist" incidents is the age-old adolescent desire to be very, very naughty. There's grounds to doubt how much actual hate goes into these "hate crimes", and how much is a simple desire to troll. In which case the shrieking, priggish reactions of officialdom, and the furious blogging and propagation through social media the incident may generate, including this WIGO, are part of the problem. - Smerdis of Tlön, If you burn with an inner fire, you are already damned. 01:56, 19 March 2015 (UTC)

Question for you: those Okie frat boys: hate speech/vile racism, or just "boys being boys"? Peace. AgingHippie (talk) 01:59, 19 March 2015 (UTC)
That's a different matter entirely, but that incident also struck me as being tempered by a large helping of "you can't handle the truth." There are things everybody knows that you still aren't allowed to say. - Smerdis of Tlön, If you burn with an inner fire, you are already damned. 02:33, 19 March 2015 (UTC)
This isn't the first time & won't be the last that non-Muslim minorities have been the target of ignorant Islamophobic attacks. That doesn't mean it's "not racist" or "not hateful", and neither does the "desire to troll" aspect. WēāŝēīōīďWeaselly.jpgMethinks it is a Weasel 18:48, 19 March 2015 (UTC)
I'm not saying that it's not racist or hateful. Just that I doubt the level of ideological commitment behind it. Rather, that sort of thing is a proven way to get Very Serious People saying Very Serious Stuff. Those reactions invite copycats. - Smerdis of Tlön, If you burn with an inner fire, you are already damned. 00:50, 20 March 2015 (UTC)

[edit] The FEMA thing

I'm not comfortable with the poor people exposed to hurricane and flooding risk in my state lacking tools to prepare for evacuations just because a slim majority of us elected assholes for office. There's a lot of completely innocent people put in harm's way to correct some idiot policies that amount to being wrong. ikanreed You probably didn't deserve that 15:14, 23 March 2015 (UTC)

There's still a bit of time before hurricane season starts, so I'm looking forward to hearing about the organizing you'll be doing to get those thousands and thousands of people onto the lawn of the (I'm guessing Florida?) state capitol to hold your shitty leaders accountable for their actions. Peace. AgingHippie (talk) 15:24, 23 March 2015 (UTC)
North Carolina, and we already repeatedly protested some serious shit that went down in the wake of that republican majority, and hundreds of people have been arrested for their trouble. And Hurricane preparation has to be done months to years in advance. Maintaining evacuation routes, having coordinators, building/maintaining shelters, stocking emergency supplies, and having a few emergency crews on standby are all things you can't do when you get your 48 hour hurricane watch.
And the idiot governor we've got is going to stand on some policy of "good, let's cut big goverment and deny climate change", and the people who lose out are going to be the already economically dis-empowered people on the east side of the state, the next time a disaster does strike. ikanreed You probably didn't deserve that 15:32, 23 March 2015 (UTC)
On the positive side, I can tell you with strong certainty who will be the first ones against the wall when the revolution finally comes. In the meanwhile, stay dry. Peace. AgingHippie (talk) 17:22, 23 March 2015 (UTC)
Frankly, Rick Scott shouldn't even be governor of Florida. He barely won and should have lost. As a Floridian, I welcome this ultimatum for Scott. Florida is one of the states that can least afford to ignore the effects of climate change. We deserve better. If there's a way to force states to realize reality, I'm all for it. I'd argue that this is no different than the way a national drinking age was established in the US. Hopefully our governors are smart enough to realize the danger their idiocy puts the state in even if they don't recognize their own idiocy.

[edit] Miss Universe (Japan)

OK, so an anachronistic beauty contest has no problems with skin colour but there are a couple of nutters on Twitter who do. And this is a news story. This is a classic case of a tabloid inventing scandal where, quite frankly, there is none. I'd put it in Clogs. Doxys Midnight Runner (talk) 16:15, 24 March 2015 (UTC)

Put it wherever you'd like. --Miekal 16:25, 24 March 2015 (UTC)
...as the Miss Universe contestant said to the Miss Universe judge. Queexchthonic murmurings 16:28, 24 March 2015 (UTC)
The word "but" is misplaced in the wigo page item. Work it out. Oh, and "the half black" thing? Just fuck off back to the past and take your time machine with you, you ain't ready for 2015. London Grump (talk) 18:03, 24 March 2015 (UTC)

This story was alread WIGOed and then hidden over on Clogosphere. WėąṣėḷőįďWeaselly.jpgMethinks it is a Weasel 18:54, 24 March 2015 (UTC)

[edit] Cameron third term

He's actually running for a second term this May, his "third term" would be in 2020 if he ran for it, but he's saying he's not. The reason it's a news story is that it'd lead to an odd position at some point during the end of his term where he'd have to step down and have someone replace him before his term was properly up, which is a fairly unusual thing in the UK. The way it's written on the page makes it seem like he's not going to run for this election, which he is. X Stickman (talk) 23:41, 24 March 2015 (UTC)

Thanks, I didn't get that! --Sophophobe (talk) 17:39, 25 March 2015 (UTC)
'Salright, the only reason I knew it is because I've got a new car that doesn't have an MP3 player built in, so rather than listening to my own collection, I've had Radio 4 on whenever I'm out. Now I'm all knowledgeable. X Stickman (talk) 15:05, 28 March 2015 (UTC)

[edit] Intolerant Jackass Act

I changed the WIGO to a Daily Kos article to conform to the rules, but I think the Slate blog is more comprehensive, and has more interesting analysis. MaillardFillmore (talk) 00:54, 25 March 2015 (UTC)

Given that "sodomy" is sort of a catchall expression for "things we're too scared to say that God doesn't hate", I'd stock up on bullets :D .

[edit] Ted Cruz does not break the law, unlike Al Sharpton who has not paid his taxes

Ted Cruz complies with federal law even if he doesn't like it. He may try to shut down the government over that law, but he personally abides by the law. Al Sharpton, on the other hand, wants more taxes to redistribute the wealth, but won't pay his own taxes. ConservapediaEditor (talk) 19:43, 25 March 2015 (UTC)

I am absolutely glad Ted Cruz complies with federal law, being a large believer in law and order. As for Al Sharpton, I a) don't care what his opinion on taxes is, as he's a private citizen and not a public official, and b) believe that he should be prosecuted if he's engaging in tax evasion. And to my non-surprise, action is being taken against him for it.. I am glad to see law and order prevailing for both Sharpton and Cruz. --Castaigne (talk) 20:44, 25 March 2015 (UTC)

–––Everyone knows that Al not-so-Sharpton is the standard by which American morality is measured by. I sure am glad Al Sharpton is a congre- oh. Besides, Ted Cruz seems to have a hard time understanding what federal law is. Gotta repeal that there common core legislation. Mayo2017 (talk) 02:20, 26 March 2015 (UTC)

[edit] stopping bills becoming coins

I don't think this is a bad thing. Here in blighty there are too many coins weighing down and rattling in my pockets making my wallet look empty. AMassiveGay (talk) 13:14, 28 March 2015 (UTC)

Preferring paper over metal is not a bad thing. Creating bills preventing "Washington elites" from ordering the production of dollar coins because you have an irrational fear of anything "European" is a bad thing. Frederick♠♣♥♦ 00:34, 29 March 2015 (UTC)
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