• ZipDialog Roundup for Sunday, August 6

    Articles chosen with care. Your comments welcomed.
    Linked articles in bold purple

    UN bans key North Korean exports because of missile tests (Reuters)

    Could cut up to 1/3 of the state’s meager $3 billion export revenue.

    Nikki Haley, America’s ambassador to the UN, offered a weary, pessimistic assessment:

    We should not fool ourselves into thinking we have solved the problem. Not even close. The North Korean threat has not left us, it is rapidly growing more dangerous. –Amb. Nikki Haley to UN Security Council

    Meanwhile, China and Russia sharply criticized US deployment of anti-missile systems in South Korea.

    Related Story: US tells China it will be watching closely to see if Beijing actually executes the promised sanctions (Associated Press)

    Comment: This will only get more dangerous.

    Administration leakers should not be hard to catch, says Washington Post.

    The headline news has been Attorney General Jeff Sessions stepping up the number of investigations and saying that journalists who receive classified information should not be immune if lives are endangered (a questionable argument, in light of Supreme Court precedents).

    The Post, citing cyber-security experts, lists four steps in the investigations:

    1. Find a pool of suspects
    2. Shrink your pool using digital tools
    3. Subpoena and grab personal data
    4. Question and prosecute

    Comment: The key thing to notice about these leaks is that they are not whistle-blower leaks, designed to expose wrongdoing. They are designed either to damage the President or his administration or, alternatively, to win internal battles over policy. Neither is tolerable when the information is classified. The damage to the country should be obvious.

    Gang Warfare: Arch-rivals of MS-13, the Barrio-18 gang are equally lethal (Daily Mail)

    Barrio-18 was founded in Los Angeles and has now spread across the US, Canada, Mexico, and Central America. It has “an estimated 30,000 to 50,000 members across 20 US states and is linked to drugs, murder, kidnappings and other violent crime from Central America to Canada.”

    ◆◆ Two “Dumb Criminal” Stories so breathtaking in their stupidity, I have to include both

    Meth dealer walks into a bank with a $1 million dollar bill (fake, of course) and a deposit slip. What could possibly go wrong? (Daily Mail)

    Comment: Such a carefully thought-out plan, too. Where did he trip up?

     Anthony Thomas is an impressive co-winner of “perp of the day” (New York Daily News)

    Comment: “Does this mean I don’t get the job?”



  • The guy is under arrest, but he knows the easy way out

    Actual headline:

    Man under arrest hands cop ‘Get out of jail free’ Monopoly card

    Usually, articles like this conclude with the immortal phrase, “Authorities believe alcohol was involved.”

    Our hero apparently uses other substances.

    Deputies ran the passenger’s ID and learned that he was wanted on a controlled substance warrant, news station KARE reported.

    When they searched his person, officers found the ace up his sleeve: the Monopoly card.

    The resourceful suspect told officers that he kept the board game card handy “just in case.”

    Unfortunately for him, police did not accept his Monopoly card and took him to an actual jail. Fox News, link here

  • ZipDialog Roundup for Friday, June 2

    Articles chosen with care. Comments welcomed. Linked articles in bold purple

     The big news is President Trump announcing the US would withdraw from the Paris Climate Accord, with predictable reactions


    • All Democrats denounced Trump for two reasons: abdicating US leadership of a multilateral effort and weakening commitment to environmental protection
    • Centrist Republicans and virtually all big businesses opposed the withdrawal; Mitt Romney was very vocal about it, for instance
    • Trump’s base loved it and loved his dual rationale: jobs and America First.

    The arguments for the agreement are that America has isolated itself from a global movement, backed by scientists, that supports collective action to slow global warming, some of it man-made.

    The counter-argument is that the costs to the US are very high but positive effects on the climate are vanishingly small. There is also a fairness and effectiveness argument that China and India’s sweet deals (basically, they don’t have to do anything) mean that some of the world’s biggest polluters are unchecked by this deal.

     What is being overlooked in the furor over the withdrawal? That the process by which the US entered the accord. That created its own problems.

    The Paris deal was never a treaty, only a presidential agreement (like the Iran Deal). After all, treaties need ratification, and that’s a higher hurdle. Why not just let the President sign it himself, call it something besides a treaty, and skip that whole pesky ratification thingy?

    That’s just what President Obama did with the Paris Climate Agreement, and just what he did with the Iran nuclear deal. The US seems to be abandoning the quaint idea that its major commitments should be treaties, just as it has abandoned the idea that it should vote to declare wars. We’ve been at war repeatedly over the last few decades, but the last war the US declared was on December 8, 1941.

    Avoiding the treaty process comes at a price, however. What one president signs, the next one can undo. That’s what Pres. Trump did on Thursday.

    There is a second, less obvious problem that is also being overlooked. US environmental groups were planning lawsuits to compel the government to implement Obama’s promises under the Paris Accords. Of course, the environmental bureaucracies themselves would want to implement those promises, too. The substance of those actions might be good or bad, depending on your perspective, but no one could argue that they were determined by laws passed by Congress and signed by the President.

    Skirting these constitutionally-designed, democratic processes has become a standard feature of modern American government.

    It has been a hallmark of progressivism from the beginning, in the early 20th century. A core principle of the progressive movement, initially aimed at corrupt, big-city patronage machines, was decisionmaking by “disinterested” experts: technocrats. Today, that has morphed into rule by regulation, with regulations poured out of bureaucracies whose employees are immune from firing because of civil-service protections (a key feature of the progressive program, designed to block firings by partisan politicians).

    So, one hidden effect of the withdrawal is to slow the pace of new environmental regulations, which the EPA would issue to implement the Paris Accords, either of its own volition or because the courts required them.

     Trump administration asks Supreme Court to Reinstate its Travel Ban  (New York Times)

    Comment: We don’t know if the Court will take the case. If it doesn’t, the lower court decisions to block Trump’s order will stand.

     Mitch Daniels, the nation’s most innovative university leader, discusses Purdue’s purchase of for-profit Kaplan  (Indianapolis Star)

    Purdue President Mitch Daniels painted the move as Purdue’s ticket into the future.

    “None of us know how fast or in what direction online higher education will evolve, but we know its role will grow and we intend that Purdue be positioned to be a leader as that happens,” Daniels told the Education Writers Association.

    Daniels has been working to make a Purdue education more accessible since stepping onto the West Lafayette campus. Purdue’s been on a tuition freeze since 2013, became the first major U.S. research university to offer income-sharing agreements and struck a deal with Amazon to lower textbook costs for its students.


    The bid to acquire Kaplan, though, is taking innovation to a new level and was seen as a tectonic shift in the higher education landscape when it was announced unexpectedly in April. –Indianapolis Star

     Massachusetts judge denies defendant’s motion to juggle–yes, juggle–at his trial  (AP, via St. Mary Now, Louisiana)

    The defendant, who is representing himself, wanted to juggle to show “he was just clowning around when he allegedly tried to rob a convenience store with a toy gun.”







  • Bad Vibes: Another Goofy Crime Story

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    Headline in Canada’s National Post:

    Ontario woman told sex shop clerk she had HIV before lunging at him with needle and stealing vibrators

    [Naomi] Shawana fled the store with both vibrators (the second was worth about $100) and left the area in a waiting taxi — her means of getting to the store. –National Post

    Comment: “I received an unusually large tip,” said the taxi driver, “after bringing the trip to completion.”

  • A Fake Policeman flashes his lights and pulls over a car. The wrong car

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    It was 7:02. The weather was muggy, but the skies were clear. We needed some rain, but we wouldn’t get it today.

    I was working out of traffic. My partner was Bill Gannon. The captain was Jim Hamilton. I was riding undercover, when I spotted the blue lights behind me. I pulled over.

    I’ll let the press take it from here. They know how to write. I just fill out forms in triplicate. After filling out these forms, I could use some coffee. Bill says the machine’s not working. Figures.

    Authorities say a man packing a blue light and a BB gun pulled over a non-descript car on Interstate 95 [in Florida], ready to play “traffic cop” again.

    Bad move: the driver he pulled over is a real police detective. AP story at WJLA, Washington

    My report says Pacheco Bustamente had impersonated police officers before, a felony in Florida.

    He’s 46 years years old. He ought to know better. You tell them, “Don’t do it again.” But they never listen.

    Now, he’s looking for a lawyer.

    Here’s how I figure it.

    He probably wants a real one.


    We’ll be back in 11 months with the results of that trial.

    Comment: My favorite attorney, Lionel Hutz, is rested and ready.

    Thanks to Jihan Varisco for finding this treat.

  • Florida man shoplifts sausage, then jumps of bridge to evade the police

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    Maybe he thought they were “the pigs.”

    I say, good. If you don’t stop them at the sausage, they’ll come back for the biscuits and gravy.

    Pretty soon, they’ll want the grocery store to serve them scrambled eggs and a cuppa joe.

    Naturally, it’s a “Florida Man” story.

    I’m just glad this did not happen while Pres. Xi Jingping was in the state.

    Story here (AOL)

  • In fairness, that fence is a floozy

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    Austin man who was ‘having sex with a fence’ charged with exposure (Action News Jax)

    Eleodoro Estala, 32, was arrested for indecent exposure after he was seen exposing himself and making lewd gestures around 11:25 a.m. Wednesday at a residence off North Lamar Boulevard [in Austin, TX], according to the affidavit. –Action News Jax

    Comment: “Ok, not that weird,” said an Austin tourism official.

    The perp’s lawyer, Lionel Hutz, blamed the online dating site for “giving my client an address and not making clear they meant a ‘person at that address.’ He relied on this website, and they failed him.”

  • Wanted Fugitive Runs Right into a SWAT training exercise

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    Some days, you’re the windshield. Some days, you’re the bug.

    In Provo, Utah, this week, Derreke Nelson was the bug. He went splat on the windshield.

    On parole for theft and other charges, Nelson was trying to elude his parole officers when he ran into the police.

    As the Provo Police Department explained with droll understatement.

    Of course, it helps when fugitives run right into a crowd of 30 SWAT officers and three K9 units who just happen to be training in the area. –KTVX-TV via Fox News

    The article is here.


    Comment: Even the police dogs thought, “Hey, I’m much smarter than this guy!”

    I’m sure his fellow inmates will think the same thing.

  • Worst excuse for crashing into a chicken truck

    “Woman allegedly tells police she crashed into chicken truck because she’s vegan” (Fox News and WXIA)

    A Georgia woman was arrested Wednesday after she reportedly slammed into a chicken truck, fled and then told officers who tracked her down that she hit the vehicle because she was a vegan. . . .

    The woman, identified as 26-year-old Judith Armstrong, refused to come out of her house unless deputies secured a warrant. . . .

    Authorities said Armstrong faces charges of hit-and-run, aggressive driving, driving under the influence, and obstruction.  –Fox News and WXIA