Wednesday, 8 April 2015

08:30 – The federal taxes are finished except for printing out the forms and writing the check. Our state income tax is based on the federal return, so doing it is a simple matter of transferring data from the federal 1040 and then plugging in some state-specific stuff.

Another police-involved shooting, this one in Charleston, SC. I don’t expect any social unrest to result from this one. It was a white cop shooting a black man, but in this case they’ve arrested the cop and charged him with murder. If the early reports–which seem fully supported by video shot by a bystander–are accurate, this cop deserves to spend the rest of his life in prison. The cop pulled the guy for having a taillight out. He used his Taser on the guy, who then started running. The cop apparently fired eight rounds at the guy, who appears to have been hit only once or perhaps twice. I wonder where the other bullets ended up.

Tomorrow is crunch day for Greece, the first of many crunch days scheduled for the near future. It’s unclear at this point whether Greece will (or can) repay the monies owed to the IMF. If they don’t repay the IMF, very bad things are going to start happening quickly. Technically, Greece won’t be in immediate default, because there’s a 30-day grace period. That’s unlikely to matter to the markets, of course. If Greece doesn’t make the payment, the markets will hammer not just Greek bonds, but all bonds from the Southern Tier. Merkel desperately wants Greece to remain in the euro and EU, but her voters, the German taxpayers, have had more than enough. They perceive Greeks as deadbeats, and aren’t willing to pay the bills for Greece. This is a fraught situation, with Greece believing that Germany is bluffing, and vice versa. They’re both wrong. Neither is bluffing. So there’s a very real chance that a “Grexit” will result from a “Grexident”. Bond markets haven’t priced in the effect of a Greek exit from the euro, so if Greece does crash out of the euro the bond markets will go crazy.

11:21 – Boy, I just had a scare. I did a first “eyeball” pass on our state income taxes, and found that they have quintupled over last year’s. That’s not a typo. Our total state income taxes for 2014 will be literally five times what they were for 2013.

That’s because North Carolina has “simplified” state income taxes. I knew when I read about them simplifying state taxes that we were going to get screwed big-time, but I wasn’t expecting it to be this bad. So that’s four big checks that I’ll be writing: federal income taxes due, state income taxes due, federal estimated tax, and state estimated tax. And all of them have way too many zeros.

Fortunately, we won’t owe any penalties or interest on the state income taxes because Barbara’s state tax withholding and my state tax estimated taxes total about three times the total state taxes last year. But since our state income tax has quintupled, we’ll still have to write a big check.

22 thoughts on “Wednesday, 8 April 2015”

  1. Another police-involved shooting, this one in Charleston, SC.

    When I watched the video, my heart just sank. The cop murdered that man. How could he have “felt threatened?” He just stood their and shot him in the back at about 20 feet. Like you said Dr. Bob, where did the rest of the bullets go. I’m surprised he didn’t walk up and shoot him in the head just be sure. Sickening. A good reason citizens should be armed. The police are out of control.

  2. I figured maybe the cop started humming Gimme Three Steps before the guy started running.

  3. “For they sow the wind, and they shall reap the whirlwind.”

    “A few bad apples… spoil the whole bunch.

    Does anyone think that this is the first time this cop did something questionable? Or that in each previous instance, his co-workers covered and let it slide?

    Just as with criminals where there is a long history of petty crimes and escalation, this is just the end of a pathway this guy has been on for a while. How many others are there? How many times have WE heard an accusation of police misconduct and immediately dismissed it because of the source? From Rodney King onward, the video is what makes the difference because it eliminates the character of the accuser from consideration.

    I’m a small government guy. I think we’d be better off if every regulation and law of the last 10 years were rolled back (as a start) and budgets too. After all, we were not dying in the streets for lack of laws 10 years ago. BUT, it is long past time where every cop on the street should have a personal camera on his vest. The cost is minimal compared to the costs to society and individuals of NOT doing it. ONE wrongful death settlement would have paid for all the cameras needed, so the money is ALREADY being spent anyway, AFTER the death of the citizen.

    We fund vests for cops to protect the cop’s life, we need to fund cameras for cops to protect the citizens’ lives.


  4. “The cop murdered that man” and then he altered the scene to support his lie.


  5. What we have here is a positive feedback loop, so the amplitude will continue to increase.

    I’m beginning to think that the only way out of this is automatically to arrest any cop who kills someone and charge him with homicide. If he’s acquitted, the department pays his legal costs and he goes back to work. If he’s convicted, he goes to prison with color of authority as an aggravating circumstance for sentencing.

    There was no conceivable reason for that cop to shoot that guy. It looked like if the guy had run another few feet he’d probably have collapsed from a heart attack anyway, so the cop can’t very well claim that he couldn’t have caught the guy.

  6. But it is easier to shoot than chase. And it’s easier to quick draw and shoot than attempt to restrain (see recent mentally ill man shooting.) And it’s easier to shoot than go ‘hands on’ with a belligerent or combative citizen. This is especially true when the dead citizen won’t be able to tell their side of the tale, another reason for video.

    Some stories seem so far out that they are hard to believe without video. (see story of pregnant vet mauled by sheriffs in support of CPS.) The idea that CPS would even attempt to remove a child, based on a comment from another child (with serious disabilities) and involve the sheriffs who would PUNCH and SHOVE a very pregnant woman around in her own home, is so far outside most people’s experience as to be immediately discounted. Yet the video is damning. Rodney King’s story would have been easily dismissed as just more of the “usual” minority grief mongering without the video.

    The fact that cops fear cameras and try to ban them or seize them should tell you something about the issue too.


  7. “…this cop deserves to spend the rest of his life in prison.”

    What’s wrong with the death penalty? What’s good for the goose is good for the gander.

  8. Criminals get a sentence enhancer for wearing body armor, and so should this guy when it comes to the sentencing phase.


  9. My guess is that the cop will be offered a plea bargain to avoid a trial and get him into prison as quickly as possible. From the social unrest angle, it’d be better for everyone involved if the cop accepted a plea for life in prison without parole. If he won’t accept that, the prosecution needs to go after the death penalty and make it clear that this guy is going down.

  10. the prosecution needs to go after the death penalty

    Death penalty will never be on the table as that requires premeditation. No jury in the world would find that to be true and thus the prosecutor will not push for the death penalty. Instead there will be a charge of second degree murder with life in prison as that a jury would convict.

    But I doubt this will ever go to trial. As you say the ex-officer will plead to some lesser charge, sentenced to 50 years with possibility of parole, all under the pretense that doing so would be cheaper than a trial.

    What is scary is that the officer changed the scene, moved evidence to support his position. Had the video camera not been present the ex-officer might have gotten away with his unlawful act. The ex-officer is not only guilty of murder, but of altering a crime scene.

    Cops need to realize that anytime they commit an act there is very likely a camera pointed in their direction. For those officers that violate the laws and procedures the penalties should be severe. If the officer lies about the event the penalties should be increased.

    I know a police officer, one of the good ones. He wears a body camera. He has stated that on several occasions the camera has saved his butt. He has been charged with various offenses in arresting someone. Generally the family who thinks their little Billy Bob (with numerous tattoos, piercings and low hanging pants) cannot possibly be a bad person. The cretin that got caught lies and the family grabs a lawyer. When the video is shown the family backs down and the lawyer goes away with his tail between his legs.

    Thus it would seem to me that all officers would want a camera to protect themselves. I suspect the ones that don’t want cameras are the ones who have done less than desirable actions and don’t want to get caught. The power trip has gone to their head and they don’t want to give up doing their misdeeds.

  11. And on a totally unrelated note,

    I got my RTL dongle and software installed, so I now have an SDR in my shack. I need to get a better antenna up. It is interesting to see the spectrum and the clearly visible signals throughout the band. The fixed navigation beacons show up clearly.

    Shortwave reception has been terrible for the last few days. I got a great vintage radio at the hamfest and I really like being able to quickly tune thru the bands. It’s on a ~250ft long random wire (run around my fence top), and receives about the same as my ham transceiver on a 66ft horizontal dipole. Just spinning the dial while reading on the web is very relaxing.

    I also got some scanner software, and will be updating the databases in my scanners in the next few days.


  12. What’s wrong with the death penalty? What’s good for the goose is good for the gander.

    Unless he serves his entire sentence in solitary confinement, he would spend a longer time in prison if he got the death penalty. As a police officer, he will be very unpopular in prison. As a law breaking, crime scene tampering police office, he will be even less popular.

  13. Our total state income taxes for 2014 will be literally five times what they were for 2013.

    I am so glad that we do not have state income taxes in The Great State of Texas. First, I do not have to pay them. Second, I do not have to fill out the stupid paperwork.

  14. Can’t add much to what’s already been said here about that homicide-by-cop down there. Pretty clear on the video.

    And apparently no riots yet or flash mobs going berserk; could it be because it IS so clear and cut and dried? That there is and won’t be any question of justice being served? On the other hand, what if they find some tricky way to get him off? Been done in more flagrant cases.

    Agreed on the cameras; they love ’em to spy on us; as someone said, what’s good for the goose.

  15. NORAD is moving back underground to be better protected from EMP attack:

    “Admiral William Gortney, head of NORAD and Northern Command, said that “because of the very nature of the way that Cheyenne Mountain’s built, it’s EMP-hardened.””

    Hmm. Do they know something that we don’t know? Makes me want to solar panel my house if my HOA would let me. Except modern day DC to AC inverters are electronic also and might get fried by the EMP.

  16. The MSM is also creating a situating that has white cops and black people scared to death of each other and that’s just going to create more situations like this one.

  17. Anyone have experience with Arduino and Rasberry Pi programming/prototyping? I’m thinking of asking for a starter kit for my birthday and was not sure which way to go.

  18. “The MSM is also creating a situating…”

    Agreed, Mr. chad; deliberately so; to what ends, one might ask? Cui bono?

    “… I’m thinking of asking for a starter kit for my birthday and was not sure which way to go.”

    They’re pretty inexpensive; I have one PI hooked up to be a net-connected secure email server, no monitor, keyboard or mouse. Another one on the way to become an exterior surveillance web cam gizmo. I don’t know diddly about the Arduino; for the PI the programming skillz are Python and Scratch.

  19. Mr. Ech, Rasberry Pi has more horsepower while Ardunio has tons of shield addons and programs you can download. Tons of Arduino stuff on Youtube.

    I got this kit: to start with Arduino. There are other kits on Make. The Arduino interface isolates a lot of the C stuff needed to setup the chip by using special libraries. I became more interested in lower level C programming while learning C to use with Atmel Studio (free, Win only, I use a VM on Mac with no problems).

    I’m currently working on Make: AVR Programming which does away with the Arduino and its interface and programs Atmel chips directly. There are also a lot of resources for building projects from scratch using various Atmel chips. I had to stop after a couple of chapters for family stuff and am going to restart from the beginning this week. Simple projects you can build on, work into a PCB projects, etc.

    I also have a PDF of tinyAVR Microcontroller Projects for the Evil Genius which you can find on Amazon.

  20. “…as someone said, what’s good for the goose.”

    That’ll be $20k for copyright infringement, thank you… 🙂

  21. Raspberry Pi – gave one to a son who likes to fiddle with such things. He doesn’t do a lot with hardware (though he could), so I can’t say a lot to that. In terms of programming, it’s a computer like any other. Full-up operating system, you can install normal programming tools – you just as well program any computer, there’s nothing special other that its small size and small cost.

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