Friday Links

1. Supreme Court rules 5-4 to allow strip searches for any arrest. I haven’t seen much commentary on this, but it sounds pretty bad to me. The rationale is that you might need to strip someone before admitting them to jail to make sure they don’t have anything dangerous on them. But the whole case came before the Supreme Court because a guy was strip-searched after being mistakenly arrested. Apparently the Supreme Court didn’t want to “second-guess” correctional officers (if they won’t, who will?), so apparently if the police make a mistake about you, you’re no longer protected from them looking at you naked. Hmm.

2. America’s Most Important Anti-War Politician Is a Senate Republican. Good feature on Rand Paul.

3. Arctic polar bear levels not declining as predicted. In fact, they are most likely increasing: “…stands at 1,013 and could be even higher, according to the results of an aerial survey… That’s 66 per cent higher than estimates by other researchers who forecasted the numbers would fall to as low as 610 because of warming temperatures that melt ice faster and ruin bears’ ability to hunt…” I don’t know science well enough to know if pro-warming scientists are right or wrong in their understanding of greenhouse gases and Earth’s climate, but I’m increasingly skeptical of their forecasts every time another one is proven wrong.

4. State’s Rights Part I: Arizona tries to make Internet trolling illegal. Yeah, good luck with that. When the federal government tries to make dangerous, uninformed laws about the Internet, I can rail about how terrible and overreaching they are and how they need to step back and let states have more power. When state governments start to do the same thing, well, hmm… At least it’s easier to stop state laws. Or move to a different state.

5. State’s Rights Part II: Connecticut becomes fifth state in five years to abolish death penalty. They only executed one guy in the last fifty years, but it’s still part of a trend that now includes 17 states. Conservative people tend to be more on the pro-death-penalty side, but I’m becoming increasingly concerned about protecting citizens from government mistakes, since there are many. Opposing the death penalty also gets you out of those inconvenient abortion hypocrisy charges.

6. Remember when I said it was too early to take a stand on the George-Zimmermann-murdered-Trayvon-Martin controversy because new facts were still coming out? Well, two big ones came out this week:

First, NBC (you know, one of those reliable media sources) was caught airing an edited version of Zimmermann’s 911 call that spliced out the dispatcher’s question about Martin’s race and made it look like Zimmermann just said “This guy looks like he’s up to no good. He looks black.” (NBC now “regrets” the editing.)

Second, an “enhanced” audio analysis by CNN suggests that Zimmermann may not have used a racial slur that has been cited as evidence that he was racist. Instead of “coons” he now may have said “cold,” although some people still think he said “goons” or “punks.” (Shrug.)

Neither revelation makes Zimmermann look less guilty of murdering Martin, but they definitely take the edge off the over-the-top racially-charged what-the-bleep-is-wrong-with-America we-need-to-stop-these-dangerous-gun-extremists line that’s been circulating some quarters lately.

7. Random funny Internet video of the day (Obama speech edition).

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