Patterico's Pontifications

4/26/2015

Chimps (Temporarily) Get Habeas Relief from Judge

Filed under: General — Patterico @ 1:01 pm

What the law giveth:

In a historic moment for animal rights, two chimpanzees, Hercules and Leo, were effectively recognized by a New York court as legal persons Monday.

Hercules and Leo, who are currently used for biomedical experiments at Stony Brook University on Long Island, were granted a hearing on their habeas corpus petition by Manhattan Supreme Court Justice Barbara Jaffe.

. . . .

According to Nonhuman Rights Project (NhRP), which filed the habeas corpus petition in March in an effort to move the primates to a sanctuary in Florida, Jaffe’s ruling is a first for animal rights.

Stony Brook University must now provide the court with a legally sufficient reason for keeping Leo and Hercules in captivity or the chimps will be set free. The court has scheduled the hearing for May 6, according to NhRP.

The law can taketh away:

​The hopes and dreams of millions of chimps were dashed in an instant Tuesday when a judge affirmed that an animal-rights group had gone too far by saying she’d granted them “human rights.”

Manhattan Supreme Court Ju​stice Barbara Jaffe acknowledged that she inadvertently​ got turned into a monkey’s uncle by signing court papers​,​ submitted by​ the animal-rights activist​s, that ​inadvertently bestowed human status on two chimpanzees being used for biomedical research at Stony Brook University on Long Island.

Proving the movie maxim uttered by Charlton Heston that “some apes, it seems, are more equal than others,” Jaffe on Monday signed a writ of habeas corpus on behalf of the primates, named Hercules and Leo.

The judicial command, Latin for “have the body,” is used to determine the legality of a prisoner’s confinement — raising the specter of Cornelius and Zira’s appearance before a Presidential Commission in 1971’s “Escape from the Planet of the Apes.”

But Jaffe got madder than a gorilla ​handling an American Tourister suitcase when the Nonhuman Rights Project — which wants Hercules and Leo sent to a South Florida sanctuary — claimed that she had “implicitly determined that Hercules and Leo are ‘persons.’”

Jaffe issued an amended order Tuesday that crossed out the words “Writ of Habeas Corpus.”

Well, at least we know the matter is in the hands of a careful jurist.

Oregon Baker Fined $135,000 for Refusing to Make Cake for Lesbian Wedding, Resulting in “Mental Rape” of Couple

Filed under: General — Patterico @ 12:54 pm

From Friday:

An Oregon administrative law judge recommended today that the bakers who refused to bake a cake for a same-sex wedding should be fined $135,000.

“[T]he forum concludes that $75,000 and $60,000, are appropriate awards to compensate [the same-sex couple] for the emotional suffering they experienced,” wrote Alan McCullough, administrative law judge for Oregon’s Bureau of Labor and Industries in his proposed order.

. . . .

In order to reach $135,000, Rachel and Laurel submitted a long list of alleged physical, emotional and mental damages they claim to have experienced as a result of the Kleins’ unlawful conduct.

One of the women, whose name was redacted to protect her privacy, listed 88 symptoms as grounds for compensation. The other, whose name was also redacted, listed 90.

Examples of symptoms include “acute loss of confidence,” “doubt,” “excessive sleep,” “felt mentally raped, dirty and shameful,” “high blood pressure,” “impaired digestion,” “loss of appetite,” “migraine headaches,” “pale and sick at home after work,” “resumption of smoking habit,” “shock” “stunned,” “surprise,” “uncertainty,” “weight gain” and “worry.”

I’m surprised these people are able to tie their own shoes in the morning.

My advice: next time, instead of gaining a lot of weight, resuming your smoking habit, and comparing one business owner’s refusal of your business to rape, maybe just choose a different baker.

Although why anyone would take my advice when the state is willing to help them cash in based on obviously exaggerated and trumped-up damages, I have no idea.

4/25/2015

What Is More Shocking To Diane Sawyer (And The Twitterverse): Bruce Jenner Becoming A Woman Or That He Is A Republican?

Filed under: General — Dana @ 12:57 pm

[guest post by Dana]

Not only did Bruce Jenner come out last night with Diane Sawyer and admit that yes, he is for “all intents and purposes” now a woman, he also came out as a conservative and Republican:

“I’ve always been more on the conservative side,” Jenner said.

Sawyer, looking shocked, asked if he identifies as a Republican, to which Jenner answered, “Yes.”

Because completely transforming from one gender to the other is not shocking and extraordinary, but being a conservative and a Republican is.

–Dana

No Clinton Should Ever Use The Word “Transparent” (With Updates)

Filed under: General — Dana @ 12:04 pm

[guest post by Dana]

This past week, Chelsea Clinton, who once tried to care about money but really couldn’t, revealed that as an adult, she’s learned well from her parents and that the acorn, indeed, does not fall far from the tree.

As Hillary studiously works to avoid any media confrontation about the scandals surrounding her and poo-poos this latest one as a “distraction,” the younger Clinton found herself taking on the role of Defender of the Foundation when the moderator at a Council on Foreign Relations event on women’s rights asked her about the foundation “bubbling up a little bit in the news”. (Side note: Bubbling up a little bit?? Seriously? That’s how you choose to refer to a full-blown explosion of brazen corruption involving a presidential-hopeful that has left a money trail throughout the world and in bank accounts far and wide, including uranium holdings and God knows what else? This is not what any reasonably objective person would term “bubbling up a little bit”…)

In response, Clinton demonstrated the smooth art of ‘diplomacy’ avoidance while defending the “important work” of the foundation and their “transparency”:

“What the Clinton Foundation has said is that we will be even more transparent, even though Transparency International and others have said we’re among the most transparent of foundations.

“I very much believe that that is the right policy. That we’ll be even more transparent. That to eliminate any questions while we’re in this time, we won’t take new government funding, but that the work will continue as it is,” Clinton continued, referring to the foundation’s recent policy change to limit donations from foreign governments, like Saudi Arabia.

It’s interesting that Clinton cited Transparency International, as it appears they also have their own issues of credibility. I was unable to check out Clinton’s reference to “others” for obvious reasons.

With that, at the charity clearing house, Charity Navigator whose mission is to “examine two broad areas of a charity’s performance; their Financial Health and their Accountability and Transparency”, the Clinton Foundation currently stands as “unrated”:

We had previously evaluated this organization, but have since determined that this charity’s atypical business model can not be accurately captured in our current rating methodology. Our removal of The Clinton Foundation from our site is neither a condemnation nor an endorsement of this charity. We reserve the right to reinstate a rating for The Clinton Foundation as soon as we identify a rating methodology that appropriately captures its business model.

What does it mean that this organization isn’t rated?

It simply means that the organization doesn’t meet our criteria. A lack of a rating does not indicate a positive or negative assessment by Charity Navigator.

And speaking of those transparent Clintons, Hot Air is now reporting that the progressive group Common Cause is surprisingly making a reasonable request of accountability from Hillary and the foundation:

Citing concerns about potential conflicts of interest and the influence of hidden overseas donors, Common Cause called on presidential candidate Hillary Rodham Clinton and the Clinton Foundation today to commission an independent and thorough review of all large donations to the foundation and to release the results.

“As Mrs. Clinton herself observed earlier this week, voluntary disclosure is not enough,” said Common Cause President Miles Rapoport. “A report in Thursday’s New York Times indicates that the Clinton Foundation violated an agreement to identify all of its donors. The foundation’s omissions create significant gaps in the information that voters need to make informed decisions at the polls.”

To ensure that the audit is complete, Rapoport said the foundation should enter into a contractual agreement with auditors to open its books fully and to make public the complete report of their review.

(H/T ASHQ podcast)

–Dana

UPDATE: I’m adding this breakdown of the Clinton Foundation expenditures:

The Clinton family’s mega-charity took in more than $140 million in grants and pledges in 2013 but spent just $9 million on direct aid.

The group spent the bulk of its windfall on administration, travel, and salaries and bonuses, with the fattest payouts going to family friends.

On its 2013 tax forms, the most recent available, the foundation claimed it spent $30 million on payroll and employee benefits; $8.7 million in rent and office expenses; $9.2 million on “conferences, conventions and meetings”; $8 million on fund-raising; and nearly $8.5 million on travel. None of the Clintons are on the payroll, but they do enjoy first-class flights paid for by the Foundation.

In all, the group reported $84.6 million in “functional expenses” on its 2013 tax return and had more than $64 million left over — money the organization has said represents pledges rather than actual cash on hand.

Some of the tens of millions in administrative costs finance more than 2,000 employees, including aid workers and health professionals around the world.

But that’s still far below the 75 percent rate of spending that nonprofit experts say a good charity should spend on its mission.”

The Sunlight Foundation, a government watchdog group, has come out and said that it appears the foundation works as a “slush fund” for the Clintons.

UPDATE 2: As of this morning, the Clinton Foundation blog has put up a new post entitled A Commitment to Honesty, Transparency, and Accountability.

In part:

As the Foundation’s impact has grown, so too has its commitment to transparency. When Hillary Clinton was appointed Secretary of State, we took unprecedented steps to avoid potential conflicts of interest by going above and beyond what is required of any philanthropy and instituted voluntarily annual disclosure of all of our donors on our website. We also established a policy around the foreign government contributions we accept, recognizing that in order to continue our life improving work we rely on the contributions of government, as is the case with most large scale global charities.

Today, our donor disclosure and foreign government contributor policy is stronger than ever. Since Secretary Clinton decided to run for President, we have committed to disclosing all of our donors on a quarterly basis. In addition, we announced that we will only accept funding from a handful of governments, many of whom the Foundation receives multi-year grants from, to continue the work they have long partnered on.

So yes, we made mistakes, as many organizations of our size do, but we are acting quickly to remedy them, and have taken steps to ensure they don’t happen in the future. We are committed to operating the Foundation responsibly and effectively to continue the life-changing work that this philanthropy is doing every day.

4/24/2015

Student Sues School Over Mattress Stunt

Filed under: General — Patterico @ 7:55 am

Offered without comment:

A Columbia University student who officials cleared of rape allegations has filed a lawsuit claiming the school allowed his accuser to harass and defame him by permitting her to carry a mattress on her back on its New York campus as a protest.

Paul Nungesser, a graduating senior at the prestigious Ivy League school, was accused by Emma Sulkowicz of raping her in August 2012. She complained to school officials, but they later cleared Nungesser. He maintains the sex was consensual.

In protest, Sulkowicz began carrying a mattress with her at all times on campus in what she said was an artistic statement entitled “Mattress Performance (Carry That Weight).” The performance piece earned the visual arts student national headlines and an award from the National Organization for Women.

In his lawsuit, filed on Thursday, Nungesser argues he was a victim of harassment and defamation and that the university allowed him to suffer in a hostile educational environment, according to a statement from his attorney, Andrew Miltenberg.

How about that.

From the “Republicans Little Different From Democrats” Files

Filed under: General — Patterico @ 7:44 am

This sort of thing is becoming distressingly familiar:

Speaker John Boehner (R-Ohio) said Thursday he would welcome another spending agreement that would lift the sequestration budget ceilings set to return in October.

“If there’s a way to reduce mandatory spending in a way that would provide relief to the sequester, like we did with the Ryan-Murray budget plan, have at it,” Boehner told reporters at his weekly press conference, referring to the agreement Rep. Paul Ryan (R-Wis.) and Sen. Patty Murray (D-Wash.) struck in late 2013 that relieved sequestration ceilings for fiscal 2014 and 2015.

In general — and there are exceptions like Ted Cruz and Justin Amash — Republicans have embraced the progressive agenda, just somewhat less so. In the main, they don’t fundamentally disagree with using government to fix problems. That is progressivism. If you believe that the solution is instead to get government out of the way, you need to speak up in every way possible to let your voice be heard.

EXCLUSIVE! MUST CREDIT PATTERICO! Hillary’s Campaign Song, Revealed!

Filed under: General — Patterico @ 7:38 am

I’m not sure why the campaign picked me for this exclusive reveal, but I am highly complimented. Much better than “Don’t Stop Thinking About Tomorrow,” don’t you think?

I like the reference to Kazakhstan, with its superior potassium. I think it’s designed to take your mind off of that other element: uranium, the Kazakhstan mining of which is related to cash going to Hillary’s Clinton Foundation. And then we have the reference to all other countries being “the home of the gays” — which helps the listener forget Hillary’s glorious paean to the importance of the “fundamental bedrock principle” of marriage being between a man and a woman.

Enjoy. One day, this will be the intro for the First Woman President!

4/23/2015

GOP: Well of Course We Must Pass ObamaCare Subsidies!

Filed under: General — Patterico @ 9:52 pm

To those worried by the prospect that the Supreme Court could rule against Obama in Halbig, I said in February:

[B]e of good cheer. Winning or losing that case won’t matter, it now appears — because, as Orrin Hatch recently made clear, Republicans are going to cave immediately if we win the case:

Hatch said that while Obamacare has hurt millions of people and needs to be ultimately repealed and replaced, Congress should do something in the meantime to mitigate the effects if the high court decides to invalidate that financial aid.

“I don’t think we can stand by and simply let the shortcomings of the law hurt people more,” he said during a speech at the Heritage Foundation in Washington, D.C.

“In the coming days, I will release details of a short-term solution for Americans who may be affected,” Hatch said. “That solution will address immediate concerns and set the stage for a permanent solution in the future.”

Of course. You can’t take the goodies away, so you have to give people “short-term, temporary” subsidies until such time as you develop the political courage to . . . make those subsidies long-term and permanent.

Did anyone really expect anything different?

Confirmed: Senate GOP Leaders Endorse Bill To Extend Obamacare Subsidies To 2017:

The Senate’s top five Republican leaders have cosponsored legislation to extend until 2017 the Obamacare insurance subsidies that may be struck down by the Supreme Court this summer.

The legislation, offered by Sen. Ron Johnson (R-WI), one of the most politically vulnerable Senate incumbents in 2016, would maintain the federal HealthCare.gov tax credits at stake in King v. Burwell through the end of August 2017.

Of course, it’s wrong to say the subsidies might be “struck down” by the Court, or to say that the GOP has a plan to “restore” them. If the Supreme Court rules against Obama, it will be a recognition that Congress never provided for these subsidies to begin with.

But look: you can’t expect Republicans to make a principled stand on this. They have to extend the subsidies that ObamaCare never provided in the first place, to keep voters happy who are used to being on the ObamaCare dole. Republicans will do this only until they no longer have an election coming up that they want to win. Which is . . . never. So of course they have to accept the progressive, pro-statist solution in perpetuity. Because the alternative is standing up and saying this is wrong, and only Ted Cruz is willing to do that and it’s Unpopular and so we can’t do it right now. Or anytime soon. Or ever.

If you’re keeping score, those who say Republicans are little different from Democrats just won another round. They win a lot of those rounds lately, huh?

Liberals On Taxes: “We’re All In It Together”

Filed under: General — Dana @ 9:16 pm

[guest post by Dana]

Unfortunately for a few MSNBC hosts, their relationships with the IRS are a bit rocky right now. As they sanctimoniously lectured audiences on the importance of paying taxes, they hid a dirty little secret:

MSNBC’s hosts and guests regularly call for higher taxes on the rich, condemning wealthy individuals and corporations who don’t pay their taxes or make use of loopholes. But recent reports, as well as records reviewed by National Review, show that at least four high-profile MSNBC on-air personalities have tax liens or warrants filed against them.

Oops!

* Touré Neblett, co-host of MSNBC’s The Cycle, owes more than $59,000 in taxes (“Regressive taxation & tax-avoidance & union crushing & the financial corruption of legislation has fueled inequality more than hard work.”)

* Last month, New York filed a $4,948.15 tax warrant against Joy-Ann Reid (Reid has called taxes on the wealthy “a basic fairness argument,” also arguing for “smart spending and smart tax increases” to create economic growth.)

* Melissa Harris-Perry and her husband, James Perry, owed around $70,000 in delinquent taxes (“We actually do better as a country when we spread the wealth around”)

* Sharpton and his entities owed as much as $4.5 million in taxes, penalties, and interest (“they give tax cuts and loopholes to the rich, and they act like it’s acceptable.”)

Touré and Reid did not comment, but a rep said the issue was being worked out. Harris-Perry recently paid down the debt by $21,721. And Sharpton disputes the figures. But of course he does.

This about sums it up:

All these tax deadbeats claim to be paying off their debts. But that doesn’t absolve them of their guilt. So long as they so much as lift a finger to avoid paying taxes, they’ll still be liberal hypocrites.

–Dana

Commander In Chief Rightly Assumes Responsibility In Two Deaths; Spokesman Says, Look Over There

Filed under: General — Dana @ 5:56 pm

[guest post by Dana]

President Obama announced today that an American and an Italian were accidentally killed by a U.S. drone strike that was targeting an al-Qaeda compound in Pakistan. As Commander in Chief, Obama rightly assumed responsibility for the tragedy:

“As president and as commander in chief, I take full responsibility for all our counterterrorism operations, including the one that inadvertently took the lives of Warren and Giovanni,” Obama said. “I profoundly regret what happened. On behalf of the United States government, I offer our deepest apologies to the families.”

“It is a cruel and bitter truth that in the fog of war generally and our fight against terrorists specifically, mistakes, sometimes deadly mistakes, can occur,” the president added. “But one of the things that sets America apart from many other nations, one of the things that makes us exceptional, is our willingness to confront squarely our imperfections and to learn from our mistakes.”

However, per NBC News, White House spokesman Josh Earnest assigned responsibility elsewhere:

In response, Rush observed the irony that now Congress has a role in something?

Congress doesn’t have a role in immigration. Congress doesn’t have a role in practically anything else, but now that the Regime has mistakenly, erroneously killed an American in a counterterrorism op, all of a sudden Congress has a role in the policy that sent the drone up there.

I’m sure Boehner and McConnell are on the phones, “What? When did we order the drone strike?”

You don’t get to have it both ways.

–Dana

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