President Barack Obama created the first national monument to gay rights on Friday, designating the site of the Stonewall riots in Manhattan where the modern gay rights movement took root nearly five decades ago.
The Stonewall National Monument will be anchored by Christopher Park, a small park just across from the iconic Stonewall Inn tavern, and covers a 7.7 acre swath of Greenwhich Village where the uprising took place after police raided the gay bar in 1969. Obama said the monument would “tell the story of our struggle for LGBT rights” and of a civil rights movement that became a part of America.
“I believe our national parks should reflect the full story of our country: the richness and diversity and uniquely American spirit that has always defined us,” Obama said. “That we are stronger together, that out of many, we are one.”
Sunday marks the one-year anniversary of the Supreme Court decision to legalize gay marriage.
You can read the official White House statement here.
P.S. I am currently travelling and have very limited internet connection. As such, if someone already posted about this, please just disregard this post.
In the wake of last night’s historic referendum on leaving the European Union, the people of Great Britain woke up this morning to find that they are the scourge of of all “responsible thinking” people in the faculty lounges, boardrooms, and grand salons of the cultured world. Here’s a round-up of obnoxious opinion:
The Boston Globe editorial board spewed out a typically pretentious and predictably dull-witted editorial, beginning with a reference to Shakespeare and then discussing the geography of the Calais-to-Dover channel crossing before finally getting around to their main argument for why the EU is so indispensable, because in their minds it has kept the peace: “The entire project was designed to use economics to prevent armed conflict. That worked.” I’m sure the people of Serbia, Bosnia-Herzegovina, and Croatia would find that to be an interesting assertion. But let’s set that aside for a moment. It is true that since the founding of the European Union that Germany has not invaded France or Belgium, but that might be more aptly attributed to the 60,000 U.S. troops stationed in Europe than all the striped-pants set in Brussels. The heart of the editorial is a boring recitation of the opportunities and challenges facing the EU and was clearly written when the outcome was in doubt. I read it so that you don’t have to, and I would never recommend that anyone waste their time with it.
The Economist also has their callow young writers all hot and bothered over what they characterize as a “senseless, self-inflicted blow.” They forecast nothing but gloom and doom: “As confidence plunges, Britain may well dip into recession. A permanently less vibrant economy means fewer jobs, lower tax receipts and, eventually, extra austerity. The result will also shake a fragile world economy.” Oh my: the cheeky lads and lasses located outside of the major urban centers have managed to steer the ship of state straight into the shoals! The fabulously wealthy Europhiles like author J.K. Rowling are just besides themselves at the insolence. Why, from now on they may have to stand in the non-EU passport control line on the way to their chalets in the Mediterranean.
The Nation tries heroically to reconcile their populist pretentions (close to half of Labour voters may have cast their ballot for Brexit) with proper deference to the opinion of progressive elites, so they attribute the result to a combination of backlash against so-called economic austerity and those twin leftist warhorses racism and nativism. That’s certainly a lot more comforting that having to question the efficacy of trans-national government by a largely unelected and unaccountable elite.
Prime Minister David Cameron has manfully announced his resignation, despite some desire among his supporters for him to stay on. Opposition leader Jeremy Corbin, whose commitment to the Remain cause has been called into question, is resisting calls from restless members of his coalition to resign. President Barack Obama, after raising eyebrows by wading into the debate with a veiled threat demanding Britain to stay in the EU, now insists that he’s totally cool with the decision and that the vote shows how globalization has left some behind. File this in the “No shit, Sherlock” category, where so many of Obama’s pronouncements tend to land these days.
The punditry is shocked, and acting like this is a giant earthquake. Me, I’m for decentralization . . . and I think all the handwringing is overwrought. The world will not end if the UK leaves the EU. And the world would not end if Texas left the U.S. So: congratulations to Britain on regaining its autonomy, and (with my thanks to Kevin Gutzman for the term) I say: on to Texit!
It’s no surprise. Americans are celebrity hounds. They are star-struck in the presence of any celebrity — and celebrities win most court cases as a result.
Jimmy Page and Robert Plant (and John Paul Jones, a lesser light) testified at the trial, and by all accounts were charming and deflected the plaintiff’s case in amusing ways. Jimmy Page admitted that he owned the album containing “Taurus,” which clearly inspired the opening of “Stairway” — but claimed that he first heard the song on the Internet two years ago.
Which is funny, because I highlighted Taurus on this blog more than three years ago — on June 8, 2013 — stating:
Taurus, by Spirit.
Led Zeppelin opened for Spirit early in their careers, and heard this song live. You will not have to listen closely to hear the inspiration for Stairway to Heaven.
A year later, when the case was filed, I summed up my feelings in this post — and I see no reason to change my erudite and well-stated opinion today:
I have mixed feelings about this one. On one hand, if you listen to the piece, it’s pretty clear they ripped off part of California’s piece — and the fact that they were touring with Spirit at the time just solidifies the conclusion that you would have come to anyway regarding the similarities. It would have been nice for them to credit California and give him a piece of the royalties. And, as I say, I pointed out the similarities last year, long before the lawsuit — so it’s clearly not a made-up claim. (Do any of the lawyers read this blog?)
That being said, California himself never filed suit. And in “Stairway to Heaven,” while Zeppelin took some of California’s music, the more famous band also transformed the germ of that idea into something quite different, taken as a whole. Patterico reluctantly hereby enters judgment for defendant in the court of public opinion, but awards no costs — and encourages Led Zeppelin to give California his writing credit anyway.
I admit to being a Spirit partisan: I saw them live, from the front row, in Dallas’s West End Marketplace in the late 1980s. Randy California was charismatic, talented, and unforgettable. To the jury that rendered the verdict, though, he was almost surely some no-name shmoe. Maybe I was wowed by my perception of California’s celebrity, while Zeppelin — a band I have always enjoyed and respected — is a band I never saw live. The closest I came was seeing a solo Robert Plant show from middling seats, 15 rows back. Nothing very memorable. When I started writing this post, I forgot I had even seen that concert. But the Spirit show is burned deeply into my brain. To think: California was only in his late 30s when I saw them live. Damn. I’m old.
Anyway, Randy California is long dead and gone, having drowned off the coast of Molokai in 1997 while heroically rescuing his 12-year-old son from a rip current. But he definitely thought the song was ripped off, and as noted above, so do I. Here’s California:
Here’s a transcript of the relevant part of California’s statement:
Questioner: Speaking of Led Zeppelin, another sort of legendary story is the, which is true, I guess, is regarding the song “Taurus” that you also wrote. In the introduction. Um, did Led Zeppelin ever acknowledge their debt to you for that introduction? Was there ever anything said about that, or is it just sort of a story that’s floating around?
California: It’s not a story. It’s absolutely true. If you listen to the two things, you can make your own judgment.
California: It’s an exact, I’ll just say it, it’s a rip-off.
California: And the guys made millions of bucks on it and they never said, “Thank you” and they never said, “Can we pay you some money for it?” or this or that. So I just think it’s —
California: It’s kind of a sore point with me. And they, maybe some day they’ll — their conscience will make them change and they’ll do something about it. I don’t know. It’s not right. You know?
Questioner: Yeah, yeah. I agree. I mean, I think they did that in a few other cases too. [You bet they did! — Ed.] With a couple other —
California: It’s funny business, dealing between record companies, and managers, and publishers, and artists. But when artists do it to other artists, to me, there’s no excuse for that. You can quote me on that. I’m mad.
I am too. Even if I probably have ruled the same way the jury did.
UPDATE BY PATTERICO: The BBC has called it for “leave.”
It’s well after midnight in the United Kingdom where voters yesterday went to the polls to decide whether subjects of Her Royal Majesty will remain a part of the European Union. Polls, which in recent weeks had shown the pro-Brexit side slightly leading have as of late tightened and now seem to be favoring the Remain side.
This is a good excuse to show this outstanding brief for leaving the EU by that masterful speaker, Daniel Hannan. It’s their language — we’re just borrowing it — but why are they such better public speakers than any of our politicians over on this side of the Atlantic Ocean?
[UPDATE: I corrected the spelling of Freddie Gray’s name in the title and in the post. – JVW]
Officer Caesar Goodson, Jr. was acquitted earlier today on all charges stemming from his participation in last spring’s arrest and subsequent death of Freddie Gray. Goodson had driven the police van in which Gray had been placed while handcuffed, and he was accused of having intentionally given Gray a “rough ride” causing him to be tossed about in the back of the van. Gray died from neck and spinal injuries that prosecutors contend were suffered during the van ride. Goodson had been charged with second-degree depraved heart murder, three counts of manslaughter, second-degree assault, reckless endangerment and misconduct in office, but presiding Judge Barry Williams found him not guilty on all charges. Goodson is the third of six Baltimore PD officers brought up on charges. Officer William Porter’s trial ended in a mistrial back in December and Officer Edward Nero was found not guilty last month.
Baltimore State’s Attorney Marilyn Mosby has been criticized for over-charging in this case and for a reckless rush to judgement in general. In the Goodson case, it also turned out that her office had withheld exculpatory evidence from Goodson’s defense team, including a witness account that Gray had continued to move on his own in the van after the point that the prosecution contended his spine had been broken. In addition, Legal Insurrection discusses tension between the Baltimore Police Department and Mosby’s office after prosecutors floated the theory that detectives have deliberately sabotaged the Goodson case through poor work. Goodson’s case was considered the strongest of the six for the prosecution, so his acquittal today does not bode well for the chances of winning convictions in the remaining three trials.
When leftists and judicial conservatives are split 4-4, as here, the important thing becomes the decision of the lower court — because a tie goes to the runner lower court decision. That’s what happened here. The fate of his plan came down to a single vote in the Fifth Circuit Court of Appeals, which ruled 2-1 against Obama. Today’s decision is a single line, saying that the decision below was affirmed by an equally divided court. It is not clear to me whether the Court will be announcing who voted which way (I think they won’t), but the line-up is nevertheless as predictable as rain in Seattle: the 4 reliable lefties vs. the 4 mostly-conservatives.
Note that this opinion merely affirms a stay. A trial on the merits still looms.
The Democrats are conducting a historic sit-in which is historic. They are trying to take guns from Americans without due process, and so this is a civil rights issue, you see. (I have already discussed how Republicans have their own bills that address the concerns raised by Democrats, but in a more responsible way that does not step on due process. If the government has you on a list, it should know why it put you there — and it should not take long to explain those reasons to a judge.) The ACLU opposes the Democrat proposals. But all you’ll hear from Big Media is that John Lewis is involved, and it’s historic. Historic, I say!
AG Loretta Lynch made a visit to Orlando yesterday bringing $1 million dollars in federal funds to aid in recovering costs for law enforcement responding to the recent massacre. AG Lynch also met with the families of those who lost loved ones at the hands of Mateen.
Moreover, Lynch enlightened the public on how to respond to terrorist attacks. Word has it that those who have pledged their allegiance to ISIS, and radical jihadists everywhere, were shaking in their boots as a result:
“We stand with you to say that the good in the world far outweighs the evil … and that our most effective response to terror and hatred is compassion, unity and love,
Oh, and there was also the small matter of Omar Mateen’s disappearing wife, who could be in Really Big Trouble, depending on how much she knew, and when she knew it:
“Has the shooter’s wife left the state of Florida?” a reporter asked Lynch during her press conference Tuesday.
“Right now, I don’t know exactly the answer to that,” Lynch candidly replied. “I believe she was going to travel but I do not know exactly her location now.”
Meanwhile, officials and the media are still trying to determine what may have motivated Mateen. This is just so weird, given the speed with which Lynch had figured out Dylan Roof’s motives in the horrible killings at a church in Charleston:
Yet last July, when Lynch announced federal hate crime charges against Roof, Lynch expressly emphasized his motivation.
“Several months prior to the tragic events of June 17, Roof conceived of his goal of increasing racial tensions throughout the nation and seeking retribution for perceived wrongs he believed African Americans had committed against white people,” Lynch said during a press conference. “To carry out these twin goals of fanning racial flames and exacting revenge, Roof further decided to seek out and murder African Americans because of their race.”
Lynch even acknowledged Roof sought to create as much notoriety as possible, something her press conference ostensibly helped him achieve.
“An essential element of his plan, however, was to find his victims inside of a church, specifically an African-American church,” she said, “to ensure the greatest notoriety and attention to his actions.”
If only Mateen had left just one clue behind…
P.S. I am currently travelling and have very limited wifi because I’m in the Middle of Nowhere, so if this subject has already been covered by another poster, please ignore this post.
Sen. Marco Rubio will announce Wednesday he will seek re-election to the Senate, reversing a pledge he made a year ago to either assume the presidency or return to private life in Florida, instantly transforming an already competitive race and improving the chances that Republicans can maintain the Senate majority.
I learned this primary season that I don’t care for Marco Rubio. I learned that he is am empty suit who will do and say anything that serves his political ambitions. I learned how deep and blatant his lies had been about opposing amnesty for illegal aliens. Finally, I watched him try to “stand by” the things he had said about Donald Trump during the campaign — including branding Donald Trump someone who can’t be trusted with nuclear weapons — yet who supports Trump today because he said he would support the nominee.
While I am no longer a member of the Republican party (I officially deregistered online), I also believe that it is important that they maintain control of the Senate and House. The GOP is feckless in fighting big government, but they are the most organized bulwark against big government out there. (Libertarians don’t win elections; they even argue about whether it’s moral to vote.) If I were convinced that Rubio is the only chance to hold on to the seat, then I would support Rubio.
But I’m not so sure he is. I know Mitch McConnell put out a big “draft Rubio” campaign. But Ted Cruz and Mike Lee seem . . . more lukewarm:
Marco Rubio reached out to Ted Cruz to confirm his intent to run for reelection to his Florida Senate seat, according to sources familiar with the matter.
According to two aides briefed on the Tuesday phone call, Rubio asked Cruz to blast out a statement urging Rubio to run for reelection, “so it’s not just Mitch [McConnell]” asking him to do so, as one aide described it.
Those aides say Cruz declined, as he didn’t want to be accused of nudging out US Representative Ron DeSantis, the tea-party favorite in the race for Rubio’s seat. The aides say that Senator Mike Lee of Utah echoed that concern after Rubio approached him with the same request. A Lee aide confirmed that this conversation took place.
If Mitch McConnell wants Rubio, and Ted Cruz and Mike Lee don’t, I tend to think I don’t either.
UPDATE: DeSantis is now out. Sounds like he would have been a better small-government candidate but was pushed out by Mr. Ambition. Oh well.
UPDATE x2: And with DeSantis out, Cruz is now supporting Rubio in the primary.
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