Carlos Martinez was expecting to spend about $12 on lunch for himself and his son, but the bill topped $135 when his car was towed after he went to an ATM for cash. Martinez parked in the lot near the Boston Market restaurant at Columbia Pike and S. Glebe Road but realized he needed money. He crossed the street to the Bank of America, but when he returned, his van was gone.
Advanced Towing, an Arlington-based company, hooked the Dodge Caravan and took it to the impound lot a few miles away. Now Martinez is joining others who’ve been towed in accusing Advanced Towing of predatory practices.
“They are like thieves,” said Martinez. “We leave the car and immediately they stole our car and we have to pay a reward to get our car back.”
. . . .
Arlington County Police records show from 2012-2014, Advanced Towing was the subject of 155 complaints, far more than any of the other towing companies that do business in Arlington, according to statistics recently gathered by the News4 I-team. In fact, Advanced got almost two times as many complaints as all the other companies combined.
Police determined Advanced Towing committed 15 violations in that time.
I just called the Boston Market referenced in the story here, and spoke to a manager. He said that this sort of towing goes on every day, “all day long.” He said the towing company hires two people, a driver and a person who is “always peeping.” If someone leaves the lot in a direction other than the business corresponding to their space, the peeper contacts the driver and the driver quickly tows the vehicle. He said the managers believe the constant towing is hurting their business, and another manager has talked “many times” to the landlord about it, to no avail.
This company is scum of the earth. I was towed in the Arlington parking lot where Pho 75 and Ben’s Chili Bowl is located after I ate at Ben’s, and then subsequently walked across the street to pick up some catering for a party I was attending. I was gone for no later than 5 minutes only to return (with three catering trays of hot food) to find my car gone. When I tracked it down to Advanced, I was treated like a jerk by the awful woman attendant – she was not remotely interested in hearing my side of the story, saying that “you never should’ve left the lot” over and over again like a broken record. Highway robbery. I am hoping the better business bureau shuts down this place, as their business practices are exceptionally awful. Just thinking about how they abuse their power makes me ill.
This does not make it appropriate to criticize someone’s appearance, even if they criticize yours first (which may well have happened; one commenter of mine thinks she hears the tow truck employee accuse Britt McHenry of having dark roots). But it does provide a little more context that might help explain why McHenry was upset. It might not just be the inconvenience of having her car towed. It might also be that she was dealing with a company engaged in behavior that most people would consider unreasonable, and on top of that ran into a rude employee.
If you park in a space for Business A, and go to Business A and Business B, it may subject your car to towing as a technical matter — but towing the car in that situation seems against the rules of “fair play” that society plays by. The speed with which they tow cars shows that they are not concerned with keeping parking spaces free for patrons of the business, as much as they are trying to make a buck.
In my constitutionally protected opinion, they seem like unpleasant people who are at best exploiting technicalities to make a buck in an unreasonable manner. And they sound rude. And after they force you to come into their business to pay ransom for your car, if they don’t like the way you behave, they will edit a video to remove their own rude comments and try to shame you.
And if your comments were even slightly out of line, they’ll get an entire Internet to go along. And relatively few people will ask what provoked the reaction to begin with.
I hope stories like the one linked in this post, and posts like this one, are the beginning of a Streisand effect for this company. They deserve it.
UPDATE BY PATTERICO: I’m going to exercise my prerogative as blog owner to insert an update at the head of this post. It’s actually a concurrence and a dissent, not just a dissent.
I am uncomfortable, and indeed angry, about what this business did, because they edited out the comments by the employee. Dana notes that at the end of the post, but I personally think it is far more significant than most apparently do, and I want to take a moment to explain why.
If these people are going to put out a video with only one side of the conversation, and edit out the comments of the employee, then I believe I am entitled to assume the absolute worst about what the employee said. So, until I hear different, I am going to assume that the employee hurled insults and profanities at the ESPN reporter. Am I wrong, towing company? Prove it. Until you do, I assume what I assume.
And given my assumption, the comments made by McHenry . . . still were not wise. But might be far more understandable than they seem in a video where all the context has been deliberately ripped out.
I’m just not comfortable joining in the online lynch mob based on an edited video like this. That said, I am happy to have a guest poster disagree, and I am happy to have all viewpoints aired. I just wanted to register my discomfort with the pile-on in a prominent way.
Again: if the towing company wants even the slightest bit of sympathy from me, they can present the entire video, or they can go to hell.
SECOND UPDATE BY PATTERICO: To be clear, I’m not accusing Dana of participating in an “online lynch mob” with this post. See the update by me below — the really long (and interesting!) one. — PATTERICO
[guest post by Dana]
Young, blonde and beautiful? You’ve got it made in our society – for a while, anyway. Power, confidence, and lots of attention. Who wouldn’t want that? Well, if young, blonde and beautiful is also demonstrably a mean-girl – arrogant, cruel and ill-mannered like ESPN reporter Britt McHenry, not me.
Having been warned that she was on camera and that a *video of her could be released, McHenry nonetheless chose to unleash a personal and caustic attack on a tow-truck company employee at Advanced Towing where McHenry was paying to have her towed car released:
Some of her comments to the woman working the counter:
The parking attendant can be heard in the video warning McHenry she is being filmed and threatens to ‘play your video’.
‘That’s why I have a degree and you don’t – I wouldn’t work in a scumbag place like this,’ McHenry responds.
‘Makes my skin crawl even being here.’
The parking attendant patiently replies: ‘Well lets get you out of here quickly.’
McHenry then fires back: ‘Yep, that’s all you care about – taking people’s money…with no education, no skill set. Just wanted to clarify that.’
“I’m in the news sweetheart, I will f—ing sue this place.”
“Do you feel good about your job? So I could be a college dropout and do the same thing?”
“I’m on television and you’re in a f—ing trailer, honey.”
“Maybe if I was missing some teeth, they would hire me, huh?”
“Lose some weight, baby girl.”
As someone who has had to pay to have a stolen car released from impound, I can understand McHenry’s frustration with the system. The painful fact of the matter is, if you want your impounded auto back, you have to pay. That being said, McHenry’s car was towed because of where she was parked, not because it was stolen. And while I may have resented having to pay for my car’s release, I certainly didn’t make it personal and blame the person behind the counter.
While the tow-truck company, along with the employee herself, have less-than-stellar reputations, it’s noteworthy that McHenry chose to go mean-girl in her attack when she went for the female jugular: physical looks. It may be the most powerful weapon in a beautiful woman’s arsenal. Young, blonde and beautiful, humiliated at finding herself having to pay for something I’m sure she felt was unfair, but adding insult to injury, also having to submit to someone so clearly beneath her. Unacceptable!
And it is this that makes McHenry not just an angry customer, but a seriously unattractive angry customer. If she was that frustrated and provoked by the experience of having to go to a seedy joint and pay for something she felt unfair, why not rant about the unethical behavior of the company and their bad business practices? Why make it personal and attack another woman’s looks? I think it’s because she is simply a mean girl. This is who she is. This personal attack did not happen in a vacuum, did not come out of nowhere. She knew exactly how to remind the employee – an employee who momentarily held power over young, blonde and beautiful – who had the real and lasting power. And who did not. She knew her cruelty would hit the mark and hurt the employee. And in that moment, she wanted to hurt the employee, not the business.
Not surprisingly, McHenry herself appears to already have a reputation for being a rude snob.
McHenry later apologized but not directly to the recipient of her mean-spirited rant:
In an intense and stressful moment, I allowed my emotions to get the best of me and said some insulting and regrettable things. As frustrated as I was, I should always choose to be respectful and take the high road. I am so sorry for my actions and will learn from this mistake.
ESPN has suspended McHenry for one week.
(*The video, of course, does not reflect the entire conversation. We do not know what the employee may have said to further provoke McHenry, however, that does not change the personal attacks McHenry made.)
UPDATE BY PATTERICO: Let me clarify a few things. First, I do not mean to accuse Dana of participating in an “online lynch mob.” I have re-read her post and, while I would not have written it the same way myself, one cannot accurately call this post “lynch mob” activity. To the extent that my update at the top might seem to suggest that, let me make it clear I did not intend that. However, I do think there are lynch-mobby aspects to the general reaction on the Internet to all of this, and I do think that it’s important to call for a little perspective on all of this.
First, let’s take a step back and look at what is going on. This morning I was listening to a fascinating podcast that Ace did with John Sexton on the concept of “Altruistic Punishment.” As Ace explained, they have done studies with young children where a young girl witnessed a monkey puppet stealing cookies from an elephant puppet. The girl shunned and otherwise punished the monkey puppet for stealing the cookie even though it wasn’t hers. Chimpanzees don’t react this way; they couldn’t care less whether the monkey puppet steals the elephant puppet’s cookie. That’s the elephant puppet’s problem.
So this sense that we need to band together and enforce social rules, even when we ourselves are not the target of the wrongdoing, is actually very important to human society. It has been shown that this is fundamental to human cooperation. You won’t follow the rules unless you know that everyone is subject to the rules. And so you enforce rules even when you aren’t being harmed.
But, as Ace points out, this can go overboard. Because it feels good to punish wrongdoers. We all know this. When we are righteously busting someone for dishonesty or crass behavior, we get a little frisson of self-righteousness that feels fantastic. This doesn’t make one a bad person. Every human feels this. On the podcast, Ace admits he feels it. “It’s like hunting a buffalo,” he says. When I was putting together posts detailing the sock-puppetry of supercilious people like Michael Hiltzik or Glenn Greenwald, I felt it. It’s natural.
And it can go overboard, leading to mob action. There was that Justene Sacco incident, which Ace discussed, in which Sacco wrote “Going to Africa. Hope I don’t get AIDS. Just kidding. I’m White!” An online lynch mob formed, literally while she was on the plane, and people got whipped into a frenzy over her purported racisms. There was a specially created hashtag: #HasJustineLandedYet. She was actually met at the airport by an intrepid online shamer with a cellphone. She was fired. As it turned out, Sam Biddle, one of the leaders of the lynch mob, later interviewed her and learned that the tweet had been misintepreted. Context — the other side of the story; her side of the story — wasn’t necessary for the lynch mob to make its judgment. She was convicted before she landed. The fact that her tweet “was supposed to mimic—and mock—what an actual racist, ignorant person would say” was unknown and the possibility did not matter to people. Biddle’s later-expressed regret for his participation didn’t get Justene Sacco back her job.
Events like this have made me very reluctant to join in online mobs that form over alleged outrages — especially when I sense that there may be another side to the story. And I do think that such a mob has formed around this Britt McHenry story. Just look at Facebook or Twitter and you’ll find large groups of people saying a suspension is not enough; she needs to be fired; she’s a terrible person; etc. etc. etc.
Dana’s post is not like that. Dana’s post largely concentrates on the way women can sometimes act like “mean girls” in attacking others’ looks and other superficial things. These are all valid observations, and I think it’s clear that this is happening in the video. My update above is not meant to “defend” or “justify” or “excuse” the bratty behavior of a pretty TV girl attacking someone on superficial grounds.
That being said, my by-now innate reluctance to join online mobs leads me to be very circumspect about forming conclusions based on one side of the story. Again: this company deliberately edited out most of the commentary from the employee. This is not because the employee did not consent to having her voice on the video; it does appear at least twice, where she threatens to show the video, and where she says, in effect, let’s get you out of here quickly. The other comments she made — the ones which were edited out — were undoubtedly nasty and embarrassing to the employee. McHenry says the employee was being abusive, and based on the video being edited, I completely believe her. And that makes me angry.
And this is where I take issue with Dana in the post, because she characterizes McHenry’s comments as “cruel” and seems to accept the narrative being offered by the company. Dana says: “And while I may have resented having to pay for my car’s release, I certainly didn’t make it personal and blame the person behind the counter.” I could be misreading this, but I read this as implying that McHenry is simply upset about the situation and is taking it out on an innocent person behind the counter. Now, it’s possible that’s what happened. But I doubt it. Because if that’s all it was, they would have shown the whole video, unedited. And they didn’t.
Now, Dana does indeed acknowledge that the video has been edited, saying: “The video, of course, does not reflect the entire conversation. We do not know what the employee may have said to further provoke McHenry, however, that does not change the personal attacks McHenry made.” I’m glad Dana said that, and it shows that Dana is aware of the possibility that McHenry was provoked. I just think I assign more importance to that distinct possibility than is assigned by Dana, or frankly, by most people I see discussing this online. To me, it’s impossible to know how bad McHenry’s reaction is without the full context. Since the company has deliberately chosen to edit out the full context, I believe it is reasonable for me to conclude that their employee acted badly, and that the unedited video would be very embarrassing for them and would make McHenry’s remarks look (perhaps only slightly) less unreasonable.
TL;DR. I know. Mainly, I wanted to make clear that I do not accuse Dana of being involved in an online lynch mob. I know her too well to think that about her. But to the extent that one has formed outside this blog, I want to make it crystal clear that I am not joining in. Hence the update above.
It’s been one pretty boring week in the Hillary for President campaign. Astro-turfing, entitled behavior and another History-of-Hillary revision (this time about her name) all added up to a fairly ho-hum Week One.
Just in time to spice up Hillary’s lackluster campaign, the Moonlite Bunny Ranch in Nevada has announced the launch of Hookers for Hillary!
“Hillary Clinton, as part of her husband’s administration, envisioned health care reform in the 1990’s, long before President Obama was able to sign it into law,” they write. “The Affordable Health Care Act made health insurance available for the first time ever to the 500 independent contractors employed by Dennis Hof. With any Republican nominee likely to work for its’ repeal, the Bunnies want to protect the quality health coverage that they now enjoy.”
“As Secretary Of State, Hillary Clinton gained invaluable experience negotiating with foreign leaders, and the Bunnies can definitely relate to negotiating through a language barrier,” they continued. “The Bunny Ranch entertains customers from all around the globe, and the girls have great respect for any woman who can take powerful men from oppressive cultures and make them bend to her will.”
And most amusingly, this:
“Bill Clinton presided over the most prosperous time in Bunny Ranch history, which coincided with a tax increase on the wealthiest Americans such as brothel owner Dennis Hof,” the Bunny Ranch writes. “The Bunnies recognize that thriving economies are built from the bottom up, where the vast majority of their clients originate. A return to relying on the disproven theory of trickle-down economics would only serve to exclude the vast majority of hard-working Bunny Ranch clients from having the discretionary income to enjoy with their favorite Bunny.
Oh, I just bet the Bunny Ranch was hopping with success when Bill was president!
No comment from Hillary’s camp on this latest group of “everyday” Americans supporting her bid for presidency. And definitely no comment from Bill, though we can be fairly certain he is most appreciative of these enthusiastic bunnies.
The DACA case has been decided; more on that below. Oral argument will be heard today on the injunction regarding the sweeping amnesty. Last month, Paul Mirengoff at Power Line gave us a summary and preview:
The United States Court of Appeals for the Fifth Circuit has issued an order that sets oral argument in Texas v. United States for April 17. This is the case in which Texas and other states challenge President Obama’s executive amnesty.
In district court proceedings, Judge Hanen temporarily enjoined the government from enforcing Obama’s program to grant lawful status to millions of illegal immigrants. The government has moved for a stay of that order, pending appeal.
The oral argument on April 17, for which two hours have been allocated, will pertain only to the government’s motion for a stay. As for the merits of the injunction, the Fifth Circuit’s order sets a briefing schedule and permits the filing of briefs by a number of amici, including Senators Cruz and Cornyn.
Mirengoff reports that the government is arguing that Obama’s amnesty is somehow “essential to national security” because it helps ICE agents “quickly distinguish dangerous immigrants from those who pose no threat.” Expect this to come up in the oral argument.
Oral arguments can be very revealing, as the resolution of the DACA/Dreamers case shows. Recall my prediction. Last month, after listening to the audio of the oral argument in that case, I told you:
A federal appeals court’s ruling Tuesday upholding the dismissal of a lawsuit over President Barack Obama’s first major executive action to aid illegal immigrants could help the Obama administration fight a more significant suit that has resulted in Obama’s second wave of immigration orders being halted nationwide.
A three-judge panel of the 5th Circuit U.S. Court of Appeals unanimously ruled that several immigration agents and the state of Mississippi lacked legal standing to sue over Obama’s 2012 Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals program because evidence that the agents or the state would be harmed by the effort was too speculative.
“Neither Mississippi nor the Agents have alleged a sufficiently concrete and particularized injury that would give Plaintiffs standing to challenge DACA,” Judge W. Eugene Davis wrote in an opinion joined by Judges Carolyn King and Priscilla Owen.
Always trust content from Patterico.
We’ll see what today’s argument holds in store. I admit to a lack of optimism, but that is characteristic of my personality. I’ll report more on it when I get a chance to hear the audio.
UPDATE: I should note that on the earlier case, I thought they might grant standing but deny on the merits — and they tossed it on standing. Details.
The audio of today’s oral argument is here. I have heard about half an hour or so. More later.
Hillary Clinton has historically been seen as one of the leading feminists and staunch supporters of women’s rights of our time. Her latest effort in supporting women worldwide was the formation of the “No Ceilings” campaign which seeks to ensure “full and equal participation of women in political, civil, economic, social and cultural life.”
With the launch of her presidential campaign, Hillary is once again receiving the support of feminists, who are for the second time pinning their hopes on her being elected. As she morphs into a “family-oriented” candidate who retains her feminist cred, her supporters blissfully ignore any controversy surrounding her and continue to lay flowers at her feet:
The surprisingly moving video announcing Hillary Clinton’s bid for the presidency shows that Democrats have finally found an authentic version of pro-family politics.
The campaign announcement suggests that this will be a very different sort of Clinton campaign than we saw in 2008, one that emphasizes gender and so-called women’s issues instead of running from them. And whatever you think of Clinton, it’s a triumph of feminism—or, at least, a certain kind of feminism—that issues like family leave and childcare are about to be at the center of a presidential contest.
But make no mistake, they are counting on her to fight hard for the cause:
A sleeping giant is stirring out there — the rage of senior boomer women sickened by setbacks to women’s rights. Younger women are also waking up to the blatant bias being exercised by a new generation of Gen X male leaders.
Hillary Clinton is just the candidate to breathe fire into the giant and unleash a hard-charging neo-feminist movement.
But winning isn’t just about winning over women. Well aware of the perils of being a bulldog feminist, Clinton will be running on a new persona: the kick-ass grandma who will fight for a fair deal for middle-class families and children.
Yet in spite of Hillary’s iconic feminist stature, journalist Raheel Raza still felt it necessary to make an ironic request as she recognized Hillary’s feet of clay:
A prominent Pakistani-born women’s rights activist is asking presidential candidates, including Hillary Clinton, to pledge not to accept donations from foreign nations that oppress women. Raheel Raza, the Canadian journalist behind the documentary film Honor Diaries, is requesting all the presidential candidates, from both parties and both “men and women,” to sign her pledge.
This week, Hillary Clinton announced her candidacy for President,” said Raza in a statement. “As a woman, I congratulate her, but as a women’s rights advocate, I’m concerned about the $13,000,000-$40,000,000 the Clinton Foundation reportedly took from regimes that persecute women, namely Saudi Arabia, Qatar, Oman and the UAE.”
Raza’s pledge is not limited to presidential campaigns, asking candidates to promise to “never take money from regimes that oppress women, even after I leave public office, including any libraries or foundations in my name.”
“If you’re running for President—and if you want women’s votes—you should sign ‘The Pledge to Women’ and say ‘no’ to money from regimes that forbid women to vote or run for office,” said Raza.
The Clintons’ foundation has said that it will continue to accept donations from a specific set of Western nations, though not from the Middle Eastern regimes that persecute women. The related Clinton Global Initative may, however, still allow participation from those regimes, the Wall Street Journal reports.
“[H]illary does not have it. Hillary is a mess. And we’re going to reward the presidency to a woman who’s enabled the depredations and exploitation of women by that cornpone husband of hers? The way feminists have spoken makes us blind to Hillary’s record of trashing [women]. They were going to try to destroy Monica Lewinsky. It’s a scandal. Anyone who believe in sexual harassment guidelines should have seen that the disparity of power between Clinton and Monica Lewinsky was one of the most grotesque ever in the history of sex crime. He’s a sex criminal. We’re going to put that guy back in the White House? Hillary’s ridden on his coattails. This is not a woman who has her own career, who’s made her own career! The woman who failed the bar exam in Washington. The only reason she went to Arkansas and got a job in the Rose law firm was because her husband was a politician.”
It remains baffling how anyone would think that Hillary Clinton (born the same year as me) is our party’s best chance. She has more sooty baggage than a 90-car freight train. And what exactly has she ever accomplished — beyond bullishly covering for her philandering husband? She’s certainly busy, busy and ever on the move — with the tunnel-vision workaholism of someone trying to blot out uncomfortable private thoughts.
In the end, most of the opponents were hardline Republican fiscal hawks who complained that the permanent “doc fix” wasn’t fully paid for, including Sens. Ted Cruz (TX) and Marco Rubio (FL). It is projected by the nonpartisan Congressional Budget Office to add $141 billion to the deficit in the next decade.
Notably, numerous GOP fiscal hawks who have a background as physicians put aside their deficit concerns to vote for the measure, including Sen. Rand Paul (KY), Sen. John Barrasso (WY), Rep. Tom Price (GA), Rep. John Fleming (LA) and Michael Burgess (TX). The Medicare benefit cuts were a draw for some conservatives.
“Thanks for all your hard work, Mitch,” Senate Finance Chair Orrin Hatch (R-UT) whispered to McConnell on the floor seconds after the bill passed.
I don’t know what that means, add $141 billion to the “deficit” over the next decade. The deficit is the annual shortfall, subtracting expenditures from receipts. Adding $141 billion to this number “over the next decade” makes no sense to me. $141 billion per year? What are you people trying to say? How’s about you spell it out for once?
For now I’ll assume the best, as reflected in the headline: they mean “debt” and not “deficit.” I’m sure I’m wrong.
Rand is for fiscal responsibility unless it’s inconvenient, which it generally is. Ted Cruz is for fiscal responsibility all the time, so (conventional wisdom says) he can’t possibly be elected.
If conventional wisdom is correct, we are screwed.
Which, it is generally is. And we generally are. Screwed, that is.
Sen. Chuck Schumer apologized today after word got out that he called a flight attendant a “bitch” for ordering him to follow the rules and turn off his cellphone before takeoff. . . . Schumer and his seatmate, [Sen. Kirsten] Gillibrand, were chatting on their cellphones when the plane’s captain told passengers to turn them off.
But the two Democratic senators ignored the order and kept talking — prompting a flight attendant to ask them to follow Federal Aviation Administration rules, according to a House Republican aide who was seated nearby.
Schumer asked if he could finish his call. The attendant said “no” because the plane was waiting for him to finish so it could take off. The state’s senior senator ended his call, but then launched into an argument with her, claiming he was entitled to continue his chat until the cabin door was closed.
“She said she doesn’t make the rules, she just followed them,” the aide said, according to Politco.com.
“Bitch!” Schumer remarked to Gillibrand after the attendant walked away.
Remember when Hillary announced the launch of her campaign and told us that she wanted to be the champion of “everyday people”? You know, because she’s like one of us? Well, in Council Bluffs today, those “everyday people” were momentarily forgotten when the Scooby van was parked in a handicap zone. Entitled much?
According to this report, for most of her meeting with Democrat operatives, the van was parked in a regular stall. Her staff backed it into the handicap stall before her meeting ended.
No comment from her campaign.
UPDATE BY PATTERICO: That video was removed quickly, huh?