Patterico's Pontifications

10/15/2010

Brett Kimberlin Update: Liberty Chick Threatened with Lawsuit

Filed under: General — Patterico @ 6:42 pm

I meant to post this earlier, but Liberty Chick, author of Big Journalism’s takedown of Brett Kimberlin, posted this message on Twitter the day before yesterday:

Yes, the rumor is true. I got this same threat as @Patterico http://bit.ly/aC6n8i What can I say, sources are all right there in the post.

I knew this the same night I received Kimberlin’s legal threat against me, but I didn’t want to say anything until she was ready to make it public.

By the way, I received my copy of “Citizen K” in the mail today. When I return to the blog in a couple of weeks, I expect I will have read it. I am about to learn a lot more about our friend the convicted bomber.

Finally, I said in a post the other day that one of the directors of Velvet Revolution that “it appears” that one of the directors was Jeff Cohen of FAIR and formerly of Fox News Watch. Cohen e-mailed me today to say that was wrong, and I immediately corrected the error, but wanted to make the correction prominent in a new post. I thought it was odd, since I always sort of liked Cohen despite his crazy politics. I should have looked at the proof underlying that assertion more carefully and I regret the mistake.

Friday Night Comment Bait–O’Donnell Down by Only 11?

Filed under: General — Aaron Worthing @ 2:31 pm

[Guest post by Aaron Worthing]

I thought to myself “that can’t be right.”  But its Rasmussen, which I consider one of the more reliable outlets.

If I had to guess, it is probably because of this ad more than anything.  That line about taxing 911 calls is harsh.

[Posted and authored by Aaron Worthing.]

Sockpuppet Friday!

Filed under: General — Aaron Worthing @ 1:28 pm

[Guest post by Aaron Worthing]

As usual, you are positively encouraged to engage in sock puppetry in this thread.  The usual rules apply.

Please, be sure to switch back to your regular handle when commenting on other threads.  I have made that mistake myself, alot.

And remember: the worst sin you can commit on this thread is not being funny.

[Posted and authored by Aaron Worthing.]

Well, I think McGovern is Wrong

Filed under: 2010 Election,General — Aaron Worthing @ 12:55 pm

[Guest post by Aaron Worthing; adapted from a post here]

In other debate news, Rep. Jim McGovern said this little gem in his debate last Wednesday (against Mary Lamb), when asked about Citizen’s United (a decision I talked about previously, here, and many other places):

We have a lousy Supreme Court decision that has opened the floodgates, and so we have to deal within the realm of constitutionality. And a lot of the campaign finance bills that we have passed have been declared unconstitutional by the Supreme Court. I think the Constitution is wrong. I don’t think that money is the same thing as human beings[.]

(emphasis added.)  In the video, you can also hear him say after that he doesn’t believe that money is speech, and that corporations should not have the same right to speak as people.  To be fair to him, he says he misspoke and meant to say the Supreme Court is wrong and not the Constitution.  Its an interesting Freudian slip, but okay.  And even if he meant to say the “Constitution is wrong,” Jim Geraghty is absolutely right to say it is not as per se bad as Phil Hare saying famously he doesn’t care about the constitution.  This is because congresspersons take an oath to uphold the constitution, even if they disagree with it.  So when Hare says he doesn’t care about it, he is saying he doesn’t care about keeping that oath.  By comparison even if McGovern really disagreed with the constitution on this point it doesn’t mean he can’t honestly swear to uphold this document, while perhaps working to amend it to correct any errors he sees in it.

But however you interpret what McGovern said, it is was still pretty bad, because he is not merely disagreeing in general with the Supreme Court or the Constituion, but specifically about the freedom of expression.  Freedom of expression goes directly to the heart of whether this is a republic or not.  A nation that has no freedom of expression is not a republic or a democracy, even if you have the right to vote.  I mean the syllogism is pretty direct.  The right to make a choice implies the right to make an informed choice.  The right to make an informed choice requires me to hear lots of information regarding that choice.  That means in terms of speech, that people and yes, even corporations, must feel free to express themselves so that you can get the maximum amount of information about that choice, so you can make an informed choice.  Thus the right to choose between two candidates is meaningless without the right to speak freely about them.

So disagreeing with the Supreme Court, or even the Constitution is not per se bad, but disagreeing with free expression is.  Put simply, the right to debate should not be up for debate.

Now part of the problem, I think, is the fact that we talk about this in terms of speech.  I have long said that when we talk about advertising, making movies, etc. that speech is the wrong word.  One can easily understand why people think of a movie, or an ad in terms of speech.  After all, they generally involve someone, well… speaking.

(more…)

Judge Refuses to Dismiss Two Counts in Obamacare Suit

Filed under: Civil Liberties,Constitutional Law,Court Decisions,Obama — Aaron Worthing @ 11:54 am

[Guest post by Aaron Worthing]

Of course another suit in Michigan resulted in this law being upheld, so we are getting a split in the circuits.  I will say honestly I have not even read the whole decision yet, but I will and if I have any special insight, I will share it.  For now, I just want to make it easier for you to find the decision, if you are inclined to read it.

[Posted and authored by Aaron Worthing.]

Dog Whistling in New Mexico: “No Tejana Susana.”

Filed under: 2010 Election,General,Media Bias,Race — Aaron Worthing @ 10:34 am

[Guest post by Aaron Worthing (a.k.a. "Aaronico").  This is adapted from a post at my blog.]

If there is one thing I am truly sick of in the last two years is the constant accusations of racism and other forms of bigotry against people who merely disagree on policies—indeed, often on policies having nothing to do with race.  I have speculated in the past that some of this is based on honest misunderstandings.  But then other times it is clear that they are using it for political reasons, and almost always against Republicans or conservatives.  Especially pernicious is the claim that the right uses code words and racist “dog whistles.”

So it’s interesting that in New Mexico we have a pretty clear example of a “dog whistle,” and yet it’s done by a Democrat, so I guess it is alright to everyone (with one partial exception).  Democrat Diane Denish is running against Republican Susana Martinez in the race for governor.  And now suddenly they are all saying “No Tejana Susana.”  A Tejana (pronounced like “TAY-han-ah”) is literally a “Texan woman” in Spanish.  See the truth is that in Spanish, the X in Texas is supposed to be pronounced more like an H.  As I joke (with affection), Texans don’t even pronounce the name of their state correctly.  And if you are calling her that in Spanish, then that is all it means: Texas woman.

But if you are otherwise speaking in English, such as, “You should not vote for that Tejana,” then there is a secondary meaning.  A Tejano/Tejana also means a Hispanic Texan.  Now its lame enough that they are resorting to this silly regionalism (she has lived in New Mexico since the mid-80’s).  But what possible relevance is it to highlight that she is Hispanic, too?  And a quick google search reveals that this phrase is getting very common on the left.

I mean imagine if during the 2008 campaign, McCain said, “Do not vote for the black man, Obama.”  Everyone would rightly denounce that as racist, because it was unnecessarily dragging his race into the issue.

And mind you this is not a subtle code that a lot of people might miss and innocently invoke.  I have said we have a whole generation of children who don’t understand why it is racially offensive to depict Obama as a monkey, or eating fried chicken and watermelons; they are so beyond race, they don’t even understand these stereotypes.  So you might imagine a young child drawing Obama as a monkey and having no idea of the ugly history he or she is invoking.  But although I probably have to explain it to people outside of that region, I think it is safe to say that everyone in that region knows what Tejano/Tejana means.

And if you don’t agree with me, then clearly you are a disabilityphobe.  (With apologies to Greg Gutfeld for borrowing his joke.)

Oh, and on a related point, the WaPo recently published a story saying that it turns out that most Tea Party signs are not even arguably racist anyway.  I mean there is that.  And given reports of “Moby” ringers who infiltrate the protests to discredit the Tea Party, that study might mean even less than you think.

On the other hand, the WaPo offered no opinion on the propriety of this Tea Party video.

[Posted and authored by Aaron Worthing.]

Is Charlie Wilson a Wife Beater?

Filed under: 2010 Election,General,Media Bias — Aaron Worthing @ 8:50 am

[Guest post by Aaron Worthing; this is adapted from a couple posts at The Blog that Cannot Be Named (aka Allergic to Bull****)]

Now, first, this is not the man made famous with the movie Charlie Wilson’s War, but a Congressman running for reelection in Ohio.  And so far it does not look good.  A few days ago, Big Government produced a copy of the trial brief filed in his divorce and it states that Wilson actually admitted to beating his wife in depositions.  Now you might say, “well, yeah, that is the word of a lawyer.”  And while lawyers are not typically more honest (or more dishonest, for that matter) than anyone else, the thing is most bar associations would seriously discipline any lawyer who made such a claim without factual basis, and it might even justify sanctions before the court.  If a lawyer says that a person admitted to unlawful conduct, and cites a specific page in a transcript, it had better be true.  So it gains credibility if only because he could get in trouble if he is lying.  But you can decide for yourself and hopefully Wilson will be asked about it very soon.

Jim Geraghty wonders why there is so little coverage of the story so far.  Frankly, one purpose in writing this post is to hopefully raise the story’s profile so we can get to the bottom of things.  As of this writing, a google news search gets a pitiful number of hits, and most of them involve the more famous Charlie Wilson.  But there is a defensible reason for the media being reluctant to report it.  If they are doing their job (I know, big “if”), then they might want to verify the account.  This might especially be the case if these non-lawyers do not realize that the allegation is credible, because the lawyer would get in such trouble if it was false.  So they might be trying to get old records to verify, and given that the case is around two decades old, you have to assume it is in off-site storage.  So I would excuse up to one week of delay.  But anything beyond that, and they are clearly not pursuing the story.

Of course that begs the question of whether it should be pursued.  Is this relevant?  Well, here I have to confess potential bias.  I have had someone close in my life whom I helped to escape an abusive marriage.  I won’t name this woman out of a respect for her privacy, but I will tell you she and her daughter had a basically happy ending.  So you might think this means I have a biased hatred toward wife beaters.  Or you might say I have an appropriate sense of outrage on the subject.  It’s all a matter of perspective.  I believe it’s the latter, but that is your call, not mine.  Myself, I think there is no place for such a man in Congress unless there is powerful evidence of reform and redemption.  Besides the fact that we are depending on this man, Wilson, not to discriminate based on sex, I believe that people who hit their wives also have poor impulse control making them generally unfit for offices of high trust.  But as Dennis Miller says, that is just my opinion, I could be wrong.

And if I learn more, I will keep you posted.

[Posted and authored by Aaron Worthing.]

Guest Blogger for the Next Two Weeks: Aaron Worthing

Filed under: General — Patterico @ 7:45 am

Welcome Aaron for the next two weeks or so. He has a blog called . . . well, let’s just call it Allergic to B.S. Aaron is a regular commenter and often sends me tips about current events in the news — and he broke that story about Zoominfo’s verified profiles not being so “verified.”

Along with whatever Karl and Jack Dunphy can generate, I think the blog will be in good hands for the next two weeks. I have asked Aaron to get started today just to get in the swing of things.

Pentagon Suspends Enforcement of Don’t Ask Don’t Tell

Filed under: General — Patterico @ 7:29 am

As with gay marriage, I support the result but I hate the way it’s being done.

Ed Whelan has a great piece on how the Obama administration and federal judges have teamed up to accomplish this. An excerpt cannot do it justice but hopefully this will whet your appetite to read it all:

Let’s begin with the Ninth Circuit’s rogue ruling in May 2008 in the case of Witt v. Department of Air Force. In that case, a Ninth Circuit panel ruled that the DADT law, rather than receiving deferential “rational basis” review, should instead be subjected to some ill-defined “heightened scrutiny.” . . . . When the Ninth Circuit, over vigorous dissents, denied DOJ’s request for rehearing in December 2008, it was clear that DOJ’s next step would be to seek Supreme Court reversal of the Witt decision.

Notwithstanding President Obama’s policy stance in favor of repealing DADT, there was little reason to believe that the change of administrations in January 2009 would alter DOJ’s direction on Witt. With the exceptions of laws that intrude on executive-branch prerogatives or that are unquestionably unconstitutional, DOJ’s established practice is to vigorously defend federal laws. Indeed, in the course of her confirmation hearing to become Solicitor General, Elena Kagan, who as Harvard law school dean had vehemently condemned DADT as “a profound wrong—a moral injustice of the first order,” assured senators that she would set aside her own personal views on DADT and would “with vigor” “advance … the interests of the United States, as principally expressed in legislative enactments and executive policy.” “Under prevailing Equal Protection law,” she emphasized, DADT is “subject to rational basis scrutiny,” and “the rational basis standard is very easy to satisfy.” Indeed, “courts frequently grant Congress even greater deference than usual when military matters are involved.”

Yet when the time came to seek Supreme Court review of Witt, Kagan punted.

Whelan goes on to make excellent points about the latest ruling and injunction. By the time you’re done you’ll be seeing red.

Reid vs. Angle Debate: Post Mortem

Filed under: General — Patterico @ 7:14 am

I didn’t see it. If you did, feel free to weigh in.

As we all know, one of these two candidates is particularly prone to making goofy statements. I’m told by the L.A. Times that the foot-in-mouth candidate is Sharron Angle — despite some evidence to the contrary.

So did Angle say anything memorably goofy yesterday, as we’re told she is wont to do? Did she call anyone her pet? Did she call anyone hot? Did she say anything about a Negro dialect? Did she call tourists smelly?

Fill me in on what I missed.


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