Patterico's Pontifications

10/30/2010

It’s One A.M. Do You Know Where the Code of Conduct for U.S. Judges is?

Filed under: General — Aaron Worthing @ 5:31 pm

[Guest post by Aaron Worthing; send your tips here.]

Former Supreme Court Justice Sandra Day O’Connor is still active as a senior status judge.  That means she will hear cases in the lower courts on occasion.  She also has been active in judicial selection reform.  As Law.com reports, however, this has all landed her in some trouble:

It began as an amusing story about a technical glitch in some automated phone calls that went out to voters in Nevada. But it has since turned into a discussion of judicial ethics involving retired U.S. Supreme Court Justice Sandra Day O’Connor and her passionate campaign in favor of judicial election reform.

A story in Monday’s Las Vegas Review-Journal reported that a significant number of Nevada voters received so-called automated “robo-calls” with the voice of O’Connor urging them to support a Nevada ballot initiative that would change the way Nevada judges are selected toward a merit selection/retention election system.

The problem was that the calls went out at 1 a.m. insted of the intended 1 p.m. time. The group sponsoring the calls has apologized profusely and the marketing company that made the error has been fired.

But conservative commentator Ed Whelan saw another problem: “Do the ethics rules governing federal judges really permit a federal judge to robocall voters in support of a ballot initiative?” In a National Review Online entry Whelan noted that Canon 5 of the Code of Conduct for United States Judges(pdf) prohibits them from engaging in political activity — except as permitted by Canon 4, which allows judges to speak to the public and to legislators about legal matters and the administration of justice.

Whelan, who also is president of the D.C.-based Ethics and Public Policy Center and a former law clerk to Justice Antonin Scalia, wrote that O’Connor’s personal advocacy of a ballot initiative is not the kind of legal discussion Canon 4 contemplates.

Ed Whelan and others at Bench Memos has indeed been all over this story for several days.  Really just go to October 27, 2010, and then work your way forward in time.  Its a lot of interesting stuff.

Anyway, the controversy eventually got to be big enogh to garnish a response from O’Connor:

I did not authorize the use of my recorded statement as part of automated telephone calls to Nevada residents, and I regret that the statement was used in this way. In addition, I view my efforts in support of judicial reform as consistent with the Code of Conduct for U.S. Judges.

Which is that special breed of explanation that still leaves questions unanswered.  Such as, “how the hell do you record a robo-call message and not realize it might be used in a robo-call?” for starters.

I don’t think O’Connor should resign, but I think she should tone down her activism on this issue.

[Posted and authored by Aaron Worthing.]

WTF?! Islamofascist at the Rally to Restore Sanity?! (Update: A trip Down Memory Lane with Stewart and South Park; Salman Rushdie on Yusuf Islam; Video: Yusuf Islam on Wishing He Could Burn Rushdie Alive)

Filed under: General — Aaron Worthing @ 11:38 am

[Guest post by Aaron Worthing; send your tips here.  Full disclosure: I am the proprietor of the website Everyone Draw Mohammed.  Cross posted at that site and Allergic to B.S.]

Update: I am not the first to notice and TPM is apparently the first to dismiss these concerns as “Right Wing.”  I didn’t realize that freedom of speech was a “right wing” value.  I thought it was a baseline that people on the left and right agreed on.

Update (II): Thanks for links from Memeorandum, Hot Air, and American Power.

I have been watching the Jon Stewart rally and my Tivo’s running a bit behind because I have been pausing to deal with life, but my jaw dropped wide open when Stewart introduced a man named “Yusuf.”  That would be Yusuf Islam, the man formerly known as Cat Stevens, who then played a rendition of his song “Peace Train.”

That would be the same Yusuf Islam/Cat Stevens who endorsed the Fatwah against Salman Rushdie.  For instance, the New York Times reported (registration required) as follows in 1989:

The musician known as Cat Stevens said in a British television program to be broadcast next week that rather than go to a demonstration to burn an effigy of the author Salman Rushdie, ”I would have hoped that it’d be the real thing.”

The singer, who adopted the name Yusuf Islam when he converted to Islam, made the remark during a panel discussion of British reactions to Ayatollah Ruhollah Khomeini’s call for Mr. Rushdie to be killed for allegedly blaspheming Islam in his best-selling novel ”The Satanic Verses.” He also said that if Mr. Rushdie turned up at his doorstep looking for help, ”I might ring somebody who might do more damage to him than he would like.”

”I’d try to phone the Ayatollah Khomeini and tell him exactly where this man is,” said Mr. Islam, who watched a preview of the program today and said in an interview that he stood by his comments.

That would be the same Yusuf Islam that Charles Johnson (in his sane period) quoted as saying: “The Qur’an makes it clear, if someone defames the Prophet, then he must die.”  (As of this writing, Johnson has made no mention of Stevens/Islam’s presence at the rally.  Color me surprised.)  This is the same Yusuf Islam who threatened Farrukh Dhondy:

In the first week of the fatwa against Rushdie and his book, I [Dhondy] appeared on a television panel. Among the Muslim panelists, all of whom favored condemning the book, were two zealots: the same Kalim Siddiqui; and Yusuf Islam, the Muslim convert pop singer of Greek Cypriot origin formerly known as Cat Stevens. The moderator asked if, in my role as a commissioning editor of Channel 4 UK, I would contemplate turning The Satanic Verses into a film. I said that I would judge the cinematic merits of the script, and that no other consideration would rule it out. Kalim Siddiqui and Yusuf Islam snarled, warning that the sentence of death on Rushdie would extend to all those who forwarded his book in any way.

And this ___hole is in the rally to restore sanity?!

Update: Remember when Jon Stewart was against those who use threats of violence to suppress freedom of speech? Video at the link. (Thanks to Kevin M below who reminded me of that.)

Update (II): Let’s not forget what Rushdie thought of Cat Stevens/Yusuf Islam appearing at a “Green” event:

Cat Stevens wanted me dead

However much Cat Stevens/Yusuf Islam may wish to rewrite his past, he was neither misunderstood nor misquoted over his views on the Khomeini fatwa against The Satanic Verses (Seven, April 29). In an article in The New York Times on May 22, 1989, Craig R Whitney reported Stevens/Islam saying on a British television programme “that rather than go to a demonstration to burn an effigy of the author Salman Rushdie, ‘I would have hoped that it’d be the real thing’.”

He added that “if Mr Rushdie turned up at his doorstep looking for help, ‘I might ring somebody who might do more damage to him than he would like. I’d try to phone the Ayatollah Khomeini and tell him exactly where this man is’.”

In a subsequent interview with The New York Times, Mr Whitney added, Stevens/Islam, who had seen a preview of the programme, said that he “stood by his comments”.

Let’s have no more rubbish about how “green” and innocent this man was.

Salman Rushdie, New York

Update (III): Via Ed Driscoll, we get video of Yusuf Islam wishing he could burn Rushdie alive.

Update (IV): Yusuf Islam, in a FAQ that No More Mr. Nice Blog states was written in 2007:

I never called for the death of Salman Rushdie; nor backed the Fatwa issued by the Ayatollah Khomeini – and still don’t. The book itself destroyed the harmony between peoples and created an unnecessary international crisis.

When asked about my opinion regarding blasphemy, I could not tell a lie and confirmed that – like both the Torah and the Gospel – the Qur’an considers it, without repentance, as a capital offense. The Bible is full of similar harsh laws if you’re looking for them.  However, the application of such Biblical and Qur’anic injunctions is not to be outside of due process of law, in a place or land where such law is accepted and applied by the society as a whole.

You got that?  He doesn’t want to personally kill Rushdie, he just wants the government to do it, after a fair trial.  Lovely.

[Posted and authored by Aaron Worthing.]

This Rally is Brought to You by Citizen’s United

Filed under: General — Aaron Worthing @ 10:08 am

[Guest post by Aaron Worthing; send your tips here.]

Update: American Power has this overhead shot helping us to compare the size of the Beck and Stewart rallies.  I still don’t care, but if you do:

Yep, Beck’s was bigger, but Stewart has nothing to be embarrassed about.

First, if you are inclined to watch the Jon Stewart/Stephen Colbert Rally, The Blaze has live coverage, here.  And as of this writing, all it is, is music which I admit I am digging on.  I personally am on record saying that I don’t care about crowd size in protests.  But if you are morbidly curious, I haven’t seen any photographs of it, but the AP has written “people assembled by the tens of thousands Saturday” although that reportage seems a little premature.  On the other hand, on the Facebook page it is right now listing about 10K definitely attending, about 100K “maybe” attending, exactly 10K awaiting reply (weird), and over 240K saying they will definitely not attend, for what it’s worth.

As a sidebar, Ann Althouse caught Patterico’s favorite newspaper engaged in deception on this point:

L.A. Times on the Jon Stewart rally: “Nearly 225,000 people had RSVP’d on the event’s Facebook page as of Thursday morning.”

Why do journalists keep writing the RSVP number like that? Look at the Facebook page. The number who say they are attending is (currently) 10,019.

239,164 RSVP’d to say they are not attending. 112,812 say — are they just being polite? — they are “Maybe Attending.

Why do they keep writing it like that, Ann?  Well, I have a theory…

Anyway, watching it, and seeing that Comedy Central is running it live—indeed, according to my TIVO, there will be no commercial interruptions, and there haven’t been so far—I realized that none of this would have been possible without the Supreme Court’s ruling in Citizen’s United.  This is corporate speech.  Comedy Central is a corporation, a subsidiary (most likely through multiple shells) of Viacom, another company, donating it’s on air time to this political rally.

But according to Jon Stewart and Stephen Colbert, the government should have the power to ban this kind of thing.  Mind you, of course, that is only my reading of Colbert’s satiric remarks; I believe what he is trying to do is say the Supreme Court is wrong to say a corporation deserves any first amendment protection at all, but since his satire is so thick rational minds can disagree.  Stewart’s mockery, meanwhile, is a little more straightforward and it’s easier to discern his point.

I have noted before the irony of corporate entities and those who speak for them, speaking out against Citizens United, writing:

On January 23, the New York Times denounced the Supreme Court’s ruling in Citizens United v. F.E.C., stating that “the court[] … has paved the way for corporations to use their vast treasuries to overwhelm elections and intimidate elected officials.” In a twist worthy of Monty Python and the Life of Brian, this editorial was unsigned, representing the voice of the New York Times Co., itself a corporation. It amounted to “this corporation says that no corporation has a right to free expression.”

Next I suppose the entire staff will gather together and chant, in unison, “we are all individuals.”

As for Stewart’s rally, hey, more power to him.  We all want to restore sanity. Fiscal sanity, regulatory sanity and so on.  That is why I am voting Republican next Tuesday.

Update: Did some pinhead really say that outside media was banned from the rally?

[Posted and authored by Aaron Worthing.]

Murkiness: Alaska Radio Host Off the Air and Murkowski Plays the Dyslexic Card

Filed under: 2010 Election,General — Aaron Worthing @ 8:19 am

[Guest post by Aaron Worthing; send your tips here.]

Yesterday I noted how, in a very Army of Davids sort of way, ordinary voters put a serious monkey wrench in Murkowski’s reelection bid:

An effort by Lisa Murkowski to increase her chances to win seems to have backfired.  As you know, Murky was defeated by Joe Miller in the primary but chose to run as a write in.  Of course she has one really huge barrier winning: her challenging-to-spell last name.  She previously urged the election board to accept entries like “Lisa” and “Lisa M.” as meaning her, which in the second case, I guess it is not unreasonable.  Then she convinced the Alaska Division of Elections to give out lists of write in candidates.  This approach was eventually approved by the Alaskan Supreme Court: “The lists can be shown to voters who request them, the high court ruled, but candidates’ party affiliation must be removed.”

So then some radio host says to his listeners, more or less, “Hey, why don’t a bunch of regular people, my listeners, go and register as official write in candidates?”  And they did, well over one hundred of them.  You can read the list, here.  Now there are several Lisas and at least one other “Lisa M.” (its her middle name) and a few Polish-sounding names that end in “ski.”  So this might actually have set her back.  Heh.

I wonder if calling her “Murky” would count?

Since then I have learned that Dan Reihl at Big Government also made a similar solicitation, which was promoted by Conservatives For Palin, so who knows who had the most influence.

But whoever was responsible, Murkowski is pissed.  First, that Radio Host, Dan Fagan, is off the air.  On her facebook page, Sarah Palin unloaded with both barrels:

Does all this sound heavy handed? It is. It is an interference with Dan Fagan’s constitutional right to free speech. It is also a shocking indictment against Lisa Murkowski. How low will she go to hold onto power? First, she gets the Division of Elections to change its write-in process – a process that Judge Pfiffner correctly determined had been in place without change for 50 years. She is accepting financial support from federal contractors, an act that is highly questionable and now pending before the FEC. And today, she played her last card. She made it clear that if you disagree with her and encourage others to exercise their civic rights, she’ll take you off the air.

Meanwhile via her spokemodel, Murky is complaining that how utterly unfair this all is, saying:

Murkowski campaign spokesman Steve Wackowski tells Salon that “Operation Alaska Chaos” could cause problems for people in Alaska — including native Alaskans — whose first language is not English.

“I think it shows the desperation of Miller’s supporters. Quite frankly, I think it’s pretty sad,” he said. “For someone who is dyslexic or needs assistance, it’s dissappointing [sic] … but we’re not shocked. “

The Murkowski camp is distributing wristbands, cards, and buttons with the candidate’s name to assist write-in voters.

Murky, let me tell you, I am dyslexic, and you can go to Hell for trying to invoke the serious issue of disability discrimination for your petty political ambitions.  Guess what?  Daddy can give you that Senate seat, but he can’t guarantee reelection.

Update: Minor correction.

[Posted and authored by Aaron Worthing.]


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