Patterico's Pontifications

12/31/2010

Greetings From the Future

Filed under: General — Aaron Worthing @ 9:13 pm

[Guest post by Aaron Worthing; if you have tips, please send them here.]

Greetings west coasters, and midwesterners from the year 2011.  Its really cool.  We have rocket cars, and video phones. And the Iphone now plays flash video and is on Verizon.

And it turns out, Star Trek is actually a documentary.

————

Joking aside, happy new year.

[Posted and authored by Aaron Worthing.]

Happy New Year!

Filed under: General — Patterico @ 7:07 pm

Best wishes to the folks here. Happy New Year to friends and family.

Snowplow Slowdown Update: More Verification and Evidence It was Targeted at Specific Neighborhoods

Filed under: General — Aaron Worthing @ 11:24 am

[Guest post by Aaron Worthing; if you have tips, please send them here.]

First, let’s start with some video of the great job they are doing, plowing the streets (if it doesn’t play here, go here).

Yes, clearly the problem they had was not enough workers.  /sarcasm

Anyway, the latest from the New York Post, which is doing heroic work, here is twofold.

First, we find out that there already is an investigation into the cause of the slow snow removal:

The city’s Department of Investigation admitted it began a probe earlier this week after hearing rumblings of a coordinated job action.

Which really adds a lot of credibility to the allegations, given that this constitutes collaboration.

The second revelation is that it was apparently targeted at the neighborhoods of the wealthy and powerful, on the theory that then they would scream to city hall and get the budget for the Sanitation Department increased.

(more…)

The Plinket Trilogy Concludes

Filed under: General — Aaron Worthing @ 10:06 am

[Guest post by Aaron Worthing; if you have tips, please send them here.]

Remember those very long, harsh, funny, insightful critiques of Star Wars Episode I and II?  Well, the guy is back to complete his trilogy.

Big language and content warning.  I mean at one point the man pretends to have sex with an animal.  It’s funny, but you don’t want to have to explain what the hell is happening to the kiddies.

It’s in three parts:

I think some of what he said is not actually valid.  But a lot is.  But to critique the critiquer, for instance, he didn’t seem to understand that while the original storm troopers were all clones, the ones in the original trilogy (IV-VI) were by then regular people.  And I think on some level the relative peace that Coruscant enjoyed during all of this was kind of the point, too.  None of this felt real to the people so what was a little endless war by people who were grown in vats and had no families that cared for them?  And I think in general there is less to criticize here, because it is a better movie.  It’s not as good as the originals, but some of it, imho was actually pretty good.  Still the majority of his criticism hits home, especially the fact that Vader was too much the focus of the movie.

Hat tip: Red letter media.

[Posted and authored by Aaron Worthing.]

12/30/2010

Councilman Dan Halloran Speaks

Filed under: General — Aaron Worthing @ 9:30 pm

[Guest post by Aaron Worthing; if you have tips, please send them here.]

Consider this an update to my post earlier today suggesting that the poor performance of snow plowers in NYC, if deliberately deficient, might give rise to criminal liability.

Dan Halloran is the city councilman who first brought out the story about the intentional work slowdown, so he appeared on Your World with Neil Cavuto (an extremely misleading title, because Cavuto was nowhere to be seen), and told his tale.


In my mind, the really devastating part is the stats this guy rattles off.  He says, more or less, sure there were less workers.  But there were just as many plows and plenty of men to man them.  He pointed out previous instances involving greater amounts of snow where the clean up went faster.  And he pointed out that 10% of the sanitation workers “called in sick” that day.  If all that is true, it is hard to defend.  The last time I wondered if homicide charges would be justified.  And while there are significant questions about the cause of death and how much this alleged slowdown might have contributed to it, I am confident now that if they caused this child’s death, they can be held liable for criminal negligent homicide, if not actually manslaughter.

Meanwhile Mayor Bloomberg is calling for a probe, which is the right thing to do.  These are serious, but unproven, charges.  Let’s find out what happened.  And I was pleasantly surprised to see Bloomberg not playing this up too much, even though it might save his political bacon.

And I had been hearing reports all day about a second death potentially attributable to the stoppage and finally tracked down that report:

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O’Donnell Under Criminal Investigation

Filed under: General — Patterico @ 1:43 pm

I’m tied down to Apple mini-devices with no flash capability and can’t watch the video, but you can, here.

I don’t need to see the video to know it’s a bogus attack on a patriot who was way better than Mike Castle.

/True Conservative

Update by Aaron Worthing:

Sockpuppet Thursday—the “It Feels Like Friday to Me” Edition

Filed under: General — Aaron Worthing @ 1:41 pm

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

Yes, it isn’t Friday, but I am off tomorrow, so it’s like Friday to me.

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.

As for the poll widget, I am a little short on time right now. But I will try to add it tonight.

[Posted and authored by Aaron Worthing]

Leo Laurence Demands Dishonesty in Coverage of Illegal Immigration (Major Update)

Filed under: General — Aaron Worthing @ 1:20 pm

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

Major update: I first opened the SPJ page a day or two ago, and only now managed to get around to blogging about it. Because I didn’t hit “refresh” in that time, I missed an important clarification at the beginning of Leo Laurence’s piece:

CLARIFICATION: The following article is an opinion piece and does not reflect the views of SPJ, its membership or its Diversity Committee. The committee itself has taken no official initiative on the use of the phrase “illegal immigrant.”

So it turns out this is the statements of one moron who managed to write fairly unclearly, which was then misinterpreted by the Daily Caller, and I followed suit. So this is actually a piece about one moron, not the entire SPJ, which is a relief.

I apologize for the error.

————————

A few months back at my very neglected blog, I wrote a post entitled When Political Correctness Distorts the Story.

I was talking about Nannygate, involving Meg Whitmann and her illegal immigrant ex-nanny, and I wrote:

But I want to point out to you this hilarious blog entry from the LA times: “Union ad to highlight Whitman’s undocumented former employee.”  Of course we all know that the left has taken to calling an illegal immigrant as an “undocumented immigrant” because it sounds better.  Only there is a problem.  As Whitman has shown, her maid was very well documented.  She had a social security card, and a driver’s license.  The problem was these documents were fraudulent.

So by using the euphemism “undocumented” they are implying that Whitman hired her without proof that she was here legally and eligible to work.  That is simply not true.  I am sure this implication is an oversight, but it shows you just what happens when you start using bullsh– euphemisms, instead of just telling it like it is.  She is an illegal immigrant.  You might not like the laws that declare her to be one, but she broke the law by coming and working here.  And it is actually dishonest to call her anything else.

As Michelle Malkin has pointed out, these supposedly undocumented immigrants actually very often have tons of documents, only fraudulent.

And to be fair, the LA Times is far from alone in committing this sin.

Well, now the Society of Professional Journalists Leo Laurence has demanded that we do exactly that—use the term “undocumented immigrant” and thus sow confusion in our news.  First, the author demonstrates his command of the facts with this little passage:

Some believe the phrase illegal alien originated with fiery, anti-immigrant groups along the U.S.-Mexico border, such as the Minutemen. Gradually, the phrase — along with illegal immigrant — seeped into common usage. It is now even used by some network TV newscasters.

Right, no one ever said the term illegal alien before the minutemen came along…

Yes, I see where he only says that “some believe” this preposterous claim to be true, but still, that is no excuse for repeating it unchallenged. Would he equally report that “some believe that Obama was not born in America” or that “some believe that 9-11 was a controlled demolition”? Seems kind of unprofessional to me.

Anyway, besides the usual kumbaya crap about how hurtful it is to Hispanic Americans, supposedly, he adds a new argument to this discussion: it’s demanded by the constitution!

Oh, dear reader, you think I am kidding?  Nope:

One of the most basic of our constitutional rights is that everyone (including non-citizens) is innocent of anycrime until proven guilty in a court of law. That’s guaranteed under the Fifth, Sixth and 14th Amendments of the Constitution, as I learned during four-year post-doctoral studies in appellate law at the California Court of Appeal in San Diego…

Simply put, only a judge, not a journalist, can say that someone is an illegal.

Jesus that is so stupid, I don’t know where to begin.

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Obama Extends Vacation Another Day

Filed under: General — Patterico @ 9:08 am

I know y’all were probably worried that he wasn’t getting enough vacation in. Worry no more.

Me, I had to cut my vacation short 2 days for a trial. If only I had lesser responsibilities — like, say, being the president of the entire freaking nation — I guess then I could extend vacations instead of cutting them short.

If True, How is This Not Criminally Negligent Homicide? (Many Updates)

Filed under: General — Aaron Worthing @ 7:24 am

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

Update: Thanks to Dana in the comments, we get more information about the tragedy.

Update: Governor Paterson calls for a criminal investigation.  Right on.  He also said, and I quote, “This morning I was reading Patterico’s Pontifications, as I do every day, and this Aaron Worthing guy really made me think that this might be criminally negligent homicide.”  Okay, not really, but it would be cool if that was true.

More seriously, Paterson is about to be an ex-governor, but hopefully Cuomo will take up the cause.

There are more than a few lawyers here, so I am asking for their feedback.

I have kept an eye half-open on the story of the blizzard in NYC, feeling admittedly a little schadenfruede to see our national scold get criticized for the slow reaction to the blizzard.  I chuckled when Jim Treacher explained that “[i]f you really want Mayor Bloomberg to do something about the snow, just tell him that people are enjoying it.”  And that laughter faded when I read that a newborn baby died after waiting nine hours for emergency help.  Some of the heart-breaking details:

A blizzard baby delivered inside the lobby of a snowbound Brooklyn building died after an emergency call of a woman in labor brought no help for nine excruciating hours.

The baby’s mother, a 22-year-old college senior, was recovering Tuesday night at Interfaith Medical Center, where her newborn was pronounced dead at 6:34 p.m. on Monday. That was 10 hours after the first 911 call from the bloody vestibule on Brooklyn Ave. in Crown Heights.

“No one could get to her. Crown Heights was not plowed, and no medical aid came for hours,” said the student’s mother.

By the time a horde of firefighters and cops finally trooped to her aid through snow-covered blocks, the baby was unconscious and unresponsive, sources said.

And then this morning I read this:

Sanitation Department’s slow snow clean-up was a budget protest…

Selfish Sanitation Department bosses from the snow-slammed outer boroughs ordered their drivers to snarl the blizzard cleanup to protest budget cuts — a disastrous move that turned streets into a minefield for emergency-services vehicles, The Post has learned.

Miles of roads stretching from as north as Whitestone, Queens, to the south shore of Staten Island still remained treacherously unplowed last night because of the shameless job action, several sources and a city lawmaker said, which was over a raft of demotions, attrition and budget cuts.

As they say, read the whole thing.

But the headline of this post is my question.  How is this not criminally negligent homicide on the part of every person who slowed down the snow removal on purpose?  I mean there is a factual question of whether the child could have lived if s/he had received timely help.  And assuming that question is answered in the affirmative, I wouldn’t be surprised if the standard is gross negligence.

But doesn’t this count as gross negligence?  The classic case on the subject is Massachusetts v. Welansky, involving the fire at a night club.  Welansky was its owner and was literally not even on site when it happened.  And there was no finding of liability in the actual setting of the fire—it was considered “just” an accident.  But the deaths of many patrons were considered gross negligence and/or reckless homicide, because of a simple fact: the fire doors were locked.  From the opinion:

The door at the head of the Melody Lounge stairway was not opened until firemen broke it down from outside with an axe and found it locked by a key lock, so that the panic bar could not operate. Two dead bodies were found close to it, and a pile of bodies about seven feet from it. The door in the vestibule of the office did not become open, and was barred by the clothing rack. The revolving door soon jammed, but was burst out by the pressure of the crowd. The head waiter and another waiter tried to get open the panic doors from the main dining room to Shawmut street, and succeeded after some difficulty. The other two doors to Shawmut Street were locked, and were opened by force from outside by firemen and others. Some patrons escaped through them, but many dead bodies were piled up inside them. A considerable number of patrons escaped through the Broadway door, but many died just inside that door. Some employees, and a great number of patrons, died in the fire. Others were taken out of the building with fatal burns and injuries from smoke, and died within a few days.

Whether the fire was caused by any criminal act (including negligent acts), was irrelevant:

To convict the defendant of manslaughter, the Commonwealth was not required to prove that he caused the fire by some wanton or reckless conduct. Fire in a place of public resort is an ever present danger. It was enough to prove that death resulted from his wanton or reckless disregard of the safety of patrons in the event of fire from any cause.

In other words, no matter how careful you are, fires will happen.  So the negligent act isn’t the fire, but not being prepared for its eventuality.

Likewise, I see a parallel here.  It was inevitable, or at least highly likely, that a life-threatening situation would arise while the streets were insufficiently plowed and this would impede emergency workers.  Therefore slowing down snow removal literally threatened their life.  So in my mind, this seems to be obvious gross negligence.

The only possibility for relief from liability that I can envision is if there is any kind of sovereign immunity for state employees.  I will confess a lack of knowledge on that subject, especially in New York State.  But except for that, it seems very likely to be gross negligence and thus criminally negligent homicide.

At the very least, a grand jury should be convened and hopefully will be.

Update: Apparently the state can charge and convict the police of criminally negligent homicide in New York.  So state actors are not generally immune from liability.  But if the negligence is based on pure inaction, instead of negligent action, that might be a different matter.

[Posted and authored by Aaron Worthing]

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