Patterico's Pontifications

1/6/2011

Elizabeth Edwards Cut John Out of Her Will; Enquirer Says He Has Proposed To Reille

Filed under: General — Aaron Worthing @ 6:19 pm

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

I initially resisted sharing the story of Elizabeth Edwards shutting John out of her will mostly from a desire to respect some family privacy for Elizabeth.  And personal experience counseled me that it was possible to read too much into that.  A couple years ago one of my aunts passed on and she left nothing to her husband and everything to her son.  It was not a reflection on her husband, except in the sense that she believed her husband would be just fine financially without her money.  Yes, in the Edwards’ case you have to suspect the famous scandals were involved in the decision to cut John out, but it felt like invading the personal space of a dead woman.

But if you needed any evidence of how broken their relationship was toward the end, it’s hard to come up with better evidence than this (which is what gave both stories “critical mass” in my mind):

John Edwards has proposed to his mistress Rielle Hunter, and is buying a luxury $3.5 million beachfront home where they can live happily ever after with their love child, The ENQUIRER has learned exclusively.

The disgraced presidential candidate popped the question at the same time he told Rielle that he’d be issuing a press statement finally confirming he fathered her daughter Frances Quinn, close sources told The ENQUIRER.

Edwards, 56, released that statement on Jan. 21, and just six days later a spokesperson for his cancer-stricken wife Elizabeth confirmed the couple had legally separated after 32 years of marriage. Sources say they expect to be officially divorced within a year, paving the way for the ex-senator to make Rielle, 45, his wife.

If memory serves, North Carolina law requires a years’ separation before a divorce can be finalized.

“John dropped the proposal bomb on Rielle shortly before he issued his statement” that he was indeed Frances’ father, a close source divulged.

What do you want to bet that Edwards considers himself a “stand up guy” for marrying the mother of his child?  Scummy people always have a way of convincing themselves they are the good guys.

[Posted and authored by Aaron Worthing.]

Breaking: Incendiary Devices Go Off at Maryland State Buildings (Updated)

Filed under: General — Aaron Worthing @ 11:56 am

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

Update: The WAPO’s coverage suggests that it was merely an “incendiary device” and not actually a bomb, and that it did not actually explode.  I guess we just have to sit back and see what develops.

Update (II): WTOP reports that one of the packages was addressed to the Governor.  And they back up the claims that there were no explosions.  But some of it suggests that they might have been badly made bombs.  Still, I have changed the title of the post to reflect that they didn’t explode.

Not a lot is known right now.  In fact, bluntly if anyone knows more, please share.  Here’s some local coverage for now:

The Anne Arundel County Fire Department is responding to a report of an explosion in Hanover at the Department of Transportation headquarters.

Officials say it happened in the 7200-block of Corporate Center Drive around 1 p.m. Thursday, possibly on the fourth floor where the administration offices are.

Three people are injured.

It’s not clear what caused the explosion.

Meanwhile, a Maryland State House mailroom employee was injured Thursday afternoon while handling a package and the incident is being investigated by bomb squad officials, according to Annapolis city officials.

The Annapolis Fire Department’s bomb squad is investigating the incident and the state’s bomb squad and FBI officials were at the Jeffrey Building on Francis Street in Annapolis, where the incident took place, according to Phillip McGowan, a spokesman for Annapolis Mayor Joshua J. Cohen.

The mailroom employee had minor burns to his hands and refused treatment. The Jeffrey Building was evacuated.

Well, if we are having two in one day, that suggests that this is some kind of concerted, deliberate attack.

This story adds some additional information:

Officials are investigating possible explosions at the Maryland Department of Transportation’s headquarters in Hanover and a state government building in Annapolis.

Firefighters and hazmat crews were sent to the MDOT building in the 7200 block of Corporate Center in Hanover shortly before 1 p.m. Thursday.

A source has told 11 News that two packages exploded, one at the MDOT building and another at the Jeffrey Building on Francis Street in Annapolis.

The source said when the packages were opened in the mail rooms of the buildings, a small explosion happened.

State agencies have been advised to not deliver or open any mail.

There are no confirmed reports of injuries.

Police are still investigating.

I will share an experience I had, however.  One of my company’s offices is in Maryland and one day one of our employees got a bomb threat.  It turned out to be nothing, but I was stunned by the lackadaisical attitude of the police.  One person actually said, “making a bomb threat is not illegal.”  Yeah, technically not.  But it is made illegal indirectly as follows.  One statute makes it illegal to plant a bomb.  Another makes it illegal to lie about planting a bomb or its location.  So if the threat is honest, then you bust the guy for planting a bomb; if the threat is hot air, you bust him for giving false information about a bomb.  Its amazing that nine years after September 11 that people would be so unconcerned about something as serious as a bomb threat.

That was a different jurisdiction than these explosions seem to have occurred in, but fwiw…

[Posted and authored by Aaron Worthing.]

Reading the Constitution: A Reminder That the Words Matter (Bumped and Updated with Video)

Filed under: General — Patterico @ 10:15 am

Bumped by Aaron Worthing, with video added.

There has been a lot of debate over the Republicans’ idea to open the new legislative session by reading the Constitution. Like Rush Limbaugh, I think it’s a wonderful idea.

The importance of reading the Constitution lies in reminding the populace that the words of the Constitution matter. The very foundation of our Republic is the notion that the People of the various states chose to surrender certain limited powers to a federal government, while reserving all other powers not explicitly granted in our founding document. For our government to be legitimate, it must exercise only those powers actually granted by the text of the document as it was originally understood by the populace that ratified it. We are not governed by some free-floating “intent” that can be expanded by activist judges who graft various extras onto it, under the guise of interpreting a “living Constitution.” As Scalia has explained with tongue in cheek, the Constitution he interprets is dead:

These twin concepts, of original understanding and textualism, are not mere legal theories. They are the underpinning of the legitimacy of our government. The People of the various states did not surrender powers whose contours were to be decided by judges who substituted their own “evolving standards of decency” for the text. Nor did they surrender powers to be determined by the unexpressed will of any particular founder or group of founders. They surrendered powers — limited powers — according to a text, the meaning of which is fixed in the words of the document, and determined by the original understanding of those words. The only legitimate way that our Congress can exercise power is by adhering to that text.

It is an absolutely essential idea, therefore, for a Republican Congress that actually intends to exercise power in a legitimate fashion, to begin its session by reading the very text that delineates and circumscribes its legitimate authority.

The proof of the pudding is, of course, in what this Congress does — not in mere symbols. But symbols matter too — and this is a hell of a symbolic statement with which to open.

UPDATE: Ilya Somin says it well in an old post:

The idea that the law is ultimately embodied in the text enacted by the legislature rather than in the subjective “purposes” of the legislators strikes many people as just common sense.

Indeed. And since we are a nation founded on the rule of law, we are a nation governed by texts, not subjective purposes or intent. This, again, is why reading the text is so important — and why reading the text of our most important document is a crucial reminder of what it says — and what (despite liberals’ fondest hopes) it doesn’t say.

UPDATE BY AARON WORTHING: Well, they have been reading it throughout the day and Congress has demonstrated its usual efficiency, with numerous objections over the issue. Namely there was much posturing over whether they would read the whole constitution or not. As the Daily Caller reported, the plan was to read only the parts of the constitution currently in effect. So because the 3/5 clause was effectively mooted by the Thirteen Amendment, for instance, the 3/5 clause was going to be skipped as was less charged sections like the portion having legislatures choose the senators (superseded by the Seventeenth Amendment) or the Eighteenth Amendment (prohibition, subsequently repealed by the Twenty First Amendment). Which makes the NYT’s objection even sillier than it already was. Anyway, you can watch lowlights from this circus, here. [Sorry for the embedding difficulties. Use the link to watch.]

Further update by Aaron Worthing: Btw, will anyone start laughing at Jesse Jackson Jr. for saying they had “dedacted” the 3/5 clause, you know like they did with Sarah Palin for coming up with the term “refudiate?” Just curious.

And of course you can watch the moment when a woman heckled the reading of the natural born citizen clause here:

Mind you, I disagree with the decision not to read the whole thing, but I consider it defensible. What they have sworn to uphold is not the defunct portions but the currently operative sections. But you also suspect that politics is driving it, too. I mean who would want to read the 3/5 clause? Who would want that image to exist, to be potentially remixed in another Alan Grayson “Taliban Dan” style ad? I suppose Allen West wouldn’t mind, but even designating a black dude to read that kind of stuff has creepy undertones—sort of like saying only a black person can say the n-word.

But at the same time, I don’t understand why this was a matter left up to protracted debate. I consider it to be no different than having a chaplin give a prayer to start congress. Do we have a million parliamentary questions about that?

Maybe I wouldn’t like the answer to my question.

Of course the lamer complaint is that this is a waste of money. Ed Morrissey effortlessly pulls apart that bit of idiocy for me, so I won’t bother. But compared to a tribute to the contributions of the girl scouts, this seems to be a much more valuable for pretty much the reasons that Patterico gave.

Finally, I have to say that all this hand-wringing over reading the constitution is just lousy politics. I am really stunned that so many liberals get so worked up over this. The left may think they are getting in lots of cute digs at the right, but to the American people, this all sounds more like this:

Go forward to around the 40 second mark for the good stuff. I am pretty sure this is the moment that Phil Hare lost his reelection bid. Is this really an example to follow?

No, the left should say, “hey, we love the constitution, too. Can we help read it?”

[THIS UPDATE WAS AUTHORED AND POSTED BY AARON WORTHING]

Pac-Map App: A Lawsuit Waiting to Happen

Filed under: General — Aaron Worthing @ 10:12 am

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

For like two seconds I thought this was kind of cool.  Then I started to think about it.

You see some company has created a Google Droid app called Pac-Map, where it uses GPS tech to apparently play real life Pac-Man.  That is right, your position is where the “Pac-Man” is, your city is the maze, and imaginary ghosts are projected on it, and its your job to try to avoid them and get your Pac-man to eat pellets.  You can see video of how this is supposed to operate, here:

And at first blush, it all sounds like a fun retro-ish augmented reality concept.  And then I realized how idiotic this was, from a liability viewpoint.

So let’s say you are getting into it and you are so anxious to get away from Winky that you make a hasty turn and…  run down a little girl on her bicycle?  Okay, yes, that would officially make you a moron, but in the eyes of the law, it also is extremely likely to get the game company in trouble.  The whole thing recalls the suits against Dominoes Pizza related to its 30 Minutes or Its Free guarantee.  And while parts of that story are apparently an urban legend even Snopes says that concerns for liability did drive the decision to end the policy.  And of course in this country, the moment you get sued you almost always come out a loser—it’s just a matter of how much you will lose. Now there are relevant differences between Domino’s and this game company, not the least being that the Domino’s cases involved drivers who were their employees. Still, I am fairly certain that this will still give rise to a lot of suits, if not a lot of liability.

If I was advising this company, I would tell them to immediately stop selling this game and find a new way to make money.

Anyway, hat tip to Joystiq.

[Posted and authored by Aaron Worthing.]

Palate Cleanser: The Daily Show Mercilessly Mocks San Fran’s Happy Meal Ban

Filed under: General — Aaron Worthing @ 8:12 am

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

The especially fun part is when they stump the law’s primary backer with an example involving Netflix:

The Daily Show With Jon Stewart Mon – Thurs 11p / 10c
San Francisco’s Happy Meal Ban
www.thedailyshow.com
Daily Show Full Episodes Political Humor & Satire Blog</a> The Daily Show on Facebook

You see, its hypocritical to say that you can’t force Netflix to send everyone a copy of Super Size Me, on one hand, and… oh, wait, no, Daily Show… Don’t do it! You’ll give him ideas!

I walked away from The Daily Show a few years back when they devolved into “here’s the Democratic talking points, however dishonest, with jokes!” They always leaned left, but it used to be that they wouldn’t put up with actual B.S. from liberals. The only thing that seemed to break it up for a while was the presidential primary in 2008, because then there was no clear “liberal” answer to many questions. Then when the nominee was chosen, they went back to just aping the Democratic talking points, mainly. But this clip suggests maybe I need to watch again and see if they improved.

[Posted and authored by Aaron Worthing.]

Gibbs: Old Obama Was Full of Shit

Filed under: General — Aaron Worthing @ 6:05 am

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

The other day I noted Austan Goolsbee said that it was irresponsible to even toy with the idea of raising the debt ceiling.  And then a bit later, in a post about how the debt passed $14 Trillion, I noted that Obama was singing a very different tune back in 2006.  Here’s a highlight from his own words in opposing a measure to increase the debt ceiling:

The fact that we are here today to debate raising America’s debt limit is a sign of leadership failure. It is a sign that the U.S. Government can’t pay its own bills. It is a sign that we now depend on ongoing financial assistance from foreign countries to finance our Government’s reckless fiscal policies.

Which raises the question, is he lying now, or was he lying then?

Well, Robert Gibbs has clarified the issue.  Old Obama was full of shit:

Asked about that quote – and vote — today, White House press secretary Robert Gibbs said that it was important that “based on the outcome of that vote…the full faith and credit was not in doubt.”

Then-Sen. Obama used the vote “to make a point about needing to get serious about fiscal discipline….His vote was not necessarily needed on that.”

In other words, according to official spokesmodel Robert Gibbs, the only reason why Obama voted against raising the debt limit was because he knew it would happen anyway.  He wasn’t really opposed to it.  He just wanted to pretend he was, because he wanted to fool people into thinking he is some kind of fiscal conservative.

Now I will say for the record that I don’t generally credit what the official White House spokesmodel says anyway.  But, um, well, what do you expect Obama himself to say?  “No, actually I am full of shit now”?  Besides we have about two years worth of evidence establishing that he fundamentally doesn’t care about the debt.

I will end by saying something in response to Patterico’s post the other day talking about evidence that the Republicans might not even cut $100 Billion from the budget.  One should always take these kinds of reports with caution, but there is the real possibility of it being a trial balloon.  So let me suggest to everyone who wants fiscal discipline, to call your congresscritter, or email or whatever.  Be polite, but express that you will be very angry if there are not drastic cuts in the budget, and that you want us to start running a surplus.  And tell them that you are just about ready to go with a third party, if that is how you feel.  It may be too early to conclude they will betray us, but it is not too early to make it clear to them that you will not react well to that kind of betrayal.

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Addendum:  Here’s Gibbs’ exchange in relevant part:

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