Patterico's Pontifications

4/27/2011

How is This NOT a Violation of Rule 11? (Video Added)

Filed under: General — Aaron Worthing @ 6:56 pm

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

Update (II): Do be sure to check out Ted Frank’s other blog relating to the Center For Class Action Fairness, which does good work trying to fight abusive class actions. And if you are a member of the affected class, you can volunteer to help Ted fight these things.

Update: Exclusive to Patterico (in the sense that I ripped it off from Ign), we have video of the crime occurring:

Well, it was inevitable, wasn’t it?  I present to you the Playstation Network Security breach class action suit.  Joystiq, a blog I read from regularly, reports:

As expected, the first federal class action lawsuit addressing the recent PSN security breach has been drawn up and submitted to the Northern District Court of California. The complaint, which was filed by the Rothken Law Firm representing 36-year-old Alabama resident Kristopher Johns (as well as every other affected PSN user), accuses Sony of “failure to maintain adequate computer data security of consumer personal data and financial data,” and of failing to take “reasonable care to protect, encrypt, and secure the private and sensitive data of its users.”

Now I have already registered my disdain for class actions generally here, so I won’t bother to repeat myself.  The class representative will get some money.  The lawyers will get rich.  Our prices will go up and we get very little to show for it.

But that first paragraph raised my lawyer antenna.  Consider some of the allegations in the complaint (which I will embed below the fold):

  • “By reason of said special and fiduciary relationship, defendant had a duty of care to use reasonable means to keep the credit card account and other nonpublic information of the Plaintiff and the Class that is in their possession private and secure, and to inform Plaintiff and the Class members forthwith when any compromise of the security of such information occurred. Defendant has unlawfully breached these duties.
  • “defendants had a duty to use reasonable care to prevent the unauthorized access, use or dissemination of the credit card account and other nonpublic information of the Plaintiff and the Class herein. On information and belief, defendants unlawfully breached said duty.”
  • “Pursuant to California Civil Code § 1798.81.5, defendant had a duty to implement and maintain reasonable security procedures and practices to with respect to the credit card account and other nonpublic information of consumers, including, without limitation, the Plaintiff and the Class herein, in order to protect such information from unauthorized access, use or disclosure. On information and belief, defendants unlawfully breached said duty.”

Now, if you read through the complaint, they don’t allege one iota of special knowledge.  This is not an employee of Sony or anything like that.  It’s just one random guy in America, as is typical in these class actions.

So how does he know Sony has done any of those things?  Over and over again, in the complaint claims that Sony failed to take reasonable security measures, but how do they know they didn’t?  Maybe they did, and the hacker beat them anyway. I have been following the story close enough to know that Sony has told us very little about it. So, they don’t know what Sony did to protect the data, and we don’t know what the hacker did to defeat that protection.  Indeed, we don’t even know if anyone’s credit card data has been stolen.

And that is a serious problem because of a little thing called Rule 11.  It’s a rule of Federal procedure that says, in relevant part:
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The Damage Done by Obama’s Obstinance (Update: Isikoff and Corsi Respond and the Layering Argument)

Filed under: General — Aaron Worthing @ 11:49 am

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

Yeah, I’m going to start a new thread on the subject of the Obama birth certificate.  Here’s another copy of the picture:

First, I think this is the quote of the day.  We have been wondering why Obama has waited so long to release it, wondered what on Earth he was hiding…  And Instapundit might have the answer:

[R]eader Dave Converse emails: “Now that Obama has released his birth certificate, it’s clear why he waited: there was no immaculate conception!” That’s sure to disappoint some of his fans.

Second, to sum up the messy, show-your-work thread earlier today, it looks like he has released his long form birth certificate.  Now let me repeat the familiar disclaimer.  Neither I nor Patrick are birthers. But for me, it was very easy to believe that the current White House was incompetent enough to call something that was not the long form birth certificate a “long form birth certificate.”  But it sure as heck looks like another document that was identified by World Net Daily as a long form birth certificate.  Now, there were some descriptions of the document by a Ms. Fukino that didn’t quite match up what she said, but increasingly I have come to feel that maybe Patrick and I were just being two anal retentive lawyers expecting her to be more precise than many people are accustomed to being.  That being said, I do urge Michael Isikoff (or someone else) to follow up with Ms. Fukino and verify that this is what she saw, just in following the Reagan mantra of “trust but verify.”  But on the other hand, I am not holding my breath waiting for verification to happen and for now I am satisfied that it is what it purports to be.

[Update: Although I am not given permission to quote him, Carl emailed Isikoff and he seemed to indicate that he would not be following up on this story.]

On the other hand, The Smoking Gun helpfully lists some different theories that Birthers might cling bitterly to.  OMG Obama might be a twin?! (Joking of course.)

And Patrick is right to note that it is somewhat of an embarrassment how easy it was to get the certificate.  That makes everyone who claims it was impossible to release it look like idiots.  And there has been other fallout as well.  For instance, Ed Morrissey writes:

You know who the biggest loser in this might be?  CNN.  They’re in the middle of their in-depth investigation of the birther movement, and now their unaired episodes are moot.

My initial sarcastic response was that more likely Jerome Corsi would be the big loser, or perhaps all the people pre-ordered bought his book (which, funny, is ten dollars off today).

(Please use the Amazon search box on the side to pick up this book, if you are inclined to do so.  Patrick gets a nice payback if you do, without increasing the price of the book.)

It will be particularly interesting to see how Corsi responds, given that the WND post above is also by Corsi, meaning I have used his images to demonstrate that this form is most likely the long form.  [Update: Corsi responds, here.]

I am reminded years ago of reading a book on the life of Thomas Jefferson (I forgot which one) where at the end there was an essay studying where Jefferson and Sally Hemmings were at the time when each of her children were likely conceived in order to prove beyond a doubt that it was physically impossible for Jefferson to be the father of any of her children…  followed by an addendum admitting that subsequent genetic testing proved him completely wrong.  Of course no blogger who has had more than six updates on one post can mock a person too much for getting caught flat-footed by changing events, but you tend to think that when a person writes a book, as opposed to spilling a bunch of digital ink, that things are supposed to be more final, more settled and thus less susceptible to sudden obsolescence.

So I was going to write a lighthearted post about how screwed Corsi is.  And then a commenter mentioned this post,* about a person who really lost the most, and it stopped being at all funny.  Shit got real, if you pardon my French.  So, let me introduce you to a man.  This guy:

This is Lt. Col. Terry Lakin.  This is what Jack Minor writes about him:

Terrence Lakin, a graduate of University High School, is a decorated Army flight surgeon who has served in Afghanistan and Bosnia. For over a year Lakin, using the chain of command and following procedures asked superiors for assistance resolving concerns he had regarding whether Obama was constitutionally eligible to be Commander-In-Chief.

After being rebuffed and having his superiors refuse to address his concerns Lakin announced he felt he had no other choice but to disobey orders until the issue was resolved. During his subsequent court martial the jurors stated during initial questioning it was important for a soldier to be able to ask questions and have their concerns addressed.

Lakin was subsequently convicted of missing a movement and disobeying orders. During sentencing Lakin stated he was wrong for disobeying orders and going forward he would obey all orders. Despite the claims of some, Lakin has never stated he was wrong for having concerns regarding the eligibility issue or for having sought resolution through the chain of command.

Now you can say this guy was wrong to disobey orders (hard to argue with that, given that now he agrees).  And you can say that he expected more proof than a reasonable person should.  And you might even think that no evidence would be good enough for a Birther.  And given what we have seen with other conspiracy theorists, that might true…

But that doesn’t change the fact that if the President had released that certificate years ago, Lakin might not have gone to prison.  For all you know, Mr. President, he might have been convinced.  And yet you chose to withhold that information.

And it gets worse for Lakin:

While Lakin will be released next month his request for clemency has been denied. The denial means the findings of the court martial were confirmed. This includes discharge from the Army and loss of pay and pension. He now has two stages of appeals before the discharge becomes formal. The process could take a year or more.

So, seriously, why did you withhold this information, Mr. President?

Patrick speculated that it was arrogance.  Althouse supposed it was politics:

I’d say, the reason Obama did not release the long-form birth certificate before is that he thought it was to his advantage to allow other people to look bad or crazy in one way or another by going on in the birtherist mode. But there was a tipping point, as Trump got traction and polls showed huge numbers of American’s entertaining doubts. So, it was all political strategy. You could criticize Obama for wasting our time by not just releasing the damned thing earlier. But he could have thought it was demeaning to have to do this, so I’m inclined to give him a pass.

And if the fallout was purely political, and few reporters and writers getting egg on their faces, I might give him a pass, too.  But instead it might very well have cost Lt, Col. Lakin his freedom.

And no, I am not giving him a pass on that.

So, bluntly, Mr. President, you should grant him a pardon, cleaning out his record as honorably discharged and giving him his pension, perhaps on the condition that he publicly admits you are eligible to be President.  It’s the least you can do.

Update: A lot of people are asking about the layers supposedly present in the pdf.  I didn’t mention it because honestly I didn’t even understand it.  And I still don’t.  I don’t play around with photoshop and the like.  But here is the National Review’s take on the issue.

However, I will take them to task on the claim that it is unlikely that anyone would make such a rookie mistake when forging a document.  Let’s not forget that the person who forged the Rathergate documents apparently didn’t even bother to use a typewriter, thinking we wouldn’t know the difference if it was a computer.  Also I remember a few years ago when the military released a classified document in word format, using the highlight feature to redact information.  The only problem is that any person could just highlight the blacked out areas, press Control-C and paste the forbidden words in another document.  So, yes, people are exactly that stupid.  That is indeed why I don’t believe in most conspiracy theories–because they require a level of omnicompetence unlikely to occur in reality, especially if the government is involved.

But their point about adobe doing it on its own seems reasonable enough.

——————-

* Yes, I know that post goes a little over the top with werewolf silliness, but its central point–that it was irresponsible of Obama not to release it sooner and Lakin potentially paid the price for that decision–is valid.

[Posted and authored by Aaron Worthing.]

Birthmageddon: the Long Form Birth Certificate Released? (Update: Picture Added!); UPDATE BY PATTERICO: Is This Really the “Long Form”?? (Further Update: Yeah, Probably)

Filed under: General — Aaron Worthing @ 6:27 am

UPDATE BY PATTERICO: So the “long form” — which supposedly cannot possibly be obtained by the President, because Hawaii supposedly never ever ever ever releases it (at least according to those who have confidently told me this) — has been released. [UPDATE: But see my UPDATE x2. I don’t think it actually has been. At least, I’m not sure.]

And it is certified, which Hawaii supposedly cannot possibly ever ever ever do (according to the same people).

Looks like those of us who said the President had the ability to do this were right.

Now the question becomes: why didn’t the President do this long ago? In our most recent thread, we debated this. After all, he was being sued and spending campaign money to defend those lawsuits. Why not get the original evidence? Hawaii law allowed it. Was he hiding something? Or just arrogant?

I see nothing startling on the certificate, so I am going with the “arrogance” explanation.

Meanwhile, all those skeptics who said this absolutely could not possibly ever ever happen are invited to eat crow, openly, in the comments below.

UPDATE x2 BY PATTERICO: And you know what? Maybe they were right. Because I’m not sure this is the long form. This looks to be simply the original Certificate of Live Birth.

We were told the “long form” was called a “Record of Live Birth.” A document that was half handwritten:

The first is that the original so-called “long form” birth certificate — described by Hawaiian officials as a “record of live birth” — absolutely exists, located in a bound volume in a file cabinet on the first floor of the state Department of Health. Fukimo said she has personally inspected it — twice. . . . .

Before she would do so, Fukino said, she wanted to inspect the files — and did so, taking with her the state official in charge of vital records. She found the original birth record, properly numbered, half typed and half handwritten, and signed by the doctor who delivered Obama, located in the files.

This document has signatures, but it is not “half handwritten.” And it is not called a “record of live birth.”

So until Ms. Fukino tells us that the document just released is what she saw, which she has been calling the “record of live birth” that is half handwritten, I don’t think this is it.

UPDATE x3 BY PATTERICO: Just to be extra clear: I am not a Birther nor a conspiracy theorist. I have long said that the evidence is overwhelming that Obama was born in Hawaii. If Ms. Fukino tells us that this is the document she saw, and says that the “half handwritten” description refers to the signatures, I will be satisfied. I would like someone to ask her where the “record of live birth” terminology came from — but I will be satisfied.

Someone should ask her.

UPDATE x4 BY PATTERICO: Below, Aaron has an image of a long form obtained by another Hawaiian citizen. It is called a “Certificate of Live Birth,” just like this. That tends to show this is the long form. Let’s get CNN to ask Fukino and put this to bed.

[You know, because the media is so good at asking basic follow up questions.  –Aaron]

Aaron’s original post follows below the fold. He is updating as the story develops.

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Morality, Race & Pigford

Filed under: General — Stranahan @ 4:28 am

[Guest post by Lee Stranahan]

I spend a good deal of time discussing the specifics of the Pigford case but I’d like to step back for a moment and discuss the moral and spiritual aspects of the case.

When I first met Andrew Breitbart, one of the things that struck me in our initial conversations was that he was deeply, viscerally antiracist. This is, of course, exactly the opposite of the story that liberals are constantly pushing where Breitbart is called a race baiter, apologist for racists and a racist himself. One reason that he gets painted this way is that he’s taken the risk that few have in today’s overheated knee-jerk political climate — he actually talks about the subject of race, and specifically the strange situation that African-Americans find themselves in the modern American political landscape,

I spent three months recently on the road in the South and doing interviews about the Pigford case. Almost all of the interviews were with black Americans who have an involvement with the case. I spoke to attorneys, farmers, activists and politicians with a variety of viewpoints. During this trip, I was struck time and again with just how poisonous our political climate has turned our views of race.

And if there’s one aspect of Pigford I consider the most important, it’s how this one case has played a significant role in hurting the state of race relations. When things stagnate, dangers soon follow. Just as stagnant water brings insects and disease, our stagnant politics of race has brought genuine hardships to our entire nation.

I hope that by exposing the mechanics of how the politics of race is played on Pigford, it will help people move closer to the moral ideal of judging men not by the color of their skin but by the content of their character. I realized before jumping into the Pigford investigation that it was a Gordian knot and I prayed that I would be able to rise to the challenge of explaining it in a way that healed racial division, not exacerbated it.

What I did not know when I started on the road was the extent to which "liberal" groups like Media Matters for America would fight to defend Pigford even when it was clear that the injustices in Pigford were often most unfair to the black community. I naïvely assumed that people on the left would see the unfairness being heaped upon black folks in this case and at least give the facts a fair hearing. Instead, I’ve seen people on left time and again bend over backwards to ignore the truth in Pigford, knowing full well that black farmers are being harmed.

Whenever I debate Pigford with people on the left, I always say “take my word for it”. I’ve offered time and again — talk to the farmers. I’ve offered to give the farmer’s phone numbers to people who attacked the Pigford investigation, because the farmer’s stories are passionate and detailed.

Not once – not one single time I’m aware of — has any critic of the Pigford investigation taken me up on this and spoken to the farmers.

Here’s what eats at me; I can walk away from the Pigford story. At the end of the day, it’s a project for me. But for these farmers, it’s their life. When Pigford defenders like Eric Boehlert and Media Matters, James Rucker and Color of Change, Anderson Cooper, and Ta-Nehisi Coates attack (or worse, ignore) the video interviews with these farmers, it’s really not me or Andrew Breitbart who they are hurting or demeaning – it’s those men who have been trying to bring the truth about Pigford to light for over a decade.

The Pigford story has had a much wider effect because it bolsters the feelings of both black people and white people that our political system is rigged against them. White folks can look askance a system where thousands of black people committed perjury and collected $50,000 checks. Black folks can shake their heads that nothing was done to correct the injustice of the USDA and that white folks like attorney Al Pires made millions. Everybody, black and white, comes away feeling that the dice have been loaded by the other side.

And this is the real moral disaster of Pigford. Those racial tensions that have been stirred up by petty hucksters like "Dr." John Boyd and Thomas Burrell are just a puppet show — a distraction so that politicians from Sanford Bishop to Chuck Grassley to Tom Vilasck to Barack Obama can grease the wheels of the political machine.

At root, Pigford is a story about fraud but it’s a fraud that goes far beyond financial concerns. It’s about the fraud that keeps us separate. It’s about the fraud that is intentionally perpetuated by profiteers and politicians to keep us from recognizing that we must remain vigilant, honest and brave to move beyond the stagnant waters of the entitlement mentality that has only served to keep our brothers and sisters down.

– Lee Stranahan


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