Patterico's Pontifications

7/16/2014

[Yawn] Another Day, Another Lawless Bureaucrat

Filed under: General — JVW @ 9:42 pm

[guest post by JVW]

Stop me if you have heard this one before: a member of the Obama Administration likely violated the law by using her position to raise funds for her boss’s reelection campaign. What do our government watchdogs think of this? From the story:

The Office of Special Counsel closed its investigation when Solis stepped down from the Cabinet in January 2013. But the agency had referred the matter to the Department of Justice for possible criminal investigation.

The FBI interviewed Solis and at least one other person in connection with the probe, and a grand jury took testimony last June, the Times has reported. The current status of the FBI investigation is unclear.

Do you feel better? Even though the OSC had to end the matter upon Secretary Solis’s resignation, they have passed along the inquiry to that beacon of justice and good government Eric Holder, who will certainly conduct this investigation will his usual thoroughness and due diligence.

Meanwhile, Hilda Solis has managed to get herself elected as Los Angeles County Supervisor, a position which pays $181,292 per year along with an office spending account of $3 million per year for staff, cars, and pet projects.

Ain’t this a great country?

– JVW

The Kindness Of Strangers Shames The VA

Filed under: General — Dana @ 8:24 pm

[guest post by Dana]

Because the VA continues to be a source of frustration, it’s wonderful to read about the kind generosity of strangers shown one veteran.

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Vietnam veteran Michael Sulsona, who stepped on a land-mine in Vietnam and lost both of his legs above the knees, has been waiting for the VA to provide him a new wheelchair for the last two years. Unfortunately, the VA has denied his request.

Last week, while shopping at his local Lowe’s, his wheelchair fell apart. A few employees witnessed this, and instead of just making a call for him, or telling their supervisor, they set out to fix his wheelchair. Not only fix it, but make it as good as new.

In appreciation, Sulsona wrote a thank-you letter to the local newspaper:

“In 1971, I stepped on a land mine in Vietnam and lost both legs above the knee.

For the past two years, I have been waiting to receive a new wheelchair from the Veterans Administration. In addition, I have been told that I am not entitled to a spare wheelchair.

On the evening of July 7, my wheelchair fell apart again, while shopping at Lowe’s Home Improvement Center in on Forest Avenue in Mariners Harbor.

Three employees, David, Marcus and Souleyman jumped to my assistance immediately. They placed me in another chair while they went to work. They took the wheelchair apart and replaced the broken parts and told me, “We’re going to make this chair like new.”

I left 45 minutes after closing hours in my wheelchair that was like new.

I kept thanking them and all they could say was, “It was our honor.”

The actions of these three employees at Lowe’s showed me there are some who still believe in stepping to the plate.

They didn’t ask any questions, didn’t feel the need to fill out any forms or make phone calls. Someone needed help and they felt privileged to be given the opportunity.”

After hearing of the incident, VA Spokesperson, VA New York/New Jersey Healthcare Network stated that Sulsona would receive a new custom wheelchair.

“We were very sorry to hear about the reported circumstances surrounding Mr. Sulsona’s request for a new wheelchair. We quickly investigated and can report the Veteran’s new custom wheelchair was delivered to him today and it along with his back up will be serviced by the VA as needed.

Too many Veterans wait too long to receive their care and benefits, and this has never been acceptable. Providing Veterans like Mr. Sulsona the quality care and benefits they have earned through their service is our most important mission at the Department of Veterans Affairs.”

Clearly, if Mr. Sulsona was told no for two years, then waiting too long to receive care is not only perfectly acceptable, but standard practice.

–Dana

Weird Al’s “Word Crimes”

Filed under: General — Patterico @ 7:55 pm

Glorious fun for word nerds.

My Weird Al story.

Federal Judge Declares California’s Death Penalty Unconstitutional

Filed under: General — Patterico @ 5:37 pm

The reason? It takes too long and too few people are executed. Therefore, by citing some concurrences from lefty hack Supreme Court justice William Brennan, we can conclude that it violates the 8th Amendment’s ban on cruel and unusual punishment.

A federal judge in Southern California ruled Wednesday that California’s death penalty was unconstitutional.

The “dysfunctional administration of California’s death penalty system,” wrote Judge Cormac J. Carney of United States District Court, has led to “inordinate and unpredictable” delays in the execution of inmates.

The delays, the judge wrote, means that sentences are carried out against only “a trivial few of those sentenced to death.” In essence, he wrote, sentences by juries have been transformed to “life in prison, with the remote possibility of death.”

The ridiculous order can be read here (.pdf). You’ll hear plenty from lefties about how this judge, Cormac Carney, was appointed by George W. Bush — but he is the type of guy who enjoys putting his thumb in prosecutors’ eyes and basking in the resultant praise from defense attorneys. No judicial conservative would have written this opinion. It takes a glory hog, an amateur Anthony Kennedy hoping to Make Big Waves with his Bold and Courageous Decision.

The death penalty has no deterrent effect, the Learned Judge says, because it is so randomly applied. It has no real retributive effect, he says, because it is so rarely applied. The families of victims killed by monsters on Death Row would probably beg to differ — but they don’t have the lifetime appointment to the federal bench, which confers the force of law upon silly pronouncements like those made by Carney today.

The judge puts the blame for the delay squarely on the State of California. In that regard, one interesting aspect of the judge’s ruling is this footnote explaining why we have gone eight years without an execution:

These 17 inmates are awaiting execution because since 2006, federal and state courts have enjoined executions by California. In 2006, the federal district court for the Northern District of California enjoined the State from executing Death Row inmate Michael Morales on grounds that, as administered, the State’s lethal injection protocol “create[d] an undue and unnecessary risk that an inmate will suffer pain so extreme” that it violated the Eighth Amendment’s prohibition against cruel and unusual punishment. See Morales v. Tilton, 465 F. Supp. 2d 972, 974, 976–77 (N.D. Cal. 2006). The State subsequently amended the protocol, but because those amendments were not promulgated in compliance with the State’s Administrative Procedures Act (APA), the Marin County Superior Court enjoined executions under them. See Morales v. Cal. Dep’t of Corr. & Rehab., 168 Cal. App. 4th 729, 732 (2008). In response to the ruling, the State undertook to promulgate a lethal injection protocol through the APA’s rulemaking process. After the regulations went into effect in August 2010, Death Row inmate Mitchell Sims sued to enjoin executions under the amended protocol, again for failure to comply with the APA. The state court agreed, invalidating the regulations for substantial failure to comply with the requirements of the APA, and permanently enjoining executions in California until the State is able to adopt an execution protocol that complies with its own procedural law. See Sims v. Dep’t of Corr. & Rehab., 216 Cal. App. 4th 1059 (2013). California is therefore without any execution protocol by which to execute the 17 Death Row inmates who have been finally denied relief by both the state and federal courts, or to execute any other inmates who may similarly be denied relief in the near future.

This is actually inaccurate; the Morales court did not enjoin the state from executing Morales in the decision reported at 465 F.Supp.2d 972. As I have explained before, Judge Fogel merely threatened to halt executions, but never did. Meanwhile, I guess we are to blame California rather than, say, the Marin County judge who halted executions under the new protocol for reasons such as the failure to adequately summarize two dozen out of almost 30,000 public comments.

The death penalty in California has become a game — a game of delay played by the abolitionist forces. They run around throwing up ridiculous roadblocks and then try to blame the pro-death penalty forces for those very roadblocks.

I assume Judge Cormac Carney understands this. But he is, I believe, more interested in becoming a True Judicial Hero than he is in applying basic common sense. In that regard, he has plenty of company here in California.

I’m not saying California couldn’t do better. The state could provide more funding for lawyers and streamline the process.

But it’s ridiculous to say that Death Row murderers — who want nothing more than to delay their day of reckoning — are being treated unconstitutionally cruelly because . . . they are getting the very delay they so badly seek.

Mass Protests Scheduled

Filed under: General — Dana @ 3:09 pm

[guest post by Dana]

On Friday and Saturday this week, there will be nationwide protests taking place in various cities across the country, hoping to bring enough pressure to stop the surge of illegal immigrants. Protesters plan to speak to the larger problem of our unsecured borders and influx of immigrants, as well as publicly saying “no” to the housing and sheltering the illegal detainees in their cities. Along with Murrieta, California, other cities including Westminster, Maryland; Oracle, Arizona; Vassar, Michigan; Greece, New York have also blocked the importation of illegal aliens into their communities.

William Gheen, President of the Americans for Legal Immigration PAC and one of 11 sponsors of the protest explains:

[T]he mother of all protests promises to be Friday and Saturday. It’s dubbed the National Day of Protesting Against Immigration Reform, Amnesty & Border Surge, and it’s gaining support by the hour, said William Gheen, president of the Americans for Legal Immigration PAC and one of 11 sponsors. The main organizers are ALIPAC, Overpasses For America and MakeThemListen.com, Gheen said.

“Right now it’s looking like we’ll have a little more than 300 protest rallies large and small across the country. Our goal is to unify Americans of all races, political parties and walks of life against the Obama-inspired illegal immigrant invasion,” Gheen said. “At last count we had 257 communities signed up, but that was two hours ago. We’re expecting more than 300 and updating the event list every two hours.”

Further, organizers of the mass protests want to send a clear message to the Republicans in Congress:

Gheen said he’s hoping to send a message to “amnesty” politicians in both parties. He wants to counteract the recent surge of illegals at the southern border with a “surge” of his own.

“We’re hoping to get an American surge that will manifest in protests and the defeat of more Eric Cantor-type Republicans that still have GOP primaries and the Democrats in November that support Obama and his amnesty plans.

“He said Sen. Lamar Alexander, R-Tenn., is tops on the list of Republicans he’d like to see booted from Washington. Alexander faces a challenge in the Aug. 7 primary from small businessman and state legislator Joe Carr, who has the backing of the tea party. He said 40 Republicans in the House also “need to go” because they are pro-amnesty politicians “playing the role” of conservatives.

“That’s why we’re involved in this historic protest, to help turn the tide in this,” he said. “That’s what they fear the most. They don’t fear people standing on an overpass swinging a flag. What they fear is when they know the next stop is the election booth and that’s our message. We want everybody to support these protests but we want them to understand we need to get them involved in these elections and the defeat of many of Obama’s amnesty allies.”

Gheen, who said he has worked as a consultant on 40 political campaigns, predicts this November will go down in history as a monumental house-cleaning in Congress.

“I am predicting that it is now possible to sweep more Democrats out of office than was done in the historic revolutions of 1994 and 2010,” he said. “We have to elect so many grassroots and populist conservatives that we can get the amnesty supporters out of office, and that includes John Boehner. Obama is doing this because he does not fear John Boehner. Republicans like Boehner and Rick Perry are not really Obama’s opponent. They just play those roles on television. They’re like people who can’t act well enough for Hollywood but they play characters on television for political purposes.”

–Dana


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