Patterico's Pontifications


Paul Ryan Claims He Was Silent on Government Shutdown for Party Unity, But the Record Does Not Agree

Filed under: General — Patterico @ 7:35 am

CBS News: Paul Ryan: I kept quiet during government shutdown for party unity.

Rep. Paul Ryan said on CBS’ “Face the Nation” Sunday that he didn’t voice his opposition to the government shutdown in 2013 because he wanted to ensure there was “party unity.”

“I don’t think it was constructive for conservatives to be carping at each other. At the same time, the purpose of that passage is to try and unify our party. I don’t think we can succeed if all we do is criticize and define what we are against,” he said.

Ryan wrote in his new book that came out last week that he believed the Republican attempt to defund Obamacare by shutting down the government was “a suicide mission” but that too many members of his own party were unwilling to abandon the idea for fear that they would be punished by outside groups aligned with the tea party.

He told CBS News’ Bob Schieffer that he didn’t believe the strategy was “really legitimate” because a government shutdown cannot stop an entitlement program, not to mention there was no support for the strategy in the Senate.

But the point of his book, he said, “to help design a unified conservative Republican movement that is principled, inclusive and aspirational so that we can win a majority of Americans’ votes to save this country from what I believe is going down the wrong track.”

When politicians make claims about what they did (or did not do) in the past, it’s sometimes helpful to consult the record.

August 4, 2013:

WASHINGTON (Reuters) – Influential Republican congressman Paul Ryan disagreed on Sunday with the idea of using the threat of a government shutdown as a means of trying to get rid of President Barack Obama’s signature healthcare law known as “Obamacare.”

Ryan, chairman of the House Budget Committee and a former vice presidential candidate, said he strongly backs the goal of repealing Obamacare but added there were other, more effective ways of achieving it than by refusing to approve any government funding bill that includes money for the program.

“I think there’s going to be a better strategy to actually achieve our goal of ultimately delaying and ultimately replacing Obamacare,” the Wisconsin congressman told the CBS talk show “Face the Nation.”

Note: the August 2013 comments were made on “Face the Nation” — the very same show where Ryan said this past Sunday that he had been silent in 2013. It takes a large pair of brass nerves to claim that you were “silent” about a topic, on the very same show where you held forth at length about the same topic one year earlier.

Screen Shot 2014-08-25 at 7.31.38 AM
Above: a tight-lipped Paul Ryan keeps his mouth shut for the party’s sake

So why is Ryan obfuscating about this? Because his “silence” didn’t end in August 2013. In October 2013, he was spouting off to reporters again . . . this time trying to prevent a compromise that would have ended the shutdown. This is the embarrassing history that he needs to erase from our memories.

Let’s consult that pesky record again. After his August 2013 “Face the Nation” appearance, it was reported that conservatives were upset with Ryan. Next thing you know, on October 8, Ryan had penned a Wall Street Journal op-ed blaming Obama for the crisis and proposing his own solution. By October 12, 2013, Ryan’s “silence” consisted of telling reporters about his opposition to a Senate compromise floated by Susan Collins:

Boehner’s closest friends in the Senate, including Graham and Sen. Saxby Chambliss (R-Ga.), pleaded with him Friday to modify his legislation along the lines of what they were trying to broker across the Capitol. The speaker told them Saturday that the Collins plan would face opposition from too many Republicans for him to put it on the floor, Chambliss said.

“We don’t support it,” House Budget Committee Chairman Paul Ryan (R-Wis.) told reporters, saying that the reasons for opposition were “too many to go into.”

Ah, the sounds of silence! Ryan wasn’t just spouting off to reporters about his opposition to the Senate compromise. He was actually rallying the troops against it:

[I]nstead of absorbing this painful reality, some rank-and-file Republicans grew visibly excited about the prospect of opposing such a deal, said one person in the room. This defiance was fed by Ryan, who stood up and railed against the Collins proposal, saying the House could not accept either a debt-limit bill or a government-funding measure that would delay the next fight until the new year.

According to two Republicans familiar with the exchange, Ryan argued that the House would need those deadlines as “leverage” for delaying the health-care law’s individual mandate and adding a “conscience clause” — allowing employers and insurers to opt out of birth-control coverage if they find it objectionable on moral or religious grounds — and mentioned tax and entitlement goals Ryan had focused on in a recent op-ed in the Wall Street Journal.

Ryan’s speech appeared only to further rile up the conservative wing of the GOP conference, which has been agitating the shutdown strategy to try to tear apart the health-care law.

With such fervor still rampant among House Republicans, there was bipartisan agreement in the Senate that Boehner’s House had lost its ability to approve anything that could be signed by Obama into law.

My guess is that it is this leadership role in prolonging the government shutdown that Ryan is trying to whitewash.

I guess he’s running, huh?

JD at the Ironman

Filed under: General — Patterico @ 6:49 am

JD’s wife has posted this on Facebook:

In dangerous heat conditions at Ironman Louisville, JD put in a GREAT effort with a 2.4 mile swim, 112 mile bike, and about a 17 mile run until needing 3 bags of IV fluids and some medical attention from severe dehydration. He’s all good. THANK U to all his awesome, unbelievable friends who cheered him on. No one can do this physically or mentally without the love and support of family and friends!!

I have no words to express how hard that sounds. Glad JD is OK.


My Kids Are Amazing

Filed under: General — Patterico @ 1:58 pm

My kids both appear to have perfect pitch. I wonder how common that is.

We went last night to see the 50th anniversary of the Beatles at the Hollywood Bowl. (It wasn’t horrible, but it wasn’t great.) A number of guest performers did Beatles songs, and at times my kids were telling me that they were doing them in the wrong keys. So I took some short videos of the musicians playing the songs, and then today I had my kids sing the same songs in the key they thought the song was in. Then I found the actual song in my iTunes library and noted the key it is actually in. Here are the results.

Here Comes the Sun:
Musicians last night: F# major
Lauren: A major
Matthew: A major
Actual song: A major

All My Loving
Musicians last night: C major
Matthew: E major
Lauren: E major
Actual song: E major

If I Fell
Musicians last night: D major
Matthew: D major
Lauren: D major
Actual song: D major

I Want to Hold Your Hand
Musicians last night: A major
Matthew: didn’t really know the song
Lauren: G major
Actual song: G major

Come Together
Musicians last night: f# minor
Lauren: d minor (she doesn’t know the song well and was a little unsure)
Matthew: d minor
Actual song: d minor

As you can see, in every instance where they knew the song, they sang the song in the correct key, even though (for whatever reason) the musicians last night usually sang the songs in different keys.

What’s even funnier is that my kids don’t see this as something special. They don’t even understand how someone could hear a song in their head in the wrong key.

Hearing or singing a song in the right key is not something I can do — at least not with consistency. I have good relative pitch, meaning that once I hear a musical note and am told which note it is, I can sing any other note. But I can’t reliably start singing a song in the correct key, from a cold start. (Oddly enough, though, when I hear a song very strongly in my head, it is usually in the right key. I have tested this a few times before, and almost any time that I say to myself: “I’m pretty sure I am mentally playing this in the right key” and then test myself, I’m right. Just as a test, as I was writing this, I started singing a Toad the Wet Sprocket song, and it turned out to be in the right key. But I can’t do this consistently. Also, there is the chance that I am still using relative pitch, because I was just singing songs with the kids and playing guitar a few minutes ago.)

I poked around online and can’t find an authoritative estimate for how many humans have perfect pitch. Random Web sites make totally unattributed guesses that 1 in 10,000 people has the ability, but that’s worth what any unattributed online assertion is worth: nothing. I did find a New York Times article that said that there is an “8 to 15 percent chance that if one sibling has absolute pitch, the other will have it too.”

How common is this among the commentariat? If you start singing a song, will it inevitably be in the right key? How common is it among people you know?


Too Bad The Democrats Slammed George Bush For Golfing…Oh. Wait. Added: Giving The President More Cover

Filed under: General — Dana @ 5:20 pm

[guest post by Dana]

Fending off criticism of the president’s decision to hit the greens immediately after his James Foley press conference, the White House attempted to give the president cover today. Principal deputy press secretary Eric Schultz played defense:

“[S]ports and leisure activities are a good release and clearing of the mind.”

Perhaps sensing that might not be good enough to assuage critics, Schultz added:

Foley’s death has “absolutely captured the president’s attention.”

“Just because the president is in a different location doesn’t mean he isn’t doing his job,” he also said, repeating a common refrain that the White House offers when facing criticism about presidential vacations.

The president is free to be as disrespectful and tone-deaf as he wants because simply put, he can. If none of the scandals his administration is laboring through haven’t yet shamed the man, then I wonder if it is even possible to do so. It’s still shocking to realize that the barbaric killing of an American citizen didn’t even penetrate enough for him to grasp that at the very least, an appearance of respectfulness and seriousness was called for. At the very least…

But speaking of that, it would appear that at least someone on that side of the aisle sees hypocrisy another way to cleverly justify the president’s bad behavior:

“We used to pillory George Bush for going to his ranch and we were wrong,” (David) Axelrod said of Obama’s predecessor. “The demands and pressures of the presidency are relentless, and we ought to want our presidents to get small breaks to relax, even in-and maybe especially in — the midst of crisis.”


UPDATE: Since we are on the subject of giving the president cover, I’ve added yet another example. Unfortunately, this one puts others at serious risk.

On Wednesday, the White House leaked a classified special forces operation to rescue American hostages in Syria. The reason: political cover. The cost: so far, unknown.

But this much, we know: The politicized leak of this operation cut through the fog of war to let our enemies know exactly what happened that day in the desert, and because of that, future attempts to free American hostages will be more difficult to plan, farther between, and more dangerous to carry out.

On Wednesday, Pentagon spokesman Rear Admiral John Kirby confirmed reports of the U.S. military’s failed clandestine hostage rescue operation in Syria. The operation was designed to rescue a number of Western hostages, including American journalist James Foley, that were being held by Islamic State terrorists in Syria. Details of the failed raid were leaked by senior White House officials earlier that day after the Obama administration came under intense scrutiny about what actions it had taken to free Foley following, who was beheaded . The leak was designed to provide political cover for President Barack Obama, who has been taking fire from the press for failing to take more decisive action against the Islamic State in either Iraq or Syria.

How to Get Obama’s Attention

Filed under: General — Patterico @ 7:52 am

Saw this one on the Twitters and wanted to pass it along.

Screen Shot 2014-08-22 at 7.50.02 AM

The beheading of James Foley was a tragedy. Now watch this drive.

Is the Ideal Patent Reform to Eliminate Patents?

Filed under: General — Patterico @ 7:42 am

Can you stand a non-Ferguson, non-ISIS, non-Obama post?

We should consider abolishing patents entirely.

Ken White tells us about the newest and most outrageous ploy by a patent troll: suing the lawyer that is trying to stop their abusive activity. A troll is an ugly monster who sits under a bridge and demands a toll for people to cross it, even though he provides no service whatsoever. A patent troll is an ugly monster who registers a ridiculous, overbroad patent, and then goes around suing and demanding cash settlements from people who do standard activities that he claims infringes on his patent.

The classic example is the guy who claims he invented podcasting. As I recall the story, he read stories from magazines and put them on cassette tapes, and filed a patent for this. In 2009, he “updated” the patent to include downloads from URLs on the Web. So now, if you are a podcaster, this guy might sue you — even though his supposedly original invention contributed zero to modern-day podcasting. For example, he sued Adam Carolla, thought to be the most successful podcaster in existence — and Carolla recently settled with him.

Abusive litigation is one hallmark of the patent troll, and in 2008 this very blog noted (for example) someone suing a patent troll tracker for defamation. Suits over patents tend to take place in the Eastern District of Texas. There is a little town there called Marshall that has numerous unoccupied office spaces which serve as the headquarters for plenty of “inventors” and their companies. The jurisdiction famously caters to patent trolls.

So there’s your background. Ken’s news is that one patent troll company is suing, not just the company that owns the patent, but their lawyer as well. Ken says: “Landmark Technologies has been widely described as a patent troll based on its model of demanding payments from businesses that accept credit cards online.” Landmark has sued eBay and eBay’s lawyer. Why eBay’s lawyer? Because he attempted to have the Patent Office re-examine Landmark’s patents. They claim this constituted any number of a laundry list of torts. As Ken points out, the Patent Office agreed with the lawyer as to one of the patents, and (by agreeing to re-examine them) showed that they believed there was a substantial question as to the others.

We’ve seen this type of abusive litigation, including suing lawyers who try to help victims, before. Hint: et-bray imberlin-kay.

Ken says: “However, the fact that patent trolls are willing to abuse the system like this — and lawyers are willing to help them — demonstrates the need for substantial patent reform.” Yes, I agree.

May I suggest abolishing patents?

Stephan Kinsella of has argued that patents do not, in fact, encourage innovation. Instead, they cost the economy hundreds of billions of dollars, stifling innovation and creating a sort of oligopoly. I find his arguments convincing. The empirical evidence appears to contradict the notion that we need to use government power to restrict how ideas are used, or we will get no new ideas. I don’t have time for a full exposition here, but wanted to mention the idea to get a discussion going.

Also: Ferguson! ISIS! Obama!

UPDATE: I have changed the link to Kinsella’s argument since the YouTube video was not working. You can hear his argument here.

I will have more to say on this topic, as it is clear from the comments that the post has been misconstrued (I am not arguing that we abolish patents simply to deal with patent trolls, for example) and that the arguments in favor of abolishing patents are being given short shrift. It makes sense, I suppose, since (as I said) I didn’t really have time to make the case this morning — but I plan to do so in coming days.

Gratitude Expressed

Filed under: General — Dana @ 6:07 am

[guest post by Dana]

Dr. Kent Brantley was released from Emory University Hospital yesterday. In his statement to the press, he eloquently expressed his heartfelt gratitude to the many people involved in his recovery, as well as God for seeing him through this ordeal. It was a good reminder to me that there is something greater than mere mortal man at work in this universe and that all is not random chaos and luck of the draw. I was also reminded that for the believer whose life is hidden in Christ, no matter the circumstances being faced, it is possible to more than endure with and because of grace. To the faithful like Dr. Brantley, to live is Christ, to die is gain becomes a profoundly real truth as it is worked out in their lives.

“Today is a miraculous day. I am thrilled to be alive, to be well and to be reunited with my family. As a medical missionary, I never imagined myself in this position. When my family and I moved to Liberia last October to begin a two-year term working with Samaritan’s Purse, Ebola was not on the radar. We moved to Liberia because God called us to serve the people of Liberia.

“In March, when we got word that Ebola was in Guinea and had spread to Liberia, we began preparing for the worst. We didn’t receive our first Ebola patient until June, but when she arrived, we were ready. During the course of June and July, the number of Ebola patients increased steadily, and our amazing crew at ELWA Hospital took care of each patient with great care and compassion. We also took every precaution to protect ourselves from this dreaded disease by following MSF and WHO guidelines for safety.

“After taking Amber and our children to the airport to return to the States on Sunday morning, July 20, I poured myself into my work even more than before—transferring patients to our new, bigger isolation unit; training and orienting new staff; and working with our Human Resources officer to fill our staffing needs. Three days later, on Wednesday, July 23, I woke up feeling under the weather, and then my life took an unexpected turn as I was diagnosed with Ebola Virus Disease. As I lay in my bed in Liberia for the following nine days, getting sicker and weaker each day, I prayed that God would help me to be faithful even in my illness, and I prayed that in my life or in my death, He would be glorified.

Above all, I am forever thankful to God for sparing my life and am glad for any attention my sickness has attracted for the plight of West Africa in the midst of this epidemic. Please continue to pray for Liberia and the people of West Africa, and encourage those in positions of leadership and influence to do everything possible to bring this Ebola outbreak to an end. Thank you.”

It is likely that because of Dr. Brantley’s contraction of Ebola (and subsequent recovery), more attention has been and will continue to be given to working on a vaccine, which in turn could lead to a slowdown and even eventual eradication of Ebola outbreaks. Full circle.



Fertile Ground For Terrorists

Filed under: General — Dana @ 8:52 pm

[guest post by Dana]

Right about now, no matter which way one looks, everything is just madness. Witness the strange intersection of ISIS and Ferguson: ISIS militants are closely following the situation in Ferguson and manipulatively playing on the angry frustration of blacks to join them. Even terrorists understand the potential in never letting a crisis go to waste. For where there is a crisis, there is opportunity. They are using social media to get their message across.

The Islamic State and other jihadist movements are using the events outside St. Louis as propaganda against the West. One argument they’ve been making for years is that racism and discrimination are rampant in some parts of the West, and they’re hoping the Ferguson riots could help recruit black Americans. “In Islam there is no racism, and we think black people will wake up and follow the example of Malcolm X and others who understood that this way is the only way to justice,” said Abu Mansour, who lives in Germany and is also a follower of the Islamic State.

All of the jihadists interviewed said Brown’s death confirms their beliefs that blacks are seen as second-class citizens by whites and especially by the police. “I think that blacks in the U.S. will look more towards Islam,” said Anjem Choudary from Great Britain, co-founder of the banned “al-­Muhajiroun” group.


According to Site Intelligence Group, an organization that tracks the online activity of terrorists, the accounts have mainly addressed the black community, arguing that blacks are victims of “democracy while promising less discrimination under Shari’ah law.”

Adding to the madness, self-proclaimed jihadist Mujahid Miski posted under the #FergusonUnderIS hashtag:

“Justice and Equality is under the Shari’ah law. You’ll never get it under Democracy.”

So while Ferguson is now on the ISIS radar, we also find out that the messy illegal immigration situation we face is also contributing to the development of future terrorists.

According to the utterly irrational and mad Democratic State Representative and candidate for U.S. representative Pat Murphy, if a pathway to citizenship is not granted to the illegals crossing our southern borders, they will likely become terrorists:

“They’re not from Mexico, they’re coming from further south,” Murphy continued. “We need to make sure that when we’re talking about these children we need to treat them like they’re our children or our grandchildren. If they’re gonna be refugees, which several of them are going to be, we need to make sure that we have—one, we take care of them, and we create a pathway for citizenship and set up education for them so they don’t become the same problem that we’re currently having in the Middle East—that they’ll be terrorists a generation from now.”

Like I said, everywhere one looks, it’s just madness.


New Republic: This Crazy Law In Missouri (Oh, and Almost Every Other State) Puts the Burden on the Prosecution!!!

Filed under: General — Patterico @ 5:57 pm

At The New Republic, Yishai Schwartz has an unintentionally hilarious article titled Convicting Darren Wilson Will Be Basically Impossible, with a deck headline reading: “You can thank Missouri law for that.” Stupid Missouri law! Let’s see what Missouri does special that is different from other states. Here I am going to quote from the original version of the piece, which I found at FreeRepublic — because, as you will soon see, they kinda sorta goofed up the central premise of the piece and ended up having to rewrite huge swaths of it to fix the mistake:

But these cultural biases are only part of the story of why a conviction will be near-impossible. The central reason is Missouri state law. Throughout history, claims of self-defense and compelling police activity have served as justifications for the use of deadly force. Most people intuitively understand that self-preservation is a basic right and that police must sometimes use violence to protect society and apprehend criminals. But generally, we expect situations of justified violence and legal killing to be the rare exception, and most people would probably imagine that policemen and citizens raising claims of justifiable homicide must meet a substantive burden of proof. But in Missouri, these justifications barely require any evidence at all.

In other states, claims of self-defense need to be proven as more likely than not, or in legal speak, to a “preponderance of the evidence.” It’s still the state’s obligation to prove “beyond a reasonable doubt” that the defendant actually killed the victim. But once that’s established, the prosecution doesn’t also have to prove “beyond a reasonable doubt” that the killing wasn’t justified. That’s because justifications—like self-defense—require the accused to make an active case, called an “affirmative defense,” that the circumstances were exceptional. The logic here is simple: As a rule, homicide is a crime and justification is reserved for extraordinary cases. Once the state has proven that a defendant did in fact kill someone, it should be the accused’s obligation to prove his or her actions were justified.

Not in Missouri. Instead, as long as there is a modicum of evidence and reasonable plausibility in support of a self-defense claim, a court must accept the claim and acquit the accused. The prosecution must not only prove beyond a reasonable doubt that the defendant committed the crime, but also disprove a defendant’s claim of self-defense to the same high standard. Under Missouri law, all a citizen claiming self-defense or a police officer claiming to have fired while pursuing a dangerous criminal need do is “inject the issue of justification.” In other words, he only needs to produce some evidence (his own testimony counts) supporting the claim. Once he does so, “any reasonable doubt on the issue requires a finding for the defendant.” In Missouri, the burden doesn’t budge an inch, even after we know that the defendant has killed the victim. It doesn’t matter that there is certainty that Darren Wilson shot Michael Brown. As long as there is still the slightest possibility that Wilson acted in his own defense, Missouri law favors Wilson.

Stupid Missouri with its stupid unique outlier of a rule putting the burden on the prosecution!

Note the link to “other states” having a different rule. It goes to the statute in Ohio, which has a different rule. Well, guess what? Ohio is the only state in the union that clearly applies a different rule. That’s right: the stupid Missouri rule that The New Republic says is going to free Darren Wilson is the law in at least 48, and arguably 49, states (and the District of Columbia). Eugene Volokh wrote about this back during the Zimmerman case:

Who should bear the burden of proving or disproving self-defense in criminal cases, and by what quantum (preponderance of the evidence, clear and convincing evidence, or beyond a reasonable doubt), is an interesting question. But on this point, Florida law is precisely the same as in nearly all other states: In 49 of the 50 states [UPDATE: I would now say it’s 48½], once the defense introduces any evidence of possible self-defense, the prosecution must disprove self-defense beyond a reasonable doubt.

This wasn’t always the rule. The English common law rule at the time of the Framing was that the defense must prove self-defense by a preponderance of the evidence, and Ohio still follows that rule; the Supreme Court has held (Martin v. Ohio (1987)) that placing this burden on the accused is constitutional. But to my knowledge, only Ohio still takes the view — all the other states do not. [See UPDATE below for one other state, Louisiana, in which some courts in some situations also take this view.]

. . . .

[I]f you’re focusing on what is the view in “most other states” on the burden and quantum of proof in self-defense cases, then you should note that Florida is entirely in line with that view.

UPDATE (July 30, 2013): It turns out that there’s one other state in which some courts follow the Ohio rule in some situations — Louisiana. The Louisiana Supreme Court made clear that it follows the majority rule in homicide cases, and some lower appellate courts do the same in non-homicide cases, but other appellate courts follow the Ohio rule in non-homicide cases, and the Louisiana Supreme Court has yet to resolve the conflict. See State v. Glover, 106 So. 3d 129, 137-38 (La. Ct. App. 2012) for more details.

The New Republic piece now bears this note at the bottom of the piece:

Correction and update: A previous version of this article implied that Missouri’s low burden for self-defense claims made it an outlier among U.S. states. Although historically, many states required defendants to actively prove a justification defense (and Ohio still does), in the last few decades most other states have moved away from Ohio’s approach and resemble Missouri’s. The legal situation is therefore perhaps even more troubling than originally implied. The language of the story has been updated to reflect this.

Indeed it has. The rewriting is extensive and amusing. The previous sentence “The central reason is Missouri state law” now reads “The central reason is a recent trend in many states’ criminal laws.” (Try “virtually all” instead of “many.”) The previous sentence “But in Missouri, these justifications barely require any evidence at all” now says “in states like Missouri” instead of just “Missouri.” The previous sentence “Not in Missouri” now becomes “Not in most states today, including Missouri.”

The piece still says it’s different in “other states” (plural) with only a link to Ohio — which is, again, the only state in the union that clearly and consistently puts the burden on the defendant.

The post closes by saying:

Within reason, legal protections for, and presumptions in favor of, policemen acting in the line of duty make sense. Society has chosen to give these men and women guns, after all. And if we expect these officers to put their lives on the line, we owe them some measure of trust and due deference. But trust cannot become a license to kill. We have a word for a situation where killing is the default, where violence is so expected that the burden is no longer on a killer to prove his actions are justified. That word is war. It has no place in suburban St. Louis.

No, the word for a situation where the burden is on the prosecution to disprove self-defense is “America.” With the exception of Ohio and possibly Louisiana in some cases, that is the norm, and it’s hardly a shocking one in American jurisprudence: the burden of proof is on the prosecution. CRAZY!!!!11!!11!ELEVENTY!!

I understand this rule bothers people who want to presume cops guilty when they kill someone. But that’s our system — and lefties like Yishai Schwartz generally like it, until it runs up against their preferred outcomes. Then, the system can go hang — and so, it seems, can basic research.

Police Reported a Week Ago That Officer Was Injured After Altercation With Michael Brown, Plus, A New Shooting

Filed under: General — Patterico @ 7:41 am

Yesterday, I linked a report concerning anonymous claims that the officer who shot Michael Brown sustained an eye fracture, and expressed some skepticism, saying: “Ferguson P.D. never mentioned it before.” While it’s true (as far as I know) that the department never mentioned a fractured eye socket before, a correspondent writes to tell me that on August 13, which is now over one week ago, Reuters reported that the officer had sustained an injury to his face:

Police Chief Thomas Jackson told a news conference the unidentified officer was treated at a hospital for swelling on the side of his face, one of the few details released about events surrounding the Saturday night shooting of 18-year-old Michael Brown.

Again, this is not as clear or convincing as a fractured eye socket, which is what is now being reported, albeit so far only by anonymous sources. But my correspondent also notes that the police department is being told by the federal government not to release certain information. For example, they initially did not release the video due to special pleading from DoJ. The Huffington Post recently reported:

CNN revealed on Saturday that the Department of Justice found out about the video earlier this week and asked police not to make it public.

Interestingly, this tidbit was removed from the CNN article linked by HuffPo — but the news lives on in a CNN reporter’s Twitter feed:

So who knows what else police have been instructed — sorry, “asked” — not to say by the feds? It’s possible Governor Jay “Darren Wilson must be vigorously prosecuted” Nixon got in on the act as well.

Meanwhile, there has been another shooting, and this one is on video. Don’t watch it if such things disturb you. Police had received calls about a man with a knife acting erratically. When they arrived at the scene, Kajieme Powell had the knife and walked towards police, yelling “Shoot me now!” He then walked to his left and then again towards one of the officers. You can see what happened here:

Initial police reports described the guy as coming within 3-4 feet of the police and holding the knife in an “overhand grip.” The video shows that is inaccurate. Powell is a little further away than 3-4 feet when he is shot. Exactly how far away is tough to tell from the video — maybe 8-10 feet? He is not holding the knife above his head, but at his side. Nevertheless, you do hear Powell screaming “Shoot me now! Shoot me now, motherfucker!” You hear officers yelling for him to drop the knife, and he does not obey their instructions.

Jack Dunphy, the pseudonymous L.A. cop and talented writer, used to be a guest poster here at He once wrote a post titled Come at a Cop With a Knife, Expect to Be Shot. Some people who are completely clueless about the danger posed by knife-wielding assailants are saying the cops should have used tasers. Are you kidding me? People kill people with knives. I am going to go out on a limb here and declare that Powell should have dropped the knife and complied with the officers’ orders. Instead, he approached them screaming “Shoot me now, motherfuckers!” Not a wise move. If I were on a jury, based on that video, I’d vote that the cops had the right to shoot Powell.

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