Patterico's Pontifications

11/8/2014

Friend of Patterico and Federal Whistleblower Robert MacLean Hopefully Headed for Victory in Supreme Court

Filed under: General — Patterico @ 10:08 pm

The New York Times recently reported:

A majority of the justices seemed ready to side with a fired air marshal on Tuesday in a Supreme Court argument over whether he was covered by a federal law protecting whistle-blowers.

In 2003, the air marshal, Robert J. MacLean, received a secret briefing about a terrorist threat affecting long-distance flights. Two days later, he was told by text message from the Transportation Security Administration that to save money, the agency was canceling assignments requiring an overnight stay.

He complained to his superiors, saying the move would imperil public safety. When they failed to act, he contacted a reporter for MSNBC. The resulting news coverage promptly led to a reversal of the travel policy.

When the government later identified Mr. MacLean as the source of the report, it fired him for disclosing sensitive information without authorization. Mr. MacLean challenged his dismissal under the Whistleblower Protection Act, which insulates federal workers from retaliation if they disclose “a substantial and specific danger to public health or safety.”

Mr. MacLean is a friend of the blog, and provided me exclusive insights seven years ago, in posts like this one and this one. For non-clickers, here is part of what Mr. MacLean told me in one of those old posts:

After 9/11, immediately putting thousands of air marshals on flights was the right decision. But now, the Transportation Security Administration’s (TSA) misuse of the air marshal program as a visual deterrent is one of the worst threats to aviation security right now.

With the current checkpoint bypass and pre-boarding policies that TSA and the airline companies insist on, an air marshal team is going to get ambushed and their weapons will be used to take another plane down. Air marshals right now are sitting ducks with the current strategy.

But then we got Barack Obama — and he has been great to whistleblowers. Hope and change. So we now have nothing to worry about, folks.

Nothing to worry about.

Good luck to Mr. MacLean. He and people like him represent what is best about this country: people willing to stand up for what’s right, in the face of powerful vested interests. I have nothing but respect for Mr. MacLean and people like him.

UPDATE: Mr. MacLean needs work. If any Patterico readers know of a position for an honest, upstanding guy, email me.

Viral Catcalling Video: Most Harassment Happened in Harlem

Filed under: General — Patterico @ 9:24 pm

Racist video makers.

Screen shot 2014-11-08 at 9.23.27 PM

“Date the Atlas, Not the Shrug”

Filed under: General — Patterico @ 5:59 pm

At the Huffington Post, Jennifer Grossman advises women to date according to the philosophy of Ayn Rand. (Eligible bachelors, take note: Grossman is an acquaintance who is smart and attractive; her advice is worth listening to!)

Far from retro, Rand’s heroines were independent, sexually liberated career women who multi-dated, and multi-married, until they landed their Hero. You don’t have to read Atlas Shrugged to date like its heroine, Dagny Taggart, who runs a transcontinental railroad while not capturing the hearts of captains of industry. You don’t have to understand Objectivism or ascribe to libertarianism to follow the simple, practical principles I’ve distilled from these philosophies and applied to real life dating challenges.

The rules work for women and men both, I think, and have worked for me — especially Rule #1: date (and if you’re lucky, as I am) marry someone you admire.

Rule #1: Don’t date men you don’t admire. He can be the most handsome man, the most fabulous lover, the most attentive partner, the most witty companion, but if you don’t admire him (not his biceps or bank account, but him as a person), the relationship is doomed to fail. Don’t know if you admire him? Ask yourself, would you be proud to introduce him at your college reunion? Do you listen to him recount his day and feel a warm glow of pride? Do you feel like you could point to him and tell children (yours or others) “grow up to be like him”? If the answer to any of these is “no,” or even “maybe,” then do your self esteem a favor and dump his ass.

Go over and leave an encouraging comment; HuffPo readers are not the type to be receptive to a message like this (although a surprising number of the comments are favorable).

Obama Shakes It Off

Filed under: General — Patterico @ 3:30 pm

Just ran across this video while looking for slow-motion videos of dogs shaking off water. It’s Reason.tv’s take on the recent Taylor Swift song.

Supreme Court to Hear Halbig- Related Case

Filed under: General — Patterico @ 12:43 pm

Not Halbig, which still has to go to the D.C. Circuit, but the related King case out of the Fourth Circuit. Allahpundit is shocked. I am not.

Regular readers will recall that I confidently predicted the Halbig decision ahead of time, by listening to the oral argument. I said on July 7: “I am now convinced that the judges on the panel will rule 2-1 against Obama,” which is exactly what they did on July 22. Always trust content from Patterico!

I was not at all surprised when the D.C. Circuit took up the case en banc — nor, contrary to the views of conservative partisans, did I think it inappropriate for them to do so. (What will be inappropriate is for them to overturn the decision for political reasons, which I also believe will happen.) This is an important case. True, the legal issue is relatively straightforward once you strip away the nonsense raised by leftists who want to read things into the law that Congress never wrote. But it affects literally millions of people in a significant way. It’s appropriate for the D.C. Circuit to hear it en banc, and it’s appropriate for the Supreme Court to take it up at the earliest opportunity.

I also said on July 7:

Of course, the matter will likely eventually end up in the U.S. Supreme Court, unless they chicken out and refuse to hear it, which seems to me unlikely. I like our chances there better. Kennedy, often a squish, was a solid vote against ObamaCare in the previous major ObamaCare decision. I know you guys are skeptical about what John Roberts would do, but I think there is a better than even chance that he would choose the textualist approach.

I’m not as convinced about the Supreme Court’s result as I am about the original panel decision, but I stick by my original prediction that the Supreme Court will rule conservatives’ way — which means a reversal of King.

The other thing I said on July 7 was that this case represents “the triumph of textualism.” This is perhaps the most important part of this case: the fact that textualism, and not “intentionalism,” is the proper method for interpreting legal texts. Regular readers know this is a position I have long advocated in a consistent manner in the face of bitter dissent, notably including from some on the right. (Feel free to browse through the links for some forgotten history; anyone interested in this debate should find useful arguments there.) Everybody is on the side of textualism now — and, to read them today, you’d think they always had been. What is that Obama likes to say? “As I have always said . . .” But this site was advocating textualism when advocating textualism wasn’t cool. Today, it’s not just “cool” but mandatory, and Halbig has made that clear. I feel cautiously confident that the Supreme Court will make it even more clear this coming year.

Don’t You Poison The Well And Play With Matches, Mr. President

Filed under: General — Dana @ 12:27 pm

[guest post by Dana]

At surely what must have been an awkward luncheon with newly empowered Republicans, and in light of the president vowing to use his final two years to “to forge compromises with newly empowered congressional Republicans and break the political gridlock that has defined Washington over the past several years, President Obama remained defiant and fully intent on moving unilaterally on immigration and granting amnesty to at least 6 million illegals before the end of this year. Clearly, this suggests he does not fully understand the meaning of the word compromise:

Before the end of the year, we’re going to take whatever lawful actions that I can take that I believe will improve the functioning of our immigration system that will allow us to surge additional resources to the border where I think the vast majority of Americans have the deepest concern.

Newly elected Senate majority leader Mitch McConnell and House speaker John Boehner warned against the president taking such action. According to Boehner’s office:

“The speaker warned that unilateral action by the president on executive amnesty will erase any chances of doing immigration reform and will also make it harder for Congress and the White House to work together successfully on other areas where there might otherwise be common ground.


(video via The Corner)

Also pushing back in a letter to Sen. Harry Reid were Ted Cruz, David Vitter, Mike Crapo, Mike Lee,
Pat Roberts and Jeff Sessions:

We write to express our alarm with President Obama’s announced intention to take unilateral executive action by the end of this year to lawlessly grant amnesty to immigrants who have entered the country illegally. The Supreme Court has recognized that “over no conceivable subject is the power of Congress more complete” than its power over immigration. Therefore, President Obama will be exercising powers properly belonging to Congress if he makes good on his threat. This will create a constitutional crisis that demands action by Congress to restore the separation of powers.

As majority leader of the Senate, you have the responsibility of not only representing the voters of your State, but also of protecting the Constitution through vigilant exercise of the checks and balances provided under the Constitution. Therefore, we write to offer our full assistance in ensuring expeditious Senate debate and passage for a measure that preserves the power of Congress by blocking any action the President may take to violate the Constitution and unilaterally grant amnesty; however, should you decline to defend the Senate and the Constitution from executive overreach, the undersigned Senators will use all procedural means necessary to return the Senate’s focus during the lame duck session to resolving the constitutional crisis created by President Obama’s lawless amnesty.

Rumor has it that at the luncheon the president enjoyed the sea bass, but refused to eat his serving of humble pie for dessert.

–Dana


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