Patterico's Pontifications

11/2/2019

Weekend Open Thread

Filed under: General — Dana @ 9:45 am



[guest post by Dana]

Feel free to talk about anything you think is newsworthy or might interest readers.

I’ll start.

First news item: President Trump says he might do a “fireside chat” with regard to the Ukraine phone call, and the White House press secretary confirms that he is serious about it:

A defiant President Trump signaled he will not cooperate with the Democratic Party’s impeachment proceedings, insisting his telephone conversation with Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky was “a good call” and that he might read it aloud to Americans so they can see his point.

“This is over a phone call that is a good call,” Trump, sitting behind the Resolute Desk, said in an interview with the Washington Examiner. “At some point, I’m going to sit down, perhaps as a fireside chat on live television, and I will read the transcript of the call, because people have to hear it. When you read it, it’s a straight call.”

Second news item: Former President Obama cautioned “woke” culture warriors and then got cancelled :

“This idea of purity and you’re never compromised and you’re always politically ‘woke’ and all that stuff,” Mr. Obama said. “You should get over that quickly.”

“The world is messy; there are ambiguities,” he continued. “People who do really good stuff have flaws. People who you are fighting may love their kids, and share certain things with you.”

“I do get a sense sometimes now among certain young people, and this is accelerated by social media, there is this sense sometimes of: ‘The way of me making change is to be as judgmental as possible about other people,’” he said, “and that’s enough.”

“Like, if I tweet or hashtag about how you didn’t do something right or used the wrong verb,” he said, “then I can sit back and feel pretty good about myself, cause, ‘Man, you see how woke I was, I called you out.’”

[…]

“That’s not activism. That’s not bringing about change,” he said. “If all you’re doing is casting stones, you’re probably not going to get that far. That’s easy to do.”

Third news item: Sections of the new border wall being easily breached by smugglers:

Smuggling gangs in Mexico have been using power tools to saw through new parts of President Trump’s border wall, making openings for people to pass through…

The Post reports that smugglers have used reciprocating saws that sell at hardware stores for about $100, citing U.S. agents and officials.

The tool’s blade can slice through the barrier’s steel in minutes, they said. They have also used ladders to go atop the barriers in areas around San Diego.

Fourth news item: A little trick-or-treater caught in the crossfire:

Every Halloween, 26th Street through Little Village becomes an unbroken parade of children in bright costumes snaking in and out of businesses braced for the trick-or-treaters.

[…]

A 7-year-old girl dressed in a red and black costume was shot and seriously wounded across the street from the restaurant by a gunman aiming at a gang rival. Yet children continued to come in for candy, despite the crime tape and squad cars.

“It did not faze people,” she said. “Our community is very immune to the situation.”

Police believe the gunman is a member of the Gangster Two-Six gang and was targeting a Latin King when he shot the girl two times as she walked down the street with her father Thursday evening in the 3700 block of West 26th Street — close to the border dividing rival street gangs.

The gunman stepped from an alley about 5:30 p.m. and yelled a Latin King insult before firing at least seven times into a crowd of children, hitting the girl on the right side of the neck and her upper chest, according to Chicago police.

Fifth news item: A fascinating breakdown of President Trump’s tweets:

The Times examined Mr. Trump’s use of Twitter since taking office, reviewing all his tweets, retweets and followers, and interviewing nearly 50 current and former administration officials, lawmakers and Twitter executives and employees. What has emerged is a rich account, with new analysis, previously unreported episodes and fresh details of how the president exploits the platform to exert power.

…He has taken to Twitter to demand action 1,159 times on immigration and his border wall, a top priority, and 521 times on tariffs, another key agenda item. Twitter is an instrument of his foreign policy: He has praised dictators more than a hundred times, while complaining nearly twice as much about America’s traditional allies. Twitter is the Trump administration’s de facto personnel office: The chief executive has announced the departures of more than two dozen top officials, some fired by tweet.

More than half of the president’s posts — 5,889 — have been attacks; no other category even comes close. His targets include the Russia investigation, a Federal Reserve that won’t bow to his whims, previous administrations, entire cities that are led by Democrats, and adversaries from outspoken athletes to chief executives who displease him. Like no other modern president, Mr. Trump has publicly harangued businesses to advance his political goals and silence criticism, often with talk of government intervention. Using Twitter, he threatened “Saturday Night Live” with an investigation by the Federal Communications Commission and accused Amazon, led by Jeff Bezos, owner of The Washington Post, of cheating the United States Postal Service.

As much as anything, Twitter is the broadcast network for Mr. Trump’s parallel political reality — the “alternative facts” he has used to spread conspiracy theories, fake information and extremist content, including material that energizes some of his base.

Mr. Trump’s use of Twitter has accelerated sharply since the end of the special counsel’s Russia investigation and reached a new high as Democrats opened an impeachment inquiry, the analysis shows…

Sixth news item: Washington Nationals’ pitcher says “no” to making official White House visit:

Washington Nationals’ pitcher Sean Doolittle will not join his fellow teammates Monday for an official White House visit honoring the new World Series champions, saying Friday that he “just can’t go” because of Trump’s “divisive rhetoric.”

[…]

“There’s a lot of things, policies that I disagree with, but at the end of the day, it has more to do with the divisive rhetoric and the enabling of conspiracy theories and widening the divide in this country,’ he told the paper.

[…]

“People say you should go because it’s about respecting the office of the president and I think over the course of his time in office he’s done a lot of things that maybe don’t respect the office.”

He continued: “I don’t want to hang out with somebody who talks like that.”

Have a great weekend.

(Cross-posted at The Jury Talks Back.)

–Dana

More Eye-Rolling Dysfunction in Inglewood

Filed under: General — JVW @ 8:51 am



[guest post by JVW]

We checked-in with the urban hamlet of Inglewood, California — “The City of Champions” — a couple of summers ago to marvel how in a decidedly working-class town (median income of $45,000) the Executive Assistant to the Mayor managed to pull-down the nifty sum of $312,000 in total compensation. This particular dedicated public servant is one Melanie McDade-Dickens, who got her start in the lucrative world of city management after working for the successful campaign of Mayor James T. Butts. Ms. McDade-Dickens started as an executive assistant, but somehow kept assuming higher city jobs (which were never posted for public applicants and for which she never formally interviewed) until she had in effect become an assistant city manager. This professional windfall coming naturally at the same time that Inglewood was facing serious budget shortages.

So I was tickled yesterday to see Ms. McDade-Dickens’ name once again appear in the local news. I had noticed a story this past July mentioning that she had been suspended from her job and escorted out of city hall , for reasons that were not at the time divulged but turn out having something to do with her financing of a home purchase. The story also included, at last, a picture of Ms. McDade-Dickens, and, if I can be permitted the indelicacy, I think I can understand how she would end up being promoted way beyond her level of competence. Yowza. (I’ll wait until everyone clicks on the link above and then comes back here.)

So the latest contempts in which our lovely young heroine finds herself apparently involves a deposition she gave earlier in a lawsuit regarding a new basketball arena the Los Angeles Clippers are trying to build in Inglewood. Blessed with the support of the mayor and all of the local politicians, the Clippers had sought to fast-track all of the approval processes in order to have the new arena ready to open in fall of 2024 (yes, you read that correctly, five years from now; so much for “fast-tracking” California style). These plans irk the Madison Square Garden Group, which owns the iconic Forum, the former home of Los Angeles Lakers basketball and Los Angeles Kings hockey. The MSG Group spent millions of dollars rehabbing the building into a first-rate concert venue, and are thus threatened by the possibility that the new Clippers building might cut into their action. The MSG Group has accordingly filed suit to prevent the city from moving forward, and one of their contentions is that Mayor Butts convinced them to give up their rights on a parcel of land which he claimed the city would convert into an office park, but at the same time was secretly negotiating with the Clippers and intended to transfer that parcel to them all along.

And this is where our well-compensated public servant comes in. Here is what the local newspaper reported:

Melanie McDade-Dickens, the highly paid executive assistant to Inglewood’s mayor, has recanted more than 100 answers she made during depositions in a lawsuit attempting to block a new arena for the L.A. Clippers.

[. . .]

In September, [her lawyer Carl E.] Douglas submitted an errata — a legal correction — to her depositions that corrected 148 answers. She changed 48 “no” answers to “yes” and provided damaging details that she previously said she could not recall.

Douglas said his client was not properly prepared for the earlier depositions by previous attorneys, including Miller, and is now trying to set the record straight, even if it leads to incrimination or attacks on her character.

“She is comfortable now, standing on the corrected record, even if it is embarrassing to her, or to the city of Inglewood,” Douglas said Tuesday.

These changed answers apparently are very beneficial to the MSG Group’s case, showing a concerted effort by city officials to trick MSG. A key change is that Ms. McDade-Dickens after previous denials now asserts she was riding as a passenger in an automobile with Mayor Butts — who, by the way, now appears to probably be her erstwhile lover — when the mayor promised MSG officials in a speaker-phone call that the land would be used for a technology office park. The city continues to deny her claims, and the next step appears to be determining whether or not this addendum to her original testimony was filed before the expiration of the agreed-upon period.

I just like this story so much because it resides in that joyous nexus of sleazy public officials, wealthy out-of-town conglomerates, greedy sports leagues, hyper-weird dot-com billionaires, and scheming temptresses out to wreck everything in their path. Why anyone does business with or in a city like Inglewood is beyond me, except for the standard answer of location, location, location. But if a bunch of rich people and incorrigible crooks are given angina along the way, I won’t lose any sleep over it.

– JVW


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