Patterico's Pontifications


I Think This Big Journalism Story is Ripping Me Off

Filed under: General — Aaron Worthing @ 4:58 pm

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

Seriously, who is this jerk who is stealing my material?

Joking aside, I considered it a really pleasant surprise when Dana Loesch suggested I submit the piece, and I was stunned when they made it a featured story.  I am honored, and I hope whatever poor schlub had to copyedit it didn’t have too rough of a go with it.

You can read the whole thing, here.

And no, your eyes do not deceive you.  That is fourteen errors, not thirteen.  That’s right, I missed one.

Also bonus points to the first person who guesses who is actually in the picture (hint: it’s not me).

By the way, at the Time magazine article, the comments keep rolling in.  Here’s a fresh one:

Reading all of these comments should make the editors arrive at one conclusion.  This writer should be fired for gross negligence.

And someone suspects something is going on:

Wow.  It’s pretty obvious that some hyper-conservative constitutional literalist made a list of “13 Objectively false statements in Stengel’s Article on the Constitution” and asked everyone to copy and paste it.

Nah, perish the thought.

[Posted and authored by Aaron Worthing.]

Breaking: 6th Circuit Upholds Obamacare (Update: Even They Think Richard Stengel is Wrong)

Filed under: General — Aaron Worthing @ 10:11 am

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

The Daily Caller story tells you no more than that, but fwiw…  Expect updates.

Update: Volokh has a little more and straightens me out on which circuit is involved.  And you can read it, here.

Update: Okay I read over the majority opinion (there is a dissent, too), at least starting when we get to the commerce clause issues.  Bluntly, the opinion is surreal.  One heading reads:

The minimum coverage provision regulates economic activity with a substantial effect on interstate commerce

Mind you, they are upholding this.  So…inactivity is activity?  Well, this is how they try to fudge it:

The activity of foregoing health insurance and attempting to cover the cost of health care needs by self-insuring is no less economic than the activity of purchasing an insurance plan.

So by that logic, there is no such thing as inactivity.  I am right now engaged in the following activities: not buying a car, not buying a video game, not buying food, not buying the services of a prostitute… and so on.  The mind boggles.

They they go through the usual bit about claiming that it is necessary and proper simply because it would be a disaster if they didn’t uphold the mandate.  As I have pointed out before, I believe that is inadequate.  Instead it must be necessary to carry the other parts of Obamacare into execution.

Finally they confront the inactivity/activity distinction:

However, the text of the Commerce Clause does not acknowledge a constitutional distinction between activity and inactivity, and neither does the Supreme Court.

How can not engaging in commerce be commerce?

Furthermore, far from regulating inactivity, the provision regulates active participation in the health care market.

So “active participation in the health care market” equals “sitting on your couch and scratching yourself”?

The Supreme Court… has not defined activity or inactivity in this context.

How about you crack open a dictionary?  Most dictionaries state that in order to engage in activity you have to, you know, do something.

Then finally they punt on the other arguments, such as whether it is a tax or not:

In light of the conclusion that the minimum coverage provision is a valid exercise of Congress’s power under the Commerce Clause, it is not necessary to resolve whether the provision could also be sustained as a proper exercise of Congress’s power to tax and spend under the General Welfare Clause[.]

Which is a fairly normal thing for a court to do, but on the other hand, they did argue in the alternative earlier in the opinion.  First they claimed that this inactivity is activity and thus subject to regulation under the commerce clause, and then they argued that even if it wasn’t commerce, they could still reach it under the Necessary and Proper Clause.  But if the Commerce Clause argument was enough, then why even bother with the Necessary and Proper Clause if they were in the practice of punting on other arguments once they believe they have found a sufficient one?  Aren’t they implicitly admitting that even they don’t know if that Commerce Clause argument will fly?

But nonetheless this line brought a smile to my face given my current crusade:

In our dual system of government, the federal government is limited to its enumerated powers, while all other powers are reserved to the states or to the people. U.S. Const. amend. X.  States have authority under their general police powers to enact minimum coverage provisions similar to the one in the Affordable Care Act…  However, the federal government has no police power and may enact such a law only if it is authorized by one of its enumerated powers.

Mind you, that is still the majority opinion.  So that is right, even they think Richard Stengel was wrong to say that the Constitution didn’t limit federal power.

Update: Let me add that like the D.C. District court opinion, I think this dealt with the activity/inactivity distinction in a way that wasn’t credible.  Its not as laughably bad as the “mental activity” concept, but it is about equal in lameness.  I prefer a win, obviously, but a lame victory might do their side substantial harm.

[Posted and authored by Aaron Worthing.]

@Weinergate: The Death Threat Black Hole

Filed under: General — Stranahan @ 10:09 am

[Guest post by the ever popular Lee Stranahan]

When a woman named Jenny G. contacted me on the phone, she told me that she’s gotten two death threats and that she had no idea what was going on. She repeated this claim to the Boston police in two forms; first, saying that I was the one who made the death threats and later telling a detective that it was one of my ‘followers’.

Here’s what she said when she called me; she claims to have been innocently living her life when out of the blue, two death threats came in to her answering machine. In a panic, she did some quick internet research, found me and then phoned me up. She said repeatedly that she had no idea what was going on and told me she wasn’t political at all and knew almost nothing about the “Weenie story’ except what she’d seen on shows like inside Edition and Access Hollywood.

I don’t believe there were any death threats. At all.

So – what are we left with? A giant hole in her story.

Don’t forget that Jenny claims to have no knowledge about the Weiner story. Even though she readily admits she started the @Starchild111 account, she claims to have no idea about the Nikki Reid sock puppet who was following at least three women connected to Anthony Weiner. She wasn’t following it online, she said. She didn’t have a Twitter account anymore, she said.

Is there any proof that Jenny G. is lying and that she was following the Weiner story closely?

There sure is – since there were no death threats, how did she find out that I’d mentioned her name?

Cue: Sound of a dog not barking.

– Lee Stranahan

Stengel Update and My Favorite Comment Left on His Page

Filed under: General — Aaron Worthing @ 6:54 am

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

Update: Just a reminder, you can download the podcast of my appearance on the Com and Company radio show on NRA News, here.

Yesterday I outlined Thirteen Clear Factual Errors in Richard Stengel’s Essay on the Constitution, and asked you guys to help raise aware of this journalistic scandal.  Specifically I said:

So if you agree with me, that this is scandalously bad, let me suggest that you guys try to help me raise awareness of the issue.  For instance, you can go to thearticle and fill the comments with a version of my list:

13 Objectively false statements in Stengel’s Article on the Constitution.

  1. The Constitution does not limit the Federal Government.
  2. The Constitution is not law.
  3. The Citizenship Clause of the Fourteenth Amendment emancipated the slaves.
  4. The Citizenship Clause of the Fourteenth Amendment granted the right to vote to African Americans.
  5. The original Constitution declared that black people were to be counted as three-fifths of a person.
  6. That the original, unamended Constitution prohibited women from voting.
  7. Inter arma enim silent leges translates as “in time of war, the Constitution is silent.”
  8. The War Powers Act allows the president to unilaterally wage war for sixty days.
  9. We have only declared war five times.
  10. Alexander Hamilton wanted a king for America.
  11. Social Security is a debt within the meaning of Section Four of the Fourteenth Amendment.
  12. Naturalization depends on your birth.
  13. The Obamacare mandate is a tax.

Positively spam them until they have to pay attention.  Or you could even go to where I left a substantially similar comment and “like” that comment, raising its prominence.  If a comment is liked enough times they might be more likely to pay attention.  Or you can email the “editor,” (not sure which editor we are talking about) here.

In all communications, be polite, and stick to the facts, so they cannot dismiss you as a kook.

And so far you guys have done a great job.  The comment I suggested that you “like,” has now been “liked” over 300 times.  And individual commenters are spamming him, or otherwise using my “talking points.”  I will go as far as to say that we have reached the point where they can’t pretend they are unaware of the complaint.  So please keep up the good work.

Even then, there are clearly other comments being left on the site that were not directly prompted by my post.  I haven’t read every single comment due to time constraints, but this one really caught my eye (so technically its more like the favorite of the comments I have seen).  I will leave out the author’s name and of course this story hasn’t been verified, but for what it is worth, a gentleman writes:

I will be removing Time from the waiting room of my law office. Here is why.

Earlier today someone sent me [by email] the clip below with the claim that it was written by a Time author and published in the magazine.

If the Constitution was intended to limit the federal government, it sure doesn’t say so. Article I, Section 8, the longest section of the longest article of the Constitution, is a drumroll of congressional power. And it ends with the “necessary and proper” clause, which delegates to Congress the power “to make all laws which shall be necessary and proper for carrying into Execution the foregoing Powers, and all other powers vested by this Constitution in the Government of the United States, or in any Department or Officer thereof.” Limited government indeed.

I fired back a rather hostile response [by email] and asked that I not be bothered with things that a little fact checking would demonstrate were obviously false. I told the sender that no matter how far Time had slipped, no literate editor would ever allow this statement to appear in print. I directed the email sender to the Tenth Amendment of the Constitution and told him to file his claim about this article in his “O’Bama birther” file.

To my chagrin he fired back the link to this article. I had to read it twice to believe my eyes. Time really did say this.


(emphasis added)  That’s gonna leave a mark.

[Posted and authored by Aaron Worthing.]

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