Patterico's Pontifications


Weiner Has Shouting Match with Voter Who Calls His Behavior “Deviant”

Filed under: General — Patterico @ 6:27 pm

I see people playing up the fact that this is a Jewish voter and this is the eve of Rosh Hashanah, but I don’t think that makes much of a difference. A buffoon is a buffoon no matter who his opponent.

The video is extraordinary entertainment for those of you who enjoy freeway pile-ups and major train wrecks.

This is the real Anthony Weiner. The teary-eyed guy who followed up Andrew Breitbart at that press conference in June 2011 was a fake. The real one is UNAPOLOGETIC and he will FIGHT HIS CRITICS no matter how big a jerk it makes him look.

The real Anthony Weiner, by the way, is running at 7% in the polls and is going to get crushed in the primary.

I wish Andrew Breitbart had lived to see this Anthony Weiner. It will be such a pleasure to watch him go down in flames.

UPDATE: A Twitchy post has an update with a longer video and a statement from a spokesperson claiming the guy in the video called Weiner a “scumbag” and complained he was “married to an Arab.”

I hear the guy saying Weiner is a scumbag and I hear someone saying Weiner is married to an Arab. I can’t tell if the guy Weiner argued with is the one who made the “married to an Arab” comment. I will note that Weiner never brings up that comment in the argument as the reason he is upset, and the guy Weiner argued with berated Weiner for betraying his wife, the person he was closest to. The argument seemed not to be about any insult to Weiner’s wife, but Weiner’s pique over being told his deviant behavior is deviant. So forgive me if I don’t leap on the bandwagon of people quoted in Twitchy’s update saying they owe Weiner an apology.

Brett Kimberlin Sues R.S. McCain, Aaron Walker, William Hoge, Ali Akbar, and “Kimberlin Unmasked”

Filed under: General — Patterico @ 5:43 pm

The joint statement is at McCain’s blog and Hoge’s blog, and reads as follows:

Convicted felon Brett Kimberlin has filed a Maryland lawsuit naming bloggers Aaron Walker, W. J. J. Hoge, Robert Stacy McCain, National Bloggers Club President Ali A. Akbar and the anonymous blogger “Kimberlin Unmasked” as defendants.

The defendants believe that the suit is without merit and is part of Kimberlin’s continued effort to use lawfare to silence journalists and bloggers who have written about Kimberlin’s criminal past. The defendants will not be made available for comment until they have finished initial consultations their respective legal counsel.

Until a complaint is made public, only limited comment can be made. A search of court records reveals the complaint is for “DEFAMATION, MALICIOUS PROSECUTION, HARASSMENT, STALKING, CONSPIRACY, INVASION OF PRIVACY AND INTENTIONAL INFLICTION OF EMOTIONAL DISTRESS.” It sounds like “accuse the accusers” on steroids, doesn’t it?

It will be fascinating to see how Kimberlin tries to assert that his reputation has been damaged — given that he has been convicted of setting off multiple bombs, one of which blew off a man’s leg, causing him to commit suicide. Doesn’t that tend to harm one’s reputation quite a bit more than stuff said by bloggers on the Internet?

Anyway, I just made some donations. Consider doing the same.

UPDATE: Interesting. Hoge suggests that Kimberlin is upset at having been called a “pedophile.” Ken from Popehat offers this analysis in Hoge’s comments, which I will quote in full:

To put it in boring legal terms — which are now in play –

The statement “X is a pedophile” is not defamatory if it is true; only false statements are defamatory.

In addition, it cannot be defamatory if it is a statement of opinion rather than a statement of fact. Whether or not a statement is opinion or fact depends on the context, and on whether the statement implies undisclosed facts. For instance, “I’ve reviewed Y’s tax returns and it is my opinion that he is an embezzler” implies undisclosed facts, and therefore can be defamatory even though it is couched as opinion. On the other hand “based on these two articles in the paper, Z is a thief” is classic opinion.

This can apply just as easily to a statement “X is a pedophile.” Consider Torain v. Liu, 279 Fed.Appx. 46 (2nd Cir. 2008). There the Second Circuit affirmed a summary judgment against a plaintiff who complained that the defendant called him a pedophile. The Second Circuit found that the circumstances showed that the statement was one of opinion based on disclosed facts:

“Having reviewed the statements in the overall context that they were made, see Brian, 87 N.Y.2d at 51, 637 N.Y.S.2d 347, 660 N.E.2d 1126, we conclude that a reasonable listener could not have believed that the statements were intended to convey objective facts. While Torain is correct that the term “pedophile” may be used in a way that has a precise meaning and that is capable of being proven true or false, see id., no reasonable listener could *47 have perceived Liu’s statements, in the context that they were made, to convey that Torain had committed acts of pedophilia. Rather, Liu was clearly expressing his disdain for Torain’s comments on the radio that he wanted to sexually abuse the four-year-old child of a rival disc jockey, using the term “pedophile” as an entirely warranted expression of opinion in view of the statements concerning the plaintiff’s intended conduct, statements which Liu does not dispute he made over the airwaves. Cf. Old Dominion Branch No. 496, Nat’l Ass’n of Letter Carriers v. Austin, 418 U.S. 264, 285, 94 S.Ct. 2770, 41 L.Ed.2d 745 (1974) (explaining that the use of the term “blackmail” to describe the plaintiff’s negotiating position was non-actionable because “even the most careless reader must have perceived that the word was no more than rhetorical hyperbole, a vigorous epithet used by those who considered [the plaintiff’s] position extremely unreasonable”). Torain himself admits that his “war of words,” as he describes his remarks, received “extensive media coverage and commentary.” Compl. at ¶ 7. It is within this surrounding circumstance that we must examine Liu’s statements and how a reasonable listener would have perceived them.1 Thus, for example, when Liu described Torain as a “criminal” and as someone who “must be put behind bars,” a reasonable listener would have easily perceived that Liu was expressing his opinion that Torain should be imprisoned for his harassing on-the-air remarks, not for committing actual acts of pedophilia.2 In short, when examined in the context in which they were made, we conclude that none of Liu’s statements would “reasonably appear to state or imply assertions of objective fact.” Immuno AG. v. Moor-Jankowski, 77 N.Y.2d 235, 243, 566 N.Y.S.2d 906, 567 N.E.2d 1270 (1991).”

And that is merely the first case I found on Westlaw in about three minutes. I suspect there are more about the use of the word “pedophile” (or words to similar effect), and there are tons of cases about epithets like “crook” and “criminal” and “thief” and so on.

The context of your posts makes it clear that you are stating an opinion based on disclosed facts — namely, Kimberlin’s reported statements and the undisputed age of his wife at the time he married her. It will be very, very difficult for him to establish that your statements were ones of fact for purposes of defamation analysis.

I’m not 100% clear whether the age of Kimberlin’s wife at the time he married her is undisputed. I know that I saw documents making different claims about that point in various places. I doubt this lawsuit gets to discovery, but if it does, that’s obviously a point that will be fleshed out. If Kimberlin is truly suing for defamation for being called a pedophile, obviously any discovery would have to delve deep into any evidence regarding whether the accusation is true.

Barbra Streisand might have some advice for Kimberlin on this point. Maybe she could write him a note and attach it to one of those checks she sends him. (Does she still do that, I wonder?)

Anyway. This thing is not screaming “good judgment” or “legally meritorious” to me so far, which I have to admit does not particularly surprise me.

UPDATE x2: Instapundit with a typically incisive, one-line quote linking McCain: “BRETT KIMBERLIN’S PLAN TO AVOID UNWANTED INTERNET ATTENTION doesn’t seem very well thought-out.”

Heh, as they say. Indeed.

Jury: Black Man’s Use of N-Word in Workplace Was Discrimination

Filed under: General — Patterico @ 7:46 am


In a case that gave a legal airing to the debate over use of the N-word among blacks, a federal jury has rejected a black manager’s argument that it was a term of love and endearment when he aimed it at black employee.

Jurors awarded $30,000 in punitive damages Tuesday after finding last week that the manager’s four-minute rant was hostile and discriminatory, and awarding $250,000 in compensatory damages.

(Employers of mine: call me whatever you like for four minutes, as long as you pay me $280,000 afterwards!)

Popehat has an amusing post mocking how news outlets have turned this jury into an appellate court or legislature, setting blanket rules for the world on how the n-word can be used. Here’s an example of the kind of lede mocked by Popehat:

A federal jury has rejected an argument that the use of the N-word among blacks can be a culturally acceptable term of love and endearment, ruling instead that its use in the workplace is hostile and discriminatory no matter what.


The reason these stories are laughably wrong is the same reason it is difficult to have an opinion on this verdict without seeing the evidence: the jury’s determination is fact-specific, based on facts and circumstances not available to us.

But lack of specifics never prevented blog commenters from having an opinion! So opine away.

(I joke, of course, but there is a legitimate debate that can be had about the topic in general.)

Obama: I Didn’t Set a Red Line

Filed under: General — Patterico @ 7:39 am

From the man who loves to look you in the eye, and lie:

President Barack Obama said Wednesday the “red line” he previously spoke of regarding the use of chemical weapons in Syria wasn’t his own, but the world’s. “I didn’t set a red line. The world set a red line. The world set a red line when governments representing 98%” of the world’s population “passed a treaty forbidding (chemical weapons) use, even when countries are engaged in war,” Obama said in Sweden.

Then why isn’t the world talking about engaging in military action, Mr. President? Why is it only us?

Hey, but don’t worry. The language that has been proposed says Obama can use whatever force he deems “necessary and appropriate” — but it also has to be “limited and tailored.” Whatever that means.

You trust him, right?

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