Patterico's Pontifications


Pressing Super Bowl Debate: Should Richard Sherman Leave The Game If His Girlfriend Goes Into Labor?

Filed under: General — Dana @ 9:14 am

[guest post by Dana]

Yesterday, I caught a surprisingly heated debate on the radio about whether or not Seattle Seahawks player Richard Sherman, who will be a key player in tomorrow’s game against the New England Patriots, should leave the field if girlfriend Ashley Moss goes into labor with their first baby. The baby is due February 12.

Arguing that he should leave the game to be with Moss were several men who expressed their regret at not being able to witness the birth of their own children due to business commitments that kept them away from home and/or military service that kept them out of country. They deeply regretted they missed such a significant moment. Callers also said he should be there because the birth of one’s baby and a lifetime of fatherhood far outweighs a few-hours long football game in terms of importance.

Arguing that Sherman should not leave the game were several callers who believed that his first priority was to the team. Further, they argued that as this is his job, he has an obligation to meet the expectations of his employers. They also felt that Sherman isn’t unique in this as there are many fathers unable to attend the births of their children because of critical obligations (two callers cited military service) which left them no choice in the matter. And finally, the argument was made that the decision to stay on the field and fulfill his commitment would be a good example of a solid work ethic that Sherman could later share with his child.

For his part, coach Pete Carroll is supportive if Sherman opts to skip the game altogether:

“It’s about family first and we will support his decision,” Carroll said before adding that he “can’t wait to see little Petey.”



Twitter Threats to Airplanes on the Rise, Grounding Many Planes

Filed under: General — Patterico @ 7:47 am

Just look at how easy it is to screw with our economy:

Since Saturday at least 20 different U.S. passenger planes have been targeted by bomb threats on Twitter, and federal authorities say even more threats were delivered via social media during that same period but were not publicized.

At least eight threats were posted on Twitter Tuesday from three different accounts.

. . . .

On Saturday, two planes were escorted by fighter jets to Atlanta’s airport after bomb threats were made via Twitter. A day later, a Delta Air Lines jet from Los Angeles to Orlando was diverted to Dallas/Fort Worth International Airport after a threat was made on Twitter.

Authorities are comparing it to SWATting:

While such threats are not new, they said, the high number in a short period forces them to choose between informing the public and inspiring copycats.

They said the activity was akin to the sporadic outbreaks of “Swatting,” in which pranksters try to get SWAT teams to respond to a location where no hostage or other threatening situation is actually occurring.

Swatting was widespread in the L.A. area in 2013, and many celebrities were victimized. Calls or computer messages came into police departments claiming a celebrity was being held at gunpoint, leading to an armed response and creating the potential for injuries.

The LAPD dealt with the issue by refusing to acknowledge or publicly comment on the cases.

Here’s the video report:

We’re told the FBI is on the job. Good luck to them. I’m past the point where I have a high degree of confidence in the ability of the FBI to solve cybercrimes. Maybe they’ll solve these particular crimes, and maybe they won’t. It may depend in part on whether the assigned agents are slugs or talented and skillful operatives; both types exist in the FBI. Success will also certainly depend on some degree of luck.

But what appears certain is that random people behind a computer keyboard can apparently hit a few keystrokes and ground a plane. That should concern everyone.


Rand Paul: Poking Fun At Jeb And Hillary

Filed under: General — Dana @ 5:10 pm

[guest post by Dana]

Slyly killing two dynasties with one stone, Rand Paul released a “fake” phone call between Jeb Bush and Hillary Clinton, humorously mocking the political dynasties of both families:

BUSH: “Hey, Hill. It’s Jeb.”

CLINTON: “Hey, Jeb. To what do I owe this pleasure?”

BUSH: “Well, it’s true — I’m thinking about running for president.”

CLINTON: “Well, Jeb, so am I.”

BUSH: “I just wanted to call and give you a heads-up in hopes we could work something out.”

CLINTON: “What do you mean, Jeb? It’s clearly my turn: Bush, Clinton, Bush. Now, Clinton.”

BUSH: “Well, Hillary, there hasn’t been a Republican White House without a Bush since 1977, and we’re ready to be back.”

CLINTON: “Let me shoot straight with you, Jeb, OK? Bill and I are dead broke and need a place to stay. 1600 Pennsylvania Avenue is calling me home — I’ve still got the back door key. Being president offers a lot more job security than writing another memoir.”

BUSH: “Well, the Bushes have weathered attacks before. And READ MY LIPS, Hillary: We’re not backing down this time.”

CLINTON: “Well, you’re right — maybe we can work something out. We both agree on so many issues: bigger government, Common Core, and amnesty for illegal immigrants.”

BUSH: “Well, we’ve both got problems. You’ve got problems with the grass roots, and I’ve got all those damn conservatives. What say, we make a deal?”

[Call beeps in.]

BUSH: “Sorry, Hillary, but I have to go. Mitt keeps calling.”

CLINTON: “Oh, for crying out loud.”

It’s pretty funny to listen to because the actors’ voices sound just like the real Bush and Clinton.


Facebook: Then And Now

Filed under: General — Dana @ 4:49 pm

[guest post by Dana]

Then: Facebook CEO Mark Zuckerberg right after the Charlie Hedbo attacks:

A few years ago, an extremist in Pakistan fought to have me sentenced to death because Facebook refused to ban content about Mohammed that offended him.

We stood up for this because different voices — even if they’re sometimes offensive — can make the world a better and more interesting place.

Facebook has always been a place where people across the world share their views and ideas. We follow the laws in each country, but we never let one country or group of people dictate what people can share across the world.

Yet as I reflect on yesterday’s attack and my own experience with extremism, this is what we all need to reject — a group of extremists trying to silence the voices and opinions of everyone else around the world.

I won’t let that happen on Facebook. I’m committed to building a service where you can speak freely without fear of violence.

My thoughts are with the victims, their families, the people of France and the people all over the world who choose to share their views and ideas, even when that takes courage. ‪#‎JeSuisCharlie‬

Now: Censoring pictures of Mohammed:

[F]acebook has complied with a Turkish court order demanding the blocking of a page it said offended the Prophet Muhammad.

If the social media platform had refused, the court had threatened to block access to the entire site.

The site is believed to have around 40 million members in Turkey.

Facebook declined to comment but it does have a policy of blocking access to content within a country if it breaks local law.

From an insider:

A person familiar with the matter but not authorized to speak publicly confirmed to the Post that Facebook had acted to “block content so that it’s no longer visible in Turkey following a valid legal request.”

In less than a month, Zuckerberg (and Facebook) went from a #Je Suis Charlie champion of free speech to straight-up censorship.

The question of why Zuckerberg would choose to practice that which he condemned a short while ago instead of refusing to censor as ordered and be blacked out or pull out of the country altogether was addressed by Zuckerberg himself:

This gets to the heart of our mission. We want to help connect everyone and give people a voice. A government passing a law that you can’t say something is one barrier against people having a voice.

We try to push back whenever we get requests to block something. We review every request to make sure it’s within the law.

I can’t think of many examples in history when a company not shutting down in the face of a law and getting banned helped change that law. But continuing to operate can help the country in other ways, such as allowing people to connect with loved ones, learn, and find jobs. So I think overwhelmingly our responsibility is to continue operating.

He also stated that pulling out of a country like Turkey wouldn’t impact him that much financially as there are already countries the company does not do business in. Yet, if that’s so, then what has he got to lose by standing firm on his #Je Suis Charlie credo? Why not be consistent so people won’t suspect you as being a sellout? But perhaps it’s a bit too late for any assumed altruism:

Censoring images at the request of a government notorious for punishing dissenting and offensive speech—a government led by a man who considers social media sites evil—is about keeping Facebook’s sense of responsibility to its shareholders, who want market growth and revenue, not about adopting an ameliorative censorship policy to help people in Turkey communicate.

And for the record, the old adage, where there’s a will, there’s a way was never more true than when Twitter was banned in Turkey and unsurprisingly, the social media’s site traffic from the country increased. Go figure.


A.G. Nominee Loretta Lynch: Illegal Imigrants Have a “Right” to Work in This Country

Filed under: General — Patterico @ 7:40 am

A.G. nominee Loretta Lynch faced questioning yesterday, and in responding to questions from Jeff Sessions, she said that illegal immigrants have a “right” to work in the United States:

SEN. SESSIONS: Let me ask you this: In the workplace of America today when we have a high number of unemployed, we’ve had declining wages for many years, we have the lowest percentage of Americans working, who has more right to a job in this country? A lawful immigrant who’s here, a green-card holder or a citizen, or a person who entered the country unlawfully?

LYNCH: Well, Senator, I believe that the right and the obligation to work is one that’s shared by everyone in this country regardless of how they came here. And certainly, if someone here, regardless of status, I would prefer that they be participating in the workplace than not participating in the workplace…

Sessions went on to ask whether she would take action against an employer who said: I’m going to give preferential treatment in hiring to U.S. citizens over illegal immigrants holding Obama-issued work permits. She dodged that one.

Some of the best questioning has come from Ted Cruz, who asked Lynch if “prosecutorial discretion” could justify non-deportation of all illegal immigrants. She dodged that one too, as you can see in the video below. Cruz asked the question a second time, and she said she could not answer the question. Cruz asked her three times if she had ever issued permits for people to violate the law, and she ultimately said no, because the U.S. Attorney’s Office is not a licensing agency.

Critically, he asked Lynch whether a President could simply decline to enforce tax laws. After one dodge, there was this exchange, which I present a transcript for below, in order to give you a flavor of the direct questions and circuitous circumlocutions that passed for answers:

CRUZ: Let me ask about your understanding of prosecutorial discretion. Would it allow a subsequent president — President Cornyn — to state that there are other laws that the administration will not enforce – labor laws, environmental laws – would it allow a President Cornyn to say every existing federal labor law shall heretofore not apply to the state of Texas because I am using my prosecutorial discretion to refuse to enforce those laws? In your judgment, would that be constitutional?

LYNCH: Well, I certainly can’t imagine President Cornyn taking that step. [Laughter] But with respect to the hypothetical you present, again, Senator, again, I would have to know what legal basis was being proposed for that. And certainly I would review that law. And if I were the person providing advice to future President Cornyn, advise him as to whether or not there was a legal framework for it, or whether there was not a legal framework for it. If there was not, that would be the advice that I would provide to him.

CRUZ: I must say I find it remarkable that you are unable to answer that question. I can answer it straightforward. It would be patently unconstitutional for any subsequent President to refuse to enforce the tax laws, or the labor laws, or the immigration laws for the very same reason that President Obama’s actions refusing to [en]force immigration laws are unconstitutional. And it is discouraging that a nominee who hopes to serve as Attorney General will not give a straightforward answer to that question.

By most accounts, Lynch is a well-respected prosecutor with a record of fairness. That being said, she is supporting (or refusing to take issue with) the unlawful actions of the President who nominated her. I guess one could say that’s what she “has” to do — but I don’t think that saying what you need to say, knowing that you’re not being forthright, in order to promote your career, is admirable behavior. It’s common behavior, to be sure — I’m not naive — but it’s not admirable.

Lynch is probably a very nice person and a good prosecutor. I would vote against her nomination if I were in the Senate, and I support any Senator who does vote no on her nomination.

Relatively few will.

Ted Cruz will.


Analysis of the Judge’s Refusal to Dismiss the Rick Perry Indictment

Filed under: General — Patterico @ 9:00 pm

I said this morning that I would try to comment on the judge’s order regarding the Rick Perry indictment. Here you go. I’m going to keep this short, but in order to do so, I am assuming your familiarity with this detailed post of mine from August 2014 in which I pulled apart the indictment piece by piece. (Thanks to DRJ for providing a link to the order, by the way.)

The order is not crazy on its face, though the prosecution is.

The judge first makes the point that settled Texas law holds that “as applied” constitutional challenges cannot be raised before trial. That may be, but I don’t understand the logic, given that specific evidence was presented to the grand jury and the indictments were based on that evidence. Why can’t Perry argue that the statute is unconstitutional as applied to the facts as presented to the grand jury? I don’t understand why he can’t.

Further: as to Count I, the judge is saying that Perry is claiming that you can’t criminalize a veto in this way — but the judge can’t rule on that question now, because the indictment doesn’t specifically say they are bringing the charge based on the veto. They are, of course, as I demonstrated last August — this is beyond rational dispute. But the judge says as a technical matter, if they didn’t allege it, he can’t rule on the question right now. He does suggest that, if that is the prosecution theory, Perry can legally demand that prosecutors specify how he misused property, and make them allege that he did so by way of a veto. Then, maybe, the judge can rule on the question of whether a veto can violate this law. (Which, of course, it can’t!) But he can’t make such a ruling yet — not until the indictment says it is targeting the veto.

(Again, I don’t understand why the judge can’t examine the evidence presented to the grand jury and conclude that their only evidence of action by Perry on the date alleged is a veto. I guess this is some procedural quirk I don’t understand.)

As to Count II, as I explained last August, there is a statutory exception that clearly applies to Perry’s conduct. Perry said the indictment needs to explain how that exception doesn’t apply, and the judge agrees — but he says the remedy for that failure is amendment, not dismissal. I don’t see how they can validly get outside the exception, as I previously explained — so maybe once they amend, this too will be ripe to decide.

There is an interesting footnote that claims that Count II is really a misdemeanor because Perry did not threaten to commit a felony. I suspect McCrum would argue that Perry threatened to commit the felony described in Count I, which (as we know) is the veto. Apparently the judge doesn’t see it that way.

This decision could be read as a road map for Perry’s lawyers to place the case in a procedural posture where it can be dismissed. Once the indictment clearly says Count I is based on a veto, and makes its pathetic attempt to show how Count II survives the statutory exception, the judge may be saying, I can then finally toss this puppy.

But maybe not. As DRJ reminds us, this judge is the same judge who appointed McCrum to begin with — after McCrum gave him a donation (narciso reminds us) — and what’s more, the judge had to get special permission to rule on this motion, because he has been elected to an appellate court. To me, that all sounds wrong, but maybe I don’t understand Texas procedure.

But to me, it sounds like Perry’s lawyers should can the appeal, and get busy writing the new motions the judge has suggested they should write.

Democratic Congresswoman Mans Up To Point Out The Obvious To John Kerry

Filed under: General — Dana @ 7:34 pm

[guest post by Dana]

A Democratic Congresswoman who expressed frustration with John Kerry and his refusal to identify the enemy has once again not only attacked the foolishness of his verbal gymnastics but the foolishness of his rationalization as well. Tulsi Gabbard points out the obvious:

“The first thing we have to understand, it’s not just about words, it’s not about semantics, it’s about having a real true understanding of who our enemy is,” Gabbard told Greta Van Susteren on Fox News. “A couple of days ago Secretary Kerry said in a speech that ISIS and al Qaeda are engaging in, quote, criminal conduct rooted in alienation, poverty, thrill seeking and other factors. Now if we really look at what he’s saying and if that’s really the cause, then the solution would be to give them a trophy, give them a hug, give them a good paying job, $10,000, and a skateboard so they can go and get their thrills.”

“Unfortunately we have people who are living in poverty all around the world, people who have this same feeling of alienation from their government but they’re not terrorists. So we’ve got to look at what their ideology is and how that’s fueling these tragic attacks that keep occurring.”


Hezbollah Attacks Israeli Patrol, Killing Two. . .

Filed under: General — JVW @ 4:39 pm

[guest post by JVW]

. . . and some members of Lebanon’s Tehran-allied puppet government claim it’s a ploy by Netanyahu in the run-up to the Israeli elections. You just can’t underestimate the level of paranoia that is entrenched in the anti-Israel mindset.


Judge Refuses to Toss Rick Perry Indictment

Filed under: General — Patterico @ 7:53 am

What a shame.

A Texas judge on Tuesday refused to dismiss a felony abuse-of-power case against former Gov. Rick Perry on constitutional grounds, ruling that criminal charges against the possible 2016 presidential candidate should stand.

In 44 pages of decisions and orders, District Judge Bert Richardson, who like Perry is a Republican, rejected calls from Perry’s pricy defense team to toss the case because its client was acting within his rights as chief executive of America’s second-most populous state when he publicly threatened, then carried out, a 2013 veto of state funding for public corruption prosecutors.

Richardson wrote that, “Texas law clearly precludes a trial court from making a pretrial determination regarding the constitutionality of a state penal or criminal procedural statute as the statue applies to a particular defendant.”

This prosecution is a joke. I’ll try to find the judge’s order tonight and comment on it.

Matt Lewis on Why Income Inequality Is Awful

Filed under: General — Patterico @ 7:29 am

And envy is awesome. But free markets are what help the poor. “[T]he poor not only earned the highest average income in the countries with the most economic freedom but also earned a slightly larger share of the income pie.” The only problematic income inequality is that caused by the government. Free the markets and poor people benefit, Matt Lewis. Here’s a bonus: Nineteen Neglected Consequences of Income Redistribution.

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