Patterico's Pontifications


John Paul Stevens (1920-2019)

Filed under: Law — DRJ @ 7:44 pm

[Headline from DRJ]

John Paul Stevens dies at 99:

John Paul Stevens, a moderate Republican and former antitrust lawyer from Chicago who evolved into a savvy and sometimes passionate leader of the Supreme Court’s liberal wing and became the third-longest-serving justice on the court before he retired in 2010, died July 16 at a hospital in Fort Lauderdale, Fla. He was 99.

The cause was complications from a stroke he suffered Monday, according to an announcement from the Supreme Court. The only justices who served longer were William O. Douglas, whom Justice Stevens replaced in 1975, and Stephen J. Field, a nominee of President Abraham Lincoln who served for much of the late 19th century.



Ross Perot (1930-2019)

Filed under: General — DRJ @ 7:40 pm

[Headlines from DRJ]

Ross Perot died July 9, 2019. He was a fascinating man — a self-made billionaire who loved his country and his family, and a humanitarian who inspired people.

Ross Perot leaves many legacies, including helping our wounded military. To many military families he was an angel:

This week, the nation remembers Ross Perot for his success in business, his two independent White House bids and his no-nonsense, straight Texas talk. His love of country, larger-than-life personality and generosity are all part of his legacy that will live on. But there is another little-known part of the life of Ross Perot that should be told now that he is gone. He was a tireless, but private, supporter of our wounded veterans.

God bless Ross Perot.


PS – A Texas Monthly farewell to Ross Perot for Texans.

Early Termination: Leana Wen Ousted As President Of Planned Parenthood

Filed under: General — Dana @ 3:47 pm

[guest post by Dana]

She was not given a choice.

Planned Parenthood President Dr. Wen tweeted this earlier today:

“I just learned that the @PPFA Board ended my employment at a secret meeting,” she tweeted. “We were engaged in good faith negotiations about my departure based on philosophical differences over the direction and future of Planned Parenthood.”

She subsequently released this statement:

As a physician and public health leader, I came to Planned Parenthood to lead a national health organization that provides essential primary and preventive care to millions of underserved women and families, and to advocate for a broad range of policies that affect our patients’ health. I believe that the way to protect abortion care is to be clear that it is not a political issue but a health care one, and that we can expand support for reproductive rights by finding common ground with the large majority of Americans who understand reproductive health care as the fundamental health care that it is.

I am leaving because the new Board Chairs and have philosophical difference over the direction and future of Planned Parenthood. It has been an honor and privilege to serve alongside dedicated doctors, nurses, clinicians, staff and volunteers who are on the frontlines of health care in our country. I will always stand with Planned Parenthood, as I continue my life’s’ work and mission of care for and fighting for women, families, and communities.

Planned Parenthood has always been and will always be, first and foremost, about abortion.

Apparently there were concerns about her management style that were unable to be resolved:

“This had everything to do with her management style and challenges with her leadership,” the source said, requesting anonymity to speak freely. “Everything from creating a culture of mistrust among staff, having a very insular communication style. Only wanting to talk and communicate with a small number of people she brought in. Not wanting to work with existing experts.”

But here’s the real bottom line: Wen was not seen as forceful enough in the fight to protect abortion rights. This is an especially critical time for the abortion industry given that the presidential election is right around the corner and that a number of states have recently pushed through life-protecting legislation:

The people familiar with the move said there had been internal strife over her management, and that the group felt it needed a more aggressive political leader to fight the efforts to roll back access to abortions.

C’mon people, quotas must be met! Through the ninth month, we let nothing come between a baby and the blade! Those Lamborghinis aren’t gonna buy themselves, are they?!

(Cross-posted at The Jury Talks Back.)


No Federal Charges For NYPD Officer In Eric Garner’s Death

Filed under: General — Dana @ 1:46 pm

[guest post by Dana]

The decision comes one day before the deadline for charges to be filed:

A New York City police officer will not face federal charges in the death of Eric Garner, the unarmed black man heard in a video repeatedly saying “I can’t breathe” after he was put in an apparent chokehold, according to a person familiar with the case.

The Justice Department on Tuesday concluded its five-year investigation and will not bring civil rights or criminal charges against NYPD Officer Daniel Pantaleo, who was seen in the video with his arm around Garner’s neck.

This is rather interesting:

Attorney General William Barr made the decision not to bring charges against Pantaleo, siding with a Justice Department team from New York over the Civil Rights Division in Washington, due to concerns that prosecutors could not successfully prove the officer acted willfully, a senior Justice Department official said.


[A]ttorneys in the Civil Rights Division thought charges could have been filed, according to two DOJ officials.

Brooklyn U.S. Attorney Richard P. Donoghue said today:

“Like many of you, I have watched that video many times, and each time I’ve watched it, I’m left with the same reaction: that the death of Eric Garner was a tragedy,” Donoghue said. “The job of a federal prosecutor, however, is not to let our emotions dictate our decisions. Our job is to review the evidence gathered during the investigation, like the video, to assess whether we can prove that a federal crime was committed.”

“The video and the other evidence gathered in the investigation does not establish beyond a reasonable doubt that Officer Pantaleo acted willfully in violation of federal law,” Donoghue said.

Garner’s cause of death was listed by the city’s medical examiner as a “compression of neck (choke hold), compression of chest and prone positioning during physical restraint by police.”

Officer Pantaleo was stripped of his gun and badge and was placed on desk duty in 2014. At that time, the president of the city’s largest police union called Pantaleo’s reassignment a “completely unwarranted, knee-jerk reaction.”

Gwen Carr, mother of Eric Garner said today about the decision:

We’re here with heavy hearts because the DOJ has failed us. Although we looked for better from them, five years ago my son said ‘I can’t breathe’ 11 times, and today we can’t breathe because they have let us down.

Tomorrow will mark five years since Garner’s death.

(Cross-posted at The Jury Talks Back.)


UAE Tanker missing in Strait of Hormuz (UPDATED)

Filed under: International — DRJ @ 8:26 am

[Headline from DRJ]

United Arab Emirates oil tanker vanishes after drifting into Iranian waters:

DUBAI, United Arab Emirates (AP) — Tracking data shows an oil tanker based in the United Arab Emirates traveling through the Strait of Hormuz drifted off into Iranian waters and stopped transmitting its location over two days ago, raising concerns Tuesday about its status amid heightened tensions between Iran and the US.

It isn’t clear what happened to the Panamanian-flagged oil tanker Riah late on Saturday night.

However, its last position showed it pointing toward Iran. Oil tankers have previously been targeted as the Persian Gulf region took center stage in a crisis over Iran’s unraveling nuclear deal with world powers.

A former Iranian Revolutionary Guards commander recently threatened to seize a British oil tanker in retribution for the British Royal Marines detaining an oil tanker in Gibraltar last Thursdsy. It was suspected of carrying oil to Syria in violation of EU sanctions.

Iran described the seizure as a dangerous game, and Britain said it would release the tanker if Iran provided certain assurances.

UPDATE: Iran Says Missing Tanker Had Problems and Was Towed for Repairs:

The disappearance was first reported by CNN, which said U.S. intelligence increasingly believed the tanker had been forced into Iranian waters by Iran’s Islamic Revolutionary Guard Corps but that some Gulf sources suggested the ship simply broke down and was towed by Iran.

Earlier, a United Arab Emirates official said the ship isn’t owned or operated by the U.A.E. and hadn’t sent out a distress call.

While details are unclear, if the Riah was seized, it would seem an unusual target for Iran. The vessel is 30 years old and tiny. Its capacity is 2,000 dead weight tons, according to the MarineTraffic website. That’s only a fraction of the almost 160,000-ton capacity of the British Heritage, the U.K. oil tanker harassed by Iranian ships last week while exiting the Persian Gulf.

Coincidentally, it had to turn off its tracker, too.

UPDATE 7/18/2019: Iran’s Revolutionary Guards impound foreign ship in the Gulf: state TV

Iran’s Revolutionary Guards has seized a foreign ship smuggling fuel in the Gulf, state television quoted Iran’s elite force as saying in a statement on Thursday.
Iranian state TV earlier said the seized vessel was the same one Iran towed after it sent a distress call on Sunday, but there was no confirmation of this in the statement issued by the Revolutionary Guards about the impounded vessel.

UPDATE 7/20/2019: Splash 247:

Iranian state television, quoting Iran’s Revolutionary Guards, said yesterday the Riah, a 1,899 dwt product tanker managed by Dubai’s Prime Tankers, was intercepted south of Iran’s Larak Island on Sunday after issuing a distress call. According to, Larak Island is where empty Iranian tankers tend to wait for loading instructions.

“A foreign vessel smuggling 1m litres of fuel in the Larak Island of the Persian Gulf has been seized,” the TV station said. “The vessel that Iran towed to its waters after receiving a distress call was later seized with the order from the court as we found out that it was smuggling fuel.”

The Riah has 12 crew onboard.


This Week’s Crime Survey

Filed under: Crime — DRJ @ 7:47 am

[Headlines from DRJ]

This won’t be an exhaustive survey but let’s look at some of this week’s crime headlines:

Machetes And Mayhem: DoJ Unveils MS-13 Racketeering And Murder Indictment:

Bet on this becoming a White House talking point by the end of the day. The Department of Justice unveiled an indictment against a virulent MS-13 gang in Los Angeles for racketeering and murder, but even those charges understate the bloodthirsty nature of the crimes. 

AP source: NY cop won’t be charged in Garner chokehold death:

Federal prosecutors won’t bring civil rights charges against a New York City police officer in the 2014 chokehold death of Eric Garner, a person familiar with the matter said Tuesday.

Discuss here: No Charges For NYPD Officer In Eric Garner’s Death.

Former South Pasadena nursing home recruited felons as patients, police chief says:

A nursing home that ran afoul of the state partly because it recruited convicted felons, probationers, rapists and robbers as patients is under new ownership, a city official said Wednesday.

Instead of a median age of about 75 years old, residents at the former South Pasadena Convalescent Hospital had an average age of 37, Police Chief Arthur Miller said. He accused the former nursing home of sending recruiting teams to Los Angeles to get new patients.

Fired Cleveland cop was ‘known associate’ of Norwegian chapter of the Hells Angels, records say:

Cleveland police became aware of his history after the city posted a photo of Simmons next to Mayor Frank Jackson on Facebook while being sworn in as a police officer, the records say.

Mats Bjornstad, a police superintendent with KRIPOS, the National Criminal Investigation Service in Norway, spotted members of the Hells Angels Orslo gang comment on the Facebook post, according to the records.

These families made a fortune with pot illegally. Now, pot is paying the bills again:

Smack in the middle of Brandie Lanier’s spare bedroom is something that underlines just how much America has changed in the decades since her famous father, a champion race car driver, was busted as one of the most prolific marijuana smugglers South Florida and the country have ever seen.

There, inside a special tent, is a bountiful crop of plants: cannabis, shining purple under bright artificial lights. Lanier lives in Colorado, where recreational marijuana has been legal since 2014. The plants are her personal stash, her “home grow.” She also makes her living in the state’s booming pot industry, providing medical marijuana to the ever-expanding Denver dispensaries.

‘Justice wasn’t served’: 50 years since Chappaquiddick

The crash ended a young woman’s life, and with it, a man’s White House dreams.


Olé for Guacamole!

Filed under: General — DRJ @ 7:43 am

[Headline from DRJ]

Where’s the guac? Austin restaurants hit with skyrocketing avocado prices:

Do you love avocados in your tacos, fanned across a sandwich or salad, or coloring a dish of raw fish? The price of your affection might be going up at restaurants around town.

Wholesale prices for avocados imported from Mexico have more than doubled in the past month, according to Austin restaurant owners, leaving restaurateurs scrambling for ways to respond. Consumers are also seeing higher prices at grocery stores. The increases are caused by where we are in the growing season and a tightened supply, which is controlled by producers, according to industry experts.

I also wonder if suppliers and consumers bought extra last month, due to the possibility of tariffs on Mexico, and that impacted the market?


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