Patterico's Pontifications



Filed under: General — Dana @ 4:03 pm

[guest post by Dana]

This is a thread not about coronavirus per se, but rather it’s about what you’ve been doing to occupy yourselves with during this strange time we find ourselves in. Some of us are in states under “stay at home” orders, “lockdowns,” or where restrictions vary. Regardless, tell us about your days, your distractions, and how it’s all impacting you on a personal level. Because there may be a tendency during social distancing and isolation to get depressed, especially if you live alone or are simply not hard-wired for a solitary life, this is a place to come together and just talk and listen to your virtual neighbors. And to be reminded that you’re not alone.

Anyway, I’ve been doing a lot of walking in my neighborhood, and hiking in a nearby canyon. For me, the engulfing silence of an open-air cathedral is salve to my worried soul. That the weather has ranged anywhere from dark, stormy skies to brilliant blues ones makes this favorite distraction that much more enjoyable. Of course the recent rains have only helped with the presentation, given that everything that is now a dazzling shade of green will be a parched expanse of brown come August. Below are some photos from a few different hikes during this uncertain season.

Looking forward to hearing from you.






About That Story Claiming DoJ Is Seeking Indefinite Detention of Americans

Filed under: General — Patterico @ 10:20 am

A story from Politico (cached link; no links for bullies!) is titled DOJ seeks new emergency powers amid coronavirus pandemic.

The Justice Department has quietly asked Congress for the ability to ask chief judges to detain people indefinitely without trial during emergencies — part of a push for new powers that comes as the coronavirus spreads through the United States.

. . . .

The move has tapped into a broader fear among civil liberties advocates and Donald Trump’s critics — that the president will use a moment of crisis to push for controversial policy changes. Already, he has cited the pandemic as a reason for heightening border restrictions and restricting asylum claims. He has also pushed for further tax cuts as the economy withers, arguing that it would soften the financial blow to Americans. And even without policy changes, Trump has vast emergency powers that he could legally deploy right now to try and slow the coronavirus outbreak.

It sounds concerning, but I’ll hand the mic to Orin Kerr for a moment.

The “indefinite detention” claim comes from this part of the story:

In one of the documents, the department proposed that Congress grant the attorney general power to ask the chief judge of any district court to pause court proceedings “whenever the district court is fully or partially closed by virtue of any natural disaster, civil disobedience, or other emergency situation.”

The proposal would also grant those top judges broad authority to pause court proceedings during emergencies. It would apply to “any statutes or rules of procedure otherwise affecting pre-arrest, post-arrest, pre-trial, trial, and post-trial procedures in criminal and juvenile proceedings and all civil process and proceedings,” according to draft legislative language the department shared with Congress. In making the case for the change, the DOJ document wrote that individual judges can currently pause proceedings during emergencies, but that their proposal would make sure all judges in any particular district could handle emergencies “in a consistent manner.”

I bolded the part that should be grabbing your attention, which the media has failed to emphasize. Individual judges already have these powers — because we’re only talking about situations where there are emergencies that close courts. The proposal is to give that authority to chief judges, so there is uniformity in the district. Kerr observes that giving the power to the chief judge that is currently held by individual judges could be a bad idea or it could be a good one, but it’s hardly the sweeping change that the article makes it out to be.

I’m very sensitive to the possibility of Trump grabbing power in a time of crisis. Believe me. I think he has an authoritarian mindset and has needed only a crisis to translate that mindset into action. I figured the crisis, if it happened, would be terrorism. But a pandemic works too. The point about a crisis is that the populace happily agrees to the power grabs, because crisis! and somebody has to do something! That’s what makes a crisis so dangerous to the body politic. I get the concerns. I really do.

I’m just not sure this is the premier example of a dangerous power grab we’re on guard against.

Here in Los Angeles, you’re typically brought before a judge within 48 hours. But that’s 48 hours when the courts are open. Arrested on a Thursday, or the Wednesday before Thanksgiving, you’re in until the following Monday. Now that has been extended to seven days, I am told. It’s not good for people who would otherwise be getting bail. But things change in emergencies. The courts are doing their best, but some things are getting paused.

This kind of thing could become dangerous, but I don’t think we’re there.

Sunday Music: Bach Cantata BWV 38

Filed under: Bach Cantatas,General,Music — Patterico @ 12:19 am

It is the fourth Sunday in Lent. My church service is again canceled today and I hope you can worship with me in music once again. Today’s Bach cantata is “Aus tiefer Not schrei ich zu dir” (Out of deep anguish I call to You):

Today’s Gospel reading is John 9:1-41:

Jesus Heals a Man Born Blind

As he went along, he saw a man blind from birth. His disciples asked him, “Rabbi, who sinned, this man or his parents, that he was born blind?”

“Neither this man nor his parents sinned,” said Jesus, “but this happened so that the works of God might be displayed in him. As long as it is day, we must do the works of him who sent me. Night is coming, when no one can work. While I am in the world, I am the light of the world.”

After saying this, he spit on the ground, made some mud with the saliva, and put it on the man’s eyes. “Go,” he told him, “wash in the Pool of Siloam” (this word means “Sent”). So the man went and washed, and came home seeing.

His neighbors and those who had formerly seen him begging asked, “Isn’t this the same man who used to sit and beg?” Some claimed that he was.

Others said, “No, he only looks like him.”

But he himself insisted, “I am the man.”

“How then were your eyes opened?” they asked.

He replied, “The man they call Jesus made some mud and put it on my eyes. He told me to go to Siloam and wash. So I went and washed, and then I could see.”

“Where is this man?” they asked him.

“I don’t know,” he said.

The Pharisees Investigate the Healing

They brought to the Pharisees the man who had been blind. Now the day on which Jesus had made the mud and opened the man’s eyes was a Sabbath. Therefore the Pharisees also asked him how he had received his sight. “He put mud on my eyes,” the man replied, “and I washed, and now I see.”

Some of the Pharisees said, “This man is not from God, for he does not keep the Sabbath.”

But others asked, “How can a sinner perform such signs?” So they were divided.

Then they turned again to the blind man, “What have you to say about him? It was your eyes he opened.”

The man replied, “He is a prophet.”

They still did not believe that he had been blind and had received his sight until they sent for the man’s parents. “Is this your son?” they asked. “Is this the one you say was born blind? How is it that now he can see?”

“We know he is our son,” the parents answered, “and we know he was born blind. But how he can see now, or who opened his eyes, we don’t know. Ask him. He is of age; he will speak for himself.” His parents said this because they were afraid of the Jewish leaders, who already had decided that anyone who acknowledged that Jesus was the Messiah would be put out of the synagogue. That was why his parents said, “He is of age; ask him.”

A second time they summoned the man who had been blind. “Give glory to God by telling the truth,” they said. “We know this man is a sinner.”

He replied, “Whether he is a sinner or not, I don’t know. One thing I do know. I was blind but now I see!”

Then they asked him, “What did he do to you? How did he open your eyes?”

He answered, “I have told you already and you did not listen. Why do you want to hear it again? Do you want to become his disciples too?”

Then they hurled insults at him and said, “You are this fellow’s disciple! We are disciples of Moses! We know that God spoke to Moses, but as for this fellow, we don’t even know where he comes from.”

The man answered, “Now that is remarkable! You don’t know where he comes from, yet he opened my eyes. We know that God does not listen to sinners. He listens to the godly person who does his will. Nobody has ever heard of opening the eyes of a man born blind. If this man were not from God, he could do nothing.”

To this they replied, “You were steeped in sin at birth; how dare you lecture us!” And they threw him out.

Spiritual Blindness

Jesus heard that they had thrown him out, and when he found him, he said, “Do you believe in the Son of Man?”

“Who is he, sir?” the man asked. “Tell me so that I may believe in him.”

Jesus said, “You have now seen him; in fact, he is the one speaking with you.”

Then the man said, “Lord, I believe,” and he worshiped him.

Jesus said, “For judgment I have come into this world, so that the blind will see and those who see will become blind.”

Some Pharisees who were with him heard him say this and asked, “What? Are we blind too?”

Jesus said, “If you were blind, you would not be guilty of sin; but now that you claim you can see, your guilt remains.

The text of today’s piece is available here. It contains these words:

Out of deep anguish I call to You,
Lord God, hear my cries;
bow down Your gracious ear to me
and open it to my plea!
Since You behold, according to Your will,
what sin and injustice is done,
who can stand, Lord, before You?

In Jesus’ grace alone
is our comfort and forgiveness,
since through the deceit and trickery of Satan
the entire life of humanity
is a sinful abomination before God.
What could
give spiritual joy to our prayers now,
if Jesus’ spirit and word did not work new wonders?

Happy listening! Soli Deo gloria.

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