[guest post by Dana]
First news item
Fifth Circuit sides with man arrested for making Covid joke during pandemic:
A Louisiana man’s Facebook post saying a sheriff’s department had ordered its deputies to shoot Covid-infected people on sight was a harmless joke and he should not have been arrested for it, a Fifth Circuit panel ruled Friday.
The arrest was just unbelievable:
Waylon Bailey was working in his garage at home on March 20, 2020, when a dozen SWAT team deputies in bulletproof vests showed up with their guns out, without a warrant, ordered him to get on his knees and handcuffed him.
But Bailey was no dangerous criminal.
Bored and antsy earlier that day amid the onset of the coronavirus pandemic, he had decided to try his hand at comedy.
He posted a message on Facebook: “SHARE SHARE SHARE ! ! ! !” he wrote. “JUST IN: RAPIDES PARISH SHERIFF’S OFFICE HAVE ISSUED THE ORDER, IF DEPUTIES COME INTO CONTACT WITH ‘THE INFECTED’ SHOOT ON SIGHT …. Lord have mercy on us all.”
Bailey added the hashtags #Covid9teen and #weneedyoubradpitt, the latter a reference to the 2013 zombie film “World War Z” starring Brad Pitt.
You would think that #weneedyoubradpitt would have clued the police in to the fact that it was a joke, but they must have missed that part:
Supervising officers at the sheriff’s department saw the post and assigned Detective Randell Iles to investigate. Iles determined Bailey had broken a state statute against “terrorizing” and brought the SWAT team to arrest him.
Bailey apologized to Iles during his arrest and told the detective he had “no ill will towards the sheriff’s office” and “only meant it as a joke.”
A deputy heckled Bailey, telling him his next post “should be to not fuck with the police.”
They took him to jail and he was charged with a felony. His fiancée bailed him out.
After Bailey later sued Iles and Rapides Sheriff Mark Wood…for First and Fourth Amendment violations and state law claims of false arrest and malicious prosecution, unbelievably, the judge ruled that Bailey’s post was not protected by the First Amendment:
U.S. District Judge David Joseph, a Donald Trump appointee, granted the lawmen summary judgment in July 2022, finding they were entitled to qualified immunity, and dismissed Bailey’s claims with prejudice.
Joseph decided the First Amendment did not protect Bailey’s post because it “may very well have been intended to incite lawless action, and in any event, certainly had a substantial likelihood of inciting fear, lawlessness, and violence” and compared it to the classic unprotected speech example of “falsely shouting fire in a crowded theatre.”
Second news item
A disturbing report about minors and ‘gender affirming’ surgeries from the Journal of the American Medical Association:
A total of 48 019 patients who underwent GAS were identified, including 25 099 (52.3%) who were aged 19 to 30 years. The most common procedures were breast and chest procedures, which occurred in 27 187 patients (56.6%), followed by genital reconstruction (16 872 [35.1%]) and other facial and cosmetic procedures (6669 [13.9%]).
The absolute number of GAS procedures rose from 4552 in 2016 to a peak of 13 011 in 2019 and then declined slightly to 12 818 in 2020. Overall, 25 099 patients (52.3%) were aged 19 to 30 years, 10 476 (21.8%) were aged 31 to 40, and 3678 (7.7%) were aged 12 to 18 years. When stratified by the type of procedure performed, breast and chest procedures made up a greater percentage of the surgical interventions in younger patients, while genital surgical procedures were greater in older patients.
Third news item
Sending munitions to Ukraine has not depleted U.S. reserves:
Despite sending more than $43 billion in military aid to Ukraine—both lethal and non-lethal—the U.S. is not “running out” of any particular munitions or equipment needed for its own forces, Pentagon acquisition and sustainment chief William LaPlante told attendees at a defense conference in Washington, D.C.
“We’re not running out of anything,” LaPlante said in a fireside chat at the inaugural conference of the National Defense Industrial Association’s Emerging Technology Institute on Aug. 28.
Fourth news item
Per Capitol physician: Mitch McConnell cleared to work:
Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell’s office on Thursday released a statement from the Capitol attending physician after an alarming episode Wednesday when he appeared to freeze for half a minute while answering reporter questions.
Dr. Brian P. Monahan said he consulted with McConnell and has also spoken with McConnell’s neurology team, and informed the Republican leader that he is medically clear to continue with his schedule. Monahan did not say he examined McConnell himself.
“After evaluating yesterday’s incident, I have informed Leader McConnell that he is medically clear to continue with his schedule as planned,” Monahan said. “Occasional lightheadedness is not uncommon in concussion recovery and can also be expected as a result of dehydration.”
Meanwhile, the editors of National Review are calling for McConnell to step down from his leadership role:
…the time has come for the Kentucky senator, after his long, impressive run, to make the decision to step aside from leadership.
McConnell has noticeably aged since his bad fall in March, when he sustained a concussion and broken rib, and he should want, for his own sake and that of his colleagues, to go out on his own terms.
The details can be left to McConnell, who deserves a large measure of deference. A leadership transition doesn’t need to happen urgently, but the wheels should be turning.
Stepping aside from leadership would not necessarily require leaving the Senate; McConnell could, like Nancy Pelosi, remain in office, and he would doubtless remain influential so long as he is capable of serving. But the job of caucus leader demands more.
Fifth news item
A UC Riverside professor accused of falsely claiming Cherokee heritage is set to resign after reaching an agreement with the university.
Ethnic studies professor Andrea Smith was accused of violating the faculty code of conduct following a complaint last year by 13 faculty members.
Smith is being allowed to keep teaching through August of next year, according to the separation agreement released by the school. She will also get to keep her retirement benefits.
The university has also agreed to compensate her up to $5,000 in attorney fees.
Smith denies the allegations.
Sixth news item
China is our biggest threat over the coming century, and seeing Russia struggle in Ukraine helps squash the CCP's territorial ambitions in Taiwan. Supporting Ukraine doesn't only fulfill our commitment to the Ukrainian people, but supports America's national security interests. pic.twitter.com/UGcxCsyM4u
— Senator Mitt Romney (@SenatorRomney) August 31, 2023
“Robotyne has been liberated!” Ukraine’s usually reserved deputy defense minister, Hanna Maliar, sounded victorious on Monday, August 28, during her daily update on current military operations. More than two and a half months after the start of the Ukrainian counter-offensive, Kyiv’s army has broken through Russia’s first line of defense, considered by analysts to be the most densely fortified since the Second World War.
Seventh news item
For the first time in American history, cameras and live streaming coverage will be allowed inside the courtroom when a former U.S. president stands trial for allegedly running a criminal enterprise designed to overturn the lawful results of an election.
On Thursday, Fulton County Superior Court Judge Scott McAfee said he will permit a live YouTube stream of all related hearings and trials that emanating from District Attorney Fani Willis’ vast, sweeping indictment of former President Donald Trump. The live stream will be operated by the court.
Is this a good thing? Consider: Americans have a right to watch, given that he attempted to overturn a legitimate presidential election, it could be a warning to other presidents to come, it would keep prosecutors and defense on their toes v. it would give Trump unnecessary publicity as the eternal victim of the “corrupt justice system,” it could endanger jury members, cameras make people behave differently than they normally would… Thoughts?
Eighth news item
A new city in Solano County, built from the ground up and funded by Silicon Valley billionaires. That’s the plan California Forever, the parent company of Flannery Associates, unveiled Thursday on a new website.
The company has spent the last few years buying up nearly every bit of Solano County land around Travis Air Force Base to build that city on. It shared its vision for the future of the area with a number of renderings posted online.
The city would have thousands of new homes built in a European or Mediterranean architectural style. The renderings also depict scenic, hillside neighborhoods blending into the banks of the Sacramento rivers for bikers, kayakers, and fishers.
Congressman John Garamendi, who represents the region, is not happy about the plan:
NBC Bay Area recently spoke with Congressman John Garamendi, who represents parts of Solano and Contra Costa counties, and who was not pleased with either the project or what the company is doing.
“These characters own all the land on three sides of Travis [Air Force Base]. And that’s one of the most important air bases in the continental United States. More material and personnel pass through that base than any other base,” he said, going on to add, “These characters have been engaged in despicable, secretive, terrible practices. They are actually suing farmers who refuse to sell their family heritage.”
On a side note: Take a look at the Californiaforever.com website. The craftsman-styled renderings (the artwork, not the homes) are simply beautiful.
Have a great weekend!