Short Take: Bloomberg’s Epiphany

As he dips a wrinkled toe into the waters of the Dem presidential nomination pool, former New York City Mayor and current billionaire Michael Bloomberg had to admit something: He was wrong.

“Over time, I’ve come to understand something that I long struggled to admit to myself,” he said in the soaring sanctuary of the Christian Cultural Center, in East New York. The former mayor choked up, seemingly holding back tears. “I got something important wrong. I got something important really wrong. I didn’t understand back then, the full impact that stops were having on the black and Latino communities.”

No, he wasn’t being sentenced by SDNY Judge Shira Scheindlin for his part in violating the constitutional rights of five million New Yorkers. It’s Bloomberg coming to painful grips with the fact that there’s no way he gets to run as a Democrat (mind you, he switched to Republican to be New York’s mayor, but party affiliation is just a social construct, amirite?). Continue reading

Colorado Prosecutor Jake Lilly Taints The Jury Pool

Had it been written by an angst-driven college sophomore, an activist ally of the cause wearing the mantle of “survivor” because she got drunk one night, it would have been ordinary. But it wasn’t. It was written by a Sexual Assault Prosecutor for the 5th District of Colorado. Jake Lilly, a 2003 Cornell law grad, an army veteran (or as he calls himself, a “warrior”), a Democratic party activist and a guy who doesn’t like cops much, but wants to tamper with the jury to get his conviction.

It is heartbreaking, infuriating and almost too hard to watch. A young woman is asked to repeat the painful details of her sexual assault to investigators over and over and over again.

Viewers of the Netflix series “Unbelievable” will recognize this story of a serial rapist in Colorado and in Washington State.

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Do You Antiracist Enough?

In the typically inane halls of #AppellateTwitter, the progressive scolds tried desperately to manufacture a rationalization where they could pretend they didn’t hate their conservative brethren who are members of the Federalist Society provided they didn’t attend the speech by Attorney General Bill Barr, or didn’t applaud afterward, or didn’t stand while applauding.

Or, as Iowa prawf Andy Grewal put it, “A decent conservative would have taken his dinner fork and stabbed anyone standing next to him who applauded.” Barr’s speech was wrong and awful, but it’s not enough to disagree with him. In order to be accepted by the progressives as a not-entirely-Nazi-conservative, there was an affirmative duty to display one’s disapproval or progressive lawyers were forced to hate you for not hating Barr enough.

This is a theme that runs far deeper than the narcissists on twitter who believe anyone gives a damn about being a sufficiently acceptable conservative for them to tolerate. Cathy Young wrote about a split on the far more consequential issue of racism where the theme was manifest. Continue reading

Run For Her Life

Peter Westbrook, who fenced on the 1976 United States Olympic Team, explained that fencing teaches people how to lose. It’s a critical lesson, as people will lose, whether on the piste or in their daily lives. But the other half of the equation is that you can’t blame your way to winning. If you don’t like losing, work harder, train harder, push harder. It’s what athletes do because what they don’t want to do it lose. Not if they can help it.

This is where retired professional distance runner Lauren Fleshman devolves from reality and indulges in the fashionable delusion of blame, which naturally gets her real estate in the New York Times.

I was one of the fastest distance runners to never make the Olympics. I’m certain that relative energy deficiency in sport, or RED-S, the same problem Mary Cain encountered, caused me to leave some talent on the table. I don’t mind the missed podiums, the missed chances. What gnaws at me is that nothing has changed. Until we acknowledge and respect that the female performance curve is different from the male version that sports was built on, girls will continue to face institutionalized harm.

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Santayana’s Revenge: No Jobs For History Profs

It’s unknown whether George Santayana was into schadenfreude, but if he was, he’d be laughing his butt off now. As he famously said, “Those who do not remember the past are condemned to repeat it,” And who better than a bunch of whiny history Ph.D.s would come along to prove his point.

Also in the Chronicle in May, Daniel Bessner of the University of Washington and Michael Brenes of Yale University deplore without defining “the neoliberalization of the university system.” The definition presumably is obvious to all inhabitants of the academic bubble, where “neoliberals” are disdained as respecters of market forces — supply, demand, etc. Citing a 1972 New York Times report on “an oversupply of trained historians,” they say “for nearly a half-century, historians have failed to organize to halt the disappearance of positions,” which they blame on “unnecessary neoliberal austerity, corporatization, and adjunctification” and “boot-strappism and market-Darwinism.”

I’m not so arrogant as to think I could explain this “jumble of jargon” better than George Will. Continue reading

“Jailbirds” Come Home For The Holidays

Here’s the kicker: most of the defendants awaiting trial or disposition shouldn’t be held in lieu of bail in the first place. For years, I’ve pointed out that judges have the power, if not the guts, to say no to the baby prosecutors who staff the arraignment parts and request “dumb” bail for defendants charged with petty offenses.

That $500 bail for the kid charged with misdemeanor weed possession may be trivial to the ADA and judge, but it’s $479 more than his mother can put together. So the kid sits, at shockingly substantial public expense that could buy him a suite in the George V, where he misses school or loses his job.

No, not all of them, as if that’s the only thing that matters, but many. All because some number popped into the baby ADA’s head and the judge, worried that his puss would appear on the front page of the New York Post as the Worst Judge in New York should the defendant go out and slaughter a busload of Catholic school students. Continue reading

Seaton: Celebrate Thanksgiving, Dammit

Tuesday I saw an abomination at my son’s day care. It stood in the lobby, taller than both of us, green, and covered in lights. Someone put a fucking Christmas tree up on November 12th.

Did I miss a memo? Are we no longer even putting Thanksgiving in the calendar as a holiday? Why are we going from Halloween straight to Christmas now? This is the fault of those fucking millennials, isn’t it?

Thanksgiving is an important holiday on the calendar. It’s the one time of the year when we celebrate the greatest of all things American: eating massive amounts of food, imbibing beverages of all sorts, getting into arguments with your uncle who posts stupid shit on Facebook, and eventually falling asleep on the couch watching football. Continue reading

Kopf: Murdering Judicial Collegiality

I have been a Magistrate Judge, a Chief District Judge and now a Senior District Judge. I have clerked at the Eighth Circuit and sat as a judge at that court by designation. I have had the pleasure of handling cases in several other district courts in the Eighth Circuit. I have appreciated more than I can explain the judicial collegiality that I have always experienced in the District of Nebraska and in the Eighth Circuit more generally. Sadly, however, I have now seen a Chief District Judge in the Southern District of Florida murder judicial collegiality. It makes me want to vomit.

Consider, please, footnote 2 to an opinion of Chief District Judge K. Michael Moore of the Southern District of Florida adopting in part and rejecting in part a report and recommendation submitted by Magistrate Judge Lisette M. Reid in a pro se case.[i] Here is the footnote: Continue reading

Lazy Does A Lot of Work

One explanation for fake news flourishing on both sides of the political divide is partisanship. People seize whatever supports their tribe, cling to it for dear life, repeat it as if a mantra and await the inevitable win. While we clearly see “fake news” that supports the other team, our team’s news isn’t fake.

As we’re constantly informed, people on our team are, by definition, so very smart, so very astute, and their great superpower is their critical thinking skills, allowing them to know truth, to know better than all of humanity up to this very moment in history how to fix all of society’s intractable problems. Surely our team would never believe fake news like the other team.

Or are people just saying that, but really too lazy to think? Continue reading

Cops, Unarmed

At the outset, it’s worthwhile to note that the concerns come from the top, the brass, the chief of police of a very progressive place, Burlington, Vermont. The reason this matters is that the rank and file police officer often feels that the brass doesn’t get their problems, has been off the street for far too long to be relevant, and can easily talk about theory when they aren’t dealing with violent criminals who could, in a split second, take their life.

In other words, it’s easy to talk about what cops should do when you’re sitting in the comfy big chair in a sweet corner office, but it’s a lot harder when you’re the guy staring at the knife. And it’s your spouse, your kids, who will live without you should things go south. The chief will pay a condolence call, maybe say that you were a hero at your funeral, but it will still be you in the box when they wipe the dirt from their hands and walk away from the grave.

With that caveat, Burlington, Vermont, Chief of Police Brandon del Pozo has a good point. Continue reading