Failing The Milo Test (Update)

It makes little sense to me to be proud of living one’s life in a bubble. No one would suggest that it’s wrong of Layla Schlack to choose not to read “Dangerous” when it comes out, but to announce that you’re choosing not to read any books by white males, not because they’re not to your liking, but just because they’re written by white males, is the “hate” you profess to hate.

Milo Yiannopoulos has chosen to make himself the poster boy for outrageous political incorrectness. He was at the University of Washington as part of his “Dangerous Faggot Tour.” As one might anticipate, he was not well-received by all.

Protesters outside of the event, which is part of the openly gay Yiannopoulos’ “Dangerous Faggot Tour,” assaulted attendees and threw bricks and other objects at police officers. One victim was a high school senior who said he was assaulted and paint bombed because he was wearing a pro-Trump hat.

Prior to the shooting, Seattle police had recovered hammers, pipes and flares that protesters planned to use outside of the event.

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Chevron Deference: Kill And Overkill

There is no shortage of snarky retorts to the contention that the tripartite structure of government crafted by the framers has ceased to function as anticipated. It’s all because of the other side, as everyone knows, that Congress can’t manage to get anything right.

And because Congress, filled with people elected by constituencies who are wrong, except your own which did the right thing, is a wasteland, it’s left to the Executive branch to get done what needs to get done.

Chevron deference.

When bureaucrats created rules and regulations that furthered your preferred ends, you called it “law” and applauded the accomplishment. Except it wasn’t law. It was at best regulation, the “rule” invented by an unelected bureaucrat who presided over a fiefdom and who, with the touch of a keyboard, could craft policy that launched a thousand ships.  Continue reading

A Tale Of Two Nations

Charles Dickens began his story of how the French peasants were more brutal than their aristocratic oppressors with the famous words, “It was the best of times, it was the worst of times.” But the fuller quote seems more appropriate today:

“It was the best of times, it was the worst of times, it was the age of wisdom, it was the age of foolishness, it was the epoch of belief, it was the epoch of incredulity, …”

Donald Trump will be sworn in as the 45th President of the United States today. For many, this is like a bad after-school movie, too far-fetched to be credible and too lacking in substance to be interesting. And yet, it’s going to happen, despite the twits and change.org petitions, the New York Times editorials and shrieks of illegitimacy. The rending of clothes and pervasive hysteria will not stop the peaceful transition of power that is the hallmark of America. Continue reading

The Traffic Cam Tale: Hilarious, Ridiculous And Likely Malarkey (Update)

Would it not be perfectly reasonable to believe that the saga of Faulkner Law School associate professor Adam MacLeod’s travails in the battle against his traffic cam ticket was true?  Of course it would, and why not?

Adam MacLeod, law professor at Faulkner University, was the recipient of a traffic cam speeding ticket. The problem was that he wasn’t driving the vehicle when the infraction occurred. So, it was his vehicle being ticketed, but he was being held responsible for someone else’s infraction.

He decided to fight it, and that fight uncovered just how crooked the traffic cam system is. Not only are traffic camera manufacturers receiving a cut of every ticket issued, but tapping into this new revenue stream has prompted municipalities to undermine the judicial system.

Well, maybe. Traffic cams invoke significant legal issues as a strict liability offense borne by the owner of a vehicle without regard to who committed the offense and how it’s proven. Their justification is to be a “silent cop” to prevent traffic violations, but their value as a revenue raiser for localities is a far more convincing explanation. In other words, the traffic cam system is, as Tim Cushing says, “crooked.” But that doesn’t mean MacLeod’s story is the real deal. Continue reading

Crowdsourcing Death

Cool as the self-driving cars that are definitely going to be our future may be, especially for those who feel that grandma drives too fast and reckless, or who can’t bear to be off Instagram for even a second, it’s already understood that choices will be programmed into the vehicles that could spell your death. The Trolley Problem is no longer a moral exercise.

Who makes these choices? How will they be made? MIT, which will likely produce some of the engineers whose hands will be on the wheel of this moral dilemma, has crafted a video to help out with what it calls the “Moral Machine.

Morality is one of those great bases for decisions, as each of us can make a decision with as much thought as we care to put in and are immune to challenge as there is never a right answer. It’s nothing more than what we feel to be right. And if someone else feels differently, well, so what? Their feelz are no more right than our feelz. Continue reading

A Sign Of The Times, Anti-Death Penalty Protesters Arrested At SCOTUS (Update)

It’s impossible not to be struck by the irony of the plaza in front of the Supreme Court being one of those spaces where free speech is prohibited. Yet, that’s what the Court says, and that makes it so.

We are not final because we are infallible, but we are infallible only because we are final.

Associate Justice Robert Jackson

The protesters obviously knew that when they came up with their plan.

More than 100 anti-death-penalty activists assembled first at the Methodist Building across the street from the court. They prayed and discussed strategy, then walked to the court, with some carrying signs that listed, year by year, the names of the more than 1,400 people executed in the 40 years since Gilmore.

They stood right in front of the marble plaza of the court, the point at which “freedom of speech stops,” as protest leader Bill Pelke said to the crowd. After singing protest songs, the protesters quietly made room for the 18 who planned to get arrested.

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Commit Or Committed: Dying On Education Hill

Billionaire Betsy DeVos was the target of Democratic senators, as her confirmation hearing as Secretary of the Department of Education got underway. Whether she will be a good secretary or not has yet to be seen, and isn’t the point. What is the point is that education in America has serious problems and that the “American Dream” of getting a college degree and being assured of a stable comfortable middle class future is no longer true.

Yet, the myth persists, much to the detriment of those who follow it, do everything right, end up with insurmountable debt, no decent job and no expectation of improvement.

The Democrats held the office for the past eight years. The problems have not been fixed. So Democratic senators went after DeVos.

When Senator Bernie Sanders of Vermont, an Independent, asked if she would support making public colleges and universities free, she called it “a really interesting idea” but was noncommittal.

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The Pink Tent

So glad Jessica Valenti decided to return to social media, as she never disappoints. With the Women’s March to counter the inauguration of Donald Trump coming, there was a chance that it would attract the broader identity group of feminists rather than the smaller group of people of whom Jessica Valenti approves.

Nope.

Some of you with less finely attuned senses of orthodoxy might think Valenti’s “definition” of inclusivity is, well, exclusive. But that’s only because you lack Valenti’s mad rhetorical spin skillz. And probably suffer from heterodox privilege anyway. Continue reading

He Liked To Watch

As Brazoria County Sheriff’s Deputy Aaron Kindred delightfully explained, “I ain’t getting up close and personal with your women areas.” Not that someone wasn’t about to, but Kindred was too much of a gentleman to conduct his own probe, as the Fifth Circuit Court of Appeals explained.

On Memorial Day weekend in 2012, Hamilton and Randle were pulled over by DPS Officer Turner for speeding. Turner smelled marijuana and asked the women to exit the vehicle. Hamilton was wearing a bikini bathing suit, and Randle was similarly dressed. Turner did not allow the women to cover themselves before exiting the vehicle. He used his radio to request help from local law enforcement and a female officer to conduct a search of the women. On the radio, Turner stated that the car smelled like marijuana and that one of the women “had the zipper open on her pants, or Daisy Duke shorts, whatever they are.”

It’s like they were asking for it. Not the “Daisy Dukes,” but the pungent odor of weed. After all, where there’s a smoke, there could be fire. Or pot, if they hadn’t already smoked it, which would explain the smell. But there could be some left, and the police would never forgive themselves if they didn’t find it.

Bui arrived, she parked next to Turner’s patrol car. When he had completed the vehicle search, Turner informed Bui and Kindred that he had finished the search but wanted Bui to search the women. Bui asked the men if they had any gloves, and Turner gave her the gloves he had used to search the vehicle.

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An Unpardonable Failure (Update)

Reading Sari Horwitz’s post at The WaPo, my first concern was that Deputy Attorney General Sally Yates didn’t get hurt patting herself on the back.

“Everyone has killed themselves here to get the final recommendations to the president,” Deputy Attorney General Sally Q. Yates said in an interview. “We were in overdrive. We were determined to live up to our commitment. It was 24-7 over the Christmas break.”

U.S. Pardon Attorney Robert A. Zauzmer has not taken a day off since Yates brought him on in February 2016 to sift through the backlog of thousands of petitions. From her home in Atlanta, Yates said she reviewed hundreds of petitions during the holidays.

How horrifying that she spent her holidays reviewing hundreds of petitions instead of drinking egg nog. Maybe she would have had time to go caroling if the DoJ hadn’t screwed the former Pardon Attorney, Deborah Leff, who quit in frustration as she was denied the ability to do her job. Continue reading

The Children Of The Fight

Many remember Martin Luther King for the words that warm our hearts.

Many white Americans focused on one line of King’s “I Have a Dream” speech — that he longed for the day when his children would “not be judged by the color of their skin but by the content of their character” — and molded him into a gentle champion of colorblindness.

There was far more than that, even if you don’t realize it, and contrary to the glowing homages you will see today, he was the subject of vast criticism at the time.

The establishment responded bitterly to King’s speech. The New York Times editorial board blasted King for linking the war in Vietnam to the struggles of civil rights and poverty alleviation in the United States, saying it was “too facile a connection” and that he was doing a “disservice” to both causes. It concluded that there “are no simple answers to the war in Vietnam or to racial injustice in this country.” The Washington Post editorial board said King had “diminished his usefulness to his cause, his country and his people.” In all,168 newspapers denounced him the next day.

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