Seaton: Sheriff Roy and the Health Inspector

Sheriff Roy Templeton regularly worked a patrol shift despite holding the title of Mud Lick’s top cop. He strongly believed the best way for a cop to serve a community involved maintaining a connection to the people. That belief saw the Sheriff out one Thursday night cruising for any signs of unusual activity.

The first call of the evening was rather mundane. An irate man from Kentucky badgered two Dairy King drive-through employees over something he kept referring to as a “goddamn triple cheese with extra cheese” while his Canadian passengers giggled in delight. Continue reading

Twitter To Trump: Challenge Accepted (Update)

Had @RealDonaldTrump not been president, would his Twitter account have been suspended? Possibly? Probably? But would it have been for his “conservative” message or the batshit crazy and often bizarrely false content? No matter. He is president, and as president, got a special pass because the things he twits matter in a different way.

This is a view into what the President of the United States publicly says, which has public value even when it’s false, dangerous or nuts. Indeed, it may be more valuable to see the crazy stuff so that we know what Trump is spewing. Whether it’s because he means it or he’s gaming the heads of the faithful or the outraged is a separate question. Whether he’s spewing something outrageous to divert attention from his failings is a separate question. That he’s the president, and this is what he’s twitting, is the point, and so who is Twitter to deny the American public from seeing what he’s twitting? Continue reading

Progressively Prosecuting The Patriarchy

It used to be drug dealers, mostly black and Hispanic drug dealers because, well, Tony Montana. They were hated, dreaded and any act that was linked to them had to be quashed with the harshest of measures. And people were fine with that, because they were the devils of the day. But today is a new day, and we now have progressive prosecutors who are filled with empathy and want to end mass incarceration. Almost. Meet Natasha Irving, feminist prosecutor.

What Does It Mean to Be a Feminist Prosecutor?

Reformers want to keep more people out of prison and punish more people for sexual violence.

This description isn’t merely internally contradictory, but less than accurate. They want to keep more people of a certain identity out of prison. They want to punish more people of another identity more. Continue reading

A Second Chance For Black Lives Matter

For a brief and shining moment after the spate of high profile needless deaths of black men, although Tamir Rice could hardly be called a “man” yet, it appeared as if we were finally ready to address the “black men are more violent” belief that has animated policing. People of all races and political stripes were seeing cops being too forceful, too violent, too pre-emptively deadly that there was an organic groundswell for “enough.”

Then focus was lost. This is where my old pal, Elie Mystal, would tell me that white people don’t get to tell black people what they are allowed to care about, and he’s right. But it misses the point, that real change grows from a consensus that a racist problem is so bad, so unacceptable, that people are prepared to put aside their interests for the sake of someone else’s. Shouting “racist” at people doesn’t do the trick, no matter how hard you want to believe it should. Continue reading

Trying Too Hard to Explain Title IX

Andrew Fleischman sent me some screen caps of the Department of Education’s commentary addressing the comments to the proposed Title IX regs. This was the stuff buried in the 2033 pages of squiggly lines where the DoE tried to address the great many issues and objections, or perhaps to create the appearance of having taken them into account knowing that most were submitted to stymie change.

The questions Andrew raised about the regs weren’t hard to answer, per se, as they related to rather common evidentiary practices in law, regularly raised and addressed. But it was the content of the discussion of the comments, the explanatory notes if you will, that presented an issue. It’s unclear how many fingers were involved in the creation of this prolix document, or who reviewed it for substance and what they knew. Continue reading

The Rush of Anonymous Power

When most of the blawgosphere was sued by Joseph Rakofsky, one prong of his reply was an accusation of “internet mobbing.” There is, of course, no such cause of action or defense, but Norm Pattis invented it for Rakofsky. The idea was that each of the blawgers who wrote about Rakofsky, who shredded him for what he did, did not do so as a dozen independent free agents who saw the same conduct and were individually outraged by it, but as a mob, piling on to be part of the mob. It may have been true for some, but crafting a name didn’t make it a wrong.

In a magnificent post (which is my way of telling everyone that you really need to read the entire post because it’s that good) at Arc Digital, Kat Rosenfield faces the flash mob of the moment. Continue reading

Tuesday Talk*: COVID Come Fall, What To Do?

On the one hand, the argument has the benefit of an actual reason: online courses are far less costly to colleges than in-person courses, and if they cost less, the cost of a college degree will be less, making it more accessible to those of modest means.

Covid-19 is about to ravage that business model. Mass unemployment is looming large and is likely to put college out of reach for many. With America now the epicenter of the pandemic and bungling its response, many students are looking to defer enrollment.

Deferring enrollment, taking leaves of absence, transferring, are questions asked by many students and parents, though cost is only one piece of the puzzle. The much larger piece is whether the education they will get is third-rate. Continue reading

But For Video: Gamble in the Ramble

There’s a lot of video taken by people who find themselves, or observe from a close distance, things they believe could turn out to be a problem. Few go viral. Most ultimately fall flat. Some don’t show what the person taking the video believes they show, an outrageous situation that could prove disastrous. But some catch fire.

Continue reading

Not Today, Memorial Day, New York Times

On another day, it would be controversial for a fairly lengthy list of reasons. This isn’t to say the point is without merit. It is. But like most points, it’s not that simple and, as has become the way of the New York Times, the argument is made dishonestly.

The white supremacist who murdered nine black churchgoers in Charleston, S.C., five years ago dispensed with the fiction that the Confederate battle flag was an innocuous symbol of “Southern pride.” A murderer’s manifesto describing the killings as the start of a race war — combined with photos of the killer brandishing a pistol and a rebel flag — made it impossible to ignore the connection between Confederate ideology and a blood-drenched tradition of racial terrorism that dates back to the mid-19th century in the American South.

Continue reading

When The Judge Lawyers Up

There are thousands, maybe millions, of exceptional examples of the criminal legal system gone wrong. So it’s rather astounding that Michael Flynn has become the poster boy for “injustice.” But that’s just where the stupid starts, as every blithering idiot on one team goes bonkers on the other tribe’s blithering idiots. In an odd sense, that might be an entirely acceptable state of affairs, let the two teams of crazies rumble and let nature take its course.

But when the legal system, the Least Dangerous Branch, becomes the whipping boy of the warring tribes, another issue arises. This extreme outlier of a case gives rise to more extreme and outlier views, and these views distort the legal system, which isn’t robust enough these days to weather the crazy. This became clear to me when the latest in this series of exceptional events happened: Judge Emmet Sullivan retained counsel to respond to the District of Columbia Circuit Court’s order directing him to respond to the petition for a writ of mandamus by Flynn’s lawyer, Sidney Powell. Continue reading