Short Take: Victims Of The One-Trick Ponies

In the midst of the COVID-19 pandemic, what else is worthy of our concern? How about the victims of crime, or in this particular instance, gunshots.

My pager goes off again: The police are en route to my hospital. They’re bringing a gunshot victim. E.T.A.? Right now.

People are still shooting people. I know, there are no outraged anecdotes by criminal reform activists about this, even though there is a non-strop stream of stories of how jails and prisons are incubators for disease and will result in mass havoc. And they are and they will. But in this time of playing the emotions of the intellectually puny, everybody seems to forget that there are still bad people out there doing bad things to other people. Continue reading

The Law School Class of 2020

The law school class of 2009 did everything right. They went to college and did sufficiently well to be admitted to law school. They went to law school and did sufficiently well to graduate. They took the bar exam and did sufficiently well to pass and be admitted as lawyers. And for far too many, that’s where doing everything right came to a crashing halt.

There were no jobs. They were out their tuition, or accumulated significant debt. They were out years of their life. They were out their dream of practicing law. They graduated into the Great Recession and there was nothing they could do about it. It wasn’t their fault. It took years before the job market got better, but for the class of 2009, there was no salvation. They were lost and, eventually, mostly forgotten. Continue reading

Tuesday Talk*: The Right Time For Regs

Charles Dickens, writing of the years before the French Revolution leading to the Jacobin Reign of Terror, opened a Tale of Two Cities with these ominous words.

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, it was the season of light, it was the season of darkness, it was the spring of hope, it was the winter of despair.

Much as they might apply to any time, as they aptly describe the human condition, the question of whether this particular moment in time is the right time for the Secretary of Education to issue regulations to undo the unlawfully issued Dear Colleague Letter and its ironically-named guidelines on the conduct of Title IX sex tribunals. Eighteen Democratic attorneys general, the American Council on Education and the National Women’s Law Center contend it’s the worst of times. Continue reading

Viral Profits

Caveat: For the intellectually challenged, nothing that follows raises or addresses the merit or efficacy of a solution (such as, oh, Medicare for All), which is an entirely separate problem and issue. Remember, the alternative to bad isn’t necessarily good. It can always get worse.

Do you have the ‘Rona? If your symptoms are “right” and sufficiently severe, maybe the government will deem you worthy of being tested, and the president has said that  Seoul has 38 million residents the Chinese flu will magically disappear tests will be free. Isn’t that wonderful?

Within minutes, he got a call from the heads of a hospital emergency room and infectious-disease department where he lives in upstate New York: He should come right away to the E.R. for newly available coronavirus testing. Though they offered to send an ambulance, he felt fine and drove the hour. Continue reading

A Time To Preach

There’s an old saying, that god answers all prayers. Sometimes the answer is “no.” Was that the message Rev. Rodney Howard-Browne should have taken from coronavirus, or was the First Amendment right to the free exercise of religion paramount?

Before the Rev. Rodney Howard-Browne, the pastor of a Pentecostal megachurch in Florida, held two church services on Sunday — each filled with hundreds of parishioners — lawyers from the sheriff’s office and local government pleaded with him to reconsider putting his congregation in danger of contracting the coronavirus.

The pastor ignored them, proceeding with the services at the River at Tampa Bay Church and even providing bus transportation for members who needed a ride.

Church services were held, and Rev. Howard-Browne was arrested for his troubles. Continue reading

Machado: DOJ’s Long Arm Reaches For Maduro

The news hit Miami and its Latino diaspora like a breath of fresh justice: Venezuelan President* Nicolas Maduro and other government officials have been indicted by the U.S. Department of Justice. The charges range from narco-terrorism conspiracy to money laundering, and, in short, they’re accused of conspiring to ship tons of Bolivian marching powder to the U.S., where apparently the demand has always been high for that kind of stuff.  If they’re ever tried before a jury of their peers, chances are they will never get to eat a pabellon again.

There’s a $15 million bounty on Maduro’s head, and an additional $10 million for each of his confederates. The DEA was offering only $5 million for El Chapo, so apparently they really mean business, and perhaps they know a lot that we plebs don’t (e.g., Venezuelan Generals finally running out of cash for the gumars and they can also see the writing on the wall).** At minimum, when an indictment of this magnitude comes down, it means that at least a lot of people have been singing for a while. Continue reading

Smart People Stopping Trollies

Richard Epstein taught at the University of Chicago for 38 years before retiring,* then promptly came out of retirement to take a chair at NYU Law, while being a Fellow at Stanford’s Hoover institute. He seems like a smart guy, and his name gets thrown around as being a legitimate voice in support of something whenever it suits the thrower.

So why is he a pariah today? He wrote that the coronavirus predictions were exaggerated, that the models were flawed and that it wasn’t going to be anywhere as severe as commonly thought.

The Hoover Institution’s Richard Epstein also waves a flag of caution regarding the COVID-19 dashboards that many news networks and online sites now prominently feature. Epstein’s analysis shows that COVID-19 deaths in the U.S. and worldwide will be dramatically fewer than many have predicted — possibly even fewer than the Hong Kong flu of 1968, the swine flu pandemic of 2009-2010 or seasonal influenza, which can claim hundreds of lives a day.

Continue reading

Do Your “Cheat Sheet”

Wills testamentary. Living wills and health care proxies. Durable powers of attorney. Testamentary trusts. You know all about this already, but what often eludes people is that their affairs are a mess. Since most of us have a little more time on our hands at the moment, and some of us harbor a dull concern about impending death, this would be a good time to prepare your “cheat sheet.”

Create a document for your kids, your heirs, whoever, that helps them to know what you have, where it is and how to get at it. Also, there are things today that won’t find their way into their hands, like your social media accounts. This is a non-exhaustive list to give you an idea what I’m talking about. Continue reading

Dr. Fauci And The Pedestal of Politics

There likely is no one with a more apolitical resume than Dr. Anthony Fauci, who has quietly served a nation as its foremost expert in infectious diseases since 1984, the Reagan administration. Watching him during the daily press briefings, Dr. SJ and I were highly impressed with his savvy in stating medical fact without making Trump look like a simplistic blustering fool.

He’s been around politicians and political appointees for a very long time, and presumably survived by threading the needle between ignorance and ego. You don’t last in government, no matter what your role, by pissing off those in power. Continue reading