We have seen plenty of people arrested for impersonating police officers but Lisa Landon, 33, is accused of the fairly rare crime of impersonating a prosecutor to get her own charges dropped in Hillsborough County, New Hampshire. It may have worked except for an expert who inquired if she was no longer needed for a a competency evaluation on Landon. It turns out the need may be greater than ever.
We have discussed the growing intolerance for opposing views of politics or the law on our campuses. The most recent example is small but highly illustrative. The sorority Kappa Delta has issued an abject apology. The reason is that the sorority committed the unforgivable sin of tweeting out a congratulations to Judge Amy Coney Barrett, a member of the sorority at Rhodes College, on her nomination to the Supreme Court. One should not have to agree with Barrett’s judicial philosophy to offer a simple attagirl to a sorority sister for her extraordinary accomplishment. However, other members protested that this simple act of civility was “hurtful” and traumatic to them as fellow members. The most notable however was feminist writer Amy Siskind who previously was attacked on Twitter for her own views opposing Black Lives Matter and supporting such political figures as John McCain and Sarah Palin. It is a tale of two Amys and one is being shunned for defending her long-held views and one is being celebrated for dispensing with them.
We have previously discussed bizarre cases of self-incrimination from tattoos to rap lyrics. A federal case out of California is based on another rap-song-to-rap-sheet scenario. Fontrell Antonio Baines, 31, of Memphis, Tenn. (aka “Nuke Bizzle”) cut a music video posted on YouTube that bragged about getting rich from an unemployment scam. What is interesting is that, while he allegedly defrauded California Employment Development Department (EDD) and sang about his “my swagger for EDD,” he was actually charged in the federal system with fraudulently applying for more than $1.2 million in jobless benefits.
Chuck Todd interviewed Michigan Gov. Gretchen Whitmer this morning and turned to the recent decision of the Michigan Supreme Court that ruled that she had violated the Michigan Constitution in her extended pandemic orders. Todd did not challenge Whitmer stating falsely that the opinion was a “partisan” decision. It was not. The “Democrat justices” agreed that Whitmer violated the Constitution. They only disagreed on the remedy. However, that untruth was quickly lost in what was a flagrantly untrue statement by Todd himself. He told NBC viewers that the justices did not cite any law to support their decision against Whitmer. Todd stated as fact that the Court did not “cite any Michigan law, they didn’t cite any law in deciding that you didn’t have this power.” The roughly 50 page opinion contains over 60 cases discussed in support of the decision. It does not seem to matter anymore at Meet The Press or NBC. NBC is not alone. I previously noted how the Washington Post also has failed to correct openly false accounts of cases. Not only is there no apparent inclination to be accurate but even less expectation to do so.
It seems that the regulatory web that envelopes United States federal regulations has grown so complex and gigantic, reform necessitates the use of artificial intelligence to tame the dragon.
Reuters reports the White House Office of Management and Budget last Friday announced that federal agencies will use Artificial Intelligence technology to “eliminate outdated, obsolete, and inconsistent requirements across tens of thousands of pages of government regulations.”
The project follows success found in 2019 using Machine Learning and Natural Language algorithms with software at the Department of Social and Health services in identifying hundreds of technical errors and outdated requirements in agency rulebooks
In a manner of speaking we have reached a point where the regulatory morass was allowed to become so formidable, that ordinary human-powered rule making is no longer capable of restraining or modernizing the red tape.
Rev. Travis Clark, 37, has been arrested with two women, Mindy Dixon, 41, and Melissa Cheng, 23, after an alleged sex act on the altar of his church. New Orleans Archbishop Gregory Aymond said that the tryst at Saints Peter and Paul Roman Catholic Church was “demonic” and has ordered the altar removed and burned. If true, this was an act of utter depravity and a terrible desecration of this church, but the prosecution could raise some challenging issues under the Constitution.
Michigan Gov. Gretchen Whitmer was the target this month of a plot of extremists to kidnap her and storm the state capitol. After the arrests of the primary suspects, Whitmer lashed about at President Donald Trump for failing to condemn right wing violence. That is certainly a common criticism. However, Whitmer also attacked Attorney General Bill Barr and suggested that he knew about the plot. It was a curious attack since the FBI uncovered the plot and the DOJ is prosecuting the plot. There is no indication that the DOJ was delaying action. To the contrary, it acted to thwart the plot and protect Whitmer. The other question is why would Barr lie about his knowledge? To what logical end? He was not asked about any threats but specifically if he knew about signs and statements made a protest in Lansing, Michigan in June — a protest that was under state, not federal, jurisdiction.
As the kids in my neighborhood can tell you, I tend to follow Oscar Wilde’s rule that nothing succeeds as much as excess . . . at least when it comes to Halloween. After two weeks, our extensive graveyard and haunted house is now complete. We are however waiting word on whether we will be allowed to give out candy in Virginia or end up like the hapless Yakuza in the Hyogo Prefecture in western Japan. The Japanese mob has been banned from handing out treats at Halloween.
Many believe that Franklin Delano Roosevelt’s greatest single line came in his 1933 inaugural address when he declared that “the only thing we have to fear is fear itself.” Fear is a precursor to panic and FDR gave the country hope. President Trump has repeatedly said that he wants to maintain the same positive attitude but it was hardly a FDR moment yesterday when Trump told citizens “Don’t be afraid of Covid. Don’t let it dominate your life.” Many of us have denounced the statement as absolutely reckless for a president to make in the middle of a pandemic. At the same time, Trump critics have denounced the President while engaging in utter hysteria over the President’s release. Yesterday, for example, Washington Post columnist and MSNBC commentator Jennifer Rubin appeared to become utterly unglued over the release and tweeted that his doctor should be stripped of his license and Walter Reed “defunded.” Continue reading “Fear Itself: Trump and His Critics Hit A Feverish Pitch After Release From Walter Reed”→
Ohio State University Higher Education and Student Affairs Professor Matthew Mayhew has issued an abject apology after penning a column entitled “Why America Needs College Football.” Mayhew argued that the return of college football could get the country through “uncharacteristically difficult times of great isolation, division and uncertainty.” That did not sit well with some at the university and Mayhew published Why America Needs College Football – Part 2 to seek forgiveness for the harm that he caused. The column and its confessional follow-up are unnerving for many in academia in the current debate over free speech on campuses. It is entirely appropriate and commendable for an academic to reconsider his views and retract any statements which he now considers racist or insensitive. However, the retraction of such views as inherently harmful raises questions about the range of acceptable speech today. There are clearly good-faith reasons to favor the return of college football as well as good-faith reasons to oppose it. The question is whether expressing the former is now unacceptable at universities for a professor or student. Despite being a sports fan, I am uneasy about the return of college football during the pandemic. I welcomed the publication of the first column as the start of a possible (and needed) debate on the question and the underlying economic, social, racial and academic issues.