Category: Society

Mueller Sends More Cases To SDNY For Possible Prosecution

440px-Director_Robert_S._Mueller-_IIILost in the mix of Manafort and other news, there is a significant development in Special counsel Robert Mueller’s investigation.  Mueller has referred a number of cases to the Southern District of New York for possible prosecution, including reportedly case involving longtime Democratic lobbyist Tony Podesta and his work for his former firm, the Podesta Group and former Obama White House counsel Greg Craig, a former partner at law firm Skadden, Arps, Slate, Meagher & Flom LLP.  It is not clear if charges would emerge from these cases but the referral further decentralizes the investigation.

 

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Connecticut Official Stirs Controversy By Taking A Knee During Every Pledge Of Allegiance In Council Meetings

Screen Shot 2018-07-31 at 7.58.32 AM.pngA controversy is building in the little town of Haddam, Conn. where Selectwoman Melissa Schlag continues to take a knee NFL-Style during the Pledge of Allegiance at the start of meetings.   Her protest however is not the treatment of African Americans but to protest President Donald Trump.  I have previously stated my personal dislike for such protests during the national anthem and I frankly view this as a bit silly as a forum.  However, while I have argued that owners have every right to bar such protests by NFL players as a contractual matter, I believe Schlag has a clear first amendment right to continue her protest as these meetings. Continue reading “Connecticut Official Stirs Controversy By Taking A Knee During Every Pledge Of Allegiance In Council Meetings”

Tackling Free Speech: Roger Goodell and NFL Order Jerry Jones To Stop Talking About The Anthem

Freedom_of_SpeechIt appears that all of the concern over the free speech rights of players over the national anthem protests does not extend to owners.  Last week, Dallas Cowboys coach Jerry Jones was reportedly told to stop talking about the national anthem controversy.  Jones had said that his team would be standing at attention during the playing of the national anthem this season.  Then he went silent.  I previously wrote how the NFL is an organization curiously based on socialist principles and a heavy-hand of censorship.  The NFL is already buckling on its compromise to allow players to stay in the locker room as protests during the anthem as the player association and some teams demand the right to continue the protests.

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Philadelphia Ends Sharing Information With ICE

us-immigration-and-customs-enforcement-seal-plaque-l100px-Seal_of_Philadelphia,_Pennsylvania.svgPhiladelphia has announced that it will formally end its information-sharing agreement  with Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) – a move following protests against ICE.  Democratic Mayor Jim Kenney declared “If I could abolish ICE, I would. But we can abolish this contract, and we are.”  While a court recently ruled against the Administration on withholding federal grants from sanctuary cities, the growing confrontation with ICE is likely to grow as the Trump Administration pursues penalties against such cities. Continue reading “Philadelphia Ends Sharing Information With ICE”

Giant Sphinx Head Discovery In California Desert . . . Calling Mr. DeMille

TenCommandments-bigposter-1923The 300-pound head of a sphinx has been discovered in dunes in the California central coast traces. Before you rush to re-read your Egyptian history, this sphinx is the work of that great Pharaoh Cecil B. DeMille. It turns out that after filming the silent movie “The Ten Commandments” in 1923, DeMille just left parts of the huge set to be claimed the desert. It is not a Hollywood archeological site.

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Scratch A Lawyer, Find A Foe: Michael Cohen Releases Secret Recording Of Trump Discussing Payment To Alleged Mistress

donald_trump_president-elect_portrait_croppedBelow is my column in the Hill newspaper on release of the first Cohen tape and rumored seizure of many more such tapes by federal prosecutors.  I have previously stated that the secret taping of Donald Trump was, in my view, flagrantly dishonest and disloyal in dealings with a client.  While the American Bar Association relaxed the rule against secret taping from being per se unethical, few lawyers would contemplate what Cohen did to his client.  Indeed, New York is a jurisdiction that looks with disfavor on such taping as a routine matter.  Unless done for some clear societal benefit, it is a serious potential unethical act.  Michael Cohen continues to be an embarrassment to the profession in his low level of legal judgment and even lower professional standards of conduct.

Here is the column:

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Sirens: Emails Appear To Confirm That Stormy Daniels Was Selectively Targeted By Ohio Detective And Her Uncover Teams

1531390682941We earlier discussed the dropping of the highly dubious charges brought against Stormy Daniels in Columbus, Ohio.  The arresting officials insisted that they were at the Sirens strip club on an undercover mission entirely separate from the appearance of Stephanie Clifford, aka Stormy Daniels. Emails now appear to contradict that account — raising not only the question of selective enforcement but political bias.  There is also the question of the false statements allegedly made to investigators. Continue reading “Sirens: Emails Appear To Confirm That Stormy Daniels Was Selectively Targeted By Ohio Detective And Her Uncover Teams”

“Our Friend, David”: Newly Released Tape Shows Trump And Cohen Discussing Purchase of McDougal Story

200px-Cnn.svg160px-Official_Portrait_of_President_Donald_Trump_(cropped)CNN landed a major news coup with the airing of one of the conversations that Michael Cohen secretly taped with President Donald Trump.  The tape is not the best in terms of the audio quality but it contains some troubling portions.  Notably, this was clearly not a telephone conversation but sounds like an actual meeting where Cohen is sitting and meeting with Trump. I just posted a column on the implications of this secret recording by an attorney.  While Rudy Giuliani insists that the tape is clearly exculpatory, the tape could prove more damaging than beneficial to a defense.  Clearly, both sides can read negative or positive elements into this tape.  While some have insisted that Trump sounds like a mobster, there is not a clear crime being discussed on this tape. There are reportedly more tapes, but this tape has good and bad elements for the Trump team.  However, the tape can be used to show that Trump was informed of the deal before the election and participating in the strategy to silence Trump’s alleged former mistress Karen McDougal.  However, Trump has not spoken to investigators (as a basis for some false statement prosecution) on this issue.   Continue reading ““Our Friend, David”: Newly Released Tape Shows Trump And Cohen Discussing Purchase of McDougal Story”

Georgia Sheriff Suspended From Federal Program After Using Funds To Buy Hellcat Muscle Car

downloadMany civil libertarians long objected to the reliance on local policy on money and property seized in drug stops and raids.  I have previously written about drivers being stripped of any cash that they cannot clearly account for in highway stops and the windfall such seizures represent for some departments. The federal government has been repeatedly criticized for its seizures, which are shared with local departments.  Now this program is at the heart of a controversy in Gwinnett County where Sheriff Butch Conway used money from the federal program to purchase a Hellcat muscle car for use as his official car.  However, the story gets much, much worse in my view after Conway’s department cited the other use of the car beyond transported Conway in Knight Rider fashion. Continue reading “Georgia Sheriff Suspended From Federal Program After Using Funds To Buy Hellcat Muscle Car”

My Wonderful, Inspiring, and Embarrassing Hike In the Cleveland National Forest

IMG_8073As is often my practice, I used an out-of-town speech this week to experience another of our wonderful national parks.  With my keynote to the Ninth Circuit scheduled for Monday, I used Sunday to explore the rough remote areas of the Cleveland National Park. I decided to get up early an hike the San Juan and Chiquito Falls trails.  It would turn out memorable beyond all of my expectations.  With a heat wave hitting the area, the hike in the desert environment was well over 100 degrees with no shade. Despite bringing over a gallon of water in my camel back, I ran out of water on the return of the long hike and ended up with heat stroke . . . and had to be airlifted out after taking a tumble into a ravine. More of that rescue later.  All I can say is that I can never repay the Orange County rescue team of the Sheriff’s office and fire department.  While I wish I was not the subject of their work, meeting these incredibly heroic first responders was an inspiring experience. I will be writing about that experience separately.  While I am now recovering from heat stroke in my hotel, I wanted to share some of the pictures before my embarrassing failure just short of the trail head. Continue reading “My Wonderful, Inspiring, and Embarrassing Hike In the Cleveland National Forest”

Sinclair Acquisition of Tribune In Doubt After Allegations Of Sinclair Hiding Key Information From The FCC

fcc-seal_rgb-largeSinclair_Broadcast_Group_Logo.svgThe much-discussed $3.9 billion acquisition of Tribune Media by Sinclair Broadcast Group Inc. is now in serious question after the discovery of undisclosed facts and relationships.  A hearing has been called and many believe that Sinclair will drop its bid to avoid the highly damaging adjudication of these issues.  On Wednesday, the Federal Communications Commission unanimously voted that undisclosed facts by Sinclair was enough cause for concern that it should be reviewed independently by an administrative judge. That hearing designation order  raised the concern that, in light of the new information,  the deal may “not be in the public interest.”

 

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Report: Solar Energy Now Costs Half That Of Coal In North America

290px-The_Sun_by_the_Atmospheric_Imaging_Assembly_of_NASA's_Solar_Dynamics_Observatory_-_20100819I have previously questioned the environmental and economic sense of President Donald Trump pushing the United States into greater coal consumption with the rest of the world developing alternative energy sources.  We seem to be pushing a buggy-whip economy as the world and markets pass us by.  My greatest concern is the hostility shown by the Trump Administration to new energy sources.  A touchstone of the industry is Levelized Cost of Energy Analysis (LCOE) which was used by investment bank Lazard to evaluate the current costs and prospects of different energy investments.  It found (as we have previously discussed) that alternative energy costs are plunging and solar energy is now half the cost of coal. Continue reading “Report: Solar Energy Now Costs Half That Of Coal In North America”

“An Almond Doesn’t Lactate”: Feds Move To Block The Use Of “Milk” In Almond Milk

1280px-Scott_Gottlieb_official_portraitFDA Commissioner Scott Gottlieb may have come up with the greatest tagline since “White Men Don’t Jump.”  Gottlieb has announced that the agency is considering blocking the use of the term “almond milk” because “an almond doesn’t lactate.” Continue reading ““An Almond Doesn’t Lactate”: Feds Move To Block The Use Of “Milk” In Almond Milk”

Changing Dealers? MGM Resorts Sues The Victims In The Mandalay Bay Massacre

220px-The_ScreamMGM Resorts International has gone to an extraordinary point to forum shop for more sympathetic judges: it is actually suing the victims of last year’s Las Vegas concert mass shooting.  The move has outraged many as MGM shamelessly sues grieving families and individuals to get before the more conservative federal bench. It is a move that is a stark reminder of how corporations openly forum shop for judges as well as the view of the federal bench as being more sympathetic to corporate defendants.  What is all the more unsettling is that MGM and Mandalay Bay could well succeed.

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