Category: Society

Former NASA Engineer Sabotages Thieves With Glitter Bomb After Police Refuse To Help [Updated]

A YouTube video has gone viral, showing a former NASA engineer, Mark Rober, who got tired of constantly have delivered boxes stolen from this front door in California. His glitter bomb device is worth watching below but what really drew me to the story was the reason. Like millions of people, we are having holiday gifts delivered and worry about the rising theft rate of such deliveries. If you are wondering why, this story give ample explanation. When Rober called police, they told him that they could not be bothered with such thefts. It is maddening. It seems that we get less and less for our taxes. Police protection is the most basic public function covered by taxes and yet the police simply treat this rising crime trend as none of their business. [Update: In a weird twist, Rober says that he has learned that a couple reactions from the alleged thieves may have been staged without his knowledge by associates. He has removed those scenes.]

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Health Care Jenga: The Future Of The ACA May Rest With Its Past

Below is my column in USA Today on the recent decision effectively striking down the Affordable Care Act.  While Judge O’Connor technically ruled only on the individual mandate, he found that the unconstitutional provision could not be severed from the rest of the Act.  Nevertheless, he will have to address the remaining issue and the question of the injunctive relief.  There is a good chance that the severability ruling will be reversed but that could still leave the ruling on the individual mandate.

Here is the column:

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Washington State Rangers Confirm That Hunter Killed Beloved “Cinder” Bear

We have another story this week of a beloved animal who was killed by a hunter.  Cinder was a young black bear that was nursed back to health after she was severely burned in a 2014 Washington wildfire. She became a moving story for many as she fought her way back to health and was eventually returned to the wild.  The Washington Department of Fish and Wildlife has now confirmed that she was killed. She was the subject of the book “Cinder the Bear: A True Story of Rescue, Recovery, Rehabilitation and Return.”

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San Fran Commission Requires Owner To Rebuild Historic Home That He Demolished Without Approval

There is an interesting decision out of the San Francisco Planning Commission after an owner demolished a famous house without approval.  The Commission clearly believes that Ross Johnston decided it was better to ask forgiveness than permission in tearing down the home known at the Largent House after securing only a permit for renovation.  The response of the Commission is poetic justice: Johnston has been ordered to build the exact house that he tore down and put up a plaque giving the history of the house and its demolition. 

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American University’s Yoga Group Disbanded After Cultural Appropriation Charge

I have been critical of the widening charges of cultural appropriation and microaggressions on our campuses as statements and even programs are targeted with little resistance from faculty or administrators.  We previously discussed how yoga classes were denounced in Ottawa as cultural appropriation. Now American University in Washington has become embroiled in the same charge after a single student objected to white individuals performing an Indian epic as part of university’s Bhakti yoga group. American University student Maya Krishnan seems to believe that the school should limit performances on the basis of race and national origin — and that objection appears to have succeeded with the dissolution of the group as well as the resignation of the group’s faculty adviser, student president and vice president.

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Deporter in Chief: Deportations Under Obama Still Higher Than Under Trump

For both Democrats and Republicans, the recent deportation numbers may come as something of an unpleasant surprise. It turns out the President Barack Obama deported more illegal immigrants than Trump even after two years of Trump’s controversial immigration policies.

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French Protesters Take To The Streets Wearing Yellow Vests . . . So Egypt Cracks Down On Yellow Vest Sales

The Egyptian government has reason to be nervous.  After cracking down on civil liberties, free speech, free exercise, and the free press, the government has watched with growing alarm over the protests engulfing France by thousands of yellow vested citizens.  So Egypt is rethinking its denial of basic liberties, right?  No, the government is preventing the sale of yellow vests and prosecutors are seeking jail time for a lawyer who was merely pictured in yellow vest.

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Vermont Man Causes Controversy Over One-Finger Salute To City Officials

Facebook: Ted Pelkey

We previously discussed the sometimes thin line between free speech and a nuisance.  The latest such controversy has arisen in Westford, Vermont where Ted Pelkey decided to make a statement after city officials refused his permit to build an 8,000 square foot garage on his property. His response was a single finger salute to  the Westford Selectboard and Development Review Board.  This is not the first such salute piece to prompt legal questions over its display.  Notably, the Vermont Supreme Court recently ruled that ugly is not a nuisance.

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Turley To Give Keynote On Privacy and Security At IBIA Conference

This morning, I will have the privilege of giving a keynote address before the National Press Club at a symposium organized by The International Biometrics + Identity Association (IBIA) on privacy and security issues surrounding the rising use of facial identification technology.

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Michael Cohen’s Last Hustle: How Trump’s Former Fixer Blew His Final Play

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Below is my column at Foxnews.com on the inevitable collapse of Michael Cohen’s strategy to avoid jail for his extensive criminal conduct as a businessman and a lawyer.  I recently discussed how the filing detailed the windfall payments of over $4 million that Cohen received from companies like AT&T to buy access and influence with Trump.  It was one of Cohen’s last scams.  He ended up keeping the money despite being embroiled in the scandals that led to his demise.  He then scammed thousands of anti-Trump donors on a GoFundMe site for hundreds of thousands of dollars on the promise of turning against Trump.  He never mentioned the millions that he shook down companies for in his cash for access scheme.  In other words, Cohen continue to hustle but, on this occasion, he came up one hustle too short.

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DOJ: Cohen Sold Access To Trump For $4 Million

One of the overlooked portions of the Justice Department filings on Michael Cohen was the calculation of how much Cohen made selling access to Trump after the election. I previously wrote about how Cohen found willing corporations like Novartis and AT&T to give him windfall payments to curry favoritism with Trump.  It turns out that Cohen made over $4 million and appears to have done little since he was quickly ensnared in scandal.  These companies however were outed in what is usually the hidden, seedy underbelly of this town. 

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President Trump To Nominate Bill Barr For Attorney General

440px-William_Barr,_official_photo_as_Attorney_GeneralPresident Donald Trump is reportedly considering the appointment of Bill Barr to be the 77th Attorney General of the United States.   If true, it would be Barr’s second stint as Attorney General after his service 1991 to 1993 during the administration of President George H. W. Bush — only the second time in history for such a successive appointment.  I have known Bill Barr for years and represented him during the Clinton impeachment (with other former Attorneys General).  He is one of the most brilliant lawyers I have known and would be a brilliant selection by President Trump for the position.  To put it simply, he is the perfect choice for this position at this time.  He is a rock solid leader who would bring stability and authority to the Justice Department.

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Michael Cohen’s Plea For Leniency Borders On Lunacy

Michelangelo,_Giudizio_Universale_24Below is my column in The Hill newspaper on the effort of former Trump fixer Michael Cohen to convince the federal court to show leniency in his sentencing.  While Cohen should get credit for cooperation, it must be balanced against two high countervailing considerations.  First, Cohen spent much of the last two years threatening people and obstructing efforts to disclose wrongdoing. Second, he is an officer of the court.  Judges generally do not look kindly upon lawyers violating their oaths and becoming vehicles for crimes and wrongdoing.

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Massachusetts Judge Under Investigation For Allegedly Helping Undocumented Immigrant Evade ICE

Facebook (Joseph on right)

Massachusetts District Court Judge Shelley Joseph is under investigation after she was accused of helping an undocumented immigrant, Jose Medina-Perez,  evade an ICE officer at the courthouse.  The Boston Globe is reporting that a federal grand jury is investigating Joseph and some have called for her to be barred from handling criminal cases in the interim. Continue reading “Massachusetts Judge Under Investigation For Allegedly Helping Undocumented Immigrant Evade ICE”

Corsi Files Complaint Against Mueller For Allegedly Pressuring Him To Lie

Conservative author Jerome Corsi yesterday filed a “criminal and ethics complaint” against Special Counsel Robert Mueller’s team trying to coerce him into giving “false testimony” against President Trump.  The filing was reportedly sent to a scattershot list of addresses including Acting Attorney General Matthew Whitaker, DOJ Inspector General Michael Horowitz, D.C.’s U.S. Attorney Jessie Liu and the Bar Disciplinary Counsel.  There is no strong legal basis for such a challenge. If Corsi is charged, he is likely to be charged for alleged false statements and courts rarely explore the motivations in bringing otherwise valid criminal charges. The filing appears designed for public consumption before any indictment is brought against him. Continue reading “Corsi Files Complaint Against Mueller For Allegedly Pressuring Him To Lie”