Finally, a case that joins my two legal loves: constitutional law and torts. This week, the White House was the scene of one of the most common torts in the country after the first dog, Sunny, bit a tourist in the White House. The female Portuguese Water Dog left a serious gash under the eye of the 18-year-old visitor.
The entire community surrounding Arundel High School was traumatized recently when an anonymous person posted a tweet threatening that “We’re planning to attack tomorrow”. What made the tweet particularly menacing was the Twitter account: @KoolkidsKlanKkk. Police launched a full-fledged investigation and has now charged a 14-year-old African-American girl with sending a threatening tweet related to Arundel High School.
I have long been a critic of politician interfering with curricular issues in our schools. Most of us do not look to politicians as paragons of knowledge. Assemblyman Jimmy Gomez personifies the perils of politicians dictating course choices. Gomez is pushing for a course on to teach students who to avoid fake news. It is part of a new trend around the world to rally people against the scourge of “fake news” — a trend that is already been used as a rationale for censorship and the criminalization of speech. Fake news is now the rallying cry for people who disagree with coverage and is used as a way to avoid answering questions. What one person consider fake news and other considers real news can be highly subjective. The most recent controversy reveals the difficult lines to draw. President-elect Donald Trump made headlines yesterday by denounced CNN as “fake news” and refusing to take a question from its reporter. Yet, the report was “news” that was reported by most major outlets. I agree with the Trump staff about the need for BuzzFeed to have looked more closely at specific allegations and I do find the contractions raised by the Trump staff to be very problematic. Indeed, James Clapper appears to have supported Trump in his outrage over the leaks and further distanced the U.S. intelligence community from the merits of the allegations. [Here is Clapper’s statement] Yet, the legitimacy of these stories comes down to the details published in the stories. A former MI6 agent made the allegation and those allegations were forwarded to the FBI by a U.S. Senator. That is news. The specific “dirt” alleged to be in the possession of the Russians is a far more difficult question for editors and most declined to run those details while reporting the lack of independent confirmation.
We have previously discussed the plight of women and girls subject to Sharia law and extreme Muslim traditions of marriage. The nightmare faced by many women was captured in a horrific guide being distributed by in Turkey by former religious affairs department employee Hasan Caliskan. The guide supports the beating of women who do not “beautify” themselves, supports the marriage of 10-year-old girls, and advances absurd notions like the danger of having a stuttering child if a woman talks during sex.
We have previously discussed the move to drop the use of the large cow bells that is part of the Swiss identity. Now local citizens in the canton of Aargau have moved to deny a passport to Nancy Holten, 42, because of her advocacy on behalf of the Swiss cows. It turns out that citizens and towns can object to the issuance of passports in Switzerland.
New York State Supreme Court Judge Barbara Jaffe has dismissed the defamation case against against President-elect Donald Trump brought by political strategist and TV pundit Cheryl Jacobus. Trump slammed Jacobus during the campaign and said that she “begged him for a job” at one time. Jaffe, however, held that such tweets are manifestly opinion and not facts for the purposes of defamation law. It is perhaps fitting that the first major ruling related to Trump would be over the character of tweets. If upheld, this could be a major new rule. As if on cue, Trump make more headlines today in the wake of the decision on Twitter with a tweet attacking the intelligence agencies saying “Intelligence agencies should never have allowed this fake news to “leak” into the public. One last shot at me.Are we living in Nazi Germany?” That is clearly opinion and hyperbole but the scope of Jaffe’s decision certainly adds a layer of protection not just for Trump but other regular tweeters.
David Brock is nothing if not morally and politically flexible. He started as a conservative muckraker who was widely denounced for his unrelenting attacks on Hillary Clinton. He then announced a change of heart and became an attack dog for Hillary — becoming extremely wealthy as the head of shadowy Clinton PAC that investigated and attacked any Democrat or Republican who stood against her. In this election, Clinton was attacked for her association with Brock who was viewed as reaching a new level of sleazy and vicious work. You may recall Bernie Sanders denouncing Clinton for her continued alliance with Brock and use of his controversial PAC organizations. Sanders referred to Brock as simple “scum” but Clinton refused to denounce Brock or to discourage Democrats from working with or contributing to his PACs. As we discussed, it turns out that even Clinton aides were disgusted by Clinton’s refusal to cut off Brock or to denounce his work. In the latest batch of Wikileaks, Neera Tanden, the President of Center for American Progress, allegedly emailed John Podesta that “I hope Hillary truly understands now how batshit crazy David Brock is.”
Now Brock is ready for his next transformation. After leading attacks on Sanders, Brock has apologized in a public letter that he was wrong and now wants an alliance with Sanders as his attack dog. It brings to mind Sam Houston’s description of a contemporary of having “every quality of a dog except loyalty.” In a statement that is enough to force most politicians into a fetal position, Brock has written to Sanders to say “I’m with you.” The effort to play the Prodigal Son is likely to be lost on Sanders. After all the original Prodigal Son did not first try to kill the father, burn his farm to the ground and poison his livestock.