People, even lawyers, just do not interact much in remote seminars. It makes a three-hour session far more tiring, even though I’m sitting down, rather than stalking through the space. Thus I am blotto now, after a legal ethics session earlier today.
1. And THIS is the best paper in the U.S…Two headlines on the New York Times front page this morning my high school paper faculty advisor would have rejected…and he would have been right:
- “Gaetz Said To Face Inquiry Over Sex With Underage Girl” The fact someone says it is not news. Is he “facing an inquiry” or isn’t he? “Three people briefed on the matter” isn’t a source: we’ve seen how accurate the Times anonymous sources are, especially when the subject is a Republican, a conservative, and a Trump supporter. Why the front page for a rumor? Slow news day? Hey, I’ve got an idea: How about an article about how Joe Biden called Georgia “sick” based on a complete misrepresentation?
- “Taliban Believes The War’s Over And They Won.” This is psychic news again, my favorite fake news form. How does the Times know what the Taliban “thinks”? Who cares what it “thinks”?
2. Boy, the Chauvin prosecution really has nothing…or it is trying to ensure a reversal. The state is calling children as witnesses in its case, including a 9-year-old yesterday. I believe a judge allowing this is reversible error, and either the prosecution is deliberately choosing to bypass facts and real evidence for emotion, or it has insufficient evidence to make its case. A nine-year old lacks the experience and perception to understand a complex situation like the Floyd detainment; heck, most of the public doesn’t understand what was happening. This morning, HLN anchor-model Robin Meade kept shaking her head saying the third-grader’s testimony was “heart-breaking.” (Shouldn’t a nine-year-old be in fourth grade? Great—they are calling slow children as witnesses…)
3. A U.S. Congresswoman slanders a private citizen on TV! Oh, goodie…Actress Gina Carano was fired from Disney’s “The Mandalorian” for calling out the fascism on the left with tweets like,
“Because history is edited, most people today don’t realize that to get to the point where Nazi soldiers could easily round up thousands of Jews, the government first made their own neighbors hate them simply for being Jews. How is that any different than hating someone for their political views?”
So for that and other anti-fascist opinions, Carano was called “a Nazi” by former Democrat Sen. Heidi Heitkamp. She also called the actress someone “who hangs around with white supremacists” during a segment on Bill Maher’s “Real Time” show on HBO. This is mighty near the definition of defamation, and even Hietkamp–why does Maher only book assholes on his show?—seemed to realize it. When Maher asked Heitkamp to elaborate on her smear, she worried out loud if her comment would make her “subject to defamation.” Let me translate for the inarticulate non-Senator: she means that her comments might be defamation, as I’d say Carano, a private citizen, has a good case
4. Why isn’t this national news? And is that a rhetorical question? The two boys originally facing manslaughter charges in the beating death of 13-year-old Diego Stolz in Moreno Valley (California) only were ordered to do 150 hours of community service and participate in rehab programs. the Riverside County District Attorney’s Office confirmed that “no further custody time was ordered.” Stoltz, who had been bullied for over a year by the two boys and others, was attacked and killed when a punch from one of the boys caused him to hit his head on a concrete pillar in 2019.
Riverside County Superior Court Judge Roger A. Luebs ordered both boys to do 150 hours of community service and that they will be required to “participate in various programs specifically tailored toward their rehabilitative needs.”
Wow. He really threw the book at them!
The judge said he believed advocates for jail time—after all, all these kids did was harass and beat up a young boy until they killed him: boys will be boys!—were motivated by public outrage rather than rehabilitation.
“The idea that they didn’t go to youth prison shouldn’t be seen as giving them a slap on the wrist, actually they’re going to have a lot of work to do to complete their probation, which probably won’t end until their 18th birthday,” said one of the defense attorneys, David Wohl, adding that prison “was not appropriate for 13-year-olds.”
This appears to be the culmination of part of the “over-incarceration” argument: the solution is devaluing human life.
5. “Clowns to the left of me, jokers to the right”…How many ways is this story idiotic? Volkswagen confirmed yesterday that it had put out a false news release saying that it had changed the name of its U.S. subsidiary to “Voltswagen of America.” It was a joke, see, to promote a new electric utility vehicle.
Morons. Major corporations are not known for putting out hoax PR releases. If this had been tomorrow—April Fool’s Day—maybe the move would be defensible. (Oh-oh.. I just had a flashback to when my mother threw me a surprise birthday party a week before my real birthday, and when everyone jumped out at me in the basement I thought I was going to die…) But it was March 30.
Volkswagen said they thought the news media would realize it was all in good fun. What? Those idiots think fake news is real all the time! The Associated Press, USA Today, CNBC and The Washington Post, among other, reported that name change as truth. Of course they did.
“The Associated Press was repeatedly assured by Volkswagen that its U.S. subsidiary planned a name change, and reported that information, which we now know to be false,” company spokeswoman Lauren Easton said. “We have corrected our story and published a new one based on the company’s admission. This and any deliberate release of false information hurts accurate journalism and the public good.”
Wait: there’s accurate journalism? Where? And since when were U.S. journalists interested in “the public good”?
Was that a joke too?