Ethics Pre-Daylight Losing Time Fallback, 11/6/202: So?…Go!…Oops! And More

Fall back

At this point in U.S. history, there is no justification whatsoever for not having daylight savings time year-round. The failure of Congress to kill Ben Franklin’s anachronistic brainstorm is pure cowardice and incompetence.

1. So? The NRA Foundation has twice paid attorney David Kopel, a Second Amendment activist, to write pro-gun rights amicus briefs in Supreme Court cases, according to a hacked document released last week. Since 2019, Kopel has submitted two briefs backing an NRA affiliate in cases before the court, including one involving New York’s ban on carrying licensed guns in public. The briefs did not disclose the source of funding, which is being condemned as unethical by the news media and the usual NRA bashers. “Attorneys who author these briefs must disclose whether they’ve taken money from either side to deliver a filing,” one source says.

Well, first of all, an amicus brief succeeds or fails based on its arguments, and who writes it or funds it should be irrelevant. This would be, at worst, a technical violation. However, the applicable rule in the SCOTUS amicus brief memo does not support the description above. “Rule 37.6 Disclosures” states,

“The first footnote on the first page of text of an amicus brief must include certain disclosures concerning contributions to the brief….It should indicate whether counsel for a party authored the brief in whole or in part and whether such counsel or a party made a monetary contribution intended to fund the preparation or submission of the brief. It should also identify every person other than the amicus, its members or counsel, who made such a monetary contribution; the Clerk’s Office views it as better practice to state explicitly that no such contributions were made if this is in fact true.”

This is astoundingly sloppy drafting, especially for the Supreme Court. “Must” and “should” are terms of art. “Must,” like “shall,” means some action is mandatory; “should” means that something is best practice, but not absolutely required. When two “shoulds” follow a “must,” it is impossible to determine what’s mandatory and what isn’t.

2. The show must go on! Kudos for Tucker Carlson, who underwent emergency back surgery on the morning of November 3, and still made his Fox News show that evening. That’s the kind of job dedication over and above the call of duty that marks the diligent and the trustworthy.

Maybe he should be Secretary of Transportation. At least we know Tucker would show up for work…

3. In “Let’s go, Brandon!” news…NASCAR president Steve Phelps announced that his racing organization didn’t want to be associated with political nastiness. The chant, as you should know by now, originated during an incident in October where NASCAR fans shouted “Fuck Joe Biden!” over an interview of race driver Brandon Brown by NBC Sports reporter Kelli Stavast. Absurdly and dishonestly, she told the driver that fans were chanting, “Let’s go, Brandon!” when it was obvious that they were not. The episode was reminiscent of the “mostly peaceful protest” claim by a reporter surrounded by fires and chaos during a Black Lives Matter riot last summer.

“It’s an unfortunate situation and I feel for Brandon, I feel for Kelli,” Phelps said. He feels for Kelli? Kelli, whose obvious effort to cover for President Biden epitomizes the degree to which the news media has sunk into partisan bias? If there is any excuse for the chant, it that it mocks journalists, who deserve to be mocked. Compounding the fiasco, reports on “Let’s go, Brandon” outbreaks routinely claim that it’s “unclear” whether Stavast heard the obscene chant clearly. Sure it is…

4. Good. The infrastructure bill passed the House. It’s about time. Naturally there is all sorts of pork in it; yes, the Democrats used budget trickery to pretend it won’t cost more. Nevertheless, this at least begins to address a genuine need. Congratulations to the Democrats, and on behalf of America’s commerce and safety, thanks.

5. Also good: In St. Michael’s Media, Inc. v. Mayor & City Council of Baltimore, the Fourth Circuit affirmed the lower court ruling that there cannot be a “heckler’s veto” where government authorities are involved:

“The Supreme Court has long held that the government violates the First Amendment when it gives a public official unbounded discretion to decide which speakers may access a traditional public forum.” “[T]he danger of censorship and of abridgment of our precious First Amendment freedoms is too great where officials have unbridled discretion over a forum’s use.” …

“First, [unbridled discretion’s] existence, ‘coupled with the power of prior restraint, intimidates parties into censoring their own speech, even if the discretion and power are never actually abused.'” “Second, ‘the absence of express standards’ renders it difficult to differentiate between a legitimate denial of access and an ‘illegitimate abuse of censorial power.'”

Great precedent!

6. And in more legal news: “OOPS! “ Chief U.S. District Judge Rodney Gilstrap of the Eastern District of Texas confessed that he may have violated the law by failing to recuse himself in… 138 cases. Even though he or his wife had a financial interest in corporate litigants, the Wall Street Journal reported that the judge handled the cases anyway. Gilstrap had stock that would have required recusal in four cases, while his wife had an interest in a trust that would have required Gilstrap’s recusal in 134 other cases.

26 thoughts on “Ethics Pre-Daylight Losing Time Fallback, 11/6/202: So?…Go!…Oops! And More

  1. Re #4 I cannot say Good or Bad to the infrastructure bill because very little has been disclosed about it. I understand it includes the new federal mileage tax for all vehicles which means that fossil fueled vehicles will be paying twice for the privilege of using all roads whether or not they are maintained by federal dollars. My understanding is that only about 10% of the funds will be used for roads and bridges and the rest for mass transportation which benefit those living in urban areas. Once again many will be paying for other people’s subsidized transportation.

    I might be willing to go along with your “Good” if I was able to find out what the hell is actually in the bill.

    • “if I was able to find out what the hell is actually in the bill.”

      OT, but SanFranNan’s plea regarding the Affordable Care Act (“We have to pass it to see what’s in it”) describes the purpose of a stool sample.

    • I don’t know if this is true because I haven’t read the bill either, but, I heard there was money allocated for Hyperloop which is a pipedream. They cannot even build high speed rail with existing technology let alone something that isn’t even feasible (700 mph in a vacuum tube 100s of miles long). This technology has been debunked over and over but these billionaire and their ventures create sophisticated realistic looking CGI graphics that really dupes the investors and government funding.

  2. 4. Now let’s see if any of it actually goes toward infrastructure instead of being diverted to progressive goals, such as greater diversity in the construction field. Remember how Barack Obama laughed when it was pointed out how those “shovel-ready jobs” actually just paved the way for more women in offices?

    I will say “Good for the Democrats” when we start seeing noticeable improvement in our roads, sewers and electrical grids.

  3. “At this point in U.S. history, there is no justification whatsoever for not having daylight savings time year-round. The failure of Congress to kill Ben Franklin’s anachronistic brainstorm is pure cowardice and incompetence.”

    NO NO NO NO NO A THOUSAND TIMES NO!

    Time is a measurement of observable astronomical phenomenon. Noon is when the the sun is highest in the sky, half-way between dawn and dusk. We need to simply do away with Daylight Saving Time. There is nothing stopping anyone from reaping the “benefits” of it year-round by waking up and starting the day an hour earlier.

    Arguing for year-round DST is like arguing to fight global warming by “turning all our thermometers back.” It’s just self-delusion, and I see no way in which that is an ethical solution.

    –Dwayne

      • Well, we would have to be on savings time all year round if you don’t want it to be dark at 4:30PM. We are now on standard time. Personally, I could go for DST all year round rather than switch back and forth. That would give more light in the evenings all year round – just stay on daylight savings time all year round and forget standard time during the winter. But, they’ll never do it.

        • Oh, I see Dwayne feels otherwise. I should have read his comment first. But, either way, DST or EST it should be the same all year.

      • So go to work earlier. That’s all DST is.

        –Dwayne

        P.S. I’m not trying to pick on you in particular, Steve, just pointing out the silliness of it all.

        • The average person doesn’t have the luxury of setting their own work hours. I might be able to get away with it, but there would be a price to pay career wise.

          I searched for polling data on the topic and found, unsurprisingly, that the majority dislike the practice of switching back and forth. Surprisingly, to me, a plurality support your position: year round standard time.

  4. RE #3: I am unconvinced that the reporter was deliberately covering for Joe Biden by trying to convince viewers that what they were hearing wasn’t what they were actually hearing. She had an interview she needed to do, against a sonorous and unpleasant backdrop. I suspect that either she or the producer talking into her earpiece, came up with the “Let’s Go Brandon” as a means of cover, purely so they could get the interview. Why they didn’t delay the avail and scoot him into a quiet area is a mystery – but then again, there’s no lack of incompetence in the news media these days.

    Of course, whether clumsy attempt to hold audience or a deliberate attempt at cover, the result was a dismal failure, and one of the greatest moments of pop culture hilarity in my memory.

    • That was my take as well… I’m not sure exactly what she should have done instead, only that she shouldn’t have done what she did. But when you have a mic and a camera, doing a sports interview, with thousands of people chanting “Fuck Joe Biden” in an arena, it put her in a really awkward spot, politics aside, and people in awkward situations aren’t famous for making great decisions. What she did in and of itself, shouldn’t be enough to follow her around for life… But this will.

  5. Here is Elie Mystal.

    http://www.thetruthaboutguns.com/mystal-democrat-states-must-rage-against-the-dying-of-the-civilian-disarmament-light/#comment-5273563

    Ammosexuals may argue that lethal phallic symbols are the only things that compensate for their feelings of fear, but I know who these people will be shooting at. It’ll be me. It’ll be my kids. I have the right to ride home from a Mets game without worrying that a hysterical white man is going to shoot me for breathing on him with my broad West Indian nose.

    Look, I’m not naive. I’ve been a Black man in America all my life. I was only 6 years old when [Bernhard] Goetz shot those Black people, but I don’t remember not knowing what he did, because my parents made sure I was aware of what white men are allowed to do to me in this country. The Supreme Court wants to make it even easier for them to do it, without so much as an illegal weapons charge, and there’s nothing I can do about that. But if New York can pass a bill to reinstate through a back door what minimal protections the Supreme Court is poised to take away, it has to do it.

    Conservatives control the Supreme Court, and with that power they intend to keep us living in the most violent wealthy country on Earth. The few states Democrats control must rage, rage against the dying of the light.

    Does Elie Mystal really think that White men are the ones doing the drive-by shootings in New York City?

      • I noticved something about Mystal’s articles.

        His complaint is not that the street thugs would more easily be able to mug people, nor that gangbangers will more easily be able to gun down kids in front of schools during drive-bys, but that people could more easily defend themselves from violent criminals!

        He is completely tone-deaf, even to rank-and-file sympathizers of the gun control campaign.

    • Oh, he probably does. He’s completely lost his mind—this was evident when he seriously proposed that all black jurors vote to acquit black defendants regardless of the crime or evidence. He’s the prototypical angry black man who has snapped. We’re lucky he has reacted by saying idiotic, racist things on TV rather than going up on a tower with a rifle.

      • He wrote about how holding the Sullivan law unconstituional would “”would take the discretion out of the system and basically mean that anybody can get a permit if they fill out a form”.

        He defintely was part of the chorus last year that defamed all cops are violent, inherent, and irredeemable racists, and how American systemically perpetuates racism.

        and now he complains that discretion would be taken out of this same system branded as racist.

        This is not the first time I have noticed that the loudest voices condemning systemic racism are mute when it comes to may-issue gun permit systems. The Sullivan law was the lowest-hanging fruit, and these woke people refused to pick it.

        One of my longtime Usenet allies made this point.

        http://www.thetruthaboutguns.com/mystal-democrat-states-must-rage-against-the-dying-of-the-civilian-disarmament-light/#comment-5271811

        He has the very epitome of a slave mentality.

        He thinks that the men who murdered Amadou Diallo, Patrick Dorismond, and Akai Gurley are going to “protect” him from anything besides the ravages of old age.

        I’ll bet he also wants to “defund the police”. To this I reply:

        A. Police are violent, racist psychopaths (and some, like Justin Volpe surely are).
        B. Only police should have and carry firearms.

        Pick ONE and ONLY one.

        – Christopher Charles Morton

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