28 thoughts on “Friday Open Forum!

    • If they ever get around to prosecuting the driver, maybe you can defend her on the theory that working in state politics would drive anyone to drink.

  1. I find the new season of Law and Order (it was resurrected recently) to be an ethics failure so far. First, they seem to have run out of real murder stories so now they’re turning real stories into murder stories (full disclosure, this may have happened in the past but) in a way that just feels bad. First episode was Bill Cosby getting released from prison on a technicality and immediately getting murdered. The new progressive DA and his hot assistant struggle the whole episode with prosecuting his murdered, a woman who was also his victim, since he was a serial abuser. Not once in their moralistic deliberations did they address the fact that the rule of law matters, that you can’t ignore the law because you like the result. Plus the whole thing felt like a “will no one rid me of this troublesome priest?” feel to it.

    So we give the second episode a try. It’s Theranos, but with the Indian COO guy being murdered by Elizabeth Holmes rather than thrown under the bus. We turned it off after three murderer changes her story to be self defense because he abused her and the hot ADA tells her boss that she feels wrong prosecuting this woman because it will set back the MeToo movement.

    I’m afraid this show is a pretty good indicator of where our legal system is headed. To see such stupid analysis shown with more compassion and understanding than what it deserves (“No, you idiot. Go do your job, which is to prosecute murderers.”) was infuriating though. We’ll probably try a few more episodes, but I’m sure George Floyd’s special episode is coming up.

    • Mrs. OB and I ran across about thirty minutes of one of the new shows. It was horrible. The young assistant DAs might as well have been placed in their jobs by George Soros. The show should be called “No Law, Disorder.” Perhaps the worst aspect was the producers’ calling Sam Waterston out of wherever he’d been sitting around in retirement. He looks washed out and unsure of himself as if he’s in the wrong place or he’s dreaming he’s playing a DA or Joe Biden. Who knows, given the terrible scripts, maybe that’s what his updated Jack McCoy is supposed to be projecting? In any event, it is unwatchable and as you say, worse yet, it may accurately portray a working DA’s office these days.

      • Yep, Waterston sounded really bad. They should have just movie-magicked Fred Thompson into it. Would have been less awkward.

        • He looked awful as well. Gaunt. No energy at all. And you’re right about Fred Thompson being better. Jack McCoy never fit as being in charge of the office and having to play politics. Street fighters generally don’t make good administrators, to say the least.

          • The man is 81 years old. He was just under 70 at the time the original series ended (May of 2010, his 70th birthday would be November 2010). He was just under 54 when he arrived on the series, which is a pretty normal age for a senior trial attorney like he was playing.

            Granted, Robert Morgenthau, the real-life Manhattan DA who Steven Hill’s District Attorney Adam Schiff was loosely based on, served in the post until he was 90, but he was the exception, not the rule. Some people, like him, like Trump (like it or not), like Brooke Astor, like Charles Schulz, like John Cardinal O’Connor, kept their energy level despite their age. UK polymath Elspeth Huxley (not too well known in the US unless you are a PBS fan who watched the adaptation of her most famous book: The Flame Trees of Thika) took long walks every morning until her final illness. Unfortunately, Sam is not so blessed, and it’s obvious that his energy level just isn’t at the level required to run his otherwise considerable talent. It was obvious in February 2018, when he returned as DA after sporadic appearances on SVU to bring Philip Winchester’s Peter Stone in (after speaking at his dad’s funeral), that his energy was drained.

            However, for many people he is the only link to the series’ more popular days, and I think without him this new season would never have gotten off the ground.

      • I recently saw last week’s epi “Free Speech.” Law and Order has, of course, always relied on ripping stories from the headlines, and it has, throughout the previous 20 seasons, come down on one side or the other politically. Dianne Wiest, who played law professor turned DA Nora Lewin, left the show right around the turn of the century because she’s pretty liberal and she thought the show was getting too Republican in its bent, or so she said, leading to the casting of Fred Dalton Thompson, may he rest in peace, as conservative DA Arthur Branch, who was supposedly swept into office after 9/11.

        This week’s episode, however, was a just barely veiled attack on Donald Trump and a not at all veiled attack on the right, plus an attempt to shore up some media lies. In case you don’t feel like watching the whole epi:

        It starts with a conservative media host in the mold of Rush Limbaugh, et al, interviewing a liberal would-be-Congressional candidate, who storms out when he asks him about underage sex trafficking in the high levels of the Democratic Party. Of course, the candidate acts perfectly reasonably during the interview, although the media guy later sneeringly categorizes him as “AOC with brains.”

        The candidate is subsequently pushed under a bus by a conservative yahoo who’s a big fan of this media guy. Initially there’s a false lead about pictures on the internet showing the candidate with underage girls, but it turns out they were photoshopped. It also turns out there have been inflammatory posts on a conservative webchat against this candidate. Guess who it all leads back to? Yup.

        Also, the yahoo who pushed the candidate says that the guy promised to reward him if he “neutralized” this candidate. So they arrest him and charge him with murder for hire. But (there’s always a twist) the yahoo hangs himself in his cell the day before he is to testify. So the DA dismissed the murder for hire charge but decides to go ahead with a Murder 2 (which is the main murder statute in NY) under a theory of depraved indifference – this media guy was stirring up trouble and did the equivalent of “yelling fire in a crowded theater.” The female DA says “this could be groundbreaking, like convicting Trump for the murders on January 6th.”

        Initially the case doesn’t look like it’s going anywhere, in fact a potentially exculpatory witness comes to light and the DA has to notify the defense. However, in a last ditch effort, the day before the defendant is to testify in his own defense the one DA tells the other to do a deep dive and find everything that could be used against him on cross (despite the fact that they are almost at the end of trial), in the hopes his media whoring nature will lead him to say something they can rebut. When the media guy testifies, he touts himself as just being about the peaceful exercise of the first amendment. Aha! says the DA, and whips out a cell phone video a waiter took at a rally this guy hosted showing him talking to someone about activating his fans, who he dismisses as morons, and having them do something violent, which would make them the biggest media company around. Bear in mind, he’s whipping this out without having shown it to the defense first or even clued them in it exists. Of course the jury (with a black, female foreperson) convicts and the media guy is frog-marched out yelling that this isn’t over etc.

        Apart from discarding basic rules of criminal procedure and criminal trial practice, apart from DAs and police who never seem to do their due diligence until a case is about to tank, apart from throwing the rules of evidence out the window, the fact is that this was essentially a political prosecution, and it was done that way because the showrunner wants to let it be known where this show is coming from. I don’t think a George Floyd epi is coming, though, they probably know this country lived that and doesn’t need to live it again.

        • There is a link to the recap here.

          https://allthingslawandorder.blogspot.com/2022/04/law-order-free-speech-recap-review.html

          There would be no way, consistent with First Amendment jurisprudence, that the murder charge (based upon Internet posts intended to be read by all persons) could possibly stick.

          Under this theory, the only thing keeping those who spread the Russian Collusion®™ narrative or the Hands Up Don’t Shoot®™ narrative from being prosecuted for murder is if the prosecutor agrees with their lies.

          Here is a quote from the reviewer.

          It was a compelling episode which focused on Jordan Reed, a man who uses hate as a business model. Reed is an ultra-right wing, venom-spewing radio host who also belongs to a chat room full of conspiracy theorists. At one point he refers to his followers as “morons.” He uses – and monetizes – their gullibility and hatred. He manages to push the right buttons with one of them by using fake photos and false rumors; that person eventually kills a man who is simply trying to open a dialog for positive change. Reed’s lawyer thought Price was trying to criminalize free speech, but all Price was doing was holding Reed accountable for his role in a murder. It was satisfying seeing Jordan Reed get his comeuppance, sadly, his “moron” followers likely won’t be able to understand why Reed was found guilty.

          This episode may be fiction but we know all too well that there are media outlets – and their talking heads – who make money by spouting their “faux”, or fake, news. One can only hope that someday we could rid our airwaves and social media of those people who spread blatant lies and disguise them as opinion. The best way to do this is not by banning them, but by not “feeding” them with attention or allowing them to monetize it. It’s also surprising how many people don’t understand the First Amendment. Freedom of speech does have limits, and in this case, Jordan Reed found out what one of those limits was…the hard way.

        • Give the people what they want. The reboot is just awful and affirms my belief that students aren’t receiving an education that includes how the American system of government works.
          It was Justice Kagan that claimed that the courts would lose legitimacy if it didn’t consider the opinions of society. That’s not the Rule of Law.

  2. My newest hobby horse I’ve been forced onto: People putting Ukraine colors on their houses, cars and front yards. What is it with these people? Most of them are Democrats! They’re in favor of war? I thought all wars are immoral. What are they saying? “Make Ukraine Great Again?” “Ukraine First?” Isn’t nationalism tantamount to fascism? I thought we were all in a post nationalistic world where we’re all citizens of the world and nationalism is for autocrats like Viktor Orban. It’s okay for Ukraine to defend its borders, but it’s racist for the United States to do so? These people want more military spending paid to weapons manufacturers and dealers? Russia is a threat? It’s the 1980s after all? Mitt Romney was right? Will Michelle Obama make a sad face in front of a poster saying “We want Mariupol back?” Where’s Cindy Sheehan and the rest of Code Pink? One of our neighbors who has Ukraine regalia all over his house and car is the same guy who complained about another neighbor’s having a “Let’s Go Brandon” poster in her window. This is the guy who had an “Impeach the Moron” sticker on his car during the Trump years. The tunnel vision and lack of self-awareness is horrifying and absolutely pin-headed. Don’t these people ever have any self-doubts or sense of introspection? Rant over.

    • Shhhhh….the Ukraine is supposed to distract us from problems at home. After all, if you complain about gas and grocery prices, then you are a priveleged First Worlder who doesn’t know what real suffering is.

      I’m all for being grateful that my life isn’t harder than it is, but another country being invaded does not mean that U.S. citizens aren’t permitted to demand answers and accountability from their government about issues here.

    • I feel your pain OB.
      I cringe every time a democrat moves into my neighborhood, not just because the new modern democrat is insufferable but also because they drive real estate values down.
      Is it unethical to judge someone based on real estate value?

      • I am loathe to lump all Democrats into a common definition. Doing so, seems to me, to be little different than equating one particular demographic group as thugs. I have to routinely chastise my wife for doing exactly that despite the fact her sister claims to be a card carrying progressive – until something hurts her wallet.

        I no longer try to change the minds of leftists because that is the equivalent of trying to turn a born again Christian into an atheist. Progressive Democrats often have not completely thought through what it takes to get to their idealized world which is why they bathe themselves in hypocrisy and double standards.
        If challenged by progressive thought leaders I simply ask them what level of contribution should the poor commit in order to live in their progressive society. These contributions will require make sacrifices to elevate themselves and their community. Are they willing to devote sufficient time to mastering the basics in reading, math and science? Are they willing to learn a skill that they can sell to others in order to be independent? Are they willing to punish the wrongdoing of their own so their young learn consequences? Are they willing instill in their young the value of life itself?
        These are non financial contributions everyone should make to improve the collective good. If they cannot commit to demand that of themselves or of those for which they advocate then they are estoppel from demanding that I do my fair share.

        • Chris, the poor are to be left infantilized and taken care of for eternity. The poor are the gift that keeps on giving to the left. The poor will always be with us. And the left will make damned sure that’s the case, in perpetuity.

    • I am seriously thinking about making yard signs that just say “I Support The Current Thing”. I think they’d sell well. This Ukraine nonsense is just the most recent trendy thing about which to signal your virtue.

  3. OB
    What is interesting is that there are two groups of poor whites; urban poor whites that exhibit similar negative behavioral characteristics exhibited by other urban poor. Rural poor whites are labeled racist rednecks who may belong to right wing extremist groups. I don’t believe race is a contributing factor in antisocial behavior but I do believe that it is probable that increasing population densities coupled with victimization polemics create these unwanted social pathologies. My concern is that social media helps accelerate these pathologies to rural poor whites.

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