Archive for month: July, 2014

Ventura Verdict – Analysis of a Pyrrhic Victory

31 Jul
July 31, 2014

The interwebz exploded when Jesse Ventura won $1.8 million in a defamation suit against the estate of Chris Kyle over statements Kyle made in his book American Sniper.

First the legalese part from Legal Insurrection in an article by Amy Miller:

Defamation lawsuits are tricky animals, especially when they’re brought against a public figure. If the matter being sued over is “a matter of public concern” (and this most certainly was, considering the most famous sniper in American history made statements about one of the most famous American governors in history,) we’re looking at charge of “constitutional defamation.” These cases are desperately difficult to win on behalf of a famous plaintiff—-and Ventura’s lawyers won….

The problem with drawing conclusions following media coverage of a jury trial is that reporters tend to leave out the nuances and inconvenient facts that define a case. For example, the media rightly reported that, in order to find in favor of Ventura, the jury needed to prove that Chris Kyle acted with actual malice when he wrote his book; that is to say, that Kyle either knew his statements were false, or acted with reckless disregard as to whether they were false or not. What the media didn’t choose to cover is how difficult it is for an attorney to prove that a defendant acted with actual malice against a public figure.

It take a lot to prove malice in a courtroom, yet Ventura’s attorneys managed to swat eight jurors that malice was present. So, Ventura was most likely correct to say he was defamed by Kyle.

Unfortunately, Ventura has failed to grasp that how his need for vindication was going to be perceived once Kyle was murdered and Ventura continued to press his suit. It’s one thing to go after the man who said bad things about you. It’s another thing entirely to go after his widow and children, even if you are in the right.

In the end, Ventura upheld his name in court, but ended up doing far more damage in the eyes of the public who consumes his products.

Enjoy your Pyrrhic victory, Jesse.

NLRB Rules Against McDonalds

30 Jul
July 30, 2014

The National Labor Relations Board (you know, the one where the Supreme Court smacked down the president for making illegal appointments) has decided that McDonalds is a “joint-employer” with all of its franchisees.

The unions were pushing this to make it easier for them to unionize fast food workers.

“It’s time the company put those same powers [to control franchisees] to work to do something about the fact that its workers are living in poverty,” said Kendall Fells, organizing director of Fast Food Forward, president of the Fast Food Workers committee and a former SEIU organizer. I’m sure he feels really smug about his side’s victory against the great behemoth of fast food.

Now we come to the reality side of unintended consequences. If this ruling is allowed to stand (and Mickey D’s has vowed to fight it), then the unions will close down a promising avenue for the workers they claim to represent for economic mobility.

Guess who becomes McDonald’s franchisees? People who work their way up from crew to manager (or district manager), and who invest their own money into their first store. Then they invest in a second store. And another. Through all of that hard work and wise investing is real prosperity. Not the false prosperity of a bump in the minimum wage that will be eaten the next year by rising prices, but the sustained prosperity that will not only change the lives of the franchisees, but their entire family tree.

But, today the workers won. Hurray.

DC Officials Get Ninety Days

30 Jul
July 30, 2014

To come up with concealed carry that will meet the court’s approval.

Bitter, over at Shall Not Be Questioned, had perhaps the best comment:

It will be interesting to see what happens come October 22 – the deadline. It’s clear that the DC police proved they could come up with a somewhat workable policy on the fly with multiple memos that covered most situations for lawful carry. I see no reason why the DC City Council can’t come up with a clearer policy similar to the Police Chief’s in 90 days – assuming they don’t just appeal this and hope for more favorable decisions.

Honestly, although I hope the city would just codify the memos the police chief circulated, I think they will try for something “may-issue” that they can use to deny it to as many as possible.

Metal Tuesday – Jorn – House of Cards

29 Jul
July 29, 2014

I’m going through a big bunch of music I recently acquired, and came across this little tune. I thought it might be a good one for Metal Tuesday. So, without further ado, Jorn’s “House of Cards.”

Lyrics:

It’s late at night
And I’m watching the news
There’s blood on the screen
And I felt guilty somehow
Escaping from reality
When I close my eyes
Don’t wanna see them die
Hear the children cry

There’s been so much trouble
Too many sad songs have been played
And when you think you’ve found something real
It’s suddenly so deceiving
Hard to believe in changes
It’s a faded paradise
And I’m running out of strength

In this house made of cards
Smoke is rising
Playing in the fire
Change the mode – crack the code
Power overload
SOS – Emergency
No one seems to find the key

I’ve been seeking my fortune
For too many years
Living on the edge – racing time
But it never took me far
Never got to reach that star
And I’m running out of strength

In this house made of cards
Smoke is rising
Playing in the fire
Change the mode – crack the code
Power overload
SOS – Emergency
Will we ever find the key
What will the future be
I wanna see

We are living on the dark side
In a cold time – searching for the light
Stranded – and we will stand the fight
Must be hope in sight
The wind will blow and seeds will grow
And I know that someday we’ll be there

In this house made of cards
Smoke is rising
Playing in the fire
Change the mode – crack the code
Power overload
SOS – Emergency
Gotta find the key

Save me – want me
These are stormy days
Playing in the fire

We are living on the dark side
In a cold time – searching for the light

It Looks Like It’s Time For Another Donation to SAF

28 Jul
July 28, 2014

What a weekend! DC has suddenly become a lot more gun friendly. At least until the opposition has time to catch their breath and start filing appeals.

Saturday – Palmer V DC

In light of Heller, McDonald, and their progeny, there is no longer any basis on which this Court can conclude that the District of Columbia’s total ban on the public carrying of ready-to-use handguns outside the home is constitutional under any level of scrutiny. Therefore, the Court finds that the District of Columbia’s complete ban on the carrying of handguns in public is unconstitutional. Accordingly, the Court grants Plaintiffs’ motion for summary judgment and enjoins Defendants from enforcing the home limitations of D.C. Code § 7-2502.02(a)(4) and enforcing D.C. Code § 22-4504(a) unless and until such time as the District of Columbia adopts a licensing mechanism consistent with constitutional standards enabling people to exercise their Second Amendment right to bear arms.4 Furthermore, this injunction prohibits the District from completely banning the carrying of handguns in public for self-defense by otherwise qualified non-residents based solely on the fact that they are not residents of the District.

From Alan Gura’s blog.

And if that wasn’t enough, Sunday we get word that DC Police leadership has sent down new guidance to its officers. Emily Miller tweets:

STUNNING DEVELOPMENT: DC Police Chief Lanier just told force not to arrest a person who can legally carry a gun in DC or any state.

I almost called into work so that I could drive up to DC and do a victory walk around the Mall while carrying my sidearm.

H/t Miguel and John

The Beginning of a Centennial…

28 Jul
July 28, 2014

On this day, 100 years ago, the Austrian-Hungarians invaded Serbia and kicked off a war that would cost over 17 million lives.

It would change the world in almost every way. Empires would give way to new nations. New technologies would be debuted. New words would enter the lexicon.

World War I would also pave the way for the costliest conflict this world has ever seen because of the short-sightedness of the victors.

Monday Fiction – Avalon Chapter 10

28 Jul
July 28, 2014

Erik

Something was wrong. Erik couldn’t lay his finger on what, but his instincts were telling him something was going on with his captors. Erik stood up from the bed. His sides still hurt, but his head hurt more. Worse, he felt the craving for whatever drug his captors had been pumping into him. The loss made him feel weak and shaky. With some effort, Erik pushed all of his physical problems to the back of his mind and focused. Something going wrong for his captors could be his chance to escape.

His captors had annoyingly stripped the room of anything that would have made a quick weapon. Erik yanked on the sheets of the bed. They were hard stuck on the bed, but the top sheet finally pulled free. Erik started twisting the sheet into a tight rope. Whoever came through that door next, he was going to blast and then strangle. If he was lucky, it would be Nao.

The door clicked open. Erik crouched near the bed, ready to pounce. As the man walked through the door, Erik’s eyes went wide. At the man’s waist was the inscribed scabbard of Far’ling. Instead of the push he’d been readying, Erik grabbed the hilt with his power and yanked. The room seemed to light up as the silvery elf blade flew into Erik’s waiting hands. The man was moving with that same blinding speed, but he slammed into Erik’s shield. With one swift motion, Erik lunged. The sword easily slid into the man’s chest. There was a look of surprise on the man’s face, then he burst into flame. A second later, a pile of ash was left on the floor. All except Far’ling‘s scabbard.

Damn, Erik thought, I was at least hoping to get his clothes. He picked up Far’ling‘s scabbard and shook off the ash. Erik slipped out the door into the dark hallway.


Anne

Anne tapped her foot impatiently as the man worked on the electronic lock. She knew he was working as fast as he could. Nagging him or riding his shoulder wasn’t going to make it happen any faster. Anne had no idea how Samantha was managing to stay so calm as they waited to gain entrance into the Riverside Colosseum. Originally built as part of the Riverside Revitalization Project, it was hoped the Colosseum would lure at least a minor league hockey team to the city. Like most of the revitalization project, that plan had gone down in flames. Now, it was a half-decent concert location.

“Got it,” Nigel said, and the door opened. Nigel and his partner John joined up with the team on Lady Maritza’s orders. In addition to her two spies, Lady Maritza had also sent along gear and weapons. The team was now armored and carrying the stubby Russian assault rifles the Avalonians seemed to favor. Well, all except for Veronica. She had some sort of blocky submachine gun strapped to her armor, but no one expected her to shoot much. Kurt and Nigel were the first through the doors with Jason and John right behind them. Veronica came next with Anne and Samantha covering the team’s rear.

The backstage corridors were dark. Exit and a few emergency lights provided little globes of light. Anne flipped down the nightvision monocle attached to her helmet. The hallway turned to an odd mix of light greens and blacks as her eyes melded the two images.

“We’ve got some blood here,” Nigel reported, crouching some ten feet into the corridor. “Looks relatively fresh and heading down that corridor.” He pointed to a hallway that branched off to the right.

“Could be the one I winged,” Jason said. “Let’s follow, but cautiously. If he’s waiting for us, he could be among us before we realized it.”

“I’ve got something for that,” Veronica said.

“Assuming he doesn’t take you out first,” Jason replied. “I would.” The group followed the blood trail. They were maybe fifteen feet down the hallway when Anne heard running footsteps from behind. Anne stopped and turned. Running footsteps? Vampires moved too fast for that. Anne hoped it wasn’t a security guard. Things could get ugly fast.

Check it out with Samantha, Jason said over the telepathic link. If it’s a guard, flash the badge, and make up a story. We’ll move up a bit and try to stay out of sight. Anne and Samantha crept back down to the corner.

Are you sure it’s a human? Samantha asked. I can’t hear any thoughts. Anne brought the wire stock of the assault rifle to her shoulder and slid out into the corridor. The next thing she knew, Anne was on her back and dazzled by a brilliant light that lit up the corridors. Anne rolled to get up. Whatever had just hit her packed a punch.

YOU’RE WEARING HER FACE, NOW?” Erik’s voice screamed. Anne scrambled up and dashed over to Samantha. Erik had her pinned to the wall with one hand around her neck and that magic sword of his less than inch from Samantha’s eye. Samantha was frozen in fear. “It was bad enough when you wore Anya’s face now, but Samantha’s as well? I’m going to enjoy this.”

ERIK STOP!” Anne yelled. Erik paused, but didn’t lessen his grip on Samantha or his sword. “What the hell do you think you’re doing?” Erik half-turned and glanced at Anne. A confused look spread across his face. The sword fell from his hand and clattered on the concrete floor. It was at that point that Anne realized Erik was naked. Very naked.

“I thought you were now,” Erik said, looking at Samantha in horror. The women traded confused glances. Erik sank to the floor and held his sides. At that point, the others stormed up to them. Veronica immediately rushed to Erik’s side. Her hands glowed blue for a moment.

“”We need to get him out of here now,” Veronica said, “He’s banged up bad and there’s something else running around inside of him.”

“What about the other vampires?” Nigel asked.

“All gone,” Erik said in a raspy, pained voice, “They all left with now.” Anne and Samantha traded worried looks.

“Let’s get him out of here and back to the apartments,” Anne said, “We’ll figure out where the vampires went from there.”

Friday Quote – 7/25/14

25 Jul
July 25, 2014

We should not forget the spark that ignited the American Revolution was caused by the British attempt to confiscate the firearms of the colonists.

Patrick Henry

Governments confiscate arms for their safety, not the citizenry’s.

And You Wonder Why We Can’t Take You Seriously

24 Jul
July 24, 2014

A collection of 130 environmental groups say that the world needs to end “the current hegemonic capitalist system.”

In a somewhat humorous twist, this claim was issued in “The Margarita Report.”

I will admit to believing in climate change, and even that humanity has played a role in it. Empirical evidence has shown it’s not been quite the radical increase that most of these groups have been shrilly screaming about, but there’s been some.

Now, let’s for a moment assume that all of their claims about climate change are true and we do face a global catastrophe. What will produce the technologies needed to reduce carbon emissions, or possibly even reverse the effects? Which economic system has been responsible for developing a high tech industry base?

To those groups who wrote this Margarita Report: be quiet, grow ups are talking.

Why Minorities Need to be Armed

23 Jul
July 23, 2014

Because you never know when trouble is going to be spurred up against you. Also, that the police may not be there to help you when all hell breaks loose.

One account:

Congregants watched in horror as protestors – many armed with knives, axes and broken bottles – stormed the building. The synagogue’s security guards rushed to keep out the intruders. For a few long moments, they fought alone; five sustained light injuries. Then they were relieved by police. The battle outside raged for hours. Another nearby synagogue was pelted with stones. “So we closed the synagogue and we asked everybody to stay inside until everything would be okay,” Monsieur Benhaim said. He heard the mob outside “all the time singing ‘Allah Akbar’ and ‘Kill the Jews’ – if you can call that a song.” Congregants were particularly concerned that police secure a nearby metro station, to stop them being attacked as they and their families made their way home at night.

(Emphasis mine)

Whether you support Israel or Hamas in the current conflict, can we agree that looting and burning of people’s homes, businesses, and places of worship is wrong?

Now, compare what happened in France to what happened when Korean business owners took up arms to protect their businesses during the 1992 Los Angeles riots.

By the end of the day storeowners had slain four looters and fended off the mob. It would be 24 more hours until the National Guard arrived and another two days before the riots were completely put down.

This is why I say the right to self-defense, and by extension, the right to own arms to exercise self-defense, is a human right.