Oopsie

Only in New Orleans. Reason brings us what was aptly described as “arguably the easiest collar in the annals of policework.”  A city attorney was arrested when a joint fell out of his pocket while he was talking to a couple of police officers in a courtroom.

Might I suggest leaving your weed at home when you go to work next time?  Most especially when you work around a bunch of people whose job it is to put people in jail for that sort of thing.  Just a suggestion.

 

Well, at Least She didn’t Claim to be Native American

Another Massachusetts politician does what needs to be done to defeat her rival by sticking to the issues and calmly pointing out…  Nope.  Can’t keep a straight face.

Denise Andrews, a Democrat representing the the 2nd Franklin district, went to the police accusing her Republican opponent of buying cocaine.

Andrews claims she was acting on behalf on a concerned constituent who had called her with worries that GOP candidate Susannah Whipps Lee was buying drugs.

To be fair, Andrews does insist that she was just being a good citizen.

The 53-year-old has posted a statement about the cocaine allegations incident on her Facebook page denying that her actions were politically motivated or intended to slander her opponent.

Of course they weren’t.

TSA Gets Comments Whether they Like it or Not

A month or so ago, I mentioned that the Transportation Security Administration had refused to hold public hearings on their decision to use the nude body scanners even when ordered by a judge to do so.  Now Techdirt points out that one enterprising organization has determined that if they won’t take public comment, then public comment will come to them.

We Won’t Fly has set up a web page where the public can comment, and they promise to deliver said comments to TSA administrator John Pistole.  Curiously, there doesn’t seem to be much pro-TSA feeling at the site.  A couple of examples.

Susan J Barretta writes

TSA security is nothing more than theater to keep a lot of people busy who would otherwise be unemployed.

Kristina Frey:

I work in the healthcare field, and unfortunately for me, have to fly at least twice a month. I would like to know – what kind of calibration standards are followed for these radiation-emitting machines? Can I trust that the TSA takes the same type of precautions that healthcare facilities take to constantly maintain quality control? Considering that I have found TSA to not be following their own policies at several airports, and been told they know the requirements but can’t or don’t follow them when I pointed it out to supervisors, I don’t trust the TSA with exposing me to radiation. No way.

They say that once they hit 10,000 comments or December 1, 2012, they’ll deliver the goods to DC.  Get your comments in while you can.  I’d wager they hit 10,000 well before the December deadline.

Steal My Steak, Willya?

Talk about a catfight.  You go, girl.

WHAP!

Empty Suits can’t Handle Blame

I’m not exactly a people person.  When I got my first middle management job, I bought several books on leadership.  I realized that I didn’t know squat about how to motivate and lead people, so I tried to get some insight into people who had successfully done so or had studied those who did.  I still don’t fancy myself that good a leader, but one thing stuck in my head.  Every book that I read insisted that an indispensable part of leadership is accountability.  A few examples (all emphasis mine).

Leadership is not a paycheck. Leadership is a calling. You have to want to lead with all the caring and energy of Ernest Shackleton conquering Antarctica or Moses parting the Red Sea. And you have to be accountable—no blame game is acceptable. The buck stops at the tip of your nose.

Level 5 leaders look out the window to apportion credit to factors outside themselves when things go well (and if they cannot find a specific person or event to give credit to, they credit good luck). At the same time, they look in the mirror to apportion responsibility, never blaming bad luck when things go poorly.

When his generals performed well, Lincoln gave them the credit; when they performed poorly, Lincoln took the blame. Lincoln expert Donald T. Phillips acknowledged, “Throughout the war Lincoln continued to accept public responsibility for battles lost or opportunities missed.”‘

Refusal to accept blame, pointing fingers at others, and wimpy language can help bosses keep their jobs for a while, but it usually backfires in the long run. No matter what is said, bosses are seen as responsible for what their people do.

The accepting of responsibility is part and parcel of a true leader.  It’s not, of course, the only thing that makes a good leader, but it is not an optional characteristic.
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California Banning

It’s gotten so bad that even the New York Times is wondering if California has gone too far.

…cities, school districts and even libraries have been outlawing chunks of what used to pass here for birthright at a startling clip.

California apparently has a law against anything that might be practical or enjoyable.  Anything useful must be banned.  There’s even a city in California named Banning.  Unless it’s marijuana, of course.  Then it’s perfectly okay (as you let the federal government do the dirty work).   From foie gras to plastic grocery bags, California governments have lowered the banhammer with an alarming frequency.   As Reason puts it:

If a [California] legislator doesn’t like something, expect a proposal to ban it. If a legislator likes a particular idea, expect plans to build a bureaucracy to implement it. The only issues off the table involve fixing those budgetary and governmental problems that the state government is legitimately tasked with handling.

Dave Barry said it over twenty years ago and it still rings true:

The important thing isn’t so much what you want to ban; it’s the fact that you participate in the banning process.  That’s what democracy is all about.

Scratch Brussels off of the Vacation List

ABC reports that Brussels, Belgium has passed rules fining people between €75 and €250  for using insulting or offensive language.

“Any form of insult is from now on [is] punishable, whether it be racist, homophobic or otherwise,” Brussels Mayor Freddy Thielemans’ spokesperson quoted him as saying, according to the Telegraph.

This calls for another letter. Second one in a single day, too.

Dear Mayor Thielemans:

Go fuck yourself, you miserable, fat, Belgian bastard.

Sincerely,
VPJ

Guess I can kiss that Brussels vacation goodbye now.

ht PJ Media

Update: I knew this sounded familiar

 

Censorship by Proxy

Walter Olson of Overlawyered has another story of an elected official using the power of his office to (at best) criticize the speech of a private citizen (at worst, a veiled threat in a nice-place-ya-got-here-shame-if-somethin’-were-to-happen sort of way).  It seems that Delegate Emmett Burns (D-Baltimore County) is not a big fan of same-sex marriage or those that openly agitate for it to become legal and sent a letter to the employer of said private citizen on official stationary.

Del. Emmett Burns (D-Baltimore County), an opponent of same-sex marriage, fired off a letter to the owner [PDF] of the Baltimore Ravens on legislative stationery demanding that he silence Brendon Ayanbadejo…

Mr. Olson also has a challenge for the conservative commentariat:

Pretty much every conservative commentator in America (properly) denounced the Boston mayor and Chicago alderman for menacing Chick-Fil-A. I hope some of them will speak up against this abuse of government office as well.

I consider myself a libertarian, but it seemed like a good idea, so Mr. Olson, you may consider it done.

Dear Del. Burns:

What in God’s name are you thinking when you send a letter to a private citizen’s employer on your official letterhead?  Are you so consumed by outrageous outrage that you don’t stop to think about the veiled threat that is communicated by this letter?  What kind of a censorious thug would insist that a company  “inhibit such expressions from your employee”?  Especially when the subject matter is one that is currently being hotly debated in the public arena.  And most especially when the request is made by an individual who writes the rules that said company will need to operate under, an individual who can certainly make life much more difficult if he wished to do so.

I fully recognize that, as a private company, the Baltimore Ravens can set limits on the speech of their employees that the government could not.  To go around the First Amendment and ask that a private company do what you cannot is reprehensible.

Like Alderman Moreno and Mayor Menino, you have violated your oath to uphold the constitution.

Regards,
VPJ

No, We don’t Belong to the Government. The Government Belongs to Us

I hope this is a practical joke.  I really hope this is some troll looking to cause outrageous outrage in the conservative/libertarian blogsphere and laugh about how gullible we are.  Because if not…ugh.

We belong to the government?  Really?  Are the democrats that tone deaf or did they just decide to stop pretending?

h/t Ace

Update:  Alas, not a practical joke.  Per Hot Air, the Romney campaign has already responded.  Looks like they’re one of the 3 people that actually read this blog.

Yes, rest assured, Romney and the GOP are already working on ads about this. It’s the GOP that cut the clip and circulated it, in fact. Mitt himself evidently can’t wait to get started:

We don’t belong to government, the government belongs to us.

— Mitt Romney (@MittRomney) September 4, 2012

Though I suspect it’s not Mitt reading my blog so much as I’m not as original as I thought.

You’re no Lyndon Johnson

Ryan Grim and Sam Stein over at Huffington Post are very disappointed in Barack Obama for trying to play politics. They compare the current political situation with Lyndon Johnson’s passing of a major tax cut in addition to the 1964 Civil Rights Act. They credit Johnson’s bypassing of congress and taking his case to the People.

Johnson surveyed the legislative landscape and knew he had to shake things up.

Rather than negotiate with Congress, Johnson turned the goodwill of the nation into a force with which to bludgeon the GOP and expand what was politically possible. He took his case to the American people, reminding them that the GOP was the “Party of Lincoln,” and flooded Washington with religious leaders who lobbied Congress.

In fact, they state that “Had Johnson stuck to inside baseball, he would have struck out twice.”

I think they need to read LBJ’s biography. Johnson was the consummate insider who had spent over two decades in congress. He knew, much more so than Obama, how to push a bill through the legislature (emphasis added).

Many believe that Johnson was able to pass the 1964 and 1965 Acts because of an exceptional set of circumstances. During his 24 years in Congress Johnson had gained unprecedented experience in getting legislation through Congress. He also had an unusual two- thirds of Congress in his favour and Congressmen felt particularly after Kennedy’s assassination that they should be righting national wrongs. Johnson was himself exceptionally persuasive and determined and had a lifelong commitment to helping the poor.

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