Nation’s top archivist: #IRS “did not follow the law” after hard drive crash

IRS

Via the New York Times:

WASHINGTON — The Internal Revenue Service did not follow the law when it failed to report a hard drive crash that destroyed emails belonging to a senior official at the center of a scandal over the agency’s treatment of conservative-leaning political groups, the nation’s top archivist said Tuesday.

“In accordance with the Federal Records Act, when an agency becomes aware of an incident of unauthorized destruction, they must report the incident to us,” said David S. Ferriero, the chief archivist at the National Archives.

Mr. Ferriero made his remarks at a congressional hearing examining the 2011 disappearance of emails sent and received by Lois Lerner, the former I.R.S. official who is accused of politically motivated mistreatment of Tea Party-aligned groups seeking tax exemptions.

Mr. Ferriero would not say that anyone at the I.R.S. committed a crime, only that the agency “did not follow the law.” He said he learned of the missing emails on June 13, when the agency made the disclosure in a filing to Congress.

Gee, ya think?

Politico has more:

The law requires agencies to save official records — defined in a National Archives guidance post as “documentary materials that agencies create and receive while conducting business that provide evidence of the agency’s organization, functions, policies, decisions, procedures, and operations, or that contain information of value.”

At the IRS, employees who send such official correspondences via email are supposed to print them out and file hard copies.

Something else that didn’t happen with regular frequency, obviously…. :-w

Dumb criminals news: Thief checks FB during break-in, forgets to log out

Picard facepalm

Yeah.

Derp! Via WCCO:

MINNEAPOLIS (WCCO) — A Minnesota man is in jail because he logged on to Facebook.

Police say 26-year-old Nicholas Wig checked his profile from a home he broke into, and then he didn’t log off. It happened June 19 in South St. Paul.

“World’s dumbest criminal,” the homeowner James Wood said. “I don’t know.”

Wood had come home to find his house ransacked. His credit cards, cash and watch were all gone.

In their place, the thief had left a pair of Nike tennis shoes, jeans and a belt, that were all wet.  Wood said it had been raining outside.

“I started to panic,” he said. “But then I noticed he had pulled up his Facebook profile.”

Wood posted to Facebook using Wig’s profile, saying Wig had burglarized his home. He even shared his phone number to see if someone would call with information. Wig texted him later that day.

“I replied you left a few things at my house last night, how can I get them back to you,” Wood said.

Wig agreed to meet with Wood later that night. Wood believes Wig was under the impression he would give him back some of his clothes he had left at his home in exchange for a recycled cell phone Wig had stolen.

Wig was arrested a short time later.

“Hot” mugshot of convicted felon gets thousands of Facebook likes, comments

Convicted felon Jeremy Meeks

Convicted felon Jeremy Meeks

I don’t get it:

A mug shot of a Northern California man arrested on felony weapons charges has gone viral on social media, attracting more than 33,000 “likes” and drawing comments praising his high cheekbones, chiseled face and striking blue eyes.

Jeremy Meeks, 30, a felon, was arrested Wednesday on five weapons charges and one gang charge, according to Officer Joseph Silva, a spokesman for the Stockton Police Department.

No previous arrest photo has garnered so much positive attention since the department set up the Facebook page in March 2012, Silva told The Associated Press.

“I have not seen that many likes for a photo before,” he said.

By late Thursday, Meeks’ arrest photo had garnered more than 33,000 “likes,” and 10,400 comments, and had been shared more than 3,300 times.

“Wow. That is one good looking mug shot!” one person wrote.

“Momma, I’m in love with a criminal,” another joked.

Some online commentators even said Meeks looked like he belonged in an Abercrombie & Fitch ad or on the show “America’s Next Top Model.”

Still others were disapproving, such as one observer who said, “He may be a tad bit cute, but with six felonies, he ain’t that cute.”

Gee, ya think?  The Washington Post’s “Morning Mix” blog reports on the backlash that has come from news reports of all the gushing:

[Stockton Police Officer Joseph] Silva said Meeks, who is being held on a $900,000 bond, is “one of the most violent criminals in the Stockton area,” but declined to speak further about his alleged crimes.

Still, many seem more intrigued by his mug shot than his rap sheet.

Meeks was booked on Wednesday afternoon into the San Joaquin County Jail — and that’s when the ogling started. When police posted the mug shot of the 6-foot-1, 170-pound, baby blue-eyed alleged felon on a Facebook page, boy-watchers went nuts. As of Friday morning, his mug shot had nearly 40,000 likes, 4,500 shares and 13,000 comments. And media all over were reporting about it, using headlines such asLadies love this felon’s mugshot” and writing that Meeks is “arguably the most wanted felon in Northern California … wanted by the ladies, that is.”

[…]

But there were plenty of people who found it-and him-not so hot, especially in light of the memorial on the same page to fallen officer Scott Hewell. Hewell died June 11 of injuries suffered in a crash while he was on his way to aid another officer who had stopped a man involved in an earlier shooting.

By early Friday morning, there was a backlash.

I find it incredibly sad that an alleged felon on this page gets so much more attention on Facebook than a fallen officer, ” one man wrote on the police department’s Facebook page.

It’s pretty sad that a criminal has overshadowed the death of a police officer while on duty!” wrote a woman.”

Good to see a little bit of sanity prevail.

Officer Hewell’s memorial service was yesterday.  The Stockton PD posted pictures from it here. My prayers go out to his family at this difficult time.

Federal govt essentially attempting to force Washington Redskins to change name

Washington Redskins

Should they keep it or change it?

It was only a matter of time:

The Washington Redskins’ logo is disparaging and its trademark must be cancelled, the U.S. Patent and Trademark Office wrote in a ruling Wednesday. [READ THE RULING.]

The Redskins will continue to be able to use the name, but the team will not have all the legal benefits afforded to it when it is registered with the federal government.

“Based on the evidence properly before us, that these registrations must be cancelled because they were disparaging to Native Americans at the respective times they were registered,” read a ruling from the Trademark Trial and Appeal Board.

“We lack statutory authority to issue rulings concerning the right to use trademarks,” the ruling continued.

The team can appeal the decision in court as it did in the past, and the trademarks will remain registered until after the review. The office made a similar ruling in 1992, but the U.S District Court for the District of Columbia reversed the board’s decision after a lengthy litigation process in 2003.

Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid (D-Nev.) cheered the decision, going to the Senate floor to call for the team and its owner, Daniel Snyder, to end its use of the “racist” name.

“Daniel Snyder may be the last person in the world to realize this, but it’s just a matter of time until he’s forced to do the right thing and change the name,” Reid said.

Reid has led a public charge against the Redskins name, most recently organizing a letter calling for the team to drop the name.The letter was signed by 50 Democratic senators.

[…]

The petition was brought by five Native Americans in the case Blackhorse V. Pro Football, Inc.

More from the left wing peanut gallery:

“Today’s actions by the U.S. Patent and Trademark Office are in line with longstanding rules on the treatment of disparaging or offensive names,” Pelosi said in a statement. “While we respect the right to free speech, slurs have no right to trademark protections.

“The team that represents our nation’s capital should be a source of pride to all Americans. It’s long past time for the Washington football team to choose a new name.”

Frankly, it’s none of Congresses’ freaking business what the Washington Redskins call themselves, but because it’s the politically correct thing to do – and because apparently Democrats don’t have any issues more pressing than this (/sarc) to deal with, they threw their weight behind this case and are using every trick in the book short of political blackmail (and that’s debatable) to force the team to change their name.

No matter what side of the argument a person is on on this issue, the bullying and threats by Democratic members of the United States House and Senate should appall everyone, as should any attempts at mandating by force of law a private dispute over a non-life or death issue between two groups that could have been settled without government interference .  It’s a sad day in America when a issues like these that can and should be resolved or compromised on in the private sector by the two disagreeing factions is forcibly decided by the federal government – aided and abetted by Congressional bullies.   The death of common sense, and the demise of right and wrong, continues.

(Via Memeorandum)

SCOTUS: SBA List can sue Ohio over “False Statement Law”

Gavel

Via The Politico:

The Supreme Court on Monday sided with an anti-abortion group, opening the door for a broad challenge against the government’s right to police falsehoods in political advertising.

A unanimous Supreme Court agreed that Susan B. Anthony List had standing to sue over an Ohio false statements law, reversing two lower court decisions that the group could not bring a lawsuit because it had not suffered any injury.

“Denying prompt judicial review would impose a substantial hardship on petitioners, forcing them to choose between refraining from core political speech on the one hand, or engaging in that speech and risking costly Commission proceedings and criminal prosecution on the other,” Justice Clarence Thomas wrote in the decision.

The case arose in Ohio in 2010, when SBA List sought to run a billboard against Ohio Democrat Steve Driehaus, who was then a member of Congress. The billboard accusing Driehaus of voting for taxpayer-funds abortion by supporting the Affordable Care Act.

Driehaus complained to Ohio election regulators, alleging the billboard would have violated the Ohio False Statement Law.

That law makes it illegal to “post, publish, circulate, distribute, or otherwise disseminate a false statement concerning a candidate, either knowing the same to be false or with reckless disregard for whether it was false or not, if the statement is designed to promote the election, nomination, or defeat of the candidate.”

Seems to  me that this law is unquestionably blatantly unconstitutional – something apparently even the left AND right agree on in this case, but then again the courts have been known to make what seem like clear cut cases of what’s Constitutional or not out to be the most complicated of matters.

You can read the Supreme Court’s full opinion here.

CT Democrat lawmakers think retailers banning guns will curb store gun violence

Gun rights

Image via Fox News.

Via The Hill:

Connecticut lawmakers called on the nation’s largest retailers to support gun control reform measures by banning customers from carrying guns into their stores.

Sens. Richard Blumenthal and Chris Murphy, and Rep. Elizabeth Esty sent a letter on Friday to the 10 largest retailers and the National Retail Federation asking them to help reduce gun violence.

“It is never too late to help reduce gun violence,” the lawmakers wrote. “We hope you will, after reflecting on these shooting deaths, contribute your voice to the nationwide effort to enact common-sense gun safety reforms.”

The lawmakers said their letter was partially prompted by a report last month that a loaded gun was left in the toy aisle of a South Carolina Target store. They also said there’s been at least 79 shootings in Wal-Marts since the 2012 shooting in Newtown, Conn., left 20 schoolchildren dead.

The Democrats pointed out that Starbucks and Chipotle have already prohibited customers from bringing guns into stores.

When will these people get it? Or will they ever? Rhetorical questions, of course.   One that’s not, however, that I wish they’d answer is when was the last time turning a school, a movie theater, the local store or other retail businesses, or a government building into a “gun-free zone” stopped a killer from bringing a gun onto the premises and hurting and killing people? When these lawmakers – and other proponents of similar type legislation – are  ready to consider the question and answer it honestly without the typical spin and emotional arguments, then maybe I’ll take their efforts at trying to stop gun violence seriously. Until then …

Gun control argument

‘Nuff said.

QOTD: Cosmo doubles down on the fail in response to “icky” self-defense comment

Women friends toasting with shots at a bar

Ladies, please be safe.
Image via HuffPo.

In case you were thinking that Cosmopolitan magazine was going to dial it down a notch or two in the aftermath of the outrage and disbelief over comments one of their managers made in response to Miss USA’s remarks on self defense in the context of campus rapes, think again. Cosmo sex editor Anna Breslaw stomped her feet and churned out this head-scratcher:

During the question-and-answer portion of the Miss USA pageant, 24-year-old Miss Nevada Nia Sanchez, who took home the crown, said she believed some colleges might sweep campus rape under the rug to prevent bad press. Sanchez, a fourth degree black belt in Tae Kwon Do, added, “more awareness [of the issue] is very important so that women can learn to protect themselves … You need to be confident and be able to defend yourself. That’s something we need to start to implement for a lot of women.” 

[…]

Self defense isn’t icky, and anyone with a fifth-grade reading comprehension level can understand that’s not what Elisa was saying.  

Actually, yeah – it was:

I get that the college sexual assault problem can’t be solved in 30 secs but still icky to pretend like self defense is the answer. ” – Elisa Benson

Can’t get much more plain that that.  And as I noted in my prior piece on this issue, she was far from the only one.

Breslaw went on:

What is icky is the idea that we’d pour the entirety of our time, energy, and federal funding into training every 18-year-old girl in America to be jacked, gun-toting Lara Crofts rather than, oh, I don’t know, teaching boys not to rape or shaming college administrators for not taking sexual assault allegations seriously. 

What’s “icky” is Ms. Breslaw assuming that most people who did a double take at Ms. Benson’s remarks believe there’s only room for one solution.  Also “icky” is her implicit assumption that boys aren’t taught from a very early age to respect women. Disturbing is her obvious belief that if respect is taught then it automatically means that a young man won’t grow up and eventually hurt a woman.   We can and should drill it into the heads of every single one of them that respecting women is not optional, but that doesn’t mean on down the line he’s going to abide by that. 

Which is where self-defense comes into play.  Fortunately, Breslaw is on board with women learning self-defense. Sorta:

Self-defense is a fantastic thing for every woman (or man) to have under their belt — in fact, experts say would-be attackers are often deterred by the confident manner in which women educated in self-defense carry themselves — but this limited view of campus sexual assault prevention perpetuates dangerous myths about sexual assault and shames victims for not adequately “preparing” to defend themselves against rape. It’s the same mentality as blaming sexual assault victims for wearing provocative clothing and therefore “brought it upon themselves,” rather than blaming their attackers for the actual assault. 

Do me a favor and please re-read the bolded part of the above paragraph.  Then digest it.  Self-defense “perpetuates myths about sexual assault” and …. “shames victims” for not preparing to defend themselves?? SAY WHAT? She actually thinks promoting self-defense is the equivalent to those who snidely say “but she was wearing a short skirt so she was asking for it”?   And it “shames” women who have been victims of sexual assault? In what  universe does Ms. Breslaw reside?  One wonders if she’d say that exact thing to victims of sexual assault who take up self-defense training and who tour and give speeches promoting that very thing as a very useful tool in preventing an attacker from doing a woman harm?? Good grief!

She says she believes all this but yet wants you to think that she harbors a “big tent” approach to the issue combating violence against women that includes incorporating self-defense into the mix? I don’t think so.  Here’s the shorter version of Breslaw’s ridiculous argument:  ‘Let’s not emphasize self-defense because we don’t want to risk hurting the feelings of women who have already become victims. In fact, let’s put the onus for trying to stop future assaults entirely on “society” rather than try to educate women on how to better protect themselves.’  Maybe that “solution” would work flawlessly in Breslaw’s Feminist Utopia but here in the real world, the reality is that there are bad people out there and no matter how much we try and communicate that it’s not ok to hurt women, those who want to WILL.

Rape is more of a crime of opportunity than it is some guy hiding in an alleyway waiting for you to walk by. With increasing frequency, a rapist is more likely to be someone you know or are otherwise somewhat acquainted with, perhaps casually, than not.    Either way, it’s best to be prepared for any situation.  Travel in groups.  Hold tight to your beverage of choice at all times.  Don’t binge drink. Do not walk to your car alone at night.  Lock your car doors and windows – and the doors and windows to your house.  Do NOT answer the front door if you don’t know who the person is or if they just make you uncomfortable.   Do not get into a car with a man you don’t know.  Do not be free-flowing with personal information about yourself (such as where you live and your phone number) with guys who you’re just getting to know.  The list goes on and on.

It goes without saying but I’ll repeat it anyway: You could do all of the above and then some and still end up a victim of a sexual assault – and if it does happen, it is imperative that you understand that it is/was NOT your fault. Unfortunately, there is no “fool-proof” way of avoiding the possibility of something happening to you.  But you’ll lessen the chances of it happening if you take precautions.  We tell young kids they can’t walk half a block to the store alone because someone might snatch them.  We instruct teenagers to run away if someone they don’t know approaches them in a vehicle. These are common sense precautions that no one ever thinks twice about. Why would anyone on earth hesitate to make sure women are given the vital tips they need in order to try and avoid becoming a victim of a violent crime, in addition to continuing to educate young men that they must respect women?

Unlike Ms.  Breslaw, I don’t speak out of both sides of my mouth.  I really do believe we should do everything we can to prevent future assaults, not just by continuing to instill values at a young age to boys (and girls) that they should respect each other, but also by trying to ensure that women have every available tool at their disposal – both knowledge and physical power – to protect themselves.  Nothing “icky” or shameful about it. The phony, warped political correctness behind Breslaw’s “but we’re shaming victims by doing this!!” mentality only serves to create more victims of rape down the road. She might be ok with that, but I’m not.

California judge: Teacher tenure and layoff laws are unconstitutional

Gavel

Huge news:

Los Angeles (CNN) — A California judge ruled as unconstitutional Tuesday the state’s teacher tenure, dismissal and layoff laws, saying they keep bad teachers in the classroom and force out the good ones, the plaintiffs said.

The ruling was hailed by the nation’s top education chief as bringing to California — and possibly the nation — an opportunity to build “a new framework for the teaching profession.” The decision represented “a mandate” to fix a broken teaching system, U.S. Education Secretary Arne Duncan said.

The Los Angeles County court ordered a stay on the decision, pending an appeal by the state and the teachers union, the plaintiffs said.

Reforming teacher tenure and firing laws is a hotly debated issue in American education, and the California case is being watched nationally — evidenced by a statement by Duncan immediately after the court ruling.

Reformers say firing a bad teacher is almost impossible because of tenure laws and union protections, but teachers and their unions argue school boards and their firing criteria have unfair, overtly political standards.

The teachers union is, of course, vowing an appeal. But if this is upheld at higher levels, it’ll be fascinating to see what repercussions it will have on other states where Republicans are battling Democrats in an effort to reform broken education systems – as is the case here in NC.    More school children might, I dunno, start learning more instead of just being a warm body occupying a desk just barely making it by from grade to grade. Wouldn’t that be great?

Former CLT Mayor Pat Cannon (D) to plead guilty to federal corruption charge

Patrick Cannon and Anthony Foxx

Then-Charlotte City Councilman- Patrick Cannon (l) and then-Charlotte Mayor Anthony Foxx (now Obama’s Transportation Secretary) in happier times. Image via PraiseCharlotte.com

Via The Charlotte Observer:

Patrick Cannon is expected to plead guilty Tuesday to a federal public corruption charge that carries up to a 20-year prison sentence and a $250,000 fine.

According to court documents released to the public early Monday, Cannon will appear in federal court at 10:45 a.m. Tuesday before U.S. Magistrate Judge David Cayer. At that time, he will plead to one count of honest services wire fraud, an umbrella charge commonly used in cases where public officials take kickbacks or bribes, documents say.

The charge basically means the 48-year-old Democrat used his mayoral and city council posts for illegal gain, depriving city residents of his “honest services” as their elected representative.

Cannon did not answer the door at his house Monday morning. Asked why his client had agreed to plead guilty rather than fight the charges in court, attorney James Ferguson said Monday morning that he could not comment.

Honest services fraud is one of the three corruption charges leveled against Cannon at his March 26 arrest. At the time, the U.S. Attorney’s Office accused him of accepting almost $50,000 in bribes. In exchange, Cannon promised to use his office to assist real estate deals pitched by undercover FBI agents posing as out-of-town investors.

[…]

According to the new document, Cannon is accused of soliciting and accepting a series of bribes from a Charlotte businessman, identified as “Businessman #1,” whose adult entertainment club was in the path of the Blue Line Extension through north Charlotte.

Welcome to the culture of corruption – Charlotte, NC style.  Perhaps Cannon’s new nickname should be “Strip Club Patrick.”

Read the Twitter reaction to reports of Cannon’s expected plea here.