There being not much happening around the world at the moment, the President played golf today at the Vineyard Golf Club:
"While eating, overlooking the golf course, guests had to stand up and be wanded." One asked if he could finish his hot soup first, and an Obama security man cracked, ominously, "So, you're not cooperating?"
Funny. Even funnier if he'd had to be "accidentally" shot while refusing to "cooperate". As the Instaprof points out:
YOU KNOW, THEY DON'T ACTUALLY HAVE ANY LEGAL AUTHORITY TO DO THAT
True. But Americans have lost the republican spirit. You have to have your genitals wanded at the airport, so what's the big deal about extending it to the country club? As Professor Reynolds says:
If the President wants to go out in public, fine. If he can't do it without assaulting the rights of citizens, then he should stay home.
Couldn't they find a couple of bigtime Obama bundlers willing to pay for converting the White House and grounds into the clubhouse and course of the Barack Obama Golf Club? They don't seem to be using the building for anything else.
The problem is that flood-the-zone overkill security is all American statism knows. One day we will all be policed like Ferguson, Missouri.
~As the Duke of Wellington is said (apocryphally) to have observed of his troops, "I don't know what effect they will have on the enemy, but by God they frighten me." The Pentagon doesn't seem to have any effect on goatherds with fertilizer in the Hindu Kush or head-hackers in the Sunni Triangle, but by God it can frighten Main Street USA:
Michelle McCaskill, media relations chief at the Defense Logistics Agency, confirms that the Ferguson Police Department is part of a federal program called 1033 that distributes hundreds of millions of dollars of surplus military equipment to civilian police forces across the United States. The materials range from small items, such as pistols and automatic rifles, to heavy armored vehicles such as the MRAPs used in Afghanistan and Iraq.
For an example of how that corrupts domestic policing, look at this goon of a play-soldier arresting a Washington Post reporter in the Ferguson McDonald's.
Jim Bennett proposes a twofer:
Have the feds take back all the armored vehicles they've given to police departments and send them to the Kurds.
But they won't, will they? As I usually say around this point, where's the Republican Party on the militarization of domestic policing?
Meanwhile, Eric Holder flies his daughters and their boyfriends to social events on government planes - presumably so they're not inconvenienced by the security he imposes on everyone else.
America will not even have the consolation of dying as a First World country, but as something far bloodier and savage.
I get the sense that the Washington libel community and U.S. national media have belatedly woken up to the potential threat of Mann v Steyn and that the tide is now starting to run strongly against Mann in the anti-SLAPP proceedings. The most visible evidence of this is an impressive Amici brief from the ACLU and an imposing list of 25 other media organizations...
In addition, Steyn's own Amicus brief substantially upped the ante on a separate front. It repeatedly and directly accused Mann of submitting "fraudulent" information to the court and commented adversely on "the ease with which Mann lies about things that would not withstand ten minutes of scrutiny in a courtroom".
Reuters also provides an update on the case. Alison Frankel reports:
A broad array of civil liberties groups from the right and the left, along with two dozen media companies and journalism organizations, has turned out to back National Review and CEI, arguing that free speech will be endangered if defendants can't dispose of libel suits via anti-SLAPP motions. They also argue that the National Review and CEI attacks on Mann were opinions about matters of public importance â€“ precisely the speech that anti-SLAPP laws are intended to protect. The list of amici, whose briefs are all available at CEI's website, includes such unlikely bedfellows as the American Civil Liberties Union and the Goldwater Institute; the Center for Investigative Reporting and the Individual Rights Foundation; the Electronic Frontier Foundation and the religious rights group Alliance Defending Freedom.
What they all have in common, according to their briefs, is an interest in protecting the First Amendment's guarantee of free public discourse. No matter how nastily National Review and CEI wrote about Mann, the defense amici argue, the lower courts were wrong to deny their anti-SLAPP motions to dismiss. The appeals court, they say, should accept its jurisdiction and reverse the erroneous rulings.
I'll comment on the various amici later this week, but I found this passage in Ms Frankel's report interesting:
Mann's lawyer Catherine Reilly of Cozen told me her team wasn't surprised by the amici support for National Review and CEI... I asked Reilly if the professor would have any supporting briefs next month when he responds to the defendants in the D.C. appeals court.
"At this point, we don't know," she said.
I would be surprised if Mann didn't have any supporting briefs. I was in court when Ms Reilly's genial co-counsel made his argument for Mann, which was a straightforward appeal to authority: Why, all these eminent acronymic bodies, from the EPA and NSF and NOAA even unto HMG in London, have proved that all criticisms of Mann are false and without merit. So I would certainly expect them to file briefs - and, given that Mann sees this as part of a broader "war on science" by well-funded "deniers", I would also expect briefs from the various professional bodies: the National Academy of Sciences, the American Physical Society, etc. As pleasant as it is to find my side of the court suddenly so crowded, I'm confident Mann will be able to even up the numbers.
~Many years ago, I found myself sitting on a sofa between Lauren Bacall and Ali McGraw. It was one of those nights: JFK Jr was there, and Anthony Newley. Down my end of the sofa, Miss McGraw was rather delightful company, Miss Bacall not quite so much. I don't hold that against her: she had a reputation for prickliness, which I would have enjoyed seeing (with my late Telegraph colleague Martyn Harris, she escalated very quickly to "Now listen, buster..."), and in fairness she had a lot to be prickly about - like doing a joint press conference with Nicole Kidman, and only getting one question directed her way. Life didn't seem to offer sufficient compensation for spending decades dragging around the sagging mantle of "silver-screen legend".
But oh, what a debut. I watch To Have And Have Not every couple of years for pure pleasure. The you-know-how-to-whistle scene is great, but this is my personal favorite moment, with Hoagy Carmichael at the piano. There's a persistent rumor that a young Andy Williams dubbed the teenage newcomer's singing voice. So I asked Andy about it back in the Eighties. He said, "No, that's Bacall singing." A great song by Carmichael and Johnny Mercer:
~I'll be keeping my weekly radio date with Hugh Hewitt tomorrow, Thursday, live coast to coast at 6pm Eastern/3pm Pacific.