Denver DA Stretches Logic with No Charges in Cheerleader Stretching Incident.

Something about the Denver DA’s decision not to file charges in the case of Denver East High cheerleaders being forced into the splits stretches credulity. Last summer, a disturbing phone video hit social media and then news channels showing a high school coach, helped by team members, forcing young women in obvious pain down into a split position. One athlete, 13-year old Ally Wakefield was in obvious agony, and cried out “please stop” nine times. The forced stretching tore ligaments and muscle tissue. She required medical treatment and months of physical therapy. This disturbing 30-second video shows her ordeal.

 

 

A parent’s letter of complaint to Denver Public Schools took months to prompt DPS to investigate. Only after news stations got involved did officials take action against several involved parties. Five East High and DPS employees, including one of the district’s lawyers, were placed on leave. Ultimately, the coach was fired, and East High’s principal and athletic director resigned. Three ousters and administrative disciple of a district lawyer raise obvious and still unanswered questions about the chain of events and the far reaching ripple effects.

The Denver Police Department and DA’s office opened an investigation last August. On Saturday, October 14, the DA’s office released a statement on its website that no charges would be filed.  If Friday night is the traditional dumping ground for releasing embarrassing political stories, Saturday must really be the hoped for graveyard of bad news. DA Beth McCann’s full statement announced:

The video of the incident involving the injured student that has been widely disseminated is painful to watch. However, after a very thorough and careful review of all of the evidence gathered in the investigation and the statements of many members of the cheerleading squad, I have concluded that the evidence does not support the filing of criminal charges. In order to prove a charge of criminal behavior, the case must be proved beyond a reasonable doubt.

 

There are differing opinions regarding the use of this technique of cheerleading training. While I believe the technique should not be used, that is not the standard of proof for a criminal case. Most of the cheerleading squad participated in the technique that day, and there are differing accounts of the circumstances.

 

The individual involved should not be a coach in high school sports and he no longer is. The principal and athletic director of the school have retired and resigned. The message should be clear that this type of technique has no place in high school cheerleading coaching. The bad judgment of the coach, however, does not constitute a prosecutable crime.

Several things are remarkable about the statement. First, it asserts that use of the technique in the video is subject to opinion and debate. However, she asserts, the man who committed the acts should not be a coach, and now, she reassures, he’s not. Two other jobs also were ended for good measure. These sound like dire consequences for something that ostensibly is debatable.

DA McCann allows in her own view the stretching technique was inappropriate, but then asserts that that is not the legal standard, which is, that evidence must prove the case beyond a reasonable doubt. That is an illogical connection. First, despite McCann’s reference to “differing accounts, the evidence of what happened is irrefutable. It was witnessed by millions. Second, the patent unreasonableness of what happened in the gym that day is evidenced by public outrage and three terminations. Further, it’s unclear what differing opinions McCann might have received, but if prosecutors want expert opinion on the reasonableness of the actions, they can consult NFL cheerleader Bria Petty who says this is awful and in all her years in the sport, she has never seen anything close to it. Or they can consult Dr. David Jewison, a team physician for several Division I college sport teams, who says it is absolutely wrong and inappropriate.

Finally, if the DA’s office wants to trifle with something as technical and irrelevant as the applicable law, they should peruse Colorado’s statutory definition of assault, which occurs when “a person knowingly or recklessly causes bodily injury to another person.”

This disturbing case raises several questions that need answers from DPS and the the Denver DA. Why were the athletic director and the principal implicated in the supposedly isolated bad judgment of a coach? How did a district lawyer fall under suspicion and scrutiny? Why is the video evidence of what happened and an athlete’s documented injury insufficient to charge a case and take it to a jury?

 

The Left’s Brazen Claim: What Obama Has Written, Trump Cannot Unwrite.

 
After Americans wearied of “fundamental transformation” and gave Republicans decisive Congressional majorities in the 2014 midterm elections, Barack Obama famously sniffed that he didn’t really need Congress. By the power of his pen and phone alone, he could implement his agenda. He meant it. In the last years and months of his term, without new legislation from Congress, the Obama administration adopted sweeping new regulations on oil and gas mining, electricity generation, federal control of the internet, rewrote federal immigration law, and shoehorned America into a one-sided nuclear pact with Iran without seeking Senate ratification.
 

It was an impressive list of policy ticks. Of course, one problem with ruling by presidential edict is that the next president might decide to reverse course on all those unilateral decisions. At least, that is how it used to work. But, a radical movement of lawyers and judges is trying to turn basic civics and government upside down.

 

Every student learns in grade school that a bill becomes a law only after it’s voted on by both houses of the legislature and signed by the president. Then the president oversees enforcing the law. The new breed of progressive leftist resistance is trying to scrap that historic formula into a one-way liberal ratchet. A new policy becomes law by means of an executive order or regulation, whether Congress acts or not. It gains permanent status when a later president tries to change it, liberal supporters of the prior policy sue to block the change, and activist courts protect it and slap down efforts by later presidents to exercise their own executive power.
 
The new civics is gaining cachet on the Left, which is counting on the judiciary to preserve liberal policy gains from harm by a Republican president and a Republican Congress. Thus, we have such intrusions as an appellate order ruling that the EPA may not postpone enforcing extreme and costly new regulations on oil and gas drilling while it reconsiders the regulation for possible repeal.
 
Similarly, after President Trump announced his intention to withdraw President Obama’s policy on Deferred Action for Child Arrivals, a policy that not only spared “dreamers” deportation, but granted them eligibility for work and benefits, former Homeland Security Head Janet Napolitano announced a legal challenge. There is something blithely and literally lawless about her justification. Napolitano argues that Dreamers are good people in a tough situation, and that DACA was a legitimate exercise in prosecutorial discretion. Well, first, a tough situation doesn’t authorize the president to re-write the law; and second, if the executive branch can use its discretion to alter a statute, Napolitano can offer no reason the same branch is barred from using the same discretion to return to the plain meaning of the law.
 
 
Similarly, after Trump announced plans to end a illegal subsidy that President Obama had engineered to cover insurance losses in Obamacare exchanges, several states have announced plans to sue the administration to keep the subsidies flowing. This case is especially egregious, as Andrew McCarthy explains. A federal judge has already ruled that Congress did not appropriate the funds for the insurance companies and therefore Obama had no authority to give them the money. Trump’s action is simply reverting to the plain language of Obamacare. But, states and Obamacare’s cheerleaders in the national media are excoriating Trump and hoping the courts will save the illegal bacon.
 

The pattern continues in energy development. Obama banned drilling in certain areas of the Arctic and the Atlantic. Trump announced a lifting of the ban, and now environmental groups have filed suit to prevent Trump from exercising independent judgment and going his own way.
 
 
 
In all cases, the litigants are unconcerned and unembarrassed that they are asking courts to rule president number 45 does not have exactly complementary powers to decide and act on the same issues as president number 44. Their attitude is, we won it under Obama, and we are entitled to keep it under anyone else. Thanks to Harry Reid doing away with the filibuster for lower courts, the appellate courts are stacked with fresh Obama appointees eager to protect his legacy. Thanks to Mitch McConnell taking the next step and abolishing the filibuster for Supreme Court nominees, the high court might have something to say about that.

Stay Armed My Friends, Especially Against Intellectual Muggings

New York Times columnist Brett Stephens, long of the Wall Street Journal, appeals: “Repeal the Second Amendment.” The Federalist’s David Harsanyi answers: “Come and get them, Brett Stephens.”

This is a fantastic clash. Stephens makes a seemingly plausible case for sweeping gun control here. Harsanyi demolishes it here.

Harsanyi shows why it’s always good to carry solid ammunition. You never know where you might be mugged, by whom.

Las Vegas and When Angry Emojis Turn Sad

So far there are 50 reported dead and hundreds injured. Sometimes when words fail, or an expression of emotion suffices, I will click on one of the emoticons on a friend’s post to express “happy” or “angry” or “sad.” It means someone saw their expression, and responded with his feeling about the subject.That’s what I often do regarding horrible events.
 
For some time, my reaction to news of an atrocity has been “angry.” How could someone do that to other people? This is ugly and outrageous. I want to express the resolve of defense, of resistance, of opposition. But, as the heedless coldness keeps spreading  around us, keeps taking more lives, my feeling is sliding toward sad. There isn’t just this bad guy or that to shake a fist at. There is a sick society.
 
Why do so many hate? What is producing this inhuman behavior? What can be done? Certainly there is place for anger, and it will be felt. But at some point, you have to look around at your fellow man and wonder with Gordon Lightfoot where the love of God goes. Not that it’s God’s fault, but where does the love go? Where does the darkness come from?

Hillary’s Postmortem is Producing Autopsy Comic Gold

 The left-leaning Guardian newspaper has a story out titled “Why Hillary Clinton was right about white women – and their husbands.” The article cites a new study purporting to prove Clinton’s explanation for her shocking defeat was right on the money.
 

Recall that in an interview with NPR, Hillary blamed her lackluster support from women voters on the little ladies being under intense pressure from their fathers, husbands, boyfriends, and bosses not to vote for her. Men pressured women and boom! America chose Trump. Conservative and mainstream outlets began chortling that Hillary claimed women “caved” to pressure from the men in their lives.

 

That stone hit the water and splashed waves of comic relief. First, Hillary’s strange punditry supplied her critics with schadenfreude and her supporters with chagrin. Second, the corrupt fact-checking racket leaped to throw its body in front of Hillary, bravely trying to deflect her deserved soaking. And third, leftist academics, but that’s redundant and repetitive, are riding to the rescue to breathe life into Hillary’s limp theory.
 
To set the stage, consider Hillary’s words in context. At an NPR interview on her No Mea Culpa tour, she recounted a somber conversation with writer Sheryl Sandberg about the sexism that would hold her back:
 
Sheryl ended this really sobering conversation by saying that women will have no empathy for you, because they will be under tremendous pressure — and I’m talking principally about white women — they will be under tremendous pressure from fathers and husbands and boyfriends and male employers not to vote for “the girl.”
So, on Hillary’s list of public enemies, to Bernie Sanders and James Comey, add women cowed by men. Even centrist and liberal outlets took umbrage to this characterization. Hillary’s explanation is sexist declared Newsweek. She thinks women voted against her because of men sniffed Glamour. And of course center and right media piled on about Hillary’s women who caved.
 
 
The specter of fingers pointing from both right and left at the Bad Candidate obviously embarrassed establishment Democrats and the Left. But, again I’m being redundant, again. Something had to be done. And fact checkers were just the ones to do it. Snopes stepped up to the vault, performed a double twisting somersault, and declared the charge that Hillary blamed her defeat on women who caved to men “mostly false.” Snopes’s reasoning was that Hillary had not actually used the word “caved” and, anyway, the words were not her own, but Sheryl Sandberg’s.
 
 This is idiotic. Clinton obviously endorsed Sandberg’s words. She treasured them verbatim in her mind. She repeated them from her own mouth on a national interview to explain “What Happened.” Now, a careful reading shows she did not actually use any verb to capture the capitulation of her alleged wanted-to-be supporters. She just said they would be under tremendous pressure…tremendous pressure. Twice. In the same sentence. (She was being redundant).
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Tremendous pressure usually precedes a cave-in. A thorough writer who wanted to assign a verb to the process of people being forced to cave in might well deploy “yielded” or “succumbed” or “gave into” but there is nothing extravagant or distortive about the vivid verb “caved.” The widely repeated phrase was substantially true, not mostly false. But sure enough, derivative “rebuttals” sprang up, dismissing the accusation as a “misquote.”
 
 
So the score until last week was Hillary had embarrassed herself and her supporters, then liberal fact checkers handed off their beer so they could one-up her. But now, academics and a liberal newspaper have decided not to let Hillary’s embarrassment die without a fight.
 
Author Lucia Graves sets the stage mournfully: “Given the opportunity to make history by electing the first female president, women didn’t take it. And ironically, the women who bore the most resemblance to Clinton – white, heterosexual and married – were less likely to vote for her.” Graves rehearses Clinton’s theory of tremendous manpressuring and concedes “people might scoff at the idea that women vote based on what husbands and fathers tell them to do.” But, she assures us, “Social science backs up Clinton’s anecdotal hunch.”
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Graves hands the microphone over to Kelsy Kretschmer, an assistant professor of public policy at Oregon State University. Kretschmer coauthored a study on women’s voting patterns. The study confirms the long observed fact that married women tend to vote more conservatively than single women. So far so good, but here, the pressure hypotheses—and any support for Clinton—falls apart.
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The elephant in the room is women’s perception of their own interests. “’Just being married makes women more conservative in their vote choice,’” Kretchmer explains.“Individually speaking, such voting behavior is more rational than it may sound,” Graves concedes. Then she starts warming up her humor. “The key distinction, according to Kretschmer’s research, is that single women tend to cast votes with the fate of all women in mind, while women married to men vote on behalf of their husbands and families.”
 
Got that? Single women vote for womenkind. Married women vote for husbands and kids. The first thing to observe is that there’s no suggestion of “tremendous pressure” from anyone, just different women’s priorities in voting. The second thing to observe is that Graves and Kretchner conflate a handful of liberal issues–expansive abortion, equal pay (which has been the law of the land for decades), more aggressive employment litigation—with women’s interest as a whole, and dismiss other concerns that are perfectly rational motivations for women voters.
 
Their anecdotal coup de grace is telling:
 
A college-educated woman identifying as a liberal Democrat confided to Kretschmer – not wanting to be identified, as a Trump voter – that she had voted for him over Clinton because her husband’s job depends on the coal industry; she saw Trump as the candidate that would protect it, and by extension her family’s economic interests. Kretschmer called her story “the clearest, most heartbreaking validation of our article that I had ever heard.”
 
Again, there was no reported pressure or arm twisting. There was simply a self-described liberal woman voting for the candidate who promised to protect her family’s livelihood over the candidate who cackled she was “going to put a lot of coal miners and coal companies out of business.”
 
 It would be more accurate to say Kretschmer’s study indicates married women are more likely to vote for policies that support strong economic opportunity and family security, than they are to vote for the Hubby State envisioned by President Obama’s animated Julia character. Recall Julia is an apparently single mother who credits her life successes from childhood to old age to a series of government programs. Married women vote more conservative. Single women vote more liberal.
 
Sorry, but Hillary’s self-serving theory is still hanging out there looking stupid.

Bombshell: The Science is Unsettling and the Debate is Heating Up.

 
 
A critically important debate is roiling the field of climate science and journalistic and political engagement of the issue. A group of distinguished climate scientists has published a study in the journal Nature Geoscience concluding the major models relied on for climate projections are flawed and the predictions have been wrong since at least 2000. Warming is slower than expected. Carbon’s effect on trapping heat is lower than assumed. Therefore, humanity has time to avoid a critical predicted 1.5 degree Celsius warming targeted in the Paris Accords, which and to stave off projected environmental disaster.
 
 Responses and characterizations of the study have been all over the map. The Washington Post sounds a hopeful, noncommittal note: “New climate change calculations could buy the Earth some time — if they’re right.

Climate writer James Delingpole gloats at Breightbart: “Climate Alarmists Finally Admit ‘We Were Wrong About Global Warming‘”

Scientific American is notably declarative: “Climate Change Will Not Be Dangerous for a Long Time,” with the cautionary subhead: “Slower warming than predicted gives the world time to develop better energy technologies.” The piece observes the new study provides a middle option between “really dangerous right now” and “it’s all a hoax.” It notes that slower than feared warning means temperatures do not become hazardous under the models for about a century, giving humanity several decades to improve energy technology and pursue better mitigation.
 
Popular Mechanics rains on the party and scolds: Sorry Skeptics: The Earth is Still Warming.

Under the satisfied heading: Global Warming: Who Are The Deniers Now? Investors Business Daily points out that if the models have been generally and consistently wrong, and warming has been flat, then how can researchers be so sure they are getting it right now? How much credibility was invested in, how many skeptics have been mocked, marginalized, and denied publication, tenure, or grants, merely for raising questions about predictions—and policy demands—that the climate catechism insists are settled and beyond discussion?
 

The New York Times inexcusably but unsurprisingly so far has found this story not among the news that is fit to print.

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One difference I have with any skeptics who now feel triumphalist or in a position to gloat is that the Alarmist Army is not in the least throwing in the towel on the anti-carbon agenda. The study and discussion represent a retrenchment and recalibration. After so many years of crying wolf, warning of thresholds, tipping points, and points of no return, that just aren’t materializing, the alarmists know they are losing credibility and public attention. This seems a strategy to step back, reset the clock, and keep hammering.
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