Saturday, May 13, 2023

Banning Abortion Was Never About Protecting the Unborn or Mother, Redux

While Roe vs Wade that been repealed, and it is up to individual states to determine what can or cannot be done, we are now dealing with the aftermath of that decision. 

Back in May 2022, I had pointed out that leading cause of maternal or pregnant mortality between 2018 and 2019 is none other than homicide

And this trend appears to have not stopped. Dallas police has arrested Harold Thompson for shooting his girlfriend to death. His reason for killing her? She got an abortion in Colorado. This guy had  an arrest warrant in March for beating a woman, probably the same one he killed. He can't control her through the baby anymore, so he killed her. 

And that's just one of the more egregious cases we've seen. We have no statistics on how many women from the Red states have left to get abortions. We know that some Red states passed laws aiming to punish people who aided women leaving the state to get procedures, even those medically necessary, or to aid minors who were raped. It's gotten bad enough, some Blue states are passing shield laws to counter such.  

Pro-life is not about life. It's about control over a woman's body. It always was. 

Monday, April 10, 2023

Did Dallas CPS Really Seize a Baby From Parents For Choosing a Midwife?

The headline is sensational: "Black Couple Says Texas Authorities Seized Their Newborn Because They Chose a Midwife Over a Hospital"

But are the facts true? Here's the narrative, TL;DR version: 

  • The Jacksons, who live in Desoto, near Dallas, Texas, chose home birth and gave birth to Mila 2 weeks ago, with a licensed midwife
  • Jacksons took Mila to their pediatrician for a checkup, and doctor diagnosed Mila with jaundice, a common condition.
  • Jacksons chose home treatment with their midwife instead of hospital stay.
  • The doctor reported the Jacksons to Texas Child Protective Services (CPS) even though the Jackson have explained to the doctor that the midwife will conduct phototherapy.
  • Desoto police and CPS agents raided Jacksons' home at 5AM but the parents refused to hand the baby over. Police and CPS left after a while, only to return later demanding that the couple hand over the child again as she's legally a CPS ward at this time, despite after hearing explanations from both the parents AND the midwife. They eventually left again. Several days went by.
  • Last Tuesday, police returned and demanded the baby AGAIN, and when the parent refused, one was arrested, then police took his keys, and used it to enter his home and took the baby.
  • Jacksons have had ONE visit with the baby, and when they noticed some problems with the baby, they were DENIED permission to seek treatment, was told "it's the foster family's responsibility"
But are these ALL the facts? 

Not quite. Here's what they don't tell you, or it got glossed over, and you have to dig to find it. 

While mild jaundice does go away by itself, baby Mila's bilirubin level is 21.7. That is considered "go to the hospital ASAP" level of jaundice. 

And according to reports, the family has been with the same pediatrician for years, so presumably he did not call CPS at the drop of a hat, but only did so when he felt he had no choice in the best interest of the child. 

But let's make things perfectly clear: 

A midwife is NOT a pediatrician or a neonatologist. And severe jaundice is beyond the expertise of a midwife. 

So in essence, the parents are right: they did get their baby taken away BECAUSE they want a midwife to treat their baby for severe jaundice instead of a hospital and a pediatrician. 

That's the equivalent of asking your local quick-lube place (that changes your engine oil) to replace your car's engine. 

But the real question now is, is CPS sending the baby off to get the phototherapy done? Did it work?

And the post-mortem, why did the whole thing took another two days for CPS to take custody? 

Wednesday, March 22, 2023

Increasing Karen-ness All Over the Nation: It's Reaching the Government!

We've seen in the MAGA states that legislatures and governors are passing laws that increasingly extend government control over people's lives, often worded in terms of "protection". This in turned enabled more and more Karens (and Chads) to act as some sort of morality police by abusing the few bits of power they have. However, two recent incidents I heard about really... "chafed my hide" so to speak. 

One story is from BoredPanda, where they highlight various Reddit stories such as "/r/Idontworkherelady". To make a long story short: OP (original poster) has a job as a hotel front desk clerk. After hours, he removed all name tags and identifying material, went with a few buddies to a bar, had drinks, had a good time, and was driven home by a designated driver. Responsible adult, right? Not to a Karen. Who apparently posted something in the review forum accusing OP of being a "very poor choice of staff". The manager was reviewing the situation and interviewed everyone. OP answered truthfully, and the manager thanked him. Corporate got in touch with Karen and finally understood that Karen believed that people who work front desk jobs should be sober 24/7, even off work. 

Nothing happened to OP, the review was deleted by corporate, and later that Karen was put on the DNR (do not rent) list. Whether that's due to Karen's actions, who really knows? 

The temerity of that Karen, to act as morality police dictating who can have a good time and who cannot, sheesh! 


But wait, here comes Texas A&M University President Walter Wendler banning a drag show on campus in support of the Trevor Project, which is a suicide prevention org for LGBT+ youths. Based on Wendler's statements, he knew what he ordered is both against the US Constitution AND Texas Law, but he apparently doesn't give a ****, because he believed he was serving a higher purpose: protecting women from being made fun of. 


However, it gets worse. Can you imagine police coming to your door for something that happened in front of your house, smelling alcohol on your breath, seeing that your house is a bit unkempt, and deciding to arrest you, then going inside your house without a warrant to photograph the state of unkemptness as "evidence" since you apparently cannot take care of yourself?  

Yep, it really happened in North Hampton, New Hampshire

So what's the common theme among these three stories? People who believe they can dictate what you can or cannot do, despite having no such authority. They are Type II: The Vigilante Karen, in my book. Type II Karens decided to right some wrongs with their power, except such wrongs are only in her head. 

In case 1, the Karen arbitrarily decided that "front desk clerks should NEVER drink". 

In case 2, the uni president arbitrarily decided that "drag shows are insulting to women and I must protect women from them"

In case 3, the police arbitrarily decided that "if she drinks and has a dirty house she must be protected from herself"

Watch out when someone else decided to make your business THEIR business... 

Tuesday, December 27, 2022

Eleanor Monopoly No More: The Weird Saga of a Zealous Lying Biz That Actually Seized A Youtuber's Car Just Because They Could

Recently, it was revealed that the monopoly on "Eleanor", the 1967 Mustang Fastback, has finally been broken, after the judge pointed out the litigant committed perjury and tried to attribute human qualities to a car so they can claim copyright over something they don't own. However, the story is extremely complicated, 

To get this story right, we have to start from the beginning, of a movie called "Gone in 60 Seconds", released back in 1974 by H.B. Halicki. You can see the "original" hero car, A 1973 Ford Mustang Mach 1, here, named Eleanor.  

The hero car from Gone in 60 Seconds (1974) 

(and here's the actual vehicle as stored in Petersen Automotive Museum )

The car also appeared in two other H B Halicki movies: The Junkman and Deadline Auto Theft. Though these two movies are made with a lot of footage recycled from the first Gone in 60 Seconds. 

H.B. Halicki died in 1989 while filming a sequel of sorts. His widow, Denise Halicki, was determined to protect EVERYTHING to do with the movie, including the car and its name, "Eleanor", and proceeded to trademark it, and licensed the movie for the 2000 remake starring Nicholas Cage and Angelina Jolie

The Eleanor in the 2000 movie was a 1967 Mustang GT500 redesigned by Chip Foose and Steve Sanford. It looks nothing like the vehicle above, as you can see here. The only thing they have in common is they are both Ford Mustangs, that's it. 

1967 Mustang GT500 "Eleanor" as seen in "Gone in 60 Seconds (2000)"

Unfortunately, the fact that this vehicle is NOTHING like the original 1974 Eleanor did not deter Denise Halicki and her "Eleanor Licensing" from harassing ANYBODY who tried to make a car that looks similar to the "new" Eleanor. Remember, this vehicle has nothing to do with Halicki other than it was named Eleanor in an authorized 2000 remake of the 1974 movie. Somehow, Denise Halicki and her company believed this is enough for her to claim the design as their own... 

Technically speaking, Denise Halicki knew the remake will feature a different car, and she didn't trademark THAT car, when she authorized the remake in 1995. The movie finally came out in 2000.  Shelby trademarked the Eleanor Mustang in 2002. THEN Halicki sued in 2004 claiming the trademark belongs to her, and it was awarded to her in 2008 by US Ninth Circuit Court of Appeals. 

Between then and now, Halicki's Eleanor Licensing and its lawyers claimed that ANY car named Eleanor without their blessing is illegal. The crisis reached a boiling point in 2020 when Youtube Channel "B stands for Build" tried to build a new Eleanor by grafting a 1967 Mustang body onto a modern Mustang platform. The Youtuber was forced to pull his entire 14-video series documenting the build from Youtube, but also had his partially built car SEIZED

In fact, Halicki's lawyers went as far as threaten to sue or have sued ANYONE who made a Ford Mustang GT500 that even remotely looked similar to the Chip Foose / Steve Sanford design above, the car she had no rights to even if it's NOT called Eleanor! They were called GT500E, and GT500CR respectively. Then they had the temerity to send letters to the auction houses and owners, warning them to NOT sell those unless they want to be sued as well! (Yes, this was all in the court paper, which will be linked below)

Even Shelby Licensing / Shelby Trust had enough and they sued to have the previous ruling reversed, and in December 2022, they finally prevailed. A judge watched all relevant movies, and ruled that the car CANNOT be a character and thus does not deserve the copyright protection that was granted by previous courts, because, in short, the Halicki lawyers lied to the court. The decision can be read here

I won't go into details, you can have Steve Lehto explain that to you. 

But I'll include a juicy quote:

"unfortunate practice on the part of the Halicki Parties 
to embellish facts in their briefing [to the court]."

Ouch, what a smackdown. 

Does that mean people now can build their own versions of Eleanor? Seems to be "yes". 

Will this stop Denise and her lawyers? Unlikely. They *can* appeal. The question is will they? 

Monday, October 17, 2022

How Close Did Trump Get to Overthrow the Government in the US? Closer than you Think.

Trump treated the office of presidency like a CEO's office... thinking that he can simply refuse to go, and if he lost, he will simply refuse to admit he had lot, and find EVERY loophole and exploit every bit of vague language in the books to stay in power, including inciting a riot on January 6 to disrupt the electoral vote certification process for a proper transition of power. And the J6 committee's investigation is only now slowly uncovering the extent on how far he HAD gone. 

* Fact: Trump had pressured Mike Pense, his own VP, to refuse the electoral votes (that says Trump lost and Biden won), even though Constitutionally there is no such power given to the VP. 

* Fact: Trump allies believe in extreme readings of the Electoral Count Act, which defined the process of the presidential election. Trump allies told Trump that the individual state legislatures can send their own electoral college delegates instead of the ones that are bound by the actual state election results. At least seven states have sent a fraudulent list of electors to the National Archive claiming Trump had won, And many of these "fake electors" are Republican candidates for office in the upcoming election in November 2022. 

* Fact: Trump allies in red states believe in redrawing maps to keep Red states red and gerrymandering the locations in order to decrease the voting impact of their enemies, and are trying to prevent independent reviews of their actions by the courts or independent commissions by claiming the extreme reading of the Electoral Count Act. So far, SCOTUS (Supreme Court) has rejected such readings, but at least 3 justices like the idea. 

* Fact: Trump himself called state election commissions, outright ASKING them to FIND additional votes to make him the winner. In a recorded call, Trump called Georgia's top election official to "find" enough votes so he wins that election. Georgia ended up counting the votes THREE TIMES, and certified the win for Biden TWICE. It is unknown if there are OTHER instances of this happening in other states... or whether any other state officials gave in to the pressure. 

* Fact: Trump allies, knowing they need to control the election process, so they can never lose again, are running for the election commission and other positions all over the US, in a bit to "ensure fairness" and look for fraud that was NEVER proven in 2020 election. Many of them STILL hold views that 2020 election was fraudulent, and it is very likely even if they don't see fraud in 2022, they will claim fraud ANYWAY because they can't accept being losers. 

* Fact: Trump KNEW and ENCOURAGED January 6 folks to gather up a knew they are likely to attempt to storm the capital. He may not know the extent, but many of Trump's associates predicted "things might get rea, real bad on Jan 6". including Mark Meadows, as early as Jan 2.  The Oath Keepers took Trump's tweet about making the Jan 6 protest "wild" as a call to action

This is an ORGANIZED conspiracy to destroy American democracy, and it is ONGOING. Many of the election deniers are running for office are are planning to continue endorsing Trump or Trump-y     candidates such as Abbott or DeSantis. 

Vote when November 2022 comes. Do NOT let them win. 

Thursday, September 22, 2022

"Drive-By" ADA Lawsuits Shake Down Small Business Owners In California

The US of A has laws on the books known as American Disabilities Act (ADA) that mandates public businesses be accessible to people with disabilities. The law is well-intentioned and usually well implemented. However, this did not stop some vexatiously litigious people from abuising the court system and filing frivolous "drive-by" ADA lawsuits against small business owners who can't afford to fight the issue out in court, esp. during pandemic times. 

One such litigant is Potter Handy LLP, who also operates under the title "Center for Disability Access". They supposedly represented clients complained about businesses in both SF Bay Area and Greater LA Metro Area that allegedly violated ADA guidelines. Potter Handy LLP were filing up to 3 lawsuits A DAY in California's Federal District courts right up to April 2022, when they were sued by District Attorneys of both San Francisco and Los Angeles for violating California's Unfair Competition Act. 

While the civil lawsuit by the two district attorneys were dismissed in August 2022, Potter Handy LLP has mostly stopped filing lawsuits as several of the Federal judges handling the filed cases found that many of the presented facts do not add up. The pattern seems clear: there was no demand or notice of violation or request to correct before a lawsuit was filed, and the target is often (thought not always) a mom-and-pop shop (which does not have the resources of a corporate store, nor would they have lawyers on retainer to fight such).  The lawsuit claimed the plaintiff personally encountered "unlawful barriers" often something like "door handles", narrow paths, lack of ramps, inadequate handicapped parking markings, and so on. 

Most cases were settled for between 10K to 20K. 

According to a tally by Bay City News, 3142 cases (or more) in the last four years of ADA lawsuits filed in its own district handled by Potter Handy have been "resolved". And it's known that Potter Handy handled thousands of other cases in other California districts. 

Several Federal Judges have questioned whether the plaintiffs in the Potter Handy ADA cases have been truthful. One judge found that Brian Whittaker, one of Potter Handy's most prolific litigants, "traveled to Redwood City (California) for the purpose of finding business establishments to sue", not because he was visiting the area 2-3 times a month allegedly to relocate from LA. And Whittaker had sued HUNDREDS of businesses in the area. When questioned, he could not name any of the businesses despite suing and settling with hundreds of them. Note that one of the ADA claim requirements is intent to return to the business (and thus, need the barriers removed). 

Another judge, handling some of Whittaker's cases, pointed out that Whittaker took a one-day trip to San Francisco from LA, spend 2 hours moving about "to dine" or "to shop", returned home, and filed 34 lawsuits based on his experience on that one day trip to SF. This judge has also ordered the plaintiff in other Potter Handy cases before him to file additional affidavits, under penalty of perjury, for further details, and accused Potter Handy of filing "boilerplate" complaints. 

Potter Handy insists that it is protecting the rights of the clients it handled and called the civil suit brought by the district attorneys "a political stunt". 

I call it profiting off the misery of others. 

Friday, September 2, 2022

There is No Such Thing as A-10 Blacksnake

If you routinely browse US military Youtube channels, you may be wondering, did US really get a new model of A-10 called Blacksnake? 

Screenshot of Youtube Search Results for "A-10 Blacksnake"

Unfortunately, the answer is no, this is actually just a new paint scheme for one unit: the 122nd Fighter Wing of Indiana Air National Guard, based at Fort Wayne, Indiana. The paint scheme was to celebrate the Indiana Air National Guard's 100th year in operation, with the establishment of 137th Observation Squadron, initially based at Fagley Field in Kokomo, just north of Indianapolis, back in 1921. Yes, this was LAST-year's news. 

Yet the Youtube videos are only few months old. Are they reall this click-bait-y?   

So why "Blacksnake"? According to the ANG unit, blacksnake was a nickname given to Anthony Wayne by the Native Americans he fought. Later, Fort Wayne was named after Anthony Wayne. Supposedly, the local Native Americans gave Wayne the title after he instructed his soldiers to lie in ambush, and only strike at point-blank range, much like the native black snakes, according to a book

Which is why you should NEVER trust Youtube videos, unless you can verify the information yourself. I welcome a new A-10, but this ain't it.