Category Archives: Law

The Virgin Galactic Mess

There’s a long story at The Daily Beast about it. The author gets this wrong, though:

There has never been any doubt about who the Number One Passenger is going to be: Branson himself. Soon after last year’s crash he was repeating an ambition aired many times before—that he looked forward to going up—and taking his son Sam and daughter Holly with him. The idea was that seats for the Bransons would be installed in the cabin behind the pilots as soon as SS2 had achieved the apogee height in tests. (That probably couldn’t happen without the FAA approving an operator’s license, whether Branson realizes this or not.)

There’s no such thing as an “operator’s license.” In theory, if he’d wanted to, Branson could have been aboard the flight that destroyed the vehicle last fall, and the FAA would have had nothing formal to say about it.

Meanwhile, Andy Pasztor has his take at the Journal (do a Google search on the article title to read it). This quote seems a little disingenuous:

According to a summary of that interview released by the NTSB earlier this week, Mr. Hardy also said that “he had never seen an applicant [for an FAA launch permit] make the assumption that a pilot would not make a mistake” as part of a formal hazard analysis.

How many has he seen that actually had pilots involved?

Huma’s Special Treatment

Gosh, it’s like it’s corruption and cover up to the core:

By allowing it, Clinton wasn’t just helping a friend boost her income. She was increasing the potential leverage of the Clinton machine, and in ways that could, and maybe did, benefit the Clinton Foundation.

The Abedin scandal is thus related to the “Clinton cash” scandal.

It is also related to Hillary’s email scandal. According to Grassley, the State Department investigators have “reason to believe that email evidence relevant to [its] inquiry was contained in emails sent and received from her account on Secretary Clinton’s non-government server, making them unavailable to [the investigators’ office] through its normal statutory right of access to records.”

Laws are for the little people.

[Update a while later]

Then there’s this:

The finding against Abedin, which she disputes, is that she was improperly paid while on leave. According to Sen. Grassley’s description of the investigation’s findings, Abedin’s time sheets indicate that she never took vacation or sick leave during her four years at the State Department. However, the investigation discovered that Abedin did, in fact, take time off, including a 10-day trip to Italy. In emails, she told colleagues that she was out “on leave.”

Just FYI, if you’re a government contractor, falsifying a time sheet is a firing offense.

Anyway, it’s pretty clear that when Her Highness said that she used a private server “for convenience,” she meant that she would find it very inconvenient for her political career for people to learn the contents of her emails.

The Blue Model Melts Down

Get ready for the bankruptcy of Puerto Rico:

Ultimately, bankrupt blue cities and states and their pension funds will troop to Washington with their hands out, begging for bailouts. Already we’ve seen a leading New Jersey state Democrat call for a $1 trillion federal bailout fund for pensions. The political pressures around the issue will be intense. Some (mostly Republicans) won’t want to give a single dime to the improvident fools and crooks who created this mess. Others (mostly Democrats) will insist on no-fault bailouts, arguing that social justice demands nothing less than an infinite willingness to pour money down ratholes, so long as those ratholes are Democrat-run.

What the country needs is something in between: relief for reform. Cities, counties, and states (or, as in the case of Puerto Rico, commonwealths) who can’t manage their debts anymore can qualify for limited help—but only if they undergo serious, life-changing reform. That may well mean the end of public unions, drastic changes in governance, haircuts all around, tax reforms, and other substantive changes. Forward-looking people in Congress should be thinking now about the legislation that would be needed to set up a framework of some kind to handle these cases. The legal issues are complex; courts have been upholding, for example, the inviolability of employee pensions under state constitutional provisions. It’s hard to see how federal bailouts would let those pensions go unchallenged.

As I’ve written before, a California bailout by the federal government should come only with the condition that it revert to territory status, and not be allowed back in as a single state. Individual regions (like Draper’s South California, or Central California) that get their act together could petition for readmission.

Lois Lerner’s Hard Drive

The curious case of the physical damage to it:

TIGTA’s testimony states that the laptop as a whole appeared undamaged. When Lerner’s laptop was first inspected by both an assigned IT specialist and Hewlett Packard contractor they both stated that “they did not note any visible damage to the laptop computer itself.”

The testimony does not speculate how the hard drive was “scored” while the computer itself remained visibly undamaged. However, given these facts it seems logical to question what — or who — caused the damage to the hard drive.

Hey, “accidents” will happen.

The “Black Lives Matter” Movement

It should be protesting Planned Parenthood.

New Lerner Emails

Provide evidence that the IRS tried to cover up its war on conservative groups:

According to the new emails, Ms. Lerner and her colleagues were aware of the growing outcry among nonprofit groups that they were being delayed.

In one Nov. 3, 2011, exchange between Ms. Lerner and Cindy Thomas, a program manager in the Cincinnati office that was handling the cases and was involved in a back-and-forth with Washington, the IRS admitted to having hundreds of cases stacked up and awaiting action.

Afraid of congressional pressure, Ms. Thomas ordered one of the inquiry letters to be sent, just to prevent one of the organizations being held up from complaining.

“Just today, I instructed one of my managers to get an additional information letter out to one of these organizations — if nothing else to buy time so he didn’t contact his Congressional Office,” she wrote in the email released by Judicial Watch.

Ms. Thomas said she feared a judge would get involved soon and order the IRS to move the applications more quickly.

That email exchange did confirm that IRS employees in Washington were deeply involved in making decisions about the nonprofit groups’ cases.

You don’t say.