Sunday, February 05, 2012

The relevance of Nevada

Less than zero, but if you turn on your teevee this morning -- and not to watch any of the eight hours of Super Bowl pre-game -- you'll get a different version.

  • Mormons outnumbered evangelical voters: 26 percent of the Nevada caucus-goers were Mormon compared to just 23 percent who said they were evangelical Christians. Only New Hampshire had a lower-percentage of evangelical voters, at 22 percent. Even so, Romney carried evangelicals here with 48 percent; the best he's done in any state thus far.
  • Very low turn-out: With Romney all but assured a win here, Nevada GOPers weren't exactly inspired to get out to vote. In 2008, just 45,000 Republicans caucused. This year, it looks like even fewer will vote. Given the dismal showing, it's going to be very hard for Nevada to justify its early state status in 2016. As the New York Time's @natesilver tweeted: "new rule: if you don't turn enough people out to fill state's largest football stadium, you lose early voting status."

Look at the Google link to the election returns. At the time of this posting Clark County, with 50+% of the state's vote, still has not fully reported.

Ron Paul won Esmeralda County by a vote of 20 to 19 over Mitt Romney. Less than 60 people caucused in the entire county. Meanwhile, Ron Paul is apparently now running for Treasury secretary in a Romney administration (but will probaby have to settle for a speech in prime time at the convention ... right after his wacko son). Gary Johnson is a better fit for the Libertarians anyway.

This may be a fine way for the freak right wing of the Republican party to pick a nominee, but not for anybody else.

Sunday Super Bowl Funnies

“Newt may be toast already. The Republican establishment have the knives out for him. Tom DeLay said Newt Gingrich was the most despicable human being he has seen since shaving this morning.” -- Bill Maher

Thursday, February 02, 2012

Anonymous blogging is First Amendment protected speech -- as we knew all along

You may recall the case of the blogger/PI who sued two bloggers in Beaumont because they made fun of him, sucking Google (as and others into his vindictive legal wrath.

He lost at the Texas Supreme Court, and now he has lost again. First, from the Southeast Texas Record:

On Monday a local judge denied Philip Klein's petition to take the depositions of Google and Beaumont attorney Brent Coon, effectively ending the political commentator's three-year crusade to unmask two area bloggers.

Through his companies, Klein filed the petition against the Operation Kleinwatch and Sam the Eagle blogs, as well as Google and its subsidiary,, on Aug. 26, 2009, in Jefferson County District Court.

Klein alleged Operation Kleinwatch and Sam the Eagle engaged in a pattern of libel and defamation, invasion of privacy and use of copyrighted images.

In his petitions, Klein claimed the bloggers defamed him by posting a parody of Dog Fancy magazine in which he was depicted under the caption, "Fat Men Who Love Their Dogs Too Much."

Nonetheless, on Jan. 30 Judge Donald Floyd, 172nd District Court, denied Klein's verified third amended petition, ending his efforts to investigate claims.

"This ruling reaffirms the important principle that disgruntled public figures may not abuse pre-suit discovery to ferret out personal information about the people who criticize them," said Jeffrey L. Dorrell, a Houston attorney who defended the bloggers, in a press release.

And from said press release:

Ending almost three years of litigation, Judge Donald Floyd of the 172nd District Court in Jefferson County on January 30, 2012, entered a final order denying Beaumont private investigator and local media personality Philip R. Klein’s request to take presuit depositions of Internet search giant Google, prominent local attorney Brent Coon, and others to discover the identity of two anonymous bloggers. The bloggers publish satirical parody and other biting criticism directed at Klein on blogs known as “Operation Kleinwatch” and “Sam The Eagle.”

Here's the response from OK:

After repeated attempts by our attorneys and much foot-dragging by Philip R. Klein and his attorney, John S. Morton, Esq., an evidentiary hearing was held on Jan. 17, in which PRK introduced NO evidence to support his claims that we invaded his privacy, stole his copyrighted work, inflicted emotional duress on him and his family, or defamed him.

We did, however, admit that we posted a parody of a dog magazine with Philip on the front cover - the title of the article: "Fat Men Who Love Their Dogs Too Much," as a parody of this piece from MSNBC. Draw your own conclusions, but according to Philip's arguments, he apparently believes we exposed his penchant for dating farm animals.

Here's the response from Sam The Eagle:

On January 30, 2012, over two and a half years since Sillip instigated his Philly lawsuit, Judge Donald Floyd struck down all of Philip's allegations, denied all of Philip Klein's requests, and confirmed that Philip Klein was the biggest blowhard liar in Southeast Texas.

Klein's blog is the Southeast Texas Political Review, a badly written, poorly sourced ultraconservative freak show covering the Golden Triangle. Klein is also a private investigator, which means he knows lots of crooked attorneys who pay him for various shovelfuls of dirt he is able to unearth.

I would post his response to his losing his case yet again, but it's already been removed.

Philip Klein, quite simply, is a moron. To be both candid and a little cruel, he's just another one of those conservatives of low intelligence you may have read about recently. And there are plenty of lawyers -- even in places like Beaumont, Port Arthur, and Orange -- willing to take his money to watch him demonstrate it.

The importance of this case (to those of us who blog) as precedent really can't be overstated. I do not blog anonymously, of course; and no one who does should have any fear of legal retribution from someone who wishes to out them just because they don't like what they wrote. Sarcasm -- even excessive sarcasm -- as political insult goes at least as far back as 1800 ... in the battle for the presidency between John Adams and Thomas Jefferson. Amazingly, FOX News found the archival videotape of the 19th-century political ads and here it is:

I sure do miss hearing the phrase "hideous hermaphroditical character" tossed around at the Republican debates. Don't you?

Things like First Amendment rights to free speech are usually obvious to every honest and decent American, but rarely are to TeaBaggers with brains too thick and skin too thin.

Wednesday, February 01, 2012

April 3rd unified primary hits the circular file


The D.C. District Court three judge panel entered a order in the preclearance case telling parties that they should not expect a ruling for at least 30 days:

The Court directs the parties to comply fully with the page limits and briefing schedule set in this matter so that it can be timely resolved and also notifies the parties that this Court does not anticipate issuing any order within the next 30 days.

A number of participants in the case had been expecting the court to rule by February 15 and some had felt that a ruling might even be possible next week.

This afternoon, in light of today's D.C. Court advisory telling the state and plaintiffs in the preclearance case that they should not expect a ruling for at least 30 days, the Texas Democratic Party (TDP) filed an advisory with the San Antonio District Court, that has jurisdiction over interim district maps and the primary election schedule, saying it no long believed a unified primary was still possible on any date in April, absent a near term settlement between the state and plaintiffs in the interim redistricting case before the San Antonio District Court.

And that settlement is on ice, as we learned this past Monday.

So the Republicans will likely hold their presidential hag beauty contest on the April 3rd date; the rest of the Republicans and Democrats will wait until April, perhaps, for court decisions, with primaries not until the end of May or June. There might still be some short filing deadlines if the San Antonio court releases maps by February 6, but with the DC court's pronouncement they are not likely to feel any deadline heat to do so.

Meh. At least the pressure's off.

Update: Michael Li, as always.

(Thursday) morning, the San Antonio court entered an scheduling order, directing briefing by February 10 at 6 p.m. on a number of issues related to interim maps and setting a hearing/status conference for February 15 at 8 a.m. (so much for Valentine’s Day for lovelorn lawyers).

The court’s order is here.

The issues the court asked to be addressed include:
  • how the county line rule should be applied in interim maps,
  • the applicable law on coalition and crossover districts and how it should be applied for purposes of interim maps,
  • whether the court has the authority to waive preclearance requirements for new precinct boundaries
The court also asked that the parties submit propped findings of fact and conclusions of law by February 10.  The court’s order said that it was not announcing an election schedule at this time.