Thursday Free Speech Quickies

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45 Responses

  1. David says:

    That is an outstanding use of the Leutze painting.

  2. PLW says:

    I was hoping it was a different one of your lines.

  3. Dan Irving says:

    1. Follow opposing nation's athletes on twitter to say something butthurt worthy
    2. Retweet to increase the interweb rage
    3. ????
    4. PROFIT!!!

  4. Damon says:

    Love it when folks like Marc throw bombs like this. Zing. And Mann is a well deserved target.

    Let the battle begin. I will pop popcorn and watch.

  5. Aaron Weiss says:

    It's interesting comparing the complaint letters from the first two items. In the slumlord's case, his attorney provided no specifics and was quickly swatted down by the blogger's lawyer.

    In Mann's case, his attorney was very specific about what was defamatory (the word "fraudulent"), and provided a boatload of supporting evidence. If Mann actually goes forward with that one, we'll settle in with an extra-large movie tub of popcorn.

    Any attorneys want to weigh in on the merits of that claim? Is an accusation of fraud sufficient grounds for defamation, even if the person making the claim believes the fraud happened, despite all evidence to the contrary?

  6. Bill says:

    At the risk of being a kiss a55, this post was absolutley awesome. I'm still cracking up over the first lawyer's response.

    On the Mann thing, it's amazing how much butthurt dissing the gods of AGW causes. He should post an Internet Butthurt report form for good measure

  7. Luke says:

    "a man with the rhetorical taste and subtlety of a thirteen-year-old girl making a YouTube video about the bitch who stole her boyfriend."

    Brilliant comparison Ken

  8. Valerie says:

    Yes, her comment was offensive, and I would be ok with the Greeks refusing to have her represent their nation (the right to free speech includes a responsibility to accept with the consequences of of your words).

    I'm less ok with her not being sent because McDonald's and Coke are sponsoring an athletic event and want to get as many fat asses plopped on the couch watching other people exert themselves while they indulge in brand-name burgers and soda.

    For Pete's sake, North Korea & other dictatorial hell holes are allowed to compete. Between that and the bribery accusations, the Olympics brand hardly shines as an example of humanities' highest values.

  9. Whitney says:

    "Without commenting on the merits…"

    Please tell me you're planning to comment on the merits! Aside from the mention of "intentional infliction of emotional distress," Mann's lawyer's cease and desist letter doesn't bear any of the hallmarks of a censorious douchebag that you have so lovingly spelled out in other posts.

  10. Anita says:

    How many others were expecting to see the phrase, "Snort my taint," in the Rushie letter? Show of hands, please.

    *raises hand*

  11. tonylurker says:

    For the Mann case, when does libel rise to the level of something actionable? Even if Steyn believes, despite all evidence, that what he's saying is correct, when does the willful disregard for facts by Steyn and the National Review become too much?

    Basically, If you accuse someone of scientific fraud, how well do you have to be able to back up your allegation for it not to be libel?

  12. tarran says:

    Actually, the evidence is against Mann.

    Having dug into the various investigations that 'exonerated' him, I have found them all uniformly lacking.

    For example, not one of them has actually interviewed, or taken oral or written testimony from Steven McIntyre.

    Some links of interest:
    Tricking the Committee about one of the reviews of Michael Mann's "Nature Trick to Hide the Decline".

    The Mann Report. If you only read one link, this is the one you should read.

    In my opinion, if Michael Mann sues anybody for libel, his reputation will be utterly destroyed. Having a PSc in Physics and having done computer modeling back during my days in the steel industry, I agree 100% with Mr McIntyre's criticisms of his work. And the fact is, Mann has repeatedly sought to mislead people in an attempt to avoid dealing with those criticisms.

    This incident was my first introduction to the Team just making stuff up. I couldn't believe that someone described as a "Scientific American Visionary" would either stoop to making up stories or to be so foolish as to make up stories that were readily refuted by the email record. I was even more amazed that the climate science "community" acquiesced in this sort of fabrication. This was totally outside my experience.
    Osborn’s response here shows that he is acutely aware that Mann’s characterization of the email record is untrue. However, Osborn does not show any awareness of any obligation on his part to ensure that the record is accurate – something that one would have expected of him as a scientist. Instead, his thinking is entirely tactical – mentioning the "excel files" will open them up to criticism. Osborn was not acting here as a scientist whose responsibility was to ensure that the record was correct, but an advocate.

  13. Kreshon says:

    I too was expecting to read "snort my taint" in the letter. Empty thuggery is a nice second place line.

  14. Michael says:

    It seems like there is one more that should be noted here.

    The Mayor of Boston, and some schlub I can't remember from Chicago, both threatened to ban Chick-fil-A from their cities, actually vowed to use their government powers to influence the permit and licensing processes to keep the business out, in retaliation for the CEO voicing his stance on gay marriage. I do not agree with his stance one bit, but the fact that two separate government authorities in 2 separate states both saw fit to stomp all over the first amendment to punish this man and his company for having and voicing an unpopular opinion is beyond contemptible.

  15. Ken says:

    Michael, read a few posts back and you'll find the post about that.

  16. Leo says:

    Ken, I was going to sue Jordan for stealing my "I have attached the first amendment idea", which I may have come up with yesterday after I had a glass of whiskey.

    Want to go in on a lawsuit together? Maybe we can hire Charles Carreon to represent us?

    To give him a modicum of credit, using the painting was all his idea…

  17. Allen says:

    I don't know, it seems that the attorney that is representing Mann also defended G. Gordon Liddy in a defamation case. If nothing else he must have awesome client control skills.

  18. Rob says:

    Yes, her comment was offensive, and I would be ok with the Greeks refusing to have her represent their nation (the right to free speech includes a responsibility to accept with the consequences of of your words).

    I'm less ok with her not being sent because McDonald's and Coke are sponsoring an athletic event and want to get as many fat asses plopped on the couch watching other people exert themselves while they indulge in brand-name burgers and soda.

    So, you're cool with state censorship, but you don't like it when corporations simply refuse to sponsor people who say things they don't like? That's remarkably…statist. Authoritarian, even. Possibly even fascist.

  19. darius404 says:

    How many others were expecting to see the phrase, "Snort my taint," in the Rushie letter? Show of hands, please.

    *Raises hand*

  20. S. Weasel says:

    Ken, Tara be callin' you out. Big blue question mark and everything.

    I think she's lonesome over there in Naderovia.

  21. Connie says:

    @S.Weasel – Wait, what? I thought they had accepted their 'victory' and moved on to the next wharrrgble law case.

  22. Ken says:

    @Connie:

    See the most recent comments to the last Oatmeal chapter. She thinks I hide my identity.

  23. S. Weasel says:

    Ah, sorry. That thread had drifted off the page and…okay, I was just too bone lazy to go looking for it. Sob.

  24. Bill says:

    I was unable to find a 1st amendment to the Constitution of Greece. Perhaps you were referring to Article 14 or Article 25?

  25. Ken says:

    Was that addressed to me, Bill? Because I could have sworn that I said that Greece has its own laws so it's not a First Amendment issue.

  26. Narad says:

    If nothing else he must have awesome client control skills.

    The autobiography wasn't entitled Will for nothing.

  27. Narad says:

    The Mayor of Boston, and some schlub I can't remember from Chicago, both threatened to ban Chick-fil-A from their cities….

    The Moreno tactic in Chicago is to refuse to change the zoning map for a subdivision for the restaurant. How would you propose getting this from Point A to Point Not-Fail?

  28. Narad says:

    Having a PSc in Physics and having done computer modeling back during my days in the steel industry

    What's a "PSc"?

  29. John David Galt says:

    @tonylurker: The Michael Mann defamation case is being greeted as great news by the skeptic community (much discussion of this on WattsUpWithThat, which is probably a better place for it than here).

    For one thing, as soon as he files suit, discovery will reach not only the "Climategate" e-mails cited in Montford's "The Hockey Stick Illusion", but also subsequent e-mails which skeptics recently lost an attempt to obtain through the Freedom of Information Act.

    Then there is the huge list of skeptical scientists whom the defense will want to call as expert witnesses. I suppose the court could keep them all out by deferring to EPA's determinations as incontestable Pravda as other courts have done, but I have the feeling that National Review would take that issue to the Supreme Court and prevail on it.

    And finally, once we have a ruling that says Mann lied, both he and the many institutions that have whitewashed him, including UVa, lie open to fraud charges, both civil and criminal. Maybe EPA does too!

    This is going to be incredibly fun.

  30. Eric says:

    Hey you all, I was happening to check out tara's crazyness (I mean what kind of crazy rant will she have today, amiright?) But this really disturbed me.

    http://www.naderlibrary.com/bulletin_board/viewtopic.php?t=896&postdays=0&postorder=asc&start=140

    Shes really after ken now, apperently

  31. George William Herbert says:

    Ken:

    Hmm. I actually know Rand, and I think Ken's characterization was a little over the top here. Rand is an engineer and entirely convinceable by well founded data, when I talk to him in person. On this point he has deep skepticism about Mann (I don't, I think the climate change science is of typical but not perfect scientific quality and ultimately accurate). He doesn't believe the sun's going to change direction or anything nutso like that.

    He does have some rhetorical flair, though.

    Mr Galt:

    I will take scientifically developed data, including the climate change data, over financial data accuracy or what governments or the press euphemistically call "truth" any day of the week including Sunday.

  32. Ken says:

    George: perhaps I could have qualified it with "in this instance." And he did go back and delete the part that led me to make that comment:

    Mann could be said to be the Jerry Sandusky of climate science, except that instead of molesting children, he has molested and tortured data in the service of politicized science that could have dire economic consequences for the nation and planet.

  33. Narad says:

    But this really disturbed me.

    She's on about Golden Dawn? Spare me. I can't stand people who are stuck in the Koot Hoomi era.

  34. deezerd says:

    Ken: You mentioned Mr. Rushdie … I followed that link to his blog, scrolled down a bit and saw a neat little item about a pending SLAPP suit, which included a link to his beautiful response:

    http://phillylawblog.files.wordpress.com/2012/07/7-16-12-ltr-to-opc-re-defamation-final.pdf

    Damn, that stings. Where have you been hiding this guy, Ken? ;)

  35. Jack B. says:

    In other free speech news, Julie Anne Smith won her case, or to put it another way, the pastor suing her for defamation lost his case… on all counts.

  36. How many others were expecting to see the phrase, "Snort my taint," in the Rushie letter? Show of hands, please.

    :: raises hand ::

    Also – did anyone else notice? One of the linked Popehat posts in the second item links in turn to yet another piece by the elusive "Via." Apparently this has been going on for quite some time. Somebody should tell Tara.

  37. Bill says:

    Heya Ken – That response was to what followed the words "Greece has its own laws…" To wit: "the team is a private entity, not the state, so this isn't a First Amendment issue." If I have I missed your intent, please accept my sincerest apologies.

  38. Hughhh says:

    All due respect to Ms. Sartori — she clearly has bigger fish to fry — but her [webmaster's] WordPress skills leave a little to be desired.

    As for the actual response from Mr. Rushie, ye gods I do so hope that he included that picture along with the copy of the First Amendment. My hero.

  39. eveningperson says:

    On the likely Streisand factor in the Mann case, the situation is vastly different from most libel cases.

    If you google anything newsworthy in climate science, you will find that the self-styled 'sceptical' sites and blogs greatly outnumber the scientific ones – I haven't counted them, but but the ratio is likely to be at least 10:1, mosre likely 100:1. The scientific content of these sites is vanishingly small, but they thrive on gossip. Any libel or the slightest aspersion against any climate scientist, particularly one as well known as Mann, will be distributed across the web, usually in identical reposts, and be at the top of Google in no time.

    I suspect that Mann is bound to lose in these sites either way – if he loses legally he loses, and if he wins he'll be presented as a censor.

    Of course Mann has been multiply vindicated in the places where it matters, and the science, which deals with physics, is largely correct. What the 'sceptics' – who are economists, journalists, emeritus professors in other subjects, anything but climate scientists for the most part – seem not to understand is that climate science is about matter and energy, and those don't give a toss about rumour and politics.

  40. mojo says:

    Yeah, keep tellin' yourself that, EP. See where it gets ya.

  41. Rich Rostrom says:

    Rob • Jul 26, 2012 @3:18 pm: So, you're cool with state censorship

    The Greek Olympic Committee is a private body, like the USOC.

  42. Max Kennerly says:

    Steyn, who purports to be a journalist, accused Mann, a scientist, of "fraud" in his profession. If Steyn wants to disagree, he is free to do so in whatever manner he chooses, but there's no "right to falsely claim in my national publication that my lengthy investigation has revealed fraud" in the Constitution. If false, it's straight-up defamation, and Mann should sue him and win.

  43. Nigel Declan says:

    I hope that if this goes to trial, a witness for Dr. Mann ends up having to explain why discussion of fabrication of facts in e-mails by scientists is mere opinion and discussion and, thus, unworthy of litigation while comment thereupon is scandalous and actionable. I suspect the lawyers think that Steyn & Co. will back down or settle and give them and academia the easy win, or I hope they do since I don't see how they can win at court, given that the comparison between Sandusky and Mann is strictly limited to the fact that Penn State did an investigation of both and that there was a cover-up in both cases involving many of the same people (the former statement being demonstrably true, the latter being very likely true or, at least, very difficult to definitively disprove).

    I believe climate change, including man-made, is very real. I also believe that insulated academia like Dr. Mann (as evidenced by the Facebook page of Dr. Mann which shows the letter and explicitly deletes and threatens all commenters who disagree with what a horrible monster Steyn and the conservative media are) needs a 1st Amendment-backed boot to the tenured junk.

    Prof. Mann indeed does not know Mark Steyn, who stood up and prevailed against the Canadian Human Rights Tribunal which was not only a kangaroo court but which had the express legal and statutory authority to find people liable for hundreds of thousands of dollars for publishing material that hurt other people's feelings (past tense, because the most egregious provision, s.13, which literally made butt-hurt actionable, was recently repealed). With the benefit of a First Amendment, Prof. Mann is looking at a long, painful, expensive humiliation in his future.

  1. July 27, 2012

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