Thursday, February 26, 2015

Fisherman wins 5-4 Supreme Court case, vindicated after facing prison for discarding undersized fish in 2007 off Florida coast

2/25/15, "Supreme Court Sides With Fisherman In Case Of The Missing Fish," npr.org

"Commercial fisherman John Yates and his crew were fishing for red grouper in the Gulf of Mexico off the coast of Cortez, Fla., in 2007. His vessel was boarded by John Jones, a state Fish and Wildlife officer who was working on behalf of the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration

As NPR's Nina Totenberg reported last November: "Jones, suspecting that the fishermen were keeping fish smaller than the 20-inch minimum, measured some of the catch and found 72 grouper that were undersized."

That's 72 fish out of a catch of more than 3,000, Yates wrote last year in Politico. He was issued a civil citation from the state.

But when Yates' vessel returned to port the next day, Jones and other officials examined the entire catch and found 69 — not 72 — undersized fish.

"Nearly three years later, the federal government charged me with the destruction of evidence — yes, fish — to impede a federal investigation," Yates wrote in Politico. "I was subsequently arrested at my home. I have been blacklisted by boat owners who fear federal investigations similar to mine. I am now unable to make a living doing what I love to do."

Yates was charged with violating the Sarbanes-Oxley Act, which was passed after, as Nina put it, "a scandal ... destroyed energy firm Enron and resulted in criminal convictions for accounting firm Arthur Andersen."

Prosecutors said he told his crew to throw the undersized fish overboard. He was convicted of destroying evidence to impede a federal investigation and sentenced to 30 days in jail. He appealed all the way to the Supreme Court, arguing the law applied only to documents and records, not fish.

But, as Nina noted at the time:
"The federal government, however, argues that the law was clearly written and intended to be a broad anti-obstruction-of-justice law that would fill gaps in the criminal code that had long existed."
The Sarbanes-Oxley Act makes it a crime to destroy, alter or cover up "any record, document, or tangible object with the intent to ... impede or obstruct" the investigation of "any matter within federal jurisdiction."

Today, the court narrowly agreed with Yates, and reversed judgments by lower courts.

NPR's Carrie Johnson tells our Newscast unit that the court's majority said the "government overreached by deploying the financial fraud law against a commercial fisherman. The majority said tangible objects should be read to mean documents or computer hard drives not undersized fish."

"Fish one may fry, but may one falsify, or make a false entry in the sea-dwelling creatures?" Justice Ruth Bader Ginsburg said, reading from a summary of her opinion from the bench.

She was joined by Chief Justice John Roberts and Justices Stephen Breyer and Sonia Sotomayor. Also in agreement was Justice Samuel Alito, who wrote a separate opinion.

Justices Elena Kagan, Anthony Kennedy, Antonin Scalia and Clarence Thomas dissented.

"A fisherman like John Yates, who dumps undersized fish to avoid a fine is no less blameworthy than one who shreds his vessel's catch log for the same reason," Kagan said.

The case was Yates v. United States."

Stumbleupon StumbleUpon

Wednesday, February 25, 2015

Arod signs in Tampa at The Boss

2/24/15, "A quick look at all the stuff you missed today b/c you were busy with "real life" --
via Lohud Yankee blog 

Stumbleupon StumbleUpon

Forty days til Opening Day in the Bronx

2/24/15, "From Chopper 880: Center field work continues at frozen Stadium; 40 days til via Yankee Lohud blog 

Stumbleupon StumbleUpon

Sunday, February 22, 2015

2015 spring training officially opens at George M. Steinbrenner Field

2/21/15, "Sabathia balloons to over 300 lbs for apparent health reasons," NY Post, George A. King III, Tampa

"CC Sabathia’s surgically repaired right knee houses a degenerative condition he hopes to control by exercise, injections and possibly draining.

After playing the past two seasons at 295 pounds, the veteran lefty arrived at Yankees spring training weighing in at 305, believing the added 10 pounds puts him in a position to feel better.

Welcome to the Yankees’ former ace’s world as he prepares to rebound from a dreadful 2014 in which he worked eight games before the knee required arthroscopic surgery.

The road back began this winter with a throwing program, and Sabathia was in the first group of pitchers throwing off a bullpen mound Saturday when the Yankees officially opened spring training with pitchers and catchers going through drills at George M. Steinbrenner Field. It was Sabathia’s second bullpen session and the first one outdoors.

“It’s a bum knee. It’s degenerative, there is nothing we can do about it,’’ Sabathia said of his knee that underwent surgery, is lacking in cartilage underneath, has required four platelet-rich plasma injections to keep the fluid out and faces the possibility of being drained if the fluid returns. “We are not going to try micro fracture or invasive surgery right now. Keep the maintenance and make sure it’s good enough every day to go out and play.’’

Sabathia said the three PRP injections, the last of which he received recently, should be good enough to carry him to the All Star break before another is needed.

Saturday he threw 25 pitches to John Ryan Murphy, didn’t favor the knee and was pleased with the exercise.

“It felt well, no problem,’’ Sabathia said. “I’ll take two days off and throw another one.’’

Sabathia, who turns 35 in July, has rinsed away last year and called 2013 “terrible’’ even though he was 14-13 and threw 211 innings coming off elbow surgery (bone spur) and working with a fastball that didn’t creep much above 90 mph.

“For me it was [terrible],’’ Sabathia said. “Maybe that’s what I am.’’

For a pitcher with Sabathia’s career, those numbers might be hard to accept, but if you told Joe Girardi the left-hander would give him that type of season this year, the manager would jump at it.

That’s because since beating the Orioles with a complete-game effort in Game 5 of the 2012 ALDS, Sabathia is a pedestrian 17-18 with a 4.97 ERA in 58 games.

“I wanted to come here with a clear mind and pitch,’’ said Sabathia, who was examined by a doctor Friday and won’t be held out of any activities. “I felt I passed every test.’’

Asked if he can return to being the staff ace, Sabathia said, “I have no idea, I am just happy to be here.’’

Considering the Yankees owe Sabathia $53 million for the next two years and could be on the hook for a $25 million vesting option in 2017, it would lessen the anxiety level if the former ace repeated his 211 innings of 2013 instead of throwing just 46 innings like last year.

After losing close to 40 pounds following the 2012 season, Sabathia has gone from 295 to 305 since last season.

“I lost that weight because I had a cousin die from heart disease,’’ explained Sabathia, who some felt the decreasing velocity was attributed to the drop in weight.

“Now I feel good where I am at. I feel a little stronger, I feel my legs under me.’’

Time, of course, will tell a lot more than the first bullpen session of camp.

“You really have to get into it and the rigors of 100 innings and throwing every fifth day but so far the signs that we have seen are positive,’’ Girardi said."

2/21/15, "Girardi signing some autographs before today's workout, Erik Boland twitter

Stumbleupon StumbleUpon

Monday, February 16, 2015

Fewer sports cars, more pickup trucks among 2015 Yankees-Barbarisi

2/16/15, Daniel Barbarisi twitter, via Lohud Yankee blog

Stumbleupon StumbleUpon

Thursday, February 12, 2015

No autograph seekers outside Yankee minor league complex for second day in a row-Boland

2/11/15, "Same autograph seekers as yesterday lined up outside Yankees minor league complex," Erik Boland twitter

Stumbleupon StumbleUpon

Thursday, February 05, 2015

In January 2010 NBC's Brian Williams slammed Mark McGwire for lying

2/5/15, "Brian Williams Slammed MLB's Mark McGwire For Lying," CNS News, Eric Scheiner

"In January of 2010, NBC news anchor Brian Williams said, “we can’t say what we would like to” when discussing the news that baseball player Mark McGwire “stopped lying today” and admitted to the use of steroids.

“Because this is a family broadcast we probably can’t say what we would like to about the news today that Mark McGwire, the home run hitter, the fan favorite from the St. Louis Cardinals, stopped lying today and admitted that he did it while on steroids,” Williams said during the January 11, 2010 Nightly News broadcast.

“He didn’t tell the truth to Congress or to his fans until finally, formally coming clean today. He’s been unable to get into the Hall of Fame and apparently even for him the shame here was too much.”

After a reporter presented a video package on McGwire’s career and confession to using steroids Williams said, “Kind of an American tragedy the way it’s ended so far.

Williams apologized Wednesday for falsely claiming he was on a helicopter forced down in 2003, during the invasion in Iraq.

"I made a mistake in recalling the events of 12 years ago," he said.

"I want to apologize. I said I was travelling in an aircraft that was hit by RPG [rocket-propelled grenade] fire. I was instead in a following aircraft."

His apology was prompted by a story in Stars and Stripes in which crew members on the helicopter that was hit said Williams wasn't on it.

The story of being on the helicopter when it was hit was told by Williams several times.

In March of 2013 he told the David Letterman Show, that while in Iraq “we were going to drop some bridge portions across the Euphrates so the third infantry could cross on them. Two of our four helicopters were hit by ground fire including the one I was in. RPG and AK-47's."" video at link. via Lucianne


2/4/15, "NBC’s Brian Williams recants Iraq story after soldiers protest," Stars and Stripes, Travis J. Tritten

Stumbleupon StumbleUpon