Archive for September, 2009

easterbrook200px-Sonia_SotomayorThe Supreme Court has accepted a major handgun case, McDonald v. Chicago, that will define the scope of the recently recognized individual right under the Second Amendment. It will also allow new Justice Sonia Sotomayor to vote on the very issue that led to much of the opposition against her in her confirmation.
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150px-Enloecheer210px-Meister_des_Reliquienkreuzes_von_Cosenza_002The cheerleaders of Georgia’s Lakeview-Fort Oglethorpe High School appear to be short a cheer for separation of church and state doctrine. They have triggered a constitutional controversy by using Biblical verses as part of their displays to root for the football team to “commit to the Lord” and “take courage and do it.”
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230px-PolanskiIFFKV220px-Woody_Allen_at_the_premiere_of_Whatever_WorksAnswer: Woody Allen. That’s right, Woody Allen who became something of a pariah over his relationship with Mia Farrow’s adopted daughter Soon-Yi Previn is now calling for charges to be dropped against fellow filmmaker Roman Polanski for his sex with a thirteen year old girl in 1977.

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256px-Uluru_(Helicopter_view)-cropMany endangered species are threatened by industry and urban sprawl. However, tourists have made something of a statement by going to Australia’s famed Ayers Rock, or Uluru, and pissed away a rare species of shrimp, Branchinella latzi.
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BloodyMary-004-th1thumb_weapon_gun_smith_and_wesson_hand_ejectorIt is time to get loaded in Arizona. As we previously discussed, Arizona passed a law protecting the right to bear arms in bars. Well, the day has arrived for those who felt naked in bars with everyone ordering shooters while they left theirs at home.

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wtftfwIt appears that blogging and texting lingo has finally brought down the halls of government. The Wisconsin Tourism Federation has been known as WTF for many years until the snickers of the new generation of texting citizens drowned out their message. They are now the Tourism Federation of Wisconsin, thank you very much.
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cherylaleman_blog_20071214082343Sean Conway135Florida State bar authorities have fined trial lawyer Sean Conway $1,200 for criticizing Ft. Lauderdale Judge Cheryl Aleman on a blog, including calling Conway an “evil, unfair witch.” We previously discussed this case, here. The ruling is a major blow to free speech and another case of courts or the bar overreaching in punishing lawyers and parties for their criticism of judges. What is particularly interesting is that Aleman has been charged with misconduct by the Judicial Qualifications Commission.
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300px-nci_visuals_food_hot_dogAntonio Judd really really wanted a hot dog. He grabbed a dog from a person on the street in Worcester and will now pay his debt to society with eighteen months in jail.

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Pros1Sally Harpold is a Sudafed Head . . . or is she an Actifed Head? Well, the important thing is that she has been finally locked away in Clinton, Indiana where she was caught buying two cold medicines within seven days. Vermillion County Prosecutor Nina Alexander (left) racked up the major coup four months after the purchases and charged her with violating Indiana law 35-48-4-14.7, which restricts the sale of ephedrine and pseudoephedrine, or PSE, products to no more than 3.0 grams within any seven-day period.
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PHI+James+Davis+duct+tape+cat+suspectDuct Taped CatPolice have arrested James Davis, 19, who has reportedly admitted to committing the horrific crime of duct-taping a cat and throwing it away. The gray tabby was rescued and had its fur cut off to get the tape off. The cat was eventually rescued by a Bengal. George Bengal, that is, of the PSPCA.
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180px-BVP-2_military_parade_Prague180px-Monopolowa_Baczewski.JPGWe previously watched the video below of a drunken Russian tank driver careening around a town a. Now we have another incident in Perm, Russia where a drunken instructor took an armored infantry vehicle to go buy more booze. He said it was the only vehicle he could locate at the time. He ended up crushing one person and injuring another at a nearby shop.
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090227_deputy_videoKing County deputy Paul Schene, 31, has been fired over his beating a 15-year-old girl on Nov. 29 incident in a holding cell at SeaTac City Hall. The video below shows a shocking escalation of violence by Schene.
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200px-flag_of_the_united_nationssvg660px-flag_of_israelsvg1 The United Nations Fact Finding Mission on the Gaza Conflict will issue a report today accusing Israel of “actions amounting to war crimes, possibly crimes against humanity” during its military incursion into Gaza from December 27 to January 18. The mission headed by respected South African judge Richard Goldstone is a major development in the controversy and could put the United States in a very difficult position.

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250px-Master_PadlockAllen Feingold had a less than conventional approach to litigation, such as allegedly choking a 74-year-old judge after an adverse arbitration ruling. Now, Philadelphia Common Pleas Court President Judge Pamela Pryor Dembe has ordered that he be locked out of his office to prevent him from continuing to practice law after his disbarment.

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250px-Stara_planina_sumaOver the last decade, legislators have rushed to impose broader and broader restrictions on sex offenders that prohibit them from living within certain distances of churches, schools, and other locations. The result is often effective banishment or homelessness for sex offenders. Georgia’s politicians have been so careless in their legislation that officials are now recommending that sex offenders live in the forests.

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Looking for that tall, dark, and atheist date? You are not alone. Discover Magazine has learned that if you want to pick up a date you might want to drop the Almighty in your pitch. It appears that being an atheist increases the chance of getting lucky — at least in this lifetime. That means that, while God remains popular for a Sunday morning, Bertrand Russell may be better on a Friday night.

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140px-Gotsiy3edit2250px-Index_finger.JPGWhile France and Italy may claim to lead fashion, the English have spent over £544,000 to show English citizens what is a must in this year’s wear: a fingerprint. The government is trying to convince the English that only a nerd lives without a fingerprinted national identity card in a new campaign featuring a fingerprint proudly displaying his new national ID card to other jealous fingerprints.

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News_619734aThe Space Hijackers pride themselves on creative and artistic forms of protest — often against police abuse. They were a bit surprised to learn that citizens can easily confuse a person in red high heels, frilly stockings, and a helmet for a police officer. It appears that English officers are far more adventuresome than our own police.

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Now this video is a bit difficult to explain. It appears that police took an arrested protester, made him kneel in front of them, and then took a group picture in Pittsburgh.

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200px-Jk-rowling-crop150px-PresMedalFreedomIn this new book, Speechless: Tales of a White House Survivor, Matt Latimer has an interesting insight into the presidency of George W. Bush. When author J.K. Rowling was proposed as a recipient for the Presidential Medal of Freedom, Bush nixed the idea because Rowling’s Harry Potter series “encouraged witchcraft.” While many of us may be unaware of the outbreak of witchcraft, this was no doubt contained in one of those biblically laced briefing books of the President. What is strange is that the President already honored another author of pure fiction — CIA Director George Tenet — for producing false evidence to justify the invasion of Iraq. It must simply be the genre.

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William Safire Dies at 79

200px-President_Bush_presents_William_Safire_the_2006_President_Medal_of_FreedomPulitzer Prize-winning columnist William Safire died today at 79. Bill was a friend and often encouraged me through the years as a columnist and commentator. He was one of the most interesting men that I have known in my life and, like millions, I will miss him.

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230px-polanskiiffkvWhile justice delayed may be justice denied, but justice appears to have caught up with Roman Polanski — just 31 years delayed. To the surprise of his family and lawyers, Swiss authorities arrested the seventy-six-year-old famous director on the outstanding international warrant.
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humorous-066_smallAnd you thought you had too many mouths to feed.

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lotus-sculpture_2072_39770795A Christian group in Calgary has organized a campaign to protest an elephant statue in the zoo that resembles Ganesh, the Hindu God. The group is challenging the three-meter statue as “selective religious partiality.”
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180px-Chupah_closeupThe Illinois Supreme Court has upheld the so-called “Jewish Clause” in a will of a deceased Chicago dentist who wanted to disinherit any children or grandchildren who failed to marry a Jew. Max Feinberg’s will will result in four grandchildren being disinherited.
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orly2 Orly Taitz, the lawyer and de facto leader of the “Birther” litigation, has filed a motion to withdraw from further representation of Dr. Connie Rhodes after Rhodes accused her of filing new papers in Rhodes v. MacDonald without her approval and after she agreed to be deployed by the military. Taitz is also facing a possible $10,000 fine from United States District Court Judge Clay D. Land, who previously dismissed the action. Taitz declared in one filing: “This case is now a quasi-criminal prosecution of the undersigned attorney.” She is already facing a California bar complaint and Rhodes is promising to file a new complaint against her for her “reprehensible” representation.
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180px-School_Bus_-_Thomas_-_Ledgemere_Transportation_-_4Lisa Snyder has been finally stopped. Because some parents in her neighborhood have to go to work before the bus picks up their kids in front of Snyder’s house, Snyder watches three children in Middleville, Michigan for the 15 or so minutes while they wait. The Michigan Department of Human Services has now filed a complaint against her for illegally operating a child care home.
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200px-Muammar_al-Gaddafi_at_the_AU_summitLibyan leader Colonel Muammar Abu Minyar al-Gaddafi (Moamer Kadhafi) shocked many in refusing to use the vaunted United Nations interpreters and instead brought his own. However, in the course of his rambling, stream-of-conscious speech this week, the interpreter was heard saying into a live microphone, “I just can’t take it any more” and reportedly collapsing. Many of us who listened to the speech had the same sensation.

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arrested180px-Beech.bonanza.arp.750pixA California pilot Tom Huey has been arrested for allegedly violating a restraining order by buzzing the neighborhood of a woman and dropping leaflets referring to her from his Beech single-engine plane.
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bildeCarolyn Savage of Sylvania, Ohio has given birth to a baby boy in a bizarre case of negligence by a fertility clinic. Savage, 40, has agreed that the baby is not hers after the clinic implanted the wrong embryo. The Savages have agreed not only to have the baby but to give up the baby to his biological parents.
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300px-Eugène_Delacroix_-_La_liberté_guidant_le_peupleCarrieNation-724058In what may be the most dangerous and potentially explosive act since the storming of the Bastille, French leaders are taking on French models and declaring war on airbrushing. The French Parliament (and members of President Nicolas Sarkozy’s UMP party) is proposing to force magazines and other publishers to print a warning for photographs that have been touched up or photoshopped. It appears that while President Nicolas Sarkozy can insist on only short people appearing behind him to appear taller, the French politicians say “staging Oui, brushing non!” The new campaign for realism has already taken its toll with the untouched up picture on the right of Marianne in La liberté guidant le peuple (Liberty Leading the People).
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200px-Garaufis_NicholasEC9291Attorney Todd C. Bank really liked his Operation Desert Storm hat. Almost as much as Eastern District of New York Judge Nicholas G. Garaufis (left) disliked it. Bank, a sole practitioner in Queens, lost his constitutional claim that he had a right to wear jeans and a hat of his choice in court. Garaufis ruled that any desire to accessorize would occur outside of the Constitution and his court (or any other court for that matter).
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web+Lunch+Lady+and+the+Cyborg+Substitute1008839-FBCarol Hill was fired at the Great Tey Primary School in Essex after she told Scott David that his seven-year-old daughter Chloe had been tied to a fence and whipped with a skipping rope by bullies. The school had only mentioned “an incident” and did not reveal the names of the boys.
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85px-Herb_Polski.svgA Polish court has awarded Alicja Tysiac $11,000 against a Catholic magazine, Gosc Niedzielny, after the magazine compared her to a child killer and a Nazi. While it is impressive to see a court levy such damages against a Catholic publication in this very Catholic nation, the ruling does raise freedom of speech issues.
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gavel2180px-StaplerKMNew York Supreme Court Judge Charles Markey takes stapling very seriously. He took counsel to task for not just injurious stapling but failing to sign pleading, which were apparently signed in blood by the clerks.
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dragan+jovanovich_elvis+tahirovichDragan Jovanovic, 42, and Elvis Tahirovic, 18, were arrested this week in a bizarre kidnapping conspiracy: they drove from Fargo, North Dakota to Bowling Green to kidnap a 14-year-old girl so that she could marry a Jovanovic’s 14-year-old son (who met her on the Internet).

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This video raises an interesting question for educators and lawyers alike. These students at B. Bernice Young Elementary School in Burlington, NJ are being taught to chant and sing praises of President Barack Obama. Is that an appropriate exercise in a public school or does it smack of the type of cult of personality that we see in other nations?

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JINDICT03a250px-New_Forest_calfNew Jersey police officer Robert Melia Jr. will not face criminal charges for allegedly having sex with five calves under a perfectly bizarre ruling by Judge James J. Morley. We previously discussed the case, here. Morley dismissed animal cruelty charges on the grounds that the cows may have enjoyed having sex with Melia.

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Shanghai, China (The Weekly Vice) – Ying Shi, 26, apparently was correct when she complained repeatedly to doctors about a stabbing pain in her stomach, but doctors could not imagine what it might be . . . until they finally took an x-ray months later.
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logoAs we discussed earlier, ACORN has decided to move forward with a lawsuit against the independent filmmakers who showed its employees engaged in potentially unlawful conduct. While insisting that it is terribly sorry for the actions of its employees, ACORN is pursuing the people who forced the misconduct into the open: filmmakers James O’Keefe and Hannah Giles. It is curious method of contrition but ACORN is seeking massive damages for nonconsensual surveillance.
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thumb_policeman_cartoonThere is an interesting case developing in Florida where Robert Brayshaw is facing a year in jail under a law that makes it a crime to post a local police officer’s phone number and address. The law raises serious constitutional questions under the first amendment. Brayshaw posted the information on a site called ratemycop.
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225px-Joe_Wilson,_official_photo_portrait,_colorBelow is today’s column on the aftermath of the Joe Wilson controversy. The threat of the Democrats to punish members using certain words to criticize the President raises some novel and unresolved constitutional questions.

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200px-Repo-Man-PosterA car dealership in Ohio can honestly say that it will not charge customers “their first born.” The second born will do fine. In Cleveland, Ohio, Salimah Tutstone has charged that a repo company employee not only improperly repossessed her car but dragged her and her 1-year-old child while she fought to get her other child out of the towed car. The company allegedly abandoned the car with the 4-year-old child inside five miles away. The car dealership is appropriately called “Keep it Moving.”
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Perils of the Press V

This video of a reporter hit by a studio light somehow missed our “perils of the press” series.

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hmcs_logoAn English judge, Judge Anthony Pitts, has shocked police and prosecutors by expressly permitting prep school music teacher Helen Goddard, 26, to continue her relationship with a 15-year-old student after she is released from prison. Goodard received a 15-month sentence for her lesbian affair with the 15-year-old student.
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49368919The perils of being on Dr. Phil. Matthew Eaton, 34, and his wife, Laura, 26, appeared on the “Dr. Phil Show” and bragged about how they shoplifted and then sold stolen items on the Internet. The parents of three young children boasted how they had made as much as $1 million. Now, they can go back on talk about how they were arrested after going on Dr. Phil.

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WBBM0921nursearrestLisa Hofstra, a nurse at Advocate Illinois Masonic Medical Center, has filed a civil lawsuit against the City of Chicago and a Chicago Police officer named Rodriguez (first name unknown) after she was arrested for wanting to speak to a supervisor before taking the blood from a suspect on Rodriguez’s orders.
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250px-Mops-Pug_Felix_vom_MägdebrunnenA New Jersey court has handed down a ruling that may be cited in thousands of disputes over pets by divorcing or separating couples. Doreen Houseman and Eric Dare split up after 13 years as an unmarried couple in 2006 and agreed on the easy division of possessions with one notable exception: Dexter, their pet pug. Now, Judge John Tomasello has ruled that the former couple must have joint custody of the six-year-old dog — rotating every five weeks.

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Cordova_Michael.jpggenthumbIt took a jury only two hours to acquit Denver Police officer Cpl. Michael Cordova of excessive force, even though a videotape (below) of his actions breaking the teeth of John Heaney caused public outrage. Cordova faced a charge of third-degree assault after he slammed Heaney’s face into the pavement while Cordova served as a member on an undercover anti-scalping Vice unit.

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image5329250xWhen police raided the home of drug dealer Michael Difalco, it did not take long for them to find what they were looking for. The officers of the High Intensity Drug Trafficking Area (HIDTA) Task Force were caught on video playing Wii Bowling during the nine-hour drug raid.

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