Archive for April, 2010

This interview on National Public Radio explores the two cases of Jason Chen and James Risen in the news this week.
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This is what shock and awe is all about. This is also why the Taliban do not stand a chance.
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Wired Magazine has identified the “finder” of the next generation IPhone given to Gizmodo for $5000. He is Brian Hogan, 21, whose lawyer has stressed that he regrets his actions and is a good kid who helps orphans in Kenya. I will be discussing the case on NPR’s On The Media today.

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For years, experts have accused China of lying about the age of its gymnasts in using underaged girls at the Olympic Games. Now, the International Olympic Committee has confirmed that China did lie to the world about the age of gymnast Dong Fangxiao who won the bronze medal in the Sydney Games. Her blog states that she had been born in the Year of the Ox, which ran from February 1985 to February 1986 — three years later than previously stated by China.
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Women of the World, rest easy! The United Nations has chosen the next country to join the Women Rights Council to defend your rights: Iran. That’s right, the nation that beats women in the street, allows the raping of women in custody (here), raids human rights organizations (here), stones women to death (here), arrests women for “satanic” clothing styles (here), bans makeup on television (here), enforces segregation based on gender (here), searches for women with tans to punish (here), and blames women for earthquakes (here) will now sit on the United Nations Women Rights Council.

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People in the Australian outback found themselves dodging a massive 400-foot balloon carrying a payload of scientific equipment this week when the launching of NASA’s Nuclear Compton Telescope (NCT) went awry. The balloon crashed through a fence and turned over a sports utility vehicle before stopping its rampage.
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D.C. Democratic Delegate Eleanor Holmes Norton made a shocking comment about Associate Justice Clarence Thomas this week, stating that ” We’ve got someone who proposes to be African-American on the court.” It is a shocking insult directed at Thomas and it is unworthy of Norton. It also seems to suggest that someone cannot be a true African-American if they are conservative.

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The White House is under attack on its plan to open up areas for drilling off the East Coast — a plan long opposed by environmentalists and now attracting renewed criticism with the growing disaster in the Gulf of Mexico.

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The Supreme Court’s voted in a 5-4 decision to reverse lower courts in California in the case involving the cross in the Mojave National Preserve. The decision is significant in showing a more permissive approach to such religious symbols.
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Gary McFarlane, 48, from Bristol triggered a heated court fight when he challenged his termination as a counselor with Relate Avon, a counseling service, due to his religious conflict with assisting homosexual couples. An English court ruled against him in a case that led to sharp condemnations on both sides. In a statement that drew objections from the court, former Archbishop of Canterbury Lord Carey called for judges to handle the case who show greater appreciation for religious individuals.
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This video shows a disturbing scene as a man, Brennan Hamilton, who is arrested after he asks for the name and badge number of a Fort Lauderdale police officer who is identified as Jeff Overcash. On the video, Overcash is asked why he is arresting Hamilton for just asking for his badge number and he responds by saying it was for something that he did earlier (but apparently something that Overcash did not appear to believe warranted an arrest at that time).
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Pat Bertroche, a physician and GOP candidate for Iowa’s Third District primary, has called for a program in which illegal aliens are forced to be micro-chipped to keep track of them. He asked an audience recently, “I actually support micro-chipping them. I can micro-chip my dog so I can find it. Why can’t I micro-chip an illegal?”

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Rep. Duncan Hunter has called for the deportation of the children of illegal aliens born in this country. I discussed this issue last night on Countdown. Jus soli (“law of ground”) or “birthright citizenship” is recognized in some form by nations like France and the United States while rejected by others.

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The Justice Department is reportedly moving toward challenging the Arizona law. If true, it would be a rare case where the United States directly challenges a state law as opposed to waiting to intervene as an amicus. Given the increasing number of cities and citizens planning to challenge the law, there is no paucity of plaintiffs requiring such a challenge. I will be discussing this issue tonight on Countdown.

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Rep. Debbie Riddle of Tomball, Texas has announced that she will seek to introduce the Arizona immigration law in Texas. While criticized as unconstitutional by both conservatives and liberals alike, Riddle wants to see the law adopted in the Lone Star state. I will be discussing the constitutionality of the law on tonight’s Countdown.

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I can’t understand why this wasn’t clear before . . .
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This Hamas sermon is the latest example of a religious leader taking credit or assigning divine blame for a natural disaster. In this case, it turns out that the Iceland volcano was retribution by Allah.

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This video shows Ukraine legislators debating the extension of a Russian lease for a military base with eggs and smoke bombs. It appears that Roberts’ Rules of Order is not widely read in the Ukraine.

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This answer to a college chemistry exam was sent to me recently and restores my faith in the new generation of college students. The answer was purportedly in response to the bonus question on a University of Arizona chemistry midterm: “Is Hell exothermic (gives off heat) or endothermic (absorbs heat)?”

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Iranian police have found another pocket of immorality amidst their population. Of course, it is again women — specifically sun-tanned women. Brig Hossien Sajedinia, Tehran’s police chief, announced that his officers would be looking for suntanned women as a mark of immorality. It appears that the good people at Arrest Sun Lotion may have found a niche.
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When off-duty Chicago Police Officer John Ardelean, 36, was involved in a suspected DUI accident on Thanksgiving that killed two people — Miguel Flores, 22, and Erick Lagunas, 21 — he was not arrested immediately after the crash or at the hospital. Instead, a police Lt. John Magruder ordered him arrested hours after the crash when he smelled alcohol on the officer. An judge has now thrown out the charges due to a lack of probable cause. In the ultimate twist, family members of the victims were then arrested when they express outrage at the decision.
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GOP candidate Vaughn Ward has run into problems over his campaign ads, but not with the FCC. The Marine Corps has ordered him to change his campaign ad in which he appears in uniform and promises to help repeal Obamacare. The body armor shown in the picture may now become useful. The ads violate a prohibition on involving the military in political campaigning.
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Waltia Funches, 28, and Kenyana McQuay, 27, have a curious way to showing a man how to treat a lady. After a man failed to hold an elevator door for them, the two women proceeded to dump pasta on him, kick him, and beat him with their handbags.

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Buddy, a German Shepherd, is being credited with leading the Alaskan State Police to a fire at his owner Ben Heinrichs’s house.

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There is a glimmer of hope in the Middle East. In a recent large-scale protest, citizens rose up in a rare public demonstration to get religion out of politics. Sunday’s Secular Pride March shows that there are many people in countries like Lebanon who are want a separation of church and state — and are willing to risk their lives to fight for secular government. In the meantime, people in the United States like Sarah Palin are trying to take this country in the opposite direction by taking down the wall of separation, here.

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Professor Michael Mann, the scientist at the heart of the climate-data scandal, has sent a letter through his lawyers threatening a lawsuit over the video below — a popular spoof on YouTube.
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New Hampshire legislators have approved a new two-year college for students who want an accelerated path to law school. I am steadfastly opposed to such abbreviated undergraduate programs and believe that law schools should oppose such efforts — as they should oppose proposals for two-year law schools. It is part of the “cheaper, faster” approach to American education that is destroying our intellectual foundation. It is treating education like instant cream of wheat.
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We have been following the story of the stolen IPhone and the implausible arguments of Gizmodo that it was merely playing a “source” when it bought the phone and took it apart. Now, police have raided Gizmodo’s offices, whose editors may want to look for a handy App for lawyers in the area. I discussed the issue on this segment of Countdown.

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What I particularly love about this meltdown graduation speech is the apology for the sin of “worshipping the intellectual mind.”
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North Korea has long succeeded in committing crimes ranging from kidnapping to murder with little consequence as the West tries to avoid a full-out war in Asia. That may get increasingly difficult after both South Korean and U.S. officials confirmed that North Korea likely sank the warship Cheonan (Pohang-class corvette) with a torpedo.
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Literature and life has countless examples of criminals who are spared long incarceration or death and become model citizens who use their “second chance” to live a worthy life. Thomas Anderson, 57, is just not one of them. After since he was spared death in 1988, Anderson has racked up seven felony cases — and supplied pro-death penalty advocates with a rallying cry for tougher sentencing laws.
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Danish cartoonist Kurt Westergaard recently survived worldwide calls by Muslims for his murder and a recent attack at his home by a Muslim with an axe. His newspaper the Jyllands-Posten daily newspaper has responded by effectively firing him — allegedly to avoid further death threats from extremists. If true, it is only the latest example of newspapers and publishers caving in to such threats, including the shameful act of censorship by Comedy Central and a similar act by Yale University Press.
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We have another case of religious homicide and a comparatively light sentence (For a prior column, click here). In the case of Javon Thompson, he was starved to death because he would not say “Amen” after meals. The mother received no jail time and five years probation.
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Today’s column is on the continued criminalization of adultery in states across the country. It is a critical battle over morality legislation in the United States.
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This is a disturbing video that purportedly shows a homeless man who was stabbed when he intervened to help a woman in New York City.

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If this is not an evil genius dog, she has missed her calling.

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Yield to Santas?

This shows that there is a highway sign for every danger . . .
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There is a fascinating case in Minneapolis that raises some important free speech issues in an assisted suicide case. William Melchert-Dinkel, 47, was charged with two felony counts of aiding suicide under a Minnesota law that criminalizes even verbal encouragement of suicide. Adding to the novelty is the fact that state prosecutors are charging Melchert-Dinkel in deaths that occurred not only outside the state but outside the country.
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While a Saudi lawyer is suing in England over the Danish cartoon controversy (here), Seattle cartoonist Molly Norris has declared May 20th “Everybody Draw Mohammed Day.” Norris took the action after the shameful decision of Comedy Central to censor an episode of South Park after Muslims threatened to kill the creators of South Park for showing Mohammed in a bear suit.
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Muslim lawyers are continuing their campaign against Danish newspapers over those Mohammed cartoons, even after one newspaper, Politiken, apologized to Muslims. Now, in England, they have filed a lawsuit on behalf of 95,000 direct descendants of Mohammad over the cartoons filed in Denmark.
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Arizona Gov. Jan Brewer has signed that state’s new immigration bill despite widespread questions over its constitutionality. Shortly before Brewer announced the signing, President Barack Obama ordered the Justice Department to monitor possible civil rights violations, here.

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This amazing picture was snapped by the NASA Hubble Space Telescope image, showing “activity atop a three-light-year-tall pillar of gas and dust that is being eaten away by the brilliant light from nearby bright stars.” For the rest of us, it is a picture of a cool colorful space cloud. NASA is celebrating 20 years with Hubble with its greatest hits series.

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The story of how an Apple employee left a prototype phone at a bar has been out this week after Gizmodo bought the phone, took it apart, and featured it on its site. What I find interesting is that someone found the phone at a bar and proceeded to take it and sell it to Gizmodo for $5000. Putting aside the dishonesty of this act, Gizmodo may have bought stolen property. This was clearly not abandoned or discarded property, as both the “source” and Gizmodo were aware. Moreover, Gizmodo knew its true owner — Apple.
It is now being reported that police are investigating the alleged theft, here. They have ample reason to investigate.
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Another high-ranking Catholic priest has resigned in the wake of the child abuse scandal. In Belgium, the highest-ranking bishop Roger Vangheluwe, 73, the Bishop of Bruges, has resigned after admitting that he also engaged in child abuse.

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Fordham’s Brian Kownacki shows why the best baseball is not always found in major league parks.

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Henry Nguyen, 18, of Oakland, and Josue Melendez, 19, are accused of a bizarre crime: torturing two hamsters and posting the video on Facebook and YouTube.

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Pennsylvania Rep. Babette Josephs (D., Phila.) has outed her opponent, Gregg Kravitz, in a bruising campaign in Philadelphia. While politicians often face allegations of being a closeted homosexual, Josephs is accusing Kravitz of being a closet heterosexual in the liberal district.

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Pope Benedict XVI is named in a new lawsuit on child abuse in a case that will test the claims of diplomatic immunity claimed by the Vatican’s lawyers, here. The claims stem from the alleged cover-up of abuse by a priest at a Catholic school in Wisconsin, Father Lawrence Murphy. The lawsuit seeks the names of potentially thousands of similar priests facing “credible allegations of sexual misconduct” against them.

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New Jersey Governor Chris Christie strongly suggests that you go before taking to the New Jersey non-toll roads. As another example of how states are selling or reducing basic services in this economic crisis, Christie will close the last two restrooms to save $270,000.

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We previously posted on the death threats levied against South Park creators Trey Parker and Matt Stone, here. The extremists appear to have succeeded. Comedy Central confirmed that they blocked out mention of Mohammad’s name and image in the later episode.

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