Archive for June, 2010

Arizona Republican candidate and state lawmaker Pamela Gorman appears to be running for a position on a SWAT Team in this video where her skills with machines guns and pistols are highlighted.
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While both Democratic and Republican politicians have continued to campaign on faith-based politics, Australia’s Prime Minister Julia Gillard has declared that she will not pretend to believe in God to appease religious voters.

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Al Qaeda appears to have found a way to endanger millions of people around the world. According to a new report, the full body scanners being used in airports around the world have a dosage of radiation that is 20 times greater than previously announced. Scientists warn of a possible increase in skin cancer.
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El Reno, Oklahoma police are under criticism this week due to a case alleging that officers tasered a bedridden 86-year-old woman, Lona Vernon. Officer Thomas Duran said he ordered his colleagues to hit the old lady with 50,000 volts after she took a “more aggressive posture in bed.”
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South Korea’s parliament voted yesterday to approve chemical castration as punishment for convicted child sex offenders. This was a reaction to a 2008 case when a 58-year-old man raped and assaulted an 8-year-old girl.
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Now, this is a road danger that few Driver’s Ed class prepare you for. A woman in Fruita, Colorado crashed into a canal. Police ruled out alcohol. The cause? Vampires.

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The European Union has called for an investigation into the death of Khaled Said, 28, at the hands of Egyptian police, who pulled him out of an Internet cafe.

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This x-ray would not normally attract much attention but for the subject: Marilyn Monroe. This week, three x-rays of Monroe’s chest and pelvis were sold in auction for $45,000.

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The Oklahoma State University was shocked recently to learn that a university employee was able to use a university credit card to buy tens of thousands of dollars of lingerie, sex toys and other personal items. Cynthia Low, 44, allegedly used the taxpayer-funded card to buy an impressive amount of such items before being caught.

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Professors around the world are collectively known as high school geeks who couldn’t dance (even if we could find someone willing to dance with us). Now, the American Association for the Advancement of Science (AAAS) has announced the third annual “Dance Your Ph.D” where scientists do interpretive dances based on their fields of study.

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First there was the confrontation with a manager over an ice cream cone and taxes. Now, Jim Campbell, the President and CEO of General Electric’s Appliance and Lighting Division, passed out during a speech by Biden.

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In another 5-4 decision, the Supreme Court ruled against Christian law students at Hastings Law School in Christian Legal Society v. Martinez. Justice Ginsburg ruled that Christian students must adhere to non-discrimination policies if they are to accept funding or benefits from the school.

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In a 5-4 decision, the United States Supreme Court has effectively struck down Chicago’s gun law and extended its earlier ruling on the Second Amendment to all states as a fundamental right. It is the decision that some of us anticipated as consistent with past rulings on fundamental rights. The impact will be considerable as all states will now have to respect the individual right of gun ownership under the Second Amendment.
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Today the Senate will begin one of the longest running Kabuki shows in history. Supreme Court nominee Elena Kagan goes to the Senate Judiciary Committee for her confirmation hearings — a process long ridiculed for its ritualized and exaggerated content. The big question is whether Kagan will abandon her previously stated position that nominees should have to answer substantive questions on their views — a rejection of the so-called “Ginsburg Rule.” I will be commenting on the confirmation process at noon on MSNBC and later on Countdown.
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A driver in Los Angeles hit and killed Tyrone Jones, 38, and (according to the victim’s family) did donuts to try to shake him off the window.
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Mexican country singer Sergio Vega, known as “El Shaka,” performed “narcocorridos” — songs that celebrated the lives of drug lords. Singing narcocorridos can anger rival drug gangs and result in such killings.
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A federal jury has given the Boy Scouts a major victory: ruling that Philadelphia cannot evict the organization under a non-discrimination law. I have written about this case previously, including a column on the tension between non-discrimination laws and free association.
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Creationists have lost a major battle after a federal court in Texas upheld a decision by the Texas Higher Education Coordinating Board to deny the Institute for Creation Research Graduate School a certificate of authority to offer master’s degrees in science. We have previously discussed this new “science” degree.

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U.S. Sen. Dick Durbin (D., IL) is calling for yet another czar in an already czar-heavy administration. This appointee might feel a bit insecure and self-conscious around the Afghanistan Czar, Border Czar, and Car Czar. He would be the Carp Czar tasked with tackling the influx of Asian carp in Lake Michigan. The greatest challenge will be to keep from confusing the Carp Czar and the Tarp Czar (Herb Allison).
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This is why our Vice President is God’s gift to reporters and YouTube fans. In a visit to an ice cream shop this week, the manager asked him to lower taxes and Biden responded by calling him a smart ass.

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This is perhaps the greatest example of restraint by any creature . . .

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A case in Ohio has triggered charges of racism over the treatment of two kids. DeAngelo Mattox, 16, and Nechia, 12, have filed complaints that they were out for a jog when police tackled them, put guns in their faces, and handcuffed them. Police were looking for felons.
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California Gov. Arnold Schwarzenegger has moved to stop a legitimately disturbing trend: welfare recipients using state-issued debit cards withdrew welfare payments as cash from casino floors. Since October 2009, welfare recipients have withdrawn more than $1.8 million in taxpayer cash on casino floors.
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Brooklyn Census Bureau managers Alvin Aviles and Sonya Merritt have been fired for allegedly staying at home and making up census information with the use of phone books and the Internet. Officials believe that at least 10,000 such manufactured forms were submitted by Aviles and Merritt.
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This is what happens when the stadium camera catches you napping at a sporting event.
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This week’s winner of the Pet of the Week is this beautiful creature, Charlie. The proud pet of Malcolm, Charlie is all personality, though a menace to slow-moving birds. If you are interested in nominating a pet (any species allowed), you can find the questions here.
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Rabbi Yehuda Levin, spokesman for an alliance of 850 Orthodox members of the Rabbinical Alliance of America, has denounced Supreme Court nominee Elena Kagan in not just political but Biblical terms.
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Cash-strapped North Korea has also its economic woes: it is demanding $65 trillion in compensation for six decades of hostility. That is over $12 trillion a decade and over $1 trillion a year. They could have told us and we would have shown all our hostility in a more efficient period like a year.
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So a cop and a horse walk into a bar . . .
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There has been considerable controversy over BP preventing journalists and activists to film in public areas — showing the damage of the recent spill on animals and the environment. BP has no authority to do so, but it continues (as in this video) to prevent filming at various locations.
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We have been following a line of cases where teachers (and here and here and here and here and here), city managers, lunch ladies, police officers (and here), coaches, students and others have been fired for lawful conduct committed in their private lives. These cases are also occurring abroad in countries like England. We can now add Jessie Lunderby, a 21-year-old jailer in Fayetteville, Arkansas. The Washington County Sheriff’s officer has been suspended after she participated in a nude photo shoot for playboy.com.

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Paul Nigel Sneddon, 47, is not someone to allow a wreck to stop him from enjoying a beer. Sneddon was trapped in his overturned car after driving drunk in Wellington, NZ. Since he had to wait for rescue crews to cut him out of the car, he proceeded to open one last beer because he had “nothing better to do.”
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Chicago police officer John Killackey, 32, will only receive probation and community service after pulling a gun on a cabbie during a fare dispute. Critics have charged that the sentence for aggravated assault and theft was too light — though he only faced a one year maximum jail sentence. This is because he was only charged with two misdemeanors.
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Next time you see a sleeping Japanese, do not wake him . . . he is saving the planet. The Japanese government has launched a campaign asking people to go to bed and get up extra early in order to reduce carbon dioxide emissions. Of course, it is not clear what carbon footprint will be left by the likely increase in births associated with forcing couples into their beds for longer periods.
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There is another bizarre account from Iran where the government has been cracking down on “baldy veiled women.” It appears that it is not just actual women who offend Sharia-sensibilities. There is a photo running on the web that allegedly shows how Iran’s religious police are giving double mascetomies to mannequins to avoid the appearance of breasts in public.
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Author Mark Arax has written an article in Salon that details allegations against the Los Angeles Times in killing a story on how the Israeli lobby was helping efforts to deny the Armenian genocide in exchange for Turkey’s support of Israel. Despite the focus on media issues on this blog, I am embarrassed to say that I was unaware of the controversy until this column.
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We have another case of a citizen arrested for photographing police. Francisco Olvera says that he was charged in Seeley, Texas with “illegal photography” when a police sergeant followed him into his own home, and he objected and took the officer’s photo with his cell phone.
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The Treasury Department has learned that roughly 1,300 prison inmates wrongly received more than $9 million in tax credits for homebuyers as part of the Administration’s stimulus effort. These unique homebuyers included 241 inmates serving life sentences.
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Swimmers and surfers in Miami are a bit put out this week after they learned that 20 million gallons of raw sewage was released along beaches without adequate notice to the public. It brings a new meaning to the surfer term “floater.”
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Chattanooga police officer Jim Daves has been suspended in the controversy over his arrest of Eric Wright, the husband who ran red lights to get his critically ill wife to the emergency room. As we discussed earlier, Daves allegedly blocked Wright from carrying in his wife to the ER and later charged him with a variety of criminal acts, including evading arrest for staying by his wife’s side.
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We have been following the Iranian crackdown on “badly veiled” women. It now appears that at least 62,000 women have been issued warnings about their failure to properly cover their hair in the Shiite holy province of Qom.
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Erik Fabian, 20, was sentenced this week in Chicago for an outrageous prank where he and his friend, Armando Reza, 18, took turns striking bicyclists with their car. He pleaded guilty and received a relatively light sentence of two years probation for aggravated battery with a deadly weapon and leaving the scene of an accident.
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The Naked Cowboy has previously fought against rivals to protect his unique brand in New York. Now, however, he is facing a new menace: the Naked Cowgirl. It sounds like a struggle more befitting the Garden of Eden than Madison Square Garden but both naked cow people are pulling out their briefs.
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In British Columbia, firefighters bravely saved a half-dozen victims in a blaze and were suspended for performing emergency resuscitation. Canadian Mounties are investigating the firefighters, who pulled kegs of beer from a burning hotel and then tapped a couple of the kegs in celebration.

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As BP flacks try to stem criticism of Tony Hayward going yachting during the crisis in the gulf, many have surmised that Hayward and his staff are living on a different planet. That seemed confirmed by Planet BP — the company’s in-house magazine — which quoted a local seafood businessman as saying “[t]here is no reason to hate BP” and insisting that “[m]uch of the region’s [nonfishing boat] businesses — particularly the hotels — have been prospering because so many people have come here from BP and other oil emergency response teams.”
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A New Orleans federal judge lifted the six-month moratorium imposed on deepwater drilling by President Barack Obama after the BP spill. In New Orleans, U.S. District Judge Martin Feldman found that the administration had failed to satisfy requirements for notice and comment from industry. The case is Hornbeck Offshore Services LLC v. Salazar, 2:10-cv-01663(E.D. La.).

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The Dutch city is now famous not just for its cheese, but its “decoy Jews” In an effort to combat attacks on Jewish citizens, the police are disguising officers as Jews to capture anti-Semitic hooligans.

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The Supreme Court rejected first amendment claims and upheld a federal law on providing “material support” to foreign terrorist organizations in Holder v. Humanitarian Law Project. The material support law (found in the 1996 Antiterrorism and Effective Death Penalty Act of 1996 (AEDPA)) is the darling of prosecutors and widely ridiculed by civil libertarians for allowing virtually any act to be classified as material support. The ruling is a victory for Supreme Court nominee Elena Kagan and a loss for civil liberties. Notably, however, even the conservatives on the Court found the interpretation of the Obama Administration to be too extreme.

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We have been following the case of Ohio officer Thomas White who shot an unarmed motorcyclist, Michael McCloskey, Jr. The crime was captured on the video below. White was sentenced this week to 10 years in prison for the shooting which left McCloskey paralyzed two years ago
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Students at Loyola Law School in Los Angeles suddenly got smarter. The law school has increased the grade point averages — retroactively — across the board to make graduates more attractive in a tough job market. Loyola is not alone in such grade revisionism.

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