Archive for August, 2011

If you are going to Utah, you may be seeing the return of the restaurant equivalent of a beer burka. Legislators in the heavily Mormon state have reinstated the required use of Zion curtains to separate diners from bartenders. In beer-only restaurants, bartenders will now have to be shielded from public eye.
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Aaron Tobey attained a degree of fame in carrying out a rather novel form of protest for civil liberties at an airport security point. Tobey stripped down and used a black marker to display a quote from of the Fourth Amendment on his bare chest reading “The right of the people to be secure … against unreasonable searches and seizures shall not be violated.” He was arrested for his conduct, but now federal District Judge Henry Hudson had ruled that part of his lawsuit against the TSA can go forward to trial.
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Pastor Mike Stahl is the head of an “internet church” called the Church of the Living Water and has drawn national attention due to a proposal he made a year ago: a national registry for atheists. We have seen religious and political leaders in the last year attacking atheists and even comparing them to terrorists. Stahl’s proposed national registry is the natural outgrowth of such demagoguery.
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While Edwin Tobergta, 32, may not be the first man to grow attached to an inflatable friend, he may be the first to develop such an amorous relationship with an inflatable pool raft. Tobergta was arrested after being spotted naked and having sex with the raft. This was not the first inflatable vixen that led Togergta astray.
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D.C. police officer Kenneth Furr was recently arrested having shot transgender citizens in a drunken rage. It now appears that the D.C. Metropolitan Police was aware of prior alcohol-related incidents by Furr. We previously followed a detective who brandished his gun to threaten people who hit his private Hummer with a snowball. In that incident, Assistant Chief Peter Newsham told the media that the gun in his hand (and clearly shown on videotape) was really just a cellphone.
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Exactly when does this get embarrassing for Russians? The latest installment of Russian Prime Minister Vladimir Putin’s attempt to morph into a Russian action hero occurred with the start of the election campaign for United Russia Pary when he drove a Harley through the street. I hear the bike actually runs on his own excreted testosterone, which his Russian handlers insist is 100 times more powerful than that of a professional wrestler half is age and 10 times greater than a grizzly bear.

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The Ninth Circuit has handed down a major ruling that a firefighter can sue detectives who accused him falsely of creating two child-pornography websites. The Ninth Circuit panel ruled in an opinion written by Judge Richard Paez that Washington State Police officers Rachel Gardner and John Sager had shown a “reckless disregard for the truth” when they arrested Spokane firefighter Todd Chism in 2008.

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Now this is a bizarre potential tort case out of Britain. A 26-year-old woman’s gel breast implant exploded when hit by a paintball traveling at 190mph. The question is whether Paintzone Park near Croydon, or the paintball gun manufacturers, should be liable under a strict liability or negligence theory.
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The Florida Highway Patrol is the defendant in an interesting class action by Eric Campbell, who was ticketed for warning other drivers of a speed trap. Drivers will sometimes flash their lights to warn approaching cars in the opposite lane of the speed trap. However, the Florida Highway Patrol insists that that is illegal and gave Campbell a ticket for improper use of high beams.
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A goodwill dinner planned for Ramadan at the Catholic Mother of Mercy High School in Cincinnati has been cancelled after an outcry from parents. The wonderful interfaith gesture to the Muslim community ended in sectarian prejudices as parents objected it was too close to the 9-11 anniversary and “sent the wrong message.” My favorite quote came from one parent who said “I’m glad it’s canceled; it wasn’t a good thing . . . It would have really given Mercy a bad name.” Yes, Mercy now stands for something entirely different.
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A Colorado jury has rendered a rare award to the family of a burglar killed in the course of a crime. Verdicts like this one are likely to be used by advocates of Castle Doctrine or “Make-My-Day laws — laws designed to protect citizens from criminal liability in the protection of their homes, or in some cases, their businesses. The El Paso jury awarded roughly $300,000 to the family of Robert Johnson Fox, who was shot in the course of an attempted burglary of a car lot.
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A study by the Mailman School of Public Health in Columbia University in New York estimates that half of both men and women in the U.S. will be obese by 2030 if current trends continue. Currently, 32 percent of men and 35 per cent of women are obese. Our cousins in England will not be far behind — with rates of obesity of 41-48 percent for men and 35-43 percent for women by 2030.
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If you are really trying to get away from it all, Russia appears to have the answer. The Russians are planning a space hotel to orbit 200 miles above Earth by 2016. The four-room Hotel in the Heavens can handle up to seven guests. Of course, Russian hotels are already known for a rather stripped down sense of accommodation. Yet, tourists might be a bit uneasy after the recent explosion of the Russian supply ship to the space station.
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Many people have been concerned about the Obama Administration’s intervention into the Libyan Civil War with little knowledge of the character of the emerging new government, including indications of strong influences of religious extremists. The concern is that, as in Afghanistan with Al Qaeda, we are supporting the ascension of potentially more dangerous elements. That concern was heightened this week when the new Libyan government flatly rejected any possible extradition of Abdel Baset al-Megrahi — the terrorist mastermind behind the bombing of Pan Am flight 103. In the meantime in Egypt, the Muslim Brotherhood’s party has already announced sweeping proposed changes to structure society under Sharia law, including limits on tourists, banning bikinis and sunbathing. Other Islamic parties are calling for the removal of art and artifacts as non-Islamic.
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-Submitted by David Drumm (Nal), Guest Blogger

When politicians frame the debate on taxes, higher income taxes on the wealthy are always preceded by the descriptor “job-crushing” and lower capital gains taxes “encourage investment.” Investment is often used as the justification for a tax rate of 15% on capital gains, monies from the sale of stock, and dividends, which are now included in the 15% bracket. For the wealthy, those making $379,150 and above, ordinary income is taxed at 35%.

Is this “investment” justification backed by the data?

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