Archive for December, 2011

Respectfully submitted by Lawrence Rafferty (rafflaw)-Guest Blogger

Earlier in the month, Cardinal Francis George of the Archdiocese of Chicago angered gay rights activists by making an unfortunate comparison between the gay rights movement and the Ku Klux Klan.  “Cardinal Francis George, the Archbishop of Chicago, this week told a Chicago news station that he agreed with a local Roman Catholic church’s objections to the city’s recently-adjusted Gay Pride Parade route passing by its doors and warned that the parade could “morph into the Ku Klux Klan.”  George made the comment Sunday on Fox Chicago when asked about Our Lady of Mount Carmel’s complaints that the parade passing by its Belmont Avenue location would force the church to cancel its morning mass. The church recently launched a petition urging the city to force parade organizers to adjust their plans.  “I go with the pastor,” George told Fox. “He’s telling us that he won’t be able to have services on Sunday if that’s the case. You don’t want the gay liberation movement to morph into something like the Ku Klux Klan, demonstrating in the streets against Catholicism.”‘ Huffington Post

(more…)

Read Full Post »

Pareidolia

-Submitted by David Drumm (Nal), Guest Blogger

The World Trade Center cross was discovered in the debris of the collapsed buildings by construction worker Frank Silecchia who declared “it’s an act of God.” The cross was removed from the debris pile, erected on a concrete pedestal, and placed nearby in a prominent position during the years of reconstruction. During the removal, Fr. Brian Jordan, a Roman Catholic Franciscan priest, blessed the cross with holy water. In june, 2002, Archbishop Leonardo Sandri, the Vatican’s third-highest-ranking cleric, and New York’s Cardinal Edward Egan participated in a ceremony at the cross.

(more…)

Read Full Post »

Golden Retriever And Guitar

-Submitted by David Drumm (Nal), Guest Blogger

Read Full Post »

Tell Me

-Submitted by David Drumm (Nal), Guest Blogger


Enjoy The Rolling Stones in glorious STEREO!

Read Full Post »

Christians For A Moral America really do not want you to see the Hobbit. It appears that really bad things come in really small packages. Producer Sir Peter Jackson is a self-proclaimed atheist. It would appear that he would have been better off proclaiming that he was an orc.

(more…)

Read Full Post »

The New Year brings a host of new laws that kick in on the first. For citizens in Utah, the New Year will bring an end to Happy Hours. That’s right, the heavily Mormon state has continued its harassment of citizens who drink and outlawed “drink specials.”
(more…)

Read Full Post »

It seems like every election we have another extreme religious figure who becomes a campaign issue for a candidate. Obama had Rev. Wright and McCain had Rev. Hagee and Parsley. Sarah Palin has an actual Kenyan witch hunter. Now Ron Paul has his own embarrassing association. The preacher is Rev. Phillip G. Kayser, a pastor at the Dominion Covenant Church in Nebraska, who has a following in Iowa. The Paul campaign issued a press release (that it later removed from its site) heralding the endorsement of Kayser. The problem is that Kayser believes that gays should be executed according to biblical law. It was a a highly destructive endorsement for Paul who is attracting civil libertarians to his campaign. No one can stop someone from endorsing you, but the campaign clearly sought this endorsement from an extremist with reprehensible views. Unlike Wright, Kayser is not Paul’s personal minister, but the press release made him Paul’s problem in reaching out to civil libertarians.

(more…)

Read Full Post »

In a disaster for many parents during the holiday, Build-a-Bear has issued a recall for roughly 300,000 “Colorful Hearts Teddy” bears due to a choking hazard. The culprit, shown left, contains “substandard fabric” in some runs that may allow an eye to break free, according to the Consumer Product Safety Commission.
(more…)

Read Full Post »

On the heels of the release of papers that contradict him on his claims regarding his first divorce, Newt Gingrich is now being challenged by a former and a current member of Congress who say that it is not true, as Gingrich has claimed, that he did not lobby Congress after leaving as Speaker of the House of Representatives in 1998.
(more…)

Read Full Post »

Catholic bishops in Illinois have followed their colleagues in other states and shutdown adoption centers rather than comply with anti-discrimination laws requiring equal treatment for gay couples. Despite my support for gay rights and same-sex marriage, I have previously written that anti-discrimination laws are threatening the free exercise of religion. There is a possible distinction between areas like tax exempt status as opposed to contracting with the state. While I strongly disagree with this tenet of Catholic faith, I do not believe that religious organizations should be forced to abandon such principles under anti-discrimination laws as a general matter. Yet, it becomes a more difficult argument in the context of a state contract where the church has decided to compete for government contracts.
(more…)

Read Full Post »

In Lahore, Pakistan, police arrested Amanat Masih while he was in church on Christmas day. Masih, 50, was arrested for blasphemy — the second such arrest based on what he insists are trumped up charges by one man. He was previously sent to jail for more than three years for blaspheming Islam.
(more…)

Read Full Post »

We have previously seen fights between monks at Jerusalem’s Church of the Holy Sepulchre. The video below, however, shows monks going Medieval at Bethlehem’s Church of the Nativity — taking brooms and sticks to each other in the ongoing dispute of who has rights to the holy ground. The response of the Palestinian police chief is rather interesting.
(more…)

Read Full Post »

Ok, I know can see that my travel blog last summer to France was pretty lame after viewing this guy’s one-second frames of his trip around the world.
(more…)

Read Full Post »

The Chicago Tribune is reporting that the federal government has spent almost a billion and a half dollars to explore politically popular but scientifically dubious claims such as $666,000 to determine if distant prayer could heal AIDS. It didn’t. I would be interested in how this was tested. I cannot get the image of Lyn Cassady praying at a goat in a secret military lab.

(more…)

Read Full Post »

The New Haven Independent has published some disturbing pictures of Tomas Torres who says that police raided his apartment looking for drugs and immediately punched him in the face, stomped on his head, and then laughed at him as they tore apart his apartment. They found no drugs and charged him with no crimes. He was left with bruises and an apartment that was completely trashed.
(more…)

Read Full Post »

Just as Henry V rallied the thin, tired troops on the eve of the Battle of Agincourt, it is time to make that final call for votes in this year’s competition for the top opinion blog by the American Bar Association. There are now just two days left and, while we have pulled ahead in the last week, the contest remains very close with one of the top five largest legal blogs. If you like our blog, it is time to pony up and vote.

(more…)

Read Full Post »

There is an interesting lawsuit filed by a military contractor, American K-9 Detection Services, against Indian Creek Enterprises Inc. and Live Animal Transportation Services for the death of 14 bomb-sniffing dogs being shipped to Afghanistan.

(more…)

Read Full Post »

Cat Nap

I just saw this video on YouTube and had to share it of a cat that seems to calm a crying baby by petting it on the head.

(more…)

Read Full Post »

In Jacksonville, police are being accused of arresting and beating the wrong man in response to a report of a fight on Christmas Eve. They then arrested family members who say that were just trying to stop police from beating their relative. Daisy Besancourt, 57, was charged with failure to disperse on command, after she reportedly filmed the police and refused to turn off her phone.
(more…)

Read Full Post »

The previously discussed tension between Orthodox Jews and the Israeli government has reached a flash point with violent clashes in the town of Beit Shemesh near Jerusalem. Reporters have been attacked by Orthodox Jews in filming the town.

(more…)

Read Full Post »

China has continued its assault on free speech with the sentencing of human rights dissident jails dissident Chen Xi for 10 years. This week, another human rights advocate, Chen Wei, was sentenced to nine years.
(more…)

Read Full Post »

We previously saw how a 36-year-old drunk driver crashed into a police cruiser. A man in Chicago, however, did one better: he crashed into a Chicago police station.
(more…)

Read Full Post »

One of the most difficult problems faced by Newt Gingrich in appealing to religious voters is his record of adultery and three marriages. His campaign insists that it was his first wife, Jackie, not Gingrich, who wanted the first divorce. However, recently released papers contradict that claim and indicate it was Newt Gingrich who wanted the divorce.

(more…)

Read Full Post »

In Texas, a family in Snyder is suing the city and five police officers after the family called paramedics that Benny Bollinger was having a heart attack on December 6, 2009. The family alleges that police showed up instead and promptly stopped his daughter Debra Bollinger, who was performing CPR. They then allegedly prevented the wife Darlene Bollinger from resuming the CPR. Benny then died later at the hospital.

(more…)

Read Full Post »

An engineer from Ukraine put on an amazing display this year. This allows our readers to prepare for next year with some ideas to put your neighbors to shame.
(more…)

Read Full Post »

We previously discussed the ignoble effort of the Obama Administration and U.S. airlines to claim an exemption to the European pollution taxes that applies to all other airlines. They have now lost their case before the European Court of Justice — and the Obama Administration is promising to retaliate.

(more…)

Read Full Post »

We have been discussing the disconnect between citizens who have repeatedly opposed continued rollbacks of civil liberties and the Democratic and Republican leadership pushing for such rollbacks, including the recent provision allowing indefinite detention of citizens under the National Defense Authorization Act of 2011 (NDAA). Now Montana citizens have decided to try another approach given the non-responsive attitude of our leaders — they are moving to remove their two Senators from office over their votes in favor of indefinite detention powers.

(more…)

Read Full Post »

A Christmas Truce

Submitted by Mark Esposito, Guest Blogger

During the miserable trench warfare of WWI, a night of humanity offered some hope of peace. Arthur Conan Doyle called it  “one human episode amid all the atrocities.”  If Christmas means anything, it surely means this:

Christmas Day, 1914

My dear sister Janet,

It is 2:00 in the morning and most of our men are asleep in their dugouts—yet I could not sleep myself before writing to you of the wonderful events of Christmas Eve. In truth, what happened seems almost like a fairy tale, and if I hadn’t been through it myself, I would scarce believe it. Just imagine: While you and the family sang carols before the fire there in London, I did the same with enemy soldiers here on the battlefields of France!

(more…)

Read Full Post »

WREATH: An Acrostic Poem

Submitted by Elaine Magliaro, Guest Blogger

Here’s an acrostic poem that I wrote a few years ago. If you read down the left side of the poem, it spells out the word “wreath.”

Wrapped around itself,

Red-ribboned

Evergreen, fragrant of winter forests,

Adorned with berries, baubles, bells of gold,

Tacked to the front door…

Home for the holidays.

 

Happy Holidays to all!!!

Read Full Post »

Submitted by Elaine Magliaro, Guest Blogger

Don’t you love it when you find out that your tax dollars are actually being put to good use? I felt great when I heard that the West Michigan Shoreline Regional Development Commission (WMSRDC)—a federal- and state-designated agency that is responsible for managing and administrating the homeland security program in Montcalm County and 12 other counties—recently purchased 13 snow cone machines at a cost of $11,700 and transferred them to the counties. There is nothing like an Arctic Blast Sno-Cone machine to stop a terrorist in Michigan dead in his tracks—or to foil a terrorist plot in that state, doncha know?

Still, some officials in Michigan are being asked to explain the purchase of the machines, which were funded by a grant from the Michigan Homeland Security Program. Only one county requested a machine—but all 13 counties received them. It’s good to know that DHS was thinking of the safety of all the counties and not just the one that had the wisdom to request an ice-shaving machine.

Well, members of the Montcalm County Board of Commissioners wondered why the county needed a snow cone machine. They wanted to know the justification for its purchase. According to an article in The Daily News, “The Michigan Homeland Security Grant Program’s Allowable Cost Justification document, dated May 9, 2011, says the snow cone machines can make ice to prevent heat-related illnesses during emergencies, treat injuries and provide snow cones as an outreach at promotional events.”

(more…)

Read Full Post »

All Alone On Christmas

-Submitted by David Drumm (Nal), Guest Blogger

Read Full Post »

Jingle Bell Rock

-Submitted by David Drumm (Nal), Guest Blogger


Today we have Bobby Helms in glorious STEREO!

Read Full Post »

Best wishes to everyone celebrating Christmas and Hanukkah. (more…)

Read Full Post »

Respectfully submitted by Lawrence Rafferty(rafflaw)-Guest Blogger

The term is one that is familiar to all of us.  The First Amendment gives all citizens the right of Freedom of Speech and the right to assemble.  Simple enough, right?  Evidently it is not so simple in the State of California.  Recently, members of Occupy Los Angeles were arrested while making full use of their First Amendment rights and after posting a $5,000 bond to get out of jail, were offered a deal to avoid a trial.  The Free Speech defendants were told that if they took a class offered by a private company for the mere cost of $355.00, they would not have to go to court for a trial.

At first glance that offer sounds reasonable.  Just what is the “class” all about? “For $355, protesters can pay a private company for lessons in free speech. American Justice Associates offers the educational program taught by an attorney – Neil G. Anderson – a former police officer and Supervising Deputy District Attorney for Sacramento County, and his partner attorney Deborah Bryce McKinley of Atlanta, GA.”  Crooks and Liars  (more…)

Read Full Post »

Submitted by: Mike Spindell, guest blogger

It’s Christmastime again and since my childhood, long ago, the Frank Capra film “It’s A Wonderful Life” has been shown time and again in this season, providing a message of redemption, hope and joy that we associate with this time of year. You all know the plot about selfless George Bailey (James Stewart) a man who has sacrificed his dreams for others and because of his selflessness winds up running the Bailey Building and Loan Association, of Bedford Falls, NY. Because of George this institution has provided home loans for the poor of this rural community and serves as its bank. With the Company on the verge of bankruptcy, through duplicity, George is on the verge of suicide distraught over the losses to those he loves and worried by needs of the average people of his town. You all know this plot and if you don’t its summary is here. http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/It%27s_a_Wonderful_Life#Plot . I must warn you, perhaps it’s the time of year but I choked up reading the plot, yet again, as I do every time I see this beloved movie.

This introduction has not been made because I’m about to write about banks, or the depredations of the banking industry. Others here and our host have already written extensively on the predatory nature of the banking industry and the harm it has caused to our country. My point of this opening is that we have all grown up with certain mythologies about businesses that provide financial services to the public. This film has had a place in defining that American mythology, in this instance about a bank of sorts, whose leader believes in aiding the community first and profits second. Myths shape our thinking and from my youth I still remember the ad slogan “You have a friend at Chase Manhattan”.

We’ve discovered that banks are anything but our friends. Their bottom line has surpassed service to the point that each customer is looked at as a “cash cow”, to be plundered incessantly with usurious interest and fees for what should be free services. But what about “You’re in Good Hands with Allstate”, “Nationwide Is On Your Side”, or “Like A Good Neighbor State Farm is There”?  Surely the Insurance industry supplies the safety net we want for our homes and cars. Do they? Last week I was sent an article by the Independent Claims Adjuster handling my interminable case for mold damage to my home. He’s helping greatly so this isn’t about me, but the article he sent certainly puts into context all the delays in the process and how property insurance companies are maximizing their profits at the expense of their customers. (more…)

Read Full Post »

Submitted by Mark Esposito, Guest Blogger

Gingrich At Republican Breakfast With Virginia Governor Bob McDonnell. Is that a little egg I see on you face, Newt?

A Wednesday breakfast attended by the cream of Virginia’s Republican Party apparently won’t substitute for the required 10,000 signatures needed to qualify for this year’s Virginia Presidential Primary. Gingrich had assured the assembled dignitaries, including Virginia governor Bob McDonnell, that he had 12 to 14 thousand signatures granting him a ticket along with Mitt Romney and Ron Paul to the sweepstakes. Apparently, he doesn’t.

The lapse is a bit curious since Gingrich and his wife Callista are long-time McLean, Virginia residents, and are active in all things Northern Virginia including both politics and the community band. Callista plays the French Horn. No word on Newt’s musical talent. (I think he plays the gong.)

Virginia election officials rejected the petition since the required 10,000 signatures were lacking. The move is particularly embarrassing since Gingrich had been privately assuring Virginia Republican Party donors that his organizational troubles stemming from a very public exodus of staff in June were over and it was full steam ahead.

Rick Perry’s petition met the same fate as Newt’s with the numbers lacking. For his part, McDonnell has been mum on his endorsement. Often mentioned as a Republican Vice-Presidential candidate (which he has done nothing to quash), the Governor has been courted, but is yet to pick a horse in the field. With this latest political turn, it’s a better than even bet he won’t be selecting a favorite son candidate.

The news is particularly devastating for Newt who’s been touting his broad appeal among conservative voters beyond Iowa. It seems even paid staffers weren’t enough to canvass the Old Dominion in search of 10,000 signatories, and in Virginia that’s strange.

Once regarded as a reliably red state, Virginia has been trending purple as it propelled Obama’s election to the presidency in 2008 and has elected two moderate Democratic US senators.  This latest snafu could be an organizational lapse, or it  might be that the winds of changing are blowing in this bellweather state, or  it may simply be that the folks who know Newt best aren’t buying.

Source: CNN

~Mark Esposito, Guest Blogger

Read Full Post »

Poisonous Poinsettias?

-Submitted by David Drumm (Nal), Guest Blogger

When I was telling a female worker from another company that my company gave away poinsettia plants every year as Christmas gifts to a few, randomly selected employees, she told me that poinsettias were poisonous. I had not heard that before and asked some other employees and they said they had heard the same thing.

(more…)

Read Full Post »

DITTO

-Submitted by David Drumm (Nal), Guest Blogger 

This year, Chicago-area Dave Nosek decided not to participate in the annual competition of lights with his neighbor.

 

Read Full Post »

Silver Bells

-Submitted by David Drumm (Nal), Guest Blogger


For your listening enjoyment, we present Jimmy Dean in glorious STEREO!

Read Full Post »

India’s Jet Airways has been fined for an alleged policy not to serve alcohol to women on its flights. The Indian consumer court awarded only 50,000 rupees ($925) to the Canadian woman, Mrs. Jennifer Robinson, but it is the policy that strikes me as truly bizarre.
(more…)

Read Full Post »

We previously saw a Santa costume malfunction in a mall, but this Santa seems a bit too tipsy for a Jolly fat man on a roof.
(more…)

Read Full Post »

Yesterday, we discussed the latest example of a man arrested after posting an incriminating picture on Facebook. He is now joined on this list of alleged Facebook felons by Willie Davis Hines Jr., 23, of San Bernardino County. He was arrested after publishing an account of his beating his pregnant girlfriend, who later died.

(more…)

Read Full Post »

Scientists in England have declared the tune below to be the most relaxing tune in the history of human civilization. Aside from the expected lawsuit from Kenny G, the claim is based on a study of 40 women (no men) that selected the tune over pieces by Enya, Mozart and Coldplay. The claim is that “Weightless” can produce a trance-like calm. Much like Gingrich at a Tea Party Convention.
(more…)

Read Full Post »

We have previously seen the trend of people who post on sites like Facebook and then find the postings used as evidence against them. The latest is Andre Curry, 21, who was charged Tuesday with aggravated domestic battery after he posted a photo of his 1-year-old daughter bound in duct tape on Facebook.

(more…)

Read Full Post »

We have previously written (here and here and here and here) about unnecessary fatalities produced by high-speed chases by police officers — an on-going controversy over the justification for such chases. The latest such controversy occurred in California where Deputy John Swearengin drove through an intersection without his lights on and hit and killed Daniel Hiler, 24, and Chrystal Clevenger, 30. They were pushing a small motorbike across the interaction when hit by Swearengin. He was responding to a call about a stolen vehicle. The police ended up arresting relatives of the deceased who were outraged by the accident.

(more…)

Read Full Post »

The North Korean media has add a new bizarre claim to the already bizarre demonstrations following the death of the “Dear One,” Kim Jong-il — a petty dictator who starved his people and destabilized a region. Now the state-run media in “the second happiest place on Earth” is proclaiming that Nature is mourning the passing of the dictator.

(more…)

Read Full Post »

Mexican officials this week took time out of the holiday celebrations to proclaim the coming of the Apocalypse. Officials have started a countdown to the End of Times for December 21, 2012 — based on the Mayan calendar. At our blog, we try to keep people informed of such important dates for personal planning. Since it falls on a Friday, it may make for an awkward evening at TGIF and, if you have some vacation time, you might want to use it before December 22, 2012. I am not sure what the Mayan apocalypse looks like but I am pretty sure that, as a legal matter, earned vacation and other benefits will be treated as void as a matter of force majeure.

(more…)

Read Full Post »

This year’s competition for the top opinion blog by the American Bar Association has become an intense race between our blog and one of the largest conservative legal blogs, Volokh Conspiracy. Even though VC is one of the largest blogs in the country, we are only a couple of dozen votes away with voting closing on December 31st. We need every vote so please spread the word to civil libertarians and others that we need their support to pull off the ultimate David and Goliath victory.
(more…)

Read Full Post »

Michael Morton, 57, spent nearly 25 years in prison for murdering his wife before he was able to force Texas authorities to finally test DNA evidence that proved his innocence. Now he is demanding that the prosecutor be held accountable for withholding evidence. The problem is that the then-Williamson County District Attorney Ken Anderson, now a district judge in Georgetown (left).
(more…)

Read Full Post »

An unnamed Ohio man was cleaning his muzzle-loading rifle and decided to fire one round in the air. The round traveled over one mile and reportedly killed Rachel Yoder, 18, an Amish girl driving her horse-drawn buggy home after a Christmas party.

(more…)

Read Full Post »

Older Posts »

Follow

Get every new post delivered to your Inbox.

Join 12,533 other followers