Archive for April, 2012

We previously discussed the unease that many of us felt with the celebrations that occurred over the killing of Bin Laden and the later use of the killing to bolster the Obama campaign. This discomfort increased recently with an Obama commercial that unfairly suggested that Governor Mitt Romney would not have ordered the operation to go forward. Just in case anyone thought that was a tasteless and baseless campaign pitch by an overzealous Obama aide, the President himself just reaffirmed that message in a press conference with the Prime Minister of Japan this afternoon. It appears that, while the Administration will again bar the release of photos to the media and the public of the operation, they are eager to drag the body of Bin Laden behind the presidential limo to every possible campaign stop.

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Dr. Anna Mackowiak is being accused of a horrific act of vengeance against her ex-boyfriend, Marek Olszewski. The Polish dentist had agreed to treat Olszewski for a toothache despite their breakup just days after they broke up. After being given a high dose of anaesthetic, Mackowiak ripped out every tooth in Olszewski’s mouth. It must be welcomed news for Dr. W.B. Galbreath that there is some other dentist who looks worse today.

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Dr. Arnold Smith, 70, an oncologist, has been arrested in a bizarre alleged conspiracy to kill the lawyer, Lee Abraham, who represented his ex-wife in their divorce in the 1990s. What is amazing is how the hit men were stopped in the act by two investigators visiting the lawyer at the most opportune time.

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A New York Civil Liberties Union (NYCLU) Observer was arrested this week in the recent OWS march in front of the MTA building. The Observer who was clearly not violating the law was reportedly confronted by Deputy Inspector Johnny Cardona — the officer made infamous by punching protester Felix Rivera-Pitre. A video shows that officer Cardona allegedly grabbed OWS coordinator, Katherine Bromberg and pulled her into the street before putting her under arrest. The charges were later dropped. The site identified the officer as Cardona, though regardless of his identity, the arrest appears without a legal basis or cause. Once again, while the charges were dropped, there is no indication that the officer would be investigated for such an arrest of an observer in the course of a protected activity.

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I am going to go out on the limb and say that Lena David, 71, has a solid torts case. David was in the dentist chair in Lexington when Dr. W.B. Galbreath allegedly dropped a screwdriver in her mouth. She then swallowed it. That’s right, swallowed it and had to have a surgery to have it removed.

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We recently saw how a new species of frog was found in New York City. However, that pales in comparison to the latest new species found in the Big City — a new bee that lives off the sweat of humans. Now if we can only show him flipping off other bees during rush hour, it is the final proof of how a particular environment will lead to perfect adaptation through evolution.

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The video below shows two bicyclists who were struck by a car in Berkeley, California — victims of a hit and run. That would normally be the end of it except that one of the bicyclists had a bike-mounted camera and put the video on YouTube. Later police identified the Black Acura Integra of suspect Michael Medaglia, who was arrested.

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On our blog, we have all been enriched by the commentary and insights of Larry Rafferty. Larry is an attorney from Chicago and, despite being a White Sox fan, I asked Larry to be one of our weekend bloggers after reading his uniformly civil and insightful thoughts on legal and political issues. I was not aware until recently about Larry’s father and his disappearance after World War II. Last week, the Chicago Tribune ran a story about Larry’s father, Air Force Capt. Lawrence Rafferty, who was buried at Arlington this year. Mark Esposito and his wife were in attendance representing our community with the Rafferty family and friends. Larry’s mother, Frances, 89, (shown below) was present to see her husband given the honor that he so richly deserved. Captain Rafferty now has a place with other American heroes at Arlington and I wanted to share his incredible story with members of our blog.

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-Submitted by David Drumm (Nal), Guest Blogger

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-Submitted by David Drumm (Nal), Guest Blogger

During the Supreme Court oral arguments regarding the health care law’s individual mandate, J. Scalia considered the result of allowing the Federal Government to force people to buy health insurance by asking if the government “can make people buy broccoli.”

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-Submitted by David Drumm (Nal), Guest Blogger

The Susan G. Komen breast cancer charity is having trouble meeting their fund-raising goals as a result of their controversial decision to defund Planned Parenthood. Resignations at the local and national level continue to plague the organization.

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I Should Have Known Better

-Submitted by David Drumm (Nal), Guest Blogger


We present The Beatles without that annoying harmonica drop-out at the beginning.

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Submitted by: Mike Spindell, guest blogger

On September 16, 1962 Edward R. Murrow, who was the greatest TV Journalist and a particular hero of mine http://www.museum.tv/eotvsection.php?entrycode=murrowedwar, premiered the opening of Public Television on Channel 13 in New York City. You can watch that very short broadcast in this link so you can understand the mission of this station at its beginnings: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=-gr-QxU1Sz0

At the age of 17, I watched Mr. Murrow enthralled as he laid out the defined purpose of this station, which was to provide educational, non-commercial television, that would innovate new programming to educate/inform and amuse its’ listeners. This opening occurred two weeks after the death of my mother. My father (who would die a year later) and I watched this show together, bonded by the sorrow we shared and by the fact that Ed Murrow had been someone whose news shows we three had watched together for a decade. Given that he was a ninth grade dropout, my father was a man of intellectual depth who read Camus, Sartre and was a devotee of avante garde cinema. He passed his tastes on to me. So for us, this was a momentous event, given the inanity that characterized much of commercial TV with its’ intellectual paucity. This beginning initiated an emotional link with me to the concept of public TV that has lasted ever since.

In the years that followed Channel 13 would become an anchoring member of the Public Broadcasting System. I was a dedicated viewer and modest financial contributor via yearly membership. I could go into a litany of the presentations that informed me, moved me and entertained me through the years, but that is not my purpose here. Somewhere along the way from the beginning of non-commercial television until today, I became skeptical about contributing to it, while still availing myself of it’s’ services. I write about why this skepticism developed and why it remains. (more…)

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Find The Kitteh Contest

-Submitted by David Drumm (Nal), Guest Blogger

Click to enlarge. Bonus points available. Solution below the fold.

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Here Comes My Baby

-Submitted by David Drumm (Nal), Guest Blogger


We present The Tremeloes in glorious STEREO!

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By Mark Esposito, Guest Blogger

Zachary P. Ramirez, 21, of Naperville, Illinois, is a man on a mission. Naperville Police Sgt. Gregg Bell said Ramirez was clocked at 111 miles per hour in his black 1994 Honda Prelude while traveling through the Springbrook Prairie Forest Preserve. The speed limit is 45. Officers said at about 2:00 a.m., they observed the local resident first run a red light and then a stop sign.

When finally stopped, the young man had an innovative excuse. According to police, Ramirez said he was “trying to go have sex with a girl he liked.”  A search of the car  revealed 2.5 grams or less of marijuana. Ramirez was charged with  speeding 40 mph or more over the limit, reckless driving, disobeying a traffic control signal, disobeying a stop sign and possession.

Source: Chicago Sun Times 

~Mark Esposito, Guest Blogger

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When Loyalty Met Wisdom

By Mark Esposito, Guest Blogger

Lambs may not be laying down with wolves just yet as the Good Book predicts but a wonderful story out of North Wales might be the precursor. Seems canine, Merlin, has teamed up with barn owl, Willow, to become inseparable friends. The two met when the owl’s daily exercise overlapped Merlin’s walk at the Peny Bryn Falconry centre in North Wales.

“They are inseparable. People always stop and smile when they see them going by,” said Lorwi Peacock, Willow’s handler. Willow’s favorite activity is stretching out her wings as Merlin goes for a run. No grousing  so far from Merlin about the extra drag.

Source: msnbc

~Mark Esposito, Guest Blogger

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We have been discussing the increasing disciplining of students and teachers for comments and photos on social media sites. Just yesterday in a story out of Indiana, we saw students expelled for comments viewed as bullying. Now, Georgia legislators are moving to make this controversial trend an actual law for schools to discipline students for mean comments on sites like Facebook. This comes at the same time that a lawsuit shows how the common law can serve as an adequate protection for victims, in my view.

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We have been discussing the story that ran on various sites about the consideration of an Egyptian law that would allow husbands to have sex with their wives up to six hours after death. Our last blog noted that some were still reporting the story while others have questioned the truth of the story. Now a story below appears to have debunked the story, at least in part. While not addressing the alleged consideration of lowering the age for marriage of girls to 14, the story says that the “farewell intercourse” law claim was made by Amr Abdul Samea, a supporter of the deposed Hosni Mubarak. An Islamic cleric did in fact say that Muslim men (and women) could have sex with their dead spouses up to six hours after death, but there is no indication that this view was put into a proposed law.

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State Representative Ronald Reynolds, the first African American elected in Fort Bend County to the Texas legislature since reconstruction, has been arrested on barratry charges. Once selected as “Freshman of the Year” by his colleagues, Reynolds was arrested and charged with barratry –both in the solicitation of clients on his own and through the office of a local chiropractor.

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Do you remember HAL (Heuristically programmed ALgorithmic computer) in 2001 Space Odyssey, the super intelligent computer? Well, meet Quantum the new crystal-based computer. In Nature Magazine, scientists have announced that they have a crystal that will allow the creation of a quantum computer that would take a computer the size of the known universe to match it. To those scientists at the University of Sydney, just be careful when Quantum says “I know I’ve made some very poor decisions recently, but I can give you my complete assurance that my work will be back to normal. I’ve still got the greatest enthusiasm and confidence in the mission. And I want to help you.” If you hear that, run for the airlock.

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Emily Herx, a teacher at the St. Vincent de Paul school in Fort Wayne, Indiana, has sued the school and the Catholic Diocese, for allegedly firing her for using in vitro fertilization (IVF) to try to get pregnant. Herx (shown here with her husband) says that the local pastor told her that she was a “grave, immoral sinner” for using the process. It is another example of the growing tension between discrimination laws and religious freedom, the subject of a past column. The case could prove quite important in defining the outer reaches of the “ministerial exception” to anti-discrimination laws.

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New Mexico’s Mora County Sheriff Thomas Garza sure show his deputy who is boss. Garza is captured on tape shoving a deputy and browbeating another over their plans to take in a DUI suspect, Patrick Trujillo. Garza argues with one deputy that he is boss around there and to prove it he would order the release of Trujillo, who has a DUI arrest record. Garza knew Trujillo who is the ex-husband of the dispatcher on duty on the day of the first arrest.

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We have another case of school kids being punished for statements made outside of school on a social media site. I have previously criticized this trend where both students and teachers are being denied free speech rights as schools extend their reach into homes and private lives. In this case, you have three Grade 8 girls from Griffith Middle School on Facebook dishing about how they would love to kill. It is in my view clearly a basis for the girls to be called into the office with their parents. However, the American Civil Liberties Union of Indiana has sued a Northern Indiana school over the disciplining of the girls.

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We previously looked at the robbery of a diamond dealer in New York who picked up a prostitute at a bar and then woke up at a hotel without what is now being reported to be half a million dollars in diamonds. It turns out that the suspect, Erika Cooper, 34 (AKA Bianca Williams) was not the swiftest thief. She was not only captured on the security cameras of the Cosmopolitan Hotel but the victim, Kurt Kaiser, had her home telephone number. She is now the subject of a manhunt in New York.

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Women’s groups are justifiably worried about the domination of Islamic parties in Egypt and the move to rollback on the hard-won rights of women in that country. Now, according to the Daily Mail and various other news sites, legislators are pushing not only to lower the age for marriage for girls but to protect “farewell intercourse” where a husband can have sex with his dead wife up to six hours after she died. If true, both pedophilia and necrophilia would be divinely ordained, according to Islamic clerics in the country. It is not clear if this is a hoax with some people in Egypt reportedly denying the report while others continue to report the story. [Update: A new article is contesting the truth of the necrophilia part of the story]

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For those students still wondering what the definition is of assumption of the risk, here it is.

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Opposites Attract

Let no one say that there is no hope left for a better world.

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The Supreme Court is hearing oral arguments today in the immigration case of Arizona v. United States. I published a column in USA Today yesterday on the case. I discussed the case yesterday on NPR’s Diane Rehm Show and will be updating this blog with developments and I will be on NPR’s Here and Now to discuss the case at noon. (more…)

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The start of the trial of John Edwards had a couple of surprises with the testimony of Edwards’ first top aide, Andrew Young. The Court has drawn an interesting line on what can be admitted and what is to be excluded in the salacious trial — a line that has largely worked against Edwards.

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There is an interesting story out of Brooklyn. The Brooklyn District Attorney routinely releases the names of charged individuals — as do all prosecutors. However, Brooklyn District Attorney Charles Hynes has decided not to release the names of Orthodox Jews charged with child sex abuse in deference to their “tight-knit and insular” community. That seems like preferential treatment given a particular religious group — a group with considerable political power in New York.

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If you ever have problems with your neighbor, just think of Paul Hayward. Hayward, 49, harassed his neighbors for ten years by making 150 silent telephone calls, ordering hundreds of unwanted taxis, and even ordering two tons of coal to the homes of his victims. He was ultimately sentenced to 14 months in jail after breaching an “anti-social behaviour order” on 19 occasions.
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We have another example of perverse “justice” under Sharia law. Eid al-Sinani, 43, has remained in jail for 15 years because under Sharia law in Saudi Arabia the father was given the final say on when he should be released. He was originally sentenced in 1997 to three years in prison and 200 lashes for beating up his step mother. When the sentence was completed, the father demanded the right to keep his son in jail “until he is proven to be righteous by his father.”

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And the Winner Is . . . 6A

Skyscanner has conducted a poll to answer that elusive question that has perplexed philosophers and travelers and traveling philosophers for ages: what is the perfect seat on an airplane? Well, wonder no more. The answer is 6A.

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It is not clear what is worst for Steven Egan, 52, . . . when he mistook his girlfriend for a pig or when he shot her. Egan shot Lisa Simmons, telling police that he thought she was a wild hog during a camping trip.

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Detroit’s Third Circuit Judge Wade McCree is at the center of a Weiner-like controversy after sending a nearly naked picture of himself to his bailiff. It certainly produced a passionate response . . . from her husband who has filed a judicial complaint. McCree however appears unapologetic and notes that he did not send the photo to any other married woman — a curious claim of mitigation. When confronted over the photo, McGree responded “I’ve got no shame in my game.”
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Baltimore police have arrested a second suspect in the beating, stripping, and robbing of a tourist in Baltimore. Shayona Davis, 20, is now behind bars as the police search for two more suspects.

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Wal-Mart Stores Inc. has been accused over the years of everything from stripping employees of basic benefits to seeking to destroy critical historical areas. Now, however, the company faces a criminal investigation and a call for a U.S. congressional investigation. The company is accused of giving millions in bribes to Mexican officials to build stores. The company is accused failing to notify the police after it uncovered the bribes in an internal investigation.

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Below is today’s column in the USA Today on the arguments this week in the immigration case, Arizona v. United States. (Docket No., 11-182). At issue is Arizona’s Support Our Law Enforcement and Safe Neighborhoods Act (S.B. 1070) directing state law-enforcement officers to cooperate and communicate with federal officials regarding the enforcement of federal immigration law. Beyond the difficult constitutional and statutory questions in the case, there is another element to the case that could come within months of the 12th anniversary of Bush v. Gore

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Justin Moore, 20, has learned assaults are best committed in some place other than before a live audience on evening news. Ashley Taylor, 23, was doing a live report on rising crime for WMBF in the area. Moore seemed intent on confirming the story by shoving her out of the way, grabbing her microphone and screaming “I am that nigger!” into the camera. He was later arrested by the Myrtle Beach Police Department.

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Faced with additional cuts in its budget, Executive Fire Commissioner Donald Austin has proposed an easy way to save money: let buildings burn down. Austin would like to allow such drastic action if the building is over 50 percent ablaze and does not endanger surrounding dwellings. In the meantime, Baltimore is looking into advertisements on the side of fire trucks. They are the latest examples of the insanity that has taken hold of this country as we burn hundreds of billions in Afghanistan and Iraq because our leaders have lacked the courage to withdraw forces from those countries. Instead, we will allow buildings to burn down while building facilities for Iraq with one of the world’s largest oil reserves.

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Associate Judge Joseph Polito is under fire this week after a FOIA request from the media revealed that someone using his computer login and password tried to access 243 hardcore sites as hugeheavybreasts.com, and portofdebauchery.com. Since this was a county computer, the matter has now been referred by Chief Judge Gerald R. Kinney for investigation with the Illinois Judicial Inquiry Board.

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Feminists have launched a campaign of criticism against the Danish company, Lego, over its new line of figures called LadyFigs. Lego has added subtle curves to its new “LEGO Friends.” Not exactly soft porn, mind you. Just characters without the traditional blocky form. Nevertheless, SPARK executive director, Dana Edell,”They have little breasts and they have fancy hair.”

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I have previously discussed the collision between anti-discrimination laws and free exercise of religion. Now, Vanderbilt University has stripped a Christian student organization of official recognition (and presumably funding) because it requires its members to have a personal commitment to Jesus Christ.

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Kelly Erwin, 48, is accused of being a serial dumper. Not trash or industrial waste, mind you. Erwin, the coach of a girl’s Lacrosse team called the “Scoopers,” is accused of defecating in the driveways and yards of neighbors in Maryland. What I found most interesting, however, was the first response of police to Erwin.

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Respectfully Submitted by Lawrence Rafferty (rafflaw)-Guest Blogger

As an Illinois resident I was heartened by the fact that a former governor took the politically dangerous action to halt all executions and recently the current Governor of Illinois signed a bill to  end the death penalty in Illinois.   Tribune   With that background, I was saddened to read that since 1976, more than 1/3rd of all executions that took place in our country happened in Texas. Since 1976, Texas has executed 481 people.  Truth Progress  Why does Texas continue to execute people when many experts assert that the death penalty is not a deterrent to violent crime?   (more…)

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-Submitted by David Drumm (Nal), Guest Blogger

Many of you will remember the misinformation campaign uncovered by Lottakatz during the ABA competition two years ago. The campaign gave a 100 vote surge and final victory to The Legal Satyricon, a blog run by Marc Randazza.

We also previously discussed the $2.5 million award against blogger Crystal L. Cox (left). Cox was a cause célèbre, as a crusading blogger, with her claims of journalistic privilege and that she deserved protection under Oregon’s shield law. Cox is represented by Eugene Volokh, and Cox’s motion for a new trial was recently denied. Randazza had consulted with Cox on her case, but she decided not to work with him.

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Navy Blue

-Submitted by David Drumm (Nal), Guest Blogger


We present Diane Renay in glorious STEREO!

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Submitted by Elaine Magliaro, Guest Blogger

Since April is National Poetry Month, I decided to write a post about Woody Guthrie—a songwriter and a poet of the people.

2012 is the centennial of Woody Guthrie’s birth. Born on July 12, 1912, in Okemah, Oklahoma, Guthrie lived through the Great Depression and the Great Dust Storm period that afflicted this country. Like many “dustbowl refugees”—desperate farmers and unemployed workers—Woody “hit Route 66” and headed west in search of work in hopes of finding a way to support his family.

“Moneyless and hungry, Woody hitchhiked, rode freight trains, and even walked his way to California, taking whatever small jobs he could. In exchange for bed and board, Woody painted signs and played guitar and sang in saloons along the way, developing a love for traveling the open road—a lifelong habit he would often repeat.” (Woody Guthrie Biography)

Californians were not too happy about the massive migration of “Okie” outsiders to their state. Along with other outsiders, Woody “experienced intense scorn, hatred, and even physical antagonism from resident Californians.” Woody eventually got a job on radio singing traditional songs—as well as some of his own original songs.

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-Submitted by David Drumm (Nal), Guest Blogger

The current Archbishop of Chicago, Francis George (left), recognizes the “difficulty of public discussion … is that the political is the highest level of public discourse.” In explaining the Catholic Church’s concern with the HHS mandate regarding contraception. His Eminence said the first question to ask is: “Is it true or false?”

The product of reason is truth. British philosopher, John Stuart Mill, defined logic “as the science which treats of the operations of the human understanding in the pursuit of truth.”

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