Archive for May, 2012

As some of you know, today was the day on which both sides in the Sister Wives case were to file cross motions for summary judgment to establish whether the state’s criminalization of cohabitation is constitutional. This evening we have filed a roughly 80 page motion and brief challenging the anti-bigamy law on seven distinct constitutional and statutory grounds. Rather than file a summary judgment motion arguing the merits of constitutionality of the state law, however, the prosecutors have filed a declaration with the Court that they promise not to prosecute the Brown family for polygamy and have decided to end the investigation that has been ongoing for years. They further state that, in light of this lawsuit, they have adopted a new policy not to prosecute any plural family absent the commission of a collateral crime like child abuse. They are asking United States District Court Judge Clark Waddoups to dismiss the case in light of their concession and promise not to prosecute.

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In a major victory for gay rights, the United States Court of Appeal for the First Circuit in Boston has found the Defense of Marriage Act unconstitutional in a unanimous ruling. The court found that the 1996 law discriminates against homosexual couples. The law was supported by Bill Clinton and by the Obama Administration until the latter recently reversed its position in court and withdrew support for the law before the Court. The case is Gill v. Office of Personnel Management.

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This video of Illinois State Representative Mike Bost is going viral. Bost is complaining about a problem that is also growing in Congress of members not reading bills from the Patriot Act to the Health Care law. Bost is complaining about being given 15 minutes to read a 200 page pension reform bill. However, he seems to come unglued while making an important point. Nevertheless, Bost appears happy with the result: he posted the video on his website.

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As expected, the return of Vladimir Putin to the presidency of Russia has come with crackdowns against free speech and association.  One of the most worrisome incidents involved an activist who has been jailed for 15 days for the act of just spitting on a picture of Putin during a protest.  Dmitry Karuyev, 20, used an interesting defense that he merely sneezed on it.

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This morning three different law professors sent me this video of U.S. Senate Candidate and Harvard Law Professor Elizabeth Warren claiming to be the first nursing mother to ever take the bar exam. One of the professors, who is a liberal academic, noted that she knows that claim to be untrue from personal experience. However, as noted by Winnie Comfort of the New Jersey Judiciary (which administers state’s bar exam), the bar does not track nursing habits and women have been taking the New Jersey bar exam since 1895. This was not a claim to be a nursing Cherokee mother, but the question remains why Warren is making such controversial boasts when she has a great financial expertise record to run on. Worse still, Warren today admitted that she did in fact claim minority status at Penn and Harvard — after insisting that she was unaware of the claims.

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There are two aspects of this story that I found interesting. First, is that the 18-year-old daughter of Clint Eastwood, Francesca, destroyed a $100,000 Hermès Birkin bag and, second, there is a $100,000 Hermès bag. Eastwood has triggered a firestorm of controversy over the “art” video with her boyfriend, Tyler Shields, with people noting that they destroyed a bag worth over three times the annual salary of most working Americans. Some have noted that some (budget basement) bag can go for as little as $10,000. Would that matter?

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For generations, the young have complained about the smell of old people. Well now researchers have confirmed that old people do have a distinct smell. However, they have also concluded that young people smell worse. Moreover, the old person smell is considered neutral. The study was published online in the journal PLoS ONE by researchers from the Monell Chemical Senses Center in Philadelphia and Sweden’s Karolinska Institute.

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Attorney General Eric Holder has been criticized repeatedly for actions viewed as political (or his abandoning independent role) during the Clinton Administration and the Obama Administration. Few, however, seem quite as raw as his participation in an upcoming event to advise black ministers on how far they can go in campaigning in this presidential election, presumably for President Obama who is expected to secure the overwhelming percentage of African American votes. The event is being hosted by the Congressional Black Caucus and will include appearances by other government officials like IRS officials. While the CBC is bipartisan, there remain questions about the propriety of the appearance.

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As we put the finishing touches on the summary judgment motion and brief in the Sister Wives case, a friend sent me this story out of Idaho. Five Wives Vodka has been told by the state of Idaho that it will ban the booze as insulting to the large Mormon population.

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Pentecostal pastor Mark Randall “Mack” Wolford was one of the nation’s leading advocates of snake handling as an article of faith. Last Sunday, he sent a message to the faithful to join him at a state park for “homecoming like the old days” with “Holy Ghost-filled speaking-in-tongues sign believers.” Wolford then proceeded to handle snakes as a demonstration of the immunity given by God to those who believe. He was then bitten and died. It came 29 years after his father — another religious snake handler — died from a snakebite in 1983.

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Either this is a grooming gone bad or the Talosians from Star Trek have crossed over into canine blood lines with telepathic abilities.

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He has killed scores of his own citizens and political opponents. He has devastated a nation, reducing it to unspeakable poverty while he and his family live in unrivaled luxury. He has denied everyone in his country every basic right and liberty. He has turned Zimbabwe into a pariah nation. And now Robert Mugabe is the newest ambassador for tourism for the United Nations. He will now work with the World Tourism Organization (UNWTO) which appears interested in enlisting the help of dictators on vacation.

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In Afghanistan, the struggle for basic rights for women continues to be a struggle for life itself. Today officials confirmed that 160 were poisoned in what is viewed as another attack by Muslim extremists. Last month, 170 schoolgirls and three teachers were poisoned. Muslim extremists oppose the education of women and the Karzai Administration, while supporting such education, has been accused of rolling back on the gains of women and girls following the fall of the Taliban. These “men of God” continue to believe that killing or maiming little girls pleases Allah and makes them spiritually pure, including throwing acid in the faces of little girls. Fortunately, there is no word of deaths yet and many children have been released from the hospital.

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This reads like a torts exam question. A group of frat brothers allegedly want to celebrate the end of the year with some book burning at Pi Kappa Alpha fraternity house at Louisiana Tech in Ruston, Louisiana. The text books then cause a large fire that ultimately claims not just the frat house but the nearby apartment building. The motto of the fraternity is “Once a Pike, Always a Pike.”

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Police have identified the man shot in the midst of chewing the face off a victim in Florida. Police shot and killed Rudy Eugene, 31, after they found him along a highway naked while biting off the face of of his victim. What is more important in the future is that the cause of insane rampage appears to be “bath salts,” a new form of LSD.

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