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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