Archive for May, 2013

Calvert_county_md_sealWe just discussed a story of a kindergartner who was disciplined for a LEGO gun that he brought to school that was smaller than a quarter. Now we have another kindergartner who was suspended for the rest of the year (10 days) for bringing an orange-tipped toy gun to school. Rather than simply discuss the matter with his parents, school officials proceeded to interrogate him for hours without calling his parents– a growing problem that we discussed in another story today. The toy was in the boy’s backpack and he was pulled into an interrogation with police. I cannot imagine what officers did for two hours in questioning a 5 year old child but it is clear that Calvert County officials have zero crime and even less judgment. During his detention with the officials and police, the boy wet his pants.

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logo280px-BataviahsJohn Dryden, is a social studies teacher at Batavia High School in Illinois. It may have been his social science background or his concern for basic rights of students, but Dryden felt that he should mention that students have constitutional rights not to incriminate themselves in a school-mandated survey. The survey, after all, was asking the student if they had used drugs, tobacco, and alcohol. In response, the school disciplined Dryden and docked his pay.

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f456dd46ba338f37c3d62d21fe23b2e7150px-muslim_woman_in_yemenMany people in the world have been waiting for the departure of extremist Iranian President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad. From the sounds of his likely replacement, Saeed Jalili, some may look back with longing. Jalili is a former Revolutionary Guard who continues the extremist Islamic principles of governance of his predecessor. This week, he promised to “defend the rights of women as mothers” as opposed to what he referred to as “economic context” of feminists and the West. Men will continue of course to be defined as men as opposed to fathers.

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220px-Exorcist_the_Beginning_movieThe Catholic Church’s top exorcist, Father Gabriele Amorth is calling on Pope Francis to relax current limits on priests performing exorcisms. He insists that the demand of the faithful for exorcisms is rising and the Church needs to increase the supply of the rites. For his own part, Amorth now claims to have sent 160,000 demons to hell — that is over 1818 a year or roughly 5 a day or one demon every 4.8 hours every day every week every month.

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holdereric170px-rembrandt_harmensz-_van_rijn_079-1In the last couple weeks, it has been astonishing to watch Democrats once again abandoning a core principle — in this case the protection of the free press — to excuse another abuse of the Obama Administration. The new talking point for defenders of the Obama Administration is that it is really not that bad to seize the records of journalists or label a journalist a potential criminal co-conspirator so long as they are not actually prosecuted. None however are quite so adamant as Georgetown Professor and MSNBC Political Analyst Michael Eric Dyson who called Eric Holder our “law giver” and “the Moses of our time.” In this case, of course, Moses came down from the mountain and endorsed the killing of any citizen deemed a national security threat, allowed warrantless surveillance, blocked public interest challenges to abuses of power, and attacked the free press. While some of us believe Holder should be fired, Dyson apparently believes Holder should be be beatified.

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gavel2There is a troubling case out of Harris County, Texas where a court has issued an order barring 16 individuals from a Houston neighborhood on the ground that prosecutors alleged that they are gang members up to no good. However, this was a civil proceeding where the 16 individuals were neither given representation nor were present. The precedent established by such a public nuisance ruling is chilling if prosecutors can bar citizens from neighborhoods based on associations or future conduct.

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SchoolClassroomI have previously written about my concern with the criminalization of conduct in America, particularly at our schools. A case in Columbia, Missouri again raises this issue with a 17-year-old Hickman High School junior facing possible felony charges for a prank. The student changed the last name of Raigan Mastain to “Masturbate” and more than 700 yearbooks went to press with the change. Now a prosecutor is considering a charge of first-degree property damage and harassment — a felony prosecution for an immature prank.

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holderericI have previously expressed my view of the meeting ordered by President Barack Obama of Attorney General Eric Holder with representatives of the media. This feeble response was taken in lieu of the more obvious step of firing Holder for his attack on the free press. The proposed meeting was, in my view, an insulting gesture of effectively having Holder investigate Holder. It was made even more transparent by the decision of the Justice Department that the meeting had to be off-the-record. That was too much for two principled media organizations New York Times, CNN, and Associated Press which have refused (correctly) to attend. (more…)

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Lego-Toy-GunWe have yet another zero logic case out of our schools enforcing zero tolerance policies on guns. We have yet another case of lunacy in our schools as part of the zero tolerance policy regarding guns. We have previously explored how teachers and school administrators are expelling or suspending students for everything from finger guns to stick figures. (here and here and here and here and here and here and here and here and here and here). For a prior column, click here. Even nibbling a danish into a gun shape can get you expelled today. Now a 6-year-old kindergartner attending Old Mill Pond Elementary School in Palmer, Mass faced possible suspension or expulsion because he was spotted with a plastic Lego G.I. Joe gun — the size of a quarter — on to his school bus. After public outcry, the school decided that it would not discipline the boy. However, the boy was given detention after the discovery.

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220px-Steppe_mammoth_sizeThere is an exciting discovery out of Siberia where Russian scientists have discovered a fully-grown female mammoth preserved in the ice. What is different is that not only does this animal have well-preserved muscle tissue but actual liquid blood. Yet, the godless scientists at the Institute of Applied Ecology are likely to be disappointed. Scientists were not only surprised to find running blood after pricking the body but found that the blood continued to run in the 10°C below zero temperature at the site. That leads them to believe that the mammoth’s blood has some type of “cryo-protective properties” previously unknown to scientists.

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174580_167846826769_6484182_nWhile Eric Holder refuses to resign and Obama refuses to fire him, another leading citizen appears to be moving toward a resignation after her own controversial leak investigation scandal. Harvard Dean Evelynn Hammands is leaving her post as undergraduate dean in the wake of a controversy over her ordering the searches of the emails of junior faculty to determine who spoke with the media on a recent cheating scandal. In my view, it was an outrageous act that contravened both academic and privacy principles.

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220px-Echmiatsin_altair170px-Ali_Khamenei,The Iranian government is continuing its crackdown on non-Muslim faiths this month with a shocking arrest of a minister in the middle of a service at Iran’s largest Persian-language Pentecostal church. One can only imagine the response of Muslims in the country if a Muslim cleric was arrested in the middle of a service in another country. However, the Iranian government pulled Pastor Robert Asserian off the altar and literally dragged him out of the church. The move is viewed as a warning to non-Muslims before the June 14 presidential election to replace President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad.

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steve-smithWe recently celebrated the showing of tolerance in Arizona when the legislators allowed an atheist member to give the opening “prayer.” Democratic Representative Juan Mendez, of Tempe, is an atheist and opened the session by asking his colleagues not to bow their heads but look at each other. That did not sit well with Arizona State Rep. Steven Smith who proceeded the next day to give not one, but two prayers. The second prayer was to express “repentance” of the secular invocation offered the day before by Mendez. He was joined by half of the Arizona lawmakers in using prayer as a condemnation of Mendez and atheists.

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holderericHere is today’s column in USA Today calling for the firing of Attorney General Eric Holder (I have added a couple lines removed in editing). Holder is not the only individual who needs to leave federal office but he is the first. Equally responsible are his deputy, James Cole, and Ronald Machen Jr., the U.S. attorney for the District of Columbia who played critical roles in the investigation of journalists with Associated Press and Fox News. Notably, Obama reportedly “fired” IRS Director Steve Miller (who was reportedly already leaving) over the IRS scandal though there is no indication of any knowledge on his part. In Holder’s case, he was personally involved in targeting journalists (in the Fox case) and launched an attack on the media that has been condemned by a wide array of public interest and media groups. Yet, Holder has been asked to hold a simple meeting with aggrieved media representatives by Obama.

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Cat On A Hot Tan Woof

UNlcUNP Even on the first day in the house, the new kitten establishes the feline view of the natural order of things.

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