Columbia University and Barnard College created a stir this month by filming what has been described as “a feminist pornographic film” in Columbia’s Butler Library to fight what they see as “gender tension” at the school. The film called “Initiatiøn,” was billed as a feminist statement exploring “the rituals of American Ivy League secret societies, to the point of hysteria, highlighting our culture’s perception of female desire.” It somehow made this ambiguous point by showing the women engaging in fondling, tweaking, and rubbing eggs on their bodies in the Butler library.
Archive for the ‘Bizarre’ Category
By Mark Esposito, Weekend Contributor
University of North Carolina clinical instructor and academic advisor Mary Willingham got a reprieve of sorts last week. UNC Chancellor Carol Folt admitted for the first time to the school’s board of trustees that the university had “failed students for years” by offering bogus classes, forging professors’ names and changing grades to keep athletes eligible. Jettisoning the party line that 2012′s scandal in the African and Afro-American Studies Department which resulted in an indictment against a UNC professor for fraud was merely an isolated instance, Folt said “We also accept the fact that there was a failure in academic oversight for years that permitted this to continue.This, too, was wrong. And it has undermined our integrity and our reputation.”
Ukrainian riot police appear to be having trouble deciding who to beat up. BBC is reporting that police stopped a bus heading to Kiev and assumed that they were more protesters. So, they did what has become standard operating procedure for Ukrainian police: they proceeded to savagely beat the occupants. It turns out that they were government supporters being bused to support the government in its effort to break away from the West and sign a trade deal that will place the country under the domination of Russia. What is amazing is that, after being beaten by the government, they reportedly proceeded to the rally in favor of the government and all the good things it brings to the people of the Ukraine. Now those are the types of supporters that would have made Stalin proud. In the meantime, the police succeeded in capturing a real protester and reportedly tortured him and left him to die in the cold. He has survived to tell the tale.
Washington has been rocked recently by the news of a high-ranking congressional staff, Jesse Ryan Loskarn, was arrested for possession of child pornography. Loskarn was the long-time director of the office of Sen. Lamar Alexander, R-Tenn. He recently committed suicide by hanging himself. A letter has now been released where Loskarn explains his demise and his shame. In the letter, he refers to abuse as a child but does not identify the culprit. Psychiatrists have long documented the tendency of victims of child abuse to be drawn to child pornography. I was personally involved with such a case of a man with documented such abuse who downloaded such images — a reaction that a respected psychiatrist testified was extremely common. You may or may not believe the final account of Loshkarn but it is a striking letter from a man clearly struggling with the shame of his action.
There are health care nightmares and then there is what happened to Eric Fergusan, 54, in North Carolina. Fergusan was bitten by a snake on the foot while putting out trash last August. He drove himself to the hospital and was given anti-venom medicine that can be purchased online for as low as $750. The bill” $89,227 bill for an 18-hour stay.
Rep. Michael Grimm (R., Staten Island) apparently wanted to unwind after the State of the Union with a little good-old-fashioned Reporter tossing from the Capitol Rotunda. A traditional form of exercise, RT (as it is called) is highly aerobic and involves throwing an adult reporter from a stationary position with no more than three paces before the launch. This is much more difficult than tossing the caber in Scottish game because the journalists tend to be odd sized and flexible. They are the second least aerodynamic of profession (after Sumo wrestlers). There is also the problem of congressional ethics rules and criminal assault concerns. However, if Grimm looked in ill-humor, it was nothing like the mood of voters.
HSBC customers are understandably confused in England after they went to the bank to withdraw their money only to be told that any large withdrawals would require disclosure of why they needed it and the agreement of the bank. That’s right, you need to show the bank why you need your money and the bank has been saying no to customers, according to the report below.
We previously discussed the case of Max Mosley, the ex-Formula One boss, who became infamous on the Internet after the posting of a video showing him in a sadomasochistic orgy. The story broke in the now defunct News of the World tabloid and reported the scene as a five-hour orgy with five prostitutes dressed as Nazi guards — a particularly embarrassing performance given the fact that Mosley’s father, Oswald, was the pre-war leader of Britain’s fascist “blackshirts” and even invited Adolf Hitler to his wedding. Mosley, 73, prevailed in a court action in showing that the party did not have a Nazi theme and that his privacy was violated. Now he is continuing what can only be described as a scorched Earth campaign against everyone who has carried the photos and announced a new lawsuit against Google. In a move that raises concerns over the censorship of the Internet, German court ordered the Internet giant to block photos of him at his sadomasochistic orgy.
Norfolk County Agricultural High School teacher Marc Mertz has been arrested in a rather bizarre case where he was seen walking around his driveway wearing only a ski cap and googles. What is most interesting about the story is that this is not the first exposure allegations that Mertz has faced.
An Italian manager, Roberto Cassago, is a tad embarrassed after an accident that would befit Mr. Bean. He is facing repair costs to an 18th Century Italian painting after he blew a hole through the canvas with the cork of a bottle of sparkling wine. Fittingly enough, it was a painting depicting a battle with knights and their chargers but the addition of the cork missile to the battle scene was a historical as well as an artistic invasion.
Posted in Bizarre, Courts, Justice, Lawyering, Politics, Religion, Science, Society, tagged Artificial Insemination, Child Support, Groucho Marks, Judge Mary Mattivi, Kansas, Sperm Donor, Topeka, William Marotta on 1, January 24, 2014 | 26 Comments »
By Mark Esposito, Weekend Contributor
William Marotta is proving Groucho Marx right. “It isn’t necessary to have relatives in Kansas City* in order to be unhappy, ” Marx quipped in a letter. The classic comedienne may have just been on to something as Marotta has been ordered by a Kansas court to pay support for a child he fathered in Topeka as part of a private artificial insemination contract.
Even though Marotta signed the contract waiving any legal rights to the child, Shawnee County District Court Judge Mary Mattivi said he must still pay support because the artificial insemination was performed without the involvement of a licensed Kansas physician. The story began– as so many strange ones do –with an ad on Craig’s List in March 2009 seeking donated sperm. (Wonder if it was in the “free” section?). The authors of the ad were a lesbian couple in Topeka who desperately wanted a child and needed a donor of genetic material.
There is a disturbing case out of Ohio where an Ohio State Highway Patrol trooper reportedly admitted to sexual encounters with a boy five years ago but will not face any criminal charges. (However, the trooper now denies those allegations). Trooper Ricky Vitte Jr. (left) has a history of domestic violence and admitted that he watched pornography with the boy and then they masturbated. He insists that he was trying to help the boy and was not engaging in the conduct for sexual gratification (at least not direct at the boy). It appears that Vitte will also continue as an officer with the state patrol after Sandusky County prosecutor Tom Stierwalt (right) refused to bring the case to a grand jury.
What will happen to Col. Mustard in the dining room with the kitchen knife? It is not just Clue aficionados that will be effected by a new reform being proposed in England, pointy kitchen knives may soon be a thing of the past. A group associated with West Middlesex University Hospital is proposing a ban in the British Medical Journal on pointy kitchen knives as unnecessary from a culinary standpoint and downright dangerous from a crime standpoint.
I have often commented on how breakfast in China is a still evolving skill, particularly with regard to bacon which seems boiled and rubbery. This picture may explain part of the problem. The image is from Wuhan and shows how Chinese bacon is “air-cured” on balconies in major cities. Given the alarming levels of pollution, the image is doubly unappealing. This makes the sale of fake eggs more appealing than the authentic bacon.
We have been discussing how the U.S. military continues to waste billions with little accountability for failed programs or unneeded equipment. This includes tens of billions wasted in our ongoing wars. Much of this waste or lost resources has been covered up by intentional accounting tricks. No one appears to be disciplined, let alone fired, for billions of lost money and over-charges. And the beat goes on. The Senate Armed Services Committee has decided to actually investigate waste and is looking into a failed $1 billion software project for the U.S. Air Force that was implemented by Defense Secretary Leon Panetta. It was scrapped after it was disclosed that we would have to spend an additional $1.1 billion just to fix the unused system.
As parents, many of us have an ever-expanding list of things to worry about for our children. We can now add “nasal maggots.” That’s right, nasal maggots. School officials are warning parents in Rhode Island that students are snorting Smarties and the latest fad is causing allergic reactions, lung irritations, and potential maggots in the nasal cavities.
I enjoyed the game with the kids last night between the San Francisco 49ers that sent the Seattle Seahawks. That amazing game however was marred by a bizarre rave from cornerback Richard Sherman. Sherman immediately followed the win with a screaming and unhinged rant. The question is whether the Seahawks should be able to discipline Sherman for such a disgraceful performance — just after an equally disgraceful taunting of the 49ers. I would be the first to defend the free speech rights of Sherman to act like a street thug and even diss opposing players like San Francisco receiver Michael Crabtree. However, the Seahawks drew well-deserved praise on this blog for moving against thugs in the stadium in the prior game with the 49ers. How about the thugs on the field? This is not an attack on free speech by the government. The question is whether a company can discipline an employee at work for behaving like a thug. UPDATE: Sherman has been fined by the NFL for his taunting shortly before his outburst on television.
We have previously seen some hilarious propaganda films coming out of North Korea, including some directed at children. However, Marc Ambinder at the The Week says that he has found yet another classic North Korean cartoon. This one shows children how to use a protractor by showing that it can be useful in killing Americans.
By Darren Smith, Weekend Blogger
Tyler pleaded guilty in 2009 to Felony Communication with a Minor for Immoral Purposes and to Theft in the First Degree. As a convicted felon, he is under Washington law prohibited from possessing firearms. He also is required to register as a sex offender.
Tyler recently appeared on the National Geographic reality show Doomsday Preppers in November of 2013 where he proclaimed his survivalist prowess and that he would engage in “marauding” by robbing people of high powered rifles and their provisions claiming that he would take it from his neighbors by force.” He was also alleged to have stated on the show: “We’re not in it to stockpile. We’re in it to take what you have and there’s nothing you can do to stop us. We are your worst nightmare, and we are coming.”
Posted in Academics, Animals, Bizarre, Congress, Constitutional Law, Courts, Criminal law, Environment, Free Speech, International, Justice, Lawyering, Media, Military, Politics, Religion, Science, Society, Supreme Court, Torts on 1, January 18, 2014 | 56 Comments »
We recently discussed a weight-loss advocate who was taken off Facebook for potential hate speech in criticizing a plus-sized clothing ad campaign. Now, Marilyn McKenna of Washington State says that a similar thing happened to her. McKenna posted an image to show how much weight she lost (over 100 pounds) only to have Facebook reportedly inform her that the picture was inappropriate for promoting “idealized physical appearances.”
If a criminal defense lawyer is supposed to take heat of a client, Cody Mann (left), 28, has found the right attorney in Jenny Chaplinski. Chaplinski is under fire for comments that she made regarding her client’s torture, killing, and cooking of his pet cat. Chaplinski dismissed the outrage over the crime as involving just “meat.” Cat meat to be sure but “it’s meat.”
By Mark Esposito, Guest Blogger
This is the third of a multi-part article on the Public Interest Defense and its application to the the Edward Snowden situation. The defense is not recognized in America but other nations have considered this legal mechanism to provide an appropriate way to deflect criminal charges from whistleblowers like Snowden. Part 1 can be found here and Part 2 can be found here.
We found in parts 1 & 2 that the absolute right to a public plebiscite on punishment for political crimes goes back centuries to at least the time of Publius Horatius. We also saw that rulers have used this right to manipulate outcomes to further their own interests in deflecting blame or attacking political opponents. In modern times, the jury has replaced the assembled citizenry but the motivation of rulers to limit or channel the ancient right to their own ends remains. Even in America where the defense doesn’t technically exist but where its cousin, whistleblower protections, do, the urge to rein in messengers of truth remains.
The Public Interest Defense Abroad
Imagine the most influential prosecutor in modern America uttering the following words about the public’s right to understand the secret inner workings of its government:
Someone on Reddit caught this interesting way of disguising a “B” sanitation posting. You have to posted it but the business found a way to make it less noticeable. (Note how they worked hard to match the color and font. If they worked equally hard as cleanliness, this might not be necessary).
We have been discussing the effort of University of Denver law professor Nancy Leong to have the Illinois bar punish an anonymous poster called “Dybbuk” who criticized her on a blog as well as other female law professors. Now, University of Chicago Professor Brian Leiter (right) has added a rather bizarre twist to this story on his blog. Professor Leiter says that Professor Paul F. Campos (left) has threatened him not to reveal the identity of the poster targeting Nancy Leong with the disclosure of unspecified embarrassing information on Leiter. [Update: Professor Campos has responded]
As soon as the police arrived, the body of Denver Lee St. Clair, 58, seemed to rule out suicide or natural causes. St. Clair was suffocated by his own underwear. He also had evidence of blunt force trauma. Police say that his stepson, Brad Davis, 33, strangled him with a homicidal atomic wedgie.
There are times when Iran and other sharia-based countries look like characters out of a Fellini film. This week, Iran’s Ayatollah Ali Khamenei issued another fatwa to Muslims that left the rest of the world chuckling. Khamenei has outlawed participation in social networks that include both men and women. He wants something akin to a Cyber Burka for women to avoid even getting as little as a tweet from a man who is not a family member. Adding to the absurdity, he used his website (which presumably has both men and women) to make the announcement.. He also has a Facebook but presumably any future “friends” will be male.
Clearly Fairfax County School officials do not watch our scientific polling. While our polls shows (at the time of this posting) over 94 percent of readers criticizing the decision to cancel classes over cold that ranged from 8 to 18 degrees, Just as a follow up . . . I was just notified that the Fairfax County officials have ordered a two-hour delay for the morning. That is a delay ordered for a day with a projected temperature of a low of 25 and high of 32. There is no snow or icy roads.
I know that I have previously complained about the snowphobia that grips Washington, D.C. the minute a flake descends from the clouds. I have long been mystified by the closures of schools and businesses with even a dusting of snow. Then there are the spontaneous car crashes that seem to follow immediately after a flake hits a car hood. However, nothing prepared me for today. All of the school in Fairfax are closed because it is cold. That’s right. No, snow. No freezing rain. It is eight degrees so schools are closed. That is clearly really cold. But does it require cancellation of schools? The forecast today is sunny with a high of 17 degrees. [Update: As of noon, it was sunny, 19 degrees, and rising in McLean.]
The Obama Administration continues to struggle with questions of why it has blocked any investigation, let alone prosecution, of James Clapper (right), director of National Intelligence, who previously acknowledged lying before the Senate. Not only has Clapper not been fired, but Obama has asked him to help oversee the “reforms” of the very abusive program that he helped run and then lied about to Congress. It is part of America’s Animal Farm where government officials can commit crimes with impunity while pursuing others like Snowden for arrest. Yet, the questions persist about Clapper so the Administration sent forth National Intelligence general counsel Robert Litt (left), who promptly made it far worse.
By Mark Esposito, Guest Blogger
This is the second of a multi-part article on the Public Interest Defense and its application to the the Edward Snowden situation. The defense is not recognized in America but other nations have considered this legal mechanism to provide an appropriate way to deflect criminal charges from whistleblowers like Snowden. You can read the first installment of the series here.
The Trial of Publius Horatius
When last we met Publius Horatius, soldier of Rome, he had saved the Eternal City from disaster in an epic battle of champions and then was quite ceremoniously convicted of treason against the state for the murder of his sister thus preventing the Senate from dealing with her traitorous grief over one of the fallen foe of Rome. In a clever legal maneuver made at the secret behest of the Roman king, Tullus Hostilius, who distrusted the designs of the Senate in passing him this hot potato of a case, Publius invoked the ancient right of every Roman citizen to a provocatio ad populum – a direct appeal to the people of Rome. Readers of the Christian Bible will likely recall that Paul of Tarsus was likewise accorded this right by virtue of his Roman citizenship, though by this time Rome had moved from a republic to an empire and the appeal was made to Cæsar himself.#
Submitted by Charlton Stanley, Guest Blogger
Since it has been somewhat tense around here, I thought a bit of adrenaline might relieve some stress. There is a curious thing about aviators. We hate high places. If you can get a typical pilot on a roller coaster or Ferris wheel, you have accomplished something. Oh sure, there is the occasional outlier who doesn’t mind, but few pilots I know are willing to get out on high places. I once knew a Marine Harrier fighter pilot who went over to a friend’s apartment for a cookout. The friend lived on about the 14th floor. The grill was out on the cantilevered balcony. This tough Marine fighter pilot would not go out there, even when bribed with beer.
I have some theories why this is so, but that involves rather dense aviation psychology research discussion that might give some of our readers a math headache, and is beyond the scope of the #1 Legal News & Analysis Blog on the intertoobz. At any rate, some of us would like to be able to ride a real roller coaster without getting any higher off the ground than we are willing to fall. Quite a feat for a designer to build a fast roller coaster that does not go any higher than the average pilot is willing to fall without a parachute. The Austrians and Swiss have accomplished just that.
By Mark Esposito, Guest Blogger
This is the first of a multi-part article on the Public Interest Defense and its application to the the Edward Snowden situation. The defense is not recognized in America but other nations have considered this legal mechanism to provide an appropriate way to deflect criminal charges from whistleblowers like Snowden. Part 2 can be found here.
The Legend of Publius Horatius
For centuries, children in ancient Rome would recount the legend of Publius Horatius, one of three Horatius brothers (known as the Horatii), who fought to defend Rome from attack by the militaristic and close-by Italian city-state of Alba Longa. Rather than engage in a pitched battle of armies for supremacy of the peninsula and subject all of Latinium (as Italy was then known) to the vulnerability of foreign attack, Rome and her rival opted to name a triumvirate of champions to fight to the death to decide the fates of two ancient megalopolises. One would emerge as the dominating power and the other would be relegated to a vassal state. The Horatii seemed the obvious choice among the Roman legionnaires as the triplet brothers were unequaled among their peers in strength and martial prowess. Swearing an oath to fight to the death, the brothers strode to the Field of Mars to battle for both the glory and survival of Rome. For her part, Alba Longa chose her own incredibly coincident set of warrior triplets known as the Curiatius brothers (or the Curiatii) who swore an equally obligating oath to “return either with their shields or on them” as a Spartan might say.
I just saw this video and had to share it. A helicopter crew was flying in the countryside and saw a kid and his Dad lose a World War II RC plane in the top of a tree. They proceed to hover over the tree and pull the plane out of the branches. They then land and give it to the Dad and a dumbfounded kid.
Normally, a product containing donkey meat would be the reason for a recall. However, in China, it is the lack of donkey meat that has caused a scandal. The Chinese have found that a produce called “Five Spice” donkey meat contained traced of meat from other animals, particularly fox meat. We previously saw scandals involving rancid or rat meat being sold in China. However, from a Western sensibilities standpoint, this is a rather novel claim that donkey meat was contaminated by non-donkey meat.
We have been discussing of the continuing rape epidemic in India, including repeated rapes by police officers in that country or efforts by police to shield rapists. Police in Kolkata reached a new level of abuse in actually hijacking the hearse of a victim who was gang-raped and dumped at at a hospital for nine days with fatal burns. The police then tried to force the family to agree to an immediate cremation.
There is an interesting ruling by an administrative appellate court in Australia this week awarding an Army widow a pension after the death of her husband in July 2012. Clement Hutton had hypertension and Shirley Hutton argued that he became addicted to salt while serving in the Australian army in World War II.
Iowa State University professor Dr. Dong-Pyou Han has resigned after admitting he falsely claimed results to suggest a breakthrough in a vaccine for the AIDS vaccine. Han received a $19 million grant after reporting that rabbit blood could be turned into a vaccine. Turns out it was just hare and hype.
Scandal gripped the Sister Wives case last week with the statement released on this blog. In my statement responding to the decision to appeal the decision striking down the criminalization of cohabitation, I included the following line: “these are not Utahan rights but American rights.” I consciously used “Utahan” rather than “Utahn” as preferred by many in the state. This results in a couple news sites running the quote with a correction for a misspelling: Turley wrote. “Nevertheless, these are not Utahan (sic) rights but American rights. It will be an honor to defend this decision, and the rights of the Brown family, in Denver.” I stand by my decision in the use of Utahan as correct despite the disagreement from many of my Utahn friends.
Well, another Bears season ended short of the playoffs with the added ignobility of having the Packers deliver the coup de grace. The most bizarre aspect was of course the fumble from Aaron Rodgers in the second quarter that everyone thought was a dead bar, including Packers receiver Brandon Boykin who was told to pick up the ball by the Packers sideline and score. To lose with a dead ball, reminded me of a certain scene from an old Bogart movie. Can you guess?
Submitted by Charlton Stanley, Guest Blogger
Ever since I was a kid, wheels, gears and spinning things held a fascination. I suspect that is true of most youngsters. One of my all time favorite Christmas toys was a gyroscope. When I took physics, my favorite subject was Mechanics, especially when I got to play with the lab equipment that demonstrated angular momentum and Newton’s laws of motion. I did a bit of research on the history of the discovery of the laws of angular momentum and inertia. Seems Descartes first formulated it, then Newton used Descartes’ ideas in developing his Laws of Motion. When adding the discoveries of Newton and Descartes together, we get the Law of Conservation of Momentum. Several years after Newton published his Laws of Motion, Euler first wrote the formula F=ma.
The physical laws governing Mechanics, like all other branches of scientific discovery, were discovered piecemeal. The process of discovery took place over centuries. There were many investigators, some more prominent than others. The thing I find interesting is the fact that the significance of the piecemeal discoveries were not always understood at the time. That is particularly true of momentum, which was discovered almost like the palaeontologist scratching dirt away from a fossil, a bit at at time. However, Sir Isaac Newton is given credit for creating the branch of physical science we call Mechanics.
All those discoveries makes the Cubli possible, but we had to wait for computers to be invented to make it work. What, may you ask, is a Cubli? Good question. The name “Cubli” is derived from the English word “cube” and the Swiss German diminutive “li.” The Cubli is a cube 15cm on each side. It contains three reaction wheels that act as the force generators. Their spin is controlled precisely by the computer. It is a mistake to think the Cubli works by gyroscopic force. It doesn’t. The wheels are spun, then suddenly stopped. That creates the reaction force needed to make the Cubli do what it does.
Take a look over the jump to see the Cubli in action.
Submitted by Darren Smith, Guest Blogger
In what otherwise would be seen as a string of words generated from a random joke generator, it is true authorities with the Charleston County Sheriff’s Office in South Carolina report that a woman allegedly did just that.
Deputies reportedly arrived at the home of Helen Williams and found a man covered with blood. Williams stated to deputies he fell and cut himself however was not able to explain why her hands and clothes were bloody. But stranger issues were afoot
Submitted by Darren Smith, Guest Blogger
The Chinese Government banned the video game Battlefield 4, developed by Electronic Arts, claiming the video game casts China in a bad light and advocates political issues which make China appear to be a warlike society.
The game play plot takes place in the year 2020 where a military coup occurs in China resulting in a geo-political intrigue that could bring the US into a protracted war. The US sends troops to Hong Kong to fight against the coup and the PLA.
The Chinese Ministry of Culture went as far as to ban all things related to the game including software, patches, and news reports. It censored the topic of the game on China’s main social media website weibo.com. On a link derived, according to ZDNet, from an official Chinese news publication, there was much worry over the video games:
In a previous column, I criticized the work of the White House Task Force on the NSA surveillance program as stacked with Obama loyalists with a majority of surveillance hawks. Later, one of the five members came out to say that the reforms were not significant and that he believes the program should be actually expanded not limited. Now, the only member without prior positions in the Administration and national security ties, University of Chicago Law School Professor Geoffrey Stone, has declared that the NSA is not a rogue agency and that Edward Snowden is a criminal.