We previously discussed the case of former Williamson County District Attorney Ken Anderson who committed various prosecutorial abuses to secure the imprisonment of Michael Morton (shown here), now 58, an innocent man who spent 25 years in jail. This includes a disscussion this weekend on the blog. He has now pleaded guilty and will received just 10 days in jail as part of his settlement.
Archive for the 'Bizarre' Category
Former Texas District Attorney Accused Of Prosecutorial Misconduct That Sent Innocent Man To Prison For 25 Years . . . Receives 10 Days In JailPublished 1, November 11, 2013 Bizarre , Criminal law , Lawyering 20 Comments
What is striking about this action is that the driver is harmlessly going through papers. However, his window is partially closed which may have irritated the officer.
By Mark Esposito, Guest Blogger
Late Fall 1975, I was sitting in my living room that we never sat in with my father’s tie on. A coach from some nondescript college was talking to my Dad about me coming to play for him. “Never saw a missed block all night,” he crooned. “Your son can play.” My Dad, obviously flattered, asked the coach about academics and was edified that “Look, the books are the same wherever he goes, but we can do more for him. We can make him a man … you know, build his character.” ”That’s our job,” Dad replied. Dad ushered him politely out of the house.
South Beach Bully
The nation’s been riveted by the revelations coming out of the Miami Dolphins locker room. Stanford educated right tackle Jonathan Martin abruptly left the team before a big game and checked into a local hospital claiming emotional exhaustion. The fatigue was not caused by the grinding NFL schedule but, according to Martin, from constant bullying by fellow offensive lineman Richie Incognito and others over a two-year period. Martin’s lawyers filed a complaint with the league for denying their client the right to earn a living by promoting or permitting a hostile work environment. Proven league bad-boy Incognito was suspended indefinitely.
Tags: Attempted Rape, Curtescine Lloyd, Dwight Coverson, Hinds County, Mississippi, Self Defense, Sex Offender
Submitted by Charlton Stanley (aka Otteray Scribe), Guest Blogger
“If you’ve got ‘em by the balls, their hearts and minds will follow.”
- Lyndon Baines Johnson, 36th President of the United States.
I should have known something was up. I came home from work one day and my wife met me at the door. “Somebody broke into Curtescine’s house and tried to rape her.” Curtescine Lloyd was one of the nurses on the oncology floor at the hospital. Curtescine lived in Edwards MS, a small bedroom community just a few miles west of where we lived.
Shocked, I asked if there was any word on whether she was hurt, and did we need to go to the hospital. My wife responded, “Not exactly.”
There is an interesting potential tort action out of Poland. In the United States, there is heightened liability standards for the mishandling of corpses. However, what if you mishandle a person who you thought was a corpse? That is what happened to Marek Michalski, 56, who drank himself into a stupor and passed out on a bench in Pieotrkow, Poland. He was assumed dead and bagged and sent to the morgue. He woke up in a body bag in the morgue and had to roll off a table to free himself from the body bag.
Missouri Police Repeatedly Shoot Man With Tasers And Arrest Him To Prevent Him From Rescuing His Three-Year-Old Son From FirePublished 1, November 8, 2013 Bizarre , Criminal law , Society , Torts 40 Comments
People in Louisiana, Missouri are angry today about the treatment of a step father, Ryan Miller, who was shot with a taser by police officers to prevent him from trying to save his three-year-old stepson, Riley Miller (on the right in the picture), from a raging fire. The fire department refused to enter the building as too dangerous but Ryan Miller wanted to try. He never got his chance. He was shot by two officers with three tasters and handcuffed. He was then taken to jail, though no charges were filed. Riley Miller burned to death.
This video shows perhaps the worst hit and run ever. The scene was not far from my family home in Chicago and shows the driver try to flee an accident with a taxi. He proceeds to hit at least five other cars.
New Mexico Man Stopped For Minor Traffic Violation and Given Digital and Surgical Anal Exams Is Charged $6000 By The Hospital For His “Medical Care”Published 1, November 7, 2013 Bizarre , Criminal law , Society , Torts 142 Comments
Yesterday, we discussed the horrific allegations against police from Deming, New Mexico and the medial staff of Gila Regional Medical Center in Silver City, N.M. They (and others including the local prosecutor) allegedly conducted repeated digital anal searches of man stopped for a minor traffic violation and then performed multiple enemas and a colonoscopy in search of drugs. David Eckert has sued for both compensatory and punitive damages. However, I learned today that in addition to the alleged physical abuse, he was sent a $6000 bill from the hospital for the involuntary colonoscopy.
We have previously seen employees give up their jobs over the purely coincidental use of the number “666″ on standard employment forms. Now a Kentucky teenager Codie Thacker has withdrawn from a regional cross country race because she was randomly generated a bib number of “666.” It raises the question again whether companies or schools or events should accommodate such objections.
New Mexico Police Allegedly Stop Man For Minor Traffic Violation And Use Repeated Digital and Surgical Anal Examinations To Find Drugs . . . And Find NothingPublished 1, November 6, 2013 Bizarre , Constitutional Law , Criminal law , Society , Supreme Court 75 Comments
There is a highly disturbing case out of New Mexico where David Eckert has filed a federal case against the Hidalgo County Sheriff’s Office, police officers with the City of Deming and medical professionals at the Gila Regional Medical Center. Eckert was stopped on a minor traffic violation and accused by an officer of holding his buttocks. What followed was a nightmare where officers and doctors subjected Eckert to outrageous abuse as they searched for drugs or contraband in his body.
The bullying scandal at the Miami Dolphins is taking a dangerous turn for the franchise. A new report states that coaches told suspended lineman Richie Incognito to “toughen up” teammate Johnathan Martin after the latter player missed part of the team’s offseason workout program. Since Incognito already had a reputation for violence and dirty play, such an order would raise a serious question of management knowledge and implied approval of the treatment of Martin. It is a football version of the premise of a Code Red in “A Few Good Men.”
Man Accidentally Lights Himself On Fire At Halloween Festival . . . People Grab Their Cameras And Laugh As He BurnsPublished 1, November 6, 2013 Bizarre , Society 41 Comments
There is a horrific report out of Hollywood where a man accidentally lit himself on fire and, while some people struggled to help him, other party goers gathered around with cameras and filmed the man as he burned. Some reports had people dancing and laughing as people tried to push them back so the man could be assisted. Gilbert Estrada, 51, later died. People posted the scene below on YouTube which shows people cheering and laughing as Estrada lay on the ground.
This may be the most ironic story of the year. We often discuss two outstanding characteristics of modern China: expanding pollution and shrinking civil liberties. Now, the two have collided where Chinese officials are struggling with the loss of surveillance from its thousands of surveillance cameras spying on citizens. Pollution is now making it difficult to maintain such surveillance due to the permanent shroud of particulates and pollutants. Thus, while Chinese lives are being shortened, their government may have given them a slight respite from monitoring. Of course, it is hard to use free speech when you are gasping for breath. A recent report details how pollution in one Chinese city is being attributed as the cause of lung cancer in an eight-year-old boy.
When a group of guys say that they want to go on a hunt for Bigfoot, there are a host of concerns that come to mind about heading off with weapons to shoot at a mythical creature. None of those concerns appear to have stopped men in Oklahoma this week. Indeed, police say that Omar Pineda, 25, (left) may have thought he had Sasquatch at least when he heard “barking” behind him and fired. He bagged his friend with a shot to the back. Then it gets really weird.
We previously discussed horrific cases of tourists defacing or destroying priceless works of art. The latest outrage occurred at the Pompeys Pillar outside of Billings where Captain William Clark carved his signature on July 25, 1806. While some might have viewed that as graffiti in 1806, it is viewed as a national monument today and people were a bit put out to find that two people jumped over a fence, ignored signs, and carved Cole + Shpresa 10/10/2013 and a heart symbol on the monument. The suspected couple has been identified in some media reports as Cole Randall and Shpresa Lieshiaj, singers out of Minnesota.
Abu Dhabi is taking a step back in following other Muslim countries criminalizing “sorcery.” We have seen countries like Iran and Saudi Arabia pursue witches and sorcerers under Sharia laws. Abu Dhabi currently treats sorcerers as a form of fraud but now wants heavier criminal penalty as a form of blasphemy.
This month, defense attorney Drew Justice faced a rather bizarre motion from Assistant District Attorney Tammy Rettig in Tennessee. Rettig was upset that Justice was referring to the prosecution as “the government” — a common description used by both counsel (including prosecutors) as well as judges. Rettig moved for Justice to be ordered not to be call her the government. Justice responded to this clearly absurd and frivolous motion with a request of his own: He asked to be called “Captain Justice” “Guardian of the Realm.”
Tags: Lorde, Music, Puddles, Royals
Submitted by Charlton Stanley (Otteray Scribe), Guest Blogger
It has been rather intense around the Turley Blog the past couple of days. Time for a break, and hopefully, a smile.
Lorde, the sixteen-year-old singer, songwriter, activist from New Zealand wrote a catchy little song that is a commentary on entitlement, status and excess. Her song, “Royals,” has won awards and recognition for the teen. Perhaps the most flattering thing for her is the fact it has been done as a cover by numerous performers. One of the most interesting covers is the one done by Puddles, the sad clown with the golden voice. Did we mention that Puddles is about seven feet tall?
Sixth Circuit Ruling Prompts Tennessee DCS to Stop Removing Endangered Children from Homes Without a Formal Hearing.Published 1, November 3, 2013 Bizarre , Constitutional Law , Courts , Justice , Lawyering , Society , Uncategorized 24 Comments
Tags: Children's Services, Fourth Amendment, Ohio, Sixth Circuit, Tennessee
Submitted by Charlton Stanley (aka Otteray Scribe), Guest Blogger
On an August afternoon in 2008, Hickman County, TN resident Robert Andrews was working on a trailer in his yard when two deputy sheriffs pulled up in front of his house, along with three caseworkers from the Tennessee Department of Children’s Services. They approached Mr. Andrews and asked permission to go inside his home. They did not have any kind of warrant or court order, so Andrews told them they did not have permission to enter his home.
Despite his refusal, all three caseworkers and one of the deputies entered the home and searched the place. They also took each of his four children aside for interviews out of his earshot. Then the officials left. Neither Andrews nor his wife, Patti, was ever accused of a crime in connection with the visit. They were not afforded the opportunity to contact a lawyer or have a lawyer present for the interrogations of the children. At no time before or since that incident was any member of the Andrews family ever accused of any crime in connection with that visit.
In March 2002, a police officer in Cuyahoga County, Ohio kicked in Nancy Kovacic’s door, allowing caseworkers to enter her home and seize her two children. The children were placed in foster care, where they stayed 10 months. There were no criminal charges of any kind against Nancy Kovacic. Her attorney, Jay Crook, told reporters, “Caseworkers can’t just make a judgment call and say, ‘Well, I don’t like this, and with the power of the state, I’m taking these children,’ “
The children are now grown and were part of the lawsuit. They report being abused while in foster care. They have been in therapy for several years due to the trauma of being removed from their mother. Mr. Crook added, “Without that neutral arbiter, that magistrate, that judge; even over the phone, you have lost all your due process safeguards.”
Those events at the Andrews home led to a lawsuit against the caseworkers. There was also a similar lawsuit from another family in Ohio. Both cases ended up in front of the Sixth Circuit. The U.S. Court of Appeals for the Sixth Circuit used the cases to specify that caseworkers, like police, are agents of the State, and therefore controlled by the Fourth Amendment to the Constitution. This is the first time a Federal appeals court has specified that caseworkers from children’s services departments must abide by the Constitution.
More over the flip, including the full text of both Sixth Circuit decisions.
By Mark Esposito, Guest Blogger
Well, the guy who ushered in the recent government shutdown with a 21 hour filibuster sure gets it honest. Texas senator Ted Cruz, that darling of the Tea Baggers, is no longer the Harvard educated political mystery man who chides the administration at every turn and who rabble rouses what is loosely referred to as the Republican base. Seems he learned the techniques of fact-free demagoguery at daddy’s knee and not amid the ivy in Cambridge (or at Princeton as Elaine M reminds me). That’s right, the Right (as in far) Reverend Rafael Cruz has embarked on his own freewheeling magical mystery tour armed only with the credential that he sired that darling of the Rebel flag wavers. Cashing in on sonny boy’s status among some on the right, Rafael Cruz is now touring the country demanding Obama “go back to Kenya” and turning the Treaty of Tripoli* on its head claiming divine sanction in decreeing that the land of the free and home of the brave is also the exclusive dominion of the Christian. And if that isn’t a big enough stain on his vestments, the representative of the Savior commands all Tea Baggers to shinny on up to the latest polling place to vote Republican.
IRS are you listening?
Submitted By: Mike Spindell, Guest Blogger
Lou Reed Rock N’ Roll Poet, Singer and Musician died this week at the age of 71. To my mind he was a far greater artist than the world gave him credit for being. What made him special besides his guitar virtuosity; the distinctive sound of his music; his unique voice; was that his lyrics reflected his raw emotional reaction to the life he saw around him. We see many of the Rock N’ Roll Idols of our youth trade their revolutionary sentiments for a knighthood and celebrity lifestyle. Yet Rock N’ Roll in its inception began as outlaw music in the 50’s. The main cause of R&R’s horrifying the mainstream in America was that it was White musicians copying the blues styles of what were then called “Race Records” because they were performed by great Black artists. The initial horror at Elvis wasn’t just the movement of his hips, but the fact that this quintessentially southern White boy was singing Black music. The music industry soon tamed Elvis as it tamed those to come with some exceptions. Lou Reed was never tamed and was never really listed in the top tier of Rock Legends by a public that found his lyrics too raw and too filled with what was the seamy side of American life. What follows are the lyrics to one of Lou Reed’s angriest and greatest songs as pertinent to America today as it was when he wrote it in 1989. Afterwards you can hear him sing it. To me one of the two great American poets of the last 100 years died this week and people think he was just another Rock N’ Roll singer. Continue reading ‘R.I.P Lou Reed’
Six Down, Three Hundred Million To Go: SNL Skit May Have Predicted The Actual Enrollment Figures For ObamacarePublished 1, November 1, 2013 Bizarre , Media , Politics , Society 40 Comments
For those who believe our government has become a bad parody of itself, you now have proof. As noted by WTOP, Saturday Night Live featured a skit in which Kate McKinnon portrayed Health and Human Services Secretary Kathleen Sebelius speaking about the problems in registering for health care. In the skit, faux Sebelius notes that the website is visited by millions but is designed to only handle six people at a time. However, the media is reporting that in the first 24 hours, only six users were able to enroll of 4.7 million visitors. In the meantime, the Administration is delaying the release of enrollment figures while contractors are blaming Administration officials for the lack of testing and negligence supervision of the system.
Continue reading ‘Six Down, Three Hundred Million To Go: SNL Skit May Have Predicted The Actual Enrollment Figures For Obamacare’
Halloween Trickers Go To School Principal’s House To TP His Trees . . . Neighbor Shoots Boy With ShotgunPublished 1, October 31, 2013 Bizarre , Criminal law , Society , Torts 31 Comments
In Franklin County, Tennessee, children may want to avoid the house of Dale Bryant Farris, 65, this Halloween . . . or houses near him. Bryant was arrested after shooting a 15-year-old boy who was with kids toilet-papering their principal’s front yard. Bryant came out of his house a couple of houses down from the home of Principal Ken Bishop and allegedly fired at least two blasts — one hitting a 15-year-old boy in the right foot, inner left knee, right palm, right thigh and right side of his torso above the waistline.
For civil libertarians, there may be no more unsettling statements than “Dianne Feinstein is here to protect civil liberties.” Of course, it is not quite that bad. The Senate Intelligence Chairwoman Dianne Feinstein (D-Calif.) has been the greatest champion for the creation of the massive surveillance of U.S. citizens and effectively blocked any demand for a perjury prosecution of National Intelligence Director James Clapper for lying about the programs. She has called for the prosecution of Edward Snowden for revealing years of deceitful or false statements made to the public. She has criticized the media for disclosing information on the programs despite admissions that of unlawful conduct by the government after the disclosures. No, none of that bothers Dianne Feinstein. However, she is outraged by the monitoring of foreign leaders and promised a “total review” surveillance program.
There could be an interesting torts case developing in Fargo, North Dakota where hundreds of church members were exposed to hepatitis A by Bishop John Folda in masses at four different churches. Folda contracted hepatitis while at a conference for newly ordained bishops in Italy. Grazie!
As the world joins in opposition to the U.S. attack on privacy worldwide, President Barack Obama has to face awkward meetings with world leaders of allied countries who were subjects of his surveillance. Some reports have stated that Obama personally approved the monitoring of Angela Merkel’s telephone three years ago. Now, the National Security Agency (NSA) is insisting that Obama did not order the monitoring personally. I am not sure what is worse: that Obama ordered interceptions of allied leaders like Merkel or that the surveillance state is so large that functionaries now have the discretion to order such surveillance. Merkel may not find it as more assuring that Obama didn’t order her monitoring than the notion such she is just another target delegated to discretion of lower level officials. It is also not clear if Mike Rogers is going to suggest that Merkel should also thank us for the monitoring.
Sheldon Adelson, American mogul, believes that President Obama is not only mollycoddling Iran but failing to use a key vehicle for diplomacy that has too long been ignored: nuclear weapons. Adelson called on Obama to nuke Iran last week. Not Tehran mind you. We would start with a nuclear explosion in the Iranian desert.
Europeans are upset after learning that, in addition to capturing the email and phone records of Americans, the NSA has been doing the same to them in a global assault on privacy. This includes leaders of allied nations. The United States is now viewed as an international rogue nation with no respect for the law or privacy or even loyalty. Now into this explosive environment has jumped Rep. Mike Rogers (R-Mich.), chairman of the House Intelligence Committee. Rogers responded directly to the French and said that this is all a “good thing” and the French should really be “applauding and popping champagne corks” for keeping them all under surveillance and destroying any notion of privacy.
By Mark Esposito, Guest Blogger
American poet Stephen Dunn (bio here) reminds us that “all good poems are a victory over something.” For the folks in Rittman , Ohio (pop. 6,491) those words have a decidedly athletic context. The Rittman Indians High School football team was suffering through another miserable season at 1-7 and team morale was plummeting. Like most bad institutions there’s plenty of blame to go around but the school administration thought it had its scapegoat. Junior Defensive End Nick Andre had been tasked with composing a poem about something that made him angry. His English teacher told him anything he wrote about was fine as long as it was authentic and sincere. Not content with such weighty issues as drone strikes or government shutdowns, Nick decided to write about what he knew — the abysmal football team and allegations of nepotism and favoritism that were weighing down the squad.
Tags: Cocke County, Ethics, Lu Ann Ballew, Messiah, Tennessee
Submitted by Charlton Stanley (aka Otteray Scribe), Guest Blogger
Last August, this blog had the story of Cocke County, Tennessee child support Magistrate Judge Lu Ann Ballew who arbitrarily ordered parents to change the first name of their seven month old child. Jaleesa Martin and Jawaan McCullough had decided on their child’s first name, but were not able to agree on whether his surname should be that of his mother or his father. It was Judge Ballew who ordered the parents of seven month old Messiah McCullough Martin they had to change the child’s first name and change his birth certificate. Judge Ballew opined, “The word Messiah is a title, and it’s a title that has only been earned by one person, and that one person is Jesus Christ.”
In a rambling interview with local television, Judge Ballew tried to explain her reasoning. The reporter asked her what if the child had been named Jesus, a popular name in the Spanish speaking community. The judge stammered, finally declaring that to be irrelevant. The reporter did not press the issue and ask about the use of Mohammed/Muhammed by many Islamic families. Her answer to that would have been…..interesting. Here is the interview of Magistrate Judge Lu Ann Ballew with a reporter from a local TV station. This is almost painful to watch.
University of Colorado-Boulder Tells Students Not To Dress As Cowboys, Indians, or Other “Offensive” OutfitsPublished 1, October 25, 2013 Bizarre , Columns 58 Comments
Students at the University of Colorado at Boulder have been told this year that some standard costumes are now deemed “offensive” and are unacceptable. This includes costumes as cowboys, indians and anything involving a sombrero. Once again, I am concerned that these rules based on tolerance values are intruding into the speech rights of students and wrongly assumes that all such outfits are derogatory to a particular race or culture.
Dallas Man Accuses Police Of Opening Fire On Him After He Opened His Front Door After He Previously Refused To Be QuestionedPublished 1, October 25, 2013 Bizarre , Constitutional Law , Criminal law 27 Comments
There is a troubling case out of Dallas where David Blair said that he opened the door to his apartment only to be met with a hail of gunfire from police. The Dallas Police Department reportedly told him that he caused the response by shining of flashlight and having a door that made a popping sound. Apparently, you have to either get some WD40 or face a barrage of lead in Texas.
We have become accustomed to reports of unimaginable corruption and waste in Afghanistan from bags of money delivered to President Karzai to constructing huge buildings to be immediately torn down to buying aircraft that cannot be used. The common element to the stories is the absence of any reported prosecution or even discipline for those responsible. You can simply waste hundreds of millions of dollars and continue in your government position. This week’s outrage comes from a report of the Special Inspector General for Afghanistan Reconstruction (SIGAR). Among huge examples of waste and delay is this little ditty: USAid paid a $300,000 charge for 600 gallons of diesel fuel. That is $500/gallon to a contractor.
You may recall John Pike, a 40-year-old former officer with University of California-Davis, who became infamous due to the videotape below in which he calmly sprayed kneeling students with pepper spray during a Nov. 2011 protest. He was fired for his conduct by the university. However, he has now been awarded $38,059 in workers’ compensation for depression and anxiety in dealing with the controversy.
Since we have been discussing the Jets-Patriots brawl, we might as well add a story out of Texas where a coach is facing a charge of “bullying” because his team, Aledo High School, beat Western Hills High School by 91-0. Tim Buchanan will now have to answer for his actions after various parents filed complaints that he allowed his team to do so well. I find this type of objection to be mystifying. I have four kids in sports. I feel bad when they lose but I tell them that you do your best and try harder next time. Moreover, I am not sure what this coach is supposed to do. He has a really good team. Are they supposed to intentionally ground the ball? I think the demeaning thing is not losing to a better team but having your parents demand that they let you score.
Yesterday, we discussed the fight between a Jets fan and Patriots fans recently caught on YouTube. One of the issues for discussion was the focus of the media on a New York Jets fan, Kurt Paschke, punching a woman in a Patriots jersey. Many were outraged that he hit Jaclyn Nugent, 26, and that anger grew when it was learned that he was a former felon. However, the full video showed Paschke being attacked first by Nugent, at least in that incident. Well, it turns out that the police was not so confined in its search. Charges were filed Tuesday afternoon against Amanda MacDowell of Marlborough, Mass.; Jaclyn Nugent and David James Sacco, both of Boston, and Kurt Paschke of Holbrook, N.Y. I remain unclear as to why Paschke is even charged since what was shown on the video seems a legitimate act of self-defense. It may be misleading in terms of what occurred before, but he is shown hitting Nugent after she attacks him.
What is it about law enforcement and squirrels recently? We previously discussed the pepper spraying of a squirrel. Now Tennessee police officer Officer Jody Putnam has been fired after he tried to get rid of a squirrel in a Dollar General store by shooting at the animal and using his pepper spray.
We have previously discussed how many families, including my own, have abandoned football stadiums to rowdies who have turned games into a contest of obnoxious drinking, swearing, and fighting. Games are now viewed as a license what is becoming the American version of Soccer hooligans. That element was on display this week with the video below of a New York Jets fan punching a woman in a Patriots jersey. According to reports, the man is Kurt Paschke, who was previously found guilty of negligent homicide in a stabbing death outside of a pizzeria in 1992. However, the Patriots fans come off as no better in the video, including the woman, identified as Jaclyn Nugent, 26, who is seen as hitting Paschke before he hits her.
Ohio Supreme Court Asked To Order Psychiatric Evaluation For Controversial Judge From Powerful Cleveland FamilyPublished 1, October 22, 2013 Bizarre , Courts , Lawyering , Politics 17 Comments
We have previously dealt with judges found to be mentally disturbed but kept on the bench despite erratic behavior. The most recent case involves Cleveland Municipal Court Judge Angela Stokes who has long had a bad reputation as a judge for her domineering and sometimes bizarre conduct from the bench. Now a report from the Ohio Supreme Court’s Office of Disciplinary Counsel has concluded that Stokes may be “suffering from a mental illness that substantially impairs her ability to perform her duties as a judicial officer.” The local newspaper is calling for her resignation. As with other judges found to be incompetent, Stokes has been reelected easily. She is the daughter of former Cleveland Congressman Louis Stokes. While she has received consistently poor ratings from bar associations and newspaper editorial boards, she has easily won re-election.
No it is not the latest rock band. Fat Leonard is the nickname for the rotund contractor named Leonard Glenn Francis, chief executive of Glenn Defense Marine. The Asian company is accused of greasing the skids in the Navy with bribes ranging from prostitutes to luxury hotels to tickets to Lady Gaga concerts. Snared in the scandal are an array of top Navy officials, including an official at the Naval Criminal Investigative Service and a Navy Commander known “Little Bro” to Fat Leonard. Fat Leonard was well known in Naval circles and was given his nickname because he dressed out at 6-3 and 350 pounds.
The Taliban has long personified the ignorance and intolerance found among religious extremists. Indeed, they first attracted international attention with their destruction of the famous giant Buddhas of Bamiyan. However, it is always impressive to see the degree to which its Islamic beliefs seem to produce uniformly harmful impacts on the populations under its cruel control. A report last week documented how there is a serious polio outbreak that is threatening global progress against the disease. The Taliban has denounced vaccinations as a Western plot and threatened anyone who receives one. It is a tragic irony since the disease has long been the scourge of the Middle East going back to ancient times, as this Egyptian tablet from the 18th Dynasty (1403–1365 BC) reflects. The ancient populations could only dream of a cure but, now that one is available, the Taliban again seeks to force its areas back into the dark ages.
A couple years ago, the family went through a toll booth in Illinois by mistake without paying: we mistook an automatic lane for a cash lane. We spent the rest of the day trying to reach someone to pay the toll only to be told that it would not be necessary. I thought of that experience today after reading about Ronny Williams and Cora Lewis of Pflugerville, Texas who have racked up $236,026.32 in unpaid tolls and fines. We are obviously on opposing ends of a guilt spectrum. By the way, Mandy and Stephen Dyment of Hutto were not far behind with $217,619.79 in unpaid tolls and fines.
Walmart appears to struggle at times to find ways to lower itself in the estimation of the world from stripping people of benefits to firing sick employees to arbitrary treatment of employees to destroying history to alleged bribery to reporting families to police for innocent pictures. Not long ago, the store fired an elderly greeter who was attacked by customer. Now, a Michigan man, Kristopher Oswald, says that he was fired after trying to help a woman being assaulted in the parking lot during one of his breaks. What is interesting is that Walmart is not denying his account.
My opposition to the ever-expanding trademark and copyright laws is well known. (For a prior column, click here). Common phrases and symbols are being snatched up as Congress and the Obama Administration continue to yield to every demand for higher levels of penalties and prosecutions. Now we have a personal injury firm — Geoff McDonald & Associates — that has knuckled under to a threat from GEICO insurance because it used an obvious (and stated) parody in a commercial. This is an office filled with attorneys and yet they pulled the commercial because of an obvious joke. If they cannot stand up to the copyright and trademark hawks, consider the position of average citizens faced with threatening letters. Even other insurance companies have folded under pressure from GEICO in parody commercials. It is not clear if GEICO will now move against zoos and elementary schools who try to feature geckos. Before I am sued by the lawyers at GEICO, the picture to the left is a body part of a common gecko found in the wild. He has no connection to the insurance company and is not meant to mock it in any way.
There is an interesting decision out of the King County Bar Association after the bar grappled with questions from lawyers as to whether they can smoke marijuana after the state legalized pot despite that the fact that it is still deemed a crime under federal law. The bar associate said that the ethical lawyer could smoke pot so long as it did not interfere with their ability to represent clients. While some would question that standard, the same personal responsibility on consumption applies to alcohol use by lawyers.
Some of you may recall that in 2011 we discussed the efficiency and logic of Portland officials dumping 8 million gallons of drinking water after a man urinated in the city’s open reservoir. Well, it has now happened again. After a 21-year-old man admitted urinating in a Mt. Tabor reservoir last Wednesday, the city cut off its key water supply and dumped 7.8 million gallons of drinking water. The question, again, is the logic of such a move. Even if one does not accept that, as industry experts often spouted, “the solution to pollution is dilution,” this is such a tiny amount of impurities as to be untraceable. This would be no more than 12 ounces within 8 million gallons of water.
For many of us, Congress has become a circus like environment with two parties exercising a duopoly of power despite record levels of contempt from voters for their conduct and policies. For sane people, Congress simply could not get more bizarre. Think again. At the height of the vote to end the government shutdown, Dianne Reidy, an official reporter with the Office of the Clerk, took the mike and began to condemn Congress (starting out well) and then rave against Freemasons (ending not so well). The most troubling thing about the scene? For many voters, she still seemed the most sane and honest person in the chamber.
Illinois Man Threatens To Burn Historic Papers Of Harvard’s First Black Graduate Unless He Is Given More MoneyPublished 1, October 17, 2013 Academics , Bizarre , Society 28 Comments
Contractor Rufus McDonald, 52, is upset. He found historic papers of Harvard’s first black graduate, Richard T. Greener, in the attic of an abandoned home. He immediately offered to sell the papers to Harvard but was disappointed by the offer made by the school. Faced with what he describes as an insulting offer for such invaluable papers, McDonald announced that he would burn them unless people gave him more money.
South Carolina Police Officer Charged After Handcuffing and Allegedly Assaulting Woman In Bar After Being RebuffedPublished 1, October 17, 2013 Bizarre , Criminal law 33 Comments
The Richland County Sheriff’s Deputy Paul Allen Derrick has been fired after a video was put on YouTube showing him handcuffing a woman after an argument with her in a Columbia, South Carolina restaurant. The police report says that Derrick approached the woman but that 23-year-old Brittany Ball showed no interest in him. They then got into an argument. Things then went from bad to worst as the video below vividly demonstrates.