We have previously seen cases involving the evil twin defense. However, recently Toronto mayor Rob Ford invoked this defense after a picture emerged that purportedly showed him smoking crack. The problem is that the reporters cannot find evidence that he actually has a twin as he claims. It does not appear that former D.C. mayor Marion Berry is a relation.
Archive for the 'Criminal law' Category
Evil Twin Defense: Toronto Mayor Makes Novel Claim After Surfacing Of Tape Allegedly Showing Him Smoking CrackPublished 1, May 20, 2013 Bizarre , Criminal law , International , Politics , Society 4 Comments
Tags: DSM-5, insanity, mental health, mental illness
Submitted by Charlton Stanley (Otteray Scribe), guest blogger
The relationship between mental health and the legal system is a turbulent one at best. One major problem is they speak two different languages. For example, insanity is a legal term found nowhere in any psychiatric or psychological diagnostic manual.
There are several key words used commonly by both professions, but which have quite different meanings. The words “validity” and “reliability” are part of the vocabulary of science. To a scientist, the word validity means that a test measures what it claims to measure. When a test is intended to measure depression or anxiety, the user can assume it measures depression and anxiety.
Reliability refers to the repeatability of a test or measurement. If we give the same test to the same subject several times, all the scores will fall within the standard error of measurement 95% of the time.
When an attorney uses the word validity, it means, Binding; possessing legal force or strength; legally sufficient.
The legal interpretation of the word reliability suggests the subject matter is trustworthy, and that one can rely on it. However, when a scientist says something is reliable, it means whatever is being tested will get the same results with every retest, within the Standard Error of Measurement.
An examination of the literature of both professions reminds us of the quip attributed to George Bernard Shaw, “[We] are two peoples divided by a common language.”
When I was in graduate school, a well-known attorney gave an invited lecture to the student body. The speaker made several sweeping generalizations about the mentally ill; all of them displaying a stunning ignorance of facts. Then he turned his venom on those in the mental health professions, referring to mental health professionals scornfully as, “Soul doctors.” I would like to say people like him are rare, but they are not. I have known judges who, quite literally, did not believe in mental illness. We had one of those in our area who, mercifully, retired a few years ago. People like that remind me of those misogynistic knuckle-draggers who don’t believe there is such a thing as rape.
Now, back to the stormy relationship between the legal system and mental illness.
This video shows a police officer fighting with a young man over math and declaring “I do not have to prove shit to you” when confronted over his math. The officer dismisses the “genius” who tries to tell him that double .08 is .16.
Peerless: Oklahoma Man Repeatedly Shows Up Late For Jury Duty . . . And Then Misses Hearing On Contempt Of CourtPublished 1, May 17, 2013 Bizarre , Courts , Criminal law , Lawyering 9 Comments
Rickey Christopher, 23, obviously does not like jury duty. Many people feel the same but he is fast making jury duty into the worst chapter of his life. Christopher was previously dismissed from jury duty for repeatedly showing up late. Then when he was ordered to appear for possible contempt of court, stemming from his jury duty, he failed to appear. There is now a warrant out for his arrest from Oklahoma County District Judge Ray C. Elliott. It is a good thing that such charges are generally handled without a jury. It would be hard to find 12 peers of Christopher to appear on time to try the case.
There was an interesting confrontation in Seattle this week where a man flew a drone just feet away from a family home. The drone was camera-equipped and the mother called police. Before the man left, he insisted that he had a right to use a private drone to surveil his neighbors. No it is not John Ashcroft’s neighborhood. I wanted to clarify a couple of points before others take to the air for some private snooping.
Couple Refuses To Allow Police To Enter Home Without Warrant . . . Police Kick Down Door and Taser CouplePublished 1, May 16, 2013 Constitutional Law , Criminal law , Society 103 Comments
This video shows a confrontation between a couple in Cotati, California and police after the police were called to investigate a domestic violence complaint. The couple tells the police that they were simply yelling in an argument and refused to allow the police to enter without a warrant. The police respond by kicking down the door and tasering the couple.
The Norwich police was called to a public disturbance this week in a reported clash between Star Wars fans and Doctor Who fans at a Sci-Fi convention. The Sci Fi turf war reportedly erupted when Norwich Sci Fi Club treasurer, Jim Poole, a Star Wars fan, appeared at the rival club’s event at the University of East Anglia and tried to get an autograph from Doctor Who actor Graham Cole. It appears that there were no true Jedi masters who could use their Jedi mind control trick. Of course, this does not work on some species and Dr. Who is not human.
Convicted Philadelphia abortion doctor has reached an agreement with prosecutors to avoid the death penalty: he has waived his right to appeal in exchange for a sentence of life without parole. I have no problem with the conviction of Dr. Kermit Gosnell, 72, who performed late abortions in violation of state law under the most gruesome and horrific conditions. However, the use of the threat of the death penalty to waive appeal is a serious concern for civil libertarians.
Winning The Hearts and Minds? Video Shows Syrian Rebel Leader Cutting Out And Eating Heart Of Fallen Enemy SoldierPublished 1, May 15, 2013 Congress , Criminal law , International , Military 32 Comments
Many of us have raised concern over the same voices in Congress who called for attacking Iraq, Libya, and other countries are now calling for yet another intervention in Syria. While many of the Syrian rebels forces have been tied to extreme Islamic groups, senators like John McCain and others want us to send weapons to these forces. This could be a repeat of what we saw in Afghanistan where we trained and equipped radical groups that then turned on the United States. The video below captures just how strange our bedfellows in Syria may be with a leading commander filmed as he ate the heart cut out of a Syrian soldier. The video shows how little we know about many of these groups and the increased savagery on both sides of this civil war. The video shows Abu Sakkar – the prominent founder of rebel group Farouq Brigade.
Many defense lawyers and drivers have complained that the blood-alcohol level used by states is too low and allows charges for relatively low amounts of alcohol consumption. Nevertheless, it appears that the National Transportation Safety Board will recommended that all states drop the blood-alcohol level at which motorists can be charged with driving drunk to .05, down from the current rate of .08. That will mean that an average woman will cross the threshold with only a single drink. For men, it will be a two drink maximum.
I recently published a column on how Barack Obama has publicly assumed many of the powers that were once cited as the basis for the investigation and attempted impeachment of Richard Nixon. One of those areas was the Obama Administration’s crackdown on journalists. This week Attorney General Eric Holder appears to have yet again added to this ignoble record. It appears that the Justice Department secretly obtained two months of telephone records of reporters and editors for The Associated Press. This disclosure follows another recent disclosure that the Internal Revenue Service (IRS) targeted conservative groups associated with the Tea Party. Yet, once again, most Democrats remain silent in a type of cult of personality where principle is discarded in favor of loyalty to the President.
It appears that there is nothing so unnerving as a Saudi man traveling with a pressure cooker these days. Hussain Al Khawahir was arrested in Detroit after he was found with luggage containing a pressure cooker — the common kitchen appliance used by the Boston Marathon bombers. The question is why the federal authorities are still holding the man who allegedly had a page missing from his passport and found in possession of a kitchen appliance.
Saudi Arabia Orders Man To Receive 300 Lashes And Six Years In Jail For Helping Woman Convert To ChristianityPublished 1, May 14, 2013 Criminal law , International , Religion , Society 30 Comments
Saudi Arabia has added yet another infamous case of religious intolerance and hatred after a Lebanese man was given 300 lashes with a whip and sentenced to six years. His crime? Simply helping a Saudi woman who wanted to convert to Christianity. While Saudi Arabia continues to object to any slight of Islam in Western Countries, the Kingdom continues to deny the human right of people to choose their faith — and impose medieval punishments for those who try to exercise their faith under the Sharia system. The woman fled the Kingdom in the hope of being able to worship the God of her choice.
In a true crime against culture, a construction company in Belize City has destroyed one of Belize’s largest Mayan pyramids to use it for gravel for road fill. Archeologists and locals say that there is no way that the company officials were unaware of the historical meaning of the pyramid when they took backhoes and bulldozers to it. Before they succeeded in eradicating the structure, locals took pictures showing the center of the pyramid still standing with a Mayan room exposed at the top.
This is a sign from Union Grove, Texas where licensed and trained teachers and administrators now carry a firearm. Is this sign supposed to convince killers to move down the road to the less defended school?
While I hardly relish the death of any person, this is a story that represents a rare victory of an elephant versus a poacher. Solomon Manjoro was one of many poachers who are killing off whole species to sell ivory or animal parts to willing buyers. Police say that he and accomplice Noluck Tafuruka, 29, went to the protected Charara safari area in Zimbabwe to kill an elephant but Manjoro ended up being trampled by his prey.
Oregon Man Acquitted After Arrest For Stripping Before TSA . . . TSA Responds By Bringing Its Own ChargePublished 1, May 13, 2013 Bizarre , Criminal law , Free Speech , Lawyering , Media , Politics , Society 67 Comments
I have previously written about how the Transportation Security Agency (TSA) set out to create a crime never approved by Congress: the crime of making a joke in an airport about security issues. The TSA has long appeared to chafe at the notion of an agency dependent on Congress or the public for its authority. That appears the message being sent to John E. Brennan. You may recall Brennan from a story last year when he stripped in the Portland International Airport in protest of increasing invasive TSA security measures. He was cleared by a judge who found his stripping was a form of protest. However, the TSA was clearly miffed by decision of the judge, so Brennan was pulled into the administrative abyss by TSA with an agency charge. It appears that, if the law will not punish a citizen, TSA will.
Respectfully submitted by Lawrence E. Rafferty (rafflaw)- Guest Blogger
Recently, the ICIJ, better known as the International Consortium of Investigative Journalists released a report detailing hundreds of thousands of off-shore companies whose sole product or service is to hide income from many countries tax authorities. “A cache of 2.5 million files has cracked open the secrets of more than 120,000 offshore companies and trusts, exposing hidden dealings of politicians, con men and the mega-rich the world over.
The secret records obtained by the International Consortium of Investigative Journalists lay bare the names behind covert companies and private trusts in the British Virgin Islands, the Cook Islands and other offshore hideaways.
They include American doctors and dentists and middle-class Greek villagers as well as families and associates of long-time despots, Wall Street swindlers, Eastern European and Indonesian billionaires, Russian corporate executives, international arms dealers and a sham-director-fronted company that the European Union has labeled as a cog in Iran’s nuclear-development program.” ICIJ.org Continue reading ‘Tax Havens For the Wealthy, But What About the Rest of Us?’
by Gene Howington, Gust Blogger
As previously discussed in the column “Fantastic Plastic?“, the advent of cheap 3-D printing (or additive manufacturing) is changing the nature of how we can manufacture anything including guns. At the time the original column was written, a pioneer in additive manufacturing of guns – Defense Distributed of Austin, Texas – was making headlines for using this technology to make lower receivers for AR-15 style assault rifles. Although in the proof of concept stage, Defense Distributed had rapidly shown that they could make such a component capable of firing over 600 rounds before stress failure. I speculated that such a weapon was not as threatening due to size and some materials constraints and that even more dangerous was the possibility of all (or nearly all) plastic handguns and other easily concealable weapons that escape normal detection techniques.
In this instance, we have a case of science rapidly catching up with speculation. Last week Defense Distributed released the following video of their plastic handgun design. The only metal component of the weapon is the firing pin. It is called (rather dramatically) the Liberator.
In a move that is not entirely unexpected as self-described crypto-anarchist Cody R. Wilson and his company Defense Distributed continue to push both the boundaries of the technology as well as gun laws, the government took action. It is no secret that escalation often begets escalation. Is this the first salvo by the government in their dealings with Cody Wilson and Defense Distributed?
Tags: mental illness
Submitted by Charlton Stanley (Otteray Scribe) guest blogger
What is wrong with this picture? According to figures obtained from the Department of Justice, the National Alliance for the Mentally Ill (NAMI) reports that back in 1999, sixteen percent of the prisoners in State and Federal jails and prisons had a diagnosable major mental illness. These diagnoses include schizophrenia, bipolar disorder, major depressive disorder, or some other mental illness that can be classified as “severe.” Based on the number of known prisoners, this means there were roughly 283,000 persons with severe mental illnesses locked up in Federal and State correctional facilities, and that was 13 years ago. It has gotten worse since then. At the end of 2011, 2,266,800 adults and approximately 71,000 juveniles were incarcerated in Federal and State prisons, and jails. That is 2,337,800 incarcerated inmates. If the sixteen percent figure holds, and there is no reason to believe it hasn’t, there are now about 374,000 mentally ill inmates in correctional facilities. “Correctional facility” is an oxymoron when it comes to providing treatment. According to both law enforcement and mental health groups, the percentage of mentally ill being locked up is growing, not decreasing.
By way of contrast, public psychiatric hospitals have a patient population of 70,000 with similar severe mental illnesses. Want to know something else scary? Thirty percent of those patients are classified as forensic patients. They are awaiting trial, or so in need of treatment the prison system cannot cope with them. This was something I saw when I worked at the Mississippi State Hospital on the forensic unit. We would get prisoners from the State Department of Corrections that could not be managed adequately on the psychiatric unit at the penitentiary. Almost all State and Federal correctional facilities now have special units for the mentally ill, or with mental or physical handicaps. County jails nationwide do not usually provide mental health care at anything more than the most superficial level.
Furthermore, law enforcement officers are increasingly becoming first responders to people with severe mental illnesses in crisis. That is not working out very well for the police or the public, as we have seen in numerous stories reported on this blog. I talk to many sheriffs who are both angry and frustrated their jails are filling up with the mentally ill. They do not have the trained staff or the facilities needed to care for the mentally ill. At the same time, access to mental hospitals is becoming increasingly difficult.
-Submitted by David Drumm (Nal), Guest Blogger
At a time when recording a conversation is as easy as whipping out a cellphone or iPod, the FBI policy on electronic recording of witness interviews is: “agents may not electronically record confessions or interviews, openly or surreptitiously, unless authorized by the SAC or his or her designee.” Instead FBI agents take notes and later type up a summary report called a form 302. The interview takes place with two FBI agents and the single interviewee. The FBI has eschewed the objective for the subjective.
We have previously discussed the harassment and abuse of families in Orthodox Jewish neighborhoods who have accused religious figures of sexual abuse. Like Catholic and other Christian communities, the Jewish community is facing its own scandal over the response to these allegations. This ongoing controversy is at the heart of a case in New Jersey where a leading counselor and Rabbi stands accused of molesting a 12-year-old boy — and members of the Orthodox community are accused of a campaign of harassment against the boy and his family for going to the police.
Debra A. Farinella, 57, may have the ultimate example of a case demanding a bench rather than a jury trial. It would be hard to find a jury not repulsed by the allegation that Farinella routinely stole flowers, statues, and other personal items from the graves of Mount Peace Cemetery, including graves of deceased children. This is assuming the case ever goes to trial since police say that they found Farinella’s home stuffed with the cemetary items in St. Cloud, Florida.
DC Attorney General Nathan Testifies In World Bank Case And Denies Any Wrongdoing By Staff Or Need For InvestigationPublished 1, May 9, 2013 Criminal law , Lawyering , Media , Politics 16 Comments
As reported this morning in various newspapers and sites, the World Bank case (Chang) ended its evidentiary hearings before Special Master John M. Facciola, United States Magistrate Judge for the United States District Court for the District of Columbia, yesterday with the testimony of District of Columbia Attorney General Irvin Nathan. Like his predecessor, ex-AG Peter Nickles, Nathan was called by the court to answer questions on the latest controversy over false statements in filings by his office and the failure to inform the court for 70 days that someone had attempted to delete evidence in the case. As co-lead counsel, I am limited in what I feel comfortable in saying about the case, but, given the inquiries on yesterday’s hearing I wanted to give the status in the case. Continue reading ‘DC Attorney General Nathan Testifies In World Bank Case And Denies Any Wrongdoing By Staff Or Need For Investigation’
Police Officer Tells Man That He Has Planted Drugs On People In The Past And Threatens Him With False Arrest . . . But Later Returned To The ForcePublished 1, May 9, 2013 Bizarre , Criminal law , International , Politics , Society 19 Comments
Recently, a video emerged showing a Canadian police officer in Durham threatening a man in 2011 with planting drugs on him and saying that he has done so before. The profanity laced tirade of the officer was posted on YouTube in which he not only threatens to plant drugs but to beat up the man. The police, however, say that the officer was “disciplined” . . . and then returned to duty. It is unclear what it takes to be fired as a police officer in Durham. The police seem more upset with the profanity than the fact that the officer is captured admitting to planting drugs and threatening an illegal act. The Toronto Star identified the officer as Constable Jamie Ebdon. Here is the punishment . . . he was docked two days’ pay. [Warning both the transcript and the video contain graphic language]
There are some helicopter stunts that capture our attention for their bravery and skill as with the recent mountain rescue in Norway. The Rio police in this video present a far less admirable side to helicopter operations. The video shows a helicopter spraying a street in Rio with machine gun bullets — continuing to fire even as pedestrians are shown near the ricocheting bullets.
This YouTube video has gone viral showing Jeremy Drew, 12, confronting a police officer in Vegas about his illegally parked motorcycle. The officer parked illegally to buy a soda and Jeremy Drew asks him why he felt that he could park illegally and asked for his badge number. The officer refuses, even though all officers are supposed to allow citizens to see their name and badge number.
Yesterday, the photos of teens arrested for underage drinking were published in the local newspaper in Signal Mountain, Tennessee. The tenth teen seems to have missed the memo on appearing contrite for your mugshot. It reminds me of that Far Side Cartoon of the guy whistling in hell and the Devil saying “We just aren’t reaching that guy.”
Judge Belvin Perry appears to believe that, as Oscar Wilde advised, “the only way to get rid of temptation is to yield to it.” Perry decided to get his 15 minutes of fame by granting an interview on the Casey Anthony murder trial during which he attacked Anthony as “very manipulative.” I will remind you that Anthony was acquitted of the first-degree murder of her 2-year-old daughter, Caylee. There are also judicial ethical rules meant to bar such commentary by judges. The question is whether the state bar will take action after this grossly inappropriate interview. Perry is the chief judge on Florida’s Ninth Judicial Circuit.
Meet Erin James, 58, of Brookfield, Illinois. She was pulled over and found with a blood alcohol level that was twice that of the legal limit. That is bad enough. However, James exclaimed that she was just out celebrating . . . the end of her probation on her earlier DUI conviction and the return of her driving privileges.
Respectfully submitted by Lawrence E. Rafferty (rafflaw)-Guest Blogger
Yesterday was the 43rd anniversary of the day when time stood still for me. As a freshmen in college at Southern Illinois University in Carbondale, Illinois, I was stunned to learn of the killing of 4 young people by the Ohio National Guard during protests on the campus of Kent State University. The protestors were using their First Amendment rights to voice their opinion on the United States participation in the Vietnam War and the military’s recent incursion into Cambodia upon orders from then President Richard Nixon. Those events not only scarred me, but they also opened my eyes to the power of the government and more importantly, the power of the people. Continue reading ‘Kent State 43 Years Later’
Submitted by: Mike Spindell, guest blogger
My opinion of the situation in this country is obviously grim if one looks at the themes I tend to write on. As I see it we are either fast becoming a Corporate Feudal Police State, or already have achieved that dubious distinction. I am in favor of a movement towards reversing this situation. There are some issues that can resonate with most Americans and any movement seeking to reverse the anti-Constitutional trends afoot in the U.S. today must find the means to go beyond the falseness of the Left/Right, Liberal/Conservative ideological inanity. We have a corporate two party system, run by an oligarchic elite, whose base disagreement is how to treat those 99% of us, who in their view are the American Peasantry. The Republican Corporatists in effect believe that the majority of Americans should be left to their own devices, while the Democratic Corporatists mildly look for palliatives that won’t disturb their benefactors who are really in charge. Some may say my viewpoint is a radical one and this is possibly so, though the definitions of “radical” have blurred through the years. In my life I’ve spent a number of years as a political activist in one form or another and as I approach the age of 70, I think that my experiences have taught me much about political activism and the potential dangers it brings to the people at large. Right now I find two issues that frighten me for the sake of the future and how my progeny will experience it. The first is the notion of a coming police state and the second is the prospect of a violent, revolutionary upheaval in reaction to it. In other words I see we the People of the United States being between the proverbial “rock and a hard place”. Continue reading ‘You Say You Want a Revolution?’
Bring Out Your Reds, Bring Out Your Reds: Florida Sheriff Invites Neighbors To Turn In People Who “Hate The Government”Published 1, May 3, 2013 Constitutional Law , Criminal law , Politics , Society 71 Comments
Palm Beach County Sheriff Ric Bradshaw has reached $1 million for a new violence prevention unit and has used it to call on neighbors to inform the police if any neighbors have been saying hostile things about the government. “We want people to call us if the guy down the street says he hates the government, hates the mayor and he’s gonna shoot him . . . What does it hurt to have somebody knock on a door and ask, ‘Hey, is everything OK?’ ” I have no problem with calling police if someone says that they are going to shoot someone. However, expressing hate for the mayor or government is a core part of free speech and the visit by the police can be viewed as having an obvious chilling effect on speech. He wants $3 million to expand the program.
Just when you thought that you could not get more shocking news from China’s environmental and food safety scandals, like thousands of dead pigs floating down a major river, you stand corrected. Chinese officials have found dozens of traders in Eastern China selling huge amounts of rat and mink flesh as mutton. This is not a couple pounds. The meat was sold for $1.6 million. Six suspects in Guizhou Province were found with 8.8 tons of “toxic chicken feet.”
There are school rivalries and then there are Chinese school rivalries. In Beijing, two girls are dead after the head of a rival school allegedly poisoned yogurt and put the food outside of the kindergarten where children play. The two schools have been competing for students. (The picture is a common yogurt drink in China and not necessarily the brand used in this crime).
Moroccan Student Reportedly In Hiding From Police After Posting With Sign Saying “I Am Proud To Be An Atheist.”Published 1, May 3, 2013 Constitutional Law , Criminal law , Free Speech , International , Media , Politics , Religion , Society 23 Comments
Various atheist sites are reporting that Moroccan student Imad Eddin Habib, 22, is in hiding from police who are seeking him for rejecting Islam and espousing atheism. A Pew poll just showed overwhelming support among many Muslims nations — and allies of the United States — for executing people like Habib for apostasy. The Casablanca paramedical student has gone public as an atheist and police have now interviewed his family on his whereabouts and any foreign connections.
Continue reading ‘Moroccan Student Reportedly In Hiding From Police After Posting With Sign Saying “I Am Proud To Be An Atheist.”’
Pew Poll Finds Overwhelming Support For Executing People For Apostasy In Afghanistan and Other Muslim NationsPublished 1, May 3, 2013 Constitutional Law , Criminal law , Politics , Religion , Society 27 Comments
A new poll by the Pew Research Center offers an disturbing insight into the views of the majority of Muslims in some countries on the subject of apostasy. With blasphemy, apostasy remains one of the greatest threats to human rights and free speech in the world with people continuing to be arrested for rejecting Islam. Some 78 percent of Afghan Muslims support putting former Muslims to death for rejecting Islam. Our Afghan “allies” actually had the highest support for this basic denial of human rights — a system that we prop up with American lives and treasure. In Egypt and Pakistan, 64 percent support executing for apostasy.
Continue reading ‘Pew Poll Finds Overwhelming Support For Executing People For Apostasy In Afghanistan and Other Muslim Nations’
Rational or Hysterical? Oregon Police Burst Into School Wearing Hoodies and Firing Weapons In Unannounced DrillPublished 1, May 2, 2013 Criminal law , Politics , Society , Torts 97 Comments
Teachers were in a meeting in the Pine Eagle Charter School in Halfway, Oregon when two hooded figures burst into the room and sprayed screaming teachers with gunfire. It turned out to be blanks and they turned out to be cops. This was viewed as a useful drill to prepare the teachers for school massacre scenarios.
Mohamed A. Salim, 39, served this country in Iraq in intelligence and as a linguist. He served at the Guantanamo Bay detention center. Yet, he allegedly still suffered a beating and a broken jaw in his own country because of his Somali ethnicity and religion. Salim is a cab driver who picked up Emerald Aviation President Ed Dahlberg at the Country Club in Fairfax, Virginia. Dahlberg proceeded to accuse him of being a jihadist and allegedly attacked him. Emerald Aviation’s website is down for “scheduled maintenance” in the aftermath of Dahlberg’s arrest.
For some, the liquidation of Bernard Madoff’s firm is approaching the same levels of excess as the original crime. Irving Picard and his firm, Baker & Hostetler LLP, have just asked for an additional $50 million in fees and expenses for work between July 1 through Nov. 30. That would bring the total fees to . . . wait for it . . . $440 million.
A Fool and His Money . . . and His Banana: Man Loses Life’s Savings To Carny and Gets Over-Sized BananaPublished 1, May 1, 2013 Bizarre , Criminal law , Society 34 Comments
Henry Gribbohm is apparently irate. He went to a carnival and played Tubs of Fun hoping to win an Xbox Kinect. The 30-year-old man from New Hampshire continued to play until he had spent his entire life savings, $2,600, in a game that he now claims is rigged. When he complained the next day, he was given $600 back plus an over-sized banana. He was not satisfied and has filed a complaint.
Mohammed Nisham appears to have as little concern for his children as he does for his luxury cars. Nisham has been charged with having his nine-year-old drive his sports car. It was not hard for Inspector M.V. Verghese to prove: Nisham filmed his son driving the car with his brother (neither with seatbelts on of course) and then posted it on YouTube.
Below is today’s column on the calls for expanding security and surveillance powers in the aftermath of the Boston bombing. (An Internet version ran last week but was updated for print) [I untangled one line that was changed in editing]. My greatest concern is that the Boston response will become the accepted or standard procedure in shutting down cities and ordering warrantless searches. No politicians wants to be seen questioning the necessity or efficacy of such measures out of fear of appearing “soft” on terror.
The Law of Identity is one of Aristotle’s fundamental Laws of Thought. It is expressed often in the terms of A=A or in other philosophical works as some variation of Marcus Aurelius’ admonishment to “ask of each and every thing what is it in itself”. This is less commentary than informal unscientific survey, but some of your answers will likely inform a future commentary. These questions kept hovering about as I considered the topic of the social compact. There seems to be a lot of confusion about the nature of the social compact model of government and that had been my intended topic for this weekend. However, as I thought about it and reviewed some older threads here where the subject had come up in preparation for addressing the subject, another area of confusion stood out as prevalent as well. That confusion centers around the proper role of government in society, specifically the proper role of government as defined by the U.S. Constitution.
If we look at the Constitution itself, the Preamble contains a basic description of the function of our Federal government.
We the People of the United States, in Order to form a more perfect Union, establish Justice, insure domestic Tranquility, provide for the common defence, promote the general Welfare, and secure the Blessings of Liberty to ourselves and our Posterity, do ordain and establish this Constitution for the United States of America.”
It is important to note that the Preamble is not law in the traditional sense. It neither grants powers nor restricts action. It simply provides context for the purpose of the form of government as established in the following articles and amendments. It is a statement of our aspirational goals of government.
A retired State Department employee has been indicted on two charges of first-degree murder in the latest case involving “castle doctrine” claims. There is little dispute that the two teens, Nicholas Brady, 17, and Haile Kifer, 18, broke in the Minnesota home of Byron Smith, 64, on Thanksgiving Day. Indeed, Brady may have broken into the home twice before. However, Smith’s shooting the unarmed teens and his actions captured on his own videotaping system led to the charges.
The two most serious threats to religious critics remain blasphemy laws and apostasy laws in Muslim nations, which deny citizens the right to free speech and association on matters of religion. Apostasy is particularly lethal since Muslims in many countries follow what they believe to be the need to kill anyone who renounces Islam. Morocco’s Higher Council of Religious Scholars (CSO) has this week taken a step back in time with a fatwa demanding the death penalty for Muslims who renounce their faith. In the Koran, Bukhari 52:260 quotes Mohammad as saying “If somebody [a Muslim] discards his religion, kill him.”
There is an interesting crime being investigated in New York. Chinese immigrants are giving money to people who threaten that, if they do not pay, they will be cursed. The question is why this is a crime since the threat is based on superstition and cannot actually harm the individuals.
Maryland correctional officials are scrambling to explain how a gang got effective control of one of their prisons after more than a dozen Maryland state prison guards were arrested for assisting the Black Guerrilla Family in drug-trafficking and money-laundering. Thirteen female corrections officers are accused of a wide range of unlawful practices involving drugs, sex, and expensive cars that left four corrections officers pregnant by one inmate. It was probably not to hard to spot. In addition to the four pregnancies, two of the guards had tattoos of the inmate’s first name, Tavon. That is the first name of suspected gang leader Tavon “Bulldog” White (left). One guard had “Tavon” on her neck and the other on a wrist.
Zubeidat Tsarnaeva, the mother of Boston Marathon alleged bombers Tamerlan and Tzhokhar Tsarnaevso, appears to be wanted for theft in the United States — a charge that could make her interview with authorities more complex for any lawyer. She failed to appear on a theft charge in Massachusetts in October. The looming charges appear to be one of the reasons for her reluctance to return to the United States.