Archive for the ‘Society’ Category

250px-Michael_Hayden,_CIA_official_portrait225px-Lindsey_Graham,_official_Senate_photo_portrait,_2006This was beginning to sound too familiar. A president is calling for a new war based on his inherent authority while members of Congress warn that it is war or death for America. However, former NSA director (and my neighbor) Michael Hayden added a new element: explaining that air power is like “casual sex” and that we need greater commitment than the military equivalent to a one night stand. Of course, this one night stand is expected to last months and cost billions. President Obama has already asked for $500 million to just arm Syrian rebels despite the fact that we are now facing our own weaponry in the hands of ISIS (captured from our past supply of rebels and the Iraqi military). Sort of like Warren Zevon’s song to send “Lawyers, Guns, and Money” except we are leaving the lawyers behind on this one.

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bs-md-ci-police-suit-20140915-00210710945_593771287397979_8231406189727835408_nThere is now a lawsuit filed seeking damages in the beating of Kollin Truss by Baltimore police, as shown vividly by the video below released by this attorney. The video is highly disturbing and shows Officer Vincent E. Cosom striking Truss without any apparent provocation and then followed by other officers.

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180px-john-yooturley_jonathanYesterday, I had a spirited debate with Berkeley Professor and former Bush Administration lawyer John Yoo at Christopher Newport University’s Center for American Studies (CAS). The debate was structured around the question of “Filling in the Gaps: Is Executive Prerogative Constitutional?”
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210px-flag_of_washington_dcsvgThis afternoon, the Senate Committee on Homeland Security and Governmental Affairs will hold its hearing on whether to accept a new state into the Union: New Columbia. While I was asked if I could testify on S. 132, I will be traveling today to Newport News to Christopher Newport University for a long-planned debate with John Yoo on presidential powers. I have written a long academic publication on the status of the District of Columbia and testified at the prior hearings on allowing for voting representation of District residents. See Jonathan Turley, Too Clever By Half: The Partial Representation of the District of Columbia in the House of Representatives, 76 George Washington University Law Review 305-374 (2008). Since I will not be able to appear, I thought that I would re-run my earlier column on the proposal. Before Congress embraces the path to statehood, it should give the original concerns of the Framers (and some new ones) full consideration. I have long argued that a constitutional amendment is the best way to give residents a vote in Congress. Statehood raises a myriad of difficult issues but regardless of the reform (whether statehood or an amendment simply allowing for a representative in the House of Representatives), this should be a decision that is submitted directly to the American people as a whole. I am troubled (as I was in 2007) by the effort to push this through Congress to avoid such a vote (as well as the cloud of partisan politics that continue to swell around the issue).

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3989988_GMatthew-Baumrucker-and-Marriya-WrightWashington state prosecutor Marriya Wright has resigned from her $83,000-a-year job after a photograph of her in a bikini was found in the cell of Matthew Baumrucker, a prisoner who supports a forehead tattoo reading “criminal.” Officials later found that she had texted or called Baumrucker over 1,200 times during a period of a little over one month.

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260px-capitol_building_full_viewOn Monday, the Senate will hold a hearing in the Senate Committee on Homeland Security and Governmental Affairs on entering a new state into the Union: New Columbia. I was asked if I could testify on S. 132 since I have written a long academic publication on the status of the District of Columbia and testified at the prior hearings on allowing for voting representation of District residents. See Jonathan Turley, Too Clever By Half: The Partial Representation of the District of Columbia in the House of Representatives, 76 George Washington University Law Review 305-374 (2008). Unfortunately, the hearing was moved to the afternoon on Monday, which made it impossible because I have to be in Newport News on Monday for a long-planned debate with John Yoo on presidential powers. Accordingly, I had to reluctantly decline. I have great respect and sympathy for those trying to secure a vote for the District residents. I have previously suggested different means to accomplish that end. However, before Congress embraces the path to statehood, it should give the original concerns of the Framers (and some new ones) full consideration.

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The_ScreamIt appears that religious statues are causing problems on both sides of the border this week. In Pennsylvania, a teenager is facing two years in jail for sexually mocking a statue of Jesus. Now, in Vancouver, a nude statue of the devil with a rather prominent erection has been removed. Warning: some may find the picture below disturbing [and others may find it intimidating]

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