Republican Florida Rep. Trey Radel has been charged with misdemeanor cocaine possession in Washington, D.C. A newly elected Tea Party Republican, Radel issued a contrite statement that he has struggled with alcohol and that his alcoholism led to “an extremely irresponsible choice.” UPDATE: Radel has pleaded guilty and received a one year probation sentence.
Archive for the 'Society' Category
There are “three time losers” in some recidivist cases and then there is Shermain Miles. For Miles, the magic number is 396. That’s right, she has racked up roughly 400 arrests since 1978 but insists that 396 is the magic number and that she is now considering a change in her lifestyle.
Buffalo Bills Fan Who Fell In Stadium Stunt Is Now Banned From Stadium, Fired From Job, And Faces Criminal ChargesPublished 1, November 20, 2013 Bizarre , Society , Torts 20 Comments
We have often discussed the worsening environment at football games for people who want to just watch the game with family and friends. American football is going the way of soccer with drunk and obnoxious fans ruining the games with continual profanity, fighting, and taunting. Rob Hopkins, a Buffalo Bills fan, is the poster boy for this trend. Hopkins decided to slide down the upper deck railing without any thought of the people below him. He fell from the upper deck on to a fan seated in the section below during the game against the New York Jets. The shoulder injury from the 30 foot fall is now the least of his problems. He has been banned from the stadium, fired from his job, and could be looking at a criminal charge. All for being a certifiable idiot.
Not that long ago, police departments joined together to call upon the United States Supreme Court (with the support of the Obama Administration) to allow citizens to be tracked with GPS devices placed on their vehicles without a warrant or probable cause. The litigants argued that this was a minor intrusion into the rights of citizens and that there was no expectation of privacy in such movements. The Court wisely rejected the arguments in United States v. Jones. Now police in Boston are objecting to a plan to place such devices on their patrol cars as an unwarranted intrusion.
“Superfanastic” or Superfraud? Scientology Opens Massive Florida Facility For “Super Power” Training As Former Members Sue For FraudPublished 1, November 19, 2013 Criminal law , Religion , Society 25 Comments
We previously discussed the fraud prosecutions of fortune tellers in the United States as well as crackdowns in other countries. We discussed the uncertain line drawn in such cases between such soothsaying and magical services and the practices of protected religious organizations. A recent story raise precisely this question out of Clearwater, Florida where the Church of Scientology has opened a $145 million, 377,000-square-foot complex that features a new “superpower program” for followers who wish to attain god-like abilities.
I previously wrote a column about how government officials waste billions or plow whole programs in the ground without nary a reprimand. If that column bothered you, you might want to sit down. A new report has detailed how the military has cooked the books to hide trillions, that’s right trillions, in missing money and equipment. The military calls them “plugs,” a curious term for fraud. These are knowingly fake figures used to hide the fact that there is no accurate record of the money. In one finding, a single office in Columbus, Ohio, made at least $1.59 trillion in errors with $538 billion in plugs. The study reveals that government accounting records are fraudulent but that congressional oversight has been equally illusory.
There is a disturbing case out of New Mexico where police fired into a van full of children after the mother tried to drive away from officers. As shown on the video below, an officer stopped Oriana Ferrell on a routine traffic stop only to see her drive away. What followed was a chase, smashing windows of the van, and the shocking decision of an officer to fire into a vehicle with kids in the backseat.
There is a highly troubling case involving Jeremy Hammond,27, who was sentenced to 10 years for the December 2011 hacking of Strategic Forecasting. It was the maximum possible sentence that Chief US District Court Judge Loretta Preska could give him. The case involves a recurring controversy over the government’s effort to punish hackers and whistleblowers revealing a massive surveillance state and attacks on privacy in the United States. However, this case has the added disturbing element of an allegation of a conflict of interest by Preska who refused to recuse herself from the case despite the fact that her husband was an alleged victim of the hacking.
Submitted by Elaine Magliaro, Guest Blogger
A recent report published by the Center for Media and Democracy has alleged that there is a network of think tanks across this country that has been “quietly pushing the agenda of right-wing groups with funding from Koch brothers-affiliated organizations.” The umbrella organization that these sixty-four think tanks are collaborating with is called the State Policy Network (SPN)—“a nonprofit that nurtures conservative think tanks in all fifty states.”
From SPN’s website:
Founded in 1992 by Tom Roe at the urging of Ronald Reagan, State Policy Network is the only group in the country dedicated solely to improving the practical effectiveness of independent, non-profit, market-oriented, state-focused think tanks. SPN’s programs enable these organizations to better educate local citizens, policy makers and opinion leaders about market-oriented alternatives to state and local policy challenges.
According to the Center for Media and Democracy’s report, SPN and its “member think tanks” promote an “extreme right-wing agenda” that is much the same as that of “David Koch’s Americans for Prosperity, Charles Koch’s Cato Institute, and Koch’s Citizens for a Sound Economy spin-off FreedomWorks–all of which happen to be associate members of ALEC.”
Tags: Department of Homeland Security, The Electronic Infomation Privacy Center;
Respectfully submitted by Lawrence E. Rafferty (rafflaw)-Guest Blogger
The Electronic Privacy Information Center recently won the first round of a court action asking that the Department of Homeland Security be required to disclose its plans to pull the plug on regional or national mobile telephone and internet communication systems pursuant to its Standard Operating Procedure 303.
“In the classicly-rendered case, DHS has argued that shutting down entire communication networks might be necessary in order to prevent the detonation of radio-controlled bomb or explosive device.
However, siding with the Electronic Privacy Information Center (EPIC), which brought a suit demanding more transparency for the DHS program known as “Standard Operating Procedure 303″ (or SOP303), the federal judge at the US District Court for the District of Columbia ruled that because the release of the protocol could not reasonably be seen as harming law enforcement “investigative techniques or prosecutions” it’s cited reasons for keeping the details of the program secret did not hold up.” Common Dreams
The so-called SOP 303 could allow DHS to cut-off all internet and mobile phone communications at a regional level or a national level if it determined that there was a national security concern. We have already seen this government tactic used in Oakland in 2011 and that alleged over reach by the Bay Area Rapid Transit authorities may be the reason for EPIC’s lawsuit. Continue reading ‘Internet Kill Switch Plan is Killed…For Now.’
Tags: Beth Jasper, health care, Jewish Hospital, microsleep, sleep
Submitted by Charlton Stanley (aka Otteray Scribe), Guest Blogger
The dirtiest secret of all in the health care professions is not insurance. It is about tired staff.
On March 16, 2013, Registered Nurse Elizabeth Jasper had just gotten off work. She was driving her small SUV eastbound on Ohio 50 when it left the road, going airborne, and hitting a tree. The wreckage careened into a parking lot. One does not need to be an accident reconstrucionist to know the crash was not survivable, by just taking one glance at the wreckage.
Beth Jasper, RN, is dead at the age of 38. She leaves her husband and two children. The preliminary investigation so far has revealed Nurse Jasper was supposed to work three 12-hour shifts that week, but had been held over to work extra doing specialized procedures. She is believed to have fallen asleep at the wheel.
Since that time, James Jasper, her widower, has filed a lawsuit against her employer, Jewish Hospital and its parent company, Mercy Health Partners of Southwest Ohio. As details of the lawsuit emerge, it shines a spotlight on a fact of corporate health care in this country which most people never knew.
-Submitted by David Drumm (Nal), Guest Blogger
Submitted By: Mike Spindell, Guest Blogger
In recent years many studies have come out that have made the case that a high proportion of CEO’s of major companies are sociopaths. At the end of this blog I’ll provide a number of links that discuss this, some from major conservative business magazines. We do know that from 1% to 3% of humans are sociopaths sharing all of these 10 characteristics:
#1) Sociopaths are charming. #2) Sociopaths are more spontaneous and intense than other people. #3) Sociopaths are incapable of feeling shame, guilt or remorse. #4) Sociopaths invent outrageous lies about their experiences. #5) Sociopaths seek to dominate others and “win” at all costs. #6) Sociopaths tend to be highly intelligent #7) Sociopaths are incapable of love #8) Sociopaths speak poetically. #9) Sociopaths never apologize. #10) Sociopaths are delusional and literally believe that what they say becomes truth.” http://www.naturalnews.com/036112_sociopaths_cults_influence.html
Now the problem with the definition of Sociopathy is that there can be a good deal of subjectivity in making the diagnosis, absent a clinician interviewing the subject. After all many people are charming, spontaneous, invent lies, try to dominate others and speak “poetically” and that doesn’t make them sociopaths. The subjectivity comes in trying to determine whether a given person is incapable of feeling guilt, shame, remorse and is delusional. A trained clinician may be able to do this via an intensive interview, but the nature of this disorder is such that even a trained clinician can be fooled by a sociopath. Rather than argue back and forth about the negative effects of CEO sociopaths on this society as the root of so much dysfunction, my readings this week suggest another theory that would provide a simpler explanation of why it seems that so many in this country have so little compassion and empathy for the less fortunate among us. We need not deem them sociopaths, but people who are simply removed from the misery that they inflict. The apocryphal story of Marie Antoinette’s “let them eat cake” may well characterize those who control most of this country’s wealth. It may be why some are sincere philanthropists, yet show such disdain and lack a sense of responsibility for the suffering that they cause. Let’s explore this further. Continue reading ‘Selfish or Sociopath, Does It Make a Difference?’
The Fix Is In: Can President Obama Grant An Effective ACA Waiver To Millions Of Disgruntled Citizens?Published 1, November 15, 2013 Congress , Constitutional Law , Politics , Society 117 Comments
President Obama is taking a great deal of heat for the cancellations of millions of policies after he repeatedly told citizens that if you like your policy you could keep it. He recently apologized for what seems a classic bait and switch. However, Obama has now announced a fix that raises a more serious question in my mind. Most of us have become used to a relatively high level of dishonesty from our leaders in Congress as well as the White House. This blog has documented whoppers, even perjury, that results in little more than a shrug in today’s political system. However, the “fix” involves the President unilaterally changing that scope and timing of a law. This has been a recurring concern with this President and the rise of the “Imperial Presidency” that he has established within ever-expanding executive powers. I will be discussing this issue today on CNN.
If news accounts are correct, Cleveland and Lisa Cox may be the personification of a consumer society . . . to the point of treating their son as an unwanted or defective product. The couple is charged with abandonment after they took their 9-year-old son back to the Butler County Children’s Services where they adopted him at 3 months old. They are seeking the termination of their parental rights and responsibilities.
Oops, Our Bad: Syrian Rebel Group Pulls Wounded Soldier From Hospital, Decapitates Him, And Prances Around With His Head . . . Only To Learn He Is A Rebel FighterPublished 1, November 15, 2013 Bizarre , Criminal law , International , Politics , Religion , Society 27 Comments
The problem with being a murderous religious extremist is when you behead your own allies in one of your blood-soaked celebrations of hate. That is the problem facing the al Qaeda-affiliated Islamic State of Iraq and the Levant (ISIS). The group held one of its signature beheadings with joyous killings and prancing around with body parts only to learn that the victim was a wounded anti-government soldier. Oops.
For all the criticism that we give soccer for outdated policies, unfair calls, and unruly fans or players (here and here and here), this video redeems the entire sport. In this video of a game between Al Nahdha and Al Ittihad, Al Nahdha’s goalkeeper Taisir Al Antaif is afraid to take a goalkick because his shoe is untied and the game is on the line. An opposing team member (Brazilian by the name of Jobson) sees his dilemma and runs forward and ties his shoe. The ref then whistles that the kicker delayed the game and gives the opposing team a free indirect kick. What happened next is golden.
There is an investigation in Fredericksburg, Virginia after the posting of a YouTube clip show police tasering, Lantz Day, 36, for what appears to be 42 consecutive seconds. On the video below, you can hear what sounds like the taser and Day screaming for them to stop. There is no reason that I can see why the tasering continued after Day was down and surrounding by officers, which leads to the concern that officers were punishing him for attempting to run. He was unarmed and under suspicion of property damage.
This is an incredible commercial. However, it was particularly interesting for me because yesterday we discussed liability for warning defects in television commercials. Look for the warning at the end.
Former Vice Presidential candidate Sarah Palin is warning people about Pope Francis. Palin told CNN that the Pope’s statements of tolerance and accommodation have “taken her aback” but that she hopes that it is just another misrepresentation by liberal mainstream media. We have discussed how inspiring Pope Francis has proven to Catholics and non-Catholics alike by shedding the trappings of the papacy and living a simple and humble life of a priest. More importantly, he has reached out to gays, atheists and others in a way that is truly historic. In this short time as Pope, he is credited with bringing large numbers of people back to churches in the West. However, Palin is uneasy with the Pope for the very same reasons that people are rallying around him.
Fighting Over Meatball: Shelter and Activist Fight Over Rights To The Name And Image Of California Black BearPublished 1, November 13, 2013 Animals , Society , Torts 11 Comments
We have often discussed the abusive expansion of copyright and trademark laws. This includes common phrases, symbols, and images being claimed as private property. (here and here and here and here and here and here and here and here and here). (For a prior column, click here). Now the copyright and trademark hunt has bagged ‘Meatball” a black bear who has been the subject of extensive fundraising to save him from euthanasia. Meatball attracted national attention after breaking into high-end homes to enjoy human delights and to take dips in swimming pools. He got his name from eating frozen Costco meatballs from one home. One of those organizing his rescue, Sarah Aujero, copyrighted the name “Meatball” before helping find a shelter for him. That shelter, however, Lions, Tigers, and Bears wants the copyright proceeds.
Michigan School Forces Students To Remove Teeshirts Memorializing Schoolmate After Her Death From CancerPublished 1, November 13, 2013 Academics , Bizarre , Politics , Society 28 Comments
I often express bewilderment at the actions of public school administrators particularly in their enforcement of zero tolerance policies. However, what happened at Lakeview Middle School was not only wrong but a bit creepy in the defense of a senseless policy with Dr. Phil-like pseudo-pyschological rhetoric. When sixth-grader Caitlyn Jackson, 12, died on Saturday, her classmates came up with a wonderful idea of making teeshirts in her favorite colors to honor her on Monday. Students spent the weekend preparing the teeshirts. However, when they arrived, school administrators ordered them to take off the t-shirts or turn them inside out or put tape over Jackson’s name. The reason? After hearing about the preparation of the students over the weekend, they decided it violated a ban on “permanent memorials” and was not healthy of students to be reminded of the loss. Of course, they did not tell parents and waited to traumatize the students at school. Eventually, after an outcry and anger from parents, the students were allowed to take the tape off and wear their teeshirts.
There is growing tension in Israel between Orthodox Jews and the country’s gay community. As gays and lesbians have fought for the recognition of same-sex unions, Orthodox Jews have become equally vocal in fighting against such recognition. Into this volatile environment walked an Orthodox mayor who showed little evidence of intellect and even less judgment. Moshe Abutbul, the Haredi mayor of Beit Shemesh, near Jerusalem, stated categorically in an interview that there are no gay people in his city and that such people should be left to health officials and the police. The comments by Abutbul, a member of the ultra-Orthodox Shas party, resulted in the filing of a criminal charge for incitement. While Abutbul appears a perfect moron, I do not believe that people should face criminal charges for expressing their views — even the absurd thoughts of a hateful religious bigot.
Continue reading ‘Israeli Mayor Facing Criminal Complaint For Anti-Homosexual Comments’
United Airlines Loses Bid To Bar Recovery Of Passengers Targeted With Homophobic Prank With Sex Toy At AirportPublished 1, November 12, 2013 International , Society , Torts 13 Comments
The United States Court of Appeals for the Fifth Circuit has handed down an important ruling in favor of two gay men who were the targets of a foul joke by employees of United Continental airlines. Baggage handlers removed a sex toy from the luggage of Christopher J. Bridgeman and Martin A. Borger, covered it with a brown greasy substance and taped it to the outside their bag. It was then sent on the baggage carousel in front of all of the passengers. What is most striking about this case is not only the refusal of United Continental to settle the case but the sweeping argument the airlines tried to make to strip passengers of the ability to seek damages for such outrageous and disturbing conduct by airlines.
I wanted to wish all of our veterans and their families a happy Veterans Day and to thank them for their sacrifices. I just took a walk down to the mall in Washington and watched children give veterans cards that they made for today. It was a scene that captures all that is right with this country. It was kind and unpretentious and real.
Continue reading ‘Happy Veterans Day’
I know how you expect that sentence to end. We have covered endless stories of Christian schools abusing teachers or students due to their perceived lack of faith or morals. However on this occasion, the line ends something like this: “Student Class President Comes Out As Atheist And Christian College By Supporing Him.” That’s right, when Eric Fromm, 21, announced in an article that he is an atheist, he said the school and fellow students at Northwest Christian University went out of their way to assure him that he was valued and appreciated as part of their community. It is a good thing. A happy story. Such places do exist where religious people are both tolerant and pluralistic.
Continue reading ‘Student Class President Comes Out As Atheist And His Christian College Responds By . . .’
A Not-So “Good Catholic Fellow” Wins Appeal: Florida Court Orders New Sentencing After Judge Lectures On Catholic ValuesPublished 1, November 11, 2013 Bizarre , Constitutional Law , Courts , Criminal law , Lawyering , Politics , Religion , Society 26 Comments
A Florida appellate court has ordered a new sentencing for Percy Edgardo Torres, 44, of Jacksonville in light of a tongue-lashing that he received from Judge Russell Healey who used his sentencing to lecture him on his violation of Catholic principles.
We have previously discussed the inspiring story of Malala Yousafzai, who has captivated the world in her struggle after being shot in the head by Muslim extremists for her advocacy of female education. It is a story that appears destined to be read around the world but not in Pakistan where various organizations have banned it from private schools. One educator objected that she referred to the Prophet Muhammad without using the abbreviation PBUH — “peace be upon him.” For that, she is viewed as a dangerous heretic not a heroine.
From Mike Nifong’s mishandling of the Duke LaCrosse case (which led to his disbarment) to the Oklahoma Supreme Court refusing to disbar Robert Bradley Miller for withholding evidence in capital cases and issuing false subpoenas to Angela Corey’s questionable prosecution of the Trayvon Martin shooting (which seemingly had little or no consequences to Corey whatsoever), stories of prosecutorial misconduct are nothing new to this forum. As always, such malfeasance can be driven by a number of factors – political considerations, public and media pressure, laziness, incompetence, and blind professional ambition to name a few. Regardless of the reasons underlying these kind of cases, the salient point is that such bad behavior on the part of prosecutors undermines the credibility of and the faith of the public in the criminal justice system.
This brings us to the case currently in the news of former Texas prosecutor Ken Anderson.
The former Williamson County District Attorney and Judge (appointed by Rick Perry) agreed to a plea deal for criminal contempt of court for failing to turn over exculpatory evidence in the 1987 murder trial of Michael Morton, later exonerated when the conviction was overturned in 2011. Anderson will pay a $500 fine, perform 500 hours of community service work, spend 10 days in jail and lose his license to practice law. As part of the plea deal, charges of tampering with evidence – which carried a potential penalty of 10 years in prison – were dropped. Is this sufficient punishment for willfully and wrongly sending a man to prison for 24 years? Does this kind of plea further erode public faith in the accountability of those responsible for running the criminal justice system? While this case is being trumpeted as “precedent shattering”, is it really? What can we do about this kind of systemic error?
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.
Regarding the Separation of Church and the State’s Money: Charter Schools with Religious Affiliations Being Publicly FundedPublished 1, November 9, 2013 Constitutional Law , Religion , Society , Uncategorized 58 Comments
Tags: Charter Schools, religion
As a former public school educator, I have been following what has been going on with school reform in this country. I have written posts about some of the groups and individuals involved in the current reform movement (here), the push to privatize public schools (here), school vouchers (here and here), and charter schools (here and here). Despite all the research that I’ve done on the subject, I hadn’t been aware until recently that there are many publicly funded charter schools across this country that have religious affiliations.
In December 2011, Tiffany Gee Lewis (Deseret News) wrote that there had been a “veritable explosion of charter schools over the past two decades.” She noted that a number of the schools that were riding this charter trend were “founded or authorized” by religious and cultural organizations. As she said, the subject of religion in public schools “has always been a hot-button topic.” She added that “the rise of charter schools that tie themselves to a certain ethnic or religious group introduces a new shade of complication to public schooling.”
According to Jessica Meyers of The Dallas Morning News, “Church-charter partnerships are springing up across the country as private institutions lose funding and nontraditional education models grow in popularity. Their emergence prompts questions about the role religious groups should play in the development of publicly funded schools.” She added, “Critics fear the fuzzy division means taxpayers are footing the bill for religious instruction.”
-Submitted by David Drumm (Nal), Guest Blogger
Submitted By: Mike Spindell, Guest Blogger
I have written some guest blogs in the past dealing with aspects of the issue of America becoming a Police State and will link to them at the end of this piece. There are so many issues that call for our concern and attention in this country today, that dealing with the entire dysfunctional state of our country becomes daunting due to the wealth of material. Finally, the stories on a given issue multiply in such a way that their effect is a realization across all political lines that enough is enough. The issue of our country’s continuing descent into a”Police State” equaling all we know of the vile systems in the USSR and the former East Germany is an issue that concerns me.. The situation is dire and the consequences have produced not only horrible injustices, but also the many unneeded maiming and deaths of innocent individuals. Our country imprisons more people per capita than any other country in the world by far. Part of the reason for that is the “War on Drugs” an abject failure that falls most heavily upon people with low incomes and people of color. One such incident caused Professor Turley to pen two blogs this week. They were about a man falsely suspected of drug possession who had all his bodily orifices and cavities checked in the local Arizona police’s vain attempt to find evidence of guilt. None was found and the procedures were not only traumatic, but invasive. Thus the “War on Drugs” is one major contributing force to turning our country into a Police State.
Another contributing Police State factor has been the Federal Government militarizing our local police forces. I’ve written about this as well and will link at those blogs at the end as well. Somewhere along the line, certainly hastened by 9/11 it appeared a necessity to some that are police should be turned from officers of the law into a paramilitary occupying army. There is a great distinction between an officer of the law and a paramilitary trooper. An officer of the law the way I see it, is empowered to enforce the criminal law in ways of lawful conduct that are deemed permissible via our Constitution and Statutes. Thus an officer of the law should be a citizen like the rest of us and in the performance of their jobs should respect the rights of the citizenry. A paramilitary trooper by definition perceives themselves operating in a hostile environment and so everyone in that environment that is not of their army is a potential “hostile”. This unerringly begets a certain level of brutality when dealing with the populace, because from a paramilitary perspective people are presumed guilty, until they are proven innocent. We have seen and I have documented in guest blogs that vast sums of money have come in from the Federal Government to help create paramilitary SWAT teams. Once created, the uses for these teams multiply far beyond their original purpose, because having a tool inevitably causes its usage. After the split I will discuss yet a third factor that adds to this police state mentality, but first I’d like to express the following. The issue of our country becoming a Police State should not be and is not a partisan issue. Just from the opinions of people who follow this blog and comment, we see general agreement that these police tactics violate our Constitution and our innate sense of propriety. We may not all agree on most aspects of government policy, but I would hope we can agree on the proper manner in which our law officers should enforce the peace. Continue reading ‘Police State America’
Submitted By: Mike Spindell, Guest Blogger
I’m going to use what has become a cliché to open up this piece. “The definition of insanity is doing the same thing that has failed over and over again.” Often clichés are expressions of reality that nevertheless express problems faced by generation generations and generations of human beings. In my opinion “The War on Drugs” is not only an abysmal failure, but has gone a long way towards destroying the social fabric of this country and corrupting the efforts of law enforcement, by manufacturing a “problem” that they are pressured to solve. The idea for writing this came to mind this week at my local drug store. My wife had sent me for a decongestant that contains pseudo-ephedrine to treat a persistent cold. These medications which were formerly as matter of course located in the Cold and flu section are by law now kept behind the prescription counter. To make my purchase I had to produce a driver’s license, whose number was duly entered into a computer and sign an affirmation form digitally. Now since I was a loyal viewer of “Breaking Bad” I understood why this was seen to be necessary by the government. Pseudo-Ephedrine is used in one common formula to “cook” Chrystal Methedrine, or “Speed”. The idea that I, a 69 year old greybeard, should be recorded as a potential cooker of “meth”, is so ludicrous that it caused me to think about the whole process of drug interdiction that is the result of the War on Drugs.
The reach of the War on Drugs goes far beyond the control of formerly non-controlled substances and has affected and limited the way Doctors prescribe for their patients. This prescription oversight ever expands the categories of controlled substances and puts every physician under undue government surveillance. To illustrate the silliness of this, from my own experience, let me relate that in 2010 I underwent 3 major, life-threatening operations within a 4 month period. After each operation which involved cutting my chest open (the middle one was a heart transplant) in the Surgical Intensive Care Unit I was being given unlimited dosages of morphine to deal with my pain. In each instance after an operation, after two days, I would refuse the morphine because it was affecting my thinking and the pain without it was tolerable. In each instance after practically having to forcefully deny the proffered morphine in the morning, my request for Xanax that evening to help me sleep was denied, even though my Surgeon had prescribed it. This required a late hour call to the Doctor on call to prescribe it. The nurse was only following procedure, but the scrupulousness of the procedure is the result of the War on Drugs. Physicians now treating people for various pain symptoms are now under very close scrutiny regarding the medications they prescribe. To me this is nonsensical, given that addicts always find ways to get their drugs no matter what strictures are put into place. What follows is my examination of the premises behind the War on Drugs, its affect on all of us and my solution to this “problem”. Continue reading ‘Our Insane War on Drugs’
Ohio Lawyer Fights To Retain License After Disclosure That He Had Affair With The Wife Of Client On Trial For MurderPublished 1, November 8, 2013 Criminal law , Lawyering , Society 22 Comments
How would you like to be up for a double murder and then learn that your lawyer was sleeping with your wife during the trial? That is what Robert Caulley learned after he was sentenced to 25 years to life for the murder of a father and mother. Then he learned that his now ex-wife (no surprise there) was sleeping with his lawyer, James D. Owen. Owen is now trying to keep his license while admitting that he violated the core ethical rules governing our profession. Not only did he have an affair with the wife of a client, but could be viewed as having an incentive to shackle the cuckold. If his client were to lose, it could be viewed as a good way to get rid of an inconvenient husband.
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.
Below is my column today on the continuing problems with the Affordable Care Act. I believe some national health care plan was needed. However, before passage, I spoke on Capitol Hill and criticized the poor drafting of the Act as well as the constitutional concerns over the federalism issues. I was most surprised by simply the poor shape of the massive bill. It was rushed through Congress to avoid having to go back to the Senate after the death of Ted Kennedy. The result was many poorly considered provisions. For that reason, I expected (particularly after the expenditure of such a huge amount) that the rollout would be done with particular care. I was shocked by the gross negligence shown by the Administration. Health and Human Services Secretary Kathleen Sebelius repeatedly assured Congress and the public that the system was ready after almost a half billion dollars in federal funds and years of preparation. She never informed Congress that her top tech officer (who has now resigned) refused to sign off on the program due to concerns of the lack of full testing and that various experts expressed doubts about the launch. However, Sebelius and her aides insisted on effectively launching in the blind. Putting aside how one may feel about national health care, this would seem an objective measure of the lack of performance. This was the single most important task not just for Sebellius but the Administration and it was a failure. For those who have fought hard for health care, the failure played into the hands of critics. Yet, with a program named after a Democratic President, there seems an unwillingness to separate the merits of Obamacare from the poor administration of the rollout of the program. While officials are now profusely apologizing, it seems that (unlike most citizens) high-ranking officials are immune from performance based termination. That is the subject of the column in USA Today.
The city of Haskell in Arkansas is facing a bizarre and high disturbing allegation from a woman, Ashlea Bennett, who says that she was tasered by officer Brandon Carter after refusing to show him her breasts.
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.
We previously discussed the case of Kent and Jill Easter, two California lawyers arrested for allegedly planting drugs in the car of a nemesis on the PTA board. The case has turned even more bizarre with Kent Easter blaming Jill Easter for the crime. The couple is separated and, after the arrest, Kent Easter learned that his wife was involved in an affair.
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.
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 74 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.
Kenyan Men Rape Girl, Break Her Back, And Dump Her In A Latrine . . . Ordered By Police To Cut Grass As PunishmentPublished 1, November 6, 2013 Criminal law , International , Politics , Society 23 Comments
Kenyan police are facing a global outcry this month over a brutal gang-raping of a girl named Liz during which men broke her back and then dumped her into a latrine. Not only were the men not prosecuted but they were told to simply cut grass as their punishment. There is a demand for an investigation of the local police but many Kenyan women are rallying around the case as illustrative of a rape epidemic in the country.
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.
On Monday, Secretary of State John Kerry met with Saudi King Abdullah to deal with increasing tensions with the Kingdom. What I thought was the most interesting moment came when a female reporter asked Kerry about the continued bar on women driving in the Kingdom. We just discussed how a Kuwaiti woman was arrested for driving her father to a hospital during a diabetic seizure. Kerry’s response was remarkably muted on an issue of human rights.
We recently discussed the crackdown on sorcerers in Muslim countries. Mystics are finding themselves targeted in the United States as well in recent weeks. In New York and Florida, clairvoyants have been prosecuted for fraud and some cities and states are moving to ban soothsaying.