170px-Nicotiana_Tobacco_Plants_1909px230px-Hummus_from_The_NileThere is a truly healthy development occurring in tobacco country. It appears that farmers are pulling up tobacco plants with the falling market in order to plant a crop in higher demand: chick peas. Why? Hummus, my friend, thar’s gold in them golden dips. It is the ultimate healthy trade off and one of the more promising signs of the successful campaign against tobacco use.

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220px-Bret_Stephens180px-john-yooToday I had my second debate with Berkeley Law Professor and former Bush official John Yoo. The first debate sponsored by Christopher Newport University was held in Newport News four days ago and the second was sponsored by Hillsdale College at a debate held in Washington, D.C. There is a clear theme emerging to get Americans to embrace war as a continuing reality for American policy. Equally notable is how well-connected Republicans are returning over and over to another theme: Rand Paul must be stopped. In his luncheon speech, Bret Stephens of The Wall Street Journal repeatedly mocked Rand Paul and his opposition to the United States engaging in wars around the globe. It seems that there is a real fear that Paul could gain traction with Republicans in steering the U.S. from an interventionist course. There are many positions of Paul that people of good faith can disagree with. I certainly have such differences with him. However, it is specifically his notion of limited presidential authority and a disinclination toward new wars that is the focus of these attacks.

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fuller-mugshotWe previously discussed the arrest of U.S. District Judge Mark Fuller in Alabama for misdemeanor battery of his wife. Now members are raising the possibility of impeachment if he does not resign despite the absence of a conviction on the misdemeanor. Rep. Martha Roby (R., Alabama) is citing a rather novel source of extraconstitutional precedent: the NFL Ray Rice case.

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26529511_BG3There is another disturbing case involving police tasering a suspect who ended up with a serious, life-threatening injury after a traffic stop. Bryce Masters was put into a medically induced coma due to injuries to his brain after an encounter with an Independence (Mo.) police officer. The brain damage was due to either hitting his head on the concrete or losing oxygen for a long period of time.

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screen-shot-2014-09-01-at-8-36-57-am-e14095751988281In a previous posting, I published a warning about another malicious fake news story by National Report which showed a picture identified as an Associated Press photo of Paul Horner, 15, allegedly was given 25 years to life for “swatting” — calling in a face police report on an online gaming opponent. The problem is that the story is entirely untrue. I discussed how this article went further then prior juvenile postings by National Report designed to trick news organizations and blogs into posting false stories. There is nothing funny about the stories. These are just mean-spirited efforts to embarrass media and bloggers. However, on his occasion they used a picture of a real person and tied Associated Press to their story. At the time, I asked why anyone has not sued these editors, particularly Associated Press. I have now spoken with Associated Press about the incident.

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23,000,000

We only recently passed the 22,000,000 mark last July but a few minutes ago we just hit 23,000,000. It continues to be a banner year for the site with a continuing increase in traffic, links on other sites, and new voices on the blog. These milestones are coming faster and they give us a chance to look at the spread of our regular readers and commentators. As always, I want to offer special thanks for our weekend contributors: Mark Esposito, Mike Appleton, Larry Rafferty, Charlton Stanley, Darren Smith, and Kimberly Deines. The increasing traffic on the site is gratifying and reaffirms that there are many people looking for mature and civil debate. Even among the top ten sites, I believe that we offer a unique forum of different views and backgrounds in the discussion of law and politics (and a few quirky items).

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article-charlize8n-5-0307We previously discussed the bizarre case of Faulkner County Circuit Judge Mike Maggio who was identified as an anonymous commenter known as “geauxjudge” in a an an interesting controversy in Arkansas where Maggio was was outed from online sites. Maggio previously apologized and withdrew from a race for the appellate court. The controversy raised the question of whether such comments should be a subject for ethical discipline and whether judges should have the right to comment anonymously on such sites. Now Maggio has been permanently removed from the bench for his discussion of a confidential adoption of a child by actress Charlize Theron. He agreed with the Arkansas Judicial Discipline and Disability Commission about the lifetime ban. However, the Arkansas Supreme Court rejected the recommendation because it included Maggio being suspended with pay until the end of the year when his term expires.

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