By Charlton Stanley, weekend writer

FAA logoAlmost everyone likes model airplanes. Kids and adults have been building model flying machines for centuries. In fact, the Wright brothers experimented with model helicopters as well as fixed wing airplanes. I built my first model when I was nine years old. It was a Guillow’s kit of a Grumman TBF Avenger, the same plane flown by Lt. George H. W. Bush during WW-2. It is amazing to me the same kit is still in production, although a bit more pricey than when my dad bought mine.

When Congress passed the FAA Modernization and Reform Act of 2012, they carved out an exemption for model airplanes and aeromodeling in general. As passed by Congress, §336 prohibits the FAA from promulgating any new rule or regulation regarding model aircraft, or an aircraft being developed as a model aircraft …” The law does specify that certain requirements must be met for an aircraft to qualify as a model airplane. However, that did not deter the FAA in its quest to amass more power over anything that can get off the ground higher than the Administrator can jump. After all, the space between the trees in your backyard, the local park, or your model flying club IS airspace, and they see their job as controlling airspace, dammit! All of it.

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By Mark Esposito, Weekend Contributor

VIDEO Snakes Revenge As Severed Head Bites And Kills ChefEating habits in Guangdong Province, China are likely about to change. There, the Indochinese spitting cobra is a prized delicacy. The preparation of the serpent is a time-honored tradition but yesterday something went terribly wrong for Chef Peng Fan of Foshan. Disposing of the head of the snake that had been killed twenty minutes before, Fan was fatally bitten and died before the anti-venom could be administered. Spitting cobra venom contains  one of the world’s most powerful neurotoxins that kills within hours of injection by suppressing involuntary muscles which control respiration.

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Submitted By Darren Smith, Weekend Contributor

DNA_orbit_animated_static_thumbAdvocates of allowing the convicted the opportunity to have DNA tests performed on evidence in the hope of releasing from prison innocent persons could find benefit in an En Banc ruling by the Washington Supreme Court.

In State v. Crumpton the Court created a standard lower courts court should use to decide a motion for post-conviction DNA testing and whether a court should presume DNA evidence would be favorable to the convicted individual when determining if it is likely the evidence would prove his or her innocence in order to determine if the DNA test is provided.

In 1993 petitioner Lindsey Crumpton was convicted of five counts of rape in the first degree and one count of residential burglary. He then petitioned the Superior Court to grant him a post-conviction DNA test as provided in RCW 10.73.170(3) which reads in pertinent part:

(3) The court shall grant a motion requesting DNA testing under this section if such motion is in the form required by subsection (2) of this section, and the convicted person has shown the likelihood that the DNA evidence would demonstrate innocence on a more probable than not basis

The superior court denied this motion, saying he had not shown a ‘”likelihood that the DNA evidence would demonstrate his innocence on a more probable than not basis.” An appeal to a Washington Court of Appeals ultimately denied the defendant’s motion and affirmed the Superior Court’s denial of his motion. The Washington Supreme Court reversed and remanded the motion back to the trial court to apply the new standard in determining whether such DNA testing should be granted.

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300px-Microsoft_building_17_front_door

Respectfully submitted by Lawrence E. Rafferty (rafflaw)- Weekend Contributor

We have read in recent weeks and months about the continued movement of corporate profits by US corporations to their overseas subsidiaries in order to avoid paying taxes here on those profits.  Walgreens almost went that route recently but they decided to not do what is called an “inversion” to avoid taxes.  At least for now.

You may be wondering what the picture is all about.  The building in the attached photo is one of the main buildings on the Microsoft campus in Redmond, Washington.  And Microsoft has also been busy working on their taxes.

Microsoft, made news recently, by admitting that they have stashed $92 Billion dollars overseas in an attempt to avoid paying $29 Billions in taxes!  While Microsoft has not officially “inverted” its profits, they have done the next best thing.

Many large US corporations have complained that they have to move profits overseas because they cannot be competitive in the world market without a lower tax base.  Just how true is that claim? Continue Reading »

By Mark Esposito, Weekend Contributor

By any standards it’s been a bloodbath. Nine straight quarters of losses at Sears and it’s stock plummeting 15% this year alone. It’s cousin, K-Mart on life support after contributing to the near $1 billion loss for the holding company that owns both for the first half of this year. Over at Target, still reeling from customer outrage at its data breach, things weren’t much better. Profits plunged 62% last quarter compared to the same period last year. On Wednesday, Target cuts its profit predictions again to avoid a wholesale run against its stock as Wall Street expectations continue to drop. It’s stock is off 5% this year. At that flagship of retail, Walmart, seas are swirling as the giant reports flat sales and financially reluctant shoppers. Most of its growth is coming from smaller stores though its superstores maintain the sales course for the massive chain. Company earning grew at a snails pace of 2.8% this year despite massive sales promotions and even deeper price cuts. J.C. Penney remains the old man of retail continuing its post-no coupon strategy recovery but an an anemic pace. The best that can be said is that its “operating income for the quarter was a loss of $70 million which represents a $325 million or 82 % improvement over last year.” Whoopee! Even consumer electronics big leaguer Sony announced plans to close most of its retail outlets in the U.S.

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By Mark Esposito, Weekend Contributor

Watching the waves roll in here in Duck, NC, I have to admit things seem pretty peaceful and serene. It got me wondering why the folks in Ferguson, Mo. are demonstrating on a daily basis about their policing. Wonderment stopped last evening when I came across this video by 35-year veteran of the St. Louis County Police Department, Sgt. Major Dan Page.  Former Green Beret and supervising cop, Dan’s vaguely known to most  CNN viewers as the enlightened peace officer who shoved reporter Don Lemon from a Ferguson street corner as he tried reporting on the mass protest of 17-year-old Michael Brown’s police-facilitated killing. Lemon was shoved and then was herded to some “Free Speech Zone” in a remote parking lot. Now street-savvy Page is back … and with a right-wing philosophy and blood thirsty vengeance that you’d have to go to 1970s Cambodia to match — “We can kill you anyway we want!”

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President_Barack_Obama305px-USA_PFC_BoweBergdahl_ACU_CroppedThe Government Accountability Office has rendered a decision on the actions of the Obama Administration in swapping five Taliban leaders for Army Sgt. Bowe Bergdahl earlier this year. At the time on CNN and other forums, I noted that President Obama had again openly violated federal law which requires at least 30 days of advance notice in such a change. The GAO agreed and found that the Administration clearly violated federal law. I recently testified (here and here and here and here) and wrote a column on President Obama’s increasing circumvention of Congress in negating or suspending U.S. laws. As in past cases, defenders of the President insist that any violation was done for the best of reasons, but that is a dangerous rationalization for any violation of law. Presidents always insist that they are acting with the best of motivations when they violate laws. We remain a nation of laws and presidents do not have the option of not complying when the laws are inconvenient or counterproductive. Notably, it was not just one law that President Obama violated in taking this unilateral action.

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