In California’s Rancho Corral de Tierra (part of the Golden Gate National Recreation Area), a National Park Service Ranger reportedly shot Gary Hesterberg in the back with a taser after he walked away during a confrontation over walking his two lapdogs off leash. He was then arrested on suspicion of failing to obey a lawful order, having dogs off-leash and knowingly providing false information. The park service spokesperson reportedly said it is all part of teaching citizens about the new leash law in the area . . . or teaching Hesterberg to heel.
This week, Miguel Morales Robles, a Mexican state official from Veracruz, was detained at an airport with $1.9 million stuffed into a briefcase and a backpack. However, Tomas Ruiz, treasury secretary for Veracruz state, assured the public that it was all perfectly innocent and legal — the official was just taking cash to Mexico City to pay an advertising firm to promote festivals.
The Economist just published an amazing chart of “Two Thousand Years In One Chart.” However, the most interesting claim is this: “[o]ver 23% of all the goods and services made since 1AD were produced from 2001 to 2010.” That is from the first product (the fig leaf outfits of Adam and Eve to last year’s Britney Spears CD).
Kansas State Rep. Ed Trimmer is moving to correct a serious lapse in the state arrays of official insects, songs, and animals. He has a bill to proclaim the Cairn Terrier — the breed of Toto in “The Wizard of Oz” — the state dog.
The South African government has long been accused of mixed efforts in combating AIDS despite the country having one of the highest HIV infection rates in the world. Now the government is accused of handing out more than a million free condoms at the African National Congress centenary celebrations that are defective and leak.
Ilya Ablavsky, 33, has had his share of problems. As a student at Brandeis University, he was charged with making bomb threats after losing a primary race for mayor of Waltham. He also claims to suffer from bipolar and post-traumatic stress disorders as well as high anxiety. He can now add a suspended 18 month sentence to his woes after pleading guilty to stealing a court file in a murder case in an attempt to prevent the prosecution of an acquaintance. He had only had his license for a few months and will now likely lose it in a remarkably short legal career.
It appears that Henry VIII is alive and well in Afghanistan . . . but not his wife. In another horrendous attack on a woman in that country, police are seeking Sher Mohammad who they say strangled his wife for giving birth to a girl rather than the boy that he wanted. Putting aside the man’s apparent ignorance of the fact that it was he who determined the gender of the child, it is another example of how women in some of these insular Muslim communities are treated as chattel. The man’s mother, Wali Hazrata, is accused of tying the feet of 22-year-old Stori or Estorai. She has been arrested while her son is believed to be with an illegal militia group.
I have a new addition to our series, “Things That Tick Me Off,” encounters and experiences that go beyond the usual level of inconvenience or stupidity in everyday life. This weekend, we took the kids to the D.C. Chinese Lunar New Year parade in Chinatown with another family. It was not just the worst experience we have had in an outing with the kids, we felt fortunate to leave the parade without injury. It was nothing short of unbelievable.
Ever since Benny Hill Americans have had a difficult time getting British humor. However, British tourists Leigh Van Bryan, 26, and pal Emily Bunting, 24, claim that the Department of Homeland Security not only lacks a sense of humor but does not recognize a joke from the quintessential American comedy show, Family Guy. Upon arriving at Los Angeles, they were interrogated for hours about tweets that they sent and eventually ejected from the country. Before their deportation, they say that they were held in a cell with narcotics traffickers for twelve hours.
New York attorney Crawford Shaw is in the center of a odd mystery. Just two hours before the passing of a deadline for a jackpot ticket to the state lottery, Shaw contacted the Iowa Lottery to submit the winning ticket on behalf of an unnamed client. The ticket was sold 13 months previously at a Des Moines gas station with a payout of $7.5 million cash or $10.3 million spread over 25 years. However, things then got pretty weird. The Iowa lottery proclaims that “Anything Can Happen” and it appears it has.
The respected Reporters Without Borders has issued its annual report and ranking of press freedom. You might have some initial difficulty locating the United States . . . it is 27 points lower on the ranking due to the mistreatment of journalists in this country. You will find us just after Comoros and Taiwan and in the company of Argentina and Romania. In the recent column on “10 Reasons The U.S. Is No Longer The Land Of The Free,” I was not able due to space to include press freedoms and others. This report, however, should be a wake up call for civil libertarians.
For your morning Zen, here is a video in slow motion of a ballon being popped by a pellet.
The 5th Amendment of the U.S. Constitution reads:
“No person shall be held to answer for a capital, or otherwise infamous crime, unless on a presentment or indictment of a Grand Jury, except in cases arising in the land or naval forces, or in the Militia, when in actual service in time of War or public danger; nor shall any person be subject for the same offense to be twice put in jeopardy of life or limb; nor shall be compelled in any criminal case to be a witness against himself, nor be deprived of life, liberty, or property, without due process of law; nor shall private property be taken for public use, without just compensation.”
The language is clear. There is no reasonable alternative construction or deconstruction of the language that renders any permutation of the right against self-incrimination to yield a contrary result. You don’t have to offer testimony against yourself in a criminal proceeding in any court of law. Ever. In what seems an ever increasing and endless assault on the civil rights of American citizens, even this right spelled out in plain language is under attack. This time the alleged assailant is U.S. District Court Judge Robert Blackburn, a George W. Bush appointee. Judge Blackburn has ordered a criminal defendant to produce a unencrypted version of an encrypted hard drive. While several lower courts have addressed this issue, the Supreme Court has yet to weigh in on it. That may change.
But is the 5th Amendment really under attack here? The 5th Amendment applies to testimony. The issue at hand here is production of evidence. Different standards and protections can apply to compelling the production of evidence. The case in front of Judge Blackburn is U.S. v. Fricosu.
Respectfully submitted by Lawrence Rafferty (rafflaw)–Guest Blogger
Here in Illinois it is currently illegal for citizens to audio tape record public officials while they are doing their public duty, even in public. “Illinois’ eavesdropping ban was extended in 1994 to include open and obvious audio recording, even if it takes place on a public street where no expectation of privacy exists and in a volume audible to the “unassisted human ear.” ‘ Chicago Tribune When I first heard of this law, I was at first shocked and then my shock turned to anger. The police can make recordings of citizens out in public while they are in the midst of a traffic stop or even when one is exercising their First Amendment rights on the streets of Chicago. But, private citizens are not allowed to record those same police officers when they abuse the public or take liberties with constitutional guarantees. Continue reading “Eavesdropping on the Police”
In his Washington Post article titled 10 Reasons The United States Is No Longer The Land Of The Free (January 15, 2012), Jonathan Turley addressed the issue of indefinite detention of American citizens. He wrote:
Under the law signed last month, terrorism suspects are to be held by the military; the president also has the authority to indefinitely detain citizens accused of terrorism. While Sen. Carl Levin insisted the bill followed existing law “whatever the law is,” the Senate specifically rejected an amendment that would exempt citizens and the Administration has opposed efforts to challenge such authority in federal court. The Administration continues to claim the right to strip citizens of legal protections based on its sole discretion.
The next day on this blog, Professor Turley said that he had been heartened by the response to his column. He added, “a few commenters continue to suggest that the National Defense Authorization Act (NDAA) does not allow for the indefinite detention of citizens.”
Even people who believe that NDAA does not allow for the indefinite detention of citizens should be concerned about a proposed amendment to the Immigration and Nationality Act that would give our government “the authority to strip a person of their American citizenship if that person is accused or suspected of supporting ‘hostilities’ against the U.S. The amendment, known as the Enemy Expatriation Act (EEA), was introduced, in October, by Rep. Charles Dent, R-Pa., and Sens. Joseph Lieberman, I-Conn., and Scott Brown, R-Mass.