We have been following the lethal pollution gripping Chinese cities, including now cities like Shanghai, with stories of children developing lung cancer and other medical problems. One benefit is that the rising levels of pollution have actually made it harder for Chinese police to use the country’s extensive surveillance system to monitor citizens. That is not something that the authoritarian government is likely to celebrate however. Now, the official media has come up with one benefit to offer its choking readers: the thick blanket of unhealthy air could make it more difficult for countries to bomb Chinese cities if they have a hard time finding them.
As a largely nocturnal animal, such feats in the forest usually go unnoticed. However, it is proof that steroids have entered the ecosystem.
Continue reading “Jean-Clawed Van Damme”
Time to go over the top. The race is close for top News/Analysis blog in the ABA Journal. Since we have been inducted into the Hall of Fame, we are hoping to leave with a bang since this may be the last year we are allowed compete. We are in the highly competitive News/Analysis category and we need your vote if you can just spare a minute to vote. You can vote here. It just take a few seconds to register to avoid vote rigging.
Yesterday, we discussed a case of a former law student who got off lightly after being found to have been practicing law without a license. We can now add an Iowa lawyer to the list of the fortunate among bar defendants. Robert Allan Wright Jr. arranged for various people to give him money to secure inheritance of $18.8 million from a mysterious long-lost Nigerian cousin. Most people above the age of six would immediately scoff at the classic Nigerian scam, but the Iowa Supreme Court found that Wright not only believed the scam to be true but still believes that it is true. It is the village idiot defense but in this case the subject is an attorney who secured loans of thousands from clients. Now here is the most disturbing fact: Wright was not disbarred. He was suspended, leaving open the possibility that he will represent people in the future.
We have previously followed the suspensions and discipline of students under zero tolerance policies that are used by teachers to justify zero judgment or responsibility. I have long criticized zero tolerance policies that have led to suspensions and arrests of children (here and here and here and here and here). Here is a prior column on the subject (and here).Children have been suspended or expelled for drawing stick figures or wearing military hats or bringing Legos shaped like guns or even having Danish in the shape of a gun. Despite the public outcry over the completely irrational and abusive application of zero tolerance rules, administrators and teachers continue to apply them blindly. We can now add Johnny Jones, a fifth grader at South Eastern Middle School in Fawn Grove, Pennsylvania. It was not a finger gun this time. It was an imaginary bow and arrow. That’s right, an imaginary William Tell.
The federal government just cashed out on our General Motors shares and the final tally is a $10.5 billion loss. Many could still argue that this cost was worth it, but it is different from what has been represented to the public that we would lose no money on the deal. Indeed, the article below says that the White House delayed the final sale until after the election due to the implications of an over $10 billion bath. My concern is the lack of clarity and honesty surrounding the bailout. The public might still have supported the plan but it was not sold as an over $10 billion walkaway bailout.
Ahh, those Irish eyes are watering when he watch this touching story . . .
If police accounts are proven, Andrew Sosa of Cape Coral, Florida stands as one of the truly worst human beings in the news this week. Sosa was arrested for child neglect after he allegedly left an infant in a car for hours as he partied in a strip club.
A former law school student as Ohio State University Moritz College of Law has been hit with an order barring her from doing legal work in the state and imposing a $1000 fine. Paige N. Casey got off fairly lightly since many states allow for much more severe penalties, including jail time.
We previously discussed the lesbian waitress in New Jersey, Dayna Morales, 22, who attracted international attention after being denied a tip by a family which allegedly wrote on the check that they did “not agree with your lifestyle.” The family later came forward with evidence suggesting that Morales had lied and that not only did she receive a tip from them but that they supported gay rights. We have been discussing the growing evidence that Morales appears to have lied — particularly after former friends can forward to say that she has a history of habitual lying. The question that we discussed was her criminal and civil liability after she and the restaurant attracted thousands of customers and donations after the national media covered her alleged mistreatment. Now, the restaurant has said that they have let Morales go and that all donations will be returned.
Many of us on this blog have been advocates for years in favor of medical marijuana legalization. Frankly, as I have expressed before, I fail to understand the logic, let alone the humanity, that would sustain opposition to such drugs for people who are suffering. This woman however made a video that is simply remarkable. It shows the improvement, particularly in speech, that she experiences after using medical marijuana for her cerebal palsy.
With our power out in McLean this morning, this may also be the only hope for electrical power in my area.
By Mike Appleton, Guest Blogger
In 1955 my parents, having decided that their five children should experience a bit of what farm life is about, purchased a house with forty acres in a canyon near Alamogordo, New Mexico, a fairly short commute to my father’s job at Holloman Air Force Base. A previous owner had operated a commercial orchard on the property, and it still had a number of fruit bearing peach and apple trees. In the course of the following year we acquired a registered brand, two calves, two pigs, three horses, a half dozen turkeys-and a hundred New Hampshire Red chicks ordered through the Sears Roebuck farm catalog. My father built a chicken coop with roosts and brooding nests and enclosed an open area with a wire fence, although we quickly learned that the wings on chickens are fully operational. The wire fence was soon removed and the chickens wandered at will.
New Hampshires are great egg producers, and we regularly collected more than we could possibly eat. So my father bought generic egg cartons and began selling the surplus to the people he worked with. My parents were obviously pleased with their egg-selling experiment because my father announced at dinner one night that he was going to build another coop, this one large enough to house five hundred hens. We were going into commercial egg production.
Over the next few months my father and I worked evenings and weekends building the new structure. It was long and high-ceilinged, with windows all along the side walls. The original coop now looked like a tool shed by comparison. And then, one day, they arrived, not the five hundred New Hampshire Reds I had envisioned, but hundreds of shiny metal cages. They would be hung from the rafters. Troughs attached to the cages would provide food and water and the eggs would roll out the front of the cages for daily collection.
My little sister Carol, who was seven at the time, was the first to react. She was horrified. It was mean and cruel, she said. Animals cannot live in cages. In short order the rest of us voiced similar outrage. Even my mother was sympathetic to our feelings on the issue. It was hopeless, and my father knew it. There would be no chicken gulag. When my father was transferred and sold the property two years later, the cages still sat on the ground in the new coop, a mute testament to compassion over economics.
But if I were to share this story with Rep. Steve King, he would likely respond that my little sister was an incipient animal rights radical and my father a fool.
Submitted by Darren Smith, Guest Blogger
The initiative process in Washington State is designed to allow individual citizens to participate in the law making process and collectively to work together to bring this cause to fruition. But is this century old tradition, rather uncommon in the various governments of the world, suffering from the effects of corporate interest and losing its original purpose?
Continue reading “By The People For The Dollars: Washington Initiative Process Dominated By Out Of State Corporations.”
Submitted by Elaine Magliaro, Guest Blogger
In November, I wrote a post titled State Policy Network (SPN)—The “PR Firm” for ALEC and a Right-Wing Agenda. According to the Center for Media and Democracy, SPN “is funded largely by global corporations and by groups and foundations associated with conservative billionaires David and Charles Koch.” Journalist Jane Mayer provided a good description of SPN in her article Is IKEA the New Model for the Conservative Movement?—which appeared in The New Yorker this past November.
In every state in the country, there is at least one ostensibly independent “free-market” think tank that is part of something called the State Policy Network— there are sixty-four in all, ranging from the Pelican Institute, in Louisiana, to the Freedom Foundation, in Washington State. According to a new investigative report by the Center for Media and Democracy, a liberal watchdog group, however, the think tanks are less free actors than a coördinated collection of corporate front groups—branch stores, so to speak—funded and steered by cash from undisclosed conservative and corporate players. Although the think tanks have largely operated under the radar, the cumulative enterprise is impressively large, according to the report. In 2011, the network funnelled seventy-nine million dollars into promoting conservative policies at the state level.
The Guardian newspaper has dug up more information about the workings of SPN…and its plans for 2014. The paper published an article on the subject entitled State conservative groups plan US-wide assault on education, health and tax just last week. According to Ed Pilkington and Suzanne Goldenberg, the authors of the article, SPN and its affiliated conservative groups/”think tanks” are planning “a co-ordinated assault against public sector rights and services in the key areas of education, healthcare, income tax, workers’ compensation and the environment…”