Janet Arsanian, a teacher at Cortney Junior High School, is facing calls for her termination after her son dressed as Adolf Hitler for Halloween. The controversy rekindles our long debate over the free speech rights of teachers and public employees in controversial statements or actions in their private lives. Arsanian insisted that “we don’t worship Hitler or agree with what he did.” More importantly, there is no allegation that Arsanian has shown any intolerance or inappropriate responses in her role as a teacher. I share to reaction of many to such a costume as offensive but, as many on this blog know, I tend to follow a robust view of free speech in such controversies. Continue reading “Nevada Teacher Faces Calls For Termination After Her Son Dresses As Hitler For Halloween”
As many on this blog know, I am no fan of trophy hunting. I fail to see why it is impressive or thrilling to shoot a giraffe or elephant with a high-powered rifle. I just do not understand the thrill kill. I often hike in remote areas to observe wild game. It is thrilling to see them in their natural habitat. However, some people want to enjoy killing such animals. The video below captures why some of us simply do not understand the joy of killing such animals. In the video, hunters sneak up on elephants in Nakabolelwa Conservancy in Namibia to kill an elephant. One excitedly encourages his friend to shoot the elephant between the eyes. They then shoot the animal and run away when the herd chases them. Continue reading “Video Captures The Thrill Killing of an Elephant . . . And A Herd Charging The Trophy Hunters”
Below is my column in The Hill newspaper on the call by alumni and professors at St. Lawrence University to strip Sen. Susan Collins (R., Maine) of her honorary degree in light of her vote to confirm Justice Brett Kavanaugh. The university has now confirmed that they have never rescinded an honorary degree and will not start with Collins. Putting aside the prevalent “rape culture” declared by almost a hundred faculty members, the two letters reflect the diminishing hold of intellectual honesty and integrity at our places of higher education.
There is an interesting case out of the United States Court of Appeals for the Fifth Circuit in Allen v. Walmart, 2018 WL 4998231 (5th Cir. Oct 16. 2018. Judge Edith Brown Clement ruled for Walmart in a novel claim that the chain should not have sold Karalee Alaine Williams a dust remover. Williams was found dead in the parking lot after inhaling the product. It reads like a dram shop claim for dust removers. Notably, Williams kept returning in worse and worse shape, including her final visit naked from the waist down — but was still sold additional dust remover. Her mother brought an array of claims, including negligence, negligence per se for violating Texas Health & Safety Code Chapter 485, negligent entrustment pursuant to Restatement (Second) of Torts § 390 and breached a duty to Williams under a theory of premises liability. She also alleged that Wal-Mart owed Williams a duty in the products liability context, invoking Texas Civil Practice & Remedies Code § 82.003(6) (2009).
I wrote a column yesterday in The Hill newspaper on the effort to strip away the honorary degree awarded to Sen. Susan Collins (R., Maine) in 2017 in retaliation for her vote to confirm Justice Brett Kavanaugh. One of the letters seeking the rescission was from roughly 100 professors from virtually every department within St. Lawrence University. What was most surprising was the assertion of these faculty members that St. Lawrence University has a “rape culture” and that Sen. Collins’ vote was in furtherance of that culture. Notably, there are only 217 full-time and part-time faculty at the university.
I have previously and repeatedly criticized President Donald Trump for his tweets and comments, including personal attacks and name calling that is below the dignity of his office. Some on this blog have (perhaps correctly) labeled me as something of a prude when it comes to foul language and uncivil exchanges in professional sports, academia, or politics. However, even discounting my sensitivity over such conduct by adults, this is a new low. After news of a judge tossing the defamation lawsuit of Stormy Daniels, Trump lashed out at her and her counsel, Michael Avenatti. Trump called Daniels “horseface” and Avenatti as a “third-rate lawyer.” Daniels responded by calling him “Tiny” and a man with a penchant for “bestiality.” Once again, why? Trump is President of the United States calling a porn star a adolescent schoolyard name and triggering a name calling contest on social media. Speaker Paul Ryan and other Republicans have again criticized the President for such language.
As many on this blog know, I love watching football. However, I no longer go to games because of the often drunk and unruly fans. I long ago decided not to take the kids to games because of all of the drinking and profanity. It is a real shame because I know other families who have reached the same conclusion. Stadiums are simply no longer family friendly environments unless you want your kids surrounded by profanely spewing drunks. The alternative would be for owners to actually exercise a modicum of responsibility and toss out unruly fans. I have made the same argument for baseball. Their failure to do so was on display in the New England-Kansas City game where Patriots fans flipped off Chiefs Wide Receiver Tyreek Hill after he scored a touchdown in the 4th quarter. They also threw beer on him as shown in the video below. Update: The Patriots identified the fan who threw the beer but apparently did nothing about the other abusive fans. It is good to see this fan banned from the stadium and hopefully we will see more enforcement of basic standards of civility and decorum at these games. The fan has been charged with disorderly conduct.
I have previously expressed my disgust over trophy hunting game like lions and elephants — people who post accounts of the thrill of killing a giraffe or rhino with a high-powered rifle. I simply do not understand the joy or power felt in these thrill kills. Nothing however quite prepared most of us for Idaho Fish and Game Commissioner Blake Fischer. Fischer shared photos of his hunting trip in Africa where he posed with a photo of a entire “family of baboons,” including a baby, that Fischer massacred with a recurve bow. He gleefully reported that, while you are charged for killing large animals, “Baboons are free.”
Anna Ayers, a student at Ohio University and a member of the OU student senate, recently caused an uproar at the university after saying that she received threatening messages, including a death threat, due to being part of the LGBTQ community. Police now say that Ayers made the entire thing up and have arrested her for “making false alarms.” That wording seemed a bit curious so I went to the state code, which indeed has a provision that departs from the usual language of a false police report. Continue reading “Ohio University Student Arrested After Making False Claims Of Threatening Messages Due To LGBTQ Status”
I have previously discussed my opposition to sugary drink bans or prohibitive taxation schemes in Chicago and New York. While Cook County reluctantly yielded to public opinion and court decisions recently, other cities have continued to penalize the unhealthy choices of consumers. Now England is considering a measure to put a calorie count on pizza, ready meals and sandwiches to combat obesity. As you might expect, I feel the same way about this measure as a denial of individual choice despite the undeniable well-intentioned purpose of the measure. It is the type of law only a Little Caesar would relish . . . other than the pizza chain of course.
In one of the most bizarre (and frankly demeaning) moments for the White House, President Donald Trump invited Kanye West into the Oval Office for what became an unhinged and profane rave sessions in front of the world’s press. As with the high-level visits with a Kardashian to talk policy, these sessions have a freak show quality more fitting a reality show than the Oval Office. For anyone who reveres that office, West raving about how he is a “crazy motherf***er” is an utter disgrace. Not to be outdone, CNN proceeded to demean news coverage by racing to the bottom on the story with April Ryan.
Kuwait has continued to remind the world that, despite its advances in the modern world, it remains a religiously orthodox government imposing medieval values on its population. That fact was on display this week as the government banned such works as “The Little Mermaid” and Michelangelo’s David as unIslamic or indecent. Sounds Orwellian? Perhaps but Kuwaiti’s would not know it . . . Orwell’s masterpiece “1984” was also banned.
Idaho Republican lieutenant governor candidate Bob Nonini has triggered a firestorm after saying that women who get an abortion should be criminally prosecuted and indicated that that could include the death penalty. If it seems a tad conflicted to execute someone in the name of being pro-life, Nonini seems to be still trying to thread that needle with a later effort to walk back from his comments.
The Clintons are back. Despite Democratic members belatedly (by about two decades) denouncing Bill Clinton for the host of women who accused him of sexual assault and rape and the growing unpopularity of Hillary Clinton, Democrats are again putting the couple on the campaign trail in one of the most critical midterm elections in history. Just as the Democratic leadership does not seem to change, neither does the playbook or players. I just do not get it. Hillary has already made headlines in distinguishing her husband’s sexually abusive history by saying these cases were “thoroughly investigated” even though the couple did everything possible to stop such investigations and Democrats remained largely silent despite corroborating evidence from these women. In a remarkably uncritical and relatively passive interview, CNN’s Christiane Amanpour did not seem at all concerned about a strange claim by Clinton that she won the vote of women voters while dismissing white women as opposed to Democratic candidates or values. For those who are looking for a blue wave, the high-profile speaking tour of the Clintons cannot be good news given their continuing polarizing impact in polls. As Democrats seeks to build on the MeToo anger in the aftermath of the Kavanaugh hearings, the Clintons remind voters of the obvious hypocrisy in how Democrats handled the Bill Clinton accusations. Continue reading “Hillary Clinton Dismisses White Women Voters As Lost Cause While Calling For The End Of Civility Toward Republicans”
I have been critical of President Donald Trump’s rhetoric on social media and the campaign trail. The attacks are often personal and, in my view, often unsettling. That was the case yesterday at an Iowa rally where the crowd chanted “Lock her up, lock her up” after Trump taunted ranking member of the Senate Judiciary Committee Dianne Feinstein (D-CA) over the leaking of a letter from Dr. Christine Blasey Ford. It is a chilling development in a mass rally to have supporters calling for the jailing of Trump’s political opponents. That is not what this country represents and should be condemned by Democratic and Republican leaders alike. Continue reading “Iowa Rally Chants “Lock Her Up” After Trump Taunts Diane Feinstein”