“A Less-Than-Positive Experience”: Southwest Flight Attendant Kicks Man Off Plane For Bad Joke

Years ago, I wrote a column on how the TSA had effectively made up a crime of telling a joke at an airport. It appears that TSA is not the only humor-challenged airport staff. Southwest Airlines passenger Peter Uzelac told a relatively innocent joke after being delayed for several hours due to a maintenance issue. A flight attendant did not think it was funny and had the plane return to the gate and Uzelac thrown off of the flight over the vehement objections of the other passengers. Rather than pledge to deal with the flight attendant, Southwest simply expressed regret for a “less-than-positive experience.”

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Chicago Ranked As Having Highest Tax Burden Of Any Major City

For years, I have been critical of the spending and taxing increases in my hometown of Chicago. After politicians caved in on pensions for years to the Teachers Union, the pensions came close to bankrupting the state. The Chicago City Council has continued to find endless things to tax and is now listing as having the highest tax burden of any city in the country. Not to be outdone, the Illinois government is now imposing a $1000 state tax on electric car owners — a curious disincentive to select eco-friendly transportation.

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Turley Testifies In House Judiciary Committee On Trump Executive Privilege Assertions

I will be testifying this before the House Judiciary Committee on President Donald Trump’s assertion of executive privilege and congressional oversight. The Hearing will be held 10 a.m. on Wednesday, May 15th, in Room 2141 in the Rayburn House Office Building. My testimony is linked available below.

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Turley To Testify Before House Judiciary Committee On Executive Privilege

I will be testifying tomorrow before the House Judiciary Committee on President Donald Trump’s assertion of executive privilege and congressional oversight. The Hearing will be held 10 a.m. on Wednesday, May 15th, in Room 2141 in the Rayburn House Office Building.

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Graham Encourages Trump Jr. To Defy Senate Subpoena

There was a curious moment this weekend when Sen. Lindsey Graham, R-S.C., the chairman of the Senate Judiciary Committee, publicly advised Donald Trump Jr. that he should ignore the subpoena issued to him by the Senate Intelligence Committee. It is virtually unprecedented for the chairman of one Senate Committee to encourage a witness to defy another chairman of a Senate Committee. It is even more bizarre when the first chairman heads the Judiciary Committee.

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Barr Assigns Federal Prosecutor To Investigate Origins Of Russia Probe

Attorney General William P. Barr has assigned John H. Durham, the United States Attorney in Connecticut, to investigate the origins of the Russia Investigation. The country remains divided over the Russian Investigation with many questions raised as to political influence and targeting. Durham is a former special prosecutor with a long and distinguished record at the Justice Department, including prior investigations into CIA abuses of detainees and internal corruption. Besides, he has one of the most intense official photos in government that I have ever seen.

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Constitutional Or Conceptual Crisis? The Atonal Strategy of the House Investigations

Below is my column in The Hill Newspaper on the increasingly disconnected elements in the investigations by the House of Representatives. The question is whether there is a true strategy behind these moves other than an investigation for investigation’s sake.

Here is the column:

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Christie and Emanuel: Trump Should Not Have Allowed Staff To Freely Speak With Mueller

There was an interesting exchange on ABC This Week with former New Jersey Governor Chris Christie and former Chicago Mayor Rahm Emanuel. Christie attacked the Trump legal team as “C-level” performers, specifically calling out John Dowd and Ty Cobb. However, the reason given by both politicians to George Stephanopolous is that they did not believe that President Donald Trump should have been so cooperative with Special Counsel Robert Mueller and should have refused to have White House staff cooperate freely with him.

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“The Situation Is Untenable”: Harvard Law Professor Representing Weinstein Is Fired As House Dean After Protests

We previously discussed the opposition to House Dean Ronald S. Sullivan Jr, a Harvard Law professor, after he decided to represent accused sexual abuser Harvey Weinstein. The protests raise serious concerns over academic and professional freedom, particularly for law professors who often represent unpopular clients. The Harvard Administration did not offer significant support for such values and some deans participated or attended protests despite a letter from dozens of law professors raising the same concerns. The letter from Dean of Harvard College, Rakesh Khurana, is maddeningly vague and does not address any of these concerns over the reasons for firing Sullivan and his wife as deans at the Winstrop House.

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Taqueria Juquilita: A Little Gem Among Mexican Restaurants

A taste every mother could like

By Darren Smith, Weekend Contributor

If you happen to be travelling on Interstate Five in the Centralia or Chehalis area, about half-an-hour from Olympia, Washington, I sincerely recommend two family-owned restaurants that pride themselves in authentic, and remarkable Mexican Cuisine: Taqueria Juquilita in Chehalis and Tagueria Juquilita 2 in Centralia.

I had again the small pleasure of dining there tonight and I felt compelled to at least give a shout-out. Both restaurants are family owned and the Centralia location was handed down to the daughter of the family matriarch who owns Chehalis. Both restaurants are easy to miss as they have an appreciable humbleness to their store front. Centralia has only twenty-six seats among seven tables. The food stems in the style of that offered in Mexico City and Oaxaca, where the family heralds. I can say without reservation that among other delights, the mole sauce is the best I have eaten and the flavors of each meal are complex and deserving of praise. Both restaurants are worth the drive.

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Fight or Flight: Man Found With Two-Foot Machete In Carry-on Luggage At Airport

View image on Twitter

Most of us have experienced that embarrassment of forgetting about the large bottle of shampoo in our carry on when going through airport security. However, one passenger at Bradley Airport in Connecticut appears to have overlooked the two-foot machete in his carry on. It is certainly true that all of those signs before the scanner discuss “knives” and “guns” and not specifically your machete.

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Iraqi Police Forces Confront Crime Wave of Short & Ripped Jeans

The horror

By Darren Smith, Weekend Contributor

It would seem that either Police Forces within the disputed territory of Kirkuk in Northern Iraq have otherwise vanquished all traditional urban crimes and have far too much time on their hands or a return to authoritarianism found a new attraction with withering memories of Saddam and Islamist attacks via ISIS.

Kurdish news reports police forces are arresting any miscreant and fashion terrorista openly wearing ripped or short length jeans. According to a police source, “the decision was sent to all the police stations to arrest anyone who wears short jeans and jeans with fashionable slits or rips in them.”

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Irish Referendum To Change Requirement of Couples To Prove Separation From 4 Years to 2 in Divorce Cases

By Darren Smith, Weekend Contributor

I must admit that I am at a bit of a loss on this one. Presently, the Constitution of Ireland requires that couples prove to a family court they have remained separated for four of the preceding five years as part of a petition to dissolve a marriage. Now, a widely heralded amendment is headed to the polls to reduce the separation period to two of the past three.  Forgive me for thinking aloud but, what state interest is there in requiring any time frame?

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Nearing The 40th Anniversary of the Filming of “The Blues Brothers”, Suspect Drives Through Mall

Screen capture of Jordan Damian video

By Darren Smith, Weekend Contributor

When a driver reportedly amped up on methamphetamine and heroin drives his Beemer through a mall on the eve of the fortieth anniversary of the filming of the Blues Brothers, you have to wonder if it was a serendipitous synchronicity, a mission from God short on planning, or just a typical workday in East Wenatchee, WA.

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A Question Of Contempt: Why The Barr Vote Could Prove Costly For Congress

Below is my column in The Hill newspaper on the vote of the House Judiciary Committee to hold Attorney General Bill Barr in contempt of Congress. There are a number of conflicts with the Administration that present favorable grounds for Congress in a court challenge. This action is the least compelling and could ultimately undermine congressional authority with an adverse ruling.

I am honestly confused by some of the criticism including the recent column by Andrew Napolitano in Fox.com where he states “Barr knows the DOJ is not in the business of exonerating the people it investigates. Yet he proclaimed in his letter that Trump had been exonerated.” I like and respect Napolitano a great deal but that is not what the letter said. What the letter said was “The Special Counsel’s investigation did not find that the Trump campaign or anyone associated with it conspired or coordinated with Russia in its efforts to influence the 2016 U.S. presidential election. As the report states: ‘[T]he investigation did not establish that members of the Trump Campaign conspired or coordinated with the Russian government in its election interference activities.’” That is true. Indeed, it was odd that Napolitano would focus on the collusion/coordination issue when many people have accepted that the conclusion of no criminal conduct was clear from the report. At no point does Barr say that Trump was exonerated. Indeed, he included the most damaging line from the report on obstruction in saying that Mueller expressly did not exonerate him on that question. Barr was addressing the conclusions on criminal conduct and I still do not see where, as stated by my friend Andrew, where Barr in the letter was “foolish,” “deceptive,” “disingenuous,” or “dumb and insulting.” Those are powerful accusations against any lawyer and should be tethered to a clear example in the letter of a false or deceptive statement.

The Napolitano letter also ignores Barr’s statement that the report would have been released relatively quickly (removing the need for the summary) if Mueller complied with his request and that of Rod Rosenstein to identify grand jury material. It remains inexplicable that Mueller allegedly ignored those reasonable requests from his two superiors. As a result, Mueller’s people had to go back through the report to identify the Rule 6(e) material, a previously requested.

Update: The Democrats are now arguing that they are not demanding the redacted Grand Jury information despite weeks of calling for the full and unredacted report — and a subpoena that demands the entire unredacted report. They now insist that they want Barr to ask the Court to release the small percentage of Grand Jury information. That is not likely in light of the long record at the Justice Department.

Here is the column:

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