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Archive for the ‘complete fucking stupidity’ Category

I have said it before and I will say it again, Congress is a rotten, stinking corpse.  It is no wonder that it currently has the lowest approval rating of all time.  This week more ridiculous legislation was introduced in that body that will only make our lives worse.  The bipartisan bill that was introduced would punish any country that practices currency manipulation as an unfair trade subsidy.  It would give President Obama the ability to impose retaliatory protectionist measures to level the playing field.  Of course, the impetus for the legislation is China’s alleged undervaluing of its currency, the yuan, in order to support Chinese exports to other countries.

Now, it’s funny, how the legislation comes in an election year when there is a very strong anti-incumbent mood amongst the electorate.   Many Americans who have lost their jobs in this depression are naturally fixated on statements from Washington dealing with job creation.  So as not to disappoint, Democratic Senator Charles Schumer was quoted as saying, “”There is no bigger step that we can take to promote job creation here in the US than to confront Chinese currency manipulation.”  This sounds logical on the surface, but upon closer analysis the senator as usual has it all wrong.

In the first place, to even threaten protectionist measures in such a fragile economic environment as we live in is dangerous.  The Smoot-Hawley Tariff was passed in 1930 and placed protective tariffs on thousands of imports coming into the United States from abroad.  At the time, during the Great Depression, its purpose was to protect American jobs.  Sound familiar?  Instead, the tariff caused our trading partners to retaliate with tariffs of their own thereby exacerbating an already horrendous employment situation.  What makes our politicians believe that China would not retaliate with protective measures of its own or worst yet cause the collapse of our currency by flooding the world markets with hundreds of billions of dollars it keeps in reserve?

But secondly, and much more importantly to our situation, we need inexpensive Chinese products otherwise our inflation rate would be through the roof and unemployment would be right there with it.  Here is the vicious cycle of events that is American/Chinese trade relations.  China’s products are cheaper because the cost of doing business there is less than in the U.S.  Thus, we purchase Chinese goods with dollars and treasury notes. China holds these dollars and interest-bearing bonds in reserve and then prints yuan to pay off the Chinese suppliers of our purchases.  When the smoke clears, we get cheap Chinese goods to buy, the Chinese manufacturer makes a profit, and the Chinese government acquires more units of the world’s reserve currency.  Everybody wins, right?

If the Obama Administration ends this cycle by imposing protective tariffs on Chinese goods coming into the United States, not only will the Chinese government reciprocate with retaliatory measures of its own, the prices of goods in the U.S. will rise sharply.  You see right now we export our inflation to China by way of treasury bonds and newly printed Federal Reserve notes.  Without the ability to export our debt and a lot of the dollars the Federal Reserve has been printing, all of that liquidity will be spent in the U.S. instead on more expensive goods.  As more money enters our economy prices in general will be bid up and will rise and given how much the Federal Reserve has inflated the money supply over the last few years prices will rise by a lot.  At that point, Economics 101 tells us that high prices will squelch demand and huge increases in unemployment will result.

Since the 1970s, the politicians in Washington have placed us in this no win situation with regard to trading with China.  They have destroyed our industrial base with unconstitutional mandates and regulations, and collective bargaining laws.  They have spent us into oblivion by financing a welfare/warfare state unmatched in human history.  If we impose protectionist measures against China we will incur inflation in the short run and high unemployment in the long run.  If we continue to borrow from China to buy their inexpensive goods we put ourselves on an unsustainable course.  At some point, if it isn’t happening already, China will stop financing our purchases and absorbing our inflation.  They will sell their goods elsewhere and Americans will pay higher prices.  Our standard of living will plummet and China will replace us as the world’s number one economic superpower.

But, Chuck Schumer and his colleagues on the Hill are oblivious to all of this.  Of course, they also ignore the fact that the Federal Reserve is the biggest currency manipulator in the world.  Ben Bernanke and his cabal of economic central planners better known as the Federal Open Market Committee fix interest rates and determine the supply of money.  These actions directly determine the value of the dollar.  Before Congress complains about China for not using market forces to value the yuan it should look in the mirror. 

And that is really why I consider Congress a rotten, stinking corpse.  Time and again its members grandstand for personal political gain and leave the American people with the mess.  Its hypocrisy is appalling.  Lastly, it seems like it is constantly coming up with cockamamie schemes to ruin our economy further.  This latest scheme places the blame on China for our own financial incompetence.

Kenn Jacobine teaches internationally and maintains a summer residence in North Carolina.

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h/t Delaware Libertarian.

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“Artist Scott Donahue of Emeryville, Calif., was paid $196,000 by Berkeley’s public arts program to create two large statues, which feature small, artistic medallions that show dogs doing what dogs do best.

“‘Various things,’ Donahue said. ‘Biting each other, chasing each other…. One dog is defecating, two dogs are fornicating.’

All that spending comes with one hell of a dog knot.

I wonder if taxpayers will finally have had enough of being the government’s bitch, or will they be like these fratboys and keep lapping it up? (warning: disgusting)

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Nevada’s Republican Lt. Gov. Brian Krolicki was indicted today by a grand jury on four felony counts related to his previous stint as state treasurer: 2 counts of Misappropriation and Falsification of Accounts By Public Officer, and 2 counts of Misappropriation by Treasurer. Krolicki had just last week announced he planned to run against Harry Reid for Senate in 2010, and claims this indictment was a politically motivated conspiracy hatched by Reid and Nevada’s Democratic Attorney General. The main problem with his story is that the indictment is hardly out of the blue. It has its roots back in January 2007, when the State Treasurer who took office after him, asked and received permission for an audit looking into possible improprieties. Krolicki even admits he was informed about a probable grand jury indictment late in November, so he announced his intention to run against Reid knowing it was coming.

The Hill happily pimped Krolick’s claim in an article titled: Top Reid challenger indicted.  In the article The Hill also mentioned that two other Republicans, who were considered possible challengers to Reid in 2010, had their political fortunes greatly decreased by losing their reelection bids last November. One of those was Congressman Jon Porter, and the other was State Senator Joe Heck. From The Hill article:

The two GOP names most often floated as top-notch challengers, however, have had difficult years of their own. Rep. Jon Porter, who represents Southern Nevada’s 3rd district, just lost his bid for a fourth term to state Sen. Dina Titus; and state Sen. Joe Heck lost his seat by fewer than 1,000 votes thanks to a Libertarian candidate.

Thanks to a Libertarian candidate? Not due to Heck’s lack of appeal in his district? The Hill conveniently failed to mention that an IAP candidate was a fourth contender in the field, who performed fairly well.

Candidate Party % vote votes
BREEDEN, SHIRLEY DEM 46.57% 46,420
HECK, JOE REP 45.81% 45,655
HAGAN, TIM LIB 4.77% 4,754
BLANQUE, TONY IAP 2.85% 2,843

Source: Nevada Secretary of State

Given the political views of Independent American Party members, it seems much more likely that Heck lost, “thanks” to the IAP candidate, not the Libertarian.

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Nothing to add to what’s been said about this by others.

Just my attempt to get a threadjacking off IPR and bring it to where it is on subject. That is, here.

If you have thoughts on the question, whether you find this from IPR or elsewhere, please add them in the comments.

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From Liv Films, an editorial about gay marriage, fat marriage, eating lobsters, and more. Mona of Liv Films was the “Ron Paul Girl,” but most of their recent work has been non-political. LMFAO (laughing my fat ass off)….

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originally posted by GE at IPR. Headline by Fred Church in the comments.

In response to House GOP leader John Boehner’s comments to Reason‘s Dave Weigel — that conservatives considering a vote for Bob Barr “might as well vote for Barack Obama” — the LP has issued a press release with harsh words for the GOP and its leadership.

Libertarian Party spokesperson Andrew Davis said that Boehner’s comments “reflect the same fallacy of thought that has put America in its current situation, with neither Republicans or Democrats offering the solutions voters want to hear.”

Davis also said Boehner’s comments were “a symptom of the same delusion that cost Republicans control in 2006.”

Read the entire release here.

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Back in November, I made the following comments at
Loretta Nall Sends Troy King Appropriate Sex Toy
:

But reasonable people would not include the Alabama legislature, which in is great wisdom passed a law banning dildos, vibrators, and other weapons of mass stimulation.

Not content with the law as it stands, Alabama Attorney General Troy King wants the legislature to make the law even more draconian.

I remember Troy from college. He was always a little weird. He used to write frequent letters to the CW, which described in detail his disgust with homosexuals hooking up in public toilets (well before Larry Craig), a subject he seemed to be intimately familiar with, and exhorted readers to go eat at Cracker Barrel, which at the time was under fire for a policy of discriminating against having gay employees. Troy always seemed just a little too obsessed with homosexual perversion.

Alert readers may remember that Loretta Nall sent Troy King a blow up pig:

My suspicion now seems likely to have been confirmed.

Loretta explains

This is not about being gay. This is about being a hypocrite…of the highest order

There is an official denial of the rumor about Troy King now….so I can say what the rumor is.

According to rumors flying around for the last week Troy King, our
rabidly homophobic
, anti-sex toy, Sunday School teaching, pro-execution Republican Attorney General is GAY! And I don’t mean that as in happy either. I’d bet he is anything but happy right now. In fact, according to two sources he is about to resign. [..]

I have been sitting on this story for about a week. Truth is I am SORE from having to sit on it so long….but not as sore as Troy King is.

Loretta elaborates:

I have some friends in pretty high places in Alabama politics so I called one of them up with the juicy details. They told me they heard a rumor about his sexual orientation some six months ago from a former reporter with a large, credible newspaper in Alabama. I also know that reporter and knew them to be very credible. The rumor at the time was that Troy’s mystery man was his old college roommate who he gave a position to when he took over the AG office in 2004. Supposedly when Troy was out of town so was lover boy.

The story then became that the mystery man was a young man who had just graduated from Troy University and was the Homecoming King(no pun intended) (God that gets confusing…Troy King with the homecoming king who graduated from Troy) and that was who the wife walked in on. Then a few weeks later Troy and his boy toy from Troy were spotted at the YMCA (not kidding) engaging in….ummmm….inappropriate activities. Yeah…at the YMCA…made famous by the Village People. Apparently Troy has no inkling of what it means to be ‘discreet’.

I’m betting they are both true. If Troy King can be a closet gay and Alabama Attorney General at the same time then there exists in this universe the infinite possibility for him to be a promiscuous, closet gay, Alabama Attorney General. But apparently closet and promiscuous don’t go so well together. But, hell, no one is claiming that he’s smart are they?

As far as the significance of this story, Loretta explains:

There are so many things that make this a delicious story. Gay Sex, high ranking elected officials who are rabidly anti-gay in public but turn out to be gay in private, they get caught at the YMCA (of all places), the whole sex toy incident, the ‘below the belt’ legislation that Troy has made a focal point during his time in office, his desire to be the guy who injects death row inmates with deadly chemicals. I bet this is why he objects to DNA testing, ya know? Wonder where all they would find his DNA? It’s really not much different than what Bill Clinton did with Monica Lewenski…except Troy is a Republican and his mystery partner is GAY!! Lordy, does it get any better than this?

Head On Radio Network is one of several sites making video and musical parodies which take advantage of Troy King’s embarrassment.

Another one is found at the myspace page for Mock 5

Alabama Queen

Troy King has refused to comment on the allegations, claiming that his kids would be subject to teasing.

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Disturbing medical marijuana case involving an AIDS patient

Tom FaltynowiczTom Faltynowicz, a 43-year-old gay rancher in Meade County, South Dakota, was diagnosed with Aquired Immune Deficiency Syndrome (AIDS) in 1990, and is currently facing criminal charges for possessing and growing marijuana for medicinal usage.For those of you unaware of the specifics of that disease, a patient infected with the Human Immunodeficiency Virus (HIV) may or may not develop AIDS. Once infected with HIV, the disease damages the CD4 cells (T-Cells), and in fact uses those cells to replicate within the body; CD4 cells can be replaced through normal process in the early stages of the disease, but eventually the counts start to fall as the cells are overcome by the virus. A CD4 count between 700 and 1000 is considered normal in a non-HIV infected person; while a CD4 count of about 500 is considered normal when the virus is present. A CD4 count below 200 is indicative of AIDS, since it is at that point that the body loses its ability to fight off opportunistic infection.

Opportunistic infection is any infection which, under normal circumstances, the body could easily fight off. However, due to the lack of CD4 immune cells, AIDS patients are at very high risk of contracting diseases which they would never contract were it not for the virus destroying their immune system. Some diseases are so common in AIDS patients, and so uncommon in non-AIDS patients, that they are considered to be AIDS-defining diseases. Examples of AIDS-defining diseases include Pneumocystis Pneumonia (a fungal infection of the lungs) and Kaposi’s Sarcoma (once believed to be a rare form of cancer, now believed to be caused by Herpes Virus HHV8); these diseases are normally not seen in patients with a normal immune system. While there is viable treatment for many opportunistic diseases, they must be treated swiftly in an AIDS patient due to the patient’s body being unable to fight infection on its own.

Another important way of measuring HIV is by measuring the viral load. The viral load is the amount of HIV in the body. So while a CD4 count measures the amount of damage HIV has done, a viral load count will measure how much of the virus is actually in the body. In this way, doctors are able to measure whether drugs are working to halt the spread of the virus.

AIDS is a pandemic first identified in 1981 by the Centers for Disease Control (CDC), due to Pneumocystis Pneumonia being identified in five homosexual men in Los Angeles. The disease did not take over worldwide as quickly as it is generally believed, though. AIDS has been identified in tissue samples of patients who died of unknown causes as early as 1959; one postmortem case identified the virus in a tissue sample from a 15-year-old boy who died in St. Louis, Missouri, in 1969, though it is still unknown how the boy may have contracted the virus. Some scientists suggest the virus could have first infected humans sometime during the end of the 19th Century, while other scientists suggest it first infected humans during the early 20th century, between 1915 and 1930. Regardless of whether it started during the late 19th Century or early 20th Century, it took many decades for it to even become prevalent enough to be noticed. Since the virus is slow to overtake its host, the window for inadvertent infection of others is years, rather than days or weeks as with most viruses.

It is unclear exactly how the virus started, but it seems clear that it crossed species from primates (which can carry a disease known as the Simian Immunodeficiency Virus) into humans, likely when humans came into contact with the bodily fluids of monkeys, possibly during consumption, hunting or butchering the animals (monkey meat is a delicacy in some areas of the world, and is regularly eaten in some areas of Africa). The virus spread due to a number of factors, including vaccines given with unclean needles in developing countries. While AIDS is now generally viewed as a disease of gay men and intravenous drug users, the truth is far more chilling, since the virus is not contained only within a particular population. Many women and children are infected with the virus, and in some areas of the world, particularly Africa where infected patients do not have access to proper health care, the number of deaths has become catastrophic.

At this time, there is no cure for HIV, or for AIDS, nor is there a vaccine to prevent transmission. However, scientists have designed a number of drugs inhibit the virus’s replication. To understand how these drugs work, a short primer on the virus is necessary.

HIV takes over CD4 cells, changing their molecular structure by inserting its own ribonucleic acid (RNA). The virus itself, which is too small to be seen except with an electron microscope, consists of an outer envelope containing the virus and the proteins and enzymes necessary for replication; the envelope has about 72 spikes on its surface. When the virus bumps into a cell coated by the CD4 protein, the spikes stick into the cell and fuse, at which time the inner contents of the HIV envelope is released into the CD4 cell.

Once inside the cell, the HIV enzyme called reverse transciptase converts the viral RNA into DNA, which is compatible with human genetic material. This DNA is transported to the cell’s nucleus, where it is spliced into the human DNA by the HIV enzyme called integrase. Once it is spliced into the human DNA, the HIV DNA is known as provirus. The provirus may lie dormant within a cell for quite some time. However, when the cell becomes activated, it treats HIV genes in almost the same way as human genes. First it uses human enzymes to convert HIV genes into messenger RNA. The messenger RNA is transported outside the cell nucleus, and is used as a blueprint for producing new HIV proteins and enzymes, much in the same way as the human body normally produce replacement cells.

Complete copies of HIV genetic material is contained among the strands of messenger RNA produced by the cell. These copies combine with newly made HIV proteins and enzymes to form new viral particles, which are then released from the cell. The enzyme protease plays a vital role of the HIV life cycle, as it chops up long strands of protein into smaller pieces, which are then used to construct mature viral cores. At that point the newly matured HIV particles are ready to infect another cell, and begin the replication process all over again. In this way the virus quickly spreads through the human body, and causes its host to become infectious. HIV is passed to others through bodily fluids; some fluids contain more of the virus than others.

Contrary to popular belief, people do not die of HIV, or of AIDS. They die of the opportunistic infections which accompany the complete loss of their immune system. Patients therefore must take a strong cocktail of medications to stop the virus from replicating and destroying their immune system. Some common drugs prescribed for AIDS patients, to stop the virus from replicating, include reverse transcriptase inhibitors, which prevent the viral RNA from being converted into human DNA; protease inhibitors, which prevent the virus from creating new mature viral cores; and integrase inhibitors, which prevent the viral DNA from being spliced into the human DNA within the cells.

Unfortunately, with those life-saving treatments for the virus come life-threatening side effects, from lethal liver damage to an overwhelming nausea which results in starvation and dehydration; when this occurs, it only worsens those same symptoms which can be caused by the virus itself. Over the years many drugs have been discovered to combat the side effects (those same side effects are found in many other medical conditions as well), and to increase the quality of life for those who are infected with the virus; some of those drugs and treatments are pharmaceutical in nature, and some are natural.

One of the non-pharmaceutical drugs, which has proven very helpful in battling the anxiety, overwhelming nausea and physical wasting which comes with the virus and its treatment, is marijuana. So effective is marijuana that scientists have even made a pharmaceutical version of the drug, used in chemotherapy patients as well as AIDS patients, which contains synthetic THC (the active ingredient in marijuana). However, many patients believe that the natural THC in marijuana works better than the synthetic version in Marinol, and science supports this belief. In studies of marijuana usage for medicinal usage, it was found that other chemicals found in marijuana have additional medicinal effects which complement the effects of THC. Furthermore Marinol is extremely expensive (Tom’s Marinol costs about $2200 per month, so severe is his nausea and gastrointestinal symptoms), and thus the drug is far beyond the financial reach of most patients; and for that reason they cultivate and smoke marijuana for medicinal purposes. While the black market cost of marijuana can be high, the plant can be cultivated at home from seeds, at very little cost to the patient.

In some states, it is legal for patients with a valid medical prescription to possess certain amounts of dried and cultivated marijuana for personal medicinal use. However, even in those states, the US Government – which has declared that marijuana is an illicit and therefore illegal drug – refuses to permit patients to use the cultivated form of THC. Patients are regularly arrested for merely possessing the substance which allows them to live a more normal life, and which in cases of extreme wasting seen in AIDS, is actually life-saving. This occurs nationwide, including in the states where marijuana is legal for medicinal use.

I do not advocate the casual use of marijuana (or any other drug, prescription or otherwise) to get “high”. I do strongly advocate the right of physicians and patients to determine the best course of treatment, and I believe the government has no right to interfere in the doctor/patient relationship when the patient is not being placed in untoward danger.

Enter Tom Faltynowicz. When Tom was diagnosed with AIDS in 1990, he was given “maybe a few years” to live. Eighteen years later, he is in a fight for his life, but it’s a fight of a very different kind.

In September 2007, law enforcement officials in his native Meade County received an anonymous call, stating that Tom had between 75 and 100 marijuana plants growing behind a metal building on his property. It is believed that the anonymous call came from Tom’s daughter, who was angry with him because he had recently stated his disapproval of her relationship with a particular man.

When Meade County Investigator Michael Walker and South Dakota Division of Criminal Investigation Agent John Griswold arrived at Tom’s home the next day, there were not 75 to 100 plants on the property, or even anywhere near that many; in fact, there were no plants out in the open at all. However, when asked by those officers about the accusation, Tom immediately admitted to growing marijuana to treat his medical condition. He even invited the officers into his home, so they can see where he was growing it, and he was completely cooperative at all times, even according to the police report regarding the incident. All told, the officers found five plants, and about four ounces of dried marijuana. There was never an allegation that the marijuana was being used for anything but his medical condition, and never an allegation that he was selling the marijuana. It remains undisputed that Tom was using the marijuana to treat AIDS, and the side effects of the many potent medications he takes to fight the virus.

Tom takes a total of four antiretroviral drugs to combat the HIV infection: Combivir (a combination of Retrovir and Epivir), Sustiva, and Viread. Each of these drugs, by themselves, come with potentially fatal side effects. All of these drugs can cause severe nausea, and can result in extreme anxiety as an additional side effect. In addition, Tom has been prescribed Marinol, the synthetic THC drug to combat nausea and vomiting, so there is no question that he suffers the side effects which are treated by marijuana, and there is no question that his side effects are severe based upon his dosage. However, Tom says that the marijuana is far more effective than the Marinol, since Marinol makes him so tired that he cannot function; and his physician is aware of and supports his use of marijuana to treat his symptoms.

Tom, though he has no prior criminal record with the exception of two prior misdemeanor convictions for possession of small amounts of marijuana – both of which occurred after he was diagnosed with AIDS – pled guilty to felony possession of marijuana. He faces a maximum of two years in prison, and a maximum fine of $4000; he could also be given probation. His sentencing date has been set for April 21st, before the Honorable Jerome Eckrich, Circuit Judge. Tom’s Infectious Disease Specialist, Dr. Traub, will speak at the sentencing hearing. The State Attorney has already said that he will not object to anything Dr. Traub might say. It appears that no one is interested in punishing Tom Faltynowicz; at the same time, under the law, his possession of marijuana – regardless of the reason why he possessed it – is a felony in the state of South Dakota.

Tom, however, is an exception to the reason that law was written. It was written to stop people from abusing the drug to get high, and to stop them from selling or otherwise providing it to others for the same illicit purpose. It is extremely doubtful the legislature was aware of the medicinal effects of marijuana when that law was passed, and it’s extremely doubtful the legislature ever intended to punish patients with a deadly disease. It’s even possible that the medicinal effects of marijuana were unknown to them when that law was passed, since it is hardly a new law. Nevertheless, since the law exists, it will be enforced, even against people like Tom who are using marijuana strictly for medicinal purposes.

This raises a number of questions. Even if Tom is merely placed on probation, and even if he stopped smoking marijuana altogether, using Marinol to control his symptoms would result in violation of probation, since he would test positive for THC during required drug tests. If he fails a drug test while on probation, he will be incarcerated.

If he is incarcerated, he will not only not have access to the drug which he needs to survive without excessive suffering due to overwhelming nausea, vomiting, physical wasting, and extreme fatigue; but the South Dakota Department of Corrections will be forced to pay for the extremely expensive antiretroviral drugs which fight the virus as well as the Marinol, at a cost of thousands of dollars per month to the taxpayers, in addition to the increased cost of incarceration for a man with an infectious deadly disease. As you should understand after my explanation of how those drugs work, and how the virus works, missing even one dose of his antiretroviral drugs could be catastrophic for his health, since it would allow the virus to replicate until the drug was again built up to a therapeutic dosage. Yet in a prison environment there is no guarantee that he will receive his life-sustaining medications at all, much less receive them on the schedule those drugs demand.

Tom has said that he will not stop using marijuana, because it allows him to live a relatively normal life. Without it, his body is wracked with pain, nausea, and vomiting; he is unable to eat or drink, and thus his body becomes even more weakened, even more unable to fight the virus, and even more prone to the many opportunistic illnesses, any one of which could easily end his life. This is especially true if he is confined in a jail or prison facility, given that there are large numbers of inmates living in close approximation.

To incarcerate Tom Faltynowicz would therefore place his life at severe risk, and as such would clearly constitute cruel and unusual punishment, as prohibited by the Eighth Amendment of the US Constitution. Furthermore, it would serve no purpose to incarcerate him, since his crime is merely possession of a drug which allows him to live with his disease and to continue take the cruel medications which literally keep him alive. He poses no threat to anyone and he is not selling or otherwise distributing the marijuana, nor has it even been suggested that he is selling or distributing the marijuana. Rehabilitation is also not a valid cause for his incarceration, since he merely uses the drug for medicinal purposes, and thus he is not in need of rehabilitation.

Society would not be served by incarcerating Tom Faltynowicz. The interests of justice would not be served by incarcerating Tom Faltynowicz.

As such, justice demands that the court show mercy by giving Tom Faltynowicz a suspended sentence, no probation, and whatever fine the court sees fit, as long as it is within Tom’s ability to pay said fine.

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Tim CouchI’m not exactly sure why someone who sits on a state legislature (where he represents about two and a half obscure rural counties out of 120 counties in the state) thinks that he can legislate what everyone in the world does, but

Kentucky Representative Tim Couch filed a bill this week to make anonymous posting online illegal.

The bill would require anyone who contributes to a website to register their real name, address and e-mail address with that site.

Their full name would be used anytime a comment is posted. If the bill becomes law, the website operator would have to pay if someone was allowed to post anonymously on their site. The fine would be five-hundred dollars for a first offense and one-thousand dollars for each offense after that.

Representative Couch says he filed the bill in hopes of cutting down on online bullying. He says that has especially been a problem in his Eastern Kentucky district.

Ah, eastern Kentucky, home of one of this blog’s all-time favorite criminals, the Duct Tape Bandit. LOL. That probably answers my original question in this thread.

Aside from the logistics, in that it is absolutely impossible for a state legislature to legislate the behavior of everyone on the internet – no matter how hard they may try – is this a good idea?

Even though I covered the Megan Meier controversy to a great degree, I think it is a horrible idea, and I’ll tell you why.

What happened to Megan Meier was an anomaly. That poor young girl was mentally ill, as evidenced by the fact that she was prescribed not just anti-depressants, but also Geodon, an anti-psychotic. Her adult neighbor Lori Drew was well aware of this, so what she did to that child is absolutely unconscionable, whether one believes she is responsible for Megan’s death or not.

While I realize there are people who have mental illnesses on the internet – and sometimes I wonder if the majority of people posting on the internet have a mental illness – the internet is not a nanny, nor should anyone expect it to be. It is also not a place for children, or the otherwise weak at heart. It is definitely rated “R”, so no one who couldn’t get into an R-rated movie shouldn’t be here in the first place, unless they have parental guidance.

Some other parts of the internet are rated NC-17, some are rated X. With some websites, you don’t even realize you are going to an X-rated site until you are already there (another problem, but responsible internet users simply don’t click on unknown links in the first place).

I can write an article as ElfNinosGreatAuntTilley, and as long as I don’t harm anyone in the process, it is not a crime for me to do that. The right to anonymity is a basic right. It is a right which I exercise everytime I log onto this blog. It is a right which I exercise in my personal life on a fairly regular basis. The fact of the matter is that no one is entitled to know my name, in real life or on the internet. I’m not doing anything wrong, and in fact I do a lot to help others in life, but I like my privacy.

Why do I think it is important for me to post under a pseudonym? There are several reasons, all of which I feel are perfectly valid.

I used to regularly bust scammers on Quatloos, cooperating with the FBI and other law enforcement agencies to get these slimeballs behind bars where they belong, and in that capacity I angered some extremely dangerous people. Once I even angered a man who was a dirty ex-NYPD cop, and a former enforcer with the Colombo crime family (yes, the mafia). He had stolen millions from people in a scam wherein he pretended to be a loan company for people who can’t get conventional loans, and he would charge them a large up-front fee. He did his best to ascertain my real identity, and made multiple threats of physical violence against me, including both murder and rape.

In a situation like that, I have two choices. I can either bust the guy under a pseudonym, and be able to sleep at night, or I can do so under my real name, and end up moving every few months. I choose to stay put.

As most of you are aware, I am a professional writer, and I write about true crime as well as criminology issues. However, I didn’t sign up for the publicity which comes with that. I have a unique name, and I don’t want people coming onto this blog to ask me the same questions I’ve been asked (and answered) a million times, and harassing my friends who visit this blog; yet I have every reason to believe they will do that, because that’s what they did when I had a professional website. I just want to be me when I’m here, and I want others to feel comfortable posting here as well.

Tim Couch may not think those are valid reasons for me to not use my real name on the internet, and he’s entitled to his opinion. At the same time, I didn’t elect him, and I don’t live in Kentucky, so his opinion could not possibly be more irrelevant to me.

The fact of the matter is that there are more than enough laws already on the books to handle any situation which might arise on the internet, regardless of whether the person is using their real name or a pseudonym. There are laws against stalking, harassment, obscenity, and other problems. Sure, it might not be easy to find the perpetrator, but it’s not always easy to find perpetrators in real life either.

There are laws to cover what Lori Drew did to Megan Meier, too, if the authorities would use their heads. She could be charged under child abuse laws, stalking laws, harassment laws … the list goes on and on. I don’t know why they decided to not charge her, but that doesn’t mean she couldn’t be charged if the prosecutor wanted to do so. Of course, now a federal grand jury is considering charges against her for wire fraud, since she used a false name on MySpace for the specific intention of stalking and harassing another person (though that’s a Catch-22, since Megan Meier also falsified her age with her mother’s permission, as she was otherwise too young to have a MySpace account). It’s not a problem to use a false name in and of itself. It only becomes a problem when someone uses a false name in order to commit a crime, which is something the vast majority of people on the internet will never do.

So, in a nutshell, I think Kentucky State Representative Tim Couch needs to worry about things which are actually under his control. He is not in a position to legislate the internet, since he is just a state legislator. He has, like a typical politician, grabbed onto a controversial issue to get publicity. Even if his law passes, he is only giving his constituents a false sense of security on the internet since the law would not apply to anyone outside that state; he’d do a far greater service to his constituents if he introduced a bill to fund a public information program about the internet, or requiring that children in his state be educated about the dangers of the internet. He knows or should know that he has no jurisdiction to legislate the internet. If he doesn’t know that, he isn’t smart enough to be making laws in the first place.
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Originally posted on Adventures In Frickintardistan

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Charlette Marshall-Jones, the Hillsborough County, Florida deputy who was caught on surveillance cameras dumping a quadriplegic man out of his wheelchair after he was arrested on a traffic violation, has been arrested herself.

In case you missed it, here is the video:

Marshall-Jones has been charged with abuse of a disabled person, and faces five years in prison. In the meantime she has been suspended without pay.

I bet the gals in genpop would be happy to have not only an ex-cop, but an abusive ex-cop who likes to abuse people in wheelchairs who can’t even move, join their ranks. They might even throw her a few of those pillowcase parties I’ve heard so much about. ;-)

Now authorities need to go after the jail employees who saw it but didn’t report it, and especially the jerk cop at the end of the video who laughed about it.

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Originally posted on Adventures In Frickintardistan 

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Clinton and ObamaAccording to The Smoking Gun, Jose Antonio Ortiz stabbed his brother-in-law, Sean Shurelds (who was flown to a hospital, where he was admitted in critical condition) due to a disagreement about Hillary Clinton vs Barack Obama.

Yes, you read that right.

Apparently Shurelds supports Obama, and Ortiz supports Clinton. While the two were in the kitchen of someone’s home (it is unclear whose home) Shurelds told Ortiz that Obama was “trashing” Clinton, and Ortiz responded that “Obama was not a realist.”

While for most people that would be pretty much the end of the conversation, not so with these two, for whom those were not just fighting words, they were stabbing words. Ortiz and Shurelds argued, began to choke and punch each other, and eventually Ortiz grabbed a knife and stabbed Shurelds in the abdomen.

Ortiz then went back to doing the dishes, including, of course, the knife he had used to stab his brother-in-law.

Not at all surprisingly, Ortiz has a case of selective memory (not unlike the typical politician), and conveniently denies any memory of the stabbing incident. He has been charged with felony aggravated assault, as well as two misdemeanor counts. Bail has been set at $20,000.

I’m sure Clinton and Obama are proud to have supporters who are willing to go that far for their chosen candidate. Or not.

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Once again, President Bush proves that he has absolutely no idea about … well, anything. Here, he claims that the economy is not being harmed by the war, and the extraordinary amount of money being spent on the war. Instead, he thinks the war is helping the economy.

Um, yeah. That may be true if you’re one of his fat-cat friends who own companies which supply equipment and necessary (and sometimes unnecessary) items to feed the war machine. Otherwise, it’s not helping you (or me) economically at all.

By the way, since he mentions the rebate, just where exactly where is the government supposed to get the money to do that?  It’s just more debt, and more interest on debt.  It’s just the Republicans trying to look better before the presidential election in November, pure and simple.

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Originally posted on Adventures In Frickintardistan 

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Night of the Living DeadIf you have ever had to deal with the federal government’s bureaucracy, you can only imagine how hard it would be to prove to the government that you actually are alive if their records reflect that you are dead. After all, just showing up at the Social Security Administration isn’t going to do it. Given that, how exactly does someone prove to the satisfaction of the government that they aren’t dead, when they’re dealing with brain-dead government employees who simply believe whatever their computer screen tells them?

Yet, a shocking number of Americans have to find this out the hard way; by at least one official estimate, the government incorrectly declares 35 Americans dead every single day.

The problem begins at the Social Security Administration, keeper of most of the records tabulating deaths in the United States. Like other government agencies, the IRS, with whom Todd has most recently tangled, relies upon Social Security’s database, said Dan Boone, a spokesman for the IRS.

When Social Security determines that an eligible current or future beneficiary has died, it closes the person’s entry in its Case Processing and Management System, or CPMS.

The system is only as good as the data it receives. Sometimes, that isn’t very good.

Todd, for example, was killed when someone in Florida died and her Social Security number was accidentally typed in. Since then, her tax returns have repeatedly been rejected, and her bank closed her credit card account.

“One time when I [was] ruled dead, they canceled my health insurance because it got that far,” she said.

Toni Anderson of Muncie, Ind., expired when someone in the government pushed the wrong button, making the records declare that it was she, not her husband, John, who died Nov. 8.

Social Security even sent this letter: “Dear Mr. Anderson, our condolences on the loss of Mrs. Anderson.”

In September 2006, the inspector general’s office tried to get a fix on how many people Social Security was improperly killing off by reviewing updates to the agency’s Death Master File.

In all, Social Security officials had to “resurrect” 23,366 people from January 2004 to September 2005. In other words, over a period of 21 months, Social Security was presented with irrefutable evidence that it had been “killing” more than 1,100 people a month, or more than 35 a day.

Two months later, in November 2006, the inspector general looked specifically at 251 cases of people to whom the agency continued to issue checks even though Medicare records said they were dead.

“Of the 251 individuals in our population, 86 are deceased and their SSI payments should be terminated,” the audit said. “The remaining 165 beneficiaries were actually alive and their Medicare benefits—and, in some cases, their SSI payments—were incorrectly terminated.”

Read this entire article here.

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Originally posted on Adventures In Frickintardistan 

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Carmen Kontur-GronquistVoters in Arlington, Oregon, are very, very angry. That’s not unusual, since there are very angry voters everywhere these days.

What is unusual is the reason why they are angry.

Apparently their Mayor, Carmen Kontur-Gronquist, had some photos taken to send in for a fitness magazine, and in them she was dressed in her bra and panties. This all happened before she became Mayor, incidentally. A relative posted the photos on MySpace, hoping to find the single mother a date.

I didn’t see a thing in the world wrong with the photos; the most controversial of them is posted at top left. Basically, she’s showing off her rock-hard abs, and if I had abs like hers, I’d be showing mine off too. So what. Those photos are no different from any other photos for a woman’s fitness magazine, because I used to read some of those periodicals myself, back when I was into bodybuilding and fitness. In fact, her photos actually showed a lot less than they usually show in those magazines. Those types of photos are not at all sexual in nature, though, because they are intended only for other women to see, as inspiration in their fitness routines.

The people of Arlington, however, are absolutely outraged over those photos, and they actually threw her out of office for it.

When I first heard this story back when it first broke I thought, no way would a town actually recall their Mayor for posing for a fitness magazine. After all, Arnold Schwarzenegger made his living as a bodybuilder, and even posed fully nude multiple times, and he’s the Governor of California.

I was wrong, because they did recall her. The vote was 142-139 in favor of throwing her out of office.

If we are still so backward in this country that we’d throw a woman out of elected office merely for posing for a fitness magazine, covering more than the average bathing suit covers, are we really ready for a female president? Or would Congress impeach her the first time they see a picture of her in a bathing suit?

What do you think? Is it just that one town, or is most of American that narrow-minded? Given this, are we ready for a female president?

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Originally posted on Adventures In Frickintardistan 

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I had heard about this, but seeing really is believing.

In Tampa (Hillsborough County, Florida) a quadriplegic man named Brian Sterner was arrested for a traffic violation (I’m not sure what the violation was, since they didn’t say, but obviously the guy wasn’t a violent felon or anything like that). An incredibly stupid cop didn’t believe he really was a quadriplegic, even though it’s obvious from looking at his body, so she walked behind him and dumped him out of his wheelchair face-first, and the fall broke several of his ribs. She then proceeded to frisk him, while he was one the ground, completely unable to move. Another idiotic cop is seen laughing about it, and not one person who witnessed the assault thought it needed to be reported.

Luckily, that shocking example of police brutality was caught on surveillance cameras.

The cop who did this was fired, but that’s not enough. She should be arrested, and charged with felony assault upon a disabled person.

The cop who laughed about it should be fired, along with all the other cops and jail employees who witnessed it but did nothing to help Sterner, and did not report the incident; and they should all also be charged with being an accessory to felony assault upon a disabled person.

Hat tip to The DeeZone

Originally posted on Adventures In Frickintardistan

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Plastic eggsThis, I wouldn’t have believed had I not read it in a print newspaper’s online edition. Honestly, it reads more like an April Fool’s Day joke:

An Elizabethtown man was charged Saturday with possessing a weapon of mass destruction after police said he ignited a device filled with plastic pellets inside Saturday’s Market in Londonderry Twp., hitting at least five people and causing alarm in the building.

The device looked like a plastic Easter egg

No one was taken to a hospital, Beckley said.

I bet that’s the very same weapon of mass destruction that Bush claims was in Iraq.

Read the entire article here.

Originally posted on Adventures In Frickintardistan 

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Something stinks in the Sooner State.

Oklahoma voters were the only voters with no choices for president on their ballot except Bush Skull and Kerry Bones in 2004, and Oklahoma is one of 5 states that doesn’t permit write-ins, so Oklahoma voters who wanted to vote for someone other than Bush or Kerry in 2004 completely lost their right to vote (Source: Ballot Access News). In order to be on the ballot, an independent candidate or alternative party has to get signatures equal to 5% of the last vote cast, which is the hardest standard in the country, and they have to get 10% of the vote to keep their place on the ballot, second behind only Alabama with 20%. Half of the state legislative races go completely unopposed. The Oklahoma Supreme Court refused a challenge to this edict, and the feds have no jurisdiction.

Currently, there is an
effort
underway to change this crazy scheme by initiative, but Oklahoma makes it hard to get issues on the ballot by initiative. Statute initiatives must get the signatures of 8% of the voters, which is among the highest percentages among states which allow citizen initiative, and constitutional amendments need 15%, tied with Arizona for the highest percentage required by any state that allows constitutional amendments by citizen petition according to a chart by
National Voter Outreach. The signatures have to all be gathered within 90 days, and then the State Supreme Court can hold up approval for the vote to take place by over a year.

After you gather the signatures, you have to print the names of everyone who signed on the back of the page. Imagine having to do that several hundred times after you get back from a hard day of asking people to sign and getting run out (or attempted) of every location imaginable, public and private, or having to flip the page over and ask busy people to print their name a second time for every single signature – especially when working on more than one issue. Yep, it sucks, and is one of the most asinine rules I have encountered in petitioning in 27 states plus DC over the past ten years. And there are some very asinine rules out there, such as New England states requiring signatures from every city to be on a separate page, and Massachusetts ruling that any tiny tear, food stain, stray pen mark or writing outside the box disqualifies a whole page of signatures.

To make matters worse, in a decision in the case of Yes on Term Limits v. Savage, U.S. District Court Judge Tim Leonard upheld a challenged Oklahoma state law (in effect since 1969) banning out of state residents from being ballot petition circulators and signature-collectors there. Who, exactly, is a state resident? People move all the time. Some more frequently than others. Some people don’t predictably live in one place long enough to get a mortgage or apartment lease, so we prefer to live in motels or stay with friends (I resemble this remark). Some people don’t even have a place to live at all. Does that mean we should lose our right to petition the government for redress of grievances?

Shortly after this ruling, as Brian Doherty reports at Reason Magazine,

longtime libertarian political activist Paul Jacob was indicted on felony charges in Oklahoma for conspiracy to defraud the state, along with Susan Johnson of National Voter Outreach and Rick Carpenter of Oklahomans in Action.

It isn’t Jacob’s first time with the guns of the state aimed at him. He served five months in jail in 1984, after a year on the run, for refusal to register for the draft.

In his interview about the arrest with Brian Doherty, Paul Jacob explains:

(more…)

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CigarettesAccording to the website stoptheFETincrease.com, state and federal cigarette taxes have been raised an astonishing 73 times since the year 2000, increasing the average price of cigarettes by 80% per pack.

On Wednesday, August 1st, H.R. 3162 which included a $4.50 per carton federal cigarette excise increase was passed by the US House of Representatives by a vote of 225-204. On Thursday, August 2nd, H.R. 976 which included a $6.10 per carton federal cigarette excise tax increase was passed by the US Senate by a vote of 68-31. Smokers know that cigarettes are already one of the most highly taxed products in the country today. In fact, since the year 2000, state and federal cigarette excise taxes have been increased more than 73 times – driving up the average price of cigarettes over 80%.

Everyone should pay their share of taxes, but a federal tax increase on cigarettes is an unfair burden on smokers – especially when these taxes fund a wide-range of expanding government programs that benefit everyone. And as cigarette sales decline it’s an unreliable source of revenue.

Singling out smokers for as much as a 156% increase in the federal cigarette excise tax is going too far – IT’S NOT TOO LATE TO TELL CONGRESS – ENOUGH IS ENOUGH!

The argument which I find most convincing, but which that website doesn’t make, is that by excessively taxing those things which Congress believes to be wrong – such as cigarettes and alcohol – the government is effectively legislating morality.

You can sign a form letter on this issue, to be sent to your members of Congress, by visiting the website.

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Duct Tape BanditOkay, nobody else touched this one, so I guess I will.

Kasey Kazee of Ashland, Kentucky tried to hold up a liquor store, with duct tape wrapped around his face as a disguise. (Wouldn’t masking tape work better for that purpose? Sorry, couldn’t resist.)

The store manager had some duct tape of his own, though, wrapped around a club he kept in the store for just this sort of occasion. He chased Kazee outside, and an employee held the would-be bandit in a neckhold until police arrived. EMTs removed the tape, though there doesn’t seem to be any footage of that process, unfortunately; apparently Kazee got lucky because he had been sweating so much that the tape didn’t stick well. Not surprisingly, he was quickly nicknamed “The Duct Tape Bandit”.

Hilarity ensued when, in an interview from the jail with a local television station, a very animated Kazee proclaimed “I’m not no Duct Tape Bandit”. This, you have to see to believe.

Not at all surprisingly, folks on YouTube have been having a ball. Some of them do reenactments. Another made a photoshop overlay proving that Kazee is indeed the Duct Tape Bandit (as if there was ever really a question about it) to the tune of “Photograph” by Nickelback (“look at this photograph, everytime I do it makes me laugh, how did our eyes get so red, and what the hell is on Joey’s head?”). Someone else made a fake news story about a copycat robber who wrapped his head in invisible scotch tape. One even made a very funny rap song using actual media interviews about the case, which can be heard and downloaded on zShare.

Most interestingly for our purposes, though, is that some people who actually live in Kentucky have said it won’t be long before the state enacts a law requiring a five-day waiting period and a background check for the purchase of duct tape. Also interesting is that, in a state where many are avid hunters, the store manager didn’t have a shotgun behind the counter instead of a club. Kasey Kazee really needs to be thankful he’s still alive.

So, what will happen to the Duct Tape Bandit? He faces 20 to life for robbery, and the judge and jury is likely to be unmoved though amused by his claim that they have the wrong man, given that he was caught on the scene with the duct tape still on his face. I smell an insanity defense.

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….just as he’s saying he’s the only one in the room professional enough to handle the gun.

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From The Smoking Gun:

A Cleveland City Councilman wrote the following to a constituent who was arrested on felony drug trafficking charges. (I had to shrink it to fit this forum, so if you can’t read it, hit Ctrl + to enlarge the document.)

Not at all surprisingly, the young man’s mother considers the letter to be a threat, and is conferring with her attorney. Of even more concern, however, is that the letter was copied to the Chief of Police, the Department of Public Safety, and the Commander of the local police district headquarters.I get the impression he doesn’t like the kid, because the kid dared to mouth off to him, so he’s trying to improperly influence the police with regard to the charges and criminal case. Disgusting.

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Road To GuantanamoAccording to this article, we’re supposed to believe that prisoners being held at Gitmo are being treated as if they’re merely guests of the goverment, while the only real abuse is directed at the guards.

However, it’s far more likely that the government is sending military members back to the states with strict orders to report that all is well at Gitmo. It’s easy to get them to do that, after all, especially if the person in question is an officer with a pension on the line, as with the person who gave the information for this story. It’s even easier when the military member knows that they, too, can be declared an enemy combatant and simply disappear if they dare to speak the truth about the atrocities they have witnessed. There is also the fear that they will be discharged due to a nonexistent “personality disorder”, and thus shamed and stripped of the civilian benefits of having served voluntarily and honorably in the armed forces.

That’s nothing new, incidentally. The military was discharging soldiers on the basis of alleged preexisting personality disorders in the early 1980s, when I served in Air Force Intelligence Operations. Those airmen were not mentally ill, and in fact were extraordinarily good at their specialties; however, they had committed the unspeakable crime of not remaining silent against what they perceived to be wrong, and branding them mentally deficient is the military’s way of silencing them. Once they are so categorized, the military can easily discount anything they may later say against the military’s interest. But, I digress.

Like so many in the current administration, this Brigadier General (for those unfamiliar with military ranks, that’s a one-star General) believes it’s acceptable to hold people in a lawless prison environment long-term with no charges, and no hearing, because they’re “enemy combatants” …… and he really and truly thinks there’s a difference between enemy combatants and prisoners of war, which causes Geneva Convention protections to not apply to enemy combatants. Yet the only real difference is that prisoners of war are captured while engaging in war, while enemy combatants are, for all intents and purposes, kidnapped. In other words, while he is willing to toe the military line and is quite successful in that position, in the civilian world his brainwashing would render him, for all intents and purposes, useless.

If prisoners at Gitmo are specifically classified as not being prisoners of war, for whom torture is forbidden under the Geneva Convention, does the government actually expect us to believe that these men are not being tortured? It’s quite obvious that the only reason to classify them differently is so that they can be tortured without violating the Convention.

What’s most sickening about this particular article, beyond the brainwashing aspect, is that it is being distributed and touted as truth on a discussion list for paralegals, who should definitely know better than to mindlessly accept what the government says. Or maybe, just maybe, these particular paralegals know just enough to be dangerous. (more…)

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Harriet Meiers, George BushFrom the Boston Herald:

WASHINGTON – President Bush ordered former Counsel Harriet Miers to defy a congressional subpoena and refuse to testify today about the firings of federal prosecutors, while a second former aide revealed new details yesterday about White House involvement in the dismissals.

The possibility of contempt of Congress citations against both women hung over the developments. House Democrats threatened to cite Miers if she refuses to appear as subpoenaed for a Judiciary Committee hearing today. The White House said she was immune from the subpoena and Bush had directed her not to appear, according to Miers’ lawyer. Democrats said her immunity ended when she left her White House job.

Meanwhile, former White House political director Sara Taylor tried to answer some committee questions but not others, in a bid to honor the subpoena without violating Bush’s claim of executive privilege.

After first refusing to answer questions about Bush’s possible role in the firings, Taylor later told the Senate Judiciary Committee that she knew of no involvement by Bush. Further, she said, she knew of no wrongdoing by administration officials in the controversy that has dogged Attorney General Alberto Gonzales.

The Bush administration insists no wrongdoing occurred. Bush has offered to allow his aides, including counselor Karl Rove, Miers and Taylor, to be interviewed by congressional investigators – but only in private and without a transcript. Democrats rejected the offer.

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From ABC News:

A Marine corporal testifying in a court-martial said Marines in his unit began routinely beating Iraqis after officers ordered them to “crank up the violence level.”

Cpl. Saul H. Lopezromo testified Saturday at the murder trial of Cpl. Trent D. Thomas.

“We were told to crank up the violence level,” said Lopezromo, testifying for the defense.

When a juror asked for further explanation, Lopezromo said: “We beat people, sir.”

Within weeks of allegedly being scolded, seven Marines and a Navy corpsman went out late one night to find and kill a suspected insurgent in the village of Hamandiya near the Abu Ghraib prison. The Marines and corpsman were from 2nd Platoon, Kilo Company, 3rd Battalion, 5th Regiment.

Lopezromo said the suspected insurgent was known to his neighbors as the “prince of jihad,” and had been arrested several times and later released by the Iraqi legal system.

Unable to find him, the Marines and corpsman dragged another man from his house, fatally shot him, and then planted an AK-47 assault rifle near the body to make it appear he had been killed in a shootout, according to court testimony.

Four Marines and the corpsman, initially charged with murder in the April 2006 killing, have pleaded guilty to reduced charges and been given jail sentences ranging from 10 months to eight years. Thomas, 25, from St. Louis, pleaded guilty but withdrew his plea and is the first defendant to go to court-martial.

Lopezromo, who was not part of the squad on its late-night mission, said he saw nothing wrong with what Thomas did.

“I don’t see it as an execution, sir,” he told the judge. “I see it as killing the enemy.”

Read the rest of this disturbing story here.

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I have to talk to hundreds of people like this every single day.

(Originally posted on my blog and in the
Libertarian Survey comments
which are still going strong even though it’s on page two now).

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Any questions?

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From Albany Times Union:

ALBANY — City police fired five shots of tear gas at a Clinton Avenue home shortly before 11 p.m. Thursday, several hours after converging on the block as part of a shooting investigation.

About a dozen specially trained emergency service team members then searched the house, but came out at about 11:30 p.m. without anyone.

The police action came in response to a shooting near Clinton Avenue and Lark Street at about 6:30 p.m., when a man was wounded at least once in the leg after an altercation on the street, police said. The man, whose name was not available, was taken to Albany Medical Center Hospital. Chief James Tuffey said at the scene that surgery was being considered for the man, but he appeared to be OK.

After one or more people fled the shooting scene, police centered on the home, located between Swan and Hawk streets. At least a dozen vehicles and police officers arrived, but as the hours passed, it still wasn’t known whether anyone was inside. Several neighbors vacated their homes.

An officer with a megaphone repeated this message 11 times in 15 minutes, starting at 9 p.m.: “Residents of 125 Clinton Avenue, this is the Albany Police Department. Come out of the house.” Part of the street was blocked off for several hours.

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ONDCP

From Cannabis News:

California — The nation’s top anti-drug official said people need to overcome their “reefer blindness” and see that illicit marijuana gardens are a terrorist threat to the public’s health and safety, as well as to the environment.John P. Walters, President Bush’s drug czar, said the people who plant and tend the gardens are terrorists who wouldn’t hesitate to help other terrorists get into the country with the aim of causing mass casualties. Walters made the comments at a Thursday press conference that provided an update on the “Operation Alesia” marijuana-eradication effort.

“Don’t buy drugs. They fund violence and terror,” he said.

After touring gardens raided this week in Shasta County, Walters said the officers who are destroying the gardens are performing hard, dangerous work in rough terrain. He said growers have been known to have weapons, including assault rifles.

“These people are armed; they’re dangerous,” he said. He called them “violent criminal terrorists.”

Walters, whose official title is director of the White House Office of National Drug Control Policy, said too many people write off marijuana as harmless. “We have kind of a reefer blindness,’ ” he said.

No arrests have been made so far in the four days of raids, the opening leg of what Shasta County Sheriff Tom Bosenko has promised will be at least two straight weeks of daily raids.

He said suspects have been hard to find because their familiarity with their terrain makes it easy for them to flee quickly.

Although crews doing the raids are using Black Hawk and other helicopters to drop in on some of the gardens, Bosenko said they don’t want to give the growers any warning of a raid.

“We try to move in under stealth,” he said.

As of Thursday morning, Operation Alesia raids had resulted in the yanking of 68,237 young marijuana plants from public lands in Shasta County. Raids already have been conducted in Whiskeytown National Recreation Area, as well as on land managed by the U.S. Forest Service north of Lake Shasta and other public land near Manton.

The operation is being led by the sheriff’s office and has involved 17 agencies, including the California National Guard and the U.S. Drug Enforcement Administration. It’s believed to be the largest campaign of its kind in the state, Bosenko said.

The operation is named after the last major battle between the Roman Empire and the Gauls in 52 B.C. That battle was won by the Romans.

With the blitz of marijuana gardens around Shasta County, Bosenko said officials hope to not only get rid of the pot, but also win back the land for the public that owns it.

“These organizations are destroying our lands and wildlife,” he said.

Bernie Weingardt, regional forester for the Forest Service’s Pacific Southwest Region, said the 28,000 acres believed to house illegal marijuana grows on national forest land throughout the state would cost more than $300 million to revive.

“These lands must be cleaned and restored,” he said.

His estimate is based on a National Park Service study that found it costs $11,000 per acre to pull the plants, clear irrigation systems, reshape any terracing and replant native vegetation, said Mike Odle, Forest Service spokesman.

While Walters didn’t give specific goals for Operation Alesia, he said anti-drug agencies aim to cripple the organized crime groups that he said are behind the marijuana cultivation.

“This business we intend to put into recession, depression and put its leaders into jail,” Walters said.

Note: Federal official calls marijuana growers dangerous terrorists.

Source: Redding Record Searchlight (CA)
Author: Dylan Darling
Published: July 13, 2007
Copyright: 2007 Record Searchlight
Contact: letters@redding.com
Website: http://www.redding.com/

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Yes, I know, I already had this up in the comments section, but more people probably read this than that, so I thought I’d put it up on the wall too…

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First, the American people – or, at the very least Florida SOS Katherine Harris and 5 of 9 Supremely Kangaroo Kort “justices” ruling in a case over which they had zero jurisdiction (2000) and Ken Blackwell (2004) – picked a friggin’ Chimpanzee as POTUS. Twice.

poodle-chimp-sm.jpg

Now, it turns out that one of the leading contenders for the NSGOP nomination may very well in fact be a reanimated corpse who feeds by draining and consuming the blood of living beings. Holy shit – what are the odds on that?

Ghouliani or Nosferatu? We report, you decide…

source:

Prose Before Hos

rudyorvampire2.jpg

rudyorvampire3.jpg

This is really scary…we must take all due diligence to keep this unclean, living undead, blood-sucking creature out of the white house, or else face even more international shame – and who would have thought it possible, after Clinton and Bush? – for our presidential selection.

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Border wall boondoggle: even dumber than I thought!

http://freestudents.blogspot.com/

So a gaggle of right-wing racists and faux libertarians want to build a wall on the border. They are going to “secure” the borders. Nice.

So what does securing the borders mean? Well, one taste of it is that the historic right of Americans to cross into Canada or Mexico without a passport is gone. To travel you have to a government document giving you permission to do so. You can see why I think the “libertarians” who support this measure are not really libertarians at all.

And they want to build a big wall on the Mexican border. Also nice. Real nice. (You do know I’m being sarcastic.)

Since the United States was founded (and before) the borders with Canada and Mexico were never “secure”. Never. So the communities developed often without regard of that imaginary line in the dirt.

Now the authoritarians want “secure borders” and that means problems. It doesn’t mean problems for would-be terrorists. After all the 9/11 criminals didn’t cross the border illegally. They came in with government permission. They had passports and the US government said to them: “Welcome to America. Want some flying lessons?”

No one came in through Canada or Mexico. They didn’t cross the borders but flew in and handed over their permission slips to the hall monitors at the airports. They were roaming around killing people because they passed government security and had state permission to be in the US. You would think the government would look at how they approve would-be terrorists to enter the US. Instead Americans are being forced to get passports to spend a few hours shopping in Mexico. (more…)

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This is actually pretty funny. When confronted about her previous statements, first by Edwards’ wife Elizabeth, then by Chris Matthews of Hardball, Coulter plays dumb, pretending like she doesn’t remember saying, just the day before this interview, that she wishes John Edwards would be killed in a terrorist attack, and pretending like she doesn’t know what Matthews is talking about when he quotes some very personal insults about Hillary Clinton from her book. I have a pretty good hunch that, in a debate where Coulter isn’t allowed to talk over others and actually has to defend her abhorrent behavior, she’d lose in record time, and quite embarrassingly so.

I knew she had called Edwards a “faggot”, but I had no idea that she had made cracks about the death of one of John Edwards’ children. In fact, I didn’t even know the Edwards had lost a child. So, I decided to look it up, since it apparently happened about three years ago, and I have never followed Republicans, much less Republican loudmouths in mini-skirts.

Lo, and behold, I found the exact quote, wherein she made a crack about the death of Edwards’ 16-year-old son, Wade, in a car accident. How horrific for them, to lose a beloved child so unexpectedly. So I can only imagine the hurt they felt when they read the following trash from Coulter:

Edwards has talked about his son’s death in a 1996 car accident on “Good Morning America,” in dozens of profiles and in his new book. (“It was and is the most important fact of my life.”) His 1998 Senate campaign ads featured film footage of Edwards at a learning lab he founded in honor of his son, titled “The Wade Edwards Learning Lab.” He wears his son’s Outward Bound pin on his suit lapel. He was going to wear it on his sleeve, until someone suggested that might be a little too “on the nose.”

If you want points for not using your son’s death politically, don’t you have to take down all those “Ask me about my son’s death in a horrific car accident” bumper stickers? Edwards is like a politician who keeps announcing that he will not use his opponent’s criminal record for partisan political advantage. I absolutely refuse to mention the name of my dearly beloved and recently departed son killed horribly in a car accident, which affected me deeply, to score cheap political points.

My God. There are no words to describe anybody who would sink that low to insult political rivals. Well, there are a few, but those are words I would never use. Has this coldhearted bitch any idea what it’s like to lose a child? Apparently not. That’s Darwin’s fault, though, since he correctly predicted that scum-sucking bottom feeders like her could never breed.

I have to say, I loved seeing that loudmouth Coulter on the hot seat for once, since she usually mouths off about people who aren’t there to defend themselves against her vicious personal attacks. Note the brainwashing of an innocent child going on over her right shoulder. This entire sick scene reminds me why I have never supported a Republican candidate.

Incidentally, Coulter once wanted to run for Congress as a Libertarian, and the Connecticut LP turned her down flat. Smart thinking on their part, because she’s just another wackjob who wants to pretend to be a libertarian.

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Per YouTube description:

Nov 14th, 2006, around 11:30 pm, Powell Library CLICC computer lab, UCLA: student shot with a Taser multiple times by UCPD officers, even after he was cuffed and motionless.According to eye witnesses, it started when student Mostafa Tabatabainejad did not show a Community Service Officer his student ID. Eye witnesses said the student was on his way leaving the lab when a UCPD officer approached and grabbed him by the exit of the lab. He objected to the physical contact by loudly repeating “don’t touch me”, and this is the point where the video starts.

According to wikipedia, Mostafa Tabatabainejad is a fourth-year student of philosophy and Middle Eastern and North African studies at UCLA. He is an American citizen of Iranian descent. He was 23 years old at the time of the incident and is Baha”i’ by religion.

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Paris HiltonConsidering that I regularly use the word “trash” to describe ultra-skanky heiress Paris Hilton, I found this a little amusing. From Yahoo News:

LOS ANGELES – So, how much would you pay for an empty dog-food can if you thought it was snatched from Paris Hilton’s trash? So far the answer is $0.

But the people from HollywoodStarTrash.com are counting on someone forking over at least $40. That’s the starting bid listed on eBay for the can that once contained a helping of Party Animal organic gourmet. Bidding closes Sunday.

As of midday Monday, the can had no takers. Nor had anyone put down a bid for the used toothbrush, the Hilton fan letter or the Hilton-autographed postcard also said to have been plucked from the hotel heiress’ garbage.

According to a video placed on hollywoodstartrash.com, a guy wearing an Uncle Sam mask tracked down Hilton’s address from a map to movie stars’ homes. Then he and a colleague, who remains off camera, sneaked into Hilton’s neighborhood before dawn on a recent Thursday and absconded with six bags of garbage.

“We discovered that Paris Hilton throws out a well organized and quite neat bag of trash, save for a few Cobb salads and banana peels,” says one of the two.

Neither immediately responded to an e-mailed request to elaborate.

Their Web site indicated that as time goes by they’ll be sifting through other celebrities’ trash and offering it for sale. A man identified as a lawyer, who appears on the video, tells them their actions are legal as long as they wait for celebrities to put their trash cans out on the street and don’t trespass on their property.

As to whether the trash is really Hilton’s, they place the following statement on each of the eBay offerings: “We guarantee that each item comes from the trash bins outside the celebrity’s home!”

And who wouldn’t believe a guy in an Uncle Sam mask?

Outside the initial amusement factor, though, I find this more than a little disturbing. The website doesn’t stop at empty dog food cans and used toothbrushes. It also has photos of prescription bottles and, although they have “censored” over identifying information, it’s not at all hard to figure out what those bottles contained. I also find it disturbing that these folks actually believe there’s somebody out there, so obsessed with Paris Hilton, that they’d pay for her used tissues and Q-tips. That’s beyond weird. It’s sick.

Also posted on ENM’s “The Rampant Anti-PAMite“. 

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[TiGirl is unavailable right now, so at her suggestion I'm updating one of her previous entries by posting a new article from my blog - ENM]

By now, most people have probably heard about the case involving Roy Pearson, a Washington, DC administrative law judge, who sued a dry cleaner for $54 million, over a missing pair of pants. Today, a judge ruled that he not only doesn’t get a dime from the dry cleaner, he will also have to pay the dry cleaners’ legal fees and costs.

Much more interesting, however, is what happened in the courtroom. Here’s a description from ABC News:

The trial proved nearly as dramatic — and unusual — as the plaintiff’s claims. On the witness stand, Pearson broke down in tears and had to take a break from his testimony because he became too emotional while questioning himself about his experience with the missing trousers.

In his opening statement, Pearson came out swinging, telling the court, “Never before in recorded history have a group of defendants engaged in such misleading and unfair business practices.”

Repeatedly referring to himself as “we,” Pearson sought to present himself as the leader of a class of tens of thousands, if not a half million people, consisting of local residents he believes are at risk of falling for such insidious business practices as posting “Satisfaction Guaranteed” and “Same Day Service” signs. Pearson said at one point in court filings that he planned to call 63 witnesses.

“Mr. Pearson, you are not ‘we.’ You are an ‘I,’” Bartnoff told him.

As Pearson explained the details of the missing pants, he struggled to get through his hour and a half of testimony, most of which concerned his credentials and his background.

He became visibly emotional when he reached the point in the story in which he recounted a confrontation with Soo Chung from the dry cleaning store.

“These are not my pants,” he testified, and said he told her, “I have in my adult life, with one exception, never worn pants with cuffs.”

Pearson testified that Chung insisted, saying, “These are your pants.”

Pearson then rushed from the courtroom, overcome with emotion.

From that description, I think it’s pretty obvious that Pearson is more than a little off in the head. I’m not saying the pants presented were his pants, because I’ve had a lot of dry cleaners screw up on my stuff so it’s very possible they made a mistake; but at the same time, $54 million over a lost pair of pants? Give me a frickin’ break.

Obviously, it was a frivolous lawsuit which should never have been brought in the first place (after all, the Chungs at one point offered him $12,000, which is more than enough to make up for his lost pants). It has damaged the Chungs’ reputation, their credit rating, and generally destroyed their lives. One of the Chungs said that they just want to go back to Korea after this fiasco.

So I think paying the Chungs’ attorney fees and court costs just is not enough. Allow them to amend their counterclaim, if necessary, then grant them major damages for what they’ve endured. That not only will be a step in the direction of making this right again for a couple of hardworking immigrants who have suffered greatly at the hands of a man who intentionally abused our system of justice, it will also serve to warn others who might be tempted to do something that stupid.

Then again, I think you really need to be crazy in order to think you’re entitled to that much money just because your pants were lost at the drycleaner’s, so even that probably won’t serve as a deterrent to other crazies who think something that small is worth zillions.

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