Entries Tagged as 'on the law'

Bob Sullivan's top ten everythingon the law

Top ten excuses of Lonnie Hutton, a 49-year-old Murfreesboro, Tennessee man who was arrested for trying to have sex with an ATM machine

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10. “Why not have sex with a cash machine? I mean, if it’s good enough for Donald Sterling’s girlfriend…”

9. “I thought it was a sperm bank.”

8. “I couldn’t control myself. The ATM was shakin’ its money maker.”

7. “I’m not sure. It was an ATM, so it didn’t make any cents.”

6. “I was just trying to make a deposit.”

5. “I really really love money!”

4. “I heard there was no penalty for early withdrawal.”

3. “I thought it was one of those new sexbots I’ve been reading about.”

2. “Banks are always screwing us. I thought it was our turn.”

1. “I was hoping to come into some money.”

Bob Sullivan’s Top Ten Everything appears every Monday.

Bob Sullivan's top ten everythingon the law

Top ten suggested titles for a movie about Iowa now granting gun permits to blind people

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10. Run for Your Lives!!!!

9. Magnum Farce

8. Don’t Fire Until You See…Nothing

7. Bang the Gun Slowly

6. The Blind Sidearm

5. Is That a Gun In Your Pocket, or Are You Glad to Hear Me?

4. 20/400 .45

3. Deadeye

2. Random Acts of Blindness

1. A Shot in the Dark

Bob Sullivan’s Top Ten Everything appears every Monday.

on the lawrace & culture

Trayvon Martin, tragedy and injustice

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Last night George Zimmerman, America’s most hated night watchman, was found not guilty in front of a jury of his peers. Soon afterwards, the level headed “pick your battles” Reverend Sharpton was already scheming for a civil conviction and federal civil rights investigation. Deep into the night there was a protest in San Francisco. And this morning the talking heads on MSLSD went back and forth about racial injustice in America.

Even looking at Facebook and Twitter, you would have thought that a gang of Klansmen were just acquitted for killing an 18 year-old black girl in a voting booth on election day with the deciding vote in Obama’s reelection. But if you quell all the emotion, you would see that this case was not a landmark racial injustice, but rather a compelling focal point, precedent, and lesson in political pressure, self-defense, and the burden of guilt. [Read more →]

damned liesdiatribes

Gun rights, two amendments, and a lot of funerals

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The obituary of Robert H. Bork in The New York Times (Dec. 20 2012) notes that, “In a 1971 article in The Indiana Law Journal, [Bork] argued that the First Amendment’s protection of free speech had been wildly extrapolated beyond the intent of the Constitution’s framers. In a starkly narrow interpretation, he said free speech existed to perpetuate the process of self-government; therefore, he wrote, only explicitly political speech about governing was protected.” That is indeed a tortured reading. Explicitly political speech about governing could be construed as narrowly as speech about whether the Senate should change the filibuster rule. To Hell with freedom of speech about everything else. But there is a striking comparison between Bork’s First Amendment and the Second Amendment as it relates to the recently re-ignited gun-control debate. The Second Amendment has indeed been “wildly extrapolated” by the gun lobby beyond its original intent. The crucial difference is this: the limited original intent of the Second Amendment is clear, and is thrown into relief by the massive social and technological changes since it was written, whereas the narrow reading of the First Amendment is almost certainly not the intended one, nor is that amendment so antiquated.  [Read more →]

on the lawpolitics & government

Obama’s taxing rhetoric

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on the lawpolitics & government

Free speech wins over the bleeping FCC

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drugs & alcoholhealth & medical

Night of the Living Prohibitionists

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health & medicalon the law

Empty vessels allowed in New York

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on the law

High-risk sex offenders don’t prefer to be monitored

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Robert Lee Moone broke into a home in 1989, armed with a knife, and attempted to sexually assault a 13-year-old girl. He was sentenced to 45 years in prison because we can’t have people breaking into homes and sexually assaulting 13-year-old girls. In 2010 he was granted parole. Moone is so dangerous, though, that “[a]fter he was granted parole, he was placed on a “Super Intensive Supervised Program” with 24-hour monitoring.”

No worries, then. A Super Intensive Supervised Program must be not only intensive and supervised, but super intensive and super supervised. Tuck your babies in bed and leave the windows unlocked. He’s monitored, like, 24 hours a day. Super intensively.

What’s that? Moone walked out of a Texas halfway house and cut off his electronic monitor on April 10th? Well, that kind of thing hardly ever happens. Not in Texas, anyway.

It was the second escape of a high-risk sex offender in Texas within a week.

Michael Elbert Young, 42, climbed over a barbed wire fence at the Southeast Texas Transitional Center in Houston on Thursday night after removing his electronic monitor.

Young served eight years in jail for aggravated assault and aggravated assault with a deadly weapon, the Houston Chronicle reported. Both charges carried a sexual element, and Young also served time for the sexual assault of a child and attempted aggravated sexual assault convictions.

The Super Intensive Supervised Program and electronic monitoring don’t seem to be working. It might be time for a Superduper Intensive Supervised Program. Unless that’s going too far.

on the lawrace & culture

The summer of George

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Conditions in Florida are dry and hot. General conflagration has not broken out but that is not from any lack of ignition. There has been a sudden squall but whether it delivers more rain than lightning remains to be seen. George Zimmerman is in custody, surrendering without incident with the public release of the charges against him.

This should be a moment of great relief, should it not? The Martin family has consistently said that what they want is Justice for Trayvon, as the copyrighted phrase has it. Further they have said that what they desire is an arrest and a REAL investigation inverting the usual order. The implication is that there has not been a real investigation until now, the one delivering charges of second degree murder on a set of facts that the original Sanford based prosecutors thought warranted no charges at all. It is easy to understand why observers might think that so but mostly because of faulty information or explicit DISinformation, all of which will now be hashed out in open court, as it should be, while much of it has been hashed and re-hashed in the public sphere. Here is another helping of hash, including leftovers that have since gone sour.

The initial cause of outrage has become moot as it has proven to be false. The Martin family advocates originally stated three untruths: first that Zimmerman never was taken into custody on that fatal night. That falsehood stood nearly unrebutted until the release of a security video showing Zimmerman in handcuffs at the cop shop. Team Martin also declared that the crime scene was never attended to in any meaningful way but we have since seen video of the usual technicians and procedures being performed promptly and as competently as we can tell. The third falsehood was that Zimmerman’s pistol was never taken in as evidence. This also we know to be a flat inversion of the facts.  [Read more →]

on the lawpolitics & government

Crackology in court

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As it is said, politics is showbiz for ugly people. The Judiciary, then, is largely a political field for those who don’t like shaking hands. This is no indictment against those on the Supreme Court or a lesser bench somewhere. It is a fact recognized at the Constitution’s writing and ratification. Without checking, I recall in the Federalist Papers on the matter of the Supreme Court, the clear problem of Justices being beholden to the President who nominated them and/or the Senators who confirmed them was to be addressed with lifetime appointment. The theory (which I think was from Madison) was that while a Judge may indeed be in debt to those who put him behind the bar it would be a debt never paid as the Judge is more protective of his own legacy as a fair-minded arbiter, however fictitious that may be, than he is eager to keep political accounts squared since he is now in his final office. As with the rest of the Constitution there is little reliance on having virtuous, capable figures at the highest positions in government, rather there are institutionalized incentives to persuade whatever rat-bastard winds up in there to do the right thing. So while the Court is allegedly above politics we know jurists to be subject to the same disabilities as Presidents and Legislators. They have power. It corrupts. Let’s forgive the President’s recent statements then for they are not as unprecedented as the appalled detractors would have it. FDR spoke against the high court in strident terms. He ran against them, something Obama clearly intends to repeat if he loses. Thank the gentleman for this unambiguous invitation to apply a bit of Crackology in the marbled chambers. [Read more →]

art & entertainmenton the law

Superman: The never-ending Copyfight Crisis rages on!

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Jerry Siegel and Joe Shuster were both about 19 years old when they created the character called “Superman,” in 1933. He was based upon the title character from a novel called Gladiator, by Philip Wylie, Hercules, and Samson. Also, interestingly enough, Siegel and Shuster seem to have swiped the name “Superman” from an ad for “The Man of Bronze,” Doc Savage:

(Image source)

He was not originally appreciated by editors:

But the two did still try to sell Superman and got back nasty replies from some editors. Bell Syndicate told them, “We are in the market only for strips likely to have the most extra-ordinary appeal, and we do not feel Superman gets into this category.” United Features said that Superman was “a rather immature piece of work.”

Finally, in 1938, the pair of impractical dreamers managed to sell the character and an initial 13 page story to Detective Comics, which is now known as just DC. The total value of their first check was $412 and, as it turns out, that supercheck is now up for auction by a company called ComicConnect, which features a suitably purple description:

On March 1, 1938, DC Comics gave two young men from Cleveland $130 for the rights to a comic character named Superman. That $130 check essentially created a billion dollar industry and set in motion nearly 70 years of legal battles that continue to this day. [Read more →]

on the lawrace & culture

Justice for Trayvon Martin

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There has been a spark in Florida. Whether it proves igniting depends on the condition and volume of the available fuel. It has been hot and dry across the nation for some time so we should be cautious with cigarette butts and any other sort of burning. In that case, maybe Al Sharpton should have stayed home. Too late for that now. He has broken out the tropical suits and the high-humidity hair treaments. Rev Sharpton has been one of the leading voices championing Justice for Tayvon as this movement is aptly known, calling for patience and support for the Martin family as they brace for the possibly imminent arrest of their son.  [Read more →]

family & parentinghis & hers

Marriage overturned

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Proposition 8 was a heartbreaker for those who loved Candidate Obama the second best. His greatest admirers were those like Samuel Jackson who saw in him an ethnic reflection of themselves. His “message” didn’t mean shit to them. But a close second in devotion is that other bulwark of Democratic politics, the gay community. Though they tended towards Hillary (a known fan of sensible shoes), like many other key groups they saw in Obama a champion of their cause. They were as disappointed as the young hemp enthusiasts but much sooner. They knew on Election Day that Prop 8 had passed adding an Amendment to the California Constitution defining marriage as a union of one man and one woman.

The dissappointment was to some extent their own fault. Candidate Obama had never publicly supported literal gay marriage any more than President Bush had. Rather, like those who took cannibis for medical reasons and hoped to be able to take it legally in any setting, the gay marriage advocates assumed that a President Obama would indeed be actively on their side though his stock response to questions always was, “My position is the same as the President’s (Bush), civil unions.) No one believed it. I don’t believe it. What are the odds that Obama TRULY does not favor absolute equality of gay marriage? As an issue it is uniformly supported by his demographic; elite university graduates/government bigwigs. But an alliance of gays and their  more numerous allies is far from a majority; not even in a Democratic primary. It might be different if the balance of the electorate were, like me, flagrantly apathetic to marriage, gay or sullen. That is not the case. Mr. Hillary knew it although he clearly was hostile to all marriage. He made his accommodations with his own base on gay issues, recognizing two powerful blocks were and are opposed to “gay rights” as we know them. That would be the Catholics and the blacks. [Read more →]

on the lawsports

Joe Paterno probably deserves to be punished (but doesn’t deserve it yet)

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Society forgives a lot. Don King killed two people — yes, he really did kill one person, then decide this wasn’t enough so he later killed another — before he pulled his life together and entered that most honorable of professions: boxing promotion. (And in fairness, in the first case he was trying to protect one of his illegal gambling houses and in the second the guy owed him money.) Likewise, Mike Tyson served time for rape, but now most people tend to ignore that in favor of the nobler moments from his life, like when he sang along to “In the Air Tonight” in The Hangover or beat the hell out of Don King. Perhaps the only crime you can’t redeem yourself from over time is child abuse. And this may be why there doesn’t seem to be a measured response to it: it is an offense that seems either to get ignored completely or for which everyone connected in any way must be destroyed immediately, disregarding the possibility that they might actually be innocent. [Read more →]

moneyon the law

A cave with a sunset view

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Maybe we shouldn’t have the end of the year during the holidays. Yes, it is one of the holidays itself but maybe they are too concentrated here on the long tail of the annum. Legislative and other periods link to the end of the calendar year causing deadlines to loom just when offices are empty or emptying. Once phones rang unanswered from Thanksgiving Wednesday to January 2nd. Now they roll over to voice. Which is more cruel? There are a few folks still on the job although they eye the clock nervously and jostle their keys. They are trying to “get things done” and whatever that means it apparently means the same thing two days before Christmas as it means on any other day at the Capitol and the White House. [Read more →]

on the lawvirtual children by Scott Warnock

Child abuse: We’re just not getting it

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As we withstand the informational deluge from Penn State, we are faced with the possibility of another case of institutional child abuse, in which a whole group of people, a whole structure, contributed to the horrific abuse of children. It is clear that we are just not getting it. [Read more →]

on the lawpolitics & government

Candidate Obama vs. President Obama on Libya

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on the lawpolitics & government

All in, Boner!

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Remarks by The Speaker:

Americans, there is no doubt that we are in dire economic straits. It is sometimes hard to believe that everyone up here at the Capitol, although yes, we still have OUR jobs, for the moment, we all, everyone who sits in these Chambers, all our hearts go out to the nation. That is Republican and Democrat alike. I assume that both of the TEA Party and the Occupy Wall Street movements and of every citizen in between and outside of these groups that represent a very great fraction of the public. Of course this extends to the President as well. I say this to both Right and Left and Center and whatever politics you can imagine, there is no one up here trying to destroy or harm this country. Not me. Not Barney Frank. Not Senator Reid nor McConnell is trying to harm the economy either from spurious actions or malign neglect and most assuredly, no, neither is the President. What we have are different interpretations, different views of what is possible, what is wise and what is legal. Yes, these are wildly divergent views; these are certainly antagonistic views but what we try to avoid, with mixed success, is being antagonistic with each other and above all, antagonistic to the Constitution. [Read more →]

on the lawreligion & philosophy

Sure Enough to Kill Troy Davis

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So, Troy Davis is dead.

Strapped to a gurney in Georgia’s death chamber, Troy Davis lifted his head and declared one last time that he did not kill police officer Mark MacPhail. Just a few feet away behind a glass window, MacPhail’s son and brother watched in silence.

And, despite his claim that he is innocent of a crime for which there is said to be no physical evidence, it seems the witnesses were enough to make it stick. The victim’s mother says:

[Davis has] been telling himself [he’s innocent] for 22 years. You know how it is, he can talk himself into anything (same source as above).

As anyone who reads my stuff with any regularity knows, I’m not a current events guy, except when current events raise larger philosophical questions about life. I can’t stay away from this one. [Read more →]

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