Category Archives: Law

US Politicians and the Inconvenience of Laws

To say that US politicians form an ‘elite’ that are so disconnected from the average citizen that they can’t even be bothered to verbally support, much less uphold, our laws would be a huge understatement. Just in the last week we’ve heard politicians on both sides of the political spectrum—from the idiot poser Sarah Palin to former President Bill Clinton—criticize their peers for upholding the law. And it doesn’t stop there: Officials high and low, from judges to law enforcement to representatives, seem now to believe that laws are just pesky restrictions that don’t really apply to them. Here are some examples pulled from last week’s news:

Senator Lamar Alexander (R-TN), not usually know for being a Constitution-busting conservative, calls on Attorney General Eric Holder to resign for…well…upholding the Constitution in the matter of Umar Farouk Abdulmutallab, imprisoned as a criminal rather than being ‘disappeared’ as a terrorist for his attempt to blow up a US bound jet liner. Alexander, of course, is a hypocrite since he made no such call when Bu$hCo, and then Attorney General Ashcroft, did the same with ‘shoe bomber’ Richard Reid.

Former President Bill Clinton makes an appeal to the Haitian government to “quickly resolve” the case of 10 US missionaries accused of attempting to kidnap 33 Haitian children in the aftermath of the recent quake, asserting that the accused, “…might be telling the truth”.  To which Americans should respond… “So what?”  The former president seems to have forgotten that, had this happened in the US, any call to resolve the matter outside the boundaries of the US judicial system would have resulted in politicians and pundits calling for the heads of anyone making such a statement. Apparently trials are good enough for the US but not good enough for Haiti.

Sarah Palin and her fellow travelers from the so-called Tea Party Convention manage, in the space of a few days, to 1) Criticize the president for upholding the Constitution on matters of terrorism—though these blathering morons would never have tolerated that kind of dissent when the president was named “Bush” rather than “Obama”; and 2) Call for the reinstatement of unconstitutional ‘Jim Crow’ laws—despite the fact that most of their supporters probably couldn’t pass the kinds of civics exams that were the cornerstone of many laws designed to disenfranchise blacks.

iNews Friday, 1/15/2010

A sampling of this week’s output from the iNews 9000 Turbo wi-fi headline translator—

Headline: Steele- Reid should step down from leadership role for ‘Negro’ remark
Translation: “Let GOP handle the Negro remarks”

Headline: Sarah Palin takes Fox News commentator job
Translation: In anticipation Bill O’Reilly places large falafel order

Headline: Scalia sides with sex offenders against federal law
Translation: Thomas prefers Jenna Jameson to Sasha Grey

Headline: White House nears deal on health care
Translation: Don’t. Get. The undercoating

Headline: Pat Robertson says Satanic pact caused Haiti quake
Translation: Robertson also says small gnome stole his carkeys

Headline: State weighs giving up control over tuition hikes
Translation: Colleges could adopt Comcast billing model

Headline: Rightwingers fail to dent US donation surge
Translation: GOP introduces resolution to rename Haiti ‘Katrina’

Headline: ‘Pants on the ground!’
Translation: Belt industry launches awareness campaign


Everyone loves a circus!

(Washington) The nation’s capital took a break from the hard work of governance today, as the Republican Brothers and Boehner & Flailing brought their three-ring media circus to town.

An excited crowd filled the darkened Senate Judiciary Committee chamber this morning. Senator Jim Bunting got so excited he peed himself when a hush fell over the audience.

Ringmaster Jeff Sessions stepped into the spotlight and got things started with the traditional introduction of, “Ladies and gentlemen, boys and girls, wise Latina women of all ages — welcome to the Greatest Sideshow On Earth!”

And what a show it was! First came trapeze artists The Supreme 5, a unique act that somehow manages to swing only in one direction.

Next was gypsy fortuneteller Tom Coburn, who told the future of one lucky audience member, Sonia Sotomayor of New York City.

Coburn was followed by lion tamer Orrin Hatch, who held at bay the circus’ newest beast, Empathy, the crack of a flaccid noodle sounding in the air.

Hearts stopped when Lindsay Graham stepped onto a high wire far above the crowd. At the halfway point, he paused to juggle white male patriarchy with his insistence life experience should be a disqualifier for the high court.

But everyone’s favorites are the clowns, and there sure were a lot of them! At one point an impossible number of them poured out of a tiny ideological box, to the audience’s delight.

A good time was had by all. By the end, only John Ensign was left to sweep up the elephant poop.

The one disappointment was the news that one act, the comedian Norm Coleman, had left the circus. His replacement, Al Franken, was not funny at all.

Supreme Court won’t review Don’t Ask, Don’t Tell – “Works fine for us,” justices say

The U.S. Supreme Court dealt a setback today to a constitutional challenge to the military’s “don’t ask, don’t tell” policy banning gay people from openly serving in the U.S. military.

In upholding the decision of the U.S. Court of Appeals 1st Circuit, Associate Justice Antonin Scalia found precedent in the policies governing the high court itself. “The policy of ‘don’t ask don’t tell’ will not be reviewed because it works. This court is covered by such a policy, and it works fine for us,” wrote Scalia.

“The Supreme Court’s unit cohesion would suffer greatly if we were to introduce the factor of sexual preference. When we’re in the heat of judicial deliberations, the last thing I want to have to worry about is what another justice is doing under his robe,” Scalia stated.

“In fact, the reason we wear shapeless robes to begin with is to detract from the rampant sensuality that would otherwise distract this court from its constitutional duties,” he noted.

“It’s also the reason we don’t wear those irresistible, come-hither powdered wigs, like the British,” added Associate Justice Samuel Alito.

Associate Justice Clarence Thomas concurred with Scalia and Alito, writing: “I always shower at home because I don’t want other justices ogling me in the Supreme Court Shower.”

However, Thomas said “don’t ask, don’t tell” should only apply to male homosexuals serving on the Supreme Court.

“When I say homosexuals endanger unit cohesion in the shower, I don’t mean the ladies,” Thomas wrote.

Observing that retiring Justice David H. Souter is a confirmed bachelor who lives in a rustic cabin in New Hampshire, Thomas’ law clerk said Thomas hopes the Senate votes to confirm Souter’s replacement, Sonia Sotomayor, as soon as possible.

“Justice Thomas welcomes the prospect of observing much late-night jurisprudence between Judge Sotomayor and Justice Ginsburg,” the clerk said.

‘Activist Judges’ – An Objective Measure

Whenever a new Supreme Court appointment is nigh, Republicans start bleating about ‘activist judges’ and how they can’t be allowed onto the court.  But without a definition of ‘activist’ this tired rubric is just so much bullsh*t posturing.

Really, the term ‘activist judge’ is just code for “anybody who is likely to do things that I don’t like”.  Well now, an Op-ed in the New York Times gives us an objective measure of the term:  How often a justice votes to strike down a law passed by Congress.  And who do we suppose votes most often to strike down laws when a case comes before the Supreme Court?  See for yourself (noting that this is the record of the so-called ‘Rehnquist Court’) …

Thomas 65.63 %
Kennedy 64.06 %
Scalia 56.25 %
Rehnquist 46.88 %
O’Connor 46.77 %
Souter 42.19 %
Stevens 39.34 %
Ginsburg 39.06 %
Breyer 28.13 %

Given this, it’s probably not too much to ask that the ass-wipes who are threatening to filibuster Sonia Sotomayor shut-the-f*ck-up and vote for her. That way they’ll be likely to get someone who doesn’t fit the nonsensical label of ‘activist’.

Tip-o-the-hat to FranIAm who turned me on this piece.

Conservatives question Sotomayor nomination – Name won’t fit on back of robe

Conservative court watchers say President Barack Obama’s nominee to replace retiring David Souter on the Supreme Court faces an uphill battle.

Federal Appeals Court Judge Sonia Sotomayor’s nine letter surname would be the longest of all the justices on the court, says former House speaker Newt Gingrich, making it difficult to fit on the back of the court’s mandatory judicial black robe.

The New York jurist, who would be the first Hispanic American on the high court, is expected to face a contentious Senate confirmation, said Gingrich.

“Ruth Bader Ginsburg, Anthony Kennedy and John Paul Stevens have seven letter surnames, while the last name of David Souter, whom Sotomayor is replacing, has six letters. ‘Sotomayor’ is just too radical a change,” he said.

“It’s dangerous to disregard the precedent of having justices whose names are easily readable on the back of the pleated, flowing robes ” Gingrich said.

Judge Albee Uvthat of the conservative judicial group Federalist Society agreed with Gingrich. “History is littered with Supreme Court nominations of presidents trying to go against precedent,” Uvthat said.  Uvthat gave William Hornblower (ten letters, 1894) and Clement Haynsworth (nine letters, 1969) as two examples of the Senate rejecting long-named nominees.

However, liberals familiar with the history of the Supreme Court say the right is merely looking for payback — still smarting over the Senate’s rejection of short-named Robert Bork, nominated by Ronald Reagan in 1987.

Also today:  Incredible Kim Jong-Hulk conducts successful gamma radiation test

Notes from the Transition – Minnesota town to hang ’em high

The election of Barack Obama means change is coming. But what kind of change? In this series we check in with individuals and communities across America, and ask them: What has already changed since November 4? What changes are you still looking forward to, and how are you getting ready?

Part 2 in a series


(Stillwater, MN) The excitement in this town northwest of Minneapolis is palpable, with news media from the world over arriving to cover the loyalty hearings that get underway December 15. The hearings are being initiated by Congresswoman Michele Bachmann, who has become the Republican Party’s leader on loyalty verification issues.
      “Michele Bachmann said we need to expose who’s pro-America and who’s anti-America — and now it’s actually going to happen,” said an excited Cameron Kirk Frandle, who describes himself as a professional Christian.
      “It’s a perfect blend of church, state and spectacle,” Frandle said.
      Stillwater residents say the publicity surrounding the Bachmann Hearings, and the out of town visitors it brings, are good for the local economy. Restaurants are doing a brisk trade, and many hotels have started taking reservations for fall of 2009, when Bachmann promises the first in a series of public hangings.

(Connecticut) Change for Senator Joseph I. Lieberman means settling into his new role as chairman of the Select Committee on Getting Harry Reid Coffee. Reports Lieberman: “There’s not much to do, since Mormons don’t drink coffee. As a result, I have plenty of time for things like adding to my Hummel collection and keeping up with The Young & Restless.”

Zan-Tor -  floating on air.
Zan-Tor - floating on air.
(Algona, WA) Zan-Tor, a malevolent energy cloud-being, was a John McCain supporter. But these days he is describing himself as upbeat. “Amazing thing happen to Zan-Tor,” said Zan-Tor.
      “Zan-Tor feed on fear and hate. But there is less fear and hate since November The Four, so Zan-Tor has been on diet,” he said.
      “Zan-Tor has lost much weight, Zan-Tor feel like new malevolent energy cloud-being.”
      Zan-Tor went on to say that his self-esteem has improved greatly, giving him the confidence to seek a promotion at the Washington Department of Licensing office where he has worked for the last 3 million years, “or maybe it just seem that long to Zan-Tor.”

Burton shows how to put a teensy hole in a condom.
Burton shows how to put a teensy hole in a condom.
(Peyton, CO) Law student Kristi Burton, 21, authored an amendment to the Colorado state constitution that would have defined life as beginning at conception. On November 4 the proposal, Amendment 48, was rejected by 73% of voters.
      Now Burton has a new cause: an amendment that would define life as beginning at 40.
      “I saw what a great time Governor Palin had when she ran with John McCain also, and what a great contribution she made, even though she’s so old,” said Burton.
      “I can only hope I too will have that much youthful energy to run wild, have fun, and demolish the electoral viability of the neoconservative movement when I am in my forties, if I am so blessed to reach such an advanced age.”

Not Just For Terrorists Anymore

A government list of 1,000,000 Americans—having no mechanism for vetting and removing individuals—is going to get abused. It started with TSA using the ‘terrorist watch list’ to silence their critics. Now…state law enforcement officials are using the list to punish non-violent activists.

Maryland State Police have been forced to admit that they added the names of 53 death-penalty and Iraq War opponents to state and federal watch lists, in addition to listing the groups they belonged to as ‘terrorist organizations’. When pressed by state legislators to admit that they overstepped their authority, the former police superintendent, Thomas Hutchins, called the members of the groups in question “fringe people” and then offered up an anemic defense based on his mis-interpreting the clear intent of the First Amendment:

“I don’t believe the First Amendment is any guarantee to those who wish to disrupt the government…”

Either the superintendent doesn’t understand what freedom of speech and freedom of assembly mean, or he doesn’t care. I’m betting on the latter.

DHS Clarifies – At The Border The Constitution Doesn’t Apply

The US Department of Homeland Security, never known for their respect of the Constitution, has clarified the policy that allows them to search your laptop and other digital devices when you cross the border into the US. No longer content to simply copy your data and return the device to you, the DHS now claims that they can keep your laptop for an ‘indefinite period’ and enlist the help of outside agencies for the purposes of analysis and decryption. How those outside agencies are supposed to deal with, and/or protect, your sensitive date is not specified.

But the policy goes further. The fact that searches and seizures can be conducted without probable cause is now codified in the policy, and the definition of what can be seized for analysis has been broadened to include: “…any device capable of storing information in digital or analog form… including hard drives, compact discs, DVDs, flash drives, portable music players, cell phones, pagers, beepers, and videotapes.”

The implication of this Constitution-busting nonsense is clear: Either encrypt everything you plan to take cross-border—and be prepared to be fight with Uncle Sam over your encryption keys—or simply find a way to get at your data once you’re outside the US.

Foreign national may as well forget about coming here in the first place.

California Cagers Caught Clutching Cells…

on the first day of our new ban on using your mobile phone while driving. And all I have to say is:

About mother-f*cking time!!!

Not a week goes by when I don’t have to leap out of the way of some stupid cager, cellphone growing out of their head, making a turn without the right-of-way. My only regret is that the penalty is a mere $20 ($50 for the second offense)—ought to be confiscation of the phone (first offense) and confiscation of your hand (second offense). But get this: Our new law has a loophole large enough to drive a truck through. You can still text while driving. Go figure.