Showing posts with label courts. Show all posts
Showing posts with label courts. Show all posts

Thursday, May 28, 2015

You gotta kill somebody

Yesterday, Nebraska had the death penalty. Today, it doesn't.

Be that is it may, the execution executive branch of state government isn't taking the unicameral's override of Gov. Pete Rickett's veto of legislation abolishing the death penalty lying down. On the question of making murderers dead -- despite Nebraska not executing anyone since 1997 and its problems obtaining the proper drugs for lethal injection -- Attorney General Doug Peterson's attitude can only be described as "never say die."

Because he wants to kill. Kill! KILL! KILLLLLLL!
Doug Peterson
One day after state lawmakers repealed the death penalty, Nebraska Attorney General Doug Peterson is questioning a portion of a repeal law dealing with the fate of the 10 men currently on death row.

But State Sen. Ernie Chambers of Omaha, the sponsor of the repeal law, said Thursday that the attorney general doesn’t have a case.

"There’s no legal issue here," Chambers said.

Peterson, in a press release, said its office, "at the appropriate time," will seek a court decision to resolve the state’s ability to execute those currently on death row.

He pointed to language in Legislative Bill 268 that states: "It is the intent of the Legislature that in any criminal proceeding in which the death penalty has been imposed but not carried out prior to the effective date of this act, such penalty shall be changed to life imprisonment."

"We believe this stated intent is unconstitutional," Peterson said.

Only the State Pardons Board, under the state constitution, can change a criminal sentence, he said, the Legislature cannot do that.

Chambers, in an interview, said he knows that and reflected that in drafting the bill. He said he also made it clear during floor debate on LB 268 that while the Legislature’s "intent" was that death-row inmates get life sentences, the body has no power to do that.

"Courts have always said that intent language has no legal effect," the senator said. "We recognized that the bill would not change the (death) sentences."

However, Chambers added, LB 268 removes the state’s method for carrying out a death sentence.

Because of the new law, the 10 men on death row would continue to have death sentences, he said, but the state would have no way to execute them unless the Legislature enacted a new method of execution.

"And the Legislature is not going to authorize any method of execution," Chambers said.
NOW, BEING that Nebraskans deserve full disclosure from its elected officials, Peterson should immediately reveal whether he ever sat on the Group W bench and, if so, for how long.

Tuesday, August 06, 2013

Because he's good people

I'll bet Rusty Domingue is sooooo pissed off right now.

All the Louisiana State linebacker did back in 1976 was stab a dude in the chest -- just once -- and he got six months in the pen and never played for the Tigers again. Present Tiger running back Jeremy Hill forced a 14-year-old girl to perform a sex act on him then, while on probation for that, sucker punched a guy at a bar.

The outcome? He got a "stern warning" from the judge and reinstated to the team by LSU Coach Les Miles. Because Hill's such a good guy.
“He’s not a guy that has had constant bad behavior,” Miles said of Hill. “Obviously he’s had a lack of judgment and bad behavior in these two instances. But the reality is we all see him around here as a good person.”
YEAH, and John Wilkes Booth was a mensch except for that one instance of bad behavior and lack of judgment. If Hill had just blocked a field goal attempt by No. 1 Nebraska to preserve a 6-6 tie just like the star-crossed Domingue, the judge may have sentenced the Tiger sophomore to 60 minutes with an underage girl.
Miles’ decision to reinstate the sophomore running back came early Monday evening and ends a three-month exile for Hill, who was suspended from the team after he punched a fellow student outside a Tigerland bar in April. He pleaded guilty to simple battery last month but faced up to six months in jail for violating probation in a 2012 case in which he pleaded guilty as a high school senior to carnal knowledge of a minor.

Hill returned to practice Monday afternoon, the first day of preseason workouts for the Tigers. Miles said there will be “further punishment” for Hill but did not give specifics.

Miles also would not say whether Hill will be suspended from any of LSU’s games in the upcoming season.

“I’m going to kind of review, and make a quality call as best I can,” Miles said.

Earlier in the day, State District Judge Bonnie Jackson lectured Hill and not only added a special condition — 40 hours of community service at the Bishop Ott Center — to the two years of probation she gave him in January 2012, but also issued a stern warning.

“You are to refrain from all other criminal conduct,” the judge told Hill, who wore a dark suit and purple tie as he stood next to his attorney, Marci Blaize.
TRUST ME, telling someone in Louisiana "to refrain from all other criminal conduct" is stern, indeed. Probably cruel and unusual punishment.

Maybe Les could get another of the Tigers to lift a book from the LSU law library to check on that.

Wednesday, June 05, 2013

Operator? Information. Get me Obama on the line.

A journalism professor of mine at Louisiana State used to tell us that every time he made an international call, he'd always close with "And greetings to the good people at the NSA!"

Because, of course, everybody knew the National Security Agency was eavesdropping on most, if not all, overseas telephone calls in search of Russkie spies, pinko security threats or whatnot. It was the Cold War, after all.

Today, things are different. After more than a decade of the endless -- and endlessly amorphous -- War on Terror, we need to be closing every phone call with "And greetings to the good people at the NSA, the FBI and whomever else in the U.S. government might be listening in!"

As a convenience to its land-line and cellular customers, maybe Verizon could just insert that friendly "Greetings to our federal overlords!" into the metadata for every call it handles. That's because the NSA, on behalf of the Federal Bureau of Investigation, is collecting data on every call the phone company handles -- which would be yours, if you're a customer.

And, as a courtesy to my friendly, neighborhood G-man, that Verizon cell-phone call made to the Mighty Favog by Abu Missus last night at 8:51 p.m., was to see whether I needed anything else from CVS. No radioactive iodine or ammonium nitrate was involved, I swear.

But if you show up at the door, I'm gonna lawyer up like a son of a bitch before you can ship me off to Guantanamo.

ANYWAY, confirmation of our present political-freedom-cannot-withstand-a-never-ending-state-of-war moment has been brought to you by The Guardian, the left-wing British daily. Not, I note, by any American newspaper -- liberal, conservative or conflicted:

The National Security Agency is currently collecting the telephone records of millions of US customers of Verizon, one of America's largest telecoms providers, under a top secret court order issued in April.
The order, a copy of which has been obtained by the Guardian, requires Verizon on an "ongoing, daily basis" to give the NSA information on all telephone calls in its systems, both within the US and between the US and other countries.

The document shows for the first time that under the Obama administration the communication records of millions of US citizens are being collected indiscriminately and in bulk – regardless of whether they are suspected of any wrongdoing.

The secret Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Court (Fisa) granted the order to the FBI on April 25, giving the government unlimited authority to obtain the data for a specified three-month period ending on July 19.

Under the terms of the blanket order, the numbers of both parties on a call are handed over, as is location data, call duration, unique identifiers, and the time and duration of all calls. The contents of the conversation itself are not covered.

The disclosure is likely to reignite longstanding debates in the US over the proper extent of the government's domestic spying powers.

Under the Bush administration, officials in security agencies had disclosed to reporters the large-scale collection of call records data by the NSA, but this is the first time significant and top-secret documents have revealed the continuation of the practice on a massive scale under President Obama.

The unlimited nature of the records being handed over to the NSA is extremely unusual. Fisa court orders typically direct the production of records pertaining to a specific named target who is suspected of being an agent of a terrorist group or foreign state, or a finite set of individually named targets.

The Guardian approached the National Security Agency, the White House and the Department of Justice for comment in advance of publication on Wednesday. All declined. The agencies were also offered the opportunity to raise specific security concerns regarding the publication of the court order.

The court order expressly bars Verizon from disclosing to the public either the existence of the FBI's request for its customers' records, or the court order itself.

"We decline comment," said Ed McFadden, a Washington-based Verizon spokesman.

The order, signed by Judge Roger Vinson, compels Verizon to produce to the NSA electronic copies of "all call detail records or 'telephony metadata' created by Verizon for communications between the United States and abroad" or "wholly within the United States, including local telephone calls".
I THINK we now understand exactly what all that "change" President Obama promised us in 2008 was all about.

It means that the New Boss is pretty much the same as the Old Boss, except that he's black, is from Chicago, plays basketball instead of riding a bicycle and is more better well-spoken. Frankly, it would take an extraordinary man to roll back the fascistic powers the modern American president has amassed since Dwight Eisenhower warned us about the military-industrial complex back in 1960.

Barack Obama ain't that extraordinary. Like most of low-down, rotten humanity, the man craves power like a hog loves slop.

You might want to think about that before clamoring for yet another battle to fight on the global stage (Syria, anyone? Iran, perhaps?) -- yet another pretext to send more young Americans home in plastic bags, yet another pretext to turn you into a little bit more of a subject instead of a citizen.

And people were worried about "Obamacare."

Tuesday, May 08, 2012

Snooki in 2033

If you swing by the Pep Boys on Baldwin in Freeport, N.Y., the bikini-clad lady in the hot dog truck will show you her weenies, and that's OK.

But the long arm of the law on Long Island has a big problem if you return the favor to 45-year-old Catherine Scalia . . . and thus she ended up pleading guilty Tuesday to misdemeanor prostitution, which she instead insisted was merely indecent exposure.

Nude conduct, as it were.

Thus we have the remarkable case in which
Lana Lee -- not Ignatius J. Reilly -- ends up hawking Lucky Dogs, but gets into trouble when one transaction ends up being for a Night of Joy. But the saddest thing about the whole thing is not having Burma Jones there to narrate.

Now where's my soiled bedsheet? We need a good banner. How about this?
"Now is the time for all good men to come to the aid of their weenies!"

I shall dub this movement the Crusade for Frankish Dignity.
Hot-dog lovers of Long Island! Listen to the voice of the oppressed:

“I’m a mother of four kids and, yes, I show my cleavage," Scalia said. "I think it’s sexy. If Pamela Anderson can do it, so can I.”

Thursday, January 05, 2012

A kiss to build a rap sheet on

Steal a kiss, go to jail.

Ah, the ineptness of being earnest.

Ah, the importance of bewaring the earnest who troll the halls of government -- as we learned today in the Nebraska Legislature.

Some freaked out parents in Sen. Bill Avery's Lincoln district were appalled, appalled that a local pervert grabbed their adult daughter on the mean streets of our state's capital and gave her an unwanted kiss. The earnest lawmaker was shocked, shocked that the only thing the cops could nab the guy on was disorderly conduct.

THUS, we today have Legislative Bill 797, otherwise known as the unicameral's latest complete waste of time and paper products. From the Omaha World-Herald:
Avery's bill would add mouth-to-mouth kissing without a victim's consent to conduct that could be charged as second- or third-degree sexual assault.

It would be up to a prosecutor's discretion whether charges should be filed in a particular situation, he said.

"I admit that it would be a difficult statute to enforce," he said. "Everybody that claims they were kissed without consent is not going to have charges filed."
NOW THAT sounds like a game plan (not) -- enact "a difficult statute to enforce." Clog up the cops, the courts and the sex-offender rolls with matters best handled A) by the sudden appearance of fireworks, tingles down the spine, more kisses and eventual nuptials or B) a slap in the face and/or a knee to the groin.

Of course, I am not being earnest. I am making sense.

This is why I am fundamentally unfit for American politics. This also is why I'd be phenomenally unsuccessful at it -- telling paranoid parents to quit wasting my time and instead buy their daughter a can of pepper spray is no way to win the ninny vote.

Hell, I understand capsaicin is all the rage nowadays; why not try using it on Lincoln horndogs instead of peaceful political protesters?

I'm sure Sen. Avery would be shocked,
shocked by this notion.

Tuesday, September 20, 2011

Who needs killin'?

When you get right down to it, the United States is really just a great big Texas. We're pretty sure that some people just need killin'.

Cop killers need killin'. They're at the top of the killin' list. They need killin' even if we're only pretty sure they actually killed a cop.

Troy Davis, down in Georgia, needs killin' bad. The convicted cop killer needs killin' so bad that the state parole board looked past seven of nine original witnesses recanting all or a portion of their testimony, as well as a dearth of physical evidence, to make it so come Wednesday night.

HERE IS the latest from the Atlanta Journal-Constitution:
A landmark Georgia case brought about the abolition of capital punishment in the United States, and another landmark Georgia case reinstated it. But even with those monumental precedents on the books, no Georgia death sentence has drawn as much international attention and controversy as the one scheduled Wednesday night for Troy Anthony Davis.

If Davis is put to death as scheduled, the legacy of this bitterly fought case could be the persistence of unyielding prosecutors -- and the victim's family -- who stared down worldwide criticism and innocence claims to see his execution carried out. It will also leave many wondering if the state executed an innocent man.

"Justice will be done and that's what we were fighting for," said Anneliese MacPhail, whose son was a 27-year-old Savannah police officer when he was gunned down 22 years ago. When asked if she thinks Davis killed her son, she answered, "There is no doubt in my mind."

Davis sits on death row for the 1989 killing of Savannah Police Officer Mark Allen MacPhail, a former Army Ranger who was moonlighting on a security detail when he was shot three times before he could draw his handgun. Today marks the fourth execution date for Davis; on the three prior occasions, he was granted a stay.

A decision early Tuesday by the state Board of Pardons and Paroles rejecting pleas to halt Davis' execution appears to have all but sealed his fate. The board has the sole authority in Georgia to grant clemency to a condemned inmate.

Still, Davis' lawyers said they plan to file last-ditch appeals today claiming there remains new evidence that shows Davis was convicted and sentenced to death based on misleading evidence and testimony. "I am utterly shocked and disappointed at the failure of our justice system at all levels to correct a miscarriage of justice," Brian Kammer, one of Davis' attorneys, said.

Davis' supporters said they would ask Chatham County prosecutors to void the execution warrant. "This is a civil rights violation, a human rights violation in the worst way," the Rev. Raphael Warnock, pastor of Ebenezer Baptist Church, said at a Tuesday press conference.

The five-member parole board did not disclose the breakdown of its vote. It also did not address questions involving Davis' innocence claims or say it was convinced beyond any doubt he is guilty.

Instead, in a statement, the board said its members "have not taken their responsibility lightly and certainly understand the emotions attached to a death-penalty case." The board said it considered all the information and "deliberated thoroughly" before reaching its decision.

I DON'T KNOW that anything will change how in love with death -- and the death penalty -- we Americans are. Some people just need killin'. That's it. Period. End of discussion.

We kill crooks because they done killed somebody. We kill fetuses because they done inconvenienced somebody -- or their presence done scared somebody to death . . . or they might be born deformed . . . or Mama and Daddy are dead broke . . . or something.

In foreign lands, we kill foreigners -- with bombs and tanks and assault rifles. We get pissed off, and they get in the way.

That's just the way we are. There is no problem so daunting that we can't fix it with somebody's premature demise.

What part of "end of discussion" do you not understand?

Then again, since we're stuck with our penchant for "the final solution," it seems to me that we can at least be sporting about it. Take executions, for example. The Georgia parole board is dead-set (pun intended) on executing Troy Davis no matter the doubts, no matter the protests . . . and no matter getting seriously on the wrong side of the pope.

Fine. Obviously the members are sure enough to stake a man's life on their findings.

But are they sure enough to stake their own lives on it? It would only be sporting if they weren't as sure as they ought to have been -- screw up and kill an innocent man, give up your own lives as retribution. It's the American Way, and we Americans are about nothing if not retribution.

If we are to have the death penalty, that is the only fair way to implement it . . . and to make sure we're not killing innocent people for others' sins. If a parole board orders an unjust execution, and it's carried out, and the error is uncovered, the members should be given just enough time to get their affairs in order before their case is forwarded to the Court of Heavenly Appeals.

The same should apply to sentencing judges, condemning jurors and clemency-denying governors. After all, fair is fair.

And we Americans are about nothing if not fairness, right?


Thursday, July 28, 2011

From the More $$$ Than Sense department. . . .

Never, ever pay $999,900 for a creepy mask of some notorious person whose name we won't remember in 20 years. And whose name I won't mention now.

Given the way things are going in Washington, I'd think you'd want to place that kind of money in a safe place, not on a gigantic bet that fools bigger than oneself will have money from which they can be parted.

Wednesday, June 29, 2011

Mayor takes up cross, fights for Them

Repeat after me: Justice without mercy is no justice at all.

During this sad season of empty wallets and cold hearts in America, one small-town Georgia mayor understands this. It probably will end up costing him dearly.

Acting like a true Christian usually does. It was for no small reason that Jesus told His disciples, "Whoever wishes to come after me must deny himself, take up his cross, and follow me."

Today, in state after state across this country, the cross we take up will look something like what
Cable News Network illuminates here:

Paul Bridges leans toward his desk, picks up the phone and punches in a number with the fast, laser focus of a man on a mission. The mayor of this tiny town in South Georgia is ready for battle -- and looking for a new weapon.

"I need some help getting a website," he said, spelling out the words of the domain name he wants for a site promoting immigration reform.

The man on the other end says he'll try to help. But that isn't enough for Bridges.

"I really don't know what your beliefs are on this issue," he said, "but I'm going to persuade you."

Bridges wants the federal government to come up with a solution that gives the millions of undocumented immigrants in the United States a chance to work here legally.

"You get me an invite to that Tea Party meeting and I'm going ... I'd like to give the contrary viewpoints. Surely one person in the audience is going to be sympathetic."


Bridges is one of more than a dozen plaintiffs suing Georgia and its governor, trying to stop the state's new immigration law. They won a reprieve Monday when a federal judge temporarily blocked parts of the law scheduled to go into effect July 1.

One of those sections would criminalize exactly what the mayor of Uvalda does almost every day: knowingly driving a car with illegal immigrants as passengers. The judge also put on hold parts of the law that allow police to ask about immigration status during investigations of criminal violations.

But the legal fight is far from over. It could drag on for months and reach the chambers of the nation's highest court. It's a struggle that pits Bridges against many members of his own party and could hurt his political future. But that doesn't stop the mayor.

THE HEART of Georgia's law -- like so many others that have been, or will be, passed across the United States in these times -- is a basic indifference to the humanity of its targets. Justice is one thing, as is upholding the law. Intentional cruelty and a one-size-fits-all approach to a vast array of humanity and motivations is entirely another.

It is here that American "respect for the law" begins to ape that championed by monstrous regimes we once fought to the death.
Bridges sits on a wood bench in the front row of a courtroom in Atlanta, clutching a notebook. The atmosphere is tense, quiet. He is nauseous and alone.

Friends are waiting in a van in a nearby parking deck. The family has lived in Georgia for more than a decade, but now they are afraid to walk outside.

Bridges is fighting for them, and for countless other friends and former students. His decision to be "the mayor for everybody" led him here.

The family is willing to sit for hours in the heat so he can drive them to a shopping mall after the hearing. Uncertain how the law will affect them, they have canceled plans for the 14-year-old's coming-of-age quinceañera party in case they have to leave the country. They hope to get their deposit back on a dress.

"All rise. Court is now in session," the bailiff said.

Omar Jadwat, an attorney from the American Civil Liberties Union, mentions Bridges in his opening argument, describing him as "Mayor Bridges, who on occasion helps undocumented friends come from Florida to Georgia."

U.S. District Judge Thomas Thrash Jr. grills the attorney representing the state.

He asks what would happen if police pulled over an 18-year-old citizen for speeding while he was on the way to the grocery store with his illegal immigrant mother.

As the judge speaks, Bridges nods so intensely that his whole body rocks back and forth. He is encouraged by the questioning. The judge seems to see what he does: a law that makes criminals out of good citizens and tears families apart.

But he grimaces at the attorney's answer.

"It would be no different than if his mother had pockets full of cocaine, and he was knowingly transporting her to go sell it," said Devon Orland, senior assistant attorney general for the state.

THINK about that for a minute.

Repite conmigo: La justicia sin la misericordia no es justicia en absoluto.

It is a finer line than we think between "truth, justice and the American Way" and "ein Volk, ein Reich, ein Fuhrer." That line usually is crossed when scared people blame THEM! -- and then do evil, calling it good.

Tuesday, April 19, 2011

America today

In case you had any doubt there's a class war going on, and that the middle class and below have giant targets on their backs, read on.

What the
Stamford (Conn.) Advocate doesn't mention is that you at least get fed regularly in prison, which also serves as a permanent address. Look for Norwalk officials to spin their arrest of a homeless woman for sending her kid to one of their schools as actually being a compassionate act:
A homeless woman from Bridgeport who enrolled her 6-year-old son at a Norwalk elementary school has become the first in the city to be charged with stealing more than $15,000 for the cost of her child's education.

Tonya McDowell, 33, whose last known address was 66 Priscilla St., Bridgeport, was charged Thursday with first-degree larceny and conspiracy to commit first-degree larceny for allegedly stealing $15,686 from Norwalk schools. She was released after posting a $25,000 bond.

McDowell's babysitter, Ana Rebecca Marques, was also evicted from her Roodner Court public housing apartment for providing documents to enroll the child at Brookside Elementary School.

The police investigation into the residency began in January after Norwalk Housing Authority attorney Donna Lattarulo filed a complaint alleging McDowell registered her son at Brookside, but actually lived in an apartment on Priscilla Street in Bridgeport.

As part of the evidence presented in the complaint, police received an affidavit of residency signed by McDowell and dated last September attesting that she lived in the Roodner Court public housing complex on Ely Ave.

When she was interviewed by police in the case, McDowell admitted to living in Bridgeport at the time she registered her son in Norwalk schools.

She said she knew a man who owned a home on Priscilla Street and he allowed her to sleep at the home at night, but she had to leave the home during the day until he returned from work.

She also acknowledged that she stays from time to time at the Norwalk Emergency Shelter when she has nowhere else to stay.

McDowell also admitted that Marques was her son's babysitter from 3 p.m. to 6 p.m. after the boy got out of school.

JUSTICE without mercy is no justice at all.

Maybe ol' Jeremiah Wright was right, after all. Maybe God will damn -- indeed, is damning
-- America.

Even God's mercy has its limits -- eventually -- and sooner or later the unrepentant sinner (or country) finds out exactly what dangerous a thing we do when we mindlessly pray "Forgive us our trespasses as we forgive those who trespass against us."

Tuesday, April 05, 2011

Less cowbell

There's a simple reason cowbells are for Elsie and Beauregard and not for people.

Cattle have hooves, not opposable thumbs, and therefore cannot whack one another over the head with the things, leaving 4-inch gashes that expose their bovine skulls. Or result in "a concussion, memory loss, mental and emotional distress and anguish, depression, paranoia, anxiety, loss of enjoyment of life and inability to pursue prior educational and professional goals."

This is just one of the ways in which bulls and moo cows tower over your average Mississippi State fan. Another is that bulls and moo cows never have been known to call an LSU baseball player "Buckwheat," causing him to take out after Bubba . . . all the way into the stands.

OK, Albert "Joey" Belle was nuts. But still. . . .

ANYWAY, Mississippi State fans love them some cowbell. Now it's gonna cost somebody big one way or another, it says here in the (Jackson, Miss.) Clarion-Ledger:

An Alabama man wants Mississippi State University added to his lawsuit against the Southeastern Conference and the man who allegedly assaulted him with a cowbell at the 2009 Egg Bowl.

Doug Foster, attorney for William Matthew Brasher, has filed a motion in Oktibbeha County Circuit Court requesting that MSU and president Mark Keenum be added to the suit.

Brasher alleges he was assaulted by Brent Vowell during MSU's football game against the University of Mississippi on Nov. 28, 2009. He already was seeking unspecified damages from the SEC and commissioner Mike Slive because the league had a "knowing refusal," the suit says, to enforce its own rule on artificial noisemakers.

MSU was sent a claim by Brasher's attorneys on Nov. 16. It said Brasher is "willing to resolve his claim for damages" of $10 million.

MSU officials would not discuss the lawsuit Monday.

I WONDER whether the lawsuit thing will influence the SEC to, er, ring up the Bulldogs for repeated violations of its noisemaker policy?

Just a word to the wise, though -- less cowbell.

Saturday, March 26, 2011

How not to win friends and influence juries

Some people are indeed too stupid to live.

One of these would be Mr. Isaiah Doyle of Jefferson Parish, La.

I'm not a supporter of the death penalty but, frankly, it's hard to say that Mr. Doyle doesn't have it coming. And if I had been a member of this particular jury, as you will see in
The Times-Picayune's trial coverage here, I probably would have insisted that the sentence be, uh, executed right there on the spot:
Hours after he claimed he'd like to kill all the members of the jury that convicted him of first-degree murder in the death of a store clerk in Marrero, the same Jefferson Parish jury recommended that Isaiah Doyle die by lethal injection.

The jury of three men and nine women deliberated just under two hours returning a verdict just before 11 p.m.

Doyle showed no emotion as the verdict was read. His mother, Yvette Doyle, collapsed in tears in the audience and was helped by family out of the courtroom.

Doyle, 28, killed Hwa Lee, 26, on Aug. 4, 2005, even though she complied with his demands that she give him cash from the register behind the counter of her parents' Barataria Boulevard convenience Store.

He blasted her with four .45-caliber rounds and initially told Jefferson Parish Sheriff's Office detectives it was an accident. For that, he was convicted of murder by a jury Thursday night.

But, after warning court officials for days he'd take the witness stand, he testified Friday during his penalty hearing that the shooting was no mistake.

"The only reason she was shot four times is because the gun jammed," he told the jury. "Otherwise, I would have emptied the gun in her f****** head."


Doyle testified against the advice of his attorneys and said he had no remorse for what he did to Lee. He said he had no sympathy for her or her family. And he lashed out at the jury.

"I hate every last one of you, especially him right there," he said pointing to a man on the panel. "I wish I could cut his head off."

At another point in his testimony, he said, "If I had an AK-47 (assault rifle), I'd kill every last one of you."
WHEN YOU'RE busy failing at life (and at getting life), it's probably no big whoop to fail at Dale Carnegie, too. In this case, that's probably a good thing.

Saturday, May 15, 2010

Oh, crap.

Steve Jobs thought he had a Gizmodo problem.

What's he gonna do about this Vietnamese website that's come up with an iPhone 4G and Apple's newest MacBook? Insist that American authorities rekindle the Vietnam War?

Come to think of it . . .
oh, s***.

AS YOU consider the prospects and tremble, here's the latest from Mashable:
A Vietnamese website — the same one that got hold of another Apple 4G iPhone last week — has posted a video and details about the new entry-level MacBook 7.1.

The machine’s CPU was upgraded to a 2.4GHz Intel Core 2 Duo processor, increased from 2.26GHz in the previous generation, and graphics were given a shot in the arm with a NVIDIA GeForce 320M GPU. These updates will be the first for the MacBook since October 2009, when the notebook got a longer battery life and overall design reworking.

Apple’s recent round of laptop refreshes has thus far included upgrades to the MacBook Pro, including a standard 4GB of RAM and a choice between Intel’s i5 and i7 processors on larger models. Similar CPU and graphics changes appear to be trickling down to standard MacBooks, as well. Upgrades to the MacBook Air were also rumored but have yet to surface as fact.
AND I'LL BET that for a Vietnamese website, getting a scoop on what Apple's doing next is as easy as driving to the southern Chinese factories that make all this stuff and slipping a little somethin' somethin' to somebody who's more than willing to make a premature sale.

I guess, while Steve is at it, he could have American authorities declare war on China, too. But in the event we didn't get our clocks cleaned in trying to make the world safe for Silicon Valley capitalists, where then would Apple make its premium-priced products?

In American factories? Paying American workers living wages?

That would sooooooo screw with Apple's profit margins and "shareholder value," don't you know?

I guess it's better to just keep kicking around the little guys, then.

Friday, March 12, 2010

You may have a drinking problem if. . . .

An Omaha man may have made a slight strategic mistake when he showed up for sentencing on second-offense aggravated drunken-driving charges.

HE HAD a few -- OK, a lot of -- pre-sentencing drinks before showing up at the courthouse in Papillion, Neb.. The Sarpy County authorities didn't take it so well, according to KETV television:
Authorities said a drunken driver showed up for his sentencing hearing drunk again.

Jason Botos, 30, was driven to court by his father and investigators said he was so drunk that he had to be helped inside and wasn't able to make his court appearance.

"He was unable to get himself out of the vehicle, he was so intoxicated," said deputy Sarpy County attorney Ben Perlman.

Investigators said Botos' father asked deputies to help carry his son inside the courthouse.

Botos was scheduled to be sentenced for a drunken driving offense in September 2009. He was driving near Highway 75 and Cornhusker Road when his car jumped a curb and smashed into five other vehicles, critically injuring three people.

"Because he failed to appear for his court appearance, a warrant was issued," said Perlman.

Deputies arrested Botos in the parking lot.
TO GET this story in all it's bizarre glory, make sure you watch the video at KETV.

I'm no chemical-dependency counselor, bu I think it's possible Botos has a drinking problem. I could be wrong . . . but probably not.

Monday, February 01, 2010

Ainnit true, Cap? Yeah, you right!

Bra, dat dere is da funniess T-shoit evah!

An' dat because it da damn troot, cher!

My mama an dem ain't from Noo Orluns, but dat how dey tawk. You do indeed wrench ya' dishes in da zink. Only Mama say it mo' lak "zank" when she announce she gonna go wrench da dishes.

ANYHOW, dat shoit can be got fum da same sto' dat dem NFL Yankee bastids tried ta "cease an' desiss" ta det, sayin' dey can't put "Who Dat" on a shoit.

But dey had ta back down, bra, cause when dey pick on da Fleurty Girl, dey pick on all da Who Dat Nashun, and we gon' kick dey azz. Dat's fuh true!

Friday, January 29, 2010

W** d** say d** gonna beat d** S*****?

Crescent City funk master Dr. John went suddenly mute Thursday in the wake of a weeklong National Football League sweep across New Orleans with cease-and-desist orders in defense of its trademark on "Who Dat?" and other Saints-related phrases.

Local attorneys speculate the music legend was advised by counsel to cease all forms of communication, except for the occasional grunt and some rudimentary hand signs, out of fear that trademarks held by the league would subject Dr. John's entire vocabulary to stiff licensing fees or litigation.

When a reporter called the New Orleans home of the singer and piano man -- born in 1940 as Mac Rebennack -- someone picked up the phone, but did not respond to any questions. Only breathing could be heard over the line.

More details on this story as they become available.

EARLIER, a New Orleans daily, The Times-Picayune, reported on the "Who Dat?" controversy:

Count the National Football League among the growing members of Who Dat Nation. After all, they own the phrase -- or so they say in cease and desist letters sent out to at least two local T-shirt retailers earlier this month.

In letters sent to Fleurty Girl and Storyville, the NFL ordered the retailers to stop selling a host of merchandise that it says violates state and federal trademarks held by the New Orleans Saints.

Among the long list of things the NFL says is off-limits without a licensing agreement are some obvious violations like the official logo of the Saints and the team's name. But the one that stands out is "Who Dat."

Who knew?

The NFL, noting a 1988 trademark the Saints registered with the Louisiana secretary of state, says it has exclusive rights to the phrase and demands that the retailers stop selling it.

"I was surprised," Fleurty Girl owner Lauren Thom said. "I think everybody was."

Thom's shirts feature the phrase Who Dat written as one word with lowercase letters and preceded by a hash mark, a nod to the language of the social networking site Twitter. On Twitter, a hash mark followed by a word unifies all tweets on a specific topic. If a tweet, for instance, includes #whodat, it joins other posts on a page generally about Saints topics on Twitter.

"It was designed to unify the Who Dat Nation, not within a tweet, but through a shirt," said Thom, who began selling the shirts in August on her Web site before opening a store on Oak Street two months ago.

The NFL also claims that several shirts at Storyville T-Shirts violate the NFL trademark, including a black shirt with the phrase Who Dat Nation, a name commonly used to refer to Saints fans, and a black shirt that uses the term Who Dat along with the Roman numeral XLIV.

According to the letter, "any combination of design elements (even if not the subject of a federal or state trademark registration), such as team colors, roman numerals and other references to the Saints" are also trademark violations.

That means that a black shirt featuring XLIV in gold letters, a representation of this year's Super Bowl, is off limits.

Monday, January 11, 2010

Pandora, meet the hounds of hell

The world has gone mad.

What else can it be when whack jobs decide to use death as a weapon against the "Culture of Death," and when a Kansas state judge says the whack job can argue that killing Dr. George Tiller wasn't first-degree murder because the whack job really and truly thought he was saving babies?

Uh huh. And I really and truly think I'm the queen of France.

And I really and truly think I can go around
saying "let them eat cake," and there will be no consequences -- like revolution and the "Reign of Terror."

IF THE KANSAS JUDGE really and truly thinks stretching criminal law to include an almost-justifiable homicide defense won't -- in one respect or another -- unleash the hounds of hell, then we're all about to have another think coming. The story so far, via The Associated Press:
On a balmy Sunday morning, Scott Roeder got up from a pew at Reformation Lutheran Church at the start of services and walked to the foyer, where two ushers were chatting around a table. Wordlessly, he pressed the barrel of a .22-caliber handgun to the forehead of Dr. George Tiller, one of the ushers, and pulled the trigger.

As his premeditated, first-degree murder trial begins Wednesday, no one — not even Roeder himself — disputes that he killed one of the nation's few late-term abortion providers.

But what had been expected to be an open-and-shut murder trial was upended Friday when a judge decided to let Roeder argue he should be convicted of voluntary manslaughter because he believed the May 31 slaying would save unborn children. Suddenly, the case has taken on a new significance that has galvanized both sides of the nation's abortion debate.

Prosecutors on Monday challenged the ruling, arguing that such a defense is not appropriately considered with premeditated first-degree murder when there is no evidence of an imminent attack at the time of the killing, and jury selection was delayed. A hearing was scheduled for Tuesday afternoon to give the defense time to respond.

"The State encourages this Court to not be the first to enable a defendant to justify premeditated murder because of an emotionally charged political belief," the prosecution wrote. "Such a ruling has far reaching consequences and would be contrary to Kansas law."


A man who runs a Web site supporting violence against abortion providers said in the wake of the judge's decision that he has changed his mind about attending Roeder's trial.

The Rev. Don Spitz of Chesapeake, Va., said he and other activists from the Army of God plan to observe the court proceedings quietly next week.

"I am flabbergasted, but in a good way," Spitz said of the judge's decision.

Spitz acknowledged that the possibility of a voluntary manslaughter defense may influence some people who in the past wouldn't kill abortion providers because of the prospect of a sentence of death or life imprisonment. "It may increase the number of people who may be willing to take that risk," he said.
NOTE TO JUDGE: If the Army of God is happy, you should be afraid . . . very afraid.

I have heard others use the "justifiable homicide/defense of the innocent" argument, and it is nothing more than fallen angels dancing on the head of a semantic pin. And when all is said and done -- when the philosophy of nuts like Scott Roeder, the Army of God and its abortionist-killing acolyte
Paul Hill escapes the fever swamps and the body count starts to rise -- you won't have legions of undead babies, a redeemed culture or anything approaching divine justice.

All you'll have is more and more death.

All you'll have is a discredited pro-life movement.

All you'll have is a divided country several steps closer to a homegrown Bosnia.

NO MATTER how "justified" the use of extralegal lethal force to stop legalized lethal force, what people like Roeder really have done is declare war. And justifying something as horrific as war is a tall order. Civilization demands no less, as does the God in Whose name these demons claim to commit murder.

It's called
"just war doctrine," and I think you can apply it here as well as you can to Iraq and Afghanistan. From the Catechism of the Catholic Church:

The strict conditions for legitimate defense by military force require rigorous consideration. The gravity of such a decision makes it subject to rigorous conditions of moral legitimacy. At one and the same time:

the damage inflicted by the aggressor on the nation or community of nations must be lasting, grave, and certain;

all other means of putting an end to it must have been shown to be impractical or ineffective;

there must be serious prospects of success;

the use of arms must not produce evils and disorders graver than the evil to be eliminated. The power of modern means of destruction weighs very heavily in evaluating this condition

These are the traditional elements enumerated in what is called the "just war" doctrine.

The evaluation of these conditions for moral legitimacy belongs to the prudential judgment of those who have responsibility for the common good.

ON WHAT PLANET does assassinating abortionists meet any of these strict benchmarks for just violence? In whose reality does the common application of "justifiable homicide" as a "cure" for abortion lead to anything but an American bloodbath -- one which not only wouldn't spare the unborn but absolutely would consume untold legions of the already-born?

We live in a land of madness in a world of madness. And some who call themselves enemies of that madness just might be the maddest of all.

Monday, November 17, 2008

You suin' me? YOU . . . suin' . . . ME???

At long last!

joyous news is carried unto us by The Associated Press:

The music industry's courtroom campaign against people who share songs online is coming under counterattack.

A Harvard Law School professor has launched a constitutional assault against a federal copyright law at the heart of the industry's aggressive strategy, which has wrung payments from thousands of song-swappers since 2003.

The professor, Charles Nesson, has come to the defense of a Boston University graduate student targeted in one of the music industry's lawsuits. By taking on the case, Nesson hopes to challenge the basis for the suit, and all others like it.

Nesson argues that the Digital Theft Deterrence and Copyright Damages Improvement Act of 1999 is unconstitutional because it effectively lets a private group - the Recording Industry Association of America, or RIAA - carry out civil enforcement of a criminal law. He also says the music industry group abused the legal process by brandishing the prospects of lengthy and costly lawsuits in an effort to intimidate people into settling cases out of court.

Nesson, the founder of Harvard's Berkman Center for Internet and Society, said in an interview that his goal is to "turn the courts away from allowing themselves to be used like a low-grade collection agency."

Nesson is best known for defending the man who leaked the Pentagon Papers and for consulting on the case against chemical companies that was depicted in the film "A Civil Action." His challenge against the music labels, made in U.S. District Court in Boston, is one of the most determined attempts to derail the industry's flurry of litigation.

The initiative has generated more than 30,000 complaints against people accused of sharing songs online. Only one case has gone to trial; nearly everyone else settled out of court to avoid damages and limit the attorney fees and legal costs that escalate over time.

Nesson intervened after a federal judge in Boston asked his office to represent Joel Tenenbaum, who was among dozens of people who appeared in court in RIAA cases without legal help.

The 24-year-old Tenenbaum is a graduate student accused by the RIAA of downloading at least seven songs and making 816 music files available for distribution on the Kazaa file-sharing network in 2004. He offered to settle the case for $500, but music companies rejected that, demanding $12,000.

The Digital Theft Deterrence Act, the law at issue in the case, sets damages of $750 to $30,000 for each infringement, and as much as $150,000 for a willful violation. That means Tenenbaum could be forced to pay $1 million if it is determined that his alleged actions were willful.

Tuesday, May 20, 2008

Trashing the boss is an Idiot's Delight

I'm so happy I didn't make that pledge to one of my favorite radio stations.

Saturday evening, I'm out in the yard, slingblade and shovel in hand, turning a weedy plot into a big vegetable garden. Sitting a few feet away, on an old railroad tie, is a radio, tuned to my little AM transmitter that's pumping the Internet feed of WFUV -- the voice of Fordham University, "The Jesuit University of New York" -- into this weedy little expanse of Flyover Country.

I LIKE WFUV. It, over the years, has become the resting place of some of New York's most legendary FM jocks from the days when FM mattered to a music-loving world. Jocks who dictated how a nation listened to music at legendary stations like WNEW. Jocks like Dennis Elsas and Pete Fornatale, who were later cast off as Corporate America set about killing radio.

Even today, Elsas and Fornatale do some of the smartest music programming on the airwaves . . . or what's left of the airwaves, alas. Saturday, it was Fornatale's wonderful Mixed Bag Radio that kept me company as I turned the earth, by hand, like Nebraskans of old.

And as my back got in touch with every one of my 47 years.

Soon enough, 7 o'clock rolled around -- time for "New York's last freeform DJ," Vin Scelsa, with Idiot's Delight. Little did I know.

The following is verbatim from the archived program:

So we're in Studio V [Scelsa's home studio -- R21], and here at the beginning of the show tonight, I want to acknowledge and celebrate an important judicial decision that was handed down by the state supreme court in California this week -- it's about time. We've got another state now joining Massachusetts, having its highest court say that gay people just have -- have just as much right to marry as anybody else.

Gay people have equal rights in this country! Or at least in the state of California, and the state of Massachusetts. Yes!

We celebrate this -- it's the last bastion of . . . of old thinking that exists still in this country. You know, you read about like, uh, the history of interracial marriage in this country. There was a woman who died recently who, back in the 1950s, was forced to leave her home -- she and her husband. It was a black woman and a white man who grew up in a very interracial, mixed community in the state of Virginia, I believe it was.

And this was back in the 1950s. They got married and were forced to leave their state and told they couldn't come back, and we look at that and we go, "Man, that's absurd,' you know? It seems like the Dark Ages, not the 1950s, but in that sense, the '50s were the Dark Ages. And we still are in the Dark Ages when it comes to gay people and gay rights, and . . . and civil unions don't cut it.

Civil unions is a compromise. Civil unions is appeasement, and we know how we all feel about appeasement.

Until gay men and women have equal rights in this country, there is a big, black cloud hanging over us all.

So, here at the beginning of the show today, we salute California with a little set of traveling music.

[Set of music about California, ending with Judy Garland singing "San Francisco," live at Carnegie Hall, 1961.]

I forgot about that little speech at the end. You can smoke or drink or get married, here in San Francisco or in California. No matter who you are, no matter what you are -- race, religion, gender no longer matter in San Francisco. And this opening set tonight is a celebration of that state supreme court decision that came down in California this week legalizing gay marriage.

Finally, equal rights. Let's hope it sticks.

The governor, Schwarzenegger, says that he will, umm, he will not support any move to battle this decision.

It's the writing on the wall, friends. It's the handwriting on the wall -- it's gonna happen, it's happening slowly . . . it's happening too slowly, but the same thing was true with, with umm, uhh, you know, the civil rights movement back in the '50s and '60's, it happened too slowly. The women's movement happened too slowly, but gradually changes are made, changes are made because the world is changing, people are changing.

Kids, and young generations now, just take it for granted that people love whoever they love. And, and if they want to make a commitment to the person they love, then they should be allowed to make a commitment just like anybody else. It's . . . it's taken for granted by young people. They're . . . they're much hipper and smarter and world, uhh . . . world wise than, uh, so many of their elders.

[Promos, station ID, comes back to list selections in the previous set, then in the middle of the back announce. . . .]

Do you think that most people who are against the idea of same-sex marriage, of gay marriage, have . . . just have never met a gay person? Is . . . is that it? Is that what it comes down to? That they've never met a gay person, that all they know about gay men and women is, uhh, you know the . . . the sort of stereotypes that they see on the TV and the movies?

And . . and in real life they've never . . . a lot of white people have never met a person of color. That's hard to believe here in New York, you know, 'cause we're such a . . . a multicultural city -- and in this whole area of the country. But when you go to other parts of the country, and you can, you know, go for a couple of days and never see anybody who doesn't look white. And that has a lot to do with, with fostering prejudices, you know?

If you . . . if you, if you only have your imagination and the fears that have been instilled -- you've got to be taught. South Pacific is back on the Broadway stage over at Lincoln Center, with that great song . . . 'You've got to be taught to hate and fear, it's got to be drummed in your dear little ear, you've got to be carefully taught.' And then if nothing ever comes along to, to, to shake those things that you were taught . . . to shake them up and make you think differently -- well, then you're not going to think differently.

Oh, don't get me started on this subject. I think I already am started on this subject. I feel adamant. And angry. Because I do know people who are in this situation, people who are discriminated against simply because they love somebody who a certain part of society says is unnatural, and illegal in the sense that, you know, you're not gonna get locked up or arrested or whatever, but you're not gonna have the same rights as the rest of us.

That's absurd! Absolutely absurd! (chuckles)

There's no logical reason for it except that people have been taught this, and they never learn anything different. Arrggh!

But in California this week, there was a victory! And . . . and, and every man and woman in America should celebrate it, not just . . . not just people who are gay. Not just people who are in same-sex relationships, but every man and woman. Because until . . . you know, it's the old cliche: Until we're all free, then, none of us is free. Until we all have the same rights in this country, then none of us has those rights. It's as simple as that.

[Returns to announcing songs in the previous set.]

WELL, IT'S GOOD TO KNOW exactly how big an idiot am I. Exactly what a mean oppressor am I. How narrow-minded am I, as a resident of one of those bucolic hellholes lying outside New York City, where I probably haven't seen a Negro forev . . . never mind, there goes one now.

Likewise, I guess I need to inform a gay friend of mine that he must not be after all, being that I have known him for 20 years and still oppose same-sex marriage -- an opposition that, according to Scelsa, must be rooted in my complete ignorance of homosexuals.

Yea, verily I stand before thee as a hater, for I have been carefully taught. By the Catholic Church.

Well, slap mah mouf and call me Nellie Forbush.

Of course, Vin Scelsa is entitled to his opinion, no matter how ungrounded in natural law or human anthropology. On the other hand, Mr. Scelsa last weekend took a nice little chunk of his program to trash part of the mission statement, as it were, of his employer. You know, the Jesuits. A wholly owned subsidiary of the Catholic Church -- that bigoted bunch of haters who carefully taught the likes of lil' ol' me to hate the poofters, don't you know?

WHICH, TO BE SURE, isn't even true. Nowhere does the Church say to hate anyone. Nowhere does the Church say that same-sex attraction is even sinful.

What the Church does say is that marriage -- defined as the union of a man and a woman for many millennia now -- is "a partnership of the whole of life, is by its nature ordered toward the good of the spouses and the procreation and education of offspring." Same-sex unions not only never have met the "marriage" litmus test but, according to how marriage has been defined throughout all of human history, never can meet that standard.

What the Church also says is that sex outside of marriage is sinful, not to mention societally disruptive. Therefore, while homosexuality is a condition that is neither virtuous nor sinful, it is a disordered condition in regards to how intimate relationships were biologically and sociologically designed to operate. And, therefore, homosexual acts are sinful -- there is no way for them to occur in a morally licit context.

IT WILL BE INTERESTING to see how far gone the Jesuits are -- whether they've gone from mere doctrinal squishiness to out-and-out self-hatred with anti-Church proclivities. Really, are the Jebbies so far gone that they'll tolerate letting their employee use their facilities to trash a fundamental teaching of their Church, and then insinuate they're a bunch of mind-poisoning bigots?

I can't speak for the Jesuits, but let me ask you this: Would you let it slide if you invited someone into your home (or into your employ), only to have the wretched little troll take your money, eat your food, insult your religion and your moral values after having hijacked your PA system?

Me, I think you'd probably sock the sumbitch in the schnoz and throw his ass into the street. That's what I think.

But I guess I could be wrong " . . . because the world is changing, people are changing."