Friday, August 31, 2012

Much Ado About Nothing - SEIU's MO

This is the kind of nonsense that is on display in places like the People's Republic of Montgomery County, Maryland.

“Mitt Romney, you’re so rude! We don’t like your attitude!” protesters chanted before union organizers attempted to deliver a petition to the county GOP office on Thursday. County school bus drivers were protesting comments made by Republican presidential nominee Mitt Romney.

What spurred these normal-looking people to protest yesterday? They were feigning outrage over a comment that Mitt Romney made in his speech the day he announced Paul Ryan as his running mate. What egregious comment could spark a protest of bus drivers? “When a young person makes the honor roll, I know it took a bus to get to school, but I don’t give a bus driver credit for the honor roll,” said Mr. Romney. Yep, that's the comment that sent them into a tizzy. Here is their reasoning.
His message is clear, bus drivers said. 
“They’re saying that the bus drivers do not contribute to the kids’ education,” said Lia Lee, a supervisor at the Shady Grove Depot who has worked for Montgomery County Public Schools for 11 years. “Yes, they’re not teachers, but they are teaching them self-respect, they’re teaching them how to talk, they’re teaching them how to respect one another on the bus—the same rules as inside that school apply on that school bus.” 
Lee added: “We take pride in that statement, ‘no child left behind’ as well.”

Bus drivers are often the first faces that students see when they leave home each school day, said Charles Montgomery, a county bus driver since 1989.

“Some of the kids don’t have people to talk to them,” he said. “When they get on the bus, they want someone to talk to them. We take them to school. We try to show them respect. In order to get respect, I tell them, you’ve got to earn it. We teach them that. We teach them being on time.”

Romney is “trying to put us down,” Montgomery said of bus drivers. “It’s a hard job. And I love it.”

Thursday’s protest was mostly a show of support for drivers, Montgomery said. “But I hope it’s political too. I’m not voting for [Romney].”

It's quite apparent that SEIU and other activists are intentionally misconstruing Mr. Romney's message. Would they appreciate it if the teachers were given credit for driving the kids to school every day? No. That's not the teachers' job. Indeed, if a child in Montgomery County schools fails to make honor roll, should the parents hold the bus drivers responsible? According to their line of reasoning, the parents CAN blame the bus driver. If they want credit for a child making the honor roll, then they have to take responsibility for the child's failure to do so as well.

You can bet that no one in the busdrivers' union is required to do anything beyond what is in their job description. SEIU makes sure of that. Where in the job description of Montgomery County bus drivers does it say that they are responsible for teaching the kids a subject in the curriculum? In fact, the Montgomery County website for "Become A Bus Operator" mentions only "Receive good pay [$16.36.hour], Get great benefits [paid holidays, insurance, 14 annual personal and sick days], Make a difference in the life of a child." I do not see "teach children" or "help children get on honor roll" on that list.

So is everyone who "makes a difference in the life of a child" supposed to get credit for getting the child on honor roll? Should we credit the crossing guard and the lunch crew and the maintenance staff and the delivery people and the office secretary and the roof repairmen and the street sweeper near the school etc., etc.? In other words, what I am hearing from the SEIU protesters and activists is: "If your child made honor roll, they didn't get there on their own. Students, you didn't learn that? Somebody else made that happen." Where have we heard this ominous message before?

Mr. Romney's message, pure and simple, was that bus drivers do their job and teachers do their job. These acticvist protesters should be glad he is giving credit where credit is due. Instead, they chose to maske much ado about nothing. You can bet that if Mr. Romney had credited bus drivers with getting kids on the honor roll, the teachers' union would have picketed.

Furthermore, if bus drivers are teaching the kids by their actions, what are we to construe from bus drivers like Charles Acker, a "married father of two – who was also a Montgomery County school bus driver – [who] was arrested for child pornography" in March of 2011? And does that demand for credit-where-credit-is(NOT)-due apply only to Montgomery County bus drivers or also to neighboring Prince Georges County, Maryland? For instance, bus driver Scott Smallwood, who was arrested in May of 2010 for sexual exploitation of a 7-year-old and sentenced to 55 years in prison by a federal court last month. Then there's the incident where THREE school buses were inexplicably involved in the same accident in that same county earlier this year, wherein 34 students were taken to the hospital. And what of another neighboring county, where a school bus driver mistakenly took a five-year-old child to her house when the child fell asleep on the bus? Or are the protesters asserting that only Montgomery County school bus drivers teach the kids by their actions?

According to one news report: "About 20 members of SEIU Local 500 waved signs urging passing motorists to 'Honk if you love your school bus driver' and depicting a report card giving Romney failing marks on schools, education and working families." Now does that not just warm the cockles of your heart? They are really teaching their children a valuable lesson - make up stuff and sell it in a bright package in a public forum so that passersby do not have a clue what they are buying and cannot return it when they realize it is worthless. It's strange that liberals don't love the free market: they can sell their worthless ideas and there are plenty of idiotic buyers.

The website for SEIU described the protest event like this: "Their message to Romney was simple: Bus drivers count, too! Thirty-five activists came out at 10:30 am that morning and marched up and down the sidewalk, receiving considerable support from passing drivers. At the end, a small group walked up to the Montgomery County GOP offices to express their disappointment that the Republican standard bearer would run by putting down the people parents entrust to get their kids safely to school." [Note to self: Find out who taught grammar to this author. I wonder if he made the honor roll as a child.]

Hmmm. Twenty members of SEIU? Thirty-five activists? But how many BUS DRIVERS? I count 14 adults in the above picture, plus one toddler. So that's 15. So who taught these people to count? Bus drivers or teachers?

Yes, I am deliberately being provocative, just like these activist protesters do. To be sure, everyone knows who will win the Presidential vote in Montgomery County, Maryland, in November. These people were wasting their time and serving only to disrupt and distract the already deadly traffic on Rockville Pike. For goodness sake, if you are going to picket, at least don't make stuff up. Be glad these bus drivers have a good job and that no one expects them to teach the kids anything. They may not have a job to be grateful for if Obama gets re-elected.

Code Pinkos on Capitol Hill
Code Pinko in Tampa outside RNC.

Final note: The SEIU activist protesters should have invited the Code Pinkos to join them. They have protested against war (not lately, since Obama took over) and they have promoted their vaginas publicly on apitol Hill and this week at the Republican National Convention. So their pink vagina-wear would have fit right in. They are all about "much-ado-about-nothing."

Wednesday, August 29, 2012

Which Came First? The Chicken or the Drunk?

Color me jaded, but when I first saw the headlines to this story, I thought there was a connection with the recent Chick-Fil-A attacks by liberals.

From information gleaned form the news stories, I was able to locate where the chicken houses most likely are on a Google map.

The fact that the incident happened in the People's Republic of Maryland, albeit just across the road from Delaware, only added to my scepticism. But I was wrong. It's just the story of a 21-year-old man who mistakenly entered a control house and shut of the power to three chicken houses, thus killing the occupant chickens. Nothing more than that. Nothing more to tell. Nothing to see folks, move along.

Well, that's not exactly true. Now, don't get me wrong, I do have sympathy for the poor owner who made the startling discovery on the morning of August 25. Can you imagine finding a drunken man who had stripped down to his skivvies and passed out in his own vomit on the floor of your control shed? Or did the owner first enter the chicken houses to discover the dead chickens before subsequently going to the control shed to ascertain what had happened to the controls? Either way, he was undoubtedly and rightfully PO'd.

The police report is typical of these kinds of incidents. The officer, Lieutenant Tim Robinson, tries to be objective in his description and not inject anything that smacks of humor or insensitivity. He does this quite effectively, stating that "almost the entire flock was found deceased." But you know he had to be thinking, "those poor suckers were dead as the raw chickens in the Chick-Fil-A cold storage." His report goes on to say,
When the property owner entered the control shed which controlled the power, he located an unknown male suspect passed out on the floor of the shed, clad only in a T-shirt and boxer shorts. This subject was also lying in a pool of his own urine. A strong odor of alcohol was coming from the subject.
Translation: " The owner found the stinking drunk SOB who had killed his chickens laying almost naked in the control shed. The dude was so drunk he had p*****d all over himself and stunk worse than the dead chickens he had recklessly slaughtered only hours before."

Then on the second page of the report Lt. Robinson includes a mugshot of the culprit. The shot is pretty benign -- a young kid with an obvious hangover. You know the officer had to be dying to put in a pictures that depicted what the owner really found in his shed that morning.

 Custom Urban Dictionary tshirt (light)
Maybe there is something that Chick-Fil-A conspiracy theory....

Tuesday, August 28, 2012

Life, Liberty, Property and Sharpie Parties

When it comes to property destruction, it comes in all shapes and sizes. These two stories are on opposite ends of the spectrum. However, the humor that can be seen in both is all in the eye of the beholder.

The first story is about a man who is infamous in is own neighborhood for the defacement of his own property.  Rian White is known to his neighbors because he has long battled the town over property maintenance issues. Now he is back in court over his attempt to get revenge in the name of artful expression.

If White's cottage in Maidstone Park  (New York) looks like someone threw a bucket of paint at it, that's because a lot of people did. At White's invitation, via a hand-painted plywood sign out front of his house, passers-by obliged Mr. White. The sign reads: "Help paint a starving artists [sic] home. Throw a pint."

Neighbors are furious over the effect that Mr. White's antics have had on their own property values. This is not his first brush with the law. The court will have to decide whether Mr. White's freedom of expression prevails over the neighbor's right to quiet enjoyment of their own property.

Where have we heard this story before?

At the other end of the spectrum, we have the story of people who damage someone else's property. Although there is as yet no indication that the vandals intend to hide behind a claim of freedom of expression, I would not be surprised if it came to that. Instead, these types of low-life simply ignore the justice system, which in this case could impose civil as well as criminal penalties, and then leave town to avoid paying for their misdeeds.

First, it is ridiculous to call these people "victims." They were tenants, and their landlord lost the title to the house they were renting. So the new owner has the right to not renew their leases. So what did the hoodlums-in-residence do?
The tenants invited their friends and passed out Sharpies to write on the walls, and the party only devolved from there, according to a report by a local CBS affiliate. By the time the realtor came by to check out the home, the home had been completely trashed: there were holes in the walls, X-rated drawings and the carpets were soaked in urine and vomit.


This story reminds me of an old movie that always makes me cringe at how unjust the law can be when it comes to landlords and tenants' rights. Pacific Heights stars Melanie Griffith and Michael “Batman” Keaton, and it is sure to get your dander up if you watch it.
Griffith and Matthew Modine play a young couple who buy an old home in Pacific Heights in San Francisco. Intending to live upstairs and rent the two downstairs apartments, the couple find an Oriental couple to live in one apartment. Keaton appears as a would-be tenant for the other apartment, but while they are checking out his references, he weasels his way into the apartment and establishes himself as their unwanted "tenant." Liberal landlord-tenant laws that favor the tenant keep the couple from being able to evict Keaton. He proceeds to wreak havoc on their lives and their relationship. In the end, only one of the parties can survive.
If ever there was a case for justifiable homicide, I think this movie lays out the blueprint!

Woman Sues Over Parking Meters

When a friend told me some months ago about her neighbor who put aluminum pie pans around the electric meter on the front of his townhouse, I was intrigued. It seems he fears that there is radiation emitted that will damage him if he gets too close or stays is in its proximity for a prolonged time. Sounds crazy, right?

Well, this man may be in good stead, after all. And he may be able to capitalize on his suspicion of harm.

A woman who claims that the new parking meters installed in Santa Monica are bad for her health is suing the city and claiming $1.7 billion in damages.

Santa Monica resident Denise Barton says that the wireless signals emanating from the new meters is causing ringing in her ears, an ear infection as well as tightness in her neck and back, according to the Santa Monica Daily Press. She said her health problems started in April not long after the parking meters were installed. (Recently, the World Health Organization did release a statement labeling radiation from cell phones "possibly carcinogenic," but, uh, they didn't mention anything about earaches.)

Barton explained to the Daily Press why her claim is so large: "I know it seems a little big but they can't do things that affect people's health without their consent. I think that's wrong."

After filing her lawsuit, Ms. Barton proceeded to call everyone she knows on her cell phone to tell them about her impending windfall.


Mrs. Obama's Secret

There are a couple of lighter stories out there in the legal arena this week.

Victoria’s Secret Lawsuit

This first story involves a lawsuit filed against the sexy lingerie company known as Victoria's Secret. It seems a hosiery supplier learned that it was being duped and filed suit. Zephyr, the plaintiff company, claims that their product is pictured in the Victoria's Secret advertising for some of its lingerie, but their hosiery is not what is included in the package upon purchase. A cheaper (Canadian) hosiery is what you get instead. So they are saying that their better quality, more expensive (Italian) product is used to sell the Victoria's Secret product, but is not what is included in the package to consumers. Thus, they are losing out on sales, promotion, and profits because of Victoria's Secret hiding the fact that it was not delivering what it advertised.
Cut-price: Zephyrs' lawyers claim Victoria's Secret is selling hosiery manufactured in cheaper lace trims
And the Zephyr's have scalloped lacy edges. 
Allegations: Victoria's Secret is being accused of breaching its contract with Zephyrs, unfair competition, consumer fraud and false advertising
Notice the reinforced heel in the Zephyr hose, left.
 I guess we now know Victoria's Secret.

They Did What to the First Lady?
Across the Atlantic, the Spanish are stirring things up also. At least one Spanish magazine is. The Magazine Fuera de Serie has the face of Michelle Obama depicted on the body of a slave, for an article called “Michelle Granddaughter of a Slave, Lady of America.”
Now, normally the liberal media is all about freedom and leaving the woman's body alone. However, it has completely flipped out over this depiction of Michelle Obama. Jessica Wakeman, who writes for a website named "thefrisky," mistakenly thought the magazine originated the artwork rather than superimposed Obama's head onto an existing piece of early 19th century art.
Plenty of absurd things are “artsy,” like crafting Jesus on the cross out of elephant feces or giving birth inside an art gallery as a live action installation. But a drawing of Michelle Obama topless on the cover of Spain’s Magazine de Fuera de Serie is plain old tasteless. In my opinion, they have every right to depict her artistically, even in poor taste. But that doesn’t mean they should do it.

Clutch Magazine is calling the image racist because the First Lady is depicted with her hair wrapped in a turban and her breast out like a slave nurse. [...] [A]s a non-Spanish speaker I first looked at the image and just thought OMG that’s Michelle Obama’s boobs. [Update: It has been brought to my attention the Michelle Obama image is based on the 1800 painting "Portrait d'une negresse" by artist Marie-Guillemine Benoist.]

[...] [W]hatever resulting conversation about “shock value” we might have in this already highly cynical society hardly seems a good excuse for depicting the First Lady as both sexualized and enslaved.

I was waiting for an Emily Latilla moment from Ms. Wakeman when she realized this was not an original work by a modern artist.
Maybe that "never mind moment" will come when Ms. Wakeman and others realize that Ms. Obama is no stranger to sex. Just last week Obama guest edited an i-magazine that features sex tips from prostitutes. I guess she is not opposed to the sexual revolution, even when it sexualizes her.

Speaking of Bare Breasts

While we are on the subject of bare breasts, it has become a routine scene in parts of California. Recently a group protested for the right to express themselves by going topless. They feel oppressed and unequal to men since they are required to cover their bosoms with clothing while men are allowed to flaunt their bare pectorals. If you dare, you can see pictures of some of these cringe-worthy women and their male supporters, flaunting what their mamas gave them, albeit some with surgical enhancement. Not a pretty picture, so consider yourself warned.  

What is even more interesting about this story is that the topless movement was started by a group claiming to be a religion called Raelianism. If you think Christian Science is a weird religion, having been started by a woman several decades ago and now coming under scrutiny after the Tom Cruise / Katie Holmes split, then you ain't seen nothing yet. The Raelianist denomination (and I use that term very loosely) is about as weird --and scary -- as you can get. I say scary because there appear to be a lot of adherents to the faux religion, all over the world.  According to the Wikipedia entry on the strange belief-system, "RaĆ«lianism is an atheistic religion that does not believe in a god (nor other deity), but in extraterrestrials. [...] RaĆ«lians routinely advocate sex-positive feminism and genetically modified food. [...] They also have protested against wars and the Catholic Church."

That could explain a lot. Maybe instead of being Christian or Muslim, the Obamas are Raelians.

We're all about freedom of religion in this country, despite Ms. Wakeman's despicable assertion that "crafting Jesus on the cross out of elephant feces" is "artsy." I guess she is just expressing herself.

Coexistence Is Not in the Constitution

I am playing catch-up today after not having written a post since last Friday. There are quite a few stories awaiting a place in the Treats line-up.

Did you ever notice how many lawsuits these days result from the core sentiment that someone was wronged because they they were exercising their right to express themselves? It takes different forms, but ultimately, that is what so many actionable wrongs come down to. I want to say and /or do whatever I want and you need to step back and stay our of my way (or pay for it in many instances -- like the Virginia Vaginas angry girls or Democratic spokeswoman Sandra Fluke).

First case in point today along this line today comes to us from across the ocean and the sea, in Israel. Without going into a lot of detail about the politics of the region, let me just summarize an Israeli court's decision this week.

In 2003, 23-year-old American Rachel Corrie died while participating in a pro-Palestinian protest in the Gaza Strip. She was protesting against the Israeli government’s demolition of Palestinian houses. How did she die? Corrie was run over by a bulldozer during the protest when, as the court ruled, the driver did not see her. Her family has been trying to get a judgment against the driver and the military for 9 years now. Their lawsuit was rejected on Tuesday by an Israeli court.  

Now, regardless of which side of the millennia-old Israeli-Palestinian conflict you come down on, I am at a loss to understand why anyone in her right mind would inject herself into such a situation, much less get close enough to a freaking bulldozer as to be run over by it. Apparently, the judge was of the same mindset as I am. "Explaining the district court's ruling, Judge Oded Gershon said Corrie 'put herself in a dangerous situation' and called her death 'the result of an accident she brought upon herself.'"

There are numerous other cases where Americans inject themselves into foreign affairs and expect to be treated according to their misguided understanding of international law or human rights laws or even U.S. laws. I have no sympathy for these people, any more than I do for foreigners who come here to the U.S. and try to impose their version of the law onto our judicial system (e.g., sharia law).  

I frequently see these “coexist” bumper stickers that have religious symbols spelling out the word. When I actually see the drivers of the cars sporting such drivel, I just want to say "Get real." The countries and people of the world do not conform to the same Utopian ideals as the “make-love-not-war” beatnik holdovers from the 1960s and 70s. The world is a dangerous place. And we’d better wake up soon and realize that as a country or we will end up at the  mercy of stronger international powers that live by the sword rather than the peace sign.

Second case in point, following on that idea that there are people and whole countries that are not willing to coexist, we heard this week from the all but forgotten saga of murderer Nidal Hasan. Remember him? He is the Muslim Army major who killed 13 people at Fort Hood in a mass shooting in 2009.

The story is that Major Hasan's case is on hold for now because he has grown a beard and refuses to shave it. What? A beard holding up criminal prosecution? That's right. Hasan claims that he is Muslim, and it is against his religion for him to shave. Forcing him to do so would violate his right to express himself in the way that his religious beliefs demand.
Some weeks ago, a military judge ordered Hasan to be forcibly shaved. This would have restored him to the code grooming standards that he sported prior to his murderous rampage three years ago.

Hasan appealed the judge's court order, and this week a military appellate court ruled that the appeal was premature since the judge had not actually officially ordered Hasan to be shaved according to military protocol, but had only issued it in a court order. The judge alluded to freedom of religion as being the potential bar to the prisoner being shaved.
The court on Monday also ordered [Judge] Gross, if he does order the forcible shaving of Hasan, to address whether the Religious Freedom Restoration Act applies to the court-martial and to spell out “why forcible shaving is the least restrictive means of furthering the compelling governmental interest.”
So, Major Hasan, who was clean shaven for many years while he served in the Army, has suddenly decided -- after killing 13 and injuring many others -- that he is required by his faith to grow his beard, even though he is still in the Army.
I think the concept of legal waiver of rights should be invoked by the prosecution in this case. Hasan did NOT grow a beard for years in order to deceive people, and to not be recognized as a Muslim. Then, after he carries out his murderous plot against the very system of government that he abhors (make no mistake, this was a politically motivated attack that had 13 victims but was intended to destroy the country itself), he suddenly wants to hide behind the Constitution and Bill of Rights. When he chose to go clean shaven for years, which was the law of the military, he waived his right to cry foul against the law of the military. By trying to sport a beard while on trial, Hasan is trying to sever himself VISIBLY from the Army, thus making his religion seem to trump the Constitution. He must be held to outwardly reflect respect for the system to which he swore an oath.
This is one of those narrowly tailored instances when freedom of expression must be limited in order to further a compelling government interest -- maintaining law and order and protecting our citizens from maniacal murderers. He choose not to co-exist. He is an enemy combatant. Therefore, he does not deserve the protections of the Constitution.

Elizabeth Warren Thug Attacks Cameraman

I smell a lawsuit...

The liberal thugs have exposed themselves again. This time its Elizabeth Warren's henchmen.

I suspect that we will see a lot more of this type of aggression from the Left in the days leading up to November 6. It is a sign of desperation from failing campaigns.

Friday, August 24, 2012

Virgin-ia Vaginas

Today's post is quasi-legal in nature. It concerns Ken Cuccinelli, the Attorney General of Virginia, which is the state in which I live. Actually it concerns 5 women and a man really, also from Virginia, which derives its name from the Virgin Queen. These 6 young people made a video using the music from a popular song out there called "Call Me Maybe." Only they are not talking about puppy love and flirting. They are accusing A.G. Ken Cuccinelli, whom they call "Cooch" for short, of touching their vaginas.

Now, anatomically speaking, that sounds like it would be a crime to me since they imply the contact was not consensual. And they do not describe how or when Attorney General Cuccinelli put his hands on their vaginas. They just tell him to keep his hands off their vaginas. So why the dude is in the video I don't know, unless he has a vagina that he is hiding. Or maybe to give it gravitas?

In truth, the comments to the video are more entertaining than the actual video. To spare you from having to watch the painful 3 minutes and 13 seconds, here are some snapshots of the six main performers in action.

This angry chick busts some moves, from funky chicken to jump-around-y'all.

I am still confused about the parasol. Maybe angry bleach-blond girl is a southern belle?

More confusion as angry shade-wearing girl studies a dog's privates and sings, "It's my vagina..."

Big-bosomed angry woman lets her claws come out as she dances in the shade,
ready to pounce on the Cooch. Maybe it's HE should be saying "Hands off, Crazy!"

Angry choir-girl-youth-group leader sings about her vagina being off limits.

I still can't figure out which rights this guy is dancing about having lost. Maybe his Air Emirates shirt is a clue.

Boring pink-tank-top girl is running away - she does that a lot in the video.
Here are a few action shots from the video that are worthy of a smile.

Nobody's gonna argue with you on this point one, Hon!


Again, no argument. Your wish is our command!

Oh no she di-uh.

Forget her vagina! Did he just punch her lights out?

Girl, your momma must be proud of you on this shot.

And your grandma, too! Or at least Madonna.

I count only five. Where's the guy at?

Ah, he's playing Vanna White. Is he saying "It's my vagina" too?

Your dentist will be proud to see his handiwork -- or her handiwork -- on display.

At least she ditched the parasol. Looks like she's turning into
the Incredible Hulk: "You won't like me when I'm angry."

I don't know why these ladies felt the need to sing about their vaginas. They can buy condoms at the CVS up the street from my house. And a chastity belt would solve the problem, too. Ain't nobody gonna be wantin' the key.

Thursday, August 23, 2012

News Abounds from the Lonestar State

Today we are focusing on Texas and several news stories of a legal nature.

First, you may have seen the headlines of this ridiculous lawsuit that was filed on Saturday in Dallas. Two years ago a woman named Jennelle Carrillo was planning to attend a Cowboys scrimmage game, and while waiting to enter the stadium, she sat down on a black marble bench outside the stadium. Her lawsuit claims that she suffered third degree burns and had to have skin grafts.

Now, we probably all can tell a story about sitting down on a hot bench, or a burning sliding board or a car seat or the hood of a car or some other metal or solid substance that is prone to heating up in 101 degree weather. "The suit alleges that Cowboys Stadium posted no warning signs alerting fans that the benches could be hot. " I don't think I have ever seen such a sign in all my 51 years.

Ms. Carrillo's attorney is named as Michael Walsh. A simple Google search reveals two addresses for offices for Michael A Walsh, both in Austin, the capital of Texas. One address listing is 111 Congress Avenue # 1000, Austin, TX 78701-4073, and the other is 100 Congress Avenue # 1550, Austin, TX 78701-2744. They are in close proximity on the Google map, so it is probably one office complex. 

I can just hear the deposition questions from the defense attorney and the plaintiff's responses.

"Ms Carrillo, were you wearing any attire on the lower half of your body on the day in question?"
"And how would you describe the attire."
"I was wearing shorts."
"And how long were the shorts?"
"Long enough."
"Would those be of a capri length or a mid-thigh length or short shorts?"
"Well they were not really really short if that's what you're asking."
"Were any of your ... ahem... bare buttocks exposed?"
"Well when you sit down some of your skin is exposed that is not exposed when you are standing up. So I suppose."
"Is that a yes?"
"What was the question?"
"Were your bare buttock exposed?"
"All I know is my butt cheeks got burnt bad."
"Do you still have the shorts you were wearing?"
"No, I gave them away."
"Why did you give them away?"
"Because I outgrew them."
"Did you ever wear them again after the day in question?"
"Yes, but I outgrew them a year later, so I don't keep clothes that are too small."
"Do you have any photos of the shorts you were wearing?"
"No, not unless the hospital took some."
"You went to the hospital the day you were burned?"
"And you were still wearing the shorts at that time?"
"Yes. They had to peel them off of me."
"Let's take a short ... I mean a 10-minute recess."

We'll continue to follow this lawsuit closely.


The next Texas story for today comes from Lubbock, Texas, where the county judge has raised some eyebrows with his push to raise the property tax rate by 1.7 cents for the next fiscal year. Here is a portion of the story that explains his reasoning for the increase.
An across-the-board pay increase is needed for the attorneys on the DA's staff to keep them from being poached by higher-paying counties, and the sheriff needs to expand his staff by seven deputies to reduce call response times, minimize officer fatigue and reduce the turnaround time for investigations.

Judge Head said he and the county must be prepared for many contingencies, one that he particularly fears, is if President Obama is reelected.

“He's going to try to hand over the sovereignty of the United States to the UN, and what is going to happen when that happens?,” Head asked.

“I'm thinking the worst. Civil unrest, civil disobedience, civil war maybe. And we're not just talking a few riots here and demonstrations, we're talking Lexington, Concord, take up arms and get rid of the guy.

"Now what's going to happen if we do that, if the public decides to do that? He's going to send in U.N. troops. I don't want 'em in Lubbock County. OK. So I'm going to stand in front of their armored personnel carrier and say 'you're not coming in here'."

The Huffington Post and other liberal news sites have pounced on Judge Head as a conspiracy theorist and called for his resignation. You can watch the full report here.

And the third and final story from the Lone Star State today is about the 5th Circuit Court of Appeals decision two days ago that reversed a temporary injunction that a judge had handed down to keep the state legislature from enacting a law that would cut off state funding for Planned Parenthood and other organizations that are linked to abortion. Here's how one website reported the news in part:
The ruling is the latest in the ongoing fight that has pitted Texas against the federal government. The Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services says that the new state rule violates federal law. Federal funds paid for 90 percent, or about $35 million, of the $40 million Women's Health Program until the new rule went into effect. Federal officials are now phasing out support for the program.

Gov. Rick Perry has promised that Texas will make up for the loss of federal funds to keep the program going without Planned Parenthood's involvement. In a statement, Perry called Tuesday's ruling "a win for Texas women, our rule of law and our state's priority to protect life."
Will Governor Perry have to raise taxes to increase protection against Kathleen Sebelius and the HHS? I sense a showdown a comin'.
Cowgirl Katy

"Showdown: Governor vs. Former Governor"

Ropin' Ricky


Wednesday, August 22, 2012

The Beat(ing) Goes On

Naturally, not everything in the legal realm is humorous. One of the uglier sides of the legal system is domestic violence, also called spousal abuse and wife beating in some circles. When I was a prosecutor many years ago, these were some of the hardest cases to deal with. The physical damage inflicted upon women by men in their anger was only one source of frustration. What really irked me was when the complaining witness (the girlfriend, spouse, or family member) wanted to withdraw her complaint and begged for the charges to be dropped.One tough judge I knew used to hold the woman in contempt or would have the police charge her with filing a false police report if she said she lied about it in order to get him released. There were always tears and excuses. The cycle rarely ends.

One of the most high-profile cases of domestic violence in recent years that we all know about was the Rihanna and Chris Brown incident several years ago. He admitted to beating her while they were in a car, and she cried and mourned the fact that if she wanted to keep her career moving forward she would have to dump him. She did dump him -- at least for a while. Of late they have been seeing each other again, but only on business, if you believe her explanation.

Do I sound a bit uncaring? Probably so. That's because Rihanna announced on an Oprah interview program (I know, I thought she was gone too, but she pops up every now and then) last week that she still loves Chris Brown. Yes, no doubt he is her sole mate, her one and only, her life's love, yada yada yada. Maybe she will get her fairy-tale ending with Prince Chris Charming some day. Color me skeptical.

I wish Miss Rihanna could see the things I saw as a prosecutor: all the lovey-dovey sessions between abuser and abused, full of apologies and forgiveness and promises that it would never happen again. And the charges would be dropped since the witness refused to testify. And they would go off arm in arm, then a month later the woman would be dialing 9-1-1 again, and he would be locked up again, and she would appear in court to get a temporary restraining order again, and then show up to bail him out again, and then she would get a DVO (domestic violence order) and then invite him over to see the kids and when he came over she would say something to set him off and he would hit her with whatever was close at hand. And it would start all over again.

My younger sister was a domestic abuse victims' advocate for a couple of years when I was practicing law. The stress and frustration of her job were evident when she spoke about her work. Luckily she got out of the field, thus saving her sanity. Unfortunately, there is no escape for some of these women -- often by choice.

Mr. Brown's punishment for the Rihanna beating? He got 5 years probation and 6 months of "labor." Sweet justice. He was 20 years old when he hit her. He is now 24. I hope he has truly learned from his mistakes.

All of this thinking was provoked by what happened in a court of law yesterday. A high school senior named Tony Farmer was caught on video tape beating up his girlfriend back in April. Here is how one news report related it:
Farmer was indicted by a grand jury on charges of kidnapping, felonious assault and robbery stemming from an altercation last April with his ex-girlfriend, Andrea Lane, in the lobby and parking lot of her apartment complex in Bedford Heights (Ohio). Much of the incident was caught on videotape inside the apartment building. Bhasker said that at one point, outside the building, Farmer dragged Lane by her hair. Farmer was later charged with intimidation, as well, after he sent threatening phone and text messages to Lane.
Farmer entered into a plea arrangement and was sentenced yesterday to 3 years in prison. What is the hooplah about? He was a 6'7" basketball player, highly recruited by top colleges. He expected to get probation, and when the judge announced the sentence, he crumpled to the ground in disbelief. The video is everywhere on the Internet.

This judge in that case was brave to impose a hefty sentence on the 18 year old. Time will tell if it holds up. The victim was in court when the sentence was announced, and she cried too. From what I have read she is not back with him, so she was not expecting to get in on the big bucks when he went to the pros in a year or two. By the time he gets out of jail, he can go to college for his mandatory year and then be right on time to go pro, as if he had been in college for four years. No problem. He will probably learn more in prison than he would in college anyway.

The Farmer is not the end of the saga either. Just last Saturday another high school (rising) senior who planned to play college basketball was arrested for -- you guessed it -- beating not just his girlfriend. He beat his baby mama. The mother of his child. He is 18.   Aquille Carr is from Baltimore, and he will now have to answer to two misdemeanor charges of assault and reckless endangerment. His victim, luckily, was not hurt badly. Maybe there is hope for Mr. Carr.

I don't know what the solution is. I don't even know what the questions are. It's just sad. And it's happening far too often in far too many places. The legal system can only do so much. Society has to do the rest. And a few strong, courageous judges can't hurt.

Tuesday, August 21, 2012

It's All in the Bag

Last week I went into a 7-11 for coffee one morning on my way to work. I picked up something else (probably a doughnut and a Diet Mountain Dew and potato chips for lunch), and after paying by credit card, the clerk left my things laying on the counter. "May I have a bag?" I asked, politely but somewhat dismayed that she did not package my purchase. "That'll be five cents," said the Middle Eastern woman behind the counter. "Five cents?" I asked. She nodded yes and punched it into the computer. Remembering that I was in the People's Republic of Maryland, I sighed and dug around in my pockets and change purse until I found 5 pennies, thus holding up the 30 Hispanic workers waiting to pay for their coffee, gallons of water and chips that would be their lunches in a few hours.

Plastic bags have become a symbol of "excess" in some parts of America. Everywhere you turn they are being targeted by "green groups" that want to ban them from existence. It is such a ridiculous proposition to suggest that plastic bags will be the demise of our world. But that is what some people who need to feel self important try to make us believe.

I can understand situations like the frugal shoppers' grocery store chain in my hometown that tries to keep down overhead costs so as to keep down grocery prices. They charge for plastic bags -- 3 cents -- to encourage you to bring your own. If they do not have to buy them then they do not have to pass down the cost to the customer. That's capitalism at work. If you don't want to bring your own bags, you can either go down the street to the big-name store and they will provide them (and you will pay more anyway) or you can roll the cart out to your car and unload your items loose into the trunk, backseat, floorboard, and glove box. I usually sprang for the bags. But at least I had a choice.

In my house we use a lot of plastic bags. I carry my lunch to work almost every day in one, as a substitute for my childhood Starsky and Hutch lunchbox. I use them to pad packages that I pack. I cut them up to line my coconut lined flower baskets to retain water. I use them to dispose of old food from my refrigerator (not that my family doesn't like my cooking or anything). I use them to line my trash cans in the bathroom and bedrooms to make disposal easier. In fact, I have them stored in cupboards and drawers all over the house.

 Now, normally I am not often impressed by nor supportive of lawsuits filed by "activists," whatever the cause. I think tort reform and the British system (loser pays) would go a long way toward weeding out some of these kooks who file suit at the drop of a hat based on "vibes" they get from a rotten banana or some other transcendental object.

However, when I came across the website called "Save the Plastic Bag" I was intrigued, in part because of the fee we now have to pay to get a plastic bag at the grocery store in these parts. I explored the website and was intrigued by the extent of their legal acumen and what they have accomplished. The folks in this reality website are in the liberal bastion of California. They have filed a number of lawsuits against municipalities for banning plastic bags. They sometimes charge that the government failed to do the proper environmental research to support their assertions that the plastic bag is harmful. They even debunk some of the myths about plastic bags killing turtles and seals and other water creatures by showing how the same photos are reused all across the Internet. Their research and  legal tactics are nothing short of brilliant. I love it when sane people put environmentalist wackos in their place.

Now, before you think that I am a plastic bag freak, I also have sympathy for ChicoBag. This company was sued on the east coast by a plastic bag company, proving that there are litigious people on the east coast as well as the west. You can read about this crazy lawsuit on the ChicoBag website. They make reuseable bags, the kind which I use frequently to haul my groceries. It's not an environmental protection issue, but rather a matter of convenience. If I can make one trip to my car instead of three, I am all for it!

And now I have to go get a plastic bag to take the dogs for a walk.