Wednesday, June 29, 2011

Weak federal gun laws a form of "racism?"

The head of one of the country's largest police departments labels weak federal gun control laws a form of "government-sponsored racism." I guess the Second Amendment is racist too. Too bad this top cop didn't read the Supreme Court's decision in McDonald v. Chicago where the Court notes that white-supremacist gun control was one of the main factors in ratification of the Fourteenth Amendment.

Genetic component in psychopathy

Psychopathy is one of the strongest predictors of criminal behavior and many of our most heinous crimes have been committed by psychopaths. This important new study confirms the existence of a genetic factor in the condition. The environment, however, remains an important factor.

ObamaCare passes 6th Circuit Review

The U.S. Court of Appeals for the Sixth Circuit upholds Obamacare and finds no constitutional commerce clause problems in the individual mandate to obtain medical insurance. Based on existing precedent, this is probably the proper result. The Supreme Court is going to have to shoot down a number of existing precedents (e.g. Wickard v. Fillburn) to invalidate the law. Supreme Court here we come.

Obama's America in 20 years? Austerity riots in Greece

Although there are a multitude of differences between Greece and the U.S.,don't ever say something can't happen here--witness 9-11. Overspending, over-give aways, relentless vote-buying with new programs and an entitlement mentality meets fiscal reality in Greece.

Tuesday, June 28, 2011

Danziger Bridge Trial of NOPD Officers Underway

The criminal trial of 5 NOPD officers for the infamous Danziger Bridge shootings is now underway. See the link for a short video and other info. on the case.

Monday, June 27, 2011

Atlanta pays $4.9 million in death of 92 year old woman

Another outrageous violation of the Fourth Amendment by police costs Atlanta $4.9 million. Some of the officers involved were sentenced to prison. Widespread wrongdoing was revealed in the department.For more detail on this incident and APD see the Wikipedia article.

Thursday, June 23, 2011

Long-time fugitive Whitey Bulger arrested.

Former Boston organized crime boss Whitey Bulger has been on the FBI's ten most wanted list for over a decade. He has now been arrested. Congrats to all involved in getting this arrest.

Saturday, June 18, 2011

Landmark case on Tenth Amendment.

For the first time, the Supreme Court has held that individual criminal defendants have standing to raise 10th Amendment objections to the federal statute under which they were convicted. Before, litigants like Lopez (U.S. v. Lopez) could only argue that the statute exceeded a Congressional power (e.g. commerce clause). Now they can also argue the reserved powers arguments based on the Tenth Amendment. This case is a turning point on the issue of Tenth Amendment standing and may open the door to Court reexamination of constitutional federalism. Somewhat surprisingly, it was a unanimous opinion and the Court shows enthusiasm for consitutional federalism. " The federal system rests on what might at first seem a counterintuitive insight, that "freedom is enhanced by the creation of two governments, not one." Alden v. Maine, 527 U. S. 706, 758 (1999). The Framers concluded that allocation of powers between the National Government and the States enhances freedom, first by protecting the integrity of the governments themselves, and second by protecting the people, from whom all governmental powers are derived. Federalism has more than one dynamic. It is true that the federal structure serves to grant and delimit the prerogatives and responsibilities of the States and the National Government vis-À-vis one another. The allocation of powers in our federal system preserves the integrity, dignity, and residual sovereignty of the States. The federal balance is, in part, an end in itself, to ensure that States function as political entities in their own right. But that is not its exclusive sphere of operation. Federalism is more than an exercise in setting the boundary between different institutions of government for their own integrity. "State sovereignty is not just an end in itself: 'Rather, federalism secures to citizens the liberties that derive from the diffusion of sovereign power.' " New York v. United States, 505 U. S. 144, 181 (1992) (quoting Coleman v. Thompson, 501 U. S. 722, 759 (1991) (Blackmun, J., dissenting))." In the end, the result will probably be the same no matter what part of the Constitutuion litigants argue. It will depend on the interpretations of federalism held by any 5 Justices who agree on something. See opinion here.

Wednesday, June 15, 2011

U.S. Senate (and Presidential) disgrace

The U.S. Senate sidetracked a move to eliminate the $5 BILLION dollar annual subsidy for farm-belt corn farmers and corporations, among others. I guess some folks would rather cut programs that may actually help needy people than eliminate an outrageous example of the American kleptocracy at work. Our President was against eliminating the subsidy. It's not often we get a chance to separate the sheep from the goats in Congress. It shouldn't be hard to figure out who really cares about fair and sensible spending and deficit reductions. Those who voted against elimination of the subsidy have shown their true stripes.

A little justice for W. Texas--Sheriff convicted

Winkler County Sheriff Robert Robers was convicted of both felonies and misdemeanors in the latest saga of the disgraceful story from Winkler County Texas. Something you don't see (or at least don't hear about) happened in this case. After the jury convicted, a bargain on the sentence was worked out with the judge. IMHO, this suggests more of the "good ol boy" system which got this fiasco started. At least one witness blamed the legal pursuit of 2 female nurses (who were later cleared and collected $ damages) as the workings of the local "good ol' boy" system. For a chronology of this story see this link

A name from the past: Ex-Black Panther Elmer Pratt

Those of you who were not around for the wild '60's and early 70's, really missed out on something. This ex-Black Panther died recently. He was finally exonerated after 27 years in prison. The FBI and LA settled the suit brought by him for $4.5 million. A little insight into why many black Americans don't trust white America.

Congressinal hearings on BATF start today

Congressional hearings begin to today on BATF's irresponsible operation "Fast and Furious" and other border shenanigans. Taxpayer dollars at work to make things worse. The link has lots of links to other articles. I hope someone will write a book on this fiasco.

Friday, June 10, 2011

Interesting/Bizarre Ohio Statutory Rape Case

Although 12 and 13-year olds exchanging sex for video games doesn't sound real healthy, sometimes you have to wonder what prosecutor's are thinking! Certainly there has to be some other way to deal with this. Hint: parental intervention and supervision. Of course, some parents want the Nanny State to raise their kids for them.

Another excellent, and readable article on the Civil War

Excerpts from "Opening Salvo" from the Smithsonian, vol. 42, #1, Apr. 2011, pp. 76-99. (This is a one of the best magazines in the country if you enjoy human and natural history, science, etc. It is very readable for the average reader) "Generations of historians have argued over the cause of the war. "Everyone knew at the time that the war was ultimately about slavery" says Orville Vernon Burton, a native South Carolinian and author of" The Age of Lincoln. 'After the war, some began saying that it was really about states' rights, or a clash of two different cultures, or about the tariff, or about the industrializing North versus the agrarian South. All these interpretations came together to portray the Civil War as a collision of two noble civilizations from which black slaves had been airbrushed out." African-American historians from W.E.B. Du Bois to John Hope Franklin begged to differ with the revisionist view, but they were overwhelmed by white historians, both Southern and Northern, who, during the long era of Jim Crow, largely ignored the importance of slavery in shaping the politics of secession. Fifty years ago, the question of slavery was so loaded, says Harold Holzer, author of Lincoln President-Elect and other works on the 16th president, that the issue virtually paralyzed the federal commission charged with organizing events commemorating the war's centennial in 1961, from which African-Americans were virtually excluded. (Arrangements for the sesquicentennial have been left to individual states.) At the time, some Southern members reacted with hostility to any emphasis on slavery, for fear that it would embolden the then-burgeoning civil rights movement. Only later were African-American views of the war and its origins finally heard, and scholarly opinion began to shift. Says Holzer, "Only in recent years have we returned to the obvious--that it was about slavery" As Emory Thomas, author of The Confederate Nation 1861-1865 and a retired professor of history at the University of Georgia, puts it, "The heart and soul of the secession argument was slavery and race. Most white Southerners favored racial subordination, and they wanted to protect the status quo. They were concerned that the Lincoln administration would restrict slavery, and they were right." [Lincoln} . . .declared explicitly that he would not tamper with slavery where it already existed. (He did make clear that he would oppose the expansion of slavery into new territories.) However, the so-called Fire-eaters, the most radical Southern nationalists who dominated Southern politics, were no longer interested in compromise. "South Carolina will secede from the Union as surely as that night succeeds the day, and nothing can now prevent or delay it but a revolution at the North," South Carolinian William Trenholm wrote to a friend. "The ... Republican party, inflamed by fanaticism and blinded by arrogance, have leapt into the pit which a just Providence prepared for them." In Charleston, cannon were fired, martial music was played, flags were waved in every street. Men young and old flocked to join militia companies. Even children delivered "resistance speeches" to their playmates and strutted the lanes with homemade banners. . . .According to historian Douglas R. Egerton, author of Year of Meteors: Stephen Douglas, Abraham Lincoln, and the Election that Brought on the Civil War, "To win over the yeoman farmers--who would wind up doing nearly all the fighting--the Fire-eaters relentlessly played on race, warning them that, unless they supported secession, within ten years or less their children would be the slaves of Negroes." . . .In December 1860, a little more than a month after Lincoln's election, South Carolina's secession convention, held in Charleston, called on the South to join "a great Slaveholding Confederacy, stretching its arms over a territory larger than any power in Europe possesses." While most Southerners did not own slaves, slave owners wielded power far beyond their numbers: more than 90 percent of the secessionist conventioneers were slaveholders."

Tuesday, June 07, 2011

Pushing prisoners' rights too far

I believe prisoners have constitutional rights, but this case pushes things too far. Suing over self-castration because of inability to get a state-funded sex-change operation? Talk about an entitlement mentality! P.S. Please try to keep the puns semi-tasteful.

Friday, June 03, 2011

Warrantless cellphone searches spreading.

The courts are divided on the issue and the practice is spreading. Hopefully the Supreme Court will settle this Fourth Amendment controversy relatively soon.

Current & Former NYPD Officers Busted

Former and current NYPD and FD officers allegedly involved in a gambling ring on Staten Island were arrested recently. It is so sad when a few dishonor the heroism of their fellow officers.

Another Congressional Scumbag indicted

John Edwards is the latest in a long list. For more on this topic see Wikipedia/

LAPD pays nearly $ 4 million to settle suit brought by

The survivors of a teen killed by police? A woman raped by an LAPD officer? Guess again, it's an LAPD officer who sued over snide comments and "abuse" by other LAPD officers. Over the past 4 years LA has paid $ 18 million to settle around 45 cases brought by LAPD officers. There's obviously some serious internal problems in LAPD to go along with the massive external problems (e.g. Rampart scandal, Rodney King case, etc., etc., etc.) Don't they have enough financial worries in LA already? When are LA citizens going to get fed up with the costs of inability of the agency to clean itself up?

Ron Paul wants to legalize heroin?

Ron Paul is the GOP's leading libertarian. His ideologically pure stands on heroin and other issues (e.g. prostitution) may cost him many conservative votes. He naively concluded that if heroin were legalized "nobody" would use it. His frankness will, IMHO, keep hm from getting the GOP nomination for Pres. This highlights the split between the GOP and its libertarian wing. Libertarian ideas frighten many on both the liberal left and conservative right. There is a libertarian political party, but it will never really take off. While I agree with many libertarian ideas, I am a "cautious" libertarian and feel legalizing heroin and cocaine are massive, risky public health experiments that are too risky.

Thursday, June 02, 2011

Slim chances for licensed concealed carry on Texas Campuses

The Texas legislature is now in special session. Only bills that the governor allows can be considered in this special session. Licensed concealed carry, along with hundreds of other bills, died at the end of the regular session. The last hope is that Gov. Perry will add it to the list for consideration in the special session. I am not optimistic as there are lots of contentious budget cut issues that have to be dealt with.

Wednesday, June 01, 2011

Another 2nd Amend Case

This case, Peruta v. County of San Diego, is currently before the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Ninth Circuit. Although the 9th Circuit is generally anti-gun, I think this case looks like a winner. The Plaintiff argues that the County Sheriff routinely denies all applications for CCW permits, thus violating the Second Amendment. For more info, see the linked amicus brief This is the type of thing that happens when public officials get arrogant and think they are above the law of the land. Stay tuned

Latest on the infamous 1989 Central Park Jogger Case

Latest on the infamous 1989 Central Park Jogger case. This wrongful conviction cast doubt on the validity of confessions to police.

Latest on former BART officer, Mehserle, convicted of killing suspect

Former BAR Tofficer, Johannes Mehserle, who was convicted of killing a suspect with a handgun (while allegedly thinking he was drawing his Taser) may be released shortly. If released, he will have served slightly less than 1/2 the 2-year sentence. The family of the victim is considering a civil suit.

Recent 2nd Amend. decision

In spite of Heller and McDonald, lower courts are generally reluctant to strike down gun control laws. This case is from California.