Saturday, October 13, 2007

Closing Time, Texas Style: "Texas Judge's Decison To Close On Time Lead to Immediate Execution"

Of course, Michael Richard is in no position to say his right to due process was denied—because he's in Hell now! Texas has some bizarre customs indeed ("Judge: 'We Close at 5'; Texas Judge's Decison To Close On Time Lead to Immediate Execution," ABC News, 2007-10-12):
Four words -- "We close at 5" -- enforced by Texas judge Sharon Keller led to the almost immediate execution of convicted murderer Michael Richard.

Three hours after Keller refused to keep her courthouse open past closing time to receive the condemned killer's request to stay his execution, Richard was executed.
What happened? Richard's attorney's computer broke down, so he needed a little more time to finish an appeal.
Richard's attorney's computer broke down, and when they called the courthouse asking for a little more time, just 20 minutes more, Judge Keller ordered the court clerk not to wait for the appeal that could have at least temporarily stopped his execution.

After the execution, prominent defense attorneys from across Texas signed an official complaint against Keller, asking the Texas Commission on Judicial Conduct to disciplined or fire her.
It sounds like Keller was just really eager to execute someone.

Friday, October 12, 2007

Jackass makes scene tearing down Mexican flag

Here's an "unedited video" on YouTube. A creepy looking veteran decided to tear a Mexican flag because it was flown atop a pub above an American flag. He left the Mexican flag on the ground, and ran off with the American flag. According to, the man said, "I'm Jim Brossert and I took this flag down in honor of my country with a knife from the United States army. I'm a veteran, I am not going to see this done to my country. If they want to fight us, then they need to be men, and they need to come and fight us, but I want somebody to fight me for this flag. They're not going to get it back."

Apparently, some wingnuts think the actions undertaken by the nutcase on the video was, uh, okay. (Apparently, wingnuts think stealing is okay under certain circumstances.)

First of all, if you're so hyper-patriotic that the position of the flag relative to another flag matters to you, get your head checked. Also, the owner of the bar apparently didn't mean any insult to the United States. He was flying an American flag; he probably knows there are jingoistic asholes like Mr. Brossert who have such small dicks that they'll start a fight because of a perceived swipe at their country. I doubt he wanted trouble.

Finally, the one thing nobody is remembering, is that the First Amendment guarantees you the right to fly the flag any which way you choose. So, when it comes down to it, the only crime that was committed was vandalism and theft, and that was by Mr. Brossert.

If you care, here's the federal law about displaying the flag.

Thursday, October 11, 2007

Stupid laws

"Strange laws on the Suncoast" from (2007-10-11) had the be the most poorly written article ever, but some of the choice quotes in it were great. A local moron was swearing in front of children, so he got arrested for leaving a mud puddle in front of his house for more than 24 hours?
Sarasota's city attorney says some of the laws in the miscellaneous section of the city code need to be updated. Some of them need to be changed and some removed completely.

Same thing in Bradenton. Should you really go to jail for leaving a mud puddle in front of your house for more than 24 hours?

When 45-year-old Christopher Haupt was arrested Saturday at the grand opening of Payne Park for swearing in front of a group of kids, some people were surprised that such a law existed.

Sarasota city attorney Bob Fournier says it may be a little old fashioned, but probably here to stay. "I certainly don't want to condone that type of behavior and I don't think city commissioners do either, so I'm not so sure that one is antiquated."
The site should be Never use terrible grammar and diction like this in front of your kids:
Most people we spoke to agree with him. "It's a rule you have to have because some people go nuts won't stop and at that point doesn't freedom of speech get involved with other people especially minors," says Jay Warren.
Thank you for that nugget of wisdom, First Amendment Savant Jay Warren. (God, I hope that's a misquote.)

Here's another bit of local wisdom:
There are other strangely-worded laws. For example, one city ordinance prohibits a woman with a reputation for bad virtue from lounging about and behaving in an inappropriate manner. "See now you've got to define questionable virtue and bad reputation. Are you going to ban Lindsey Loman and Britney Spears and how about Hilary Clinton," said another resident.
Holy shit, kids! Britney Spears and Lindsay "Loman" being compared to "Hilary" Clinton? Does Hillary walk around dressed like a hooker now? (Guess which one of the three is running for President of the United States.)

For more dumb laws, used to be fun. Now, of course, just check to see what the latest White House initiative is.

Sunday, October 07, 2007

The "Left"

So, Congress is getting a little concerned that the war isn't going well. Even some Republicans have pulled their heads out of that orifice where most of the Republicans' ideas come from. Great idea, I guess. Of course, I love when The Washington Post ("House Passes Bill on Pullout," by Jonathan Weisman, October 3, 2007) tries to report on something political:
The House, with overwhelming, bipartisan support, voted yesterday to give the Bush administration two months to present to Congress its planning for the withdrawal of combat forces in Iraq.

The 377 to 46 vote was the first salvo of a new legislative strategy adopted by House Democratic leaders, away from partisan confrontation and toward a more incremental approach to war policy that can bring Republicans to their side. The withdrawal-planning bill had met fierce opposition this summer from ardent Iraq war foes, who scuttled an earlier vote by saying it would do nothing but give Republicans political cover for their support of President Bush's policies

This time, amid the stirrings of a bipartisan centrist coalition on Iraq, Democratic leaders stared down the antiwar left and went forward with the vote. With Senate leaders stymied in their efforts to force a change of course in Iraq, House Democratic leaders faced a choice of whether to continue pushing firm timelines for troop withdrawals, as many liberal Democrats want, or to search for bipartisan comity, even after the Senate had failed to find it.
Wait a second. A 377 to 46 vote to give the administration two months to present a plan about withdrawing troops from Iraq is staring down the antiwar left? What the hell is the anti-war left anyway? Everything to the left of Rush Limbaugh?

What is The Washington Post saying? First of all, one thing is clear: antiwar in this case means being against the current debacle in Iraq. It doesn't mean being against war in general. Some pretty hefty Republican troglodytes have come out against this war, including no doubt some that might have loved many other wars including Vietnam, Desert Storm, Korea, Afghanistan, and maybe some that haven't even happened, like a hypothetical nuclear holocaust during the Cold War that would have hastened the Second Coming.

More accurately, The Washington Post was trying to say that the motion to withdraw wasn't as strong as some who are against the war would have wanted. Some would like the U.S. out of Iraq in two months. They could have just said that without using the loaded term "antiwar left." I expect that from Fox News or The New York Post, not a respected newspaper.

Frank Rich on Clarence Thomas

Great title: "Nobody Knows the Lynchings He’s Seen" (by Frank Rich). Oh, seriously, I'm not going to read Clarence Thomas' book. The guy, frankly, bores me. Heck, Scalia may be a right-wing nut, but at least he's colorful. Thomas, on the other hand, generally comes across as a not-so-thoughtful bullshit artist at best.

One of Thomas' big gripes in life is affirmative action. Ironically, he likely benefited from it. Which, I guess, makes him one of affirmative action's biggest mistakes. He made it all the way to the Supreme Court, after all.

One bit piqued my curiosity:
Mr. Thomas seems ignorant of this changing America. He can never see past his enemies' list, which in his book expands beyond his political foes, Yale and the press to "elite white women" and "paternalistic big-city whites" and "light-skinned blacks." (He does include a warm mention of Mr. Thurmond, a supporter in 1991, without mentioning that the senator hid away a child fathered with a black maid.) Always eager to cast himself as a lynching victim, Mr. Thomas is far more trapped in the past than the 1960s civil-rights orthodoxy he relentlessly demonizes.
Light-skinned blacks? Paternalistic big-city whites? What the f—?