Statutes of Limitations

October 25, 2012

Contributed by Charles Platt

For two weeks, now, UK residents have been stunned by an avalanche of revelations–or at least accusations–regarding the BBC and one of its most famous, nationally revered figures, Sir Jimmy Savile, a disc jockey who hosted shows over a period of decades. Savile endeared himself to the British by doing charity work for hospitals, and was even given his own little room at one, allowing him free access to the entire facility. Apparently he used this access to molest young people, many of them under the age of consent, when they were incapacitated or in wheel chairs. I’m reminded of Willie Sutton’s famous quote, explaining that he robbed banks because “that’s where the money was.” Savile appears to have volunteered at a hospital because “that’s where the helpless young girls were.” The appearance of cold-blooded premeditation is remarkable.

He was also a frequent visitor to a “reform home” for “troubled young girls,” some of whom he would take for rides in his Rolls Royce, where the self-described victims have alleged that sex acts occurred in the back seat. Several hundred women have now come forward with allegations. One BBC executive has already resigned, while others are finding it difficult to claim that they knew nothing. Contemporaries of Savile who are still alive, especially in the music-broadcasting section of the BBC, are being named as co-conspirators. Savile seems to have gotten away with it because he was protected by his fame, his wealth, and his charitable donations to the very places where he has been accused of preying on innocents. Others who worked with him are much more vulnerable, even though they may be now in their 70s and 80s.

Since Savile is now dead, the British press is relatively free to run with this story, despite the strict libel laws in the UK. Journalists have been far more circumspect about naming living suspects–until they issue statements of denial, at which point they become “fair game.”

More interesting to me (but less relevant to this blog) is that there is no statute of limitations on serious sex crimes in the UK. Since many of the alleged events occurred in the 1970s, a defendant may have a hard time coming up with exculpatory evidence to refute the allegations of a sobbing alleged victim in a court room. A blog here claims that in Germany, claims from victims dropped by 80% when that nation discontinued its practice of awarding compensation to crime victims, except where there was corroborative evidence. The same blog claims that, conversely, in Britain, where compensation is paid to victims, claims of abuse that occured decades ago have doubled during the past three years, coincidentally with the economic downturn. 

A statute of limitations may seem intuitively unjust to many people. If the crime occurred, why should someone get away with it just because it happened more than, say, 7 years ago? I note that in some areas of the US, limitations have already been abolished or modified for sex offenses, thus copying the British model.

I am assuming that readers of this blog would distrust any further erosion of statutes of limitations, especially if such protection was reduced or eliminated in First Amendment cases.

Or would they?


Nerd Alert!

May 1, 2012

BAMF

On this day in 1939, The Batman made his first appearance in Detective Comics #27. Source.

True, Batman would get his shit wrecked if he tangled with Wolverine, but that did not stop me from squealing like a school girl when I saw the trailer for The Dark Knight Rises

Bane is in this one. Sweeeeeeet.


The Dulcet Tones of Slayer Just Got a Little Better.

April 11, 2012

 
Reign in Blood Red

 

Not sure what to get that friend who’s a wine enthusiast AND head banger? The Almighty Slayer has come through like a champ and delivered unto us “Reign in Blood” Red, a California Cabernet being marketed out of Sweden.  Who cares if it is so terrible that it would be better suited to salad dressing?  The inverted cross on the label is enough for me to seriously consider stocking it in at least one of my wine racks.

 


The Prince of Darkness’ Family Jewels.

April 6, 2012

Sweet Mary, mother of fucking awesomeness!


I heard on the radio it was Good Friday today.  “Damn right it’s Good Friday,” I thought, “it’s the season opener for the Diamondbacks.”  Baseball season is here and I am one happy camper.  Turns out, though, I totally forgot this weekend is Easter and Good Friday is something Christians celebrate in connection with Jesus’ torture, death, and zombification.

But for you “only celebrate Easter and Christmas” Christians out there- beware- you are backsliding into the fiery pit of hell with every package of Paas Dye.   Something dastardly has infiltrated the fuzzy bunnies, cute little chickies, and OMG amazing candy holiday:

Satan’s giggle berries.

Gasp you should, this is not a new brand of candy (but how awesome would it be if it was?) This Sunday, as your little darlings scamper about festooned in their pretty dresses and bow ties finding Easter Eggs here and there, they will be filling their brightly colored baskets full of Mephistopheles’ nads.

Fortunately, Dr. Daniel Cameroon has written a book to help guide us through these troubled times. It’s called “Are Your Children Playing With Lucifer’s Testicles? The Truth About Easter Eggs”.  Source.   No discount, though, because only Jesus saves.

Please help make everyone aware of this danger and instead of collecting Beelzebub’s family jewels, tell the little children to stomp those Devil Balls  (also a good name for candy) into the ground instead.   How great would that be to see?  I bet the Cadbury Cream Egg explosion would be epic.


Kids today.

November 9, 2011

Move over Florida!  Looks like Arizonans are overtaking you in the WTF department. Not content with traditional methods of imbibing alcohol, Arizona teens are soaking tampons in Vodka and shoving them in…well you get the idea.    Source.

Apparently, its a quicker high.  They’ve also discovered the beer bong in the ass is quite effective as well.  They call it “butt chugging”.

Baaaa haaaaa haaaa haaaa!!!!!!

Fucking idiots.

 

 

 

 


Coming At You From The OMG That’s Awesome Department

October 24, 2011

Check out this camera!


Marijuana really brings out the asshole statist in everyone, doesn’t it?

October 9, 2011

Federal prosecutors decided that it is time to make examples of the Californians who are supplying marijuana to willing customers.

Their rationale: People are making money off of it. Their heartstring argument, we can’t have people selling marijuana in stores near parks and schools. Yes, “what about the children?”

And a few states over, a Papa Johns pizza delivery driver called the cops on a guy who was smoking pot. (source)

Turns out the guy had a medical marijuana card, and when the cops got there they apologized for bugging him and left. Lets hear it for the Aurora police department!

On the other hand, Papa John’s seems to think that its driver, pissing on the very market that keeps the chain alive, was acting just as a “concerned citizen.”

“Papa John’s of Colorado wants to stand behind the decision that this delivery driver made. He was acting as a concerned citizen and for what he believes was the best interests of our community.” (source)

I don’t eat pizza from shit chains like Papa Johns anyhow. Even if I did, I certainly wouldn’t buy a pizza from those Kentucky – based fucktards now. I’d like to encourage everyone to boycott Papa John’s. Stack your freezer with DiGiorno’s or something, and then you pay $3 for the same crappy pizza, but you don’t have some wanna-be TSA agent coming in to your home to bring it to you.

Hailmaryjane.com summed it up:

You have two species that have been living in perfect harmony for centuries, the Pothead and the Pizza Guy. These two not only used to live in harmony, they NEED each other to survive. Stoners and Pizza Guys are the true circle of life, a perfectly balanced system that keeps both alive. Pizza Guy gets money from high people, high people gets pizza, the world is a happy place. When these two breeds start turning against each other, its time to build a mountain fortress and wait out the apocalypse. (source)


Tribute to motherhood

May 8, 2011

by Tatiana von Tauber

I’ve been a mother for 13 years now and I’ve changed my mind about it. I used to fear it until I got the hang of it and then somehow I liked it. Of course, in the absence of thought during the like stage I decided to have another baby in my mid 30s. Yes, good ‘ol sex got in the way. I love my children and the meaning of family; however, motherhood is extremely exhausting and with 2 teens and a 5 year old I’m finding challenge in the once manageable balancing act of career and motherhood.

I’ve been thinking about it recently because I lost that balance by moving back abroad. The rhythm was good until it spun too quickly and I fell off. I’ve gotten back up but I see feminism from primarily a “mommy” perspective.

Being a mother changes the deepest set views of what it means to be a woman and to want a career. I’m deeply grateful to what women have done for our freedom to express our womanhood – femininity – and capability but the older and wiser I get the more I love the fact that my husband works and I’m the artistic “trailing” wife (in the expat world) and mother.

Often we don’t give enough credit to mothers. Our society bangs us with the idea that we want children and family but when we have them it’s not always the roses promised but no one usually gives the hardliner truth. Parenting is damn hard and don’t judge it until you have a crack at it. I learned that while I’m thankful for the choice of having babies, it’s a full time job in the sense of constant awareness. My brain hurts. It’s reality we often sweep under the magic carpet.

The energy to create is not equal to the energy to clean up

It’s possible to balance it all but keeping that balance takes a lot of energy and eventually something gives. Women have proven they can have their cake and eat it too but I’ve found that it resembles more of the cake in your face scenario. American mothers too often forget to stop and smell the roses along the way. Like marriage, family is a “for better for worse commitment”. The most common challenge women face is a loss of identity.

My biggest wish this Mother’s Day is for women still searching for that “me” under the “mom” title is to find themselves this year by exploring who they are as women, the dreamers who had visions of self-experience without diapers, teen attitudes and parental responsibility. Redefining that through the transformation of motherhood is the best reward motherhood has offered me. I’ve grown beyond my expectations because I had to. It was part of maternal survival.

Happy Mother’s Day.


ALERT: SUPERMOON WILL KILL US ALL!

March 19, 2011

Ok, there’s nothing to be afraid of really… but in the tradition of the American media, I’d like to at least instill some hysteria in an event that really doesn’t qualify for any greater reaction than “neato!”


Smokers, cut your bitching. Nannies, you do the same.

March 6, 2011

Lung Cancer distribution rates in the United States. Funny, it looks like KKK membership rates distribution.

If there is one group of people that I don’t want to hear whining, it is the cigarette smoker. Imagine any other habit being half as obnoxious, and yet tolerated. Otherwise clean people smell like they slept in a dumpster (sorry guys, you do). They expel carcinogenic chemicals that you couldn’t even bury in a toxic waste dump without a visit from the feds. Meanwhile, those of us who elect to avoid this pollution are accused of infringing upon smokers’ “freedom” when we demand that they engage in their dirty habit somewhere that it doesn’t affect us.

I am not prudish about the consumption of poison. I think that people should be allowed to consume liquor anywhere they please — in the park, on the street, in a hot air balloon, or even while driving — as long as they are not truly impaired. I wouldn’t care if a guy sat next to me on a public park bench and began shooting heroin into his arm — as long as he took proper precautions to keep from getting blood on me, and he took his needle with him when he left and disposed of it properly. If you want to snort cocaine off a hooker’s ass on the sidewalk, as long as you don’t block the sidewalk, I’m all for it.

What do all those things have in common? Lots of people might find them objectionable, but they really don’t cause any physical discomfort to anyone else. They don’t hurt anyone but the consumer. I think that it is improper for the state to restrict the freedom to do anything that “neither picks my pocket nor breaks my leg.” But when it does either, then that is a proper place for the state to act. This is in sharp contrast to ciggy smoke, which does, in fact, harm people who have chosen not to partake.

We all have a right to a little roving zone of personal autonomy — that zone should be large when we are on our own private property. Therefore, if I commit an act inside my house, and the effects do not break beyond the walls surrounding me, then the state should have no right to interfere. (The state does not agree. See Gonzales v. Raich (previously Ashcroft v. Raich), 545 U.S. 1 (2005). In that case, the U.S. Supreme Court bizarrely held that if a man grows marijuana in his own living room, and smokes it in his own kitchen, he is somehow interfering with interstate commerce sufficiently that the federal government should have a right to restrict his conduct. But, this piece is not about the law as it is, but as I think it should be.)

Once I step out onto the street, my zone of autonomy ebbs and flows depending on my surroundings. If I am in the middle of the desert, and the nearest person is 1 mile away, then my zone of autonomy ought to be pretty wide. I should be able to scream and shout at the top of my lungs, as my crazy behavior will not graze the ears of another. I can, however, accept that doing so in the middle of a crowded sidewalk would be properly punished as “disturbing the peace.” On a lonely sidewalk, if I want to swing my arms around wildly, that ought to be my right, but as soon as I enter a crowd and my hands start slapping faces, I’ve gone beyond my personal autonomy zone, and entered my fellow citizens’ zones. At that point, I’ve broken the law, and the law is no ignoramus for saying so.

You should have every right to do this to yourself. You shouldn't have a goddamned right to do it to me.

So lets talk about cigarette smoke specifically, as nothing is truly analogous. Cigarette smoke contains chemicals that, if you buried them in the ground or discharged them into the air via any other means, you would go to prison. As far as the unpleasant nature of the stuff, most non-smokers would rather tolerate the smell of dog shit. However, if I carried a pail of dog shit with me into a public park, I would likely be shunned if not charged with some appropriate misdemeanor.

Here in San Diego, the lack of cigarette smoke is absolute bliss. You can go into any bar, any nightclub, on to any beach, into any park, and you will not be assaulted by the stench or the poison carried by cigarette smoke. You can sit down on the beach, and you can know with absolute certainty that no asshole will sit right next to you and start belching chemicals and stench into your zone of personal autonomy. New York is seeking to do the same, but the NYT editorial board seems to think that this goes too far — calling it “prohibition.”

Someone at the New York Times needs a new dictionary.

Nothing in the proposed legislation says that people can’t smoke. It simply requires that if they do so, they do so within their zone of personal autonomy, and remain outside of their neighbors’ zones. To define this as “prohibition,” you would have to change the definition of prohibition. If the 18th Amendment said that Americans could not consume alcohol while spitting a portion of it on other people, well then the prohibition analogy would be sustained — and we never would have had the 21st Amendment.

This all said, I am not hostile to the consumption of tobacco, nor to the individual choice to consume it. I think that smokers should have an absolute right to smoke in their homes, so long as they can keep the smoke from penetrating the homes of others. There have been cases where apartment and condo dwellers have gone to legal loggerheads with their neighbors over the stuff, and in those, I side with the neighbor of the smoker. If I can smell your ass or your cigarettes through my wall, you deserve to have your ass kicked.

On the other hand, there is a growing movement to restrict smoking in cars with children inside. Emotionally, I understand the point of the legislation — powerless children should not be subjected to the harm visited upon them by second hand smoke spewed out by an adult in the car. I think this goes too far. Yes, I feel badly for the children. However, 99% of the time, this will be harm visited upon them by their parents. Parents should have a right to raise their children as they see fit — even if that means giving them cancer or emphysema. I recognize that this is a debatable point — that perhaps the children should have a right to health protected by the state. After all, you can’t starve your kids to death, nor can you put tequila in their sippy cups at home. So, why should you be allowed to close them in a hermetically sealed bubble and then fill their little lungs with arsenic, nicotine, and whatever else shit is in ciggy smoke? I say that they’re your kids. Turn them to shit if you want to. If you’re too much of an imbecile to wait to smoke until your kids are out of your car, then perhaps it would be better if your kids die young, before they spawn the next generation of imbeciles.

A recent article in the New York Times, which seems to have hired a new pro-smoking editor, brings us the story of people who are avoiding the high cost of cigarette taxes by growing their own tobacco..

“It’ll make the antismokers apoplectic,” said Ms. Silk. “They’re using the power of taxation to coerce behavior. That’s not what taxation is supposed to be for.”

“We fear that the antismokers are so hysterical that if they start finding that people are doing this, they would craft a law to make it illegal,” Ms. Silk said. “I’m waiting for the black helicopters to start flying over my yard.” (source)

In that fight, I side with the smokers / home tobacco farmers. I’m not a fan of raising the taxes on cigarettes to try and reduce smoking rates. I don’t mind taxing the hell out of them and applying the tax to health care costs in some way, but to influence smokers to give up their habit isn’t a proper use of the power to tax. I’m even more on Ms. Silk’s side when it comes to growing and smoking her own tobacco. As I mentioned above, the feds think it is a proper use of the commerce clause to regulate whether someone grows marijuana in their own home and smokes it there, with the buds never leaving their own private property. Therefore, I’m certain that the government will eventually make life a pain in the ass for home tobacco famers. That, I find intolerable.

The nanny state really rears its ugly head when it comes to the new fashion — banning electronic cigarettes. These are a god-send for smokers and non-smokers alike. As much as I personally despise tobacco smoke, I have had happy dinners sitting right next to friends who were puffing away on their blue-tipped smokeless cigarettes. No carcinogens came my way. No smell came my way. Just the barely perceptible puff of water vapor and the pleasant blue hue from the tip of the device. Despite their inoffensiveness and harmlessness to others, legislative bodies are now trying to add these to the list of naughty sins committed by nicotine addicts. King County, Washington and the New Jersey state assembly have both classified these devices right alongside the real McCoy. This is total, and un-debatable nannyism in its darkest form. (Of course, when a place like Richmond, Kentucky moves to ban them, I suspect tobacco money in the mix).

The solution to the problem is easy: Sit down and draw yourself, top view. You can just make a circle. Then, draw a line around the radius that your conduct will affect. If you’re smoking a cigarette, that line will likely be an oblong oval about 5 feet in one direction, and drifting downwind about 50 feet. You don’t get to own that. That belongs to your fellow citizens. If you’re a smoker, piss off if you want to smear your gaseous crap in my personal autonomy zone.

On the other hand, if you’re a legislator, do the same exercise. Draw yourself. Now show me how the smoker’s conduct affects you or your fellow citizens. If they are smoking in their home or their car, it does not. If they are smoking an electronic cigarette, it affects nobody but themselves. If that is the case, you have no place regulating their conduct.

Now everyone quit their whining. Smokers, you are not an oppressed minority. And government has no business telling anyone what they can and can’t do to their bodies within their personal zone of autonomy.


This is what a hero looks like

February 21, 2011

Well, I don’t have pictures of them, but the story shows you all you need to know.

Benghazi, Libya erupted into protests against the autocratic regime of Moammar Gadaffi. In fact, reports say that the protesters are in control of the city. Gadaffi scrambled two Mirage jets and ordered them to bomb the uppity protesters.

The two pilots, Colonels in the Libyan air force, instead flew their jets to Malta and defected. (source)

This reminds me of the story of the People Power revolution, in the Philippines, when then-president Ferdinand Marcos sent helicopter gunships to destroy the rebel headquarters. Instead, they landed there and saluted Fidel Ramos, the rebel leader, and told him “sir, you have your air force.”

I’m sure at some point in American history we have had similar heroes. Right? I mean, think of the American military pilots who decided they wouldn’t bomb civilians in… umm… well, ok, think of the TSA Agents who stood up and said “Enough,” we won’t be the tools who let the government shred the Constitution anymore …. source, hmmm… find a source…


Most Extreme “Terrorist Threat” Story?

February 18, 2011

by Charles Platt

Of course this is only one side of the story. But since it emanates from a law firm, I hope it is at least factually sound. I sure hope Murtha&Murtha are around to defend me when it’s my turn.


DUI laws and the Constitution

December 31, 2010

by Charles Platt

Florida has joined the growing list of states that are raising revenue by stopping drivers at random (not with probable cause) and forcing everyone to be breathalyzed–on the understanding that if anyone refuses, a judge on-site will issue a warrant authorizing the cops to take a blood sample by force, if necessary. Naturally Mothers Against Drunk Driving endorses this as a great idea. Here’s the news item.

For years I have had a gut-level aversion to MADD. The name alone is manipulative (who would ever dare to oppose that most sacred group, mothers, against that most reviled subspecies, drunk drivers?). The tactics are abhorrent (such as going to the Feds for help in forcing states to conform, when really this should be a state issue). And of course taking someone’s license away simply for triggering a detection device, before anything has been proven, is totally unacceptable.

But now I find that the situation is far worse than I imagined. If you have the time, this guy will tell you why.


The NFL and Socialism

December 27, 2010

In an article that isn’t really about politics or economics, the sports page brings a little insight to both:

How many people had the moxie a few months ago to predict that not only would the Kansas City Chiefs win the AFC West but that the San Diego Chargers would also not even make the playoffs? Well, at least one group got that Chiefs thing right.

That’s part of what has made the National Football League the dominant sports enterprise in the country: The socialistic economics of the league gives fans in most cities hope at the beginning of each year that their team might have a shot. (source)

Precisely.

And that is why some forms of socialism (think Norway, not Cuba) are superior to true free-market capitalism (think Albania, not the United States). The fact is, if you’re born in a slum in the United States, chances are that you’ll die in a slum too. Meanwhile, for a Swedish baby, the economic or social class of his parents has very little influence upon where he’ll be as an adult.

If your dad is in the lowest economic quintile, there is a 42 percent chance that you’ll stay there. Meanwhile, if the same son is born to a Danish, Finnish, Swedish, or Norwegian dad, he has only a 25-30% chance of remaining at the bottom. Worse yet, a Nordic child has a slightly greater chance of moving from the bottom quintile to the top quintile. See Jäntti, M., B. Bratsberg, K. Røed, O. Raaum, R. Naylor E. Österbacka, A. Björklund, T. Eriksson. 2006. “American Exceptionalism in a New Light: A Comparison of Intergenerational Earnings Mobility in the Nordic Countries, the United Kingdom and the United States.”; Miles Corak, 2006. “Do Poor Children Become Poor Adults? Lessons from a Cross Country Comparison of Generational Earnings Mobility,” IZA Discussion Papers No. 1993, Bonn: Institute for the Study of Labor (IZA) (concluding that Canada, Germany, and France have greater class mobility than the United States).

In other words, on any given Sunday, any NFL team can win. And in any given season, you never really know how the playoff picture will look. And any given child born in a more civilized country just might wind up doing awfully well.

In contrast, the San Diego Padres could win the World Series every year. But, if you laid your pre-season bet on anyone but the Red Sox or the Yankees, you’re probably throwing your money away. Meanwhile, despite the Patriots’ dominance of the past decade, you never really know if they’ll be playing in a game with roman numerals on it. Of course, their dominance is fairly attributable to the socialism within the team. The Patriots system pays Tom Brady pretty damn well, but he could probably make 30% more if he went to another team, meanwhile other players take less in order to bring in other talent under the salary cap — and thus producing three Superbowl wins since that became the system. Players who are willing to sacrifice for the collective good, like Teddy Bruschi, stick around. Those who simply chase the dollar (like Lawyer Milloy and Adam Vinatieri) wind up elsewhere.

Of course, the other side of the coin is that sometimes in a socialist system, losers can win. In the final week of the regular NFL season, the Seattle Seahawks will be 6-9, playing for the division title, might be the #4 seed in the NFC with a losing 7-9 record, and if things go their way in three games in a row, they’ll take home the Lombardi trophy.

I’m a social libertarian, but when it comes to economics, I favor a little bit of socialism… I stopped giving a shit about MLB when the Sox turned into Yankees North, but I don’t mind shelling out a couple of grand for NFL tickets.


Leave Miley Alone

December 10, 2010

So Miley Cyrus got caught smoking out of a bong. BFD. She’s 18. That is what 18 year olds do.

Cyrus claims that the bong was loaded with salvia, not marijuana. The video, available on TMZ (if you give a shit about watching it) shows behavior consistent with that claim. Cyrus says that she’s having a “bit of a bad trip,” which is inconsistent with marijuana use. She also seems incoherent for 90 seconds — again, more consistent with salvia than marijuana.


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