What If?

Today I ran across a very interesting video on YouTube. It was a rant about politics, politicians and the government by Judge Napolitano on The Plain Truth. Now I do not watch Fox news, however I have to admit, for something that aired on Fox news, it was remarkably insightful.

Not surprisingly, Fox dropped his show, however I thought I’d share the clip in questions here with you. Much of what he is saying makes a lot of sense. they are things that I have often wondered about myself, but this is the first time I have heard anyone in a good position to talk about it, lay it all out there like this, much less someone from the Faux News camp.

Anyway the video is below:

 

This piece raises some really, really good questions: Why does our political system revolve around the segregation of the American populace? What possible benefit could that have? To whom? And more importantly, if our government system is supposed to operate the way we the people want it to… Why can’t we change anything? Chew on that for a bit…

PB out.

What if you were being lied to? – [YouYube]

Lawsuits: Gang violence deterrents? Or Prejudice?

I just read a troubling article regarding cities using lawsuits to pro-actively disrupt gang activity:

Fort Worth and San Francisco are among the latest to file lawsuits against gang members, asking courts for injunctions barring them from hanging out together on street corners, in cars or anywhere else in certain areas.

The injunctions are aimed at disrupting gang activity before it can escalate. They also give police legal reasons to stop and question gang members, who often are found with drugs or weapons, authorities said. In some cases, they don’t allow gang members to even talk to people passing in cars or to carry spray paint.

“It is another tool,” said Kevin Rousseau, a Tarrant County assistant prosecutor in Fort Worth, which recently filed its first civil injunction against a gang. “This is more of a proactive approach.”

But critics say such lawsuits go too far, limiting otherwise lawful activities and unfairly targeting minority youth.

“If you’re barring people from talking in the streets, it’s difficult to tell if they’re gang members or if they’re people discussing issues,” said Peter Bibring, an attorney with the American Civil Liberties Union of Southern California. “And it’s all the more troubling because it doesn’t seem to be effective.” – [Yahoo/AP]

I find this turn of events troubling for a number of reasons. First it is a very dangerous thing for anyone to implement any kind of enforcement that violates an individuals rights, especially when they have yet to actually commit a crime. And re-purposing laws so that actions that are legal for the average citizen become illegal for a specific demographic is simply unethical.

These cities have, in effect, sued a demographic, without regard for either the innocence or guilt of any of the individual members of that demographic. They have surreptitiously made gangs illegal. And in doing so, they done little more than legitimize prejudice.

The ability to stop, search and detain a person without probable cause, and for no other reason than their age, race, or the color of their clothes, is unconstitutional. Plain and simple. The increasing willingness of American police forces and lawmakers to violate an individuals rights in the name of keeping the peace is becoming a common and disturbing trend nowadays, especially in The Peoples Republic of Kalifornia. The end does not justify the means.

It is wrong to apply laws differently depending on such things as race, stereotypes, clothes, age, etc. Creating second class citizens does not solve problems, only exacerbate them. History has taught us that any demographic unfairly treated, will bear no concern for the fair treatment of others. It simply creates a vicious cycle. It may appear to be a a good solution in the short term. But unfairly treated people have long memories, and as a long term strategy, it is a no-win.

Be very careful America. I see a very ugly pattern developing. At the rate we are going, we will soon all be prisoners, held captive by the illusion of freedom…

Cities sue gangs in bid to stop violence – [Yahoo/AP]

A boorish dentist makes a killing…

Today we learn about a dentist turned prankster, who, in the middle of a dental procedure on one of his employees, decides to engage in a practical joke which backfires, then back-backfires in his favor:

An oral surgeon who temporarily implanted fake boar tusks in his assistant’s mouth as a practical joke and got sued for it has ended up with the last laugh.

Dr. Robert Woo of Auburn had put the phony tusks in while the woman was under anesthesia for a different procedure. He took them out before she awoke, but first he shot photos that eventually made it around the office.

The employee, Tina Alberts, felt so humiliated when she saw the pictures that she quit and sued her boss.

Woo’s insurance company, Fireman’s Fund, refused to cover the claim, saying the practical joke was intentional and not a normal business activity his insurance policy covered, so Woo settled out of court. He agreed to pay Alberts $250,000, then sued his insurers. …

… In a sprightly 5-4 decision, Supreme Court Justice Mary Fairhurst wrote that Woo’s practical joke was an integral, if odd, part of the assistant’s dental surgery and “conceivably” should trigger the professional liability coverage of his policy. – [Yahoo/AP]

Now I found this case interesting for a number of different reasons. First off is the question of whether an somewhat embarrassing picture is really worth $250,000. Who decides these things? For a picture of you cheating on your wife, maybe. Or evidence of you embezzling funds. Or pics of you committing murder. Most definitely. But for a practical joke picture of you with boars tusks? I dunno.

The next interesting aspect of this case is the question of whether or not this prank could be considered part of doing business. I suppose I would agree that, had he not been engaged in an actual bona fide procedure, the stunt would not have been possible. And if his modus operandi for running his business was “All slapstick, all the time!” then this mishap would even be a legitimate insurance claim. Either way, it would suck to have to be this guys insurer.

Last, but certainly not least, how did he end up with an award of $750,000 in damages in addition to the $250,000 he paid out to the distraught ex-employee? HOW? And more importantly, WHY? Does this make sense to anyone? How does the insurance companies earlier refusal to make good on a stupid prank boars tusk claim net him an additional $750,000? Am I missing something? From where I’m sitting, he should have been happy just to get back what he paid out to the ex-employee.

It seems like the law has become more of an alternative income source for some folk, than a vehicle of justice…

Prankster dentist wins in court – [Yahoo/AP]

Creative sentencing at it’s best…

It seems like the law is such a grey, mundane, unrelentingly incarcerant and financially motivated institution nowadays. I suppose criminals are no less forgiving so it is warranted. Nonetheless I always find it refreshing to see justice meted that isn’t simply about jail time and cash:

PAINESVILLE, Ohio – Painesville Municipal Judge Michael Cicconetti agreed to suspend a 30-day jail sentence if they wear the costume between 4 and 7 p.m. Friday outside the court while carrying a sign that reads “No Chicken Ranch in Painesville.”

The sign and costume refer to the “World Famous Chicken Ranch,” a prostitution house in Nevada where sex-for-money is legal. …

… Cicconetti has used barnyard animals to dispense justice in the past.

He ordered a man who called a policeman a pig to stand next to a live pig in a pen and hold a sign that read “This Is Not a Police Officer.” A couple who stole a baby Jesus statue from a manger were sentenced to dress as Mary and Joseph and walk with a donkey. – [Yahoo/AP]

I honestly don’t know if this is a result of some subconcious rebellious streak in my nature, or my love for creative solutions to problems, but I like this the way this judge rolls…

Soliciting sex draws fowl sentence for 3 - [Yahoo/AP]