Archive for October 2008

And She Could One Day Be Nominating Federal Judges

October 31, 2008

Just when you think she can’t look any dumber, Sarah Palin speaks ex tempore again:

ABC News’ Steven Portnoy reports: In a conservative radio interview that aired in Washington, D.C. Friday morning, Republican vice presidential nominee Gov. Sarah Palin said she fears her First Amendment rights may be threatened by “attacks” from reporters who suggest she is engaging in a negative campaign against Barack Obama.

Palin told WMAL-AM that her criticism of Obama’s associations, like those with 1960s radical Bill Ayers and the Rev. Jeremiah Wright, should not be considered negative attacks.  Rather, for reporters or columnists to suggest that it is going negative may constitute an attack that threatens a candidate’s free speech rights under the Constitution, Palin said.

“If [the media] convince enough voters that that is negative campaigning, for me to call Barack Obama out on his associations,” Palin told host Chris Plante, “then I don’t know what the future of our country would be in terms of First Amendment rights and our ability to ask questions without fear of attacks by the mainstream media.”

Yes, she really said that the media offering an opinion contrary to her own is a violation of her first amendment rights.

If you haven’t graduated from the fifth grade yet, and don’t realize how idiotic that statement is, the first amendment only limits government power. It explicitly protects the right of the press to call stupid politicians stupid politicans. That’s what that whole freedom of the press thing is about.


Local Blogger Goes Big Time

October 31, 2008

Kathryn Usher of Red River Blog Jam is interviewed in the Times this week. The article’s about her neighborhood rather than blogging, but she’s quoted several times.

The Economist Endorses The Socialist

October 30, 2008

The Economist, a magazine describing itself as true to the principles of “free trade, internationalism and minimum interference by government, especially in the affairs of the market,” and which the British Socialist party once called a “mouthpiece of world financial capital” has endorsed Barack Obama.

And you’ll never guess why:

on the great issue of the campaign, the financial crisis, he has seemed all at sea, emitting panic and indecision. Mr McCain has never been particularly interested in economics, but, unlike Mr Obama, he has made little effort to catch up or to bring in good advisers (Doug Holtz-Eakin being the impressive exception).

The choice of Sarah Palin epitomised the sloppiness. It is not just that she is an unconvincing stand-in, nor even that she seems to have been chosen partly for her views on divisive social issues, notably abortion. Mr McCain made his most important appointment having met her just twice.

Sure McCain is easily rattled and his VP is an idiot, but a plumber said Obama is a socialist!

This Sounds Like A Hypothetical From Law School

October 30, 2008

My criminal law prof – who was certifiable – loved to throw out crazy scenarios and then ask “do we have a crime?” I was waiting to hear those words after reading this story:

A 24-year-old man is accused of helping his 20-year-old housemate kill himself because the older man had his hand on the gun but failed to take it, the Union sheriff said today.

Bryan Bernard Ramsey was booked Tuesday on a charge of criminal assistance to Tijwan D. Hendricks’ suicide and on a charge of obstruction of justice because he hid the gun afterward, Sheriff Bill Buckley said.

Hendricks reportedly had been talking for weeks about killing himself, the sheriff said. On Monday night, Hendricks put the barrel of a pistol into his mouth in front of Ramsey and a female friend of Hendricks’, Juama Tremel Palmer, 25.

Hendricks repeatedly asked Ramsey to pull the trigger and shoot him, Buckley said.

“Ramsey put his hand on the weapon … and did not do anything. Our victim allegedly cocked the weapon and put it in his mouth. (Hendricks) said, ‘Now do it,’” Buckley said. “Ramsey had ample opportunity to take the weapon and did not.”

Because at the time they arrived at the scene, the cops still had to figure out what happened, the obstruction charge has merit. The gun was evidence. Hiding it interfered with the investigation.

I’m not so sure about the criminal assistance charge.

The situation would be very different if Ramsey had pulled the trigger. In that case, the charge would be murder. Even if Hendricks asked him to, and even if Ramsey did so out of compassion for his friend, that would still be murder. Motive is not an element of the crime. It would be the intentional killing of a human being, even if it was done for a good reason.

What happened, though, is that Ramsey failed to prevent Hendricks from killing himself. I don’t think that is a crime.

First, how reasonable would it have been to try to do anything other than what Hendricks did? The sheriff admits Hendricks already had the gun in his own mouth. In that situation, could Ramsey have possibly pulled the gun away? Or would doing so have caused it to go off in the struggle? Perhaps leaving it alone and letting Ramsey settle himself was the best option.

Second, even if Ramsey could have easily removed the gun, in this country the general rule is that no one is under any legal obligation to prevent harm to another person. There’s exceptions. Parents have a special duty to their kids. If you created the danger, you have to help prevent harm. But I don’t see anything here that would take this case out from the general rule. This sounds like a harsh rule, but think about the alternative. What if the neighbors had hears shouting before the shooting, would they be criminally liable too? What about people who knew Hendricks was depressed? How about them? As bad as it sounds, I just don’t think it is a crime to watch someone kill themselves.

I could be wrong. Law school was a long time ago, and practicing law feels like it was in another life. But this just sounds like a tragic situation in which the criminal law does not belong.

O.K., I’m Officially A Shill Now

October 29, 2008


Teens From Everywhere Strongly Favor Obama

October 29, 2008

I hate Channel One, the vehicle for advertising news show aimed at teens that just about every school makes kids watch in homeroom. It annoys me. None of them watch it, and it’s just one more think making noise. Anyway, they coordinated a nationwide presidential election among middle and high school students. The results, I thought, were stunning.

Not that Obama won, I expected that. That he won 43 states. McCain’s only victories were Alaska, Utah, Wyoming, Missouri, Nebraska, Alabama, and Kentucky. Note Arizona is not in that list. Among teens, McCain lost every single battleground state as well as the location of his six homes. I think that would be like 498-40 in the electoral college. That’s a serious butt kicking.

I know this doesn’t mean anything. Kids are emotional, easily swayed by peers and frequently suckered by the next new thing. Adults, of course, suffer from none of those flaws.

Will Sarah Palin Be Remembered As The Worst V.P. Choice Ever?

October 29, 2008

Not substantively – though she is a hypocritical lying moron – but strategically.

Like I noted int he previous post, the Times recently endorsed Obama. The endorsement had some familiar words:

In his first major decision as the presumptive Democratic nominee, Obama demonstrated more mature judgment than his opponent in choosing a running mate. In selecting a long-time U.S. Senator, foreign policy veteran Joe Biden, Obama answered the experience issue and reassured Americans they would have a vice president on standby who understands the levers of power.

From Colin Powell to one of Reagan’s solicitors general, Charles Fried, to the Times on Sunday, it seems like every Obama endorsement by a right or right thinking person is based in part on the choice of Sarah Palin. Someone needs to tally up the number of times this has happened. I’m sure the number would be huge. The loonies lover her, but clear thinking conservatives, libertarians, and independents? Apparently not so much. If McCain loses the election, choosing a running mate who would alienate a large part of his supporters will be a large reason for the loss.

I don’t think she brought any Hilary supporters McCain’s way, either.