Never Question

by: Alan M. Dershowitz (Felix Frankfurter Professor of Law at Harvard Law School, graduate of Brooklyn College and Yale Law School):

State Attorney Angela Corey, the prosecutor in the George Zimmerman case, recently called the Dean of Harvard Law School to complain about my criticism of some of her actions.

She was transferred to the Office of Communications and proceeded to engage in a 40-minute rant, during which she threatened to sue Harvard Law School, to try to get me disciplined by the Bar Association and to file charges against me for libel and slander.

She said that because I work for Harvard and am identified as a professor she had the right to sue Harvard.

When the communications official explained to her that I have a right to express my opinion as “a matter of academic freedom,” and that Harvard has no control over what I say, she did not seem to understand.

She persisted in her nonstop whining, claiming that she is prohibited from responding to my attacks by the rules of professional responsibility — without mentioning that she has repeatedly held her own press conferences and made public statements throughout her career.

Her beef was that I criticized her for filing a misleading affidavit that willfully omitted all information about the injuries Zimmerman had sustained during the “struggle” it described. She denied that she had any obligation to include in the affidavit truthful material that was favorable to the defense.

She insisted that she is entitled to submit what, in effect, were half-truths in an affidavit of probable cause, so long as she subsequently provides the defense with exculpatory evidence.

She should go back to law school, where she will learn that it is never appropriate to submit an affidavit that contains a half truth, because a half truth is regarded by the law as a lie, and anyone who submits an affidavit swears to tell the truth, the whole truth and nothing but the truth.

Before she submitted the probable cause affidavit, Corey was fully aware that Zimmerman had sustained serious injuries to the front and back of his head. The affidavit said that her investigators “reviewed” reports, statements and “photographs” that purportedly “detail[ed] the following.”

It then went on to describe “the struggle,” but it deliberately omitted all references to Zimmerman’s injuries, which were clearly visible in the photographs she and her investigators reviewed.

That is Hamlet without the Prince!

The judge deciding whether there is probable cause to charge the defendant with second degree murder should not have been kept in the dark about physical evidence that is so critical to determining whether a homicide occurred, and if so, a homicide of what degree. By omitting this crucial evidence, Corey deliberately misled the court.

Corey seems to believe that our criminal justice system is like a poker game in which the prosecution is entitled to show its cards only after the judge has decided to charge the defendant with second degree murder.

That’s not the way the system is supposed to work and that’s not the way prosecutors are supposed to act. That a prosecutor would hide behind the claim that she did not have an obligation to tell the whole truth until after the judge ruled on probable cause displays a kind of gamesmanship in which prosecutors should not engage.

The prisons, both in Florida and throughout the United States, are filled with felons who submitted sworn statements that contained misleading half-truths. Corey herself has probably prosecuted such cases.

Ironically, Corey has now succeeded in putting Zimmerman back in prison for a comparably misleading omission in his testimony. His failure to disclose money received from a PayPal account requesting donations for his legal defense made his testimony misleadingly incomplete.

In her motion to revoke his bail, Corey argued that Zimmerman “intentionally deceived the court” by making “false representations.” The same can be said about prosecutor Corey. She too misled and deceived the court by submitting an affidavit that relied on a review of photographs and other reports that showed injuries to Zimmerman, without disclosing the existence of these highly relevant injuries.

Even if Angela Corey’s actions were debatable, which I believe they were not, I certainly have the right, as a professor who has taught and practiced criminal law nearly 50 years, to express a contrary view. The idea that a prosecutor would threaten to sue someone who disagrees with her for libel and slander, to sue the university for which he works, and to try to get him disbarred, is the epitome of unprofessionalism.

Fortunately, truth is a defense to such charges.

I will continue to criticize prosecutors when their actions warrant criticism, to praise them when their actions deserve praise, and to comment on ongoing cases in the court of public opinion.

If Angela Corey doesn’t like the way freedom of expression operates in the United States, there are plenty of countries where truthful criticism of prosecutors and other government officials result in disbarment, defamation suits and even criminal charges.

We do not want to become such a country.

Attribution: NewsMax

Joke of the Day

Buckwheat of the Little Rascals fame grew up, became a Muslim, and changed his name. He now goes by Kareem of Wheat.

I want to die peacefully in my sleep, like my grandfather.. Not screaming and yelling like the passengers in his car.

Children: You spend the first 2 years of their life teaching them to walk and talk. Then you spend the next 16 years telling them to sit down and shut-up.

Never, under any circumstances, take a sleeping pill and a laxative on the same night.

The sole purpose of a child’s middle name, is so he can tell when he’s really in trouble.

Never get into fights with ugly people, they have nothing to lose.

My psychiatrist told me I was crazy and I said I want a second opinion. He said okay, you’re ugly too.

If at first you don’t succeed, skydiving is not for you!

Natural Gas Gets Clubbed

From: RedState

With the shale gas boom in full swing, gas prices are at 10-year lows. We have the realistic prospect of abundant domestic supplies of a clean-burning fuel for the foreseeable future, who doesn’t like natural gas?

Ask the Sierra Club. This week, the venerable environmental organization announced its “Beyond Natural Gas” initiative, to go along with their “Beyond Coal” and “Beyond Oilcampaigns. Of course, they hate nuclear energy too.

“Fossil fuels have no part in America’s energy future – coal, oil, and natural gas are literally poisoning us. The emergence of natural gas as a significant part of our energy mix is particularly frightening because it dangerously postpones investment in clean energy at a time when we should be doubling down on wind, solar and energy efficiency.”
—Robin Mann, Sierra Club President

The Sierra Club has over a half-million members (down from 600,000) and an annual budget of $100 million. They are arguably the most influential environmental lobby in the country. People take them seriously, and politicians listen.

With their opposition to fossil fuels and nukes, the Sierra Club takes 91% of our current energy sources off the table (see EIA chart at the end of the post). And most of the remaining 9% they’re not too crazy about.

Youthful naiveté has an endearing quality. If their proposal were merely impractical, it would be naive. The Sierra Club is not naive. Their plan is physically and economically impossible. They have a willfully foolish, craven and destructive agenda. They are not looking for solutions. They wish an end to our industrialized civilization. They wish us to return to mud huts. There are responsible environmental organizations. It should be an embarrassment that anyone should give the Sierra Club a nickel.

The Sierra Club’s ultimate goal, not surprisingly, is to save the planet from Global Warming. To that end, they wish to curtail 90% of carbon dioxide emissions by 2050thirty-eight years from now.

How will they do it? In Robin Mann’s words: “[W]e should be doubling down on wind, solar and energy efficiency.”

Point #1: Everyone is for energy efficiency, and it happens naturally due to economics and technical advances. But “energy efficiency” is a strategy to use existing fuels more efficiently, not replace them. That means the only technologies on the table are wind and solar. So that leads to …

Point #2: This is not “doubling down”, it’s going “all in“. All in on a sucker’s bet. That’s because wind and solar would have to grow by a factor of 50 times their contribution in 2011. Not “grow by 50%” — 50 times. Even if we suddenly developed the will to do it, there’s not enough money/resources in the known universe to make it possible. And if we did it, what about the Chinese and the rest of the world? And what would be the environmental consequences of making the conversion?


See that little pink bar, way on the right? The Sierra Club loves that. Everything else; not so much. Not at all, in fact. And it’s even worse than that chart makes it appear — this is a graph of domestic sources. In addition to the 78 quads depicted here, we import another 20. And Geothermal has limited growth potential. So that little pink bar needs to grow from a value of 2, to 100.
Or more than 100, because the population is going to grow by 2050. And since wind and solar are not primary transportation sources, we’d need to generate even more to account for efficiency losses.

This radicalism can be understood in the context of a recent reorganization:

Carl Pope, who has led the Sierra Club for much of the last two decades, is planning to leave the organization next year as it struggles to redefine its mission in a tough economy, the organization said Friday. … Mr. Pope, 66, stepped down as executive director last year after 17 years, turning the job over to Michael Brune, 40, who came to the Sierra Club from the Rainforest Action Network and Greenpeace, younger and politically more aggressive groups. Mr. Pope has held the title of chairman since Mr. Brune arrived and will remain a consultant to the club until the end of next year.

Has the Sierra Club jumped the shark? That happened long ago. My friend, with this natural gas pronouncement, the Sierra Club gave the shark a lap dance. And had its love child.

The Wall Street Journal reminds us that not long ago, the Sierra Club and natural gas were BFFs (to the tune of $26 million from Chesapeake Energy, never a shrinking violet when it comes to advancing its own interests):

“The political irony is that not too long ago the Sierra Club and other greens portrayed natural gas as the good fossil fuel. The Sierra Club liked natural gas so much (and vice versa) that from 2007-2010 the group received $26 million in donations from Chesapeake Energy and others in the gas industry, according to an analysis by the Washington Post. Some of that money was for the Beyond Coal campaign. …”

But now that the hydraulic fracturing and shale revolution has sent [wellhead] gas prices down to $2.50 [from $8 or more per million BTU in 2008], the lobby fears natural gas will come to dominate U.S. energy production. At that price, the Sierra Club’s Valhalla of wind, solar and biofuel power may never be competitive. So the green left has decided it must do everything it can to reduce the supply of gas and keep its price as high as possible.

It’s Never Too Late

A man who dropped out of high school 70 years ago to serve in World War II finally got his diploma last week.

Jack Fletcher, an 86-year-old veteran, joined the 2012 graduates of Spur High School in Spur, Texas as he walked across the stage to receive his diploma.

The man didn’t complete his senior year at the school opting to serve in the U.S. Marines in the 1940s.

While away from a classroom for seven decades, Mr Fletcher had always hoped for an opportunity to wear a cap and gown from his old school.

He grew up in the area. Both his parents died in a car accident leaving him, along with his two brothers, in the care of their grandparents.

Several of Mr Fletcher’s friends and his brothers signed up to join the war.

He too enlisted, meaning he had to give up finishing his final year of high school.

He went on serve overseas in the Pacific region for several years.

When Mr Fletcher returned to his grandparents in his hometown, the family dog, David, was waiting for him.

‘That little dog,’ the veteran said, holding back tears, “my grandmother said he waited at the end of the lane each day when I left.”

He soon moved on to his next adventure where he moved to Australia to build a successful career in the agricultural industry.

“You think that would satisfy a guy,” Mr Fletcher said.

Instead, the veteran couldn’t let go of his hopes to receive a high school diploma.

Years later, he found himself standing among the ten other 2012 graduates at the small town high school.

He joked with the news station: “The superintendent assured them I was no slow learner even though it’s taken me 70 years.”

With his blue cap and gown with a gold tassel that had a 2012 charm on it, Mr Fletcher walked across the Spur High School stage as an honorary graduate and got a diploma.

“I had to look to make sure they put a certificate in there. I was afraid they were kidding me!” he said, laughing.

Attribution: Mail Online

Let My People Vote!

by: the Common Costitutionalist

The Huffington Post writes that Attorney General Eric Holder told members of the Congressional Black Caucus and the Conference of National Black Churches last Wednesday that the right to vote was threatened across the country.

“The reality is that in jurisdictions across the country, both overt and subtle forms of discrimination remain all too common and have not yet been relegated to the pages of history,” Holder told the audience, made up of black church and political leaders, during a faith leaders summit in Washington.

Foul! Foul! Separation of Church & State! Sorry; couldn’t resist.

“If a state passes a new voting law and meets its burden of showing that the law is not discriminatory, we will follow the law and will approve that change,” Holder said. (comment: which would be never) “When a jurisdiction fails to meet its burden in proving that a voting change will not have a racially discriminatory effect, we will object.” (comment: which would be always)

Once again, as it always is with this administration, it’s all about race.

HuffPo continues by stating that Voter ID laws, which require voters to present official government identification before they cast a ballot in an elections, have become a hot-button issue this election cycle.

Ooh; official government identification.What is this, Nazi Germany; “Papers Please”. You mean like a driver’s license or non-drivers state I.D.? That official identification?

HuufPo claims that critics of the voter I.D. laws say that the groups most likely to be harmed by the rules — blacks, Latinos, the poor, and college students — are groups that are key parts of the Democratic voting bloc. Name one college student that doesn’t have a photo I.D.?

A study of “Voter Disenfranchisement” was done by the ultra-liberal Brennan Center for Justice. What a shocker, I know. I bet they found all but white males are “disenfranchised”.

Their “study” found the restrictions fall into five major categories: (1) requirements that voters provide specific kinds of government-issued photo ID to vote or have their votes counted; (2) requirements to provide documentary proof of citizenship in order to register and vote; (3) new restrictions on voter registration; (4) cutbacks on the availability of early and absentee voting; and (5) actions permanently depriving previously incarcerated citizens of their right to vote.

So, first you have to prove who you are by showing a photo I.D. Tragic! Get your butt down to the DMV and get an I.D. It costs less than a couple of packs of smokes these days. Heck, some states are starting to give them out. All you have to do is get there.

Second: You have to actually prove that you are a citizen to vote? Those bastards!

Does this sound as asinine to you as it does me?

Third: The new restrictions are that states are finally figuring out the “Same day Registration” nonsense. It makes it harder to cheat when they have time to check. States are also wising up to the phony “ACORN” type registration drives, where dead people,  Mickey Mouse & Abe Lincoln are mysteriously registered to vote.

Fourth: Early voting is a complete crock. It’s not as if election day just sneaks up you. You should kinda know when it comes around. Do voters have no responsibility in this country?

Fifth: They describe it as “incarcerated citizens”. Call them what they are, felons, and almost all can regain their right to vote after they’ve done their time.

The bottom line is, these so-called advocates for the “disenfranchised” just want the right to continue to cheat if they so choose and we are racists if we stand in their way. If any citizen is “disenfranchised”, it is because they choose to be.

I’ve compiled a list of things, off the top of my head, for which one would need a photo I.D. I’m sure there are many more but here are some that come to mind.

To get a job, many employers require to see a photo I.D. You need an I.D. to test drive and purchase a car, to open a bank account, to close a bank account, to buy a house, to rent an apartment, to apply for any loan, to buy booze, to buy cigarettes, to receive welfare, unemployment or food stamps.

 I think that covers folks in all three of the classes in which we like to lump our citizens; Upper class (the evil rich), the sacred middle class and the disenfranchised lower class (the poor).

 As long as one never has to do, or purchase, any of those things, I guess they wouldn’t need an I.D.

Voting should be treated as a privilege in this country. I’ve spoken to more than just a few immigrants from communist countries about this subject. They tell me it’s absurd that so many in this country take the vote for granted. They’re right!

McSoldiers

Shortly before construction began on the Centreville McDonald’s restaurant in early 1997, the unmarked graves of six Civil War soldiers were unearthed on the site.

The astonishing discovery led to an excavation under the direction of forensic anthropologist Doug Owsley of the Smithsonian Institution. Skeletons and historic artifacts from the gravesites were measured, cataloged and removed.

Five years later, a local historian and member of the Northern Virginia Relic Hunters Association — which also participated in the dig — believed he’d unlocked the mystery to the soldiers’ identities. What’s more, he said as many as 10 Civil War soldiers may have actually been buried in that spot.

“They were found in what’s now the drive-through lane for a fast-food place,” said Dalton Rector, who presented his theory at the Centreville fire station to more than 150 people riveted by his every word.

Speaking at the quarterly meeting of the Historic Centreville Society, he said, “I can make a compelling case that they were [Union soldiers] from Massachusetts that died during the Battle of Blackburn’s Ford, halfway between Centreville and Manassas.”

He said a member of his group, Kevin Ambrose, actually discovered one of the graves in 1995, but no one investigated further until Jan. 30, 1997 — day one of the three-day archaeological excavation.

 “Digging human remains is an experience I can’t explain,” said Rector. “My friends and I started debating, right then and there, who they were and where they were from. We thought they were from the early part of the war, so I used March 10, 1862 — the date of the Confederate evacuation of Centreville — as my research cutoff date.”

The research became so fascinating to him that it took up the last five years of his life, and his conclusions — based on forensic evidence, genealogical records and extensive historical data — do seem quite plausible.

“To me, they do,” said newly elected Historic Centreville Society president Spencer Marker. “I was fascinated with what he came up with, and I haven’t heard of anyone else working in this area with these soldiers.”

With the skeletons, also found in the graves, were metal uniform buttons, glass buttons from undergarments, pieces of fabric and even musket balls. And one soldier was still wearing his shoes. Some of the buttons from the state-militia jackets had an “I” on them, signifying “infantry,” and Massachusetts used this type of button for its officers.

The fact that the soldiers had been buried in coffins also provided a clue. “That meant they were buried by their own men,” said Rector. “Therefore, they were in control of Centreville at the time.” He also noted that the Battle of Blackburn’s Ford was fought July 18, 1861 — three days before the Battle of First Manassas, which is considered to be the first battle of the Civil War.

The Smithsonian determined the soldiers’ approximate ages and heights, and Rector took it from there — eventually identifying the men by name, military unit and company. He even learned about their childhoods and family backgrounds.

Companies G and H of the 1st Massachusetts Volunteer Regiment fought in the Battle of Blackburn’s Ford, and Rector obtained a list of those soldiers’ names and ages and discovered how each man died. From 24 names, he painstakingly concluded which ones were in the Centreville graves.

At the time of this battle, he said, “The Confederates were already waiting in Fairfax County for the Union soldiers. Ten were killed in action from the 1st Massachusetts unit and three more were mortally wounded [and died later].”

Company G was the first company on the battlefield, and these soldiers arrived in their jackets. When the 17th Virginia entered, hand-to-hand combat ensued and Company H came in as reinforcements, fighting with their jackets off. These details proved important because the men in graves No. 1, 3 and 6 all had jackets, but the others did not.

After grave 1 was uncovered, the McDonald’s developer cleared away brush from the site to discover the five other graves. A week later, said Rector, a relic hunter found another cluster of buttons — probably from a seventh grave. From his research and the type of buttons, Rector identified this soldier as Ebenezer Field, 27, of Company G.

He noted, as well, that — a week before the dig — Owsley used a steel probe on the site and reportedly stated nine to 10 graves were there. Owsley later denied the remark, but Rector said a relic hunter he’s known for years swore he heard Owsley say it. Rector also determined who these men would be.

The six soldiers’ remains are in boxes in the Smithsonian, and Rector is trying to have DNA testing done to confirm their identities. “I don’t want them buried as unknowns,” he said. “I want them to have the chance to have their identities restored and them returned to their families.”

Afterward, Ron Savage, Historic Centreville Society vice president, said he was pleasantly surprised by how many people attended Rector’s talk and how well received it was. “People sat there mesmerized,” he said. “I was impressed — it was a well-done, professional presentation.”

Savage said residents were truly interested in learning what happened after the dig. “There’s a great thirst for the history in and around Centreville,” he said. “If [Rector’s] hypothesis works out, I think he should put it in a book.”

As for Marker, he hopes to have more such programs in the future, saying, “I think people who

Joke of the Day

Jim, a traveling salesman goes to a hotel late in the night and asks the clerk for a single room.

As the clerk is completing the formalities, Jim looks around and finds a stunning blonde seated in the lobby. He tells the clerk to excuse him for a moment and heads to the lobby. He is back in a minute with the blonde on his arm.

“Fancy running into my wife here,” he tells the clerk. “Guess I’ll need a double room after all.”

Next morning, when Jim comes to settle his bill, he finds the amount to be $4200. “What the hell is this?” he yells at the clerk. “I have been here for just a night!”

“You are right, Sir,” says the clerk, “but your wife has been here for 4 weeks.”

There Ought to be a Law

by: the Common Constitutionalist

I’m not one for proposing & enacting new legislation. In my opinion, America has too many laws already. Most could be repealed without the general population even realizing it. The repeal of many of them would have little effect on our lives.

That being said, I recently reprinted a column from one of my heroes, Walter E. Williams; economist & occasional fill in host for El Rusbo.

In the article he explains the problem with federal spending; that every congressman & senator in Washington tries to take as large a piece of the federal pie home to his or her district. He describes their political success as how much “Bacon they can bring home”.

Williams then goes on to explain how & why this spending is simply unsustainable, but understands their attempt at legitimizing the taking. It would sound good for a bit, but what would be the point in refusing the money. If they don’t take it home, someone else will, so why not grab it.

You may link to this article here

That got me thinking. There ought to a law! Wow, never thought I’d say that, but in this case, there ought.

So, I hereby propose a new bill: If a congressman or senator is bold enough to refuse money from the feds for his or her state, the amount they refuse cannot be spent elsewhere. If they have the courage to decline federal funds, the amount they forebear would automatically be deducted from next years budget.

A stand-alone government website would be established to keep score of every congressman and senator, as it were. Every dime they took for there state as well as what they refused. There would be no where to hide.

I believe many conservative lawmakers would be happy to refuse federal graft if they thought it could make a difference to do so. Presently, as described above, there is no benefit.

A lawmaker could triumphantly return to their district with the rightful claim that he or she actually did cut the budget by X amount instead of the current excuses of why it can’t be done, or worse, the shady lies that it is being done, when they know it is all accounting gimmickry.

There would be no need for committees, or dimwitted chamber speeches. It would be automatic.

Would it balance the budget? Nope. Would it decrease our deficit or debt? Only fractionally.

What it may do is begin to change the mindset of congress, that one man really can make a difference and if enough of them jumped on the bandwagon, it could very well have an impact.

It would also be a great campaigning tool. A big spender would be a lot easier to spot and thus run against.