Friday, February 16, 2007

Interesting jurisdictional problem

Thanks to Norm at Crime & Federalism for the hat tip on this, although he went off on a different angle.

The Facts (short version)- Guy from New York goes to Connecticut, allegedly has too much to drink and kills a pedestrian. Returns to New York, confesses to his parents, and they allegedly help him cover it up. Like I said, short version. Longer version here.

The guy is charged with various and sundry, and there is talk of charging the parents- but where? They never set foot in Connecticut, and their involvement seems to be entirely after the fact, meaning that they are not really conspirators to the substantive offense, and I can't find a Model Penal Code style territorial applicability statute in Connecticut. I suppose the effects doctrine from international law could apply here, or Connecticut could charge the parents with conspiracy to obstruct justice which would truly get around the jurisdictional problem altogether.

Still very interesting.

Evolution- Blame the Jews

Tip of the hat to the ACSBlog for this gem. Right wing legislators in Georgia and Texas are arguing that teaching evolution (as well as gravity, apparently) in public schools is unconstitutional because it is actually an ancient Kabbalistic conspiracy. The Kabbalah is a mystical Jewish tradition practiced by none other than Esther Ciccone! (Okay- that was mean...)

According to the memo (all italics and scare quotes in the original)-

All that can now be changed! Indisputable evidence--long hidden but now available to everyone--demonstrates conclusively that so-called "secular evolution science" is the Big-Bang 15-billion-year alternative "creation scenario" of the Pharisee Religion. This scenario is derived concept-for-concept from Rabbinic writings in the mystic "holy book" Kabbala dating back at least two millennia.

The memo goes on to conclude that the Kabbalistic evolution has a "very specific religious agenda,"making it unconstitutional to teach it in school.

Being the good liberal, constitutional lawyer that I am, I went to their source- the indisputable evidence that demonstrates conclusively their claims. The author cites as his source an organization called The Fair Education Foundation- on the web at (yes that does say fixed earth). The site (written in stunning HTML 1.0!) greets visitors with a bold pronunciation:

The non-moving Earth

& anti-evolution web page of

The Fair Education Foundation, Inc.

Exposing the False Science Idol of Evolutionism,
and Proving the Truthfulness of the Bible from Creation to Heaven...

- since 1973 -

Marshall Hall, Pres.



Read all about the Copernican and Darwinian Myths

(and their many ramifications going all the way to Kabbala-based Big Bangism!)



I am always amazed at how obvious fools manage to get taken seriously by people in places of power, but this is truly astounding. Elected officials in two sovereign states are making decisions based on the ramblings of a person who honestly and truly believes that the sun revolves around the Earth. I understand that ideas never truly die, they linger on in the meme pool competing with better ideas until only a handful of wingnuts adhere to them. But for elected officials to use these ramblings to advance an agenda just makes me scratch my head and thank my lucky (and not orbiting the Earth) stars that I don't live in Georgia or Texas.

Thursday, February 15, 2007

I need to refocus this blog somewhat

When I started this blog, I envisioned it as a forum to comment on The State of the Law- that's capitalized, you see. However, with my net cast so wide, I find myself in a bit of a pickle.

With absolutely everything in the world to write about, I have nothing to say, as evidenced by my increasingly infrequent posts.

So I need to think for a few days about what I want this blog to be about, and hone in.

Monday, February 12, 2007

Well, that didn't take long

We have only just concluded the First 100 Hours, and Washington is back to its old ways. With much fanfare, the new Congress changed the rules to "break the link between lobbyists and legislation."

Link repaired!

In just the last two months, lawmakers invited lobbyists to help pay for a catalog of outings: lavish birthday parties in a lawmaker’s honor ($1,000 a lobbyist), martinis and margaritas at Washington restaurants (at least $1,000), a California wine-tasting tour (all donors welcome), hunting and fishing trips (typically $5,000), weekend golf tournaments ($2,500 and up), a Presidents’ Day weekend at Disney World ($5,000), parties in South Beach in Miami ($5,000), concerts by the Who or Bob Seger ($2,500 for two seats), and even Broadway shows like “Mary Poppins” and “The Drowsy Chaperone” (also $2,500 for two).

The lobbyists and their employers typically end up paying for the events, but within the new rules.

Instead of picking up the lawmaker’s tab, lobbyists pay a political fund-raising committee set up by the lawmaker. In turn, the committee pays the legislator’s way.

Few things are as certain as corruption in the Halls of Congress, except possibly the existence (and subsequent exploitation) of loopholes.