In 2004, Antoine Jones, the owner of a night club in the District of Columbia, was suspected by the police and the FBI of trafficking in illegal drugs and narcotics. As part of the investigation, in 2005 the government asked for and obtained a warrant from the District of Columbia to attach a global positioning satellite (GPS) device on the Jeep Cherokee used by Jones. The warrant specified the GPS device be installed within 10 days and be installed within the District of Columbia.
However well intentioned the government may have been to catch a drug dealer, the government violated the terms of the warrant and attached the GPS to the Cherokee on the 11th day (after the warrant had expired), and while the car and Jones were in Virginia, not the District of Columbia. The GPS device tracked Jones for 28 days, during which time the agents replaced the battery once. The tracking information which was generated required over 2000 pages to print.
Jones was eventually arrested, tried and convicted for drug trafficking. Upon his conviction, Jones appealed saying the police had violated his fourth Amendment rights. After appeals in lower courts, the Supreme Court took up the case and issued its ruling in U.S. v. Jones saying the government’s use of the GPS device without a legal warrant was in fact a violation of Jones’s Fourth Amendment Rights.
Jones’ conviction was overturned.
The ruling in the case was 9 – 0, but while the vote to overturn was unanimous, the reasoning was not. Four Justices (Scalia, Roberts, Kennedy and Thomas) issued the majority opinion. Justice Sotamayor wrote a concurring opinion which came to the same conclusion but with slightly different reasoning. Justice Alito was joined by Justices Ginsburg, Breyer and Kagan in another separate concurrence but once again with different reasoning. This was 9 people arriving at the same party by taking different routes.
To understand the decision, we have to start with the basics – the Fourth Amendment itself: (more…)
Jan 26, 2012
Posted by AAfterwit on Jan 26, 2012 | Comments Off
There are many people in the world who hate those of the Jewish faith. Many of those people are Muslim. There are many people in the world who hate those of the Islamic faith. Many of those people are Jewish.
Jews, Gentiles, Muslims, Catholic, Protestants, Hindu…… it doesn’t matter. Too often the faith to which a person allegedly lovingly ascribes results in an accompanying hatred of those in another faith.
Certainly there is a great deal of hatred to go around and much of that hatred has a component of faith, or lack of faith, to it.
We don’t want to give the impression that we are some pollyannish believer who wants to gather everyone around a campfire and sing “Kumbaya” or “I’d Like to Teach the World to Sing.” We are not that naive. We know there is great hatred in the world between those of certain religious beliefs and those without religious beliefs.
Coney Island Bialys and Bagels claims to be the oldest bialy bakery in New York City. Founded in 1920, it’s faced hard economic times and changing neighborhood demographics.
Now, the shop has been rescued by two Pakistani Muslims — and they’re keeping it kosher.
You read that right. A Jewish bagel store has been bought by two Muslims who are keeping the store kosher.
It is more than that though. One of the men who is taking over the store, Zafaryab Alimen, worked for the Jewish owners for over a decade.
Holy bagels and lox Batman! Jews and Muslims working together for over a decade!
There are going to be skeptics to this and maybe rightfully so. In the comments of the linked NPR article, there are accusations of the profits from the store now going to fund terrorism, rejoicing at the failure of a “dirty Jews,” etc. (And we would bet many of those who make those comments consider themselves “good ::insert name of religion here::”) (more…)
In the post below, we talked about how Brandon Wegner, who attends Shawano High School in Wisconsin wrote an opinion piece in the schools newspaper as part of a “yes / no” type of article.
The issue was whether homosexual couples should have the ability to adopt children. As part of his “no” response, Wegner cited the Bible. This brought the ire of a local gay couple who turned to the Superintendent of the School Board.
The Superintendent, Todd Carlson, labeled that article and Wegner’s opinion as “cultivating a negative environment of disrespect [which is] not appropriate.” Carlson apparently agreed with the gay couple and labeled the opinion piece as a “form of bullying and disrespect.”
Today, according to FoxNews, Carlson doubled down on stupid:
[Mathew Staver, the founder of the Liberty Counsel] said the 15-year-old was ordered to the superintendent’s office where he was subjected to hours of meetings and was accused of violating the school’s bullying policy.
“The superintendent called him ignorant and said he had the power to suspend him,” Staver said. “He’s using his position to bully this student. This is absolutely the epitome of intolerance.”
Staver said the boy’s parents were never notified.
At one point, Staver said the superintendent gave him a chance to say he regretted writing the column.
“When Mr. Wegner stated that he did not regret writing it, and that he stood behind his beliefs, Superintendent Carlson told him that he ‘had got to be one of the most ignorant kids to try to argue with him about this topic,’” Staver said.
At that point, Staver said the superintendent told the boy that “we have the power to suspend you if we want to.”
The superintendent allegedly told Wegner that he was personally offended by Wegner’s column.
Isn’t it ironic that the man who thought an opinion piece in a school newspaper was “bullying,” is now doing the “bullying” himself? (more…)
Jan 25, 2012
Posted by AAfterwit on Jan 25, 2012 | Comments Off
The Shawano High School’s Hawks Post in Wisconsin is the center of a free speech issue surrounding the question of “what is bullying.”
The student written newspaper published an article where two students debated whether gay couples should be able to adopt children. The two students – Brandon Wegner who is against adoption by gay couples and Maddie Marquardt who favors adoption by gays – wrote what we consider to be thoughtful, insightful, and well written pieces. Whether you agree or disagree with the particular point of view, you can still appreciate the quality of the arguments put forth by the two high school students.
If that were the end of the story, that would be great.
But it is not the end.
In his article against adoption by gay couples, Wegner quoted the Bible, specifically Leviticus 20:13 which says:
If there is a man who lies with a male as those who lie with a woman, both of them have committed a detestable act; they shall surely be put to death. Their bloodguiltiness is upon them. (New American Standard)
Uttecht told school district officials he thinks the piece opposing gays as parents is hateful and should not have run. He worries the strong language will hurt his children and could lead students to bully gay classmates.
“I’m worried about how this is going to affect my kids,” said Uttecht, who also is an elected member of the Menominee Indian Head Start Policy Council. “And I’m worried how gay students in school will be treated. It took me a long time to come out, and I think this just really sets things back by being so closed-minded. This sets things back 20 or 30 years.
“I know there are at least three openly gay families in the district, there’s probably more. What effect is this going to have on my kids? And how are other people going to react?”
If Uttecht and his partner simply disagreed with Wegner’s position, that would be fine.
Lego has introduced a new line of products called “Lego Friends” which are designed for girls who want a difference experience than playing with the normal Lego sets.
According to Mads Nipper, executive vice president of Lego:
“We heard very clear requests from moms and girls for more details and interior building, a brighter color palette, a more realistic figure, role play opportunities and a story line that they would find interesting.”
The sets are brighter, more colorful but the major change is the figures in the sets are not the typical Lego figures. As you can see in the picture and the video below the Lego Friends sets sport girls that are slimmer and wear more stylish clothes than the normal Lego figure.
Enter in to the discussion the people who want to run your life.
According to one Carolyn Costin, who is the founder of the Monte Nido Treatment Center in Malibu, California, the new Lego Friends line will contribute to gender stereotyping and eating disorders in girls. Monte Nido treats people with eating disorders which is a very serious subject whose seriousness is lessened by Costin’s ridiculous statement.
This past weekend, citizens of South Carolina went to the polls to vote for their candidate in the South Carolina Republican primary. While Newt Gingrich’s win was all the buzz of the news world, this little tidbit slipped by without much notice:
The South Carolina Attorney General’s office and State Law Enforcement Division are investigating more than 900 cases of dead people being recorded as voting in the state to see whether there was fraud or clerical errors.
Take a look at what spokesmen for two players in this debacle have to say. First up is State Election Commission spokesman Chris Whitmire:
He doesn’t know why more than 900 dead people show up has having voted, but doesn’t think it’s necessarily fraud. “We want to know what’s going on. We want to get to the bottom of it and figure out if this is going on and, if it is, find out what’s happening and stop it.”
He says it’s possible they could be clerical errors. For example, if John Smith, Jr. goes to vote and his name is right below John Smith, Sr., who died recently, a poll worker might accidentally fill in the box for Senior, showing that he voted.
Memo to Whitmire: if a dead person voted, it is still fraudulent when the voter signed in the wrong spot on the registrar. There is a three part check to the system – the poll worker verifies the spot on which to sign, the voter signs the correct spot, and the poll worker verifies the signature is in the correct spot. Whether the fraud is intentional or not is another matter, but a dead person voting is still fraudulent. Period.
The second person to weigh in on this is Brett Bursey, executive director of the South Carolina Progressive Network: (more…)
Jan 23, 2012
Posted by AAfterwit on Jan 23, 2012 | Comments Off
Imagine owning a piece of property upon which you have erected a building. Next to the building and also on your property, you have a garden that you allow people to walk through, sit, relax and enjoy the scenery.
Along comes a group that you allow to sit in the garden because you feel threatened by them. They threaten the people that come in and out of your building. Instead of just sitting in the garden, the group of people start to build structures. They deny access to the garden for everyone else. There are reports of illegal activity in the garden, making it even less desirable.
If you are a normal person, you would want the people in the garden gone.
If, however, you are a member of Occupy Pittsburgh, you are now in court trying to prevent the owners of the property from removing you from the garden.
The property in question is owned by the bank BNY Mellon. In October, the bank let the protesters set up in the area known as the “Mellon Green.” After seeing the violence against other banks and buildings, the BNY Mellon allowed the protesters to set up in the green under certain rules, but only temporarily.
“We permitted the occupiers to utilize the green,” [chairman of BNY Mellon of Pennsylvania Vincent Sands] said. “We were frightened there could be confrontation. We thought the best thing for employees and clients was to let them use the area.”
When the occupiers first set up camp, BNY Mellon provided a list of guidelines that were designed for the “duration” of the stay, Mr. Sands said.
By the second week in December, however, the company believed the group needed to leave.
“We thought we were losing control of the property,” Mr. Sands said.
The bank took action when officials heard about the occupiers trying to build “permanent structures.”
The idea of negotiating with the OWS groups and them not living up to the agreements has happened before. Saint Paul’s Cathedral in London had offered to allow “Occupy London” protesters to stay on the Cathedral’s grounds only to find the protesters started destroying the property, harassing parishioners, attacking visitors and taking part in all sorts of illegal activities.
When the Cathedral asked the protesters to leave as they had worn out their welcome, the protesters refused. (more…)