Can The Governent Solve This?

Hugh Hewitt has a link to LA Times columnist Davis Shaw who writes about bloggers and whether they are worthy of protection under First Amendment as “press”.

Do bloggers deserve basic journalistic protections?

Not surprisingly, he finds that that anyone he considers a journalist deserves protection, but that does not include bloggers.

He does not think that First Amendment protection should be extended to bloggers. But if the government is to decide whether or not to extend the protection, first it must decide who is a journalist. Do the courts have that power under the First Amendment? Wouldn’t formalizing requirements to be considered a “journalist” require making laws respecting freedom of the press? Wouldn’t this allow the government to silence critics by simply declaring them to not be journalists?

He also maintains that journalists have a “personal and professional commitments to accuracy and fairness”. If the government is going to choose who are journalists and who are not as Mr. Shaw hopes, are they also going to be held to those standards by statute? What I mean is if a “real” journalist writes a piece that is not “fair” by using information that is not true or neglecting to include other information, are they going to be liable?

I’m no lawyer, so I’m likely wrong about most of this, but it raises interesting questions doesn’t it?

The Abuse Of Restraining Orders

FOXNews.com – Views – ifeminists – Mother Sues Cops For Failing to Protect Kids

Last week, the U.S. Supreme Court heard arguments on Town of Castle Rock, Colorado v. Gonzales [.pdf]. At issue is whether Jessica Gonzales can sue her local police department in federal court for violating her Constitutional rights when they did not enforce a restraining order.

The decision, expected in June, could revolutionize the way police departments across America handle such orders. Hopefully, it will spark discussion of how they are issued as well.

People have an unrealistic expectation when it comes to restraining orders. They don’t understand what they are and what they can do. I have been dealing with RO violations as a dispatcher for the past 15 years. The opinion of everyone I work with, men and women, dispatch, records and patrol, is that a minimum of 50% of the ROs are filed for reasons other than protection. Note that I said a minimum or 50%, the actual number of ROs filed for ulterior reasons is likely even more.

The most common reason for requesting an RO is for child custody. There are divorce proceedings starting and the woman wants to punish the man by withholding access to the children. The problem is that ROs are not given for that reason, they are given supposedly to protect the woman from violence. The standards are pretty low, all she has to do is pretty much show up and say that she is frightened, she does not have to show any history or anything.

Another reason is to get control of the house and property. When the male half is served with an RO he is usually given a twenty minute standby with a deputy to get his clothing and personal possessions. That includes medication, papers etc, but not property such as tools, vehicles or furniture. We have had cases where the male was a professional mechanic and when his wife got an RO he was kicked out without his tools. He had no way to work. By the time he had gone to court and got a writ to get his tools, she had sold them for half their value. There were no charges brought because Oregon is a “community property” state and all property is considered jointly owned. He was screwed. This is not an isolated case. It happens time after time.

The other thing that is quite popular is the ‘honey trap”. ROs only work one way. They restrain the respondent (usually male) from contacting the petitioner (usually female) but does not restrain her from contacting him. I know of several cases where the female has invited the male over to “make up” and then turned around and reported a violation when he showed up, some even wait until the next morning, when all their itches have been scratched.

In this case, the male was restrained from contacting Mrs. Gonzales and the children except during a scheduled “parenting time”. The incident occurred during that parenting time. There is a dispute as to whether or not there was actually a violation. The restraining order was modified to allow Mr. Gonzales to pick up the children for “parenting time.” I would say off hand that no violation occurred. I would, of course, bump it to my supervisor for the final determination. He would have done what was probably done in this case, send a deputy to interview her.

Since Mr. Gonzales ended up committing “suicide by cop”, I am wondering exactly what she expected the police to do at that point that would have altered the outcome?

The truth about ROs is that they only provide protection against those who choose to follow them. If a respondent decides that he is not going to be bound by the order and is willing to go to the extremes that Mr. Gonzales did in this case, there is very little the police or anyone else can do except clean up the mess afterwards.

I have yet to see a restraining order that can stop a 9mm.

Failing To Improve Jobs, Democrats Tout Handouts

Kulongoski, Democrats tout jobless aid extension

SALEM, Ore. – Gov. Ted Kulongoski and Democratic legislators proposed a temporary extension of unemployment benefits to Oregon workers whose benefits have run out.

Oregon is well known to be a regulation-happy state. Businesses don’t want to locate here because they know that the State government is going to try to regulate every aspect of their business.

The Democrats do try to attract businesses, but only to the deep blue region of the Portland Metro area. The rest of the state can dry up and blow away for all the Democrats care. They don’t want the farmers to farm, the ranchers to ranch or the loggers to log. They only want people in the rural area to be there to pump their gas and fluff their pillows when they decide to venture out to see unspoiled nature. The rest of the time they should remain quietly invisible.

“Jobs” for the rest of Oregon might spoil the bucolic paradise that they envision.

But whatever the Democrat lack in economic terms they more than make up for in patronizing attitudes. Their solution, as alway, involves a “program” and handouts, for which the recipients are supposed to show their gratitude.

I’m confused. Are the workers drawing extended unemployment supposed to tug their forelocks when thanking the politicians, or will a deep bow be sufficient?

“International Law” OK, But Not The Bible?

National > Colorado Court Bars Execution Because Jurors Consulted Bible” href=”http://www.nytimes.com/2005/03/29/national/29bible.html?th&emc=th”>Colorado Court Bars Execution Because Jurors Consulted Bible

If the Colorado jurors had studied “International Law” rather than the the Bible, they might not have been overturned. Justices Kennedy and Ginsburg have both made references to “international law” in decisions recently. Justices Scalia and Breyer had a discussion of “international law” where Justice Breyer supported looking at laws in places like Zimbabwe to determine how to decide cases in the United States.

So the greatest legal minds in the United States are of the opinion that our justice should ride on laws and opinions of foreigners but that an American jury cannot consult what is considered by most Americans one of the bedrock documents of civilization itself?

People hold lawyers as just slightly better than gangrene on a scale of worthiness, knowing that judges are just lawyers with black robes does not incline anyone to thing more of them.

Sometimes You Wonder Which Side They’re On

How a Lone Diplomat Compromised the Hunt for Bin Laden

WASHINGTON — A lone U.S. ambassador compromised America’s hunt for Osama bin Laden in Pakistan for more than two years,The New York Sun has learned.

Ambassador Nancy Powell, America’s representative in Pakistan, refused to allow the distribution in Pakistan of wanted posters, matchbooks, and other items advertising America’s $25 million reward for information leading to the capture of Mr. bin Laden and other Al Qaeda leaders.

Not So Fast

All those people protesting the starvation death of Terri Schiavo are Right wing religious nutcases. Right?

Powerline provides a link to a column by a Harvard student with Cerebral Palsy. He’s no anti-abortion fanatic, but he does not seem to be particularly happy with those who would put people like him “out of their misery”.

FOCUS: Bigotry and the Murder of Terri Schiavo

The case of Terri Schiavo has been framed by the media as the battle between the “right to die” and pro-life groups, with the latter often referred to as “right-wing Christians.” Little attention has been paid to the more than twenty major disability rights organizations firmly supporting Schiavo’s right to nutrition and hydration. Terri Schindler-Schiavo, a severely disabled woman, is being starved and dehydrated to death in the name of supposed “dignity.” Polls show that most Americans believe that her death is a private matter and that her removal from a feeding tube—a low-tech, simple and inexpensive device used to feed many sick and disabled people—is a reasonable solution to the conflict between her husband and her parents over her right to life.

Why Withhold Communion?

I have not written anything about the Terri Schiavo case because I have nothing to add. Bloggledygook does an excellent job of summing up my feelings on the case and there are good points on both sides.

I am not real comfortable with the withholding of food and water (and that is what we are talking about) but can certainly understand Michael Schiavo wanting to end this tragedy. I feel for the parents and wish something could be done, but think that all remedies have been exhausted and that they need to let go.

Having said that, I cannot for the life of me understand Michael Schiavo’s decision to withhold Communion from her. What is that supposed to accomplish? Is that supposed to somehow punish her parents or something?

I am not religious. I have not been in a church for anything except family weddings and sightseeing for over thirty years. That does not mean that I look down on or in any way resent those who are religious.

If you believe, then Communion is important, if you don’t believe, it hurts nothing.

For God’s Sake, quit being so petty.

I see that he has changed his mind. Good.

Because Some People Are Too Stupid To Use The Remote

Via Blaster’s Blog comes this story:

Fox News has a conservative bent and that has bent Sam Kimery out of shape. Although Sam knows how to use the remote to change the channel if he doesn’t like the program, he is worried about the millions of liberal viewers who don’t.

Device lets you out-Fox your TV

Kimery has a problem with the way Fox put the news out there without prefiltering it.

Kimery now contends Fox News’ top-level management dictates a conservative journalistic bias, that inaccuracies never are retracted, and what airs is more opinion than news.

“I might as well be reading tabloids out of the grocery store,” he said. “Anything to get a rise out of the viewer and to reinforce certain retrograde notions.”

He prefers his news filtered through the Kinkos in Amarillo and the lens of New York’s upper west side. He contends that allowing too many points of view is just confusing for the average liberal.

He maintains that he is not doing it to prevent people from watching the channel, he is just making it possible for other people to block the channel, evidently they haven’t figured out how to use the remote.

I’m not going to rage about censorship or the First Amendment, obviously what Kimery is doing does not rise to that level. In fact, it doesn’t rise to any level. It is essentially meaningless.

But I wonder if anyone would bother to do a story if someone came up with a device to block CNN?

“Round Up The Usual Suspects”

If I wasn’t so lazy I would go back and round up the other times that D.C. officials said the same thing. Look for a flurry of press releases and sound bites. The police will “round up the usual suspects”. Hell they might even find the person that did it. In the end nothing will change, it will be business as usual in the City Hall and on the city street corners. You have too many people with too much invested in the status quo to have any real change.

An Official Expression Of Outrage (washingtonpost.com)

Standing near the spot in front of a Columbia Heights apartment building where a 9-year-old boy was shot in the head, leaving him near death, D.C. Police Chief Charles H. Ramsey said yesterday, “Enough’s enough.”

More Good News From Iraq

It’s going to cause the Washington Post to go into meltdown trying to bury all this.

Yahoo! News – Iraqi Forces Seize 131 Suspected Insurgents in Raid

BAGHDAD (Reuters) – Iraqi soldiers backed by U.S. helicopters killed several suspected insurgents and seized 131 more in a dawn raid Saturday, capturing tons of explosives earmarked for attacks on the holy city of Kerbala, officials said.