Category Archives: Uncategorized

Bet You Can’t Read Just One

The posts at Fault Lines are, ahem, exceptional. If you want something to read that will really make you think, read Fault Lines. This is what you’ll find there today:

By Thomas Johnson:

By David Meyer-Lindenberg:

By Noel Erinjeri:

By Mario Machado:

By Sam Bieler:

By Lou Hayes, Jr.:

You will not find smarter, more provocative, more informative criminal law commentary anywhere.

Facts And Alternative Facts

Actually, the phrase “alternative facts” got a bad rap. Period. According to Merriam-Webster Dictionary, a “fact” is:


  • 1:  a thing done: such asa obsolete :  feat

    b :  crime <accessory after the fact>c archaic :  action

  • 2archaic :  performance, doing

  • 3:  the quality of being actual :  actuality <a question of fact hinges on evidence>

  • 4a :  something that has actual existence <space exploration is now a fact>

    b :  an actual occurrence <prove the fact of damage>

  • 5:  a piece of information presented as having objective reality <These are the hard factof the case.>

There are things that are susceptible to objective proof. such as whether there are five objects on a table or not. And then, there are things that are not susceptible to objective proof, such as whether there is a god. Continue reading

Women, Inc.

There was a glorious Women’s March on the day after Donald Trump’s inauguration. It was glorious because it happened, an exercise of the right to assemble, to present grievances, to challenge the government. It was glorious because so many women, men too, turned out.

Whether they knew the mission of the March isn’t really that important. Even if it was merely to show support for their gender, it’s a perfectly sufficient reason. And if you didn’t agree, so what? They don’t need your approval to march or to express their views, whatever they may be. Nobody forced you to go, though some children might have been corralled into being props.

There was silliness, as one might expect, such as writing “messages” to no one on tampons. And someone complained about women being forced to purchase tampons when men get razors for free. Continue reading

The Last Credible Voice

According to respectable journalists, President Trump’s press secretary, Sean Spicer, beclowned himself already. Not by the ill-fitting suit he wore, but by declaring that the inauguration drew the “”largest audience to ever witness an inauguration, period.”

Granted, the pathological grandiosity has grown tiresome, even if it makes for fun internet memes. Nobody, obviously, is buying.

Oh, wait. That was the Women’s March. My bad. Continue reading

The Revealing Punch

Some worthless nobody named Richard Spencer* has caught public imagination because he espouses outrageous and repugnant things. In other times, he would be ignored, as there are and always have been nutjobs who say outrageous and repugnant things. They amount to nothing. They are unworthy of our time and attention. As my pal, Mark Bennett, says, attention is currency. Don’t waste it.

But Spencer stood on a street in Washington, D.C. and, inexplicably, someone put a camera in front of his face and asked him questions. During the course of the interview, someone sucker punched him.

The person who sucker punched Spencer has been doxxed (seriously NSFW and not worthy of even a click). and the forces of love and tolerance have found a new hero. Continue reading

Failing The Milo Test (Update)

It makes little sense to me to be proud of living one’s life in a bubble. No one would suggest that it’s wrong of Layla Schlack to choose not to read “Dangerous” when it comes out, but to announce that you’re choosing not to read any books by white males, not because they’re not to your liking, but just because they’re written by white males, is the “hate” you profess to hate.

Milo Yiannopoulos has chosen to make himself the poster boy for outrageous political incorrectness. He was at the University of Washington as part of his “Dangerous Faggot Tour.” As one might anticipate, he was not well-received by all.

Protesters outside of the event, which is part of the openly gay Yiannopoulos’ “Dangerous Faggot Tour,” assaulted attendees and threw bricks and other objects at police officers. One victim was a high school senior who said he was assaulted and paint bombed because he was wearing a pro-Trump hat.

Prior to the shooting, Seattle police had recovered hammers, pipes and flares that protesters planned to use outside of the event.

Continue reading

Chevron Deference: Kill And Overkill

There is no shortage of snarky retorts to the contention that the tripartite structure of government crafted by the framers has ceased to function as anticipated. It’s all because of the other side, as everyone knows, that Congress can’t manage to get anything right.

And because Congress, filled with people elected by constituencies who are wrong, except your own which did the right thing, is a wasteland, it’s left to the Executive branch to get done what needs to get done.

Chevron deference.

When bureaucrats created rules and regulations that furthered your preferred ends, you called it “law” and applauded the accomplishment. Except it wasn’t law. It was at best regulation, the “rule” invented by an unelected bureaucrat who presided over a fiefdom and who, with the touch of a keyboard, could craft policy that launched a thousand ships.  Continue reading

A Tale Of Two Nations

Charles Dickens began his story of how the French peasants were more brutal than their aristocratic oppressors with the famous words, “It was the best of times, it was the worst of times.” But the fuller quote seems more appropriate today:

“It was the best of times, it was the worst of times, it was the age of wisdom, it was the age of foolishness, it was the epoch of belief, it was the epoch of incredulity, …”

Donald Trump will be sworn in as the 45th President of the United States today. For many, this is like a bad after-school movie, too far-fetched to be credible and too lacking in substance to be interesting. And yet, it’s going to happen, despite the twits and petitions, the New York Times editorials and shrieks of illegitimacy. The rending of clothes and pervasive hysteria will not stop the peaceful transition of power that is the hallmark of America. Continue reading

The Traffic Cam Tale: Hilarious, Ridiculous And Likely Malarkey (Update)

Would it not be perfectly reasonable to believe that the saga of Faulkner Law School associate professor Adam MacLeod’s travails in the battle against his traffic cam ticket was true?  Of course it would, and why not?

Adam MacLeod, law professor at Faulkner University, was the recipient of a traffic cam speeding ticket. The problem was that he wasn’t driving the vehicle when the infraction occurred. So, it was his vehicle being ticketed, but he was being held responsible for someone else’s infraction.

He decided to fight it, and that fight uncovered just how crooked the traffic cam system is. Not only are traffic camera manufacturers receiving a cut of every ticket issued, but tapping into this new revenue stream has prompted municipalities to undermine the judicial system.

Well, maybe. Traffic cams invoke significant legal issues as a strict liability offense borne by the owner of a vehicle without regard to who committed the offense and how it’s proven. Their justification is to be a “silent cop” to prevent traffic violations, but their value as a revenue raiser for localities is a far more convincing explanation. In other words, the traffic cam system is, as Tim Cushing says, “crooked.” But that doesn’t mean MacLeod’s story is the real deal. Continue reading

Crowdsourcing Death

Cool as the self-driving cars that are definitely going to be our future may be, especially for those who feel that grandma drives too fast and reckless, or who can’t bear to be off Instagram for even a second, it’s already understood that choices will be programmed into the vehicles that could spell your death. The Trolley Problem is no longer a moral exercise.

Who makes these choices? How will they be made? MIT, which will likely produce some of the engineers whose hands will be on the wheel of this moral dilemma, has crafted a video to help out with what it calls the “Moral Machine.

Morality is one of those great bases for decisions, as each of us can make a decision with as much thought as we care to put in and are immune to challenge as there is never a right answer. It’s nothing more than what we feel to be right. And if someone else feels differently, well, so what? Their feelz are no more right than our feelz. Continue reading

A Sign Of The Times, Anti-Death Penalty Protesters Arrested At SCOTUS (Update)

It’s impossible not to be struck by the irony of the plaza in front of the Supreme Court being one of those spaces where free speech is prohibited. Yet, that’s what the Court says, and that makes it so.

We are not final because we are infallible, but we are infallible only because we are final.

Associate Justice Robert Jackson

The protesters obviously knew that when they came up with their plan.

More than 100 anti-death-penalty activists assembled first at the Methodist Building across the street from the court. They prayed and discussed strategy, then walked to the court, with some carrying signs that listed, year by year, the names of the more than 1,400 people executed in the 40 years since Gilmore.

They stood right in front of the marble plaza of the court, the point at which “freedom of speech stops,” as protest leader Bill Pelke said to the crowd. After singing protest songs, the protesters quietly made room for the 18 who planned to get arrested.

Continue reading