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Archive for September, 2009

That is a Great Question

My friend Stephen Green, otherwise known as “The Vodkapundit,” points out from the high plains of Colorado something rather hypocritical about many universal health care advocates.

If it’s wrong to draft people into the armed forces — and I believe it is — then where’s the right in drafting people into the insurance system?

An insurance “mandate” is an insurance industry draft, plain and simple. But there’s no deferment, the certainly no 4F, and running off to Canada would only make things worse.

The same question could be asked about Social Security and Medicare.

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The Louis Freeh of the Obama Administration

Remember Louis Freeh?  He was the FBI Director Bill Clinton had who told us he never once met with President Clinton during his entire time in office.

It appears we’ve found his Obama Administration counterpart – General Stanley McChrystal, Commander of American forces in Afghanistan.

The military general credited for capturing Saddam Hussein and killing the leader of al-Qaeda in Iraq says he has only spoken to President Obama once since taking command of Afghanistan.

“I’ve talked to the president, since I’ve been here, once on a VTC ,” General Stanley McChrystal told CBS reporter David Martin in a television interview that aired Sunday.

“You’ve talked to him once in 70 days?” Mr. Martin followed up.

“That is correct,” the general replied.

This revelation comes amid the explosive publication of an classified report written by the general that said the war in Afghanistan “will likely result in failure” of more troops are not added next year. Yet, the debate over health care reform continues to dominate Washington’s political discussions.

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Avery in Court, to Testify for New Trial

As with the previous trial, I’ll try to post whatever news story I can on this one.

Won’t say I’ll be liking it though.

Steven Avery and a juror from the panel that convicted him in Teresa Halbach’s death are scheduled to testify today at a hearing that will decide if Avery gets a new trial.

Manitowoc County Judge Patrick Willis, who sentenced Avery to life in prison without parole in June 2007, is being asked to rule on a motion that he erred in not allowing Avery’s attorneys to introduce speculation that other people had the motive and opportunity to kill Halbach.

The possibilities, said Marquette University law professor Daniel Blinka, could make for a “tantalizing” hearing.

Today’s hearing is scheduled to begin at 9 a.m. and last throughout the day.

A brief on the testimony and an order of proof filed by Avery’s attorneys have been sealed until the hearing, as was the first half of the 59-page post-conviction motion filed by attorneys Suzanne Hagopian and Martha Askins of the state public defender’s office.

They did not respond to messages asking for comment on the hearing and motion.

Calumet County District Attorney Ken Kratz, who was the special prosecutor for the case, said Willis is scheduled to unseal the first half of the motion and other documents.

Willis, who presided over Avery’s six-week trial in February and March 2007 after which a jury found Avery guilty of first-degree intentional homicide and possession of a firearm by a convicted felon, has been given a deadline of Dec. 1 by the state’s 2nd District Court of Appeals for his decision.

Avery’s trial attorneys, Dean Strang and Jerome Buting, also will testify today, said Kratz, who was not allowed to comment on specifics of the defense motion or other sealed documents until Willis unseals the records.

Avery did not testify at his own trial or at any pre-trial hearings, except to answer questions from the judge, Strang said.

Most legal experts believe having a juror testify would indicate the defense team is trying to determine whether all possible suspects the evidence warranted could be charged with the crime were given to the jury.  It’s a simple matter of establishing reasonable doubt.

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Dumbass of the Week

For most of this week, I was certain I might not be able to find a strange enough story.  And then news of Roman Polanski’s arrest broke.

And with it the liberal/Hollywood reaction to the end of Polanski’s 30-plus year run from the law and charges of drugging, raping, and sodomizing a then 13 year old girl.

Thank you Anne Applebaum for being that “dumbass.”

Of all nations, why was it Switzerland — the country that traditionally guarded the secret bank accounts of international criminals and corrupt dictators — that finally decided to arrest Roman Polanski? There must be some deeper story here, because by any reckoning the decision was bizarre — though not nearly as bizarre as the fact that a U.S. judge wants to keep pursuing this case after so many decades.

Here are some of the facts: Polanski’s crime — statutory rape of a 13-year-old girl — was committed in 1977. The girl, now 45, has said more than once that she forgives him, that she can live with the memory, that she does not want him to be put back in court or in jail, and that a new trial will hurt her husband and children. There is evidence of judicial misconduct in the original trial. There is evidence that Polanski did not know her real age. Polanski, who panicked and fled the U.S. during that trial, has been pursued by this case for 30 years, during which time he has never returned to America, has never returned to the United Kingdom., has avoided many other countries, and has never been convicted of anything else. He did commit a crime, but he has paid for the crime in many, many ways: In notoriety, in lawyers’ fees, in professional stigma. He could not return to Los Angeles to receive his recent Oscar. He cannot visit Hollywood to direct or cast a film.

Applebaum goes on to point out many of the non sequitars of the crime.  That Polanski lost his mother to the Nazis in Aushwitz, how he and his father barely survived their own concentration camp experiences.  The murder of his wife Sharon Tate (and their unborn child) by the sickened disciples of Charles Manson.

These are all tragic circumstances of his life, but they have no relation to the crime Polanski himself committed 31 years ago and fled to France because extradition treaties with the United States and France do not include sex crimes on the list of things you can be extradited for.

Polanski fled from justice — and his means to defend himself against a jury of his peers — there is nothing ‘courageous’ about that.  It doesn’t matter his accuser has forgiven him and moved on (largely because she believed he was never coming back to stand trial for the crime), he broke the law and should be held responsible for the actions of his doing.  How the hell that got lost in this elitist diatribe is something the author will have to ask herself someday.

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DOT Blames Health Care Debate for No Resolution to Mexican Trucks

Funny, I didn’t know logistics was connected to health care.

Talk about your lame excuses; just admit you’ve handed the Teamsters a victory for the low, low price of $2.6 Billion and a few thousand jobs.

The Obama administration is not expected to resolve the cross-border trucking dispute with Mexico this year, the Department of Transportation’s the undersecretary for policy said this week.

According to an article in Inside U.S. Trade, Roy Kienitz made the comments during a meeting with the Alliance to Keep U.S. Jobs last week.

Kienitz told the group that the issue was out of the DOT’s hands and would have to be resolved by White House officials, who are occupied with Obama’s health care reform.

The dispute involves allowing Mexican trucks to haul cargo beyond the U.S. border’s 20-mile commercial restriction zone.

The Bush Administration’s year-long pilot project was axed by Congress after intense lobbying by U.S. labor unions, owner-operator and citizen advocacy groups who feared loss of U.S. jobs to Mexican drivers and argue that Mexican trucks will not be safe.

Mexico retaliated by imposing penalty duties on $2.3 billion in imports from 89 products from the U.S.

The president promised to restore the cross border project in some form earlier this year.

Many groups, including the Alliance to Keep U.S. Jobs, are urging the government to resolve the situation, as a result of these retaliatory tariffs.

A new study by the U.S. Chamber of Commerce says that by canceling the pilot program, the government caused $2.2 billion in higher costs for U.S. families and companies, $2.6 billion in lost U.S. exports, and more than 25,000 lost jobs for American workers.

One of the funding members of “Alliance to Keep U.S. Jobs” is Appleton Paper.  Their leadership has said in the past without a resolution to the Mexican Trucking pilot program and the tariffs being revoked, they may have to layoff more employees in Northeast Wisconsin.

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I’ll Take the Jail Time

Yes, it’s official.

According to the Weekly Standard, failure to purchase health insurance under the proposed Senate bill will warrant those who are in non-compliance (as deemed by the IRS) with either a year in jail or a fine of $25,000.

Sen. John Ensign (R-Nev.) received a handwritten note Thursday from Joint Committee on Taxation Chief of Staff Tom Barthold confirming the penalty for failing to pay the up to $1,900 fee for not buying health insurance.

Violators could be charged with a misdemeanor and could face up to a year in jail or a $25,000 penalty, Barthold wrote on JCT letterhead. He signed it “Sincerely, Thomas A. Barthold.”

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This Could Lead to Some Interesting Situations

Lo-jacking politicians — via the Wall Street Journal’s “Opinion Journal Political Diary.”

(I predict a certain Milwaukee County Employee with an Ahab complex will no doubt demand his boss sign up for the service.)

Mike Untermeyer, a GOP candidate for Philadelphia District Attorney (a job once held by Arlen Specter), has come up with a unique way for voters to keep tabs on him.

Visitors to his campaign Web site can track his location 24 hours a day, thanks to an electronic bracelet Mr. Untermeyer is wearing as he makes his campaign rounds. No, he isn’t doing it to prove he’s not visiting mobsters or spending nights out on the town. Rather, it’s his pitch to illustrate that electronic monitoring of offenders could save the city money while protecting public safety.

City prison officials agree. The city already has nearly 800 people attached to monitors as they await trails on various offenses. Mr. Untermeyer says the monitors, which cost $1326 each, would be especially useful for the one-third of offenders charged with drug-related crimes. The city spends $97 a day to hold such defendants in prison awaiting trial. Those costs would be significantly lower if more prisoners were hooked to a monitor that sounds an alarm if the wearer goes outside a preprogrammed perimeter.

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