1. More historical ignorance to make you suicidal: Here’s Anna L.’s review of her visit to the Gettysburg Battlefield on the park’s Yelp page:
Boooorrrringggg. First off, it was nothing like the movie. All I saw were a bunch of fields and rocks. All the tourist shops, bars, and hotels in the area kept saying how I should check this place out. I kept getting confused with all of the plaques and monuments. Who was fighting who, I have no idea. The abandoned cannons looked tacky. I give this one star for the overweight character actor in the square, but that’s about it. Yaaawnnn.
I don’t even want to think about the political positions and favored candidates of an American this…this…I can’t even think of a good description. “It was nothing like the movie”????? And how many people like her are out there, rotting our culture and values from within?
2. It’s about time. wouldn’t you agree? I’m amazed this took so long. Starting next year, BMC Toys in Scranton will begin adding little green Army women to the little green Army men that are such a standard kids’ toy. Since they debuted in 1950s, none of the iconic toy’s manufacturers have crossed the gender line. BMC is one of the ew producers of plastic soldiers left in his country, and will soon be offering these:
3. Not only do people do this, but they are apparently proud of themselves. In Illinois, officials have launched an investigation following the posting of a photograph on Instagram showing tourists vandalizing a 400 million years old sandstorm formation at a state park in Illinois. The photo also shows signs of previous vandalism on the rock.
I don’t get it. This is as incomprehensible to me as abusing animals or launching computer viruses.
Apparently the woman has been identified, and the man soon will be.
4. Now this is called, “arguing in the alternative.” It’s a valid legal advocacy technique, but non-lawyers find it repulsive. Lawyers for fake hate crime accuser Jussie Smollett filed a motion opposing the city’s claim that he should reimburse it more than $130,000 to cover police overtime and other costs when they investigated the actor’s false claim that he was the victim of a racist and homophobic attack by Trump supporters. Police eventually charged Smollett with staging the attack, charges that were mysteriously dismissed in a strange series of events currently being investigated themselves.
The lawyers still stick with Smollett’s denial that he faked the attack despite overwhelming evidence to the contrary, but they argue that even if he did make a false report, there is no way he could have known that the city’s police would investigate to the extent they did, logging in nearly 2,000 hours in overtime. “Smollett has no control over that,” they say.
It might work. I can see a judge ruling that only an amount equal to the time and expense the police usually devote to such claims can reasonably be charged to Smollett.
5. Also about time: In a 32-page opinion you can read here, Judge Anthony J. Trenga of United States District Court for the Eastern District of Virginia ruled yesterday that the federal government database that compiles names of individuals deemed to be “known or suspected terrorists” violates the rights of American citizens. This raises the spector of a a major tool the FBI and the Department of Homeland Security use for screening potential terrorism suspects being held unconstitutional.
Well it is, you know.
Being on the watch list restricts people from traveling or entering the country. It subjects them to greater scrutiny at airports, puts them under special scrutiny by the police, and may cost them government benefits and the chance to win government contracts.
“The court concludes that the risk of erroneous deprivation of plaintiffs’ travel-related and reputational liberty interests is high, and the currently existing procedural safeguards are not sufficient to address that risk,” Judge Trenga wrote.
Hooray. This is a straight Due Process issue and the equivalent of pre-crime. The list should have been struck down long ago.
About 1.2 million people are on the watchlist, compiled by the FBI.’s Terrorist Screening Center. Of those, about 4,600 are American citizens who cannot be deprived of their rights without due process of law. The judge did not say what should happen now, instead asking the Justice Department and the lawyers for the plaintiffs to submit briefs regarding “what kind of remedy can be fashioned to adequately protect a citizen’s constitutional rights while not unduly compromising public safety or national security.”
The government’s use of terrorism watch lists has expanded dangerously since Sept. 9-11. This case involved the Terrorist Screening Database, where agencies besides the FBI can nominate people for inclusion on the list, and the individuals involved may never know or be able to challenge their reasons.
Files released by the FBI in 2011 under the Freedom of Information Act showed that Americans could end up on the watch list even if they had been acquitted of terrorism-related offenses or the charges are dropped. House Democrats, you may recall, as well as Hillary Clinton, wanted to use such lists to restrict citizens from purchasing guns.
Yesterday’s decision is a powerful rejection of the whole concept of “pre-crime.”