18 thoughts on “Friday Open Forum!

  1. This just seems wrong. A judge should not impose his/her beliefs on the appropriateness or applicability of criminal laws – that undermines confidence in the legal system. While we can complain that a sexual predator is walking free to victimize others (and that may not be the case because the accused was 17 years old at the time and both he and the girl were drunk at a party), it also would mean that a judge would go outside legislative guidelines and sentence some more harshly for a different kind of crime. The judge is supposed to apply the laws as passed by the legislature and signed by the executive branch. I think Simple Justice is exactly right on this one:


  2. Can anyone explain why there is affirmative action for Hispanics?

    As originally advertised back in the late 1960’s, it was supposed to make up for historical wrongs by the United States. For Black people, it was slavery and Jim Crow. For Native Americans, it was about conquests and broken treaties.

    No similar historical wrongs were visited upon Hispanics by the United States government.

    • Uhhhhh….possibly the taking of Texas? Maybe the Mexican-American War (U.S. Grant thought the Civil War was God’s punishment for that)?

      I’m sure there’s a list somewhere of everything Americans did wrong to every single ethnic group out there.

    • As originally created, in March of 1961 (Executive Order 10925 issued by President Kennedy), Affirmative Action was intended to ensure that government contractors treated all job applicants and employees equally, without regard to race, color, religion, sex, or national origin. It was not intended as compensation for historical wrongs perpetrated by the United States, nor as preferential treatment for any group, but a counter to employment discrimination which was widespread at the time. In order meet the requirements of the EO, government contractors were obliged to take positive steps, such as expanding their job recruiting efforts to reach minorities previously ignored.
      The EO also created a Committee on Equal Employment Opportunity to monitor compliance and promote equal treatment.
      And, aside from the intent of the EO, there in fact was significant U.S. oppression of Hispanics. In addition to what has been mentioned by other commenters, in the 1930s the United States forcibly removed up to 2 million people of Mexican descent from the country—up to 60 percent of whom were American citizens. Hispanics and Asian Americans also have a history of facing obstacles to political participation including literacy and language tests, poll taxes, discriminatory immigration and naturalization laws, and intimidation and violence.

    • Is it true that if prosecutors are caught in illegal activity like this, that it would be grounds for appeals for those they convicted, even if the illegal activity has nothing to do with their cases?

      I’m thinking of “The Dark Knight” movie, where after Harvey goes on his Two-Face killing spree, Batman and Gordon are concerned that once the public knows of his crimes, it’ll result in his convictions being overturned, even though his illegal activities weren’t specifically prosecutorial misconduct.

      • That is an interesting question. She is the Baltimore Attorney, which is an elected position, which I suspect means she sets policy and assigns cases throughout the city attorney’s office. I doubt seriously she had a direct hand in the trial of many cases, but I am not sure how Baltimore works its caseload. She did indict the 6 officers involved in Freddy Gray’s death, though they were acquitted of the charges.

        I would suspect that it should only address cases she directly prosecuted and not every case pending in that office. For instance, just because Officer Smith was convicted of taking bribes would/should result in ALL Of Smith’s cases being reviewed and/or convictions being tossed, that wouldn’t/shouldn’t mean that all of Officer Thomas’ cases should be renewed, even though they worked out of the same office, unless they worked on certain cases together.

        I like that she committed mortgage fraud to take money out of her retirement plan, citing economic distress occasioned by COVID, to buy two Florida* vacation homes.

        I loved this part: “The two counts of perjury stem from Mosby’s false statements of coronavirus-related financial duress at a time when she was earning a gross annual salary of nearly $248,000 in full, the indictment asserted.” And, “n particular, the indictment says, Mosby failed to disclose as required in both applications that she and her husband were delinquent in federal tax payments resulting in $45,000 tax lien filed against them by the Internal Revenue Service in 2020.” I especially like that her husband is the current President of the Baltimore City Counsel. What a peach.

        She should be bounced out of office. It’s Baltimore, so let’s see what happens (snickering as I type this!).


        Ed. Note*: I wonder: why are Democrats buying property and partying like it’s 1999 in Florida? I thought Floridians were deplorables and Trumpers. Then, there is that governor Di Santis, who has done a terrible job running that state, what with his approval rates plummeting amidst cratering job numbers and soaring COVID cases overwhelming . . . what? . . . everything? I mean he single-handedly allowed our national treasure and cultural icon, Rep. Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez, to become infected with COVID despite his personal assurances that her vaccines and boosters would keep her safe while she went off to Florida on a maskless alcohol fueled soiree to party with Drag Queens and other celebrated BIPOCs. Then, she contracts the dreaded disease? Now, she has to isolate in home (along with the poor plebes were are just too much beneath her she has declared must shelter in place with 7 masks and 39 different vaccines and boosters and God knows what else. Could this be some kind of calculated event to keep her out of the spotlight until the blow back from the most recent strings of really stupid things she has said simmer down? Call me skeptical.

    • I think it’s almost better that they’ve waited, rather than immediately pounce on a “juicy story” while things are still developing.

      That being said, I think the time for the wait is well past. We know what’s going, and involved parties have made their feelings known. If ESPN still wants to be the go-to source for important sports news, they need to get on this.

      • Jason Whitlock (a National Treasure if there ever was one, and someone I go out of my way to read!) is that increasingly rare breed of sportswriter/columnist who’s never allowed any of his takes to be sullied with one iota of varnish.

        Can you even imagine the well-deserved horror felt by ESPN’s Wokety Wokes as they fearfully consider the cost/benefits of their potential courses of action?

        It’s almost too much to take.


  3. I don’t think there is a Kantian solution to conflicting disabilities. Let me explain.

    I’ll admit I’m a little out of my depth here. But I started thinking about this subject this past week when I got into an argument with some people regarding the legality of a homeless shelter denying access to a homeless man who (at least according to him) had an Emotional Service Animal (ESA). They were quite insistent that the shelter’s policy of ‘no pets’ should not have applied to the ESA. Their claim to back it up was that the refusal of the ESA was in violation of the Fair Housing Act.

    I was curious because I own rental property and my friend runs the shelter. So I looked it up. The short answer is it depends. There seems to be plenty of case law that have gone for or against shelters counting as ‘dwelling’ to be considered under the fair housing act. That is why homeless shelter isn’t specifically listed as dwelling according to HUD but items such as nursing homes, retirement communities, college dormitories, boarding houses and residency hotels, housing for seasonal farm workers, and vacation homes, timeshares, and similar recreational properties are counted.

    There are seven criteria used to determine if a structure counts as a dwelling. According to HUD those are the following:

    Length of stay;
    Whether the rental rate for the unit will be calculated a daily, weekly, monthly, or yearly basis;
    Whether the terms and length of occupancy will be established through a lease or other written agreement;
    What amenities will be included inside the unit, including kitchen facilities;
    How the purpose of the property will be marketed to the public;
    Whether the resident possesses the right to return to the property; and
    Whether the resident has anywhere else to which to return.

    Some of these might fit the definition of a homeless shelter, but most do not. So armed with my knowledge, I went back to the discussion. I told the person that until it is determined whether this shelter is covered under the FSA, it seemed unfair to call the current setup illegal. This went back and forth some time with very little headway (side note, at one point she posted an article that directly proved my point all because she didn’t read to the bottom). But I digress. She seemed to be stuck on the point the person had a medically approved ESA and that right should trump all other issues.

    This is where the conversation took an interesting turn. Someone brought up the point of allergies. Roughly 10% of the adult population suffers from dog and cat allergies. That means in a shelter that holds 20-30 people, you are looking at on average 1-3 people who are going to suffer from these allergies. This is further complicated by the fact that these people largely share a room. Looking at all the examples listed above on what constitutes a dwelling, all of these limits the room sharing to a few people at most, not a place where there is no expectation of privacy (another one of the reasons I think group homes and homeless shelters are left off the HUD list).

    The issue is further complicated because animals often leave behind parts of themselves (well I guess we all do). My dog (I love him to death) sheds like crazy. I am constantly vacuuming hair everywhere. I have a friend who won’t come over and even when we meet in public (he stands a few feet away) because his allergy is so bad. Even if you had no people currently in the building with dog allergies, the rate of turnaround in the shelter (new people almost every night) suggest the agitations would linger long enough that someone with one would eventually come into them.

    If I extend Kant’s belief of good will, I would say it is good to both serve the ESA person and the person with allergies. In fact I would say it is our duty to help serve them in this captivity. But the nature of those two things in this particular place make it almost impossible. Those two groups of people will be with each other in the shelter at the same time. One of them is going to suffer as a result.

    The only way I see a decision can be made here is based on the utilitarianism approach. Judge the action based on the outcome. While allergies vary form person to person, there is no doubt that a person with an ESA is likely to live without there pet than a person who can’t afford beneryll let alone the ER visit. Of course, Kant would not have been happy with this situation.

    It might be easier to get the one person with the ESA to work it out with person with the allergy but this neither fixes lingering issue of allergens and by not fixing it myself I might be using them both as a mean to an end (something else Kant would not have agreed with).

    Either way, I’m glad I’m not in my friend’s (the director of the homeless shelter) shoes at the moment. It will be interesting to see how it plays out.

    • Are you sure that ESAs are even covered under the Fair Housing Act to begin with, matters of dwelling aside? My understanding is that ESAs are basically prescription pets. They are not trained for a specific task like service animals, and while there has been a push to give ESAs the same status as service animals, managers of public places have pushed back. You can walk your seeing-eye dog into a store that bans pets, but if you walk a regular dog (or some other animal) into a store and say it’s an ESA, management may put up a fight.

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