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The day has come, folks.
I’m facing some big events in my real life in the near future – two relocations over the next couple months, a return to school in the new year (in a one-year program with an intensive reading and study load), a potential vacation before that begins.
For those reasons, among others, I’ve reflected, and decided that it’s time for me to move on.
Effective immediately, I am leaving Happolati’s Miscellany. Thanks to Johann Happolati for inviting me aboard.
Vaya con Dios.
The prevailing image of North Korea in Western minds is a closed society where the people have little sense of life beyond its borders. How, then, does one explain the mobile phones, DVDs and – most bizarrely of all – South Korean chocolate snacks.
Every now and then, the mask slips, and the absolute imperial nature of the American government system is revealed.
California would allow noncitizens to serve on juries under a proposal being considered by state lawmakers, potentially expanding a fundamental obligation of American life to millions more people.
The measure, which would apply only to legal residents, would make California the only state to open the jury box to noncitizens who meet all other requirements of service, according to legal experts. The proposal raises the question of what it means to be judged by peers in a state where more than one in seven residents is not a citizen. One of the bill’s authors, Assemblyman Bob Wieckowski (D-Fremont), said the proposal would help ensure an adequate pool of jurors, help immigrants integrate into American society and make juries more representative of California.
Juries “should reflect our community, and our community is always changing,” Wieckowski said. “It’s time for California to be a leader on this.” The Assembly passed the bill this week on a party-line vote, with most Democrats lining up in favor and Republicans standing in opposition.
Legal and trial experts had mixed reactions to the measure, which would open a distinctly American institution to non-Americans. Legal proceedings, particularly civil cases, in many parts of the world are not decided by a jury.
“The real goal is to have people in the community make a determination about guilt or innocence. There could be a value in adding different perspectives into the deliberation process,” said Matthew McCusker, president of the American Society of Trial Consultants. But noncitizens may not have the same understanding of the judicial system, he said.
“Jury instructions are remarkably complex,” McCusker said. “If you add in further barriers, whether it’s language or cultural, you’re adding more difficulties in following the rule of law.”
Niels Frenzen, a professor of immigration law at USC, said he doubted immigrants would have any more trouble handling jury duty than citizens would. “There is not often that great a divide of knowledge between immigrants and …citizens.”
If Frenzen is right, that’s hardly encouraging; it’s more a damning indictment of Americans’ profound ignorance about their own history and their judicial and legal system, today.
An SAS soldier has been jailed for possessing a “war trophy” pistol presented to him by the Iraqi Army for outstanding service.
Sgt Danny Nightingale, a special forces sniper who served in Iraq and Afghanistan, was sentenced to 18 months in military detention by a court martial last week.
His sentence was described last night as the “betrayal of a war hero”, made worse because it was handed down in the run-up to Remembrance Sunday.
Sgt Nightingale had planned to fight the charge of illegally possessing the 9mm Glock.
But his lawyer said he pleaded guilty after being warned that he could otherwise face a five-year sentence.
The soldier had hoped for leniency given the circumstances. At the court martial, even the prosecution described him as a serviceman of exemplary character, who had served his country for 17 years, 11 in the special forces.
The court was told that he returned to Britain in a hurry after two friends were killed in Iraq, leaving his equipment — including the pistol — to be packed up by colleagues.
It accepted evidence from expert witnesses that he suffered severe memory loss due to a brain injury.
Judge Advocate Alistair McGrigor, presiding over the court martial, could have spared the soldier prison by passing a suspended sentence. Instead he handed down the custodial term.
Sgt Nightingale and his family chose to waive the anonymity usually given to members of the special forces.
His wife, Sally, said her husband’s sentence was a “disgrace”. She called him a “hero who had been betrayed”. She said she and the couple’s two daughters, aged two and five, faced losing their home after his Army pay was stopped.
The soldier’s former commanding officer and politicians have called for the sentence to be overturned.
Lt Col Richard Williams, who won a Military Cross in Afghanistan in 2001 and was Sgt Nightingale’s commanding officer in Iraq, said the sentence “clearly needed to be overturned immediately”.
He said: “His military career has been ruined and his wife and children face being evicted from their home — this is a total betrayal of a man who dedicated his life to the service of his country.”
Patrick Mercer, the Conservative MP for Newark and a former infantry officer, said he planned to take up the case with the Defence Secretary. Simon McKay, Sgt Nightingale’s lawyer, said: “On Remembrance Sunday, when the nation remembers its war heroes, my client — one of their number — is in a prison cell.
“I consider the sentence to be excessive and the basis of the guilty plea unsafe. It is a gross miscarriage of justice and grounds of appeal are already being prepared.”
In 2007, Sgt Nightingale was serving in Iraq as a member of Task Force Black, a covert counter-terrorist unit that conducted operations under orders to capture and kill members of al-Qaeda.
He also helped train members of a secret counter-terrorist force called the Apostles. At the end of the training he was presented with the Glock, which he planned to donate to his regiment as a war trophy.
This is why people shouldn’t volunteer for the military today, not only in Britain, but everywhere in the West; no State deserves such loyalty today.
The owner of 5-Hour Energy says a ban of his product over reports that some people with heart conditions experienced dangerous side effects would make about as much sense as banning peanuts because some people who eat them are deathly allergic.
In an extended interview with CBS News medical correspondent Dr. Jon LaPook Thursday (above), 5-Hour Energy CEO Manoj Bhargava said his product is safe and contains ingredients that have been tested. The proof of that for him, he says, is he drinks it every day and his son in his early 20s uses it.
“I would not sell a product that my family wouldn’t use,” Bhargava told Dr. LaPook.
Source: CBS News. Read full article. (link)
An Oklahoma senator has released a report outlining what he believes is some of the Pentagon’s most wasteful spending. Among a number of odd items includes a workshop on how Christianity would be affected if aliens were proven to exist.
Senator Tom Coburn is known to be the “waste-watcher” on Capitol Hill, as he investigates unnecessary spending in various branches of the government. On Thursday, he issued what some consider to be a laughable list of Defense Department expenditures that have nothing to do with defense.
In addition to $1.5 billion being spent on a plan to invent roll-up beef jerky, an iPhone app that helps people schedule their coffee breaks and scientific research on the swimming patterns of goldfish, was a workshop blending Christianity with the existence of aliens.
The event, entitled “Did Jesus Die for Klingons Too?,” focused on “the implications for Christianity if intelligent life were to be found on other planets.” According to the Global Post, actors such as LeVar Burton and Nichelle Nichols were present, and an “intergalactic gala celebration” was included, at which attendees were urged to don “starship cocktail attire.”
Klingons are are a group of aliens from the fictional sci-fi television and movie series Star Trek, which originated in 1966 and continues (at least in movie format) to present day. The series deals with a band of aliens and humans that seek to solve the problems of the universe, tackling topics such as imperialism, class warfare and racism. Some episodes are also said to have addressed sexism, feminism and religion.
Coburn issued a statement along with the list, asserting that the Pentagon needs to cut non-defense expenditures such as these.