Tuesday, May 20, 2008
The brother of a man who committed suicide in jail still must pay the federal government $20,000 for an unsecured bond because the brother failed to show up for his trial, a federal judge has ruled.
Would he have had to forfet the money if he had died of natural causes?
The Jawa Report explains:
Clever. Following the first law of politics, point the finger in a slightly relevant (if you cross your eyes and stand on one foot) direction when your chickens come home to rrrooost.
It might work if we were the only customer for OPEC oil. You know, if there wasn't a huge ready market desperate for oil at almost any price. Certainly there are many rapacious villains within OPEC. So what? They're willing to drill for oil. We aren't.
It is Congress that has allowed the ban on drilling in ANWR to stand. It is Congress that has not acted to approve drilling in our coastal waters - better that Mexico do it. We have not built a new oil refinery in more than 25 years, and are not building any now, despite the dire warning of Hurricane Katrina, which threatened the few we have. It is Congress that has allowed ignorant, superstitious crackpots to halt nuclear power plants in this country, leaving the generation of electricity up to coal- and oil-fired plants. And it is Congress that allows the states to keep their own idiotic "environmental" recipes for gasoline. Do you remember what your gas mileage was when President Bush suspended the practice temporarily after Katrina? Mine was 25-30% better. Does the vastly reduced mileage under my state's gasoline recipe help the environment? Seems doubtful.
A divided D.C. Circuit Court of Appeals has ruled 2-to-1 that paper money discriminates against the blind in violation of the Rehabilitation Act, in American Council of the Blind v. Paulson. The ruling upheld a controversial trial court ruling in November 2006 that paper money discriminates because it lacks features that the blind can use to easily distinguish between different denominations, such as bumps or different sizes or shapes.
Sarah Waldeck observed that that ruling was judicial overreaching, for two reasons. First, the Rehabilitation Act and other disabled-rights laws only guarantee the disabled meaningful access to services and transactions, not perfectly equal access, and the blind have such access, through use of credit and debit cards and other payment options and innovations, which reduce the risk that merchants will defraud unknowing blind people. Second, most of the burden of redesigning the bills (indeed, an undue burden) would fall not on the Treasury Department but on merchants, vending machine operators, and other third parties.
The appeals court wrongly gave short shrift to the burden imposed on third parties, suggesting that it did not even need to be considered, even though other federal court rulings recognize that an institution is not required to accommodate a disability or religious practice if doing so would unduly burden third parties. (Thus, as another federal appeals court has observed, “an employer is not required to accommodate an employee’s religious need if it would ‘impose personally and directly on fellow employees.’” EEOC v. Firestone Fibers & Textiles Co., 515 F.3d 307, 317 (4th Cir. 2008)). As Judge Randolph noted in dissent, “There are approximately 7,000,000 food and beverage vending machines in the United States; by one estimate, it would cost $3.5 billion to retool or replace these machines.”
I predict a prompt reversal.
How sad this is. We are constantly told by critics that it is the war and the administration's policy they oppose, not the troops. University commissioning ceremonies would be a good time to prove it. Whether our new officers come from Benedictine or Harvard, they will be entrusted with one of the gravest responsibilities in our democracy: the lives of the men and women under their command. When America's sons and daughters are put in harm's way, we want them led by officers of character and integrity.
The United States military is one of our nation's most open and diverse institutions. The freedoms our universities depend on are defended by those who wear the uniform. And whether you are for the war in Iraq or against it, for gays in the military or against them, we should be able to honor these good men and women – publicly and without embarrassment.