THE OTHER SHOE DROPS: Updates To Previous Posts
† The Right To Bear Arms Belongs To Us All: Part II: After a judge threw out a ban on firearms Seattle enacted in 2008 because it is against state law for local governments to regulate firearms, MSNBC senior news editor Mike Stuckey applied for a Washington State Concealed Pistol License in “the epicenter of Left Coast liberalism, and marvels how quick (22 minutes) and easy (a single-page application with his vital stats, address, phone number and driver’s license number; seven questions asking whether he’d been convicted of any crimes; one question asking whether he had been confined in a mental health facility for more than fourteen days; presenting a photo ID; and plunking down $55.25 in cash for the application and fingerprinting fees) it was:
Less than one month later, as required by the law, I received my Washington State Concealed Pistol License. It is good for five years. Thanks to reciprocal agreements, it is also good in 21 other states.
But since he “had never fired a revolver or semiautomatic handgun of any caliber … never even held a loaded pistol in my hands … never taken a minute of formal firearms training” Stuckey plans to exercise his Second Amendment rights only after “extensive training in a classroom and on a firing range” – as the NRA encourages and recommends (more than a million people take NRA classes each year).
Stuckey admits to being somewhat shocked that he was able to get a license without demonstrating proficiency with a firearm (in AZ, an open carry state, you don’t need to get a license or demonstrate you know how to use a gun to be able to buy one unless you want to carry your weapon concealed). Living in New York City, The Stiletto was somewhat shocked that a Seattle resident was able to exercise his Second Amendment rights – and more than somewhat jealous, because in NYC she cannot exercise all the Constitutional rights she considers her birthright as an American.
The Web site eHow offers a tutorial on “How to Get a Permit to Carry a Concealed Weapon in New York” – but warns “The following steps do not apply to New York City, where it is virtually impossible to obtain a CCW permit.” Even if you want a premises permit or a target permit, the application and approval process is purposely as arduous as can be to discourage you. One fellow who obtained a target permit chronicles the ordeal:
‡ Lots of paperwork and documentation.
‡ Legwork to get everything ready.
‡ $220 in fees to the city of New York.
‡ Signing all your rights away.
‡ $360 or so in other expenses and range membership fee. This may vary.
‡ Four trips to 1 Poice Plaza [sic], requiring 3 days off work.
‡ A waiting period of four months. (usually 6 months).
Editorial Note: Plaintiff Dick Heller’s follow-up suit to D.C. v. Heller – which claimed that the District's firearms registration process, ban on assault weapons, and prohibition of large capacity ammunition feeding devices violate his Second Amendment rights – has been tossed by Judge Ricardo Urbina of the U.S. District Court for the District of Columbia, reports The BLT: The Blog of Legal Times. Urbina ruled that D.C. firearm ordinances enacted after the high court ruled in Heller’s favor "permissibly regulate the exercise of the core Second Amendment right to use firearms for the purpose of self-defense in the home." Keeping in mind “Justice Antonin Scalia's admonition that the Court's decision … did not ‘cast doubt’ on a range of firearms regulations, Urbina held that the right to bear arms "is not unlimited." Heller's attorney Stephen Halbrook is watching the outcome of McDonald v. City of Chicago, currently pending before the Supreme Court, before he decides whether to file an appeal of Heller’s case.
In an 11-page plea agreement (PDF) last year, Gonzalez admitted to unlawfully accessing a computer, wire fraud, identity theft, and other crimes. He agreed to forfeit a Miami condo, a 2006 BMW 330i, a Tiffany diamond ring, three Rolex watches, and more than $1.65 million in cash.
Gonzalez (AKA “soupnazi,” his Secret Service code name) will also be sentenced for additional charges filed in New Jersey involving conspiracy to steal credit card numbers from Heartland Payment Systems, 7-Eleven, and supermarket chain Hannaford Bros.
Update: A federal judge sentenced Gonzalez to 20 years and a day in prison, but ordered that the second prison sentence run concurrently with the 20-year term handed down by another judge on Thursday – meaning that Gonzales will not serve additional jail time in the two related cases, though he will have to pay additional restitution.
† Sotomayor And The Supreme Court: It’s Not The End Of The World For Conservatives: Check out this Peeps diorama, “Justice Sotopeepor Sworn In to the Supeep Court,” by Jill Duffy, Liz Lambert, Joy Shoemaker, and Morgan Stoddard:
It’s not too late to enter your own “Peeps in Law” diorama to the ABA Journal’s online gallery - the deadline for entries is April 2. Click here for more information.
† All The News That’s Fart To Print: The Stiletto is a scuba-diving city girl so she wouldn’t know that lagoons aren’t always associated with sandbars and coral reefs. The Wall Street Journal informs that “[i]t's normal in farm country to see vast brown pools filled with manure slurry from dairy cows or hogs [that] are supposed to safely store animal waste until the manure is sprayed on fields as fertilizer.” In any case, Winchester, IN, dairy farmer Tony Goltstein’s lagoon is a churning cauldron of ca-ca with bubbles that are 20 feet tall - “big enough to be seen in satellite photos” – caused by “the gas released by 21 million gallons of decomposing cow manure”:
The saga of Mr. Goltstein's bubbles, which, began about seven years ago and traces the recent boom and bust of U.S. dairy farmers.
Mr. Goltstein, 43 years old, had moved his wife and their three children from the Netherlands to Winchester, population 4,600, about 90 miles east of Indianapolis. They planned to build a dairy farm with 1,650 cows on 180 acres.
He had installed a black plastic liner to keep the manure from seeping into the ground during the flush days of the dairy business, when prices and demand were growing.
The plastic liner has since detached from the floor of the stinky, open-air pool, and Mr. Goltstein says he can't afford to repair the liner properly. But he says he's game to pop the bubbles before the manure pool overflows and causes an even bigger stink.
His neighbors fear his plan to pop the bubbles - which involves a gas mask, a small boat, a Swiss Army knife and lots of moxie - will “cause an explosion of manure and toxic gases.” Wait till they find out that while he was being interviewed by The Journal, “he stood at the edge of the manure pit, puffing on a cigarette.”
† Updates To Previous Posts (Small Towns Cry “Tio” Over Lawsuits To Overturn Anti-Illegal Immigration Ordinances): U.S. District Judge Jane J. Boyle of Dallas ruled that Farmers Branch Ordinance 2952 requiring renters to obtain a residential occupancy license from the city's building inspector - who would verify a renter's immigration status with federal officials before issuing the license – is unconstitutional because “the authority to regulate immigration is exclusively a federal power." In her ruling, she also wrote that the ordinance "directly and substantially" regulates the residence of immigrants in Farmers Branch, which interferes with the uniform enforcement of federal immigration laws, reports The Associated Press. The City Council will have to vote on whether to file an appeal.
† Updates To Previous Posts (fifth item, Take The Veil Off, Or Go Home): French president Nicolas Sarkozy will back plans to draft a law that bans the full-face Muslim veil, because it “is contrary to the dignity of women,” reports The Telegraph (London). Speaking from the Elysee Palace, Sarkozy did not offer any specifics as to timing or “how an outright ban would be imposed and policed.”
† Updates To Previous Posts (second item, Multiculturalism: Jihad By Other Means): Justice Secretary Jack Straw has announced that U.K. libel laws will be reformed to prevent “libel tourism” – foreigners using English courts to make libel claims against non-EU publications that can be accessed in the U.K., reports Legal Week:
Straw commented: "Our current libel laws need to achieve a fair balance between allowing people to protect their reputations from defamatory allegations, and ensuring that freedom of expression and the public's right to know on matters of public interest are not unnecessarily impeded. At the moment, we believe that the balance is tilted too much in favour of the former."
Other proposals included in Tuesday's announcement include the replacement of the multiple publication rule with a single publication rule that would prevent claimants from bringing a case against every publication or download of a story repeating the same claims. Instead claimants would only be able to bring a single action within one year of the date of the original publication.
The changes could be introduced in a Libel Reform Bill if Labour wins the next general election.
† Updates To Previous Posts (second item, Now Is Not The Time To Talk About Race): Civil rights group Flex Your Rights has released a follow-up video to its previous effort to educate the public on its Fourth Amendment rights in search and seizure situations, “BUSTED: The Citizen’s Guide to Surviving Police Encounters” - this one, titled, "10 Rules for Dealing With Police." The first film featured three white teens on their way to a concert, one of whom had some pot in his backpack. The Stiletto does not recall The Washington Post considering the video newsworthy enough to cover, but this new one apparently is because it “opens with an unfortunate but common scene”:
A young black man in a little red car, rap music blasting, is driving down a gritty highway at night, minding his own business, thumping to a beat. A police car pulls behind him.
The man becomes agitated as he stops, muttering under his breath, "I am tired of this [expletive]."
By the time the officer gets to his window and shines the flashlight, the man, having done nothing but switch lanes, is projecting much attitude. He rolls down his window halfway.
"Yeah, I know the drill," he says, this being the fourth time in a year he has been "pulled over for nothing."
"Excuse me?" the officer says.
The man grabs his registration out of his glove box.
"No need for the attitude, bro," the officer says. "I'm looking out for your safety and everyone else on this road."
The man mutters some obscenity.
The officer asks him to step out of the car.
In that instant, he has violated the film's rule No. 1 for dealing with police.
"As soon as you opened your mouth, you failed the rule with your attitude," says narrator William "Billy" Murphy, a former Baltimore judge and defense attorney, best known for his role in "The Wire."
In the first film, it’s the officer who is bristling with attitude, trying to intimidate the white teens into cooperating by allowing him to search their vehicle without a warrant – at one point, making an allusion to prison rape. In this film, it’s the black driver who’s being aggressive. In both films, there is a do-over showing how the protagonist(s) should have handled the situation. The happy ending for "10 Rules":
This time a polite young man rolls down the window. The officer writes him a ticket for swerving between lanes. The man gets back into his little red car, drives off into the night.
By the way, this is not an ACLU effort. One of the producers of "10 Rules," Steven Silverman, 33, is a former Cato Institute intern. He tells the WaPo: "I realized the majority of people are confused and overwhelmed about how to handle a police encounter. Most people are constitutionally illiterate. Most people will waive their rights entirely during a police encounter."
† Updates To Previous Posts (last item, 10 Reasons Michelle Obama Should Be Proud – Really Proud – Of America): This latest installment in The Stiletto Blog’s ongoing series meant to help instill the necessary pride of country in Michelle Obama’s consciousness to enable her to serve as an unofficial ambassador focuses on UCLA Medical Center’s Barry Halpern, who treated Vu Tien Kinh, a 3-month-old who had been airlifted from a Saigon orphanage by the U.S. army days before the city fell to the North Vietnamese army in April 1975.
The doctor found Vu to be a “very sociable” baby, and expressed interest in keeping tabs on his future development. The Los Angeles Times reports that Halpern got his wish 35 years later:
Vu, a Connecticut music teacher, offered a joking apology Wednesday for the belated update. Speaking before pediatric residents at the Ronald Reagan UCLA Medical Center, across the street from the old brick building where he had stayed for several months, Vu demonstrated that Halpern's early personality assessment was accurate.
"It's an honor to return to my point of entry," Vu said, with tears in his eyes. "You all are living testimony of the tenets of the Hippocratic Oath and the miracles of modern medicine." …
Vu earned a bachelor's degree in music education at Westminster College in Pennsylvania and a master's in conducting at Penn State University. This year, he will begin a doctoral program in music education and conducting at the University of Minnesota. …
Halpern, now 61, left UCLA in 1977 and later became medical director of the neonatal intensive-care unit at Northridge Hospital Medical Center.
Through an online search, Vu located Halpern in Northridge and sent him a letter: "It is my pleasure to write you that I am well." He mentioned that he would be in Anaheim for a music educators conference. Halpern called him, affording Vu a heart-palpitating "OMG moment." UCLA arranged the reunion.