Sunday, March 26, 2017


Feeling Presidential today.  After all, I too could have failed miserably in getting my bill passed in  Congress. Bigly. #NowToGrabSomeone

I don't know if you are like me.  But if you are, you are 5'6" and named Roland.




by jonathanturley
Below is my latest column in USA Today on the nomination of Judge Neil M. Gorsuch to the United States Supreme Court.  I testified last week on the nomination before the Senate Judiciary hearing.  I was particularly pleased that one of the other witnesses that day was a GW graduate: Karen Harned (Executive Director, National Federation of Independent Business Small Business Legal Center. Karen has quickly become a leader in Washington on legal and policy matters impacting businesses.  Since the hearing (and publication of this column), the Democrats have indicated that they are preparing for a filibuster.  (My colleague Dick Pierce has an interesting column opposing such a move).

As I stated at the hearing, I disagree with some of Judge Gorsuch's opinions but I believe that he is eminently qualified for the Supreme Court. I am particularly disturbed by some of the attacks on his writings on major issues of our time.  While many lawyers in Washington pathologically avoid any statements or writings on controversial subjects in the hope for government appointments, Gorsuch actively participated in the national debate and contributed interesting perspectives on those questions.  He refused to remain a pure pedestrian as others debates issues like euthanasia.  He should not be penalized for doing so.  One can disagree with his perspective but his analysis is uniformly probative and at times profound.


Should Bad Make Up Be A Crime?

JokerSuspect_1490401621103_2935399_ver1.0_640_360Various charges might come to mind for Jeremy Putman who was walking around in this make up with a sword, but he was actually charged with . . . .
wearing a mask in public.
imgresIt is a crime to where a mask in public, a law that I have raised concerns about in the past due to first amendment issues and the danger of arbitrary enforcement.  What is interesting is that this is not a mask but make up.
Virginia Code 18.2-422 states:
“It shall be unlawful for any person over 16 years of age, with the intent to conceal his identity, wear any mask, hood, or other device, whereby a substantial portion of the face is hidden or covered, so as to conceal the identity of the wearer, to be or appear in any public place, or upon any private property in this Commonwealth, without first having obtained from the owner or tenant thereof consent to do so in writing. However, the provisions of this section shall not apply to persons (i) wearing traditional holiday costumes; (ii) engaged in professions, trades, employment, or other activities, and wearing protective masks which are deemed necessary for the physical safety of the wearer or other persons; (iii) engaged in any bona fide theatrical production or masquerade ball; or (iv) wearing a mask, hood, or other device for bona fide medical reasons upon (a) the advice of a licensed physician or osteopath, and carrying on his person an affidavit from the physician or osteopath specifying the medical necessity for wearing the device, and the date on which the wearing of the device will no longer be necessary, and providing a brief description of the device, or (b) the declaration of a disaster or state of emergency by the Governor in response to a public health emergency, where the emergency declaration expressly waives this section, defines the mask appropriate for the emergency, and provides for the duration of the waiver. The violation of any provisions of this section is a Class 6 felony.”
This is not a person who is wearing “mask, hood, or other device.”  Indeed, this would seem closer to a “traditional holiday costume.”  The law strikes me as dangerously vague to now be enforced against scary make up.
If that were the case, there would be a lot of folks being frog marched to the big house . . . led by Courtney Love and a host of cosmetically challenged celebrities.
For the offense, Putnam could serve five years.
What do you think?



This is an above average production based on an extraordinarily simple storyline: six astronauts traveling in the International Space Station (ISS) find the first sign of “life” outside of earth’s atmosphere. And after this magnificently historical discovery of new life, things go badly. And that, my friends, is the plot. I kept thinking that there might be a unique twist or a nuance of mysterious terror, but alas, no.

So what is this new life form? It needs water, oxygen and food to exist. But what is “it?” Well, I can tell you it is from Mars because the trailers make that revelation. Other than that, if you are foolish enough to buy a ticket, then you will find out, but I will not tell you.

If you are suffering from the inability to sleep, and you don’t want to take pills, then this film might be for you.

Director Daniel Espinosa, who was born in Sweden and has reached a modicum of success, was fortunate in casting Jake Gyllenhaal as the lead. Jake G. is one of the hottest good actors in Hollywood. He’s only been nominated once for Best Actor for his 2015 splendid performance in “Nightcrawler” as a creepy news reporter and he should have been nominated last year for “Nocturnal Animals.” And as a reminder, he was not nominated for Best Supporting Actor in “Brokeback Mountain” for the year 2005 for his memorable portrayal of a gay cowboy opposite Heath Ledger. The Academy does not always vote as Larry H. thinks they should vote.

Pretty Boy Ryan Reynolds also stars as one of the astronauts, but we all know that Gyllenhaal is the box office draw. Rebecca Ferguson is the big winner as Miranda North; she’s recently appeared in “Girl on the Train” and “Florence Foster Jenkins” but she was the star of “Life.” Ms. Ferguson, 34, is from Sweden; thinks she knows Espinosa. I think yes!

This film is an example of “Hollywood keeps banging ‘em out” hoping for the big one. “If we can just get a big star and a substantial budget so I can get top-notch special effects guys, I can make it happen,” said the young director to the billionaire from Colorado. But we are a savvy audience and you cannot fool us because we are going to see “The Walking Dead” and “Homeland” on Sunday night. Rock ‘n Roll.

Grade 76. Larry H. 

Federal and state prosecutors opted last week not to bring charges against Mayor Bill de Blasio or any of his aides after investigating their campaign financing efforts.
Should Prosecutors Chastise Those They Don't Charge?


Prosecutors have become more willing to speak publicly about their decision not to file charges in high-profile cases. Not surprisingly, some object.


Who’s behind the legal movie classic?
Read more →


Canadian Barred From Using Family Name on License Plate as “Misogynistic” Message

The Nova Scotia Registry of Motor Vehicles  was adamant.  The license plate reading “GRABHER” was deemed “misogynistic and promoting violence against women.”  It was a surprise to Lorne Grabher who simply wanted a license plate with his family’s name.
Notably, Grabher has had the plate for 25 years after getting the plate as a birthday gift,.  The name is German and the plate was used for decades.  Then there was a complaint and a former decision that his family’s name was discriminatory and barred by the government from plates.
The spokesman from the Department of Transportation, Brian Taylor. It said:
“A complaint was received outlining how some individuals interpret [the name] as misogynistic and promoting violence against women. . . . With no way to denote that it is a family name on the plate, the department determined it was in the public’s best interest to remove it from circulation.”
The government has a long list of words banned as offensive.  They include such words as “Gringo,” “God4U2,” and “Hootch.”  However, this establishes a family’s name offensive despite the clearly non-offensive basis for plate.
Notably, the family believes that the action was taken due to President Donald Trump’s reference to grabbing women in the infamous video that surfaced during the campaign.
What do you think should be done?




City Pays $62,000.00 For A New Logo Then Tosses It Out The Window

by Darren Smith
By Darren Smith, Weekend Contributor
Rejected city logo
Adding another example to the list of government debacles, the City of Federal Way, Washington spent over a year and sixty-two thousand dollars for a new logo design that the city council promptly sent to the bit bucket.
The mayor in an interview says he still believes the money was well spent.



Washington State Governor Sued For Removal Of Leonard Peltier Art Display

by Darren Smith
By Darren Smith, Weekend Contributor

Leonard Peltier
I featured three articles in November, 2015 (HEREHERE, and HERE) depicting a controversy caused by the Washington State Department of Labor & Industries' promotion of artwork made by Leonard Peltier, who was convicted for the June, 1975 murders of FBI Special Agents Jack Coler and Ron Williams. The display furthered the controversy in that it marked the 40thanniversary year of the agents' murder. After considerable outcry on both sides of the issue, the dispay was taken down two weeks prior to its scheduled conclusion date.
Now, a lawsuit has been filed in U.S. District Court by Leonard Peltier and his son Chauncey against the state naming L&I Director Joel Sacks, Governor Jay Inslee, the L&I spokesman, retired FBI Special Agents, and two hundred John Does as defendants, claiming that the Peltiers were denied their First, Fifth, and Fourteenth Amendment rights were violated by the state's removal of the artwork.
The lawsuit indicates strongly how controversies such as these can be avoided and that allowing state employees to promote controversial issues often leads to disaster.




President Enrique Peña Nieto of Mexico could kick a decision to his successor, a potential blow to the preservation of Nafta.
Renegotiate Nafta? Mexicans Say Get On With It


Uncertainty over the trade deal is hitting the country hard, pinching off foreign investment and lowering growth expectations.








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