Thursday, September 19, 2013

Jury Duty

"Present the juror"

With those words from the Prosecution's Solicitor my sphincter tightened while the next ten seconds passed and the Public Defender conferred with his client.

"No objections. Swear the juror."

And with that, I was now a juror in a murder trial.

Cue the flashback music.........

The wife opened the mailbox almost a month ago and immediately recognized the envelope. "You gotta be effing kidding me" was all she said. It was a Jury Summons for me, the fourth in three years for me from various courts in my area, from General Session Criminal Court to Magistrate Court to Civil Court....I was beginning to wonder if I was the last registered voter of my age & gender in the county without a felony record since they seemed to enjoy picking me. The first time I went through the screening at the court but was not selected. The next two times I never even had to show up; I simply had to call in and check. Something told me that after 3 free passes I wasn't going to be so lucky this time.

Of course, work was (as always) short-handed and since I am the band-aid to all their problems, I had to be in to work at 4AM the first day. So I had to be up at 2:15AM to be there on time. After work, I hustled home to get showered and shave my head and get my "grown up clothes" on. By wearing a tie I became the best dressed man at the courthouse. Seriously, folks, the letter they send you tells you to dress properly, and I came dressed for court, or at th every least a business meeting. My clothes were crisply pressed & creased, my tie matched my shirt perfectly, my shoes were shined. Have some respect for your civic duty.

Of course, that didn't stop people from showing up in a camo t-shirt, a Swamp People t-shirt, and sleeveless blouses that showed off their tattoos.So much for showing a modicum of respect for the court, I guess.

We started with a good hundred candidates in the room. As your number was called out you had to stand, state your name, your employer & job title, whether you were married/divorced/single, and if married, your spouse's employer & job. They skipped my number, making me think I was gonna skate. At the end though they asked if anyone's number hadn't been called. Out of the hundred bodies in there I was the very last to speak.

Then they asked about people who had served jury duty within the past three years who wanted out. We lost maybe 3 or 4 people. They asked about full time parents of kids under five who had to take care of their progeny. We lost 3 or 4 more. We lost one who lived outside the county and was summoned by mistake. We lost someone who was in class all day every day. We even lost one who wasn't a US citizen.

Then they told us what the case was, a murder case from four years ago that I only barely remembered despite it having occurred a mile from my house. In my defense, it was a holiday weekend and I'd spent part of it celebrating my 40th birthday and also watching playoff hockey in Charleston. After four years you kinda figure someone had either been tried already or that it went cold & no one was ever going to be tried...

After the defendant was introduced they asked us if anyone was related to him, or to the deceased. We lost at least 10 more. Then we were asked about anyone being friends with or coworkers with anyone related to the case that might bias us one way or the other and thus create enough conflict of intereest as to keep us from making a fair and impartial judgement. Oh, boy.

We must have lost 40 more in the next ten minutes.

We had to have been down to half our starting number when they finally used some magical computer to randomly pick names from the remaining 50. The prosecution could veto ten I believe and the defense had at least five vetoes. They'd seated about seven and vetoed a good ten between them by the time I was called.

The solicitor for the prosecution was a wiry little bulldog who sounded like James Carville. The defense was a public defender who reminded me of Scott Bakula.

Next thing I knew, I was in the jury box for a murder trial. This is actually something I've thought about over the years. It was something I took very seriously. At the end of testimony, me and the people around me were responsible for the fate of the man sitting across the room and for ensuring justice was served. Twelve jurors and two alternates...and then we were shuffled out of the courtroom and into the jury room. Fourteen strangers sitting eerily quiet around a rectangular table. There's a minute or two of idle chit chat that quickly fades back into awkward silence once again. And away we go...

I won't bore you with details of the 3-day trial. However, as witnesses came forward to testify it became very obvious to me that damn near everyone associated with this case on both sides lived in a circle around me all within a mile. That made me a bit uncomfortable. It didn't shake my resolve to be fair and impartial. No one tried to threaten me or tamper with me, or even to make eye contact with me. Still, it was an uncomfortable reality in a small town of 6,000 people.

In the end, we simply did not have enough to convict. The police botched it pretty badly, with evidence missing, not tested, or if it was tested we had no results. The lead investigator was a guy who'd been fired last year after an FBI inquest. All the way around, law enforcement took a black eye from this case. But as the law was read to us, the state had the burden of proof. The defendant is presumed innocent. He didn't have to prove his innocence but the state needed to prove his guilt beyond a reasonable doubt and in our eyes they hadn't met the burden of proof.

We were all very tense and serious as we rendered the verdict. We asked the court to hold everyone in the courtroom long enough for us to get our work excuses for our employers and flee the building in case angry family members wanted to have words with us. We didn't really expect trouble but anything is possible.

And just like that, back to work at 4AM on Friday. At least I don't have to worry about it for another three years. And I got to wear grown up clothes for four whole days....

At least no one wore wigs.....

Monday, September 16, 2013

Law mandates 24-hour waiting period for....Tattoos and Piercings?


What the hell is wrong with Washington, DC? I'm ashamed to admit I was born there. A left-controlled sewer that re-elected a crack addict as Mayor after he got out of prison. The capital city of the United States of America, and the sheep within its borders are content with Taxation Without Representation, having no voting say-so in Congress as they pay taxes to feed the government that oppresses them. Then again, one in four DC residents is on food stamps so it's also the government that feeds them, houses them, clothes them, and raises their illegitimate progeny.

This is a real plate. Not a PhotoShop parody.. Seriously. They EMBRACE it.

The District ranks 8th nation-wide for homicides among the nation's most populated cities. Of course, the other seven cities (except Oklahoma City) are Democrat strongholds too, cities that restrict the ability of law-abiding citizens to defend themselves by owning a firearm, while criminals run free killing those defenseless citizens left & right. If you want to keep up with murders in DC, or the mid-Atlantic as a whole, head on over to and read the updates. They also have Murder Maps that map out homicides using Google Maps, like this one that maps out DC murders from 2005 to 2009.

Murder Map for DC, 2005 to 2009. The red star denotes where I lived for my first 14 years.

Today there's been pandemonium at the Washington Navy Yard with multiple shootings, which of course will be labeled workplace violence instead of terrorism regardless of who did it, and this will focus attention on even more oppressive gun control legislation and away from Obamacare, which ruins your life in two weeks.

Yes, the District of Columbia is a 68.3 square mile cesspit of crime, corruption, deceit, and decay, a festering sore made bearable by historical monuments, museums, and a zoo.

All the problems in Washington, and what does the DC city government propose: yet another stupid law. This time, to make up for years of  no regulations on the tattoo industry in the District, they just came up with 65 pages of regulations that do more harm than good to the industry, chiefly the mandating of a 24-hour waiting period on tattoos and piercings.

Please, digest that a second. Try not to choke in apoplexy. I'll wait for you.

Yeah, like getting a tat is the same as needing a cooling off period on gun purchases....yes, some states literally make you wait a period of time between the purchase and allowing you to receive your purchase because they fear you, and think all gun buyers are in a deadly psychotic rage, and that by making you wait an arbitrary amount of time, your savage anger will subside and you won't begin a killing spree. In Illinois you gotta wait 24 hours on a long gun and 72 hours on a handgun, if they let you have it at all. In the Liberal Hell of Califiornia it's a mind-numbing TEN DAYS. Hawaii makes you wait FOURTEEN. In the DC Cesspit, it's ten days. At least they aren't wanting you to wait ten days for a tattoo...

While I have no problem with the part of the law that requires tattoo artists and piercers to have health tests and biohazard training, I do have a problem with a waiting period. This kills a HUGE segment of tattoo and piercing business from walk-ins. Of my 8 tattoos, my first 2 or 3 were walk-ins. I didn't have a set appointment and took my chances on how long of a wait it would be at the shop to get an artist freed up to ink me. I quickly began making appointments afterwards, but I digress. Not every tattoo artist or body piercer has their entire workday filled with appointments and thus they rely on walk-ins. Kinda like how a barber or beautician has to fill in the time between appointments with walk-ins. Can you imagine waiting 24 hours for a haircut after talking to the barber about getting a trim? For reals...

Yes, you should think long & hard about getting a tattoo or piercing. However, do that before you waste an artists' time in the shop hemming & hawing and deciding. Know what you want & where it's going. But even if you decide on the spur of the moment to get a tattoo of Boba Fett riding a rainbow unicorn and waving a laser gun, that's YOUR decision and not the fault of the artist. You're ostensibly a grown-assed adult making a grown-assed adult decision. The government should not be babysitting your decision-making skills on stuff like this.

NOTE TO GOVERNMENT: You are not my babysitter nor my parent. I am a grown-assed man, 44 years of age and can make my own decisions. I own firearms purchased without a waiting period (but with a background check) and those evil black guns have never killed anyone nor have I because guns don't kill people, people kill people. I have 8 tattoos and have had two earrings, none of which I waited for. On all of these purchases, be they guns or ammo or tats or piercings, I paid sales tax and the sellers paid license fees to sell me their goods/services. STOP MAKING IT IMPOSSIBLE TO CONDUCT COMMERCE IN AMERICA and STOP TRYING TO BE MY FRIKKIN' MOM.

Try solving your real-world problems with intelligent real-world solutions instead of engaging in bullshit. A city spokeswoman ,Najma Roberts, says: “We’re making sure when that decision is made that you’re in the right frame of mind, and you don’t wake up in the morning . . . saying, ‘Oh my God, what happened?’” That's not your call. You cannot hold peoples' hands from cradle to grave. This is why people stay on welfare their whole lives. You babysit them and coddle them. STOP IT.

Tuesday, September 10, 2013

9-11: 12 years later America is still under attack.

I wasn't sure I was even going to get a chance to write this article this year, as I am currently serving on a jury in a criminal trial locally and my time is limited at the moment. But I also consider it my duty and obligation to honor those who have fallen, much the same as it is my duty to serve the justice system that is one of the pillars of American society.

In addition to being the 12th anniversary of the single greatest terrorist attack our nation has ever seen, it is also the one year anniversary of the incident at the American consulate in Benghazi, Libya. Terrorist forces attacked the consulate and in the ensuing fighting four Americans, including the Ambassador, were murdered while our government sat back and DID NOTHING. Today we stand at the brink of attacking Syria without enough reasonable evidence and without Congressional approval or the approval of the American people, and yet NOTHING has been done about Benghazi. In fact the White House refuses to talk about it other than to have Shrillary Clinton say "What difference does it make?".

This is not the same country that was attacked on 9-11 of 2001. We are weaker in many regards although as a people we are stronger and more resolved. We are divided in so many respects yet we steadfastly remain the United States of America. More so than being attacked from without we are being attacked from within and the enemy is us. Not us as in Conservatives, true believers in America, the Patriots I stand with, but the us that is our fellow Americans who are ignorant and brainwashed and think Hope and Change will save us all as it erodes away at the very foundations of liberty.

Our anti-American government in Washington DC granted a permit for a Million Muslim March on the National Mall and denied a permit for a counter protest by American bikers to remember those who died on 9-11 and in fighting for freedom since. In flagrant disregard of this, the Million Biker March is converging on our nation's capital in support of freedom.

Photo posted to Twitter of bikers gathered in Maine to ride on Washington
For all his faults, no one could say that George W. Bush hated this nation the way King Obeezy Hussen does.

President Bush: Thank you all. I want you all to know -- it [bullhorn] can't go any louder -- I want you all to know that America today, America today is on bended knee, in prayer for the people whose lives were lost here, for the workers who work here, for the families who mourn. The nation stands with the good people of New York City and New Jersey and Connecticut as we mourn the loss of thousands of our citizens

Rescue Worker: I can't hear you!

President Bush: I can hear you! I can hear you! The rest of the world hears you! And the people -- and the people who knocked these buildings down will hear all of us soon!

Rescue Workers: [Chanting] U.S.A.! U.S.A.! U.S.A.! U.S.A.! U.S.A.! U.S.A.! U.S.A.! U.S.A.!

This nation was founded under the Bill of Rights, the first ten amendments to the United States Constitution. These same foundations of our nation are daily being assaulted by the Administration.

1. The First Amendment is constantly being twisted and manipulated. Freedom of Speech gets called racism and hate speech if you disagree with the Left. Freedom of Religion unless your religion is against abortion or contraception. Freedom to assemble unless you're a biker protesting Islamists. Freedom to petition the government for redress unless you're a Conservative; then you're a terrorist.

2. The Second Amendment is always under attack. Cities and states that deny citizens the right to defend themselves are crime-ridden ghetto wastelands ruled by The Left.

3. The Third Amendment protects against the quartering of troops...but who needs to house soldiers in your house when the NSA and Homeland Security already listens to your phone calls and reads your emails. Which leads me to the Fourth Amendment.

4. Unreasonable search & seizure? The government does warrantless wiretaps, reads your emails, listens to your calls, and spies on everyone even remotely associated with the Tea Party.

5. In order to circumvent the Fifth Amendment's rights to due process and protection against imprisonment without a fair trial, Obama's cronies adopted the National Defense Authorization Act to designate American citizens as terrorists and indefinitely detain them without recourse to courts or due process of law and without specific charge. Or just bomb them with drones.

6. The Sixth Amendment and the right to speedy trial by an impartial jury as well as facing your accusers  was thrown out the window when we used a drone to kill terrorist Anwar Al-Awlaki, and another strike killed his 16-year old son two weeks later. Sure, they were terrorists for Al Qaeda and needed to be taken out, but if the Administration is willing to drone strike American citizens in another country who's to say they wouldn't label you or me terrorists and kill us too?

7. The Seventh Amendment guarantee of a jury trial in a Federal case will most certainly be trampled upon if they can ever get hold of Edward Snowden. They want that boy's balls on a plate.

8. It could be argued that by pinning the cause of the Benghazi affair on a badly-made anti-Muslim video by Nakoula Basseley, an Egyptian-born Copt living in America, guaranteed him a death sentence at the hands of Jihadis and violates the 8th Amendment protections against cruel and unusual punishments.

And finally, the White House likes to trample upon the 9th and 10th Amendments and the protections of rights not specifically enumerated by the Constitution reserved to the people or to the States, such as striking down voter ID laws or border control and immigration laws to keep illegals out.

So our nation suffers more greatly from attacks by our own government against the people and our rights than by terrorists. 

But we are not beaten.

We will prevail. We will recover. We will prevail.

And we will steadfastly remain true patriots, sons and daughters of Liberty, and we will save our nation from tyranny so that the sacrifices of those who died in New York, at the Pentagon, in Shanksville, in Benghazi, in Iraq, in Afghanistan, shall not have been in vain.

If you've missed my previous six years worth of 9/11 articles, feel free to peruse them.
2007, 2008, 2009, 2010, 2011, 2012

Wednesday, September 4, 2013

Why does MTV even have a VMA show anymore?

Yeah, I know, the show aired over a week ago. But people are still bitching about Miley Cyrus and her ass-grinding display. You wanna know why she did it? First & foremost, she has an album about to drop, and any publicity is good publicity. By shaking her ass in Robin Thicke's crotch, she guaranteed that middle America wouldn't shut up about their outrage (whether real , faux, or mock) and would ban their precious chirrens from buying her CD, which of course means that they will defy their parents and download it anyways.

The other reason: it made the MTV VMA awards show almost relevant for 2.3 nanoseconds.

Now, I've written about MTV before. In July of 2007 I lamented that MTV had jumped the shark into complete irrelevance.  In September 2007 I actually reviewed the train wreck that was the VMA awards that year. And in November 2009 I pondered the show "120 Minutes", a former MTV staple relegated to the pre-dawn hours of VH-1 Classic.

For you younger readers, if there really are any oute, MTV stands ostensibly for Music Television, and when it started it played 24-hours a day nothing but music videos. Now you just go to YouTube when you want to see a video, and MTV and its evil clones MTV2 and VH1 just play asanine bullshit all day that sucks your intelligence away. After much public outcry, MTV started playing some videos again early in the morning and calling it AMTV, but still, in an average broadcast day they are devoting less than 20% of their time to music on a good day.

Looking at the 24 hours comprising Thursday, September 5th 2013, according to the program guide on my DVR, starting at midnight there's 3 hours of Catfish: The TV Show, about people getting screwed over publicly in internet dating hoaxes. That's healthy and educational. From 3am to 4am you get Clubland, billed as a music news show, and then from 4am to 9am they play the aforementioned AMTV videos. Since I have a job to go to, I'll be missing that but I'm pretty sure in five hours they'll play the same 90 minutes over & over again, and each hour will contain perhaps five to six videos tops.From 9 to noon you get four episodes of True Life, where people bitch about their woes, from "I'm Desperate to Have a Baby" to "I Have a Hot Mom" . A couple more hours of Catfish follows.

They encourage you to hurt people online. Professional & classy, MTV.

From three to six it's some sort of idiot dating game show called Parental Control. Stimulating music entertainment, no?

At six you get some episodic series called Friend Zone, and from seven till eleven back to back episodes of Ray J, the guy who screwed Kim Kardashian on the video that made her famous. His show "Ridiculousness" sounds aptly named.

And to end the day you get from 11pm to midnite, a couple episodes of yet another lame-assed game show, Money From Strangers. So, out of 24 hours you get five hours of music, and just as much Catfish. The rest is just as lame. Music Television is 80% bullshit.

Yet, every year, they put on a self-serving spectacle, a mockery of an awards show to celebrate a medium they pioneered and made billions from but no longer give a rat's ass about. A good 75% of the videos they award stuff for are just whatever some popster's record label paid to promote and have never been seen by most of America unless it was through YouTube. MTV is as relevant to pop music these days as Rolling Stone Magazine is. Washed up crap.

When I was young and the video medium was new, there was groundbreaking animation and CGI imagery, and creative use of the medium by true artists. Now we get a skinny twunt trying to shake off her Disney child star image wearing a giant teddy bear and making stupid faces like a titless Jenny McCarthy. And really, kid, you didn't break any new ground in whorishness that wasn't already covered by Madonna, Britney, or Christina in years past.