Sunday, February 24, 2008

He's baaaaaaaack!

Nader announces new bid for White House.

Ralph Nader said Sunday he will run for president as a third-party candidate, criticizing the top White House contenders as too close to big business and pledging to repeat a bid that will "shift the power from the few to the many."

Nader, 73, said most people are disenchanted with the Democratic and Republican parties due to a prolonged Iraq war and a shaky economy. The consumer advocate also blamed tax and other corporate-friendly policies under the Bush administration that he said have left many lower- and middle-class people in debt.

"You take that framework of people feeling locked out, shut out, marginalized and disrespected," he said. "You go from Iraq, to Palestine to Israel, from Enron to Wall Street, from Katrina to the bumbling of the Bush administration, to the complicity of the Democrats in not stopping him on the war, stopping him on the tax cuts."

"In that context, I have decided to run for president," Nader told NBC's "Meet the Press."

You know, there are still some folks out there who blame Ralph for Algore losing in 2000, claiming he siphoned off votes, and they may be looking at this with more than slightly jaundiced eyes.

Clinton called Nader's announcement a "passing fancy" and said she hoped his candidacy wouldn't hurt the Democratic nominee.

"Obviously, it's not helpful to whomever our Democratic nominee is. But it's a free country," she told reporters as she flew to Rhode Island for campaign events.

If Ralph can get himself on enough state ballots this November (and that might be a big "if"), things could turn out to be just a bit more interesting.

Friday, February 01, 2008

Fake bomb defendant cites 1st Amendment

As reported here, [a] computer science student who unwittingly created an airport bomb scare by wearing a blinking circuit board attached to her shirt had a First Amendment right to express herself in that manner, her lawyer argued Friday.

Attorney Thomas Dwyer Jr. asked a judge to throw out the charge against Star Simpson, 19, who is accused of possessing a hoax device. East Boston District Court Judge Paul Mahoney took the motion to dismiss under advisement and said he would issue a ruling March 21.

Simpson, a Massachusetts Institute of Technology student from Lahaina, Hawaii, had gone to Logan International Airport last September to pick up her boyfriend.

She was held at gunpoint and arrested by state troopers after an alarm was raised over the battery-powered device on her shirt, which had flashing lights and the words "Socket to me" and "Course VI" (a major at MIT) written on the back.

Dwyer said his client, who is studying electrical engineering and computer science, didn't think her shirt would scare anyone. He said she had worn it on campus without alarming anyone.

"People make these objects part of their identity. It's a part of their personal expression," he said. "They are legitimate forms of First Amendment expression."

First of all, wearing an electronic device that resembled a bomb - even if it was only benign - to Boston's Logan Airport, where 9/11 planes flew from, shows a total lack of elementary thought processes of what others might perceive the device to be, as Simpson found out. This from an MIT student, no less!

Secondly, this act to me, is tantamount to yelling "FIRE!" in a crowded theater. You don't have the right to do that in that location, even if you do have the right to stand out in your yard and yell "FIRE!". As a matter of fact, if you do yell "FIRE!" in a crowded theater, and it is discovered that there wasn't a fire, you'll be arrested. If you stand in your yard and yell "FIRE!", the worst that would probably happen is that your neighbors will look at you and think you're a nutcase.

Simpson should have known better.

McDermott pays damages to Boehner in 1996 phone-tape case

As reported here, Democratic Rep. Jim McDermott has paid more than $64,000 in damages to House Republican leader John Boehner -- the first payment in a decadelong dispute over an illegally taped telephone call involving Boehner and other GOP leaders.

Well, well. It's about time Jim started paying up! The delicious irony of this? McDermott is paying into Boehner's campaign fund!

Kevin Smith, a spokesman for Boehner, called it ironic that the payment from McDermott will go to Boehner's campaign account.

"Mr. McDermott is the biggest contributor" to the account, Smith said Thursday.

The money "will be used to defeat fellow Democrats of Mr. McDermott," he said.