Monday, January 23, 2012

News Roundup

  • From the "Yanking the Leash" Department - The Supreme Court has ruled that law enforcement must obtain a search warrant before affixing a GPS device to a vehicle in order to track a suspect's movements.  I agree with this.  If the police want to know where I go and when, they ought to have to go before a judge and prove their case a bit.  Of course, any policeman tracking my movements is going to die of boredom, but hey, I might become interesting again.  It could happen!
  •  From the "Pretty Lights" Department - A large and powerful solar flare is expected to impact flights over the Earth's poles this week.  I expect to be going out and watching the Northern Lights if the sky is clear.  I need to get a short wave radio one of these days so that I can show Girlie Bear how to listen to the aurora borealis.  It'll be a bummer if the storm interferes with digital communicaac8qfnq1l24kinmva8.
  • From the "Tread Lightly" Department - My senator, Rand Paul, was detained at the Nashville airport yesterday because he refused to allow a TSA agent to perform a proctological exam on him after the porn-o-tron showed an anomaly on his leg. Apparently showing the part of the body that's been indicated isn't good enough.  For those of you paying attention, inconveniencing a senator who will have an impact on your funding is considered a less than optimal move for a federal agency.  Personally, I hope this is the straw that breaks the camel's back.
  • From the "Wishing Her Luck" Department - Congresswoman Gabrielle Giffords, who was wounded in an assassination attempt by a deranged man last year, has announced that she is resigning her seat in Congress so that she can concentrate on her recovery.  I wish Mrs. Giffords luck and continued progress.  Brain injuries are a hard row to hoe, and she's going to need all the time and energy she can muster.
  • From the "Steam" Department - NASA has announced that it has observed and recorded a comet disintegrating as it plunged into the sun. I can draw a political line from this in that if the Republicans don't get their act together soon, that's what's going to happen to them in November.
  • From the "Blotto in a Volvo" Department - A man in Florida was arrested after police discovered he was drunk.  Nothing particularly newsworthy there.  Unfortunately, people get drunk and climb into the driver's seat every day.  What is unique here is that the gentleman was so drunk he didn't notice he was missing a tire.  Now, I've had a tire fall off of a car before, and it puts on quite a light and sound show, so you'd have to be pretty messed up not to notice.  Maybe he just thought the sparks was part of a new flame job he didn't know he had.
  • From the "Prescient Without a License" Department - Authorities in Massachusetts are summoning psychics in the Boston area to a special board to explain why they are operating without a license.  Apparently in order to look at auras, stare at tea leaves, and gaze into crystal balls in Boston, you have to give city hall their pound of flesh.  I'm guessing the psychics will cooperate fully.  I mean, it's not like they're holding the tribunal in Salem or anything.  Although, if I were one of these people, I'd be getting with anyone else and seeing if anyone has a bad vibe.  You just never know.
  • From the "Don't Let The Door Hit You" Department - A member of the Norwegian government has stated his opinion that unemployed immigrants should go home and stop utilizing the generous benefits of the Scandinavian country.  Sounds good to me, and I'm not surprised that people would be staying in Norway for the benefits.  It's not like they're staying for the mild winters.  
  • From the "Don't Mess With Grandma" Department - An 85 year old woman saved her husband's life by driving off an angry moose with a shovel recently.  Having been chased by a moose across two lakes in the Minnesota Boundary Waters, I can appreciate how much guts it took to start whacking the swamp donkey about the head and shoulders.  One thing's for sure:  That husband will never give his wife lip again.  Not only does he owe her his life, he also knows that she is not afraid to die.


Old NFO said...

I don't think we've heard the last of that first one... They can just call Onstar and get the info that way, unless people disconnect their Onstar... And don't forget cell phone location data...

Bryn, Isle of Anglesey, UK said...

Re. the detention of your Senator Rand Paul, this should be ringing loud alarm bells for you all over there.
Taken from "Knuckledraggin my life away" blog.
And shall we add this to the story just for grins?
The U.S. Constitution actually protects federal lawmakers from detention while they’re on the way to the Capital.
“The Senators and Representatives…shall in all Cases, except Treason, Felony and Breach of the Peace, be privileged from Arrest during their Attendance at the Session of their respective Houses, and in going to and returning from the same….” according to Article I, Section 6.

I'll repeat here what I said there:
Subtleties again....

He's merely "detained", not arrested..... nothing to see, move along now....
To me, this is verbal weaseling on the same moral level as "I did not have sex with that woman....".

Your U.S. readers will know the law better than I do; do TSA have to advise a "detainee" of their rights, as a police officer would have to?

When does 'detention' become 'arrest', with the protections attached to that status....? (for now anyway; give The One some time...)

DaddyBear said...

Welcome Bryn!

I'm not a policeman or a lawyer, so I'm not sure where detaining someone becomes an arrest. I probably need to fix that, now that you mention it.

AFAIK, police read the Miranda rights to someone when they want to question them, but it's not a condition of detention or arrest. IIRC, police tend to read them to a suspect as soon as they are arrested so that anything that the suspect says before being formally questioned is also admissable in court. But someone in law or law enforcement could better answer that question.

I don't believe that TSA reads anyone their rights, and they don't currently have arrest powers. If TSA wants you arrested, they have to get law enforcement involved. Anything you say to a TSA agent might as well be told to the ticket agent if I was to be on a jury.

As to whether or not the actions of the TSA violated the Constitution by hindering Senator Paul from getting to Washington, I believe they did, and I hope that the Senator does everything in his power to take the TSA to the woodshed over it. But Senator Paul has made a point in saying that he's not affronted by this because he's a Senator. He maintains that he doesn't like it because it can happen to anyone, and that's not right.

If he keeps this up, he might not have to ask me for his vote if he runs for re-election.

Bryn, Isle of Anglesey, UK said...

Thank you sir!
I've been a reader here for quite a while.

America seems to be suffering the same problem we have seen here in the UK - various "agencies" being given quasi-police powers, and the ability to threaten, harass & intimidate the public. And all without the level of accountability that real police officers are subject to.
Please correct me if I am wrong!

"IIRC, police tend to read them to a suspect as soon as they are arrested so that anything that the suspect says before being formally questioned is also admissible in court"
As a point of interest, UK police do have to caution (as in advise a suspect of their rights) when arresting and prior to formal questioning.
BUT! Any words spoken by a detained person PRIOR to caution may be noted, and presented as a "significant statement" in court with the officer acting as a witness as to the content of the statement.

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