Friday, December 5, 2008

Settlement reached in firing of PVH physician's assistant

A settlement has been reached in a wrongful termination suit filed by a former physician's assistant who alleged the wife of the doctor for whom she was working ordered her fired on suspicions they were having an affair.

Dec. 9 was the scheduled date for trial in the case of Dr. Anita Petitte v. Robert L. Lewis and Cindy Lewis in Mason Circuit Court. However, trial was averted when on Aug. 12 a settlement was reached.

The terms of the settlement were not disclosed in court records, and W. Jesse Forbes, Petitte's attorney, and Eric Kinder, with the Charleston law firm of Spilman, Thomas and Battle, attorney for Pleasant Valley Hospital, declined to comment. PVH was named as a co-defendant in the suit.

For more on this story, go to The West Virginia Record

Lawsuit against New Haven Elementary settled for $375,000

The Mason County Board of Education has paid $375,000 to the parents of two Bend-area elementary school students who allege they suffered injuries from improper discipline by their teacher.

According to court records, a formal settlement was reached on July 28 and Sept. 22 in two suits filed against Katherine Parrish, a former New Haven Elementary School teacher. Robert Vaughan, in his capacity as principal of New Haven Elementary was named as a co-defendant.

In their respective suits, Melissa Dawn Fields and Angela Conley Wilson allege their sons, Conner and Jeremiah, were traumatized and injured when Parrish disciplined them on several occasions between August and December 2006.

For more on this story, go to The West Virgininia Record

Thursday, October 23, 2008

Point VFD alleges Ohio contractor failed to complete insulation job

An Ohio contractor is named as a defendant in a breach of contract suit filed by a Mason County volunteer fire department for failing to insulate one of its buildings.

On Sept. 12, the Point Pleasant Volunteer Fire Department filed a lawsuit against Ohio Valley Plastering in Mason Circuit Court. In their complaint and suit, filed with the assistance of Matt Clark, with the Point Pleasant law firm of Kayser, Clark and Layne, PPFVD alleges OVP left incomplete an insulation job for which it was hired.

According to court records, PPVFD alleges it entered into a written contract with OVP, which is located in Patriot, Ohio, and owned by Paul R. McCormick, on June 16 "to furnish all labor and materials in application of an Exterior Insulation and Finish System" to the its building on Jackson Avenue. The contract held OVP responsible for exterior of the building except caulking.

For more on this story, go to The West Virginia Record

Monday, October 20, 2008

Ohio woman sues Point doctor for ineffective sterilization

An Ohio woman alleges that a Mason County physician's failure to properly sterilize her resulted in not only an unwanted, but also life-threatening pregnancy.

On Aug. 20, Majory Wise of Gallipolis, Ohio, filed suit against Dr. Mark Nolan in Mason Circuit Court. In her complaint and suit, filed with the assistance of Robert W. Bright, with the Story Law Office in Pomeroy, Ohio, failed to sterilize her against a second, unwanted pregnancy.

For more on this story, go to The West Virginia Record

Wednesday, October 1, 2008

What Andrew Jackson might say about the bailout

by James P. Pinkerton

“You are a den of vipers and thieves. I intend to rout you out, and by the eternal God, I will rout you out.”

Today I turn over my space to Andrew Jackson, the seventh president of the United States, who said these fiery words to a delegation of bankers in 1832:

“Gentlemen, I have had men watching you for a long time, and I am convinced that you have used the funds of the bank to speculate in the breadstuffs of the country. When you won, you divided the profits amongst you, and when you lost, you charged it to the bank. You tell me that if I take the deposits from the
bank and annul its charter, I shall ruin ten thousand families. That may be true, gentlemen, but that is your sin! Should I let you go on, you will ruin fifty thousand families, and that would be my sin! You are a den of vipers and thieves. I intend to rout you out, and by the eternal God, I will rout you out.”

The issue back then was the Bank of the United States, a federally chartered institution—sort of a predecessor to the Federal Reserve—that Jackson, ever the populist, strongly opposed. Today, most people agree that a national bank is necessary, but as today’s vote demonstrates, there is no national consensus on transferring wealth from the middle to the top. Good! Let’s hope that principle holds true for a while longer.

Today, the same as back then, big bankers attempt to blackmail America: If you don’t do things our way, exactly as we tell you, then the roof will cave in.

For more on this commentary, go to The Fox Forum

The 4-1-1 on a 9-1-1 rip-off in N.Y.

Syracuse, N.Y. - The cell phone bill says "9-1-1 Service Fee": $1.20. You pay it every month to New York state.

But only 6 cents end up at a 911 center.

Instead, the state spends the money on itself: overtime, fringe benefits, travel, vehicles, new boots, clip-on ties, sun block, spray paint, groceries, dry cleaning and other daily expenses for agencies ranging from the state police to the departments of corrections and parks, state records show.

The National Guard, for example, spent almost $1 million at Oswego's Best Western Captain's Quarters hotel and steak and seafood restaurant and the Econo Lodge Riverfront Inn. That housed and fed up to 21 soldiers who patrolled the nuclear power plants for three years after Sept. 11, 2001.

The state imposed the fee to raise enough money to upgrade 911 technology so dispatchers can find you when you call from your cell phone and can't talk.

For more on this story, go to The (Syracuse) Post-Standard

Sunday, September 21, 2008

Report finds U. of Iowa mishandled '07 sex assault, cover-up downplayed

Coralville, Iowa -- An independent report presented to the Iowa state Board of Regents on Thursday said the University of Iowa mishandled a sexual assault investigation and criticized two UI vice presidents for their roles but rejected the idea there was a cover-up.

The Stolar Partnership, a St. Louis-based law firm that compiled the 72-page report, said several other key officials, including Athletics Director Gary Barta, football coach Kirk Ferentz and UI President Sally Mason, by and large followed UI policies in both practice and spirit.

"The university's response to the alleged sexual assault was inadequate. While the substance of the response was not acceptable, there was no cover-up or attempted cover-up and no pressure to deal with it informally," lead investigator James Bryant said in his presentation.

Bryant went on to say the alleged victim "suffered intolerable harassment and bullying despite the coaches' efforts."

For more on this story, go to the (Iowa City) Press-Citizen

Saturday, September 20, 2008

Is Chili Mac next on the list of bailouts?

By S.J. Masty

Tomorrow, After Lunch - The epic nationalization of mortgage giants Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac is expected to cost taxpayers "between $50 billion and $500 billion" or more, say economists abandoning pocket calculators for a dartboard.

Next, Lehman Brothers sold the cow for a handful of magic beans and were allowed to collapse. But it is an election year, government's heels are rounder than usual, so it may not be the end of the bailouts.

Both presidential candidates have responded dynamically by adopting a concerned, mature, "I've got gas" expression as though they are auditioning for Alka Seltzer ads, then saying that somebody needs to do, um, something.

Republican John McCain - standing for smaller government, paying debts and rugged individualism - won't admit that the supposed remedy for Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac is pure socialism, as found in those goofy little Third World countries whose legislatures vote to repeal the law of gravity, and earn most of their Gross National Product by selling postage stamps to collectors.

For Democrat Barack Obama, who has never seen a problem that cannot be solved by borrowing your Visa card, blowing a few hundred billion is probably, well, necessary. Change we need - because all the folding money is going to Washington.

Meanwhile, none of the candidates has dared to speak out on another crisis: Chili Mac.

For more on this commentary, go to The D.C. Examiner

Monday, September 15, 2008

Fill-in-the-blank article about price-gouging laws

by Art Carden

[As surely as summer follows spring, natural disasters are followed by saber rattling about "price gouging," which is usually defined very lucidly and clearly as an "unconscionable" increase in the price of a necessity. These tend to follow a formula, so I thought that instead of writing a new article discussing the unintended consequences of every price-gouging law that goes into effect after a natural disaster, it would be useful to write a universal, fill-in-the-blank article discussing the economics of price-gouging laws. Whenever there is a natural disaster, you can just fill in the relevant blanks for a complete analysis of the economics of the situation.]

Fearing increases in the prices of basic items as a result of (disaster) , officials in (state or municipality) have declared a state of emergency whereby restrictions on "price gouging" are now in effect. According to (politician or law enforcement official) , the law is designed to protect innocent consumers from "unconscionable" increases in the prices of food, gasoline, ice, electric generators, and home-repair services. The unintended, unseen consequences, however, are predictable, unfortunate, and avoidable.

For more on this commentary, go to The Ludwig von Mises Institute

Thursday, September 11, 2008

Mich. high court hears controversial gov't overhaul case

LANSING, Mich. -- The Michigan Supreme Court heard an appeal Wednesday from proponents of a proposed ballot measure that would cut judges' salaries and reduce the number of top-level jurists and trim the size of the state Legislature.

Earlier this month, a three-judge panel threw the proposal backed by Reform Michigan Government Now off the November ballot.

Proponents said if the measure is not placed on the Nov. 4 ballot it would fetter citizens' ability to amend the state constitution.

Andrew Nickelhoff, attorney for the proposal's supporters, told the justices that if an appeals court decision barring the measure from the ballot the ruling will "open a Pandora's box of unintended consequences."

Nickelhoff said the decision would "set up the court as a gatekeeper to the ballot box."

For more on this story, go to Legal

Tuesday, September 9, 2008

Del. student wins partial victory in free speech case

Wilmington, Del. - A University of Delaware student has won his legal argument that his free speech rights were violated by the school when it suspended him for content on his Web page, but he essentially lost his lawsuit seeking damages.

A federal judge ruled that Maciej Murakowski's Web page of sex jokes, among other topics, was sophomoric and offensive but was protected speech, not a threat to others and not a violation of the school's policies.

However, Magistrate Judge Mary Pat Thynge also found the school's decision to suspend Murakowski for a semester was justified because of his other actions, including ignoring an order not to return to his dorm after he was suspended.

For more on this story, go to The Wilmington News-Journal

Monday, September 8, 2008

Motor city mayor toppled by FOIA request

Detroit, Mich. - On Oct. 19, 2007, the Free Press submitted a Freedom of Information Act request for all documents in the police whistle-blower settlement that cost the City of Detroit $8.4 million. Mayor Kwame Kilpatrick and lawyers then schemed to hide the documents and cover up lies he told under oath in the lawsuit.

But then things unraveled for the mayor: The Free Press published text messages that exposed his lies, County Prosecutor Kym Worthy charged him with eight felonies, and courts ruled that the documents were, in fact, public.

On Thursday, the mayor finally acknowledged his lies, signifying a victory for freedom of the press, the Freedom of Information Act itself, the public's right to know -- and the idea that violating an oath to tell the truth carries severe consequences.

Here are excerpts from the legal drama over the 11 months since the Free Press FOIA request was filed.

For more on this story, go to The Detroit Free Press . Also, for more information on citizen participation in the role of government watchdog via the Freedom of Information Act, go to The National Coalition on Freedom of Information.

Saturday, September 6, 2008

Pinning the blame on the real culprits of high gas prices

by Michael Heberling

I am writing this after having just filled my tank with gasoline at $3.99 per gallon. Oil is over $125 a barrel.

Big Oil and their CEOs are the hands-down favorite to win the Snidely Whiplash People’s Choice Award. Since Big Oil is our favorite villain, no one really wants to hear about the other deserving nominees in this category: Big Government and Big Green.

For more on this commentary, go to The July/August 2008 issue of The Freeman, a publication of the Foundation on Economic Education

Friday, September 5, 2008

Confessions of a 'rogue' juror

by Thomas L. Eddlem

During jury service earlier this year I sat in a judge’s robing chambers and was asked to take an oath that I expect no juror in American history was ever asked to take before or since:

"Would you be able to set aside your own reading of the Constitution, the judge’s past instructions, and judge the facts based solely upon the judge’s explanation of the law?"
The judge, U.S. District Court Judge William G. Young took 43-pages in a court memorandum last month to call me a "rogue" for not taking this unusual oath.

I’m not always the quickest on my feet, but on the drive home from the courthouse that day I thought a clever reply would have been: "Other than the actual words that are written in the Constitution, what words would you have me substitute when I think of the Constitution?" I wouldn’t have given him such a smart-alec reply even if I had thought of it at the time, though, as I was worried about a contempt of court charge. I stayed polite.

For more on this commentary, go to Also, to find out more about the rights and powers juries have in the legal system, visit the Fully Informed Jury Association.

Thursday, September 4, 2008

Celebrating jury right's day


To grasp why the Bill of Rights leads off by barring Congress from "establishing" any religion, "or prohibiting the free exercise thereof," you must understand that in 18th century England there was no "separation of church and state." The English monarch to this day includes in her title "Fidele Defensor" -- Defender of the Faith. Which helps explain why even our right to a jury trial stems directly from this era.

In 1670, it was declared illegal to hold a religious gathering or preach a sermon in England which was not a "Church of England" sermon. Dissident churches, including the Quaker meeting houses, were closed.

Unable to get into his London meeting house, William Penn led a Quaker meeting in the street outside. He was arrested and put on trial -- on Sept. 5, 1670, 338 years ago this week.

For more on this commentary, go to The Las Vegas Review-Journal

Gov. Sarah Palin address to 2008 AIP convention

Click the following link to find out more about the Alaskan Independence Party.

Tuesday, September 2, 2008

The premature death of Sarah Palin's political career

by Llewellyn H. Rockwell

The frenzied reaction of the middle class all over the country toward Sarah Palin has no real precedent that I can remember. Indeed, the reaction especially among women is completely understandable. She provides a much welcome cultural break from the chip-on-the-shoulder, grudge-against-the-world model of public women that have been held up to us for years, embodied in the belligerent and insufferable person of Hillary Clinton.

Sarah, on the other hand, is both beautiful and professionally accomplished, a wife and mother and a natural politician, both religious and secular, both feminine and fears no tasks such as hunting that are usually associated with men. She offers a different model of a woman who has excelled not through intimidation and aggressive demands for reparation, but through her own efforts, charms, and intelligence.

What's more, her political outlook has much to recommend it, from what we can gather so far. There is a libertarian impulse here. She has rejected the perks of public life in favor of common sense. She is friendly to business interests but unfriendly to special privileges. She has praised Ron Paul and rejected the party mentality of GOP regulars.

It strikes many people as a brilliant choice on McCain's part, and I would agree. Social conservatives have forgiven all of McCain's deviations. Many people who just last week didn't give a fig about whether he wins or loses have come around completely. She will, of course, be a huge focus of the campaign.

The claim against her that she lacks "experience" is one of the most bogus things out there. For starters, the history of VPs shows a long history of people with very little of what is called "experience" today. And contrary to what media pundits say, what is far more important than experience are the political values you hold.

The demand for experience seems to imply that somehow we are seeking social and global managers for public office, and that is manifestly what we do not want. In a truly liberal society, the job of a White House executive could be held by anyone or no one.

For more on this commentary, go to

Monday, September 1, 2008

Labor Day and freedom

by Art Carden

A Tyson Chicken plant in Shelbyville, Tennessee has agreed to grant its workers a day off for the Muslim holiday Eid el-Fitr, replacing Labor Day at the request of the union that represents approximately 1200 plant employees, among them approximately seven hundred Somali Muslim immigrants.

Predictably, the decision has created a firestorm of controversy and attracted considerable criticism. This criticism is largely unwarranted, however. First, how firms and workers contract with one another is none of our business. Second, granting a different holiday harms no one. As I understand it, workers who wish to take time off for the Muslim holiday may do so and work on Labor Day. Those who wish to celebrate Labor Day will probably not be prevented from doing so. Finally, it isn't clear that Labor Day is worth celebrating.

For more on this commentary, go to The Ludwig von Mises Institute

Sunday, August 31, 2008

Mich. government overhaul backers appealing ballot initiative denial

LANSING, Mich. - Proponents of a Michigan ballot measure that would cut judges' pay 15 percent and eliminate some of their positions is challenging an appeals court decision this week that blocks the proposal from the Nov. 4 ballot.

A three-judge appeals court panel on Aug. 22 said the proposal has a "reach and expanse never before seen" in Michigan constitutional amendments.

Judges Patrick Meter, Bill Schuette and William Whitbeck on Wednesday ordered state election officials to not place the measure on the ballot.

Reform Michigan Government Now is asking the state Supreme Court to hold an emergency hearing on the proposal so county elections officials have time to put the measure on their ballots.

For more on this story, go to Legal

Confusing wealth with income

by Richard W. Rahn

Which of the following families is "richer"? The first family consists of a wife who has recently become a medical doctor, and she makes $160,000 per year. Her husband is a small business entrepreneur who makes $110,000 per year, giving them a total family income of $270,000 per year. However, they are still paying off the loans the wife took out for medical school and the loans the husband took out to start his business, amounting to debts of $300,000. Their total assets are valued at $450,000; hence, their real net worth or wealth (the difference between gross assets and liabilities) is only $150,000.

The second family consists of a trial lawyer who took early retirement and his non-working wife. They have an annual income of $230,000, all of it derived from interest on tax-free municipal bonds they own. However, their net worth is $7 million, consisting of $5 million in bonds, a million-dollar home with no mortgage, and a million dollars in art work, home furnishings, automobiles and personal items.

The second family is clearly far better off financially than the first family, yet many in the U.S. Congress, including Sen. Barack Obama, want to increase taxes on the first (and poorer) family and not on the wealthier family. They have mis-defined "rich" by confusing a flow (income) with a stock (real net assets), and thus come to the wrong conclusion. They want to tax those (who make more than $250,000 a year) who are trying to become rich, while preserving the status for those who already have wealth.

For more on this commentary, go to

Saturday, August 30, 2008

Because inmate was not an 'employee', DOC wants Lakin suit tossed

CHARLESTON - The state Division of Corrections is asking a suit naming it as a co-defendant in a sexual harassment case arising out of one its facilities in Mason County be dismissed because the acts that led to it were not done in the course of a normal employee-employer setting.

On Aug. 6, WVDOC filed its reply in the civil suit filed against it, and David W. McCormick, a former employee at the Lakin Correctional Center for Women in West Columbia, by Kristin Childs.

Now a resident of Titusville, Fla., Childs alleged that in October while an inmate at Lakin, McCormick coerced her into having sex with him in exchange for agreeing to transfer her to another work detail.

As a result of their encounter, Childs become pregnant. Records show Childs did not initially report the encounter for fear it would harm her chances of parole, which was granted on March 19.

In its reply filed with the assistance of David E. Schumacher, with the Charleston law firm of Bailey and Wyant, WVDOC denies McCormick was acting within the scope of his employment. Therefore, WVDOC denies it breached any affirmative duty or standard of care with respect to keeping Childs' work environment free from intimidation and sexual harassment.

For more on this story, go to The West Virginia Record

The Fallacy of We

by Jim Fedako

While watching the Olympics, we tend to cheer participants along national lines. We root for our country's athletes over those from the rest of the world. While there is nothing wrong with this fun diversion, the concept of the individual must never be lost amid the ideal of the collective — the belief that the members of the collective (the nation in this instance) are faceless automatons dedicated to serving the whole.

For more on this commentary, go to The Ludwig von Mises Institute

Wednesday, August 27, 2008

Minn. man foils IRS in tax case

WASHINGTON — It took seven years, but Charles Ulrich did something many people dream about, but few succeed at: He beat the IRS in a tax dispute.

Not only that, but tax experts say potentially millions of other taxpayers could benefit from his victory.

The accountant from Baxter, Minn., challenged the method the IRS has used for more than 20 years to tax shares and cash distributed by mutual life insurance firms to their policyholders when they reorganize as public companies.

A federal court recently agreed with his interpretation.

"There's a tremendous amount of money at stake," said Robert Willens, a New York City-based tax analyst at Robert Willens LLC. "Tens of thousands of people could be in line for a refund."

For more on this story, go to FOX

Tuesday, August 26, 2008

Two Georgias, two tales of self-defense

In today's Wall Street Journal, U.S. Sens. Lindsay Graham (R - S.C.) and Joe Lieberman (I - Conn.) call upon their fellow countrymen to stand with them in helping to arm Georgians against violence. Specifically, they say, "...Georgian[s]...should be given the ... [weapons] systems necessary to deter any renewed ... aggression. These defensive capabilities will help to prevent this conflict from erupting again..."

Sadly, the two McCain frontmen were talking about arming Georgians in the former Soviet Union, not Georgia, U.S.A. As it now stands Georgians on the other side of the world have more freedom to bear arms than those next door to Mr. Graham.

Monday, August 25, 2008

Starcher refers to MPLA as a 'monster' in Mason med mal opinion

Though the state Supreme Court was correct in remanding a malpractice case from Mason County back to the circuit court, one of the justices said the piece of reform legislation that gave rise the suit has become a Frankenstein "monster."

For more on this story, go to The West Virginia Record

Sunday, August 24, 2008

Mich. reform group ask for additional recusals on ballot initiative

LANSING, Mich. - Proponents of a Michigan ballot measure that would cut judges' pay and eliminate some of their positions are asking the state Court of Appeals to block some judges from hearing challenges to the proposal.

Reform Michigan Government Now says seven of the Appeals Court judges should be disqualified from the case because they could lose their judgeships if the measure passes in November.

Additionally, the measure would eliminate two state Supreme Court justice positions, while 10 judgeships would be added at the circuit court level.

For more on this story, go to Legal Newsline

Photo: Michigan Judge William Whitbeck sat on the three-judge panel that recently heard a motion by Reform Michigan Government Now to have potential appeal's court judges disqualified from ruling on the group's proposed ballot inititive to trim elected officials which includes judges.

Saturday, August 23, 2008

The faux Fannie and Freddie bailout figures

by Don A. Rich

A recent study from the Congressional Budget Office (CBO) has zero credibility. It pegged likely taxpayer losses in the Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac bailouts at $25 billion. For those with a sense of history, it is worth remembering that the S&L bailout had a $160 billion price tag. The numbers diverge so far from reality as to be laugh-out-loud funny. Funny, that is, except that the CBO estimate demonstrates a willful disconnect with the actual consequences of federal government actions.

As demonstrated below, the real cost of the bailouts will easily exceed $1.3 trillion. In fact, the real cost is likely to range between $1.3 trillion to $1.6 trillion, and is not unlikely to reach $2.5 trillion.

For more on this commentary, go to The Ludwig von Mises Institute

Friday, August 22, 2008

Freedom to fail

by Steve Greenhut

I love cars, but I also love it when the market weeds out the lousy carmakers.

Being a libertarian, I'm often accused of being pro-business, which is absurd. I'm a believer in free markets, and an essential tenet of free-market thinking is that businesses must be free to fail if they are insufficiently responsive to the needs of the consumer. I love it when lousy businesses fail. Unfortunately, politicians from both parties often try to use taxpayer subsidies and government-enforced protections to help out their favorite businesses or to keep them from falling into the "wrong" hands.

For more on this commentary, go to

Thursday, August 21, 2008

Fighting back against junk mail

Did you know the average person gets only 1.5 personal letters each week, compared to 10.8 pieces of junk mail? Each person will receive almost 560 pieces of junk mail this year.

That’s 4.5 million tons of junk mail produced each year!

44 percent of all junk mail is thrown in the trash, unopened and unread. Approximately 40 percent of the solid mass that makes up our landfills is paper and paperboard waste.

Believe or not there are ways to fight this nuisance.

In addition to contacting the Direct Mail Association to opt-out of all unsolicited offers, the folks at the Office of Strategic Influence suggest attaching the postage-paid envelope that comes in the unsolicited letter to a box containing a brick. Since the company has to pay $.25 for each ounce, an eight pound package will set them back $25.

As a take off on this idea, Steven Kinsella on suggested a way to stick it to fundraising letters for political candidates, especially the McBama camp. With the right amount of diligence and patience, one can make 2009 a year hassle-free from junk mail.

Tuesday, August 19, 2008

Courts records becoming less public in Okla.

Tulsa, Okla. - Oklahoma's district court judges are sealing thousands of court cases and documents — mostly because attorneys simply asked them to.

More than 2,300 cases statewide have received a judge's order to make at least one record in the file not available to the public, according to a Tulsa World analysis going back to 2003.

These records are added to a growing list of nonpublic court information, including that generated in drug courts, mental health courts and juvenile proceedings.

Records that are being sealed include financial records of companies and hospitals, settlements in wrongful-death lawsuits, divorce proceedings, protective orders and name changes.

Joey Senat, past president of Freedom of Information Oklahoma, said he was surprised by the amount of sealed records.

"I had heard of this going on in other states, but I'm really disappointed this is happening to the courts in our state," Senat said. "This is a real indication there are two systems — one for the rich and powerful and one for the rest of us. The public has been left out of this process.

For more on this story, go to The Tulsa World

Monday, August 18, 2008

Learning about drug legalizaton from Motley Crue

by Verdan Vuk

Motley Crue rocked the 1980s. They played hard and partied harder. Their lifestyle was a toxic mixture of drugs, alcohol, fast cars, and fast women. Their reputation for drug abuse remains legendary — rivaling Ozzy Osbourne, the Grateful Dead, and even the Rolling Stones.

Anyone supporting drug legalization must reconcile their position with the existence of these coked-up hallucinating tattooed hooligans on motorcycles. Most citizens fear legalization would lead to the rapid decline of Western Civilization: the youth would jump at drugs; dope would be in every home and every vein; morality would fly out the window, and life as we know it would collapse all around us.

With these "esteemed" gentlemen as examples, only the deranged could support drug legalization. That is, until one examines the specifics more closely.

For more on this commentary, go to The Ludwig von Mises Institute

Sunday, August 17, 2008

Why the "bad" economic news is good

by Llewellyn H. Rockwell

Sometimes the bad news is the good news. So it is with the report that retail sales are down by 0.1 percent in July, the sharpest drop in many months.

Why good news? It means that consumers are starting to cut back. They could be going into less debt. They might be saving more. They are being more careful about long-term plans pending short-term trends.

These are all preconditions for recovery. It’s only bad news if one adopts the crude theory that economies are sustained by consumer spending. The truth is nearly the opposite. Consumer spending is the final payoff for the less visible foundation of growth, which is real saving and investment – that is, making the choice for the future over the present. What declines in retail spending indicate is a coming to terms with reality.

For more on this commentary, go to

Saturday, August 16, 2008

Remembering the great gold heist of '33

by Thomas E. Woods

It's been 75 years since the federal government, on the spurious grounds of fighting the Great Depression, ordered the confiscation of all monetary gold from Americans, permitting trivial amounts for ornamental or industrial use. This happens to be one of the episodes Kevin Gutzman and I describe in detail in our new book, Who Killed the Constitution? The Fate of American Liberty from World War I to George W. Bush. From the point of view of the typical American classroom, on the other hand, the incident may as well not have occurred.

A key piece of legislation in this story is the Emergency Banking Act of 1933, which Congress passed on March 9 without having read it and after only the most trivial debate. House Minority Leader Bertrand H. Snell (R-NY) generously conceded that it was "entirely out of the ordinary" to pass legislation that "is not even in print at the time it is offered." He urged his colleagues to pass it all the same: "The house is burning down, and the President of the United States says this is the way to put out the fire. [Applause.] And to me at this time there is only one answer to this question, and that is to give the President what he demands and says is necessary to meet the situation."

Among other things, the act retroactively approved the president's closing of private banks throughout the country for several days the previous week, an act for which he had not bothered to provide a legal justification. It gave the secretary of the Treasury the power to require all individuals and corporations to hand over all their gold coin, gold bullion, or gold certificates if in his judgment "such action is necessary to protect the currency system of the United States."

For more on this commentary, go to The Ludwig von Mises Institute

Friday, August 15, 2008

McCain, Obama Equally Ignorant on Solving Gas Price Crisis

by Radley Balko

In an interview last week on National Public Radio, Barack Obama was asked about his proposal for a "windfall profits" profits tax on oil companies. To her credit, the interviewer prefaced her question by noting that nearly all economists from across the political spectrum oppose the idea. Taxing oil company profits won't make gas any cheaper — it'll likely make it more expensive in the long run by discouraging exploration — and it won't speed the development of alternative energy sources. Obama's answer was pure demagoguery, pitting senior citizens and working class families against oil companies, who he says are reaping profits "hand over fist."

Obama's opponent John McCain has smartly opposed a tax on oil company profits — and Obama has promptly attacked him for it.

But McCain isn't much better. McCain has proposed an equally ridiculous "gas tax holiday," which will also do almost nothing to provide relief at the pump. Obama has smartly opposed the idea — and McCain has promptly attacked him for it.Economic ignorance is nothing new in politics. Neither is the idea that a candidate would perpetuate economic idiocy he knows to be false because it plays into the narrative he's pitching to the voters. But no issue seems to prompt more jaw-dropping sophistry and anti-capitalist demagoguery than gas prices.

For more on this commentary, go to FOX

Wednesday, August 13, 2008

Chuck Blake, please call your office! Firefighters who earn an honest living by fighting fires

Big Sur, Calif. - Seated behind the wheel of a fire engine, Dave Breglia follows a map dotted with expensive homes threatened by wildfires. His job: protect high-end real estate and save an insurance company millions of dollars.

"I never know where I'll go next or how long I'll be there," said Breglia, a private contractor who was in Paradise, about 80 miles north of Sacramento. "But this season I bet I'll be on the road until October."

Business is booming for private firefighting companies as drought and soaring temperatures combine to create one of the worst fire seasons in years across the West. Some contractors are even acquiring their own fire engines and flying helicopters.

For more on this story, go to

Tuesday, August 12, 2008

TSU whistleblowers awarded $540,000

Houston, Tex. - A jury awarded $540,000 to three former Texas Southern University student activists Thursday and let the school know that retaliation against whistle-blowers won't be tolerated.

"We wanted to send a message that this should not happen again — the violation of First Amendment rights and the false arrest," one juror said after the jury added $350,000 in punitive damages to the $190,000 they awarded the trio last week to compensate them for being kicked out of school and temporarily charged with a crime after helping uncover a financial scandal.

After deciding the extra damages Thursday afternoon, 10 jurors were grilled by the attorneys on their thoughts. Several said they were impressed by the young men. Juror Donnie Mathis hugged the three and said she was proud of them.

For more on this article, go to The Houston Chronicle

Buffalo mayor orders return of media access to crime info

Buffalo, N.Y. - Mayor Byron W. Brown on Thursday ordered police to restore the media’s access to crime information that had been removed from a Police Department computer in recent months.

The mayor said he had been unaware the information had been suppressed, and he blamed the policy change on “miscommunication ” caused by a “poorly worded memo.”

Brown said that he had discussions in January with representative of The Buffalo News and that those talks produced an agreement about what crime data police would provide.

“It was implemented, and somehow it was changed without me being told,” Brown said Thursday, adding that the change hit him “out of left field.”

For more on this article, go to The Buffalo News

Sunday, August 10, 2008

Farewell to Aleksandr Solzhenitsyn

by Yuri N. Maltsev

Aleksandr Isayevich Solzhenitsyn, writer, Nobel Prize winner, and the most famous Soviet dissident died at the age of 89 on August 3, 2008 in his home near Moscow. He lived a long and hard life, but he died the way that he wanted to: "He wanted to die in the summer – and he died in the summer," his wife Natalya said. "He wanted to die at home – and he died at home. In general I should say that Aleksandr Isayevich lived a difficult but happy life."

For more on this op/ed, go to The Ludwig von Mises Institute

Saturday, August 9, 2008

Official: Lakin criminal, civil cases are firsts

Both a civil and criminal case arising from a former maintenance supervisor having a sexual relationship with an inmate at the Lakin Correctional Center for Women are the first since the facility opened in 2003 and a law passed penalizing sex with inmates, a top correctional official said.

For more on this story, go to The West Virginia Record

Photo: Kristin Childs, above, alleges in a civil suit filed in Kanawha County, David W. McCormick forced her to have sex with him while he was her supervisor on a maintenance crew at the Lakin Correctional Center. In addition to his termination from the prison, McCormick, 40, of Leon, plead guilty in June to one count of having sex with an inmate. He is scheduled for sentencing on Monday, Aug. 18 at 9:30 a.m. in Mason Circuit Court

Friday, August 8, 2008

The story behind the story of the TSU 3

On the night of Dec. 4, 2004, a Texas Southern University student named Ashley Sloan was gunned down near campus, struck in the temple by a bullet after leaving a party with her friends. A fight inside the party had reignited outside, and someone pulled a gun. Sloan’s friends were able to shield themselves behind a car as the shots rang out, but the 20-year-old sophomore didn’t make it in time. She died in the parking lot.

The murder prompted an outpouring of accusations on campus of poor security. For many Houstonians, the shooting raised old fears of the violence-plagued TSU of the 1990s, which many thought had since been cleaned up by then-president Dr. Priscilla Slade.

As it turns out, the shooting would set in motion a series of events that not only called into question Slade’s multimillion dollar “academic renaissance,” but revealed a campus administration entrenched in scandal.

Slade’s vision for TSU was dazzling and reflected her own larger-than-life personality. At 53, Slade turned heads on campus, cruising around in her black Jaguar convertible and designer suits. For years, TSU, located eight miles from downtown Houston, lagged academically in comparison with nearby public universities Texas State University and the University of Houston, but Slade was said to be taking the provincial TSU and putting it on the map, nationally and internationally.

In her first few years as president, Slade had doubled enrollment to 12,000 students, launched the university’s first $50 million fund-raising campaign and a construction boom on campus, including a $25 million science building that features a four-story glass atrium and a NASA research center.
There is a new Tavis Smiley School of Communications, a new School of Public Affairs and a new College of Liberal Arts and Behavioral Sciences. The law school has been expanded and, for the first time in its history, posted higher Texas Bar exam passage rates than its main competitor, Texas Tech University. And in Diverse’s Top 100 rankings, TSU was the second highest producer of first professional degrees for African-Americans during the 2004-2005 academic year, second only to Howard University. The School of Business received accreditation in 2002, and the university has added master’s and doctoral programs in administration of justice, urban planning and environmental policy, pharmaceutical science and others. So although, some professors grumbled about Slade’s flashy persona, more felt she made TSU proud.

TSU spokeswoman Gayle Colston Barge points to new initiatives like the on-campus child care center and a summer remedial program for freshmen as examples of how TSU is helping support students, more than 40 percent of whom are the first in their families to attend college.

“I don’t know if that would have happened under just anyone; it could have, but I doubt it,” says TSU regent David Diaz, about the university’s growth.

TSU appeared to be putting the problems of the 1990s behind it. Before Slade arrived, the university switchboard often went unanswered, professors often didn’t show up for class and there was no standard accounting procedure. There was even a movement afoot to place the school under the University of Texas System because of mismanagement and poor bookkeeping.

However, to some on campus, Ashley Sloan’s murder demonstrated that Slade’s positive public image masked deep problems throughout the university. For instance, says Justin Jordan, freshman class president at the time of Sloan’s murder, the push for higher enrollment brought dangerous students to campus. Although the students had no real interest in academia, their tuition and fees helped fuel Slade’s grandeur, he says. And according to The Journal of Blacks in Higher Education, only 6 percent of TSU’s students who graduated in spring 2005 had earned their degrees within four years, one of the lowest rates in the nation.

“These are just fancy buildings. Nothing’s happening in them,” says Jordan. “It’s sick that people would treat an institute of higher learning like this.”

Jordan decided that he had to do something.

For more on this story, go to Diverse: Issues in Higher Education.

Photos: The "TSU 3",from left, Oliver Brown, Justin Jordan and William Hudson (above), and former TSU President Priscilla Slade (below).

Wednesday, August 6, 2008

Texas Southern retaliated against student whistleblowers, jury finds

Houston, Tex. - Texas Southern University officials kicked out three students and had them arrested in retaliation for their public criticism of administrators, a federal jury decided Friday.

The jury of nine women and three men deliberated for 12 hours Thursday and Friday before unanimously accepting all the claims of William G. Hudson, Justin R. Jordan and Oliver J. Brown, who in 2005 sued the TSU regents, then-President Priscilla Slade and other university officials.

The former students were seeking at least $150,000 each and also sued to have their student disciplinary records purged.

Jurors awarded actual damages totaling nearly $200,000 for all three. The jury returns next week to decide on punitive damages, unless the opposing sides settle on that matter.

"At least someone stood up for us, and the jury stood up for us," said Brown.

For more on this story, go to The Houston Chronicle, and The Torch, the official blog of the Foundation for Individual Rights in Education.

Tuesday, August 5, 2008

Putting a halt to corporate welfare

Albany, N.Y. - Yesterday, Buffalo attorney and self-proclaimed "anti-politician" James Ostrowski filed suit in the Albany Supreme Court on behalf of 47 taxpayers to halt the state's practice of awarding over $1 billion in "economic development" grants to private corporations. The basis for the suit is an 1846 amendment to the state constitution banning the government from bestowing "gifts" to private entities.

According to Ostrowski, the 1846 amendment was passed when speculators selling politicians on the benefits of "internal improvements" left taxpayers holding the bag. Though a proposed 1967 amendment to overturn the 1846 amendment was defeated by a 3-to-1 margin, "state officials have acted as though the 1967 amendment had become law."

A copy of "The Mother of All Lawsuits," may be found on Ostrowski's blog.

Also, Ostrowski announced his intentions to file similar suits in all 50 states. Though the late-Larry Harless attempted with limited success to challenge the $200 million in economic development grants then-Gov. Bob Wise doled out in 2002, given that two new justices will be elected to the Supreme Court in November the timing may be right for a second, more principled legal challenge.

Anyone wanting to assist Mr. Ostrowski in this endeavor may contact him via telephone at (716) 435-8918 or e-mail at

Flight of the Valkyries, ghetto style

How apropos a Vietnam vet who was a ground attack pilot suggest this.

Sunday, August 3, 2008

Why Wal-Mart should get into higher ed

by Gary North

I earned my Ph.D. in 1972. What I am about to describe is academically feasible. It is surely economically feasible.

Wal-Mart should start a college. As with virtually all colleges, it would be called a university. Why? Because of higher perceived value by the consumers.

Why should Wal-Mart bother? Here is a good reason. The total expenditure in the United States on higher education is in the range of a third of a trillion dollars a year. That is a great deal of money. Wal-Mart is not a company to let a large profit opportunity drift by.

You would be hard-pressed to find any industry with this level of income that is less efficient than higher education. If Wal-Mart gets into the field, this will change.

Wal-Mart could offer far lower tuition than any other private university, and lower than 80% of tax-funded universities. All it needs to do is offer what is already available, but which almost no one knows about.

For more on this op/ed, go to

Saturday, August 2, 2008

Exposing the War racket

Earlier this week, Investigative Reporters and Editors, a non-profit clearinghouse for investigative reporters worldwide, posted two separate, but related stories on its Extra! Extra! page

The first is from Peter Spiegel of The Los Angeles Times' Washington Bureau. On July 30, Spiegel reported that Stuart W. Bowen Jr., the U.S. special inspector general for Iraq, called for an end to all American funding of Iraqi reconstruction "because the Iraqi oil windfall plus unspent funds from earlier budgets are more than adequate to meet the country's reconstruction needs."

The second is from an Associated Press report on the first anniversary of the collapse of a section of I-35W in Minneapolis, Minn. that left 13 people dead. According to the AP, "two of every three of the busiest problem bridges in each state — carrying nearly 40 million vehicles a day — have had no work beyond regular maintenance."

Partly because of the I-35W tragedy, officials in nearly every state have made efforts to address the problem. However, "[s]oaring construction costs, budget shortages, election-year politics, a backlog of bridge projects, competing highway repairs and bureaucracy often held bridge work to only incremental progress."

Once again, Mr. Butler's maxim, that "War is a Racket" has been proven correct.

For more on these stories, go to The L.A. Times and AP.

Supervisor forced Lakin inmate into sex, suit alleges

CHARLESTON - An inmate at the Lakin Correctional Center for Women has filed a suit against the state division of corrections and her supervisor, claiming he forced her to have sex with him, through which she became pregnant.

Kristin Childs filed the suit June 16 in Kanawha Circuit Court against the West Virginia Division of Corrections and David McCormick. Childs is an inmate at Lakin, who worked under the supervision of McCormick, the maintenance supervisor.

During her time working with McCormick, Childs claims he forced her into unwanted sexual relations and physical contact that resulted in her pregnancy. Childs claims she attempted to transfer from the work area, but the transfer did not take place until after she was subjected to McCormick's unwanted sexual advances.

For more on this story, go to The West Virginia Record

Monday, July 28, 2008

Burton S. Blumert on buying gold and silver

The latest installment in "The Lew Rockwell Show" in now available, and, like the prior four, couldn't have come at a better time. Podcast number five is an interview with Burton S. Blumert, president of The Center for Libertarian Studies and publisher of, on the subject of buying gold and silver.

As the federal government is bailing out both the housing and banking industries pushing the American economy closer to recession, Blumert compressess his 50 years of experience in the precious metals industry into this 16-minute interview.

Sunday, July 27, 2008

Lew Rockwell podcasts

Anyone wanting a no-holds-barred analysis of why America is in the current political/economic morass needs to listen to this, and the three accompanying podcasts hosted by Llewellyn H. Rockwell, editor of and president of the Ludwig von Mises Institute.

Saturday, July 26, 2008

N.J. high court clarifies proper course for open-records suits

Trenton, N. J. - People who feel they were wrongly denied documents they requested under New Jersey's Open Public Records Act must act quickly if they want to use the courts to force governments to release them, the state Supreme Court ruled yesterday.
In a unanimous ruling, the state's high court affirmed the law's 45-day window for people to sue when a government or agency refuses to turn over documents. The court also said governments that turn over public documents because of such lawsuits must pay all legal fees.

"Citizens are entitled to swift access to public records, and both the public and governmental bodies are logically entitled to have any disputes brought and addressed in the same, rapid manner," wrote Chief Justice Stuart Rabner.

The law allows governments to take up to seven days to either release documents or deny a request for them. It gives 45 days for people to sue after their requests are denied. Yesterday's decision said that is enough time for people to launch legal challenges, and provides certainty for governments.

For more on this story, go to The Newark Star-Ledger

Photo: The New Jersey Supreme Court. Chief Justice Stuart Rabner, who wrote the Court's opinion in a recent decision on how open-records lawsuits should proceed, is seated on the front row in the center.

Wednesday, July 23, 2008

Bloggers find themselves under more legal scrutiny

Brattleboro, Vt. - When Christopher Grotke answered a late-night knock on the door, he did not expect to find the deputy sheriff on his doorstep serving notice that he was being sued. Nor was he prepared for the charge: libel.

Someone had posted a comment on his citizen-journalism Web site,, stating that a woman in Brattleboro, Vt., was having an extramarital affair. The accused woman then sued Grotke and his Web site co-founder for failing to edit or delete the comment.

The blogging community increasingly is subject to lawsuits and threats of legal action running the gamut from subpoenas to cease-and-desist notices.
Since blogging became popular in about 2004, there have been 159 civil and criminal court actions involving bloggers, according to the nonprofit Media Law Resource Center (MLRC) in New York. Seven cases have resulted in verdicts against bloggers, with cumulative penalties totaling $18.5 million. Many more legal actions never result in trial.

For more on this article, go to The Christian Science Monitor

Tuesday, July 22, 2008

Wolverines look to slash elected officials' pay; Dems warn chief justice not to block proposal

LANSING, Mich. - Democrats are taking aim at the Michigan Supreme Court chief justice, calling on him not to block a proposal they're backing that would cut judges' pay.

The ad, which began running last weekend, urges Chief Justice Clifford Taylor not to block a proposed ballot initiative that would, among other things, cut judges' pay by 15 percent and reduce the salaries of legislators, the governor, lieutenant governor, attorney general, and secretary of state by 25 percent.

For more on this story, go to Legal Newsline

Photo: Michigan Chief Justice Clifford Taylor is a target of state Democrats who want to cut the salaries of elected officials, including judges.

Monday, July 21, 2008

Colo. blogger provides "fair and balanced" satirical magazine cover

By now, everyone, including those living in the most remote holler of West Virginia, knows of the controversy surrounding the current edition of The New Yorker. The cover shows presumptive Democratic presidential nominee Barack Obama, dressed in traditional Muslim attire, with his wife, Michelle, dressed in camouflage pants and sporting an AK-47 assault rifle exchanging a pound in the Oval Office of the White House.

Upon its release, the magazine cover invoked outrage including a statement by Obama campaign spokesman Bill Burton calling it "tasteless and offensive." In response to the hoopla, the New Yorker issued a statement saying the cover was satire (ostensibly to the laughable characterization FOX news "anchor" - and dumb blond of the year-nominee - E. D. Hill made following Obama's victory rally in St. Paul, Minnesota on June 3 referring to "the pound" as "a terrorist fist-jab" ).

Speaking of "fair and balanced," get a load of the satirical "New Yorker" cover a Colorado blogger did of presumptive Republican presidential nominee John McCain as a POW in the Hanoi Hilton. Given the historical records that undergirds both "covers," one can only wonder if it's really satire.

Negligence led to woman's breast cancer, suit claims

A Mason County hospital and two physicians are named in a malpractice suit alleging they failed to properly diagnose a woman for breast cancer.

On June 13, Kathleen and Thomas Edwards filed suit against Pleasant Valley Hospital and Drs. Suresh K. Agrawal, of Point Pleasant, and Thomas J. Piechowicz, of Marietta, Ohio. In the three-count complaint and suit, filed with the assistance of Charleston attorney Marvin W. Masters, the Edwards' allege each were in some way responsible for Kathleen developing breast cancer.

For more on this story, go to The West Virginia Record

One suit dismissed, another filed against Vaidya

Despite the dismissal of one, a Mason County physician finds himself defending against another malpractice suit.

For more on this story, go to The West Virginia Record

Sunday, July 20, 2008

What's wrong with selling your vote?

by Sheldon Richman

Poor Max Sanders. The 19-year-old University of Minnesota student faces five years in jail and a $10,000 fine; he is accused of putting his vote in the presidential election up for auction on eBay. He started the bidding at $10. The charge is bribery, treating, and soliciting.

I’m confused. Aren’t all our votes for sale? Each candidate tries to bribe us with future benefits of all sorts. Basically, a campaign is an effort to buy votes wholesale.

For more on this op/ed, go to The Future of Freedom Foundation

Saturday, July 19, 2008

Fannie and Freddie bailout 101

by William L. Anderson

One way to make someone’s eyes glaze over is to explain the various relationships in financial matters. Discussions of swaps, equity, options, short-selling and the like quickly become technical and esoteric, and most people instantly tune out what is being said.

Unfortunately, this situation convinces people that finance is complicated and cannot be understood – and so it must be left to the "experts" who are assumed to know better. Thus, the average person – the taxpayer who will be left on the hook – does not really understand why entities like "Freddie Mac" and "Fannie Mae" are in trouble, and why their "bailouts" are a disaster. They only know that the people who are supposed to be "in charge" of these things are declaring success

For more on this op/ed, go to

Friday, July 18, 2008

Calif. development agency officials award themselves generous bonuses

San Diego, Calif. - For several years, the president of the agency tasked with redeveloping some of San Diego's most blighted neighborhoods has been paying herself and her top deputy tens of thousands of dollars in bonuses and extra compensation unbeknownst to members of the City Council or the agency's board.

Carolyn Y. Smith, president of the Southeastern Economic Development Corp., and her top deputy, finance director Dante Dayacap, shared $77,276 in taxpayer-funded bonuses and additional compensation in fiscal year 2005-2006. That year, Smith reported to the City Council and SEDC's board that she would be paid a salary of between $130,000 and $160,000, but by the end of the year she had earned $206,328.

The additional pay for the government officials came to light following a review of SEDC's tax records, which revealed a complicated system of unsupervised payments for top SEDC officials that are not explained in its public budget. The officials regularly receive annual five-figure bonuses under payment programs overseen by Smith and vaguely titled "acknowledgement" and "cost of living."

In total, between fiscal years 2003-2004 and 2006-2007, SEDC's top four officials collectively received about $256,000 through the various bonus and extra compensation programs.

For more on this story, go to The Voice of San Diego

Thursday, July 17, 2008

The IRS v. Robert Kahre

Las Vegas businessman Robert Kahre, along with his attorney, William A. Cohan, talk with Steve Murphy of "Insider Exclusive" about his battle with the IRS to pay his employees in gold and silver coin. This interview includes footage of FBI and IRS agents raiding Kahre's business in May 2003. According to Cohan and Kahre, agents attempted to destroy these videos and lied about it in court documents.

Nevada businessman stands up to IRS on issue of paying employees in gold

Las Vegas, Nev. - On a 106-degree May afternoon in 2003, government agents raided several establishments belonging to Southern Nevada businessman Robert “Bobby” Kahre. With guns drawn, officials held more than 20 handcuffed workers in the sun without water as agents collected records and other materials.

Kahre hadn’t committed a crime. He had upset the Internal Revenue Service by paying his workers based on the face value of gold and silver coins, versus the market value in the Federal Reserve system (the value of the coins in U.S. paper dollars). Even though the coins were in circulation, displayed a face value, and were regulated by Congress, the IRS’s confusing and endless tax code did not determine how to handle these gold and silver coins if used for payroll. The tax code only references dollars. It does not distinguish between coined money and paper money.

For more on this story, go to Liberty Watch

Photo: Las Vegas attorney Joel Hanson, who served on the Kahre defense team.