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Archive for August 27th, 2010

Here’s a very disturbing story I saw on Instapundit. A cop arrested a woman for the supposed crime of not getting off her own front porch. Apparently, the cop didn’t like the fact that she was observing – and perhaps even filming on her cell phone camera – a traffic stop. If there is any justification for what the cop did, it certainly is not apparent from the full story. What’s particularly disturbing is not just that the cop made a seemingly abusive arrest, but that a judge then convicted the woman. Libertarians instinctively will be skeptical of the government in this case, but I hope that viewed is widely share. Our Founding Fathers gave us a Constitution that limited the power of government, and there should be a clear and compelling reason before an individual is stepped on by the police power of the state. If you rob, rape, and murder, those are good reasons. Standing on your court and filming a traffic stop doesn’t pass that test.
The resisting-arrest conviction last week of Felicia Gibson has left a lot of people wondering. Can a person be charged with resisting arrest while observing a traffic stop from his or her own front porch? Salisbury Police Officer Mark Hunter thought so, and last week District Court Judge Beth Dixon agreed. Because Gibson did not at first comply when the officer told her and others to go inside, the judge found Gibson guilty of resisting, delaying or obstructing an officer. Gibson was not the only bystander watching the action on the street. She was the only one holding up a cell-phone video camera. But court testimony never indicated that Hunter told her to stop the camera; he just told her to go inside.

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Here’s another remarkable story illustrating the incompetence of government. A bureaucrat in Norfolk, VA, got paid for 12 years (including benefits) without ever showing up for work. Depending on the agency, this may actually have been a good thing (I wish IRS bureaucrats did this), but it certainly shows how taxpayer money gets wasted when nobody is accountable and there is no bottom-line incentive to use money effectively.
A Community Services Board employee collected a salary with benefits for 12 years and never showed up for work, several City Council members said Wednesday. The head of the agency refused to identify the employee but acknowledged in response to inquiries from The Virginian-Pilot that an employee was “on the board’s payroll who had not reported to work in years.” Maureen Womack, the agency’s executive director, said she fired the employee, informed the board that governs her agency and asked City Attorney Bernard A. Pishko to investigate the matter earlier this summer. Pishko’s investigation is nearly complete and will soon be turned over to the Norfolk police, she said. Womack also refused to divulge the employee’s salary. The council also was told in a recent closed meeting that at least one other staffer, a Community Services Board supervisor, is being investigated for alleged complicity. …Councilman Tommy Smigiel said recent revelations about the Community Services Board employee and other matters, including the profligate use of a city credit card by the Commissioner of Revenue and the purchase of a cell phone with city funds for a gang member by an assistant to the city manager, are doing “serious damage” to Norfolk’s image.

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I think I did okay in this debate, but my opponent wanted me to defend Bush and didn’t seem to get my point that I don’t like big-spending interventionists, regardless of whether they have a D or R after their names.

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