Thursday November 27, 2014




Name change not allowed

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Scott Fistler, twice a loser for electoral office in Phoenix, Arizona, as a Republican, decided in November 2013 that his luck might improve as a Democrat with a name change, and legally became “Cesar Chavez,” expecting to poll better in a heavily Hispanic, Democratic congressional district. (“Cesar Chavez” is of course the name of the legendary labor organizer.) Furthermore, according to a June report in the Arizona Capitol Times, “Chavez’s” campaign website features photographs of frenzied supporters holding “Chavez” signs, but which are obviously scenes from the streets of Venezuela at rallies for its late president Hugo Chavez. (At press time for News of the Weird, a judge had removed “Chavez” from the ballot, but only because some qualifying signatures were invalid. “Chavez” promised to appeal.)

U.S. District Judge Richard Kopf of Omaha, Nebraska, trying to be helpful, he said, advised female lawyers appearing in his courtroom to lower their hemlines and cover their cleavage because males, including Judge Kopf himself, are “pigs.” Writing in his personal blog in March, he said, “I have been a dirty old man ever since I was a very young man” and that the women in his office are similarly contemptuous of daringly dressed female lawyers. The lifetime-tenured judge later said he regretted any harm to the judiciary that his remarks might have caused.

Almond Upton, 60, charged with murder for “intentionally” striking a New York state trooper in May with his pickup truck, denied everything. He told reporters following his first court appearance that he is bewildered by the accusation: “I was (close to) the Connecticut border, and all of a sudden, I’m in Binghamton, New York (about 140 miles from Connecticut), and this cop got killed, I don’t know how it happened. It had to be a time warp.”

The National Security Agency admitted in a June court filing that it had disobeyed two judicial orders to stop deleting accusatory evidence in its databases (which judges had ordered preserved to help determine if the NSA was illegally violating privacy laws). The NSA’s reasoning for its chutzpah: Its data-gathering systems, it claims, are “too complex” to prevent the automatic deletions routinely programmed into its data, and it cannot reprogram to preserve the data without shutting down its entire intelligence-gathering mission. The challenging party (the Electronic Frontier Foundation) called the NSA’s explanation disingenuous and, in fact, further proof that the NSA is incapable of properly managing such massive data-gathering.


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