Residents of California (whether we're "from" here or not) are used to getting shit for the "freaky" stuff our state and the people in it do. Well, the last 24-hour news cycle proves that California has no monopoly on absolute stupidity.
Dateline: District of Columbia
When defending his refusal to turn over certain records to the National Archives, in violation of an Executive Order, Vice President of these great United States Dick Cheney stated that the Office of the Vice President is "not an entity within the Executive Branch." Now, I wasn't paying attention every single day in 5th grade, but if memory serves, there are 3 branches of the federal government: the Executive, the Legislative, and the Judicial. The Legislative Branch, sometimes called Congress, can be identified by the fact that each member is directly elected by you, the voting populace (offer not valid in Ohio, where some are elected by DieBold). When you elect a congressman, he doesn't get to bring another congressman of his choosing along with him (or, to more closely parallel the current Bush/Cheney/election analogy, when you actually don't elect him, but his brother rigs the election, he doesn't get to bring another congressman of his choosing along with him). So, Cheney can't be a member of the Legislative Branch. The Judicial Branch can be identified by the fact that some are noted jurists of national renoun, and the rest are staunchly anti-abortion, and all were nominated for one of these two reasons (but no single Court member has both characteristics). While Cheney certainly can be characterized as staunchly anti-abortion, there's one more catch: as much as the current President may hate it, members of the Judicial Branch must be confirmed by Congress. And I, for one, don't remember any Cheney confirmation hearings. And I think I would have noticed. So, given that he's not a member of the Judicial Branch, nor the Legislative Branch, and apparently doesn't believe himself to be a member of the Executive Branch, where exactly does Cheney fall? The Dick Branch? Oh, and just remember: all of this would be HILARIOUS, except these people are actually running the country, and don't seem to be kidding.
Dateline: Lincoln, Nebraska
In the upcoming second trial of Pamir Safi for the alleged rape of Tory Bowen, Nebraska judge Jeffre Cheuvront has ruled that none of the witnesses (I assume this primarily means the prosecution's witnesses) can use the word "rape" when referring to the sexual contact between Safi and Bowen. The witnesses are also barred from using the terms "victim," "sexual assault," "assailant," and "rape kit." The court reasoned that referring to the sexual contact at issue as "rape" infringed on the jury's role, because it was the jury who would decide whether it was rape or not. Safi's first trial deadlocked, with jurors unable to reach a decision. In advance of the second trial, the prosecution countered the judge's ruling by asking the court to bar the words "sex" and "intercourse" based on the same rationale: if Bowen couldn't call the sexual contact "rape," it was unfair for Safi to call it "sex." The court, for reasons that will remain known only to the judge, denied this motion. Therefore, for the second time, Bowen will be required to testify about the alleged assault using only the words "sex" and "intercourse," despite her (strongly-held) belief that neither word is proper. Part of the job of lawyer is, of course, word-smith. The radical feminist literary critique posited that, since we think in language (i.e., our thoughts are not binary, but display across our mind as words), language shapes thought, which in turn shapes perception, behavior, and society. We cannot say "Chairman," because the word leads us to believe it is a position which can be held only by men. Why, you need look no further than the tenures of Carly Fiornia and Patricia Dunn as HP's Chairmen to see that women can do a double-plus good job of running companies. Thus, if we accept this notion as at least partially true, that the language we use to describe the world around us subtlely affects how we actually percieve the world, it would stand to reason that after a trial wherein everyone referred to the sexual encounter as "sex," it would be hard for a jury of good-ol-boy Nebraska farmers to conclude it was actually "rape." Aren't they polar opposites? If someone came into the courtroom before the jury got there and took a crap on the judge's bench, but everyone was required to refer to it as a "candy bar" during the trial, wouldn't the jury be justified in assuming that the brown log was indeed a delicious confection? And, more to the point, don't we elect judges with the intent that they import at least a little common sense into their courtrooms?
In a display of good ol' fashioned Texas justice, a mob beat to death the passenger in a car which hit a child during Juneteenth fest. The child, notably, suffered entirely minor injuries. The crowd, however, was intent on beating the driver to death for his mortal sin of bad driving (which ain't hardly nobody in Texas does nohow). The passenger had the unforgivable temerity to object, and caused enough of a stir that the driver got away. The crowd, thus apparently denied their special brand of Texas justice, decided that, having gotten all riled up, they were definitely going to kill someone, and thus they beat the passenger to death.
Welcome to Texas!