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Tag Archives: Supreme Court

Suggestions for new acronyms ( SCROTUS & CACA) . . .

The various segments of the government of the United States and its military components thrive on acronyms. The people in those segments breathe, eat, sleep, love, work and worship acronyms. The Supreme Court of the United Status (SCOTUS) has just approved the health act created by the President of The United States (POTUS). The Affordable Care Act (ACA) is now the law of the land. It desperately needs an acronym that will readily identify the law, something other than ACA. That acronym is already in use by numerous associations ranging from the American Canine Association to  Opryland’s American Cornhole Association—Opryland’s ACA banner is shown below. The event features Corn Toss, Cornhole, Bean Bag and Bean Toss. This is their invitation:

“Join us for the first ACA end of summer tournament. $10,000 first place prize, over $20,000 in total prizes. Food and live entertainment.”

When ACA is voiced it sounds similar to one clearing one’s throat—try it and I believe you will agree that it is a no-brainer. Just use it several times in one sentence and you’ll find that your throat is clear and your listeners are grossed out. Conference attendees will frequently voice it just to clear their throats without offending others.

I have spent a considerable amount of time researching acronyms used by our military services and our government’s Civil Service. Click here for a comprehensive listing of units that have their names scrunched into a usable acronym, one that is easy to remember and which identifies the various units.

Just as an aside, if the horde of reporters assigned to cover Supreme Court activities should need an acronym I’ll suggest this one—just add an R to SCOTUS, the acronym for the Supreme Court Of The United States. The Supreme Court reporters of the United States would become SCROTUS, a monumental saving of time in television reporting as well as ink and paper in recording the Court’s activities. I offer that freely without any thought of compensation for violation of copyright laws, just as I offer CACA as the acronym for the new Affordable Health Act.

I have added the word comprehensive because the Act is designed to cover every person in the United States, and most would agree that is very comprehensive. However, although I do not consider the word comprehensible applicable to the Act, I proudly offer up my suggestion of CACA for the acronym of the Act, with no expectation for national publicity or monetary compensation. Oh, well, perhaps a few bucks and a stint on Fox and Friends.

Yes, CACA. It’s a good word, very expressive even though it’s not in my outdated copy of the American Heritage Dictionary. The closest it comes is the word cacao, the seed of the cacao tree, used in making chocolate. However, it can probably be found in any dictionary of the Spanish language and on the various websites that offer language translations. It’s a word that people do not normally use in mixed company or at formal activities—not even Spanish-speaking people. Check it out here—it’s a common slang word, used by millions of people—nay, billions of people. It’s pronounced differently in different languages but it means the same in all.

An added feature of CACA is that the two syllables of the acronym are pronounced with the same emphasis, except perhaps for those that do not favor the new law. In that case, more emphasis may be directed to the first syllable—in such cases the written word would probably be followed with an exclamation point. Here are a few suggestions for bumper stickers should people want to show their political affiliation:

Democrats love CACA!

Republicans hate CACA!

Obama’s CACA covers everyone!

I have just created another acronym that would apply beautifully to the Affordable Care Act. Simply change it to the Affordable Health Act. It then becomes AHA, pronounced Ah ha! with the emphasis on the second syllable. That Ah ha! may well have been what the Chief Justice exclaimed when he thought of changing the penalty clause to a tax clause, thus mirroring Archimedes’ exclamation of “Eureka” (in the Grecian language meaning “I have found it!) when he discovered the 47th Problem of Euclid while bathing, then immediately ran naked through the streets proclaiming his discovery.  Whether the Chief Justice was performing his morning ablutions at the time is unknown, of course, but his discovery allowed him to join the liberals in upholding the act.

That’s my story and I’m sticking to it.

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Thee and me, and they and fleas . . .

Thee and me, and they and fleas . . .

The purpose of this posting is to share a comment that a viewer—a spammer—posted to my tale of snipe hunting. Well, actually I have another purpose, but if I reveal it at this point I may lose a few arrivals to this posting. I will therefore hold the other purpose in reserve for awhile. The snipe tale with the comment and my response can be viewed here:

https://thekingoftexas.wordpress.com/2010/03/29/snipe-hunting-a-tale-retold/

This is the viewer’s comment that I retrieved from the trash:

Good evening, Happy Fool’s Day!

Two winkies went on a hunting trip. After it began to get dark, they thought it was about time to go home. They unfortunately got lost.One winkie said to the other, “I read that if you get lost in the woods you should fire three shots in the air. It is supposed to be an “S.O.S.” So, the second winkie shot three times into the air. After waiting for a few hours, they repeated the signal. They tried it over and over, but nobody came to help them. Finally, the second winkie said, “O.K., I’ll try again, but we’re running out of arrows!”

Happy April Fool’s Day!

This is my reply to the comment:

My response to your comment is somewhat belated because WordPress identified it as spam and trashed it, and I overlooked it until this moment. I agree with WordPress—it is spam, intended to attract viewers to a commercial website. However, I enjoyed the April Fool’s joke you sent so I recovered your comment in order to share the joke with others. And yes, your ploy worked beautifully—I’ll include a link to that commercial  site in this posting, just to say thanks for the joke—all’s well that ends well!

And now on with this posting:

I may have been the last person online to be exposed to the joke about two lost winkies firing shots into the air to attract  rescuers. It’s very likely—I tend to live a rather sheltered life, and I am not prone either to telling or listening to jokes that malign others (I can hear my three daughters laughing already). In this instance the maligned appear to be toys called winkies, so there should be no reprisals involved. I promised the April Fool’s Day jokester—the spammer—that I would post the commercial site just to say thanks for the joke.

The is the commercial site for Winkies—enjoy! http://www.winkies.com/

The joke could have involved someone or some group other than winkies, but our nation’s requirements to maintain political correctness should be followed at all costs. However, in support of those requirements I will suggest a few alternatives  for the joke other than winkies, and in doing so I will strive mightily to maintain a balance—to spread the wealth equally, so to speak—I urge my viewers to refrain from using any of these suggestions in retelling the winkies joke—please!

The hunters could just as easily have been identified simply as two hunters, whether male, female or mixed, or as blondes, little morons, Aggies, Texans, Minnesotans, Mississippians, Californians, Floridians, Native Americans, African Americans, persons of Polish extraction, Irishmen, Democrats, Republicans, Independents, Tea Baggers, members of various Black Cacuses whether at the state or national level, Ku Klux Klan members, NAACP members, members of the Supreme Court, the Senate, the House of Representatives, the IRS, members of ICE, DEA, EPA, NRA and any other of the multitude of alphabet organizations—federal, state, city, county and private that seem to have the ability to multiply on command, Tiger Woods and the star of Deep Throat (she’s dead, rest her soul, but the joke would still work), ad infinitum.

The joke could also have identified couples known nationally and internationally, whether of the same gender or mixed. Some examples would be Joe Biden and Dick Chaney, Harry Reid and Nancy Pelosi, Rick Perry and Kay Bailey Hutchison, Hillary Clinton and her spouse what’s his name, John McCain and Sarah Palin, Obama and his closest advisor on nuclear matters, Mahmoud Ahmadinejad and Benjamin Netanayhu, Barney Frank and anybody, Mutt and Jeff, Blondie and Dagwood —the possibilities here, as in the preceding paragraph, extend also to infinity.

I am including two poems, the first penned by Jonathan Swift, a 17th century writer, and the second an expansion of that poem by Augustus De Morgan, a Victorian mathematician. I consider these poems particularly pertinent (I really love alliteration!) to the relationship between government and the governed in our nation.

Swift’s poem:

So nat’ralists observe, a flea

Hath smaller fleas that on him prey,

And these have smaller fleas that bite ’em,

And so proceed ad infinitum.

De Morgan’s expansion of Swift’s poem:

Great fleas have little fleas upon their backs to bite ’em,

And little fleas have lesser fleas, and so ad infinitum.

And the great fleas themselves, in turn, have greater fleas to go on,

While these again have greater still, and greater still, and so on.

Special note: You and I are the great fleas in these poems. They are us—you and I and more than 300 million other U.S. citizens. These poems represent upside down pyramids, with government at the top and us at the bottom. Our government and our constitution are moving in opposite directions—government is expanding and our constitution is shrinking accordingly.

In relation to fleas, government is the biter fleas and we are the bitten, and the pyramid continues to grow wider at the top and narrower at the bottom. Let’s face it—we are staggering and bowing under the weight of all those fleas, and unless that weight is lifted, or at least lessened, it will eventually bring us to our knees, a national position that may possibly be the desired goal of the upper echelons of biter fleas, or government.

That’s my story and that’s my opinion, and I’m sticking to both!

 

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Miranda warning—is anyone awake out there?

This a re-do of the original posting made in June 2009. It was, and still is, a beautifully constructed dissertation on the use of the Miranda warning by our nation’s law enforcement officers. I labored long and strong to support my contention that the warning is almost universally misused, and that such misuse is highly detrimental to our efforts to stem the ever-escalating crime rate in the United States.

It is my humble and completely unbiased opinion that I made my case, yet I have received zero comments on the posting—not one comment after ten months online, neither positive nor negative—nothing, nada, nicht, nein, ninguna, nessun, aucun, keine. The posting has garnered only one vote, albeit a vote of excellence, and in the interests of full disclosure I must reveal that the single vote is mine. In a state of despair, desolation, deprivation and delusion from the lack of attention shown to the posting, I first voted for myself, and then briefly considered doing away with myself—no, no, not that way. I briefly considered shutting my blog down, but I decided that, for the greater good for the greatest number of people, I would continue my Herculean efforts to educate—and yes, entertain—the legions of Word Press users.

I decided to vote for myself in the hope that the initial vote would spark a flood of comments and votes. The complete absence of votes and comments pushed me perilously close to the brink of despair. I was in a blue funk, “a mental state characterized by a pessimistic sense of inadequacy and a despondent lack of activity.” I blissfully dreamed of my posting catching the attention of persons at high levels, and ultimately bringing recognition from those levels, perhaps in the form of a presidential gold medal—or at least an attaboy on paper from one or more of those persons.

But I feel better now—that first vote helped a lot!

The original posting follows—it’s dated June 15, 2009, and you can find it here. Try it, you might like it! Oh, and just one more note: The original posting and this re-post allow multiple votes, comparable to our multiple voting for political candidates in our national elections.

I was a federal Civil Service law-enforcement officer for the final 26 years of my 48 years in the work force (I spent the first 22 years in the US military). In the early years of my law enforcement career, before I was taken off the street by a series of promotions, I had cause to administer the Miranda warning on numerous occasions.

My reason for this posting is to express an opinion concerning the Miranda warning.

I believe the Miranda warning, as given in most jurisdictions by most law enforcement officers, has been corrupted by the wording of the warning—with no ulterior motive on the part of law enforcement officers but none the less corrupted. The wording of the warning, as given by most officers, has perhaps contributed to many, perhaps most, of their suspects exercising their right to remain silent and to request an attorney. They take this action to avoid incriminating themselves, whether guilty or not guilty, rather than cooperating with officers and giving answers to questions, answers which, while not necessarily incriminating the suspect, perhaps could have contributed to solving crimes.

Read on for the details

The background information below was gleaned (borrowed, lifted, whatever) from Wikipedia the Free Encyclopedia at http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Miranda_warning.

A Miranda warning is a warning given by police to criminal suspects in police custody, or in a custodial situation, before they are interrogated. A custodial situation is one in which the suspect’s freedom of movement is restrained although he or she is not under arrest. An incriminating statement by a suspect will not constitute admissible evidence unless the suspect was advised of his or her “Miranda rights” and made a knowing, intelligent, and voluntary waiver of those rights (the term “Miranda rights” is somewhat misleading, as the mandated Miranda warning simply clarifies preexisting Constitutional rights).

The Miranda warnings were mandated by the 1966 United States Supreme Court decision in the case of Miranda v. Arizona as a means of protecting a criminal suspect’s Fifth Amendment right to avoid coercive self-incrimination (see right to silence).

The Supreme Court did not specify the exact wording to be used when informing a suspect of his or her rights. However, the Court did create a set of guidelines which must be followed. The ruling states:

“…The person in custody must, prior to interrogation, be clearly informed that he or she has the right to remain silent, and that anything the person says may be used against that person in court; the person must be clearly informed that he or she has the right to consult with an attorney and to have that attorney present during questioning, and that, if he or she is indigent, an attorney will be provided at no cost to represent him or her.

Every U.S. jurisdiction has its own regulations regarding what, precisely, must be said to a person when he is arrested or placed in a custodial situation, the typical warning being as follows:

You have the right to remain silent. Anything you say can and will be used against you in a court of law. You have the right to an attorney present during questioning. If you cannot afford an attorney, one will be appointed for you. Do you understand these rights?

The remainder of this posting is strictly mine, with references to the above information.

For starters, check out the above two phrases in red in the Wikipedia information above—the first phrase is the Court’s requirements for the wording of the Miranda warning, and the second is the wording used in most police jurisdictions—they are not the same—aye, there’s the rub!

The Supreme Court saays that a suspect must be informed that anything that person says may be used against that person in court. Compare that requirement with the wording in the typical Miranda warning used by officers: “Anything you say can and will be used against you in a court of law.” This  offers a compelling reason for the suspect to remain silent and request an attorney.

Imagine yourself under arrest or in a custodial status, and imagine being told the conditions which will prevail if you choose to answer questions, and the conditions which will prevail if you choose to remain silent.

Which offer would you take? Which would you feel was more advantageous for you? The one that says that anything you say can and will be used against you in a court of law, or the one that says anything you say may be used against you in a court of law?

Come on, ‘fess up—you would be more inclined to choose the one which says can and will be used against you and ask for a lawyer, rather than choose the one which says may be used against you. May means that what you say might be used and that it can be used, but not that it will be used.

The other option states unequivocally that what you say will be used against you—the inference is that anything you say can and will be used against you with no reference to, or apparent regard for, your innocence or guilt.

The wording of the Miranda warning, as used by most law enforcement officers, does not encourage a person in custody to cooperate in a criminal investigation. It instead encourages them to remain silent and request an attorney.

That’s my opinion, and I’m sticking to it.

This is my question:

How many people, guilty or not guilty, remain silent and request an attorney and thus contribute nothing to the investigation? Does the wording of the Miranda warning, the phrase will be versus the Supreme Court’s may be, perhaps influence that decision? Could the emphasis placed by the officer on certain words in the warning influence that decision? Stronger emphasis on the words will be, for example, might influence a person to remain silent and request an attorney. Conversely, emphasis on the phrase may be could possibly influence a person in custody, particularly an innocent person, to cooperate with law enforcement in the investigation.

In my opinion, it’s worth giving it a try—simply change the wording to conform with the Supreme Court’s stated requirements and emphasize these key words, may be used against you, when giving the warning. This could possibly prompt the subject to cooperate in the criminal investigation rather than remaining silent, and the officer giving the warning would in strict compliance, word for word, with the requirements levied by the Supreme Court of the United States.

Does everyone—some one—anyone—agree with me?

Does everyone—someone—anyone—disagree with me?

I welcome input from everyone, whether in agreement or disagreement, whether in or out of law enforcement, but particularly from law enforcement officers currently on duty, retired officers, and persons formerly employed in law enforcement.

 

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AOL’s “You’ve got mail!”—let’s change it . . .

I recently found the comment below on a web site that promotes proper use of the English language. I visited both sites, the one from whence the comment came as well as the one that received it. As do all such sites (including mine), both have flaws. I believe that perfection in any endeavor is desirable and should be sought, but I concede that perfection is impossible. One can always find, via the nitpicking process, something to cite and criticize, albeit constructively, as is this posting. The site commented on is seriously flawed, but I am pleased to give the teacher’s site an overall rating of excellent, simply because it is superior to many others of that ilk.

First a disclaimer: I must state, with all seriousness aside, that the following diatribe is presented in an effort to change something that is probably unchangeable. Any attempt to effect that change is comparable to a situation in which an unstoppable moving object collides with an unmovable stationary object—nothing will change.

This is the comment that prompted my posting:

escher dax Says:

January 2, 2010 at 5:47 am

Glad to have found your site! As a teacher, I’m always looking for examples of what not to do. I’ve got you bookmarked now — very useful site!

dax (http://escherdax.wordpress.com/)

Oh, please, tell me it isn’t so—I’ve got you bookmarked now?

And you are a teacher!

Long, long ago in the first one-third of the past century, in a time shrouded in the mists of antiquity, in a time during which the first six links in the chain of education were called grammar school, I was taught (forcibly) that the verb to have does not require a helper.

It accomplishes its task admirably without one iota of assistance.

I realize that I am swimming upstream in my quest to help others understand that simple statement—nay, what I am doing is hissing—oops, I believe I misspelled that word—into the wind, an act that accomplishes nothing more than soiling my clothing.

I am struggling to resign myself to accept the almost universal misuse of the verb to have,” the use of which distorts my vision and sears my hearing, but I’m having difficulty accepting it. I realize that my struggle, my battle to restore law and order to the proper use of that verb, is probably futile.

My enemies in this battle are legion.

They include such worthies as AOL (America On Line). The exclamation You’ve got mail! has resounded loudly and clearly ever since the inception of AOL—that erroneous use of the verb to have has corrupted several generations of English-speaking listeners and is still counting. The same erroneous use is reflected in the speech of our nation’s mayors, governors, senators, representatives, our president, in speech used in the hallowed halls of our ivy league institutions and even in the speech used by persons of tremendous intellect (none of the afore mentioned persons qualify for that distinction).

How can one possibly win over such an opponent as AOL? I realize that the company is presently on the ropes, but it has shown resilience in the past and will probably survive. I have little hope that it will ever change its trademark signature—You’ve got mail!

I can’t do this alone—I need help, so I am calling on our nation’s English-speaking population (including bilingual persons) for assistance. Let’s use the power of our numbers to effect this change. Let’s work to correct AOL’s misuse of the verb to have from You’ve got mail! to You have mail!

If we are successful in our efforts, its proper use may not spread rapidly but it would be a good start.

Let’s use the concentrated power of our millions. Let’s contact AOL and threaten to cancel our membership. Let’s bring pressure to bear on family members. Let’s contact our local friends and neighbors, our e-mail recipients, our Facebook friends, our senators, our representatives, the members of the Supreme Court and our president—in fine, let’s contact everyone that is subjected to the improper use of the verb to have (and that’s everyone), and specifically to the notice that, You’ve got mail!

That’s my story and I’m sticking to it.

 

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Miranda warning—what it says versus what it should say . . .

I was a federal Civil Service law-enforcement officer for the final 26 years of my 48 years in the work force (I spent the first 22 years in the US military). In the early years of my law enforcement career, before I was taken off the street by a series of promotions, I had cause to administer the Miranda warning on numerous occasions.

My reason for this posting is to express an opinion concerning the Miranda warning.

I believe the Miranda warning, as given in most jurisdictions by most law enforcement officers, has been corrupted by the wording of the warning—with no ulterior motive on the part of law enforcement officers but none the less corrupted. The wording of the warning, as given by most officers, has perhaps contributed to many, perhaps most, of their suspects exercising their right to remain silent and to request an attorney. They take this action to avoid incriminating themselves, whether guilty or not guilty, rather than cooperating with officers and giving answers to questions, answers which, while not necessarily incriminating the suspect, perhaps could have contributed to solving crimes.

Read on for the details

The background information below was gleaned (borrowed, lifted, whatever) from Wikipedia the Free Encyclopedia at http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Miranda_warning.

A Miranda warning is a warning given by police to criminal suspects in police custody, or in a custodial situation, before they are interrogated. A custodial situation is one in which the suspect’s freedom of movement is restrained although he or she is not under arrest. An incriminating statement by a suspect will not constitute admissible evidence unless the suspect was advised of his or her “Miranda rights” and made a knowing, intelligent, and voluntary waiver of those rights (the term “Miranda rights” is somewhat misleading, as the mandated Miranda warning simply clarifies preexisting Constitutional rights).

The Miranda warnings were mandated by the 1966 United States Supreme Court decision in the case of Miranda v. Arizona as a means of protecting a criminal suspect’s Fifth Amendment right to avoid coercive self-incrimination (see right to silence).

The Supreme Court did not specify the exact wording to be used when informing a suspect of his or her rights. However, the Court did create a set of guidelines which must be followed. The ruling states:

“…The person in custody must, prior to interrogation, be clearly informed that he or she has the right to remain silent, and that anything the person says may be used against that person in court; the person must be clearly informed that he or she has the right to consult with an attorney and to have that attorney present during questioning, and that, if he or she is indigent, an attorney will be provided at no cost to represent him or her.

Every U.S. jurisdiction has its own regulations regarding what, precisely, must be said to a person when he is arrested or placed in a custodial situation, the typical warning being as follows:

You have the right to remain silent. Anything you say can and will be used against you in a court of law. You have the right to an attorney present during questioning. If you cannot afford an attorney, one will be appointed for you. Do you understand these rights?

The remainder of this posting is strictly mine, with references to the above information.

For starters, check out the above two phrases in red in the Wikipedia information—the first phrase is the Court’s requirements for the wording of the Miranda warning, and the second is the wording used in most police jurisdictions—they are not the same.

The Supreme Court said that a suspect must be informed that anything that person says may be used against that person in court. Compare that requirement with the wording in the typical Miranda warning used by officers: “Anything you say can and will be used against you in a court of law.” This  offers a compelling reason for the suspect to remain silent and request an attorney.

Imagine yourself under arrest or in a custodial status, and imagine being told the conditions which will prevail if you choose to answer questions, and the conditions which will prevail if you choose to remain silent.

Which offer would you take? Which would you feel was more advantageous for you? The one that says that anything you say can and will be used against you in a court of law, or the one that says anything you say may be used against you in a court of law?

Come on, ‘fess up—you would be more inclined to choose the one which says can and will be used against you and ask for a lawyer, rather than choose the one which says may be used against you. May means that what you say might be used and that it can be used, but not that it will be used.

The other option states unequivocally that what you say will be used against you—the inference is that anything you say can and will be used against you with no reference to, or apparent regard for, your innocence or guilt.

The wording of the Miranda warning, as used by most law enforcement officers, does not encourage a person in custody to cooperate in a criminal investigation. It instead encourages them to remain silent and request an attorney.

That’s my opinion, and I’m sticking to it.

This is my question:

How many people, guilty or not guilty, remain silent and request an attorney and thus contribute nothing to the investigation? Does the wording of the Miranda warning, the phrase will be versus the Supreme Court’s may be, perhaps influence that decision? Could the emphasis placed by the officer on certain words in the warning influence that decision? Stronger emphasis on the words will be, for example, might influence a person to remain silent and request an attorney. Conversely, emphasis on the phrase may be could possibly influence a person in custody, particularly an innocent person, to cooperate with law enforcement in the investigation.

In my opinion, it’s worth giving it a try—simply change the wording to conform with the Supreme Court’s stated requirements and emphasize these key words, may be used against you, when giving the warning. This could possibly prompt the subject to cooperate in the criminal investigation rather than remaining silent, and the officer giving the warning would in strict compliance, word for word, with the requirements levied by the Supreme Court of the United States.

Does everyone—some one—anyone—agree with me?

Does everyone—someone—anyone—disagree with me?

I welcome input from everyone, whether in agreement or disagreement, whether in or out of law enforcement, but particularly from law enforcement officers currently on duty, retired officers, and persons formerly employed in law enforcement.

 
 

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