Judge Talmadge Littlejohn is a moron

Everyone with any knowledge of history and any bit of rationality knows a government entity cannot require individuals to say the Pledge of Allegiance. This might lead one to believe a judge, of all people, would never be genuinely dumb enough to require a courtroom full of people to recite it. But that’s a faulty lead when Talmadge Littlejohn is involved.

The furor began Wednesday when an attorney with a reputation for fighting free speech battles stayed silent as everyone else recited the patriotic oath. The lawyer was jailed.

A day later, Judge Talmadge Littlejohn continued to ask those in his courtroom to say the pledge.

Attorney Danny Lampley spent about five hours behind bars before Littlejohn set him free so that the lawyer could work on another case. Lampley told The Northeast Mississippi Daily Journal he respected the judge but wasn’t going to back down.

“I don’t have to say it because I’m an American,” Lampley told the newspaper.

Littlejohn clearly needs to face some disciplinary action for this. It would also help if he apologized to Lampley. It’s hard to believe he doesn’t know he’s in the wrong. I’m sure he thinks what he did was morally right – because the religious often have screwy morals – but how he might think he can do what he did? It’s nuts.

Of course, with others it’s abundantly clear they don’t really know what they’re talking about.

“I thought he was a disgrace to the United States,” Bobby Martin, a 43-year-old self-employed maintenance worker, said of Lampley. “If he can’t say that in front of a judge, he don’t deserve to be here” in this country.

Ayuh, he ain’t not don’t deserve to be no dang lawyerin’ fella in front of no judge! It ain’t right!

Oh, the silliness of nationalism, huh?

The greater enemy

From The God Delusion:

“[The nature of the conflict] is not just about evolution versus creationism. To scientists like Dawkins and Wilson, the real war is between rationalism and superstition. Science is but one form of rationalism, while religion is the most common form of superstition. Creationism is just a symptom of what they see as the greater enemy: religion. While religion can exist without creationism, creationism cannot exist without religion.” ~Jerry Coyne

Letter to the editor: Vote Logan

I’ve written in support of William Logan for House District 57 in Augusta, Maine in the past. I’ve now had a letter printed in the local paper.

William Logan is the right candidate to represent District 57, an area covering parts of Augusta west of the Kennebec, from Manchester to Sidney.

In a Sept. 28 Kennebec Journal article, Logan expressed his concern for the Maine Retirement System funding, offering an outline of his plan to tackle this looming crisis.

His opponent offered platitudes before admitting she had yet to do the research necessary to even hold a position, much less tell people how to fix the problem.

Logan also has some common-sense ideas that will utilize the immense power of science to decrease Maine’s energy costs while also improving the environment and creating jobs.

Logan is a candidate with deep knowledge, integrity with science, and he has quality plans for Augusta and the state as a whole. District 57 voters are lucky to have him on the ballot.

Vote for Logan.

I’m betting it was understood by those who I wanted to have an understanding of it, but I’ll clarify what I’ve put in bold here. When I say “integrity with science”, I mean it in a relative sense. Logan’s opponent is Christopher Maloney‘s wife. I think it’s more than safe to say she’s a supporter of woo. Thus, unless Logan is a woo-man himself, he has a level of integrity with science that neither Maloney can claim.

Two lessons to be learned

David Gardner and Michael Ecker thought that it would be better to recycle and donate the proceeds from some scrap metal than to watch a government entity let it all go to waste. But both that entity and the police disagree.

For years, David Gardner and Michael Ecker had watched scrap metal from the Veterans Administration facility at Togus get carried off in exchange for what they believed to be a token fee.

Then, in May, they saw that the medical center was scrapping about 1,000 pounds of copper and brass.

Instead of taking it to a storage area, they took it in their personal vehicles to One Steel Recycling Inc., in Augusta, and sent $2,487 in proceeds from the sale to the Gulf oil cleanup operation via the office of U.S. Sen. Olympia Snowe.

That plan cost them their jobs and a pending theft conviction.

The two men who worked at Togus from 1981 as waste-water treatment plant operators said they had planned to tell their supervisors at Togus after they got an acknowledgment of the donation from Snowe’s office.

“Basically, it was to show them it could be used for a good purpose,” Gardner said.

But before that happened, Togus authorities learned the metal had disappeared.

On May 7, a Friday, Togus police questioned Gardner, 61, of Auburn, and Ecker, 55, of Vassalboro, about the missing metal. They denied knowing anything about it.

On May 10, the following Monday, Gardner and Ecker came clean about the scheme to the police, and each was charged with one misdemeanor count of theft by unauthorized taking.

So here are the two things that ought to be taken from this story. First, don’t talk to the cops. If they suspect you of anything, they are not there to help you. That is not part of their job. Had Gardner and Ecker not talked to the police in the first place or if they did, had they not later fessed up to what they had done (ya know, the whole recycling for charity thing…the horror!), they would still have their jobs. Giving statements to the police means giving power to the police. It isn’t in the interest of the police to use that power for the good of those they suspect of anything.

Second, this is a case of rule internalization. It’s clear what Gardner and Ecker were doing, everyone knows that. Well, everyone except Brian Stiller.

Brian G. Stiller, director of the Togus VA Medical Center, wrote, “I have concluded that the sustained charges against you are of such seriousness that mitigation of the proposed penalty is not warranted and that the penalty of removal is appropriate and within the range of reasonableness.”

The reasons for dismissal cited in an earlier letter to Gardner were “unauthorized sale of government property,” “concealment of material facts in connection with an investigation” and “absence without leave.”

This jamoke is just internalizing rules – and in melodramatic fashion. Drama Queen Stiller is enforcing rules that are in place for the sake of preventing actions with a negative effect on the Togus VA Medical Center from happening. Since no such actions actually did happen at any point – these guys took trash and made use of it – he’s just following rules for the sake of following rules. He isn’t enforcing the reason for the rules. It would seem he ought to retract his statement then that he has acted “within the range of reasonableness”, perhaps replacing it with “within the range of truthiness”.

But maybe I’m just being silly. Afterall, who wouldn’t find it reasonable to shitcan two guys for doing something with the right intentions? I mean, it’s not like they had each been there for nearly 30 years.

Oh, wait.

Thought of the day

The Social Network may be one of those rare movies I want to see twice.