Those activist judges
Doug Smith's article ("Toxic judicial elections and how to avoid them," Nov. 2) did not scratch the surface of this important issue. "Greedy corporations and bigoted, right wing religionists seizing control" of the judiciary is the most sophomoric and irresponsible comment I have ever read in your paper. What Hon. Robert Brown describes as "toxic judicial elections" and demagoguery are actually, in my opinion, positive and healthy democratic responses to judicial overreach. For example, the judges invent a right of privacy (Griswold v. Connecticut, 1965), which is contained nowhere in the Constitution. Then, the courts invoke these judicially created rights to invalidate laws passed by our elected representatives and by the people themselves (e.g., Initiated Act 1 in Arkansas). In Iowa and elsewhere, the courts consistently ignore public opinion in enacting same-sex marriage, which has been rejected every time it has been put to a vote. And you and others criticize us for having the audacity to remove activist judges from office? Exactly what do you propose we do? Judges who want to "constitutionalize" very sensitive and contentious social and political issues do so at their own risk and should not complain when they are thrown out of the political arena they chose to enter. Thankfully, they are not immune from democratic oversight. We are all familiar with the concept of "judicial review," another power the judges awarded to themselves in 1803 (which was considered and specifically rejected by the Constitutional Convention). Let's call this "democratic review." Yes, it is messy, imperfect and expensive, but it is far better than the alternative.
Don't forgive loans
At what point did a "loan" not become a loan? I was shocked recently when I read that the government was (by executive order) reducing the time on "forgiving" a student loan from 25 to 20 years. In my ignorance, I simply went to school and paid my way through by working. After all that education, how dumb am I? I simply could have taken a student loan and not paid it back, only to be forgiven after the time limit on it expired.
What a message we are sending to young people being educated. Get the degree we told you would be beneficial, but if it doesn't work out, hey, don't worry about it. We'll forgive it, at which point your kids and the construction workers who didn't go to school will pay it off for you. In the meantime, don't shower for a couple of weeks, go down and occupy Wall Street, and urinate in public. God Bless America.
From the web
Commenters flooded the Arkansas Blog in response to a post that included a video of Little Rock Police Lt. David Hudson, working off-duty at the time for Ferneau Restaurant, repeatedly hitting a man named Chris Erwin in the face. Erwin was later charged with resisting arrest, criminal trespass and disorderly conduct. To see the video and read about the incident, visit arktimes.com/Erwin.
These actions were not warranted in this situation. Force to this extent is only in situations of life threatening nature to the officer. Take his badge! Furthermore, he was in LRPD uniform acting as a figure in law enforcement, even though it was more like the scum of the PO's you see on TV. Thank goodness for the civilians who stepped in and did their part in making sure this was brought to light.
What this video doesn't reveal is the conversation between the suspect and the officer. It looks like the officer was giving the suspect plenty of opportunity to place his hands on the wall and to comply. As you can see, the suspect never does and is continually trying to turn around to face the officer. As an officer who has been in such situations with a non-compliant suspect, it was always my practice to leg-sweep them and get them to the ground where I could gain compliance and get them handcuffed as quickly as possible. The only thing I can say about this video otherwise is that as an officer it has never entered my thoughts to ever just punch anyone in the face. Also, such incidents don't need to be reviewed or investigated by, at least solely, a civilian. Civilians do not go through the use of force training and are not educated on the real threats that are out there for police officers. So a civilian without the training and experience will be too quick to judge such incidents.
This is another good reason why police officers should not be allowed to work private security jobs while off duty. Just as the two female officers in the apartment complex who killed the old man recently, these cops were representing and protecting private interests, but since they are police officers 24/7, they have subjected the City of Little Rock to potential liability for their off-duty exploits. Just about all police departments allow this; none of them should.
I know this "cop." He is not a thug or a criminal but a decorated and respected police officer. That man resisted arrest and was treated accordingly. It's too bad that a 175-lbs. yuppie picked a fight with a 250-plus-lbs. experienced police officer. It tends to screw your face up a bit. Next time he should think about what he says and does in the presence of law enforcement. I always do and I have never had my ass kicked by one.