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TENTHER: Sen. Mike Lee (R-UT) Says Child Labor Laws Are Unconstitutional

Posted by admin | Posted in The Capitol | Posted on 17-01-2011

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Newly elected GOP Sen. Mike Lee (UT) says that federal child labor laws are unconstitutional because as per the Tenth Amendment, only laws expressly laid out in the Constitution are legal. Lee is part of the new class of “states rights” Congress members intent on overturning all federal legislation not mentioned in the Constitution.

Joe. My. God.

Senator Claims U.S. Child Labor Laws Unconstitutional

Posted by admin | Posted in The Capitol | Posted on 14-01-2011

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Children working in factories, picking crops and hauling lumber on construction sites is a vision Mike Lee, the Republican senator from Utah, apparently wants to make a reality again in the United States. In a lecture on his YouTube channel, Lee explains in great detail why he believes U.S. child labor laws are unconstitutional.

In Lee’s view, the federal government doesn’t have authority to enact federal minimum wage laws, civil rights laws or to provide Medicare and Social Security.

Lee’s diatribe shows just how determined he and his ilk are to fight the gains workers have made. And we must be as determined to stop them, AFL-CIO Executive Vice President Arlene Holt Baker said. Speaking yesterday to the federation’s annual King Day celebration, she said:

We must protect Social Security and Medicare, and we need jobs. We must put our people back to work, to build an economy built on shared, broad-based prosperity.

 And there is only one way we can prevail-and that is together.  We can only succeed if we are “greater than 1.”  We can only succeed if we harness the strength of our numbers. 

Lee is one of the  “tenthers”—conservatives who say federal laws and rules like the minimum wage, Medicare, Social Security, unemployment insurance, the Department of Education and a laundry list of other federal laws and programs are unconstitutional.

They argue that if a federal power is not specifically spelled out in the Constitution, the government doesn’t have it, according to their view of the 10th amendment.

 As Ian Millhiser points out on Think Progress:

Lee’s call for a return to failed constitutional vision that spawned the Great Depression is obviously wrong. The Constitution gives Congress the power “[t]o regulate commerce…among the several states,” and to “make all Laws which shall be necessary and proper for carrying into Execution” this power to regulate commerce. Even ultraconservative Justice Antonin Scalia agrees that these powers give Congress broad authority to regulate “economic activity” such as hiring and firing.

 Check out Millhiser’s column and Lee’s video here.

AFL-CIO NOW BLOG

Sen. Mike Lee Calls Child Labor Laws Unconstitutional

Posted by admin | Posted in The Capitol | Posted on 14-01-2011

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Last week, Sen. Mike Lee (R-UT) posted a lecture on his YouTube channel where he explains in great detail his views on the Constitution. As part of the lecture, which is essentially a lengthy defense of his radical tenther interpretation of the Constitution, Lee claims that federal child labor laws are unconstitutional:

Congress decided it wanted to prohibit [child labor], so it passed a law—no more child labor. The Supreme Court heard a challenge to that and the Supreme Court decided a case in 1918 called Hammer v. Dagenhardt. In that case, the Supreme Court acknowledged something very interesting — that, as reprehensible as child labor is, and as much as it ought to be abandoned — that’s something that has to be done by state legislators, not by Members of Congress. [...]

This may sound harsh, but it was designed to be that way. It was designed to be a little bit harsh. Not because we like harshness for the sake of harshness, but because we like a clean division of power, so that everybody understands whose job it is to regulate what.

Now, we got rid of child labor, notwithstanding this case. So the entire world did not implode as a result of that ruling.

Watch it:

Lee’s call for a return to failed constitutional vision that spawned the Great Depression is obviously wrong. The Constitution gives Congress the power “[t]o regulate commerce…among the several states,” and to “make all Laws which shall be necessary and proper for carrying into Execution” this power to regulate commerce. Even ultraconservative Justice Antonin Scalia agrees that these powers give Congress broad authority to regulate “economic activity” such as hiring and firing. Which explains why the Supreme Court unanimously overruled Hammer v. Daggenhardt in a 1941 decision called United States v. Darby.

Moreover, Lee is simply wrong to claim that child labor magically disappeared after the Supreme Court rendered Congress powerless to prevent it. The reason why exploitative child labor has largely disappeared is because Congress placed very strict limits on child labor when it enacted the Fair Labor Standards Act of 1938, and the constitutional cloud over this law was removed three years later when the Court overruled Lee’s pet decision.

Child labor laws are also only one of many essential protections that would evaporate in Mike Lee’s America. The same legal theory Lee uses to impugn child labor laws applies equally to the federal minimum wage and the ban on whites-only lunch counters. And Lee doesn’t even stop there. In a subsequent section of the lecture, Lee attacks President Franklin Roosevelt for calling for the federal government to provide “a decent retirement plan” and “health care” because “the Constitution doesn’t give Congress any of those powers.” Watch it:

So Lee wouldn’t just remove the most basic protections against child sweatshops, he would also eliminate Social Security and Medicare.

ThinkProgress

Politics to a child

Posted by admin | Posted in The Capitol | Posted on 13-01-2011

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There’s a line from the president’s speech last night that I’ve not been able to get out of my head. It comes in the section about Christina Taylor Green, the 9-year-old who was killed last Saturday in Tucson. “She was off to meet her congresswoman,” Obama said, “someone she was sure was good and important.”

“Good and important.” Those are oddly simple words for a speech like this. But they’re exactly the words you can imagine a 9-year-old using if her teacher asked her to describe a member of Congress. “She saw all this through the eyes of a child,” the president continued, “undimmed by the cynicism or vitriol that we adults all too often just take for granted.”

When I give talks around the country, I often describe Congress as a “cynicism machine.” The legislative process takes solutions that people are excited about and grinds them down into policies that people are confused by and afraid of. We go to the government with our problems, with the things that scare us, and we leave with more fear and less hope.

And it’s not because the language on the page changes so dramatically. It’s because the process is so ugly. During health-care reform, Republicans liked to say that they agreed with about 80 percent of what was in the bill. But you don’t win elections by trumpeting 80 percent agreement, and you don’t sell advertisements by leading the evening news with a special report on how there’s still broad consensus that insurers shouldn’t discriminate against people with pre-existing conditions. The voices that get heard are not the ones calmly discussing the legislation. Instead, we’re like a kid running his tongue over a sore tooth over and over and over again. We just keep poking ourselves where it hurts, where there’s a seam, where we’re scared.

Consider this exchange (pdf) from a recent debate that former-Rep. John Shadegg participated in over the Affordable Care Act. During the introductions, the moderator, ABC’s John Donvan, noted that Shadegg had referred to the health-care law as “Soviet-style gulag health care.” Did he still stand by that?

John Shadegg: No. I think that it is a — it is a part of the dialogue that you try to get attention. And that was an attempt to gather some attention.

And Shadegg got a lot of coverage for that comment, despite the fact that everyone knew it was absurd. Try explaining that to a 9-year-old.

But what’s funny is that I don’t think the 9-year-olds are totally wrong. I’ve met a lot of members of Congress, and I do think most of them are good, or at least are trying to be. Serving in Congress is actually a sort of crummy life: You live in a small apartment, you spend most of your time missing your family, you’re constantly in airports, and when you do get home you barely have time to see your kids because you’re running to meet with constituents. It’s a grind. And — this is where kids and adults alike overestimate politicians — you’re not that important. No one cares about the speech you just gave or the amendments you just proposed. The media generally doesn’t pay attention unless you become part of a controversy, or say something dumb. You have to do what your leadership tells you. You get yelled at a lot. Most of the people who stick with the job stick with it because they believe they’re doing some good in the world.

But when the public looks at them, they don’t see it. Sen. Evan Bayh once told me that “we’ve got good people trapped in a dysfunctional system.” I still think he’s right about that. The individuals are trying hard, but the whole is a lot uglier than the sum of the parts. At some point, however, it’s up to them to change that. The problem is, no one member of Congress, and no one party, has much incentive to start.







Ezra Klein

Being a Female Elected Official and Mother of Nine Year Old Child on Student Council…

Posted by admin | Posted in The Capitol | Posted on 09-01-2011

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Has made it almost impossible for me to respond to what happened in Arizona yesterday to U.S. Rep. Gabrielle Giffords and those at the site of the shooting that has left her critically wounded.

I learned about the incident in a most ironic way: I had just finished a more than two-hour lunch meeting with a fellow female council member. As I walked to the restroom, I pulled out my Blackberry and began to thumb through my email subject lines and the news alerts were there. I audibly started to say, “Oh My God!” and began to shake and tear up - feeling a tightness in my heart for the enormity of the event and anger in my body for the meanness of it.

I’ve never met Gabby Giffords but I have been on a conference call with her within the last three months. I’ve also followed her closely over the years because she too is an alumna of a program that encourages women to run for office, the Yale Women’s Campaign School in 1999, a year before she ran for the very first time for Arizona State Rep.

When I learned that a nine year old who had been on her student council had been shot and killed in the rampage, the depth of my identification with even the scant information we received grew.

My instinct to the impulse to which so many people respond by blaming any one or more of a variety of possible factors for the shooting is not to do that too but to find a way to counter those factors.

One way to do that is to break the relentless cycle of people and the media calling public servants corrupt, evil, targets to be hated and “taken out” by the voters and fellow elected officials or candidates. Instead of providing the reading and listening audiences with reasons to be discouraged about our public servants, let’s here - now - give them reasons to be encouraged not only in how they think about public servants, but enough to want to run and be one too.

This is why I’m asking you to please highlight every single good act the public servants you know have ever done - for you, for someone else, for all of us. Do not dare say they haven’t - it’s not true and you know it. Even if the media and political challengers and leaders refuse to dedicate sound bites to this fact.

So - who will be first to describe something good you know a public servant did? And here’s a warning - be prepared to be ignored (at least by me) if you put snark and sarcasm in here. There are lots of other posts for that, this isn’t going to be made into one of them.

See also here on Facebook and here on Twitter. There’s always space for trashing electeds and candidates - how about spending some time thanking them, thinking what they’ve done for you, again, especially for those who say they’ll never run for office because [fill in the blank].


The Moderate Voice

The Missing: Unadopting A Child

Posted by admin | Posted in The Capitol | Posted on 07-01-2011

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A reader writes:

I agree with the reader who wrote that parenting is not for sissies, and that anything and everything can go wrong, regardless of how your children come into your life. But I want to address a little-discussed aspect of adoption - the parents who give their adopted children "back".

My husband and I had to sign an enormous number of forms stating that we would not hold our agency responsible if anything was "wrong" with our daughter. When I asked about this, I was told this was in response to the people who had tried to "unadopt" because their children who, though appearing healthy at the time of adoption, had gone on to develop cancer, learning disabilities or other problems. A friend of mine who is a lawyer has referenced cases she has worked on regarding this as well, including a case where the parents and the child flew to the child's birth country, checked in to the hotel, and the parents abandoned the child on the streets and returned to the States. Their reasoning? She was turning into a difficult teenager.

It seems like so many people now have this idea in their heads about what their lives will be like, and when things don't turn out that way, they bail. I'm not trying to minimize the families who dealt with unethical adoption agencies - everyone needs to be honest at the start. But no one can control what will happen in life. Our son, who is not adopted, might end up inheriting my mother's cancer genes. I can't control that. Our daughter, who is adopted, may end up in a car accident and on a feeding tube. But that's life, and that's what happens when you deal with human beings.

Any time you deal with humans, you toss the dice with Fate. That's how it is. And we all know who is going to win.

Another writes:

I am white and my late wife was black. We had two children and wanted to adopt another. A three-year-old girl was placed with us, instead of with her white preschool teacher, who knew her well. Four months later, things collapsed. She had many difficulties that were papered over initially, then described as due to our inadequate parenting style. In the end, we couldn't keep her without damage to our other two kids. Needless to say we weren't interested in risking this trauma again. Twenty years later, I still think of her with sadness.





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The Daily Dish | By Andrew Sullivan

“Zionists broadcast pornography to child prisoners”

Posted by admin | Posted in Uncategorized | Posted on 06-01-2011

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Palestinian Arabs are accusing Israel of showing pornography to its Arab prisoners under the age of 18.

Palestine Today reports that Mohammed Khalaf was recently released from the children’s section of the Megiddo prison. He is quoted as saying that “the prison administration is running several channels of pornography in the section for those who are under 18 years old.”

This is an outrage! My cable company charges extra for adult films, and Israel’s prisons provide several channels for free?

This ridiculous story is already spreading quickly throughout the online Arabic media sites.



Elder of Ziyon

Why Is Jeff Sessions Blocking A Child Sex Trafficking Bill?

Posted by admin | Posted in The Capitol | Posted on 05-01-2011

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In the waning days of the lame duck session, the Senate had the opportunity to pass the Domestic Minor Sex Trafficking Deterrence and Victims Support Act. Aimed at creating “a comprehensive, victim-centered approach to addressing the sex trafficking of minors,” the bill is “the first of its kind to deal with young trafficking victims domestically” by providing $ 12 million in off-set funding for state and local law enforcement to shelter, rehabilitate, prevent, and protect child victims of the sex trade.

Originally introduced by Sens. Ron Wyden (D-OR) and John Cornyn (R-TX) in 2009, the Senate Judiciary Committee adopted, amended, and passed the House version of this bill last summer which then passed the Senate by unanimous consent on December 9, 2010. The bill returned to the House, underwent further revision, and finally passed by voice vote on December 21, 2010. But when the Senate attempted to pass the bill again by unanimous consent, Sen. Jeff Sessions put a hold on the bill. The sole objector, Sessions effectively defeated its passage in the 111th Congress.

Sessions is pushing back against claims that he believes child victims deserve to be arrested as prostitutes, something the conservative Concerned Women of America alleged. In defending Sessions’ decision, a Republican Judiciary aide told ThinkProgress that Sessions was instrumental in helping the bill clear the Senate Judiciary Committee but had to object after the House removed two of his amendments that he said toughened the bill. One measure required a mandatory minimum sentence “for transporting, receiving or distributing” child pornography. The other expanded subpoena authority to the U.S. Marshals Service over unregistered sex offenders. But because the House removed these measures in its final revision, the Senate aide indicated several members opposed the new version. Thus, the staffer told us that, as the Ranking Member of the committee, Sessions had to be the one to block the bill.

According his spokesman Ron LeGrand, Rep. Bobby Scott (D-VA) — the outgoing Chairman of the House Subcommittee on Crime, Terrorism, and Homeland Security — dropped the subpoena position because there already was a precedent established for law enforcement agencies to receive subpoena authorization through the Department of Justice. Scott also dropped the mandatory minimum measure because minimums are “irrelevant, ineffective” sentences that “tend to have a very negative impact on people of color.” LeGrand said no one has ever presented Scott with “evidence-based research instead of knee-jerk slogan and soundbites” as rationale for the minimums, and in “the closing weeks of his chairmanship, that was still the case.” In removing the measures, LeGrand said Scott “stood on principle.”

But the Republican aide said their removal required Sessions to act on principle too. The hotlining process prevents members from changing the bill. Believing the bill to be brought up at the midnight hour of lame duck session, the aide said Sessions would not clear a watered down bill and preferred to take it up in the new session.

This is certainly not the first time a procedural impasse has jeopardized important legislation, nor is it the first time the GOP used time as an excuse to “run out the clock.” But anti-sex trafficking advocates said this time the procedural stalemate forced the sacrifice of the greater welfare of abused children. “Though we did not object to the Sessions amendments, we would have liked for Senator Sessions to put aside his objection to their removal in the House,” said Shared Hope International’s Senior Director Samantha Healy Vardaman.

Advocacy groups worked hard “to carefully craft a bill that provided solutions to the gaping problem of lack of shelter for child victims of sex trafficking and bolster support for law enforcement entities eager to investigate and prosecute these crimes,” she said. The Senate’s failure “results in a further delay in fulfilling the promise of the federal trafficking act to protect and restore victims of domestic minor sex trafficking.”

Still, Vardaman is “optimistic” that the momentum from last year “is sufficiently high in Congress to allow the bill to pass quickly in this new session.” While new efforts are likely to start in the House under the new Chairman Lamar Smith (R-TX), the Republican aide insisted the Sessions is supportive of the Senate bill and will work to see it passed this year. However, given the Senate GOP’s penchant for obstruction, advocates might need more than optimism.

ThinkProgress

More Palestinian Child Abuse

Posted by admin | Posted in The Capitol | Posted on 04-01-2011

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(John)

From Palestinian Media Watch comes this chilling video of young Palestinian children being taught to look forward to murder and violent death: “May our blood be shed.” This is, by a wide margin, the sickest culture on Earth, and for the foreseeable future, there isn’t anything that can be done about it.




Power Line

CALIFORNIA: Pastor Who Backed Prop 8 Held On Multiple Child Molestation Charges

Posted by admin | Posted in The Capitol | Posted on 02-01-2011

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Pastor Tom Daniels of Rio Linda, California is being held on $ 6M bail after being charged with multiple felony counts of sexual assault on a child. Lavender Newswire reports that Daniels twice made donations to Protect Marriage, the backers of Proposition 8.

Joe. My. God.

Child Authoress

Posted by admin | Posted in The Capitol | Posted on 01-01-2011

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by Zoë Pollock

In a fine longread, Paul Collins profiles the sad case of one of the first child celebrities, author and prodigy Barbara Follett, who went missing at age 26:

Extraordinary young talents are all the more dependent on the most ordinary sustenance. But instead of a home and a college education, what Barbara Follett got was author copies and yellowing newspaper clippings. This girl—who should have been America’s next great literary woman—was abandoned by the two men she trusted, and her fame forgotten by a public that she never trusted in the first place. Her writings, out of print for many decades, only exist today in six archival boxes at Columbia University’s library. Taken together, they are the saddest reading in all of American literature.

Odd Atlantic archives connection: Follet's father who abandoned her to marry another woman "wrote a peculiar anonymous essay for The Atlantic—“To a Daughter, One Year Lost,” in May 1941—which expressed muted guilt and amazement: 'Could Helen Hayes be lost for ten days without a trace? Could Thomas Mann? Could Churchill? And now it is getting on toward forty times ten days…' "





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The Daily Dish | By Andrew Sullivan

Child Molesting Teacher Can’t Be Fired Thanks to Union

Posted by admin | Posted in The Capitol | Posted on 28-12-2010

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-By Warner Todd Huston

In 1997 a Brooklyn teacher was accused of attempting to molest a sixth-grade girl at PS 138. As it happened, he admitted the behavior, but no criminal charges were filed when all was said and done. Still one would think the fact that he inappropriately fondled a teen should be enough to get him fired from his teaching position. But then again, in New York you can’t even fire a child molester if he happens to be a teachers union member.

Thanks to the fact that it is nearly impossible to fire a teacher, this lowlife has been drawing his almost $ 100,000-a-year salary to do nothing. You heard that right, to do nothing.

You see, even as the union agrees that this pedophile isn’t fit for a classroom, the union still won’t agree to his being fired. So, teacher Roland Pierre sits in a “rubber room” five days a week and does nothing and he’s paid $ 97,101yearly to do so. And that doesn’t include benefits.

For particulars on the accusations and how the case came out, see the New York Post piece written by Susan Edelman. Suffice to say that it’s the taxpayers getting taken to the cleaners.

Edelman also casually notes that the school system has five other such teachers that have been on the clock but doing nothing for years and at full salary.

For those unaware of what a “rubber room” is, it is an office to which union members report when they are on suspension and/or are under investigation for misconduct. They go to these offices and read newspapers or magazines and sit around drinking coffee and watching TV. They do this while their cases are winding their way through the system before a determination can be made if they are to be fired or returned to the job.

Rubber rooms are not just seen in the New York school system but in many school systems across the country (usually in the larger cities) as well as other union infested industries like the auto industry under the heavy hand of the United Auto Workers (UAW).

The problem with these rubber room policies is that teachers are being paid sometimes for months and other times for years — as in the case of Mr. Pierre – while their cases snail through the system of constant claims, counter claims and arbitration forced on school systems by unions. Sadly, taxpayers across the country are footing the bill for thousands of these union members to sit around in a relaxing climate without having to work day in and day out.

Often it is so hard to fire these people that some of the most outrageous cases of misconduct never sees justice done and teachers fired. Another New York teacher, for instance, actually impregnated a 16-year-old student and a few years later molested two 12-year-olds yet the state still found it impossible to fire him.

Stories just like these in New York also happen in Los Angeles and many other cities.

Sadly, even when it comes to protecting child molesters, our teachers unions only care about the dues money they can pry out of our taxes and making sure that no union member is ever held to account for their behavior.

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Stop The ACLU

The Proposed “Activity/Inactivity” Distinction and the Child Pornography Laws

Posted by admin | Posted in The Capitol | Posted on 28-12-2010

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(Orin Kerr)

One of the interesting arguments raised in the litigation over the individual mandate is whether courts should adopt a new activity/inactivity distinction in Commerce Clause doctrine. As I understand the argument in favor of the proposed distinction, the Constitution permits Congress to punish you for doing something that it prohibits but can’t punish you for not doing something that it requires.

Unfortunately, I’ve had a hard time getting proponents of this theory to explain exactly what it means, so I thought an example might be helpful to help us work through some of the issues. Federal criminal law imposes a mandate upon any person who comes into innocent possession of child pornography. If a person comes into innocent possession of child pornography — for example, if they receive an unsolicited book in the mail, or an e-mail with an attachment that contains child pornography — the law requires them to act to avoid criminal liability. Specifically, the person must:

promptly and in good faith, and without retaining or allowing any person, other than a law enforcement agency, to access any visual depiction or copy thereof—
(A) [take] reasonable steps to destroy each such visual depiction; or
(B) report[] the matter to a law enforcement agency and afforded that agency access to each such visual depiction.

18 U.S.C. 2252(c) If they do not do this, then they are guilty of a very serious federal felony crime that can send them to jail for several years.

I have two questions for proponents of the activity/inactivity distinction. First, in your view, does this law violate the Commerce Clause by regulating inactivity?

Second, if you think that this mandate violates the Commerce Clause, what law must be struck down? The quoted statute, 18 U.S.C. 2252(c), is a statutory exemption to liability in the child pornography law. It is a “mandate” in the sense that it gives people a way to avoid going to jail. If the child pornography laws are an unconstitutional mandate, must the child pornography laws be struck down at least as applied to innocent possession? In other words, is it beyond the reach of Congress to require those who come into innocent possession of child pornography to take reasonable steps to destroy it or report the matter to law enforcement?




The Volokh Conspiracy

Child Hauled Off to Prison for Using Magic Marker in Class

Posted by admin | Posted in The Capitol | Posted on 25-12-2010

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When will miscreants learn that unless you’re an illegal alien, crime doesn’t pay?

A 13-year-old boy was arrested Friday for using a permanent marker while in class at his Oklahoma City middle school, a violation of an obscure city ordinance.

According to an Oklahoma City Police Department report, the boy was spotted “in possession of a permanent marker” by Roosevelt Middle School teacher DeLynn Woodside. The 50-year-old educator told cop Miguel Campos that the student was “writing on a piece of paper, which caused it to bleed over onto the desk.”

Woodside, pictured [below], reported that the child, whose name was redacted by police from the report, attempted to hide the marker when she asked him for it. Strangely, Woodside’s Facebook page reveals that her “likes and interests” include the official “Sharpie Permanent Markers” page on Facebook.

Campos reported that he allowed Woodside, a seventh grade math teacher, to “sign a citation” against the boy, who was then transported to the Community Intervention Center, a juvenile holding facility. A police sergeant subsequently “booked the marker into the property room.”

A police spokesman referred to the student’s bust as a “citizen’s arrest” effectuated by Woodside.

Woodside handled the case so effectively that there was no need for Eric Holder to get involved.

DeLynn-Woodside.jpg
DeLynn Woodside smiles winningly.

On a tip from G. Fox.

Moonbattery

And unto us, a child is born

Posted by admin | Posted in The Capitol | Posted on 25-12-2010

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Blessed.


An angel of the Lord appeared to them, and the glory of the Lord shone around them, and they were terrified. But the angel said to them, “Do not be afraid. I bring you good news of great joy that will be for all the people. Today in the town of David a Savior has [...]

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