Archive for May 17th, 2012 | Daily archive page

Law experts challenge Virginia lawmaker Bob Marshall on ‘sodomy is not a civil right’ comment

Thursday, May 17th, 2012

Tracy A. Woodward / The Washington Post via Getty Images

Virginia Republican delegate Robert Marshall says Tracy Thorne-Begland’s past activism makes him unfit to serve as a judge.


By James Eng,

Law experts are taking issue with a Virginia legislator’s comment that “sodomy is not a civil right” in explaining why he opposed a gay prosecutor’s bid to become a judge.

Virginia GOP delegate Bob Marshall spearheaded the effort to block Tracy Thorne-Begland, an openly gay prosecutor in Richmond, from becoming a judge, saying the attorney’s past activism and outspokenness on gay rights could bias his decisions on the bench.

The Virginia House of Delegates this week voted to reject Thorne-Begland’s bid to  become a general district court judge in Richmond.

Speaking Thursday on CNN’s “Starting Point,” Marshall expounded on his reasoning.

“Dr. Martin Luther King and Rosa Parks never took an oath of office that they broke. Sodomy is not a civil right,” he said.

Marshall argued that Thorne-Begland’s past advocacy of gay rights would interfere with his neutrality on the bench, particularly in cases involving homosexuals. “He can be a prosecutor if he wants to, but we don’t want advocates as judges,” Marshall said.

William Eskridge, a Yale Law School professor and author of “Dishonorable Passions,” a book about the history of sodomy laws in America, rejected the contention that sodomy isn’t a civil right. He pointed to the U.S. Supreme Court’s landmark 2003 Lawrence vs. Texas decision, which struck down the criminal sodomy law in Texas – and by extension, other states – as unconstitutional.

“The Supreme Court ruled in Lawrence that anal or oral sex, commonly known as sodomy, when performed in private by consenting adults, is constitutionally protected — which makes it a civil right,” Eskridge said.

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Though the Lawrence case involved two gay men arrested for having sex in one of the men’s apartment, Eskridge noted that the protection applied equally to heterosexuals, since the overwhelming majority of cases of sodomy occur between men and women.

“The representative has the same civil right as the gay prosecutor,” Eskridge said of Marshall.

“That is something you have a constitutional right to do. Adults have that right without being subject to criminal punishment,” agreed Kim Forde-Mazrui, a University of Virginia School of Law professor.

Mazrui also took issue with Marshall’s suggestion that Thorne-Begland’s sexual orientation could hamper his impartiality as a judge.

“If you mean that people are always biased in favor of members of their own group then that would suggest that a straight male or a white judge could not be impartial in a case involving a crime between a straight and a gay person, a man and woman, or a white and black person — which would render most judges and juries suspect by his conception,” Mazrui said.

“I think that kind of categorical presumption is misguided and there’s no support for that,” added Theodore Ruger, a law professor the University of Pennsylvania. “Many judges — most famously judges like Thurgood Marshall and Ruth Bader Ginsburg —  were well-known advocates before taking the bench and they went on to distinguished careers.”

Thorne-Begland, a former fighter pilot who lives with his partner and two adopted children, came out as a gay Naval officer 20 years ago to challenge the military’s now-defunct “don’t ask don’t tell” policy, according to the Richmond Times-Dispatch. The announcement triggered his honorable discharge from the Navy. He has spoken out frequently on gay rights since then.

His boss, Richmond Commonwealth’s Attorney Michael N. Herring, has said Thorne-Begland “would have been an outstanding judge.”

“It’s hard to think about what happened in the General Assembly and not conclude that it’s a form of bigotry,” Herring told reporters on Tuesday.

350-pound Wisconsin man picketing restaurant after he’s cut off during all-you-can-eat fish fry

Thursday, May 17th, 2012

By Aaron RuparTue., May 15 2012 at 11:34 AM
bill wisth.jpg
Wisth, “false advertising” sign in tow, talks to reporters as he pickets outside Chuck’s.
Only in America… and especially in Wisconsin.
Bill Wisth — a 6’6″,  350 pound resident of Mequon, Wisconsin — used to be a regular at Chuck’s Place, a family-run restaurant in Thiensville, Land of Cheese. But Wisth’s days as a regular came to an abrupt end last weekend after the restaurant cut him off during an all-you-can-eat fish fry.
What an outrage! Wisth is so upset that he’s started the picketing the restaurant and promises to stand outside with his Sharpie-scrawled “false advertising” sign every weekend until the end of time.
Wisth says he was eating at Chuck’s with a friend last weekend when he told a server he wanted another helping of fish. He says he was only given a few tiny pieces, yet the server told him they were fresh out. Still hungry, Wisth says he refused to pay his bill. Police were eventually called and Wisth’s large, fish-loving ass was kicked out of the restaurant.
fried fish.jpg
Wisth wanted more fried fish than Chuck’s was prepared to offer.
“If the people who run the restaurant put up signs that say all you can eat, but then selectively not want to fill that promise, that’s false advertising,” Wisth told WISN.
Chuck’s management offers a different account of what happened on that fateful night. According to the restaurant, the server politely informed Wisth they were out of the fish Chuck’s was serving as part of the all-you-can-eat promotion, but offered to fry up some “more expensive fish” to make up for the inconvenience. Management claims they busted Wisth illicitly serving fish to his friend, who hadn’t ordered the all-you-can-eat deal, but tried to accommodate his demands nonetheless. They also claim Wisth chowed down more than 20 pieces of fish before they ran out.
As Wisth picketed outside the restaurant on a recent afternoon, Elizabeth Roeming, a server at Chuck’s, approached him, apparently feeling betrayed by her former regular’s public denouncement of the restaurant.
Roeming, who told WISN she always tried to please Wisth with fresh bread and ample condiments, said the owner of Chuck’s used to let Wisth keep a running tab, since he couldn’t always afford to pay his bill.
“To have you come out here to say don’t come here, it’s actually going to help our business,” Roeming said. “You might want to stop because everyone loves us here.”

Angry wife spray-paints “asshole,” “cheater” on ex-husband’s SUV [PHOTOS]

Thursday, May 17th, 2012

By Gregory PrattThu., May 17 2012 at 11:26 AM
Tony Hart, Mix 108

An angry ex-wife commemorated her divorce by holding an “ex-husband sale” and spray-painting the SUV in their driveway with “asshole,” “douche,” and “cheater.”


“Kiss my ass fucker,” she also tagged. Their GMC Yukon, with flat tires and all, attracted much attention in Superior, Wisconsin, yesterday.

Along the curb, the woman piled her ex-husband’s belongings underneath a sign advertising “X HUSBAND SALE.” There were ashes where “an apparent fire had been lit,” according to Mix 108’s Tony Hart.

A Superior policeman showed up at the scene later to speak with people at the residence, but no arrests were made.

Gawkers, including children, lined up to record the acrimony.

Sgt. William Lear explained to local mediathat there isn’t a law against defacing a vehicle in your own yard.


The woman who lived in that home filed for divorced last July, according to the Superior Telegram, ending a marriage that began in 1997.

A neighbor told the newspaper that the celebration began Tuesday, when the divorce was finalized.

Several people came over for a spray-paint party, characterized as a “get rid of the husband” deal, “to get rid of her anger.”

Hat tip to Mix 108, which has more pictures here.

Gordon Sinclair died 28 years ago today, at the age of 83.

Thursday, May 17th, 2012

Colorful Canadian radio/TV broadcaster, host of the long-running radio show “Let’s Be Personal”, famous for his 1973 radio commentary called “The Americans”, a tribute to the US that was widely recorded and is republished to this day