Thursday, April 08, 2004

Punishments of students and teachers for violently themed literature

The Volokh Conspiracy reports:
The quiet freshman from Seattle who sat in the back row had submitted a disturbing short story, a fictitious first-person account of a young serial killer. The story was so rife with gruesome details about sexual torture, dismemberment and bloodlust that the teacher [Jan Richman] panicked, wondering what to do now that she had already handed out copies to her class to take home and read....

After a brief interrogation in his dormitory, the student, who did not respond to The Chronicle's requests for comment, was put on a plane and sent home to his family. The next day, according to Richman, the young man's parents called the university, alleging that their son had been encouraged to write about violence after reading a short story assigned in Richman's Narrative Storytelling class. . . .

The story was "Girl With Curious Hair," the title piece of a 1988 collection by David Foster Wallace, author of "Infinite Jest," one of the most widely acclaimed novel of the 1990s. "Girl With Curious Hair" features a character called Sick Puppy, a yuppie who hangs out with a crowd of punk rockers for cheap thrills. One of the young women lets him extinguish matches on her skin....

[The administration then] sent an e-mail informing Richman that Rowley would not rehire her for the new semester. . . .

Instead of punishment, why don't institutions simply restore their teacher's traditional prerogatives of free comment. A statement like, "Young man, you are one sick puppy" might serve to guide wayward youth onto the right path.

Missing from the UC Berkeley History Page

Is there some hidden reason that Cal Berkeley's History Page neglects to mention who the University (and the City) were named after?

Why are REs Renouncing US Citizenship?

I finally updated my Official Taxpatriates Page. The IRS is a few Quarters behind (as usual) in its listings of those Americans who have renounced their citizenship.

But that's not the story.

The interesting story is that a small number of REs (Reinsurance Companies) have been appearing on these lists:

2Q 2000
RBC Reinsurance Ltd.

1Q 2003

2Q 2003
Imagine International Reinsurance Ltd.

Why are these REs renouncing a US citizenship that they presumably never had in the first place and why are they appearing on this list which, according to the statute, would seem to be restricted to individuals? And why REs? Why not other entities?

I have no idea.

Wednesday, April 07, 2004

An Illegal Alien for 80 Years

Citizen Finnerty, or so she thought

For 80 years, if there was one thing Catherine Finnerty was sure of, one part of her identity there was never any question about, it was the fact that she is an American.

She paid taxes, married a U.S. serviceman and watched him go off to fight in World War II. Her front lawn in Hazlet sports tiny American flags, and a larger flag is draped across the front of her house. Each night, she takes out her rosary beads and prays for the troops overseas.

"I'm an American through and through," she said.

Or so she thought.

Last September, eight decades after she arrived in this country as a newborn in the arms of her Irish immigrant mother, Finnerty was stunned to learn she may not be a U.S. citizen after all.

She was "caught" when she applied for federally subsidized senior housing. Oops!

This is not an unusual story. My wife and I helped a woman establish her mother's citizenship in the same circumstances. A lot of Irish babes in arms entered the country in the 1930s and were accidentally not listed on their parents citizenship petitions because it wasn't seen as vital.

Until she applied for HUD housing, she had never been asked.

When her brother enlisted in the Navy and went off to fight in World War II, no one said he wasn't a citizen. When Finnerty registered to vote and went to the polls each year for decades, it never came up. When she applied for Social Security benefits in 1985, she was accepted, without hesitation.

It wasn't until this past spring, when she applied for an apartment at Bethany Towers, a federally subsidized senior citizen housing complex in Keyport, that HUD denied her application for lack of legal residency.

So watch out. If you're an illegal alien, don't apply for federal subsidies. If you're not positive you're legal -- don't apply for federal subsidies.

Video of Rush Limbaugh's Hearing before Florida Appeals Court

Fans of state appellate court practice (and/or Rush Limbaugh) can see streaming video of a full hearing from Florida's 4th District Court of Appeal on Rush's petition to quash a search warrant for his medical records.

The above link is on this page of Rush Limbaugh's site which has a great deal of other video, audio, and transcripts related to his case.

The site is a fabulous demonstration of the power of litigants/defendants to publicize their own case arguments in the modern era.

Monday, April 05, 2004

Personal Religious Beliefs

The Roman Candidate:

Kerry has said that, as an elected official, he must separate his personal religious views from his actions as a legislator and that it is not "appropriate in the United States for a legislator to legislate personal religious beliefs for the rest of the country."

But, I assume, it is OK for a communist legislator to legislate his personal communist beliefs for the rest of the country?

Why don't faithless Catholic politicians simply say that they are imposing their beliefs on us but that those beliefs are not the beliefs of their church; that (in fact) they don't share most of the beliefs of their church; and that they only maintain the pretense of faith for crass political advantage.