Tuesday, May 21, 2013

Speaking of Our Fearless Leaders

Speaking of tax breaks for the rich -- take a deep breath and do some simple math.

The top five percent of the taxpayers pay nearly half of all federal income taxes, while the bottom 50 percent pay only about five percent of the taxes.

For every $100 in taxes collected by the federal government (rounded to the nearest dollar), the richest 10 percent pay $59, the second 10 percent pay $18, the third 10 percent pay $12, the fourth 10 percent pay $7, the fifth 10 percent pay $3, the sixth 10 percent pay $1, and the last four groups pay nothing.

Speaking of taxes -- it’s always heartwarming to hear where some of the money is spent.

The White House has 29 limousines and 50 chauffeured cars at its disposal. The federal government owns 1,200 civilian aircraft, used mainly to fly executives and guests around the country.

There are over 4,000 federal employees specializing in public relations, at an average annual salary of $95,000, whose sole purpose is to “inform” the public of what a splendid job the government is doing. Plus, the federal government now has over three million websites to help “inform” the public of what a wonderful organization is looking after them.

Instead of whining about how the rich do not pay their fair share, perhaps we should all be whining about the wasteful expenses our government gets away with year after year.

Speaking of the White House -- Richard Milhous Nixon and William Jefferson Clinton are the only two U.S. Presidents whose names contain all the letters in the word “criminal.”

Speaking of U.S. Presidents -- I offer the following quotes, as a reminder that people will actually stand in line to cast a vote for them.

Dwight Eisenhower – “The world is more like it is now than it ever was before.”

Richard Nixon – “Solutions are not the answer.”

Ronald Reagan – “Facts are stupid things.”

George Bush, Sr. – “I have opinions of my own – strong opinions – but I don’t always agree with them.”

Bill Clinton – “I’m someone who has a deep emotional attachment to Starsky and Hutch.”

George Bush, Jr. – “It’s no exaggeration to say that the undecideds could go one way or another.”

Barack Obama -- "I have now been in 57 states. I think I have one left to go."

Speaking of silly quotes by political leaders -- here’s a few more.

Ted Kennedy – “I favor access to discrimination on the basis of sexual orientation.”

Dick Gebhardt – “What we have is two important values in conflict – freedom of speech and our desire for healthy campaigns and a healthy democracy.  You can’t have both.”

Marion Barry (former Mayor of Washington, D.C.) – “If you take out the killings, Washington has a very low crime rate.”

Walter Hickel (former Secretary of Interior) – “You can’t just let nature run wild.”

Quote for the Day -- "Politics is the art of looking for trouble, finding it everywhere, diagnosing it incorrectly and applying the wrong remedies.” Groucho Marx


Bret Burquest is the author of 9 books. He lives in the Ozark Mountains with a dog named Buddy Lee and where nature happily runs wild.

Wednesday, May 15, 2013

Fractured Moments in the Courtroom

The following items are from a book titled DISORDER IN THE COURT: GREAT FRACTURED MOMENTS IN COURTROOM HISTORY by Charles M. Seville -- they are portions from actual transcripts in American courts.

Q: The youngest son, the twenty-year-old, how old is he?

Q: Were you present when your picture was taken?

Q: Are you qualified to give a urine sample?

Q: Do you now wear corrective glasses?
A: There are three of you.
Q: No. There's only one of me.

Q: Are you sexually active?
A: No, I just lie there.

Q: What is your date of birth?
A: July 18th.
Q: What year?
A: Every year.

Q: What gear were you in at the moment of the impact?
A: Gucci sweats and Reeboks.

Q: This myasthenia gravis, does it affect your memory at all?
A: Yes.
Q: And in what ways does it affect your memory?
A: I forget.
Q: You forget? Can you give us an example of something that you've forgotten?

Q: How old is your son, the one living with you?
A: Thirty-eight or thirty-five, I can't remember which.
Q: How long has he lived with you?
A: Forty-five years.

Q: What was the first thing your husband said to you when he woke up that morning?
A: He said, "Where am I, Cathy?"
Q: And why did that upset you?
A: My name is Susan.

Q: Do you know if your daughter has ever been involved in voodoo or the occult?
A: We both do.
Q: Voodoo?
A: We do.
Q: You do?
A: Yes, voodoo.

Q: And y'all had a very intimate relationship, didn't you, Ms. A.?
A: We had sex two times. It wasn't very intimate.

Q: So the date of conception (of the baby) was August 8th?
A: Yes.
Q: And what were you doing at that time?

Q: She had three children, right?
A: Yes.
Q: How many were boys?
A: None.
Q: Were there any girls?

Q: How was your first marriage terminated?
A: By death.
Q: And by whose death was it terminated?

Q: Can you describe the individual?
A: He was about medium height and had a beard.
Q: Was this a male, or a female?

Q: Is your appearance here this morning pursuant to a deposition notice which I sent to your attorney?
A: No, this is how I dress when I go to work.

Q: ALL your responses MUST be oral, OK? What school did you go to?
A: Oral.

Q: Are you related to her in some way by marriage?
A: We are brother and sister-in-law.
Q: Are you married to O's sister?
A: I am married to O's sister by the church, by the law, and because I am a fool.

Q: Doctor, how many autopsies have you performed on dead people?
A: All my autopsies are performed on dead people.

Q: Do you recall the time that you examined the body?
A: The autopsy started around 8:30 p.m.
Q: And Mr. Dennington was dead at the time?
A: No, he was sitting on the table wondering why I was doing an autopsy.

Q: Now doctor, isn't it true that when a person dies in his sleep, he doesn't know about it until the next morning?
A: Did you actually pass the bar exam?

Q: Doctor, before you performed the autopsy, did you check for a pulse?
A: No.
Q: Did you check for blood pressure?
A: No.
Q: Did you check for breathing?
A: No.
Q: So, then it is possible that the patient was alive when you began the autopsy?
A: No.
Q: How can you be so sure, Doctor?
A: Because his brain was sitting on my desk in a jar.
Q: But could the patient have still been alive, nevertheless?
A: Yes, it is possible that he could have been alive and practicing law

Quote for the Day -- "Lawyers spend a great deal of time shoveling smoke." Oliver Wendell Holmes.

Bret Burquest is the author of 9 books. He lives in the Ozark Mountains with a dog named Buddy Lee and where what lawyers do is called "practice."

Friday, May 3, 2013

Juvenile Jerks

In September of 2003, Jeffrey Lee Parson, a high school senior from Hopkins, Minn., earned his 15 minutes of fame by generating a copycat version of the Blaster Internet worm, also known as LovSan, infecting over 500,000 computers around the world and causing millions of dollars worth of damage.

The computer virus exploited a flaw in Window’s software, replicating Internet worms that launched a data attack from at least 7,000 “drone” computers via the Internet onto the Microsoft technical service website.

The FBI arrested Parson for “intentionally causing or attempting to cause damage to a computer” and confiscated his seven computers.

Later that same day, Parson made an initial court appearance with a punk hair style, wearing a faded T-shirt with “Big Daddy” spelled out in front, as well as cargo shorts and high-top sneakers.

The pesky teenager was then placed under house arrest, pending further court appearances, and not allowed to use a computer or to log onto the Internet.

His parents must be so proud.

At 6’ 4” and 320 pounds, the 18-year-old Parson was known locally as a hothead and a bully. According to the Minneapolis Star Tribune, some of Parson’s neighbors claimed that Parson used to beat up the other kids in the neighborhood and damaged property whenever he got upset, which was often.

One sympathetic neighbor stated that Parson had always been very self-conscious about his size and felt no one liked him. He was apparently always much taller than the other kids and had received intensive counseling as a boy to help him adjust.

The poor lad – being tall is such a heavy burden.

Speaking of juvenile jerks, 63-year-old Congressman Bill Janklow of South Dakota also earned his 15 minutes of fame in the same month by driving over 70 mph in a 55 mph speed zone, running a stop sign and killing a 55-year-old motorcyclist and volunteer fireman from Minnesota.

One of South Dakota’s most powerful politicians, Janklow had served four years as state attorney general and 16 years as governor before being elected to the U.S. House of Representatives in 2002.

A self-proclaimed speeder, Janklow received 12 speeding tickets in 11 separate counties in 1990-1994.

In 1999, he complained to passengers in his sports utility vehicle that the computer limited his speed to 99 mph as he sped through the dense smoke of a forest fire in the Black Hills. As governor that year, he was quoted as saying: “if someone told me I was going to jail for two days for speeding, my driving habits would change. I can pay the ticket but don’t want to go to jail. It’s that simple.”

The poor fellow – forced to endanger innocent lives and pay a fine rather than being a responsible citizen simply because the penalty just wasn’t stiff enough to prevent him from doing the right thing.

Parson is an evil monster who gets a thrill out of hurting others.

Janklow is an infantile pinhead who gets a thrill out of driving fast -- killing another human being in the process.

Each faced a maximum of 10 years in prison.

Parson should be dressed in bright orange and confined to a cell at least two hours for every hour of distress he caused multitudes of computer users. With good behavior, he would be eligible for parole on April 17, 2085.

Janklow should be duct-taped to the hood of an Oldsmobile and driven on every road in South Dakota at 110 miles per hour by one of Richard Petty’s nephews. If he survives the thrill of being a hood ornament, he should serve two days in jail for speeding and be required to become a volunteer fireman for the rest of his natural life.

We live in a wicked world where the punishment sometimes exceeds the crime. You can get six months in jail for chewing gum in public in Indonesia or beheaded for adultery in Saudi Arabia (women only).

No matter the earthly consequences of our actions, we are all judged by an ultimate truth.

Quote for the Day -- "Justice will not be served until those who are unaffected are as outraged as those who are." Benjamin Franklin

Bret Burquest is the author of 9 books. He lives in the Ozark Mountains with a dog named Buddy Lee and an imaginary girlfriend named Trixie O'Toole.