For all the talk of deep partisan divides on the Supreme Court, justices found ground for unity last week on the controversial topic of asset forfeiture. Seven of the eight participating justices rejected a Colorado requirement that people must prove their innocence before they can recover assets seized in criminal cases where the defendants were found not guilty.
Conservative Justice Clarence Thomas was the lone dissenter. Newly sworn Justice Neil Gorsuch did not participate. Otherwise, conservatives and liberals agreed that Colorado's asset-forfeiture law went way too far in granting government the authority to retain seized assets without due process.
Asset forfeiture is a tricky issue. No one likes the idea of, say, a major drug trafficker getting to keep a mansion, yacht or millions of dollars in probably ill-gotten gains simply because the government couldn't prove that these were the direct proceeds of a criminal enterprise. But our court system requires a presumption of innocence. The prosecution has the burden of proof, not the defense.
In the Colorado case, two former criminal defendants whose convictions were overturned had to sue the state to recover fees and assets taken during their prosecution. Colorado law required them to prove their innocence in court before assets could be released.
"Colorado may not presume a person, adjudged guilty of no crime, nonetheless guilty enough for monetary exactions," Justice Ruth Bader Ginsburg wrote for the majority. "To get their money back, defendants should not be saddled with any proof burden."
Numerous states have laws that impose enormous costs and hassles on former defendants seeking to recover seized assets. Police departments and prosecutors' offices often rely on those assets to fund their operations. Nationally, asset forfeitures in 2014 exceeded $5 billion.
Officers in one notorious East Texas case for years used their state's asset-forfeiture laws to systematically shake down mainly black and Latino motorists on local highways for innocuous offenses like driving 37 mph in a 35 mph zone. In Missouri, seized assets must be used to fund schools, which helps remove the incentive for police to use asset forfeiture to boost local coffers. Still, abuses abound.
President Donald Trump stepped into the middle of this debate during a February meeting with law enforcers when a Texas sheriff complained about a Republican state senator who had proposed a bill requiring conviction before authorities could seize a defendant's money. Trump offered to destroy the senator's career.
Trump failed to recognize that this is a sore point among many of his party's conservative hardliners who see asset forfeiture laws as an example of government run amok.
The Conservative Review said Trump's threat "should scare all of us." Jacob Sullum, of the libertarian magazine Reason, labeled asset forfeiture "legalized theft."
It's a rare day, indeed, when Justice Ginsburg stands with them at the Supreme Court.
Dear Doctor: Which pain reliever is safer -- acetaminophen, ibuprofen, celecoxib or naproxen? It seems as if they all carry some risks.
Dear Reader: Pain is a symptom to which we can all relate. It's also an important indicator of possible injury within the body and should be acknowledged, not simply by taking medication, but also by understanding the cause of the pain. That said, one person's pain is different than another's, with some people needing greater pain relief.
So, if you need a medication for pain, what should you use? Let's look first at acetaminophen (Tylenol). Acetaminophen has been used since 1955; it is available in multiple products, works well for pain, and is for the most part safe. However, at high doses -- specifically, above 4,000 milligrams a day, or eight tablets of Extra Strength Tylenol -- the medication can cause liver damage, or even death, especially in those who are malnourished, drink alcohol in excess or consistently take more than 4,000 mg per day. Age is also a factor, as those over 40 have a greater risk of liver failure and death after over-dosage.
Ibuprofen (Advil, Motrin) has been used for pain since 1974. It is one of many medications classified as non-steroidal anti-inflammatory drugs (NSAID). NSAIDs work by inhibiting formation of mediators of pain and inflammation, and they're notably effective at decreasing inflammation in swollen joints related to arthritis.
Naproxen (Aleve) was first marketed in 1976 and works similarly to ibuprofen. But it has a longer half-life, giving it a longer-lasting effect. Both ibuprofen and naproxen decrease the formation of prostaglandins in the stomach. These chemicals produced by the body have hormonelike effects, protecting the stomach lining from acidity. The decrease of prostaglandins can injure the stomach lining, leading to stomach inflammation, ulcers and possibly severe bleeding.
Celecoxib (Celebrex) is a more selective NSAID and does not decrease prostaglandins in the stomach. This translates into significantly less likelihood of creating ulcerations.
All NSAIDs also reduce prostaglandins in the kidneys, which can lead to kidney injury. This injury becomes worse in people who have a history of chronic kidney disease, who are older, or who have congestive heart failure or cirrhosis.
Lastly, the chronic use of high-dose NSAIDs has been linked to an increased risk of heart attacks. Celecoxib may have a slightly greater risk of this than ibuprofen and naproxen, but a recent New England Journal of Medicine study looking at those who used NSAIDs chronically for arthritis found no difference in cardiovascular events between celecoxib and either ibuprofen or naproxen.
Of the drugs you listed, my feeling is that acetaminophen is the safest when used regularly. However, I would use acetaminophen at no higher doses than 4,000 mg per day and, if you were to use it regularly, I would recommend decreasing this amount to 2,000 to 3,000 mg per day.
The NSAIDs -- ibuprofen, naproxen and celecoxib -- are needed by some who have inflammatory arthritis, and they are good medications in the short-term. I would caution against consistent long-term use, especially at high doses and especially if you have any history of heart disease.
Robert Ashley, M.D.
Like Pavlov's dogs, the liberal media salivated over the arrival of former President Barack Obama to receive the Profile in Courage Award from the John F. Kennedy Library Foundation. The mythic figure returned to accept the honor in the middle of a two-hour live special on MSNBC, loaded with the usual Chris Matthews slobbering over his "American eloquence."
The words "mythic figure" truly apply, as another liberal historian has now underscored just how much "fake news" Obama manufactured on his way to the highest office in the land and the lucrative beyond.
In his 2012 book "Barack Obama: The Story," Washington Post associate editor David Maraniss exposed Obama's memoir, "Dreams of My Father," as stuffed with false anecdotes. The author later recalled that when Obama objected, saying, "David, you called my book fiction," he replied: "No, Mr. President, I actually complimented you. I called it literature."
This time, the Pulitzer Prize-winning historian David Garrow -- best known for thick volumes on the life of Martin Luther King Jr. -- is the author insisting that Obama's memoir is a work of historical fiction in which the "most important composite character was the narrator."
In his book "Rising Star" -- a real doorstop of a book at 1,460 pages -- Garrow concluded that Obama's ambition devoured his progressive idealism. "While the crucible of self-creation had produced an ironclad will, the vessel was hollow at its core," he says.
Washington Post nonfiction book critic Carlos Lozada drew attention to a new character in the real life of Barack Obama: a woman who Garrow reports Obama asked to marry him. Sheila Miyoshi Jager is of Dutch and Japanese ancestry and now teaches at Oberlin College. In Obama's memoir, she ended up blurred into the composite white women he dated. You can't find her name in other Obama biographies either. How on Earth is it 2017 and no one in the media uncovered this simple yet significant fact?
There's a simple answer: Obama didn't want them to, and no one in the "objective" press displayed much interest in correcting his self-serving legend.
Garrow suggests that Jager originally said no in 1986 because her parents thought she was too young, but she says Obama grew ambitious and began to talk to her about being president one day. Her race would complicate that journey. Garrow cites Illinois Sen. Richard Newhouse, an African-American who was married to a white woman and dogged by whispers that he "talks black but sleeps white." One-term African-American Sen. Carol Moseley Braun, whose ex-husband was white, admitted that "an interracial marriage really restricts your political options."
So Obama went to Harvard Law School. One former classmate of his told Garrow, "the only thing I would have voted for Obama to do would have been to shut up." He reported that classmates created an "Obamanometer" to measure "how pretentious someone's remarks are in class." But in fact, Obama was elected as the first black president of the Harvard Law Review, which drew a gushing New York Times piece in 1990 -- the first of many.
Not everyone in the liberal media was receptive to Garrow's revelations. New York Times chief book critic Michiko Kakutani ripped it for having a "highly intemperate epilogue ... which almost reads like a Republican attack ad." The book "devolves into a condescending diatribe unworthy of a serious historian," she says. Horrors.
The book was "way more exhausting than exhaustive." The epilogue was painted as "filled with bald assertions and coy half-truths." As for Obama's outright lies and evasions, Kakutani offered the conclusion you might expect from a political party commissar: For reliable history, "Go back to Obama's own eloquent memoir," she says. In other words, "the myth shall set you free."
L. Brent Bozell III
and Tim Graham
While munching on an organic apple during your drive to work, you may think it's perfectly fine to toss the core out the window of your car. It's 100 percent biodegradable, and it may give a wild animal something to eat, right? But while the apple core is less polluting than, say, a candy wrapper, it's still trash. Wild animals who find the apple core will discover it by the road, where they are in danger of being struck by a car. There is no appropriate litter to discard from your car, so dispose of all of it -- including apple cores -- in the compost, recycling bin or trash can.
The Center for Energy and Climate Solutions, a nonprofit organization that works toward practical solutions to climate change, studied the eco-impact of e-commerce shopping. It found an extreme difference between shipping overnight air rather than ground shipping methods. The less-expensive (and slightly slower) ground shipping method uses just 1/10th of the energy consumption of planes. The greenest choice of all is walking to your local store and picking it up yourself.
If you buy refrigerated tofu in a plastic container from the store, it's often packaged in water to help keep it fresh. The directions call for you to drain the water before you slice the tofu to use for cooking. Did you know you can use the leftover tofu water in the container for baking? Much like the water in cans of chickpeas, called "aquafaba," tofu water can be used as a replacement for eggs in baking. Use 3 to 4 tablespoons of tofu water for every egg in a recipe.
The nonprofit Chesapeake Bay Foundation would like you to save your shells after you've shucked a few oysters. The group recycles the shells and uses them to create oyster reefs as part of its conservation efforts to repopulate the bay. So far, over 2,000 bushels of oyster shells have been collected, which has led to giving homes to millions of oysters. Restaurants in the Maryland area are participating in collections, and you can learn more by visiting cbf.org.
Many of us use paper shredders to protect our personal information from getting into the wrong hands. But what do you do with that shredded paper? Unfortunately, recyclers don't want it because the fibers are cut very short, and often the shreds are mixed with non-recyclables like stickers and bits of plastic from things like credit cards. If you shred your own paper, it is possible to divert it away from landfills. You can layer shredded paper with grass clippings (and other organic matter) and turn it into compost. But if that doesn't work, bag it up and throw it away. Sending it to a recycler contaminates real recyclables.
Does your small business go through a lot of toner and ink cartridges every month? Yes, you can recycle them for free -- or you can earn some cash for recycling them! The website usrecycleink.com pays cash for empty ink and toner cartridges. It also covers the shipping cost to its recycling facility with a prepaid label. In as few as two weeks, you'll receive payment for your empty cartridges. Schools and nonprofit organizations can collect these items as a way to raise money for their charitable efforts, too.
Recycling scrap metal is an easy way to turn some old metal furniture, building supplies and other metallic items into cash. But not all metal is alike or worth the same amount. The simple test is to see if a magnet sticks to your metal recyclable. If it does, it's ferrous metal, which is likely steel or iron. Ferrous metal is less valuable, but still very much recyclable. If the magnet does not stick, there is a good chance it's a much more valuable material like copper, brass, bronze or stainless steel.
A quick glance at statistics and the problem of mental health becomes clear.
In this country, one in five people will be diagnosed with a mental health condition in their lifetime. Suicide has become the 10th leading cause of death in the United States, the 2nd leading cause of death for ages 44 and under and the 5th leading cause of death for ages 45-54 with one American dying from suicide every 12.3 minutes. Almost 43,000 deaths a year out of 1.1 million attempts.
Drug overdose is another problem, a report released last December states more than 50,000 Americans died from drug overdoses in 2015, the most ever. Stating the death toll in the United States from drug overdose at over 50,000. Contrast this with the number of deaths from breast cancer at over 40,000 and you can see the problem.
On May 20, 2017 from 10 am to 2 pm, Redeemer Lutheran Church located at 3950 Winkler Ave Ext. Fort Myers, Florida 33916 is the host for a free event to bring awareness to the community about mental health.
The community needs to talk about mental health and illness because taking care of your mental health and that of those you love is as important as taking care of your physical health.
Janet Memoli RN, BSN and a member of the American Psychiatric Nurse’s Association is the chairperson for the event.
There will be three main themes at the event to focus on the mental health issues of Anxiety, Depression and Substance Abuse, with a room set aside to discuss each theme. There will be professionals in each room to answer questions about these issues.
Exhibitors include David Lawrence Center, Lee Health, Ahmadiya Muslim Community, CARES , Children’s Home Society, Royal Palm Christian Counseling and David Kneeland, a Social Security disability consultant.
There will also be a bounce house and other children’s activities.
Please bring food donations as food collected will be distributed to local food pantries.
If you wish to exhibit at this event or donate please contact Janet Memoli at 239-994-3650 or go to the website at www.mental healthsaturday.com.
In remembrance of those we have lost to suicide, a chapel service will also be held at 2:30 pm.
Over two years ago is when it all started. Why? ... because the water lines coming into Fort Myers Beach were giving up.
Monthly and sometimes weekly one would burst in our neighborhood and we would be without water, then came the boil water notices. When the lines coming in were working well, something would break in the ones going out....
So naturally the whole island was ecstatic when we found out the water lines, in and out were getting replaced! which brings us back to the beginning of this article, that was over two years ago and the first leg of the work is just now finishing up.
The top layer of asphalt was just ‘finished’ this past week and the lines are even painted on Estero Blvd.
I say finishing up because the connection to all the side streets are still awaiting their top layer.
Two years in the making and I’m not sure if they have completed a whole mile yet from Times Square, I was thinking of pacing it off the other day but it was about 90 degrees out so that was out of the question, but I know that the Neptune Inn is about a half mile from the bridge so saying it’s a mile is being generous to say the least.
I keep reminding myself of all the bursting pipes of yesteryear and I know it is a necessary evil, but if you talk to any of the locals....an evil it has been.
White House Press Secretary Sean Spicer said in a statement that Mr Comey has been "terminated and removed from office." Mr Trump was said to have acted on "clear recommendations" from Attorney General Jeff Sessions and Deputy Attorney General Rod Rosenstein, in a move that has shocked Washington. Reports the Independent.co.uk website. A few months ago, most Democrats in Washington were demanding his removal, Chuck Schumer recently stated recently, 'I do not have confidence in him (James Comey) any longer." and now they all have done a 180 degree reversal.
Just like good soldiers doing what they are told, the mainstream media is once again doing the lockstep. Everywhere you look on the web, all the talking points are being shared over and over..... the move was "Nixonian" Comey 'found out from TV' a 'Loss for the bureau and nation', almost all the news you read and hear is prepared propaganda.
Personally, The news that President Donald Trump has fired FBI Director James Comey comes as no surprise.
Comey deserved to be replaced, probably should have been long ago when the Dems were screaming for it, unfortunately that is not how Trump works, he doesn't like to be told what to do.
Not only did Comey make a horribly bad decision when he announced 11 days before the presidential election, that the investigation into Hillary Clinton's emails had been reopened, and in doing so, possibly affecting the outcome of that election. He undermined the integrity and the independence of the agency he led in his overwhelming occupation with himself, he spent more time trying to clear himself than he did reporting the facts. In his lack of preparation for testifying before the Senate, He wrote his own pink slip.
Not all lawmakers were opposed the dismissal. "When you look at the bipartisan nature that should welcome this you have Sen. Chuck Schumer, Nancy Pelosi, Hillary Clinton all calling for or acknowledging the lack of confidence they had in the FBI director over the last several months," Spicer said. "This is an action taken by the president upon the recommendation of deputy attorney general, the attorney general that I think should be greeted with strong bipartisan support.”
Sen. Dianne Feinstein of California, the top Democrat on the Judiciary Committee, said Trump called her Tuesday afternoon to inform her of his decision.
"The next FBI director must be strong and independent and will receive a fair hearing in the Judiciary Committee," she said in a statement.
"Given the recent controversies surrounding the director, I believe a fresh start will serve the FBI and the nation well, . I encourage the President to select the most qualified professional available who will serve our nation’s interests, " said Republican Lindsay Graham of South Carolina, chairman of a Senate Judiciary subcommittee investigating the Russian campaign interference.
Mr. Comey was three years into a 10-year term, Congress established the long term to insulate the director from political pressure. Though the president has the authority to fire the F.B.I. director for any reason, and has been done now by both political parties. Mr. Comey is only the second director to be fired in bureau history. President Bill Clinton fired William S. Sessions in 1993.