President Trump takes to the street

We donated a dollar and he blew us a kiss.

P.S. Squawk has gone legit! See us in “The Crime Report,” the online zine of John Jay College of Criminal Justice.

 

 

Posted in Humor, Law & Parody, Satire and parody | Tagged | Leave a comment

Squawk is interrogated

Lenny Bruce complained that cops would go to his show, write down every word of his routine and then read it aloud in the Grand Jury, completely ruining his lines. Although not remotely in the league of that great iconoclast, we thought of him while being forced to listen to our interrogator – a Barbie doll from a notoriously anti-labor law firm retained by our employer – reading aloud our post “Are you a cissie?” “What did you mean by that?” she kept wanting to know. “Yes, you can explain a joke, yes, you can, yes, you can!”

She also wanted the emails of the subscribers to the Squawk.  But we followed the sterling example of the NY Public Library refusing to disclose the identity of its library card-carriers to Homeland Security. Our readers are safe with us.

All because of some humorless prigs who got pissed off at our poking fun at their “trainings” advising us to quiz our clients about gender issues.

After an hour and a half, Barbie finally came clean and told us what she wanted us to admit: that a reasonable person could read our blog as saying that transgenders are “a myth.” We didn’t understand. They’re perfectly visible and tangible, how could they be a myth?

But now we get it. The blog expresses the dangerous, unacceptable notion that there could be times  – for instance, when you’re accused of a crime or defending someone accused of a crime – that gender issues aren’t that important.  Maybe we’re wrong, but to spend thousands of dollars to investigate us for saying so? Really

P.S. Many, many thanks for the blawger support from Simple Justice  Windy Pundit and Defending People.

Posted in Civil Liberties, Humor, Satire and parody | 15 Comments

Privacy for me but not for thee

 Here we see NYPD Police Officer James Frascatore using the “straight arm bar takedown” on Mr. James Blake whom he mistook for a suspect in a credit card scam. Not only did he have the wrong man, Mr. Blake was a retired world-class tennis pro, apparently doing nothing more than “fidgeting with his phone and looking around.”

Last week P.O. Frascatore had a disciplinary hearing – in front of another NYPD officer, of course – where he faced the draconian punishment of losing some vacation days.  A retired NYPD cop testified, with no apparent irony, that Frascatore’s actions were “entirely in keeping with his training.”  When the retiree was asked if he himself had been part of a ticket-fixing scandal a few years back, the judge cleared the courtroom, citing Civil Rights Law 50-a, which shields cops’ personnel records from disclosure.  Public activists protested that this was a terrible misuse of the law.

Maybe so, but why impeach the credibilty of a witness who’s publicly admitted that the NYPD trains its cops to go around doing the straight arm bar takedown on people without first finding out who they are? What’s a little ticket-fixing compared to that?  The guy should be a star witness for the prosecution in every police brutality case.

The People invoke the same Civil Rights law as an excuse to stamp “Confidential” on their briefs in sex offense cases without even the silly formality of a judicial ruling.  Of course they could refer to the complainants by their initials, but they prefer to splatter their names all over the brief and then declare it off-limits to the public.  Considering what a rich source of dubious convictions sex prosecutions are, it’s no wonder that the People want secrecy. It’s called CYA.

Posted in Civil Liberties, Criminal law | Tagged , | 1 Comment

Let’s remove offensive statues from Central Park

Inspired by a recent video of students pulling down, kicking and spitting on a statue of a Confederate soldier, we took a tour of inspection to similarly purge Central Park.  The first offender we came across was Alice in Wonderland:

In case you were trigger-warned off reading the book, Alice was an unsupervised child who imbibed hallucinogenic substances (note the conspicuous mushroom motif) .  She’s flanked by the March Hare and the Mad Hatter, insensitive portrayals of the mentally ill. Worst of all, her creator Lewis Carroll should be Level 3 under SORA, if not in civil commitment, for his nude photographs of minors.  Hey, hey, ho, ho, Alice in Wonderland has to go!

Next is Hans Christian Andersen, another child-welfare-endangering figure. You may think “The Ugly Duckling” is a wholesome inspirational tale for late bloomers, but what about “The Tinder Box,” which is about the sexually motivated abduction of a princess by a soldier who, when her parents object, has them torn to pieces by dogs? Ho, ho, hey hey, Hans Christian Andersen must be taken away!

Then there’s Balto, the lead dog of a sled team that rushed serum from Anchorage to Nome to stop a diphtheria epidemic. (Spoilsports suggest this was a publicity stunt: apparently a pilot offered to fly the serum in, but was told to mind his own business).  The question, to which the answer is obviously “no,” is whether humans may enslave animals to pull sleds. One, two, three, four: Balto shouldn’t be in Central Park any more!

We’ll get to “Cleopatra’s Needle” another time. Meanwhile, here are some Central Park sculptures that previous generations removed. Explanations courtesy of A. Squawk.

Simon Bolivar 1884 (replaced by a statue looking less like Don Quixote).

“Auld Lang Syne” 1866.  The  19th Century wasn’t ready for this.

Medicos objected to having their symbol associated with this 1865 statue called “Commerce.”

Boy and Swan 1863. Removed by “Mothers for Megan’s Law.”

Chicken statue

Addendum contributed by alert reader Josephine (see below).  This North Carolina chicken statue was mysteriously stolen. The news report reads: “It’s three feet tall and made of concrete, and while the base was recovered not long after the theft, the bird itself is still missing. Perhaps more mysterious is why the chicken statue existed at all.”

Posted in Satire and parody | 5 Comments

When is parody a crime? When nobody gets it.

One of the most volatile controversies of our time is whether the Dead Sea Scrolls were written by the Essenes, an ascetic community living around 100 B.C.  Given the public’s strong feelings on the question, it was only a matter of time before somebody made a federal case of it.

The defendant in Golb v. NY State Attorney General (2d Cir. 2017) is not, as you probably assume, Professor Golb of the University of Chicago, whose theory that these fragments found in desert caves were written by non-Essenes threatens to set the Dead Sea Scrolls establishment on its head. Rather, the target of the Manhattan DA’s 51-count indictment was the professor’s loyal son.

Miffed at the silent treatment the academic coterie was giving his father, Golb fils sent out a bunch of emails purporting to be from the leading machers of the Essene Theory. Adopting the high tone of academic debate, young Golb had them referring to his father as “Chicago filth.” And, in a brilliant stroke of reverse psychology, he attached a link to an article (also written pseudonymously) called http://www.nowpublic.com/culture/plagiarism-and-dead-sea-scrolls-did-nyu-professor-snitch-chicago-historians-work, and implored the recipients to keep it under wraps. “Every effort must be made to prevent this article from coming to [students’] attention,” the emails warned. Another message to NYU’s student newspaper exhorted, “I must ask you not to publish a word about this.”

Naturally the emails went viral and Professor Golb was catapulted into the headlines.

Golb Jr. argued that this was satire and parody, a defense we can certainly identify with. But the Court of Appeals solemnly found intent to commit “real harm,” citing the authority of that great jurist Iago, “He who steals my purse steals trash. . . . But he who filches from me my good name. . .  makes me poor indeed.” Apparently forgetting that Iago was the villain in that play, and that he was saying this to fool Othello into doing real harm to Desdemona and Cassio. So it’s meant to be like, you know, ironic? Not some legal precept?

The Second Circuit didn’t do much better. “Golb misunderstands the genre,” they instructed.  “While it is true that parody enjoys First Amendment protection notwithstanding that not everybody will get the joke, it is also true that parody depends on somebody getting the joke; parody succeeds only by its recognition as parody.” Holy cow! You mean the difference between crime and parody is whether the joke falls flat?

Well, if Golb the Younger wants to seek cert from the Supremes, he can quote Appellate Filth. We got the joke.

Posted in Humor, Law & Parody | Tagged , , , | 3 Comments

Thoughtfully prosecuting your client

Recently received from our employer (we’re not making this up):

“[Public Defender] urges and expects employees to report harassing and discriminatory behavior of third parties, including clients. . . . Rest assured that the response of [Public Defender] to clients who engage in offensive or inappropriate conduct will be a thoughtful response, with due consideration being given to the personal circumstances of the client and the totality of the situation.”

Scene: Judge Blow’s courtroom.

Defendant: Judge, I want a new lawyer!

Judge: You’re indigent, you don’t get a choice.

Defendant: But she’s sent me a summons to appear for questioning before the Public Defender Anti-Discrimination & Harassment Committee!

Judge: Is that true, Ms. Goosestep?

Ms. Goosestep: Absolutely, Judge! He called me a- a – a – (chokes up) an overbearing bitch!

Judge: Well, I’ll certainly remember that at sentencing.

Defendant: How can my own lawyer be bringing charges against me?

Judge: Rest assured, that’s merely a thoughtful response, with due consideration being given to your personal circumstances and the totality of the situation.

Ms. Goosestep: Yeah. I’m entitled to a harassment-free workplace!

Defendant: But I’m entitled to conflict-free representation!

Ms. Goosestep: My entitlement’s bigger than yours!

Defendant: Is not!

Ms. Goosestep: Is so!

Defendant: Is not!

Ms. Goosestep: Is so!

Defendant: Your mama’s so fat, when she goes to the zoo the hippos call her sista.

Ms. Goosestep: Your mama’s so culturally insensitive, she’s still saying “he or she” instead of “they.”

DA:  Now, now, Ms. Goosestep, surely your client has mitigating circumstances. You said so yourself when we charged him with burning down a kindergarten.

Ms. Goosestep: What? Are you telling me to suck it up? You misogynist, sexist, un-woke, cis-gendered pig! I’m reporting you to the Diversity Officer!

Judge: All right, all right, I’ll appoint a new lawyer. Is Mr. Tiretread in the courtroom? Mr. Tiretread?

Mr. Tiretread:  Huh? Wazzit?

Judge: Can you take this man’s case? Despite his egregious victimization of Ms. Goosestep?

Mr. Tiretread: No problem, Judge. I was an old-timer in this courthouse when she was still pooping in her diapers. I been stabbed, punched, spat on, throttled, sued, had my ancestry questioned by clients – and those were the winning cases.

Defendant: I hear they call you Rip van Winkle. Sleep, sleep, sleep.

Mr. Tiretread: Button your lip, son. I’ll get you deal they can’t refuse.

Posted in Criminal law, Humor, Law & Parody | 3 Comments

Law vs. Science

Exclusive Interview with the Hon. Judge Wool:

Appellate Squawk: Judge, I understand you were a prominent member of the National Commission on Forensic Science asking some tough questions about the validity of these cop-created sciences.

Judge Wool: I was, but now I’m back to selling pencils outside the courthouse. Our “make-America-great-again” regime replaced us with a law enforcement outfit headed by a prosecutor. The Justice Department has dissed our work as “efforts in the courtroom and elsewhere to reject reliable and admissible forensic evidence.”

A-S: But how can they ignore the National Academy of Science report, the PCAST report and the Innocence Project’s embarrassing revelations of wrongful convictions caused by forensic so-called science?

Judge Wool: Same way the courts manage to ignore them.  Cops are still testifying to “a reasonable degree of ballistic certainty” that a squashed piece of lead could only have been fired from the defendant’s gun. Or to a reasonable degree of inkpad certainty that a smudgy partial print matches the defendant.  As for those trained seals from the Medical Examiner’s Office babbling about how no one in a bajillion gazillion planets except the defendant has the same 3 alleles as those found on the gun, don’t get me started –

A-S: Are you saying courts don’t understand science?

Judge Wool: They understand that science is the enemy of law. Courts wouldn’t last a day if they were held to the same standards as science.  For example, imagine a clinical test where everybody knew whether they were taking the drug or the placebo.

A-S:  It wouldn’t prove anything. The subjects would be influenced by what they knew.

Judge Wool:  Even if they promised under oath not to be influenced? What if they were experienced testees who could be presumed not to be biased by what they knew?

A-S: Why, that’s just like having the same judge do the trial who did the suppression hearing! Or who knows the defendant’s criminal record.

Judge Wool: Exactly. And what if experimental results were considered final and could never be retested because the first experimenter saw and heard the experiment?

A-S: Well –

Judge Wool: Or because the experimenter was a senior scientist? Or swore on the Bible that the results were accurate?

A-S: Science would still be in the Middle Ages.

Judge Wool: Just like the law.

“Goes to weight, not admissibility.”

h/t to Adina Schwartz, firearms & toolmarks skeptic for “to a reasonable degree of ballistic certainty.”

Posted in Forensic "science", Law & Parody | Tagged , | 7 Comments