In Virginia, Judge James Michael Shull was faced with of two divorced parents, each wanting custody of their child for Christmas. Since there was no compelling reason to choose one parent over the other, Judge Shull tossed a coin. The Virginia Supreme Court ruled last week that Judge Shull “failed to uphold the dignity of the judiciary,” and removed him from the bench: a rather draconian punishment, given the behavior of some judges who are allowed to keep their gavels and robes (such as Philadelphia judge Teresa Carr Deni, appointed to another 6-year term earlier this month, despite her decision last month to downgrade the alleged at-gunpoint rape of a prostitute to a “theft of services” charge).
And exactly how should Judge Shull have resolved this issue? This was the proverbial coin-toss decision, which made tossing a coin rather appropriate. Would the Virginia Supreme Court have preferred he ask for a sword and suggest a more Solomonic solution?
(Okay, I hope that title doesn’t get me a visit from Homeland Security…)
According to a government report released last week, the U.S. Transportation and Security Administration agents made almost 300 attempts last year to smuggle bombs past security screeners at three major American airports. Twenty percent of the bombs passed through undetected at San Francisco International Airport, sixty percent at Chicago O’Hare, and seventy-five percent at Los Angeles International Airport.
Clark Kent Ervin, a former Homeland Security inspector general, calls this “a huge cause for concern” and says that the screeners’ poor performance might encourage terrorists to try smuggling bombs and other weapons on board planes.
Okay, now here’s a thought: Is it possible that terrorists might be less emboldened by the screeners’ poor performances themselves than by the fact that the government saw fit to release the report including specific details?
This is nothing new, by the way: A few years back, the government released a study of which American port cities were most vulnerable to terrorist attack and why.
I’m probably way too old to even try to use the ersatz word correctly. In a literal sense, it does apply to O.J. Simpson, who just lost the rights to his life story and likeness. In a more colloquial sense, though (and I’m not sure “pwned” can legitimately used in any other way), I believe it better applies to The World’s Stupidest Pedophile: