The highly-anticipated primary in Mississippi for the Republican Senatorial nomination didn't end the way many expected. But it wasn't just the result (a win for "Gentleman" Thad Cochran), that surprised, it was the methods the mainstream GOP used to claim victory for the six-term Senator. According to widely-publicized reports, Cochran won the GOP nod only by securing the votes of some 35,000 Democrats who were enticed to come out and vote in the Republican primary.
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It's a scene we've watched play out hundreds of times on our favorite police drama: someone is arrested for a crime and is then searched. In fact, it's routine procedure in every police department in the country. And it's sensible too. Federal courts have always approved of it. For one thing, conducting an immediate, warrantless search protects police from harm that can be inflicted by any hidden weapons. It also insures that any evidence in the arrestee's possession can be secured and preserved. But now let's add a modern twist. Suppose the arrestee has a cell phone. How far does this power to search go? Can the arresting officer rifle through the call log and the list of names and addresses in the contacts list? What about texts, e-mails and pictures?
Although I go to college and am currently interning in the beautiful state of West Virginia, my heart will always have a special place for my hometown of Shadyside, Ohio. The Ohio Valley knows us for our excellent football team, our Tiger pride, and especially our famously known main road, "the loop." Every third weekend in June my hometown shuts down the loop and throws a big party for alumni, residents, and visitors from near and far. Everyone is welcome to walk the loop, where food, craft vendors, activities for children, and more are provided.
This past April, Chief Justice John Roberts, Anthony Kennedy, Samuel Alito, Antonin Scalia, and Clarence Thomas voted to strike down campaign contribution limits. Chief Justice Roberts stated: ". . . we conclude that the aggregate limits on contributions do not further the only governmental interest this Court accepted as legitimate . . . . They instead intrude without justification on a citizen's ability to exercise 'the most fundamental First Amendment activities.'" While I respect Chief Justice Roberts' right to his opinion, there is certainly justification for limits on campaign contributions. Campaign finance laws were enacted to protect us from being bought and paid for by the few hundred mega-rich who garner favor, and let's face it, favors, from the people they pay to get elected. Closing our eyes to quid pro quo corruption, or the appearance of quid pro quo corruption, doesn't make it go away. Corruption will not end with the end of campaign contribution limits. It will only grow as the rich pour money into the coffers of people running for office to uphold their interests, not the middle class, and certainly not those at poverty level.
Recently, the U.S. Patent office cancelled several trademark registrations for the Washington Redskins organization because they found the name to be "disparaging to Native Americans." This is a huge step in the right direction in leveraging Washington's owner Dan Snyder into changing the team name to something not so blatantly racist. I use the word leveraging because that is the only way that Mr. Snyder will change the name. No amount of reasoning or pleading will make him understand how offensive his team's moniker really is. Last year the President of the United States said if he were in his shoes and knew the name offended a group of people, he would change the name. 50 United States Senators... fifty ... sent a letter to the NFL pleading for them to take action against Washington's organization for its overt use of a racial slur. Larry King recently interviewed Terry Bradshaw and they both agreed the name should be changed. A high school in Oregon has recently changed its name from the Redskins to the Red Hawks. Churches across the nation have urged boycotts of Washington's football team, and the list goes on and on. "Never," that all Dan has to say about it.
By now we've all learned about General Motors' faulty ignition switches, responsible for dozens of deaths (the number is probably numerous unnecessary injuries for its customers. Jim Bordas pioneered certain types of automobile product liability cases decades ago, including the first second-impact seatback collapse case won nationwide, in Strope v. Honda , so these reports are something we watch carefully. What interested me most about the news coverage though, is what we didn't hear or read about the history of this issue. GM's own Valukas report is over 300 pages, so it's understandable a lot of reporters didn't read it all. New accounts tended to focus on the summary, where the report chalked up GM's scandalous behavior as its "failure to understand" a "complicated mystery." But when someone tells you something in plain words and you ignore it - that's not a "failure to understand" a "mystery," it's willful blindness that in this case had many, many fatal results. News sources especially liked a yarn GM spun about how, if only the part number had been changed by a lonely, careless engineer, these deaths could have been prevented. You probably heard that one a lot. Amber Marie Rose, killed in 2006 because of GM's faulty switch (pictured at right), did not live long enough to hear GM spin that tale for its present-day PR purposes.
Jury duty, oh those two dirty little words...or are they? Not too many people get excited when they see that card arrive in the mail--the notification that it's their turn to be a potential juror for the upcoming term in their county. Some people even feel a sigh of relief when their term has passed and they hadn't been called. It has even been joked about in many movies and ridiculed in conversations as to the punishment of jury duty. I ask you to take a different look at things. No matter what type of case you are called to evaluate, do you realize how important a juror is to a case? The jurors ultimately are the decision makers. You decide the case. Of course, you are aided by the guidance and expertise of the judge of that particular court, but you get to listen to the facts of the case and determine the outcome.
I work at a law firm. A really great one. The people within it work tirelessly within each of our now three locations to make certain that justice is served for our clients. I, however, am not a lawyer. I'm not a paralegal. Or a legal secretary. I'm not a legal assistant and I don't handle accounting. I'm quite certain that many of the nearly 40 people that work together to make this law firm the most preferred in the region aren't exactly certain what I do here. They know that from my office comes a lot of noise, laughter, occasional frustration and somehow, someway, exciting and interesting things happen. I am one part of a team of creative minds that help to manage the communications and philanthropic outreach of the firm. What does that mean in real life? Well...it means we wear a ton of hats. Every given day is different. One minute we can be on the phone with Keith Urban's tour manager coordinating a special event for Jamboree in the Hills and the next we can be collaborating with the media to discuss a recent verdict or community issue. Today it could be designing billboards; tomorrow it could be editing a radio commercial or assisting with the Driving For a Cure annual golf scramble for breast cancer survivors. We write press releases, design brochures, coordinate newsletters and execute the social media outreach for the firm. Anywhere across the region, if you see that now very recognizable Bordas & Bordas shield logo, chances are it passed through our hands.
My mother, Carolyn, just turned 83. About a year and a half ago, she bought an iPad! Mom started out with a Kindle and she really loved it. After I received an iPad as a gift from my son, Mom took a gander at it and decided she wanted one of those. So we jumped in the car, went up to Best Buy and she bought an iPad! Mind you, my mother never really used a computer and, in fact, was scared to death of them. So the iPad was truly a new experience. Back up twenty or more years. Pap-Pap Wally, my mother's father, was in his late seventies when he bought his first computer. It was from Radio Shack and had a cassette tape player hooked to it! He loved it and taught himself how to write programs in DOS and use spreadsheets. He bought a new computer about every six months (much to my grandmother's dismay). Pap-Pap Wally was a whiz, especially considering his age. He attempted to teach my mother but she was so afraid she would delete something or make the thing crash, she didn't do very well. Believe it or not, Pap-Pap Wally was instrumental in my beginning interest in computers. When I left work to begin my family in 1980, the office I worked at had just purchased a Word Processor. I didn't get an opportunity to even use it. In 1986, a friend and I opened up a children's used clothing business and decided we should get a computer to keep track of our inventory. So I went to Pap-Pap Wally to take a few lessons! I think my grandfather would now be proud of his daughter and her iPad!
The most recent school shooting in Oregon made its way across my Twitter timeline with the same urgency of a story about the most recent baseball player to be the highest paid at his position. After a full day, I couldn't have told you the exact number of casualties, the names of those who died, or who the shooter was. In fact, I would imagine the majority of people reading this would have a better chance naming every starting quarterback in the NFL than one kid involved in the Oregon shooting. Compare that to Columbine High School, where in 1999 two young men named Eric Harris and Dylan Klebold opened fire and killed 12 of their fellow students. For weeks, the Columbine story was all we saw on news stations across the country. The names and faces of the victims were etched into our minds, and the shooters' lives unraveled before us. As a nation we truly grieved. Let us fast forward to 2014. School shootings are becoming so commonplace we, without realizing it, brush them off just as we would a mosquito on a soggy summer night. According to The Washington Post, since January 2013 there have been at least 74 other instances of shootings either on or near school grounds. Seventy-Four-in eighteen months. That averages out to one school shooting every 7 days. When I read that figure everything stopped for several moments...and the magnitude of one school shooting per week for the last year and a half sunk in.