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“LSU police chief retiring next month; national search on tap,” said the HEADLINE in the June 9 Baton Rouge Advocate.

But don’t look for that “national search” to extend far beyond the corporate limits of Baton Rouge, Louisiana. And don’t be surprised if an old familiar name is quietly named the new chief.

We don’t want to announce his name just yet, but his initials are Mike Edmonson.

That same day, a Baton Rouge TV STATION announced that current LSU Police Chief Lawrence Rabalais was being forced out after it was learned that his department racked up $1.2 million in overtime pay last year for his 80-person staff.

In case you don’t have a calculator handy, that comes to about $15,000 per person in overtime pay but don’t carve that in stone because some apparently were not getting their share. Records obtained by New Orleans television investigative reporter Lee Zurik, working in conjunction with Baton Rouge station WAFB-TV, showed that two LSU police captains made more than Rabalais in both 2015 and 2016 from logging hundreds of hours of overtime. In 2016, one of those captains made $64,800 in overtime while the other pulled down $61,800 in overtime pay. In another case, an LSU officer made $56,200 in overtime pay, which was nearly $5,000 more than his base pay of $51,300.

Rabalais will be stepping down from his $127,800-a-year job, effective July 5, the school announced. LSU spokesperson Ernie Ballard, III said Maj. Bart Thompson would serve as interim chief until a permanent successor is named. “We will begin a national search for his permanent successor and put together plans for a transition plan in the near future,” Ballard added.

When asked if the retirement was voluntary, he said, “Our policy is to not comment on personnel matters, but there have been no terminations at the police department.”

Well, no, when you can pressure someone into resigning or retiring, firing becomes a moot point and administrators can walk away without having to invoke the ugly F-word.

“We will begin a national search for his permanent successor and put together plans for a transition plan in the near future,” Ballard added.

The timing of the Rabalais announcement is more than a little suspect, to say the least.

Something just doesn’t pass the smell test.

Don’t take that as a defense of Rabalais. He certainly had sufficient baggage with the Helen Haire matter to warrant a change. It’s just that the university had the perfect opportunity to cut its losses when her sex discrimination suit wound up costing LSU big bucks after he was named chief over her. Instead, the school waited for an obscure issue like overtime to make its move.

One might then asked why, then, did LSU suddenly take action?

LouisianaVoice has learned that Edmonson, for nine years Superintendent of State Police until his lax managerial practices finally caught up with him in San Diego last October, is near the top of a very short list of candidates for the job.

Don’t be too surprised if he does indeed get the job. In Louisiana politics, the Peter Principle—the theory that the selection of a candidate for a position is based on the candidate’s performance in his or her current role, rather than on abilities relevant to the intended role—is in full effect.

Edmonson’s position prior to being named by Bobby Jindal to head Louisiana State Police was that of public information officer for LSP and as bodyguard for LSU football coaches—and he was very good at those because his duties primarily involved schmoozing those in a position to help his career along.

Unfortunately for Louisiana, that did not translate to effective leadership of the entire agency. In a state where administrators are chosen not for their ability but for their political connections, it is not only the norm but the expectation that mediocre people will occupy the positions of greatest power and influence. The more power and influence to wield, the greater the demand for mediocrity.

And nowhere in state government—and the emphasis is on nowhere—are political influence and inflated egos more prevalent than on the campus of Louisiana State University, aka the Ole War Skule.

It’s almost enough to make one wonder if, when the chance to bring Edmonson into that tight little clique that is LSU presented itself, LSU officials decided to jump at the opportunity and to belatedly “address” the Rabalais problem.

Oh, surely not.

LouisianaVoice was first with the STORY on March 10 that Edmonson was gone from the State Police and the official CONFIRMATION came five days later, on March 15. We also were consistently first on dozens of accounts of Edmonson’s controversial tenure as Louisiana’s top cop for more than four years until other media were finally forced, albeit reluctantly, to begin following the story, and then stepping in to politely accept the credit for his ouster.

Some of the events at which officers have worked overtime were understandable. Besides more than 130 LSU athletic events and Bayou Country Superfest, a three-day music festival held in Tiger Stadium for the past several years, there was the 2016 flood event in Baton Rouge last August and the police shootings of 2016. In the latter case, all police patrols went from one- to two-person patrols, thereby doubling the need for officers on all shifts. There also was the 2014 ice storm, and other crisis or emergency situations; fundraisers on campus;  events held by student organizations; work at other LSU facilities, and others.

Certainly it was a mere coincidence that Rabalais was told to clean out his desk at LSU so soon after Edmonson was told the same over at LSP.

 

Do you happen to remember the LouisianaVoice STORY of April 2014 in which Jeff Mercer, owner of a defunct Mangham construction company, claimed in a lawsuit that the state owed him more than $11 million that was withheld after he resisted shakedown efforts from a Department of Transportation and Development (DOTD) inspector who demanded that Mercer “put some green” in his hand and that he could “make things difficult for Mercer?”

Or do you happen to remember the follow up LouisianaVoice STORY of December 2015 in which the inspector, Willis Jenkins, admitted during the trial that he did indeed say he “wanted green,” but that he was only joking. Or that because money Mercer said he was entitled to was withheld, he eventually had to shutter his construction company?

Apparently Mercer possessed sufficient proof that a 12-person jury, after a grueling, 30-day trial, unanimously awarded him $20 million. Not only did the jury hold DOTD liable for damages, but it also held four individual DOTD employees—Willis Jenkins, Michael Murphy, Barry Lacy, and John Eason—personally liable.

Employed by the jury in arriving at its verdict was such benign nomenclature as “collusion,” “bribery,” “extortion,” “conspiracy,” and “corruption.”

But that wasn’t good enough for the Chief Judge of the Second Circuit Court of Appeal, a judge with a spotty legal record of his own—and a judge with ties sufficiently close to DOTD that he probably should never have touched this case in the first place—not even with the proverbial 10-foot pole.

Mercer’s award was not just reduced, but obliterated, when it was overturned in its entirety, showing again how subtle nuances of the legal system allow for gross injustice to be perpetrated against those lacking the right connections or campaign cash.

There was a similar case in Calcasieu Parish involving contractor Billy Broussard, a gravity drainage district, and a contract to clean hurricane debris out of a local bayou. Broussard was instructed to clean out pre-storm debris, to be paid by FEMA. FEMA refused to pay for the unauthorized cleanup, and the gravity drainage district has refused to honor its obligations, costing Broussard millions of dollars.

And the legal system has been irresponsible in protecting the rights of first Broussard and now Mercer, leaving one to wonder with some justification: “What happens when I need the protection of the courts?”

It’s interesting that in our society, we tend to put a lot of faith in robes. But a black robe and a gavel do not endow a person with wisdom, or even knowledge. They are merely symbolic. Yet, when we walk into a courtroom, we are expected—required—to be reverent, attentive, and respectful and to never, under any circumstances, question the authority of the man or woman on the raised bench clad in that black robe and holding that gavel.

Of course there must be decorum in an environment of dispute resolution. Otherwise, events quickly descend into chaos. But that certainly does not mean that the presiding officer of the court is infallible. Far from it.

And that seems to be the one fact that some judges tend to forget—all too often.

Judge Henry N. Brown, as Chief Judge of the Second Circuit, has the responsibility of assigning cases. In Mercer’s case, he somewhat incredibly chose to assign it to himself—and wrote the decision.

The problem with that? Oh, not much…except that Brown’s father was a civil engineer for DOTD for 44 years, thus creating what could be perceived as an instant conflict of interest. Nor, apparently, did he ever once see the need to inform Mercer or his attorney—or anyone else, for that matter—of this inconvenient little fact.

Mercer’s attorney, David Doughty of Rayville, is understandably upset. “Mercer has a constitutional right to a fair trial before an impartial judge,” he says in his MEMORANDUM in Support of Application for Rehearing and his Motion to Recuse and Vacate the Panel’s Opinion.

“Only after the June 7 decision (by the Second Circuit) did plaintiff (Mercer)/appellee learn that Chief Judge Henry Brown, Jr. failed to disclose the critical fact that his father, Henry N. Brown, Sr., had been a civil engineer for the State of Louisiana in the Shreveport area for 44 years,” the memorandum says.

Doughty cited a case in which a West Virginia judge refused to recuse himself and the state Supreme Court subsequently found “that the risk of perceived bias was so great that due process requires recusal.”

“Judge Brown’s failure to recuse himself from the case or even disclose this huge potential bias undermines the very fabric of our people’s faith in the judicial integrity of the Second Circuit Court of Appeal,” the memorandum says. “This failure erodes public confidence in the integrity or capacity of this judiciary.”

Doughty wrote that the Second Circuit’s decision should be vacated “especially in the wake of a unanimous 12-person jury verdict finding that the plaintiff had proven governmental corruption and conspiracy.”

Brown won a close race for reelection as district attorney in 1984 over then State Rep. Bruce Bolin of Minden. In that campaign, Bolin accused Brown of having dropped charges against 230 suspects. Some of those charges, Bolin said, included rape, narcotics violations and DWI. Bolin, in what must be considered campaign rhetoric, also said Brown had not adequately prosecuted murder cases.

But Brown was known for his dogged prosecution of murder cases as a district attorney. Sending five defendants to the electric chair, he was featured on CBS’s 60 Minutes and the Fox Channel’s The Reporters. He was called “The Deadliest Prosecutor” by one publication.

At least one of Brown’s high-profile prosecutions, however, was overturned by the Louisiana Supreme Court.

In 1986, he was the district attorney in the prosecution of James M. Monds of Keithville in Caddo Parish. Monds, at the time a surgical technician at Barksdale AFB, was convicted of the murder of a woman who was raped, assaulted, and mutilate in a high school parking lot. Despite his denial that he had ever met the victim and that he had no knowledge of her death, he was convicted. In 1994, the Louisiana Supreme Court ruled that insufficient evidence, most of it of a circumstantial nature, existed to continue to incarcerate Monds. He was subsequently released after serving nearly nine years in prison.

Doughty said it is a “matter of common sense that someone whose family is so deeply connected to the DOTD should not hear the case out of fundamental fairness” and that the decision to do so constituted violations of CANONS 2 and 3 of the Code of Judicial Conduct.

So, bottom line: There is often little correlation between law and justice.

And people like Jeff Mercer and Billy Broussard end up nailed to the wall by a perverted legal system that is grotesquely unfair, to say the least.

Baton Rouge television station WBRZ had a NEWS STORY that caught my eye on Monday night, a story that shot my blood pressure up a good 30 points.

Residents of the parishes of East Baton Rouge, Livingston, and Ascension will have a small surcharge attached to their water bill this month. It’s being called an “August 2016 Flood Recovery Surcharge” and it’s only a few cents—six cents per 1,000 gallons of water. The average residential water customer uses about 6,000 gallons per month.

But that’s hardly the point.

The various water companies claim the surcharge is for them to recover money lost because of executive orders that prohibited disconnects and late fees of utilities following last August’s flood. They say the order last for eight months and during that time they lost revenue.

The Baton Rouge Water Company says its losses come to nearly $820,000 and the (East Baton Rouge) Parish Water Company has lost almost $230,000. Ascension Water Company is out about $174,000. All three, along with French Settlement Water Company and Louisiana Water Company were also approved by the Louisiana Public Service Commission in March—UNANIMOUSLY—to recoup lost money.

Excuse me while I shed a tear and blow my nose.

Many of the tens of thousands of homeowners who were displaced by the flood did not have flood insurance because their homes were not considered to be in a flood zone. But commercial entities like water companies might be expected to carry some sort of insurance as a vanguard against unforeseen losses like the flood. After all, thousands of their customers were in flood zones and they knew it. It’s called contingency planning.

So, while we homeowners are being scolded for not purchasing the expensive flood insurance (somewhere in the ballpark of $2,500 per year for most), where are the questions from the PSC regarding insurance coverage for loss of revenue to the water companies?

So Ascension Water Company is out $174,000? Well, guess what. I’m out $127,000. That’s how much I had to borrow to restore my home that was paid for in full prior to the flood. Some had to borrow more, some less. I’m 73, so I’ll be only 103 when I get that sucker paid off. And I’ve been displaced now for 10 months, not eight. Where’s my fund recovery?

The surcharge, WBRZ tells us, became effective this month and is expected to continue for about 18 months. But wait. That could be extended by the PSC.

Doesn’t that invoke a warm fuzzy feeling?

While FEMA took a hike after a flurry of look busy and helpful activity which resulted in exactly nothing for most folks impacted by the flood, it looks like the water companies will be getting theirs. While the Shelter at Home program produced basically shoddy repair work, the water companies are going to be made whole. And while millions of dollars were wasted—again—on those gawd-awful FEMA trailers, people went without needed permanent assistance. But not the water companies. While dishonest contractors were busy ripping homeowners off, the water companies are doing the same, but in a much subtler way.

And they’re doing with the aiding and abetting of the Louisiana Public Service Commission which was created to protect consumers from unnecessarily high utility rates (see cable TV rates while you’re at it) and price gouging.

Listed here are contributions from various water companies to PSC members since 2011.

  • SCOTT ANGELLE:                       $2500;
  • FOSTER CAMPBELL:                   $7500;
  • ERIC SKRMETTA:                     $31,500;
  • LAMBERT C. BOSSIERE, III:        $6000.

TOTAL                                          $47,500

Just $47,500? That’s more than a third (34.7 percent) of what my mortgage is now. And that’s just since 2011. I didn’t have the stomach to go further back but I’ll bet there’s more. It appears that only Damon Baldone and Mike Francis failed to collect any campaign checks from this particular special interest. I’m not sure who they made angry, but good on them.

I found my old buddy Harley Purvis sitting in his usual spot: in the booth in the back in the corner in the dark at John Wayne’s Lip-Smackin’ Bar-B-Que House and Used Light Bulb Emporium in Watson, Louisiana.

But something was decidedly different. The President of the Greater Livingston Parish All-American Redneck Male Chauvinist, Spittin’, Belchin’, and Cussin’ Society and Literary Club (GLPAARMCSBCSLC) was looking at his cell phone and….smiling.

Harley never smiles.

I slid into the booth opposite him, saying nothing. Without looking up, he pushed his phone across the table at me. “You gotta see this,” he said. “You know how the folks in Baton Rouge used to call us ignorant rednecks out here in Livingston Parish? Well they can’t do that anymore ‘cause so many of ‘em have moved out here for our far superior schools. But if you want to see real country,” he said with a chuckle, “take a gander at this.”

I picked up his phone and saw he was logged onto a story about a couple in Kentucky who had run off the road and hit a utility pole, stirring up an angry hive of bees. For the young lady, clad only in a bikini, it was not a fun experience. But Harley wasn’t amused at their plight. The story had an INTERVIEW with a local resident who was interrupted from feeding and watering his chickens by the impact.

I told Harley it reminded me of the time when I attended my father’s funeral in Nashville. As we sat in the small funeral parlor, one of his step-grandsons began talking to me.

“Ah got to git mah waf’ sumpin’ fer our anneyversary an’ Ah don’ know whut to git ‘er,” he said in an almost incomprehensible Tennessee drawl. I noticed his chin was moving from side to side and in and out in an apparent effort to wrap his mouth around his words as he slurred them out. It was like some kind of caricature from the movie Deliverance.

“Why don’t you get her what I got my wife?” I asked, already feeling guilty for what I was doing.

“Whut’d yew git yer waf’?” I thought for a brief moment he’d dislocated his jaw.

“I got her a solar powered clothes dryer.”

“SO-ler pawered? Ah ain’t never hurd o’ Thet.”

“Well, we just call it a clothes line.”

“Snork, snork, ungh, snork. Thet’s a good ‘un. Snork, ungh, snork.” He was slinging snot all over the room in something akin to a laugh that I had never heard emanate from a human before—all as my father lay in an open casket only a few feet away.

“That’s funny,” said Harley, “but without a video, you can’t really compare it to the bee in the bikini description this guy gives us.”

He had a point, so I decided to change the subject.

“So, what’s your take on the legislature this week?” I knew the answer before I asked and he didn’t let me down.

His face instantly turned into a dark scowl. “Those idiots just took the Louisiana taxpayers for a cool $68,688 in the first three days of the special session and they didn’t do a cotton-pickin’ thing,” he said.

“How so?” I asked.

“Do the danged math. They get $159 per day. There’s 144 legislatures, which is why I refer to ‘em as gross ignorance. And they took a three-day recess as soon as John Bel called the special session. That’s 144 times $159 times three days, which is a $68,688 cost to the taxpayers and they never lifted a finger to address the budget.”

“But he wasn’t through with the lawmakers. “You can talk about deadheads on the state payroll but no one compares to the legislature,” he said. “They are paid a base salary of $16,800 per year, the $159 per diem and each members gets a $1500 monthly office allowance ($18,000 per year) $6,000 in unvouchered expenses, a state phone, and a state computer.

“Altogether, that comes to a cool $7.8 million per year in even-numbered years for the 85-day session and $7.25 million in odd-numbered years for the 60-day session. That’s an average of between $50,340 and $54,315 per year for a part-time job, depending on odd or even year salaries.

“And don’t forget they also get that per diem any time they come to Baton Rouge for committee meetings or for attending legislative-related seminars and conferences—with travel, hotel and meals also paid for by taxpayers. And they take an awful lot of trips to these conferences and seminars.

“And what do we get for our dime? A bunch of lame brains who can’t even elect a capable House speaker to lead them and a Senate president who is a Democrat of Republican, depending solely on which label will get him elected. They just wasted 60 days without coming up with a budget and when the guv calls a special session, they call a three-day recess—all while collecting their damned $159 per day. Maybe weed killer-drinkin’ John Kennedy was right. We do have a spending problem, but it’s not the spending of money on needed programs and infrastructure that bothers me. It’s the spending problem we have with too many contracts going to too many cronies and the spending problem we have when we pay legislators to sit on their backsides and pass meaningless recognitions of constituents, stupid resolutions that don’t carry the weight of law and other silly nonsense like after-hours parties and eating at Baton Rouge’s best restaurants—compliments of lobbyists and special interests—while giving short shrift to what we send ‘em to Baton Rouge for in the first place.

“I don’t want to see any more taxes imposed on the middle class of this state any more than the next guy. But for the life of me, I don’t see why we can’t ask the corporations to pull their share of the load instead of getting more and more tax breaks from the state in exchange for low-paying jobs—if they create new jobs at all. I have a friend who says if we give corporations a tax break, they will make more money and give more jobs to the citizens of the state. That sounds good in theory but we’ve got plenty of evidence that this trickle-down economics just doesn’t work. They make more money to give higher salaries to their CEOs and to help their boards of directors see big increases in their stock options. That’s all the trickle down you get.

“But these clowns let LABI pull their strings like some kind of wizard puppet master, which is exactly what that organization is—a giant puppet master pulling the strings of a bunch of brainless marionettes.”

He paused for a minute to catch his breath. “And I don’t give the governor a free pass, either. I told him right after he got elected that he oughta appoint retired executives to his cabinet posts at salaries of $1 per year. We have plenty of qualified people with the expertise to run a tight ship and I know there are those who would gladly do it on a voluntary basis. We have retired corporate CEOs, retired college presidents, and even retired rank and file people who have good, God-given common sense. But what did John Bel do? He told me. ‘I’ll think about it,’ and then promptly put people in place paying them more than Bobby Jindal was paying his people.

“And that ain’t all,” he said. “I have some figures on some other agencies and programs that I’ll be sharing with you in due time and I guarantee it’ll grill your cheese when you see the numbers.”

I’d gotten an earful so I excused myself and came home to write this while it was fresh on my mind.

Ol’ Harley’s always good for a quote or two.

As a state and nation, we’ve lost our minds.

As weary as I get of writing one negative post after another (believe me, I’d love to write something really upbeat sometime), here I am once again wringing my hands and wondering how we ever arrived at this point in our history.

We have a president who’d rather tweet about how great he is than to actually act as a public servant.

We have a U.S. Senator (John Kennedy) who expressed a preference for weed killer over Obamacare.

We have a congressman (the Cajun Barney Fife, 3rd District Rep. Clay Higgins) who is $140,000 behind on his child support payments but who wants to kill all “radical Islamics,” even though he neglects to specify who—or what—defines “radical.”

And now we have a congressman (4th District Rep. Mike Johnson) who wants to throw teenagers in federal prison for a minimum of 15 years because he feels he is an instrument of God.

This is the same Mike Johnson, by the way, who, as a member of the Louisiana Legislature, tried to push through his “Marriage and Conscience Act.” That bill died in committee so Bobby Jindal promptly issued an executive order to enforce the act, which upheld discrimination against gays. Gov. John Bel Edwards rescinded that order last year.

Introduced by Johnson, the “Protection Against Child Exploitation Act of 2017,” would punish not only adults found guilty of sexting explicit photographs to minors, but also would subject minors found guilty of sexting to other minors to federal prison sentences of up to 15 years.

Johnson, like Higgins and Kennedy, is a Washington newcomer (all three took office in January of this year for the first time). In defending his bill, he says, “In Scripture, Romans 13 refers to the governing authorities as ‘God’s servants, agents of wrath to bring punishment on the wrongdoer.’ I, for one, believe we have a moral obligation as any just government, to defend the defenseless.”

If imprisoning teens for sexting is what he means by defending the defenseless, I shudder to think what his punishment might be, for example, for teens actually engaging in sex? And it’s not like that doesn’t occur.

So he wants to set himself as judge, jury and executioner. Well, I’m not at all comfortable with that. Who gave Mike Johnson franchise right on judging anyone’s moral code?

Okay, I know the answer to that because he’s already said so. He’s God’s servant.

Well, let’s go straight to the Good Book and review.

“But if this thing be true, and the tokens of virginity be not found for the damsel: Then they shall bring out the damsel to the door of her father’s house, and the men of her city shall stone her with stones that she die: because she hath wrought folly in Israel, to play the whore in her father’s house: so shalt thou put evil away from among you.” (Deuteronomy 22: 20-21)

Well, there you go, Mike. And yet…and yet…didn’t Jesus rescue a prostitute from being stoned to death? I’m confused, Mike.

“Happy shall he be, that taketh and dasheth thy little ones against the stones.” (Psalm 137:9)

I dunno, Mike. That seems a bit extreme to me. But, hey! It’s right there in the Bible.

“Master, Moses wrote unto us, ‘If a man’s brother die, and leave his wife behind him, and leave no children, that his brother should take his wife, and raise up seed unto his brother.’” (Mark 12:19)

Guys, you may want to talk that over with your wife first. Unless, of course, you also subscribe to this little ditty:

“Let the woman learn in silence with all subjection” Timothy 2:11, also translated as: “I permit no woman to teach or have authority over men; she is to keep silent.”

And, Mike, don’t expect your wife to defend you because she will be punished if she does. It says so, right here:

“When men strive together one with another, and the wife of the one draweth near for to deliver her husband out of the hand of him that smiteth him, and putteth forth her hand, and taketh him by the secrets: Then thou shalt cut off her hand, thine eye shall not pity her.” (Deuteronomy 25:11-12)

By the “secrets”? Now, there’s a visual for you.

Here’s my favorite, Mike:

“For whatsoever man he be that hath a blemish, he shall not approach: a blind man, or a lame, or he that hath a flat nose, or anything superfluous, Or a man that is broken-footed, or brokenhanded, Or crookbacked, or a dwarf, or that hath a blemish in his eye, or be scurvy, or scabbed, or hath his stones broken. No man that hath a blemish of the seed of Aaron the priest shall come nigh to offer the offerings of the Lord made by fire: he hath a blemish; he shall not come nigh to offer the bread of his God.” (Leviticus 21:18-21) 

So what it’s saying here, Mike, is that heaven isn’t for people like Helen Keller, Ray Charles, Franklin Roosevelt or anyone who wears glasses or contacts.

Paraphrasing, Here a few more, offered without comment:

  • Don’t have a variety of crops on the same field. (Leviticus 19:19)
  • Don’t wear clothes made of more than one fabric (Leviticus 19:19)
  • Don’t cut your hair nor shave. (Leviticus 19:27)
  • Any person who curseth his mother or father, must be killed. (Leviticus 20:9)
  • If a man beats his male or female slave with a rod and the slave dies as a result, he must be punished. But he is not to be punished if the slave gets up after a day or two, since the slave is his property (Exodus 21:20-21)
  • Slaves, submit yourselves to your masters with all respect, not only to those who are good and considerate, but also to those who are harsh (I Peter 2:18)
  • Your male and female slaves are to come from the nations around you; from them you may buy slaves. You may also buy some of the temporary residents living among you and members of their clans born in your country, and they will become your property (Leviticus 25:44-45)
  • When a man sells his daughter as a slave, she will not be freed at the end of six years as the men are.  If she does not please the man who bought her, he may allow her to be bought back again.  But he is not allowed to sell her to foreigners, since he is the one who broke the contract with her.  And if the slave girl’s owner arranges for her to marry his son, he may no longer treat her as a slave girl, but he must treat her as his daughter.  If he himself marries her and then takes another wife, he may not reduce her food or clothing or fail to sleep with her as his wife.  If he fails in any of these three ways, she may leave as a free woman without making any payment(Exodus 21:7-11)

So, Mike, exactly what is your position on slavery these days?

The last thing this country needs now is for some little holier-than-thou despot to assert himself as the moral police over our teenagers—or over anyone else, for that matter.

Sexting is a disgusting practice I wouldn’t want my grandkids participating in. And to be sure, it is against the law—and should be. Adults who sext minors should be punished to the fullest extent of the law. We can all agree on that. But you don’t toss a 15-year-old in federal prison for that. Like it or not, teens are going to do what teens do. Back when I was in school, They did their experimentations in the back seats of ’57 Chevys. At least they can’t get pregnant using an iPhone.

Only a sanctimonious jerk would seriously advocate federal prison for that.