when they ask, “how did democracy die?”…

now playing: fleetwood mac, “beautiful child”

…you can say, “one step, one vote, one law at a time….while i was too busy looking the other way to care.”

Police don’t have to knock, justices say

Alito’s vote breaks 4-4 tie in police search case

WASHINGTON (AP) — The Supreme Court ruled Thursday that police armed with a warrant can barge into homes and seize evidence even if they don’t knock, a huge government victory that was decided by President Bush’s new justices.

The 5-4 ruling clearly signals the court’s conservative shift following the departure of moderate Sandra Day O’Connor.

The case tested previous court rulings that police armed with warrants generally must knock and announce themselves or they run afoul of the Constitution’s Fourth Amendment ban on unreasonable searches.

Justice Antonin Scalia, writing for the majority, said Detroit police acknowledge violating that rule when they called out their presence at a man’s door then went inside three seconds to five seconds later.

“Whether that preliminary misstep had occurred or not, the police would have executed the warrant they had obtained, and would have discovered the gun and drugs inside the house,” Scalia wrote.

But suppressing evidence is too high of a penalty, Scalia said, for errors by police in failing to properly announce themselves.

The outcome might have been different if O’Connor were still on the bench. She seemed ready, when the case was first argued in January, to rule in favor of Booker Hudson, whose house was searched in 1998.

O’Connor had worried aloud that officers around the country might start bursting into homes to execute search warrants. She asked: “Is there no policy of protecting the home owner a little bit and the sanctity of the home from this immediate entry?”

She retired before the case was decided, and a new argument was held so that Justice Samuel Alito could participate in deliberations. Alito and Bush’s other Supreme Court pick, Chief Justice John Roberts, both supported Scalia’s opinion.

Hudson’s lawyers argued that evidence against him was connected to the improper search and could not be used against him.

Scalia said that a victory for Hudson would have given “a get-out-of-jail-free card” to him and others.

In a dissent, four justices complained that the decision erases more than 90 years of Supreme Court precedent.

“It weakens, perhaps destroys, much of the practical value of the Constitution’s knock-and-announce protection,” Justice Stephen Breyer wrote for himself and the three other liberal members.

Breyer said that police will feel free to enter homes without knocking and waiting a short time if they know that there is no punishment for it.

Justice Anthony M. Kennedy, a moderate, joined the conservatives in most of the ruling. He wrote his own opinion, however, to say “it bears repeating that it is a serious matter if law enforcement officers violate the sanctity of the home by ignoring the requisites of lawful entry.”

so they can get a warrant and walk into your home now and take whatever they want, without announcing themselves, without you being in your home while they do it, whether you like it or not.

maybe we should all stop to take a minute and think about why we weren’t more outraged about them eavesdropping on our phone calls….or the patriot act in general…or any number of other affronts to the constitution that have taken place in the last five years.

someday, we’ll look back on all this…and hope our kids don’t figure out that this was all our fault.

you’re not paranoid if they really are out to get you…

now playing: charlie heffley, “conquering the world”

ok, first things first…you’re gonna get a kick out of this:

me: hello?

user: yeah, hi tom – this is mike. listen…how do i keep my psycho ex-girlfriend from seeing where i’ve been on the internet with my laptop?

me: you’re bullshittin’ me, right?

user: no, man…she got in there and she must be some kinda computer wiz or somethin’, ‘cuz she saw all my email and where i’d been on the internet and….

me: ok, wait wait wait wait…dude, how did she get your laptop?

user: well, she was over and we were talkin’ (yeah, right, you were talkin’…) and i left the room for a minute and when i came back she was bitchin’ about who i was emailin’ and all that…does the internet record every move you make or what? (no…but your computer does, homer.)

me: well, you can run through a half dozen clicks or so to get rid of that stuff, but dude – i’m still back on page one, here…why is your so-called psycho ex-girlfriend on your laptop, man?

user: well, how do i get rid of the stuff?

me: dude, you’re not hearin’ me. i can tell you how to get rid of the stuff, but don’t you think you need to address her bein’ able to get her hands on your machine first? i mean…next, you’ll be askin’ me how to keep your rapist babysitter from hittin’ on your kids, man!

monday isn’t even over yet, and i already have my tech support Call Of The Week.

jayda’s had a pretty rough week…she’s had a perpetual upset stomach since last week, and we had a little Incident when i took her for her allergy shots on thursday…

we went to lunch and – i do remember – she made mention in passing of the fact that she was convinced that bugs were conspiring against her, but i just kinda took it in and let it go.

so we got in the car to head to the doctors’ office, and she felt something strange between her heel and her flip-flop, and – of course – it turned out to be one of those creepy-assed thousandlegger bugs that’s not really a centipede, but something else that i can’t really put a name to.

so of course, she freaks out, pulls her foot from the shoe and folds both of her legs under her in the seat…then she reaches down and picks the bug-heavy shoe up from the floorboard and went to shake the bug off her shoe out the window.

now, i don’t know if she let go of the shoe out of sheer terror or if the wind took command and wrestled it loose..but either way, the shoe flew out the window and onto the asphalt in the middle of state road 422. all the while, she’s both laughing and crying at the same time…and completely freaked out by the whole bug thing.

i had pulled over and back out onto the road in the opposite direction….i pulled into the turn lane next to the shoe, and got out and grabbed it while we were both laughing hysterically. i didn’t even look at the shoe too closely as i got back into the car, and i casually tossed it to her as i pulled the door closed behind me and started back towards the doctors’ office….

fast forward about 3.6 seconds to a second scream…and i look over to see that the little bastard is still clinging to her shoe for dear life. it was still on there.

now, up to this point, i was just annoyed with it…but now, i was actually impressed. not impressed enough not to make insect soup out of it and remove it from the food chain once and for all, though.

goodbye bug. daughter happy.

well, not happy, per se…but at least a teensy bit calmer.

check out my boy mike campbell on the cover of this months’ guitar player. nice article on him and his boss…check out the pic of what i’m assuming is their rehearsal studio. holy SHIT.

doin’ my best, man.

why canada sucks as a neighbor

now playing: survivor, “somewhere in america”

well, canada – thanks a fuckin’ lot. you showed us up again.

a little cadre of wild-eyed, extremist idiots show up in your country with a crazy plot to round up a few government officials and do a little light afternoon beheading, and what do you do? you go and arrest them before they get a chance to pull it off!

nice. reeeal nice.

i mean, have a little consideration for your neighbors down here.

you’re like the new employee who shows up at work and immediately sets about to make everyone else look like slackers by workin’ your ass off, trying to climb the ladder – and frankly, we’re not likin’ it one bit.

i mean, really…you guys got a lotta friggin’ nerve – what with catching these guys the way you did.

c’mon – i mean, just look at you.

you got no patriot act.

you got no government agencies eavesdropping on its citizens.

you got not homeland security department.

i mean, are you just trying to make us look bad?

aren’t you tired of that yet?

and hey – don’t think i don’t know what you’re thinkin’. you’re sittin’ up there, all high and mighty, just waiting for the next thing to go wrong down here – for some idiot to try to light his shoe on fire on a plane or something like that, or whatever crazy little trick they might be plotting to pull next…and then when it happens, you’ll be thumbin’ your nose, singin’ the little “nyeah nyeah nyeah nyeah nyeah” taunt. yeah, yeah you will. because you foiled a plot without making any of the noise we’ve made in the past five years, and when it happens to us again we’ll look twice as stupid then as we look now. no, no, no – don’t even bother to try to deny it. just because you might not say it out loud doesn’t mean you’re not thinking it.

we’re on to you now. we see how it is.