Fiscal Responsibility

     OK, I’m a big fan of The Guild, but if you asked me if I wanted to date your avatar, I’d probably say no.
     Fantasy is preferable in most aspects of life, but sex isn’t one of them.
     But that’s just me. The lawyers for a town in New Jersey apparently have a different slant on this issue. Check out a New Jersey Superior Court Appellate Division ruling called Borough of Sayreville v. 35 Club, L.L.C. in which you’ll find this:
     “(T)he Borough argues that live interactive sexually oriented content delivered through mass media channels, such as the internet, should have been considered by the trial court as a reasonable alternative to the live nude dancing offered by Club 35.”
     Apparently the city is in favor of internet porn.
     One of the wonderful things about this is that the appellate argument came after a six-day bench trial filled with testimony from expert witnesses.
     Imagine how much fun that must have been. Imagine all the important and fascinating questions that must have been intensely scrutinized over six days.
     Then imagine the divided appellate panel seriously contemplating the difference between a live nude and one on a computer screen.
     But I shouldn’t make light of this. After all, we’re talking about a constitutionally-protected form of expression here. Nude dancing is something that has been scrutinized and scrutinized and scrutinized….
     What was I saying?
     Oh yeah, this is an issue that has been examined closely, oh so closely, by courts over and over again.
     So I can’t help but wonder, in these days of debate over original intent, why practically no one has asked the key question: what would the Founding Fathers have thought of lap dances?
     I’m pretty sure they would have been in favor of them.
     I can’t wait for Justice Scalia to weigh in on this.
     FISCAL CREATIVITY. Judges probably shouldn’t be making up their own rules as they go along, but if a maverick jurist has a good idea, we should at least consider it.
     Check out a recent ruling (Inquiry Concerning Judge Kenneth E Fowler) from the Supreme Court of Georgia in which we learn that a probate court judge decided that criminal defendants could buy out their community service sentences. The money then went into an account controlled by the judge. (I’m not sure why a probate judge would be dealing with criminal defendants, but that’s what the ruling says. Clearly, I know nothing about Georgia courts.)
     This might sound like graft and corruption but the ruling has this footnote: “The record reveals that Judge Fowler collected tens of thousands of dollars for deposit into the unauthorized bank account, and signed court orders authorizing the release of thousands of dollars for items such as bus tickets, school trophies, and police equipment.”
     School trophies?
     Picture the inscription: “2010 Championship Debate Team Award – sponsored by the felons of Twiggs County, Georgia.”
     You turn the shame of a criminal into the pride of a student.
     I know some of you are thinking this isn’t fair. Rich criminals shouldn’t be able to buy their way out of sentences. But when has the system ever been fair? Rich criminals can afford higher-priced lawyers. Fairness has nothing to do with it.
     Is there a greater social good in having, say, Lindsay Lohan put on an orange jumpsuit and collect trash or having her pay the salaries of a dozen court employees for a year?
     What student wouldn’t be proud to display the Lohan Trophy?
     Hard times call for practical solutions.

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