Sneaking Suspicions
Archives-- August 15-21, 2004

This page includes posts from August 15-21, 2004 in the usual reverse order. Each posting on the home page is perma-linked to these archive pages.

August 19, 2004
The first last

Tonight was our first last.

It was younger daughter's last night of band camp, the official start to her senior year of high school.


The weather held off long enough for a crowd-pleasing preview [short video clip] of this year's half-time show, and for the picnic that followed.

The fat check the Band Boosters received for parking cars at this year's State Fair was also very nice.

Looks like a good start to a memorable year.

August 18, 2004
Update on an old moral

The Seventh Circuit today issued an opinion that puts it in conflict with First Circuit precedent, but which lines up nicely as a new twist on an old moral.

Frankly, I think Judges Posner, Wood, and Williams were correct to follow the wisdom of the ages instead of their brethren in the Northeast.

The facts were a bit odd, or at least I really hope so.

Antoine Johnson sat with two friends in his parked car. Two police officers came up to the car and ordered all three men out.

There’s nothing wrong with that except for two small problems—the cops had no grounds to arrest the three men at that point, and no reasonable suspicion on which to order them to exit the car.

Undaunted, the police searched the car and found drugs under Johnson’s seat. They searched the two passengers and found both drugs and counterfeit cash. Then the police went through the car trunk and found more counterfeit money, along with a color copier.

Johnson argued that the stuff in the trunk should not have been admitted into evidence against him due to the illegal, nonconsensual search. The trial court disagreed, ruling that once the bad stuff was found on the passengers, the police had probable cause to search Johnson’s car.

As the appellate panel noted, search and seizure rights are particular to the person:

[N]ormally A cannot challenge the legality of the search of B even when the search produces information used to convict A. [citation omitted]. The district judge concluded that the “injury” to Johnson—the use of the contraband found in his trunk to convict him—was not caused by a violation of his rights.

The Circuit panel had just a wee little problem with this approach in this case:

The evidence challenged here was seized in violation of the defendant’s rights—it was taken from underneath Johnson’s seat and from the trunk. The government’s argument is that the violation is cancelled by the fact that the evidence would have been discovered as a consequence of the illegal search of the passengers, to which he could not object. The fallacious character of the argument is demonstrated by the fact that if the passengers tried to exclude the evidence in their own cases, they would be met by the identical argument: the evidence would have been discovered in an illegal search (that of Johnson) to which they cannot object…. But the government’s position is that because there were two illegal searches in this case no one can invoke the exclusionary rule against the use of the evidence obtained by the searches. In other words, the more illegal searches there are, the narrower is the scope of application of the exclusionary rule. We cannot see what sense that makes.

The reversal followed shortly thereafter.

The fundamental principle upheld by this decision should sound familiar to any parent:

Two wrongs don’t make a right.

You'd think the prosecutors in this case would know that.

August 17, 2004
Told ya

A couple days ago I wrote a short piece about the tough play exhibited by the American women in beating an equally aggressive Brazilian team in the Olympic soccer series.

I suggested that it’s perfectly fine if women’s soccer is hard-fought, because the referees can control the intensity with their yellow and red cards.

Based on the WaPo report of the 1-1 tie between the U.S. and Australia, it looks like the folks in stripes in Athens helped prove my point:

The Americans played without forward Abby Wambach, who served a one-game rough-play suspension for receiving yellow cards in the first two games. Wambach has scored 16 goals in her last 17 games. In Wambach's place, coach April Heinrichs started three-time Olympian Cindy Parlow.

I didn’t see the game, but considering Wambaugh’s well-earned reputation as a scorer, it certainly looks like her absence helped pave the way for this game’s outcome.

It will be interesting to see if the American’s hard-hitting approach continues in the next round, where the stakes for losing a player to a ref’s call can only be higher.

August 16, 2004
Character studies

Blogging may be a little lighter than usual for a little while, but it’s for a good cause. 

Smiley’s People just came out on DVD, and we bought a copy from the folks at Amazon.

The six-hour BBC adaption of John LeCarré’s masterpiece is one of our favorite mini-series. Thanks to the end of the Cold War, it’s also an historic artifact, filled with great characters.

At some point, a good writer will find a way to write a similarly compelling study of current secret services, with the fight against Islamofascism in the background instead of the response to the Soviet threat. This will certainly do until then.


August 15, 2004

This morning’s NYT included an interesting report on a hard-fought 2-0  first-round victory by the U.S. women’s Olympic soccer team over Brazil. 

Apparently the Brazilian coach, a former player with a sterling reputation for a physical style of play, found himself complaining about the degree to which the Americans took a page from his own history:

Rene Simoes entered the news conference yesterday with steam coming out of his head.…

He … lost two of his best players for good. Elaine sustained a concussion and Kelly broke her collarbone. Each had enjoyed an exceptional first half when the young Brazilian team outhustled the veteran Americans, attacking relentlessly.

Then the United States lowered the boom, and this was what had Simoes fuming. In a stunning rant, he said the Americans played dirty and targeted his best players.

"Our opponent played a very physical game in the second half, and that's why two of my players are at the hospital," [Rene] Simoes said.

As Dr. Evil might say, boo-fricking-hoo.

The Brazilian women took the game to the Americans in the first half, and to their credit the American team responded in kind in the second.

My two soccer-playing daughters are talented defensive specialists. I can assure you that this kind of reaction occurs at all levels of women’s soccer. It is a fine sport, but it is not for the timid.

If your team is being pushed around by the other side, it’s perfectly acceptable to push back. The referees can still control the game, thanks to the yellow and red cards they carry along with them.

The real eyebrow-raiser in the piece came from reporter William Rhoden’s choice of phrase in describing the Americans’ attempt to recover from the initial Brazilian onslaught:

This was supposed to have been an easy preliminary-round game for the United States. Instead it had to scratch and claw - adjust - in a game that may have set the tone for the tournament.

Scratch-and-claw? Really?

Do you think we’d see a not-so-veiled allusion to a cat fight if this story was about the men’s soccer team?

I didn’t think so, either.

Shocking to see this dated, dare I say sexist language in the NYT, isn’t it?


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Fritz Schranck
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Nassau, DE  19969


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© Frederick H. Schranck 2002-2004