Fair is fair

Flash Kopf (courtesy United States Probation Office for the District of Nebraska)

Flash Kopf (courtesy United States Probation Office for the District of Nebraska)

Several people have criticized my use of the cartoon of Bucky Badger (the U of W’s mascot) in my post about Congressman Sensenbrenner.   Understandably perhaps, they drew the inference that I was referring to the Congressman’s size.  I truly (but evidently wrongly) thought the cartoon of Bucky was a mordant way of depicting the Congressman’s overly aggressive stances on federal sentencing practices.

Anyway, I herewith post a Halloween poster of myself prepared by the United States Probation office that was used in a contest during Halloween season last fall.  It depicts me in tights and a bra.*

Fair is fair.


*There is a back story, but I ain’t telling it (at least not right now).

More on Sensenbrenner

Bucky_BadgerDoug Berman at his wonderful blog criticized an idiotic comment by Congressman Sensenbrenner about judge shopping providing a good reason for keeping federal mandatory minimum sentences.  Doug then received numerous off-point comments that were more of the same crap that substitutes for reasoned debate these days.  In response, Doug wrote:

I am not at surprised — though I am deeply disappointed — that this thread of comments became mired in the usual partisan tripe rather than a serious discussion of the serious problems of experienced members of Congress displaying extraordinary ignorance concerning important matters of public policy in areas that are supposed to be their specialty.

Sensenbrenner is not only a senior member on the House Judiciary Committee, but also Chair of the Subcommittee on Crime, Terrorism and Homeland Security. And his comment is not a mere mis-statement of the latest USSC report or of the details of the guidelines or Booker, but rather suggests a profound misunderstand of the basic operation of the federal criminal justice system. I would be as if the Chair of the House Space subcommittee were to assert that we should not try to visit the moon again because we might get stuck in the cottage cheese that the moon is made of.

 I would hope that everyone who cares about reasoned and informed policy-making would criticize any out-to-lunch comment by any policy-maker. But perhaps this is just too much to ask in these partisan days.

Isn’t it stunningly idiotic for GOP Rep. Sensenbrenner to defend mandatory minimums because of “judge-shopping”? at comment Posted by: Doug B. | May 14, 2013 10:09:59 PM

I share Professor Berman’s depression.  Everyone who knows anything about the federal district courts understand that it is virtually impossible to judge-shop in the manner suggested by the Bucky Badger doppelgänger.  Everyone who knows anything about federal sentencing policy–from the Sentencing Commission on down–also knows that almost all mandatory minimum sentences radically distort and frustrate reasoned sentencing practices.  The current effort to address statutory minimums in Congress is really important and Doug’s effort to stimulate serious discussion on the subject was cheapened by the responses he received.

Good and smart people ought to act good and smart.  We have the Sensenbrenners of the world to provide us with the nasty and dumb.


Memo to Doug Berman: The answer is “yes.”

Worrying, with justification, that his head was about to explode, Doug Berman, at SL&P, asks:  Isn’t it stunningly idiotic for GOP Rep. Sensenbrenner to defend mandatory minimums because of “judge-shopping”?

The answer is “yes.”  I am not sure, however, why we should be stunned.


PS  I once had an audience with then Chairman Sensenbrenner in his Washington office.  It was disconcerting for a variety of reasons.  Prime among the reasons for my disquiet was the fact that the Congressman sat very near to a portrait of himself that was so large and so lifelike that I could not figure out whether I was speaking to the portrait or the real guy.  As it turned out, nothing I said to the portrait or the man made any difference.

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