What do Donald Sterling and Vladimir Putin have in common?
Well, first both are megalomaniacs...to say nothing of being international sex symbols.
Both Sterling and Putin are filthy rich. Sterling has $1.9 billion in net worth. U.S. intelligence agencies estimate Putin's hidden wealth in various Russian energy companies, among others, to be between $40 and $70 billion. (How do you say "corruption" in Russian?)
Finally, both men must be curbed: Sterling for his blatant racism, Putin for his dangerous expansionism.
Sanctioning Donald Sterling and Vladimir PutinApparently, the NBA Constitution does not directly allow the league to force Sterling to divest himself of the Los Angeles Clippers. Impose sanctions so severe that Sterling is forced to sell. Start with the forfeiture of all television revenue, a ban on signing all free agents, and a loss of all draft choices until ownership changes. Then encourage a minority group, perhaps led by Magic Johnson, to purchase the franchise.
Sure, there will be litigation. So what! The NBA can afford the legal fees. Do something big, NBA Commissioner Silver.
Now, onto Putin. USA sanctions against rogue nation Russia should be so punishing as to force Putin to remove his hotels from Boardwalk, i.e., Crimea, and go home to play. While it will require EU help, we could crush the Russian economy. Yesterday, the USA announced additional sanctions involving some companies and persons close to Putin.
Go farther! Or further, as the case may be. Take Russian banks out of the international loop. Destroy the Russian stock market. Isolate Putin. Make the Russian people, currently all atwitter about his strength, realize he's a pariah.
Federal Judges Ignore Conflict of Interest LawsIn law school ethics, you learn that a judge cannot sit on a case involving a company in which he or she owns stock. But Judge James Hill, of the U.S. 11th Circuit Court of Appeals (that's one step below the Supreme Court) ruled in favor of Johnson & Johnson, despite having a six-figure stake in the company.
In all, a new report reveals that more than a dozen federal appeals court judges violated conflict-on-interest laws over the past three years! For shame!
Bravo to Obama on Sentence ReductionsIn his first term, President Obama only commuted the sentence of ONE federal inmate. Now, the government is poised to release hundreds, or even thousands of non-violent drug offenders (and others) who received excessive punishments under idiotic sentencing guidelines, some of which have been repealed.
Here are some details, from the blog of Florida Super Lawyer Marcia Silvers:
There is no automatic right to early release. However, under new Justice Department guidelines announced earlier this week, commutation of sentence will be favored for federal inmates who:
A petition for clemency will not necessarily be denied if the inmate fails to meet all the criteria. For example, someone who has served less than 10 years might still have an excellent chance if he or she fulfills the other criteria.
- are serving a sentence that, if imposed today, would be substantially shorter;
- have a non-violent history with no significant ties to organized crime, gangs or cartels;
- have served at least 10 years;
- have no significant prior convictions;
- and have demonstrated good conduct.
Contrast this with earlier times. Remember those eight inmates whose sentences President Obama commuted last December. In his previous five years in office, he had commuted only one other sentence. Overall, since becoming President, he has granted only nine out of 10,490 commutation of sentence petitions. That is about to change in a big way.The complete blog post can be found here: "Commutation of Sentence: The Window Opens," Full disclosure under federal conflict-of-interest laws. Marcia Silvers is my wife.