Kissin’ off the Constitution

Give me free speech or ram the little judicial bastards

So much to be pissed about; so little space to tell it. There are national idiocies like John Ashcroft covering a statue of justice because the statue bared a breast. You want to say, “John, go wash your sweaty little hands and get a life.”

There’s the fact we have a president with the approximate intelligence of cauliflower and who should trail an oil slick behind him from being in bed with oil drillers.

Then there are local things. Reno mayor candidate Tom Orrell taped a card to my door listing why he’d be a good mayor. Topping the list: He’d protect the “sanctity of marriage between a man and woman only.” Wottenhell can a mayor do about it, and why does Orrell get all trembly at the idea of two gay guys—or women—wanting a legal commitment? Say it with me: “Tommy, go wash your sweaty little hands and get a life.”

Then there’s obnoxious stupidity. The next time I’m driving through a parking lot and see a teenager lean out his truck door and stand a beer bottle on the pavement I’m going to aim at the little bastard and ram his ass. I’m sorry if the phrase “ram his ass” gets Tommy all het up.

But here’s the main thing that’s pissed me off recently—a judge held a 70-year-old man in jail for 111 days for things the man posted on his Web site.

Judge James Doerty locked up Paul Trummel in Seattle Feb. 27 because Trummel, evidently a pain in the butt, wouldn’t quit being a pain in the butt about criticizing the management of a nursing home. The Web site was in Holland and the judge couldn’t touch it.

But he could touch Trummel and with fine disregard of the U.S. Constitution tossed him in the clink.

We need a brief aside here. A journalist can express opinions nastily and be under the protection of law. That’s why I can be nasty about George W. Bush, the most powerful man in the world. It’s why I can be snotty about Tom Orrell. It’s why when this Rant Issue of the News & Review comes out there won’t be troops in the lobby breaking heads.

If you can use an inkjet printer, you too can be a journalist and make fun of the rich and ambitious. Tom Orrell can print a broadside saying, “Guy Richardson is an idiotic dinkwad,” if he wants. The Constitution was designed by people with faith that Americans can judge for themselves. I have faith that you realize John Ashcroft is a grandstanding prig, drinking teenagers are a blight and our Great President is a fraud.

I could be wrong. The Constitution says you decide.

Judge Doerty, who may have learned law in a Mexicali night school, ripped the heart from Trummel’s defense.

Wrote Doerty: “It is my finding specifically that his claim to be a journalist is a bogus claim insofar as he has no useful journalistic purpose.”


Think about that—no useful journalistic purpose. There goes half the material in that Godless Newspaper across town. Hell, there goes my entire career; is making people laugh a “useful journalistic purpose"?

Is kissing the ass of the casino industry useful? If not, there go the Vegas papers, too. The National Enquirer? Poof. (Ah, Tom, quit salivating. That’s “poof, not “poofter.” However, British poofters run American tabloids, but by God we’ll ban them from marrying and save that sanctity for ancient rich men who can afford Anna Nicole Smith.)

Returning to our main theme, if I can remember it—after being in solitary, last week Trummel gave up. He removed the material and got out of jail.

Even with a covered breast, lady justice got screwed.

Retired Reno Gazette-Journal copy editor and columnist Guy Richardson calls himself the News & Review’s curmudgeon emeritus. E-mail him at, if you have the nerve.

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