No California Republican has voted in favor of a state budget proposal in years, so it was a little startling when one did on Monday. He may have been the most startled of all, because he wasn't really paying attention, as he later conceded on Twitter.
In other words, while he was busy complaining about Assembly Bill 93 on Facebook, he accidentally voted in favor of it.
It makes no difference for at least a couple of reasons. First, the California Legislature has been firmly controlled by the Democrats for some time—the Assembly, for example, is currently split 52-28. Because the GOP has no hope of prevailing on a budget vote, its members might as well vote against any budget if only so they can later say they did. But this budget bill would still have passed, of course, whether it got 53 votes or only 52.
Second, because the floor vote is not actually the official vote—or, at least, because California allows lawmakers to go back and change the official record, as I would guess most legislatures do—Wilk's wayward vote officially never happened. There doesn't seem to be any "interim" vote total (although it might be in the daily file somewhere), so for example even though this vote summary is captioned "UNOFFICIAL BALLOT," Wilk's vote is right there in the "NOES" section along with those of his colleagues. It is more difficult to stuff things down the memory hole than it used to be, of course.
According to the report, Wilk changed his vote after the session ended, "receiving applause from fellow Republicans and boos from Democrats," all of whom were semi-pretending it mattered.
Mrs. Wilk is right, of course, that her husband can't "multitask," because no one can.
"The research is almost unanimous, which is very rare in social science, and it says that people who chronically multitask show an enormous range of deficits. They're basically terrible at all sorts of cognitive tasks, including multitasking." Clifford Nass (a Stanford psych professor) in "The Myth of Multitasking," NPR Science Friday (May 10, 2013); see "Mistrial Declared After Jurors Found Playing Sudoku," Lowering the Bar (June 10, 2008); see also Everyone Who Has Ever Texted While Driving, Everywhere (Anytime).
It would certainly not have been the first time anyone has appeared naked in a courtroom, if that's what he meant. Even a quick Google search was enough to show that. See "Drama as accused appears naked in court," Premium Times (Abuja, Nigeria, Feb. 5, 2013) ("Mr. Oduola, however, created an oddity in court when he appeared half naked, wearing only his shirt to the dock, thus exposing his private part."). True, he was only half naked, but it was the relevant half.
Technically also "half naked," but doesn't count
He might have meant that it's the first time anyone has appeared naked in the UK Court of Appeal.Her Majesty's Court of Appeal in England. It's certainly possible that no one has done that before, but Gough didn't actually do it, either. He was "appearing" by video from Winchester Prison, where he currently resides, and although he was indeed naked at the other end of the line, the report notes that his lower half was "obscured by a table." So if he was neither physically in the courtroom nor depicted there fully nude, I don't think we can actually say he was naked "in court."
Gough's failure to win also did not make legal history, because as you may recall, courts in both England and Scotland have repeatedly rejected his argument that he is entitled to roam about "in his natural human state." See, e.g., "'Naked Rambler' Insists on Rambling Naked," Lowering the Bar (Dec. 1, 2012). As of mid-2013, he had been convicted 28 times for some variation of disorderly-conduct charges or for violating an "Anti-Social Behaviour Order" enjoining him from public nakedness. This appeal was from what I think was conviction 29, for violating another ASBO in October 2014.
None of this deters him, obviously; more than once, he has been re-arrested upon leaving the courthouse naked "still clutching the order saying he had to cover up," or for leaving a prison naked immediately after completing a sentence for the previous offense. So far as I can tell, he has never assaulted or hassled anyone directly, and he has repeatedly passed psychological evaluations. He just insists that there is nothing wrong with rambling around naked. Sometimes communities and/or their judges agree with him, but often they don't, and as a result Gough has spent something like a decade in jail, all told.
It seems fair to wonder at this point what purpose is being served by locking him up. While I would certainly prefer that most people wear clothes in public, I've also noticed that when on occasion somebody doesn't do that, civilization doesn't collapse into chaos. (I live in San Francisco, but still.) If a naked person is crazy or dangerous or just unwilling to move on after being told to take his business elsewhere, that's one thing. But all this guy wants to do is move on. He's a rambler. Look the other way for a while, and he'll be gone. That seems like a better solution to me.
WHEREAS, the Space Preservation Act and the companion Space Preservation Treaty has established a permanent ban on all space-based weapons, on the use of weapons to destroy or damage objects or persons from or that are in orbit; and the permanent termination of research and development, testing, manufacturing, production and deployment of all space-based weapons; and
WHEREAS, the Space Preservation Act, companion to the Space Preservation Treaty, introduced by U.S. Congressman Dennis Kucinich (D-Ohio), requires the U.S. President to continue enforcement of banning space-based weapons and the use of weapons to destroy or damage persons or objects that are in or from orbit; and
WHEREAS, the Space Preservation Treaty has established an outer space peacekeeping agency to monitor outer space and enforce the permanent ban of space-based weapons. In addition, this legislation serves as a safeguard for targeted individuals who claim to be under assault from weaponry that should be outlawed by the Space Preservation Act; and
WHEREAS, the well-being of all residents is of the upmost [sic] importance to the City of Richmond;
NOW THEREFORE BE IT RESOLVED that the City Council of the City of Richmond hereby supports the Space Preservation Act and companion Space Preservation Treaty, to ensure that individuals will not be targets of space-based weapons.
Emphasis added. In the accompanying report (see Resolution I-1 and supporting documents), the resolution's sponsor clarified that this concern is not just speculation. She states that three years ago, she personally met a Richmond resident who informed her that "she was a survivor of such horrible attacks." Who zapped her and exactly what they zapped her with is not made clear. But "[a]ccording to her description, these government patented technologies and weapons interfere [with] and disrupt the targeted individual's health physically and psychologically by remote transmission." (Translation: they hurt people from a distance.) The sponsor has been informed that "many survivors" of these attacks have reached out to city officials, only to be mocked, dismissed, stonewalled, ignored, or called "unstable."
In Richmond, at least, that is now a thing of the past.
Nothing against the Richmond City Council, but it might also be a good idea to alert some higher authority to the continuing space assault. Congress doesn't seem interested, though, because while Rep. Kucinich has indeed introduced a "Space Preservation Act"—at least three times, in fact—it never got out of committee. You could try the United Nations, but despite what the resolution says there is currently no "Space Preservation Treaty" that bans space-based weapons. Nations that have signed the Outer Space Treaty have agreed not to put weapons of mass destruction up there, but that obviously doesn't cover whatever is being used to harass this lady in Richmond from orbit.
As a judge in Vermont warned this potential (but presumably unwilling) juror, doing this could get you a little jail time for contempt of court. That would most likely get you out of jury duty, though, at least for a couple of days.
Having said that, the strategy actually worked in this case. According to the report, after the man arrived, "[d]eputies directed him to an empty courtroom to meet with the judge...." He was probably wishing he'd brought an extra pair of striped pants at that point, but after giving him the warning, the judge let him leave.
It's possible they just didn't have an old-timey jail to send him to, I suppose. I wouldn't show up in an orange jumpsuit, that's for sure, lest you get confused with somebody who's already supposed to be in jail.
The man told a reporter that the juror instructions didn't restrict the type of clothing he could wear, which is the type of argument that, as we say in the business, won't work.