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The Genius of Mr. T

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Mr. T Esquire

B.A. Baracus (a.k.a. "Clubber Lang"; a.k.a. "Mr.T"; a.k.a "Laurence Tureaud") made headlines yesterday when he arrived for jury duty in Chicago.

During his time at the courthouse, Mr. T posed for pictures with "other potential jurors, county employees–and the family of the defendant in the case…"

Mr.T was a quotable goldmine. Observe:

• "It's not about 'The A-Team;' it's the J-Team–the jury team."

• "You've got to testify! Tell somebody about it. God is good!" he told an admirer as he tried to leave the building. "I pity the fool that don't get it.

• "If you're innocent, I'm your best man…But if you're guilty, I pity that fool."

Mr. T should consider the day hamming it up as time well spent. It was free press. More importantly, he was excused from jury duty.

A case could be made, however, that jury duty is better than parodying yourself in a John Cena rap video:

 

Back in 2007, Mateusz Machaj at the Mises Institute said the " 'A-Team' Stands for Anarcho-Capitalism." Besides Mr. T, Reason Columnist Steve Chapman has another good case for making jury duty anonymous. In 1995, Friend-o-Reason Walter Olson looked at juries on trial. Former Reason Editor Virginia Postrel said the culture has created jurors who lack conviction, in a 1994 piece.

High Five: The Chicagoist

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  1. “Hamming it up” nothing. The man is who he is. Mr. T pities the fool who ever thought he was acting.

  2. I gotta be honest, I kind of liked that video.

  3. Genius. Not Mr. T, mind you, but the amazing circumstances that allow such a creature to exist.

  4. One thing that bothered me about the A-Team when I was a kid – If you were on the run from the law, would you drive a van with a custom paint job and a spoiler? A cop would spot that thing at a rest stop from the highway.

  5. I love how some people do one role and they can squeeze money from it for a lifetime!

    Another one schtick pony is the leader of the guardian angels, Curtis Sliwa. He had a NYC radio show, and is still a regular on local news.

    One good idea that is a lifetime mealticket.

  6. He should have been brought to jury duty the way Hannibal used to get him on planes, and then he should have woken up during the trial and Murdock could be both the defense attorney and the prosecutor for true wackiness. Howlin’ Mad indeed.

  7. A-Team? Screw the A-Team. Clubber Lang, baby.

  8. I’ll be Torvald! Drink school and stay in milk!

  9. A few observations about the Cena video:

    1. Where the fuck was Faceman? What, Cena couldn’t get a shrimp like Shawn Michaels to play him?

    2. They totally missed the opportunity to end the video with the Stephen J. Cannell production logo. I mean, come on.

    3. They got the guns right. That’s pretty funny.

  10. In honor of this auspicious, Mr. T-filled day (and, I guess, the impending faux-holiday devoted to “treating your mother right”), here is another awesome video.

  11. here is another awesome video

    That’s just cruel.

  12. That’s just cruel.

    Learn well of the dance moves therein, and maybe you’ll have a fighting chance in your next dance-off.

  13. I’ve been unfair to Virginia. I thought she’d gone downhill recently. In fact, she’s always been there. Thanks for the sleeping pill.

  14. My two-and-a-half-year-old daughter LOVES the “Treat Your Mother Right” video. In fact, one of the first things she learned to say was, “Wait a minute… wait a minute!”

    On a side note, Mr. T’s short-lived reality show on TV-Land was pure genius. How that could get canceled while “Dancing With the Stars” survives is beyond me…

  15. I’m gonna rip your cock off with my ass!

  16. “I love how some people do one role and they can squeeze money from it for a lifetime!”

    But enough about Matt Welch.

  17. Learn well of the dance moves therein, and maybe you’ll have a fighting chance in your next dance-off.

    Dennis: Mac, you take the waitress. Tire her out with your spastic movement.

    Mac: I’ll tire her out with my awesome movements.

  18. Face it. Your peers (average Americans) are too effin’ dumb to do a competent job of determing guilt. This makes the present jury system is fundamentally flawed if the goal is to identify and punish the guilty and exonerate the innocent.

    I lean to professional jurors while acknowledging the problems with selecting who they will be. The almost insane reverence for a trial by a jury of peers makes even calmly and rationally discussing possibilities of a more just system nigh impossible.

  19. Oh yeah, Mr T simutaneously displays both all that is wrong and right with American society.

  20. Face it. Your peers (average Americans) are too effin’ dumb to do a competent job of determing guilt. This makes the present jury system is fundamentally flawed if the goal is to identify and punish the guilty and exonerate the innocent.

    I lean to professional jurors while acknowledging the problems with selecting who they will be. The almost insane reverence for a trial by a jury of peers makes even calmly and rationally discussing possibilities of a more just system nigh impossible.

    Given the known issues with professional prosecutors, professional judges and professional police, I am strongly against professional juries.

  21. There’s actually a Baracus air port in lagos, in Nigeria

    Apparently every on flight out of it you get offered warm milk and sleeping pills

    and there’s a plaque outside that reads

    “I ain’t goin on no plane”

    Read the wiki article

    http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Bosco_ Albert_Baracus _International_Airpo

  22. “I lean to professional jurors while acknowledging the problems with selecting who they will be. The almost insane reverence for a trial by a jury of peers makes even calmly and rationally discussing possibilities of a more just system nigh impossible.”

    That would be interesting, considering what has happened with airline screeners becoming “professional” government employees. Besides, we already have judges, prosecuters and public defenders on the public payroll, why not complete the circle?

  23. Best Mr. T story ever:

    During post production on an episode of T&T, it was noticed that Mr. T has a bit of trouble with the”ts” letter combination, and usually leaves most of the “t” out of it. This revelation came during day-long attempt to get him to do a fresh recording of a line in which he offers a little boy some peanuts.

    No. I would not want him on my jury.

  24. Given the known issues with professional prosecutors, professional judges and professional police, I am strongly against professional juries.

    I admitted the problems with selection. Of the three professions you mentioned, I find appointed judges to be the least objectionable.

    Fact is, juror are mostly incompetent boobs. Your thoughts on improving a system that jails Corey Maye and frees O.J. Simpson are certainly welcome.

  25. Learn well of the dance moves therein, and maybe you’ll have a fighting chance in your next dance-off.

    I sure hope so, or else Mr. Cashly’s gonna tear down the community center and build condos!

  26. As far as juries are concerned, I’ve thought for a while now that the foremen should be trained – AA or BA with paralegal – level education, only specific to court proceedings. That alone could significantly cut down the amount of shenanigans that occur.

  27. Fact is, juror are mostly incompetent boobs. Your thoughts on improving a system that jails Corey Maye and frees O.J. Simpson are certainly welcome.

    There will always be failures. I prefer any amount of jury incompetence to whatever the state of South Carolina will come up with to ensure juries are adaquately “tough on crime.”

  28. Not to piss in the punchbowl unduly, but that’s actually not Mr. T.–it’s classic underground rapper Freddie “Bumpy Knuckles” Foxxx pretending to be T. “Bumpy Knuckles” is his trademark nickname, plus the voice is different.

    This actually makes the video even more classic.

  29. Someone should ask Cena if it’s true that all the steroid use has left him hung like a lightswitch.

  30. Some of those shots of Mr T make him look like Kimbo Slice. But you know what they say…

  31. Good catch Martin. It is well known ( If you are one who knows these things)that Freddie Foxxx has worked a lot with Cena and obviously he is the Bumpy Knuckles playing B.A.

    I didn’t notice at first because I did not watch for the credits, which listed each “actor” by his real/rap name.

  32. “There will always be failures. I prefer any amount of jury incompetence to whatever the state of South Carolina will come up with to ensure juries are adaquately ‘tough on crime.'”

    I hate having to agree with max hats, but in this case I have to.

    I just wish juries weren’t so inclined to credit frivolous lawsuits.

  33. The main thing that bothers me about the current system is that the court either A. draft jurors into service or B. Let them off so easily that only somebody with a strong sense of civic duty or (more likely) a desire to go on a power trip would actually end up serving on a jury.

  34. @Martin. Crapola. Yeah, Good Catch dude.

  35. Someone should ask Cena if it’s true that all the steroid use has left him hung like a lightswitch.

    Any volunteers? I hear that a lot, but I thought it shrunk your gonads because they’re no longer needed for testosterone production (and they come back when you’re off of the cycle), not the wang itself. In fact if you’re using HGH at the same time that might make it grow permanently, like it does to the jaw, brow ridge and intestines.

  36. During the time of the Tea Parties, the ever-angry, always profane, frequently humorous Bryan
    Lambert posted a week of “T” Party columns…

  37. Two words: jury nullification.

    Lawyers run and scurry like the rats they are.

  38. Oh yeah, Mr T simutaneously displays both all that is wrong and right with American society.

    Oh,

  39. Sentence.

  40. I’m interested in knowing whether it is possible to come up with a system of all-volunteer jurors.

    I am not proposing a system of professional jurors in the sense that we have professional prosecutors. Having a relatively small pool of professional jurors would increase the chance of collusion defense attorneys or prosecutors. Currently, jurors have nothing to gain or lose by either a conviction or acquittal. And whatever you think of the public, most people respect the Rule of Law enough that they won’t ignore the judge’s instructions or falsely claim that they can be objective or otherwise pervert justice just for kicks.

    I would continue selecting jurors from the general public while limiting the frequency with which any individual can be a juror.

    There are two ways I would propose to get people to volunteer:

    1 – Increase the compensation for jurors so that people are more likely to think it is worth it if they aren’t doing anything else at the moment.

    2 – Tax-funded benefits such as food stamps, unemployment benefits, college tuition assistance, etc. could have a requirement that the recipient consent to be called a certain number of times in the future for jury service in the same way people are called now. Except that if you don’t get any of those benefits you won’t be required to serve; and if you have received some such benefits, you won’t be required to serve more than the specified number of times, (although anyone could volunteer to be called with certain limits on how often they could do it). If a recipient (or former recipient) of public assistance refuses, the person could pay a fine or have money taken out of his or her next government check depending on the situation. But I don’t think jail time would be necessary or desirable.

    If you don’t like the idea of welfare, don’t think of it as welfare. Think of it as a retainer paid to future Employees of Justice.

    And of course, the same exclusionary rules aimed at ensuring a fair trial would still apply, and those excluded would be counted as having fulfilled jury duty just like now.

    It would be interesting to see if such a system could work. Obviously, one possible issue is a shortage of jurors. Another concern is the possibility that juries would become composed mostly of poor and unemployed people and that this might have some effect on the administration of justice.

    I admitted the problems with selection. Of the three professions you mentioned, I find appointed judges to be the least objectionable.

    J sub D,

    You’ll be happy to hear that defendants have the right to forego trial by jury, and have the judge issue a verdict at the trial’s conclusion instead. I think the original historical reason for juries was that judges were often too sympathetic to the prosecution. Of course, this is going back centuries, so things might be different now.

  41. Sentence.

    Sentence fragment.

    I was going to say something intelligent, but I accidentally hit “enter”. Then I had to go to work.

  42. is jeff winkler blind or something, jesus christ that dude in the video looks nothing like mr. t

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