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It depends on what the meaning of "is" is

A federal judge threw out one of the charges against the Alleged Shoe Bomber, Richard Reid, on the grounds that the judge is absolutely senile.

A judge threw out one of nine charges Tuesday against a man accused of trying to blow up a jetliner with explosives in his shoes, ruling that an airplane is not a vehicle under a new anti-terrorism law.

The charge attempting to wreck a mass transportation vehicle was filed under the USA Patriot Act, which was passed by Congress after the Sept. 11 terrorist attacks.

U.S. District Judge William Young said that although an airplane was engaged in mass transportation it is not a vehicle as defined by the new law.

That ought to provide fodder for standup comics and television talking heads for a few weeks. It's true that the statute doesn't explicitly state that an airplane is a vehicle. But it doesn't say otherwise, and given the context in which the law was passed -- i.e., in response to the 9/11 attacks -- it would take an awfully strange interpretation to argue that Congress didn't mean to include attacks on airplanes.


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