Archive for February, 2011

Supreme Court Justice Clarence Thomas has reportedly unleashed an attack on his critics for his violations of disclosure laws and alleged conflicts of interest. He warned law students that these critics are “undermining” the Court and endangering the country by weakening core institutions. As one of those critics, I am flabbergasted by Thomas’ remarks which show an implied disregard that seems to have now reached open contempt for certain principles of judicial ethics. There is not a hint of concern for his own conduct and how it has undermined the Supreme Court as an institution. For a prior column, click here

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The recent United Nation Security Council decision to freeze the assets of the Gaddafi family was heralded as a high-point of international cooperation to fight authoritarian abuse. What has gotten less press attention is the role of the United States in drafting the resolution. The Obama Administration insisted on adding a provision that barred the punishment of mercenaries for war crimes committed in the country — out of concern that the same principle could be used against U.S. contractors in places like Iraq.

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Manitoba Justice Robert Dewar is under attack for his sentencing of Kenneth Rhodes, 40, for sexual assault. Dewar gave Rhodes just a two-year conditional sentence to be served at home for raping a 26-year-old woman. Dewar appeared to blame the victim in part for the attack.
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It didn’t take long for religious fanatics in the United States to uncover a nugget of prejudicial hate in the ruins of the recent earthquake in New Zealand. Christchurch Quake is registered in Utah and claims that the earthquake was God’s judgment on the people of New Zealand for allowing “lesbians running loose on the South Island as if they own the place.”
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I am always shocked by folks who fail for Nigerian Internet schemes or web cons. The saddest, however, are the ones (as we have seen) that prey upon people looking for companions. A 48-year-old Naperville man has added himself to that lonely hearts club after giving $200,000 to a fake “girlfriend” whom he only knew over the Internet.
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Watch a Real Reporter At Work

If you want to see a real reporter who asks the tough questions, take a look at Joey, 5, interviewing the Chicago Blackhawks.
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Submitted by Lawrence Rafferty, (rafflaw), Guest Blogger

With the constant news reports highlighting the economic woes of the State and Federal governments and the important battle in Wisconsin and other states over the claim that workers need to sacrifice a little more to help out their state governments, it is interesting to learn just how much big corporations pay in Federal Taxes. Would it surprise you if I told you that many of our largest corporations pay zero Federal taxes? (more…)

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Submitted by Mark Esposito, Guest Blogger

Jet-setting canines have a new stop on the luxury hotel circuit. Hoteliers in Paris have opened a new dogs-only luxury hotel. To cater to their four-legged guests, Devi and Stan Burun, have included a heated pool, masseuse, televisions equipped with DVDs, and a doggie workout room with treadmills and a decor adorned with framed doggie prints.

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-Submitted by David Drumm (Nal), Guest Blogger

Benjamin Arrow, a 3L at Fordham University School of Law, has raised an interesting question in his article for The Fordham Intellectual Property, Media & Entertainment Law Journal. Can a use in fiction constitute a “use in commerce” sufficient to reserve priority rights in a trademark?

In 1996, Fox won a preliminary injunction against two Australian breweries for manufacturing a product called “Duff Beer.” Fox is also pursuing lawsuits against other breweries, but what harm could Fox allege?

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Lawyers Using Groupon – Ethical?

-Submitted by David Drumm (Nal), Guest Blogger

We have previously discussed the law firm with the drive-thru window, here. That notion seems upscale compared to law firms using Goupon. Groupon (group coupon) is a deal-of-the-day website that can determine your computer’s location through it’s IP address and offer you discounts on goods and services in your area. If enough people sign up for the deal, it becomes available. If the predetermined minimum is not reached, no one gets the deal. Groupon makes money by keeping approximately half of the cost of the deal.

Groupon recently turned down a rumored $6 billion buy-out offer from Google.

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Three’s The (Ch)Arm

Submitted by Mark Esposito, Guest Blogger

Think reality is self-evident. Neuroscientists at Stockholm’s Karolinska Institutet aren’t so sure. Seems recent testing reveals it is quite easy to convince the human mind that it’s body has three arms.

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Submitted by Elaine Magliaro, Guest Blogger

Last week I wrote up a post titled Scott Walker: A Fiscally Responsible Governor or a Politician Who Is Playing Favorites?. Judging from the number of comments left at that post, it appears that people are very interested in what’s been going on in the state of Wisconsin. I think many people may believe that as Wisconsin goes—so goes the nation…and probably the life expectancy of labor unions and collective bargaining.

What got a lot of press attention was the story of the prank phone call that Governor Walker received from gonzo journalist Ian Murphy. Murphy pretended to be billionaire industrialist David Koch. He talked to Walker for twenty minutes. Murphy reportedly told the Associated Press he made the prank phone call in order to show how candid Walker would be in a conversation with Koch at a time when Democrats claim the governor was refusing to return their calls.

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Submitted by Lawrence Rafferty, (rafflaw), Guest Blogger

 

After a few recent discussions about Free Speech in earlier threads, I came across another example of how limited our Free Speech really is.  At a recent speech by Secretary of State Hillary Clinton, a former CIA employee, Ray McGovern, attempted to protest her speech about Democracy and Freedom of Speech and how the freedom to disseminate information helped the Egyptians rid themselves of a brutal dictator.  (more…)

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-Submitted by David Drumm (Nal), Guest Blogger

Rep. Gary Miller (R-CA) claims that birthright citizenship “undermines the intention of the Fourteenth Amendment.” Arizona Rep. John Kavanagh, R-Fountain Hills alleged that “if you go back to the original intent of the drafters … it was never intended to bestow citizenship upon aliens.” Sen. David Vitter (R-LA) trots out the old canard that the Citizenship Clause was drafted to “address slavery, not immigration.”

When one looks at the 1866 Senate debate regarding the 14th Amendment, the facts don’t support these claims.

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-Submitted by David Drumm (Nal), Guest Blogger

The school board in Giles County, VA, has decided to remove the Ten Commandments posters in all local schools. The Virginia ACLU and the Freedom From Religion Foundation had plaintiffs and threatened lawsuits that the school board would have almost surely lost. The school board decided it could better spend the estimated $300,000 cost of a lawsuit on instruction that wasn’t religious.

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