Archive for the ‘Media’ Category

By Darren Smith, Weekend Contributor

european-commission-logoUnder the pre-text of combatting terrorism, the European Commission is mulling a proposed regulation that would require telecommunications companies and internet service providers to retain records of European Citizens’ communications. Courts struck down on constitutional privacy grounds a previous law.

The measure comes just after the deadly terrorist attacks stemming from the Charlie Hebdo rampage in Paris in early January. The situation does appear to a lesser degree reminiscent of the changes in government approaches to privacy in the wake of terrorist outrages in other nations such as those in the United States in 2001 and the railway attacks in Spain and the United Kingdom.

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By Darren Smith, Weekend Contributor

Flag_of_the_People's_Republic_of_ChinaAn unfortunate result of the “Occupy” movement in Hong Kong has made freedom of the press one of the casualties.

Unlike other large cities and China generally, Hong Kong reporters enjoy considerable latitude comparatively but there are indications that even this is suffering erosion. Reports are emerging from journalists and other news and civil rights NGOs that Chinese authorities are beginning to import their restrictions into the former British Colony, where formerly the national government had allowed some deference due to the long standing culture and western traditions of the “special administrative region.”

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Loretta_LynchI will have the honor of appearing today as part of the confirmation hearings in the Senate Judiciary Committee for Loretta Lynch, nominee to serve as United States Attorney General. Below is my written testimony for the hearing today.

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Todd_PatriciaAlabama’s first openly gay state legislator, State Rep. Patricia Todd has created a stir this week by declaring that she intends to publicly reveal the adulterous affairs of colleagues who oppose same-sex marriage on the basis of family values. The threat raises the prospect of potential tort liability and some interesting questions of privilege.

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170px-Referees135px-Seattle_Seahawks_helmet_2012If the Seattle Seahawks are known for their aggressive offensive line, their players are nothing when compared to the aggression of their lawyers. Outdoing even the brutish NFL lawyers who claim copyright to terms like “Super Bowl,” the team has filed two dozen trademark applications in a little over a year to claim ownership to such terms as “boom” and “Go Hawks.” The team is also claiming ownership to the number 12 in a font like the one used by the team. It had to settle a prior lawsuit over its use of “The 12th Man” phrase (referring to the fans) — a phrase claimed by Texas A & M where it was forced to pay a licensing fee for the limited use of this common term. Now it is trying to the do the same in claiming parts of the English language as owned by the team (I am waiting for the Patriots to trademark “Deflate-gate”). It is all perfectly bizarre but Congress has done little to stop the frenzy to claim common terms and phrases. Too bad there is not anyone willing to throw a flag for encroachment to protect citizens.
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350px-God2-Sistine_ChapelThere is an interesting phenomenon that occurred after the Patriots pulled ahead of the Colts in their championship game: the price of Superbowl tickets reportedly fell significantly. People it appears are just not excited about seeing the Patriots play in another Superbowl. However, many people see more than a dominant team or deflated footballs are the reason for who plays in the Superbowl. A recent study found that one out of four Americans believe that God helps choose who wins sporting events. I personally find this hard to accept since the Chicago Bears remains God’s chosen team and yet they remain again out of the Superbowl. However, over twenty-five percent of people believe that they are watching the hand of God in the outcome of sporting events.

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By Darren Smith, Weekend Contributor

walker-guilty-photoAfter what was declared to be prosecutorial misconduct, the Washington Supreme Court reversed a jury conviction of Odies Delandus Walker. The defendant was convicted as being an accomplice to first degree murder, first degree assault, first degree robbery, solicitation, and conspiracy after a robbery at a Lakewood Walmart.

In closing arguments during trial, the Pierce County Prosecutor’s Office showed the jury a PowerPoint presentation having over one hundred of a total of approximately two hundred fifty slides having headings such as “DEFENDANT WALKER GUILTY OF PREMEDITATED MURDER,” including one slide having a booking photograph of Walker altered to have “GUILTY BEYOND A REASONABLE DOUBT” superimposed in boldfaced red letters over his photograph. Additional photographs presented included those of Walker and his family juxtaposed with those of the murder victim emblazoned with inflammatory captions.

Walker asked the court to address if such actions violated his right to a fair trial due to the prejudicial nature of the presentation.

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