Tuesday, January 31, 2012

Union Bosses Want Your Personal Info

Fed up with obnoxious telemarketing calls? How would you like to be harassed by union operatives when you answer the phone?

Speaking of regulatory overreach, while no one was paying attention on Friday afternoon, the union stooges on the National Labor Relations Board announced plans to move forward with a rule that will violate the personal privacy of non-unionized employees.

The Strokes of Candor blog has the story:
Undaunted by the constitutionally-questionable recess appointment of three members to Barack Obama’s National Labor Relations Board, union attorney and current NLRB chairman Mark Pearce declared in an Associated Press interview that he and his union comrades are continuing their assault on the 93% of private-sector employees who are union-free.  In fact, if Obama’s union appointees have their way, all employees who are targeted for unionization will have their employers forced to turn over their home telephone number and e-mail addresses to unions...
The depths the NLRB will go to disrupt free enterprise and the backing it gets from Obama is reprehensible and yet another example of this administration’s anti-business sentiment.  God help us from four more years.

Supreme Court Decision is Victory for Religious Liberty

Civil libertarians, including those who aren't religious at all, or perhaps even atheists, would likely applaud the U.S. Supreme Court's recent unanimous decision that protects religious liberty/religious freedom under the First Amendment of the U.S. Constitution.

While employers sometimes act in arbitrary (or worse) ways, that does not justify meddling by equally arbitrary (or worse) government bureaucrats, especially given widespread joblessness and economic dislocation.

The First Amendment states that "Congress shall make no law respecting an establishment of religion, or prohibiting the free exercise thereof; or abridging the freedom of speech, or of the press, or the right of the people peaceably to assemble, and to petition the Government for a redress of grievances."

Under this amendment, federal appeals courts have traditionally recognized a "ministerial exception" that in general exempts religious institutions from employment laws. In Hosanna-Tabor vs. EEOC, the high court formally validated this exception.
In what may be its most significant religious liberty decision in two decades, the Supreme Court on [January 11] for the first time recognized a “ministerial exception” to employment discrimination laws, saying that churches and other religious groups must be free to choose and dismiss their leaders without government interference.
In the 9-0 decision that completed rejected the position taken by Obama administration lawyers, Chief Justice Roberts wrote in part:
Requiring a church to accept or retainan unwanted minister, or punishing a church for failing to do so, intrudes upon more than a mere employment decision. Such action interferes with the internal governanceof the church, depriving the church of control over the selection of those who will personify its beliefs. By imposing an unwanted minister, the state infringes the Free Exercise Clause, which protects a religious group’s right to shape its own faith and mission through its appointments. According the state the power to determine which individuals will minister to the faithful also violates the Establishment Clause, which prohibits government involvement in such ecclesiastical decisions...
The interest of society in the enforcement of employment discrimination statutes is undoubtedly important.But so too is the interest of religious groups in choosing who will preach their beliefs, teach their faith, and carry out their mission. When a minister who has been fired sues her church alleging that her termination was discriminatory, the First Amendment has struck the balance for us. The church must be free to choose those who will guide it on its way.
This assertion by the Competitive Enterprise Institute is a fitting description of  all the radical, overreaching regulators that have infested this administration.
The extreme position taken by the Obama Justice Department in the Hosanna-Tabor case is a reflection of ideologically-based hiring. Under the Obama administration, the Justice Department has chosen to hire only liberal lawyers, not moderates or conservatives, for key Justice Department posts that are supposed to be non-political career appointments. Although many experienced lawyers are out of work in the current economic slump, the Obama Justice Department has hired many liberals who have no real-world legal experience, rather than hiring based on merit.

Sunday, January 29, 2012

Lawyer Sues Ex For Online Posting Claiming He Cheated

Remember that old joke about the fictional law firm by the name of Dewey, Cheatem & Howe?

Well, a prominent Connecticut lawyer is suing two jilted ex-girlfriends for posting negative feedback (is there any other kind?) about his alleged cheating on liarscheatersrus.com--a website that bills itself as "simply a source of support and discussion regarding the topic of infidelity and betrayal of trust."

The attorney's civil lawsuit alleges tortuous interference with prospective business relations.

Regardless of who did what to whom in terms of unfaithfulness, perhaps the most sordid aspect of this dispute is that the women are being representative by publicity seeking ambulance chaser Gloria Allred, who seemingly specializes in press conferences rather than actual appearances in court.

The People's Court: Justice or Just Us?

                                                   photo credit: pvera via photopin cc

$5 million/year for what amounts to a part-time job?

Not bad at all.

That's what former Miami judge Marilyn Milian makes a year for presiding over TV's long-running The People's Court, according to today's New York Post, which claims the show has racheted up the controversy ("harsher and more sexualized in recent years") since the Judge Wapner era.

The Post article delves into how a recent plaintiff has gone to real court to stop an episode from being aired after she was allegedly humilated by the judge. Claudia Evart says that "It was a nightmare, and I wish I never did it." The article also discusses missing person Michele Parker who disappeared shortly after her contentious appearance in the TV courtroom.

According to the article, the show pays the entire judgment for the loser in cases that originate in real small claims courts around the country as well as a nominal appearance fee to both litigants. This may be a change; some years back we saw a standard contract for the show that set forth a sliding scale of reimbursement based on the judgment amount. Since no money is apparently changing hands between the parties, it's interesting that the litigants still get very fired up when they plead their case on TV.

The long-running show is one of our guilty pleasures. The authors of the Post article aren't particularly enamored, however:
Milian, 50, is the fourth judge in the show’s history, and her immense popularity must be part of some visceral need Americans currently have to be hectored and lectured by well-coiffed middle-aged women (see: Nancy Grace, Judge Judy).
Milian, however, is a far more feminine, flirtatious presence. Although she also exhibits the Grace/Judge Judy brand of explosive, unpredictable female rage, her docket is far more sexed up, it’s cases like mini reality shows.
Our main issue with the show is that the judge sometimes doesn't allow the parties to get a word in edgewise (was that a timer next to her on the bench?). This may also be a function of having the litigants thoroughly pre-interviewed by producers. Yet, as we have written previously...
Okay, so she also showboats, grandstands, and yells at the litigants, and she sometimes even prevents the parties from introducing all of their evidence. Yet, the show is unusually informative for the viewer in that Judge Milian takes the time to explain how the principles of law apply to each case (as does the TMZ guy who does the wrap-around commentary in Times Square).
Another fun aspect of the show is when a plaintiff or defendant claims to have a key piece of evidence that will blow the case wide open, "but I don't have it with me."

Update: A court apparently turned down Evart's motion to prevent the episode from being broadcast. "Judge Lucy Billings of the New York State Supreme Court agreed with [People's Court lawyers] arguments, which were rooted in First Amendment law and also based on agreements that Evart had signed in connection with her appearance on the program." The segment aired on Friday, February 17, and we will post it as soon as it becomes available online.

Saturday, January 28, 2012

Jenny Dell To Replace Heidi Watney on Red Sox TV

Dude, you're getting a Dell.

Jenny Dell, that is.

According to various news outlets, including ESPN Boston, Jenny Dell will become the new Boston Red Sox in-game reporter on the NESN sports network. She replaces Heidi Watney who returned to the left coast.

Saturday, January 21, 2012

Keystone Pipeline is Shovel Ready, but Obama Blocks it Anyway

U.S. energy independence is both an economic and a national security issue. Canadian pundit Ezra Levant of the Sun News Network raises a basic question in this video: Why does the Obama administration prefer to buy oil from dictatorships such as Saudi Arabia and Venezuela rather than from our friend and ally Canada via the "shovel ready" Keystone XL Pipeline?

Does blocking the pipeline project make sense to anyone outside of radical environmentalists and other ideologues and cronies whose agenda supersedes the best interests of our country.

Levant: "Obama treats enemies like friends and friends like enemies."

If Prime Minister Stephen Harper does eventually go ahead and sell the oil to China instead, where does that leave us?


Writing at Forbes.com, Warren Meyer contends that that environmental impact concerns were exaggerated by those advocating "Medieval Socialism" and that "the Obama Administration could easily have approved the line with conditions or route modifications." Moreover...
The Keystone XL pipeline would have single-handedly carried more energy to the United States than the sum of all the green energy projects funded by the Obama Administration. And it would have done so entirely with private  funds rather than the [Administration's] increasingly ill-fated and ham-handed attempts at venture capitalism with taxpayer funds. The fact of the matter is that, for the foreseeable future, opposing fossil fuels is equivalent to opposing energy use.
Let's stop politicizing science.

Tuesday, January 17, 2012

The Most Interesting Man in the...South Carolina Primary

   [Image ©Glenn Francis, www.PacificProDigital.com]

GOP presidential candidate Rick Santorum this week called front-running rival Mitt Romney "bland and boring."

Would any of remaining candidates, including Mr. Santorum himself, be considered charismatic?

If you were casting for the Dos Equis beer "the most interesting man in the world" radio and TV commercials, would any of these dudes qualify?

We do know, however, that Newt Gingrich (particularly in his performance last night) is the best debater in the group.

The infighting among the the active candidates is one thing; what continues to be disturbing is the intense hostility among the commenters on the right-of-center blogs. "My candidate is perfect--your horrible candidate is fatally flawed." "My candidate is electable--your wretched candidate has no chance in November."

The actual comments aren't that polite.

If Romney is the nominee, we have no idea if he will be a good general election candidate. For one thing, in an ill-advised search for something to brag about in the 2008 presidential election, the former governor messed up bigtime by implementing RomneyCare in Massachusetts.

That being said, given the intellectually bankrupt mainstream media who will protect and push Obama at every turn, the Republican alternative--whoever he is--will have his hands full.

Only one person can get the GOP nomination. To save the country from socialism and crony capitalism, those on the right and in the middle must unite in support of that candidate in the 2012 general election.

To all those Romney bashers, as well as bashers of other candidates who seek "purity" on all issues, do you really want Obama by default spending four more years loading up the federal agencies and federal courts with radical ideologues?

Friday, January 13, 2012

Tim Tebow--All He Does is Win...Sometimes

Except perhaps for Around the Horn's clown prince Woody Paige, no one is giving the Denver Broncos a chance against the New England Patriots in Saturday's NFL playoff match-up.

That being said, Tebow-mania appears to be here to stay regardless of what happens on the gridiron tomorrow night.

Here is DJ Steve Porter's superb tribute to the both maligned and celebrated former Florida quarterback featuring, among others, Paige's equally low-key ESPN colleague Skip Bayless:

Date Rape Allegation by Casey Anthony

In newly released pre-trial depositions, America's non-sweetheart Casey Anthony claims that she became pregnant with her late daughter Caylee following what amounted to date rape at a 2004 party. Anthony told the court-appointed psychiatrist and psychologist (who never testified during the murder trial) that she was drugged and passed out at the party and has no idea who the father might have been.

Separately, the New York Post claims that Anthony wants to fire her lawyer Jose Baez because--get this--Baez is too much of a publicity hound to help her cash in on her fame:
Sources tell us Anthony is furious that Baez has been basking in the limelight and rubbing shoulders with top TV talent, but hasn’t nailed down a big interview deal for her.
Anthony is in hiding somewhere in Florida while serving a year of probation on an unrelated check fraud conviction.

New Hampshire Primary Vote Fraud

New Hampshire's motto is "live free or die." It could also be "vote even you're dead."

In this video made on primary day, muckraker James O'Keefe reveals how easy it is to commit vote fraud in that state--and in other states that require no photo ID to vote or that fail to scrub the voter rolls of ineligible voters.

Only the Alice in Wonderland Democrats (including New Hampshire's governor who vetoed a voter ID bill) oppose reasonable efforts to prevent shenanigans at the polls.

Corrupt or incompetent state officials, aided and abetted by the U.S. Justice Department, are turning a blind eye to vote fraud--although in this case the New Hampshire attorney general claims he will conduct an investigation.

Requiring voters to show a photo ID before voting is one issue; fraud-prevention reforms also need to be made in the distribution of absentee ballots.

Monday, January 9, 2012

Is Illegal Immigration Still Illegal?

In its ongoing efforts to circumvent Congress, the Obama administration has announced a new rule that would "significantly shorten the time that illegal immigrants would have to spend away from their U.S. citizen spouses or parents while seeking legal status." On the surface, it sound reasonable perhaps.

But Mark Krikorian, president of the Center for Immigration Studies, told the Washington Post that...
the rule change could encourage marriage fraud by taking the risks out of applying for a waiver. 'There’s a reason to make people leave the country when they’re applying,' he said. “If they get turned down, they’ve already deported themselves.”
The rule change, he said, “presupposes the approval of all applicants — and if you don’t get it, you just go back to what you were doing.”
The administration also already tried to implement a stealth amnesty program that undermines the rule of law and national security.

But it gets worse. Separately, the Daily reports that there is rampant corruption in the federal government when it comes to granting visas:
Higher-ups within U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services are pressuring rank-and-file officers to rubber-stamp immigrants’ visa applications, sometimes against the officers’ will, according to a Homeland Security report and internal documents exclusively obtained by The Daily.
A 40-page report, drafted by the Office of Inspector General in September but not publicly released, details the immense pressure immigration service officers are under to approve visa applications quickly, sometimes while overlooking concerns about fraud, eligibility or security.
One-quarter of the 254 officers surveyed said they have been pressured to approve questionable cases, sometimes “against their will.”
Once again, this administration puts politics above the rule of law and national security.

The left has a penchant for opening the floodgates to illegal immigration regardless of the consequences. The Labor Party in the U.K. (which was thrown out of office in 2010) did the same thing according to the London Telegraph:
The huge increases in migrants over the last decade were partly due to a politically motivated attempt by ministers to radically change the country and "rub the Right's nose in diversity", according to Andrew Neather, a former adviser to Tony Blair, Jack Straw and David Blunkett
He said Labour's relaxation of controls was a deliberate plan to "open up the UK to mass migration" but that ministers were nervous and reluctant to discuss such a move publicly for fear it would alienate its "core working class vote".
 ...Critics said the revelations showed a "conspiracy" within Government to impose mass immigration for "cynical" political reasons.
The Clinton/Gore administration apparently fast-tracked about one million aliens for naturalization in time for the 2000 election without going through the appropriate security checks but there was never a full investigation of this shady deal.

Through the White House Looking Glass

With all the irrational, bad-faith, and unconstitutional actions by the Obama administration, we often thought we might be living in an Alice in Wonderland world--but figuratively speaking only.

Until now.

Apparently, the administration adopted its literal meaning, the New York Post reports:
It was the tea party the Obamas just couldn’t resist. 
A White House “Alice in Wonderland” costume ball — put on by Johnny Depp and Hollywood director Tim Burton — proved to be a Mad-as-a-Hatter idea that was never made public for fear of a political backlash during hard economic times, according to a new tell-all...
The book reveals how any official announcement of the glittering affair — coming at a time when Tea Party activists and voters furious over the lagging economy, 10-percent unemployment rate, bank bailouts and Obama’s health-care plan were staging protests — quickly vanished down the rabbit hole.

Thursday, January 5, 2012

Facebook Sending Couples to Splitsvile

Christmas often comes a bit later for divorce lawyers. It is often said that attorneys who handle divorces get to cash a lot of checks in January from new clients. Once spouses with serious relationship troubles make it past the holidays, "it's a land rush," to quote Seinfield's Kramer (in another context).

But the January reverse nuptials may be on the way out. According to London's Daily Mail, there is something else in play beyond a couple on the verge of a breakup possibly feeling obligated to hold on on through the holiday season for the sake of the family. Apparently people are liking each other a little too much on Facebook.
Facebook is becoming a  major factor in marriage breakdowns and is increasingly being used as a source of evidence in divorce cases, according to lawyers.
The social networking site was cited as a reason for a third of divorces last year in which unreasonable behaviour was a factor, according to law firm Divorce-Online.
The firm said it had seen a 50 per cent jump in the number of behaviour-based divorce petitions that contained the word ‘Facebook’ in the past two years.
As quoted in the article, the managing director of Divorce-Online added that "'People contact ex-partners and the messages start as innocent, but lead to trouble." He also warned about Facebook postings: "People need to be  careful what they put on  Facebook as the courts are now seeing a lot more evidence being introduced from people’s walls and posts in disputes over finances  and children."

Is this Casey Anthony?

This video diary allegedly made by Casey Anthony has leaked to the Internet:

[h/t Mediaite]

Monday, January 2, 2012

Erin Andrews Files Lawsuit in Internet Video Case

                                                             [image credit:  Neon Tommy]

Whether you are a celebrity or an just a ordinary person, being victimized by a stalker must be a horrible, disgusting experience. The law should come down on stalkers like a ton of bricks.

ESPN's Erin Andrews recently filed a civil lawsuit for invasion of privacy, negligence, and emotional distress against a Marriott hotel in Nashville and the peeping tom who filmed her through a hotel room peephole seeking a total of $10 million in damages. The perpetrator himself is already serving 2-1/2 years in federal prison for his misdeeds.

Reuters reports that...
According to the lawsuit, Andrews said the hotel was guilty of negligence for, among other things, allowing Barrett to know that Andrews was staying in the hotel and then allowing him to book a room next to her own. Andrews was in Nashville to cover a Vanderbilt University football game.
She also said the hotel was negligent for failing to discover Barrett altered the peephole of the plaintiff's hotel room door, allowing the videos to be taken.
The suit said the videotaping and posting of the nude images continues to cause Andrews "great emotional distress and embarrassment."
Presumably hotels around the country have retrofitted the peepholes to prevent this kind of sick activity from happening again to anyone.

The hotel room video went viral on the Internet as everyone probably remembers. In May 2010, Elisabeth Hasselback of The View got into a lot of trouble for saying that the convicted stalker could have avoided jail and seen almost as much of Andrews just by watching her on Dancing with the Stars. Hasselback apologized on air the next day.

Here are Hasselback's original remarks followed by what appears to be a heartfelt apology:

Hasselback, who parlayed a near-win on the second season of Survivor into a talk show career, is the token conservative on The View, which puts her under a lot of unfair pressure even on a good day. Despite the resources that she can likely command for prep work, however, Hasselback is sadly seldom able to effectively refute the usual liberal claptrap (based on the footage we've seen on the Internet) from all the other regulars on that show on a daily basis when the subject under discussion is politics.

In this particular instance, she stumbled into the minefield of political correctness that goes well beyond the usual partisan ideological conflicts (and during which one of the other panelists indicates that it's okay to be half naked if you're being paid).

For some reason, Eric Bolling of FNC'sThe Five described Hasselbeck as "so smart" in a November broadcast, which makes us glad Bolling is not managing our stock portfolio.

Irrespective of her lackluster debating skills, were Hasselback's original comments out of line? Or was she saying what others might have been thinking at the time?

Most Viewed Posts of 2011

In case you missed any of these "brilliant" contributions the first time around, here are our most viewed postings of roughly the past year (actually more than a year taking into consideration that this blog was inactive for a period of time in 2011). Happy new year.
Related: Most Viewed Posts of December 2011

Dude Makes Grand Entrance to The People's Court

This is being touted on several websites as the best People's Court entrance ever.

Actually, there is a better one: A defendant did a 360-degree spin as he came through the door as if he is auditioning for one of those talent search shows. When she took the bench, Judge Milian raked him over the coals for disrespecting the court. If anyone has this video, please send it our way.

This plaintiff made honorable mention:

Update: The Real Best People's Court Entrance Ever

A reader was kind enough to provide the link to the video that we discussed above. Here it is: