Only in New Orleans. Reason brings us what was aptly described as “arguably the easiest collar in the annals of policework.”  A city attorney was arrested when a joint fell out of his pocket while he was talking to a couple of police officers in a courtroom.

Might I suggest leaving your weed at home when you go to work next time?  Most especially when you work around a bunch of people whose job it is to put people in jail for that sort of thing.  Just a suggestion.



Scratch Brussels off of the Vacation List

ABC reports that Brussels, Belgium has passed rules fining people between €75 and €250  for using insulting or offensive language.

“Any form of insult is from now on [is] punishable, whether it be racist, homophobic or otherwise,” Brussels Mayor Freddy Thielemans’ spokesperson quoted him as saying, according to the Telegraph.

This calls for another letter. Second one in a single day, too.

Dear Mayor Thielemans:

Go fuck yourself, you miserable, fat, Belgian bastard.


Guess I can kiss that Brussels vacation goodbye now.

ht PJ Media

Update: I knew this sounded familiar


Of Course they Didn’t Intend those Unintended Consequences

Government regulation of the big bad, evil, poopyhead bankers has unintended consequences for the little guy. Whoda thunk it?

Big banks have been firing low-level employees like Eggers since the issuance of new federal banking employment guidelines in May 2011 and new mortgage employment guidelines in February.

The tougher standards are meant to weed out executives and mid-level bank employees guilty of transactional crimes, like identity fraud or mortgage fraud, but they are being applied across-the-board thanks to $1 million a day fines for noncompliance.

Overlawyered points out that two of the heinous criminals caught up in the dragnet are:

…a bank employee with seven years’ service who used a slug in a washing machine in 1963, and a 58-year-old customer service representative with a shoplifting conviction forty years ago.

Of course, one might argue that the intent of the law was to ensure the honesty and integrity of the greedy corporate banker fat cats slobs and not to allow said greedy…etc to use the threat of $1 million per day fines as a reason to fire good, honest, hard-working people at the low levels of the totem pole. There’s really no threat from the million dollar per day fines to the banks.  Surely prosecutors would know that these people have done their time and are entitled to the presumption that a clean plate over the past several decades means that they are not the devious douchebags that this law was intended to target.  Federal prosecutors would certainly use their discretion and not go after the bank for failure to fire a guy who spent 60 days in the county lockup back in 1972.  Surely, no prosecutor would ever abuse that discretion in order to further their careersOf course notNever.

Of course, if it did somehow happen, they’d be held accountable, right?  So this whole exercise is merely an excuse to get rid of employees that they don’t like.

It certainly couldn’t be another example of congress passing a I’m-tough-on-the-boogeyman-du-jour-look-what-I-did law without actually thinking it through.

The Case of the Cooked Keister

The alliteration just writes itself.  A big tip ‘o the hat to Overlawyered, who brings us the story of a woman suing the Dallas Cowboys because of the badly blistered butt she suffered when sitting on a big black bench.

Jennelle Carrillo, who lives in Cleburne, is suing the Cowboys and team owner Jerry Jones for the third-degree burns she suffered on her buttocks after sitting on a black, marble bench at the Dallas Cowboys Stadium two years ago while waiting for the debut Blue & Silver scrimmage.

Yes, she’s literally suing for “butthurt in the first degree.”

In her lawsuit, Carrillo contends that Cowboys Stadium officials didn’t warn her or others about the dangers of sitting on the uncovered bench in the hot summer sun.

While I have sympathy for her pain, I have to wonder about her contention that a citizen of Texas, or anyone with common sense for that matter, would need to be warned about sitting on a black marble bench in 101-degree heat.  Or, once it started to hurt, would continue sitting on said bench until needing to use the restroom.

Note:  Ken at Popehat is responsible for coining the term “butthurt in the first degree“.  I make no claim on the phrase other than gleefully making use of it at every opportunity.

9 out of 10 Can’t Tell the Difference Between North Face Apparel and a Dead Crab

Timothy Geigner at Techdirt brings us a story full of drama, humor, and a double-layered Streisand Effect.  It seems that an 18-year old student named Jimmy Winkelmann was sued previously by North Face for creating a parody line of clothing named The South Butt.  Hilarity, as they say, ensued.

Now North Face is suing Winkelmann again.  It seems that they are very unhappy that, after settling in the previous lawsuit, Winkelmann simply re-branded to a new parody mark–The Butt Face.  And they’re extremely butthurt (pun intended) that this young man used, and is using, the threat of legal action for publicity purposes.  From the filing:

TSB’s carefully orchestrated publicity and use of the lawsuit as a marketing campaign is detailed in Winkelmann, Sr.’s sworn deposition testimony, wherein he described how—even before The North Face filed its lawsuit against TSB—TSB devised a plan to increase sales by “stir[ring] up a lot of publicity.”

So, of course, North Face had no choice whatsoever but to file another legal action that will garner more publicity for Winkelmann.

The second layer of this Striesand-tastic story is where North Face seriously claims that 35% of their potential customers will be confused.

Fourth, survey results indicating that 34.5% of respondents associate THE BUTT FACE Trademark with The North Face show both extremely high recognition of THE NORTH FACE Trademarks as well as a high level of association with THE BUTT FACE Trademark.

Techdirt questions the methodology thusly:

If this is alledging[sic]  brand confusion, I’m at a loss as to exactly how North Face went out and managed to collect what has to be the world’s most hurried morons in a single room as a method for getting 35% of them to think Butt Face and North Face were the same thing.

To be fair, I looked in the filing and didn’t find a statement where North Face claims “OVER ONE-THIRD OF OUR CUSTOMERS ARE BRAINLESS PRATS”, but I think it’s implied.

So, I see two foolish moves here.  First, I see North Face giving even more publicity to a company that they would probably be better off ignoring.  They get bonus asshat points for complaining about it.  Second, I suspect their marketing boys don’t really think the idea of coming right out and calling your customers stupid in a legal filing is the best of ideas.  Of course, if their customers are that stupid, they’ll probably get away with that bit.

Life imitates art.

The Arrests will Continue Until Everyone is Happy

It’s well documented that the London Olympics are trying to control all of the messaging surrounding the games, from policing pub blackboards with unapproved beer logos to freaking out over non-sponsored condoms in the Olympic Village.

It now seems that not enjoying an event in public is also something that must be stamped out.

Worsfold, whose experience was first reported by Private Eye, claims police questioned him about his demeanour and why he had not been seen to be visibly enjoying the event. Worsfold, who was diagnosed with Parkinson’s in 2010, suffers from muscle rigidity that affects his face. He was released after two hours without charge or caution.

Funny, usually the police arrest people for having too much fun.  I think the constables in the Surrey police department need some remedial training in bullshit arrest protocols.

h/t Lowering the Bar

I Can’t Imagine Why the TSA Wouldn’t Want Public Input

So, a year ago the US Court of Appeals for the District of Columbia determined that the TSA’s nude body scanners are permissible, just as long as the TSA retroactively followed federal rulemaking requirements and got public input.

However, the appellate court, which is one stop from the Supreme Court, said that the Transportation Security Administration breached federal law in 2009 when it formally adopted the airport scanners as the “primary” method of screening. The judges said the TSA violated the Administrative Procedures Act for failing to have a 90-day public comment period, and ordered the agency to undertake one.

In other words, we’re not going to make you dump the rule that you put in place (the one that you expect the little people to follow) merely because you didn’t follow the laws that apply to federal agencies.  However, you need to at least pretend to follow the rules, so you will have to hold public hearings very soon.  Go forth, listen to the public, nod gravely, and then write a report whilst continuing to do what you damned well please.  If you do that, the court will magically deem you to be nice and legal and might even put a happy face stamp on the final judgement.

Seems the TSA doesn’t even want to do this.

A federal appeals court Wednesday ordered the Transportation Security Administration to explain why it hasn’t complied with the court’s year-old decision demanding the agency hold public hearings concerning the rules and regulations pertaining to the so-called nude body scanners installed in U.S. airport security checkpoints.

I’m not surprised that the TSA is ignoring the court’s ruling.  After all, they violate their own rules on a regular basis.  I do, however, find it highly ironic that an agency that makes its living doing security theater is balking at doing compliance theater.  I’d think it right up their alley.   Hot Air jokes that the TSA is having trouble fitting their response into 3 oz bottles, but I’m not so sure.  I’m wondering if, like many prima donnas, the TSA can only work under conditions of absolute love and adoration of their fans.  Knowing the low esteem in which the TSA is held by a good chunk of the citizenry, the precious feelings of the agency might be hurt by having to listen to actual citizen input.

Can’t have that.

Fire or Acid for Trolls, Dummy!

It’s well-known that you cannot permanently kill a troll unless you burn the corpse with fire or acid.

When we last left our story, the infamous copyright troll Righthaven had been soundly thrashed in court by lawyers from the EFF, Marc Randazza Legal Group, and others.  It had been beaten down so badly in so many cases that all who looked upon the corpse pronounced it well and truly dead.  So dead that a judge placed the company in receivership where its assets (such as were left by then) were auctioned off to pay for damages and legal fees to the people they had sued.  I think they made about $6.50 at that point, but I may be off a bit.

But like the mythical troll, Righthaven is trying to get back up and re-enter the fray.

Righthaven’s former chief executive wants a judge to resurrect the firm in order to appeal a court decision that found it was not infringement for an individual, who had no profit motive, to re-post an entire story online.

I’m no lawyer.  Nor do I play one on TV.  However, since their agreement with the Las Vegas Review Journal came to light, which showed that they didn’t own the copyrights that they were suing over, they don’t really seem to have done very well in court.  I think the term is 0-for-ever.  Even the biggest cock-eyed optimist would have to consider that the odds are infinitesimally low that a  grand reversal of fortune is likely to occur.  And yet, shuffling forward like some low-grade zombie, is former Righthaven CEO Steve Gibson.

Steve Gibson, Righthaven’s former chief executive, said if Righthaven prevails on appeal it could “return to a going concern” and satisfy its debts.

Alas, the Wired article didn’t quote him as saying “braaaaainnnnsssss…”  Still, whether zombie, troll, or some other horrible denizen of the netherworld, I have to give Mr. Gibson credit for persistence.

I think several flaming 55-gallon drums of acid may be needed here.  And a wooden stake too, just in case.


Edit:  All that babbling and I forgot to tip the hat to Righthaven Lawsuits for the original link

Refuse to Take Money or We’ll Sue

I wonder who actually thought this was a good idea:

The Hayride has learned that the Louisiana Association of Educators is sending demand letters to private schools participating in the Student Scholarships for Educational Excellence program, the state voucher plan, insisting that those schools pull out of the program.

The letter in question threatens to sue unless the schools withdraw.

If we do not receive a signed copy of the attached letter from you by 4:00 P.M. on Friday, July 27, 2012, we will have no alternative other than to institute litigation against [school name redacted]…

The linked article states, correctly, that this is going to be a PR nightmare for the union.   On the other hand, it also mentions that from a legal perspective, it makes perfect sense.

From a legal standpoint it’s understandable. The teachers’ unions are trying to beat the voucher plan with a lawsuit after failing to beat it in the legislative process, so it makes sense to sue the participants in the program along with the state.

The problem with this analysis, from my non-lawyerly perspective, is this: the union is currently in litigation against the state.  If they win, there won’t be a program for the schools to participate in anyway.  And even if they pick off some low-hanging fruit and force a few schools out with their thuggish threats, I strongly suspect it won’t be enough to make a difference if the court upholds the law (and the schools would likely re-apply anyway).  All it does is make the LAE look like a bunch of petulant jerks who are throwing a temper tantrum because they didn’t get their way in the legislative process.  I suspect that even people who would otherwise be inclined to support the union may be turned off by this stunt.

h/t Overlawyered

Well, Imagine That

In my last post, I suggested that Mayor Bloomberg would probably go ban something enjoyable to make himself feel better.  I will say that I didn’t expect to become a prophet so soon…

Having attacked smoking, trans fats and sugary drinks, the Bloomberg administration is ramping up its campaign against alcohol abuse, The Post has learned.

Broken clock right twice per day and such, but I’ll take the easy ones. I’m not proud.