Thursday, December 8, 2016

Sanctity of Marriage

Compliment?  Lately my blog has gotten me unsolicited job offers from companies specializing in misinformation.

Getting a little upset with people who still want the news to be truthful. Get with the times!


Scott Pruitt, the Oklahoma attorney general, at Trump Tower in Manhattan on Wednesday.
Trump Picks Scott Pruitt, Climate Change Denialist, to Lead E.P.A.


Mr. Pruitt, the Oklahoma attorney general, has been a key architect of the legal battle against President Obama's climate change policies.

Donald Trump Is Said to Intend to Keep a Stake in His Business


The president-elect is said to be considering turning over his company to his two adult sons, but planning to resist calls to divest.

Surge in Dollar Provokes Jitters in Emerging Markets Around World


Countries that have been binging on cheap dollar debt for more than a decade now face a spike in debt servicing costs and elevated debt burdens.


Man sues after DNA sample mix-up put him in jail for 61 days

DNA helix
A Denver man has filed a federal suit against Denver crime lab investigators for allegedly mislabeling or mishandling DNA samples in a rape investigation, leading to false accusations against him and a 61-day pretrial stint in jail.
The suit filed by Shawnnon Hale on Dec. 5 claims the misidentification occurred months after he attended a July 2014 party on the rape victim’s rooftop. The woman had passed out during the party and awoke the next morning with her panties off, vaginal pain and no recollection of what happened, the suit says. The Washington Post and the Denver Post covered the suit(PDF).
Hale said he and his friends went to the party at the invitation of the woman, who had joined the group at a bar and extended the invitation. The group went to the woman’s rooftop to watch July 4 fireworks.
When Hale was arrested, crime lab analysts had claimed DNA found on the victim was the same as DNA identified through a criminal database, and it identified Hale. In reality, the suit says, Hale’s DNA matched that on a cigarette butt on the rooftop, but did not match DNA found on the victim.
See also:
ABAJournal: “Innocent man jailed 2 months in rape case; DA blames DNA label ‘clerical error’”


German Coal Company Allowed To Clear Cut 12,000 Year Old Forest

by jonathanturley
300px-biogradska_sumaGermany has pledged to cut carbon emissions by up to 95 percent by 2050 by virtually ending the use of coal for energy. However, that will not come in time to save the spectacular Hambach Forest, an ancient woodlands in Germany that lies between the cities of Cologne and Aachen. The forest is 12,000-years-old and is irreplaceable. However, the government has given the go ahead to Germany's second-largest electricity producer RWE to clear cut the ancient trees to extract the coal underneath.



Israel Bars Entry To Boycott Advocate In Major Free Speech Controversy

by jonathanturley
th-1th-2For the first time, Israel has denied entry to a prominent traveler due to her part advocacy of the Boycott, Divestment and Sanctions (BDS) movement. African theologian and academic Isabel Phiri is an assistant general secretary with the World Council of Churches in Geneva. She was refused a visa at Israel’s Ben Gurion airport on Monday afternoon. The decision has raised a long-standing concern over people being barred from Israel for their political views and protected speech. The decision this week raises the concern that millions of people supporting the BDS movement could be barred from entry on the basis of their political views.


Are ‘the privileged’ biased against blogging and social media?

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Law blogs opportunity
Most law firm leaders question the value of blogging and other social media by lawyers. What could be learned? What could such activity do for professional and business development?
At law schools, it’s worse. Deans and career development professionals dismiss social media out of hand. Most warn law students to stay away from blogging and social media for fear students will say something that will forever haunt them.
I thought these folks were just ignorant. They didn’t know what they were talking about. They never tried blogging and social media for professional, business and career development.
But reading a piece in Inside Higher Education by college professor and writer, John Warner (@biblioracle), got me wondering if the privileged status of those in large law and academia wasn’t the reason for their shortsightedness.
Professor Warner took on Georgetown Professor Cal Newport, who had written in the New York Times two weeks ago, that professionals and students should quit social media before it hurts their career. Newport, who’s never had a social media account in his life sees social media use as the enemy of “deep thinking” which in turn hinders professional development.
Newport sees professional success as hard, but not complicated.
The foundation to achievement and fulfillment, almost without exception, requires that you hone a useful craft and then apply it to things that people care about. This is a philosophy perhaps best summarized by the advice Steve Martin used to give aspiring entertainers: ‘Be so good they can’t ignore you.’ If you do that, the rest will work itself out, regardless of the size of your Instagram following.”
Warner knows this is sheer fantasy. Sure, we should all strive to be be good, but we’re not all on a level playing field. Some of us need social media and blogging to make a name for ourselves.
Take two of Warner’s favorite scholars and professors, Tressie McMillian Cottom and Roxane Gay.
As women of color, history shows us they likely need to be better than “good” in order to receive the recognition that Prof. Newport believes will come if you do what the meritocracy asks. These women had every reason to believe that their being good would indeed be ignored.
And so each in their own way used social media not to tweet memes or fart around, but to advocate for recognition of their (and others’) “goodness.” In addition to their distinguished scholarly and professional work they utilized the tool of social media to become public voices. They made space for themselves that otherwise might not have been available.
It worked. Not only do Professors Cottom and Gay now frequently publish in prestige outlets like The Atlantic or the New York Times, but they also have established platforms independent of those outlets where they may be heard. Prof. Cottom’s essay “Finding Hope in a Loveless Place,” for my money the most profound work of commentary in the wake of the recent election, became a viral read after being posted on her own blog.
Look at those who have achieved so much through blogging and social media on the law.
Allison Rowe, who as a young lawyer spoke at the Kentucky Derby to international breeders, just one year after chasing her dream to do equine law. A dream begun with a blog. Would the next firm to hire Rowe have given her the opportunity to do equine law but for her Equine Law Blog?
Staci Riordan, who put the name on fashion law as a young lawyer at a more traditional law firm, Fox Rothschild, via her Fashion Law Blog and the use of Facebook long before most of us ever discovered the social network.
Think Rush Nigut, a “Triple-A city” lawyer in Des Moines, would be recognized by the Wall Street Journal as one of the nation’s leading franchise law attorneys without blogging. Being so good no one could ignore him was hardly going to get Nigut on the national stage.
Warner’s right.
The source of Prof. Newport’s narrow gaze is the same flaw we see in all self-help books, a singular focus on the success stories. His oeuvre: How to Win at College, How to Become a Straight A Student, How to Be a High School Superstar are all targeted to the relatively privileged, those who are competing from the already rarefied air, for example, those for whom the advice not to take so many A.P. courses may apply because their high schools actually offer A.P. courses.
Prof. Newport peddles a fantasy, a lie, one that resonates with a narrow slice of the professional class and all but erases the experiences of those who have been traditionally marginalized.
Is it possible that those leading large law firms come from a narrow slice of this professional class? The best colleges, premier law schools, clerkships and onto law firms in high rises with huge starting salaries. Senior partnerships generating a seven figure salary.
Law school deans and tenured professors with strong academic pedigrees may have shared some of the same privileges.
No question these folks worked hard to get where they are, but they may have had an edge over the less privileged or disadvantaged. Women and minorities certainly hold less senior management positions in large law than white men.
Many studying to be lawyers were simply not as smart from an IQ standpoint. Many had to work to put themselves through college and law school, permitting less time for studying. Others raised a family and worked full time during law school.
Sure, many lawyers overcame the unequal playing field. So much so that they could not be ignored. But many lawyers have not and will not without the advantages presented by blogging and social media.
It’s important that the privileged appreciate what they were given and realize the opportunity social media and blogging provide the less fortunate.


Weather Channel Gives Glacial Response To Breitbart’s Climate Change Denial

by jonathanturley
screen-shot-2016-12-08-at-7-29-07-amThe Weather Channel is not where one would expect a media scrum but the venerable channel went after conservative site Breitbart with a haymaker of a video after it used one of its reporters, Kait Parker, for a story suggesting that the Earth is actually getting colder. The video is below.




Tech knowledge makes lawyers more productive, and could be key to increasing access to justice

Dec 8, 2016, 8:30 am CST

Fox Rothschild lawyer dies at 104; he was still practicing law

Dec 8, 2016, 7:45 am CST


Man sues after DNA sample mix-up put him in jail for 61 days
Dec 7, 2016, 2:32 pm CST



Austin Lawyer Hit With $175K in Sanctions for 'Bad Faith' Conduct in ADA Cases

, Texas Lawyer

In a scathingly worded 47-page order, a U.S. magistrate judge in Austin granted motions filed in six cases to impose sanctions against an attorney and awarded $175,672 in fees and expenses.
The sanctions were sought by defense counsel against Omar Rosales, an Austin lawyer who represented the same client in multiple lawsuits filed under the Americans with Disabilities Act.
In his order granting the sanctions, U.S. Magistrate Judge Mark Lane of the Western District of Texas also referred allegations against Rosales to the Western District of Texas Disciplinary Committee, asking it to address whether further sanctions are appropriate.
"[T] court specifically requests that the Committee consider whether disbarment from the Western District is proper," Lane wrote.
"Normally, people resort to the court system to resolve grievances and discover the truth. In these six cases, however, Rosales has used this system to create strife and perpetuate lies," Lane wrote.
Rosales has been ordered to pay defense lawyer James Harrington, the founder and former director of the Texas Civil Rights Project and a longtime civil rights plaintiff lawyer, $32,962.50 in fees, and Harrington's counsel Herring & Panzer, $136,122.50 in fees and $6,588.78 in expenses, according to Lane's order.
Lane found Rosales acted in bad faith—making false statements about Harrington in filings, submitting a fabricated email, and filing a police report and application for an ex parte temporary restraining order against Harrington.
"Because the wide range of conduct at issue in this case does not fall neatly within Rule 11, or any other Rule, the court will apply the inherent powers framework," Lane wrote to explain the reasons behind his sanctions.
According to Lane's order, Harrington sent Rosales an email from Harrington's legal assistant. In the email, the assistant referred to Rosales as "El Sapo." In response, Rosales filed what ultimately were unsuccessful motions for sanctions against Harrington, claiming the term "El Sapo" was racist and referred to an animal. In his response to Rosales' motions, Harrington apologized, explained he had mistakenly forwarded the assistant's email, and that the term "El Sapo" did not express racism, nor had he personally used it to describe Rosales.
According to Lane's order, Rosales then filed additional, also ultimately unsuccessful motions for sanctions against Harrington, titling them: "Motion for Sanctions: Further Racist Comments by Defense Counsel." In those, Rosales alleged Harrington was "racist" and "insensitive" because he noticed for a deposition at Maudie's, a local Mexican restaurant, which was owned by the defendants and was a location named in the ADA complaints. "Rosales claimed it was racist to notice the deposition at Maudie's because he is Mexican-American and because Harrington knew that Rosales' first job was in a Mexican restaurant," Lane wrote.
"The ADA is not a perfect law, and the federal judiciary is not a perfect system. Both depend on advocates who use their powers to promote justice, not pervert it. Rosales' conduct in this litigation exploits not just the noble purposes of the legislation but also the public's faith in the ability of the justice system to render accurate and fair judgments. The sanctions for such abuse must be harsh," Lane wrote in his order.
Rosales did not return a call to his office for this story. Earlier, in a response, Rosales wrote: "It is the defense counsel who has engaged in extreme behavior." In the same response, Rosales repeated allegations about the defense counsel using racist terms and referring to Rosales as an animal.
But Lane appeared unconvinced by Rosales' arguments.
"Rosales' abuse of the litigation process has imposed substantial burdens on defendants, including attorneys' fees—incurred both by Harrington in his own right in having to deal with spurious motions and protracted discovery disputes on defendants' behalf, as well as the attorneys' fees incurred by Harrington's counsel, which he was forced to obtain when Rosales filed baseless sanctions motions against him—as well as costs," Lane wrote.
"Rosales cannot repeatedly hurl offensive and baseless allegations at Harrington and then expect to avoid the financial consequences when Harrington obtains top-flight representation to defend against this character assassination. As Rosales has made his bed, he must lie on it," Lane wrote.




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