Showing posts with label Legal. Show all posts
Showing posts with label Legal. Show all posts

Friday, August 28, 2020

Sue the Hell Out of Them


Leonard Cohen isn't around to sue the Republican National Committee, but his estate is here to sue them into fucking oblivion.
Leonard Cohen’s estate is exploring “legal options” following the unauthorized use of “Hallelujah” during Thursday night’s Republic National Convention.
In a statement, Brian J. Monaco, president and global chief marketing officer of Sony/ATV Music Publishing, said that “on the eve of the finale of the convention, representatives from the Republican National Committee contacted us regarding obtaining permission for a live performance of Leonard Cohen’s ‘Hallelujah’. We declined their request.”
I don't know what's more infuriating about this. Is it because the GOP asked and were denied and played the song anyway? Or is it because the Republicans tried to appropriate the strength and the majesty of this significant piece of pop culture history and steal the beauty of the song and the words?

It's easy to forgive a mistake. When someone picks a song that they can barely sing or uses music that they have a sentimental attachment to for something that doesn't quite match up, you can forgive their desire to do something right but with the wrong pieces. That is not what happened here.

Does the fact that Kate McKinnon sang the song in 2016 just after the election have anything to do with it? Were the Republicans trolling everyone by using it? I don't know.

There is nothing about Trump's presidency that would lead someone to utter the words Halleluja unless they were passing judgement on the end of it. There is no comfort in using this song as the benediction for what amounted to a four day pageant of evil and white grievance. It was used inappropriately by people who do not understand this culture. You don't use this song unless it is meant to express something serious and meaningful. The end of the GOP convention was the culmination of days and days of ignorance and bullshit. That is not where this song needs to be played.

The words that are sung in this song do not match up to the fascist pageantry of self-pity that we witnessed this past week.

Anyway, I sincerely hope that there are a half-dozen extremely capable entertainment industry lawyers who have the time and energy to grind the living shit out of the RNC for using this song in a lawless way. If they need a witness impact statement, they'll have millions to choose from, millions of people who will say that using Leonard's song was an abomination against decency and humanity.

Monday, March 9, 2020

Put and End to This Madness


If Led Zeppelin had been more of a progressive rock band, playing their folk-injected blues for small crowds in Southern England before breaking up after a handful of low-selling albums, you would never have heard of this nonsense:
A US appeals court has reinstated a ruling that British rockers Led Zeppelin did not steal part of their song Stairway to Heaven from another band.
The San Francisco 11-judge panel affirmed a 2016 judgment that found no proof the classic 1971 Zeppelin song breached the copyright of Taurus, written by Randy Wolfe from a Los Angeles band called Spirit.
In 2018 that ruling was overturned by a three-judge panel in San Francisco, which said certain instructions to the district court jury had been “erroneous and prejudicial”, and failed to clarify that the arrangement of elements in the public domain could be considered original.

Led Zeppelin took the case to a larger panel whose decision on Monday, based on the 1909 Copyright Act, put the original ruling back in place.
Stairway to Heaven is estimated to have grossed $3.4m during the five-year period that was at issue in the earlier civil trial.
The Led Zeppelin guitarist Jimmy Page – who was sued along with the group’s singer Robert Plant and another surviving bandmate, John Paul Jones – testified in 2016 that the chord sequence in question had “been around forever”.
But Wolfe’s trustee, Michael Skidmore, said the songs had similar chord progressions and Page may have written Stairway to Heaven after hearing Taurus while Led Zeppelin and Spirit toured together.
“Obviously the court got it wrong,” said the trustee’s lawyer, Francis Malofiy. “This is a big loss for creators, those who copyright laws are meant to protect.” Malofiy said he may appeal to the US supreme court.
I have no doubt that Skidmore will continue this fight with all of the tenacity of a copyright troll, and for good reason. There are tens of millions of dollars at stake, perhaps more than a hundred million. The problem is, the audience for Led Zeppelin is fading away and the value of Stairway to Heaven is disappearing. I have no doubt that there are twenty-somethings who love the song, but it's not a generational thing like it was forty to fifty years ago.

The window is closing, and Skidmore is going to milk this for all it's worth. This is actually destructive for artists, in my opinion, because there really are ripoffs out there and if this case establishes too many negative precedents, then other artists could suffer.

Friday, February 14, 2020

Twelve Years to Get the Truth


This is one of the most despicable things a music label has ever done.
A massive fire burned down a Universal Music Group warehouse in Florida back in 2008, but reports about what was inside — 500,000 high-quality master recordings, many of which were for iconic records — didn’t surface until last year. Now, Universal has acknowledged that master recordings to albums by NirvanaSoundgardenSlayerR.E.M.Elton John were either damaged or destroyed in the fire. 
The reason this is news 12 years later is because Universal never told the artists impacted by the fire in the first place, even those who were the legal owners of those masters. Instead, it was The New York Times who broke the story, which prompted artists like Hole, Soundgarden, and Tom Petty’s estate to file lawsuits against Universal. According to Rolling Stone, as part of the legal proceedings, these artists asked for “a complete list of damaged records.” Universal has now responded by confirming (via filed documents) that the master recordings of 19 artists were “either damaged or destroyed” in the fire.
Universal has been lying to these artists for over twelve years. They've failed to curate and protect the original master recordings for their artists. This hangdog effort to deny what really happened is more about avoiding responsibility than it is about being "confused" as to what was lost. It's inexcusable and they should be sued relentlessly.

Other labels should find a way to protect their own libraries. The real tragedy here would be to fail to learn from what happened.

Monday, April 23, 2018

What Did Richard Ashcroft Get For His Soul?




Never in my life did I think Richard Ashcroft would open for the Rolling Stones or have anything to do with them:

Liam's good pal Richard Ashcroft (of Verve fame) will get things started in Manchester and Edinburgh and further support on the tour will come from the likes of Elbow, The Specials and The Vaccines.

The man who stole his greatest song was named Allen Klein, and he was the man who ripped off everyone because he knew how to do it. He ripped off the Beatles and he ripped off anyone foolish enough to get between him and an easy buck.

Klein and the man he mugged on the way to stealing Bitter Sweet Symphony are both dead, so maybe that's why Ashcroft has decided to take a lucrative solo gig and pretend like it's all water under the bridge.

For those who don't know, Mick Jagger and Keith Richards are credited for, and have made millions from, a song they had nothing to do with:

When Jazz Summers, the manager of the British group the Verve, called in early 1997 to say the band wanted to get publishing clearance for a sample, Iris handled the situation. She told Summers that someone from the record company had already phoned and tried to low-ball ABKCO with an offer of 15 percent. “I’ve told him to f--- off, Jazz,” she said. “We don’t like people stealing our music. I’ve spoken to Allen. We’re not going to agree to this.”

Indeed, Klein was ultraprotective. ABKCO was happy to support writers who wanted to collaborate with other artists, but he saw sampling as a dilution of a work’s viability and didn’t want to encourage people to use samples and then negotiate retroactively.

That was precisely what the Verve’s musicians were trying to do. In this case, the sample, used in a song entitled “Bitter Sweet Symphony,” was taken from an instrumental version of the Rolling Stones song “The Last Time” that had appeared on an album by the Andrew Loog Oldham Orchestra. The Verve had cleared the rights to sample the recording from Decca Records, but they hadn’t thought about getting permission for the underlying composition until after the fact. The irony was that the segment lifted from the Oldham recording didn’t sound a bit like the original Stones song, and the arranger who’d written the riff, David Whitaker, wasn’t even listed as a composer. As it stood, the credits for “Bitter Sweet Symphony” were shared between Verve vocalist Richard Ashcroft and Mick Jagger and Keith Richards. But the record couldn’t be released without the permission of Jagger and Richards’s publisher, ABKCO Music.

At a loss, Summers let his record company take a whack at it. Ken Berry, the head of EMI Records, came to New York and called on Klein. He played Klein the completed Verve album, Urban Hymns, which EMI’s Virgin label was betting would be a big hit. And “Bitter Sweet Symphony” was its obvious lead single. So Allen could appreciate how imperative it was that he grant a license.

“There’s no sampling of our music,” he said. “We just don’t believe in it.”

“Oh, f---,” said the head of EMI Records.

Klein let a day or two pass before calling Berry. He realized EMI and the band were in a bind, he said, and he was willing to make an exception to his rule and grant a license — if Ashcroft sold ABKCO his rights as lyricist and the company became the sole publisher of “Bitter Sweet Symphony.” The bargain was made; Richard Ashcroft was paid a thousand dollars.

The deal was as unsparing as any in Klein’s career; he held all the cards, played them, and raked in the pot. When music photographer Mick Rock happened to call Klein that day to see how he was, it was obvious to him that Allen was enjoying himself. “I was very bad today,” he said.

Klein was human scum, and he exploited artists and stole their money as easily as he breathed in the morning air. I have no idea why Ashcroft would do this. Money makes people do horrible things, I guess.

Thursday, January 7, 2016

David Lowery vs Spotify




Right when I was in the middle of blowing up all the blogs, this happened:

Camper Van Beethoven and Cracker frontman David Lowery, retaining the law firm of Michelman & Robinson, LLP, has filed a class action lawsuit seeking at least $150 million in damages against Spotify, alleging it knowingly, willingly, and unlawfully reproduces and distributes copyrighted compositions without obtaining mechanical licenses.


The lawsuit comes amidst ongoing settlement negotiations between Spotify and the National Music Publishers Assn. over the alleged use of allowing users to play music that hasn’t been properly licensed, and also without making mechanical royalty payments to music publishers and songwriters. According to sources, Spotify has created a $17 million to $25 million reserve fund to pay royalties for pending and unmatched song use.


The lawsuit was filed on Dec. 28 in the Central District Court of California.
According to the complaint, Spotify has unlawfully distributed copyrighted music compositions to more than 75 million users, but failed to identify or locate the owners of those compositions for payment, and did not issue a notice of intent to employ a compulsory license.


"We are committed to paying songwriters and publishers every penny," says Spotify global head of communications and public policy Jonathan Prince in a statement. "Unfortunately, especially in the United States, the data necessary to confirm the appropriate rightsholders is often missing, wrong, or incomplete. When rightsholders are not immediately clear, we set aside the royalties we owe until we are able to confirm their identities. We are working closely with the National Music Publishers Association to find the best way to correctly pay the royalties we have set aside and we are investing in the resources and technical expertise to build a comprehensive publishing administration system to solve this problem for good."


The complaint states that Spotify has "publicly" admitted its failure to obtain licenses and created a reserve fund of millions of dollars for royalty payments which have been "wrongfully withheld from artists." The use of songs not lawfully licensed "creates substantial harm and injury to the copyright holders, and diminishes the integrity of the works," the complaint states.


The songs alleged to have been Illegally reproduced and/or distributed by Spotify include "Almond Grove" (copyright registration No. PAu003764032); "Get On Down the Road" (No. PAu003745342); "King of Bakersfield" (No. PAu003745341); and "Tonight I Cross the Border" (No. PAu003745338), according to the complaint.


The complaint further notes that statutory penalties allow for judgments between $750-30,000 for each infringed work, and up to $150,000 per song for willful infringement.
The complaint claims the lawsuit qualifies as a class action because there is a well-defined community of interest in the litigation and that members of the proposed class, which will exceed 100 members, can be easily identified via discovery from Spotify's database files and records. A class action is more efficient than letting the courts be burdened with individual litigation, if every member of the class could afford to pursue action (which is highly unlikely). Class actions conserve the resources of the parties and the court system and protects the rights of each member of the class.


In addition to entering an order appointing Lowery as the class representative and the plaintiff's counsel as class counsel, the complaint asks the court to enjoin Spotify from continued copyright infringement; from further violations of California Business & Professions Code § 17200; injunctive relief that requires Spotify to pay for the services of a third party auditor to identify the works reproduced and distributed by Spotify without first obtaining a mechanical license; and requires Spotify to remove all such works from its services until it obtains the proper licenses.
Lowery, who also teaches at the University of Georgia, and the class seek restitution on Spotify's unlawful proceeds, including defendants' gross profits; for compensatory damages in an amount to be ascertained at trial; statutory damages for all penalties authorized by the Copyright Act; reasonable attorneys' fees and cost; and pre-and post judgment interest on monetary awards.

I am a proud supporter of Lowery's efforts to hold business models like Spotify's up to some level of scrutiny. At this very moment, artists are being ripped off while large companies see their valuation skyrocket. A streaming music service can be worth an implausibly large amount of money because there will always be an "endless" supply of "free" music that can be marketed and delivered to people without having to pay the artists. Spotify is worth an estimated $8 billion dollars. That number will plummet if they're forced to actually pay people what they're owed.




See also:





Tuesday, November 17, 2015

This is How You Stop an Artist in Their Tracks




Never sign with a label, and never put your career in the hands of a producer:

A petition has been launched to release Kesha from her record contract.


Over 53,000 people have signed the Care2 petition demanding Sony Music Entertainment release the pop star from her record deal.


Kesha has been locked in a legal battle that has allegedly prevented her from releasing new music since 2013.

The singer filed a lawsuit against Dr Luke for "mental manipulation, emotional abuse and sexual assault" last October. She is looking to be freed from her contract with the producer.

The legal system has to change. No one should be able to lock up an artist and keep them from working. It's completely unfair and it shouldn't be legal to use a contract in this manner. I would think that a percentage payment would be due to the producer in this case if Kesha were to release music on her own and make money, otherwise no one would sign a contract ever again. But to tie her hands and deny her the ability to make a living is wrong.

Tuesday, July 14, 2015

Foo Fighters






A newspaper in Canada recently sent an illustrator to a Foo Fighters gig in a protest against the band's photo contract issued at their shows.

The US group recently evoked controversy for what some have seen as "exploitative" terms stated in a contract the band seek photographers to sign to shoot at their gigs.

Earlier this month, the Washington City Paper issued a statement, saying of the contract: "The band would have 'the right to exploit all or a part of the Photos in any and all media, now known or hereafter devised, throughout the universe, in perpetuity, in all configurations' without any approval or payment or consideration for the photographer".

"That is exploitation of photographers, pure and simple... by signing that contract, the band could then use the creative work of our photographer in their future marketing materials or to resell them through their site. The band’s contract, to be blunt, sucks."


I'm convinced that Dave Grohl started a band twenty years ago so he could screw photographers, and this proves I was right! If only I had written all of this down somewhere.


Seriously, though--if you don't like what you have to sign, don't cover it and don't engage with the artist. Not everyone is required to be reasonable. And, bear in mind, this is just an artist trying to hold onto ownership of something, and not to put anybody out of business or drive someone to distraction.


There's probably a precedent at work here. That was my first serious reaction--oh, they're trying to get ahead of something after having a bad experience. At some point, someone took a photo of the band and exploited them or made money somehow in a dishonest way and this is the reaction to that. It's perfectly understandable--don't rip us off.


This is news because Foo Fighters have the legal and commercial heft to back up their decisions with actual contracts. They don't have to be "cool" about anything because we are long past the moment when everyone else decided, fuck it, let's cash in on someone else's image/sound/success/momentum and make some bucks. Other bands just have to go around with the hats in their hands, begging the media and the industry as a whole to not screw them over. 


How dare an artist try to own pictures of themselves. How dare they try to maintain some control over who sells their images when they, themselves should be in that business if they choose to be.


This goes back to demanding free music at a time when everything should be handed to everyone on a silver platter of entitlement.

Thursday, February 5, 2015

Solitary Confinement is a National Problem




You would be hard pressed to get anyone to care about this issue:

Texas has one of the harshest and most punitive criminal justice systems in America. A new report shows just how inhuman the state of Texas is when it comes to doling out the punishment of solitary confinement.


If you have any doubt that solitary confinement is torture, all you need to is to listen to the stories of those who have been forced to endure it. Nevertheless, a new report from the ACLU of Texas finds that about one in ever 22 prisoners there is in solitary confinement— more people "than 12 states house in their entire prison systems."

This is the legal argument behind solitary confinement, as rendered by the legal minds in California last year:

In courtroom proceedings, lawyers for the state have argued that isolation is necessary to keep the peace within prisons, and to hinder gang activity inside and outside prison walls. They said that by creating a so-called "step-down" program last year that allows some prisoners to eventually earn their way out of isolation, the state had made sufficient improvements.

Solitary confinement is torture; it is no different, as far as ethics are concerned, from water boarding or putting a gun in someone's mouth and threatening their life. But, you know, prisoners are scum and they deserve it and they should have thought of that before carrying out their crimes, and so on and so forth.




Monday, February 2, 2015

Warren Sapp Has a Working Girl Problem

A good lawyer can make this go away because these kinds of arrests are entrapment situations that usually come down to misunderstandings and a genuine concern for helping a young lady make her school tuition payments on time. You Better Call Saul, my man.

In the case of Warren Sapp, does he have the money to hire a good lawyer? How many times has he filed bankruptcy? Can he afford a criminal defense attorney based on the conditions of his existing bankruptcy?

If this was Las Vegas, he'd be fine. Hence, a great argument for holding every Super Bowl in sin city. I don't know why we persist in maintaining the illusion that the gamblers don't exist. Pander and cater to the gamblers, and grow the hell up.

Wednesday, January 28, 2015

Tyranny in Alabama








Alabama's controversial Supreme Court Chief Justice, Roy Moore, urged the state's governor on Tuesday to oppose a federal judge's decision to strike down the state's gay marriage ban, saying "we must act to oppose such tyranny" being imposed by "judicial fiat."
Moore, known for unsuccessfully trying to block the removal of a plaque bearing the Ten Commandments that he'd installed at the state courthouse in 2001, told Gov. Roy Bentley in a letter that nothing in Alabama's constitution allowed the federal government to "redefine" marriage to include gays and lesbians. The state supreme court, he said, has described marriage as a "divine institution."

"Today the destruction of that institution is upon us by federal courts using specious pretexts based on the Equal Protection, Due Process and Full Faith and Credit Clauses of the United States Constitution," he wrote in the letter posted to AL.com.

He sounds like the sort of fellow President Jeb Bush would put on the Supreme Court. But real tyranny is when you allow the law to be applied in a separate and unequal manner, especially in the context of using dogs to confront protesters.

Allowing Bruce and Steve to get married isn't tyranny because they're not going to blow up little girls in churches or murder people if they don't get their way. They may rethink the insanity of living in Alabama and expecting the application of the rule of law in a reasonable manner, but that's what elections are for.

There aren't many people willing to use this kind of hyperbole. If Moore feels that granting rights to Americans is tyranny, what does he think real tyranny looks like?

Saturday, January 17, 2015

Mark Radcliffe is Tormenting Steve Kilbey




David Bowie and someone named Mark Radcliffe


Oh, that didn't take too long to figure out, now did it?

Steve Kilbey of the Church has better things to do than moderate the hateful, trollish comments left on his blog by Mark Radcliffe. Kilbey is about to tour and support one of the finest albums of the year, The Church's Further Deeper album.

Here, Kilbey details the hateful, absolutely intolerable comments left on his website.

Steve, why do your eldest daughters hate you?
i dunno. but i hear your little dog toto adores you


Your whole life is a lie.
Why don’t you try living up to the values you spout?
Because it’s too hard and you’re too soft.
at least theyre my own lies
your life is stalking your betters on fan pages gushing dribbling and being rude


Steve, why have so many lives been ruined by you?
gee thats kinda general
what about you deejay?

Through a little checking, Kilbey was able to deduce that Mark Radcliffe, a BBC Radio personality, has been the culprit, relentlessly posting nasty things on his blog.

Is this true? Why would the BBC employ Radcliffe if he's out trolling people like this?

Radcliffe needs to take stock of his life and seek professional help.

Friday, January 16, 2015

Tri-State Munchie Run


Technically, it's not brazen if you're not smiling on security camera footage.
An 18-year-old Kentucky man and his 13-year-old girlfriend who have been missing for 12 days are believed to have taken off on a crime spree across the South, authorities said Thursday, during which they're suspected of having stolen at least two vehicles — one of which had guns in it.
"It is imperative that these two be located and apprehended as their behavior is becoming increasingly brazen and dangerous," the Grayson County Sheriff's Office said in a statement.
The sheriff's office identified the pair as Dalton Hayes, 18, and his girlfriend, Cheyenne Phillips, 13, whom Cheyenne's father reported missing on Jan. 3. They're accused of stealing a neighbor's red Toyota pickup truck, which was spotted on security video nine days later outside a Walmart store in Manning, South Carolina. The couple themselves were captured on video entering the store.
Someone needs to calm down. Americans have more guns than anyone else, and leaving guns in a car is as stupid as it gets.

Have they shot anyone? Nope.

Are they on a run for munchies? Probably.

Which parent thought it was okay for an eighteen year old male to consort with a thirteen year-old girl? Hopefully none of them.

Is this going to lead to a couple of completely innocent people being shot by paranoid idiots? That's a distinct possibility.

Alert me when they're only eight days ahead of the law, okay?

Oh, and South Carolina's age of consent is 14, by the way. Yes, as crazy as that is, this is the law:
The legal age of consent in South Carolina is 16. However, individuals as young as 14 years old are able to consent to have sex with a partner who is 18 years old or younger. Submitting to coercion, especially of an aggravated nature, is not consent.
Something tells me that they're just waiting for a berf-day.

In any event, that's some excellent parenting.

Tuesday, January 13, 2015

He Could Not be Bothered




Ouch!

He’s too busy enjoying his rock-star lifestyle to show up in court.


A Manhattan judge hit Oasis singer Liam Gallagherwith a $5,000 fine for repeatedly missing court appearances in a child-support case with his ex-mistress, freelance journalist Liza Ghorbani.


“Mr. Felder, where is your client?” Justice Laura Drager asked the rocker’s attorney, Raoul Felder, on Monday morning.


Shaking her head in apparent disbelief, Drager described a last-minute doctor’s note — which claimed the “Wonderwall” singer was “anxious and depressed” — as completely “insufficient.”


Ghorbani’s attorney told Drager that he had a photo of Gallagher and his new girlfriend walking arm-in-arm down a London street over the weekend.


“I think it’s offensive,” Ghorbani’s attorney, Ira Garr, said about the “sick” claim. “My client came up from Virginia.”

Liam Gallagher isn't really enjoying anything right now, other than the simple fact he no longer has a band. That may be, in and of itself, the thing he wanted all along. But they will have a field day with that little tidbit in the middle--that Gallagher used a note from a doctor that said he was anxious and depressed to try to get out of an American court date.

Monday, December 15, 2014

Meet Sandra McElroy











The Smoking Gun has been looking into the aftermath of the decision not to indict Police Officer Darren Wilson, who shot Michael Brown in Ferguson, Missouri.

Someone over there figured out who Grand Jury Witness Number 40 was. Her name is Sandra McElroy and she happens to be well, you're not going to believe what this crazy bag of nuts did:

Sandra McElroy did not provide police with a contemporaneous account of the Brown-Wilson confrontation, which she claimed to have watched unfold in front of her as she stood on a nearby sidewalk smoking a cigarette.


Instead, McElroy (seen at left) waited four weeks after the shooting to contact cops. By the time she gave St. Louis police a statement on September 11, a general outline of Wilson’s version of the shooting had already appeared in the press. McElroy’s account of the confrontation dovetailed with Wilson’s reported recollection of the incident.


In the weeks after Brown’s shooting--but before she contacted police--McElroy used her Facebook account to comment on the case. On August 15, she “liked’ a Facebook comment reporting that Johnson had admitted that he and Brown stole cigars before the confrontation with Wilson. On August 17, a Facebook commenter wrote that Johnson and others should be arrested for inciting riots and giving false statements to police in connection with their claims that Brown had his hands up when shot by Wilson. “The report and autopsy are in so YES they were false,” McElroy wrote of the “hands-up” claims. This appears to be an odd comment from someone who claims to have been present during the shooting. In response to the posting of a news report about a rally in support of Wilson, McElroy wrote on August 17, “Prayers, support God Bless Officer Wilson.”
After meeting with St. Louis police, McElroy continued monitoring the case and posting online. Commenting on a September 12 Riverfront Times story reporting that Ferguson city officials had yet to meet with Brown’s family, McElroy wrote, “But haven’t you heard the news, There great great great grandpa may or may not have been owned by one of our great great great grandpas 200 yrs ago. (Sarcasm).” On September 13, McElroy went on a pro-Wilson Facebook page and posted a graphic that included a photo of Brown lying dead in the street. A type overlay read, “Michael Brown already received justice. So please, stop asking for it.” The following week McElroy responded to a Facebook post about the criminal record of Wilson’s late mother. “As a teenager Mike Brown strong armed a store used drugs hit a police officer and received Justis,” she stated.

Here's the thing, though. Sandra McElroy wasn't there. She didn't witness anything.


“Witness 40”--a 45-year-old St. Louis resident named Sandra McElroy--was nowhere near Canfield Drive on the Saturday afternoon Brown was shot to death.


She just made it up.



It turns out that McElroy is the crazy person who shocked everyone with her testimony. She's also the person who started a bogus fundraiser and has what could generously be called absolutely zero credibility. Read the whole thing--it will cause you to question absolutely everything and then nothing about our system of justice because, quite frankly, if the people who wanted Darren Wilson to get away with murder hadn't been blessed with Sandra McElroy, they simply would have gone out and manufactured their own version of her, no question about it.








McElroy is why the Justice Department needs to send fifty lawyers and some seriously skilled detectives to Ferguson, Missouri, pronto.

Thursday, December 11, 2014

The Stupidest Band Ever



The surviving members of Creedence Clearwater Revival are trying to sue each other again, but this time, they mean it.

John Fogerty has been playing his songs live and, in some strange world where that's relevant, Stu Cook and Doug Clifford are upset because this might somehow put a damper on their tribute band version of CCR that plays songs from the good old days.

If your reaction is "what?" then you're not alone. The best CCR songs--the ones that really matter--were all written by John Fogerty. But, through some legal movements years ago, the other members and the widow of Fogerty's brother have some ownership stake in the name of the band for which John Fogerty wrote all of the good songs and therefore have...

I have no idea, either.

Baby boomers--the scum of the Earth when it comes to music and who did what and all that. Jeebus.

Saturday, December 6, 2014

Mark Wahlberg Deserves a Pardon


Do you think this will happen?
On April 8, 1988, when he was 16 and long before he became a model, rapper and actor, Mark Wahlberg -- high on drugs and alcohol -- assaulted a man while trying to steal two cases of alcohol and then punched another man in the face as he attempted to avoid the police.
He was arrested, sentenced and tried as an adult, and he served 45 days in prison.
Today, at 43, Wahlberg is a much different person -- a father of four, a successful movie star, a philanthropist who works with at-risk youth -- but says he's still legally affected by his convictions. In a petition submitted Monday (PDF), he's asking for a pardon.
To me, the idea of remorse is the most important aspect of asking for a pardon. Wahlberg has taken responsibility for his actions and he has expressed remorse. In light of all that, he should be granted a pardon. And this really has nothing to do with who he is or how wealthy he is (although I would imagine a lawyer helped him with the request in exchange for a hefty fee).

The pardon process is woefully mistaken for a partisan political tool. It should be a tool for granting people the possibility of returning to public life. It should work for the poor as well as the wealthy, no matter what.

Friday, November 21, 2014

This is the Smartest Move Ever




The best way to ensure that African Americans feel safe and that their right to protest has not been infringed upon is to flood the area with FBI agents before anything happens.

Did I get that right?

Friday, November 7, 2014

Jameis Winston Will Debauch a Toll Road Before the Year is Out




The list of crimes this young man has been accused of grows by the week. You'd think that Florida State would have hired "handlers" for Winston by now, but that's not the case. They're simply allowing him to have the run of the place.

Shouldn't someone point out that Winston's education is more important than anything else? Shouldn't there be some tacit acknowledgement that his Heisman Trophy is rented, not owned at this point? No? Okay, then.

There aren't many crimes left--bigamy, carnal knowledge of a goat, failure to remove cheese from a sales display before the freshness date passes, dancing without a permit on Sunday. This young man in the wrecking ball that the NCAA simply wasn't designed to stop.

How is it that he's allowed to play football? And I should add, "ever again?"

The Butt Grabber

John Epps Jr. is a serial butt grabber.

Epps Jr. has been accused of inappropriately touching two middle school females in Montgomery County. It's all on videotape, apparently, and his actions caused Montgomery County Public Schools a tremendous amount of embarrassment (which is what we call legal liability) when it was revealed that he had worked at nearly 60 different schools in the district.

In the old days, you would call him a pervert or worse. Now, you just call him a contractor:
So, how did Epps Jr. manage to gain access to nearly 60 schools in a day and age when student safety and wellbeing are two of the highest priorities? MCPS administrators were quick to point the finger at the 44-year-old's employer, Rockville-based Netcom Technologies, Inc.
In May, Netcom, Inc. hired Epps Jr. from a temporary staffing agency. Yet, instead of running its own independent background check, Netcom, Inc. accepted the paperwork the temp agency had on file. MCPS says those documents were grossly inaccurate.
"Going forward, Netcom has said [it] will do full checks on any temporary employee hired to work in a school. We are also reminding all of our contractors who work in our schools what their obligations are under the law and requiring they re-run checks on their employees working in schools," MCPS spokesman Dana Tofig said in an email sent to ABC 7.
Netcom, Inc., which has earned tens of millions of dollars in contracts from MCPS over the last 20 years, did not return our phone calls seeking comment.
Going forward, Netcom Inc. will still make a lot of money putting perverts on their payroll and pretending to know something about the people they hire. Profit margins being what they are, does anyone really expect this company to sweat a little butt grabbing? That's for the lawyers to work out.

Epps Jr. has made a career out of butt grabbing. Let's hope someone finally registers him as a sex offender (another failure documented in the article) and keeps him away from school kids.

Thursday, October 30, 2014

Why Isn't Jian Ghomeshi Already in Jail?




I still can't figure any of this out:


Eight women from across Canada now accuse former CBC host Jian Ghomeshi of abusive behaviour ranging from allegations of beating and choking without consent, to workplace sexual harassment.


The allegations the Star is probing range from 2002 to the present.


One of the women, popular Canadian television actor Lucy DeCoutere, has agreed to be identified. DeCoutere, who plays Lucy on Trailer Park Boys , recalls an incident in 2003 when she alleges Ghomeshi, without warning or consent, choked her to the point she could not breathe and then slapped her hard three times on the side of her head.

I have no problem believing these women and I can see a great deal of clarity in their allegations--Jian Ghomeshi is a violent man who sexually assaults women. What I cannot understand is how he has avoided accountability until now.


Scott Lemieux breaks it down, and this is what's so awful about the collision between online stalking and in-person real-life stalking--they are often one and the same. Our legal system has to come up with ways to deal with these kinds of things, privacy be damned.


All societies should empower women to make an accusation and have it handled responsibly. The first time that this happened, the person being assaulted by Ghomeshi should have felt safe enough to report it and the case should have been handled in a respectful and responsible manner. Yes, in our legal system, you can face your accuser. In Canada's legal system, who the hell knows what they can do? Is it based on the English system where old men in wigs direct barristers to and fro?


Somewhere, in this vast knowledge gap of mine, is an answer I probably don't want to know. 


How the hell is this asshole not in jail?