This week, we discuss the midterm elections and make ourselves feel better by celebrating the Giants win in the World Series.
Cross-posted from Media Law Blog:
I just read the opinion of the district court judge in Illinois who, in late July, denied a motion by the Illinois Broadcasters’ Association, Illinois Press Association, the Chicago Tribune, and the New York Times to release the names of jurors, upon being seated, in former Governor Blagojevich’s and his brother’s criminal trial.
Judge Zagel held, among other things, that the notoriety of this trial posed too great a risk that jurors would receive improper outside contact if their names were revealed before a verdict was handed down.
It wasn’t until I read the opinion today that I stumbled across this sentence: “It is true that the possibility of jurors being inappropriately contacted by phone is not a new one, but the possibility of contact by email or through social networking sites is relatively recent, and the ubiquity of these media is astounding.”
In other words, the presumption in favor of disclosing jurors’ names was overcome, in part, because jurors have email and Twitter accounts. While most of Judge Zagel’s reasoning centers around the media frenzy regarding the trial and the notoriety of the well-coiffed ex-governor and reality television star, I find it problematic that a general plethora of modern communication tools — a reality in every trial that will likely only get more “astounding” with time — can be used to decimate the presumption toward disclosure.
Undoubtedly, the visual exhibits included in the opinion makes Judge Zagel’s decision all the more amusing.
In the opinion, Judge Zagel disclosed the various ways in which he personally has been bombarded by messages to make the point that jurors would likely receive similar communication.
For example, he received one call with the following message: “F#@k you, Judge Zagel. You f#@king arrogant bitch ass mother f#@ker. F#@k you, f#@k you, James B. Zagel. F#@k you.” Sounds like somebody’s been taking poetry classes from Rod Blagojevich! Of course, the call transcript did not include any #’s or @’s because you can’t speak those symbols.
He also received a call explaining that “the federal government has developed a new kind of electronic where they can copy exactly the voice of someone and then pretend that they are that person.’” Sounds like somebody’s watching the second season of Heroes!
The judge also received a “letter, claiming to be from President Barack Obama (written on a facsimile of White House stationery, though postmarked Cedar Rapids, Iowa), … that pursuant to his executive powers, the President has decided to dismiss Defendant Rod Blagojevich and has ordered me to close the case against him.”
These exhibits were included in the opinion:
I know that our country is going through tough economic times, but you would think that the White House would be able to afford printed envelopes or some return address labels. The March of Dimes gives those things away!
Best of all, the judge received an email from “the King of Japan” asking the court to arrange for the collection of $200,000 that Gov. Blagojevich promised to leave in an envelope for “her.”
If I were in a juror in the Blagojevich retrial, I’d probably be grateful for this decision to avoid the harassment that might befall me and my family.
That said, I’d probably endure all the lunacy if I knew I could talk to the person who is not only Japan’s first king, but Japan’s first female king!
I’ve started a new blog that is more directly related to my academic/scholarly interests: Media Law Blog. I wanted to create an outlet to write about legal developments in the areas of free speech law, defamation, privacy, copyright/fair use, and press rights. I also invited students in my Media Law course to contribute pieces.
Fear not, however, I still intend to be an active contributor here. Or at least, as active as I’ve been over the last year. Plus, I’ll probably cross-post a few items.
Have I received the memo about how blogs are on the decline and will soon be irrelevant in a few weeks? Yes.
But I’m old school like that.
This week, we discuss the 8-4-10 ruling by federal judge Walker, ruling in favor of Perry vs. The Governtaor over the legality of Prop 8. Resident Constitutional Law Expert Junichi weighs in on what the ruling means and what it may mean for the future of gay marriage rights. We also jaw about Meg Whitman’s flip-flopping on, well, everything and where the hell Jerry Brown is hiding.
1. In Japan, the Nihon Sofuken company is selling the Placenta 10000 Jelly drink, which is a zero-calorie, odorless, peach-flavored drink made of 10% pig placenta.
2. The California legislature recently repealed a 1950 state law that funded research to “cure” gay people.
3. In an effort to contain the oil spill, Hooters collected over 100,000 pairs of torn pantyhose from their waitresses, stuffed them with hair, fur, and fleece, and then shipped them to environmental groups in order to absorb a million gallons of oil in the Gulf.
4. According to the Southern Poverty Law Center, the number of antigovernment militia groups increased 244% to 512 between 2008 (before Obama was in office) and 2009 (when Obama took office).
5. The Oklahoma Senate intended to pass a bill that would make the state exempt from the federal law that expands hate crime legislation to gays and lesbians. However, by citing the wrong federal code, the bill actually eliminated protection for Christians (and other religious groups).
6. Beijing is fighting the stench of its city dump by installing 100 deodorant cannons.
7. The Cub Scouts now offer a merit pin for video games.
9. In contrast, Kate Hudson has been nominated for an Academy Award.
11. Dutch ovens (not those Dutch ovens) were invented in Pennsylvania.
12. Women CEOs make 43 percent more than their male counterparts.
13. Pat Buchanan is whining that there are too many Jews on the Supreme Court.
14. More than 40 million Americans are now on food stamps.
15. Tiger Woods allegedly texted his mistress with the following romantic message: “Hold you down while i choke you and F#$% that ass that i own”
16. Brad Goehring, a Republican primary candidate for California’s 11th Congressional District, wrote that “If I could issue hunting permits, I would officially declare today opening day for liberals. The season would extend through November 2 and have no limits on how many taken as we desperately need to ‘thin’ the herd.’”
17. Who is the first solo male artist to have his first two singles top Billboard’s Pop Songs radio airplay chart? Jason Derulo.
18. Barack Obama just sat on the semi-circle couch to chat with the ladies of The View … for the second time.
19. Viagra for kids? Yes. (For those too lazy to hit the link, it will be used to treat a rare lung disorder, not ED.)
20. Politicians like Carly Fiorina continue to actively question the science of climate change, despite the fact that NASA recently announced that this year will likely be the hottest year on Earth since 1880. (The current top 10, in descending order, are: 2005, 2007, 2009, 1998, 2002, 2003, 2006, 2004, 2001 and 2008.)
This week, Oliver and I discuss the Shirley Sherrod debacle and the bigger picture of the Obama Administration’s handling of race-related issues. We also share our thoughts on the new Christopher Nolan film Inception. And finally, in our one minute closing random thoughts, Oliver discusses the new bar for Asian American children and I discuss my concerns about the LAPD collecting leftover slices of pizza.
(Eds. note: We apologize for the audio issues. Oliver’s audio occasionally sounds distorted (as if Sleigh Bells was handling the audio engineering) and I accidentally put my microphone about five feet from my mouth.)
This week, we discuss the recent Supreme Court decisions overturning Chicago’s handgun ban (Shocker: Junichi sides with Clarence Thomas and the NRA) and upholding Hasting Law School’s nondiscrimination policy, as well as thoughts on the Kagan confirmation hearings. Then, we move to the World Cup and how only one of us seems to be catching the fever. But the podcast also covers the appropriateness of Hitler references, the ridiculousness of the name Samurai Blue, and the unsureness about the latest Karate Kid movie.
There is rarely any upside to a human being being assaulted.
However, in this case, a violent incident between two female Irish ex-lovers has resulted in what might possibly be the mother of all accurate newspaper headlines since Gutenberg invented the printing press.
While the headline succinctly tells me the important facts, the article itself doesn’t answer all the questions that the headline raises. For example, was the victim dating (or hoping to consume) the man in the Snickers outfit? Did she switch teams because she found the Snickers more satisfying? Or was her ex-lover just angry at the symbolism of waving at a product whose slogan is “Get Some Nuts”?
Strangely, the article states that the pub was hosting a “fancy dress party.” Do the Irish wear sumo wrestler outfits to a “fancy dress party”?
If true, that would be ironic since my sumo wrestling cousins dress up as leprechauns for their formal soirees.