Betas, Online Dating and Anonymous

May 14, 2011

By J. DeVoy

At the limply beating heart of all things beta is a lack of options.  Anonymous, ever the ingenious amorphous blob of misanthropy that it is, seized upon this and organized an “involuntary flashmob” in midtown Manhattan by using spoofed female dating profiles to lure men into appearing at the same place at the same time. Vice has the writeup.

The entire affair was recorded on camera, and plenty of photos abound.

It’s screwed up to do this to people, but it’s Anonymous, so: 1) we expect this conduct from them, and 2) the only thing injured was pride; this isn’t something that rises to the level of IIED. (Also, good luck if litigious victims go after Vice for displaying photos of them in a public place.)  In a way, Anonymous is providing them a service by giving the victims cause for deep, serious introspection – kind of like Roosh’s Compliment and Cuddle.


Litigation’s so passé

April 25, 2011

By J. DeVoy

For whatever reason, this makes me think of my experiences thus far in the District of Nevada:


Would you buy a laptop from Pedobear?

March 21, 2011

cpdistribut(Source)

Just make sure you clear the browser history and cache, and you should be fine.


Has Ark Music Factory ruined more teens’ lives than sexting?

March 18, 2011

By J. DeVoy

I believe so.

H/T: Mike


tamtampamela got us! D’oh!

March 15, 2011

The video in yesterday’s post, Do you need more evidence that Marx was right about religion? was apparently not for real. The girl in the video makes “troll videos.” (source)

She got us.

She got us good.

180. Well played tamtampamela, well played!


New Yorker violates cardinal rule of Las Vegas

January 24, 2011

By J. DeVoy

Las Vegas has but one maxim: What happens in Las Vegas stays in Las Vegas — a boon if you live there.  Hubert Blackman contacted Las Vegas Exclusive Personals when visiting the Las Vegas Strip from New York to have a dancer come to his hotel room.  Blackman claims that in addition to the dance, he paid an additional $120 for a sex act.  Blackman sought a refund for the next day, arguing that the dancer did not stay for the full hour he paid for, and that he was too drunk to form an enforceable contract. (source.)

When Las Vegas Exclusive Personals refused to give Blackman a refund, our confused consumer called the Las Vegas Metro Police.  The Police advised Blackman that he could be arrested for his actions, and advised him to file a complaint with the Better Business Bureau.  Apparently avoiding arrest, arraignment or any criminal charges, Blackman refused to accept he got lucky.  Instead, he filed suit in a Federal court in New York City, seeking more than $1.8 million in damages.  Under his theory of the case, Las Vegas Exclusive Personal’s dancer’s alleged prostitution – which Blackman paid for – almost got him arrested and subjected him to great emotional trauma.  Good luck with that one, buddy. (source; H/T: Luke Lirot.)

The article mentions that prostitution is illegal in Las Vegas and Clark County.  While this is a no-brainer in almost every other state, what’s not said within the article says volumes.  When I first got my Nevada law license, one of my first priorities was to learn all about prostitution in the state.  And, in all seriousness, it was purely for pedagogical reasons.

Prostitution in Nevada is confined to brothels, which are made lawful on a county-by-county basis under NRS 244.345.  In counties with a population greater than 400,000 people as of the last census, no brothels can be licensed for operation.  In counties where the population is less than 400,000 people as of the last census, the county may grant licenses through an application process and committee as it sees fit.  Some counties, such as Lincoln County – adjacent to Clark County, where Las Vegas is located – have elected to outlaw brothels entirely.  As a result, Nye County, the only other county to border Clark County, has received a number of other brothels within a 1-hour drive of Las Vegas.

The 400,000-person threshold for brothel legality creates certain economic incentives for brothels and the communities around them.  Other businesses and groups, such as school boards, may want to increase population so as to expand the tax base and preclude brothels from operating in the county.  Brothels, on the other hand, are given strong financial reasons to keep people out or operate in relatively secluded but easily accessible areas.  While some counties allow any brothel that satisfies its licensing requirements to operate, other counties have a fixed limit as to how many brothel licenses it may have outstanding at any time, allowing greater control over brothel operations within the county.

Unlike, say, Houston, there are zoning restrictions locally and at the state level ensuring that brothels don’t spring up in the middle of high-traffic areas.  Brothels cannot operate within 400 yards of a school or schoolroom, or within 400 yards of any “church, edifice, building or structure erected for and used for devotional services or religious worship” in Nevada. NRS 201.380.

There are also considerable restrictions on brothel advertising. NRS 201.430-40 place significant burdens on the advertising of prostitution and houses of prostitution, which may have a broader reach than the legislature may have ever initially intended.  Despite the First Amendment concerns such restrictions raise, the Ninth Circuit upheld these statutory provisions as constitutional within the past year.

These are far from the only limitations on brothel advertising and promotion, though.  Nevada’s regulations prohibit the number and size of signs a brothel may have, how far from the road they (and the brothel itself) must be, and even the number and wattage of red lights a brothel can use.  Individual county provisions go into even greater detail, setting forth what showering and cleanliness items must be present within a brothel, as well as how service providers must acquire and renew their health licenses from that county’s sheriff.

Finally on the topic of regulations and sex workers, Nevada has a testing regime  comparable to the porn industry’s.  To obtain employment as a sex worker, a candidate must submit to blood testing for HIV and syphilis, and a cervical or urethral specimen for gonorrhea and chlamydia testing.  Individual brothel policies governing the availability of anal sex may also affect whether rectal testing is mandatory for sex workers.  Condoms must be used in all intercourse between patrons and sex workers.  In the interest of health maintenance, sex workers must have monthly blood tests for HIV and syphilis, with weekly cervical/urethral samples for gonorrhea and chlamydia testing.

Despite such a pro-brothel regime, Nevada’s laws do not encourage unregulated street prostitution.  NRS 201.295-420 provide strong protections for sex workers.  In general, these laws outlaw pimping and receiving proceeds from prostitution without consideration, outlaw pandering, prohibit forcing a spouse, minor or other unwilling party into a brothel or other form of prostitution, and even penalize the keeping of a “disorderly” house of prostitution.  Additional protections may be available at the county level, depending on what is required to renew and keep one’s brothel license.

This is a very rudimentary overview of brothel operation in Nevada; the laws and regulations affecting the industry obviously are political footballs, and economic ones as well given the present unemployment situation in Nevada.  When people say that prostitution is legal in Nevada, they’re not wrong — but they’re not completely right, either.  After acquiring this baseline knowledge, answering specific questions and keeping abreast of changes about brothel operation is much easier, translating into  more efficient legal analysis of novel questions.


Have two free hours?

January 2, 2011

By J. DeVoy

Check out this review of Star Wars Episode III: Revenge of the Sith.  Yes, it is a 110-minute-long review of the crappiest Star Wars prequel, evinced by the merely 90-minute review of Episode II: The Clone Wars and 70-minute dissection of Episode I: The Phantom Menace.


Improve your blogging in 2011

December 31, 2010

By J. DeVoy

Here’s the guide I’ve been using, created by Roosh a few years ago.  It’s time-tested and ABA Journal approved.

But Roosh is a man of many fratboy humor-related talents.  Here he is displaying his basement-level D.C. apartment in a mashup of Tim & Eric Awesome Shoe Great Job and MTV’s Cribs.

And Roosh is a traveler.  Here is his sardonic (and shocking) insider’s guide to Medellin, Colombia.  If the joke isn’t obvious at the beginning, it will be by the end.  Given the apparent earnestness with which the video begins, it’s some of the finer non-4chan trolling I’ve seen that deeply offends the uninitiated.


Advice to Law Students looking for a job — don’t be a goddamned crybaby

December 22, 2010

Popehat has a bad-ass post on an “incident” at Syracuse University School of Law. The short version is this: Syracuse Law student Len Audaer published a blog satirizing his class, the administration, and public figures.

From Popehat’s story.

Somebody complained. Syracuse decided to appoint a “prosecutor” to investigate the blog and determine whether to bring formal charges against Audaer under the Syracuse discipline system. All of that — the fact that someone complained about satire, and that the school didn’t immediately reject the complaint — is appalling enough.

But Syracuse, and specially appointed prosecutor Syracuse law professor Gregory Germain, are angry about the criticism and are doubling down. As is often the case, the attempted cover-up is worse than the initial conduct.

Professor Germain has filed a motion with the Syracuse disciplinary body demanding a gag order against Audaer and his defense team. He wants Syracuse to issue an order forbidding Audaer from disclosing the contents of his own blog, or anything he gets from the university about the proceedings against him, to any third party unless the third parties agree in writing (1) not to disclose the names of any of the people identified in those blog posts or documents without their consent, and (2) to publish the entirety of documents, not just quotes from them, “in order to prevent misleading selective posting of information.”

In other words, Professor Germain thinks that Audaer should be prohibited from sending FIRE, or me, or the Chronicle of Higher Education, or CNN, an unredacted copy of this blog post without the written permission of Ellen DeGeneres. Professor Germain also thinks that Audaer should be prohibited from sending FIRE, or me, or anyone else one of his own blog posts, or any document from the proceedings against him, unless we agree to Professor Germain’s preferred method of writing about it. Professor Germain explicitly demands censorship of documents as a method of getting the type of media coverage of the proceedings that he wants. Of course, no respectable reporter — and no self-respecting blogger, or American — would agree to present materials only in the manner that a censor demanded. Moreover, given an internet in which it is trivially easy for Syracuse and its supporters to host and publish the raw documents themselves, the demand for written guarantees of full publication as a method of achieving “fair” coverage is transparently dishonest and/or stupid. The gag order is deliberately calculated to prevent Audaer from distributing his blog posts and the documentation of his persecution at all.

Remember what the “misconduct” is — a satirical blog.

This profession is full of uptight effete fucking pussies with sticks up their asses. You know why? Part of it is because the profession seems to attract them. But, the bigger part of it is that law schools cultivate uptight stick in the ass pussydom. Of course, just like a good TSA agent, or other low-rung pussy, Professor Germain whines that he is “just doing his job,” and he just wants the individuals who whined to be able to maintain their anonymity.

The students, faculty and staff who were targeted in the sucolitis blog did not consent to have their good names used in the blog, and do not wish to be the subject of attacks on the internet. One of the students has expressed to the Prosecutor a concern for her physical safety. Most wish to find jobs in the legal profession, and feel that bringing further public attention through the publication of their names could damage their
employment opportunities, and would cause further humiliation and embarrassment.

Again, why write my own words when Popehat knocks the shit out of it:

Leave aside, for the moment, the ignorant and authoritarian proposition that people have some sort of right not to have their names used on the internet, and not to be “attacked” on the internet. Focus on this instead: Professor German suggests that the people satirized in the blog fear that having that satire spread further as a result of their own complaints about it would be unfair, because potential employers might see it and their feelings might be further hurt.

I interview, and hire, people at a law firm. I cannot imagine a situation in which I would decline to hire someone because they had been the target of satire. That’s because I’m not a fucking idiot. Perhaps the subjects of Audaer’s blog aspire to be hired by fucking idiots. It sure looks like they are going to the right school, then.

Syracuse’s excuse for a disciplinary system apparently protects the anonymity of accusers, and supports efforts to prevent the publication of their identity. That’s common with systems that have, as their true aim, the uncritical acceptance of accusations and the swift arrival at a predetermined conclusion of guilt. See, if you allow the identity of an accuser to become public, then all sorts of inconvenient things happen. They might suffer consequences for making false accusations. People might read about the case and come out of the woodwork and say “Vance Victim couldn’t have been assaulted by the defendant on Saturday night; I saw him passed out over at Delta house that night,” or “Vance Victim is the same guy who threatened to accuse me of assault twice last year”, or “Vance Victim is a person with a reputation for being a liar and a cad.” In short, That’s why protection of accuser anonymity is repellent and inimical to modern systems of justice.

But Professor Germain does have the kernel of a point about privacy. It’s just not the point he thinks he has. It’s irrational to think that employers will be put off because a humor blog satirized you. However, it’s entirely rational to fear that, if employers find out that you ran to the administration to complain about being satirized, they might not want to hire you. I would happily hire people of every color, religion, and sexual preference. I would hire Republicans and Democrats and Independents and Greens. But I would never, in a million years, hire someone who complained to his or her school administration about being the subject of satire. People who run to the authorities to complain about being the subject of satire are weaklings, crybabies, losers, and nasty censorious authoritarians. I view them as likely to be of sub-optimal intelligence, insufficient fortitude, and poor morals. Those are not the qualities of a reliable employee or a good lawyer. They are not people I want to hire or be friends with. They are people I want to ridicule and shun.

Precisely.

Now I don’t hire very often. When I do, I have a very strict “no fucking pussies” screening process. And, if you get past me, you are sure as shit not getting past my partner, Jessica, who is less tolerant of pussies than I am.

I will tell you one thing for certain: I won’t even interview a Syracuse Law graduate who doesn’t publicly speak out against this travesty, and I would encourage all other lawyers and law firms to take the same stance.

To follow this case more:

Len Audaer’s site on the case. (here)

FIRE’s file on the case. (here)

And if you’re looking for an end-of-the-year charity, donate to FIRE here.


Google to Internet Users: “All Your Angry Comments Are Belong to Us”

December 7, 2010

by Jason Fischer

Google, allegedly in an effort to improve the civility of user comments, has determined that the “caps lock” key should not be a part of laptops that will be made to support its forthcoming operating system.  (source)


The Legal Satyricon guide to child care

November 14, 2010

By J. DeVoy

Ah… to see into the future.


So You Want to Go to Law School?

October 20, 2010

H/T Kara Marie


Miners reunited with wives and mistresses – simultaneously

October 13, 2010

By J. DeVoy

The Chilean miners slowly being liberated from the underground cavern where they were stuck for more than 70 days are being reunited with their families and loved ones, only to discover that those classifications are not necessarily coextensive.  For the freed miners, not only are their wives showing up to celebrate their freedom — their mistresses are as well. (source.)

Did we mention it gets violent?

“One miner has four women fighting over him in an effort to claim compensation offered to the families of those facing between three to four months underground until a rescue shaft can reach them,” the Telegraph in Great Britain reports.

A Red Cross worker told the newspaper: “We had a big bust up in the canteen tent when a wife came across a woman who claimed to be her husband’s lover – we had to step in and pull them apart before things got physical.”

As Charles Manson once said, “this is a bigger prison than the one I just got out of.”


Christine O’Donnell: “I’m not a witch!”

October 5, 2010

By J. DeVoy

She could have made this ad two seconds long.  In fact, it would have been better if she had.

Other things that could have been better if stopped short: Avatar – which I have not seen – but would have been a great film if it ended after the military killed the aliens’ ridiculous home-tree.


Aqua Teen Hunger Farce

October 4, 2010

By J. DeVoy

For almost a decade, I’ve been a fan of the cartoon show Aqua Teen Hunger Force (ATHF). I even convinced Marc to heavily quote the show in a recent USPTO filing. Beyond being pointlessly amusing, though, the show has offered some real-life intersection with the law.

Most memorably, the residents of Boston thought that LED displays of the shows more memorable characters – the Mooninites – were bombs.  Panic ensued, and a city once considered annoying solely for its accents defused and ruined a costly public relations campaign. To avoid possible criminal charges or civil claims, Time Broadcasting Systems and Interference Inc., responsible for the Cartoon Network, its Adult Swim brand of programming and this stunt, agreed to pay $2 million to the City of Boston and US Department of Homeland Security.

Smartly, the men behind the prank refused to talk about the event when confronted by the media. Instead, they offered a summary of haircuts in the 1970s.

Before that, though, ATHF’s creators faced a threat of a different nature: Copyright infringement. In November 2006, Terrance Yerves brought suit against Time Warner, Inc., Turner Broadcasting System, Inc., the Cartoon Network and rapper Schoolly D (a/k/a Jesse Weaver, Jr.) because of the ATHF theme song. Yerves v. Time Warner, No. 2:06-cv-04950-MAM (E.D. Pa. 2006). In his complaint, Yerves claims he performed the drum tack underlying the show’s theme song during a time when he and Schoolly D were recording in the same studio. Yerves alleges that Schoolly D sought his input and assistance, and D later used an untitled drum tack Yerves recorded as the foundation for the ATHF theme song, which has been used in every show since its debut December 30, 2000. (For the movie, ATHF went in a different direction and recruited metal band Mastodon to do an introduction song.) In addition to damages, Yerves sought an injunction and declaratory relief under 28 U.S.C. § 2201.

After various extensions were granted – none of the defendants ever filed an answer or other responsive pleading to Yerves’ complaint – the case settled in May of 2007. The suit’s dismissal was ordered on May 17, 2007. No information as to settlement terms or amounts is publicly available. Possibly worth noting, though, is that the case was dismissed with prejudice.

Yet, in a very meta way, the show has always been acutely aware of its own Copyright issues.  In a Season 2 episode, “Universal Remonster,” the Plutonians – Emery and Oglethorpe – used a time-and-space spanning portal to steal cable from the Aqua Teens’ New Jersey ranch house.  Despite an obvious resemblance to the Stargate of movie and television fame, and identical function, the Plutonians insisted that the object be called a “Fargate.”

The episode went on the tear on the shallow abuses of Fair Use which the Cartoon Network and its Adult Swim lineup had endured, mostly by being so popular among the internet piracy generation.  In one scene, the Powerpuff Girls – a then-iconic symbol of the Cartoon Network’s economic and cultural might – are depicted on a promotional t-shirt in wheelchairs and sporting mohawks so as to avoid lawsuits.

Emory: [indicating Universal Remonster T-shirt] Is that, like, a Powerpuff Girl, or something?
Oglethorpe: No! Can you not see she has a pink mohawk and a wheelchair? We’re not getting sued. (source)

The meme is continued throughout the episode.

Oglethorpe: [Emory keeps calling saying “Stargate”] IT IS A FARGATE! From the makers of Thindependence Day! We will give it a mohawk and wheelchair if you need help. (source)

Later, the “Fargate” is depicted in a wheelchair, sporting a bright-pink mohawk.

In sum, ATHF is acutely aware of the environment in which it exists, and makes some amusing observations about it. At its high points, the writing brushes against the lofty ceiling of television comedy erected by seasons 2 through 9 of The Simpsons. Through its parody, though, it shows its respect of Copyright law, rather than ignoring it and blatantly stealing ideas and jokes from other shows, writers and artists, even under the cheap guise of homage.