Celebration, Florida: 20 years later

April 23, 2014

This year marks the twentieth anniversary of Celebration, a master-planned community adjacent to Walt Disney World designed by Disney and intended to be a suburban utopia.  I remember reading about Celebration when it was announced and being vaguely creeped out by the idea of a suburb engineered by the Magic Kingdom.  Photos of the place didn’t help this perception, given that it looks more like The Truman Show than a real community.  However, for the past nineteen or so odd years, I haven’t really given the place a second thought.

Gizmodo recently posted an interesting article about what Celebration has become.  In many ways, it is now just another (overwhelmingly white) suburb with the expected crime and foreclosure problems.  However, even as a Las Vegan used to seeing shiny new planned communities, photos of the town quite a bit of that too-perfect Disney sheen.  Simply, it feels manufactured because it was manufactured.

In many ways, I still find it kind of creepy, and Celebration doesn’t appear to exude the messy charm of a town that has grown organically.  Then again, since I’m two decades older than the last time I thought about Celebration, I do find some attraction to a town that was specifically engineered to be walkable and have carefully controlled growth.  If only it could look more like a real city and less like a theme park.

Adam Steinbaugh – Anti-Involuntary-Porn Bad Ass

April 23, 2014

Kashmir Hill at Forbes has a great piece on a guy I’m proud to call a friend.  

“Female Privilege”

April 23, 2014

I generally can’t stand critical race / gender theorist types who whine about “privilege.”  Yeah, there are advantages to being whatever the fuck you are.  There’s a time and a place when being a transgendered Azerbaijani will come in handy (although probably less often than being a white guy in America).  Accordingly, I don’t subscribe to the views in this piece on “female privilege,” but it does lay bare the whiny shit you read on pseudo-feminist blogs that cry about “male privilege” in order to end conversations that aren’t going their way.  

Although I will side with the “I hate my dad” crowd, if they want to put a cactus up the ass of the douchebag who wrote this crap.

Strippers at Funerals! (Yay Taiwan!)

April 23, 2014

In Taiwan, they have strippers at funerals.  

I want strippers at my funeral.  If I don’t get them, I’m coming back to haunt you all.  

Breaking news(?) Babies intentionally cockblock

April 17, 2014

Babies cry to make sure their moms aren’t getting any. Yep… little tiny cockblockers. (source) Couldn’t we just assure them that we’re using birth control?

Natural Selection in Action!  

March 31, 2014

Once more, with feeling…. I will NOT listen to clergy members (at least if they tell me to let a hyena eat my balls)


I wish I was a good enough person to have thought of this

March 23, 2014

Great “protest” at Fred Phelps’ funeral.  (here)

Revenge Porn Scumbags Spanked With $385,000 Judgment

March 18, 2014

Kevin Bollaert

Kevin Bollaert

Founders of the revenge porn site You Got Posted, Eric Chanson and Kevin Bollaert, have been ordered to pay an Ohio woman $385,000, including $75,000 in punitive damages, for distributing child pornography – photos of her when she was underage. (judgment) The plaintiff, represented by Randazza Legal Group, sued You Got Posted’s operators after finding several sexually explicit images of herself as a minor on the site. The $385,000 judgment is the end of her case against two of You Got Posted’s operators.

The woman sued as “Jane Doe,” and the federal court for the Southern District of Ohio awarded her a judgment of $385,000 against Kevin Bollaert and Eric Chanson on March 18, 2014. The Court awarded the plaintiff $150,000 each on two child pornography claims, and $10,000 on her right of publicity claim. Additionally, the Court awarded the plaintiff $75,000 in punitive damages based on Bollaert and Chanson’s conduct. In total, the Court awarded $385,000 against Kevin Bollaert and Eric Chanson. Additionally, the Court prohibited Kevin Bollaert and Eric Chanson from ever again publishing her images.

In May of 2013, the plaintiff sued Kevin Bollaert and Eric, Roy, and Amy Chanson for publishing sexually explicit images of her on the website You Got Posted. In related legal action, on December 10, 2013, the California Attorney General’s Office indicted and arrested Bollaert on counts of conspiracy, identity theft, and extortion in connection with You Got Posted. (Arrest Warrant Here)

The judgment comes on a default. But, it was not an ordinary default. The Chanson defendants retained the services of a law firm in India to defend them — yes, a law firm that doesn’t even have a single license in the United States, much less the court where this matter was pending. They tried to pretend that they were actually pro se, while using these unlicensed “attorneys” as their counsel. When we figured that out, we moved to strike all of their pleadings. (Motion here). The court granted the motion. (order) Eric Chanson didn’t bother trying again and after a prove-up hearing he and his compatriot got their just desserts.

The message this $385,000 judgment sends to people who run revenge porn sites is unambiguous. These sites irreparably harm their victims, and often without any criminal action against them. In this case, a civil suit allowed our client to obtain justice against the people who exploited her. Marc J. Randazza and J. Malcolm DeVoy IV of the Randazza Legal Group and Prominent First Amendment Bad Ass, H. Louis Sirkin handled the case on behalf of Jane Doe.

Was Saint Patrick Really Italian?

March 17, 2014

Irish is, without a doubt, the dominant immigrant culture in Massachusetts. Growing up there, in a town where Sicilians were the plurality, St. Patrick’s Day was always a little underwhelming. Instead, we celebrated St. Joseph’s day on March 19. Of course, every St. Joseph’s Day, someone would bring up the old story that St. Patrick’s day should be “our” day too — since St. Patrick was really Italian. We wanted to believe it, so we did.

Every year, articles pop up repeating the story that St. Patrick was really Italian. Even GoErie.com repeats the tale.

St. Patrick was born around 432 AD and died around 461 AD. He was Italian not Irish. Story is that St. Patrick was kidnapped at age 16 from Rome and brought to Ireland as a slave. (source)

Reviewing multiple sources finds conflicting stories of St. Patrick being born as early as 370 and dying around 460 AD. He was born Maewyn Succat. A number of sources say he was born in either Scotland or in Wales to parents Calpurnius and Conchessa, who were reportedly high status Romans.

Given the time periods in play, it is certainly likely that there would be high ranking Romans in Britain at that time. However, at that time, being “Roman” didn’t necessarily mean that one came from Rome.

For centuries before Maewyn’s birth, the concept of being a Roman expanded beyond the narrow definition it had in the early Republic. In 212 AD, Emperor Carcalla issued the Constitutio Antoniniana, which granted Roman citizenship to all free men in the Empire. Even before that, select groups of conquered peoples and powerful and important rulers of conquered lands were often granted full Roman citizenship.

So, it seems that Maewyn Succat was most likely a Roman. But, he could have been “Roman,” without possessing have a single strand of DNA originating from from the Italian peninsula.

Nevertheless, for the sake of argument, lets just assume that his family came from ancient Patrician blood, and that his parents were born in the shadow of the Colosseum. While this is entirely unlikely, lets say that’s how it was — and therefore, little Maewyn Succat was so Roman that he bled eagle blood and preferred his wine mixed with wolf’s milk.

Does that make him Italian?

One problem with claiming him as Italian is the difficulty of accurately defining “Italian.” What we now call “Italians” are really a mixture of a diverse ebb and flow of ethnicities made up of pre-Roman populations like the Etruscans, who later mixed with various Celts, Greeks, Germanic tribes. Sicily? Don’t even get me started. “Italy” as a nation didn’t even exist as an idea until the Risorgimento in the 1800s.

Back then, some like Austrian Prince Metternich angrily declared that Italy was nothing more than a “geographical expression.” Those who drove the Risorgimento would have found this insulting, but after Italy gained unification and independence, Massimo d’Azeglio seemed to affirm it by writing “we have made Italy; now we must make Italians.”

At the time of reunification, only about 3% of “Italians” spoke Italian. Even the King, Vittorio Emanuele, barely spoke it. Even today, much of Italy communicates in regional dialects at home, which are often mutually unintelligible.

So I suppose the answer is this: St. Patrick was likely Roman of some color or another. It is unlikely that he was Roman under the definition used by Italians who try and claim him. It is very likely that little Maewyn was actually some kind of Gaul. Even if he was as Roman as Marc Antony, most Italians trying to claim him as their very own have a somewhat loose grip on their own connection to the Romans as their ancestors.

It seems that the Irish should be permitted to maintain their claim over Maewyn Succat. Not that he was Irish either. But, if his historical significance is that he was an important missionary in Ireland, and he died there, well then they can have him.

The only thing they can’t have is the story about him banishing the snakes from Ireland. That’s not true. Glaciers did it almost 10,000 years before St. Patrick was born. (source)

So, this St. Patrick’s Day, the correct thing to shout is Erin go Bragh, and not Viva Italia.

Cross at WTC, yea or nay?

March 8, 2014

Amy Alkon (who I fucking adore) thinks that its a bit too petty to try and gank the cross from the WTC memorial. (here) I disagree, but whatever.

If a Judge Wants Prosecutors to Follow the Law, He Must Be Biased

March 8, 2014

Gideon, at the Connecticut Law Tribune gives us a peek into the souls of the prosecutor corps. (here)

An Open Letter to Journalists

March 7, 2014

Dear Members of the Media,

I sincerely appreciate all of your hard work in bringing us the news of the day. In this day and age, there is a lot of burgeoning information and it is cumbersome to sift through all of it to provide summaries to the masses. However, there is one thing you do not do that is incredibly frustrating–provide citations.

In reporting on a new science publication, you do not always provide a citation so that the interested reader can learn more. Worse, you rarely identify bill numbers, session laws, or case name/citations when reporting legal news. As a privacy attorney, I found the recent Massachusetts “upskirting” issue might warrant attention. It would have been helpful if you cited the case as Comm. v. Robertson, SJC-11353 (Mar. 5, 2014), even better if you provided a link: http://www.socialaw.com/slip.htm?cid=22645&sid=120 . Or, when the legislature promptly acted to outlaw the actions taken by Mr. Robertson, it would have been nice if you cited Acts of 2014, Chapter 23 (or H. 3934): https://malegislature.gov/Laws/SessionLaws/Acts/2014/Chapter43

As a journalist, I am assuming you read the primary source, so that way I can trust your reporting, correct? So, since you have the primary source, please make it easier for us and let us know how we can find it, too. Because, if you don’t share, it might turn out that you missed the real story. Let me spell it out for you–Massachusetts just made many previously lawful and proper hidden security cameras potentially unlawful.

According to the new law, it is now unlawful to secretly record images of fully clothed breasts, buttocks and genitals. Full stop. Your nanny thinks she’s alone, but you have a nanny-cam. Sorry, you probably just broke the law. You want to know which of the neighborhood kids have been going into your backyard when you aren’t home and stomping your daisies? That’s double the punishment.

Bad reporting of bad reactionary legislative lawyering. At least the reporting can be easily fixed.

Thank you.

Jay M. Wolman

Help Wanted: Paralegal

March 5, 2014

RLG is looking for someone to act as a paralegal/office manager for the Vegas office.  

The successful candidate must be enthusiastic about working for a firm that does First Amendment Law and international intellectual property law. Candidates must be in Las Vegas or willing to relocate to Vegas.

You must be organized. In fact, really organized, because the boss lacks that quality. You must have a healthy relationship with porn. That means you must not be bothered by it, but if you’re all “oh, goody, porn!” then you’re an idiot who will be a liability to us all.

Experience as a paralegal is helpful, but not required. College helps, but is not necessary. Although, if you did go to college and you majored in English or Journalism, please step this way, past the velvet rope, and sit down. You’re going to the VIP lounge of candidates. You know why I like English/Journalism majors? Because usually they can compose a coherent sentence, or guess what word I wrote in some edits that are in my terrible, terrible penmanship.

If you can’t spell or notice typos, you’re not going to last more than a week. Attention to detail really matters. I stop reading when I see the first typo in a letter, and then I tell you to do it again. If you get the letter handed back to you three times, you get a prize! A new job. Somewhere else. I don’t care where. Your job will be to make mine easier, not harder.

Send your resume to me with a short cover email. If you are wondering if it is too long, then it is. One page resume only.

If you do not know where to send a resume, that’s too bad. Figuring shit like that out is going to be part of your job. Figure it out.

NOTE: Every time I post a job like this, I get attorneys and recent law grads applying too. I’ll consider JDs for the position, but only if you’re prepared to make a 1-2 year commitment to staying in the support staff ranks. Also, if you’re a JD who thinks “I’m a JD, lah dee freakin dah, I can do a paralegal’s job drunk ” then you’re an idiot. A paralegal’s job is way harder than a first year associate’s job.

Happy National Teacher’s Day

March 5, 2014

Even if you win, you just screwed yourself

March 5, 2014

Rachel Canning and her parents’ problems seem like pretty typical (albeit on the upper end of things) 18 year old acting-out-behavior. Suspensions. Drinking. A lousy boyfriend. Parental ultimatum of “break up with your boyfriend, or you’re financially cut off.”

So, she moves out, moves in with a friend, and the friend’s parents pay for an attorney to sue her parents for access to her college fund. (source) There is a lot of commentary on the case, and none of it positive. I’ll reserve judgment on the lawyer who would bring such a case, and even on the frivolity of the legal theories. After all, this is how the common law develops, right?

But, the best analysis is here:

Memo to Rachel Canning: Even if you win your lawsuit, you just screwed yourself. 20 years from now, when a potential employer — or anyone else, for that matter — Googles the name Rachel Canning, they will read all about how you threw a temper tantrum and sued your own parents. When those people read the article above, they will most likely put on you on their “she was crazy then, she is probably still crazy” list of people that they don’t hire, date, befriend or otherwise associate with. (source – comment by Emily Ruman)



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