Quote of the Day - Last night I stayed up late playing poker with Tarot cards. I got a full house and four people died.
Death Knell For MIPTC Comment SpamSome time ago, MIPTC followed Google's lead and added the No follow code to our comment coding to prevent comment spam. Unfortunately, it hasn't worked.
Comment spam is out of control. I'm so frrrustrated with taking so much time to delete it that we've developed the ultimate weapon.
First, though, please realize that MIPTC tried and tried to come up with alternatives. After adding the 'No Follow' code, comment spam almost seemed like it got worse. We next reprogrammed the administrative site to make it easier to delete comment spam. I spent way too much time deleting comments encouraging you to play poker and visit strip sites. All of this at significant expense and effort to prevent this parasite.
It still didn't work. We finally recoded the administrative site to delete any comment with more than three html links. Same amount of comment spam as before, just more comments to delete.
So, regrettably, MIPTC has installed software to patrol comments and automatically delete any comment that adds an html link.
You can still comment, but you will no longer be able to put a link in a comment. If you want to comment and post a link, send me an email, and I'll add it to a post. You can also call MIPTC's audio comment line at 206-338-3088 and I'll post your audio comment.
If anyone can come up with a better solution, I'm all ears. Just don't put the link in the comment box.
What Do Marriage Brokers and Assisted Suicide Have In Common?If you guessed maybe a bad joke on The Tonight Show, perhaps. But actually, it's the California Legislature.
They're both pending bills. If passed, international marriage brokers will now have to be licensed, and assisted suicide may become legal in California.
The “Compassionate Choice Act would authorize an adult who meets certain qualifications, and who has been determined by his or her attending physician to be suffering from a terminal disease to make a request for medication for the purpose of ending his or her life in a humane and dignified manner, ” according to Assemblywoman Patty Berg (D-Eureka), who authored this bill. Oregon is the only other state with a similar law.
This year may be a first for California. Licenses may be required to get into a marriage and to get out.
Submarining Base Closures Based On Contamination Cleanup CostsBase closures are battlegrounds of their own. While they're certainly big issues for discussion, MIPTC wants to focus on one.
As a young cadet, I spent a summer learning how to sail across from the sub base in Groton, in New London, on the Thames River.
We learned the rules of the road of sailing, one of which required powered vessels to give way to sailboats. Learning in 12-foot dingys, we thought we held sway over submarines. It didn't work. One cadet ended up with his dingy smashed into the conning tower, and as he looked up to the stunned submarine captain, he could only muster "Permission to come aboard, sir?" Subs, it turned out, were entitled to the right of way over a sailboat because even though powered (sail almost always trumps power), the subs' movement was restricted in a tight channel and couldn't stop or turn easily, whereas 12-foot dingys could.
Shortly, however, that story will not repeat itself, since subs won't be maneuvering up and down the river. The shocking aspect of the base closure, however, isn't so much missing subs, but the contamination left behind.
So much so that the government predicts the Groton property won't be able to be used for virtually anything (see the last line of the story from the last link above). Beyond MIPTC's known penchant for making the government responsible to clean up its own mess (since the government requires businesses to clean up their contamination), this closure just doesn't make sense.
Think about it.
The Pentagon wants to close a base that ultimately can't (or won't) be used for anything else.
Why not just keep it open?
Napa Means Napa!Another big decision rolled through wine country yesterday as the California Court of Appeal upheld a state labeling law that says that the names of places mean something and if you want to use the name of that place in your winery name, then the bulk of the grapes have to come from that place.
This decision is good news for consumers. Federal law basically requires that the brand name not be misleading but had an exception for brands established before 1986. The California law eliminates this exception. Additionally, wine labels that wish to state a particular state, county, or viticultural appellation are subject to additional federal requirements. To use a state or county appellation on the label, at least 75% of the grapes used to produce the wine must be from the state or county. In order to use an approved viticultural appellation, the wine must be at least 85% from that AVA.
Bronco Wine Co., the company challenging the state law, claimed that its labels were not misleading or deceptive. The ruling will have an immediate impact on three of Bronco’s brands: Napa Ridge, Napa Creek Winery, and Rutherford Vintners, but shouldn’t affect its massively successful Charles Shaw brand. Napa Ridge, Napa Creek and Rutherford Vintners are all produced with grapes grown outside of Napa or Rutherford.
If you weren’t in the wine industry or hadn’t read this post up to this point would you have had any indication that the above mentioned wines weren’t from the famed Napa Valley? On the face of things you probably would have thought that these were Napa products even though the federally mandated fine print prohibited a claim of Napa as the source of the fruit. The fact of the matter is if you aren’t a wine geek like me, you probably wouldn’t look at the fine print and would just assume a wine called Napa Ridge was from Napa.
The court felt the same way, “Although more sophisticated wine consumers may not be misled by a brand name of viticultural significance that does not meet the appellation of origin requirements, other wine consumers are unaware of the technical meaning of the term 'appellation of origin,' and do not understand the significance of the specification of origin on the label. At the same time, these less sophisticated wine consumers are sufficiently aware of Napa Valley and its reputation as a premium wine growing region and consider that factor when purchasing wine.”
Thanks to the California Court of Appeal, now you can be sure if the label says Napa, it means Napa!
Who Should Be Arrested?You're watching the big game, having a few brews, and despite your seventeen calls to Fast Eddie's Pizza (first I just made that name up, but then discovered that such a place really exists. I'm sure the real Fast Eddie has great pizzas and delivers on time - probably even ahead of time. I just thought the name would make a great play on words, and really didn't plan on digressing this far. So, with that, please realize that my fictional 'Fast Eddie's' is just that - fiction), the pizza hasn't arrived yet.
Out of frustration, you call 911, thinking perhaps the pizza guy is stuck at a red light and needs an escort.
Berating the pizza parlor didn't do much more than escalate into a name-calling contest that ultimately degraded all the way down to such monikers as "you old coot."
Finally the 911 operators tire of your constant calls about your failed pizza delivery, and you get arrested for abusing the system. You've been told by the operators to stop calling, but you ignore them.
The twist is, however, that you're 86 years old.
If you've clicked on the link above, you know that a slight variant of this fictional story is true. The police in Charlotte, North Carolina did arrest an 86-year old woman for calling 911 about not getting her pizza delivery. My point in relating this story is that she shouldn't have been arrested. I think the 911 calls were really calls for help. Perhaps a better outcome to this story would have been to provide the help she needed rather than put her behind bars.
Maybe when she gets in front of a judge, rationale thought will set in. Then again ...
It's Your BlogYou can tell MIPTC where to go. Literally. MIPTC will institute some sweeping changes in the coming month - including getting podcasting back online. The changes are all open for discussion. We're doing a redesign from the bottom up.
Don't like the ad? Express your opinion in the comment box below or call our comment line and leave your rant. We'll post it for you.
What more graphics? Less graphics? Let me know.
Any design ideas?
About the only things I'll put my foot down on are the judge and the name. They stay. Those elements can go elsewhere on the page, but they're the first things I started with, and I happen like them and ... well, I pay for the page. Plus, Leonard Rivkin was kind enough to allow me to have his MayItPleaseTheCourt.com web page, and I agreed in turn to feature his book "above the fold."
So, if you ever wanted to have your own blog designed the way that you wanted it, now's the time to speak up.
Or forever hold your peace.
Land Mines At Foreclosure Sales: Buyer BewareEver thought about buying real estate at a foreclosure sale? At one time or another, most of us have, coupled with the thought of turning a quick buck on a fixer-upper and resale. Even if you haven't thought of it, surely you've seen those late-night-you-can-become-a-millionaire-overnight-by-buying-and-selling-houses paid programs.
In an opinion driven perhaps more by result than law, the Fifth Appellate District decided late last week that an owner can trump a title obtained at the trustee's sale. How? The justices give it away on page five of the opinion. They recognize that California Civil Code section 2924c allows an owner to cure a default up to five days before the foreclosure sale. But here, the owner cured the default just four days before the sale.
The question, then, is what happens during the five days of twilight after the redemption period expires but before the foreclosure sale?
The Court answers that the owner and the bank can voluntarily agree to the cure and reinstate the mortgage, essentially setting aside the default. People who buy at foreclosure sales know the redemption statute, and figure that if the default isn't cured five days before the trustee's sale, they can safely buy. Not so anymore. An owner can cure a default after the statutory redemption period but before the trustee's sale.
The buyer at the trustee's foreclosure sale had a host of other defenses in its attempt to gain good title: negligence (the bank forgot to inform the trustee that the default had been cured, and the trustee sold the house not knowing about the owner's payment curing the default), the common law presumption of regular and fair foreclosure sales, a third-party buyer's right as a bona fide purchaser, and lack of notice. Like bowling pins, the Court knocked the defenses down one by one.
If you're in the market to buy property at foreclosure sales or considering it; be careful out there kiddies. Land mines are all around.
Fair Use On A Hard Drive Behind A Username and PasswordWhat's the difference between books on reserve in library stacks for students (who are going to copy them and take the copies back to the dorm to study) and the same books on reserve online (where the same students can just hit the print button in their dorm room)?
Add to the online equation access limited by a username and password, compared to open access on the library shelves. Library reserves are considered fair use. When professors limit access to their class, internet access is more restrictive than libraries.
Publishers, however, want to challenge online use of published works. Looks like we're headed for a court fight.
So what is fair?
Use is the key word. It's not whether it's on a shelf or on a hard drive. It's how it's used. If the use is limited, as it is when it takes either a library card or a username and password to get to the published work, then it's limited, and the use is fair.
That rationale isn't a tautology, it's hopefully the way the courts will see it when they get there a year from now. Any other predictions out there?