May It Please The Court
Quote of the Day - I am not one of those who in expressing opinons confine themselves to the facts.
Drawing The Line Between Blogging And AdvertisingBlogging as a phenomenon is reaching epic proportions. Given the coverage of blogs by institutional media, more and more people now understand what a blog is. Last night, I ran into the Dean of one of our local law schools, who told me about blogs.
It's a refreshing change.
I also ran across Riddle v. Celebrity Cruises, a case that debated whether pop-up ads violated Utah's anti-spam act. In two words, they don't. Unfortunately.
We'll have to write our legislative officials on that one. But the juxtaposition of the two events got me thinking.
Are blogs advertising?
Certainly, you can advertise on blogs. You can even have someone else build you a blog.
What about MIPTC? Yes, it provides a vehicle for people to get to know me without having to meet me, and I suspect under that definition qualifies as advertising. Somewhat surprisingly it has resulted in clients. At least there are those who haven't turned and run after reading this stuff. It helps pay the bills, too, along with those hefty quarterly checks from Law.com (MIPTC hasn't received its first check yet). But then again, the same can be said for most newspapers and other mainstream media.
Subscriptions and advertising pay for the people that bring us news and opinion.
It would be difficult to identify an altruistic blog, with no ax to grind. I'm not sure I could. Does that mean we're all advertising? In the broadest sense of the word, I'd have to vote yes.
Bloggers will argue (anything), so I'd be interested to read others' opinions on these points.
If you blog, do you advertise at least your point of view? Can any of us be truly neutral?
If you read blogs, do you consider the blogger's perspective as you're reading?
Is blogging advertising? Is the ad just restricted to that rectangle at the top of this page?
End Of The Morning Ritual?When I lived in Italy, every morning my classmates and professors would shuffle down to the cafe and indulge themselves with an espresso and a cigarette while crammed shoulder-to-shoulder at the bar.
As of Monday this ritual may be a scene from the past. The Italian government instituted a national ban on smoking in public places including cafes, bars, restaurants and night clubs.
Although one third of Italians smoke, a surprising majority supported the ban. I can only believe that even the smokers having dinner with their families want to enjoy the flavors of the food without every bite tasting like the inside of an ashtray.
The ban leaves restaurant and bar owners in charge of policing patrons, however, and requires them to call the authorities to report violators. The effectiveness of the measure remains to be seen.
Two of my most memorable Italian smoking memories are sitting in the "no smoking" section of my local pizzeria watching one of the regular customers light up a smoke. When he asked for an ashtray, the waitress gladly served one up.
Then, there was the Italian police officer casually leaning against a post, lighting up and puffing away. When I looked up, I noticed that he was standing directly under a "No Smoking" sign in the Milan airport.
If these are the enforcers, then my guess is that the rules may have changed, but everything remains the same …
Reel Reviews - Paris TexasAs you know, Friday is movie day. Here's MWGblog's review.
Reel Review #21: “I knew these people… These two people. They were in love with each other. The girl was… very young, about seventeen or eighteen, I guess. And the guy was… quite a bit older. He was kind of raggedy and wild. And she was very beautiful, you know?” A great Wim Wenders film and the Palme d’Or winner at Cannes in 1984. I go a bit longer on this one only because of my pure enthusiasm for this great film. Check it out.
Paris Texas - Amazon
MIPTC Is Now VlawgingYou saw it here first. MIPTC is now live from Newport Beach!
We've got a vlog. Or is it Vlawg? In any event, in addition to hearing MIPTC posts on your iPod or Pocket PC, you can now see us on your PVR. Or, you can download our vidcast through our RSS feeds, which now include a video feed. We'll keep podcasting, certainly, but add vidcasting as a new feature. Here's the first vidcast, just one post down.
You can watch MIPTC on your Windows Media Player or on your Mac with QuickTime or any of a number of other video viewers.
Admittedly, the first vidcast is primitive, but over time it will get better. We're working on some new software and techniques. So, bear with us. We're certainly far from broadcast video, but then again, I'm just a lawyer. If you've got some experience or just want to give me some advice, comment below or call our Audio Comment line at 206-338-3088.
Law will never be the same.
When Do Lawyer Jokes Get Out Of Line?Here's a guy who needs to get a life. A lawyer in Hempstead, NY complained when two guys told this joke while waiting in line:
How do you tell when a lawyer is lying?" Harvey Kash reportedly asked Carl Lanzisera.
"His lips are moving," they said in unison, as reported by CNN. Harvey and Carl are members of a group known as Americans for Legal Reform (may not be the correct link).
I like lawyer jokes as much as most of us do. In fact, the old saw goes that lawyers like lawyer jokes more than regular people. But the lawyer also waiting in line at court complained, and the Harvey and Carl were arrested.
For disorderly conduct. Now I wasn't there, so it's hard to tell. In fact, the CNN article notes that "Dan Bagnuola, a spokesman for the Nassau County courts, said the men were 'being abusive and they were causing a disturbance.' "
Someone other than the lawyer likewise thought Harvey and Carl were out of line.
For a joke?
The Disasters Of Business Interruption Insurance CoverageWhen the lights went out, so did the assembly line. Fourteen of Chrysler's plants went down in late 2003, idling workers for a day, stopping 10,000 vehicles in production and wasting nearly 1,000.
The blackout of 2003 has now made its way into court in a big way. $33 million in damages, plus another $4 in interest.
Chrysler is suing it's insurer, Allianz AG, for failure to cover its business interruption. Allianz has some marketing materials about its business interruption insurance coverage.
According to the AP, "The blackout was the worst in the nation's history, knocking out power to parts of eight states and costing at least $6 billion in economic and other losses."
Business interruption insurance coverage is designed to pay in the event that a business is unable to operate as a consequence of a covered loss. In this instance, the assembly lines of GM and Ford went down in addition to Chrysler's. GM didn't file an insurance claim. Perhaps GM's assembly line is set up to deal with a blackout. Ford wouldn't say whether it submitted a claim or not, but it didn't file suit. If Ford had coverage, then it would appear that its insurance company paid.
Is business interruption coverage a good idea? Depends on whether your company can financially handle the downtime. With tsunamis, blackouts, earthquakes, mudslides, hurricanes and other natural disasters, now would seem a good time to revisit your insurance coverage.
Then the only other natural disaster you may have to deal with is your insurance company.
Mass DNA Sampling: Which Would You Choose?You've likely never heard of Christa Worthington, and unfortunately, we're not going to hear from her, either. She was killed in Truro, Massachusetts on Cape Cod over three years ago.
The police have no leads. Her two-and-one-half-year-old daughter, now five, was found nearby.
Police have now resorted to mass DNA collecting to generate leads. The ACLU is none too happy about it, and sent a letter to the Truro police and prosecutors asking them to stop.
It's a Constitutional violation, the ACLU claims. The Lexis One article link above notes that mass DNA has solved crimes in Europe, but not in Louisiana, Virginia or Nebraska, where it has been tried without success.
Lexis One also quoted Cape Cod Prosecutor Michael O'Keefe, who said he did not intend to change tactics. "Our goal is to employ whatever methodology is available to us to solve a homicide," he said, adding that authorities understood some people would not participate "for a variety of legitimate reasons."
Is it open up to prove your innocence, or clam up and exercise your rights?
Fire Departments Lawyer Up; Not Liable For ContaminationYou've volunteered for your local fire department. You respond to a five-alarm fire. You do a service for your local community.
At least that's what they called it when my grandfather, James B. Walker, volunteered for the West Pittston Hose Co. No. 1. He used to kid me as a child and say that I should have brought marshmellows when we came to watch the fire. In my small town, fires were an event.
So it likely was with the Amityville Fire Department in New York, population 9,559. Except when they got a barnburner recently.
They got sued (subscription may be required, and the decision is not available on the Court's website). The volunteer firefighters put out a big fire at the AMW Materials Testing facility, a company that uses chemicals in its operations.
Afterwards, AMW cleaned up the resulting contamination from the fire, water and spread of the chemicals beyond their normal containers.
Then, AMW sued both the North Amityville Fire Company and the Town of Babylon on Long Island. For contribution under CERCLA. AMW alleged that the fire department made the contamination worse because they doused the fire and they performed some cleanup. AMW alleged that the firefighters were required to pay contribution for the cleanup because they qualified as an operator.
The Court didn't buy it. The judges cited the volunteer firefighter exception and barred AMW's attempt to recover damages from the fire department.
Now when fire departments rush to a fire, they'll have to take their lawyer along.