Archive for the ‘Rights You Don’t Have’ Category

Hurt Me, Baby

Monday, March 21st, 2011
Intern Rebecca here with thoughts on Kathryn Bigelow…
While I do not know the writer/director/producer personally, I must admit, in the last year I have felt a deep range of emotions for Kathryn Bigelow.
I cried for her when she became the first female ever to win an Academy Award for directing. I laughed for her when her ex‐husband, James Cameron, made a fool of himself at the Golden Globes by speaking in his own made‐up Avatar language. I feared for her when I realized that at the spry age of 60 she can never slack off again, because if she does she will forever set an example of not only why women really shouldn’t direct, but also why they shouldn’t be given Oscars for it. I felt even more anxiety for her when I realized she’s 60 and that she can never look any less hot than she does now, for it would only be another reason why women should never direct.
But now, I just feel sorry for K‐Big. Can’t a director get some peace and quiet after
their passion project goes all the way and wins the Oscar? Apparently not. Seems the Bigster is being SUED for her film The Hurt Locker by some man who claims the movie is about him. The lawsuit, filed by Sergeant Jeffery Sarver, started way back on the eve of last year’s Academy Awards, but it’s back this year, in full force as Sarver claims the film has done irreversible damage to his character since it took home the golden statue last March. According to the claim, Sarver’s fellow troopsters in Afghanistan are teasing him hard core, saying he clearly doesn’t know how to follow correct procedure because they character who is maybe him in The Hurt Locker doesn’t follow correct procedure.
Um, guys, it’s called a movie…?
From what I can scrounge up via The Internets, here are the facts of the case:
Sarver’s Side:
1. He wants money. More specifically, he wants compensation for the big bucks the film eventually grossed. (I guess big is relative when you’ve been frequenting Friday double features in Afghanistan.)
2. He claims he used to go around saying, “The hurt locker,” as well as the film’s famous line, “War is a drug.”
3. The character whom he believes to be himself in the movie takes improper action. This has led his real life buddies to tease him, as if the improper actions taken in the movie were really taken by him in real life.
Bigelow’s Side:
1. Free speech. If she says a procedure happens one way in her movie, it happens that way!
2. Free speech! She can write whatever characters she wants.
3. On the characters, she and screenwriter Mark Boal interviewed over 100 soldiers in the course of writing the script. They all informed the creation of the characters. I repeat, no one person was used as a model for the protag.
4. Again, free speech. Also, it’s a movie.
The lawsuit has sparked some hefty debate in cyber world over the past few weeks. I’ve even read blog posts left by parents of Sarver’s fellow soldiers saying it is true, their sons are teasing him! Therefore, K‐Big should pay up! She did this!
Um, side note to the parents: why don’t you tell your sons to lay off the nice Sergeant instead of spending your time blogging?
Naturally, Bigelow hopes the case will soon be dismissed, and Server says he’ll keep holding out for ever for the mullah, whether he’s in Afghanistan or Los Angelistan. Given the number of folks interviewed for the pick, and that, again, it is a movie, I say the guy has no case. Who knows, though, I’m not a lawyer. So what do you think?

Forget J, What Would YOU Do?

Wednesday, November 3rd, 2010

Today, Intern Rebecca poses these questions:

Last week in Tennesse, Jessie Wright noticed his wife exhibiting possible signs of stroke. Wright hopped in his car, turned on his emergency lights, and liberally used his horn to race his wife to the hospital.

>Mrs. Wright has a history of illness, most notably losing her leg to cancer. Such a traumatic injury would of course cause the man who loves her to worry with the smallest sign of illness. As Jessie sped through yellow and red lights, he was followed by Officer James Daves, who ultimately confronted Daves as he was carrying his wife through the ER doors.

I’m pretty sure there’s a sight test involved with being a cop, so couldn’t Daves see Wrights hands were a little too tied for handcuffs at the time?

Clearly not, as Daves arrested Wright on the spot. He was also upset that no matter what he said, Wright was more concerned with his wife’s health. (So many women should be so lucky.)

After spending the night with his wife in the hospital, Wright was brought to jail, charged with seven felonies, and released on $7,500 bail – not to mention the hospital bills.

Perhaps Write broke some traffic laws, but wouldn’t the biggest crime of all be killing his wife? And isn’t Daves the one really at fault in this situation, for putting Mrs. Wright’s health in further danger?

More on Things That Go CRASH in the Night

Tuesday, December 1st, 2009
I'm totally on the list

I'm totally on the list

Everbody’s talking about the Salahis. They were on the Today Show this morning and said that they were not crashers, they were invited guests to a White House party despite the fact that, according to this AP story, “Michele Jones, a special assistant to Defense Secretary Robert Gates, said in a written statement issued through the White House that she never said or implied she would get the Salahis into the event.

“I specifically stated that they did not have tickets and in fact that I did not have the authority to authorize attendance, admittance or access to any part of the evening’s activities,” Jones said. “Even though I informed them of this, they still decided to come.”

So there’s that.

But say the whole “the President’s life could have been endangered,” thing was not part of the story. Say, as the holiday season approaches and there are parties you want to attend but to which the invitation must have gotten lost… The question I think most of us are wondering is this:


And the answer is one we discuss in the book on p. 101! (We were on to this whole party crashing thing long before Tareq and Michaele ever donned saris or auditioned for that Desperate DC housewives show.)

So to make sure you’re not doing anything illicit over the party season to come, go ahead, click this link, buy our book and avoid that legal pitfall that just might come back to bite you if you show up to a shindig on which you’re not on the list.

Big Sister, Meet Big Brother

Tuesday, November 24th, 2009
Rise of the Machines

Rise of the Machines

I recently had a rather unfortunate run in with a stoplight mounted video surveillance camera. Fortunately I didn’t literally run in to it, but the creepy invasion of privacy machine did happen to photograph me making a left turn at what I contend was a yellowish light.

Though I won’t go so far as to pose the “if a tree falls in the woods and there’s no one there to hear it does it make a sound?” defense concerning criminal activity, I still think there’s something wrong with getting a ticket in the mail for allegedly breaking the law when there was no human around to judge if there may have been mitigating circumstances. (For instance maybe my car was already in the middle of the intersection and I needed to turn, or maybe I really had to get to a bathroom ASAP and I needed to make the light lest I have a really ugly accident.)

In fact, the state of Mississippi ruled that these “red light cameras” (which in Amsterdam have an entirely different connotation) needed to be removed because there were so many challenges to their accuracy and they tended to cause an increase in rear end collisions (my two points EXACTLY.)

But, just last week, the city council of Tiburon, a peninsula in the San Francisco Bay Area, approved a measure to install these surveillance cameras on its streets to record the license plate number of every car entering and leaving Tiburon.

Tiburon Police Chief Michael Cronin justified the measure by saying he thinks keeping track of every vehicle will help keep the community safer because, according to the article in the SFGate, “Plates will be compared to databases of stolen or wanted cars, with matches triggering an immediate alert to local officers.”
Not surprisingly, this new law is making privacy advocates bananas. They think it’s a creeping invasion of our rights, and a downright scary use of public funds. But some residents, like 64 y.o. Yami Anolik, think it’s a great idea and believes privacy advocates should stuff it: “If you’re driving on a public road, you gave up your privacy already. If you want to be private, stay at home.”
Though in the eyes of the law Anolik is correct — if you’re out in public, you have no reasonable expectation of privacy — in my eyes this is not cool, and I’m not just saying that because I had to pay the state of New York $50 to get to the bathroom faster that fateful night.

Party On!

Thursday, November 5th, 2009

sad-clown1Before Barack Obama came along with his whole Audacity of Hope thing, the Jews had another way to describe crazily gutsy, brazen behavior. We called it chutzpah. (Let that word roll through the back of your throat and you’ll get a very good sense of its meaning.)

Well, Scott T. Zielinski, a 23-year-old Michigan man serving an 8-year sentence for robbing a party store, is a man with chutzpah coming out of his prison jumpsuit. Mr. Zielinski has decided to sue the owners and three workers at Nick’s Party Stop, the place he robbed in November 2007, for using excessive force when they tried to prevent him from stealing their cash and merchandise.

Zielinski, who was unarmed when he tried stealing from the shop, wound up getting shot twice and beaten during his quashed crime spree. So he’s now seeking $125,000 from his would-be victims. A Michigan Circuit Judge, David Vivianohas, just ruled that the case can be heard, but is forcing Zielinski to post a $10,000 bond to cover the attorney’s fees of the store owner and its employees in case they prevail at the trial.

What the? How is this even possible?

Well, the legal question hinges on the principle of the use of “excessive force.” And though you are absolutely allowed to defend your home and property, the law says that “force should be used in only the minimum amount needed to achieve a legitimate purpose.” So the question that will now go before a Michigan jury is this: was it necessary to shoot Zielinski twice–in addition to beating him–for trying to burgle a party shop when he was unarmed?

It’ll be interesting to see how the good people of Michigan decide this one. But one thing’s for sure: whoever’s doing the post trial party planning will be wise not to use the five finger discount if he’s shopping at Nick’s.

You Light Up My Life

Tuesday, November 3rd, 2009

Virginia is for lovers? Honey, please! Amy discusses what one technologically savvy-if reality deprived Don Juan did for his lady yesterday outside the Philadelphia train station…

Exactly the Reaction You Want From the Man You’ve Been Sleeping With…

Tuesday, October 27th, 2009

Yesterday the humor site, Holy Taco, posted a fantastic collection of the 7 Best Maury Povich Paternity Result Reactions, truly a high water mark of man’s humanity to man… Or, more accurately, man’s inhumanity to woman after said woman claimed he was her baby daddy and Maury called bullshit.

Never have you seen the face of pure glee until you have witnessed Andrew’s reaction to the news that he is not some child’s father:

Let’s momentarily put aside our HORROR for the poor little one in question, because though his mother is clearly a slut with exceedingly poor judgment, at least this jackass is not his father.

Let’s think instead of the legal ramifications, and, more specifically what you should do if you were to find yourself in this position (and just to clarify, we mean the position of contested paternity, not jumping for joy on the Mo Po Show.)

In our chapter on Kids, “Yes Sir, That’s My Baby… And Other Things You Might Not Want to Admit to Your Child’s Arresting Officer,” we discuss this issue in detail on page 133 — so go buy yourself a copy, Suspected Daddy — because the law says that though paternity can be disavowed, there are time restrictions. In other words, wait too long to contest the paternity, and even M.J.’s  “Billie Jean” defense won’t prevent you from being forced to pay child support.

No fatties!

Wednesday, October 14th, 2009

The Today Show ran a story today about Filippa Hamilton, the 120 lb, 5’10″ Ralph Lauren model who was recently fired. Why was the beautiful Ms. Hamilton given the boot? Because, according to the R.L. statement, at five-foot-ten and one hundred and twenty pounds, girlfriend could no longer stuff her junk into Polo’s leisure wear.

The horror! Look at those fat bags dangling from her chest!

The horror! Look at those fat bags dangling from her chest!

Hamilton decided to air her grievances on national TV– at the risk of blinding normal-sized American consumers with her heft– because she wanted people to know about the prejudice fatties have to endure on a daily basis. (Take that, Tyra!)

Well guess what, cutie? Lots of people have gotten fired for being too fat and though it may seem grossly unfair (particularly because you still have a nice face… and you’re actually incredibly skinny), it’s COMPLETELY LEGAL.

Being hugenormous–or just too fat to be an anorexic model–doesn’t put you in a protected class (unless it’s a result of a medical condition or pregnancy.) So if an employer wants to fire you because you’ve put on a few ounces, that, as frequent legal system contender Bobby Brown,  might say, is his prerogative.

Check our book, we talk about this extensively!

For the love of a Spork

Monday, October 12th, 2009
Attack with deadly cutlery!

Attack with deadly cutlery!

Zachary Christie is a six-year-old who enjoys most things six-year-olds do: karate, camping and cub scouts. But, according to the Christina School District in Newark, Delaware, Zachary’s love of his scouting spork  got him into a whole mess of trouble.

Thanks to a zero tolerance policy concerning weapons in schools, because little Zach wanted to use his hybrid spoon- fork-knife combo in the school caf, he was rounded up like a felon and, according to the New York Times, the hardened 6-year-old “now faces 45 days in the district’s reform school.”

Sounds kind of silly, doesn’t it? Well sure it does, but so did the Rockefeller drug laws, and those were on the books in New York from 1973 to 2009. Unfortunately for little Zachy, like the draconian drug laws, the Christina School District’s code of conduct brooks no dissent. School officials had to suspend the first grader because, ““regardless of possessor’s intent,” knives are banned.”

What’s going to happen to the kid? Well, if the code stands, not even Perry Mason would be able to get the little knife wielding moppet out of this one because the law is the law, regardless of how stupid.

But no doubt this will be a positive experience for the FIRST GRADER. Zach will almost certainly get “scared straight” in reform school and probably won’t have any kind of psychological scarring or hatred of authority thereafter. I’m sure he’ll come back from his time in the hole a new and improved little tyke who’d never bother using something as blunt as a knife-fork-spoon combo again once he learns from others how sharp a machete can be!

Tiger! Tiger! Tiger!

Tuesday, October 6th, 2009
Mmm, Canadian bacon!

Mmm, Canadian bacon!

I’ve long had a soft spot in my heart for the mighty tiger. Not only is the fierce tiger the mascot of my college, I always found Tigger to be the coolest of sidekicks. When your personal motto is “Bouncing is what Tiggers do best!” you can hang with me any time.

That said, I recognize that tigers can also be described as “dangerous carnivores.” So the idea of climbing into a tiger’s cage to say “hey, s’up?” has never been on my to-do list. This, however, was not the case for two geniuses in Canada, who were mauled, gouged and bitten by Vitali, a  150-KG Siberian tiger, after they decided to scale the wall of a Calgary zoo after hours.

Now from a legal perspective, breaking and entering and trespassing are never wise moves. But when you’re breaking and entering and trespassing in a tiger’s cage, you should consider yourself VERY lucky if your punishment solely comes at the hands of a judge.

As tiger “curator” Tim Sinclair-Smith told reporters, “A tiger is a carnivore, they are going to behave naturally, this is his natural reaction.” One of the two idiots is still in the hospital with serious injuries. But when he recovers, he can also look forward to having the book thrown at him by the judicial system, a reminder, perhaps, that laws are often put in place to protect people from themselves.