Monthly Archives: January 2011

Snowed Out of Miami

I was supposed to be at a small roundtable discussion with the General Counsel of the Department of Commerce this morning, called to discuss the DoC’s “Green Paper” Commercial Data Privacy and Innovation in the Internet Economy: A Dynamic Policy Framework.

But it seems they had a little snow in DC last night, and around 11pm last night I got a message that General Counsel Cameron Kerry’s flight got scrubbed, so the meeting had to be canceled. It’s fairly rare for US Government traveling road shows on issues relating to Internet policies to come south of Atlanta (if that), so I was looking forward to this and even rescheduled a class so I could attend, which is a significant burden on my students. There’s a remote chance the meeting may be rescheduled, but I’m not optimistic.

Meanwhile, I get to go to New York next week and at least freeze.  But the forecast currently is only for light snow.

Posted in Law: Internet Law, Talks & Conferences | 1 Comment

The Way We Live Now

Seems they have a great management style in nearby Aventura Adventura.  And, hey, good news!, it’s all legal too:

The district court ruled that Murphy failed to establish that she was subject to a hostile work environment. The district court found that nine of the eighteen remarks described by Murphy constituted “generalized profanity and insults.” The district court also found that Murphy failed to establish that Soroka “singled out females as the targets for” the profanity based on statements by Judy Appelgren, Soroka’s assistant, and Ginger Kimnick that Soroka routinely and indiscriminately cursed at male and female employees. The district court found that the remaining nine remarks, although sex-based and offensive, did not rise to the level of sexual harassment because they were of “limited frequency,” having occurred over two years and eight months; were not severe; were not physically threatening and were not humiliating; and did not “unreasonably interfere” with Murphy’s work performance. The district court also ruled that Murphy failed to establish a prima facie case of retaliation. The district court determined that Murphy failed to establish that she had complained about gender-based discrimination and, in the alternative, she lacked an objectively reasonable belief that she was subject to a hostile work environment based on sexual harassment.

via EYE ON MIAMI: The “Dumb Shit” Ph.D. in Aventura, discussing Murphy v. City of Adventura, 383 Fed. Appx. 915, 2010 U.S. App. LEXIS 12584 (11th Cir. 2010).

Plaintiff Murphy was represented by Richard Burton and Ben Kuehne, so this is likely court failure not lawyer failure. Is the 11th Circuit the worst place in the nation to bring a sex discrimination complaint? (I don’t know what’s doing in the 4th or the 7th, which would be my other guesses.)

Posted in Law: Everything Else | 3 Comments

They Don’t Like David Rivera in DC Either

Rep. David Rivera’s (R-FL-25) shtick isn’t playing well in Washington DC.  Even the Republicans up there don’t like him:

In addition, there is anger and frustration at Rivera in GOP leadership circles. Rivera is described by Republicans as being “less than candid” or “not forthcoming” about his ethics problems in conversations with leadership aides and campaign operatives, and they have been surprised on several occasions as new allegations surface.“It’s only a matter of time before the eighth shoe drops,” said one senior House Republican staffer, speaking on condition of anonymity.

Source: Rep. Rivera facing ethics issues – POLITICO.com.

Given the sleaze allegations swirling, you would think the indictment, and then the resignation under the GOP’s “zero-tolerance” policy would be coming soon. Except I’m not even sure he’ll go if indicted.

Meanwhile, back home, very odd doings. Our local prosecutor, Miami Dade State Attorney Katherine Fernandez Rundle, doesn’t have the best record on public integrity prosecutions but she’s said to be ambitious. Surely when an easy one drops in her lap, you would think she’d embrace it. But no such thing, she’s running from it as fast as she can. Dropped it without a credible explanation of any sort. The Florida Department of Law Enforcement is going to pick up the ball, so hopefully this will only be a small hiccup.

Posted in Politics: FL-25/FL-27 | 1 Comment

YouTube – Rimjin-gang News From Inside North Korea ASIAPRESS

I have no idea if this video claiming to have images from North Korea is authentic, but I am prepared to believe that it is. And the initial image of the woman starving in the fields is certainly … unforgettable. Not for the faint of heart.

Rimjin-gang News From Inside North Korea ASIAPRESS:

httpv://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Xh4CtTGAzKw

Rimjin-gang claims to be “The first-ever independent publication in the world written directly by people of North Korea.”

North Korea is usually considered to be one of the few, maybe the only, Internet-impervious state.

Posted in Politics: International | 13 Comments

Why Tim Pawlenty’s First Campaign Video Looks Like an Action Movie

Tim Pawlenty took a page out of the Madison Avenue playbook today. It’s a core belief of modern (but not post-modern) brand management that if consumers associate your product with something negative, you try to overcome that with advertising designed to make the opposite positive association.

Car ads are a case in point. Last night during the football game that the Jets showed up for late I saw a commercial for a Cadillac that was designed to make me think of it as a sports car driven by wealthy yuppies approaching middle age, rather than a grandparental boat or a pimpmobile. I laughed.

Tim Pawlenty wants to be President. But the rap on him is that he is dull even for a whiteguy Minnesotan. Thus, the first Pawlenty campaign ad, the thrust of which is captured in TPM’s Tim Pawlenty Releases Action Movie Campaign Trailer.

httpv://www.youtube.com/watch?v=YfkNEq1XioE&feature=player_embedded

I’m sure the campaign sees this as a triple win: First they get to try to associate the candidate with good right wing stuff like fighter planes, toughness, and various multi-ethnic feelgood imagery. Second, they get to try to suggest he might be exciting. (Good luck with that.) Third, they get to be the first ones visibly out of the gate. (Do NOT pay any attention to that Romney behind the curtain!)

To the very limited extent the American public notices, I predict bemusement.

That doesn’t mean Pawlenty isn’t as serious a candidate for the GOP nomination as any of the other members of a fairly unprepossessing field. If you think Romney will use all that money to loom large, then Pawlenty has a shot at being the ABR-ABP (Anyone But Romney, Anyone But Palin) candidate, if Huckabee (the natural ABP candidate) can be marginalized as Palin Lite, or as the front man for the parts of the party Main Street fears. Watch to see how much Pawlenty genuflects to the Tea Party tendency: the trick for an ABR-ABP candidate is to have at least some support there without going overboard.

Posted in 2012 Election | 2 Comments

Recommended (Especially for Reporters & ISPs): How Not to Get Snookered by Claims of “Proof” of Copyright Infringement

Groklaw, How Not to Get Snookered by Claims of “Proof” of Copyright Infringement.

Posted in Law: Copyright and DMCA | Leave a comment

Is the Florida State Legislature in the Grip of “Nutbags”?

Gimleteye over at Eye on Miami sounds like he is losing it in Nutbags Running The Florida State Legislature: The Cuckoos Nest:

Is the Florida Legislature an insane asylum run by high functioning mentally ill, or, is it a barely legal, criminal syndicate protected by corporate-run political action committees? Whatever, legislators and lobbyists are baying at the moon– these are the business interests– the Florida Chamber of Commerce, Associated Industries and jack-ass-in-chief Barney Bishop, Big Ag ie. Big Sugar– promoting legislation that says, in fact, Florida has to live in the stinking mess it created; this sea of pollution that rings the state.

What’s driven Gimleteye so berserk is that the legislature is considering HB 239 which reads in part in section 55(1):

The department, water management districts, and all other state, regional, and local governmental entities may not implement or give any effect to the United States Environmental Protection Agency’s nutrient water quality criteria rules for the state’s lakes and flowing waters, finalized on December 6, 2010, and published in Volume 75, No. 233 of the Federal Register, in any program administered by the department, water management district, or governmental entity.

In other words, the author of this bill, and what Eye on Miami tells us are its powerful supporters, seem to be in the grip of willful ignorance of the Supremacy Clause, Article 6, Sec. 2, of the US Constitution. Or they are just ignoring it. Isn’t this in fact either insanity or insurrection (which is also probably insane, especially in order to help polluters)?

No doubt someone will respond that what we have here is symbolic resistance, and not to get too fussed about it. That the legislators thus violate their oath to “support, protect, and defend the Constitution and Government of the United States” is, this view suggests, a fusty 19th-century view of public obligation and civic rectitude.

I disagree. I think that this sort of unprincipled proposal is enough to drive anyone who cares about this country — or this state — ’round the bend.

Note: I am aware that sec. 55(2) of HB 239 purports to restore a degree of regulatory authority to the state regulatory authorities:

Notwithstanding subsection (1), the department may adopt numeric nutrient water quality criteria for a particular surface water or class of surface waters if the department  determines that such criteria are necessary based on historic and projected nutrient loading trends, existing and forthcoming technology-based nutrient reduction measures, and existing and forthcoming water quality restoration and protection programs applicable to the surface water or class of surface waters.

And that it further qualifies it in 55(3):

(b) The site specific numeric nutrient water quality criteria established pursuant to this subsection are:
1. Not effective if the United States Environmental Protection Agency disapproves, approves in part, or conditions its approval of the criteria.

You could, I suppose, read these qualifications as an invitation to the agency to employ a back door to spontaneously come up with its own standards that ‘just happen’ to track what the EPA wants, or can be persuaded to accept, thus avoiding the constitutional problem. And perhaps it will be sold to legislators that way (although I think other readings are possible too). But that sure isn’t how it would be sold to the public.  And frankly, I think this would be an invitation for a Catch-22 legal challenge claiming, likely plausibly, that the agency had secretly and illegitimately considered the very EPA criteria it was forbidden to enact. Thus, even if the agency were to open the back door it would just reap a long court challenge and garner a likely loss at the end — thus, bottom line, no regulation at all.

Gimleteye may be on to something here, at least if this thing passes.

Posted in Florida, Law: Constitutional Law | 1 Comment