RSS

Tag Archives: legal

Getting a Handle on What Sexual Misconduct Actually Means

I think everyone except white-wing evangelicals agrees that a forcible sex act is rape.

But what about a coworker looking at another and saying “Damn, she’s fine”?

Stealing a kiss in what you think is a romantic moment to find out she/he isn’t that in to you? I mean, in the old movies, that always seemed infamously to lead to slap a la Cary Grant and Doris Day.

Trying to force a coworker into a sexual encounter? No question this is wrong.

Can a woman be accused of sexual misconduct in attempting to coerce an unwilling male?

So where exactly are the lines?

And what can we do as a society to make sure everyone is on the same page? What is and is not acceptable is rapidly changing. As well as out view of “who” is believable. Misconduct isn’t going to be swept under the rug (unless you are a Republican).

 

What Does ‘Sexual Misconduct’ Actually Mean?

The almost infinite shades of creepy misbehavior on display are challenging the legal and cultural categories used to describe them.

“Enough is enough,” proclaimed Senator Kirsten Gillibrand at a December 6 press conference. Whatever the details of her colleague Al Franken’s sexual misbehavior, said Gillibrand, who has been aggressively pushing for Congress to tackle its harassment problem, he needed to step down. “I think when we start having to talk about the differences between sexual assault and sexual harassment and unwanted groping, you are having the wrong conversation. You need to draw a line in the sand and say: None of it is OK. None of it is acceptable.”

It most definitely is not. But as the public outrage over sexual misconduct gains force, it is swallowing up an increasingly diverse range of allegations, from the relatively petty (such as those lodged against Franken) to the truly monstrous (such as the claims regarding Harvey Weinstein and Roger Ailes). In between those poles exist almost infinite shades of creepy—which, sadly, will necessitate a great many discussions about how to deal with, and even talk about, the different types of offenses and offenders.

This is, in some ways, uncharted territory. In the past, questions of culpability were largely left to the legal realm: As long as a man didn’t get arrested or lose a lawsuit—and sometimes even if he did—he could get away with an awful lot while suffering little more than a bad-boy reputation. But the current reckoning is different, a rising tide of public shaming driven in part by shifting attitudes and expectations among younger women. Going forward, it’s hard to tell how the new lines will be drawn, much less where.

Women should be respected. Period. But not all offenders are created equal. The pattern of coercive harassment of employees allegedly perpetrated by chat show host Charlie Rose or former Representative John Conyers is not the same as the fumbling, drunken stupidity of which The New York Times’ Glenn Thrush stands accused. Thrush may or may not deserve to lose his current job for having made booze-fueled passes at, and subsequently talked smack about, female colleagues at his previous job. But his alleged offenses pale when compared to, say, ex-ABC pundit Mark Halperin’s alleged practice of groping, rubbing his erections against, and even masturbating in front of junior staffers—and then threatening to kill the careers of those who rebuffed him. (Like many of the men caught in this whirlwind, Halperin disputes at least some of the allegations against him.)

Some of the misbehavior being detailed is flat-out bizarre. Comedian Louis C.K. admitted to being a nonviolent but nevertheless intrusive exhibitionist-masturbator. It remains a public mystery precisely what Garrison Keillor did to get his radio show killed. (Something about touching a woman’s bare back when her shirt fluttered open?) Representative Joe Barton had every right to text naked pics of himself to one of his girlfriends, but threatening to use the Capitol Police to keep her quiet about their relationship was a no-no. As for former Representative Trent Franks, who felt it appropriate to pressure multiple young aides to serve as surrogate mothers for him and his wife: Someone needs to explain that The Handmaid’s Tale is dystopian fiction, not a how-to guide.

Then, of course, there are the many and varied accusations circling President Donald Trump, not to mention his own boasts in this area—none of which he has addressed in a remotely coherent, much less persuasive fashion. (The Access Hollywood tape is empty locker room talk! No, wait, it’s a fake! He has never met these women! Not even the ones he’s been photographed with! Or the one who was on his show!) But that, alas, is a special topic to be saved for another day.

It is precisely because this movement is so powerful that it’s important to avoid (through frustration or disgust, exhaustion or confusion) sweeping every bad act and actor into the same mushy heap. That kind of sloppiness breeds excess and backlash. Right now, even our language is inadequate to the moment. Shoving Weinstein and Ailes under the same umbrella of sexual “misconduct” or “misbehavior” as Franken or Thrush renders such terms all but meaningless. Weinstein terrorized scores of women—psychologically, professionally, and physically—for multiple decades and is currently under investigation for rape. That’s not “misconduct” or “harassment.” It’s an atrocity, possibly wrapped in multiple felonies. Both genders need to find a way to address some of these qualitative distinctions without sounding like anyone is being let off the hook.

This may sound obvious, until, for instance, you wander into an angry Twitter mob of John Conyers supporters demanding to know why the ex-congressman’s sins are seen by many to be worse than Franken’s. Well, for starters, Franken didn’t use tens of thousands of taxpayer dollars to secretly settle an aide’s harassment claim. As for the underlying misconduct, if one believes the accusations, Conyers’s transgressions—committed repeatedly against his own employees in direct abuse of his power over them—were empirically more egregious and revolting. (Asking an aide to touch his junk or else find him another woman who would? Come on.) This isn’t to say that Franken didn’t behave like an entitled pig. But, until the drip, drip, drip of low-level grope-and-slobber stories accumulated, the case for his being pushed from office was not nearly as clear as the one against Conyers….More...

 
2 Comments

Posted by on December 21, 2017 in and the Single Life, Men, The New Jim Crow, Women

 

Tags: , , , , , , , ,

Millionaire or Felon – The Cannabis Industry vs Carceral State

Interesting video on the ONLY Black legal Marijuana entrepreneur in Colorado…

 
1 Comment

Posted by on February 26, 2016 in The Post-Racial Life

 

Tags: , , , , , , ,

A Monkey’s Selfie!

This smiling guy is Naruto, an Indonesian macaque monkey which apparently found a lost camera, and then proceeded to take pictures of himself and other monkeys…

Showing the average intelligence of the “selfie” crowd really isn’t much above that of your average ape.

Naruto’s pics are so good apparently there has been a court fight over who gets to use them.

Judge rules on whether monkey can own selfie photos copyright

A federal judge in San Francisco said Wednesday he plans to dismiss a copyright lawsuit filed on behalf of an Indonesian monkey by an advocacy group that claims the animal owns the rights to a famous series of “monkey selfie” photographs.

CBS San Francisco reports that U.S. District Judge William Orrick said he agreed with arguments by camera owner David Slater and self-publishing software company Blurb Inc. that federal copyright law doesn’t allow animals to claim copyright protection.

“I just don’t see that it could go as broadly as beyond humans,” Orrick said during a hearing on a motion by Slater and Blurb for dismissal of the lawsuit filed against them in September by People for the Ethical Treatment of Animals on behalf of Naruto, a crested macaque.

The judge said he will issue a written order of dismissal at a later date.

But Orrick also said he will allow PETA to file an amended lawsuit if the group wishes to do so. PETA attorney David Schwarz told Orrick he plans to do that, and said outside of court that he will study the future ruling before deciding how to revise the suit.

The now 7-year-old Naruto lives with other macaques in a rainforest reserve on the island of Sulawesi, formerly known as Celebes, in Indonesia.

He took the selfies in 2011 with a camera that Slater, a British wildlife photographer, left in the reserve.

The lawsuit claims that Naruto, who was accustomed to seeing cameras used by tourists and professional photographers, came upon the unattended camera and created the selfies through a series of “purposeful and voluntary actions…unaided by Slater.”

Naruto’s actions as an author included “purposely pushing the shutter release multiple times (and) understanding the cause-and-effect relationship between pressing the shutter release, the noise of the shutter, and the change to his reflection in the camera lens,” the lawsuit says.

Slater’s lawyers have contended in a filing that Slater set up the photos by “building a trustful, friendly relationship” with a group of macaques over several days and then making artistic decisions about the lens width, positions and settings on the camera he left in the reserve.

Slater published the photos in 2014 in a book called Wildlife Personalities, developed with software obtained from San Francisco-based Blurb. The book is copyrighted in the names of Slater and his private company, Wildlife Personalities Ltd., according to the lawsuit.

The soon-to-be dismissed current version of the lawsuit asked the court to declare Naruto the author, order all profits from sales of the selfies to be turned over to Naruto, and assign Virginia-based PETA and German primatologist Antje Engelhardt to administer the proceeds for the benefit of Naruto, other crested macaques and their habitat.

PETA and Engelhardt, an expert on Sulawesi crested macaques, would provide their services for free, the lawsuit said.

The plaintiffs in the lawsuit are Naruto, PETA as the monkey’s legal “next friends,” and Engelhardt. The defendants are Slater, Wildlife Personalities Ltd. and Blurb Inc.

Yeah! And you are a monkey’s Uncle!

 
Leave a comment

Posted by on January 7, 2016 in American Greed

 

Tags: , , , , , , , , ,

Military Flamethrowers for Sale to Public!

Several “companies” have entered the consumer market with either recycled or modern variations of the Military Flamethrower.

Seems to me, any wannabe terrorist with a bit of funding could create some real havoc with these things…

This one is a recayale Military version…

Flamethrowers were gruesome weapons of war and so controversial that the U.S. military stopped using them after Vietnam.

Once a weapon of war, flamethrowers are now available for sale to the public.

A Cleveland startup called Throwflame is selling some for about $1,600. The flamethrowers can shoot fire for 50 feet.

If $1,600 sounds a little too high, The ION Productions Team in Detroit is selling $900 flamethrowers that can shoot fire for 25 feet.

The flamethrowers, which were given up by the military, are not being marketed as weapons but as fun devices.

Both companies say their flamethrowers have not caused injuries and safety is a priority.

The two companies also said the flamethrowers do have practical uses by farmers and firefighters.

They used to call guys who carried these things in WWII in Europe “Ronsons”, after the famous Cigarette Lighter of the time. Not because of their effect…But because what usually happened to the operator when the tanks were struck by a bullet or shrapnel.

Just what everyone wants their confederate flag waving whack job carrying into a crowded mall or stadium.

Why exactly now, aren’t these things banned?

 
Leave a comment

Posted by on August 18, 2015 in You Know It's Bad When...

 

Tags: , , , , , , , , ,

Truth in Dating – DOJ Looking At Lying on Websites as a Crime

Well… there goes the 5000 under 50 something women on E-Harmony and match – and most of the guys with those fancy jobs and fancy wheels!

The Department of Justice is now saying that lying on personal sites, like the dating sites or Facebook…

Could be a crime.

So much for that “About Average” body type classification on those dating sites!

Athletic and Fit, Driving a Mercedes... Not.

DOJ: Fibbing on web sites should be a crime

The U.S. Department of Justice is defending computer hacking laws that make it a crime to use a fake name on Facebook or lie about your weight in an online dating profile.

In a statement obtained by CNET that’s scheduled to be delivered tomorrow, the Justice Department argues that it must be able to prosecute violations of Web sites’ often-ignored, always-unintelligible “terms of service” policies.

The law must allow “prosecutions based upon a violation of terms of service or similar contractual agreement with an employer or provider,” Richard Downing, the Justice Department’s deputy computer crime chief, will tell the U.S. Congress tomorrow.

Scaling back that law “would make it difficult or impossible to deter and address serious insider threats through prosecution,” and jeopardize prosecutions involving identity theft, misuse of government databases, and privacy invasions, according to Downing.

The law in question, the Computer Fraud and Abuse Act, has been used by the Justice Department to prosecute a woman, Lori Drew, who used a fake MySpace account to verbally attack a 13-year old girl who then committed suicide. Because MySpace’s terms of service prohibit impersonation, Drew was convicted of violating the CFAA. Her conviction was later thrown out.

What makes this possible is a section of the CFAA that was never intended to be used that way: ageneral-purpose prohibition on any computer-based act that “exceeds authorized access.” To the Justice Department, this means that a Web site’s terms of service define what’s “authorized” or not, and ignoring them can turn you into a felon.

On the other hand, because millions of Americans likely violate terms of service agreements every day, you’d have a lot of company.

A letter (PDF) sent to the Senate in August by a left-right coalition including the ACLU, Americans for Tax Reform, the Electronic Frontier Foundation, and FreedomWorks warns of precisely that. “If a person assumes a fictitious identity at a party, there is no federal crime,” the letter says. “Yet if they assume that same identity on a social network that prohibits pseudonyms, there may again be a CFAA violation. This is a gross misuse of the law.”

Orin Kerr, a former Justice Department computer crime prosecutor who’s now a professor of law at George Washington University, says the government’s arguments are weak.

Kerr, who is also testifying tomorrow before a House Judiciary subcommittee, told CNET today that:

The Justice Department claims to have an interest in enforcing Terms of Use and computer use policies under the CFAA, but its examples mostly consist of cases in which the conduct described has already been criminalized by statutes other than the CFAA. Further, my proposed statutory fix (see the second proposal in my testimony) would preserve the government’s ability to prosecute the remaining cases DOJ mentions while not raising the civil liberties problems of the current statute…

 
Leave a comment

Posted by on November 15, 2011 in Nawwwwww!

 

Tags: , , , , , ,

The Importance of Anita Hill

Anita Hill has a new book out – and it’s getting some pretty good reviews. Patricia J. Williams is a Law Professor at Columbia University, and what she has to say about the importance of Anita Hill travails at the Clarence Thomas hearings really clarifies a lot of what Hill meant to other professional women…

Anita Hill

The Legacy of Anita Hill, Then and Now

Sad fact: there are few women of my generation who don’t have what is known as our “Anita story.” Mine occurred in 1980. I was five years out of law school and had decided to shift my career from practice to teaching. I was walking down a long hallway at the Association of American Law Schools meat market for new hires. There were two men behind me who were joking about the excellent shape of my legs and the unusually well-defined musculature of my lower quadrants. (Did I mention that it was a very, very long hallway?) At the end of that eternal passage was my appointed interview room. I escaped into it, only to be followed by the two. They, as it turned out, were doing the hiring.

Life was like that sometimes, I thought. And so I went through all the proper motions of expressing how much my fine ideas could contribute to their faculty, pretending that nothing had happened.

I didn’t stop pretending nothing had happened until 1991, when Anita Hill testified to the Senate Judiciary Committee about the unwanted office approaches of her boss, then-chair of the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission Clarence Thomas. I remember how still and dignified she was at the center of that howling hurricane of mockery, meanness and machismo. It was like some psychedelic cross between The Crucible and The Wizard of Oz, with its swirling fantasies of witchcraft, conspiracy theories and mad satyric orgies. I remember everyone from Orrin Hatch to Rush Limbaugh dismissing anything that “might have happened” as “bedroom politics,” even though Hill’s allegations centered on misbehavior in the boardroom, not the bedroom, and even though those allegations implicated precisely Thomas’s public ethics as the chief enforcement officer of sexual harassment laws. “He said, she said” entered the national vocabulary. So did “They just don’t get it.”

Anita Hill graduated from Yale Law School in 1980. The percentage of women in law schools was 38 percent—in contrast to the approximately
50 percent it is today. Back in those times there were so few women among the legal professoriate that many law schools didn’t even have women’s bathrooms. And as for women of color—there were only five or six of us teaching in the entire United States.

If the percentages of women in all professions improved over the next decade or so, the ability to speak up and speak out was often constrained by fear of losing status, ruining one’s career. It was the shockingly abysmal treatment of Anita Hill by the United States Senate that changed all that. Women were mobilized in a way unseen since the time of the suffragettes. EMILY’s List took off, as well as hundreds of networks for women’s political empowerment. Twenty years later, if some men’s behavior has not changed as much as one might have hoped, the collective women’s response has undergone seismic change. It’s not “nothing” anymore.

Patricia J. Williams

Anita Hill remains an icon to whom subsequent generations are rightfully indebted. At the same time, she has not remained trapped by her own symbolism or frozen in time. It is sometimes forgotten that she is a respected scholar of contract jurisprudence, commercial law and education policy. She is a prolific author, publishing numerous law review articles, essays, editorials and books. Today, Hill is a professor of social policy, law and women’s studies at Brandeis University. Much of her most recent research has been on the housing market, and her most recent book, published this month, is Reimagining Equality: Stories of Gender, Race, and Finding Home.

It is ironic that the full substance of Hill’s remarkable intellectual presence remains so overshadowed by those fleeting, if powerful, moments of her Senate testimony. If the larger accomplishments of her life aren’t quite as iconic as that confrontation with Clarence Thomas, they nonetheless merit attention by feminists and scholars alike. To begin with, Hill is a remarkably elegant and accessible writer. For those who wish to apprehend the gravitas of her intelligence and dignity, Reimagining Equality would be a good place to start…(more)

 
Leave a comment

Posted by on October 8, 2011 in The Post-Racial Life

 

Tags: , , , , , , , , , , ,

Moonshine…White Lightning… Legally Made

You probably will never see this in any account of the illegal whiskey making in the southeastern United States – but there were also plenty of black moonshiners making both “White Lightning” and Sour Mash whiskey in the back woods of both the hills…

And flatlands.

Problem with the legal stuff?

It just don’t taste right…no.

Distillery to make South Carolina’s first legal moonshine

The Whiskey that Made NASCAR

Two entrepreneurs are taking advantage of South Carolina’s new micro-distillery laws to make traditional moonshine whiskey legally in the state for the first time.

The Dark Corner Distillery will open next month in Greenville, where engineer Joe Fenten and longtime home beer brewer Richard Wenger will produce and sell small batches of 100-proof moonshine from a custom-made copper still.

The distillery, housed in a 1925 building, will also include a tasting bar and a museum dedicated to the history of the Dark Corner, the local mountains that were once full of moonshiners, feud and mayhem, Fenten, 27, told Reuters.

The area was settled, along with the nearby Smoky Mountains of Tennessee and Blue Ridge Mountains of North Carolina, by Scots, Irish and Welsh who migrated down through the Appalachian mountain chain from Pennsylvania in the 1700s.

“They thought it was their inalienable, God-given right to make whiskey,” said Fenten, a Dark Corner native. “It was a hard life. If you could make an extra 10 cents more for a gallon of whiskey than you could for a bushel of corn, then why not?”

Moonshine traditionally was the term used to describe illegally distilled corn whiskey often made covertly by the light of the moon. The product made at the new distillery will be un-aged corn whiskey, but will be taxed and regulated. Read the rest of this entry »

 
Leave a comment

Posted by on July 31, 2011 in General

 

Tags: , , , , , , , , ,

 
%d bloggers like this: