80's Song of the Day

Miami Vice!


It's safe to come out now. She's gone.

*cue "Ding Dong the Witch Is Dead"*

Today Sarah Palin gave another speech that she CLEARLY wrote herself ("..suggesting American apologetics...")(huh?) and invoking the troops for no apparent reason other than to give herself cover.

And it just wouldn't be Sarah Palin if she didn't invoke patriotic sacrifice in order to whine about how mistreeeeeeeeated she is by the press.

How 'bout, in honor of the American soldier, ya quit makin' things up.

I got 2 words for you, Sarah: You.First.

Watch if you can stomach it

80's Song of the Week

Oh fer chrissakes

80's Song of the Day

Ahhh, love....

Take Two STFU and Call Me In the Morning

Here's an interesting note I ran across this morning. It seems physicians are starting to get their little feelings hurt by people who comment about them on rate-my-MD-type websites. To the extent that some of them are starting to ask their patients to sign agreements promising not to make any such comments on the interwebs "without prior consent."

Some doctors advocate an aggressive response. Retired neurosurgeon Jeffrey Segal of Greensboro, N.C., is the founder of Medical Justice, a company that for a fee starting at $495 provides sample privacy agreements and monitors online comments for its 2,000 members. He said the agreements enable doctors to ask Web sites to remove comments by patients who have signed privacy agreements, and to take legal action against patients.

I smell a lawyer somewhere!

Are you seriously going to refuse treatment to a patient if they won't agree to a gag order? Isn't that kiiiinda in conflict with the Hippocratic Oath?

Look, I totally get the argument that there are a handful of whackos out there who will set their sights on someone for arbitrary reasons and try to "ruin" them by making whackadoodle comments all over the internets. And I understand that doctors are somewhat hamstrung in their ability to respond because of doctor-patient confidentiality (indeed, a doctor may not even be able to acknowledge whether a particular individual was or was not his patient due to confidentiality concerns). But c'mon. Trying to control what people say about you on the web is an abjectly worthless endeavor.

First of all, in addition to violating the Hippocratic Oath, the kind of confidentiality agreements some doctors want to require are probably unenforceable. Particularly in regards to patients seeking primary or emergency care. A court would look at the imbalance in bargaining power in those conditions and determine that the gag "order" was unconscionable, or signed under duress. Doctors specializing in more elective type of medicine - dermatologists, plastic surgeons - might have a better chance of getting away with it. But do we really want some doctors to be above reproach and others not?

Secondly, you're crazy if you think you can silence someone who has an agenda (rational or not) against you - unless and until that person runs afoul of civil or ciminal law in what they're saying about you. Your typical web-based whackadoodle is savvy enough to know how to mask her identity. And finally, people with valid complaints have a right to air their grievances.

Eventually, the general public will also become internet savvy enough to see through most of the frivolous complaints. If someone anonymously posts that a health professional committed a grievous act or omission, the same complaint should appear in that doctor's publicly-available record with the medical board in the state where that doctor practices. Doctor-ratings websites could also step up to the plate and monitor those kind of allegations, looking for corroboration in medical board records. If you have truly been mistreated by a health professional and you want to take action to make sure it doesn't happen again, you should take your case to the authorities rather than just making an ass of yourself on the internet. Same goes for the conditions of your doctor's office - it it's dirty to the point of being unsanitary, you should file an official complaint. When you choose only to go the anonymous web route, people should be very suspicious of what you have to say. And I think that, eventually, most folks will figure that out. Similarly, the general public will eventually recognize the phenomenon of "nutburger with an axe to grind and an unmonitored platform on which to grind it" and will scrutinize anonymous comments accordingly.

Yes, it's going to take a while. And in the mean time I'm sure it's a bitter pill for your doctor to swallow (bah dum pum!). But society will catch up. Until then, if a doctor asks you to promise to keep your mouth shut, refuse to sign the agreement and REPORT REPORT REPORT (to the medical board) any doctor who won't give you treatment for your refusal to do so.

You GO Girl!

Three cheers for Rachel Maddow! Last night when she teased that she had a follow-up to last weeks heated debate with Grand Dragon Pat Buchanan, I was sure she was about to make some apology to the old bastard for making him look like a total asshole on her show. Y'know, something the corporate heads at MSNBC (who seem totally in love with Pat for some reason) forced down her throat.

Instead, she DISMANTLED him! It was awesome.

80's Song of the Day

Kind of a song. You know you love it.

Very Good News for KC

Who knew?


80's Song of the Day

Praise the Lord and Pass the Ammunition!

Sarah Palin resigns as Governor of Alaska - but is it really a surprise to anyone that this woman

Image Hosted by ImageShack.us

is not a serious politician? I mean, come on - all Sarah has ever wanted is her cute little mug to be featured in HD on 72-inch plasmas all over the good ol' US of A. She's a shallow airhead who wants to be a celebutante, and now that she's got her chance? You betcha she's done playin' Governor of Alaska! Darn tootin'.

Can you believe this woman was nearly a heartbeat away from the Presidency? We'll be seeing her on Fox News following Huckabee in 5,4,3,2...

Hat tip: CNN

Lori Drew, My Take

Just feeling compelled to add my 2 cents to KC's post about the Lori Drew case FINALLY being thrown out.

This is a case that should never have gone to trial. Because, as the judge correctly (albeit way too belatedly) pointed out, Lori Drew is certainly not the only person ever to have violated the MySpace terms of service. In fact, millions of people on Myspace lie about their identities, their ages, their genders, etc. There are people on MySpace impersonating food items, cartoon characters, even celebrities.


Who is that masked bandit? Should this guy get 3 years in jail too?

The statute under which Ms. Drew was prosecuted is a hacking statute, intended to punish someone who unlawfully gains access to a computer network. Meaning, getting in and destroying files, or accessing personal information, business trade secrets or government secrets, etc. The statute was not intended to punish people who impersonate someone, or something, else on social networking sites, although an overly ambitious prosecutor - who used this case as a tool to get publicity - attempted to twist the hacking statute to fit the facts of the Lori Drew case. It was referred to as a "novel" legal theory. (Here's a tip: when prosecutors assert "novel" interpretations of the law? They're overreaching.)

The problem with this "novel" theory was that, if allowed, it would criminalize the behavior of anyone who lies about any bit of information they provide in order to participate on any kind of web site -- IF (and this is a big if) the website in question requires you to provide that information and to promise that the information you provide is true. In other words, it's ok to provide false information on some websites, so long as you don't have to check a box at the bottom of the registration page indicating that you filled out the form truthfully. As even Judge Wu recognized:

It basically leaves it up to a website owner to determine what is a crime...And therefore it criminalizes what would be a breach of contract.

The law simply cannot let the same behavior be legal in some instances and illegal in others, depending solely on the whims of "Tom." The law has to apply equally to everyone, and has to be clear enough so that everyone understands what is and is not acceptable, lawful behavior. To that end, the emotional argument - the outrage - regarding the result of Ms. Drew's conduct here is misplaced. If lying about your personal information, thereby violating a website's terms of service, is a crime, it's a crime - regardless of the outcome. If you point a gun at someone and pull the trigger and miss, you're just as guilty of the crime of attempted murder as you are if you shoot the victim in the head and cause permanent brain damage.

The prosecutor attempted this ridiculous theory in order to make a name for himself, and to appease public outrage that there was no criminal statute under which Lori Drew could be prosecuted in the state where all the events occurred - Missouri. What I don't understand is why the family of Megan Meier has never brought a civil lawsuit against Lori Drew for the tort of Intentional Infliction of Emotional Distress, which seems to fit these facts perfectly. The Meiers could prevail in such a lawsuit if they could show: (1) Drew acted intentionally or recklessly; (2) Drew's conduct was "extreme and outrageous"; and (3) the conduct was the cause (4) of severe emotional distress. The kind of "extreme and outrageous" conduct needed to support this kind of claim is more than just insults and hurt feelings, but rather must be "so outrageous in character, and so extreme in degree, as to go beyond all possible bounds of decency, and to be regarded as atrocious, and utterly intolerable in a civilized community." Although this is a high standard, there seems to be so much outrage about Lori Drew's behavior that I think a judge would let the case go to a jury, and I think the Meiers would have a good chance of winning. This would be a much better use of judicial resources - not to mention the emotional resources of the Meier family - than the pursuit of a criminal conviction under a flawed legal theory.

Look, it's hard to have any sympathy for Lori Drew. She's clearly a shady character. While I'm not in favor of making loosely defined "cyber bullying" illegal or actionable (and good luck getting that past the First Amendment!), I think a grown woman taking on a 12-year-old girl like that is despicable. And I'd have absolutely no sympathy for her if she were being pursued for civil liability. But she should never have been prosecuted for a crime. And so the real villain in this situation is the coward in the black robe, Judge George H. Wu.


Judge Wu should have dismissed this case early in the proceedings. Instead, he let the prosecutor grand stand. He let the Meier family (and a large chunk of the public) get its hopes up. He let Lori Drew and/or her pro bono attorneys expend vast sums of money, needlessly, in her defense. He wasted judicial resources and he let the law get twisted into a pretzel. Judge Wu knew this result was coming for months, yet he kept putting it off and putting it off, delaying the inevitable because he didn't want to deal with the visceral public outrage that was sure to follow. What's worse, he apparently told the prosecutor that he would have allowed felony convictions under the anti-hacking statute to stand if the jury hadn't acquitted Drew of those charges. WHAT??? Proving that not only is Judge Wu spineless, he's also clueless.

A small victory for the rule of law. But a revelation that there's a lot going on in our justice system that's just, well, rotten.

80's Song of the Day

Even we can be patriotic, see? Happy 4th of July weekend!

Case dismissed against woman in MySpace hoax that led to teen's suicide

Hap tip to the LA Times. My only question is - what took so long?

A federal judge tentatively decided today to dismiss the case against a Missouri woman who had been convicted of computer fraud stemming from an Internet hoax that prompted a teenage girl to commit suicide.

Lori Drew of Dardenne Prairie, Mo., was convicted in November of three misdemeanor counts of illegally accessing a protected computer.

The decision by U.S. District Judge George H. Wu will not become final until his written ruling is filed, probably next week. Wu said he was concerned that if Drew was found guilty of violating the terms of service in using MySpace, anyone who violated the terms could be convicted of a crime.

Drew 50, was to be sentenced in May but Wu had delayed the sentencing until today, saying he wanted to consider the defense motion to dismiss the entire case.

A federal jury convicted Drew in November of the three misdemeanor charges but deadlocked on a felony conspiracy charge that would have carried a sentence of up to 20 years in prison.

The verdict was a blow to prosecutors who indicted Drew on what some called tenuous legal grounds after authorities in Missouri declined to file criminal charges. Drew was widely criticized after the 2006 death of eighth-grader Megan Meier, an acquaintance of Drew's daughter.

Prosecutors said Drew, her daughter and her 18-year-old employee used a fake profile of a teenage boy to flirt with Megan online via Beverly Hills-based MySpace. Megan hanged herself with a belt after getting a message, purportedly from the boy, telling her that "the world would be a better place without you."

At the May hearing, Wu grilled Assistant U.S. Atty. Mark Krause at length about whether the government had prosecuted Drew under the appropriate laws when they asserted that violating MySpace's terms of service amounted to a crime.

"Is a misdemeanor committed by the conduct which is done every single day by millions and millions of people?" Wu asked. "If these people do read [the terms of service] and still say they're 40 when they are 45, is that a misdemeanor?"

Krause argued that Drew's acts were criminal because she signed up for the fake account with the intention of harming Megan by humiliating her. Drew knew her acts were illegal and deleted the account shortly after Megan's death to cover up her crime, he contended.

Prosecutors had asked Wu to impose a sentence of three years. Defense attorneys argued for probation and vehemently criticized the prosecution in court filings, calling its argument "utterly absurd."

Megan's parents, Ron and Tina Meier, made statements in court in May describing their daughter as a loving but vulnerable girl who went fishing with her father and cared deeply for her friends. They asked Wu to impose the maximum prison sentence.

"It just sickens me that it was an adult playing with the mind of a 13-year-old child," Ron Meier said in May.

To resurrect a phrase from my adolesnce - no duh, Judge Wu. I still don't understand why it took him the better part of a year to come to this (in my opinion) very obvious conclusion that Ms. Drew was charged, tried, and convicted as a result of bloodlust, selective prosecution, and prosecutorial overreaching. Thank goodness he (or his law clerks) finally allowed their common sense to prevail in this matter.

And I'll bet my bottom dollar that SOMEONE will be OUTRAGED!!1!11! tonight! Any guesses who?

Image Hosted by ImageShack.us

80's Song of the Day

Welcome to July!