Tuesday, March 3, 2015

The Real Dangers

With everything there are both benefits and risks. This is true for medical marijuana. Thankfully we have fine professionals at the DEA there to set us straight when our rose-colored glasses make everything too pink.
"I deal in facts. I deal in science," said special agent Matt Fairbanks, who's been working in the state for a decade. He is member of the "marijuana eradication" team in Utah. Some of his colleagues in Georgia recently achieved notoriety by raiding a retiree's garden and seizing a number of okra plants.

Fairbanks spoke of his time eliminating back-country marijuana grows in the Utah mountains, specifically the environmental costs associated with large-scale weed cultivation on public land: "Personally, I have seen entire mountainsides subjected to pesticides, harmful chemicals, deforestation and erosion," he said. "The ramifications to the flora, the animal life, the contaminated water, are still unknown."

Fairbanks said that at some illegal marijuana grow sites he saw "rabbits that had cultivated a taste for the marijuana. ..." He continued: "One of them refused to leave us, and we took all the marijuana around him, but his natural instincts to run were somehow gone."
Of course legal grow operations don't need to hide in environmentally sensitive areas. But we should not underestimate the destructive power of rouge rabbits. Observe this documentary footage obtained at great personal risk by that dauntless reporter Bill O'Reilly!

Medically Necessary

When you talk to law enforcement officers about medical marijuana users they will quickly tell you that "these are not the people we are after." It would be nice to believe them, but reality sets in when you see stuff like this.
It worked.

For the first time in Florida history, a Broward jury acquitted a marijuana grower after finding he has a medical need for the illegal drug.
Jesse Teplicki hid nothing from the detectives who showed up at his Hollywood home two years ago acting on a tip that he was growing pot on the premises. And he hid nothing from the jury on Thursday when he took the stand at his criminal trial, even admitting that he smoked a marijuana cigarette earlier in the day to treat the nausea and suppressed appetite that had been plaguing him for decades.

Teplicki is the first defendant in Florida to argue medical need in a marijuana case. The jury of four women and two men deliberated for less than an hour before returning its verdict.
"You saved my life," a tearful Teplicki told three jurors who stayed in the courtroom after they were discharged by Broward Circuit Judge Michael Ian Rothschild.

Manufacture of cannabis is a felony punishable by up to five years in prison. Teplicki, 50, had rejected several plea offers, admitting his actions but referring to the plant as "medicine" he needs to function. Teplicki has suffered from anorexia since age 9, according to trial testimony. 
Medical need has worked as a defense before, but it's never been tried in front of a jury. In two cases dating back more than 20 years, marijuana smokers have defended themselves at trial before a judge. In each case, the judge convicted the defendants only to see appeals courts overturn their decisions and order not-guilty verdicts.
This story has a happy ending, but how much did this trial cost? How much did Teplicki have to spend on his defense? How much time and money were wasted?

Sick people are not criminals and it is time to stop treating them as such. Medical marijuana is good medicine. The Hippocratic Oath states, "first do no harm," and while medical marijuana has never killed anyone a person dies every 19 minutes from our 'safe and approved' pharmaceutical drugs.

Not allowing people a safer alternative is the real crime.

Monday, March 2, 2015

Cruise Ship Nightmares -- Now With More Spencer Aronfeld!

My bud Spence thinks it's a cruise ship nightmare if you fall overboard -- I'd say it's his admonition at the end of the clip that's the real nightmare:  taking a cruise sober.

Pick your poison, I guess.

Are You a Manly Male at GT? Congratulations You've Made Partner!

Of course that's an unfair headline, but I'm pretty sure that little underdog of a firm can take it -- but what about the actual headline in today's DBR:

Greenberg Traurig New Partner Gender Split in South Florida--17 Men, 1 Woman

Umm, congratulations?

Why do the facts hate women?

But I'm sure there's a very reasonable explanation:
"We are committed to a diverse workplace in Greenberg Traurig," he said. "We have many female attorneys in top leadership positions both in South Florida and firmwide. Our annual election of new partners is based on a system of meritocracy. While we always strive to provide opportunities for a diverse group of attorneys, each year that number may fluctuate based on the pool of candidates under consideration."
Lots of my friends are women?

I'm kidding -- this is undoubtedly completely the way it just happened to work out this year -- but are there underlying structural issues here that need to be addressed?

Maybe next year we'll see 17 women, 1 man and that's just how these numbers tend to fluctuate.

Friday, February 27, 2015

RIP Leonard Nimoy

 We're not trying to bring you down, but things happen.

His final tweet.

Good Times, Bad Times -- I Know I've Had My Share.

In a bit of sad news, I wanted to note the passing of Gentle Giant and true legal legend Ed Moss.

Ed was a tremendously talented and effective litigator, with a wry sense of humor, who was always a gentleman and respectful to all -- including opposing counsel, junior lawyers, pizza deliverymen and just about everyone who came into contact with him.

He was a role model to many, and will be missed.

And in some very good news, this happened:
Mary Barzee Flores, a shareholder at Stearns Weaver Miller Weissler Alhadeff & Sitterson and former Miami-Dade circuit judge, was nominated Thursday to the federal bench in the Southern District of Florida.

Barzee Flores has been a fixture in high-stakes litigation, most recently appearing as plaintiffs counsel in the Takata air bag multidistrict litigation newly assigned to U.S. District Judge Federico Moreno in Miami. She has been with Stearns Weaver since 2011, where she practices complex commercial and employment litigation.
This is a major win for the federal bench, and for all those who will appear before the Judge.

Let's get this through Congress already!

Wet Neutrality?

Consumers won a major victory this week with the implementation of real and genuine net neutrality. Literally millions of Americans directly lobbied the FCC to get this done and I'd love to present this as a triumph of people power over corporate titans like Comcast and AT&T. But that just wouldn't be accurate. The reason we the people won is that we had some giants on our side too, specifically the other big "G" Google. So with this impressive victory Google must be all smiles right?

Not quite.
Not long ago, Google execs would have been popping champagne corks over today’s big news from the Federal Communications Commission. The agency’s 3-2 vote to strictly regulate broadband Internet fulfilled a long-shot push by the company and its allies that started nearly a decade ago.
Indeed, the FCC decision marked a stinging defeat for telecoms like Comcast and AT&T, among the most entrenched and moneyed lobbying forces in Washington. They are Goliaths who lost a tough Washington battle, highlighting a shifting political powerbase.
And yet from Google today: crickets. Instead, the company deferred to one of its Washington trade groups, the Internet Association, which hewed to lawyerly language that called the decision, which prohibits paid fast lanes on the Internet for companies that can afford it, “a welcome step” while affirming the organization remains “outcome-oriented” and needs to review the full text of the decision.
What happened?
The short answer is that Google grew up. Its transformation into a corporate colossus reordered its Washington agenda as it rapidly assembled a lobbying apparatus to promote it. For one, new partnerships with other companies complicated its once near-ideological commitment to the open Internet. Back in 2010, the company angered consumer advocates by negotiating with Verizon — a net neutrality boogeyman — on a framework that would allow Internet service providers to charge content creators for zippier delivery. The plan never materialized but it clearly signaled the company’s evolution. And as Google solidified its dominance, its need to enshrine the most aggressive form of a regulatory regime diminished.
“The logic of networks suggests that the bigger Google gets, the less it has to gain from net neutrality,” says Columbia Law School professor Tim Wu, who first coined the term in 2003. “Now, half the examples out there are like, ‘The good thing about net neutrality is that some guy in his garage can challenge Google.’
As always folks, be careful what you wish for! Have an amazing weekend, I know I will!

Thursday, February 26, 2015

The Problem With Surreplies -- Encapsulated in a Single Sentence!

The normally loquacious Magistrate Judge Goodman has managed to identify -- in a single sentence -- why surreplies are almost always a bad idea:
For all practical purposes, Procaps’ sur‐reply repeats the points made in its initial opposition to Patheon’s motion for rule of reason discovery ‐‐ but does so in a more emphatic way.

Let Them Eat Cake!

This is a great addendum to my previous post. Cake is yummy! Cake is fun! But this issue is bigger than cake, or even the asses of those who eat too much of it.

Wednesday, February 25, 2015

The Evil Gay War on Freedom (because we hate America)

Have you heard the news? Religious freedom is under attack and it’s all because of gay marriage! Observe!

In Washington, a florist (who was totally not a gay) was forced to leave Christianity and join the Church of the Flying Spaghetti Monster. A shotgun marriage, as dictated by “The Great Meatball,” to a leather dom named “Master Dave” stripped him of his last residual humility. To his shame, he learned to love "The Big Ragu.”

In Oregon, a baker was coerced  into leaving her husband of nine years and marrying into a gang of polygamist biker lesbians where she was converted to Hinduism and compelled to learn the fine art of scissoring while ridding sidesaddle.

And in Detroit, a lesbian couple demanded that a doctor to wear a Burka while treating their Satan-spawn child.

Actually, none of that happened. I just made it up. If anything like that had happened, then it would be an attack on religious liberty. That's what an attack on religious liberty would look like.

The way it went is this: gay couples showed up, with money, and asked and expected to get the same types of products and services that are offered to everyone else only to be told 'no' because of their sexual orientation.

Some think the idea that business should be able to discriminate based on religious beliefs is just a matter of 'live and let live.' Look at local attorney AJ Delgado, doing her best to make South Florida look like South Alabama.
I am a conservative who supports gay marriage. Conservatism, after all, stems from a belief in liberty and a belief that man should be able to live as freely as possible. That said, precisely because of my fondness for a live-and-let-live philosophy, many of us on the right who support gay marriage now feel somewhat betrayed.
Throughout the gay-marriage debate, proponents assured us that all they sought was the equal ability to marry and that it would not affect the lives of others, noting private entities would not be forced to service gay marriage.
Betrayed? I never 'assured' anyone of anything. The whole fight for gay rights is to be totally equal – not some Jim Crow, back of the bus bullshit.

My marriage isn't about anyone but my spouse and I. No one is forcing anyone to officiate or participate in a same-sex union. You're just the caterer, the planner, the florist, or the baker. You're not the bride or groom. You provide a service – the same service you provide to all your other paying customers. It should be obvious to anyone with a brain but it's not you getting married.

Depending on where your business operates, your claim of religious freedom may or may not break the law. But no matter where you are located, you will look like a backwards and bigoted idiot.
Title II of the Civil Rights Act of 1964 -- the federal law which prohibits discrimination by private businesses which are places of public accommodation -- only prevents businesses from refusing service based on race, color, religion, or national origin. Federal law does not prevent businesses from refusing service to customers based on sexual orientation.

This is true both for customers and employees of private businesses, although forces in Congress have been attempting to pass laws which protect gay and lesbian employees for decades.

So if there are no state or local laws to the contrary, private business owners may legally choose to refuse service to customers based on their sexual orientation -- and some have publicly done so.

However in some states like California and New York, discrimination based on sexual orientation by private businesses is prohibited by state law. In many of these states, bona fide religious organizations and religious non-profits have been exempted from these laws when they conflict with their religious beliefs; private businesses are not exempt.

Even in states which do not prohibit refusing service to gays -- like Texas or Arizona -- local laws or ordinances in specific cities may prevent LGBT discrimination.

Ms. Delgado, your kind of support we don't need. Your brand of live and let live is a paranoid lie. There was a time not so long ago when a Cuban American might have faced the exact same type of discrimination for the exact same reasons you're now justifying. That makes you a clueless tool.

Live and let live? No, live and let die! Not to you personally, (I'm no Bill O'Reilly) but to your unapologetic bigotry and your crusty conservative ignorance.