Thank You, Thank You!

Another milestone was reached here at CRW this month.  The blog now has in excess of 20,000 unique page views.  I am so thankful to all of you who took time from your busy schedules to check out my blog.  Thank you!

Thanks For Making February The Best Month Ever!

As many of you know, I believe in the power of thanking someone.  That includes my readers, and over the past several months, I have tried to include a Thank You when milestones were reached here at CRW but also over at my other blog Cyber-Esq.

February 2011 represents one such milestone, in my humble opinion.  Despite not posting as much content as I would have liked, February 2011 was CRW’s most successful month to date – the blog received just shy of 4,000 unique visitors for the month.

It will be hard to duplicate February’s results, but I am going to give it my best effort.  Once again, I appreciate everyone who takes the time out of their busy schedules to visit my site.

Supreme Court To Stay Out Of Health Care Fight – For Now

Amplify’d from
The Supreme Court won't hear the first constitutional challenge to President Obama's health care reform.

Washington (CNN) — To no one’s surprise, the Supreme Court on Monday rejected the first constitutional challenge to the sweeping health care reform effort championed by President Barack Obama and the Democratic-controlled Congress.

The justices without comment refused to get involved at this early stage, while various state and federal challenges are continuing. The high court rarely accepts cases before they have been thoroughly reviewed by lower courts.

A challenge to the law was brought by a California conservative group. Higher profile lawsuits have been brought by state officials in Florida, Virginia and almost two dozen other states.



Judge Gives Minimum Sentence In BART Shooting Case

As some of you Californians know, in July, a police officer of the Bay Area Rapid Transit (known as BART) was convicted of involuntary manslaughter in the shooting death of 22 year-old Oscar Grant. Last week, the judge in the case gave the officer, Johannes Mehserle, the minimum sentence for the shooting, a term of 2 years.

Amplify’d from

Judge Rejects Gun Enhancement, Goes With Minimum in Mehserle Sentencing

[Crystal Vogt]

Oakland is on alert today due to L.A. County Superior Court Judge Robert Perry’s sentencing of former BART police officer Johannes Mehserle to a mitigated term of two years in prison. Perry also threw out the gun enhancement portion of the case, saying it wasn’t supported by evidence.

Twenty-eight-year-old Mehserle, who was convicted in July of involuntary manslaughter, fatally shot Oscar Grant, 22, on New Year’s Day 2009 at the Oakland Fruitvale BART station during an arrest that was caught on camera. Mehserle contends he mistakenly pulled out his handgun instead of his Taser when he shot Grant as he lay face down.

Continue reading “Judge Rejects Gun Enhancement, Goes With Minimum in Mehserle Sentencing” »



‘Men At Work’ Must Pay Royalties For ‘Down Under’

If you are a child of the 80s, then chances are you listened to Men at Work (MAW) at least once or twice while growing up.  The Australian band had several hit songs in the U.S. and around the world, including Who Can It Be Now? and Down Under.

Last year, Australian music company, Larrikin Music, sued MAW, claiming that the well-known flute riff in Down Under was actually stolen from a children’s song, Kookaburra Sits in the Old Gum Tree.  Kookaburra was written more than 70 years ago by Australian teacher Marion Sinclair who sold the rights to the song to Larrikin before she died.

As part of its lawsuit, Larrikin sought a whopping 60% of the song’s royalties from MAW.  Yesterday, however, an Australian judge found that figure “excessive, overreaching and unrealistic.”  Nevertheless, the judge did order EMI Songs Australia and songwriters Colin Hay and Ron Strykert to pay 5% of the song’s royalties earned since 2002.  A statute of limitations barred Larrikin from seeking royalties paid prior to 2002.

A spokesperson for EMI indicated that the company plans to appeal the ruling.

What do you think about the judge’s ruling?  Do you remember the song Down Under, and if so, do you think the flute riff was worth 60% of the song’s royalties?  Even 5%?  Do you have any idea what even 5% might translate to in terms of a dollar amount?

If you would like to refresh your ear by listening to a few MAW songs, the band is a trending topic this morning on Yahoo as a result of the court ruling.  You can also  download the Down Under video and take a trip down music memory lane before deciding if the judge’s ruling is a civil “right” or “wrong.”  For comparison purposes, you will also find an Australian news clip released at the outset of the lawsuit, which compares the two songs.  These videos are courtesy of YouTube.

Hooray! Thanks To Our Readers!

Just a quick post to start off June 2010, and a word of thanks to our readers for helping to make CRW such a success. This year, 4 out of 5 months, CRW has enjoyed well over 1,000 unique page views each month. Also, May 2010 saw our busiest single day ever!

We appreciate each and every visit to our site, and hope to keep your interest going forward. If there are any subjects that interest any of you, and which you think would be a good topic to cover at CRW, please do not hesitate to contact us.


Sarah Palin’s Religion Has One Commandment: Worship Sarah Palin

This week, Sarah Palin appeared on Fox News’ Bill O’Reilly Show and proclaimed that Judeo-Christian belief was the basis for American law and should continue to be used as a guiding force for creating future legislation.  Responding to critics of a National Day of Prayer, Palin urged her listeners/followers:

“Go back to what our founders and our founding documents meant — they’re quite clear — that we would create law based on the God of the bible and the ten commandments.” [sic].

You can link to an article here discussing the Palin interview along with video of her appearance.  Today, I wrote an article for responding to the idiocy and hypocrisy of Palin’s statements.  I invite any of you who are interested to link to my article here.

If Sarah Palin can name one Founding Father without assistance, I will eat my shoe.  In the meantime, let me help her out.  How about Thomas Jefferson?  Can’t get much more “founding father” than T.J., now can you?  Here is but one nugget of wisdom that Jefferson shared on the question of religion in general, but national prayer days specifically:

“It is… proposed that I should recommend, not prescribe, a day of fasting and prayer…that I should indirectly assume to the United States an authority over religious exercises which the Constitution has directly precluded… It must be meant, too, that this recommendation is to carry some authority…to be sanctioned by some penalty on those who disregard it; not indeed of fine and imprisonment, but of some degree…perhaps in public opinion…Civil powers alone have been given to the President of the United States, and no authority to direct the religious exercises of his constituents.” –Thomas Jefferson to Samuel Miller, 1808. ME 11:428.

I don’t know about you, but I am mighty tired of self-righteous, bigoted, hypocrites like Sarah Palin trying to tell the rest of us how to live our lives.  How about you?

MLK’s FBI Files May Soon Be Released To Public

Today, the U.S. commemorates the achievements of civil rights pioneer, Martin Luther King.  It is the 81st anniversary of Rev. Dr. King’s birthday.

Although we now recognize Rev. Dr. King as one of the world’s greatest leaders, this was not always so.  Prior to his ‘I Have A Dream’ speech, King was investigated for years by the FBI for allegedly having ties to communists.  King repeatedly denied these charges, and the FBI’s investigation turned up nothing.

Not to be dissuaded, the FBI unearthed details of Rev. Dr. King’s sexual life through wire-tapping that were embarrassing to King and his family and which the FBI later attempted to use against King.  FBI Director J. Edgar Hoover set up a task force labeling, “The most dangerous and effective Negro leader in the country.”  For Hoover, this investigation of Rev. Dr. King was an obsession.

You can link to an excellent article here that discusses Hoover’s investigation into Rev. Dr. King’s work.  According to the article:

“some of the documents of the King investigation have been released … there are still aspects of the case that have been kept out of the public eye. Out of the more than 16,000 pages tied to the investigation, a little over 200 are available to the public. The wiretap transcripts themselves remain sealed.”

Massachusetts Senator John Kerry is now spear-heading an effort to unseal the entire bulk of the King investigative documents and other papers.  You can follow this link, here, to an article discussing legislation that Senator Kerry plans to introduce next week.

Here is my take on this:

We now have an African-American President in the Oval Office.  Equality among the races has not been fully achieved, but the election of Barack Obama as President of the United States makes it seem (at least to me) that equality is a little more possible than it was before.

Unfortunately, President Obama has been forced to pursue certain government actions because of the abysmal national conditions left to him by Pres. George W. Bush.  Most notably, President Obama is supervising the financial institution bailout and attempts to get the economy back on track.  The result = the Internet is rife with a cacophony of name-calling by Republican leaders and followers that Pres. Obama is a socialist, Marxist, communist, un-patriotic, un-American.

These accusations are similar to those leveled at King.  They are no less dangerous and repressive now than they were back then.  Issues of racism and class drive many of these “discussions,” issues which cannot be fully discussed without a complete and frank discussion about King’s life, work, and legacy.

Now is the time to release the FBI’s documents and other papers concerning the investigation of the Rev. Dr. King.  I applaud Senator Kerry’s efforts.  Furthermore, I urge the Congress to act swiftly to release all of the documents and papers pertaining to the FBI’s investigation of the Rev. Dr. King.  I urge all of my readers to contact their representatives and ask them to do the same.

Thanks To Everyone For Making CRW A Success…How Can I Make It Better?

I would like to take this opportunity to thank everyone for visiting CRW and reading the posts.  CRW was my first idea for a blog back in July 2009.  At the time, I also had the idea for another law blog, Cyber-Esq. For various reasons, Cyber-Esq. ended up going live before CRW.  As a matter of fact, CRW didn’t really get off the ground in earnest until November 2009.  That month, CRW had 201 visits for the month.  By December 2009, the visits per month totaled 362.

My goal for 2010, specifically this month, was to exceed December’s monthly view total by at least 1 person – and by the middle of January.  Here we are, January 15, and I am proud to say that CRW has already been viewed, 453 times for the month!

Readers visiting the site are what makes a blog a success.  So, at this point, I would like to hear from you as to how I can make the blog better.  Are there particular topics in the field of civil rights that you would like to see discussed more?  Are there design aspects of the site that you like or don’t like?  I am open to any feedback or suggestions that anyone might have.

Thanks again everyone!

Kansas Supreme Court Orders Abortion Murder Judge To Permit Media Access

It has been an interesting week for media in the courtroom.  As I reported on my legal tech blawg, Cyber-Esq., the U.S. Supreme Court ruled 5-4 yesterday to indefinitely block televising California’s same-sex marriage trial.

On Tuesday, the Kansas Supreme Court issued an order to Judge Warren Wilbert, commanding him to reconsider a ruling excluding all media outlets from the abortion murder trial of Scott Roeder.  Roeder is on trial for the shooting of Dr. George Tiller inside a Wichita church last May.  Dr. George Tiller worked at a family planning clinic that performed late-term abortions, one of only a few in the country.  Roeder is pictured above.

Judge Wilbert has come under close scrutiny after ruling that Roeder could present the defense of voluntary manslaughter, even though the undisputed facts of the case demonstrate that Roeder pre-meditated the shooting of Dr. Tiller.  Even Roeder does not dispute the charges against him.

Despite the Kansas Supreme Court ruling, however, Judge Wilbert has ordered that media outlets can only be present after the jury selection process has narrowed the pool of potential jurors to 42.  According to media reports on the judge’s order, he is apparently assuming that none of the potential jurors would want to be questioned in public about “sensitive” issues.

You can link to a Washington Post article discussing these developments here.

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