A DISCUSSION OF LAW AND JOURNALISM

Archive for 2012

Wishes for 2013

Winter wonderland

By LASIS Staff

The world didn’t come to an end in 2012, as the Mayans predicted. Some standout memories from this past year: Rick Perry, Newt Gingrich, Herman Cain, Rick Santorum — for a while, each was considered the likely Republican nominee; Gangham style mania; the Aurora movie theater shooting; the dire situation in Syria; box office titans “The Hunger Games” and”The Avengers“; the surprise Justice Roberts vote in the Obamacare decision; the first presidential debate, during which, as Obama later joked, it seemed he was busy taking “a nice long nap“; Hurricane Sandy; the breakup of TomKat; Clint Eastwood talks to an empty chair at the Republican Convention; President Obama wins reelection, decisively; and just recently, the Newtown, Connecticut shootings — the wanton murder of innocent children and their teachers, a tragic event felt all over the world.

LASIS says goodbye to 2012, and welcomes the year to come.

With best wishes to all of you for a 2013 filled with peace, challenge, productivity, and joy.

See you next year.

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Our Competitive Streak is Running Wild!

Usain Bolt Finish Line

By LASIS Staff

How are we doing in the ABA Top 100 Blawg competition?  We have no idea.

Last time we checked we were well over 200 votes. But the ABA plays mind games with all of us the last week of the contest, and takes away the vote numbers  It’s all one big “?” This only adds to the excitement, of course.

If you’re a LASIS fan and haven’t voted yet, please do.  The contest runs through Friday, December 21.

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Don’t Chase a Pigeon in Massachusetts

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By Jennifer Williams

It’s been years since you’ve allowed yourself an escape from the daily grind, and you’ve decided to take some time off to enjoy a family trip. You’re looking for a destination that will be both relaxing and educational. In no time at all, you’ve decided that Massachusetts is the place to go.

So you make the necessary calls, schedule the necessary accommodations, and pack the necessary gear. And when you finally arrive, you’re ready to explore the Bay State.

Somewhere along the way, you find yourself on a quiet street with beautiful antique mansions. Naturally, it’s a perfect photo op. Steady the camera, set the timer, everyone smile, and flash, picture taken. You review the photo to make sure it’s perfect only to notice a group of pigeons gathering in the background. So you shoo them away and get ready to pose with your family again.

Next thing you know, you’re in jail. That’s right. Because, my friend, in the great state of Massachusetts, it’s a crime to kill or scare pigeons and you can be punished by a fine or imprisonment.

We recently came across an article on Boston.com that shone a spotlight on this and other surprising Massachusetts laws (that reminded us of a great piece about New York laws by the late Christopher Hitchens for Vanity Fair).

Did Boston.com have its facts right?  Was anyone ever charged with violating these crazy laws? We investigated.

(more…)

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Piki-in’ All Over The World

Piki-piki

By Halina Schiffman-Shilo

Called piki-pikis in Tanzania, motos in Rwanda, and boda-bodas in Uganda, these low-grade motorcycles are to East Africa what the yellow-cab is to New York City: ubiquitous. Driven by men of all ages and levels of sobriety, the piki-piki is by far the fastest way to get around. It’s also the most dangerous.

Piki-piki drivers do not seem to be hampered by fear – or traffic laws. Carrying people, lumber, gas canisters, household goods, animals (I even saw a dead boar tied to the back of one once), piki-pikis navigate through roads filled with cars, trucks, pedestrians, bicycles, dalla-dallas, makeshift rickshaws, and the occasional goat, without even breaking a sweat. That is, until they crash. In Arusha, there is a whole hospital wing, lovingly nick-named the “warda-warda,” to treat piki-piki injuries.

And yet, it’s a terrifically popular means of transportation. Exhilarating, frightening, and a touch addictive, riding on the back of one looks cool, too.  Just remember to hold on tight, and remember not to mention it to your travel insurance company, or your family.

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Ka-Ching! Dog Takes Walk, Makes $1 Million

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By LASIS Staff

A little over one year ago, LASIS told you about Ryan Leslie, a rap artist whose computer was stolen while performing in Germany.  The laptop had his songs on it, and he offered a $1 million reward.

Armin Augstein was out walking his dog near Cologne when he found that laptop, leading LASIS to coronate this excursion “The Most Profitable Dog Walk in History.”

Yes, ladies and gentlemen, we were the first to do the legal analysis on this strange case, and we found that there had in fact been an offer, an acceptance, and a valid contract.  Mr. Augstein was suing for nonpayment and we suggested Mr. Leslie settle.

Now a jury has found that Mr. Leslie’s on the hook for both the $1 million and his attorney bill.

Lesson:  Do yourselves a favor and listen to LASIS. And don’t forget to vote.

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