Real News

It’s tough being a journalist these days, but the work is more important than ever. So when a news person goes above and beyond the norm to get the full story, we need to show our appreciation. There was a great example of this kind of reporting last week in The Los Angeles Times that you may not have noticed if you didn’t read the whole story.

An intrepid Times reporter was assigned to the Las Vegas appearance of porn star/auteur and Trump pal Stormy Daniels — a tour that’s been closely covered by reporters in cities around the country. He produced the usual informative and detailed front-page account, but there was also this: “The whole thing took a few minutes and was downright chaste compared with the performances by Annie Cruz and Cindy Starfall, the featured performers in Little Darlings’ ‘Asian Invasion’ event about an hour later.”

You can’t get the full story unless you’re patient and willing to put in the time.


I wonder if this guy got paid overtime?


More investigative journalism. I have to admit that the concept of a public censure or reprimand of a lawyer or judge has always mystified me. Why would anyone care? How many members of the public are exposed to public reprimands?

It’s even weirder when a judge is being reprimanded for doing something that made absolutely no difference to anyone.

We had an example of this last month when the Nebraska Commission on Judicial Qualifications, apparently having nothing better to do, decided to publicly reprimand a judge for revoking probation and accepting a guilty plea from a guy who definitely violated his probation. Lawyers on both sides agreed on this.

OK, it wasn’t quite that cut and dried — it was sillier. The defendant was subject to probation that included abstinence from the use of alcohol. He showed up drunk in court. Not much to debate about.

Unfortunately, some nosy journalist — who, I’m guessing, thought this was funny — decided to start asking questions. So the judge offered the defendant a chance to withdraw his guilty plea.

Apparently, it’s bad form to accept a guilty plea from a drunk guy even if he’s pleading guilty to being drunk.

The defendant declined to change his plea. He probably remembered being drunk.

No harm, no foul?

You’d think so, but the Nebraska Commission issued its stern public reprimand anyway. I wouldn’t be surprised if they’d been drinking.


Myth busted. It’s hard to let go of long-held beliefs, so I’m not sure how to react to a recent Connecticut Supreme Court ruling that seems to go against something almost all of us have been taught.

The ruling went against a plaintiff who “failed to prove that it was apparent to the defendants that the claimed dangerous condition, namely, students running with safety scissors, was so likely to cause harm that a clear and unequivocal duty to act immediately was created.”

It’s not dangerous to run with scissors?

If you’re thinking that this is because they were “safety” scissors, you’re wrong, because the plaintiff got his face cut and went to the hospital. There was no safety.

But apparently there’s no reason to freak out about scissor-running.


Respectable whiskey. Which, in your mind, has a better reputation — dogs or whiskey?

I ask this question because a federal court in Arizona last week ruled that whiskey is a more reputable product than a dog toy. That wasn’t exactly the issue but that’s what the ruling amounted to — the court decided that a parody dog toy called “Bad Spaniels” that said on its label, “This product is not affiliated with Jack Daniel’s Distillery,” still infringed on the Jack Daniel’s trademark because it tarnished the reputation of the whiskey.

I would have thought that whiskey tarnished the reputation of dog toys, but the court disagreed.

Favorite line from the ruling: “Based upon the Associative Network Model, the Court credits Dr. Simonson’s conclusion regarding the effects of ‘Bad Spaniels’ and the negative mental associations that come to mind when you include defecation, feces, and poo upon consumers who are evaluating Jack Daniel’s whiskey.”

All three of those things?

Now consider the mental associations that come to mind when you include vomiting, hangovers and liver disease when evaluating a dog toy.

Picture a guy in a liquor store evaluating Jack Daniel’s and deciding against it because of that disgusting dog toy.

Trademark law is weird.

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