04/30/15

Street Legal

There’s a lot of overlap between the arts of lawyering and emceeing. Theater. Persuasion. Costuming. Words. You have to have stage presence. Look the part. Tell a convincing story. Talk a big game. Win the crowd.

As a practitioner of both, I probably haven’t done my job to make you hip to the vocabulary and black letter law.

So, I’m going to periodically include a feature that gives both some technical and everyday explanation of legal terms and concepts. Part street, part legal. Street Legal. See what I did there?

For instance, res ipsa loquitur. It’s a torts doctrine and latin phrase, which literally means “the thing speaks for itself.” It’s a way to hold someone liable for an accident or injury without direct proof that they did it. If the incident or item was completely in a person’s control and the damage done is of the kind only possible through negligence, then the person can be held liable even if there is no eye witness or even circumstantial evidence of her misconduct.

Like holding Erykah Badu responsible for Common’s Electric Circus.

It’s the only explanation. That’s on some res ipsa loquitur, son.

Street legal.

IMG_7109

04/29/15

Deep Impact

So the government has announced a special operations exercise called Jade Helm 15. It will run from July 15 through September 15 of this year in various southwestern states, including Texas, New Mexico, and California. It will ostensibly involve tactical maneuvering of military personnel in civilian settings, like neighborhoods and homes.

jade helm

In this same basic footprint, Walmarts have been mysteriously closing various stores for “plumbing” concerns. That’s some systemic dysentery. I’m sort of an expert on Walmart bathrooms and may be partially responsible. I could have seen this coming. It’s not good. But, the deep web has speculated that the stores are being converted for processing centers when martial law is eventually declared.

I personally suspect Obama is trying to monopolize their always low prices. Just like him.

[Street Legal: In wartime or “states of insurrection,” the United States Government or the Governor’s of the respective states can declare martial law and substitute military tribunals for civil ones. Like when ODB bumrushed Shawn Colvin on stage at the Grammy’s. Or Yeezy did T-Swift. Street legal, son.]

So, guess what’s supposed to happen September 15? A 2.5 mile meteor is going to hit the continental United States! Coincidence? That’s called dot connecting folks.

Orrrrrrrrrrrrr there anticipating an attack by ISIS on Texas.

I’m pretty excited either way and making sausage cheese dip in anticipation.

We love a good apocalypse and front row seat to our own demise. There is this strange affection for extinction level events. In movies and real life. Like we want to be paranoid of government takeover under the guise of Jade Helm but we mostly can’t wait.

Pulling up a chair.

Written and performed by sintax.the.terrific. Produced by Dalama Jones.

Today’s blong here:

Keep Shuffling

04/28/15

City Lights

I grew up 20 minutes south of Baltimore. We used to chill at its Inner Harbor. The Constellation is docked there. I took some lady friends to a place called City Lights. Paddle boats. And the Aquarium.

I haven’t been there in 17 years, immediately after our wedding and honeymoon. We had a Ford Explorer full of personal belongings and music equipment. Two large speaker cabinets and amplifier/mixer head. A Dr. Boss sampler.

We improvidently parked deep in the city and the car was broken into and, ironically, the only thing stolen were are wedding photos. We scoured the nearby housing project for them only to find the empty boxes.

Two decades later its all broken out in riot. Baltimore and my life. We both need an inner harbor.

Written and performed by sintax.the.terrific. Produced by Dalama Jones.

Today’s blong here:

Inner Harbor

04/22/15

Endangered Species

In honor of Earth Day, Tim Tebow is a Philadelphia Bald Eagle.

USP NFL: NEW YORK JETS-TRAINING CAMP S FBN USA NY

In the wild.

Performed by the sintax.the.terrific. Produced by pumpkinFoot.

Today’s blong here:

All Things

04/16/15

Pro ConTV

Wizard World, the entity behind the most significant of the Comic Con events, has launched an online channel, ConTV.com, featuring the quirky in fantasy, horror, sci-fi, and comedy media and entertainment. Think Elvira meets Bruce Lee meets some movie called “Zombie A$$.”

ConTv_Logo

In honor of the recent launch, today’s blong is an as of yet non-official theme hopefully to be made official soon. I mean it includes a reference to both “Voltron” and “leotard fashion.” I’m not sure what else you could really want in a nerdest anthem.

Under Your Bed (ConTV Theme)

ConTV also hosts original content, including the hit game show, Last Fan Standing, hosted by the indomitable Bruce Campbell.

Last Fan Standing Key Art

I announced previously that I had written the theme for that show, which is now on Episode 6.

The theme song is available now at iTunes and Amazon and can be streamed on Spotify. Search “Last Fan Standing.”

Performed by sintax.the.terrific. Music produced by Sir Chamberlain.

Lyrics here.

Retread blong here:

Last Fan Standing (Official Game Show Theme)

04/16/15

Trailer II

I think Mr. Mcconaughey speaks/weeps for us all.

I already reminded concerning the Rule of Two.

Written and performed by sintax.the.terrific. Music produced Matt Pelishek.

Today’s blong here:

The Empire

04/6/15

People You Prefer

It’s amazing how infrequently the news cites or links to original source material. The hardest part of posting today was finding the dang statutory language.

In relevant part the Indiana Religious Freedom Restoration Act (RFRA) stipulates that

a governmental entity may not substantially burden a person’s exercise of religion . . .[unless it] (1) is in furtherance of a compelling governmental interest; and (2) is the least restrictive means of furthering that compelling governmental interest.

Guess what? This is literally already the law.

Indiana didn’t make these words up. And they aren’t words without meaning. “Substantially burden” and “compelling governmental interest” and “least restrictive means” are legal terms of art.

It’s called strict scrutiny. Strict scrutiny is the test courts must apply to any governmental action (law) that attempts to regulate the free exercise of religion. It’s literally already what is required by the United States Supreme Court. See Wisconsin v. Yoder, 406 U.S. 205 (1972); Church of the Lukumi Babalu Aye, Inc. v. City of Hialeah, 508 U.S. 520, 546 (1993).

That’s why the federal RFRA analog to the Indiana bill has been deemed constitutional. It’s just not applicable to the states and that is why twenty some states have passed their own version, including Indiana.

But, in the wake of protest over it, the Indiana legislature has agreed to compromise language, which specifies that the new religious freedom law cannot be used as a legal defense to discriminate against patrons based on their sexual orientation or gender identity.

Well what about race or national origin? Or pregnancy or sex? Can Indiana’s RFRA justify disparate treatment on account of those characteristics? Well those immutable qualities are already protected from discrimination either by constitutional interpretation or specific federal statute. It’s not necessary to accuse Indiana’s RFRA of enabling discrimination on those grounds because it is understood already that it can’t. But, no such comparable protection yet exists for sexual orientation and gender identity, thus the necessary specificity.

So, here’s the amazing result. The public pressure on Indiana’s RFRA has transformed a law that was simply an echo of the legal status quo into literally an affirmative protection for sexual orientation and gender identity that did not previously exist (at least expressly).

I think in wrestling that’s called a reversal. And pin.

Regardless of the legal merits and effects, the cultural ones continue to be sort of ridiculous. On both sides. The controversy over RFRA sure involves a whole lot of can’t. You can’t eat here. You can’t tell me I can’t eat here.

I know there is some mutually-exclusiveness between the positions, but I sure would just prefer that both can. The religiously orthodox or shortsighted bigots can exercise discretion over their business interests and the LGBTQIA community can take their business and prodigious wealth just about anywhere else. I don’t believe this is going to result in significant exclusion.

When the equal access battle was fought for racial minorities in this country 50 years ago, there was no cultural capital on that side. To have waited on a cultural tide or the greed of capitalism to erode the segregation wall would have been a long, tortured wait.

It’s not the same cultural or economic ecosystem that the LGBTQIA community faces. First, our economy is so pluralistic, for every one fundamentalist burrito spot that denies you, there is an organic burrito, gay burrito, sports burrito, actually mexican burrito, or anti-burrito burrito restaurant to direct your appetite and dollars. Second, the momentum is now all on the LGBTQIA community’s side. The people who would deny service on these grounds are officially outliers. That’s not a value judgment; it’s just true. As a business person you’re somewhere along the following spectrum: (1) wildly, enthusiastically Andy Dick pro-gay; (2) gay friendly; (3) neutral; (4) personally uncomfortable but professionally ambivalent; (5) personally and professionally intrepid; or (6) passionately, comfortably Chik-Fil-A against-gay. (That’s not fully fair to CFA; I don’t even know a public enough name for this camp; which is the whole point.) I just don’t think the number and quality of the businesses desiring to publicly be (6) can be that significant. It’s just generally not very cool anymore or good for business. That’s not to say there isn’t financial opportunity in bigotry; there is. There’s just a whole lot more in non-bigotry.

And, speaking of the hipness of the relative positions, it has officially flipped. It wasn’t sexy to be an abolitionist or a non-segregationist. It definitely wasn’t cool to stand beside AIDS victims in the Eighties. But, as soon as it’s cool to be for a particular civil right, you’re on the wrong side of the issue. That’s the whole point. The community being denied the right is, by definition, marginalized not popularized. If you actually gain cultural cache among the masses by being so outspoken on a topic, you’re not a hero or martyr; you’re bandwagon. So no one should be patting themselves on the back for the most obvious possible observation that deep proponents of the RFRA are probably and mostly bigots on this topic. But, if you really count yourself a civil libertarian, the fight is now officially on the other side. People are entitled to be wrong. And, live wrong lives in furtherance. Let’s please not forget that.

I wanted to rank my favorite Easter candy just because I like ranking things. Growing up, I spent most of my Easter mornings trying to brandish various candies to my father but blinded by the Damascus Road movie camera flash. It looks like interrogation footage. Seriously.

5. Jelly beans. And, not just Jelly Belly snobbery.
4. Giant bunnies. Anything oversized at seven years old gets top 5 billing.
3. Whoppers Robin Eggs. Because someone still has to stand up for malt.
2. Mini Cadbury Cream Eggs. Am I the only one who gags trying to eat the original?

aaaaaaand

1. Grayson Allen. A delicious Easter candy too??! What can’t this kid do?

What are the chances that the vintage Paas image I chose for today would advertise “Gay Calicos”? 98. 100%?? Seriously. Total happenstance.

paas

Written and performed by sintax.the.terrific. Music produced by Dalama Jones.

Today’s blong here:

Resurrection

04/4/15

And When From Death I’m Free

I will sing.

easter

Performed by the sintax.the.terrific and playdough (collectively deepspace5). Music produced by Alex Goose.

Today’s blong here:

Rise