Posts Tagged ‘Indiana’

One-Man Protest for Bradley Manning’s Freedom in Indiana Town

Wednesday, July 31st, 2013
Protestor holds sign reading "FREE BRADLEY MANNING" (Photo: EEJ)

Jason Urbanski holds a one-man rally for intelligence leaker Bradley Manning on July 31, 2013 in La Porte, Ind.

On the day news broke of the conviction of U.S. Army intelligence analyst Bradley Manning for downloading secret government documents and giving them to Wikileaks for release to the public, Jason Urbanski held a one-man rally for Manning’s freedom in front of the county courthouse in La Porte, Indiana. His handpainted sign with red-glitter letters said ‘FREE BRADLEY MANNING.”

I happened upon Urbanski while I touring around the area. I took the opportunity to talk with him a bit.

Urbanski spoke of Manning in heroic terms. “He sacrificed his freedom to show the world the truth,” Urbanski said. “He made a really unselfish decision to do something good. We can’t forget about him.”

A restaurant worker in nearby New Buffalo, Michigan, Urbanski said he was hoping that a future president, if not the current one, would pardon Manning. The way to pursue that, Urbanski reasoned, was to start at a grassroots level.

Manning was convicted by a court martial on several counts, including espionage. Manning was acquitted, however, of aiding the enemy, which was the most serious charge pursued by prosecutors.

“I think that what Bradley Manning did was just motivated by simple human empathy,” Urbanski said. “It was a political act, but really it was an act of human compassion.”

While I was there, Urbanski’s protest seemed to draw neither cheers nor jeers from passers-by. I think it is safe to say his opinions represent a minority view in the United States. I, myself, don’t see Manning in the same light that Urbanski does, but I am, however, very happy to see someone out flexing their First Amendment rights on a courthouse street-corner to weigh in on the topic.

ACLU Sues School After Girls Suspended for “Homicidal” FB Posts Blasting “Ugly” People

Tuesday, May 1st, 2012

Griffith Public Schools logoGriffith Public Schools expelled three 8th grade girls for Facebook posts evincing a desire to kill ugly students at school. The ACLU has filed suit against the district.

According to the complaint and the Northwest Indian Times, the Facebook discussion began one eighth girl updated her Facebook status to reflect that she had cut herself while shaving her legs. The status update was after school and was visible to those in the students’ “friends” circle:

[Girl 1 status update:] … I hate when I’m shaving my legs and I get he tinyest, microscopic, little [expletive] cut and it bleeds so much and makes me lose like 1/3 of the blood in my body – _ -

The following are excerpts of the conversation that followed:

[Girl 2:] thee only people that make me mad, are 7th graders who dont move out of thee way. & ugly people liike[name][name][name][name] [name]…etc.

[Girl 1:] I would say kill all the ugly people at school than. But I don’t wanna die.

[Girl 3:] i wanna kill people.

[Girl 2:] ii wiish yu wouldnt get caught, cos shiit, half thee school would be gone by now…

[Girl 1:] I need new best friends. All of mine are homicidal.

In case you’re wondering, the district got the Facebook exchange from a classmate’s mother.

Missing from the mainstream-media write-ups of this is what it says about the ACLU itself to be involved in this case. It sure looks like the ACLU has put itself firmly on the side of the popular, beautiful people. I kind of always thought to ACLU attorneys as recovering junior-high nerds. You know, the kind of kids who were on yearbook and took it really seriously. Maybe that’s just what I wanted to believe …


Lawyers Smacked for Knee Slaps

Tuesday, August 9th, 2011

NexGen knees marketed by Cyberdyne Systems, umm, I mean 'Zimmer medical products company of Northern Indiana.' (Photo: Zimmer)

Alex Nussbaum and David Voreacos of Bloomberg report that Zimmer, the world’s largest maker of knee and hip implants, is suing lawyers who sue them. And their offensive against plaintiffs’ lawyers is headed into the blogosphere.

After lawyer/blogger Brett Emison wrote a blog post about failures of Zimmer’s NexGen knees, he got a letter from Zimmer attorneys demanding he stop what they termed “alarmist fear mongering.”

Emison called Zimmer’s conduct “a blatant attempt to try to frighten plaintiffs’ lawyers from pursuing these cases.”

I myself don’t need to get a warning letter to be frightened. Look at that promotional picture of Zimmer’s technologically advanced knees. Don’t tell me those won’t be useful to the machines after Skynet takes over. Everyone knows that the only thing humanity has going for it in a war against robots is that robots are generally slow and lumbering. If you stick knees like those in terminator-series cyborgs, they’ll be able to jog effortlessly all over the post-apocalyptic landscape picking off humans at will.

Well, with Zimmer raking in $1.8 billion in annual artificial-knee revenues, its not surprising they would be somewhat, shall we say, inflexible when it comes to assaults on their safety record. And Zimmer’s legal gambit appears to be working. Bloomberg reports that Zimmer has settled four of its law-firm lawsuits on terms requiring retractions.

Law professor and dean of Roger Williams Law School David Logan says in the story that recent U.S. Supreme Court decisions have given lawyers the freedom to say anything not “provably false or misleading.” That, in turn, has “opened up a new front in the product-liability wars” with corporate defendants suing lawyers as they go searching for clients.

With “blawgs” already constituting a leading means of lawyer rainmaking, we may see Zimmer-type offensives become more and more important in shaping the legal context of law-blogging. Of course, on “Blog Law Blog,” I can only blog so much about the law of law blogging. To provide in-depth commentary in this arena, I will soon be launching my new blog, Law Blog Blog Law Law Blog.

Or, on the other hand, maybe I’ll skip that.