No matter where you are we will come to you

DO I HAVE A CASE?

Currently Viewing Posts Tagged News

It Is Hard To Title Random!

I have had a few requests not to post cat pictures anymore. Does this really count?

IMG_2459

Hahahahahahaha (I can’t help it)

IMG_2455

Yes, I am sure there is still some “cat picture anger”!

Which leads me to the Winston Churchill story. I always enjoy some “history” in Our Blog. Apparently at a party, Churchill was accused by either Lady Astor or Bessie Braddock of being ‘disgustingly drunk’. He simply replied, “My dear, you are ugly, and what’s more, you are disgustingly ugly. But tomorrow I shall be sober and you will still be disgustingly ugly.”

This pic o reminded me of that Churchill story. Part of his success was not being afraid!

IMG_2446

If you are now making plans for summer travel, here are some websites to consider:

Kayak.com tracks the fares that you search and advises you on whether to buy now versus the likelihood of price fluctuation.

Skyscanner.com lists searches by “cheapest”, “fastest” and “best”.

Hipmunk.com searches your fares and suggests dates that would give better pricing.

Momondo.com and the more well known Booking.com are travel fare search engines for comparison shopping.

I thought this article (here) from CNBC was good information on why walking and thinking helps your creativity…and why Steve Jobs did it all the time.

You can see the randomness today. I enjoy just rambling on Our Wednesday Blog!

And finally, for our pic o’ day… I hope this brightens your day!

IMG_2458

 

 

 

 

Monday Blog Follow-up

Sometimes you just don’t feel like it…

'Yes, I know we're hyenas - but sometimes I just don't feel like laughing, Kate.'
‘Yes, I know we’re hyenas – but sometimes I just don’t feel like laughing, Kate.’

This really is a crazy follow-up blog (here in case you missed it) from yesterday. Not very positive, but it really amazed me. This quote relates:

IMG_2464

 

When I walked into the office yesterday, paralegal Lauren said that she had read Our blog and asked, “Did you see what happened to that doctor?”. Then she told me.

I remembered the story but did not know it was the same doctor. From NBC12.com, Doctor found guilty in death of Chesterfield woman. This same doctor (Dr. John E. Gibbs III) killed his girlfriend! It had been an unsolved murder for over three years. This article references his child neglect conviction that was mentioned in the blog, as well.   

Honestly, this is one of those stories that truly ticks me off. And, who knows what bad things he was doing to his patients! We can see his character in both of these instances.

I like this quote on character too, and I feel like posting this before I post our funny pic o’ day. I just feel like this positive reminder needs to be inserted here.

IMG_2465

And then for pic o’ day, I post another quote… because I also need to laugh!

IMG_2454

Home Alone

Let’s start Our Monday Blog with coffee…as it should be started. Our Coffee Time!

IMG_2440

And a laugh

IMG_2418

Today I am going to really write a legal blog. I know…it’s crazy! Let’s start with the story of the case.

The case is Gibbs v. Commonwealth, a Chesterfield Circuit Court Case.

It was the afternoon of February 22,2016. Gregory Gentry worked maintenance at the Clairmont Apartments in Chesterfield. He noticed a “little boy wearing no jacket, a T-shirt, some pants and shoes without socks” wandering outside the complex. Gentry said it was very cold, causing him to wear a sweatshirt and jacket.

He and his supervisor followed the boy (later determined to be five-years-old) as he crossed through the privacy fence of the complex, through the gate and up past the local Costco. Then, into the gas station parking lot next to the busy street.

They caught up to the boy and found out that his father was Dr. John Gibbs, who had gone to work at the hospital. The boy said that his father had told him to walk up there and meet him at the hospital. He refused to tell them his name, but said that he was thirteen-years-old.

They managed to convince the boy to return to his apartment by offering a ride on Gentry’s shoulders. There, they called the police and waited for the father (doctor) to return.

About 40 minutes later, the police arrived. Eventually Dr. Gibbs also arrived. Upon learning that his son had been wandering outside alone, Gibbs offered no thank you for bringing his son back. The only thing that Dr. Gibbs uttered was that his son was a liar for claiming that he was thirteen.

He also told the officers that his son was lying about being told to come up to the hospital. He had been instructed to stay home, because he had been suspended from school.

Gibbs was charged with… and then convicted of felony child neglect for leaving his kindergartner home alone . He appealed the conviction.

Judge Randolph A. Beales wrote the opinion on behalf of the Virginia Court of Appeals. The Court found that Dr. Gibbs acted with reckless disregard for the life and safety of his child by leaving his child alone for over an hour while he drove to a prearranged meeting.

In fact, it was noted that the child had wandered away only a month earlier, in similar circumstances. That time, the father had left the son with his older brother. The court said that this should have also alerted him that the child would wander off.

The real question to legally answer is “when is it legally acceptable to leave your child home alone?”

The Court applied six factors previously described in the case of Barnes v. Commonwealth, 47 Va. App. 105 (2005),

The first factor: the gravity and character of the possible harm.

The Court said that there was potential harm likely to occur, when the child left the apartment alone and ventured across the street, to the parking lot of the Costco and gas station.

The second factor: the degree of accessibility of the parent.

The Court noted that the record of the trial shows that Gibbs made himself completely inaccessible to his son. He was unable to see or hear him if the child needed assistance.  The Court also noted that it appeared that the child truly believed that Gibbs was working at the hospital and that he was supposed to meet him there.

The third factor: the length of time of the abandonment.

The Judge noted that although there is no rule regarding how long a child may be left alone before a parent may be considered criminally negligent, Dr. Gibbs left his son alone for longer period of time, than in prior cases where this court held that the evidence was insufficient to support a conviction.

The fourth factor: The child’s age and immaturity.

The Court notes that the child was already suspended from school at the time of the incident. His prior behavior had caused a required meeting between Gibbs, school officials and the child.

Plus, they considered that he had left the apartment by himself, just a month before this and then wandered to the apartment complex swimming pool. The evidence at trial showed that Gibbs should have known that son was immature, apparently unruly; and as a five-year-old, not mature enough to remain alone at his apartment for an hour.

The fifth factor: Protective measures taken to keep the child safe.

According to the Court, there was little evidence to support that Dr. Gibbs did anything to make the child or the apartment secure and safe before he left for his meeting. He never tried to find someone to take care of his son; he didn’t try to reschedule the meeting; and he did not consider taking his son with him.

The sixth factor: The Court considers “any other circumstance that would inform the factfinder on the question whether the defendant’s conduct was criminally negligent.”

In conclusion, the Court upheld the doctor’s conviction. They went on to reason that there is no specific rule that says that any parent who leaves their five-year-old child at home alone, will be automatically guilty of felony child neglect.

According to the opinion, parents are still given leeway regarding the care of their children. Each circumstance and child can be quite different. A parent has a right to decide(within reason), when and for how long, a child is mature enough to be left home alone.

 

 

For pic o’ day, I am changing directions… but this repeat always makes me laugh!

Line up

 

Positivity Over Negativity. (Plus Barney Fife!)

In the world of strange facts, dolphins sleep with one eye open. That doesn’t seem like good rest! Maybe there are just some things that are not meant to be seen!

IMG_1621

This is really a blog about negativity… and then positivity.

IMG_0348

I read over the weekend that Lindsay Vonn had announced that she would not be attending the White House as a winning Olympic athlete. Then, in her first event, she failed to medal in the downhill Super G and dropped to sixth in the standings. (ESPN)  That’s when an avalanche of negativity hit her online.

Because of her previous political statement, she received tons of hate tweets. (USA Today) Such tweets as “You got what you deserved”, and “One loss down and only two more to go”. 

One USA teammate was sickened by the negativity directed at Vonn. She tweeted,  “It’s gross. I have been mistakenly getting her hate mail for weeks!”

A lot of times when I read a news article online, I find myself scrolling to the bottom of the article to read the comments. Even on tragic stories, you can find some of the meanest comments attached to the article. Sometimes it involves an attempt at bad humor, and other times just a remark about how the person deserved it.

Several years ago, one of my friends lost his mother in a car accident. There was a news article in the local paper that even included a picture of the her car that was in the crash. The story reported how she had been killed on impact. I was so saddened by the story and my friend’s loss. But sure enough, at the bottom of the article there were negative comments that included one that basically said, “She got what she deserved. Old people shouldn’t be driving anyway“.

The Vonn story is a reminder that there are people who think that their disagreement means that there is license to be mean. You can’t change the anger in society. You can only control your own thinking and how you treat others. Just typing that makes me feel like I need to post something right now, just to make me smile.

PIMG_2136

I read that Vonn story while drinking coffee on Sunday morning. Then, during the Sunday morning church service, the minister included Psalms 103 in his message, and remarked that he thought that it was the most positive passage in the Bible. (Here)

 

The Psalm includes such verses as  “Bless the Lord, O my soul, and forget not all his benefits” and “Bless the Lord, all his works in all places of his dominion: bless the Lord, O my soul“.  Reading it made me feel positive. Being grounded in what is important and not to be influenced by the negativity of others. And then… I felt so positive!

Sure, some days it can feel like this… Right?

IMG_2126

But other days it’s really the positive!

 

IMG_2128

Noose in the Neighborhood

You don’t expect to come to a legal blog for some Uber humor. Right?

IMG_1597

And much like leaping into an Uber, let’s leap right in to our topic today. I thought I would get crazy and actually write about a case where the Virginia Supreme Court is going to rule. (Richmond.com)

The Supreme Court of Virginia is scheduled to hear arguments this week over whether a man broke the law, when he hung a black-faced dummy in his front yard. It is a question of free speech versus intimidation.

Why is this getting attention? As background, from 1877 to 1950, there were more than 4,000 lynchings of African-Americans in Southern states.  84 of those were in Virginia.

In 2015, Jack Eugene Turner was convicted of violating a state law that specifically prohibits hanging a noose to intimidate. He used a rope to hang an effigy of a black man from a tree in his front yard in 2015 in plain view of the street. A black stuffed dummy hanging from a rope! Is that free speech?

Not surprisingly, Turner is white. He was upset at his black neighbors.

On the circuit court level, Turner got six months in jail for violating the “noose statute”. He argues that his free speech rights were violated and that state law only bars displays of nooses on public land, not private property. His conviction was affirmed at the Appellate Courts. Now, his case heads to the Virginia Supreme Court.

The Virginia attorneys disagree, arguing that the noose was meant to intimidate, and did instill fear in his neighbors. His attorney disagrees.

While race relations are at the forefront of nearly every news cycle, courts should not stray from following the law as it is written, albeit at times unpopular or controversial. The law in this matter is clear,” wrote Turner’s lawyer, C. Holland Perdue III.

In asking the justices to hear the case, Perdue wrote in his appellate brief, “While I agree with the court of appeals and the trial court’s rationale that hanging a noose and a ‘dummy’ is reprehensible and offensive, both have erred on the side of public opinion and not the law. Poor and distasteful speech must be protected.

He went on to write,“Private property affords the owner exclusive and absolute rights to display any symbol or symbols regardless of how reprehensible or offensive we may find them and these symbols are protected speech“.

According to the article, Christopher P. Schandevel, an assistant attorney general, wrote to the supreme court justices that, “Turner hung a black-faced dummy in a noose from a tree in his front yard to intimidate his African-American neighbors, with whom he had been feuding.

The display had its intended effect — causing Turner’s neighbors to fear that Turner might harm them or their children,” Schandevel reported. “Expressive conduct is generally protected by the First Amendment, but expressive conduct that communicates a ‘true threat’ is not. Intimidation constitutes a ‘true threat’ when it is designed to place people in fear of death or bodily harm,” he wrote.

Originally, Turner was convicted of violating the 2009 Virginia law that bars the display of a noose on a highway or other public place “in a manner having a direct tendency to place another person in reasonable fear or apprehension of death or bodily injury.” The charge is a Class 6 felony. That is the conviction that he is appealing.

The briefs set forth the arguments well. All I can say is, can you imagine coming home to a neighbor who has that hanging in his yard?

And for pic o’ day, because we are currently hiring additional lawyers and staff, this seemed topical… and it made me laugh:

IMG_1595

Let’s Talk Holiday

I wanted to start the blog out with wishing you a Merry Christmas, since I feel that advertisers have been doing that since September. When is it fashionable to begin wishing friends a Happy Easter. I say sometime around December 10.

First, a word on shopping, because it feels like a shopping craze is all around me. And as a side note, how did all these stores get my email? Seriously, I cannot read my emails because I have too many shopping emails. What happened?

Anyway, In keeping with my apparent complaining about being bombarded with shopping news, here is some news that I wouldn’t even know how to comment on, if I even did. I guess this qualifies as shopping news?

IMG_1862

To make the blog worthwhile, here is an article from USA Today titled 5 security mistakes you’re probably making. I  am posting it as an attachment because I know you will read it… if you have the time.

And by the way… I want to wish you a Merry Christmas. (Yes, I am getting carried away)

And for pic o’ day, now we are getting down to business on the shopping. Right?

IMG_1864

Harassment in the News

I always like to start the week with some positivity!

IMG_1825

 

Because sometimes the real stuff seems pretty arduous! Like the enjoyment of Thanksgiving; but maybe not the week leading up to it.

So let’s talk about food for a second, and the psychology of it. When we arrive at a restaurant, most of us don’t have in our mind that we intend to eat dessert. In fact, you are probably like me. You are thinking that you need to be a little careful, because too much food means too much weight.

Then at the end of the meal, the server discusses the desserts and sometimes even brings the dessert tray to the table. All of a sudden, that chocolate cake or peanut butter pie causes us to forget our immediate eating worries. Psychologists call it “present-focus bias“. What is right in front of us is what is important.

To date, I have not written about the instances of sexual harassment in the news. In fact, I suspect that many men are not discussing it. They just agree that it is wrong and that things need to change. This is a topic where there is no argument.

Sexual harassment is the present focus bias. Not long ago, it was racial issues and police brutality. Then guns and violence were in the news. Soon, the news was discussing whether Confederate monuments should be removed.

So I thought I would just give you some thoughts to consider. The dictionary defines sexual harassment as, “Uninvited and unwelcome verbal or physical behavior of a sexual nature, especially by a person in authority toward a subordinate“.

This falls within such framework that includes student/teacher and employer/employee.

As to employer/employee considerations, the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission (EEOC) defines workplace harassment with these thoughts and potential guidelines:

Harassment can include “sexual harassment” or unwelcome sexual advances, requests for sexual favors, and other verbal or physical harassment of a sexual nature.

Harassment does not have to be of a sexual nature, however, and can include offensive remarks about a person’s sex. For example, it is illegal to harass a woman by making offensive comments about women in general.

Both victim and the harasser can be either a woman or a man, and the victim and harasser can be the same sex.

Although the law doesn’t prohibit simple teasing, offhand comments, or isolated incidents that are not very serious, harassment is illegal when it is so frequent or severe that it creates a hostile or offensive work environment or when it results in an adverse employment decision (such as the victim being fired or demoted).

The harasser can be the victim’s supervisor, a supervisor in another area, a co-worker, or someone who is not an employee of the employer, such as a client or customer.

This is a topic that could be a long blog. For now, I just wanted to use this forum to put these thoughts out there.

Hopefully, the current headlines will serve to truly bring awareness to the problem where no one feels that they just have to accept harassment, or have fear of speaking up, or take action to bring about change. For however long this is our primary focus, it should remain a focus. Maybe, it won’t just fade away into the news cycle

And for pic o’ day… this just makes me laugh. It’s all in a name!

IMG_1824

War of the World… and Costumes!

Let’s start out Our Monday Blog with two costume pictures from the past that make me laugh. Ultimately, for some reason, I am posting four pic o’s of Halloween costumes. And they all make me laugh!

IMG_1750

 

and these costumes are the greatest! Right?

IMG_1751

Let me squeeze in a quick blog before posting our last two pic o’s. I take us to a “This-Day-in History” from the History Channel.

On October 30, 1938, Orson Welles caused the nation to go into an absolute panic with his radio broadcast narration of H.G. Wells’ “War of the Worlds”. Listeners thought that the United States was being invaded by Martians.(Wikipedia of the book) (Wikipedia of the radio program)

The Mercury Theater company decided to do a radio version of  H.G. Wells’ 19th-century science fiction novel War of the Worlds. At the time, Despite only being 23-years-old, Welles had been in radio for several years. He had “the pipes”, as they say.

Prior to this broadcast, he was known as the radio voice of “The Shadow”, a mystery program of the same name. “War of the Worlds” was not planned as a radio hoax, and Welles had no idea what was about to happen across the nation.

The radio show began on Sunday, October 30, at 8 p.m. A voice announced: “The Columbia Broadcasting System and its affiliated stations present Orson Welles and the Mercury Theater on the air in ‘War of the Worlds’ by H.G. Wells.”

It is hard to imagine now, but Sunday evening in 1938 was considered prime-time listening, as millions of Americans gathered around their radios. History tells us that during this broadcast, a majority of Americans were listening to ventriloquist Edgar Bergen and his dummy “Charlie McCarthy” on NBC. That even seems crazier that a ventriloquist would be a radio show, although no one was going to complain whether he was moving his lips!

Over on CBS, Welles introduced the play and then an announcer read a weather report. Then, as part of the broadcast, the announcer “took” the listeners to “the Meridian Room in the Hotel Park Plaza in downtown New York, where you will be entertained by the music of Ramon Raquello and his orchestra.”

Unbearable dance music began to play. Then the scare began.

An announcer broke into the report with “Professor Farrell of the Mount Jenning Observatory” had detected explosions on the planet Mars. Then the horrible dance music came back on, followed by another interruption where listeners were informed that a large meteor had crashed into a farmer’s field in Grovers Mills, New Jersey.

Soon, an announcer from the “scene of the crash site” was describing a Martian that was emerging from a large metallic cylinder. “Good heavens,” he declared, “something’s wriggling out of the shadow like a gray snake. Now here’s another and another one and another one. They look like tentacles to me … I can see the thing’s body now. It’s large, large as a bear. It glistens like wet leather. But that face, it… it … ladies and gentlemen, it’s indescribable. I can hardly force myself to keep looking at it, it’s so awful. The eyes are black and gleam like a serpent. The mouth is kind of V-shaped with saliva dripping from its rimless lips that seem to quiver and pulsate.”

The announcer continued to describe the invasion. This included Martians firing “heat-ray” weapons at the people gathered around the crash site. The Martians also annihilated a force of 7,000 National Guardsman, and then released a poisonous gas into the air. The radio broadcast included sound effects with the voice actors portraying terrified news announcers. Another radio news announcer then reported that widespread panic had broken out, including other sites where Martians were also landing in major cities.

That’s when the true nationwide panic set in. There were traffic jams in New Jersey as people were attempting to escape the invasion. People began contacting local police departments to beg for gas masks to save them from the toxic gas. It was reported that one lady ran into an Indianapolis church during the evening service and yelled, “New York has been destroyed! It’s the end of the world! Go home and prepare to die!”

During the CBS broadcast, news of the real-life panic was conveyed to Orson Welles. He went on air as himself to remind listeners that the broadcast was just fiction. But full-scale panic was already in effect.

Over the course of the following weeks, The Federal Communications Commission (FCC) investigated the program, but found no law was broken. There was widespread outrage that a network program could cause such havoc.

One of the show’s producers later described what happened,

Our actual broadcasting time, from the first mention of the meteorites to the fall of New York City, was less than forty minutes,” wrote Houseman. “During that time, men traveled long distances, large bodies of troops were mobilized, cabinet meetings were held, savage battles fought on land and in the air. And millions of people accepted it—emotionally if not logically.”

The power of persuasion of the media or just a gullible nation?

And now back to our pic o’ day costumes:

With a nod toward the Redskins/Cowboys game yesterday, I post an old costume picture where a creative kid was dressed as Tony Romo. I understand that Cowboy fans might not be humored.

IMG_1749

 

 

And finally, I know it’s not Swordfish Almondine… but Lobster Pup makes me laugh! All great costumes for our pic o’ day(s):

IMG_1748

A Conspiracy Conspiracy?

First, let’s start with some fax humor… because you don’t see fax humor very often!

IMG_1670

During football watching on Sunday afternoon, multiple times a FedEx television commercial ran from a supposed Conspiracy Bookstore. The employees in the commercial were explaining their theories on a recent hike in online book sales. It wasn’t funny the first time. Not funny the 20th time; which might explain why you don’t remember it.

One of the employees credits galactic entities for buying all the books to conceal their alien secrets. The other worker credits FedEx because of their affordable deliveries. The FedEx guy just shrugs at the conspiracy theory.

By the way, do you buy into the conspiracy of Apple slowing down old phones with their constant updates? For several years, the Internet has been warning (as I use the Internet like a person identifier) that Apple keeps sending updates, to cause your old phone to slow down enough to irritate you and make you buy the new phone.

All I know is that I am tired of having constantly being asked by my phone and iPad whether I want to download my update now or at midnight. No is my answer. I was perfectly happy with my phone and iPad until your constant pestering. But I digress!

The real conspiracy that recently grabbed my attention (Reuters News)  relates to a pharmaceutical company. The New Jersey Attorney General has accused Insys Therapeutics  of engaging in a fraudulent scheme to boost the sales of their fentanyl-based cancer pain drug. Recently, Massachusetts announced a $500,000 settlement with Insys to resolve similar allegations.

The New Jersey attorney is claiming that the drug company had created a fraud scheme to encourage the prescriptions of a fentanyl-based pain medication, usually reserved for cancer patients. The intent was to get doctors to prescribe it broadly to many of their patients; not just those suffering great pain.

The New Jersey filed lawsuit alleges that Insys paid kickbacks to doctors, including sham speaker fees to induce them to prescribe the drug, defraud insurance companies into paying for it.

The lawsuit states that Insys’ greed put hundreds of lives in jeopardy and led to the 2016 overdose death of a New Jersey woman, who was prescribed a fentanyl-based medication to treat fibromyalgia. “The conduct alleged in our lawsuit is nothing short of evil,” Porrino said in a statement.

The NJ lawsuit was filed on the heels of the Massachusetts Attorney General Healy announcing that Insys would pay $500,000 to resolve similar allegations of schemes and kickbacks. (Doesn’t sound like much of a punishment. Right?) The political rhetoric would lead us to believe that this drug company is just plain evil and needs real punishment.

Fentanyl is a powerful and highly addictive drug with deadly consequences, yet this opioid maker aggressively marketed its product and made illegal payments to providers to boost sales,” Healey said in a statement.

Now that’s what I call a conspiracy. Just not one that really surprises me.

And finally for pic o’ day, here’s one from the past that always makes me laugh. Some explanation for that conspiracy?

528814_343515815725511_288431710_n

Just Bring Mints

How about a happy group get-together to start Our Monday Blog?

IMG_1615

 

Have you ever received a bill at the end of your restaurant meal that has a smiley face drawn on it? Probably many times. It could be just a friendly server, but I have also been told that servers believe that they will get a larger tip because of it. Friendliness that pays!

That might be true, but there is real research to prove that there is really something that servers can do, to increase their tips by over 23%. Just one simple thing. Published in the Journal for Applied Psychology (study abstract here).

What to do? Bring mints with the bill. And how the server followed up with the mint even influenced the tip. Here’s a breakdown of the study:

  1. The first group included servers giving a single mint with the bill, with no mention of the mint. This increased tips by 3%.
  2. The second group of researchers had the servers bring two mints separate from the bill. The servers were also instructed to mention before bringing the mints, “Would anyone like some mints?”. This caused a 14% increase in the tip.
  3.  The final research study had servers bring out the bill with a pair of mints. Shortly thereafter, the waiter came back with another set of mints in case anyone wanted more. That last group saw an increase of 23% in the tip.

Why did the mints impact the tip? A love of mints? Not so much! Although, you can’t be angry at mints! Right?

The answer is that researchers concluded that being personal left a positive impression. Especially at the most important time. Right when they were paying their bill.

The advice from those researchers is to have personal follow-ups. Good advice for anyone wanting happy clients or customers. It’s probably also good advice for someone in the restaurant business. Invest in personality and mints! And always follow up!

And for our pic o’ day… Yep!

IMG_1611

  • Archives

  • Menu Title