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Folklaw 17 February 2006

Folklaw 17 February 2006

Double standards — surely notOver in Florida, Attorney General Charlie Grist apparently played an integral role in having anti-spam laws passed last year. Now, he is running for governor…

Double standards surely not

Over in Florida, Attorney General Charlie Grist apparently played an integral role in having anti-spam laws passed last year. Now, he is running for governor and someone on his campaign team has sent out bulk emails to promote his candidacy and solicit donations.

Recipients have reported that they have tried to unsubscribe to the emails without success. Under the laws that Crist helped to pass, spam offenders are subject to fines of up to $500 for every email sent. However, a spokesperson has claimed that the emails are not spam because they are not deceptive. “It’s not spam. It’s political speech. We’re not selling anything, we’re not being deceptive. We love the First Amendment and there’s nothing more powerful than political speech,” Crist’s political director Arlene DiBenigno told the Miami Herald. Political speech via unsolicited email … in Folklaws opinion there is no more powerful an invasion of privacy, nor pain in the butt. Is it not enough that our politicians dominate our media and our mailboxes? My inbox is reserved for Nigerian conmen alone, thank you very much.

Divine intervention

An Australian lawyer who is now in Cambridge and hosts the blog site Courting Disaster couldn’t resist letting his readers know about the special attention he is getting over there. A subscriber to a DVD rent-by-mail service, he was delighted to see the message at the top of his latest package — “Your item was picked by Christ”.

The DVD inside? Monty Python: Quest for the Holy Grail. The blogger says his increased attendance at evensong choral services in Cambridge has obviously not gone unnoticed. The Lord does, after all, work in mysterious ways.

Reading riting and ridiculous litigation

Educationalists are describing France’s latest trend as a “problematic American reflex”. No, the girls aren’t carrying pom-poms and forming cheer squads, but the students are calling in their lawyers. Teachers who call in students for disciplinary hearings, even over minor hearings, are now seeing the student, their parents, and their advocate. UK paper The Daily Telegraph reported that no incident was too trivial to qualify for legal action — disputes over sweets, the lunch menu and bad reports had all been taken that extra step.

André Maurin, a researcher, told the reporter the strangest case he had seen was against a school that had cancelled its students’ afternoon siestas. It made it to the Court of Appeal but was thrown out by the judge. In another case, a principal who lectured a boy who had been caught smoking drugs in the toilet had to explain his actions to a lawyer. The newspaper reported that teachers had resorted to taking out insurance against legal action.

Case of the stolen lake

Brazen poachers in Poland have managed to steal the contents of a fishing lake, by first stealing a bulldozer and filling up said lake with dirt. As the lake gradually filled, the fish were left floundering on top, ripe for the plucking. Obviously they’ve not been familiarised with the concept of sustainable harvests.

Authorities were alerted to the crime after licensed fisherman called to tell owner Edward Kurylo that they could not find the lake anymore. A fine example of how the actions of a few can ruin all the fun for many — not to mention the poor fish!!

Curiouser and curiouser

Following a previous report in Folklaw about a train that was almost derailed in Romania after the theft of railway line from the track. Well, thieves in Germany have taken the crime a step further, by conning a group of railway workers into dismantling three miles of railway track for them.

Two men claimed to be from the rail company Deutsche Bahn and ordered the workers to remove the track, in Lohra, Hessen. The workers even loaded the loot onto a truck for the culprits. The ruse was discovered when the workers went to Deutsche Bahn to ask for their pay and found that the job had never been ordered. It is believed the steel track was stolen for scrap metal.

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