Urban Rights or “Consultants Tell You What You Want to Hear”

About three weeks ago, Ohio State University (“OSU”) Head Football Coach Urban Meyer (“Coach Meyer”) released a statement in which he admitted to speaking “inaccurately” at Big Ten Media Days in July, but was otherwise a model citizen.

You can see my analysis of the positions Coach Meyer took in that statement, as well as his anticipated defenses strategies: HERE.

Last night, Coach Meyer and OSU executed on those defense strategies, taking the path I had suspected: that Coach Meyer was simply too confused by the questions and circumstances of Big Ten Media Days to answer truthfully, and that his actions there and in the past were imperfect, but reflect the (allegedly) muddy facts surrounding Coach Zach Smith (“Coach Smith”) and his wife Courtney.

But now comes the “independent” committee’s report, and given what it shows, it’s somewhat incredible that OSU elected on this path.  (Incredible only if your metric for credulity rests on something other than winning football games, of course.)

Let’s dive in.

Continue reading “Urban Rights or “Consultants Tell You What You Want to Hear””

Busting the Block – How Avengers: Infinity War Changed the Game…for Everyone

While Rules of the Game is largely intended to reflect on the rules, regulations, and incentives that help influence our lives, occasionally something hits close enough to home that I feel compelled to write about it on this blog.  This is one of those times.

SPOILERS ABOUND

Check out the video here! – YouTube

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On October 29, 2014, Disney’s Marvel Studios announced Phase 3 of the Marvel Cinematic Universe (“MCU”), the culmination of a decade-long effort to infuse 20+ major motion pictures with just enough connective tissue to plausibly bring them together in one universe-shaking, climatic, cross-over event.

Well, that event is here.  Avengers: Infinity War (“Infinity War“) has arrived.

40+ characters.

A dozen galaxy-spanning locations.

6 Infinity Stones.

1 damn triumph.

As the MCU has grown to dominate the box office, almost every other movie studio has at least feigned interest in starting their own “universe” of interlocking films and other materials.  But whether Warner BrothersUniversal, or others, none have come close to what Marvel has achieved, and after Infinity War, the bar has been set even higher.

How does Infinity War do what it does?  How does the MCU work so well when seemingly all others have faltered? And how does Infinity War successfully navigate the “impossible” task of serving as the climax of dozens of plots over almost 20 movies and half as many years?

How? Let’s dig in.

Continue reading “Busting the Block – How Avengers: Infinity War Changed the Game…for Everyone”

A Lawyer Reads…the Facebook Terms of Service and Data Policy (Part 3)

In the modern, digital world, each of us is asked to read and accept hundreds of pages of terms and conditions governing the way we use our products and services.  While no one could be expected to read every term (especially for entertainment or other “low risk” services), as a specialist in reading and drafting such documents, a lawyer can offer insight into just how they operate (and what rights the average user gives away when they sign on the dotted line). 

In “A Lawyer Reads…”, we’ll take a deeper dive into a few of those little-read contracts, terms, and conditions in an effort to provide just a bit of that insight. 

For more, check out www.hoeglaw.com or drop Rick a line at rhoeg@hoeglaw.com.

***

Today we finish our reading of the Facebook Data Policy with discussions on data deletion, what happens when the law comes calling, Europe, and more.

Interested in how we got here?  Check out Part 1 and Part 2!

Continue reading “A Lawyer Reads…the Facebook Terms of Service and Data Policy (Part 3)”

A Lawyer Reads…the Facebook Terms of Service and Data Policy (Part 2)

In the modern, digital world, each of us is asked to read and accept hundreds of pages of terms and conditions governing the way we use our products and services.  While no one could be expected to read every term (especially for entertainment or other “low risk” services), as a specialist in reading and drafting such documents, a lawyer can offer insight into just how they operate (and what rights the average user gives away when they sign on the dotted line). 

In “A Lawyer Reads…”, we’ll take a deeper dive into a few of those little-read contracts, terms, and conditions in an effort to provide just a bit of that insight. 

For more information, check out www.hoeglaw.com or drop Rick a line at rhoeg@hoeglaw.com.

***

Today we continue our reading of the Facebook Data Policy with some of the most important questions facing the company and its users:  “How does Facebook use your information?” and “How is your information shared?”.

Check out Part 1 HERE.

Continue reading “A Lawyer Reads…the Facebook Terms of Service and Data Policy (Part 2)”

TGIF: May 19, 2017 – On the Constitutional Oddity of a “Special Counsel”

Despite what you may have heard, lawyers are, in fact, human beings with interests and hobbies all their own. They are not, I repeat not, robots sent from the future solely for the purpose of billing hours, drafting documents, and negotiating terms.  Not all of them anyway.  

In TGIF, I touch on some of my own interests primarily through the lens of the “Rules of the Game”, focusing on the rules and incentives that affect many aspects of our daily lives. I may even crack a joke or two. Hard to say.

TGIF will be published regularly on (surprisingly enough) Friday mornings. For more information, check out www.hoeglaw.com or drop Rick a line at rhoeg@hoeglaw.com.

***

On Wednesday May 17th, 2017 acting Attorney General Rod Rosenstein (in place of recused Attorney General Jeff Sessions) appointed former Department of Justice official and FBI Director Robert S. Mueller III to serve as “Special Counsel” to oversee an investigation of “Russian government efforts to influence the 2016 presidential election and related matters”.

(Mr. Mueller’s title of “Special Counsel” is not to be confused, of course, with the executive branch’s permanent and not at all independent, “Office of Special Counsel“. Because naming conventions in Washington have never been anything if not entirely and completely clear.)

Given the nature of the investigation as a response to cries of a “constitutional crisis” in the wake of the President’s firing of former FBI Director James Comey, what you may not know is how tumultuous a Constitutional history the concept of a “special counsel” or “independent prosecutor” has had in its own right.

Can an executive branch official like an Attorney General appoint an individual that cannot be fired by his or her own boss?  If not (or if there is some doubt), can Congress empower the Attorney General to do so?  If so, what does that mean for the separation of powers?  And what if that Congressional authority should expire?

Many of these questions have been asked and answered multiple times (and in multiple ways) throughout our nation’s history, but never in a fashion which one could deem “definitive”.  Such is the nature of an inherently political but simultaneously “independent” position.

Let’s take a deeper look.

Continue reading “TGIF: May 19, 2017 – On the Constitutional Oddity of a “Special Counsel””

TGIF: May 5, 2017 – The “Delta” Between Service and (Wind) Schear

Despite what you may have heard, lawyers are, in fact, human beings with interests and hobbies all their own. They are not, I repeat not, robots sent from the future solely for the purpose of billing hours, drafting documents, and negotiating terms.  Not all of them anyway.  

In TGIF, I touch on some of my own interests primarily through the lens of the “Rules of the Game”, focusing on the rules and incentives that affect many aspects of our daily lives. I may even crack a joke or two. Hard to say.

TGIF will be published regularly on (surprisingly enough) Friday mornings. For more information, check out www.hoeglaw.com or drop Rick a line at rhoeg@hoeglaw.com.

***

In the spirit of my last TGIF post, “On Being United“, comes the stirring sequel.

Flight 2222

Editor’s Note: Like most cases tried in the media and not in a court of law, there is a fair amount of dispute regarding the facts on the ground here.  In looking at the issues, I will attempt to keep an even view of the factual possibilities, but keep in mind that stories regularly change as each side gets its say.  The bulk of the facts presented here come from the investigative story posted at heavy.com here.

On April 23, 2017, Brian Schear, his wife, and his 2-year-old son, Grayson, boarded Flight 2222 from Maui to Los Angeles.  The family sat in three separate seats for which they had purchased tickets.

Sometime after boarding, the family was approached by Delta personnel requesting to have young Grayson removed from his seat.  The Delta attendants informed Mr. Schear that they were empowered to make this request because the seat in question was reserved under the name Mason Schear, the family’s 18-year-old son.

Mr. Schear explained to the Delta crew that he had paid for Mason to return to Los Angeles on an earlier flight expressly for the purpose of using the family’s third seat on young Grayson.

He taped the resulting confrontation.

Continue reading “TGIF: May 5, 2017 – The “Delta” Between Service and (Wind) Schear”