Super Lawyers
William C. Altreuter

Wednesday, October 31, 2012

2012 Presidential Election: Electoral Map

2012 Presidential Election: Electoral Map: I'm being a little (!) optimistic here, but I have been saying all along that Florida will be Blue. Wisconsin has confounded predictions because of the gubernatorial situation, but I think that was more a question of who was running. There is no reason to believe that the situation in Ohio is changing or will change. It's Blue this time. I think the hurricane helps Obama in Virgina, which was probably Blue anyway. I wish the same were true of the Tarheel State, but I don't see it.

Tuesday, October 30, 2012

You know, every election season has its pluses and minuses, and one of the pluses of this one has been the fact that Ayn Rand mocking has been elevated to a new high.

Saturday, October 27, 2012

I have frequently argued that there is less litigation fraud than is widely thought because the plaintiff's bar acts as a screening device, but I never argued that it was foolproof. Paul Ceglia, the cat from Wellsville who said he owned Facebook has just been picked up on fraud charges, and before you say, "Well, of course," consider the lawyers he fooled. On the other hand, they say you can't cheat an honest man....

Friday, October 26, 2012

Friday Five is a regular feature on Popdose: list the first five songs that come up with your iPod set to Shuffle.

Harvester of Eyes, Blue Oyster Cult. I've been listening to this for years, enjoying its proto-Metal riff and sinister vibe, but today I noticed that Eric Bloom sings, "I need all the peepers I can find". Frankly, if your song about being the personification of Death puts me in mind of Bing Crosby  I'm going to giggle. Of course, the great thing about BOC is that they pretty much always let us in on the joke. I just didn't get this one until this morning.
Hey Ya!, Supersuckers. I'd love to see these guys again.
Key to the Highway, The Rolling Stones. It's when he takes on the blues that you realize what a great singer Mick really is.
Money (That's What I Want) Barrett Strong. Impossible to do this song bad, and Strong's version sounds fresh.
I'll Build a Stairway to Paradise Maxine Weldon. A pleasingly bluesy take on this.

Thursday, October 25, 2012

A few fans notes from home. Brooklyn has been cool as long as I've known about Brooklyn, insouciant, unknowable. Manhattan has its hip nooks and crannies but it is a world capital, and that means that its corners of cool mostly exist outside of the spotlight, as they should, in the clubs and lofts, downtown and around the edges. Brooklyn-- that's always been cool to the core. Of course, people know that now-- the edginess that was part of Brooklyn's cool, the vague sense off disorientation and menace that were part of what made it scary and weird and cool-- is not really what Manhattan is about. Sure, the Village Vanguard, but Sonny Rollins working out his sound on the Williamsburg Bridge. Yeah, yeah, Bob Dylan and Greenwich Village; but Bob visited Woody in Coney Island. Yankees? Sure, but Dodgers. And that leads me to my point: growing up on Long Island all of the adults we knew had their roots in The City somewhere, and we felt a bit disconnected from the place where we lived. New York had the things we wanted-- big league sports, Madison Square Garden, the concerts in Central Park....

So, when the Islanders arrived, it was a big moment. Long Island is one of those places that's a sports microclimate. There used to be three places in the world where Lacrosse was a big deal, for example: Baltimore, Syracuse, and Long Island. (Seriously, LX was as big as football or basketball in my high school.) For some reason hockey was also really popular historically, so when the Islanders arrived in 1972 it was a really, really big deal-- a much bigger deal than NHL expansion was in a lot of other places. What made the Islanders especially great was that they got real good real fast. For people my age Long Island had-- for the first time in our lives-- its own team, in a state of the art arena-- that gave some weight and feeling to our identities, just the way that the Yankees or the Knicks or the Rangers felt, we imagined, to people who lived in The City. It helped that the Long Island Coliseum was new, and a first class venue. That meant that the concerts that we'd grown used to being shut out of at the Garden were now also coming to our venue, so we could see, god help us, Emerson, Lake and Palmer or Yes without going into The City. It also helped that the Rangers were deep into a stretch of world-historical awfulness.

And now the Islanders are gone-- or at least going. They are moving to Brooklyn, just like we did, in order to pick up that hip cachet that we all wanted. As a hockey team the Isles stopped mattering a long time ago; as a symbol and a point of pride for the region it's been even longer. The Coliseum is a worn-out relic--possibly the crumbiest arena in the NHL. For myself, well, I realized a while back that I've lived in Buffalo longer than I have lived in any other place, and over that time I adopted the fans' prerogative and switched sports allegiances to the home team. The Mets are my birthright, and that hasn't changed, but the Bills are my football team, and the Sabres are my hockey team. I shouldn't care about the Islanders at all, but somehow I do. In a few years they will change their name. They will be the Brooklyn 'Hoods or something, and their fans will wear little fedoras and ironic Chuck Taylor hightops. It doesn't matter, really, but it makes me a little sad.

POSTSCRIPT: For some reason the thing that got me thinking about the Islanders was not the news itself, but this image, which I found on the invaluable If Charlie Parker Was a Gunslinger.
Another one-time Brooklynite once wrote a book"You Can't Go Home Again" (and, of course, a story called "Only the Dead Know Brooklyn"). I resist nostalgia, but that doesn't mean that I'm not interested in the history of my adopted hometown. Funny the way the mind works sometimes-- Buffalo being nuked made me think about the Islanders moving to Brooklyn, the hometown of sports abandonment. I guess there is nothing so subtle about that, is there?

Wednesday, October 24, 2012

Frankly, I think this analogy fails: "If ice shows presenting pairs ice dancing performances, with intricately choreographed dance moves precisely arranged to musical compositions, were not viewed by the Legislature as "dance" entitled a tax exemption, surely it was not irrational for the Tax Tribunal to conclude that a club presenting performances by women gyrating on a pole to music, however artistic or athletic their practiced moves are, was also not a qualifying performance entitled to exempt status."

Ice shows! Sorry, but if your performance includes people wearing Mickey Mouse costumes it is neither artistic nor a sport. I'm with Judge Smith on this one: "Thus, the only question in the case is whether the admission charges that the State seeks to tax were paid for dance performances. There is not the slightest doubt that they were. That is proved by the video introduced into evidence before the Tribunal, and the testimony of two witnesses, an executive of petitioner and a dancer, with personal knowledge. The people who paid these admission charges paid to see women dancing. It does not matter if the dance was artistic or crude, boring or erotic. Under New York's Tax Law, a dance is a dance."

Tuesday, October 23, 2012

"Foreign Policy" is not the same as "Israel", or even "The Middle East".

Friday, October 19, 2012

Interesting reading for later:

Prison slang: " Four piece or four-piece suit: A full set of restraints, composed of handcuffs, leg irons and waist chain, and security boxes to cover the restraints’ key holes.
Boy Scout Ineligible Volunteer Files (1965-1985): Nobody I know, but detailed and horrifying. Kudos to O'Donnell Clark and Crew LLP and Paul Mones who wrestled this discovery out of of the BSA.

Thursday, October 18, 2012

We've represented victims of campus sexual assault in the past. This is pretty much how it goes.

Wednesday, October 17, 2012

The good news is that there should be a lot of nice, inexpensive Livestrong gear hitting the outlet stores. Armstrong's foundation has done a lot for people treating for, living with, and recovering from cancer, and Nike's technical clothing is pretty much my favorite. I see this as a win, for me. And Nike? You stay classy.

The Newsstand

Tuesday, October 16, 2012

Subject for further research: to what extent has the evolution of recording technology had an effect on the composition of popular music? Piano rolls were a technology that allowed for more complex compositions (although I imagine there are people today who can match that complexity). The LP allowed for longer improvisations in jazz; the longer format CD meant that more songs could be included on a release. The mp3 seems to have brought us back to the era of the 45, except that there are no longer time limitations on a single song. Why aren't more jazz musicans taking advantage of this?

Friday, October 12, 2012

The 50 best films of the '90s.

Thursday, October 11, 2012

Back in the summer of 1977 I was flipping through sides at J&R Music World when I came across this. Well, I'm not made of iron you know. I'm sure there was something
else that I'd meant to buy that day, but I snapped up Guts as soon as I saw it, and I slapped that puppy down on the turntable as soon as I got home. I was not disappointed. Guts, a compilation of John Cale's work with Island Records, featured some amazing players doing some of the toughest sounding rock and roll I'd ever heard. It was and is the sort of record you'd have hoped the members of the Velvet Underground would have made after imploding, and with the arguable exception of Uncle Lou's Street Hassle probably as close as any of them will ever come to that ideal. There wasn't a lot of Cale on the racks at the time, which is why Guts was out there in the first place, but I knew I had to hear more of this stuff. Paris 1919 which I bought next, is a charming record, but it wasn't what I was looking for. I wanted slash and yowl. Then one day, in the cut-out bin, I spotted a copy of Vintage Violence. Well, with a name like that-- hell, with a cover like that-- what could go wrong? Hey, it even had Garland Jeffries playing on it! I brought it home and discovered to my dismay that it was one of the worst buck ninety-nine records I'd ever heard. It was
sort of like Paris 1919, only with no good songs and lots and lots of orchestra. It was nothing like the wonderful Guts. I mention it for two reasons. First, and most importantly, if you ever see a copy of Vintage Violence, just leave it be. Second, I was reading this interview with Cale, and he mentioned it. "Perhaps I was wrong", thought I, so I pulled it up on Spotify. I was not wrong. Vintage Violence is so bad it is the worst album I have ever streamed on the internet. Too bad. It really is a great looking cover.

Mo Yan. The first Chinese winner of the Literature Prize. An 8-1 play.

Wednesday, October 10, 2012

I have an iPhone 3GS. When CLA got a 4GS over the summer I was covetous, but I didn't feel a rational need to upgrade, so I didn't. A is getting an iPhone 5, but my habit has always been to buy a generation behind, so that's not grabbing me-- yet. Maybe my mind will change. I was buying a car charger and nearly upgraded to a 4GS-- $99 bucks, hard to resist-- but it turns out that the $99 iPhone had only 16gb of memory. At the time I bought my humble 3GS I reckoned that the smart play would be to max out on memory, so I went big and got 32gb-- as much as they could give me. I'm presently pushing nearly 18gb's worth of music files, which means that my choices would be a 64gb 4GS-- a $200 buck phone, or an iPhone 5 with 32gb ($299) or 64gb (the smart play-- and $400 bucks). Since I don't need a new phone, the way I look at it my decision to pay the extra money for more memory when I got my 3GS just saved me $400.

Monday, October 08, 2012

Fresh contacts. A new razor blade. This was shaping up to be a swell morning-- but wait! Tim Horton's is closed for the holiday! To Dunkin' Donuts across the street, an inferior experience, but any port in a storm. I paid for my coffee and cruller with singles. "Singles!" the cashier said, "Hurray!" So my Columbus Day good karma is intact.

Saturday, October 06, 2012

One of the best Buffalo rock and roll stories I know is one about Gregg Allman. There are a lot of Allman Brothers stories about Buffalo: Dwayne was at BryLynn cleaning up in 1971; and one of their roadies stabbed someone in a bar, but the best one is the time there was a surprise
assembly at Canisius High School. The curtains opened and it was the Gregg Allman Band. This account is a little different from the way I've heard it: I've always heard that Gregg was in BryLynn too, (it is across the street from Canisius) and volunteered to do the show without being asked. I like to think of him, sitting in his room, looking out the window, watching the Canisius boys walking down Delaware Avenue in their tweed sports jackets and knit ties. Doesn't really make a difference, I suppose. I've been in that auditorium, and it must have been mind-blowing to have been there. I was reminded of it by this story, about Bob Dylan playing the author's Bar Mitzvah. (I'm also reminded of the scene in Clint Eastwood's Bird, when Parker and Red Rodney play a Bar Mitzvah.)

Friday, October 05, 2012

What the hell, a post about law for a change of pace. New York Labor Law § 240 is a statute that makes property owners and general contractors strictly liable to construction workers in certain types of accidents. The owner or general contractor can, in turn, seek indemnification from the worker's employer under two circumstances. If there is a contract that provides that the employer must indemnify the owner (or G. C.) then that will be enforced. In the alternative, if the injured worker has sustained a "grave injury" as defined by the Worker's Compensation Law, then the owner (or G.C.), then the owner (or G.C.) can seek "common law indemnification".

Comes now New York Hosp. Med. Ctr. of Queens v Microtech Contr. Corp., in which the property owner seeks contribution from the injured employees' employer on the grounds that the employer "failed to verify the immigration status of the subject employees and that this failure constituted a violation of the Immigration Reform and Control Act of 1986 (8 USC § 1324a). The argument was, more or less, that the IRCA prempts the New York's Worker's Compensation law. Nice try, but no dice. It is pretty well established that undocumented aliens can recover lost wages or collect Workers' Compensation benefits for personal injuries sustained on the job. If the IRCA does not preempt Comp under those circumstances, the Second Department reckons it doesn't in this case either. Interestingly, it is not clear from the opinion that the injured employees were actually out-of-status. The case was decided on a motion to dismiss rather than on a motion for summary judgment. Would the outcome have been different if a record had been built establishing that the employer's hiring practices were negligent and created a risk of harm to the property owner that was different from what otherwise might have been contemplated? I can picture what that record would look like-- it would have a contract that specifically provided that the employer would conform with all state and federal statutes and regulations including, specifically the IRCA; and that all employees would be known to the employer to be competent and capable. Then the record would show that there was no vetting process by the employer in hiring-- that every morning the foreman went to Home Depot and hired whoever was there. Then there'd be some showing that there was no effort on the part of the employer to train the employees on safety matters. (This set of facts, by the way, is the set we pretty much saw in roughly seven out of ten § 240 cases back before the grave injury standard was passed-- basically in every case that didn't involve union employees.) On those facts I think you might persuade a court that the owner was entitled to the protections of the IRCA, but you'll have a tougher row to hoe doing it now.

Thursday, October 04, 2012

Are you happy now, Jeff Meirs? This year's Rock and Roll HOF nominees: Public Enemy, N.W.A., Rush, Heart, Joan Jett and the Blackhearts, Kraftwerk, Randy Newman, Donna Summer, the Paul Butterfield Blues Band, Chic, Deep Purple, Albert King, the Marvelettes, the Meters, and Procul Harum.

I'd go with Donna Summer. Albert King is a bluesman, not a rock and roller, but was a great bluesman, so I'd vote for him. I'll go along with Randy Newman as well, and, I suppose, Krautrock pioneers Kraftwork. I love Joan Jett, but is she really a Hall of Famer? There is no real metric for what that means, of course, so who knows?

Deep Purple. Well, who doesn't love "Highway Star"? Or "Smoke on the Water"? I'm sure there's a third Deep Purple song I'm forgetting. The Paul Butterfield Blues Band was a capable white blues outfit-- to the extent that rock and roll can be defined as white blues, I suppose they belong in the discussion. Here's the thing-- rock and roll really shouldn't be defined as merely white blues. Chic? Was that a band, or just Bernard Edwards and Nile Rodgers with some cats they put in the studio? I'd vote for Edwards and Rodgers.

"Whiter Shade of Pale" was on the radio as I drove into work this morning, and I like "A Salty Dog" well enough, but not enough to have ever owned a copy. I love the Meters, but I can't see how I'd justify that vote. The Marvelettes? Yeah, anybody from Motown is good with me. If you are great enough to influence the Beatles you get my vote.

Heart deserve some credit for keeping on, but it turns out they aren't Canadian, and that diminishes my affection for them. Third-stringers, I think.

And finally, Rush. Well, they are Canadian, so they have that going for them. I'll leave it at this:

UPDATE: In addition to They Might Be Giants, eligible worthy acts not on this year's list include: Sonic Youth, the Smiths, the Cure, Björk, Joy Division, Kiss, Brian Eno, the Replacements and Dick Dale,

Wednesday, October 03, 2012

How come superheros who have military ranks as part of their name are usually Captains? Captain America, Captain Marvel, Captain Mar-Vel, the other Captain Marvel, Captain Planet, Captain Britian, Captain Action.... Are they Naval captains, or Army/Air Force captains?

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