Some recent graduates of American University's Washington College of Law have put together this music video. It addresses some common legal-ethics problems, but you should watch it anyway because it's also a pretty good music video.
In this CNN clip posted today (if you can't see it, that's because it's in Flash), Violent J and Shaggy 2 Dope of Insane Clown Posse talk about their music, fans, families, and (briefly) the FBI's ridiculous classification of all Juggalos as members or potential members of a "hybrid gang":
I can't claim to know much about the Juggalo phenomenon, but to me it seems no more or less weird than being a Deadhead. It involves a lot more profanity, so that's good.
Highlighted quote: "You call somebody a racial slur, I will stick my foot all the way to my hip into your [deleted]. You know what I'm sayin'?"
INSANE CLOWN POSSE AND PSYCHOPATHIC RECORDS RETAIN LEGAL COUNSEL TO INVESTIGATE AND PURSUE LEGAL ACTION IN RESPONSE TO THE NATIONAL GANG INTELLIGENCE CENTER'S 2011 NATIONAL GANG THREAT ASSESSMENT
Musical Group to Spearhead Campaign to Defend the Rights of its Fan Base the Juggalos
CAVE-IN-ROCK, IL and LOS ANGELES, CA - AUGUST 10, 2012 - Speaking to their fans and media on the site of their 13th annual "Gathering of the Juggalos" music festival, the Insane Clown Posse expressed concern for the well-being of their fan base, which was labeled a "gang" by The Federal Bureau of Investigation's National Gang Intelligence Center's 2011 National Gang Threat Assessment. To that end, the duo of Violent J (Joseph Bruce) and Shaggy 2 Dope (Joseph Utsler) announced that they, along with Psychopathic Records, have retained legal counsel to investigate and pursue legal action including monetary compensation and/or other injunctive relief on behalf of their fan base, the Juggalos.
If it seems odd that there will (hopefully) soon be a case captioned Violent J and Shaggy 2 Dope, et al. v. Federal Bureau of Investigation, or maybe just In re Juggalos, it seems less odd to me than the FBI's classification of the "Juggalos" (a term used to refer to fans of Insane Clown Posse) as a "loosely-organized hybrid gang." Even more disturbing than the FBI's use of a hyphen after an adverb is its apparent belief that all Juggalos are criminals just because some criminals may also be Juggalos.
I first reported on this trend last year after police in Oklahoma initially blamed a hit-and-run on a "Juggalo" just because the alleged perpetrator was wearing clown makeup. See "Suspect's Juggalo Status Unclear, Say Juggalo Experts," Lowering the Bar (May 31, 2011). To his credit, the local police chief later came to the group's defense, saying "We know our Juggalos here. They've always been law-abiding." For some reason, the FBI can't make the same distinction.
According to the FBI's 2011 assessment, a "hybrid gang" is a "non-traditional gang" with "multiple affiliations, ethnicities, [a] migratory nature and nebulous structure" and a membership that is "transient and continuously evolving." Well, since that also describes the Junior League, the Democratic Party, and the cast of Saturday Night Live, I have some concerns with that definition to begin with. And according to the FBI, the Juggalos are a "loosely-organized hybrid gang," so that's really starting to sound like, I don't know, maybe NOT A GANG AT ALL. As the FBI concedes:
Most crimes committed by Juggalos are sporadic, disorganized, individualistic, and often involve simple assault, personal drug use and possession, petty theft, and vandalism. However, open source reporting suggests that a small number of Juggalos are forming more organized subsets and engaging in more gang-like criminal activity, such as felony assaults, thefts, robberies, and drug sales.
"Fig. 5. Juggalo member"
Again, even more disturbing than its failure to hyphenate "open-source reporting" is its apparent classification of an entire group (of music fans!) as a "gang" based on, well, open-source reporting "suggesting" that a "small number" of people who happen to be members of that group are acting "more gang-like." C'mon, FBI. I have no doubt that there are Juggalos who are criminals and criminals who are Juggalos (are we really having this conversation? I guess so), and maybe even actual gangs who call themselves "the Juggalos," but to label a whole group of music fans as potentially criminal for that reason is nothing but guilt by association.
Are you now or have you ever been a Juggalo?
As Insane Clown Posse told its fans at the "Gathering of the Juggalos" (presumably now infiltrated by federal agents?), it has decided to stand up for its fans and has retained counsel to consider legal action. The press release also included this:
Insane Clown Posse and Psychopathic Records' legal counsel, Howard Hertz of Hertz Schram PC, has released the following statement:
"We are seeking individual Juggalos whose rights have been violated as a result of the mistaken belief that they are a 'gang member.' If you or someone you know has suffered any negative consequence with an employer, governmental representative, including law enforcement, border patrol, airline security, or other local, state or federal governmental agency or employee as a result of your status as a Juggalo, we want to know about it."
Initial officer information was that the suspect was on foot heading toward the downtown, with a dog and a banjo.... Minutes earlier, the suspect had refused to show identification, and began yelling and swearing at the bartender after being asked to do so. He threatened the victim with bodily harm while swinging his banjo. The musical instrument struck the bartender’s leg, but he was not injured.
The suspect then pulled a hatchet out of his backpack, which escalated things considerably. The bartender ran back inside, locked the door, and called police. They quickly located the suspect, primarily by looking for a guy on foot with a dog and a banjo. "When asked if he wished to talk about what happened," says the report, "he said not without a lawyer as 'I've been through this before.'" Wise choice, O traveling minstrel.
I TOOK MY DAUGHTER TO A JUSTIN BIEBER CONCERT JULY 14 2010 AT THE ROSE QUARTER IN PORTLAND OREGON. DUE TO AN UNFORESEEN ASPECT OF THE SHOW, I WAS INJURED BY A SOUND BLAST THAT EXCEEDED SAFE DECIBEL LEVELS.… THE INCIDENT OF INJURY WAS WHEN JUSTIN BIEBER CLIMBED INTO A HEART SHAPED, ALUMINUM/STEEL GONDOLA AND WAS PULLED OUT OVER THE CROWD. MR. BIEBER CREATED A WAVE LIKE EFFECT OF SCREAMING BY POINTING INTO VARIOUS SECTIONS OF THE ARENA. THEN ENTICED THE CROWD INTO A FRENZY OF SCREAMS BY CONTINUOUSLY WAVING HIS ARMS IN A QUICK AND UPWARD MOTION, WHEREAS I WAS STRUCK WITH A SOUND BLAST. THE GONDOLA THAT JUSTIN BIEBER WAS SUSPENDED IN ACTED AS A SOUND CONDUCTOR CREATING A SOUND BLAST THAT PERMANENTLY DAMAGED BOTH OF MY EARS.
Plaintiff, who surprisingly is representing herself, is demanding a mere $9,230,000 from Bieber, his record label, and the event producers for this incident of injury, plus an undisclosed amount for costs, travel expenses and attorney fees. Will the heart-shaped gondola manufacturer be accused of making a defective heart-shaped gondola? Stay tuned.
Arguably, plaintiff should also sue the audience members who actually created the sound that harmed her, but I don't think that'll happen. They were clearly innocent pawns, defenseless against Mr. Bieber's uncanny ability to generate a typhoon of scream waves by continuously waving his arms in a quick and upward motion.
If only he had chosen to use this mighty power for good instead of evil.
I hope this guy trashed his share of hotel rooms back in the day, because as rock-star antics go, this is kind of weak.
Police in Bangor, Maine, reported today that Mick Brown, currently the drummer in Ted Nugent's band, was arrested last night for stealing a golf cart and driving it around while under the influence of alcohol. Brown and Nugent were in Bangor as part of the "Midwest Rock'N'Roll Express" tour, which also features Styx and REO Speedwagon. (For those of you asking "Where are the Doobie Brothers?" the answer is Lake Tahoe.)
Since these particular rockers are all now in their 50s and 60s (Nugent is 63), maybe golf-cart stealing is as rebellious as they get nowadays?
From the police report:
On July 8, 2012 at about 945PM, Officer Steve Jordan and Jim Dearing were working the concert venue when they were [informed] that there was a problem behind the stage. It was reported that Mick Brown, Ted Nugent’s drummer, had stolen a gol[f] cart … and that Brown was intoxicated and driving it recklessly around the Front Street area. Several people had attempted to stop him but he sped away and was last seen operating the golf cart on the foot path by the Sea Dog restaurant. Officer Jordan reported that about a minute later he observed the golf cart with two women also on board near the Railroad Street grade crossing. As they attempted to stop Brown, he accelerated past them, past a third officer and when a security officer got close enough to stop him, Brown allegedly shoved the officer. At that point two other security officers physically removed Brown from the cart and placed him on the ground. He was arrested. No damage was reported to the cart although two traffic cones were damaged, one still under the cart, significantly so.
Wait - I take back what I said before. Anybody who can manage to pick up two women while fleeing from police in a stolen vehicle deserves at least some respect. That's still pretty rock'n'roll. Not cool about the traffic cones, though, which were just doing their job.
The legal lesson here, for those of you who demand one (and I know some of you are studying for the bar exam), is that you can indeed get a DUI for driving a golf cart. In fact, pretty much any "vehicle" will do under most state's DUI statutes. See, e.g., "Drunken Zamboni Driver Mocked by Children," Lowering the Bar (Mar. 5, 2012); "DUI Charge for Driver of Motorized Bar Stool," Lowering the Bar (Mar. 31, 2009). Please make a note of it.
Specifically, have you seen the musical version performed by the all-female cast of the Takarazuka Revue?
Well, you should have.
Takarazuka is Japan's answer to the Ziegfeld Follies, the Folies-Bergere, Las Vegas floor shows, and the [Radio City] Music Hall's own spectaculars all rolled into one glittering unwieldy package [said the NYT's theater critic]. There is something intrinsically awesome in the sight of rows of showgirls, decked out like floats, descending a grand staircase in formation.
Not sure how they work that sort of thing into a musical based on a video game about Japanese lawyers, but I have no doubt it's intrinsically awesome.
This was performed back in 2009, but maybe there'll be a revival. You can still get the DVD (shown above), or there is what looks like sort of a highlights clip here on YouTube. I have no idea at all what's going on in these clips, but they're entertainingly odd.
It's not news that Ted Nugent shoots things, or even that some of the things are bears, but it does seem worth mentioning that it is illegal to shoot too many bears, an offense he pleaded guilty to yesterday:
1) On or about May 26, 2009, Theodore A. Nugent did knowingly possess or transport a black bear (Ursus americanus); and
2) The defendant knew or should have known, in the exercise of due care, that the black bear was taken, possessed or transported in violation of a law or regulation of the United States.
This is also another reminder that it is generally not a good idea to have someone film you doing something illegal.
NUGENT filmed his black bear hunt for his commercial sport hunting show called "Ted Nugent Spirit of the Wild" .... After shooting and wounding one black bear, NUGENT continued to hunt other black bear[s] in violation of Alaska law.
Seems you only get one per year, and wounding counts.
Nugent (who I first encountered during his "Wango Tango" tour, during which he killed no bears but did swing onto the stage using a vine) claimed ignorance. It's not clear whether he claims he didn't know that wounding counts, or that he didn't know he had wounded the first bear. The second argument, at least, might be a defense because the statute requires a knowing violation of the law. In the end, it didn't matter, because Nugent pleaded guilty in exchange for a favorable recommendation, and a judge in Ketchikan, Alaska, has approved the deal.
As a result, Nugent will pay a $10,000 fine, $600 to Alaska for the bear, and will serve two years of probation during which he has agreed to leave the state's bears alone. That should give him more time to make entertainingly odd political statements during the 2012 election cycle, so it's pretty much a win all around.
With the news that half of Americans now favor legalizing marijuana - a number that as many have pointed out is significantly higher than the approval rating of any of our current leaders - isn't it finally time to end the War on Drugs and turn to more pressing matters, like wiping out the scourge of karaoke?
Earlier this month, a 42-year-old New York man was convicted of second-degree assault in the latest case of karaoke-fueled violence. Witnesses said that the man complained about the victim's singing and then attacked him, punching him several times and sending him (or at least his head, although that image is much less comical) through a plate-glass window. The puncher faces up to seven years in prison because of a law that raises the offense level if the victim is 65 or older. (This one was 79.)
I haven't been able to determine what song the victim was attempting to sing. Evidently no one else considers this important, although as we have seen before, certain songs appear to greatly increase the risk of violence (and perhaps should be labeled appropriately?). In the Philippines, for example, the "'My Way' Killings" have claimed at least six lives over the past decade, and "Take Me Home, Country Roads" was reportedly responsible for a multiple homicide in Thailand.
The New York attack is the worst karaoke-related violence (to my knowledge) in this country since 2007, when a 21-year-old Seattle woman assaulted a man who was reportedly butchering "Yellow" by Coldplay. Frankly, Coldplay should probably come with a warning label to start with but in this case it did seem to be an alleged lack of karaoke skill that triggered the onslaught. In that case, the victim was not as seriously injured but the woman assaulted several other people as well and then head-butted the first officer on the scene. The Smoking Gun has two other reports: a six-on-one all-female assault and a Wisconsin heavy-metal case.
Surely there are many other such tales, but just those I've mentioned here show that the casualty rate from karaoke is far higher, maybe infinitely higher, than the harm caused by marijuana. I don't have statistics to prove this, but I did just run a search for "marijuana-fueled rage" and basically found two claimed examples: one involved a suspect who had bipolar disorder, and the other one was part of the prosecution theory in the Amanda Knox case. To me that qualifies as "no evidence."
Clearly, it's time to make pot legal, and declare War on Karaoke.
Just because somebody's wearing clown makeup doesn't make him a clown, and as Rod Blagojevich proves, not all clowns wear makeup. This is also true of Juggalos. So police may have jumped to conclusions earlier this month when they speculated that a hit-and-run suspect (right) may have been a Juggalo because his face was arguably painted in Juggalo fashion.
"Juggalo," for those not expert in this field, is a term used to refer to a male fan of Insane Clown Posse, a rap act known for its elaborate live performances, "wicked clown" personas, and love of professional wrestling. (Female fans are "Juggalettes.") The clown bit apparently leads to face-painting.
Whether it leads to running people over is another story. Witnesses to the May 10 incident said a black car swerved towards the victim, then hit and dragged him about 100 feet before speeding away. Two men were in the car and the driver was wearing black-and-white face paint. When police later stopped a black car with two men in it, and noticed the driver was wearing black-and-white face paint, they thought they might be on to something. (Luckily and surprisingly, the victim somehow suffered only "abrasions.")
At the time, police speculated that Davis might be a Juggalo because of the makeup, the presence of other Juggalos in the area, and a report that the "occupants of the vehicle were yelling 'woop woop'" during the incident. (This is apparently a Juggalo greeting.) But by May 19th, police were telling a different story. "We don't have any evidence to support him being in the Juggalos," said Bartlesville's police chief, Tom Holland. Nor, he said, would they necessarily expect this kind of behavior from their local Juggalos.
"There is a group of Juggalos that gets together here locally," Holland said. "[T]hey have their own slang [and] their own signs." Other Juggalos may have misbehaved, but not the Bartlesville branch, according to Holland. "We know our Juggalos here," he said. "They've always been law-abiding and, for the most part, keep to themselves. We've never had problems with them in the past."
The majority of commenters on the Bartlesville Examiner-Enterprise's site didn't seem pleased with this. "Excellent Chief [sic]," wrote "Citizen91." "Juggalos never go 'woop, woop' [said sarcastically]. Shoutldn't [sic] you retire?" "Guess What" offered a similar analysis. "juggalos use the term woop woop and wear the same make up. so he was just acting like a juggalo? Nice work detective."
Inevitably, somebody brought up Steely Dan.
"Why would he be wearing the stupid Juggalo makeup if he wasn't a Juggalo," wrote "Lets do better." "So if a group of people who like Steely Dan are hanging out and one of them hits someone with a car," he reasoned, "is that guy not a fan of Steely Dan?"
It doesn't seem likely that Bartlesville has a problem with roving gangs of Steely Dan fans. So far as I can tell, that band has never visited Oklahoma, at least not since websites were invented. On the other hand, if there are such people in Bartlesville they must be both fanatical and extremely frustrated. If the victim ever expressed disdain for "Deacon Blues," for example, that might explain a lot.
Davis has since been released on bail and has a preliminary hearing on July 19. Coincidentally - or not - Steely Dan begins a tour this summer in which it will play not one but two dates in Oklahoma, both during the week before Davis's hearing.