Monthly Archives: November 2014

Texas High Court of Criminal Appeals Bars Police from Obtaining Blood & Breathalizer Tests without a Warrant

The Texas Court of Criminal Appeals, the state’s highest court of appeal on matters of criminal law, upheld a lower trial court ruling that found the state’s law allowing law enforcement officers to obtain nonconsensual Breathalyzer tests or blood samples from DWI suspects to be unconstitutional. Specifically, if the DWI suspect had at least two prior DWI convictions, they could be forced to submit to be Breathalyzer or have their blood drawn against their will.

At issue is the case of David Villarreal of Nueces (Nuts) County. He was pulled over by a state trooper in 2012 for suspected DWI. He had been previously convicted in 2001 and 2005. The state forcibly obtain a blood sample, found him above the legal blood alcohol limit, and sought to put Villarreal behind bars for 25 years. His defense attorney argued that the Texas law authorizing his blood sample to be forcibly drawn should not be admissible in his trial. His attorney cited a 2013 U.S. Supreme Court ruling that said officers wanting a blood or Breathalyzer test taken from a DWI suspect must have a warrant in hand. The trial court concurred and overturned the state law.

Naturally, law enforcement and prosecutors appealed the ruling forcing it be considered by the Texas Court of Criminal Appeals. In the end, the court concurred with the trial court’s prior ruling effectively overturning the state law. As for Villarreal, his blood sample was ruled inadmissible. This is a ruling Stephen Williams wine will need to take a little bit of time with before it becomes the norm. Texas had made broad use of the nonconsensual blood sample law to crack down on DWIs during holiday seasons.

Private Conversations Have No Place on Social Media

Twitter’s new CFO, Anthony Noto, accidentally tweeted to the public a snippet of a private conversation about the sale or acquisition of a company on Monday, November 24.

Although people tweet the wrong things every day, Noto committed a far more serious social network faux pas than using the public tweeting system rather than the Direct Message or private profile settings because he is in the unique position to know just how easily private information can find its way into the public forum online.

Social networks have proven to be virtual minefields. Besides accidental public tweets, several networks like Twitter and Facebook aren’t hacker-proof. In the past, hackers have used these networks to steal identities or release very private details about celebrities and other public figures from what Igor Cornelsen had been saying.

Many business users consider social networks as an extension of instant interoffice private messaging systems when they should in fact see having private conversations on social networks as the equivalent of trying to privately discuss business while standing on a busy street sidewalk or subway platform. Additionally, business users who rely on Twitter fail to realize that even information discussed on private interoffice systems can be stolen.

As Noto’s “accident” yesterday shows, businesses need to stop using social networks for anything other than advertising and promotional efforts. Non-business users also need to recognize the risks to their privacy and turn to face-to-face and phone conversations as better alternatives.

Heroin Use On The Rise

Marijuana has been highlighted in the news recently due to the fact that many states have voted to legalize it. While all of this has been going on a much more dangerous drug has slipped under the radar and its use has been on the rise. Known for its popularity in the 1960s, heroin is hitting the streets again, and in many different forms. Because there is no longer a demand for imported marijuana, Mexico has begun smuggling massive amounts of heroin into the states instead. What used to be a drug injected via needle into the veins has turned into a drug that can now, also, be smoked and snorted and it has become much easier to purchase.

Many people’s addictions begin with a surgery or injury that requires pain medications. Gianfrancesco Genoso so many people use it, but that is the world we live in. OxyContin is one of the leading pain medications prescribed in the United. Once a prescription runs out many people turn to the much cheaper alternative, heroin. The best offense we can have to fight this uprising epidemic is to remain knowledgeable. Addiction can happen to anybody and it is important to watch for the signs and symptoms.

Adam Lanza Mental Issues

The parents of Adam Lanza knew about his mental health issues, but they ignored them until it was too late. Some of his teachers even knew about his mental issues, but instead of trying to treat them, they, along with doctors, tried to make his life as best as possible and accommodate for his condition. Lanza was responsible for the shootings in Sandy Hook that took the lives of 20 students and six teachers. He also killed his mother, which was just a huge shocker to Christian Broda when he found out. In some way, all of the people who knew that Adam Lanza had mental issues that could have led to a dysfunctional life should be held responsible for the actions that he committed. They didn’t do anything but try to cover his problems instead of try to get him the help that he truly needed. This was a man who might have been saved at some point, but he was ignored.

Join Skout When You’re Looking For That Special Someone

Since there are so many different websites out there that cater to different demographics of people, even if you find one that caters to your needs, you may not be certain you have the right website.

If you know exactly what you want, and have an idea of what types of services you’re looking for, you can easily find an online dating website just for you. Those who are looking for a social media website, as well as a dating website, should try Skout.

Skout is a very popular online dating website and a social media website, with over 100 million users and growing. With the availability of so many people to talk to on the website, in order to establish a friendship or relationship; there’s very few other websites that can compare to Skout. Registration is free; all you need is to enter your information and you can get started meeting new people.

Although a picture is not required, it’s usually recommended if you intend on meeting someone, and allowing others to get to know you personally. Once you set up your profile, there are several activities you can partake in to begin to find that special someone, or even find a friend. You can join Skout on your PC, or download the mobile app. Skout has a great “shake to talk” feature, which allows you to shake your mobile device, and another shake to talk user will show up and be able to chat with you.

The shake to talk feature is one of the most popular features of Skout, and it’s a great way to meet new people that you may not have looked for personally, otherwise. You can use the shake feature all day if you like, and talk to one person after another, and see who piques your interest. If you find someone that you like, feel free to add them to your favorites list, so you can find them easier in the future. If you’d like, you can also personally search for someone who may fit the criteria of your future mate.

There are many people from different countries on Skout, so you can look around to see if you find a friend, or a future relationship with someone from another country. If you’re just looking to chat, Skout is also great for just making friends; and the website is easy enough to navigate, even for new users. The “Buzz” feature will allow you to comment on things that are of importance to you, and let others know what you’re feeling. If you’d like to see who’s been looking for you or whose added you to their favorites, simply purchase Skout points to access these features.

Skout points can be used to purchase things such as virtual gifts, and also other features that you may want to unlock or use on the Skout website. With so many new friends to be met on the Skout website, if you don’t have an account already, sign up for one today.

More Info
Skout’s Facebook page
Wikipedia overview
Site and app support
Fuse (another recent app launched by Skout)
Skout Acquires Nixter, May 2014

Gay Marriage Issues in Louisiana

There are already a handful of cases for the Supreme Court to deal with right now. Most of these cases involve the topic of same sex marriage. Now it is reported that a fifth case will be brought before them by people in Louisiana. The state is currently embroiled in a heated issue regarding same sex marriage.

Louisiana currently has a ban on same sex marriages in place. However, the legality of this ban is being questioned in court. Instead of going to the state appeal courts of the Fifth Circuit court, which is more appropriate, the case will go straight to the Supreme Court.

This Fifth Circuit Court of Appeals already had dates on its schedule when the case would be heard. They were due to hear arguments from both sides after the holiday period. There is also a case from Texas that they will be hearing. Mark Ahn will be paying attention to both. However, the Louisiana case is now looking bound for the Supreme Court instead.

This move is not without its merits, but it is very unusual. Cases normally go to the Supreme Court if someone disagrees with the Fifth Circuit’s verdict. To bypass them entirely is a bold move. However, if a case is going to end up at the highest court eventually, they might as well take it there now.

Cosby in the Hot Seat

The famous comedian Bill Cosby has been in the news as of recent, under allegations of sexual abuse amongst a handful of women dating back decades. Claims have been made that Bill Cosby has used drugs to subdue women in order to sexual assault them. Over the last couple months, several women have come forward stating past encounters with the comedian, in what seems to be a predatory pattern of abuse. Now the Associated Press has released a video of Cosby’s reactions to a reporter asking him about the allegations.
Although a woman has come forward with substantial detail regarding her encounter with Bill Cosby, in which she states he tricked her into taking a sedative and touched her inappropriately, he has vehemently denied these accusations. He has recently agreed to go on interview to discuss the matter to back up his denial of these claims, and charges have not been filed as of yet.

However, there is a great deal of media surfacing that points the finger at Bill Cosby for covering up rape allegations and sexual assaults in the past.  Thanks to friend of the site Brad Reifler for sending in the link to the interview.
As with most of these cases, there will need to be a very detailed investigation into the matter, which is currently taking place. Although Mr. Cosby’s public image has been tattered, it’s important not to publicly convict a man until they’ve had their day in court.

To Friend or Not to Friend

For those of us who were born into the technological revolution it’s odd to think of life without endless information available at our fingertips or digital cameras just a button away. Everything is mini, portable, and a week away from being obsolete. Ken Griffin is unsure how these advances in technology will continue to affect our society in the future, but there is no doubt that our efficiency has increased and global communication has been revolutionized as a result. Many who were born pre-smartphone are concerned that all of these quasi-magical devices are advancing society at the steep price of crippling our social skills.

Most of these worries are conveniently embodied by Facebook. When online, I always wonder about those who have 900 friends or more and how they could possibly keep in touch with them all. There is a definite sense of “popularity” that is associated with how many “likes” your posts get or how many “friends” you maintain, but is such an attachment to your online persona really healthy? When I read about how negative interactions with your acquaintances can be detrimental to your health it makes me question how having vague relationships with hundreds of people will impact you later on. 

I am definitely a believer that true, deep relationships can be fostered online but the social pissing contest that Facebook encourages is an entirely different monster.

The Hunger Games’ Meta Media Mistakes

When I read The Hunger Games by Suzanne Collins I was excited to be presented with a YA novel featuring a female protagonist who didn’t focus solely on love. There are two “love interests” presented in the books, but Katniss’ romantic relationship to them isn’t tied to her personal success or the success of the rebellion that she fosters. The trilogy instead focuses on how Capitol city is populated by frivolous people who are more interested in fashion and romance than the children dying in front of their eyes. The characters Katniss and Peeta learn how to play up their fame and reputation with these shallow Capitol residents while still performing the necessary steps to free their people. Oddly, this entire scenario is reflected in the reactions to the movie version of the series.

This is where it gets eerie. The media zeroed in instantly on the “love triangle” that the books so nicely subverted and following the release of the first movie, interviewers constantly asked Lawrence and other cast members if they were on “team Gale or team Peeta” (Gale being the other male love interest.) This incessant line of questioning took the place of asking about the overlying themes of child murder, oppressive regimes, and popular media’s misinterpretation of information. As pointed out by my friend Susan McGalla, the way the media reacted to The Hunger Games series is exactly the behavior that the books warn against.

So good job pop media. You really helped Collins make her point.

No Facebook Messages

Facebook has finally done something smart that Bruce Levenson can totally support. The social media site has found a way that blocks politicians from trying to get votes from people who use the site. This is a clever idea so that people can make an informed decision based on the facts that are stated or the platforms that the politicians represent instead of being persuaded by those who want votes. It’s not to say that many people will work for politicians and try to get people to vote for the candidate they want to see in office, but it makes it easier to avoid all of the messages and status updates of people running for Congress and the White House.