Simon Law April 2019


april 2019

Michael Avenatti Is Another Fool in a Long Line of Fools

O ne of the sad results of a reality TV presidency, where sound bites are more important than substance, is the very real danger that the spotlight is so addictive that morals and judgment go out the window. Let me start by saying the mere idea that this loud-mouth attorney would file a suit arguing that a porn star had her reputation tarnished was idiotic. That any of the networks thought that a lawyer with that poor caliber of judgment would make a presidential candidate is a testament to where we are. Slander and libel laws exist to protect reputations. When your client is a porn star who has signed hush money contracts, her reputation is mud. When you file a lawsuit claiming otherwise, you have lain with dogs and you will get fleas. Moving on from that foolishness, Avenatti has now been charged with extortion for threatening to go public with information that Nike allegedly was involved in paying players to play for certain colleges. Realize that such allegations would tarnish the company’s reputation, hurt the stock price, and possibly lead to criminal charges. Therein lies the problem. A lawyer in Georgia cannot explicitly threaten to go public with that information, especially when it could lead to the prosecution of a crime. Demanding a payoff in exchange for burying the information is textbook extortion. If a client has a case and the

public filing of it might harm the company or defendant, it may be implicit that the filing will have collateral harm, and that might encourage settlement of the underlying case, and that is fine. What this clown did is way beyond the pale. What is not legal or ethical is this situation where the lawyer allegedly did not even do this for the good of a client. He wanted Nike to pay him hush money, couched as a consulting fee, to not use his public platform and notoriety to elevate the story

of their alleged misdeeds in the public eye. Regardless of whether Nike did wrong or not, what he is accused of is illegal, and he should be ashamed. Being a lawyer means you have to play by the rules and be cleaner than the next guy. I am saddened that this fool’s name was ever raised in conjunction with the presidency. We have fallen a long way indeed.

–Christopher Simon | 1

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Whether you were the star player or the kid who picked flowers in the middle of the field all game, almost everyone has memories of being on a sports team when they were young. Some lose interest over time and pursue other activities, while others find they really enjoy their sport, maybe have a real talent for it, and continue playing until they are young adults. Whatever the case, parents should take a couple of factors into consideration when determining if their child is ready for sports. If they begin playing too early, it might turn them off to the sport before they really understand it. It could also result in premature wear on muscles and bones that prevents them from playing their sport later on. Most experts believe that the proper age for introducing your child to sports is somewhere between 6 and 9 years old. When they are younger than 6, it is important for them to be active, but their motor skills are not yet developed enough to play most competitive sports. Trying to get them to understand the Echo Dot, Echo Plus, Echo Show, and Echo Spot. Echo has even been integrated into refrigerators, microwaves, and other appliances. It seems like the lineup gets larger every year. But are we putting too much trust in these digital assistants? We all know these devices are listening. Echo recognizes its name, whether you call it Alexa, Amazon, Echo, or Computer, as a “wake word.” Once it’s “awake,” it will answer any question you ask it. But what does it hear beyond what you ask it directly? This is a question that has security and privacy experts concerned. Major companies like Amazon, Google, and Facebook thrive on the data they collect. Facebook is worth as much as it is because of its monetized user data, and a huge portion of Facebook’s business model involves selling its users’ data to other

this fact at that age might only make them frustrated with the sport and make them dislike it before they can even give it a try. Even when children are between the ages of 6 and 9, they might not be ready for sports that require higher forms of coordination, like football or hockey. Instead, try sports like T-ball, soccer, or karate. They won’t be ready for more intensive sports until they are 10–12 years old. If your child does not seem to enjoy team sports, you might see if they may like more individual sports, like running or swimming. Their personality can be just as significant as their age when it comes to choosing the right sport. Some children might not show interest in organized sports at all. If your child does not seem interested in any sports, even though they are old enough to understand the rules and are coordinated enough to play, you might want to consider other activities, like art or music classes. Still, it is essential that they are active for at least an hour every day, no matter their interests. With the Echo, once you speak the “wake word” (usually “Alexa”), everything you say is shared with Amazon. The company uses this data for several things. For one, it compiles user data to make Alexa’s responses better. But it also uses your data to target products to you that you’ll be more likely to buy, preferably through Amazon. The effect is similar to using your browser to shop on Amazon or using an Amazon-branded credit card. Everything you do on their website and everything you buy with an Amazon card is tracked: the company builds a profile for you and your likes. The same can be said for Google and Facebook. The bottom line is that if you are concerned about your privacy and want complete control, you will want to keep digital assistants like Echo out of your home. Every time you fire up Amazon, Facebook, or Google — or use

Sometimes kids will get frustrated with the sports they play (even if they like playing them), and they might want to quit. If your child doesn’t seem to like the sport you signed them up for, encourage them to at least finish out the season. They might just need a little more time to warm up to it. However, if they still aren’t enjoying it at the end of the season, help them find other activities that they might like better. Ultimately, when a child is ready to play sports, it is important to stay in tune with what brings them joy and what keeps them mentally and physically healthy.

The Privacy Compromise AMAZON LISTENS TO YOU—WHAT DOES THAT REALLYMEAN? B illions of homes across the globe have some version of Amazon’s Echo digital assistant. There’s the standard Echo, companies. It comes down to this: If an online service is free, you are the product. their service or app — you are being tracked. This might mean location tracking, your shopping

preferences, the posts you read, etc. That’s part of the deal: It’s free, and you give up your privacy in exchange. You consent to have your personal data mined. When it comes to the Echo, Amazon explicitly states they do not sell your data to third parties. The company says they only use this data internally; they say it’s secure — and so far, that’s technically true. But there have been reports of “malfunctions.” If you do have a digital home assistant like the Echo or you use these kinds of services on your smartphone, you can set your privacy and security options pretty much however you want. In the end, you do have some control over your privacy with a digital assistant, but as long as one of them is in your home, that control — and your privacy — will never be at 100 percent.

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Exploring the Crimes of Antarctic Wildlife


On an island off the coast of Antarctica, a BBC film crew caught

footage of a crime taking place. In the video, as one male Adélie penguin leaves his nest to search for additional rocks to add to it, his neighbor waddles over, removes a rock from the nest, and carries it back to his own. When the first penguin returns from his search, his neighbor plays it cool, but at each opportunity, he repeats the crime and steals his neighbor’s rocks.

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While animals aren’t actually subject to legal action, and the Adélie penguin was

only behaving according to natural instinct, the fine writers for the blog Legal Grounds point out that the rock thief situation presents an interesting legal case study. By taking his neighbor’s rock and putting it in his own nest, the neighbor penguin committed an act of theft. Theft is defined as “the taking of someone else’s property with the intent to permanently deprive the victim of that property.” In some places, when a thief leaves the scene of the crime, the theft is considered complete. If the thief returns and steals additional items, that could be considered a new crime and result in additional charges. So, since the neighbor penguin takes a rock, leaves the scene of the crime, and returns, he could be found guilty of multiple theft charges. If he’d decided to go big and take his neighbor’s entire nest at once, he might’ve been charged with grand theft. Now, if the penguin who was stolen from had used force to protect his precious nest rocks, the case would be complicated even further. Allowable force is generally limited in cases of theft. To prove self- defense, the victim penguin would have to show there was a threat of force

Pasta Primavera


12 ounces pasta, ideally fusilli

1 pint cherry tomatoes, halved

• • •

1/2 pound broccoli florets

2 carrots, shredded

1/2 teaspoon crushed red pepper flakes 1/2 cup grated Parmesan cheese, ideally Parmigiano-Reggiano Kosher salt, for pasta water and to taste

1 yellow bell pepper, cut into strips

1/4 cup extra-virgin olive oil

4 cloves garlic, thinly sliced


against him, that he didn’t provoke the neighbor penguin in any way, and that he didn’t have the option to escape.

In a large pot, liberally salt water and bring to a boil. Add fusilli and cook according to package directions. Add broccoli, carrots, and bell pepper during the last 2 minutes of cook time. 2. Drain the pasta and veggies, reserving 1/2 cup of cooking liquid. Return pasta and veggies to pot. 3. In a large skillet, heat olive oil to medium heat. Add garlic and cook until translucent and golden, 30 seconds. Add tomatoes, red pepper flakes, and 1 teaspoon salt. Cook until tomatoes are wilted, about 2 minutes. Stir in reserved pasta water. 4. Add tomato mixture to pasta pot, stirring to coat evenly. 5. Divide into bowls, top with Parmesan cheese, and serve.

From a legal perspective, it was probably best that the victim penguin didn’t use force.

For now, we’ll leave the Adélie penguins to their nest-building business and save the legal cases for the human world. | 3

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Another Fool in a Long Line of Fools 1 Letting Your Kids Have Fun With Some Healthy Competition

Can You Trust Alexa? 2 Pasta Primavera

A Chilly Legal Case Study 3 3 Great Opening Days in Baseball 4


Baseball’s opening day has been an American holiday of sorts since the Cincinnati Red Stockings threw out the first major league pitch in 1869. To celebrate the start of the 150th season of professional baseball, here are three of the best opening days in baseball history.

from fans and teammates, was palpable. Still, as well-known sportscaster Howard Cosell said, “Suddenly, it was a new beginning.” Lou, Combs, and Babe — Oh My! Considered one of the best teams in baseball history, the 1927 New York Yankees started their historic run and 25th season by dismantling the Philadelphia Athletics with a score of 8–3. The slugfest was true to form for the 1927 Yankees, whose players would go on to make up baseball’s famous “Murderers’ Row.” With sluggers like Lou Gehrig, Earle Combs, Babe Ruth, Mark Koenig, Bob Meusel, and Tony Lazzeri, it’s no wonder this team went on to win its fifth championship that year. The Hammer Ties Bambino For decades, no one could match George Herman Ruth. The Great Bambino’s all-time home run record seemed like an impossible feat

A New Beginning On April 15, 1947, an opening-day game

changed the course of Major League Baseball. On this day, Jackie Robinson started for the Brooklyn Dodgers, becoming the first African- American player to start for a major league baseball team. Robinson’s historic showing was lackluster, going 0-for-3 at the plate and making a solid showing on the infield at first base, but his mere presence in a Dodgers uniform had already broken history. Despite his nationally- recognized skills — Robinson was named MVP of the MLB farm team league in 1946 — the backlash that followed his rise to the pros, both

of strength — that is, until Henry “Hammerin’ Hank” Aaron came along. On opening day, April 4, 1974, Aaron smashed his 714th homer, tying Babe Ruth for the most home runs ever hit and extending the Atlanta Braves’ shutout lead over the Cincinnati Reds. A few weeks later, Aaron surpassed Ruth’s record, prompting a standing ovation from the crowd.

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