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Recent North Star wankery

Just so you know, that pathetic campus newspaper, the North Star, which published defamatory accusations that various UMM faculty and administrators were racist because they didn’t give special privileges to white students, is still pushing hard to sue me. They have no grounds to do so; their accusation is that because they detected a “sciencey” smell of chloroform near racks of their rag that were stolen, I must have done it. Their lawyers have been demanding that the university fire me, to which our chancellor has replied with a clear “no.”

But I warn you because I just got off the phone with a Fox News outlet in the New York area; they were asking lots of questions, and apparently the North Star lawyers are distributing their intimidation document far and wide now. The interviewer was deeply offended that I said Fox News has an extraordinarily poor record for journalistic integrity; they said I was impeding the Free Speech of those poor students (they seem to take it for granted that I stole those stupid newspapers); they were outraged that I said this lawsuit was attempted harassment, trying to silence me; and they treated the fact that the campus police asked me questions about the thefts as clear evidence that I was guilty.

Anyway, get ready. It will not be a friendly report, expect a few East Coast wingnuts to show up once it’s out, whining in that wingnutty way and demanding that we respect their entitled inanity.

Comments

  1. Goodbye Enemy Janine says

    That is why Faux News exists, so it can turn trollish nuisance lawsuits into monstrous stories of oppression of conservatives.

  2. says

    I am in a novel situation. I’ve got THREE twits threatening lawsuits right now: Shermer, Radford, and the gang of fools at the North Star. Nothing is happening with any of them, and I’m just kicking back unperturbed.

  3. robb says

    the lawyers gotta know they have a very poor case. this is just harassment.

    way to give fox news a little critique on their journalistic integrity!

  4. Usernames are smart says

    ~ I just got off the phone with a Fox News outlet in the New York area; they were asking lots of questions ~.

    Ugh. Why do you bother talking to those cretins? There’s no upside for you, and—at best—they’ll take you out of context and/or edit your words so you sound stupid.

  5. raven says

    ~ I just got off the phone with a Fox News outlet in the New York area; they were asking lots of questions ~.

    Ugh. Why do you bother talking to those cretins? There’s no upside for you, and—at best—they’ll take you out of context and/or edit your words so you sound stupid.

    Agreed.

    This happened to PZ with both Expelled and Ray Comfort. It’s quite likely they will just quote mine him or lie. It’s Fox News, they’ve established in court that they have a right to lie.

  6. Kevin Kehres says

    Why in the world would you use chloroform to steal newspapers? Did the newspapers have to be subdued? Do you have the newspapers tied up in the basement where they’re being held for ransom? Did you shrink-wrap them, a la Dexter? What’s next? Chopping them to bits, stuffing them in plastic bags and disposing of them in the deep waters of the Atlantic Ocean?

  7. a_ray_in_dilbert_space says

    Kevin Kehres: “What’s next? Chopping them to bits, stuffing them in plastic bags and disposing of them in the deep waters of the Atlantic Ocean?”

    No, the newspapers were what was in the cargo hold of MH370. That’s why PZ’s alien overlords beamed the plane aboard the mothership and put the pings in the southern Indian Ocean to confuse the true patriots. Er…something like that.

  8. Kevin Kehres says

    BTW and FWIW: NEVER EVER EVER talk to the police without a lawyer present. NEVER EVER EVER.

    It cannot do you any good. The police have the right to use anything you say AGAINST you, but are under no obligation to use anything you say to assist you.

    Lawyer up. 100% of the time. Always and everywhere in every situation. Even when faced with 100% nonsense false allegations. Maybe especially so at these times.

    The jails are full of people who thought they would be “helpful” to the police, or thought they had “nothing to hide”.

    When asked by the police to give a statement, don’t even inquire “about what?” Ask them to contact your lawyer. Stick to it. No more statements other than “discuss it with my lawyer”. Period.

    Smart people are the worst in this regard, thinking they can “handle it”.

    Sorry for the shouting; but I mean it. No more talking to the police without a lawyer present. Get it?

  9. nomadiq says

    You sure it really was a Fox News outlet and not a setup to record you saying something that could be used against you?

  10. raven says

    News for James O’Keefe slapped down in Texas court
    Investigators slam O’Keefe’s latest ‘political disinformation’

    MSNBC ‎- 3 days ago

    A Texas judge has slapped down a bid by the controversial conservative … down an effort by the controversial conservative filmmaker James O’Keefe to … After the video provoked outrage among Texas Republicans, a court …

    Their hero and role model, James O’Keefe isn’t doing so well. He just lost a court case in Texas with the judges calling his “work” various uncomplimentary names.

    4 Arrested in Phone Tampering at Landrieu Office – The …
    www. nytimes. com/2010/01/27/us/politics/27landrieu.html‎

    Jan 26, 2010 – One of the people arrested was James O’Keefe, who made videos … the New Orleans office of Senator Mary Landrieu, Democrat of Louisiana.

    Wikipedia: O’Keefe and the others pleaded guilty on May 26. O’Keefe was sentenced to three years’ probation, 100 hours of community service and a $1,500 fine.

    He is also a convicted criminal for trying to bug Mary Landrieu’s office in Louisiana.

    wikipedia: On March 5, 2013, O’Keefe agreed to pay Juan Carlos Vera $100,000. O’Keefe acknowledged in the settlement that at the time he published his video he was unaware that Vera had notified the police about the incident. The settlement contained the following apology: “O’Keefe regrets any pain suffered by Mr. Vera or his family.”[57][58]

    For his lie and hatchet job on Acorn, O’Keefe agreed to pay off one of them $100,000 to settle a court case.

    See the pattern here? These guys are losers.

    So all PZ has to do is hang tough and let them shoot themselves in the foot. Again and again.

  11. raven says

    I’ve got THREE twits threatening lawsuits right now: Shermer, Radford, and the gang of fools at the North Star. Nothing is happening with any of them, and I’m just kicking back unperturbed.

    Only three threatened lawsuits. C’mon, you aren’t trying hard enough!!! (BTW, this is meant to be humorous.)

    Been there a few times myself.

    1. I just tell them they are boring, so shut up and file the damn papers and lets go to court. They never have. OTOH, a few of them stopped threatening legal action and started threatening to kill me. I don’t kick back when that happens, those go to the police and FBI.

    2. Minnesota is an anti-SLAPP suit state. Loser pays court costs and your attorney.

    PZ would be way ahead if they are dumb enough to file with what he has.

    3. False accusations and harassment are also crimes, ones that IMO, North Star is guilty of. When this is winding down, I wouldn’t hesitate for a heartbeat to sue them in civil court. Assuming the police don’t get to them first.

    Don’t be terrorized, defend yourself. The police, courts, DA, and prison system is on our side, not theirs.

  12. raven says

    PZ, if you need some bucks for a legal defense fund, we are here!!!

    Just speaking for myself of course, but I absolutely can’t stand bullies, liars, and wannabe James O’Keefes. I’m good for a donation.

    And just guessing, but you won’t have any problems rounding up a lot of contributions.

    PS: I urged PZ Myers to file for a restraining order. At the very beginning. This is what I would have done. There is still time to do it. They aren’t going to go away, that is crystal clear.

    PSS: These guys are pretty dumb. The first rule of holes is, When you find yourself in a hole, stop digging!!!

  13. anteprepro says

    Your very own Fox News hack job. Hitting it big, PZ. Next thing you know, Bill ORLY will be wringing his hands about conservative Christian newsies like himself getting Persecuted, Glenn Beck will insinuate that this is part of a vast conspiracy to steal Good Christians’ precious bodily fluids, and Hannity will shriek out your name while he shits into a toaster. The price of fame.

  14. raven says

    But I warn you because I just got off the phone with a Fox News outlet in the New York area; they were asking lots of questions, and apparently the North Star lawyers are distributing their intimidation document far and wide now.

    A prediction. Fox News and the rightwing christofascist noise machine is going to lie and quote mine this. It’s what they alway do.

    This is how James O’Keefe got his 15 minutes of fame. Followed by a criminal conviction, a lost court case, and $100,000 settlement.

    The interviewer was deeply offended that I said Fox News has an extraordinarily poor record for journalistic integrity;

    No they weren’t!!! They aren’t journalists, they are propagandists and liars and are hired on that basis. They might have said that, but they didn’t mean it.

    It’s Fox News. “We lie, you decide.”

    PS This however, might be even better. Even if PZ sues North Star is court and wins, so what. Collecting a 7 figure judgement from loser students isn’t going to be easy. Now Fox News OTOH, has huge money behind it. Rupert Murdoch won’t miss a few million.

  15. raven says

    Your very own Fox News hack job. Hitting it big, PZ. Next thing you know, Bill ORLY will be wringing his hands about conservative Christian newsies like himself getting Persecuted, Glenn Beck will insinuate that this is part of a vast conspiracy to steal Good Christians’ precious bodily fluids, and Hannity will shriek out your name while he shits into a toaster. The price of fame.

    Good point.

    Plus every christofascist vaguely humanoid toad leader. Pat Robertson, Rick Wiles, Robert Jeffres, Parsley, Swanson, Fischer, and all the rest of them.

    It’s inevitable that they will go after PZ Myers any way they can. He’s on to them. There are no gods, The bible is mostly fiction, mythology, and atrocities. And they are losing to reality and they know it.

  16. unclefrogy says

    their they have is they think the hole they are in is a gold mine and if they just go a little deeper…….

    uncle frogy

  17. lesherb says

    Isn’t it always the conservatives who want tort reform? Silly me! I forgot IOKIARDI. :-/

  18. raven says

    3. False accusations and harassment are also crimes, ones that IMO, North Star is guilty of. When this is winding down, I wouldn’t hesitate for a heartbeat to sue them in civil court. Assuming the police don’t get to them first.

    And oh yeah, keep every document, email, and any other sort of hard, tangible evidence!!! Anything remotely connected to a case for harassment and false accusations.

    When you are in court, data like that is far more convincing than assertions and claims without any proof. It can make a huge difference.

  19. Christoph Burschka says

    they detected a “sciencey” smell of chloroform

    I’m having an increasingly hard time distinguishing between the Onion and reality here.

    I accuse Professor PlumMyers, with the chloroform, in the drawing-room!

  20. ffakr says

    1. Find a decent lawyer who will take the case on the promise of a cut of the payout.. heck, offer them 100% of the verdict in exchange for no payment on your part.. it’d be ‘found money’ anyway.
    2. Sue them.

    BTW.. first step in evaluating the law firm..
    Make sure you find a lawyer sneaky enough to figure out how to file in the Texas county that’s infamous for massive personal lawsuit payouts. Texas.. Conservatives for tort reform.. unless you’re County’s economy is built upon the influx of lawyers for massive personal injury suits.

  21. ffakr says

    Oh yea.. almost forgot.

    As I recall.. you’re a Mac user.
    Download a copy of Pear Note <– great app
    https://www.usefulfruit.com/pearnote/

    It's a text editor and audio/video recording app that syncs text entry to a recording.
    When Fox News calls [or anyone from The North Star.. or any other loon] and they tell you they're going to record the call.. let them know you will too. It does a decent job when your computer is next to your speaker phone.

    I used it quite a bit when I was helping my mother deal with creditors a couple years back.
    Funny thing.. you'd probably be entirely unsurprised by how many businesses tell you your phone call might be recorded while you're on hold.. but they turn around and tell you you're not allowed to record the conversation yourself. It's fun to tell them they have no right to demand they can record you and then claim you can't do the same..
    you can hear the gears whirring.. unengaged.

  22. twas brillig (stevem) says

    Just gotta be a pseudo-”vocabularian” :-D

    PS: [...]
    PSS: [...]

    The second PS after the first should be P.P.S. for post, post-script.
    PS = “after what was written”
    PPS = after, after what was written”

    PSS = post script script := “after what was written, written”
    _________________________[???]_______________ :-|
    ================================================
    back to the OP:
    I agree with @11: LAWYER UP, IMMEDIATELY! Whenever you receive a phone call asking questions about this “issue”; just say, “Sorry, busy now, talk to my *associate* at ###, ###, #### [lawyer's phone nbr]“. Then immediately hang up.
    Nothing else you can do that they won’t TWIST into making you *look* guilty. Don’t even say F.U! They’ll just label that as denialism, and say it is indicative of true guilt. They’ll just say, “He denied it, rather rudely. Is he guilty? What do you think, huh? Do you think he is guilty? Is. He. GUILTY. ?”

  23. says

    I just got off the phone with a Fox News outlet in the New York area;

    Are you sure it was “Fox News”, the cable station, or a local Fox affiliate? The local affiliates have only a very indirect relationship with the cable station, much like a local NBC affiliate has little to do with MSNBC.

  24. Rev. BigDumbChimp says

    I am in a novel situation. I’ve got THREE twits threatening lawsuits right now: Shermer, Radford, and the gang of fools at the North Star. Nothing is happening with any of them, and I’m just kicking back unperturbed.

    God hell! I think I see the pattern. This one sounds like real trouble! You’re going to need plenty of legal advice before this thing is over. As your attorney I must advise you that you’ll need a very fast car with no top and after that, the cocaine. And then the tape recorder, for special music, and some Acapulco shirts…

    This blows my weekend, because naturally I’ll have to go with you — and we’ll have to arm ourselves.

  25. carlie says

    Why in the world would you use chloroform to steal newspapers?

    The assumption is that he always smells of chloroform, due to being a scientist who does sciency things that obviously involve chloroform, and that he smells so much like it that he left the scent there for them to detect hours later.

  26. anuran says

    PZ, with all due respect to your accomplishment, intelligence and gray hairs

    What fucking fucketty fuck did you fucking think you were doing?!?!?!?! If you don’t have a lawyer, get one. If you do, then listen to her. If the first thing out of her mouth isn’t “Shut your damned mouth. And don’t talk to the godsdamned press” then fire her and get a new one. Even if you’re “not worried” you shouldn’t do stupid things. Talking to the press while there are pending lawsuits is Darwin Award send-all-your-money-to-Pat-Robertson stupid.

    Nothing you say to the press can do anything but hurt you.

    Seriously, SHUT. YOUR. MOUTH.

  27. raven says

    The assumption is that he always smells of chloroform, due to being a scientist …

    Which is actually very dumb.

    1. Most biologists most of the time don’t work with chloroform. PZ is a zebra fish scientists and has a heavy teaching load. What does chloroform have to do with teaching classes? I don’t know what tanks of fish have to do with chloroform.

    2. Even if he did or does, if you are getting chloroform all over yourself, you need to stop doing lab work. You are too clumsy and not taking proper health and safety precautions.

  28. Nerd of Redhead, Dances OM Trolls says

    Why do I get the feeling those demanding PZ only talk through a lawyer are lawyers drumming up business for the profession?

  29. qwerty says

    The Morris North Star hasn’t had a new issue on their website since last October. Some journalistic dedication there.

  30. Great American Satan says

    “Don’t talk to cops” people, espesh the freakout @11 – One, it was the campus police and months ago & a situation so patently absurd it was clear they were only there because of obligation. Like if someone wanted the police to ask their neighbors about the secret sound wave device they used to send evil messages.

    Two, the current person he was talking to was some “journalists” & that’s a whole other issue which doesn’t typically require lawyers. Maybe bug about whether he said stuff was “off the record” or yadda yadda, but the panic here is kinda overblown.

  31. Holms says

    #5
    Ugh. Why do you bother talking to those cretins? There’s no upside for you, and—at best—they’ll take you out of context and/or edit your words so you sound stupid.

    It makes little difference; if he refused the interview, they’d simply make hay out of that fact and conclude that he must be guilty! because the interview was declined! …Classic hatchet job routine.

    At least with actual statements on the record, there is evidence of engagement and a statement of PZ’s position on the silly matter. That said though, PZ: did you happen to record your conversation at your end, in case of massive misrepresentation?

  32. ck says

    @44,

    It’s alright, carlie (#42) posted the link I was trying (and failed) to create. It’s a bit spooky, really.

  33. carlie says

    ck – I think all great minds should immediately envision that scene upon hearing the word “chloroform”. :D

  34. tbtabby says

    Lawsuits of the North Star: They hit you with a hundred lawsuits and tell you that you’re already guilty.

  35. frankb says

    I agree with #45 GAStatan. The North Star would have a hard enough time just proving the papers were there to steal and when the papers were just lying where anyone could take them, there is no case. Also the rediculousness of the statement about chloroform and the question of motive and the low monetary value of the papers all spell ‘dismissal”.

  36. whiskeyjack says

    http://imgur.com/wWWNMwX

    Is it wrong that I find this hilarious?

    Seriously, I squealed when I saw the title of this post. I mean, I’m sorry that you have to go through this, PZ, but the absurdity tickles me.

  37. twas brillig (stevem) says

    The recommendation to “lawyer up”, is not just paranoia of legal action, but would be a better way to respond while providing nothing to bounce back atcha.
    To repeat @30:

    Whenever you receive a phone call asking questions about this “issue”; just say, “Sorry, busy now, talk to my *associate* at ###, ###, #### [lawyer's phone nbr]“. Then immediately hang up.

    This way, PZ appears willing to respond (but time constrained), but the lawyer will legalese xis answers to keep PZ scottfree.

  38. Nemo says

    @raven #19:

    This is how James O’Keefe got his 15 minutes of fame. Followed by a criminal conviction, a lost court case, and $100,000 settlement.

    And a destroyed ACORN. We can’t forget that part.

  39. ck says

    @Nemo,

    But that’s just because they were pinko communists trying to socialize our Naziism, or something.

  40. chigau (違う) says

    PZ
    I really hope that the turnip truck you fell from is not too far away.
    I really hope that the turnip truck from which you fell is not too far away.

  41. says

    Y’know, Polaris is really a lovely star. Big, bright F7 supergiant, nearby Cepheid. Orbited by like four dimmer but-still-stellar companions… All very awesome. It’d be one of my favourite insanely massive natural fusion reactors even if it weren’t so conveniently located for navigation and all that other cool stuff…

    … I really object to these wankers naming themselves after it. It’s like they’re getting it dirty or something.

    Oh. Also. I can’t find my latest copy of the local free community weekly (pictures of local community theatre musicals, ads for lost pets, so this is all pretty essential reading) and there’s a faint smell of calamari or something up where I thought I left it. I demand PZ provide an alibi!

  42. ChasCPeterson says

    Are you sure it was “Fox News”, the cable station, or a local Fox affiliate? The local affiliates have only a very indirect relationship with the cable station, much like a local NBC affiliate has little to do with MSNBC.

    Yep. There is no such thing as a “Fox News outlet in the New York area”. It’s either Fox News or it’s a local TV station that’s Fox Network, but is NOT ‘Fox News’.

    I have personally made this point to Dr. Myers at least three (3) times in the past, but nevertheless he persists. I guess it just sounds better?

  43. Holms says

    Yes, clearly he is deliberately spurning your never-smarmy advice just so he can stick it to Fox (and you)!

  44. mikeyb says

    The UMM NorthStar directory says the following about their organization: “The NorthStar is an alternative monthly publication. We promote the Marketplace of Ideas.” They sound like Ayn Randians, or Koch bros worshippers – markeplace is of course before ideas and it is capitalized, i.e. if you have the $$$ we may like your ideas.

  45. ffakr says

    I Am Not A Lawyer.. so..
    Disclaimer done

    It appears that Minnesota is a One Party Consent State.
    http://www.callrecordingcenter.com/minnesota-call-recording-law.php
    http://mn.gov/lawlib/taping.html

    You’d definitely want to confirm that with a real Minnesotan licensed to practice Law in your State. If that’s true though.. there’s no reason why you can’t legally record your phone calls. You might not even be required to warn them.
    Not being a lawyer, the language about tortuous intent would make me nervous. Sounds like you might be at risk if the intent of recording conversations with The North Star staff [should they call] is to put them out of publication or otherwise damage them.. rather than doing it with the intent of simply protecting your own interests. You’d best assume I’m in ‘talking out my rear’ territory when I’m offering opinions about the language of the law though.

    Real Lawyer probably a good idea.

    JMHO

  46. Azkyroth Drinked the Grammar Too :) says

    Y’know, Polaris is really a lovely star. Big, bright F7 supergiant, nearby Cepheid. Orbited by like four dimmer but-still-stellar companions… All very awesome. It’d be one of my favourite insanely massive natural fusion reactors even if it weren’t so conveniently located for navigation and all that other cool stuff…

    … I really object to these wankers naming themselves after it. It’s like they’re getting it dirty or something.

    How about “The Tilted Planet?”

  47. blf says

    :The assumption is that he always smells of chloroform, due to being a scientist

    Yes, but there are numerous other assumptions being made first. These assumption include (and are perhaps not limited to) (1) The eejit is not lying when he said he smelled something; (2) The eejit is not lying when he said it smelled to him like chloroform; and (3) The alleged smell is connected with (4) The alleged theft of the propoganda sheets. Only then do you get ti the improbable “reasoning” leading to the highly unlikely — and robustly denied — “conclusion” that poopyhead or some of his minions were involved.

    Remember, wannabe fascists and fundie xians LIE. They are renowned for it. There are quite a lot of potential — nay, probable — lies here before you even get onto the absurd path leading to the highly probable lie about poopyhead.

  48. zenlike says

    Yawn, troll barging in and immediately starting of with a sexist word. Congratulations on the own goal, cryogenic.

  49. zenlike says

    Cryogenic, using sexist slurs like in your first post and now again in your last, is indeed considered sexist. Imagine that.

  50. Al Dente says

    zenlike @72

    cryogenic is the daily troll. Xe’s a slymepitter who comes here early in the morning to post misogyny and random hate. When PZ opens the blog he’ll delete the daily troll’s harangues. Early tomorrow morning the daily troll will reappear under a new name but spouting the same bombast. Wash rinse repeat.

  51. Usernames are smart says

    cryogenic is the daily troll. Xe’s a slymepitter who comes here early in the morning to post misogyny and random hate.
    — Al Dente (#73)

    We have a DAILY troll?

    How friggin’ sweet is that?! So this is a person who
    * wakes up (presumably),
    * runs over to the computer,
    * creates an account (hopefully using some script-kiddie thing found on some site, otherwise that’s really sad), and then
    * trolls hard until blocked.

    Wow.

    I’ve seen this type of pathetic behavior elsewhere. Working for [major metropolitan newspaper], we had a daily troll who was hidden (he was the only one who saw his comments) and who managed to rack up an impressive 4,000+ messages before he figured out he was shouting into a dark closet, population: him. We’re talking something like 10-20 racist, misogynistic messages a day, every day (fewer on weekends) for about a year, with never any responses (because no one else could read them).

    I tried to suss out his life details (e.g., if he worked, what kind of job, did he have a social life) by posting patterns, but they were too erratic to do any analysis (everything seemed to be an outlier). The start times and end times of his “days” were all over the place, so I couldn’t determine a “bed time” or a “time-to-get-up-for-work” or even “should be at work” time. My best guess was he was a retiree/on disability because he stayed up late often (11 pm – 2 am), woke up at random times (6 am – 10 am) and posted throughout the day.

    I wish I could’ve met him, just to see if I was right. But it would have to be in a public, populated area, like the lobby of a police station.

  52. says

    …their accusation is that because they detected a “sciencey” smell of chloroform brimstone near racks of their rag that were stolen…

    Fixed that for you.

  53. Seven of Mine, formerly piegasm says

    @71 Usernames are smart

    He waits for PZ to go to bed and does his trolling then, for maximum shitting up of the place before deletion occurs which he thinks is being done because his comments are subversive (as opposed to simply inane).

  54. says

    Yes, I know the Simpsons is not the same as Fox & Friends. What can I say? The guy introduced himself as coming from a Fox News station in New York.

  55. anteprepro says

    carlie:

    The assumption is that he always smells of chloroform, due to being a scientist

    blf:

    These assumption include (and are perhaps not limited to) (1) The eejit is not lying when he said he smelled something; (2) The eejit is not lying when he said it smelled to him like chloroform; and (3) The alleged smell is connected with (4) The alleged theft of the propoganda sheets.

    Bonus assumptions:
    6. That PZ is the only scientist on campus that would have been near the papers.
    7. That PZ is the only scientist on campus that dislikes the North Star.
    8. That “scientist” only includes faculty and not science students.
    9. That “stealing” a “paper” that they give out to individuals for free is in fact Serious Business.

  56. Al Dente says

    The only scientist I know well doesn’t smell of chloroform. But I doubt most cosmologists have much contact with smelly chemicals.

  57. says

    Their ‘newspaper’ now says on the cover that the first copy is free, and all subsequent copies are $5. I don’t pay that much for the Sunday edition of the Star Tribune, let alone some amateurish 8-page rag rife with spelling errors and disclaimers on just about every page that “This is satire! Really! It is!”

    Also, unfortunately, it’s hard to see evidence that they’re getting stolen. There are copies scattered on tables in the atrium, and also in the little alcoves along the hallway in the office wing. Sad, neglected, ignored copies. I wouldn’t be surprised to learn that the “theft” was the custodians doing routine cleanup of old papers littering the building.

  58. says

    I have contact with smelly chemicals! But the most common stinky one is paraformaldehyde (smells nothing like chloroform), and I don’t bathe in it — if it smells, I tend to work with it in a fume hood.

  59. Al Dente says

    Five dollars for an eight page broadsheet? Those people are getting into the gouge the consumer business from the get-go.

  60. zenlike says

    Al Dente (#70),

    Thanks for the info.

    Usernames are smart (#71)

    Working for [major metropolitan newspaper], we had a daily troll who was hidden (he was the only one who saw his comments) and who managed to rack up an impressive 4,000+ messages before he figured out he was shouting into a dark closet, population: him. We’re talking something like 10-20 racist, misogynistic messages a day, every day (fewer on weekends) for about a year, with never any responses (because no one else could read them).

    That’s…one of the saddest, most pathetic things I read about in some time. Damn you empathy, you made me feel sorry for a misogynistic racist!

  61. The Very Reverend Battleaxe of Knowledge says

    As for “stealing” something that’s put out for free: I agree it would be hard to make a case. I just remember going to the local library and seeing a fresh two-foot stack of The Stranger that had just been put out, and I knew I had to get my copy going in, because by the time I came out, they’d all be gone. Half the time I was right. Clearly someone was “stealing” them (for lack of a better word) because they didn’t like the content. None of the other papers, including The Seattle Weekly, which is quite popular, would be depleted at all.

    It seems to me this sort of thing should be actionable in some way—abstracting every copy of some publication because you disapprove of the content—but I don’t know how, exactly. (Needless to say, PZ couldn’t be arsed doing such a thing!)

    In our current society, maybe the advertisers would have to press charges accusing the perps of depriving them of eyeballs—”restraint of trade” or some such shit. (I can’t imagine The North Star has any advertisers, though.)

  62. says


    ffakr

    I Am Not A Lawyer.. so..
    Disclaimer done

    I am not a Licensed Lawyer, but I did ace my ethics class in law school, so….

    You may want to consider filing a complaint against his lawyer, (whom I am assuming is a “he”, because it is one letter shorter to type), with the MN bar association. They should have a link on the MN bar’s website to do so. (You may have to call someone if there isn’t a web form). This is akin to complaining to the medical review board about your doctor. (Although, the field of law is a self-regulated monopoly, so it’s more for things that make the field as a whole look bad in the public eye rather than necessarily doing harm). Complaints provoke bar inquiry panels, which result in things from nasty letters of reprimand in the back of bar journals, to disbarment or suspension of license for a period of time.

    MN has a list of their rules of Professional Conduct on their website, (under Rules). As I see it, you may be looking at a violation of:
    4.1: Truthfulness in Statements to Others. (Look at b here, that may apply to smear campaigns).
    3.1: Meritorious Claims & Contentions. (Smelling “sciency” at scene of alleged crime, not liking publication, and the like are not sufficient grounds to support a lawsuit. It might be enough to file one, but if he hasn’t requested more information through discovery proceedings, he’s failing to do his job here.)
    3.4: Fairness to Opposing Counsel. (Make a discovery request for a copy of the photo. He must supply it if he does indeed have it under this rule. If he fails to do so, he is in violation of this rule.)
    This will also set you up for 3.3(a)(3) at trial, assuming lawyer does not already know about supposed photo and tries to present it later. (Again, assuming photo is false).

    The point you make in your complaint is this: Client hired lawyer to deal with matter in a legal manner. If client then tries illegal means of obtaining the same goal, lawyer should really be counseling client against this and potentially withdrawing as counsel. Lawyer should be actively resolving dispute, in a manner consistent with established law and not telling client: Hey, get Fox involved. If lawyer suggested smear campaign, they have broken bar rules, if not, then they should at least be calling client and demanding to know what the hell client is doing, did client or did client not agree to let lawyer handle this matter as their representative?

  63. says

    Their lawyer is the ADF, a big name right wing national Christian group. My lawyers are the university’s, and they’re very competent and familiar with these transparently politicized efforts to silence academics.

  64. raven says

    The fact that Northstar contacted a rightwing Fake News outlet known for lying, i.e. Fox implies that they have given up bringing any sort of lawsuit with their nonexistent evidence.

    They are at the stage now of lying and hoping some so called “news” outlet will take their troll bait.

    They might be right. Much of the content of christofascist sites is simply made up, lies. I once checked out a dramatic story on Glenn Beck’s site. It seemed to be entirely fabricated.

    This doesn’t mean PZ needs to forget about it though. The worst of our society (fundie xians) hate him and will do whatever they can.

    PS The same could be said for Ben Radford. His smear dump on the internet would make it harder for him in court. A lot harder. He is either dumb or is making threats that he knows he can’t carry through.

  65. raven says

    Their lawyer is the ADF, a big name right wing national Christian group.

    No big deal. There are a lot of rightwing christofascist legal groups.

    They usually lose in court!!!

    The one I’m most familar with, the Thomas More law center, almost always loses. It is a huge shock, like seeing a flying pig or something, when they actually win anything.

    These groups lose because they exist to subvert the US constitution. They aren’t defending rights, they are trying to extend xian privilege.

    PZ Myers:

    The guy introduced himself as coming from a Fox News station in New York.

    Cthulhu, you didn’t give them your credit card number, social security number, and the combination to your Swiss bank vault, did you?

    How do you know it really was anything to do with Fox News?

    You don’t. It could have been James O’Keefe. It could have been North Star. It could have been ADF. It could have been a demon or Space Reptile.

    What you should have done at the least is get their number and call them back to ensure that they were from Fox News. And tell them you are recording the call and then record it. Better yet, just give them your lawyer’s number.

    Really, Dr. Myers needs to take lessons in paranoia. They really are after him.

  66. lopsided says

    Well, you’ve hit the big time. This is how the right wing noise machine destroys people who tell the truth and try to make the world better. Document everything publicly.

  67. blf says

    …something like 10-20 racist, misogynistic messages a day, every day (fewer on weekends) for about a year, with never any responses (because no one else could read them).

    That’s…one of the saddest, most pathetic things I read about in some time.

    I myself think it is hilarious. a seemingly-effective way of neutering trolls, and (perhaps) posted to the wrong thread. Ignoring that last point, a possible improvement would be an automated response system which would, perhaps at random (i.e., not for every post), e-mail back replies such as “We thank you for your contribution and are confident our readers will give it all the consideration it deserves”, “Lawyers will inform us that your recent post is inane”, and “Please expand on your comments, our readers and editors are confused. Thanks!”.

  68. lopsided says

    PZ said, “Their lawyer is the ADF, a big name right wing national Christian group.”

    No big deal. There are a lot of rightwing christofascist legal groups.

    They usually lose in court!!!

    Sure, but they have millions of dollars to waste harassing you and destroying your reputation before it ever gets to court.

  69. nich says

    Battleaxe@81:

    It seems to me this sort of thing should be actionable in some way—abstracting every copy of some publication because you disapprove of the content—but I don’t know how, exactly. (Needless to say, PZ couldn’t be arsed doing such a thing!)

    As PZ pointed out @77, often these free papers will have some sort of fine print (or in the case of The North Star, not so fine print) saying only the first copy is free. The bigger, more liberal weeklies include it to keep local pearl clutcher brigades from tossing bundles in the trash, but it also protects glorified toilet paper like The North Star as well. I grew up in Utah, and I remember a minor scandal erupted in my youth when the local district attorney went around town trashing copies of The City Weekly because of a series of reports into some mayoral shenanigans and the DA’s weak sauce investigation which hurt his poor little fee-fees.

  70. ck says

    lopsided wrote:

    Sure, but they have millions of dollars to waste harassing you and destroying your reputation before it ever gets to court.

    And will turn around and use the thousands upon thousands of dollars they cost taxpayers in defending this nonsense as a reason why state funding for secondary education should be terminated. It’s a game of “Heads, I win. Tails, you lose.”

  71. Holms says

    The commentariat here will I suspect be unsurprised to learn that the slymepitters never vn considered that PZ might not have stolen the papers, but have simply assumed that he is the guilty party here. No bias whatsoever over there!

  72. Goodbye Enemy Janine says

    Funny how when it comes to PZ, those skeptical atheists of the Slyme gleefully tweet and retweet a link from ADF.

    Have to laugh at the mission statement at the bottom of their releases.

    Alliance Defending Freedom is an alliance-building, non-profit legal organization that advocates for the right of people to freely live out their faith.

    I guess FTB is just so awful, they are happy to spread the words of people who are transparently creating a “controversy”.

  73. Goodbye Enemy Janine says

    A quick note, funny how that missive from ADF says nothing about the racism of that “satirical” conservative paper, the very thing that PZ focused on when he first condemned that paper.

    Funny how these “defenders of free speech and faith” omit that part.

    If only the Slyme could feel just the smallest amount of shame over this.

  74. Nerd of Redhead, Dances OM Trolls says

    A quick note, funny how that missive from ADF says nothing about the racism of that “satirical” conservative paper, the very thing that PZ focused on when he first condemned that paper.

    Funny how these “defenders of free speech and faith” omit that part.

    If only the Slyme could feel just the smallest amount of shame over this.

    Well, of course those with “faith” are bigots at heart, and won’t condemn racism in the defense of their imaginary deity….it goes against their religion….

  75. lorn says

    Be sure to counter-sue. Document every second spent speaking to a lawyer, theirs or yours, and every second spent documenting their claims and abuse so you can bill for your time, phone bills, lost hours of work, and make an attempt at quantifying your loss of peace and pain. Document everything and record the time needed to document everything. Sound redundant but it is really a N+1 problem where the more you document the more you have to document.

    At the very minimum you should go for legal costs.

  76. Usernames are smart says

    Their october “issue” is online and sure enough(!), it uses all the font colors and—most importantly—Comic Sans, the King of Fonts.

    It looks like none of the “editors” took a layout class or even Journalism 201 (with the inverted pyramid and the 5 Ws and 1 H).

    There are copies scattered on tables in the atrium, and also in the little alcoves along the hallway in the office wing.
    — PZ (#77)

    Wait, you mean someone is TAKING the papers from their distribution locations (kiosks?), TRANSPORTING them to various locations and LEAVING them there?!

    D-d-do you think they read them before they discarded them?
    Ugh. I threw up a little in my mouth.

  77. Nerd of Redhead, Dances OM Trolls says

    D-d-do you think they read them before they discarded them?
    Ugh. I threw up a little in my mouth.

    Actually, I think they are bit like the papers from the radicals on campus during the late 60′s early 70′s. If stolen, that was the act of the radical opposition, being Maoist versus Staninist versus Leninist versus whatever., (Think of Life of Brian, and the number of sects with “Judean”, “peoples”, “movement”, etc)….
    Real people only read them enough to see blatant propergander, laugh at the idiocy, and use them to clean dog doo off their shoes

  78. Pierce R. Butler says

    PZ Myers: … I stole those stupid newspapers …

    Glad we got that straightened out.

    Now we have to establish a motive, which requires reviewing the suspect’s perp’s prior criminal record. Hmmm…

    Aha – he trades them for communion wafers (“crackers” in underworld jargon). Officers Hannity and O’Reilly, move in now!

  79. dannysichel says

    anteprepro@75 – it also assumes that the eejit is capable of correctly identifying the smell of chloroform. He might well be telling the truth about having smelled something odd, and about having thought it was chloroform. Doesn’t mean he was right.

    (Maintenance personnel often work with cleaning fluids. Cleaning fluids often have strong smells. Maintenance personnel can have surprisingly short memories if they’re told that remembering certain details could make them vulnerable to lawsuits.)

  80. =8)-DX says

    OK, I’m posting this before reading the entire thread, but I still think the correct response to this kind of legal anusbaggery is

    Step 1: You get threatened by an asshole lawyer for something where you are actually the victim.
    Step 2: You tell them to F* off and start a charitable fund for the amount they are threatening to sue you for.
    Step 3: You take picture of the money you raised (10x the amount they wanted to sue for), in the form of wads of cash spelling out F U and send it to the suers in a care package.
    Step 4: Profit.

  81. =8)-DX says

    Oh, and for context:

    I don’t want to get tied up in courtroom nonsense. I don’t want to pay more money to my lawyer. Don’t you miss the days when I posted 2 comics a week, instead of writing rebuttals to Forbes and dealing with bullshit like this?

  82. =8)-DX says

    @Usernames are smart #71

    My best guess was he was a retiree/on disability because he stayed up late often (11 pm – 2 am), woke up at random times (6 am – 10 am) and posted throughout the day.

    Don’t diss people with my posting schedule! I have sleeping problems! I get bored at work! (Disclaimer: I just post shitty comment, my status as not-banned-yet proves I’m not a troll..)

  83. says

    The assumption is that he always smells of chloroform, due to being a scientist who does sciency things that obviously involve chloroform, and that he smells so much like it that he left the scent there for them to detect hours later.

    What they’re not revealing at this time, because rules of discovery don’t apply until the trial starts, is that they also found several white fibers…just like those used to make lab coats. Looks like a slam dunk case to me.

  84. Gvlgeologist, FCD says

    Pardon if this has been said before, but…

    Shouldn’t PZ smell like…. Sulfur?

  85. says

    Apparently, the news story went live, and nobody noticed. I got ONE email from a wingnut accusing me of burning the first amendment.

    Kooks nowadays…no perseverance.