It’s the Law! – WIF Stranger Than Fiction

Leave a comment

Strange

International Laws

If you’ve ever been on the internet, you have probably seen someone pass around a list of “wacky laws” from various states in the USA. These are usually laws that are still on the books from decades or even centuries ago, were never constitutional, wouldn’t be held up by any local judge worthy of their position, and were usually just passed by city councils of small towns to make a point and throw their weight around. However, around the world many truly strange laws have been passed that are either symbolically important, truly enforceable, or are judiciously enforced in creatively interesting ways. In today’s article, we will go over the top 10 strangest examples.

10. In The United States, There Are Some Exemptions to Child Labor Laws On Farms

In most developed countries, child labor has been pretty much done away with and the world is all the better for it. However, in the United States of America, a country that most would imagine got rid of that quite some time ago, there are a lot of exceptions when it comes to farm labor. See, farmers in the United States often have trouble getting enough people to work on their farms and get everything done, especially at a wage that is affordable for the farmer. For this reason, having children work on farms has been a thing for a very long time, and there are exceptions in the law to allow it.

Essentially, as long as they are still getting an education, whether by going to school or a state approved home-school program, they are allowed to be worked on a farm for no pay — even as a young child — without any real restrictions on the hours (as long as they are working for their parents own farm, regardless of how big or commercial a size it might seem). Furthermore, as wild as this may sound to people from Europe, as long as you are just driving your tractor on the farm, you may allow your kids to drive around in it without any age restrictions or training whatsoever. Of course, children die or get horribly maimed due to this sort of nonsense every year, but the pressure from the farm lobbies has so far stopped any laws with real teeth from going into effect to change things.

9. The Laws On Cruise Liners Are Complex, and Different From How Many Imagine

Legal jurisdiction can get extremely murky when it comes to trying to prosecute a cruise liner, or anyone who did anything to you while you were on one, but in general it is supposed to apply as follows: If you are within 12 miles of a country’s waters, you are subject to their laws and jurisdictions. End of story. If you are more than 12 miles out but less than 24, you are not subject to their laws, but you have to allow them to board to look for potential smuggling activity, regardless of your country of origin. After that, once you get to international waters, you do still have to follow laws — the laws of whichever country your cruise ship is officially registered in. That means if your cruise ship is registered in the United States, you still have to obey the laws of the USA.

This meant that from the 1950s to the 1990s, no United States-based cruise liner allowed gambling aboard their ship. However, in 1991, after it was pointed out to the proper regulatory authorities that there were only about three ships left that were officially registered in the United States, they passed a competitiveness act that allows US-based cruise liners to begin allowing people to gamble, in contravention of United States law, once they actually reached international waters. It’s basically a huge exemption that has been carved out so that the USA will not be entirely left out of the cruise ship game.

8. Diplomatic Immunity Has Led to a Plethora of Unpaid Parking Tickets Worldwide

Nobody likes parking tickets and, let’s face it: if we could legally get away with it without any consequences, we would curl the things up into a ball, throw them away, and move on with our lives without paying. Now, most of us simply don’t have the power to do that. We can ball the thing up, but one way or another the city is eventually going to come and somehow take their money from us. However, if you are a diplomat, you have diplomatic immunity. Now, in movies like Lethal Weapon 2, we have plots where diplomatic immunity is used in an attempt to get away with murder, but the vast majority of diplomats abuse it in a much more banal way —  they fulfill a fantasy many of us have, by simply ignoring parking rules (or congestion fees) and doing what they want anyway, as it doesn’t matter.

When you have diplomatic immunity, no one can force you in court to pay your tickets, and many from the United States have argued the congestion fee that London has, for example, is just a tax on going in and out of the city (tax being something diplomats don’t have to pay). The United States government shares this viewpoint. However, it isn’t just London, or even New York for that matter, that suffers most from this, but Canberra and many other cities around the world. If the city plays host to a lot of diplomats, they often have backlogged debts for diplomat parking tickets ranging from the hundreds of thousands to the millions. New York recently implemented a policy where they simply wouldn’t re-register a diplomatic vehicle with too high a debt, and it helped a little, but it has simply creeped back up over the years since. It seems when you give a government official full diplomatic immunity, most just use it to toss aside all the petty bureaucracy that’s part of the system they help maintain.

7. China Decrees They Must Approve Reincarnations, In An Attempt to Control Tibetan Monks

As you probably already know, China has, for a long time, been trying to control the country of Tibet, and part of that involves trying to squash the influence of the Tibetan monks. The entire situation is extremely political, as a lot of religious sensibilities are involved, and if China came down too hard on the current Dalai Lama, they could risk some kind of widespread riots, or even international involvement. However, that doesn’t mean they are just sitting around with no strategy besides occupation and repression.

See, the thing about the Dalai Lama is that he is supposed to be a reincarnation of a previous Lama, and so on.The issue is that the Tibetan monks generally get to choose their own successor, as it is supposed to be their spiritual influence that is able to tell who is actually the next reincarnation. However, in the hopes of controlling the process, China has actually decreed laws not allowing a Lama to reincarnate without going through the Chinese government to approve it first — which means they basically get to hand-pick their own Dalai Lama, which would give them ultimate control and influence over the Tibetan people and anyone who still follows Tibetan Buddhism. However, the current Dalai Lama has already fired back against this by stating the next Lama would likely be born in a free country, and that one chosen out of China, by the Chinese government, could not be trusted as the proper Dalai Lama.

6. In Russia You Can Be Fined Because of a Dirty Car (Sort Of)

Now, this isn’t exactly the law, as it’s more of a law being misinterpreted by the police. However, in a country like Russia, arguing with the police (or the local city council over your police’s corrupt behavior) is not likely to get you much of anywhere. In Moscow, and other big cities in Russia, drivers often simply stop driving for much of the winter as it gets too cold for many older vehicles to operate, and then bring them back in the spring — sometimes without washing them at all first.

Now, the law — like in many countries — simply states that a car is considered “dirty” as an actual offense if it’s dirty to the point that the license plate is not visible. However, many police are using the law and people’s ignorance of the details to fine anyone with an extremely filthy car, even if the license plate can be seen just fine. The first time city authorities started doing this back in 2006 after a harsh winter, they declared it was “clean car month” and went on a rampage of fines. While it may not have necessarily been legal, the city clearly wanted to do something to encourage people to clean up, and didn’t want to have to amend the old law to do it… so they just sort of bent it a bit.

5. In China, You Must Have Social Visits With Your Elderly Parents

China has a lot of elderly citizens. When counted in 2014, their percentage of elderly citizens was at 9%, which is higher than many countries, such as India, which was only at 5% when the same estimate was made. It’s also one of the fastest growing elderly populations in the world, with experts expecting their elderly population to roughly double by the year of 2030. For this reason, elderly people who are lonely or not particularly well cared for are becoming an increasingly serious problem. Elderly people have already even been occasionally suing their children for not visiting them enough, or taking care of them, but a law passed in 2013 in China helps give the elderly more teeth with which to sue their children.

The law states that children should make an effort to regularly visit their elderly parents; however, it isn’t really clear on how often that should be. The law is difficult to enforce because of the ambiguity, but the lawmakers have said that it wasn’t necessarily meant to be a fully functional law, but more of a way to raise awareness of the issue, and make it easier for parents to sue and get the court to order some kind of visitation schedule, if they are being truly neglected when they need physical or emotional care. We feel like it’s important to emphasize that last part, because obviously, this isn’t just your nagging mom wondering why you don’t stop by for dinner more often.

Some Chinese people are worried about the law mainly because of the ambiguity, and also because oftentimes well-intentioned children don’t always have the means, or even the time off work, to visit. The law doesn’t really fix anything, but it does serve to highlight the growing demographic problem in China and the tension between the young and the old.

4. In Much Of The Caribbean, Camouflage Clothing Is Illegal

In the United States, it’s actually fairly common to wear camo-pattern clothes, so much so that people make jokes about whether they can “actually see you there” because of your ability to “blend in.” While it isn’t exactly considered a high fashion choice, it’s certainly not something the authorities would ever worry about in most countries, and people would just assume you have an affinity for military-style garb and/or enjoy hunting.

However, in many Caribbean countries such as Barbados, Jamaica, St. Vincent and St. Lucia, several African countries, and even Saudi Arabia, wearing of camouflage patterned clothes is banned, unless you want to be fined or potentially jailed. The issue is that they don’t want any civilians being mixed up with members of the military, as most of the countries with these laws have at least one uniform with a camouflage pattern. When you think of it that way, the law actually makes perfect sense… although it’s unlikely someone wearing say, a pair of camo shorts and a beach shirt, is going to be confused for active duty military of any kind.

3. The Town of Tuszyn, Poland Banned Winnie the Pooh From Their Playground

While it wasn’t exactly a law, the town of Tuszyn, Poland made international news for a strange decision they made in 2014. They had been trying to decide a new mascot for the town playground, and were going over innocent and wholesome cartoon characters they could use that would be fun for the children. One of the names that came up was Winnie the Pooh, and at first you would think this was a suggestion that would pick up some steam; it doesn’t get much more innocent, fun, and generally banal than Winnie the Pooh. He is, in fact, a character that most people would imagine would be impossible to be offended by… unless he is already associated negatively with your dear leader, as he is in China.

However, someone recorded the town council meeting where it was discussed, and leaked the audio to the Croatian Times, who made fun of the proceedings and their inherent silliness. Apparently, the idea was shot down and Pooh was banned as the potential mascot mainly because he wasn’t wearing any clothes on his bottom half, and was actually “half-naked.” Now, some would imagine you would argue that he isn’t immodest because he has no genitals, and is just a cartoon. Oh, and also, a bear. Last time we checked, it’s more unusual for bears to be wearing red shirts than it is for them to be without pants. Unfortunately, that did come up during the debate, and some council members suggested that it made Pooh some kind of hermaphrodite, or someone with some kind of other gender identity disorder, and that it therefore made him even more inappropriate for children. We wonder what the city council of Tuszyn, Poland, thinks of Donald Duck.

2. Japan Is Policing Obesity, But They Haven’t Made It Illegal As Some People Think

In 2008, Japan passed a “Metabo Law” that left a lot of people scratching their heads and adding yet another one to the “weird Japan” file. The rumor claimed that the law literally made it illegal to be fat, and that if you were fat enough, the government could fine or even imprison you. However, while a Metabo Law was passed, it was not at all what many in the Western World thought it was.

The way the law works is that if you are in between the ages of 45 and 74, and you have a waistline of 35.4 inches or more for a man, or 31.5 inches or more for a woman, then you have to have it measured every year and seek proper medical advice from a doctor on how to shrink your waistline and improve your health. The law does not make it illegal or even attach fines to having extra weight; it just ensures that you get the medical attention you need if you go beyond what Japanese legislators have considered the line for an early intervention against dangerous levels of weight gain.

1. Turkmenbashi Was A Mad Ruler Of Turkmenistan… But They Aren’t Much Better Off Without Him

If you have ever seen the TV show Archer, you may be familiar with an episode where they visit Turkmenistan and learn that it has an insane leader named Gorbagun Gorbanguly, who has changed the words for both bread and Friday to his dog’s name: Gurpgork. Now, while this isn’t at all true, it is based on some true life events. Turkmenistan’s current leader’s name is Gurbanguly Berdimuhamedow, and the previous leader of the country, a man named Saparmurat Niyazov — also known as Turkmenbashi — was pretty much the undisputed dictator from 1990 until 2006. During that time he was known for being a power-mad eccentric who not only ruled with an iron fist, but made utterly insane proclamations.

He created a national melon day, after the country’s chief export, and also a national day for horses. People used to wear gold fillings in their teeth as a mark of status, but Turkmenbashi felt they were not a good thing, and soon people were tearing them out of their mouths, spending their money on expensive dental work. He banned circuses and ballet because they were “unnecessary.” He also banned beards because he didn’t trust followers of Islam. On top of that, he changed the name of January to his name, and April to his mother’s name. When he died and the new dictator for life took over, he did do away with a lot of the more eccentric laws, but it still continues to be an incredibly poor country where ethnic Muslims are distrusted, and the vast majority of the country’s oil riches are going to the elites who run it all, or just sitting in the ground not being used due to poor infrastructure and mismanagement.


It’s the Law! –

WIF Stranger Than Fiction

Alpha Omega M.D. – Episode #55

Leave a comment

Alpha Omega M.D. – Episode #55

…Father and I have petitioned the courts of both Gadsden and Leon County to allow Abigail to be a permanent part of our family…

And Abigail makes three Ferrell kids

Martha Ferrell has taken this family aspect to the next level. She chooses this warm and fuzzy outing as an opportunity to spring some exciting news on all but her husband. “Children, I want to sit down on this bench,” pointing to the one outside Simpson’s Drug Store.

Abigail sits dutifully on one end, with Agnes charging to the spot next to her, leaving James for the other end and none too pleased. He rarely strays too far from Abbey’s side. His sister manages to do what Mother has not been able to do; separate the two young and taken hearts.

Abbey, as is her nature, creates a compromise. She unseats herself, scooting Nessie to one side, while placing her in the middle. Done.

James’ version

“Thank you children… Abigail. It is important we be civil. We have some wonderful news for us all.”

The Ferrell “children” are thinking along the lines of the family gift; maybe a new wardrobe for Agnes or a champion thoroughbred to James’ liking. Neither is the case.

Father and I have petitioned the courts of both Gadsden and Leon County to allow Abigail to be a permanent part of our family. Abigail Smythwick Ferrell. How does that sound?”

Well you could have knocked James over with a hummingbird’s feather. He has pictured (in a young man’s fancy) Abbey owning the Ferrell name by marrying her into the family, certainly not as a step-sister.

Agnes is overjoyed. The big sister she always wanted; sharing beauty tips and boy secrets and clothes… well maybe not clothes. That would require a full-time seamstress.

Sisters

Abbey’s version

Abigail’s emotions fall somewhere in-between. She too has had private aspirations on being a Ferrell, again as a wife, not an adopted sibling. Womanly dreams aside, her feelings of group membership are unmistakable. She has also seen enough of Southern relations to hold hope that certain moral stigmas can be conveniently negotiable. “I would be rightly proud to consider myself a Ferrell.”

At closer examination, without a blood relative on the North American continent and few inherited friends of her father, her choices are none. Plus, she is near enough to Sumter South to have a hand in its future; quite a land holding for one so young.

“Consider it done,” assures matriarch of the family, whose involvement in Campbell matter has turned out to be a life changing experience.


Alpha Omega M.D.

Episode #55


page 51

Alpha Omega M.D. – Episode #33

Leave a comment

Alpha Omega M.D. – Episode #33

… Women cannot be presidents, my dear, too temperamental. ” proclaims old Jefferson. “Chairwomen, I would say, but not president…

Capitol Building Tallahassee Florida

The long awaited and much anticipated Summer Cotillion, as presented by the Tallahassee Junior Women’s Club (Mrs. John Ferrell president and committee chairman) has finally arrived. Members and guests are filing into the Grand Ballroom of the State Capitol Building, hungry for a holiday, seeing that Independence Day is more of a Northern thing. Independence has escaped many of those south of the Mason-Dixon Line, a way of preserving a lifestyle that flies in the face of those who comprise the majority in the Union.

If you find yourself not attending this function, you are bedridden, diseased, or socially invisible. Politicians are there to press the flesh. City fathers snuggle up to the politicians. Women are there to be seen. Men are there to see as much as they can. Debutantes aspire to social heights, while their male counterparts are like kids in a candy shop.

All in all, it is a great excuse to dress up and rub elbows with folks infrequently seen in this primarily horse and buggy paced world.

Those attracting the most attention, in this buffet of mostly beautiful people, are the Midway and Quincy contingents.

It may seem unlikely, but shy James Ferrell will be the icebreaker between the two diverse communities. He is also the moth to Abigail Smythwick’s flame. As soon as she and her father make their entrance, young James lights on the budding belle, even though he had never met her father, a churlish figure whose gray long-tailed jacket reeks of Confederate indolence, sans medals and rank markings.

“Father, I would like to introduce, James Ferrell. His mother is the president of the Tallahassee Women’s Club. They are putting on this grand event.” She boasts of a potential beau’s credence.

“Women cannot be presidents, my dear, too temperamental,” proclaims old Jefferson. “Chairwomen, I would say, but not president.”

James fails to object, rather extending his hand, “It is an honor to meet you, sir.”

The clenching of hands nearly buckles the younger’s knees.

“My daughter speaks so highly of you, being of good stock, with healthy Scottish roots. Anglo-Saxon people are the backbone of the globe.”

“I did not tell you he was Scottish, Daddy.” She is ignored.

“She tells me you are interested in law.”

“Yessir.” James is still massaging feeling into his right hand fingers. “Constitutional law is my true passion.”

“Laws are intended to protect the weak. The United States Constitution does the same. Perhaps you will be able to correct these unfair advantages in the course of your endeavors.”


Alpha Omega M.D.

Episode #33


page 31

Alpha Omega M.D. – Episode #15

Leave a comment

Alpha Omega M.D. – Episode #15

…, the Governor views A.O. as a victim of Jobian proportions, losing vitality, family, treasures and health, nearly as fast as the biblical man of God in the Old Testament…

On this cloudy cool day in October of 1958, the lone figure of George Lewis watches from the distance, black trench-coat and wide-brimmed hat cloaking his identity. Will the death of Maggie Lou seal his and her secret beneath five feet of dirt? He has no way of knowing who knows what. He prays a silent prayer that will likely be ignored by the man upstairs.

Former States Attorney, now Governor of the newly dubbed “Sunshine State”, Wilbert Dexter Hopkins clears his desk of the day’s papers, just as his secretary did to his schedule, freeing this late afternoon for an important meeting. His duties in the Florida’s highest office vary greatly from when he was a lead prosecutor. He now leads an entire state instead of star witnesses.

Today, however, the two elected positions become one. On the very same day he had granted special leave for Alpha Omega Campbell, he meets with the key players in the doctor’s interment at Starke; he being the prosecutor who doggedly pursued the old man’s conviction, disregarding the health of the defendant or compelling evidence to the contrary. But he was two years younger then and on the fast-track to political affluence. And at the age of 30, respect for your elders exists in the void between pre-adolescent youth and middle age. Thus the quest for career wins out over decency; the word “decent” does not appear in the Alternative Lawyer’s Handbook.

Now, two years older chronologically, but ten years more humane and doubly decent, W.D. Hopkins has a change of heart. Curiously, he views A.O. as a victim of Jobian proportions, losing vitality, family, treasures and health, nearly as fast as the biblical man of God in the Old Testament.

In his large office, at the confluence of Pensacola, Adams, Monroe Streets and Apalachee Parkway, in the state capitol complex, are five chairs. They will be filled by, from left to right: The new States Attorney, Jim Stack; Mrs. Addie Gray, Audrey Franich’s mother; Sam Goldblatt III, he of Holiday Inns, invited at the insistence of banker Lewis; Warden Hayes; and an A.O. Campbell advocate, representing the Southeastern Medical Society, Dr. Henry Palmer.

This is not a formal hearing, i.e. recorded for posterity, though perhaps it should have, considering the ramifications.


Alpha Omega M.D.

Episode #15


page 15

Alpha Omega M.D. – Episode #5

Leave a comment

Alpha Omega M.D. – Episode #5

…The Governor has granted you special dispensation…

“You have a visitor, Doc Campbell.” The voice of guard Lightfoot pierces the night, routing the man from a spasmodic sleep. It feels like he has been daydreaming with his eyes closed.

“I ain’t been been killin’ no white girl!” yells the doctor incongruously, with conviction.

R Worth Moore-001Standing before his 6×8 foot cell, is R. Worth Moore, the attorney who was unsuccessful in refuting the testimony of the dead girl’s mother. Her daughter, in a deathbed revelation, tells her mother that it was a Tallahassee doctor who performed an abortion on her. Whether or not the privileged evidence is true, the six white males on the jury believe so. Go ahead and disregard the known fact that her then “family” doctor was a Doctor Sapp, who practiced medicine 10 miles north, in Havana. He is white; any potential holes in the testimony?

“Wake up, Doc… do you want out of here or not?” Lightfoot has a heavy hand.

You can almost smell the fresh air of freedom from inside this hell-hole.

  “A.O., I’ve come to take you to be with your Maggie!” Attorney Moore looks more disheveled than normal, because of the early morning hour, but not too far from his typically crumpled appearance; being a widower, he does not have his suits pressed as much as he should.

“Say what now Mr. Moore?” he mutters in a surrealistic daze.

The Governor has granted you special dispensation. I’m here to take you home for the funeral. Alpha is waiting for us in my car.”

“Mr. Moore went over the warden’s head, Doc,” says the guard. “Now get on your Sunday clothes before someone changes their mind.”dignity

Moore has brought the doctor’s best fall suit with him. Prison cannot take away this proud man’s dignity and the way a man dresses is the outward expression of that. Prisoner Campbell is suddenly transformed into his former self; the one who operates in the realm of the respectful and respected, as opposed to the regulars at Starke, molester, murderer and thief. How did he ever get lumped in with this motley crew?

The metamorphosis is completed when a renew-ly proud man strides confidently through the open cell door. An emotional Attorney Moore sniffles in concert with his tears, much as he had done after his closing statement on February 2nd, 1956.

“If they’ll give me my black bag back, Worth, I‘ll give you somethin’ for that.” He thinks of others before self. If one’s life motto can be summed up in six words, write the previous sentence down in The Book of Life, alongside the quiet doctor’s name.


Alpha Omega M.D.

Episode #5


page 6

Constance Caraway P.I. ~ Episode 174

Leave a comment

Constance Caraway P.I. ~ Episode 174

…One of the two thugs getting away yelled back to his fingered friend as he fled, “We was only susposed to rough him up good…

Bronzeville

Click to Hear

With big city excitement, you also get big city crime. Attorney Moore will discover  that Chicago neighborhoods can change for the worse from one north-south block to the next.

Bronzeville is not a local analogy for third place in the Hospitality Olympics, more like third rate on a list of three. An unsuspecting ‘not from anywhere ‘roun here’ mark, one gold watch and a fat wallet (pocketed in a fine wool suit) are too tempting for a feckless group of teenagers who have decided, at the tender age of 14, that an education is a waste of time.

Back in Tallahassee, it has its Frenchtown, not a place where French is the native language, more akin to a dumping ground for the city poor. Moore knows when and when not to venture in that familiar territory; not so much here.

If it weren’t for a police black & white on the night beat, the beating the Floridian was getting would have been far worse. It is not enough to roll somebody for a grand or so in loot. When the victim is white, there is way too much more ‘fun’ in turning it into a blood sport.

Worth did comport himself well though, leaving one of the young men with a crushed left leg which slowed him down enough so that he could not limp away fast enough to saunter off into the town without pity. The lone good news being that he was the one with the stolen wallet and his capture was the single redeeming token of a lesson well learned.

One of the two who were getting away, with the shiny gold watch that is destined for the local pawn shop, yelled some regrettable phrase back to his fingered friend as he fled, “We was only susposed to rough him up good, Neal.” Though they were not hired to steal anything, his baggy trousers gave up a few stray Newport Menthols and a business card in the wake of his accelerating gate.


Constance Caraway P.I.

Forever Mastadon


page 148

Constance Caraway P.I. ~ Episode 173

Leave a comment

Constance Caraway P.I. ~ Episode 173

…And what on Earth is R. Worth Moore doing, leapfrogging the Mason-Dixon Line by hundreds of miles…

Mason-Dixon

While Constance goes out to Midway to tend to her interests, R. Worth Moore is busy doing all the legal grunt work R Worth Moore-001required to clean up after Fanny’s hospital mystery accident. When you are an out-of-state driver, things can get complicated; when you are an out-of-state lawyer, well you better show intent to get licensed to practice in Illinois. He gladly takes the time to do so, seeing that these city folk actually have the means to pay usual and ordinary officially authorized fees (chickens – pies). So, unlike Dr. A.O. Campbell, he can charge good cash money for his services.

There seems to be a trend developing here about. Neither Constance nor Fanny is in a hurry to scurry out of town. Just what was keeping their headquarters down in toddling Tallahassee? Is it the comfort of the hometown atmosphere, where everybody knows your name? And what stands in the way of CCPI from relocating to this happening Chi-town? Their advertising budget would go from $0 to $omething more and trading physical space may be a hassle, the buying and selling of real estate.

But as they reach their prime investigative years, how can they ignore the allure of the big city?

And what on Earth is R. Worth Moore doing, licensing himself in a state that is the polar opposite of Florida, leapfrogging the Mason-Dixon Line by hundreds of miles? Can it be that he has always had designs on moving out and up, or has Fanny Renwick laid down a scent that he cannot resist?

But with big city excitement, you also get big city crime, as he would discover while deciding to take an early spring stroll from his South Loop hotel down to 6137 Kimbark. He had not realized that Chicago neighborhoods can change for the worse from one north/south block to the next…….


Constance Caraway P.I.

Forever Mastadon


page 148