• John B Whalen Jr Esq •

Category: Philadelphia Ps – Legal Briefs (Page 1 of 2)



The very existence of flame-throwers proves that sometime, somewhere, someone said to themselves, “You know, I want to set those people over there on fire, but I’m just not close enough to get the job done.

“Flamethrowers” – George Carlin

George Denis Patrick Carlin
Born May 12, 1937 – Died June 22, 2008
American Comedian, Social Critic, Actor, Author

“Flamethrowers” – George Carlin – Note

The seven dirty words (or “Filthy Words”) are seven English-language words that American comedian George Carlin first listed in 1972 in his monologue “Seven Words You Can Never Say on Television.”

Carlin was noted for his black comedy and thoughts on politics, the English language, psychology, religion, and various taboo subjects. He and his “seven dirty words” comedy routine were central to the 1978 U.S. Supreme Court case F.C.C. v. Pacifica Foundation, in which a 5–4 decision affirmed the government’s power to regulate indecent material on the public airwaves.

At the time, the words were considered highly inappropriate and unsuitable for broadcast on the public airwaves in the United States, whether radio or television. As such, they were avoided in scripted material, and bleep-censored in the rare cases in which they were used; broadcast standards differ in different parts of the world, then and now, although most of the words on Carlin’s original list remain taboo on American broadcast television as of 2011.

The list was not an official enumeration of forbidden words, but rather was compiled by Carlin.

Nonetheless, a radio broadcast featuring these words led to a Supreme Court decision that helped establish the extent to which the federal government could regulate speech on broadcast television and radio in the United States.

“Flamethrowers” – George Carlin – “FCC v. Pacifica Foundation

In 1973, a father complained to the FCC that his son had heard the George Carlin routine “Filthy Words”broadcast one afternoon over WBAI, a Pacifica Foundation FM radio station in New York City. Pacifica received censure from the FCC, in the form of a letter of reprimand, for allegedly violating FCC regulations which prohibited broadcasting indecent material.

The U.S. Supreme Court upheld the FCC action in 1978, by a vote of 5 to 4, ruling that the routine was “indecent but not obscene”. The Court accepted as compelling the government’s interests in:

  • Shielding children from potentially offensive material, and
  • Ensuring that unwanted speech does not enter one’s home.

The Court stated that the FCC had the authority to prohibit such broadcasts during hours when children were likely to be among the audience, and gave the FCC broad leeway to determine what constituted indecency in different contexts.

“They Didn’t Give Me My Slice”


they didn’t give me my slice

“They Didn’t Give Me My Slice” – Bio

James Todd Spader
Born February 7, 1960
American Actor

“They Didn’t Give Me My Slice” – The Practice – 3 Emmy Awards

James Spader is best known for portraying eccentric characters.

These characters appear in films (“Sex, Lies, and Videotape” (1989), the controversial psychological thriller “Crash” (1996), and the erotic romance “Secretary” (2002), as well as television roles (“The Practice” and its spin-off “Boston Legal,” for which he won three Emmy Awards).

He currently stars as high-profile criminal Raymond “Red” Reddington in the crime drama “The Blacklist.”

“Tabloid Nation”


“Tabloid Nation” – Bio

“Tabloid Nation”
Episode 15, Season 4, Release date: April 8, 2008
Boston Legal

“Tabloid Nation” – Note

… just think for yourself …

… still relevant today, if not more …

… television stations just want the ratings …

… they manufacture division …


I remember the movie, “Network” by Paddy Chayefsky.

It depicted the extremes and perversities that television would resort to for the sake of ratings.

It was a film way ahead of its time, and yet now it seems dated given the depths to which television has sunk.

I doubt even Chayefsky could ever have imagined putting contestants on a program to eat worms or raw animal parts, or women humiliating themselves to marry fake millionaires.

One network made a deal for OJ Simpson to do a Prime Time Special on how he might have killed his ex-wife.

Television is a noble beast, isn’t it?

Well, the shame is it once was.

To many it still should be.

Television took us to the moon.

It let us cry together as a nation when a beloved president was assassinated.

Its unflinching and comprehensive coverage of Vietnam served to end that war.

Television gave us Edward R. Murrow, Walter Cronkite, Rod Serling, Ernie Kovacs.

We had shows like The Defenders, All in the Family.

One could argue that the steep decline of TV began with a show called A Current Affair which introduced tabloid journalism.

There used to be standards of excellence in television.

I’m not talking only about Emmys and Peabodys, but not so long ago broadcasters had a real sense of responsibility.

They took their statutory obligation to operate in the public interest very seriously.

Now the networks look for our guilty pleasures and morbid curiosities and pander to those with the hope that they’ll get us addicted.

Once you get people hooked, you’ve got ’em!

And you have to get people hooked because everything today is ratings, demographics, market share, money.

Even the news divisions are now profit centers which means that if good-looking, white-toothed anchors have better TVQs than credentialed journalists, you get the eye-candy!

And if positive coverage of the war in Iraq reaches more households, you get Fox News.

In fact today you can switch back and forth between the right-wing news and the left-wing news.

Whatever happened to Huntley? Brinkley? John Chancellor?

To news that was just the news?

Now we have partisan junk appealing to the lowest common denominator which brings us currently to the program at issue, Dr Ray!

Mr. Palmer said his client couldn’t possibly have seen this coming.

Well, that simply isn’t true.

This tragedy was inevitable.

It’s practically scripted!

It’s happened before.

Talk show ambushes have gone awry leading to murder or suicide.

This isn’t a first.

But here’s what’s truly horrifying.

A tragedy occurred here, a woman was killed, but for the show – for the show – the real tragedy was that the killing didn’t happen on the show!

That would have been the ratings blockbuster.

That would have been the big score everybody was hoping for.

But they had to settle for the next best thing which was that the murder became news.

The nightly news was perfectly happy to do the job for them.

They gave Dr. Ray all the promotion it could possibly want airing sensational clips and graphics from the show again and again and again.

You see how it all works so beautifully together!

The girl was killed!

The show benefits!

The news benefits!

And we eat it up!

Psychologically damaged people are paraded on stage to be exploited, ridiculed, taunted.

Of course this is what we get!

And we stand to get a lot more of it because it sells.

And it costs almost nothing to produce.

And what’s not to love?

Here we have an emotionally unstable ex-boyfriend with a history of violence, armed with a marriage proposal certain to be rejected in front of the world.

And the fact that an innocent young woman ended up butchered was good business for all.

Just business.

Well, so is a lawsuit.


The most memorable part of the movie Network was when Howard Beale started shouting on national television, “I’m mad as hell, and I’m not gonna take it anymore!”

And the country joined in with him.

You need to join in now.

You need to go back to that room and say you’re not going to sit quietly and let these networks assault decency for profit.

You’re not going to stand for the exploitation of the disenfranchised.

You’re sick of the networks debasing a medium they’re supposed to be guardians of.

Don’t take it anymore.

Please. Please. Get mad as hell!

And don’t take it …


“Now Sit Down”


“Now Sit Down” – Bio

12 Angry Men
1957 American Courtroom Drama Film
Directed By Sidney Lumet

“Now Sit Down” – Note

This trial film tells the story of a jury made up of 12 men as they deliberate the guilt or acquittal of a defendant on the basis of reasonable doubt, forcing the jurors to question their morals and values. In the United States, a verdict in most criminal trials by jury must be unanimous.

The film is notable for its almost exclusive use of one set: out of 96 minutes of run time, only three minutes take place outside of the jury room.

12 Angry Men explores many techniques of consensus-building and the difficulties encountered in the process, among a group of men whose range of personalities adds intensity and conflict.

No names are used in the film; the jury members are identified by number until two of them exchange names at the very end. The defendant is referred to as “the boy” and the witnesses as “the old man” and “the lady across the street”.

12 Angry Men – “Now Sit Down” – Library of Congress

In 2007, the film was selected for preservation in the United States National Film Registry by the Library of Congress as being “culturally, historically, or aesthetically significant”.

The film was selected as the second-best courtroom drama ever by the American Film Institute during their AFI’s 10 Top 10 list, and is the highest courtroom drama on Rotten Tomatoes’ Top 100 Movies of All Time.

The A.F.I.’s Top 10 List is as follows:

  • To Kill A Mockingbird
  • 12 Angry Men
  • Kramer vs. Kramer
  • The Verdict
  • A Few Good Men
  • Witness For The Prosecution
  • Anatomy Of A Murder
  • In Cold Blood
  • A Cry In The Dark
  • Judgement At Nuremberg
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