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April 2019
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Recognizing the Biggest Instagram Marketing Trends of 2019

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Instagram marketing techniques and trends are always changing as an increasing number of brands try to capture the attention of their target audiences. Marketers need to be aware of what their audiences are taking a liking to so that they can leverage the opportunity for driving engagement and boosting conversions. Some of the most trending […]The post Recognizing the Biggest Instagram Marketing Trends of 2019 appeared first on Adotas.

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9 Tactics for a Successful Local Facebook Marketing Strategy

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By Martin Ochwat Marketing strategies communicate at the social, personal and emotional level to have an impact on a customer's decision making. The success of your marketing campaign is also dependent on how well you understand social media platforms. Facebook is the most popular and influential social networking platform out there. Do you want to […]The post 9 Tactics for a Successful Local Facebook Marketing Strategy appeared first on Adotas.

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posted at: 12:00am on 09-Apr-2019
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Former Police Chief Says Conviction Requirement For Forfeitures Makes It Too Hard To Take Cash From People

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One of the worst defenses of civil asset forfeiture has been penned by retired police chief Robert Stevenson for the Michigan news site, the Bridge. It's written in response to two things: pending forfeiture reform bills in the state legislature and the Supreme Court's Timbs decision, which indicated forfeiture may fall on the wrong side of the 8th and 14th Amendments.Michigan definitely needs to overhaul its forfeiture laws. Law enforcement claims it's dismantling drug cartels, but a look at the state's forfeiture stats shows cops are just piling up low ball seizures to create a suitably impressive total. Cash seizures are routinely below $1,000. Vehicle seizures are also popular with Michigan cops, but the average value of vehicles taken from alleged drug dealers also falls below the $1,000 mark.It's these tiny seizures -- the ones not worth fighting in court -- that the state legislature is trying to curb. It's hoping to implement a conviction requirement for any forfeiture under $50,000. Chief Stevenson says this would let the drug dealers win. But beyond using some florid language to flesh out a tiny parade of horribles, Stevenson cannot actually say why this conviction requirement would harm drug enforcement efforts. He tries. Lord, how he tries. But there's nothing coherent in his defense of cops taking property from citizens just because.First, Stevenson argues that cops should be able to take money they feel deeply in their hearts is derived from drug dealing even if it can't find any evidence linking the person carrying it to a crime.

Law enforcement will be severely handicapped if state lawmakers succumb to the misconception that no forfeiture should take place without a conviction on proceeds under $50,000. It is a dramatic misunderstanding that a conviction can be obtained in all drug cases. Drugs and proceeds are not always discovered together which makes obtaining criminal convictions in certain instances impossible. Linking civil asset forfeiture to a criminal conviction allows drug dealers to continue profiting from dealing death in our communities.
In the eyes of LEOs like Stevenson, cash being carried by people stopped by officers can only be the product of illegal activity. It's simply inconceivable anyone would carry cash in this day and age, apparently. This isn't conjecture on my part. Stevenson actually states that people carrying cash are legally obligated to explain its origin to cops.That part comes in his second argument for forfeiture -- one that says even if cops have all the evidence they need to push for a conviction, they still should just be able to take the cash instead.
The $50,000 threshold found in this legislation simply means that drug dealers will transport money in sums of less than $50,000. The scenarios I fear involve finding suspects in a house or a car in possession of $49,000 in cash with no valid explanation.
There are two mind-blowing statements in this paragraph and they're both worth singling out.Stevenson says people should have to explain their cash to cops. That's a really weird statement to make, considering previous forfeiture reform efforts raised the burden of proof for the state, not for the public. The public doesn't owe law enforcement a "valid explanation" for cash (and other property) it possesses. This is completely the wrong way around and it explains law enforcement's inherent resistance to conviction requirements. Cops want the cash, but they don't want to put in the work needed to link seizures to illegal activity. They want the burden of proof to rest most heavily on those whose property has been taken.Then Stevenson says cops shouldn't have to pursue convictions to take cash even when they have enough evidence to support a conviction. These sentences resist parsing:
Drugs may not be present, but everything else confirms and indicates drug trafficking, i.e., ledger books, scales, pre-recorded narcotics buy funds and packaging materials. In this particular scenario, as well as a multitude of others, the police and prosecutors could not establish a case to seize anything if Michigan adopts the $50,000 threshold.
The proposed law would just determine which case needs to be established first. If cops have enough to establish a case for prosecution, it can move forward with trying to seize the cash. The only possible way this argument makes sense is if Michigan law enforcement is so inept it can't cobble together a prosecution using a shitload of evidence. If that's the case, Michigan law enforcement definitely needs to have convictionless seizures because that's the only way it's ever going to take possession of all this "unexplained" cash.I'm sure Stevenson felt pretty self-righteous (and regular righteous, to be fair) handing this op-ed in. But the lack of logic displayed by his spirited, but incoherent, defense of the state's long-running "free money for cops" programs made more of case for reform than if he'd simply said nothing at all.

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Horse Race Announcer Sues Over Bill Murray Firm That Included His Trademarked Tagline

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People's confusion as to what trademark law protects and doesn't protect is a source of neverending frustration for those of us who simply cannot stand the growth of ownership culture. There is this pervasive and growing sense by those who aren't particularly well informed that trademark law simply allows one to own a word or phrase to the exclusion of every other person's use. That, obviously, is not the case and it's always worth reiterating over and over again that the point of trademark law is to prevent the public from being misled as to the source of a good or service. And, yet, that baseline fact eludes far too many people.Such as Dave Johnson, for instance. Johnson is a rather renowned announcer for horse racing, having spent time on the Illinois circuit and, more famously, calling races at Santa Anita Park. If you're a fan of the pony races, you may know his signature call even if you don't know his name: "And down the stretch they come!" Johnson trademarked the phrase in 2012. He also recently sued the Weinstein Co. over the 2014 Bill Murray film, St. Vincent, in which Murray uses the line.

In the federal lawsuit filed in New York, Johnson takes issue with Murray’s use of it in the film “St. Vincent.” In the movie, Murray plays a “retired grumpy alcoholic who gambles regularly on horse racing,” the suit states.The suit alleges that by putting his words in the mouth of an “unsavory character,” the film “infringes, damages, blurs, tarnishes, and dilutes the mark and the rights and reputation of the mark’s creator and owner, Dave Johnson — an esteemed and accomplished gentleman who is a universally respected legend in sports broadcasting and entertainment.”
It's a lawsuit that seems ridiculous on its face. Trademarking the phrase doesn't somehow obliterate the First Amendment rights of a filmmaker, after all. And it seems painfully obvious that there is no potential customer confusion over which to be concerned. The tarnishment allegation is the only one that seems even remotely plausible, except that claiming a fictional character's use of the phrase in a creative work somehow tarnishes the mark or its creator in real life is much more of a stretch than would appear in any race Johnson might call. This feels like a pure money-grab. And not one that is likely to prevail.Complicating this further is that Murray's character is a grumpy alcoholic gambler, not an announcer. All of which divorces the phrase from the claim that Murray's film somehow is trying to imitate Johnson in real life.In other words, none of this makes sense and this suit should be dismissed upon request.

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