Julie L. Kessler
lawyer traveler writer

News

The continuing humanitarian crisis in Europe

Sep. 25, 2015

My article “U.S. must accept its fair share of refugees” appeared in today’s edition of The L.A. Daily Journal and The S.F. Daily Journal.  This article discusses the continuing crisis as Europe attempts to deal with the vast human migration of refugees to its shores. And in a twist of historical irony, Mama Merkel and Germany are leading the way.

Press luncheon held by China Southern Airlines

Sep. 22, 2015

A most enjoyable Press luncheon hosted by China Southern Airlines at The Palm on September 22, 2015.

Northern Japan and the Russian Far East

Sep. 20, 2015

My article on Northern Japan and the Russian Far East appeared on the front page of the Sunday Travel Section of The Honolulu Star-Advertiser. Read it here:

https://www.vagabondlawyer.com/uploads/News/Northern_Japan_and_the_Russian_Far_East.pdf

Great Wolf Lodge's latest giant water park to splash down near Disneyland

Sep. 18, 2015

My short article on the opening of Great Wolf Lodge in Orange County, California appeared in The L.A. Times, Sunday Travel Section yesterday; click here to read it.

The Good Life Expo in Honolulu

Aug. 31, 2015

I have been asked to speak at The Good Life Expo in Honolulu at The Neil Blaisdell Center. I will be speaking on Friday, September 25th at 8:30am and 3:30pm and again on Sunday, September 27th at 9:30am. The topic will be travel and cruising.

Privacy rights v. Free speech

Aug. 17, 2015

My article “If it’s on the Web, it’s true, right?” appears in today’s edition of The L.A. Daily Journal. The article discusses how your basic right to privacy stacks up against the competing interest of free speech.

 

The article also examines the right-to-be-forgotten rules as interpreted and applied by the European Court of Justice in the May 2014 Gonzalez case, as well as the recent decision by France’s Commission Nationale de l’informatique et des Libertes (CNIL) to order Google to apply those rules internationally. Google declined.

 

Legitimate arguments are present on both sides: Is it Internet censorship or the legitimate protection of one’s right to privacy?

 

There is now pending a case before the Federal Trade Commission against Google filed by the adovcacy group Consumer Watchdog, alleging that Google’s conduct is an “unfair and deceptive practice” under the FTC Act.

 

Is the price we pay for our critically important right of free speech that we have zero control over our Internet presence even when that information is misleading, incorrect or just plain wrong?

Cruising Alaska

Aug. 16, 2015

My article "Cruising Alaska" on Silversea's Silver Shadow appears on the front page of today’s edition of The Honolulu Star-Advertiser, Sunday Travel section. Read it here:

https://www.vagabondlawyer.com/uploads/News/Cruising_Alaska.pdf

The most hated man in America

Aug. 5, 2015

My article “What’s next for Cecil the lion’s killer” appeared in today’s edition of The L.A. Daily Journal. This article discusses Minnesota dentist Walter Palmer’s cowardly act of luring Zimbabwe’s national treasure, Cecil, out of the Hwange Reserve Park, shooting him with a bow and arrow, then spending the next 40 hours pursuing him. When finally caught, Palmer skinned Cecil, and then beheaded him. Killing simply for the sake of killing. Just because he could.
 

Because of the international outrage against this senseless act, Palmer’s River Bluff Dental practice in tony Bloomington, Minnesota has closed and he has gone underground. The article further discusses potential legal action against Palmer under The Lacey Act, as amended, a federal law which provides for both civil and criminal penalties, and also Zimbabwe’s extradition request that he stand trial there. (This was not Palmer’s first brush with federal authorities for illegal conduct. In 2009, Palmer was convicted for lying about a bear kill in Wisconsin, fined $3,000 and put on a year’s probation.)
 

Palmer should be extradited to Zimbabwe to face the consequences of his illegal and despicable conduct.

Mass shootings, America’s new normal

Jul. 29, 2015

My article "Mass shootings, America’s new normal" appears in today’s edition of The L.A. Daily Journal. In this article, I compare the fear of being caught up in an intense typhoon in the Sea of Japan with the fear of being caught up in the seemingly never-ending crossfire of routine mass shootings and what living with this fear means to our collective conscience.

 

Also discussed of course is the National Rifle Association’s de facto slogan of “Guns don’t kill, people do,” which makes as much sense as the Flat Earth myth that flourished between 1870 and 1920 that likely resulted from Washington Irving’s 1828 biography of Christopher Columbus. (Even though it is highly doubtful that Columbus’s sailing pals were fearful of falling off the earth’s edge during their work day in service to Ferdinand and Isabella.)

 

NEWSFLASH: The earth is not flat, but round. And a person without a gun simply cannot shoot to death, injure or maim an innocent person.

The case of unmistaken identity

Jun. 24, 2015

My article “Rachel Dolezal and unmistaken identity” appears in today’s edition of The L.A. Daily Journal. The article discussed the recent uproar over Ms. Dolezal assertions of ethnic blackness in light of recent revelations about her personal history. The article also discusses issues of self-identity, social construct and the collective narrative in light of the many issues this case brings to the surface.

 

Full article off copyright and now available:

https://www.vagabondlawyer.com/uploads/News/The_case_of_unmistaken_identity.pdf

Calling all Lithuanian readers…

Jun. 9, 2015

My book Fifty-Fifty: the Clarity of Hindsight is now available in Lithuania!
 

Knygos pagal autorių: Julie L. Kessler / Knygos.lt – knygos …

https://www.knygos.lt/lt/knygos/autorius/julie-l-kessler/ – Translate this page

Julie L. Kessler knygos internetu! Nuolaidos ir Akcijos kasdien! Jūsų knygynas internete – Knygos.lt.

Southern Exposure

Jun. 7, 2015

My article on Macon, GA and Charleston, S.C. appeared on the front page of today’s edition of The Honolulu Star-Advertiser, Sunday Travel Section. Read it here: 

https://www.vagabondlawyer.com/uploads/News/Southern_Exposure.pdf

Humanitarian crises at sea

May 26, 2015

My article “Humanitarian crises at sea” will appear in the May 28, 2015 edition of The L.A. Daily Journal and The S.F. Daily Journal.  The article discusses the continuing crisis taking place off the coasts of Thailand, Malaysia and Indonesia, where about 7,000 maritime migrant refugees from Burma and Bangladesh have been languishing at sea without food or water, after their overcrowded vessels were denied the right to make landfall and pushed further out to sea by the nations where they sought refuge.

 

The Burmese refugees are Rohingyas, a small Muslim minority of about one million people in Buddhist-majority Burma, with a population of approximately 53 million. The Bangladeshi refugees are economic migrants fleeing abject poverty.

 

The nations of Thailand, Malaysia and Indonesia were initially pushing these boats further out to sea to near certain death. After intense international pressure, Malaysia finally agreed to send out its navy to engage in search-and-rescue missions. Indonesia said it would offer temporary shelter to those refugees already on its shores, but would not send rescuers out to sea. Thailand said it would not take in additional survivors.

 

To say that time is of the essence for swift action would be an understatement of epic proportions.

 

Full article off copyright and now available:

https://www.vagabondlawyer.com/uploads/News/Humanitarian_crises_at_sea.pdf

Another casualty in the war on free speech

May 20, 2015

My article “Another casualty in the war on free speech” appeared in today’s edition of The L.A. Daily Journal and The S.F. Daily Journal. The article discussed the recent hacking murder by machete of Bangladeshi banker and secular writer, Ananda Bijoy Das.

 

Das wrote mainly on science and evolution of the Soviet Union and also wrote for Mukto-Mona, the website started by Ajivit Roy, an American citizen, PhD-trained software engineer and writer, who was murdered by machete hacking in February while in Dhaka visiting his elderly mother and attending the 2015 Ekushey Book Festival.

 

In March, another Bangladeshi secular writer, Washiku Rahman, a Roy admirer who protested Roy’s murder, was then himself murdered by machete hacking 50 feet from his home in Dhaka.

 

Just as the Charlie Hebdo journalists’ murders are evidence of the current epidemic, so are these. The clear message: Write something we don’t like or don’t agree with, and you will die a painful, horrible and public death.

 

Full article off copyright and now available:

https://www.vagabondlawyer.com/uploads/News/Another_casualty_in_the_war_on_free_speech.pdf

The necessarily exorbitant cost of free speech

May 11, 2015

My article “The necessarily exorbitant cost of free speech” appears in today’s edition of The L.A. Daily Journal and The S.F. Daily Journal. The article examines the connections between free speech mandates of the recent events in Garland, TX with Pamela Geller’s group, the American Freedom Defense Initiative, the massacre at Charlie Hebdo in Paris in January, and the PEN America Awards Gala in NYC last week where Charlie Hebdo won the Freedom of Expression Courage Award despite protests and boycotts of certain author members, including Joyce Carol Oates.

 

Full article off copyright and now available:

https://www.vagabondlawyer.com/uploads/News/The_necessarily_exorbitant_cost_of_free_speech.pdf

Fifty-Fifty is now available in Japan!

May 6, 2015

My book Fifty-Fifty: The Clarity of Hindsight  is now available in Japan!
 

Minna sama, arigato gozaimasu!
 

What follows is from Fifty-Fifty’s Japan Amazon page. This is quite a welcome surprise as I will be in Japan in July reporting for one of the newspapers for which I regularly write.

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The continuing blunder

May 1, 2015

My article on the “lifetime achievement award” bestowed by the Yellowstone Area Bar Association in Montana to Ex-Judge G. Todd Baugh, will appear in this coming Monday’s edition of The L.A. Daily Journal and The S.F. Daily Journal.
 

If the name sounds familiar, it’s because Baugh was the Montana Judge that sentenced a 47 year-old teacher, a convicted rapist, to 31 days in prison for the multiple rapes of his 14-year-old student. The teenager committed suicide before the case ended.
 

Public outcries in light of Baugh’s outrageous comments and inappropriate judicial actions that were contrary to established sentencing guidelines ended his career and forced his retirement. And not a minute too soon.
 

This lifetime achievement award presented to Baugh by the local bar association is a complete disgrace. It serves only to further erode public confidence in the judiciary and creates the wholesale appearance of impropriety.

 

Full article off copyright and now available:

https://www.vagabondlawyer.com/uploads/News/The_continuing_blunder.pdf

A Taste of Tuscany Awaits…

Apr. 27, 2015

My feature article “A taste of Tuscany awaits, beyond L.A.” appeared yesterday with my photos on the front page of The Honolulu Star-Advertiser’s, Sunday Travel Section. Several locales in Temecula and its wine-growing region were reviewed, including the lovely Ponte Vineyard Inn and it’s fabulous restaurants, Bouquet and The Restaurant at Ponte, Lake Skinner, Hot-Air Ballooning with California Dreamin, and Pechanga Casino & Resort.
 

During these days of drought in sunny California, remember: Conserve water, drink wine.

Miscarriage and Misogyny

Apr. 22, 2015

My article “Locked up for suffering a miscarriage” appears in today’s edition of The L.A. Daily Journal and The S.F. Daily Journal. This article discusses “Las 17” and delves into the current practice in El Salvador, where women who are betrayed by their own bodies and hence suffer miscarriages or stillbirths, are then often charged by Salvadoran prosecutors with aggravated homicide and sentenced to up to 50 years in prison.
 

This is done under the auspices of El Salvador’s draconian abortion law, which is total. The complete abortion ban is has no exceptions. Not for rape, incest, non-viable fetus or impending death of the mother. Hence the charge is that these women who suffered miscarriages or still births caused the deaths or their fetuses or infants, even when there is zero evidence of attempted illegal abortion or mother’s intent to harm the unborn or newborn.

 

Full article off copyright and now available:

https://www.vagabondlawyer.com/uploads/News/Miscarriage_and_Misogyny.pdf

The 2015 L.A. Times Festival of Books

Apr. 21, 2015

The 2015 L.A. Times Festival of Books at USC on April 18 and 19 was a great success. Over 150,000 people over the weekend came to meet authors, hear speakers, listen to music, get travel ideas and buy books.

 

To add some humor and levity to the event, American character actor, Gavin Macleod (The Love Boat’s venerable Captain) spoke Sunday afternoon about his new book This is Your Captain Speaking: My Fantastic Voyage Through Hollywood, Faith and Life.