September 26, 2007

"We reserve the right to exercise any and all options available to us."

Writes Douglas J. Band, who identifies himself as "Counselor to President Clinton," to Nino Selimaj, the owner of an Italian restaurant that has a photograph of Chelsea Clinton hanging on the wall. Apparently, Chelsea posed for the photo with Selimaj when she ate as his restaurant. If you pose with someone for a photograph, don't they get to hang the photo on their wall? And if you decide you don't like it and want it taken down, shouldn't you ask nicely?

"We reserve the right to exercise any and all options available to us." What kind of crap is that? It's a legalistic-sounding garble of words intended to intimidate but also to leave room to deny that that it's a threat. Is Band even a lawyer? He writes on Clinton's letterhead, not law firm stationery. He doesn't put "Esq." after his name. And "counselor" -- it can be a lawyer, but isn't necessarily.

Parse the sentence: "We reserve the right to exercise any and all options available to us." What sense does it make? Whatever "options" are "available," if they are available, they are available. What "right" are you "reserv[ing]"? If it's an option it can be "exercise[d]." So, "We reserve the right to exercise any and all options available to us" means absolutely nothing more than "we might have some options." Which means nothing. And doesn't sound threatening at all. Obviously, you want the reader to think you're saying we have options and we intend to exercise them if you don't comply. But you haven't said that.

Nino, I'm not your lawyer. I'm just a law and politics blogger. But I say leave the photograph up. Clinton won't come after you over this. He'll look like a complete jerk.

I mean, he already does.

ADDED: I continue my tirade here.


Gedaliya said...

Douglas Band is one of Bill Clinton's full-time staffers. He is 34 years old and was at one time a White House intern.

Band is featured in a front page above-the-fold story in todays Wall Street Journal. Band was allegedly instrumental in introducing Clinton to one Raffaello Follieri, a suave young Italian who reportedly has secured millions of dollars in funds from Yucaipa Cos, an investment firm in which Bill Clinton is a partner. Follieri has been sued by the managing partner in the firm, Ron Burkle, for the misappropriation of at least $1,300,000 "to fund a lavish lifestyle that included a Manhattan penthouse, five-star meals and private jets for Mr. Follieri and his girlfriend, actress Anne Hathaway."

This story may prove very embarrassing for Hillary Clinton's presidential campaign.

The story is here.

Bissage said...

How the heck is that letter from Chelsea?

I smell a hoax.

P.S. Regarding the "[we reserve all rights crap]", I couldn't agree more. I've been a lawyer more than a decade and I still have no idea what that's supposed to mean except some variant of "we're not waiving anything, man, so don't go thinking like we did, and all, because we didn't."

Dan from Madison said...

If I were the restaurant owner I would *politely* tell Bill Clinton and his "counsel" to shove it, if the letter is in fact real. If Chelsea herself called me or sent me the letter, I would gladly take it down. Chelsea is a grown woman - can't she just send the note or call the guy herself?

the wolf said...

What did she write on it..."Nothing could be finer than eating in your diner?"

Laura Reynolds said...

wolf: That's perfect.

Anonymous said...

The intimidating letter is quite understandable. Chelsea's hair is atrocious in the photo.

"Clintonian" will be an age of American history that our great grandkids will study, should this nation survive the next decade.

Joe Hogan said...

It is hard to believe that a seemingly mature 27 year old graduate of an excellent university (Stanford), with an additional degree from Oxford, would sic daddy and his minions on this lowly restaurant owner.

Also, with all the high-powered legal talent resident at chez Clinton, one would think someone would have pointed out to Chelsea that as an adult she should be hiring her own legal muscle.

The suspicion of a fake is also warranted by the image of the letter at the Smoking Gun site. The rather generic letterhead is slanted, compared to the text. Someone out there in web world must have a sample of a genuine Bill Clinton letterhead for comparison purposes.

AllenS said...

Give the Clinton's an Italian salute. Then take a magic marker and give Chelsea a mustache and beard.

Randy said...

It is definitely great publicity for Nino Selimaj's restaurants. And free, too. Talk about the law of unintended consequences.

Trooper York said...

There was nothing unintended about this at all.

Brian Doyle said...

Is there any Clinton-related story that you take a pass on? Because this is a long post, and not interesting except insofar as it demonstrates that your interest in law is dwarfed by your interest in the Clintons.

Palladian said...

Doyley, is there any Althouse-related story that you take a pass on? Because this is a long comment, and not interesting except insofar as it demonstrates that your interest in everything is dwarfed by your interest in Ann Althouse.

Seriously, dude, get help. And pick up a copy of Strunk & White.

Brian Doyle said...

Doyley, is there any Althouse-related story that you take a pass on?

Sure. You never find me in the apolitical threads.

In fact, I usually only comment on the really, truly, provocatively stupid posts. To the extent that there are a lot of them that's Ann's fault not mine.

rhhardin said...

It's the same legal principle I saw in operation today in my very own literal backyard

pic 1
pic 2
pic 3
pic 4

Palladian said...

But why comment at all? All you usually do is scold the proprietor in some vague way that seems to be based solely on the fact that you don't like the politics that you perceive are expressed. Well, last time I checked, it's not your blog and in all your years (?) of commenting, your jibes and insults have done nothing to dissuade the proprietor from making the kind of posts you don't like. So maybe, I don't know, skip the political posts and make comments on the other ones? Or find another blog that better suits your political tastes? You just seem weirdly bitter and weirdly obsessed.

Maybe the Clintons pay you. Maybe you're Bill Clinton.

Michael The Magnificent said...

Excerpted from Photographer’s Rights (a copy of which I keep in my camera bag):

"Members of the public have a very limited scope of privacy rights when they are in public places. Basically, anyone can be photographed without their consent except when they have secluded themselves in places where they have a reasonable expectation of privacy such as dressing rooms, rest-rooms, medical facilities, and inside their homes."

I'd tell Clinton to go pound sand.

nina said...

From the point of view of the photographer -- I have to say that people's attitudes toward having their photos taken and/or on display are, in my mind, surreal. Truly, relax about this form of art, already. (Here, I see art in the act of arranging photos of famous celebs on the wall, not necessarily in the photo itself.)

Randy said...

Palladian, I have a pretty high opinion of you, but Doyle's comment was pretty tame by contemporary standards, and the question contained therin a reasonably fair one. FWIW, your reply sure struck me as an effort to intentinally provoke yet another seemingly endless round of shouting and feces-tossing. In fact, it reminded me so much of a typical DTL provocation that I had to double-check that my eyes had not deceived me before posting this. JMO. Take or it or leave it. Makes no difference to me.

Anonymous said...

Palladian right. That's all.

Randy said...

Nina, your comment reminded of when I visited China almost 30 years ago. We were in Nanning, which had seen few Westerners up to that time. A couple of us escaped our minders and went for our own walk which eventually led us up a flyover with houses crowding a bustling street below. When one of us pulled out a camera to take a picture, an eagle eye below spotted her, shouted "Zhao-Hsiang!" (Picture!) Within seconds, the street was empty. But the watchfulness from within the buildings, and the seething anger hanging in the air was palpable.

Palladian said...

Ronin, I don't engage in endless shouting and tossing. I toss once or twice, use a large caliber round, and aim well. Your point is taken, considered and rejected. There's something incredibly annoying about the inevitable comments in a Clintonian post that shriek "You're so obsessed with Clinton! Eek! Eek!" and Doyle's shtick is thoroughly predictable. And don't ever compare me to DTL again. I mean it.


There's something tacky about restaurants that display photographs of the proprietors with "famous" patrons. The photographs are usually horrible, flash-blasted and forced; the last thing one usually wants to do after stuffing oneself with osso buco and biscotti is pose for a photograph with some balding restaurateur. The photographs, usually drug-store quality C-prints, are put in dime-store quality plastic frames and glommed onto a wall in the midst of a mass of 5392 similarly ugly photographs. There it will hang for years, collecting the grease and grime of 10,000 suppers, becoming more dog-eared and faded, doing nothing except charting the slow physical decline of the balding restaurateur toward the grave. Memento mori, with Ed Begley Jr. That's exactly what I want to look at when I'm eating.

The truly sad thing is the neighborhood Greek diner that has a few of these, usually in the form of black and white headshots of z-grade soap opera actors, often autographed. "To Zemetrios - Best Wishes, Irene Bundle". My question about these: do the restaurant staff ask for them? "Oh, isn't that... No, it couldn't be... Yes, I think it is! She played Jill Clayborn #1 in the 1968 season of The Secret Storm! Oh, pardon us for intruding, but we loved your work on television! Do you happen to have an 8x10 glossy of yourself that we can hang beside the picture of the Acropolis over the cash register?" More likely: "Hi, perhaps you recognize me from my role in the popular daytime crime serial Edge of Night during the early Eighties... would you perhaps trade a feta cheese omelette for this head-shot of me? I'll personalize it! I can even throw in a frame!"

Hoosier Daddy said...

“We reserve the right to exercise any and all options available to us if you refuse to comply.”

I wonder if that means the use of nuclear weapons are still on the table?

I have to hope this is a joke because even Bill isn't even this much of a tool.

Unknown said...

Who gives a flying fuck?

Other than the usual Clinton hating crowd?

Unknown said...

Was the restaurant owner short enough to be an illegal immigrant?

Anonymous said...

LOL, Lucky, i don't know nor care, other than for the fact mine gets her pic taken AND free sushi wherever she goes in Manhattan.

Restaurants: rest w/ rants?

Maxine Weiss said...

I'm still waiting for boudoir photos of the "Inhabited frat House."

They are giving tours and anyone can come peruse the frat-boys' bedrooms.

You better believe I'm taking photos.

What were all the unmentionables Althouse claims she was afraid to photograph?

Or, as I've always suspected, she really did photograph frat-boys' personal effects, and simply holding back the good stuff for her own personal use....

And, no I haven't exhausted this topic yet. It's the funniest thing to ever come out this Blog...nevermind the revelation that the fraternity is forced to "clean from top to bottom" every week!

Saturday Night Live is interested in doing a skit on that....and I'm taking all the credit, since I was the one who drove the comments and am usually the catalyst for the more freakier things that go on around here!

Love, Maxine

garage mahal said...

No mention of The Clinton Body Count yet? I mean, some people died, and the Clintons are still alive. Just throwing it out there!

The Drill SGT said...

a couple of comments:

1. Bill has no standing in this
2. Chelsea appears to have posed. That in my mind gives the other guy in the picture full rights to the image. He should post the letter AND the pic on the window and invite all the suits and publicity he can get

3. this hurts Hillary and by connection Bil coming as it does on the heels of the article saying Hillary threatened GQ with punishment (withdrawal of access to Bill for an interview) if GQ published something Hill didnt want out there. It gives the impression that Hill has little respect for freedom of the press.

Ann Althouse said...

"Maybe you're Bill Clinton."

How funny it would be if some damned pseudonym in the blogs were uncovered as Bill Clinton. And I am totally sure that if he did that sort of thing, he'd try to screw up my blog!

Randy said...

How funny it would be if some damned pseudonym in the blogs were uncovered as Bill Clinton. And I am totally sure that if he did that sort of thing, he'd try to screw up my blog!

That would be funny. And interesting, too. But I disagree with the rest - he'd spend his time discussing arcane policy details or filling large canvases with grand schemes, he would not be personally engaging in petty squabbles with the likes of you or I. Nothing in his record supports that assertion. Others on his behalf or behest? Perhaps. Maybe. But Clinton himself? No.

Away From The Brink said...

I some of you think restaurant photos of celebrities are tacky, you should see the gas station at the corner nearest my house.

There, above the counter by the breath mints, you will find photos of the guy that played Joey in the TV series, "Friends." One photo by himself, one with him grinning with the gas station owner.

Those, of course, are displayed next to the photo taken of President Bush's limousine when it drove by one day.

Gedaliya said...

Maybe Maxine is, in fact, Bill Clinton.

Trooper York said...

I am Bill Clinton...NO...I mean I am Kitty Carlisle Hart.........NO...NO....NO.......I
mean I am Bill Cullen..NO..I mean I am Spartacus...Yeah thats it...I AM SPARTACUS

reader_iam said...

There are some conflicting stories out there about this, and particularly with regard to the restaurant owner's reaction. I think it's the NYPost article that reported that the owner said he'd post the letter in place of the picture, if he took it down.

Which, if true, sort of demonstrates that it probably would have been better if an issue hadn't been made out of the photo's display.


Regarding Bill Clinton blogging: Perhaps he'd want to take a break from talking politics, at least in terms of policy etc. Maybe he'd rather run a blog focusing on giant melons and gourds, a keen interest of his according to the New Yorker article I've linked.

Althouse--if you haven't seen the article, may I suggest you click over?

Mmmmm... .

reader_iam said...

Speaking of photos, I have one on my iPhone with my son posing with Hillary Clinton earlier this year.

We get lots of fun reactions to that one, and of various stripes and flavors.

If I were to change my iPhone "wallpaper" to that photo, rather than one of son and husband doing morse cord at the Franklin Institute, do you think I'd get a letter, too?

reader_iam said...

Um, "Morse code."

What the hell is a morse cord?

Gahrie said...

Who gives a flying fuck?

No one of course. Unless it had been one of the Bush twins instead.

Then it would have been the lead story on all three network news shows.

Trooper York said...

A morse cord is what Tony Randal used to tie up Robert Morse in their bachelor days on Broadway back in the early sixties.

Trooper York said...

The name was misspelled to avoid legal difficulties...we live in a very litigious society

Trooper York said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
SGT Ted said...

If this kurfuffle is true, it just goes to show what sort of control freaks the Clinton crew are and is a preview of how they will govern if they are in charge again.

Seeing how some news organizations suppressed publishing human rights atrocities in order to maintain access to Saddam Hussein, most anything the Clinton crowd will do is small beer compared to that.

I'm Full of Soup said...

Gahrie said:

"Who gives a flying fuck?" LOS asked.

Gahrie replied:

No one of course. Unless it had been one of the Bush twins instead.
Then it would have been the lead story on all three network news shows.

You got that right Gahrie!

Trooper York said...

"You know I would love to tie the Bush twins up with a morse cord."
(Bill Clinton)

Trooper York said...

.... --- .-- | .- -... --- ..- - | .- | -... .--- | --. .. .-. .-.. ...
(Bill Clinton)

Unknown said...

If I were the restaurateur, I'd take down the photo and put the letter up in its place. Problem solved, and more laughs for everybody!

Anonymous said...

Douglas Band cannot "reserve all rights". I called "I reserve all rights" 9 weeks ago and the rights, ta-da, belong to me. Band could call "shotgun" on some of the rights and I might argue the point with him in the spirit of friendship over a plate of linguini carbonara.

This matter can be shooed (Hsu'd?) away if the restaurant owner just comps WJC a nice pie once in a while.

. said...

He doesn't put "Esq." after his name.

The policy at the firm where I work is never to refer to yourself as "esquire" or
"esq." I've always heard that it's a title someone else calls a lawyer, but not good etiquette for a lawyer to refer to himself as an "esquire".

Then again, that could just be evidence of how uncouth my firm is.

/please no comments on grammar, usage
//It's a blog comment section, not The Economist

Unknown said...

Ann Althouse said..."How funny it would be if some damned pseudonym in the blogs were uncovered as Bill Clinton. And I am totally sure that if he did that sort of thing, he'd try to screw up my blog!

Bill Clinton - Ann Althouse.

Never happen.

Unknown said...

So what's their big problem with the Chelsea photo anyway? She gotta nipple showing or somethin'?

George said...

Do your really believe that it is apprropriate for a lawyer to place Esq. after his name? Esquire is an honorofic, which should only be used when addressing another, not oneself.

Unknown said...

I can't wait until Hillary is President.

The WHIIIIIIIIIIINing from this blog will be like music to my ears.

*With all of the Clinton bashing, I find it interesting that almost nobody here ever mentions who they're going to vote for. (I''m confident enough to say that I'll vote for Hillary.)

Come on: Who is everybody voting for?????

Put up or shut up.

Randy said...

Put up or shut up.

Why? Because you said so? Election Day is more than a year away and a lot can happen between now and then. That said, as it stands now, I will more than likely vote for Clinton should she be the nominee of her party. I may well change my mind between now and November, 2008.

jeff said...

"I can't wait until Hillary is President."

Well, that's nice, but I think everyone already knew that. Unclear what that has to do with this topic though. So why doesn't Chelsea just ask the guy to take it down? Problem solved, no press, no fuss. Why in the world would she call in the big guns and have Former POTUS have someone send that nasty letter? That is almost guaranteed to get a ton of press.

Trochilus said...

If there is a soul to be stolen in the Clinton clan (by the taking of a photo) surely it could only be Chelsea's.

John said...

It is curious: When negotiating with foreign countries, Democrats are often advocating that the US act nice and take various options "off the table." But, when faced with a private negotiation, they act belligerent and want "all options."

Bissage said...

Around here, a lawyer’s stationary indicates bar admissions and there’s never an “esquire.” Court filings get an “esquire” at the top where it designates the particular attorneys of the firm assigned to the case but that’s the last of it. Business cards typically do not get an “esquire” but I’ve seen a few.

Which is all fine, well and good.

So, why does my M.D. brother-in-law (no longer a real physician) have “Dr.” on his credit cards, bank checks and drivers license?

What? Because doctors are better than lawyers?

No, wait!

George said...

Let raise a (tiny) caution here: while people do not have a right to prevent themseves being photographed, they DO have the right to restrict commercial use of their recognizable image. This is why photographers use model releases.