11 Laws Named After People

Pattanaphong Khuankaew/iStock via Getty Images
Pattanaphong Khuankaew/iStock via Getty Images

Whether it's by writing the law yourself or by falling victim to tragic circumstances that result in a law being created to save others from your fate, it takes a lot for a person to get their name on a piece of legislation. With that in mind, let's take a look at some laws that are named after people and how they got their titles.

1. The Hiss Act

Alger Hiss hit some rough sledding during the late 1940s and 1950s. The civil servant and lawyer had served in positions within the United Nations and the Carnegie Endowment for International Peace, but journalist Whittaker Chambers, a former friend, began publicly accusing Hiss of being a Communist. At first Chambers only accused Hiss of being ideologically Communist, but the accusations later included charges that Hiss was involved in Soviet espionage. Hiss eventually served time in prison over the accusations even though there was serious doubt over whether or not he was even a spy.

In 1954, Congress added insult to injury when it passed the so-called Hiss Act, which barred Hiss from receiving his government pension. In 1972, though, Hiss won a small victory when a federal court ruled the Hiss Act was unconstitutional and forced the government to pay Hiss his pension—$61 a month—retroactive to 1966.

2. The Mann Act

This 1910 law was originally known as the White Slave Traffic Act and was designed to curb forced prostitution by making it a crime to transport a woman across state lines for "immoral purposes." The act was named after its author, Republican Congressman James R. Mann. The law is relatively obscure, but it remains on the books. Interestingly, a number of celebrities have run afoul of the vaguely worded act, including Frank Lloyd Wright, Charlie Chaplin, Chuck Berry (who served 20 months in prison for violating it), and boxing champ Jack Johnson.

3. Sonny Bono Copyright Term Extension Act

This 1998 law extended the terms of various copyrights by 20 years. The law, which was championed by Disney when it was concerned about its early Mickey Mouse cartoons entering the public domain, is named after the late Representative Sonny Bono. It was no empty gesture, either; copyright protection was understandably one of the former entertainer's chief legislative goals throughout his congressional career.

4. Kristen's Law

In 1997, 18-year-old Charlotte resident Kristen Modafferi disappeared, but since she was an adult, her family couldn't use any of the nation's kidnapping resources to try to track her down. When it was signed into law in 2000, Kristen's Act created a National Center for Missing Adults.

5. Buster's Law

It takes pretty tragic circumstances for a cat to get a law named after him. In 1997, a young Schenectady, NY, hoodlum named Chester Williamson doused a young cat named Buster with kerosene and before igniting him. The sad story prompted outrage among New York's legislators, who passed Buster's Law in honor of the murdered pet. The new law made animal cruelty a felony within New York.

6. Donda West Law

In October, California's legislature passed the Donda West Bill, which requires patients to undergo a health check and receive written clearance before undergoing any sort of plastic surgery. It's named after the late mother of rapper Kanye West; Donda West died after undergoing a cosmetic procedure in 2007.

7. Tokyo Rose Statutes

These laws forbid foreigners from owning more than 25 percent of any U.S. broadcaster. They're named after the infamous broadcasters of anti-American Japanese propaganda during World War II.

8. Ryan White CARE Act

This 1990 bill brought about sweeping changes to the quality and availability of care for patients with HIV and AIDS. The act, which was named after famous AIDS victim Ryan White, helped establish a "payer of last resort" for patients if they and their families were uninsured or had exhausted all of their resources. President Obama reauthorized the act for an additional four years in October.

9. Lindbergh Law

This 1932 law was passed in the wake of the infamous Lindbergh kidnapping. It makes transporting a kidnapping victim across state lines a federal crime that is punishable by life imprisonment. Furthermore, since the law made it a federal crime to transport victims from state to state, it enabled the FBI and other federal agencies to bring their resources and manpower to kidnapping cases.

10. Brady Handgun Violence Prevention Act

This high-profile piece of gun control legislation was named after former White House Press Secretary James Brady, who was shot and paralyzed by John Hinckley, Jr. during a 1981 assassination attempt on President Reagan. The 1994 law mandated waiting periods for handgun purchases and ordered federal background checks on anyone who attempted to buy a gun.

11. Comstock Act

Anthony Comstock probably wasn't a hit at parties. The 19th century moral reformer was the head of the New York Society for the Suppression of Vice, and was rumored to have bragged to friends about how many "libertines" he had driven to suicide by cracking down on their sins. In 1873, he wrote a law that made it a federal crime to send "obscene, lewd, or lascivious" materials through the mail and convinced Congress to approve the measure.

The ban was pretty sweeping even by 19th-century reform standards. The law not only forbade any sort of mailed information about contraception, it also made contraceptives themselves illegal, an aspect of the law that remained on the books until a 1936 Supreme Court ruling. Moreover, the law nixed any sort of mail discussion of abortion, even for educational purposes. It took until the 1990s for some of the last vestiges of the Comstock Act to come off of state and federal books.

America's 50 Best Workplaces, According to Employees

Chaay_Tee/iStock via Getty Images
Chaay_Tee/iStock via Getty Images
Though there are a number of factors that go into deciding whether a job is right for you, company culture plays an essential—albeit sometimes overlooked—part. Fortunately, career site Indeed has gone straight to the source and compiled a ranking of America's best workplaces, based on employee feedback, which could help make your next job search a whole lot easier. As Thrillist reports, Indeed's rankings were based on employees’ reviews on their “overall work experience.” To narrow the field down, Indeed zeroed in specifically on Fortune 500 companies that “have had at least 100 verified employee-submitted reviews posted to Indeed's site in the past two years.” Computer software giant Adobe came out on top, with Facebook and Southwest Airlines not too far behind. Meanwhile, United Airlines and Foot Locker just made the cut. You can read the full list of America's top 50 companies below, and read more about Indeed's methodology here.
  1. Adobe
  1. Facebook
  1. Southwest Airlines
  1. Live Nation
  1. Intuit
  1. Costco Wholesale
  1. Delta
  1. eBay
  1. Microsoft
  1. Johnson & Johnson
  1. Bristol-Myers Squibb
  1. Salesforce
  1. Fannie Mae
  1. Eli Lilly
  1. JetBlue Airways
  1. Freeport-McMoRan
  1. Fluor Corp.
  1. Apple
  1. Cisco
  1. Capital One
  1. Nike
  1. Amgen
  1. Booz Allen
  1. Charles Schwab
  1. Viacom
  1. Southern Company
  1. NextEra Energy
  1. Publix
  1. Land O’Lakes
  1. Motorola Solutions
  1. Pfizer
  1. Lockheed Martin
  1. Starbucks
  1. Merck
  1. ConocoPhillips
  1. American Express
  1. Applied Materials
  1. DTE Energy
  1. Best Buy
  1. Boston Scientific
  1. Northrop Grumman
  1. Discover Financial Services
  1. BlackRock
  1. Darden Restaurants
  1. MGM Resorts International
  1. Hilton
  1. Edward Jones
  1. Marriott International
  1. Foot Locker
  1. United Airlines
[h/t Thrillist]

The 11 Best Found Footage Movies

Twenty years ago this summer, moviegoers everywhere were shaken to their core by a film about three film students who went into the woods with a couple of cameras and met a seemingly supernatural entity that wouldn’t let them leave. It was called The Blair Witch Project, and it proved to be a landmark film for horror cinema, indie cinema, and a particular filmmaking medium known as "found footage."

The idea behind found footage films is simple: Make a movie while acting like you’re not trying to make a movie. This all really happened, someone who was there filmed it, and then you just found the resulting video and cut it together. It’s a method that allows plenty of room for improvisation, often requires minimal budget, and can get a lot of mileage out of very few locations and characters. That makes it an attractive technique for many filmmakers, but it’s not as easy to pull off as it sounds. So, in tribute to The Blair Witch Project and its impact, here are the movies that got found footage right in the best way possible.

1. Cannibal Holocaust (1980)

Cannibal Holocaust is not a 100 percent "found footage" movie, but it didn’t have to be, because it paved the way for dozens, if not hundreds, of other films in the subgenre with its use of the found footage technique. The film is the story of an anthropologist who sets out to find a group of filmmakers who went missing while documenting indigenous tribes in South America, and discovers that only their film cans and their bones have survived.

The back half of the film is largely composed of this found footage, as the anthropologist reviews the cans of film and discovers the documentarians were often more savage than the tribes they set out to chronicle, as their bloodlust and exploitation reached fever pitch shortly before their deaths. The film is best known for the controversy it caused, including the rumor that several of the onscreen killings were real (Ruggero Deodato, the film's director, was forced to bring one of the actors into court with him—to prove he was alive), but it’s also a surprisingly complex look at appropriation, voyeurism, and our addiction to filmed spectacle.

2. The Blair Witch Project (1999)

Yes, The Blair Witch Project really does still work as a minimalist scarefest, but even if it didn’t it would still be held up as one of the most important works in the found footage subgenre. At a time when found footage wasn’t on the minds of moviegoers and the internet was still in its relative infancy, this film arrived like a dark gift and helped to shape what the looming 21st century would look like in terms of horror filmmaking. If you were paying attention to pop culture at the time, you probably remember the brilliant viral marketing campaign that made you believe, if only for a second, that this was a real lost film made by dead students. And even if the marketing didn’t get you, the children laughing in the dark did.

3. Cloverfield (2008)

Many found footage movies are, by their very nature, small scale affairs involving only a few characters and a story that can be told in a relatively confined way, which makes them great for low-budget filmmakers. If you’re producer J.J. Abrams, writer Drew Goddard, and director Matt Reeves, however, you look at the subgenre and you start to think about a kaiju movie. Cloverfield brilliantly combines the large-scale destruction of a giant monster ravaging a city with the intimate, immediate thrills of a found footage movie. Throw in some brilliant viral marketing and the idea that you’re watching a tape recovered by the government after a disaster, and you’ve got an addictive little movie that spawned a small franchise.

4. Chronicle (2012)

Given enough time, every film genre will be invaded in some way or another by found footage, because the method is just so adaptable. That meant superhero films would definitely get the treatment one day, and in 2012 we got it with Chronicle, Josh Trank’s tale of three friends whose lives change forever when they acquire superpowers. The film works right away because of course the first thing a certain kind of teenager would do if they got powers is film themselves goofing off. And as the plot picks up steam, the ways in which each young man deals with the fallout of their gifts propels it to compelling levels of intensity and fun.

5. [REC] (2007)

The best found footage films are often the ones that can make optimal use of a single location by establishing a sense of place and then just shredding your nerves as you watch the chosen location fall apart amid the terror. The Spanish film [REC], co-directed by Jaume Balagueró and Paco Plaza, is a masterclass in this technique, following a reporter and cameraman as they try to survive a night in a quarantined apartment building where everyone is slowly turning into a monster. The film just keeps finding ways to freak you out, from the silhouette of a motionless little girl at the end of a hallway to its iconic, absolutely terrifying final shot.

6. The Visit (2015)

In 2015, M. Night Shyamalan’s three most recent directorial credits were After Earth, The Last Airbender, and The Happening. The man who had once wowed Hollywood with The Sixth Sense needed another win, and he got one by stripping down his budget and his storytelling scope to create another intimate, taut, darkly funny thriller about two kids who go to stay with their grandparents and discover something awful. The found footage element of the story adds a sense of urgency to the detective work the kids have to do to figure out what’s going on, and the very idea of following the camera as it peers out of the kids’ room at night to see what the creepy people in the house are up to is enough to make you jump in your seat.

7. Creep (2015)

Creep is what happens when found footage horror meets a mumblecore hangout movie, as Mark Duplass (co-writer and star) and Patrick Brice (co-writer, director, and star) set out to tell a two-person story that will chill you to your core while also causing you to laugh at really odd times. The setup is simple: A creepy loner who lives in the woods hires a cameraman for the day under the pretense of making a video for his unborn. He has terminal brain cancer, you see, and wants to leave him some kind of remembrance. You can probably see where this is going just from the title of the film, but what you can’t see is how the film gets there. Creep packs a lot of scares, twists, and turns into its lean 77-minute runtime, and by the end it ensures you’ll be looking at that one guy you barely know who just has a “weird sense of humor” a little differently.

8. Trollhunter (2010)

Shows about weird guys who hang out in the woods and claim to hunt monsters have, like ghost hunting shows, become a staple of 21st-century cable television, and it was only a matter of time before someone decided to ask the question “What if that all turned out to be real?” Trollhunter, André Øvredal’s brilliant found footage fantasy film, does that with a sense of scale and wild fun that makes it an instantly watchable ride.

9. Paranormal Activity (2007)

Like The Blair Witch Project before it, Paranormal Activity came along at exactly the right time and injected new life into the found footage subgenre with a clever premise, a low budget, and a hook that kept driving people to the theaters. As ghost hunting shows began to spread all over basic cable, filmmaker Oren Peli had the idea to tell the story of a couple who wired up their own house with cameras in order to conduct a search for an evil presence in their home. It was a phenomenon that launched a franchise and dozens of ripoffs, and the scares still work pretty damn well.

10. Exit Through the Gift Shop (2010)

Ok, hear us out: Yes, Exit Through the Gift Shop is billed as a documentary, and is purportedly not a work of fiction. No one found this footage in the woods in the world of the story, so how can it be “found footage”? Because the legendary street artist Banksy found a movie in the midst of thousands of hours of random, often useless footage compiled by a Frenchman living in Los Angeles named Thierry Guetta (a.k.a. Mr. Brainwash), who became obsessed with street art and turned his constantly filming camera lens on it. Banksy didn’t set out to make this film, but as he became more intrigued by Thierry and his journey he turned to Guetta’s lifelong habit of compiling video of almost literally everything he did, and somewhere in there a truly great film emerged (the movie earned a Best Documentary Oscar nomination in 2011).

11. Unfriended (2014)

Unfriended is a film that unfolds almost entirely on a computer screen, as a group of friends slowly discover that the unknown user intruding on their evening chat might just be the ghost of a girl who was cyberbullied into suicide a year earlier and now wants to take her revenge. You’d think a film that unfolds through Skype chats and Facebook Messenger might drag a bit, but Unfriended actually has a healthy and horrific grasp of the way teens use these tools to construct their own compelling high school narratives, and it warps that understanding to its advantage. A film like this was bound to get made eventually, but Unfriended turns out to be more than another found footage gimmick.

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