Things You Already Knew Because You Are Smarter Than Me

Something which is "Beyond the Pale" is beyond the limit of reasonableness. Turns out, this turn of phrase is literally synonymous with "Going off the reservation."

The Pale was the limit of English land in Medieval Ireland. The lands were surrounded by pales, pickets, with a fence strung across them. To go beyond those pickets was to enter the wild Irish lands.

Red Bull Gibn Du Fliglen!

The Times (U.K., not NY) reports that ultra-orthodox jews are seeking salvation in a little Red Bull. A choice quote:

There are three things going on here. They make a lot of babies, they study the Torah and they dance. They need a lot of energy, and something to strengthen them.

There is talk in the innermost circles of U-OJ of a perfect can of Red Bull, without blemish, scratch, or dilution, which, when finally found, will be shared amongst the high priests and herald the coming of the end of days. Luckily, all will be awake to see it.

[ Thanks to RK for the link ]

My Favorite.

See many more amazing pumpkins here. Ok, one more:


Hobby Whores.

I just heard about www.seekingarrangement.com. Imagine facebook, but with "ambitious singles" (read: toddling sycophants) as the members and "Sugar Daddies/Mommies" (their term, not mine) as the roving, inevitable pedophiles.

They claim this is a "brutally honest" dating site. I'll step back from my tone for a second to simply ask: is the mere fact that you had dinner before you retired to his hotel room sufficient to render him a "date" instead of a "john"? I mean, at what point are you simply a prostitute on retainer?

Of course, as the site advertises, if you are looking for "real love," you should head over to www.seekingmillionaire.com . True, if what you are in love with is that seventh figure. "Bruce, I want to move in with you! Let's run away to house so large we never have to see each other! Let's make an 8th figure! Mama needs a new pair of jets!"

Geeking out for a moment.

If you will permit me, I would like to geek out for a moment. Geek Technique has modded an iPhone that is so hot, I actually think Apple should consider making a limited edition like it. That's right, it's an iNewton.

For those who don't recall the Newton, it was a full script handwriting-recognizing PDA from the early 90's. It worked really well and ran pretty quickly. I suppose the two major problems were that it was a bit clunky and that it was about 20 years ahead of its time.

It's like the Atari Lynx. Early 80's game system that came out at the same time as the Game Boy (perhaps even before). What made it different? Let's see...it had the landscape format all modern PGD's have, it was COLOR, you could flip the screen for left handed use, and the game cartridges were cards resembling those used in the 90's TurboGrafix 16 and Express as opposed to the clunky plastic blocks you stuck into Game Boy and Game Gear.


Good help is hard to find

Care to guess what they ordered?

What kind of blogger are you?

width="300" height="180" alt="What Kind of Blogger Are You?" border="0" >

4000 Channels, $4

The FCC announced today that it will be rendering illegal any contracts between cable providers and apartment buildings. The positive: There has long been a spotty monopoly, or oligopoly, or whatever you want to call it, in urban cable. You live in a multi-unit building, a provider runs the cable in that building, and voila! You have only one choice in cable.

"Incredible cosmic programming, in a itty-bitty-little competition space" -- to coin a phrase.

The FCC wants to end that and make the cables inside the building available to all. Questions:

1. Is this even possible? I don't believe that the same cable can carry more than one set of channels (i.e. RCN or Comcast or Roadrunner, but not all 3). Does this mean that the exclusivity agreement goes, but the new company still has to run cable? Will they?

2. This is meant to increase competition and lower rates. If companies have to run new cable, will they do so and lower their rates at the same time?

3. Aren't we quibbling over the past? FIOS (Fiber optic cable) is the new hotness. Cable is old. Perhaps the provision is not meant to repair cable, but to prevent the same abuse with FOIS? !?!?!?! One can only guess.


I Welcome Our Cute Ironic Overlords

Introducing "Pleo" from Ugobe Labs. Tickle me Elmo extreme move over. THIS is the must have, can't afford, drool-inducing toy this xmas.

Why? Because it's sensors (touch, object recognition, variable sound, etc.) + adaptable programming make it a virtual puppy without the poopy. The thing is adorable.

Check out the videos.


Colb-gate Part Cinque

Politico confirms that Comedy Central did it's electoral due-diligence before fielding faux-candidate Colbert. They went to the DC firm for Wiley Rein to get an opinion on the FEC, the FCC, and the ersatz O'Reilly.

Of course, providing legal opinions has proved to be a hazardous past-time.



SI has a recap of what it is like to broadcast an NCAAFB game from inside the production truck. What is most compelling is that this is not the most complicated setup (smaller than the NFL, 1/2 the cameras of the world series, etc.). Still, it sounds like trying to run a relay race in traffic while beating your children.


http://view.break.com/280271 - Watch more free videos

This is just one of those videos that makes you smile wider and wider as it goes on.

Two down.

...and it was much, much closer.

Sir, You Are Going to Have to Stop Using Your Name.

Sam Adams asked Sam Adams to stop using its name, which is his name, which they have the trademark to. Right.

In English: the Portland City Comm'r set up an election site called "samadamsformayor.com." The legal eagles at the NE brewing haven saw this an incursion into their territory, having previously fielded a samadamsforpresident.com as part of a marketing campaign. So the beer sent the man a cease-and-desist letter.

1. "Sam Adams", though merely a name, is protectible if it has acquired a brand identity separate from the name. (i.e. Hyatt, McDonalds). In the lingo, this is called "secondary meaning".

2. Mr. Adams's defense? I have been using it longer than you have. The brewer got the patent in 1973. The man, since the 60's. So-called "prior use" is a defense in trademark law, but it is limited by geography. That means that Mr. Adams can use his name legally in Portland. If he moves or goes national, that would change the equation significantly.

3. There is a first amendment political speech issue here that has not been raised.

4. Sam Adams was cool about it -- they admitted they didn't realize this was a person. They claimed others had tried to knock off the marketing campaign and that this was an effort to avoid a recurrence. Sam Adams -- say cool and avoid all the negative press.


Colb-gate Part Quatre

No, I don't speak French, and I didn't bother looking up that spelling. I'll make it up to you: here is the fourth installment of the legal analysis plodding along behind the Colbert campaign.

1. "Scofflaw" is an awsome word (see the linked article).
2. My Facebook-powered chums inform me that somone created a "million for Colbert" group on that service and filled it in 10 days. Hill' and 'Bama have had groups for months and top out in the low 6-digits (thanks AB).
3. MSNBC engaged in a media circle jerk when it reviewed Colbert on Meet the Press (no doubt he will review their review of him and Elton John will write the theme song). The only interesting tidbit: Colbert is polling around 2.5%, higher than Kucinich and near Biden.

Oh, Me So Thorny - The Issue of Attorney-Client Sexual Relations

This is a good blog day. Lots to write about, and I get to reuse the actual title to the final paper in my Ethics and Lawyering in the 21C. I have to admit that the class was severly limited in scope, covering only the first few years of that century.

The cause for this entry: The Wisconsin Supreme Court, (via Volokh Conspiracy), who debated this question during a recent ethics hearing: If a lawyer has sex with a client's girlfriend while the client is having sex with her, is the lawyer having sex with the client as defined under the Rule?

The Court eventually declined to apply the transitive property of being a total jerk, but not in the way any normal person would think.

I read the rule: "Don't have sex with your clients, unless (and you have to love this), you had sex prior to that person becoming your client." That is the rule in most states.

The judges got as far as to mull the temporo-spatial limits of the word "with." If we are both having sex "with a person" over time, say through the month of August, we are both in a constant state of having sex "with" that person and, occupying that same state with the same person, we occupy it together and are therefore having sex with each other. The court missed the erroneous presumption: Who says that one cannot be in two mutually exclusive states of "having sex with" a person?

But it didn't reject the logic of the argument. Rather, it decided that the rule says "a person" once, but says "the person" or "the client" more often, so it must be directed at the one person - the client.

Did we need all that?


One down. Three to go. Let's see if we can get there.

Senior Moment

http://view.break.com/387011 - Watch more free videos

I had a "senior moment" this morning -- perhaps the first of many. I forgot where I parked the car. I knew it was in a Thursday spot. I knew I had moved it. I just didn't know where to. Picture me criss-crossing the various blocks in my neighborhood on this rainy morning, half searching, half wondering if I have lost my mind, my car, or both.

Still, nothing compared to this guy.


Colb-gate Part Troi

Slate's "explainer" has also taken up the question of whether Colbert's bid for the WH could violate election laws. With the help of real election lawyers, he identifies something beyond the "equal time rule" (though he reaches the same conclusion - thank you very much): "in kind campaign contributions."

A corporation, in this case Viacom, which owns CC and, thus, the Colbert Report, would be giving him the in kind contribution of air time, far in excess of the legal limit.

Consequence? The Explainer says he can run until someone files a complaint. My lawyerlicious instincts tell me that's too late. The complaint does not create the violation. It merely brings it to the attention of the FEC. The violation occurred before and could see Viacom incurring a stiff penalty. All the more reason for my theory that Viacom's lawyers have long since contacted even real-er election law experts to scope out the risks of this project.

[ thanks to RSC for cutest little link in the whole world. ]


_________ without _________

I filed a pro-bono Motion for Guardianship in court today. That's happens several times a never, so I got a little excited waiting for a beaurocrat to stamp my forms.

By the end of this year, I will be a lawyer without courtroom experience and a minister without a flock. It's like being a driver without a car, a detective without a mystery, a quip without a zinger.

I tell ya. It's not easy being a landed white jewish educated male in an upper-class first world metropolis.

Cato Kern'lin

CATO blasts the notion of Ethanol as our energy panacea. [PDF] Better yet, they aren't doing it with policy, but with raw numbers. The amount of corn we can produce doesn't reach the level we require to adequately replace oil. 3/4 of every liter of the stuff has to be used just to create it, and corn supply, it turns out, is more volatile than oil. Why? Because draught, pests, and the need for corn to fight hunger worldwide affect corn a lot more than a cartel affects oil. You can't negotiate with a blizzard.

Any chance we can stop this insanity? Hey you! Over there in Iowa! Turn in your subsidy and retrain!


Govna Puts Up Mezuzah, ACLU Puts Up Fight

Fox News reports that methodist FL governor Crist [edit - AC ] put up a mezuzah he received from a state representative. The ACLU is suing claiming that it has legal implications in the separation between church and state.

I disagree with the ACLU on this one. First, these are not 10 Commandments in a courtroom. The sheer size of the mezuzah precludes its inclusion as a public icon of religion. Second, it is not clear how the separation of church and state applies to the FL state house [edit - AC], particularly in light of the frequent invocation of the divine to swear people in and hold ceremonies. Third, what does the FL constitution say? Fourth, there is the esoteric question of what to do when a religious symbol is not posted as such. This man is not a Jew. He is not posting this mezuzah as a religious act. Is this somehow an intrinsically religious act?

Finally, this is an odd case. This is a big issue for the ACLU, but not for the representative. As a matter of personal faith, it does not matter to him. If it offended his faith, presumably, he would not have had a problem turning down the gift, so you'd imagine that if public opinion sided with the ACLU, he would cede the issue. The more interesting question is: what about Jewish governors?. If there is a biblical requirement to put this up and the House or some other body prevents you from doing it, you have a 1st Am. vs. implied 1st Am. problem. You have a right to exercise religion. That should beat an implied separation of church and state.

More: http://www.topix.com/content/trb/2007/09/crist-to-celebrate-rosh-hashana-with-broward-democrat

[ Thanks to JR for the link ]

A+D Tied the Knot!

A big DC shout out to two of the most generous, beautiful people in any of the 4 quadrants. Enjoy the lesser hemisphere, you crazy cats!

Awe. Some.

Ahem.... Yeeeeeeaarrrrrrrghhhhhhhhh!
Hoo - Hoo - Hoo - Hoo!!!!!
Na na na na, Na na na naaaaa!
Hey hey hey
(dance time!)
Boo da doo ba do da dumm dum deedie!
Boo da doo ba do da dumm dum deedie!
Boo da doo ba do da dumm dum deedie, DA!
What's that? The Rockies? Ahem....right. Back to work.
In other news: Brady outscores Celtics against Miami.


They're Not Even Trying Any More

I was out with JL yesterday for lunch. She opens her fortune cookie and gets:
The weather is wonderful.

This is the fortune equivalent of "Just lay back and think of England." [learn about the phrase here] For a long time now, our fortunes have suffered. What used to say, "Glate things are on the holizon," has more recently said, "Others think you are wise." Thanks, but a fortune is intended to be forward looking. Divining the present? Thoroughly unimpressive.

Why the drop in quality? Does this signal a death of the intrepid far east spirit? Has assimilation finally dulled the asian edge? Is my voice rising to a fevered pitch in your head yet?

Fine. This is a stupid problem. Of course, you could always go for dark fortunes.

[Thanks to http://www.jinksofwe.blogspot.com/ for the reminder. ]


Things You Already Knew Because You Are Smarter Than Me

The plural of "genus" is "genera." I cannot think of another work that takes this plural suffix in English. I looked up the suffix, and the most I can come up with is that it is perfectly valid if you happen to be speaking MA'a/Mbugu. [ See here ]

But you already knew that.

Colbert announced!

Well, Colbert announced, so the legal questions are now before us:
  1. When does the equal time rule kick in? Is it when you announce, or the first time you are formally listed in a state primary?
  2. Clearly, cable is not affected by the equal time rules, yet. Could this realistically prompt the FCC to reconsider?
  3. Per the Caucus Blog, Colbert seeks 3000 signatures for a run in SC, and would then need the approval of the state democratic election commitee (insert correct acronym here). Would they have a good reason to turn him down?
  4. What if Colbert actually wins the SC primary? What would that mean for the SC delegation at the DNC? Could Colbert actually affect the real Dem. candidate if the final primary race is close?

First, if I had to guess, Colbert would solve the equal time rule by offering all of the candidates the right to come on his show every night to debate. Having offered it, he could argue that he has met the requirement.

Second, I assume that any serious political effect of this run would give Colbert pause and he'd find a way to back out.

Third, I am increasingly of the opinion that Colbert is to the 00's what Stern was to the 90's. He is breaking out of the traditional role of television host and intruding into the real world. Yes, the Daily Show has been on the campaign trail for years. That is satire, to actually run, that is novel. Consider it "high satire."


Colbert and the Equal Time Rule

Steven Colbert, much blogged-about here today, is toying with an announcement for president. Now, even if he is kidding, if the joke goes so far as to have him actually sign up as a candidate, it could cause him some serious legal headaches (something which cannot be lost on what is no doubt an over-worked Comedy Central legal team).

The problem: The Equal Time Rule, which requires that a station provide candidates equal free time to express their views. Two points:
  1. The rule does not apply to cable television, which is why NBC had to yank Law & Orders containing Fred Thompson, but TNT did not. Why an appearance on a cop show as a fake DA is political speech is beyond me. It appears that the rule is really meant to read "exposure." On the other hand, FX and SciFi both pulled Ah-nold flicks from the air when that man ran in California. The precedent is there -- I don't know if anyone wants to prompt the FCC to finally enter the fray and regulate cable content (though from a policy front, cable and networks are seeing more parity in viewership, so why not regulation too?)
  2. There is an exception for a "bona fide newscast." Does he dare argue it? For example, the closely-related Daily Show is "fake" but has shown to be the most prevalent source for actual news for younger males. Isn't that bona fide?

Move over Maureen!

Maureen Dowd took offense to a Colbert rant (dumba$$) about the NYTimes and challenged him to come down and bang out a column if he thought it was so easy. So he did. And guess what Maureen? He's twice the writer you ever were. Seriously, how does a washed-up socialite with an overactive lexicon copied from dog-eared prints of the New Yorker continue getting work?

Some choice Colbertian tidbits:

I’d like to thank Maureen Dowd for permitting/begging me to write her column
today. As I type this, she’s watching from an overstuffed divan, petting her
prize Abyssinian and sipping a Dirty Cosmotinijito. Which reminds me: Before I
get started, I have to take care of one other bit of business:

Bad things are happening in countries you shouldn’t have to think about. It’s all George Bush’s fault, the vice president is Satan, and God is gay.

There. Now I’ve written Frank Rich’s column too.



1. To all who have commented more than usual recently, thank you.
2. Keep 'em coming! I read them all and will respond publicly once we hit a critical mass on certain posts.
3. "You like me! You really, really like me!"


The english theatrical trailer is here.

Yes, I am a total budding fanboy. I can live with that.



Wind Turbine, Minus the Turbine.

Turns out that a violin bow could be the key to efficient wind power. See it in operation here at Popular Science.

Lawyer to Represent Fetus. Payment contingent on term.

A lawyer will appear before a CA court representing a fetus on Tuesday. There are about a million problems with this legally, so for poops and palpitations, let's look at some of them:

  1. Who hired the guy? A parent can obtain legal representation for a child, but that person must be then shielded from the legal decision-making. I'd love to see the ethics panel take this up.
  2. He's suing claiming that fetus is a person and has standing to fight abortion in court. Consider this: if he wins, that means that lawyers all over the country can claim fetus of mothers slated to have abortions as their clients. Then, they can haul mom into court and attempt to force her to have the baby. Before you argue that mom can decide for her children, note that if she wants an abortion, that would be murder of the child. That pits her against the child and renders her an unfit parent.
  3. On the other hand, hijaking a woman's womb could be a form of slavery. I only bring this up because the lawyer is actually making this argument on the other side -- that mothers enslave fetuses when they choose abortion, violating the Thirteenth Amendment. If fetuses are enslaved, shouldn't all mothers abort them as soon as possible so as to free them?
  4. How does this man know what the best interests of the fetus really are? Even a guardian ad litem (lawyer for kids in a divorce or similar proceeding) has to attempt to discern their wishes. I don't know that we can assume every fetus would want to be born.
  5. If the fetus is born and ends up being of an opposite socio-political persuasion, does it have a cause of action against the lawyer for being used in this manner?

And you thought this man was just a kook.


Great Moments in Sports Writing

From S.I.'s Extra Mustard:

St. Louis at Baltimore (-9.5): There's an ancient philosophical question that asks what will happen when an offense that can't move the ball plays a defense that can't stop anybody. This game should provide the answer. Pick: St. Louis


The Sox gave up seven runs in the 11th to lose game 2 of the ALCS to the Indians at home. Now on to Cleveland for the next three. Hrm. I guess the Pats will make me feel better.


hargh! HArgh HARGH!

Do I hear $0, $0 .... going once...

That's right. GSA awarded a contract for the FFATA.org database (transportation database) to the lowest bidder. The bid? $0.
Way to lower the bar and make life difficult for the rest of the contractors buck-o! On the other hand, I hope GSA doesn't get just what they paid for. Oh! Oh! and can you imagine if this ends up costing $10? The percentage cost overrun will be literally incalculable!


Strike Fear into the Hearts of Men

...directly into the vena cava.

You gotta admit it's impressive.


Martin Ginsburg at Fried Frank.

You just have to read it. Clearly, the man is brilliant, though it is likely his wife has the edge in that relationship. He describes her as having "a good job in washington." Yeah, so does Dubya.

New Word Order: "Diavlog"

- A dialog by video blog. It looks like talking heads (pundits, not punks) but in blog form. Really a brilliant but simple variation on existing technologies.

See an example here (particularly those of you who wonder what Dahlia Lithwick is like).

Twofer: the technology includes something called a "dingalink", which permits the user to create a link to a particular time in the video. Awesome.

Threefer: disagree with your counterpart? You are at "bloggerheads."


All Sanctity Must Go!

Beelzebub is apparently trading at a discount according to translations of some of the oldest known paper (circa 0 c.e.). Long thought to be worth 666 diabolical units, the dark lord may only be worth 616.

The economic effects of this could be massive, with tattoo artists, t-shirt printers, and revisionist historicizers set to make a killing (flaying, burning, and damnation extra).


Great Moments in Duh.

Apple introduced this for power plugs, like, five years ago. It's amazing that it took this long to do the same for audio plugs...then again, neither you nor I thought of it.

Meet "Replug."

Capital Cry-me

I am not in favor of capital punishment -- kill someone, and I am happy to keep you in a little box forever. THIS on the other hand, is a different story. This is why the Second Amendment is so liberally construed. Nothing a little "made in America" couldn't drop in two clicks.



The White House Press Collander released Bush's U.N. speech with the Co-MAN-dur in Cheef's fo-NEH-tic spellings still inside. Some tidbits:

• Kyrgyzstan [KEYR-geez-stan]
• Mauritania [moor-EH-tain-ee-a]
• Harare [hah-RAR-ray]
• Mugabe [moo-GAH-bee]
• Sarkozy [sar-KO-zee]
• Caracas [kah-RAH-kus]

How about "With-DRALL"?

Oh really? No, O'Reilly

O'Reilly has shot off his mouth again, ironically, this time about not having it shot off for him:

O'Reilly reported that he "couldn't get over the fact that there was no difference between Sylvia's restaurant and any other restaurant in New York City. I mean, it was exactly the same, even though it's run by blacks, primarily black patronship." O'Reilly added: "There wasn't one person in Sylvia's who was screaming, 'M-Fer, I want more iced tea.' "

See more at Media Matters



Genius is taking an instrument that has been around several hundred years, and playing it like you've never heard it played before. Oh . . . my . . .god.

Newsflash - Tittering Heard at Clinic

Scientists are studying friends with benefits. We are officially about 2 studies away from a statistical analysis of your chances of reaching second base at a frat party, sorted for year in school, age difference, and drink choice.

Guess what? The study finds that this rarely leads to romance, sometimes leads to an end of the friendship, and otherwise tends to peter out -- if you'll forgive the pun. Our instincts were correct. The real question is, if our instincts were wrong, so what?


Not "death." Say instead, "separation from life." Who says lawyers don't have a sense of humor?


I am an unabashed Pixar nut. Big enough to link to an advanced trailer, in french no less (the English version launches today. With the forgettable sunset of cars, the not-quite-great, but very satisfying Ratatouille, Pixar is set for another stunner, and Wall-E appears to be it.

Wall-E. Half E.T., half Jonnie 5 (read: Short Circuit). This movie will have no dialog. Now THAT I wanna see.


Don't Use Your Cellie While Driving

Or this could happen. This is either a very well staged guerilla marketing campaign, or a very strudy convention-floor prop gone awry.

I am back.

For those wondering....Athens, London, and Pittsburg are all still there. I checked.