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  • 10/01/2003 - 10/31/2003
  • 11/01/2003 - 11/30/2003
  • 31 October 2003

    FLOG™ almost sues Armed Prophet 

    Apparently I was misled by very early reports of Fox News threatening the Simpsons with a lawsuit. In retrospect, what I did was get my fool ass duped before even the French. This is pretty shameful and FLOG™ regrets the error.

    However, for rubbing my nose in it I am considering taking legal action against Armed Prophet. Be on notice.

    Happy Halloween 

    I carved pumpkins for the first time in years last night. Guess which one is mine.

    I was a little pissed though because I can't seem to find pumpkin beer anywhere in this damned town.

    Tonight I will be attending a party at the law school, to see what my fellow law students intend to do with seven kegs of beer.

    Where I should be, though, is at HELLSTOP 2003, held locally at the Berean Baptist Church at 1210 Chambers. The flyer they're handing out promises a

    "real-life" journey to the depths of HELL that will change your life forever!
    Which is all well and good but it doesn't say a damned thing about any candy.

    I've got nothing really interesting to say today, do I? Go over to Website.

    30 October 2003

    This just in: Death Stinks! 

    FLOG™ has been eerily silent today in observance of the laying to rest of fellow 1L Bryan Chastain, who died in a car accident last Friday.

    By "observance" I mean classes were canceled and I overslept. I don't mean to sound callous, it's just the truth. And I feel bad about it. The law school chartered a bus to his funeral in Bend but, even though I feel terrible and it sucks to see his empty seat in class, I just didn't feel up to going. I didn't think I knew him well enough to belong there. But I miss him nonetheless--he was always quick with a funny line or a good point.

    While FLOG™ is in a rare solemn mood, it might be appropriate to commemorate this little fella, too, who disappeared from our backyard seven weeks ago:

    RIP Hammie, 2001 to (?)2003(?)

    Hammie: "meooooooooow"

    Yes, that is my belly up there.

    FLOG™ will return to its customary state of goofiness tomorrow. Or perhaps later this evening after a little scotch.

    29 October 2003

    I was going to toot my own horn.... 

    ...Over my 36-hour "Fox News almost sues Fox" semi-scoop, but Blog has tooted it for me. That's some nice tootin'.

    FLOG™: Surfing aimlessly during class for you™

    How my day is going 

    I’m in class right now.

    My professor just asked me, personally, what a court’s public policy considerations were in ruling that a credit agency’s counterclaim for an underlying debt was not compulsory under Federal Rule of Civil Procedure 13(a), in a suit brought against the credit agency for deceptive, unfair and abusive collection practices of that debt in violation of the Fair Debt Collection Practices Act.

    Three months ago--three weeks ago--I couldn't have conceived this question was possible.

    Do I hate it or love it here? Answer: yes.

    [Answer to the class question: an opposite ruling would discourage consumers from enforcing the FDCPA in court if they feared doing so would expose them to court-ordered liability for their debt. DUH.]

    Writ large on the otherwise empty dry-erase board in Room 110: 


    Think about it a minute. Then continue on with your day, a little more confused.

    Learned catfish and not-quite-windproof fireflies 

    I believe the adage goes something like this:
    Give a man a fish, and he'll eat for a day.
    Teach a man to fish, and he'll eat for a lifetime.
    Allow a man to hang out in his basement building robotic fish, and he'll fail to detect and unravel history's deadliest terrorist plot.
    Since 9/11, the CIA has taken its share of heat for the intelligence and law-enforcement failures leading up to that fateful day. A major criticism has been the Agency's emphasis on high-tech gizmos over human intelligence gathering.

    Completely out of step with this criticism, the CIA's Directorate of Science and Technology is celebrating its 40th anniversary with an exhibit--not open to the public, naturally--of the various nifty things it has come up with since its inception in 1963. [Say, isn't that the year human intelligence really failed us? Or was that 1961?]

    The exhibit features a rubberized robotic catfish named Charlie, capable of swimming inconspicuously among other fish, whose mission "is still classified," according to Toni Hiley, curator of the CIA museum. "We can't talk about it."

    Ooh, spooky. Another star of the exhibit is a robotic dragonfly that could never get the hang of a stiff breeze.


    Do these things shoot Hellfire missiles? Is Charlie penetrating the trout streams of southeast Afghanistan, on the hunt for Osama bin Laden, ready to fire laser beams from its eyes at a moment's notice? No?

    Forgive me, then, if I'm not impressed.

    28 October 2003

    Looks like pre-emption's catching on... 

    ...with the French.


    Head hurts now. Must go study casebooks. Soothing casebooks. Things make sense in casebooks.

    Rod Roddy: martyr for awareness 

    Many thanks to Blog for the tender eulogy to Price is Right host Rod Roddy, who, regrettably, came on down to colon and breast cancer today. He was 66.

    Like a lot of people, I was shocked and saddened to learn that men, too, are susceptible to the dangers of breast cancer. As if it's not enough that we have two testicles and a prostate gland to worry about, now we need to cast a wary eye on our manboobs.

    Like female-pattern baldness, this is a silent menace, not widely talked about in society. And so I hope that Roddy's untimely passing may raise further awareness about the danger of breast cancer for all of us--women and men. As Roddy admonishes us from the sweet hereafter:

    "To everybody out there, 'Get a mammogram!' It can happen to men, too!"

    27 October 2003

    And now, by request from mothers everywhere... 

    ...I'm breaking a longstanding personal code of ethics and posting pet photos online. Please forgive me. Or give me hell, whatever. But really...Isn't he adowabo?

    Zuma at seven weeks.

    Zuma now, at 13 weeks.

    Turn-ons: Cat poop and...well, mainly cat poop.
    Turn-offs: Rain, good behavior.

    Masculinity note: he IS named after the 1975 Neil Young/Crazy Horse album, featuring such steaming piles of exuberant rawk as "Dangerbird," "Barstool Blues," "Stupid Girl," and "Cortez the Killer."

    Moving on...

    Fox News a little fuzzy on that "media synergy" concept 

    The truly exciting thing about a massive, globe-straddling media conglomerate, it is frequently stated, is its potential for "synergy." For instance, a novel from a publishing company owned by Time-Warner can become a new movie for Warner Bros., which in turn can be be hyped on the WB (for what it's worth), positively reviewed in Time Magazine, tied in with an AOL internet promotion and released with a nifty soundtrack on the house record label. This synergy, when it rolls smoothly, can theoretically generate a self-sustaining heap o' profit.

    Fox News apparently doesn't get it. Matt Groening recently revealed that the news channel threatened to sue Fox's own The Simpsons over a parody of FNC's broadcast. While FNC eventually backed off the threat, Fox Network did tell the Simpsons creators that
    in the future, cartoon series will not be allowed to include a "news crawl" along the bottom of the screen, which might "confuse the viewers."
    Hmmmm. I gotta ask: If Fox News is afraid a news crawl across the bottom of A CARTOON might confuse viewers, what does that say about its self-image?

    Uh, JEERS to Fox News. Or something.

    Energy Drink Haiku 

    Potent herbal blend
    Thoughts race, locked jaw, fingers twitch
    Sure this is legal?

    Some FLOG™back on question-begging 

    brandonha writes in, in response to Saturday's Esoteric Distinction,
    Dude, you are so totally WRONG! ... I have NEVER heard the phrase "begs the question" used in this context. "To beg" means to "beg for an answer." For example:
    "Frankie loves to shoot his zip gun at cops. This begs the question: Why hasn't he been arrested?"
    You're off-kilter and a danger to both yourself in others. Please reevaluate your argument.
    While I appreciate brandonha's touching conviction that if he's never heard of it, it can't be true, I must reiterate that the common usage he swears by is technically WRONG!

    And just to clarify: I don't dream up the Esoteric Distinctions. They have come to me as part of my education in a profession so obsessed with precision it makes my old journalism professors look like blind pigs by comparison. The first (verbal v. oral) came from my Contracts professor.

    The most recent, on question-begging, arose from my own utter bafflement, in reading court opinions, at this strange new (but actually old, dating to 1581) usage of the phrase "begs the question." I had to look it up myself, just to avoid mental paralysis. I now pass it on to you, dear readers, for your own edification. And I am afraid it is not WRONG. It is RIGHT. You can learn more here and here.

    Armed Prophet goes negative in accusing me of going negative on Schiavo 


    He also breaks his own vow about dropping Schiavo in accusing me of breaking mine.

    I have nothing more to say.

    25 October 2003

    It's Saturday. Time for your

    This week's Esoteric Distinction comes from the unassailable rules of FORMAL LOGIC.

    Here it is:
    What does it mean to "beg the question?"

    In common usage, it means that some fact or conclusion raises a question. For instance:
    More often than not, when Ashley or I go outside to get the paper in the morning, someone has stolen it out of our box. This begs the question: Who would want to steal the Register-Guard? This, in turn, begs the question: Why the hell are we paying for it?
    This usage is WRONG! Properly, to "beg the question" is to make an argument that assumes the answer to the question presented. In this sense, "to beg" means "to improperly take for granted," and "question" means "issue at hand." Here's a simple example:
    The Beavers suck dick because they are obviously total gaywads.
    While plainly true, this sentence really achieves nothing. It mistakes the conclusion for the argument. This is what it means to "beg the question." Get it? Okay, try this one out from Justice Scalia:
    I would not agree with the plurality's conclusion, even if I agreed with the premises upon which it is based. The fact that application of subsection (a)(6) must be determined before subsection (h) can be fully applied simply does not establish that the word "owner" in subsection (a)(6) must be deemed to include (as it would at common law) anyone who held title prior to the actual decree of forfeiture. To assume that is simply to beg the question.
    Get it? I don't. We probably need a little more context on that one, although it might give you some idea of just how completely disoriented I felt for the first three weeks of law school. Let's try another one.
    Linkin Park is the hardest-rocking band on the face of the planet because no other band can even come close to rocking as hard as they do.
    Yes, that's begging the question. No, that's not a quotable statement of my opinion.

    This week's Esoteric Distinction has been brought to you by the letters S and O, who would like to thank their friends W, H, A and T.

    24 October 2003

    One More Thing on Schiavo...I swear this is it. 

    Armed Prophet said this:
    Danimal, compelled as if by some need to show off his familiarity with legal matters, offers details from some interesting cases showing just how confused Florida law is on matters like the Schiavo case.
    That wasn't details from some interesting cases. That was all from one passage of a decision in the Schiavo case itself. And it didn't seem all that confused to me. The judge is to err on the side of life in such cases, just as the jury in a criminal case must err on the side of innocence if faced with reasonable doubt. It's pretty simple and rational.

    And I offered the passage not to show off my familiarity with legal matters (which ain't much after only ten weeks), but to show off my subscription to Lexis.

    Jesus Christ, Prophet! 

    Now, I know that title reads a little funny, so let me assure you: The Free God News guy has not converted me yet. I'm referring to Armed Prophet, and his response to my response to his response to whatever I said in the first place.

    You know, about that vegetable in Florida.

    Okay, here's my response to his response:

    First of all, Prophet HAS found a specialty. It's called "running off yo' fool mouth." And it's an honorable one; he should be proud.

    Second, he continues to misread me on what I mean by "judicial" behavior on Jeb's part. I said all along it was not real judicial power, but judicial power "in effect." I consider it effective judicial power because it gave him the ability to nullify 8 appellate decisions and the decision of the trier of fact, therefore establishing him as the final arbiter on a question of the application of law. (A "judicial" question.)

    For now (and ever, cause I'm sick of this too--and I usually don't tire of arguments easily, just ask Blog), let's focus on Jeb's actions.

    Prophet, for some reason, equates what he did to GW Bush's launching of military assaults on the Taliban after receiving Congressional authorization. What does any of this have to do with Afghanistan? The term "restraint," as I used it, makes sense only in the context of matters having to do with the judicial system. Not in the context of prosecuting military actions against forces that have just killed 3,000 of our citizens.

    A much more fitting analogy would be the (ahem, constitutional) power of the President and governors to grant clemency to people convicted of crimes. This power is very rarely exercised, usually after extremely lengthy consideration of the issue at hand. The executive wants to make absolutely sure he is doing the right thing in nullifying a conviction.

    The reason for such RESTRAINT is the same reason appeals courts rarely overturn a trial court's finding of fact. Great deference should be given to the decision-maker most familiar with the evidence. In the present case, a judge sitting in a court of guardianship, explicitly expected to ERR ON THE SIDE OF LIFE, considered the evidence before him regarding what Terri Schiavo's wishes might have been, and was evidently sufficiently swayed to rule for death.

    Do you believe the judge did not take this responsibility seriously? Rarely is a judge's decision so grave. If that judge considered the question of Terri Schiavo's life and death, and applied the law properly enough to withstand eight appeals for error, the matter should really be settled. It was a private issue, and private issues should be settled quietly in civil courts. Private issues should not be the business of the legislature and the governor. [Any more than they should be the business of a coupla bloggers in Oregon and Virginia! --FLed.]

    But the legislature and the governor, rather than show any deference to the judge most familiar with the evidence, hastily rammed through and exercised knee-jerk legislation appointing themselves--lawmakers and an executive with arguably the least familiarity with the evidence--her surrogate decision-maker.

    From the quotes I've read, the legislature and the governor seemed most impressed by a heart-string-tugging videotape of Schiavo being "responsive" to her parents despite lacking all but the most basic, reptilian brain functions. Which means they made their decision on emotion and their own false dreams of impossible recovery, rather than trying to glean from testimony what her actual wishes were regarding life support. I close, as before, with: This is crap.

    23 October 2003

    Kid Notorious 

    On the new Comedy Central series: I wholeheartedly agree with Blog. The only funny thing about Kid Notorious is the cat.

    I'm far more entertained by nonfiction accounts of Robert Evans' real life--that mofo is depraved, no doubt about it. (The guy looks like Dean Martin might if still alive today, had he spent 15 years in the Hanoi Hilton.)

    Kid Notorious proves that a Hollywood satire is doomed to fail if voiced and produced by the very person it is intended to satirize. Simply by the airbrushing the animation gives the miraculously alive Evans, this should be self-evident.

    But I call it "corvette" 

    Hot off the wire:
    MAKUHARI, Japan (Reuters) - General Motors Corp will rename its Buick LaCrosse in Canada because the name for the car is slang for masturbation in Quebec, embarrassed officials with the U.S. automaker said on Thursday.
    No further comment needed. Except: what's up with that dateline?

    22 October 2003

    This just in: I'm tired of talking Schiavo now 

    I don't even live in Florida, and it's a damned good thing, too. I've spilled enough "ink" FLOG™ging this issue, and I kind of miss the days (Monday?) when I was ranting about the color of money. So I'm dropping Schiavo unless Prophet hits back with something solid.

    While I've been ranting on Schiavo, another hero has been slain in this banner year for celebrity fatalities.

    We just lost Jack Elam, whose rugged good looks earned him the moniker "the poor man's Robert Redford." Well, maybe not. But he did live in Ashland--I'll be befuckered for the second time today.

    More on Schiavo 

    Memo to Armed Prophet:

    Florida common law supports your belief that we should err on the side of life! I quote from one of the many appellate decisions affirming the guardianship court's initial decision to order the withdrawal of life support:
    In making this difficult decision, a surrogate decisionmaker should err on the side of life.... In cases of doubt, we must assume that a patient would choose to defend life in exercising his or her right of privacy. In re Guardianship of Browning, 543 So.2d at 273. We reconfirm today that a court's default position must favor life.

    In re Guardianship of Schiavo, 780 So.2d 176, 179-80.
    Nevertheless, the state guardianship court, acting as surrogate decision-maker for Mrs. Schiavo, ruled for the withdrawal of life support anyway. They did so with full knowledge that they should err on the side of life in deciding the fate of a living human. And their decision has been affirmed by, to my knowledge, 8 appellate decisions.

    The guardianship court's job was to determine what to do under the law based on the facts of the case. This was a mixed question of fact and law. On such questions, appellate courts give great deference to the lower court's decision, reasoning that the lower court is in closer acquaintance with the evidence and therefore is better able to decide the question fairly.

    This is how courts work.

    At least until politicians step in and hold every court that touched the case wrong in following Florida law without error. This is crap. Enough said. Almost. Here is the remainder of the passage quoted above:
    The testimony in this case establishes that Theresa was very young and very healthy when this tragedy struck. Like many young people without children, she had not prepared a will, much less a living will. She had been raised in the Catholic faith, but did not regularly attend mass or have a religious advisor who could assist the court in weighing her religious attitudes about life-support methods. Her statements to her friends and family about the dying process were few and they were oral. Nevertheless, those statements, along with other evidence about Theresa, gave the trial court a sufficient basis to make this decision for her.

    In the final analysis, the difficult question that faced the trial court was whether Theresa Marie Schindler Schiavo, not after a few weeks in a coma, but after ten years in a persistent vegetative state that has robbed her of most of her cerebrum and all but the most instinctive of neurological functions, with no hope of a medical cure but with sufficient money and strength of body to live indefinitely, would choose to continue the constant nursing care and the supporting tubes in hopes that a miracle would somehow recreate her missing brain tissue, or whether she would wish to permit a natural death process to take its course and for her family members and loved ones to be free to continue their lives. After due consideration, we conclude that the trial judge had clear and convincing evidence to answer this question as he did.

    Id., at 180.

    Well, I'll be befuckered. 

    Elliott Smith just offed himself. Bummer. FLOG's heart goes out to him and his. I hope it's not because I left him out of this post. Uh oh--I left out Heart too. Somebody swing by Heart's house!!!

    To arms, Mr. Prophet: Florida lawmakers still stink 

    Armed Prophet has posted a response to my argument about the Terri Schiavo case, which is a little odd because I wasn't challenging his earlier point per se. My personal view of what should happen to Terri Schiavo stands entirely distinct from my "legal policy" view of the legislature's, and the governor's, irresponsibility in getting their way on a feel-good issue. Even so, I'm happy to engage Mr. Prophet.

    Prophet misconstrues my argument each time he quotes me. I'm not saying he's Maureen Dowd--he's not far off my point--but a little more precision would be nice. So let's clarify things:

    1) I said Bush demonstrated a lack of judicial restraint not by hinting that the legislature should grant him a new power, but by immediately using it. The Florida Supreme Court could have involved itself in the case, but did not. Mere minutes after acquiring the power to intervene in cases like Schiavo's, Bush used it. Why this disparity?

    High appellate courts refuse to get involved in cases all the time; intermediate appellate courts affirm trial court decisions even more frequently. There are plenty of reasons for this restraint, but the most relevant is this: In order for an appellate court to overturn a lower court's decision, it must rationally evaluate the lower court's reasoning, consider precedent and policy issues, and formulate its own rational argument in favor of deciding differently.

    I highly doubt Bush did all that in executing an order to restart Schiavo's feeding within an hour of gaining that power. I call this a lack of judicial restraint.

    The question arises: is Bush's new power a judicial power? Perhaps not technically--please note I originally said "in effect"--but it does make him the final arbiter on a particular legal question. And it enables him to decide the question not on precedent, reason, and deference to lower court decisions, but on pure emotion and politics.

    2) Mr. Prophet says I find the legislation suspect because it is narrowly written, and asks if this narrowness is not actually a strength. I didn't say it was bad because it was narrow. I said it was bad in spite of its narrowness. The narrowness is not the problem; the fact that there is an intrusion at all, however narrow, into a question better left to the courts--that is the problem.

    Courts will sometimes come to decisions that seem to the public manifestly unfair to the immediate parties. Why? Because appeals courts can't just consider the immediate parties. They have to consider the broader legal impacts of every decision they make. If they make a flawed decision guided by an emotional interest in the instant case, lower courts will have to follow this flawed law even to the unfair detriment of parties in subsequent cases. Appellate courts, then, need to be a bit utilitarian.

    Generally, courts seek to establish broad, flexible standards that will be generally fair. If a legislature stabs a little statutory intrusion into the law of the courts for each emotionally charged issue it differs with the courts on, it undermines the power and dignity of the courts and clutters and confuses the law.

    Think of how ridiculously this law might apply in practice. Let's look at its elements:
    1) The patient left no living will;
    2) The patient is in a persistent vegetative state;
    3) The patient has had nutrition and hydration tubes removed;
    4) A family member has challenged the removal.
    What if only the nutrition tube has been removed, not the hydration tube? What if there is a difference of opinion about the persistence of the vegetative state? Does a stepfather, or a second cousin, count as a family member? All of these questions may lead to situations where it is unclear whether the governor may step in, and all of them hinge on the sort of trivial distinctions courts generally try to smooth over with broad, flexible standards.

    Which is why laws like this are irresponsible.

    I've got more to say, but it will have to wait until after I do my studies.

    Life imitates country music 

    This just realized: The Terri Schiavo case has "eerie parallels" to this lyrical exchange from the country classic Orange Blossom Special, as immortalized by the suddenly mortal Johnny Cash:
    Q: "Say man, when you going back to FLORIDA?"
    A: "When am I goin' back to FLORIDA? I don't know, don't reckon I ever will."
    Q: "Ain't you worried about getting your NOURISHMENT in New York?"
    A: "Well, I don't care if I DO-DIE-DO-DIE-DO-DIE-DO-DIE."

    21 October 2003

    One way not to run a state legislature 

    Mr. A. Prophet has got me thinking about the Terry Schiavo case, and this is what I've been thinking:

    Passing painstakingly fact-specific legislation granting your governor new powers to overrule state courts on the basis of one emotionally charged case is not how to run a state legislature.

    For those of you in a vegetative state, Terry Schiavo has been in a coma since 1990. Her husband and legal guardian, Michael, long ago won a state court order allowing the removal of a feeding tube to allow her to expire naturally. Her parents opposed removal, and have fought it tooth and nail in various state and federal courts, to no avail. Both the US and Florida Supreme courts refused to touch the case. Finally, after a state appeals court refused to block the removal last week, doctors went ahead and took the feeding tube out.

    Meanwhile, Florida governor Jeb Bush, who publicly sympathized with Schiavo's parents, stated repeatedly that his hands were tied: He had no authority to intervene in decisions of the courts. Taking his cue, the Florida legislature put together a bill that gave him just that authority.

    The bill was intentionally drafted as narrowly as possible, limiting it to cases where the patient left no living will, is in a persistent vegetative staate, has had nutrition and hydration tubes removed and where a family member has challenged the removal. In other words, limiting it only to Terri Schiavo. The narrowness of the bill underscores legislators' awareness that they're treading on shaky (state) consitutional ground, but it doesn't excuse the intrusion.

    This bill, in effect, grants the governor judicial power at least equal to that of the state Supreme Court, and the very fact that he immediately used it where they did not demonstrates his comparative lack of judicial restraint.

    There are a lot of ways in which legislatures can overrule state courts; it's not uncommon, for example, for a legislature to clarify their intent by passing a new statute if they feel an appellate court decision has misinterpreted a previously existing statute. But that is hardly comparable to an unprecedented grant of judicial power to the governor. We keep judicial decisions out of politicians' hands for good reasons. Try em: Separation of powers. Judicial restraint. These are not trivial ideas.

    How was this act justified? Quoth the AP:
    But many Republicans and some Democrats said they need to be involved in dire cases where judges might be wrong.

    "The Constitution is supposed to protect the people of this state," said Rep. Sandy Murman, a Republican from Tampa. "Who is protecting this girl?"
    First: Who is protecting her? Well, I suppose her husband and legal guardian, that's who. Second: I don't know how accurately the AP reflected the words of state legislators, but I have a real problem with the assumption that a politically motivated legislature must be right and a long string of judges might be wrong in agreeing with Terri Schiavo's husband and legal guardian. This is not a simple case of one judge run amok. The legislature has second-guessed the entire legal system of Florida, and some federal courts.

    Is there any branch of government in Florida that hasn't had the sun go to their heads?

    Fie on frivoling. Let's not frivol here. 

    WWB offers some assistance in finding a way to make "frivol" into a noun:
    Frivoling--yes, frivoling--it’s a gerund, which is to say, it’s a verb acting as a noun.

    All is not lost!
    Thanks, WWB, but a victory by gerund is no victory at all. One can make any verb into a noun by gerundizing it, as you ably show. I'm afraid all IS lost.

    FLOG: Gettin' out the Nits.

    The evolution of Pacific Northwest music, 1968 to 2000 

    "Fly on, little wing"
         Jimi Hendrix, 1968

    "You eat 'em in the morn', you eat 'em at night
    Kentucky Fried Chicken makes the suckers just right"

         Sir Mixalot, 1988

    "Angel left wing, right wing, broken wing"
         Nirvana, 1994

    "Left wing, right wing, chicken wing"
         Modest Mouse, 2000

    Late-night papal haiku, etc. 

    Don't worry. I've got some great, well-reasoned, cogent posts planned for this week. But it's been a hell of a Monday. I had loads of work and the lady-friend's car wouldn't start and she locked herself out of the house. A long damned day for all. So this is what I'm closing with:

    Papal Haiku
    John Paul the Second
    He is now slowly dying
    No more pope jokes, then?

    While I'm at it, I might as well include this "poem" I wrote during law school orientation. It's probably only enjoyable to Oregonians and expat Ducks. Or maybe just to me.

    The Frohn
    The Frohn--face impassive.
    The Frohn--dyeing his hair?
    The Frohn--receding.
    The Frohn--coming straight outta Medford.
    The Frohn--making cryptic notes.
    The Frohn--stoically withstanding the hosannas of mental midgets.
    The Frohn--dozing.
    The Frohn--giving the same speech he did in May.
    The Frohn--does he feel my eyes drilling into his ear?
    The Frohn--looking right at me now.
    The Frohn--just said "bosom."

    Good night.

    20 October 2003

    I stand corrected--by me 

    It has been brought to my attention by me that I used the word "frivol" incorrectly in the preceding post. Apparently it is strictly a verb, not a noun. Sorry.

    FLOG: Working Hard for You.

    Yes, I know I should be studying.

    Peachy money update 

    Two pizzas. I just bought two pizzas at Papa Murphys. I have never bought two pizzas before. Oh, I could rationalize it--plenty for lunch this week--but it's still unheard of. And so I part with my last peach $20 bill.

    They say that ill-gotten money can only bring one ill. Well, I hypothesize that peach-colored 20's can only bring one frivol. Yes, frivol. Look it up.

    And as I passed my last peach $20 bill to the clerk, this is what she said:

    "Oh, it's one of those new twenty's! I heard about those and I was so excited! [To coworker:] Hey, Sarah, check it out! Aren't they trippy? Look at the back! How cool is that?"

    Said Sarah:

    "Wow, it doesn't even look like real money. That's wild."

    It doesn't even look like real money. Which makes it more fun and easier to part with. I rest my case. Adios recession!

    "One of the things we're here for today is to find out what everyone wants to know. What happened?"  

    Forget about Kobe. The real show in criminal justice right now is John Allen Muhammad, who has been allowed to represent himself in his capital murder trial. Criminal justice hasn't been this entertaining since Charles Manson tried it out.

    Note to everyone: NEVER represent yourself. You will make a fool of yourself. It might go something like this:

    "Muhammad, wearing a suit and tie, told a story about how he punished his daughter for eating chocolate cookies, only to find out later that the daughter had not actually disobeyed him. He said he is similarly being persecuted by authorities who don't know the truth behind the sniper shootings."

    Some of you might even predict exoneration "by the grace of Allah." Your attorney would not. Trust me, they're good for something.

    Ooh, Peachy! 

    The Treasury Department sure is hot and bothered about these nifty new peach $20 bills.
    They're even running ads. Never before have I seen an advertisement for MONEY. Christ, I'll have to run out and buy me some of that! How much is it?

    This might be an attempt to kickstart the economy by getting the public excited about cash so that they will spend it. You know, like Disney Dollars. If so, it's working. I dropped $203 at Winco yesterday--all peachy new $20's, mind you--and in retrospect I'm really not sure I needed a new mop. Or a kitty toy that looks like Freddy Krueger's hand. Or champagne. Or 4 pounds of bulk fettucine.

    If unemployed trust fund babies like me keep spending like this, the rest of you will be back at work in no time! Hooray peach $20's!

    18 October 2003

    What lawyers find entertaining 

    They say that "FLOG" backwards is "GOLF." While I haven't tested this personally, I want to emphasize that this site is never going to be about golf, no matter how many years I spend in the legal profession.

    However, this site is neat because it perfectly combines the average lawyer's two favorite pastimes--obscure legal issues and, yes, the golf.

    Not to impeach the PATRIOT Act altogether, but.... 

    ...I find this a brilliant quote from Supreme Court Justice Brandeis:

    "The greatest dangers to liberty lurk in insidious encroachment by men of zeal, well-meaning but without understanding."

    16 October 2003

    It's Thursday. Time for your

    This week's Esoteric Distinction comes from the area of law known as Contracts! Remember, a contract is a bargained-for exchange in which each party benefits!

    Now here it is:

    Q: A "verbal agreement" is the same as an "oral agreement", right?

    A: WRONG!

    "Oral" means "by mouth;" "verbal" means "by words". So while "oral agreement" simply means an agreement that has been arrived at through oral discussion and not written down, nearly every written agreement can be called "verbal"--unless it's in heiroglyphics or arrived at through tic-tac-toe or something.

    This week's Esoteric Distinction has been brought to you by the letter Y.

    Oh say can you see? 

    So the Puffin Room, a Manhattan art gallery, is putting on an exhibit of Iraqi children's depictions of the US invasion. Some of it is clearly influenced by Saddamite propaganda--the Tigris River running red with blood, tanks bearing the Star of David rolling through Baghdad--but it still is pretty graphic, visceral stuff that supposedly "bring[s] a child's sensibility to bear on the human impact of the US 'shock and awe' bombing campaign," according to the Agence-France Press.

    Well, before we all get caught up in the hand-wringing and the "Won't somebody think about the children?" routine, I'd like to note that I, as a child, drew pictures uncannily similar to this, but depicting an epic battle between the forces of "School" and "No School." ("No School" eventually won out, but at an inestimable cost in stick figure lives.) I'm not sure what my point is exactly, except that these drawings don't seem that shocking or awful.

    15 October 2003

    I want my Gilded Toilet! 

    I attend school in a spanking-new $25 million castle. State of the art this, that, the other thing. Everywhere you go, there is an internet port, and students move through the school like witches with their laptop familiars. We gather in clusters in the lobby to chat, yet even during the most social, non-academic exchanges the persistent presence of the laptop is unavoidable; the attention split is at best 60/40 in favor of fellow humans.

    Yep, this place is wired up the wazoo top to bottom.

    Well, not quite to bottom. That's the problem. There is no internet in the place where I need it most. Where I, like LBJ, am most lucid and reflective and where I am forced to spend a great deal of my study time of late for reasons you don't need to hear.

    Perhaps this can be my gift to the school.

    14 October 2003

    Do rhetorical questions ever have answers? 

    Do I have a professor who teaches his class from a textbook he wrote? Will I have to read his entire 1289-page volume by the end of the year? Is it composed entirely of questions? Is this causing irreparable harm to my brain? Destroying my capacity for coherent thought?

    Is this an example of what I'm talking about?

    "Does the Potter decision shed light on the meaning of the standard adopted in Boyles and Burgess that a plaintiff can recover for emotional distress only if the defendant has breached some other duty to plaintiff? How does the Potter court apply this standard? Is it relevant for the 'independent duty' analysis whether the defendant's conduct poses risks of physical harm to plaintiffs? Is it as clear as the court says that the fear of controlling a disease such as cancer was 'the very harm which the legislature sought by statute to avoid' in enacting Water Code s. 13350?"

    Does it go on like that? Am I tempted to retaliate by answering every question on the final exam with a relentless catechism of my own?

    There are pigs in the air, it's cold down below, and my butt is now devoid of monkeys 

    In other news, the Supreme Court just affirmed a 9th Circuit decision on medical marijuana.

    Not that I'm disapproving the decision, but this court just hasn't been itself lately. Overturning sodomy laws (yay), affirming Affirmative Action (boo), and now this. (yay). Whatever will they do next?

    Why, they're taking on the 9th's "under God" decision on the Pledge o' Allegiance. If they affirm the 9th on that, prepare for the rapture, children.

    Introducing FLOG, the only blog by me 

    A never-ending spew of my patented "Atkinsight" on topics such as music, the popular culture, whiskey appreciation, legal issues, going to law school, what the weather's like, and whether my feet itch. (Yes, they do.)

    This blog can only get better, so don't give up too quickly.

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