Thursday, October 12, 2006


Jon Stewart on the Minuteman protest controversy at Columbia:
Neither side escapes Stewart's jabs. He remarks, "Congratulations, protesters, you've managed to make Sean Hannity seem like the reasonable one. I will say this, though, it's a group devoted to keeping immigrants out of this country, the Minutemen, and they're getting muscled out by an Ivy League, geek squad, pencil-neck caucus. I mean, yes, they had set up a security fence but, you know, it didn't really hold. How are you going to secure the border when can't secure the podium?"

The Youtube link.

via the Volokh Conspiracy.


Job-hunting tips from Salieri, the Patron Saint of Mediocrity. Some of my favorites:
If you have not figured out how to type accent marks on your computer, add them over the "e"s in "resume" by hand.

Give the firm a better idea of who you are by filling out a personality test from MySpace and including it with your resume. Don't forget - the hiring partner has to pass it on their ten best friends or they'll be haunted by the ghost of the girl who fell off the bridge.

Keep in touch with your interviewer after the interview. Forward him or her all the jokes your aunt e-mails you.

If you don't get an interview, show up anyway, but hide your identity with a mask. Refer to yourself as "El Candidato Misterioso" until you get in to meet the interviewer, then rip off the mask dramatically. Challenging the interviewer to a match at SummerSlam is optional.

If the interviewer does not tell you which name to call him or her by, err on the side of formality. Use "Your Exalted Magnificence" unless told otherwise.


After reading this Washington Post article, I'm revising my fantasy career goals. I used to want to find someone to pay me a decent salary and expense account to travel around the world and write critiques of exotic restaurants, luxury hotels, and adventure tours. But it appears I could accomplish all that without actually writing a word simply by becoming the head of the ATF:
The former director of the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives violated ethics rules by requiring 20 employees to help his teenage nephew prepare a high school video project, part of a wide-ranging pattern of questionable expenditures on a new ATF headquarters, personal security and other items, according to a report issued yesterday.

Carl J. Truscott, who previously served as head of President Bush's security detail at the Secret Service, also took several trips with excessive numbers of ATF agents, including a $37,000 journey to London in September 2005 with eight other employees, according to the report. . . .

Fine's 157-page report confirms these allegations and many more, concluding that Truscott frequently broke regulations or exercised poor judgment in making decisions that had a serious impact on the ATF's operational budget when the agency was cutting back on vehicle maintenance, bulletproof vests and other basics . . . .

Truscott was particularly fixated on adding "unnecessary amenities" to the director's suite and the building's gymnasium, the inspector general's report said, including millwork estimated at $283,000. Agency e-mails show that Truscott requested for his office a 42-inch flat-screen television set that could be hidden when not in use. He wanted his personal bathroom to include a "[t]elephone, TV flat panel and radio speakers to listen/view news," a quartzite tile floor to match the floor in the building atrium, a bench with a water-resistant wood seat, a tile wall "in horizontal straight stacked layout vs brick," and sconces.
Best of all, the perks include not only free travel, but a chance to degrade others at your own expense:
The report by Justice Department Inspector General Glenn A. Fine also finds fault with Truscott's treatment of some female employees, saying that he ordered two female administrative staff members to prepare meals for guests on several occasions. One of the employees was allegedly required to announce, "Lunch is served." . . .

Some of Fine's harshest conclusions come in connection with an ATF school documentary by Truscott's nephew, who lives in the Philadelphia area . . . . The report said that over 10 months, Truscott's nephew peppered ATF employees in Philadelphia and Washington with e-mails and time-consuming requests, obtaining copies of stock ATF video footage, interviewing ATF officials -- including his uncle -- and using agency video equipment. "Significant ATF resources were used to assist Truscott's nephew on a high school project," the report says.

The nephew submitted his project to his teacher in April 2005, and included the credit, "Thank you for giving me this amazing opportunity Uncle Carl." The report says he received an A.

I wonder if he made them call him "Your Exalted Magnificence". C'mon - no sense having a perk like that unless you really use it.

If you're interested in the Duke LaCrosse controversy, TalkLeft says that 60 Minutes plans to air an interview of three of the players and the accuser's dance partner.

Vote for the most annoying song of all time on Leo's site (in the comments). The idea that sparked the poll:
Blender magazine editors chose Starship's 1985 hit "We Built This City" as the worst song of all time. Now they've assigned contributor Russ Heller to set a world record for repeatedly listening to the worst song ever. He'll sit in a plexiglass booth at the Best Buy in NoHo starting Friday at 8 a.m. and grit his teeth as "We Built This City" is played at least 324 times over a grueling 24 hours.

Hey, after a few years of therapy Russ should be just fine. My vote: "I Just Called to Say I Love You." Fingernails on a chalkboard are less annoying.

An excellent idea:
Let's be blunt. The phrase "climate change denier" is meant to be evocative of the phrase "holocaust denier". As such the phrase conjurs up a symbolic allusion fully intended to equate questioning of climate change with questioning of the Holocaust. . . . Let's declare a moratorium on the phrases "climate change denier" and "climate change denial." Let's invoke the equivalent of Godwin's Law in discourse on climate policy.
Is it just me, or are violations of Godwin's Law becoming increasingly prevelant? Count it as one of my major pet peeves, unless the subject is more than tangentially related to WWII or actual facism.

Also according to the Washington Post, cursive writing is becoming extinct. So I now have this vision of a bunch of us, ninety-something years old, writing in cursive as a secret code to drive the youngsters nuts. They won't have a clue what it says. We can coordinate a geriatric takeover of Disneyland . . .

okay, time to lay off the caffiene.

It's the age-old question: if you're naked and no one's around to see it, is it still public indecency?
Authorities: Naked prosecutor caught on camera

SCOTUSblog (Supreme Court of the US, in case you're wondering) has got links to the transcript in Cunningham v. California and Carey v. Musladin, and a report on the oral argument in Norfolk Southern v. Sorrell, also with links to the transcript. Meanwhile, Findlaw has a summary up of the punitive damages issues in Philip Morris v. Williams. It goes through a brief history of cases analyzing the rationality of relationship (or lack thereof) of punitives to actual damages, including the most recent State Farm case that initiated the "single digit multiplier" rule of thumb. The short version: Oregon courts feel that tobacco cases are the exception to the single digit rule, Phillip Morris (shockingly) disagrees. The article examines some of the factors that might go into the decision.

On Overlawyered: A German lawyer hopes to drum up more business by pursuing state compensation claims for people who believe they were abducted by aliens.
Side note: yes, I still do want to write a scene based on this for City Circle's New Play Festival. But I'm still trying to work out how to differentiate it from the scene I did with Kit two years ago. Maybe I should just mine the comments from Overlawyered's post. Love this one: Germany has a high lawyer to population ratio, as we do. (So this falls under the "lawyers have to eat, too" rule??) This is a good rent seeking, job generation tactic. (Hmm. . . interesting syntax. You're not American, are you?) The memory is common. The majority of alien abuse victims are likely to be mentally ill. (And precisely whom are we supposed to sue here?) Alien abduction is no more silly than the accepted, core doctrine of torts. Foreseeability of an accident results in a duty of the defendant to the plaintiff. The lawyer believes accidents can be predicted. Why not alien abduction? (I see. So if you drive on the wrong side of the road, or keep your sidewalk icy, or distribute a car that blows up upon rear impact, you have as much of a chance of causing an accident as an alien abduction? Ooookaaay.)

All kidding aside, these suits don't have a prayer. All the aliens have to do is invoke forum non conveniens, requiring us to refile in the Andromeda system local courts, and the plaintiffs are f*cked.

Helpful tips for criminals from the Crimlaw blogspot: 1) If you are going to commit murder don't do it with a gun with which you have previously shot yourself and left the bullet with the police officer. 2) It might sound cool at the time, but signing the letters outlining your escape plans in your own blood is just creepy and weird once you are in court.

Concurring opinions analyzes parole after Samson v. California, the Supreme Court ruling that the Fourth Amendment does not prohibit police officers from conducting suspicionless searches of parolees. The full text of the ruling is here.

Okay, for an opinion on a strip club case, the opinion in DEJA VU OF NASHVILLE v. METROPOLITAN GOVERNMENT OF NASHVILLE & DAVIDSON COUNTY is pretty boring. But blawgers find the chance to point out it's DejaVu all over again simply irresistable.

Local legal news from the DI:

Vito's will pay the family of a former UI student nearly $450,000 to settle a lawsuit that accused the establishment of providing the student's killer with too much alcohol.

The employee of a local daycare is suing a UI professor and her husband for libel and slander, contending that the couple falsely accused her of molesting their children - which eventually caused lost business for the childcare center she works for.

They also have a somewhat tepid review of Seussical, which I intend to see tonight (break a leg, all).

Apparently, the US Department of the Interior hates blogs. That, or somebody who works there spent way too much time on Suicide Girls.

UPDATE: Considering all the buzz (and the ton of hits I'm getting from Gates of Vienna, I suppose my stray comment is rather facetious. However: 1) I don't think that a blanket blogspot block is necessarily content-based or discriminatory; and 2) While it would be fairly annoying, it is generally within the scope of an employer's power to restrict surfing for non-job-related things. That said, why don't you try a proxy? I always love messing with the IT people to find a way around the blocks.


UPDATE #2 - After a little prompting, I've finally made it onto the blogroll over at Iowa Voice.

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