Archive for the ‘Weird’ Category
posted by UCLA Law Review
Volume 61, Discourse
|Prosecuting the Undead: Federal Criminal Law in a World of Zombies||Michael L. Smith||44|
|“Healthcare for All”?: The Gap Between Rhetoric and Reality in the Affordable Care Act||Vinita Andrapalliyal||58|
|Vistas of Finance||Tom C.W. Lin||78|
posted by Deven Desai
I’m re-reading Gravity’s Rainbow (Pynchon now on Kindle by the way). Finished V. Finished Crying of Lot 49. Tried to pick up Vineland which I loved. Wanted the difficult, mad, beautiful language. Back to Gravity’s Angel. For fans I post a song I knew before I read the book. It is Laurie Anderson’s Gravity’s Angel. Honestly, she’s not for everyone. Maybe not for most. But if you dig experimental music and complex lyrics give it a shot. The album Mister Heartbreak from which the track comes is fun too. Again fun for some. It has William Burroughs on Sharkey’s Night. I quoted it at my Cal graduation. That is below too. Shorter.
Where’s the law? Not sure. As Burroughs intones, “And sharkey says: hey, kemosabe! long time no see. he says: hey sport. you connect the dots. you pick up the pieces.” OK for a bit more, as I have said here before, life beyond the law matters. And it turns out that knowing life beyond the law might make you a better lawyer. That, by the way, is why empathy for a judge is important and a good thing. If you can’t walk in someone else’s shoes, at least read more, listen to more, watch more. Great writing, great communication opens the door to the world beyond yours and mine. At least those are the dots I connect. The pieces I pick up.
posted by Deven Desai
A certain Mr. Kennedy sells shoelaces. They come in silver or 24 carat gold. How much? I’m glad you asked. A pair of silver laces are $3,000. A pair of gold laces are $19,000. And in case you are not in awe yet, consider there is an order limit! Yes, my friends, there appears to be a limit of 30 units for silver and 10 units for gold. I could not believe that limits were needed. I poked around. It may be that these are limited edition. But the order info and language about shipping times varying depending on what is in stock make me think perhaps the limit is a security issue or maybe there are laws about that much precious metal being shipped about. I suppose one could be quite the Auric Goldfinger and smuggle using the laces.
I also love that the name is supposed to be a nod to the inventor of the shoelace but these works also have an odd fair trade labor gloss:
MR KENNEDY WAS THE FOUNDER OF THE MODERN DAY SHOELACE. THESE ‘ULTIMATE’ SHOELACES ARE A HOMAGE TO HIM. WE HAVE CREATED THE WORLDS FIRST PURE GOLD AND SILVER SHOELACES. ALL OUR LACES ARE HANDMADE BY OUR TEAM IN COLOMBIA WITH EACH SET TAKING APPROXIMATELY 120 HOURS TO PERFECT.
THEY ARE MADE FROM SILVER AND GOLD, MINED LESS THAN 10 MILES FROM WHERE THEY ARE MANUFACTURED IN THE MIDDLE CAUCA GOLD BELT AND THEY ARE BROUGHT TO YOU BY ‘MR KENNEDY’.
MR KENNEDY AND PRECIOUS SHOELACES WAS AN IDEA INSPIRED BY THE CREATIVITY OF THE PEOPLE OF QUINCHIA, COLOMBIA. THE ARTISAN MINING INDUSTRY THERE HAS LED TO A JEWELRY MARKET WITH SKILLS UNPARALLELED AROUND THE WORLD (MAYBE IT’S THE COFFEE).
So we have name from a dead inventor, an invokation of local craft and sources, and an appeal to wealth and exclusivity. Maggie Chon’s work on Marks of Rectitude is a good read to see how fair trade and labor claims are more and more important. These items seem to take the ideal or Whole Foods (or Whole Paycheck as some call it) and go to the limit of the decadent, righteousness.
posted by Dave Hoffman
In Kentucky. Lowering the Bar explains:
WKYT reported on Monday that a 55-year-old Jessamine County man had been cited for riding while intoxicated. The man said he was trail-riding with some friends and had stopped to have something to eat “when the deputy arrived and told me to get off my horse.” He explained that he is severely diabetic and hadn’t eaten, and that is why he staggered after dismounting, not because he was intoxicated . . .
The report says the man was charged with a violation of Section 189.520, “Operating a vehicle not a motor vehicle while under influence of intoxicants or substance which may impair driving ability prohibited.” . . . The statutory language is better than the title: “No person under the influence of intoxicating beverages or any substance which may impair one’s driving ability shall operate a vehicle that is not a motor vehicle anywhere in this state.”
[A]ren’t there often statutes that define certain legal terms? Yes, and there’s one here. And sadly for Rooster Cogburn, it defines “vehicle” as including “All agencies for the transportation of persons or property over or upon the public highways of the Commonwealth.…” So while I still like my “animal is not a vehicle” argument, Kentucky has precluded it.”
Seems like a good example to use in a class on statutory interpretation. Isn’t the obvious question what an “agency” is for the purposes of Kentucky law?
posted by Dave Hoffman
A Gawker article about the fakeness of the DNC resonated with me. But the author makes the following puzzling claim:
“Michelle Obama stutters. She does not have a stutter. She stutters on purpose. “I-I-I, I’ve seen it in our men and women in uniform.” “Fr-from the young person with so much promise.” “And-and, even as a kid…”
It is a studied stutter, deployed in order to build sincerity. It is not so much a rhetorical device as an acting device. The same could be said for the presentation of almost all political convention speeches. And it is, at its core, sad.”
I too am turned off by the conventions of our conventions, and believe the RNC (and now the DNC) to be manipulative, peacocking displays. It an excellent trend that Americans increasingly agree with me and turn off their TVs rather than watch the pageantry. However, I’m puzzled by the claim that false-stuttering will make listeners more, not less, convinced of the First Lady’s sincerity. The research I’ve seen tends to the opposite conclusion. Indeed, this paper claims that even mild stuttering would be a serious impediment for a politician, let alone his or her spouse. Is there actually evidence that a mild stutter makes speakers seem more sincere?
[Update: edited for clarity.]
posted by Dave Hoffman
Last last year, I had the pleasure of hearing a senior European policymaker address a gathering on the topic of the future of Europe. It was his considered view that no one could leave the Euro – and that the only path forward was more
cowbell integration. (It was 2011. We were all so young and naive.) Partly, this was a matter of facts-on-the-ground economic co-dependence. But he also believed in the strength of the overlapping treaties which would make exit all-but-impossible. Indeed, I was struck at the time that Europe was imagined – at least in the heads of certain Europeans – as a bit of a sovereign arising from nexus of contracts. The contract terms in the Maastricht Treaty were sovereignty for prosperity.
Obviously, things have changed. But the metaphor looks like a better fit than ever. It’s just that it looks like it is time for efficient breach of contract.
posted by Dave Hoffman
Has anyone else noticed that over the last six months, SSRN is buggy on both Chrome and Firefox? Individual pages get hung up loading googleads – often causing the browser to crash if a script isn’t interrupted. I’m thinking perhaps it is having trouble navigating the otherwise exemplary add-on AdBlock? If you have dealt with this problem, I’d love to know how to solve it.
posted by Danielle Citron
Sometimes, opening sentences tell you exactly what you need to know about what’s to follow. That’s certainly true of literature. Consider the beginning of Fyodor Dostoevsky’s Notes From Underground (translation Richard Pevear and Larissa Volokhonsky): “I am a sick man . . . I am a wicked man. An unattractive man. I think my liver hurts.” Genius, really. And this notion is definitely true of opinions. Take, as an example, Wal-mart Stores v. Dukes: “We are presented with one of the most expansive class actions ever.” Justice Scalia, from the get go, made clear that the class was doomed. I imagine that readers have other humdingers of beginnings, do tell.
posted by Dave Hoffman
“‘Golds’ are permanent or removable mouth jewelry, also referred to as ‘grills.’ See Mouth Jewelry Wearers Love Gleam of the Grill, South Florida Sun-Sentinel, Feb. 4, 2007, p. 5, 2007 WLNR 2187080. See also A. Westbrook, Hip Hoptionary 59 (2002) (defining a ‘grill’ as a ‘teeth cover, usually made of gold and diamonds’). -Thomas, J., dissenting in Smith v. Cain.
posted by Dave Hoffman
I can across this saying recently in a post about the perils of blogging by Todd Henderson. It allegedly is a Yiddish proverb, made popular in a speech by Malcolm Gladwell. I’m actually not so sure it’s a real piece of Yiddishkeit. None of my (Hungarian) Yiddish-speaking relatives have heard of it, and I can’t find the real Yiddish version anywhere. Rather, I think the expression is best sourced to Isaac Bashevis Singer, who wrote an English short story with the expression in the title, and who used variants in several other pieces. (If anyone knows different, please feel free to comment.)
Anyway, it’s a useful expression for someone who feels trapped by a bad situation. I thought I’d pass it along. It’s an illustration, incidentally, of how bizarre associations can make writing more vivid. (What’s the worm doing in horseradish? Why horseradish? Are worms kosher for Passover?) It’s also a useful reminder, in this new year, that it’s pretty bad to be a worm in horseradish.
posted by Gerard Magliocca
So I was doing research on space law (don’t ask), and I learned something new–Richard Posner’s first publication was a book review in the Harvard Law Review entitled “Law and Public Order in Space.” You can find it at 77 Harv. L. Rev. 1370 (1964). My favorite line is:
“The most glaring example of the authors’ unwillingness to recognize that their subject has any bounds is the chapter on “Potential Interaction With Advanced Forms of Non-Earth Life” (ch. 9, pp. 974-1021). The problem of men from Mars (and elsewhere) is still, mercifully, in the realm of science fiction, and it is therefore not surprising that the authors have almost nothing to contribute to its solution.”
posted by Kyle Graham
Holiday 2011 Semester
1. You have three hours to complete the exam,
which consists of a single question.
2. This is a closed-book exam.
3. Assume that the facts as given are true, and take place in the fictitious State of Confusion.
4. Good luck!
On Christmas Eve 2011, Santa Claus landed his sleigh atop the roof of the Adams household. After squeezing down the chimney, he left gifts for the Adams family, ate the milk and cookies that had been left out for him, and then shimmied back up the chimney to the roof.
As Santa prepared to board his sleigh, he slipped and fell on an icy shingle. Santa tumbled down the roof and crashed into the bushes below, hurting his back. Mr. Adams had seen the ice on his roof earlier that day, but decided not to clear it off; the task seemed like a lot of work, it was cold outside, and there was a good football game on TV. As Santa lay injured in the bushes, a partially unwrapped gift—a Chia Pet—inexplicably fell from (or was disgustedly tossed out of) a window at the Adams residence, and clobbered Santa on the head.
The tumult caused Santa’s reindeer to panic and fly off without him. The out-of-control reindeer and sleigh crashed into and pulverized the chimney at the nearby Batista household. Meanwhile, the Chen and Davis children had been “nice” this year, but received no presents due to Santa’s injury and the runaway sleigh. Believing that Santa considered them “naughty,” the Chen and Davis kids suffered serious emotional distress.
Later that night, one of the gifts that Santa had left for the Adams family, a Sniggie® blanket (like a Snuggie, only cheaper), spontaneously burst into flames. The ensuing fire burnt the Adams house down to the ground.
Finally, the events related above caused some scales to topple onto a woman standing at a train station in Brooklyn.
Identify and evaluate the torts implicated by the foregoing facts, taking care to consider, inter alia:
1) Whether Santa is best classified as an invitee, licensee, or trespasser at the Adams household, assuming that the State of Confusion continues to adhere to these categories;
2) Whether the doctrine of res ipsa loquitur applies to the defenestrated Chia Pet;
3) Whether Santa would be liable for the chimney damage in a “fence out” jurisdiction;
4) Whether any duty existed to protect the Chen and Davis children from the harms that they suffered; and
5) Whether Santa can be held strictly liable as a “distributor” of the defective Sniggie® blanket.
posted by Dave Hoffman
The great state of Delaware, which brought you most of your corporate law and some nasty traffic jams in Newark, hosts the annual Punkin Chunkin competition this weekend. The object is to throw a pumpkin (by mechanical means) as far as you can, without having the pumpkin become pie in midair. I was looking at Wikipedia’s reporting of the “competition” results, and I noticed the following trend:
Do you see what I’m seeing? Basically, the same kind of “lost decade” that we’ve seen in other fields — ranging from employment, to the 99′s% wages, to innovation in the pharmaceutical pipeline. Actually now that I think about it, if we take seriously Bainbridge’s idea that law is a “mature industry,” that curve starts to strike pretty close to home.
It’s depressing to think that after only 20 years, the technology to create an air cannon that will throw a pumpkin over a mile has already reached its apparent apogee. At this point, we might predict that rather than rewarding skill, the Punkin Chunkin competition really will turn on luck — puffs of wind, pumpkin skin viscosity, humidity, the passing pigeon’s path. Nevertheless, we’ll probably come to believe that the winners in the pumpkin chunkin competition are virtuous and the losers defective, and that the results reflect some kind of fair & stable & natural ordering. That view would be wrong.
posted by Dave Hoffman
I was talking to my college classmate Rafael Pardo (JE ’98, teaching at U.W.) at the AALS hiring conference, and we came to conclude that Jonathan Edwards College dominates Yale’s inferior colleges in the number (and quality) of law professor alumni it produces. (And, needless to say, Harvard’s “houses” aren’t particularly relevant to this discussion.) Off the top of our heads, we came up with a bunch of folks — which, in a previous version of this post, I listed. On reconsideration, and after being told that the AYA prefers not to use the search function in this way, I’m taking down the list in an abundance of caution. People should feel free to use the comment thread to continue inter-college rivalries as they like. And folks who didn’t participate in odd & goofy Yale College traditions should celebrate the interdepartmental units in their respective undergraduate institutions that they belonged to, and tease those who didn’t.
As they say, JE Sux! Anyone have a different view?
posted by Danielle Citron
In June, I blogged about the dreaded question (for parents of teenagers): “Mom, can I have a Facebook profile?” At the time, we talked about its benefits and drawbacks. On the one hand, it’s a gateway to socializing that she had been missing given her late birthday. Different sports leagues had Facebook groups, perhaps she needed to join, and other activities would as well. On the other hand, her privacy and reputation could be jeopardized, by her own hand or her “friends.” Facebook’s privacy settings are notoriously whimsical, and more importantly as Steve Bellovin’s work shows notoriously misunderstood–setting up an account was indeed a game of chance, or as Bob Keller notes, like giving your kid a pipe of crystal meth. We gave our thirteen year old kid the choice and told her to talk to us when she was ready to get started. The summer came and went and all was quiet. So now, a good five months later and a good five months wiser, my kid has decided that she wants to think about getting a Facebook page again. And the conversation went something like this (she did all of the talking): So I’m feeling excited about this. Facebook would let me stay in touch with my sleep-away camp friends who live all over the place and I could friend kids that I meet from other schools in the area, at games, mixers, etc. And I am jazzed about this new close friends feature that everyone’s been talking about. This way I can share photographs only with my five best pals and I don’t have to worry. (Pause). But, I really want to friend the kids from camp and want them to see what I am up to, so this close friends feature may not work. And what if those camp friends have weird friends or end up being strange themselves. I can’t de-friend them, can I and still pal around at camp? And I don’t want other people making judgments about me based on what those not-so-close friends are up to? Will colleges see what I am doing, when it comes time? And what if someone goes on my close friend’s computer and copy and pastes my silly remarks and it goes viral, like the Friday girl who ended up getting death threats and harassed. Can I put up my favorite artists? I definitely can say I like the Beatles and Elton John, but can I say Kesha? Will people think I am appropriate if I put Kesha down or Katy Perry? Some of their songs are, err, a little inappropriate.
After all of that, my kid said she needed to think about it, it all seemed so, well, complicated. That seemed just the right word: complicated. But the question seems even more tricky now than it did in June. Who is she doing this for? Taking cues from Erving Goffman, life is a performance. Some of it is just for you–a way to develop oneself, experiment, play, and figure out who you are as much as who you are not. Much of it is for others. We perform different roles for the people in our lives: friends, parents, co-workers, coach, priest/imam/rabbi, acquaintances, and strangers. Some performances are oppressive: we cover or pass as best we can in the face of stigma and prejudice. And we perform at a time of extensive social and political surveillance. We feel watched, and for good reason. Companies give us social influence scores. Employers, marketers, and businesses use those scores to benefit some, leaving others less favored and less fortunate. Maybe we perform online for them? Colleges look at social media profiles. (danah boyd has a great piece about a question a college asked her about a student’s MySpace page, which seemingly contradicted his college essay.) Do young people perform for them? At the same time, government monitors our online presence, searching for threats to critical infrastructure and the like. Government 2.0 social media sites may be keeping track of the stories we like, the friends we make, and pictures we post. Who knows? Agencies aren’t promising not to watch us, so maybe being careful is smart. Are we performing for fusion centers and our government social media friends? All of this watching brings to mind Julie Cohen’s book Configuring the Networked Self: Law, Code, and the Play of Everyday Practice (Yale University Press, forthcoming 2011, see her talk here)–more on that in early 2012 in our online symposium on the book. Navigating those questions every time one posts on Facebook is bewildering, especially because we can’t really control what happens to the information posted there. A commentator on my previous post basically said that I had better get a grip on reality, that nothing I did or said could influence what she did and she would hate me anyway. I guess we just fundamentally disagree. Parenting is a huge responsibility, and lots of what my kid is mulling comes from long, long conversations we have had about being a responsible and smart digital citizen. I am looking forward to talking it through again, once she has a better idea of what she wants to do.
P.S. Sorry about the light blogging, working on my first book on cyber mobs and hate (forthcoming Harvard University Press).
H/T Susan McCarty (who helped me find the db piece) , JJC
posted by Dave Hoffman
For less than the price of a new car, police said, Bridget Wismer, 33, of Brookside Park, Del., sold her month-old son to John Gavaghan, of Old Newtown Road near Tremont in Bustleton.
The transaction is believed to have occurred between Sept. 28 and Sept. 30, when police executed a search warrant on Gavaghan’s home and found him with the child, said Cpl. John Weglarz of the New Castle County, Del., police.
Police there said they began their investigation on Sept. 4, when members of Wismer’s family expressed concerns that she might be trying to sell the newborn to a man from Philadelphia.
Despite investigations and interviews, police were initially unable to confirm the allegations. Then Gavaghan was caught on video filling out papers about the sordid transaction while at Delaware Park and Casino in Wilmington, Weglarz said.
“It sounds ridiculous . . . but he was on video surveillance seen completing documents regarding the sale of a baby,” Weglarz said. “It was clearly visible.”
This kind of illicit and unregulated sale of children is, of course, exactly what Posner said results from the current adoption regime.
(H/T: Law student A.D.)
posted by Kaimipono D. Wenger
As Tom Bell has noted, the Third Amendment gets no respect. It is as likely to be mentioned by comedians as by courts, and holds a position of honor among the odd clauses of the Constitution, where it is so infrequently used that even non-uses draw attention. But this neglected amendment has one potential application today, where it could play an important role in a somewhat high-profile case.
I’m talking, of course, about the Armenian genocide litigation.
Here’s a snippet from a recent story in the Armenian Weekly (with emphasis added):
In July, Armenian American attorneys sued the Republic of Turkey and its two major banks, seeking compensation for confiscated properties and loss of income. A new federal lawsuit was filed last week by attorneys Vartkes Yeghiayan, Kathryn Lee Boyd, and David Schwarcz, along with international law expert Michael Bazyler, against the Republic of Turkey, the Central Bank, and the Ziraat Bank for “unlawful expropriation and unjust enrichment.” The plaintiffs are Los Angeles-area residents Rita Mahdessian and Anais Haroutunian, and Alex Bakalian of Washington, D.C. The three Armenian Americans, who have deeds proving ownership of properties stolen from their families during the genocide, are seeking compensation for 122 acres of land in the Adana region. The strategic Incirlik U.S. Air Base is partly located on their property.
That’s right. Armenian-Americans are seeking to recover property seized by Turkey during the Armenian genocide. And significant portions of that land are currently used to quarter American troops. Read the rest of this post »
posted by David Fagundes
There is a great hot dog joint here in Los Angeles called Pink’s Famous Hot Dogs. I love their delicious chili dogs. I am a huge fan of the location’s classic L.A. style (parts of the best film ever made were filmed on the site, and there’s a probably false rumor that Orson Welles got obese because he was addicted to Pink’s chili dogs). They’re located a quick drive from where I work. And I never, ever go there.
What explains this apparently counterintuitive result? Why don’t I patronize this nearby beloved eatery more often, or at least some of the time? My reason is simple: The wait is way, way too long. Pink’s doesn’t just have a 15-20 minute wait at meal times like many local eateries. Rather, at almost any time of day, the line to get a Pink’s chili (or any other) dog snakes through a few switchbacks, up La Brea, and back into their parking lot, frequently lasting a good hour. At peak times, the line has been said to approach 1.5 or two hours (and here, I’m going on word of mouth because, as you’ll gather from this post so far, I’m deterred by the long line and haven’t actually experienced it).
Classic L&E would suggest that this isn’t a paradox at all, and that the line merely reveals the unusually strong preferences of the public for Pink’s chili dogs, meaning that they really are worth the interminable wait. And while this is an empirical question, and while tastes are subjective and highly variable, I can’t buy that account. I can understand waiting in line for hours, say, to obtain critical medical services, or in a bread line in Soviet Russia where the only alternative is starving. I can even imagine waiting in line for a couple hours to get tickets for a once-in-a-lifetime chance to see your favorite performer appear live. But for chili dogs? No way. Something more than simple preference satisfaction has to be going on.
So what explains the Pink’s paradox? Why is it that demand for these chili dogs continues to grow, even as the experience costs and actual costs associated with its food increase at an even greater rate (and appear to swamp the benefits of eating even the tastiest chili dog)? And what does this tell us about the rationality (or irrationality) of line-waiting generally? I discuss possible conjectures responding to each of these questions below the fold.
posted by Marc Roark
So one of the things we all love about being a law professor is the flexibility to do what we do in lots of different places. Each summer, for the last three years, I have split my time between Columbia Missouri and California teaching payment systems for Missou — a nice way to subsidize our family’s vacations back to the Midwest and the South.
This summer in Columbia was the summer of the seven year cicada cycle. Cicadas are small locust like bugs that every seven years emerge from the earth and mate and then die. The sing a delightful sound, that frankly can be deafening when they all decide to sing together (which is about two to three weeks per cycle). You may have heard that one Columbia Missouri vendor Sparky’s Ice Cream made a concoction of cicada ice cream before being advised by the Missouri Health Department to cease. (I went to Sparky’s several weeks ago to try some Cicada ice cream, but they already were told to stop serving the concoction. Thus, I had boring coffee ice cream instead).
So despite the fact that I did not get to enjoy ice cream with bug parts mixed in, I am happy to say that my summer in the south has been enjoyable. And there is still a month to go. This weekend we are sailing homemade cardboard box boats in a race on July Fourth — my father-in-law constructed two twelve foot cardboard canoes, insulated by gallons of paint. We are planning a trip to Santa Fe in mid-July, and then back to California.
Summer is definitely my favorite time of year. I am going to blog later about how law students renewed my faith in baseball — reminding me once again of why summer is magical. For now, I’ll just say, thank you for having me at Concurring Opinions. I’m looking forward to sharing my thoughts on various things, perhaps post some pictures of our travels (including the cardboard boats), and talk about what I am writing and working on.
posted by Frank Pasquale
[I've decided to put the whole post beneath the fold, since the topic reminds me of Leontius's Tale, and I don't want anyone to accidentally click through to something they don't want to see.]
Read the rest of this post »