Category: Humor


Discrimination Law Going to the Dogs?


I, too, saw the NYT story on animals and the ADA. Despite puns aplenty in both the story and in Jason’s (excellent) post directly below, I was initially hesitant to give this more press than it had already received. That’s because I hate to see the ADA – an important piece of civil rights legislation – seen as a law that leads to ridiculous results.

Perhaps all is well until the non-disabled see a loophole in the law and try to exploit it. After all, the law makes sense as a public accommodation when applied to seeing-eye-dogs and other dogs that are “working animals,” but becomes ridiculous when Biff / Buffy tries to insist on the “right” to smuggle his / her boston terrier / chihuahua into a restaurant to avoid eating alone.

So how do we define that “ridiculous” line without throwing the bichon out with the bathwater? The NYT article quoted trainers who work with seeing-eye-dogs or other working dogs; they might help provide a line. As for the idea that no-pet rules in buildings should be waived for the depressed or anxious, I am more skeptical. In this instance, I think the market would take care of the problem. There are buildings where pets are allowed. They may be more expensive, but that presumably internalizes the price of having an animal that could potentially cause damage to the apartment / property.

In any event, all this talk of animals is inspiring. The next two posts from me will carry a dog theme.


Journal of Law & Fruit

FruitRightSize.jpgI’ve thought about starting a new specialty journal dealing with the intersection of law and fruit.

The journal would accept articles about the use of evidence found through illegal searches, that is, the “fruit of the poisonous tree” doctrine.

It would automatically publish work by anyone with a “fruity” last name, such, as, er, me, Laura Appleman (Willamette), and Melissa Berry (Chapman).

Submissions on general matters of food and drug law would be welcome.

So would articles dealing with agricultural law.


What your Representative really thinks of you

Last time that I wrote to my Representative, I received a pretty generic form letter in response. And I had sort of assumed — till now that most everyone gets a similar form letter. It turns out, however, that some folks get a somewhat more personalized reply. From the Associated Press (hat tip to reader Marc B):

Nobody expects to get a letter from a member of Congress that ends with an expletive. But that’s what happened when Rep. Jo Ann Emerson, R-Mo., recently corresponded with a resident of her southeast Missouri district. The letter ended with a profane, seven-letter insult beginning with the letter a – “i think you’re an. …”

No word on whether the constituent in question really is an asshole. Meanwhile, reactions have been mixed, with at least some folks loving it. (Not surprisingly, Wonkette loves it.) Which kind of makes you wonder — if this story helps her poll numbers, will copycat politicians everywhere start mailing asshole letters to their constituents?



Rejected in a Hurry

Who says that the law review article consideration process is slow? Brian Leiter writes about how Ohio State law professor Christopher Fairman’s article was rejected by the Kansas Law Review in only 25 minutes. Apparently, all it took for the editors was to read one word. To find out more about this article and why it was rejected, check out the article and abstract here. There’s a very fitting two word response that Professor Fairman could give to the Kansas Law Review . . .


“I’m not crazy, I’m just a little unwell” — a DSM for bloggers

I’ve been a regular blogger for several years, I think that by now I’ve got a relatively decent feel for some of the many disorders that manifest in the blogosphere. This post attempts to collect and classify a few of the more salient mental blog disorders — a DSM of the blogosphere, so to speak.

Bipolar / manic-depressive. This is the blogger who posts five items and changes his template three times in four hours, then neglects his blog completely for a week and a half. Rinse and repeat.

Schizophrenic. This blogger-commenter maintains multiple personalities in different venues: When commenting at Volokh, he’s a vocal liberal; when commenting at Leiter, he’s a hardline libertarian. (Variation: This diagnosis also applies to someone who is not just a commenter but blogs at various blogs himself, and who displays multiple blogging personalities across them).

Passive Aggressive. “Dan, I doubt you’ll respond to this post, but I think that ____. ” Then, get mad when Dan doesn’t respond.

Tourette’s. This is the blogger who drops unnecessary bursts of profanity into otherwise innocuous posts. No shit, Sherlock.

OCD. I must check my blog. I must moderate comments. I must clean out the spam folder. In ten minutes, I will do this all again.

ADD/ADHD. This blogger writes several posts per day. None of them are more than a few lines long; none of them contain more than half of one coherent . . .

Oh, the Diamondbacks will be great this season. I liked the video for that James Blunt song. And, did you see this cool article about invisible planetary rings?

Blog bulimic. Blog blog blog blog blog. Delete delete delete delete delete.

Sociopath. Doesn’t comply with social norms; deceitful; aggressive; lack of remorse — and all those terms really out of the (real) DSM! Clearly, this is the category for comment trolls.

Delusional. Bloggers who exhibit any of the following symptoms: Belief that blogging counts as actual scholarship; belief that blogging makes them sexy or desirable; belief that Glenn Reynolds actually reads their blog; belief that blogging is an acceptable substitute for a social life. Surefire diagnosis: Bloggers observed making repeated, insistent statements that “blogging is not a waste of time.”

This concludes this brief tour through the blogosphere DSM. And as for self-diagnosis . . . well, I’ll take the Fifth on that one. Besides, I didn’t see any category for “all of the above.”


First, this list is not exhaustive. Remember, Wenger’s Law: “The number of blog mental disorders is roughly equivalent to the number of bloggers.”

Second, this information should not be viewed as a diagnosis in anyone’s particular case. (Except for you, Dave Hoffman!) I’m not a psychiatrist, in blog-land or otherwise, and I can’t really diagnose anyone.

But I will say that, if you’ve read this far, you probably need therapy.


If anything, they should be rewarded

I’m not a particularly ardent fan of the U.K. version of The Office, but I’ve seen a few bits of it here and there, and they can be pretty funny. One of the classic exchanges is between David and Gareth, on the subject of, well, boobs:

[David is mocking a porn site, and reads off of the computer screen]

David: ” ‘Dutch girls must be punished for having big boobs.’ Now you do not punish someone, Dutch or otherwise, for having big boobs.”

Gareth: “If anything they should be rewarded.”

David: “They should be equal.”

Gareth: “Women are equal.”

David: “I’ve always said that.”

With that background, one can fully appreciate this recent news story: “A dancer has launched a $100 million lawsuit against the American musical Movin’ Out, claiming she was emotionally abused and lost her job because her breasts grew too large for her costume.” Yes, it turns out that, according to the lawsuit, some people are punished for having big boobs. Best of all, however, is her lawyer’s statement to the press, in the same newsclip: “In the ballet world, obviously, people are small-breasted. On Broadway, what happened should be an attribute.”

Or in other words, “if anything, they should be rewarded.”


Motion Denied for Incomprehensibility

This humorous court order was sent to me by my former colleague Charlie Sullivan (law, Seton Hall). The case is In re Richard Willis King Debtor, (U.S. Bankruptcy Court, W.D. Tex. Feb. 21, 2006), Bankr. Case No. 05-56485-C. The order, from U.S. Bankruptcy Judge Lief Clark, states:


Before the court is a motion entitled “Defendant’s Motion to Discharge Response to Plaintiff’s Response to Defendant’s Response Opposing Objection to Discharge.” Doc. #7. As background, this adversary was commenced on December 14, 2005 with the filing of the plaintiff’s complaint objecting to the debtor’s discharge. (Doc. #1). Defendant answered the complaint on January 12, 2006. Doc. #3. Plaintiff responded to the Defendant’s answer on January 26, 2006. Doc. #6. On February 3, 2006, Defendant filed the above entitled motion. The court cannot determine the substance, if any, of the Defendant’s legal argument, nor can the court even ascertain the relief that the Defendant is requesting. The Defendant’s motion is accordingly denied for being incomprehensible.*

* Or, in the words of the competition judge to Adam Sandler’s title character in the movie, “Billy Madison,” after Billy Madison had responded to a question with an answer that sounded superficially reasonable but lacked any substance,

Mr. Madison, what you’ve just said is one of the most insanely idiotic things I’ve ever heard. At no point in your rambling, incoherent response was there anything that could even be considered a rational thought. Everyone in this room is now dumber for having listened to it. I award you no points, and may God have mercy

on your soul.

Deciphering motions like the one presented here wastes valuable chamber staff time, and invites this sort of footnote.



A Translation of Gonzales’s Answers at the NSA Surveillance Hearings

gonzales2a.jpgThe NSA surveillance hearings began today with the testimony of Attorney General Gonzales. To save you the time to read through the extensive transcript (here and here), I thought I’d translate some of Gonzales’s remarks for you:

GONZALES: Before going any further, I should make clear what I can discuss today. I am here to explain the department’s assessment that the president’s terrorist surveillance program is consistent with our laws and the Constitution. I’m not here to discuss the operational details of that program or any other classified activity.

TRANSLATION: I’m here to say absolutely nothing new. I can’t tell you what you need to know to really assess the program. In other words, this will be booooorrriiinnnnggggg. My advice . . . turn off the TV and go watch some paint dry.

GONZALES: It’s an early warning system designed for the 21st century. It is the modern equivalent to a scout team, sent ahead to do reconnaissance, or a series of radar outposts designed to detect enemy movements. And as with all wartime operations, speed, agility and secrecy are essential to its success.

TRANSLATION: Remember the robot probe in The Empire Strikes Back? It’s like that.

GONZALES: While the president approved this program to respond to the new threats against us, he also imposed several important safeguards to protect the privacy and the civil liberties of all Americans. . . . As the president has said, if you’re talking with Al Qaida, we want to know what you’re saying.

TRANSLATION: If you’ve got nothing to hide, then there should be no problem with us listening to you. If you’ve got something to hide, then . . . well . . . we should listen to you.

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