Blawg Review #310
Siouxsie Law presents Blawg Review, a round-up of legal blogs, also known as “blawgs.” Blawg Review is hosted each week at a different site. This week it is hosted here. So, today I will review some of the best law-related blog posts from the past week (or so) found on the interwebs.
But before I do so, a moment needs to be taken to mention the lawsuit referred to as Rakofsky v. Internet. This is big news. A young lawyer, Joseph Rakofsky, sued a number of well-known legal bloggers for defamation after being criticized for how he handled a murder trial. Many of the named defendants are Blawg Review alums.
The blawgosphere is now filled with discussions about the lawsuit and, by all accounts, its vexations and frivolous nature. Mark Bennett has a list of the posts here. PointofLaw.com notes that this lawsuit is a perfect illustration as to why stronger anti-SLAPP laws are needed. There is even talk, at least on BigLegalBrain.com, of the lawsuit being turned into a feature film.
With that said, let’s turn to Blawg Review #310 — World Goth Day Edition.
As luck would have it, the Carnival of Law Bloggers had an opening today — the day after World Goth Day. What better way to celebrate World Goth Day than to host a carnival? Goths love carnivals.
I can see your eyes rolling already. A goth blawg review? C’mon, break out of your bubble. Heed the admonitions of Keith Lee of An Associate’s Mind and Venkat Balasubramani’s Spam Notes — expose yourself to different perspectives.
On May 22, 2009, World Goth Day was celebrated for the very first time. (If you aren’t sure what goth is, a good place to start is at the The Ultimate Goth Guide, or you can watch the BBC’s QI, The Gothic Special at this link.)
[v]arious members of the scene came up with ideas to celebrate what being ‘Goth’ was to them, including dressing a little more Got[h] for work, contacting local radio stations to get Goth songs played, making Goth Day cakes, changing their avatar on social networking sites and forums to the ‘official’ Goth Day smiley etc. Basically it was a day to have fun and show the world that they were proud to be Goth. [source]
On World Goth Day, unlike other days, goths everywhere are encouraged to take over their local radio stations and play old school Siouxsie & The Banshees, The Cure, and The Cult. Those without access to radio stations are encouraged to flap their latex bat wings in other ways, e.g., host blawg review.
So blast your Sisters of Mercy, get out your dry ice, and light some candles. Join me on this weird and spooky carnival — Blawg Review #310. Muhahaha!
To celebrate World Goth Day this year, I decided to travel to the source of much of my darkness — New Jersey. To get there, I took the train.
I typically travel business-class on Amtrak. You have to love Amtrak: the distinct smell of train brakes; the airline-style rickety tray tables on the backs of the seats in front of you; and the people getting tattoos.
Finding a seat is the worst. The conductor had just announced that the train was packed on the intercom. I only found one seat. The woman next to me immediately warned me about my mischievous misplaced modifiers. Diane Rosky of Please Clarify explained how a recent NY Times headline gave the impression that Lance Armstrong was to blame for his ex-teammate’s use of drugs.
BLT overheard our discussion and peered over the back of his chair. He happily informed us about the release of the “The Garner Transcripts.” From across the row, Scott Key of the Georgia Criminal Appellate Law Blog chimed in to tell us that he knows what the perfect oral argument looks like. Just then, Howard Bashman sauntered down the aisle. He thought we all should be aware of a recent speech by Justice Sonia Sotomayor in which she notes her own struggle with writing.
When the train stopped at one of the stations, I hopped off onto the platform and lit up a clove. I don’t smoke anymore; it just seemed like the thing to do on World Goth Day. Out of nowhere, a guy carrying a Venti cup of coffee approached. Things got strange fast.
‘Being deprived of an addiction is difficult even without the alleged side effects of medication. We here at Abnormal Use know this all too well . . . . While we have never reached the level of psychotic rage, we have also never been deprived of coffee for two weeks.’
But then I realized it was Nick Farr of Abnormal Use talking about the anti-smoking drug Chantix and recent claims that it can cause psychotic rage. Farr made a good point about the rage claims — are they a drug side-effect or the result of being deprived of an addiction? Good question. I pondered this, and lit up another clove. (Let’s hope Farr wasn’t drinking the ready-to-brew coffee, which is claimed in a lawsuit to expose consumers to risky levels of carcinogens, as mentioned by Ken Odza at Food Liability Law Blog.)
Back on the train, there was someone new sitting next to me. He had his laptop open and was entering the names of blogs into a site and retrieving all types of stats.
But the train stopped, and Draughn detrained. All the talk about law and rankings made me nervous, so I reached for another clove. But I was on the train. And I don’t smoke. So, I took out a pack of lollipops instead. Just to be clear, my lollipop was not one of those phallic lollipops that are at the cause of a lawsuit against an Indiana school district, as reported by OnPointNews.com. Mine was a skull.
The rest of the way to Jersey, I read Schools for Misrule by Walter Olson.
Along the same line, and also worth reading is a post by Peter Wood at the Chronicle for Higher Education discussing “the hard-left politicization of law schools.”
Finally, I arrived at my destination Newark, New Jersey. Speaking of Newark and Walter Olson, Overlawyered cites to a fascinating article “about the lengthy career of one pro se litigant in Newark who has been tying up landlords and others in court for years.”
When the train arrived at the station, my mother was there to meet me. She looked me up and down, then shook her head in disapproval. She is not keen on my lifestyle.
‘Are you ever going to grow out of this phase and start acting normal?’
‘ . . .’
‘Well, are you?’
‘Ma, I told you. It’s not just a phase . . . . I’m a lawyer. It’s who I am. I’m not going to change. Ever.’
‘That’s what I thought’
We did not speak another word on the rest of the walk from the platform to my mother’s hearse.
During the drive, a gruesome sight — roadkill. But not everyone thinks that bits of fur and feathers on the side of a road is morbid. Some people search it out to study it, others make jewelry from it, and a few eat it. Kevin Underhill, of Lowering the Bar, happily reports that in Illinois it will soon be legal to scavenge and collect animal carcasses found on the side of the road. Huzzah!
Back at the house, I read some blawgs.
- CorporateCounsel.net chatted about the corporate governance issues raised by the television series “The Office.”
- Professor Christopher Sprigman over at Jotwell questioned, “What can roller derby girls teach us about IP law?”
- PrawfsBlawg wanted to know “What is the ‘Right’ Kind of Mistress?“
- The VLW Blog highlighted a case where a three-judge panel revoked a lawyer’s license to practice law for his actions during a divorce case. The interesting thing about the case is that the discipline stemmed from the attorney’s misconduct in his personal divorce case, and not from the mishandling a client’s case.
- Adrian Baron of The Nutmeg Lawyer has a post about the use of an-eye-for-an-eye justice by an Iranian court in a horrific acid attack case.
Over at the Addams’ House, things got even weirder. When I arrived at the mansion, Scott H. Greenfield was dressed up as Gomez. Seriously, he looked exactly like Gomez. The resemblance was uncanny. Mirriam Seddiq, of Not Guilty, was in character as Morticia. And the two of them were fencing.
This was just bizarre. Who knew Scott Greenfield had a crazy mustache in real life? But maybe it wasn’t so strange. Gomez, for those who don’t know, is a criminal defense attorney. (Fun fact — if you don’t count Abraham Lincoln, Gomez was actually one of the first goth attorneys.). And, Greenfield is known for discussing the dark side of all sorts of things. Just recently, Greenfield cited the CDC and instructed us on how to prepare for a zombie apocalypse. (Speaking of zombies, if you want to read about zombie banks, check out this post on Concurring Opinions.) Greenfield, on a more serious note, also voiced his disgust with the media’s and cop’s continuing use of the perp walk aka “parade of shame.”
But I couldn’t figure out why Seddiq was dressed up like Morticia. It must have to do with mentoring.
I left the Addams’ Family mansion and headed down the highway to visit my grandparents at the old peoples’ home to wish them a Happy World Goth Day. When I got there, David Lat and Elie Mystal — the ATL guys — were handing out baked goods to the seniors. Elie Mystal spoke to the residents about his enthusiasm for the Jacoby & Meyers lawsuit — the lawsuit that seeks to, in the words of the WSJ, “open up the legal biz” to corporations. An elderly woman with dementia chimed in, “that lawsuit has no merit and will not survive a motion to dismiss.”
It was almost time for the World Goth Day potluck picnic being held at the Holy Sepulchre Cemetery off of exit 144 on the NJ Parkway, so I headed there. For those unfamiliar, this is the cemetery famous for being cut in-half for the construction of the parkway and, according to some, 100s of graves were dug up and moved. Bwahaha.
Needless to say, it is a good place for ghost hunting. The 9th Circuit, by the way, just released its opinion in the so-called “Ghost Hunting” case. Christine A. Corcos has that story on Law and Magic.
And for those that are soon to be ghosts, Wills, Trusts & Estates Prof Blog provides key facts that all widows should know about estate planning.
The meetup at the cemetery was a little awkward as I had defriended one of the attendees from my facebook page. I guess it would have helped to have read PrawfsBlawg’s post, “How to Lose Friends and Not Alienate People.”
Not long after I arrived, a heated debate broke at the picnic about whether “Bones,” the television show, is cool or not. This reminded me of ATL’s quip about “the D.C. Medical Examiner’s Office need[ing] Bones, or Dana Delany or something” because, as noted by John Katz at Underdog, the District of Columbia Medical Examiner’s Office is not accredited.
While wandering along the cemetery grounds, who came into unexpected view but none other than Eric Turkewitz, the author and publisher of the New York Personal Injury Law Blog. He was running along along the paths of the cemetery. I yelled out,
‘Great Rakofsky post. Why are running in New Jersey?’ It turns out Turk was going for a 26-mile fun run.
‘Have you seen my April Fools post about the NYT getting duped again?,’ Turk shouted back to me.
‘I — ‘
But Turk was gone, into the shadows. It was probably for the best — I wouldn’t have to admit that I had borrowed/stolen the format for this post from his award-winning Blawg reviews.
As it happened, there wasn’t a whole lot of food at the pot luck, so I ventured to a diner. The waitress gave me the hard sell on something she called a “bypass burger” sandwich. When I mentioned that there was ongoing litigation over the use of the name “bypass burger,” she became agitated.
‘Go read the Wall Street Journal; figure it out for yourself,’ I responded.
After dinner, I headed out to QXT, New Jersey’s last-remaining goth disco. One my friends at the picnic had mentioned that The Misfits were having an unannounced top-secret reunion show at the venue.
Hochfelder of the New York Injury Cases Blog showed up. He warned everyone about recent litigation involving a club patron who suffered a fractured jaw after getting into it with a bouncer at a New York club. So, I decided to be extra polite to the bouncer. Just to be on the safe side.
You wouldn’t believe who else was there. Jay Devoy (wearing black, natch) of the Legal Satyricon. He was discussing the recent “Dancing in the Jefferson Memorial” case with someone who looked a lot like Eugene Volokh. I joined in and said I just hoped I could continue my annual silent-dance birthday tribute to President Lincoln on the steps of his monument. Thankfully, they both pretended not to hear me.
We all waited around for the show to start. But only to find out, sadly, that the Misfits weren’t playing there that night. It was just a cover band.
Oh well, might as well end the night, by getting a tattoo. At the parlor, I told the artists about this Blawg review. They suggested that I get a tattoo of the state of New Jersey with the number 310 inside of it to commemorate this 310th Edition of Blawg Review. And yes, everyone at the parlor wanted to know my legal opinion about the Mike Tyson tattoo case. I told them about Annsley Merelle Ward‘s of The IPKat take on the lawsuit and his comparison to the Adam Ant case –
The Adam Ant case centered on Adam Ant’s facial decoration being refused copyright protection by a UK court because the designs were applied with face paint. Face paint, being removable, was deemed not to be a sufficient “fixation” under the Copyright, Designs and Patent Act 1988 because it was not sufficiently permanent to be deemed a “work”.However, [the tattoo artist's] work is permanently inked into the skin of Tyson, so unlike face paint, there is no danger of being easily erased, unless Tyson undergoes laser removal. If this case was in the UK, this surely must then be sufficiently permanent to be classified as a work and the same should also apply in the U.S.
Happy Belated Goth Day, by the way!
Blawg Review has information about next week’s host, and instructions on how to get your blawg posts reviewed in upcoming issues.