Random Thoughts

     Random thoughts on assorted topics.
     POLITICAL MMO. So what’s wrong with deciding an election in five minutes?
     In case you missed it, the Nassau County Attorney, in an argument in the 2nd U.S. Circuit Court Appeals, claimed that anyone with a flash drive could rig an election in five minutes if voting is conducted using electronic voting machines.
     Is this a bad thing?
     Remember, we’re dealing with hypotheticals here. Anyone who listens (really listens) to arguments over anything (e.g. gun control) knows that you can construct any kind of plausible scenario to boost your argument.
     So here’s what happens after a Republican hacker fixes an election: a Democratic hacker comes along and fixes it the other way. And then another Republican hacker comes in…..
     Equal access is equal access.
     And I rather like the idea of elections being decided by online combat. It’s a lot more fun, you can design a cool avatar, and victory goes to the swift, the smart, and the largest horde. That’s what democracy is all about.
     DOGS RULE. If there was any ever doubt, we have further proof that dogs own humans and not vice versa.
     Check out Calder v. Calder, a ruling from a three-judge panel of the Texas Court of Appeals that was needed to sort out ownership of a Chihuahua.
     Not a Beverly Hills Chihuahua. Just a mere Austin, Texas Chihuahua that cost $500.
     Compare that price to the cost of litigating a suit through to the appellate level.
     In case you’re wondering, this was a divorce case. There was no mention of children in the ruling. If there were any, no one cared that much about them.
     This a fascinating law practice and/or ethics issue. Let’s make this a multiple choice continuing legal education question.
     If you have a client who is liable to spend thousands litigating custody of a $500 dog, you should:
     A. Negotiate a contingency fee.
     B. Ask for a large advance to cover expenses.
     C. Suggest the client and the dog seek out family counseling.
     D. Turn down the case once you’re able to stop laughing.
     ONE MAN’S TREASURE…. Fans of grammatical nitpicking will absolutely love a 9th U. S. Court of Appeals ruling called United States of America v. Millis in which a three-judge panel split on the definitions of littering and garbage.
     I won’t spoil it for you but, if nothing else, take a look at footnote 1 of the dissent which begins with this: “The regulation suffers from several grammatical challenges. The regulation begins with three gerunds listed in series….”
     You can imagine how fascinating the rest of the note is.
     And the best part of the ruling is that both sides seem to have completely missed the point. I know this because I’m right about everything.
     The issue here is whether some members of a humanitarian group should be convicted on a charge of littering because they dropped off bottles of water in a national wildlife refuge so that some undocumented immigrants might avoid dying of thirst.
     Yeah, there’s probably more to this controversy than got into the written ruling.
     You’d think that immigrants keeling over in the refuge would be a bigger litter problem than some bottles of water but the U. S. Fish and Wildlife Service officers decided to go after the bottle droppers instead.
     And the result was that two judges ruled the bottles weren’t garbage and a dissenting judge said that, garbage or not, there was indeed littering here. The majority judges also said the humanitarians could have been charged with abandoning property (but they weren’t).
     Let’s parse this out. If you set down an object – say a bottle of soft drink – that’s meant for someone else to pick up, is that really property abandonment or littering?
     What we need is enforcement of litter laws against immigrants who drink the water and then toss the bottles.
     They shouldn’t be in this country if they can’t recycle.

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