Stroke of Genius

      I don’t know about you, but when I see a stroke of genius, I feel the need to acknowledge it. I’ve got to give credit where credit is due.
     So I’m now giving credit to the United States Forest Service for coming up with an absolutely brilliant plan for ending the threat of forest fires: chop down the forest.
     It’s foolproof.
     OK, I exaggerate just a tad, because, after all, that’s what I’m here for. But consider this from a 9th U. S. Circuit Court of Appeals ruling the other day called Center for Biological Diversity v. Rey: “The USFS acknowledges that its reason for selling the forest trees to commercial loggers is to raise funds to carry on its fire prevention duties.”
     And it would make those duties a whole lot easier.
     You raise money for the government and you eliminate something to spend it on at the same time. It’s brilliant and you can apply the technique to almost any other problem.
     Say you want to fix Social Security. All you have to do is require anyone over the age of 65 to fill government jobs for minimum wages. You save the government money that can be freed up for Social Security and then you don’t have to pay pensions because those guys aren’t retired yet.
     There’s money for Social Security and no one who needs it.
     It’s a win-win.
     
     SOMETHING TO KEEP YOU OCCUPIED. I love it when litigation presents an intellectual challenge and there was a good one this week. You probably even read about it: the Blond Mink Coat kidnapping.
     This is the suit in New York that claims Lindsay Lohan (I think she’s an actress or something) “took wrongful possession of Plaintiff’s Blond Mink Coat with malice, reckless disregard of Plaintiff’s rights, and the intention to convert said property.” And then gave it back a bit less than three weeks later.
     The challenge is pretty obvious and quite difficult: what sort of damages do you get for this wrongdoing?
     Does it compare in emotional distress terms to the guy who can’t find his tools for three weeks because his neighbor borrowed them? How about the people who are always a month late paying their bills?
     Does interest accrue while in possession of a mink coat? Does the loss of companionship of a mink coat compare with, say, loss of a child or a cat?
     Could there be other, more serious consequences of the coat loss? Did the plaintiff have no other coats? Did she catch a cold? Did she have nothing to wear at the next night’s party?
     This is going to be fascinating. I’m really, really hoping we get an appellate ruling on this one.
     Now try to imagine what the legal bills for this are going to be.
     
     IDOL THOUGHTS. I can’t let this week go by without a few words about the most vital and philosophically interesting phenomenon in the United States: American Idol. (If you don’t believe me, try reading every written on the subject in just the past week. I dare you.)
     Idol, if nothing else, shows us how to create voter interest and offers what I believe is a great alternative to the current, annoying presidential election system.
     First off, let people vote as many times as they want. If you’re passionate about something, you deserve more than a dozen votes.
     Allow an equal number of men and women run for the office, have some British guys say nasty things about them – and eliminate one every week with a sappy farewell song.
     And make the winner sing.
     If you think that’s irrational, think about the Electoral College. Idol makes so much more sense.

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