Here at Above the Law, we thrive on taking a vat of hydrochloric acid to the veneer of the legal profession and exposing the original craftsmanship underneath. Nothing is sacred.
When given the opportunity to serve for Blawg Review — the “blog carnival for everyone interested in law” — I was excited to take Above the Law’s brand of rousing rabble out on the road. How many “Sacred Cows” are out there? How many can I hunt and grill? And as Denise Howell might ask me on her “Yo Comments Are Whack” podcast: “how many cow jokes can you take in one week before you end up on a liposuction table?” Eric Turkewitz already tussled with Oprah this week, so the easiest mark has already been bagged.
Of course, ATL is also a news organization. So while I had high hopes of continuing my friendly banter with Loyola Law School Dean Victor Gold, the news of the week inexorably pushes me in one direction. Luckily, it turns out that the thing everybody was blogging about this week is the biggest sacred cow of all, and it is ripe for poaching.
Let’s do this, after the jump.
So, it looks like we are moving towards taxing 90% of the bonuses from AIG (and other companies unlucky to be caught in the current massive hysterical sideshow). You might think the sacred cow here is “Wall Street executives” or “corporate fat cats.” But no. There is only one heifer here that needs to be put down and her name is “We the People of the United States of America.” You know it’s bad when the people at Don’t Mess With Texas see an unruly mob of uninformed people gathering for an old-fashioned stoning, and even they say “whoa there cowboy.”
Not to get all Platonic here, but this is precisely why Democracy tends to be so crappy. Paul Caron at TaxProf Blog has been doing yeoman’s work collecting all of the legal arguments for and against the issue. But it could be that legal bloggers themselves played a role in making this come about. Many, like James Maule at Mauled Again, pointed out that a 100% tax would likely be unconstitutional. Congress dutifully reduced the tax to 90% and went right back to trying to figure out where the people were going so it could lead them.
The legal intelligentsia can try to throw a cold bucket of “STFU” on the tire fire Congress is dancing around, but as Volokh explains, judges respect the conch. And of course, there are still quite a few lawyers who are openly for the tax. Nuts & Boalts goes so far as to say that even lawyers should start out getting paid $30K – $40K a year. I’m totally down for that, the minute law school takes 6-8 weeks to complete and I can purchase it with Marlboro Miles.
We have only one true “guardian” in our system. Remember that scene in Spike Lee’s Malcolm X, where there is an unruly mob of people descending on the police station and Denzel stops them making a fist and turning them around? I bring it up not because Denzel is the odds on favorite to play Obama at least one of the upcoming 15 movies about the President (either him or Robert Downey Jr.), I bring it up because Obama is the only one that can stop this madness. It’s gotta be him. I mean, when was the last time you saw a lawyer win a street fight? Unless, as Citizen Media Law Project points out, we are beating the bag out of Italian toy makers that may or may not be pedophiles.
Speaking of things lawyers are bad at, Adam Smith Esq. takes an interesting look at the other story that dominates our industry: layoffs. MacEwen points out the psychological toll associated with being laid off. Since I decided to become a writer, I’ve learned more than I care to about the slow descent into madness that accompanies structural unemployment. As we’ve advised many times, it’s not the end of the world and things will get better. CelebStoner is doing what they can to help. But there are also professionals who can get you the help that is right for you.
But make sure it is right for your species: as Law and More points out, you don’t want to go Travis the Chimp on somebody because a drug company’s in-house counsel assumed users would exercise even a modicum of common sense. Of course, lawyers for drug companies are busy enough these days, as Drug and Device Law explains. One wonders when they will ever have time to use all of these new stem
souls cells to produce the next generation of hair replacement technology? Charon QC establishes that my Pope could give a damn about medical advancements that might help save lives, but perhaps hair for old people could convince his hat-ness to overlook some of the Catholic dogma. He’s done it before.
Moving on, this week showed once again that as long as there is a repressive sexual culture, there will always be things for bloggers to write about. New Jersey lawyer John Marshall reports that the government seems to have finally figured out that prostitutes advertise on Craigslist. That only took them, oh, about two years longer than my mother. Meanwhile, The Legal Satyricon finds a woman who put a Canis lupus in her familiaris maker. See, this is why I refused to take my wife to see Equus.
In fairness, I’ll take Daniel Radcliffe’s interesting take on Quidditch any day over the ongoing nightmare of elephants being abused for circus entertainment. But Animal Law Blog tells me that we’ll have to go about things incrementally. The Decoupling blog also encourages people to pick their battles, but coming out of a divorce with a “well trained” dog (or horse, or elephant) has to be more valuable than getting the t.v.
Of course, if you have YouTube evidence of spouses misbehaving with animals, send it over to Popsquire. It’s more fun than Divorce Court.
I can’t leave Blawg Review #204 without turning my attention to Blawg Review #203, which got so many panties in a bunch you’d think Geeklawyer rogered the Queen while Prince Charles recorded it from his gimp closet. Diane Levin gently suggested that Geeklawyer was inappropriate. And Simple Justice defended Geeklawyer much like I defend Above the Law commenters. As Rory Breaker is fond of saying: “if the milk’s sour, I ain’t the kind of pussy to drink it.”
To me, this is part of the larger discussion — that Kevin O’Keefe takes another crack at this week — what is the point of legal blogging anyway? Are people creating business? Are we advancing the public’s understanding of important legal issues? Are we journalists or writers or are most of us engaged in vanity projects?
Everybody’s answer to these questions is going to be different, but it seems to me that the one constant should be: are you having fun? Because I am, and I think most of the bloggers I’ve had the pleasure of meeting or corresponding with are having fun too. And if Geeklawyer didn’t have fun writing that last week, well then dear God somebody needs to get that man a Valium and a hooker before he kills somebody.
Trusted Advisor takes a full frontal swipe at “goal setting.” It seems to me that in the current economic environment, having a goal much beyond “surviving” is ludicrous. Of course, lawyers are notoriously bad at riding the wave of whatever the hell comes at you next. As a profession, we thrive on routine, consistency, and doing what we are supposed to do. But as What About Clients? points out, it might be a while before we can all get back to preaching from atop the comfortable stability of our old soap boxes. Lawyers are going to have to learn to enjoy the new tumultuous environment, we’re all chaotic neutral now.
And with that somewhat masturbatory flourish, I give you Blawg Review #204. Next week, Blawg Review #205 moves over to George M. Wallace’s Declarations and Exclusions blog. Maybe he can explain exactly when the Governator became one of the reasonable ones?
Blawg Review has information about next week’s host, and instructions how to get your blawg posts reviewed in upcoming issues.