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f/k/a archives . . . real opinions & real haiku

August 24, 2007

tardy quickies

Filed under: Haiku or Senryu,q.s. quickies — David Giacalone @ 10:09 am

These q.s. quickies never got out of the typewriter yesterday. Was it worth the wait?

Agita Avoidance from I learned this week that Ted Frank can be quite considerate, even when engaging in his customary brand of hyperbolic (or even less-than-fully-thoughtful) pro-se bashing. Several times last year (while authoring the SHLEP weblog), I took Ted and his teammate Walter Olson to task for exaggerating the problem of frivolous pro se lawsuits and dredging up stale examples of loony lawyerless litigants. See,”like a regifted fruitcake,” “pro se recycling goes over and above,” and “are housing courts really too tenant-friendly?“. It made me smile a couple days ago, therefore, when Ed at Blawg Review sent me a head’s-up about Ted’s posting “Forbes on pro se cases” (Aug. 20, 2007).

“Before David Giacalone jumps down my throat, let me say that I had a lengthy interview with Falkenberg, detailing my views on pro se litigation, but only the throw-away anecdote about Roy Pearson’s pants suit made it in. (Interestingly, the Supreme Court’s decision this spring in Bell Atlantic v. Twombly helps resolve the problem I complained about in that December post.)”

Of course, Mama G. brought me up right, and it is rare that I go around jumping down throats. But, I am grateful that Ted wanted to spare me the aggravation and agita of thinking he was a repeat offender. On the other hand, I think I will need more than one dose of Maximum Strength Cyber-Zantac to get through an entire helping of Ted’s article yesterday in The American, “Pro Se’s Outlandish Menu” (Aug. 23, 2007). Meanwhile, in case you feel lucky and click on his article anyway, go here for some tips from WebMD on preventing heartburn.

at the height
of the argument the old couple
pour each other tea

I put the pillow
on my head . . .now my thoughts
are too loud

……………………………………………………. by George Swede
“at the height” – from Almost Unseen (2000, Brooks Books)
“I put the pillow” – from Simply Haiku Journal (Dec. 2006)

[ Me Ne Frego] Chinglish and Chin-Flicks: An op/ed piece in Wednesday’s New York Times made me think of Supreme Court Justice Antonin Scalia’s infamous “chin-flick” episode, outside a Boston church, along with his apparent contempt for the judicial custom of avoiding the appearance of impropriety. There was no subject matter connection between Scalia and the article “In Beijing, Orwell Goes to the Olympics” (New York Times, by Ross Terrill, Aug. 22, 2007), but, I always like to tweak the good Justice and put in a good word for Judicial Probity. The link was the article’s discussion of “Chinglish” and the campaign by Chinese political leaders to look good at the Olympics next year by assuring that the English of their citizens sounds good:

“The penalty for “Chinglish” is usually humiliation, not incarceration. Still, citizens are asked to snitch, Mao-era style, on people who shame China with their shaky English. An outfit called the Beijing Speaks Foreign Languages Program issues prefabricated foreign phrases to workers who cannot converse in any foreign tongue. The Olympics have become one more tool in the authoritarian state’s box of tricks.”
. . .

“Yes, curbing Chinglish — along with current efforts to eliminate spitting, littering and pushing to enter a bus or train — shows the better side of authoritarianism. . . .

“Correct language, like a gold medal, is desirable in itself. But neither guarantees glory for a state that pursues them for political ends (ask the Soviet Union). Sport should just be sport. The democracies should insist on that and leave political manipulation to the dictatorships.”

Of course, we mostly-monolingual Americans need to squelch our own habit of being annoyed whenever a foreigner (or American) speaks English poorly or with a thick accent. We certainly don’t have to worry about a lot of Americans speaking Mandarin poorly — but, not for the right reasons.

winter sunset
buttoning mother’s coat
up to her chin

the um in her voice
before offering me
the senior discount

…………………. by Carolyn Hall
“the um” – A New Resonance 2; Frogpond XXIII:2
“winter sunset” – Frogpond XXVIII: 3

treading water:
“keep your chin up”
he says
………………………………. by dagosan

Bench Blogging: Speaking of judges, both May It Please the Court and Blawg Review pointed yesterday to an interesting article in Case in Point, the National Judicial College magazine, titled “Are You Out There? Blogging On The Bench” (Spring/Summer 2007). As BR explains, “The article features blogs that judges write, and blogs that judges read.” It also goes into the ethics and etiquette of judges, court staff and lawyers writing weblogs. The Blawg Review editor continues:

And, if any judges are reading Blawg Review for this editor’s personal recommendations of more blawgs that judges might find especially interesting, here’s a list of law blogs also worthy of judicial notice.

Balkinization – “an unanticipated consequence of Jack M. Balkin ”

Concurring Opinions – “the Law, the Universe, and Everything ”

Deliberations – “Law, news, and thoughts on juries and jury trials”

QuizLaw – “a free and easy to use resource for finding understandable legal information without all the “legalese.” ”

f/k/a – “the home of ‘breathless punditry’ and ‘one-breath poetry'”

Above the Law – “A legal tabloid”

Since no one is more widely-read when it comes to the blawgiverse than Ed, Blawg Review‘s anonymous Editor, we recommend that judges and our readers check out his selections. After all, a man who gives f/k/a a Creative Lawyer Blog award in 2005, and names shlep: the Self-Help Law ExPress “The Best Weblog in the Public Interest” in 2006, has very good taste, indeed.

Drive-By News Consumption: The August 2007 edition of the Harvard Monthly e-newsletter links to an interview titled “Thomas Patterson on Young People and News“. Patterson is the Bradlee Professor of Government and the Press at the Kennedy School, and he gives his perspectives on the recent Shorenstein Center Report on Young People’s Daily News Consumption, Young People and News. Patterson says:

“What we found in our study is that young people are about half as attentive to daily news as older adults . . . ”

“I think the big difference between younger Americans and older Americans in news use is that for a lot of older Americans news is a daily appointment. You wake up in the morning, you go to the door, you pickup your newspaper, you read your newspaper while you have a cup of coffee, at six-thirty in the evening you turn on the evening newscast. That’s been the pattern for older Americans for fifty years, news as an appointment.”

“For young Americans, most of them do not make any appointment with the daily news, but it doesn’t mean that they don’t have some exposure to it. They are so media connected that it’s really difficult for them or anyone else in this society to not have some news exposure, but they essentially don’t put part of their day aside to partake of the news.”

winter solstice
adolescent wiccans
flunk a spelling test

………………………………………. by dagosan

complaint billFN Outsourced & Overcharged, LLC: Two years ago, Carolyn Elefant wrote a piece at MyShingle asking whether lawyers should “Pass On Cost Savings from Outsourcing?” “. Today she has continued that topic at’s LegalBlogWatch, in a posting called “A Post About Ethics Rules, Offshoring and Mark-Ups on Contract Attorney Fees” (Aug. 22, 2007). This time, Carolyn discusses a Bloomberg article on Jones Day and other firms offshoring legal research services, explains differences between using foreign and domestic lawyers relating to having to inform the client of the markup of costs, and asks “when does a mark-up become unreasonable within the meaning of the Code of Professional Responsibility’s requirement that lawyers charge ‘reasonable fees’?”

For all the reasons we gave in our posting of June 28, 2005, the f/k/a Gang agrees with George Washington University law professor Thomas Morgan that ethics rules require law firms to pass on to clients cost savings from outsourcing, and we believe that “when outsourcing, the ethical law firm just passes on the cost.” Indeed, it seems appropriate to ask the ethical law firm to seek out low-cost options and give the client a choice — and, ethically necessary to fully inform clients when outsourcing (at home or abroad is done).

Color Me Supreme: Thanks to her sidekick Tyler (the Blawgiverse’s Most Famous Fetus and Baggage), award-winning weblogger Denise Howell knows a thing or two about coloring books. Last week, she used her bloggy pulpit at Bag-and-Baggage to tell us about the ABA’s “U.S. Supreme Court Coloring and Activity Book” (Crayons Included!). Here’s the low-keyed spiel from the ABA book store:

Have fun and learn about the Supreme Court! It’s a coloring book with a surprising educational twist. This 32-page coloring book features expertly rendered illustrations depicting significant Supreme Court Justices of the United States to color in–including all current sitting Justices.

The U.S. Supreme Court Coloring and Activity Book is perfect for the children of lawyers and judges, or for teachers looking for a new resource for Law Day or Constitution Day. Law Firms will want to purchase to book in bulk for their employees–especially for “Take Your Child to Work Day”!

The book also includes Supreme Court related activities and puzzles such as, matching, word-search, and connect-the-dots games for slightly older children. Suitable for all ages, this book is perfect for teachers and young children, law firms and lawyers looking for client or visitor give-aways, and makes a great gift, too!

If you want to learn some law while doing your coloring (and not spend any money for the book), we suggest “Law & Order: An adventure to color ” from Brandon Bird, which we told you about in “our kind of law book” (April 30, 2004).

a child’s painting
bleeds into itself
summer rain

………………………. by Matt Morden – from A New Resonance 2: Emerging Voices

Sex Obsession & Sex Offenders: We’ve been writing a lot about sex offenders lately here at this weblog. Niki Black of Sui Generis presents her own thoughts on the subject in a recent article, “Youth Obsession and Offenders.” For example:

“As a mother, I am disgusted and deeply disturbed by any form of child abuse and will do everything within my power to protect my children from predators. But I cannot ignore the conflicting messages with which our culture is bombarded regarding the connection between sexual desire and youthfulness. . . .

“Our youth-obsessed culture created and supports these undesirable desires. To permanently demonize those who simply parrot that which they see constantly in the media, or to permanently imprison those who are unable to restrain themselves from acting on the desires and ideals actively espoused by our culture is, in my opinion, nothing short of hypocritical.”

hugSmallN Heads up Walter & Ted: As we first exclaimed two years ago, August 31 is Love Litigating Lawyers Day. Click that link to find some great quotes about lawyers and litigation. And, go here for a selection of lawyer haiku and senryu. What more can we say? (LLL Day was created by the folk at

long deposition–
the lawyer’s
“at the risk of repeating myself”

………………………………………………………… by Barry George, Esq.

Considering the agita I have gotten from certain “plaintiff’s lawyers,” a/k/a Justice Lawyers or Consumer Lawyers, who do not like my client-advocate’s approach to the ethics of contingency fees [see, e.g., “contingency fees (part 4): ethical duties”], it is rather ironic that two of the first three Yahoo Search results for “Love Litigating Lawyers Day” bring the querists to this weblog.

DisgruntledEsq: It was most kind of Jay Shepherd of Gruntled Employees to point to my recent piece on the need to consider the ethics of some forms of alternative billing. But, I must say that I am not impressed by the reasoning he uses in declaring “Hourly Billing: Presumed Unethical” (Aug. 22, 2007). Calling it reasoning is being too kind. Perhaps all the Dignity Police who care so much about the Image of the Profession should take a little time off from their campaign against such dreadful scourges as pit bull logos and heavy-hitter nicknames, and do a little jawboning about the lawyers who keep claiming (often for self-serving financial reasons) that 90% of the profession is acting unethical merely by billing by the hour. [see our post “presumed ignorant” (July 26, 2007)] Talk about giving me agita.

TrustBusterTeddyS p.s. If you live in the DC Metro area, you can finally see the American Antitrust Institute’s award-winning (and surprising entertaining and informative) documentary on the history and benefits of the antitrust laws, “Fair Fight in the Marketplace,” on WETA Channel, this weekend, August 26th at 4 p.m. and midnight. The film has already aired on 75 PBS stations around the country to date. We wrote about the video and its needlessly controversial genesis in “Antitrust: the movie.” You can always see it online at the Fair Fight website, which includes a special edition for high schoolers (and a 30-second trailer).

afternoon nap
i fall asleep
in a dream

skid row
on every bar napkin
a lighthearted joke

…………. by ed markowski (2006)

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