July 2006 Archives

Know Your Edible Ocean Bugs


This is what a lobster looks like:

This is what a crab looks like:

The observant observer will notice that a lobster has a long body, a tail, and antennae, while a crab has a round body, no tail, and no antennae.

Now, bearing those distinctions in mind, this is what Sebastian from The Little Mermaid looks like:

Note that Sebstian has a round body, no tail, and no antennae. He does have pincers with which to hold maracas, but since pincers are common to crabs and lobsters, that is irrelevant. The point is, Sebastian is clearly, unequivocally, undeniably, inarguably, a crab. He's a crab. Sebastian is a crab. Not a lobster. A crab.

Nonetheless, at a party this evening I found it necessary to defend, albeit unsuccessfully, the crabhood of Sebastian in the face of completely unsupportable allegations of lobsterhood. The primary evidence I offered in support of Sebastian's crab status was:

(1) No tail.
(2) Round body.
(3) He runs sideways at at least one point in the movie.
(4) He gets stuffed by the chef (a weak point since, as one of my adversaries pointed out, you can stuff lobster).
(5) "Come on! He's a crab! Are you crazy?" (perhaps a poor choice of words since I was one of the only people at this party who wasn't a psychologist).

I couldn't convince the lobsterites that Sebastian was a crab. Fortunately there are so many people who don't know the difference between a lobster and a crab that the Internet has answered the question for us. From Disney Online Guest Services:

Q: Is Sebastian from "The Little Mermaid" a crab or a lobster?

A: Sebastian is a crab.

That settles it.

Hot Dog Epilogue


(Read the original story.)

I called the Niman Ranch customer service hotline on Tuesday morning (whereby I learned that "Niman" rhymes with "hymen," not "Nieman" as I had previously assumed). I was met with a bit of incredulity and invited to call the store where we bought the hot dogs. That didn't make any sense to me, but I decided to go ahead and call Trader Joe's later that morning. On my way to work, however, the guy from Niman Ranch called me back and asked if he could come and pick up the evidence. Apparently his manager wanted to get the stuff as quickly as possible. Specifically, he wanted the hot dog. I told him I threw it away, but kept the label bits and took pictures. I also told him that Tuesday and Wednesday were bad, but let's try Thursday.

After a few more phone calls we arranged for him to come and collect the goods at my office sometime today. At around 11:00 a.m. he showed up. He was very nice. Probably not to thrilled at having just walked into a law firm. When I met him in the lobby I noticed that he had brought a box labeled "NIMAN RANCH GUANCIALE PORK JOWLS." Dried and cured. I thought: "Pork jowls? Really? This is my parting gift? Who eats pork jowls?" But after discussing the incident, in which he assured me that manufacturing and packaging were totally separate and he had no idea how something like this could happen, he pointed to the box and said, "And we brought you some steaks."

I looked in the box, and found what appeared to be two enormous steaks. I later found out that each package was two steaks. Two New York Steaks and two ribeyes. According to the packing slip (on which the steaks were identified as a "thank you gift"), I now own 3.16 pounds of beef. I was expecting a package of free hot dogs, so this was a pleasant surprise.

So, barbecue at my place tonight. You bring the hot dogs.

Here's a fun little story.

Meli and I were eating dinner this evening, the entree of choice being some delicious Niman Ranch Fearless Franks. At one point I found something in my mouth that didn't seem like it would normally be part of a hot dog (vague though the typical hot dog meat component list may be). When I unfurled it, it turned out to be this:

Curious. I retrieved the Fearless Franks package, intending to ascertain the customer service number in order to voice my concerns. That's when I realized what the little thing was.

What? Can't see it? Here's a more obvious shot.

Yes, it was a piece of a Fearless Franks label. In a Fearless Frank!

But wait! What's that poking out of the partially-eaten frank from whence the label bit came?

Can it be?

Can it be?

Can it be... another label bit?

Mayhaps. Let's take a look.

Indeed! I know! I'll use my fork to see just how many label bits made it into this particular specimen of tubed meat. The answer is...

More than I care to count. Goodnight, everybody.

Good Luck

My best wishes and deepest condolences to all the poor bastards taking the Bar Exam this week. Here's a little something to get your mind focused:

Golf Birds


Today I played golf at Shoreline in Mountain View. Very nice course. Birds for days. Every golf course I've ever been on has had geese, and Shoreline had more geese than the other courses combined. At one point I hit a goose with a golf ball, which I didn't mean to do and felt bad about. I felt worse because I then had to hit the ball surrounded by several dozen geese, and I was afraid that at any moment they would suddenly swarm upon me and exact revenge. Shoreline has a few life-sized ceramic coyotes scattered about the course, apparently intended to scare away the geese. They don't work at all.

I also saw a little owl, who was adorable. He was about eight to ten inches tall, and when he saw me he tensed up and scurried into a hole in the ground. The moment felt very Legend of Zelda somehow. After he was gone I noticed the carcass of a small bird that the owl must have been eating before I interrupted him. That made the owl less cute, but far more awesome. When I told Chris, one of my co-golfers, about my owl encounter (encowlnter?), he said that it was a burrowing owl. There was a whole blurb about them on the scorecard, about how they're endangered and if you see one of their holes you're not supposed to play in the area. I guess I should read the rules before I play.

Cyclical Migration Patterns

Nearly three years after I first returned to the East Bay following a year of exile in Los Angeles, and nearly one year after I once again left the East Bay to begin a new life in Squaresville, Molly and I will be returning to the warm bosom of the greater Oakland area in a few short weeks. We found ourselves another apartment in Alameda. This will mean a much shorter commute for Molly and a much longer commute for me, but given the location of my new job it's the most sensible arrangement of things.

We had initially planned to move to Rockridge, then we hoped to move to Rockridge, then we gave up on Rockridge and decided to return to Alameda. We realized that Rockridge is a hard place to move to, because (1) it's a neighborhood, not a city, so there just aren't that many units around, and (2) the units that are available are expensive and in demand. We also discovered that a lot of lessors who advertise on Craigslist have no problem falsely claiming that their properties are in Rockridge when in fact their properties are nowhere near Rockridge. North Berkeley presented itself as an alternative, but Molly was skittish about any outside possibility of living amongst college students, with their loud parties and unchecked ambition. We were familiar with Alameda, the Bay Area's best kept secret, having spent two years there. So we're sticking with what works.

Here are some features of our new apartment/apartment complex that differ substantially from any apartment I've ever lived in:

Tennis courts. These are useless to me because I don't play tennis and have no desire to learn (learning golf has been enough of a disaster). But knowing they're there will make me feel very hoity-toity.

Basketball courts. Likewise, these will not be used by me, but knowing they're there will reduce some of the pomposity occasioned by the tennis courts.

Dishwasher. This is huge.

Electric fireplace. Not a fireplace with an electric starter, mind you, but a full-on, no-actual-fire, electric simulation of a fireplace. It's basically a really fancy lightbulb. It also has a built-in heater, so you can run the electric fireplace in the summer and freak out the cats, or in winter with the built-in heater fired up (hurr!) and exploit the fake fire potential to its fullest extent. This is one of the dumbest things I've ever heard of.

Proximity to a kite surfing outpost. This may or may not be used by us, depending on how successfully I can lobby Molly.

Abandoned, unusable storage shed that's probably full of dead bodies. When the woman told us about this she got all excited because she knew I was a laywer and had found an opportunity to tell us all about how they obtained the property through a receivership. This enthusiasm was reprised later when she told us how it's a misdemeanor to bounce a rental deposit check, and how I must know that because I'm a lawyer. Apparently some people think that all lawyers know everything about law. That's not true. There's a lot of law out there, most lawyers are specialized, and most lawyers don't even know anything about the law that they specialize in. That's what Lexis is for.

We move in three weeks. We're hiring professional movers to break all of our stuff this time around, so I'll dispense with the plea for help with the lifting and carrying.

iPod Killer


Bar/Bri Class Action Suit


As the July California Bar Exam approaches in just a few days, I thought it was fitting that I received a class action notice regarding Bar/Bri in the mail today. I heard rumblings about this last summer as I was immersing myself in Bar/Bri's overpriced and ham-handed bar review course. It sounds like current bar studiers are eligible for the suit -- the class includes people who took a Bar/Bri Bar Review course between August 1997 and the present. The website for the class action suit is here: www.barbri-classaction.com.

The complaint (available at the website) basically alleges that Bar/Bri and Kaplan entered into a super-secret deal whereby Bar/Bri agreed not to offer LSAT prep courses and Kaplan agreed not to offer Bar Exam prep courses, thereby running afoul of Antitrust laws.

It'll be interesting to see how this comes out. I'll be sure and keep an eye out for my check for three cents or coupon for ten dollars off any GRE prep course.

One final thing: The class action suit is pending before Judge Real in the Central District of California. Judge Real's clerks very likely took Bar/Bri sometime in the last nine years. Can his clerks be class members? Hmm....



They couldn't get past the stem cell research veto, but it's nice to see the House has managed to get down on some jurisdictional stripping. It probably won't pass the Senate, so they say, but if it does the constitutionality of the bill is kind of up in the air. There are a handful of geeky Fed Courts cases about this, but I don't believe the courts have taken on jurisdiction stripping recently in any meaningful way. As my Fed Courts professor said, a showdown on this issue has been avoided mainly because Congress, regardless of the degree and direction of its ideological slant, has generally been trusted not to open up this can of worms. Although a friend pointed out this morning that there have been at least two Supreme Court cases in the past few years where the Court dodged the issue, so apparantly Congress has been dallying in this field after all.

In other legal stripping news, the Third Circuit just held that lapdancing in bars is not protected by the First Amendment. Sounds like the New Jersey Division of Alcoholic Beverage Control could use some lobbying.

The Other Stevens

In addition to Justice Stevens, there's another guy in Washington who's probably more deserving of the nickname "Old Man Stevens," due to his unflappable cootery. I speak of Senator Ted Stevens of Alaska, known to wear Incredible Hulk ties for key floor votes and responsible for brilliant ideas such as extending indecency regulation to cable television, building a bridge to nowhere in Alaska, and drilling for oil in the bellies of endangered caribou.

Ted's latest project is Internet regulation. I direct you here for the Daily Show's coverage of Old Man Stevens' passionate views regarding such regulation. Watch for his lucid account of what happens when his staffmembers send Internets to his own personal Internet.

Boalt at the Supreme Court


According to the most recent edition of Boalt Hall eNews (which I only read for things like this), an esteemed member of the Boalt Hall Class of 2005 will be clerking for Associate Justice John Paul "Old Man" Stevens for the Supreme Court's 2007 term. His name is Todd. I met him once. He seems nice and people who know him can't seem to say enough good things about him. He struck me as a surprisingly athletic-looking fellow for someone who's an obvious hard-core law geek. He's tall, is what I'm saying.

During our graduation, Boalt tried to give Todd the award for the highest GPA in the class, even though Boalt doesn't have GPAs, and one sixth of our grades hadn't been recorded yet. After a gushing professor gave a brief speech about Todd and called him up for the award, there was no Todd. Someone from the audience shouted that Todd was at Harvard, finishing up his year in the Boalt-Harvard 3L exchange program. If you think they should have figured that out before the ceremony, you don't know anything about the University of California.

Rumor has it that Todd was also a finalist for the outstanding female student of color award, because he's just that good.



Molly and I just spent four days and three nights at the Costanoa resort near Pescadero, taking in the idyllic scenery of California's North-of-Center coast. Oddly sized photos are here. Narrative follows.

Day One: Ticks, Horse Awaiters, and the Best Diner in a One-Diner Town

We arrived at Costanoa about five hours before our check-in time, so after verifying that our room wasn't ready yet (something that, had we approached Costanoa with the knowledge we now have after spending some time there, we probably wouldn't have bothered asking), we went on the longest hike on the resort's hike list. The hike involved a long trek through tall grass, followed by a long trek up a fire road, followed by a long hike up the side of a hill. At the base of the hill we saw a middle-aged couple sitting in director's chairs and eating some sort of hardboiled egg dish, with their white Lexus SUV parked across the road. They assured us that the trail we were about to take was beautiful, and informed us that they were waiting for horses.

Toward the top of the hill we saw a sign that gave us the option of "Upper Lookout Point" or "Lower Lookout Point." Since we were already exhausted we took the low road. The view was nonetheless spectacular. Yes, that's ocean in the background. We had lunch at the point and then stumbled our way down the hill, where the middle-aged couple were still sitting there in their chairs. The husband asked us how we liked the trail, and the wife asked us if we had seen any horses. At this point they had been waiting for horses for at least an hour, probably an hour and a half.

Shortly after beginning our trek down the fire road, we heard some cloppity-clops behind us and surmised that the couple had found their horses at last. Not so. For we were soon passed by three people on horseback, none of whom was the couple. Later, a group of three more horseback riders passed us, none of them the couple, but one of them frantically asking us if it was okay for them to pass us she she whizzed by. Finally, the horse-awaiting couple passed us, in their SUV. They waved, smiled, and called something about horses. Molly and I began to wonder where the hell we were.

On the way back through the grassy field, I kept to my tradition of unfortunate encounters with local wildlife by finding a dog tick crawling on my sock. I flicked it off before it could burrow its way into my skin, and was pretty excited that I had found a tick on me. I felt like I was really out in nature. Molly was less excited, and assured me that if a bug with a diameter the size of a pencil eraser attached itself to her she would cry.

That night, we drove ten miles north to the town of Pescadero to eat at Duarte's, a restaurant that had been recommended to me by two people at my firm. We had made reservations, since we expected it to be busy on a Saturday night. What we didn't realize was that Duarte's is the only restaurant in the entire town of Pescadero. So it was a good thing we had the reservations.

Duarte's is famous for two things -- artichoke soup, and olallieberry pie. We ordered the artichoke soup, and it was thoroughly unremarkable. As far as we could tell, the soup consisted entirely of artichokes and heavy cream. Molly is convinced (and I agree) that if she set about to make her own artichoke soup from sratch, she could do a better job. Nonetheless, it seemed that everyone at that restaurant had themselves a bowl of the artichoke soup.

Not wanting to trust Duarte's with more than ten dollars for an entre, we went with the cheesburgers for the main course. Molly hated them, I thought they were "not that bad." Certainly not good, but inoffensive. (Molly summarized her problem with the burgers thusly on the ride home: "The problem is that it's a quarter-pound burger, but it's flat. There was no room for juices or flavor. It wasn't pink in the middle. Nobody loved that burger." Well said.)

Before ordering dessert I asked Molly what olallieberries were. She told me they were a cross between youngberries and loganberries, named for the Native American word for "berry," so they were technically "berryberries." Since I had never had youngberries or loganberries, Molly's explanation -- though thorough and accurate -- did little to bring me closer to knowing whether I would like olallieberries. In any case, we ordered the damn pie, and it was pretty good. After dinner we took a drive through Pescadero, which took less than a minute, and then headed back to the resort.

Day Two: Elephant Seals, a Family Visit, and the Snail's Pace of Nature

Sunday morning we drove to Año Nuevo state beach and hiked to the shore. Año Nuevo is where a lot of elephant seals do things. (Elephant seals are massive, grotesque sea monsters that look like this guy from Star Wars.) The males fight over females, the winners hump the females, and the females make pups, all in Año Nuevo. The males also molt at Año Nuevo, a process which consists of lying on a beach for a few months and not eating or drinking anything as all of their skin and hair falls off. This process, as you can imagine, gives off a very unique and fascinating odor. It's currently molting season at Año Nuevo, and I feel privileged to have witnessed this miracle of nature first-hand. We took lots of pictures, starting here.

Año Nuevo is also the home of a fabled abandoned lighthouse keeper's cabin. Apparently after they modernized the lighthouse (which isn't there anymore) and no longer needed a warm body to man the controls, they shot out all the windows and abandoned the cabin, and the property has since been taken over by, you guessed it, elephant seals. They hang out on the furniture and generally make a mess of things, and the females even hang out upstairs. I'm not sure whether any fighting, humping, or birthing goes on in there, but I have vivid images of surly, penis-faced bull elephant seals sitting on sofas, drinking beer, and yelling at the females upstairs to bring them more squid rinds.

That afternoon we were visited by Molly's brother, Mike (who you may remember as the "hot guy" from our wedding album) and Mike's girlfriend, Emily, who together comprise Mike and Emily. Mike and Emily are on their way by automobile to Washington, D.C., where Mike will soon begin law school and Emily will soon begin a career in whatever it is people do in Washington. We took a foot path through the resort, across Highway 1, and toward the beach, where we took several cutesy pictures. It was great to see them, and after suffering our company for a few hours they headed off toward Sacramento.

That night we ate at the General Store, which is the onsite restaurant at Costanoa. The food was great, and the service was shockingly bad. As we would find again and again, the General Store is run like a weekly project on The Apprentice -- the staff are energetic, hardworking, eager to please, and have absolutely no idea what they're doing. But damn it if the food wasn't good.

The slowness of the restaurant wasn't limited to dinner (lunch was just as bad, despite being a deli counter rather than table service format), and the slowness of Costanoa wasn't limited to the restaurant (it seemed that everything we asked them to do -- and we only asked for things we assumed had already been done -- took three times as long as it should have). Costanoa's slogan is "Discover the pace of nature." Apparently when the folks at Costanoa think "nature," they think of glaciers, snails, and evolution.

Day Three: Poorly Managed Breakfast, Sea Bluffs, and a Cheese Overload

Costanoa offers a breakfast buffet every morning. Usually the buffet is at the General Store, a spacious eatery with lots of tables and plenty of room for buffet tables. The geniuses of Costanoa, however, have chosen the middle of summer to renovate the restaurant at their coastal resort. So, due to drilling and sawing and horrible music on the contractors' stereo, breakfast was temporarily moved to a small lounge across the way, where the already over-extended staff was called upon to wait on the guests rather than have the guests help themselves. This didn't go well. Fortunately by the time my cold eggs and stale biscuit arrived I had already filled up on tiny muffins.

After breakfast we loafed by the outdoor fireplace for a while and then went on what would be our final hike, setting off on foot across Highway 1 in search of the Whitecreek Trail Tidepools. We didn't see any tidepools, but we did see the Whitecreek estuary and a bunch of rock formations, odd growths, inlets, and various other things that one views from bluffs. I also took this picture of Molly, which I really like. This was probably the most dangerous hike we took, ticks and horse enthusiasts be damned, since the trail was narrow and overgrown, often hugging the edge of steep bluffs, and I wasn't entirely sure that we were actually on public land for part of it and feared that at any moment some grizzled seafaring hermit would come blasting away at us with a shotgun. My fears were eased when we reached the roped off trail to Franklin Point, which afforded us a pleasant (if blurry) view of the Pigeon Point lighthouse among other things. We continued down to the beach and made our way back via the trail that we had taken the day before with Mike and Emily.

That night we had another delicious and three-times-as-long-as-necessary dinner at the General Store. I ordered the spinach and Gruyere crepes appetizer, which I figured would be crepes stuffed with spinach and Gruyere cheese. It turned out to be a bowl of melted Gruyere cheese with some crepes and spinach floating in it. Delicious, to be sure, but not exactly easy on the body. Speaking of cheese, on Saturday, Sunday, and Monday afternoons Molly and I had wine and cheese in our room and by the outside fire. Over the course of these three days, therefore, I consumed about as much cheese as I would normally eat in a month, and on Monday night I wasn't feeling very well. I had spent so much time trying to figure out my red wine limit that it hadn't occurred to me to delineate my cheese limit. At least now I have a rough idea: Less than I had this weekend, God damn it.

Epilogue: Business Administration for Hippies

All in all we had a great time at Costanoa, and would probably go back. We'll just bring a cooler and our own food. In the meantime, here are some things we picked up on that Costanoa could improve upon in the management department:

1. If you have two onsite merchants, one called "The General Store" and the other called "The Ranch House," one of which is a restaurant and one of which is a store, the store should be called "The General Store" and the restaurant should be called anything else.

2. You might choose a time other than the busiest season of the year to renovate the restaurant.

3. If you're going to guilt-trip your guests by forcing them to specially request that you change their sheets in order to conserve "our precious water," don't run the sprinklers continuously during the three hottest hours of the day.

4. While being the only restuarant within ten miles brings certain monopolistic advantages, your staff might be less glib about the poor service. If you're not going to hire any more servers or cooks, you could at least hire a full-time employee to keep every table stocked with bread so that patrons don't feel the urge to chew their fingers off.

This morning's just-after-7:30 "Perspective" on NPR inspired me to finally track down the Perspectives Editor and voice my feelings. Here's the note I wrote to Mr. Trautwein:

From: Matt
To: mtrautwein
Date: Jul 6, 2006 7:58 AM
Subject: Riveting!

Dear Mark,

Great choice on Perspectives this morning. I really enjoyed Elizabeth Statmore's fascinating account of how she had a bunch of stuff in her house that she wanted to get rid of so she rented a dumpster. It's these kinds of ground-breaking stories that lead me to question the significance of my career and other daily activities. Clearly, there are more important things I could be doing with my time on this Earth.

Keep up the good work, buddy.


Mark wrote me back a few hours later and claimed that he detected sarcasm. The very thought! Also, in my research this morning regarding whom I should contact with my Perspectives-related comments I learned that KQED gives each accepted Perspectives writer a $65 "honorarium" for their troubles. So now, at the end of each particularly grating ninety seconds of self-indulgent pabulum, I can yell "Sixty five dollars!" in frustration, and hopefully that'll make me feel better.

With a perspective, I'm Matt.

Matt is a lawyer and writer living in Palo Alto. Views expressed on Perspectives are not necessarily those of KQED or its sponsors. We wouldn't want our listeners to think that our sponsors actually support renting dumpsters to throw away unwanted household clutter. And now, here's Cy Musiker with a story about bees.

Founders' Day


In honor of Our Nation's Independence, the latest strip features a special guest appearance by a handful of the filthy Deists who made this day possible, along with some dudes in powdered wigs and waistcoats.

Now go combine alcohol and explosives. It's what Benjamin Franklin would have wanted.

New Strip, More Fiddling


I posted a new strip in the slightly re-designed comics site. Each strip now has its own page, and the old archive is linked to the new era. I'm sure we're all very excited.

The latest strip is in honor of my impending departure from The Firm (just one month left now), along with the recent departure of one of my colleagues who "up and left" two weeks ago. It also acknowledges the curiously high number of divorce lawyer referral requests that I find myself fielding, always with the same answer: "I'm too junior to know that many lawyers, but my dad is a divorce lawyer so he may know somebody in your area." Now if you're looking for a patent prosecutor, well, I can't help you either.

More strips on the way. No, really.

Hamdan Update: That Geneva Convention Thing

I had a chance to look at the Hamdan opinions this morning and it looks like my prior perplexity was misplaced. The Geneva Convention holding wasn't independent of the statutory interpretation holding.

Based on my reading of the case (which was both quick and through a dense fog of ignorance regarding international law), here's how the majority got from Point A to Point B. The military tribunals at issue were authorized by Article 21 of the Uniform Code of Military Justice (UCMJ), a federal statute. The Executive sought to escape the requirements of the UCMJ via the Authorization for Use of Military Foce (AUMF) passed by Congress in September 2001 after the terrorist attacks.

Article 21 states that military tribunals must conform with the "laws of war." The Court held that "laws of war" means that the tribunals must conform to the requirements of the Geneva Convention, and that the AUMF didn't abrogate this requirement. So, the right of a private individual to enforce the Geneva Convention in court and the applicability of the Geneva Convention to the Executive's treatment of prisoners at Guantanamo all stem from this single provision regarding military tribunals. In theory, Congress could just amend this provision, or pass a law authorizing military tribunals that don't conform to the Geneva Convention, and the tribunals could proceed apace.

Justice Stevens' majority opinion suggests that the D.C. Circuit's holding that the Geneva Convention isn't enforceable in court is incorrect, but the Court doesn't technically reach the issue since the Geneva Convention analysis arises from the requirements of a Congressional statute. So, it isn't clear that the Geneva Convention applies to every aspect of the conflict with al Qaeda, and this holding could be limited to its facts in the future. Given the fact that this was a 5-3 opinion overruling a decision that Chief Justice Roberts joined when he was on the D.C. Circuit (which is why Roberts didn't participate at the Supreme Court level), I'd say the Geneva Convention won't have much mileage going forward if Bush gets to monkey around with the Court any more by appointing another Justice to replace anyone in the Hamdan majority (Stevens, Kennedy, Souter, Ginsburg, and Breyer).

But the Geneva Convention aside, the key holding was that the Executive exceeded the authority granted by Congress in setting up the tribunals, and therefore the tribunals are illegal. The take-away message from Hamdan is the fact that the AUMF wasn't a "President Can Do Whatever He Wants" resolution by Congress, and the Executive isn't entitled to absolute deference for everything related to the War on Terror. It's now clear that the War on Terror is a joint venture between the President and Congress. Congress is now put to the task of clearly delineating the powers of the President regarding military force, and the President has to stay within the boundaries prescribed by Congress.

Congress' reinforced role in the War on Terror may be a key issue in the mid-term elections (once they take care of more pressing matters like flag burning and the gays). Or, the President could just forget about military tribunals, return Hamdan to indefinite detention, and continue doing what he do without regard for the broader language in Hamdan. The Supreme Court has already blessed the indefinite detention of U.S. Citizens in Guantanamo without charges or trial in Hamdi v. Rumsfeld, nad there's no reason to think the result would be different for foreign nationals. This could be a turning point in America's constant state of war, or just a footnote.

America's Top Student Loan Consolidator
175 South Lake Ave., Suite 200
Pasadena, CA 91101
ATTN: Marketing Director

Dear EdFed:

I'm very impressed that you appear to have hired a staff of small foreign children and/or illiterate convicts to painstakingly hand-write your latest direct mailings. While many direct-mailers employ fonts that merely look like handwriting, the indentations in your postcard, the corrected misspelled words, and overall piss-poor penmanship unmistakably establish that your entreaty to consolidate my student loans was indeed prepared by a human being. I commend you.

Unfortunately, I will not be consolidating my student loans with you, as I have no need for such services. Nonetheless, I would like to offer the following feedback on the work of "Carleen." First off, you should teach her to make her a's look less like u's. Secondly, there's a difference between an upper-case "F" and a lower-case "f" that Carleen does not appear to grasp (see, e.g., the word "beFore" [sic] in line six of the main text). Finally, it is proper form to place the comma in the salutation after the addressee's name, rather than after the "Dear." With these tips, I hope that Carleen might find more success in luring people into your lending pool.

In addition, I hope that when Carleen and the rest of your scribes develop crippling arthritis from hand-writing junk mail for hours at a stretch, EdFed will find the decency to dip into its (doubtless) exhorbitant interest collections and provide some healthcare.

Very truly yours,

Robert H. Bork

Other Blogs

Law-Type Blogs

Other Webcomics

Log Archives

eXTReMe Tracker

About this Archive

This page is an archive of entries from July 2006 listed from newest to oldest.

June 2006 is the previous archive.

August 2006 is the next archive.

Find recent content on the main index or look in the archives to find all content.

Powered by Movable Type 5.04