Cruising The Neighborhood

The blawgosphere has a few posts that no one should miss, so without further ado, here’s what’s happening in the neighborhood.

At Overlawyered, Walter Olson has chronicled the Consumer Product Safety Improvement Act (CPSIA), the civil version of laws that have devastated the criminal arena for decades.  The law, enacted in the wake of the Chinese lead paint scandals, attempts to “fix” one new problem by wreaking havoc across the boards.  It’s another example of what happens in the rush and zeal to appease public fears without proper thought of unintended consequences.  Sound familiar?

Walter has followed this law as it came closer to its effective date, noting what its consequences would be and have been, despite its enforcement stay as business, especially small ones, found themselves totally incapable of compliance.  He has put together a 50+ state list of what the CPSIA would do to America.

To get a feel for what Walter’s talking about, consider this :

Baby rag quilt

You may want to buy this cute item before the requirements of CPSIA go into effect on Feb. 10, when according to the Etsy listing its price will go up from $58 to $3,530 to cover the required testing

Now that businesses large and small are on the business end of a bad law, any chance they will gain some empathy toward those trapped in the government’s other weapons to “fix” the latest and greatest problems?  Unfortunately, not likely.  Everybody cares deeply about their own situation, but still defaults to screw the other guy.  At least it’s a tool to use for comparison.

And my brother from another mother, J. Daniel Hull of What About Clients? has finally woken up from his drunken stupor well deserved rest to bring us some comfort from the crushing weight of blawgospheric overload by providing his “must-read” blogs for all lawyers.

The Big Six lawyer sites to read. Since you are busy and, like us, self-important, you really should read or at least skim six (6) lawyer sites–all of these technically qualify as “blogs”–every week. All six are must reading. The first one, and for us The King, is Legal Blog Watch, last week’s Blawg Review host of No. 197, and one of the few sites for lawyers that always delivers. This past week LBW hosted from the LegalTech show in NYC. And then there’s Blawg Review itself, consistently a phenomenon, and a labor of love, by Ed. and his talented “Sherpas”, a Boston ADR specialist we respect, and a West Coast-based in-house counsel with dual Brit-Yank citizenship who writes as well as Flaubert when he’s in the right goddamn mood. We think Legal Blog Watch and Blawg Review cover, quickly and comprehensively, what’s happening in American and global legal markets for (A) news and ( new ideas.

The other four sites that supplement these two, and do the same thing if slightly less comprehensively? They are: newcomer and often visionary Law21 of Canada, the analytical Adam Smith, the enormously popular ear-to-ground Above The Law and WSJ’s Law Blog.

I agree with Dan, with two caveats.  For criminal defense lawyers, or any lawyer over the age of 12, ATL no longer makes the cut.  As much as David Lat created a place that brought federal judicial “hotties” and salacious lawyer news home, it’s taken a serious header off the high dive since Lat took off his bathrobe and put on a tie and is now the blog of choice for stunted adolescence and the Slackoisie.  If you don’t have a 12 year old of your own at home, and aren’t readily familiar with the current thoughts on infantile sexual humor, then you might enjoy the new ATL.  If you’re past reliving the glory days of elementary school, then ATL offers nothing new.  Take a pass.

Also, Blawg Review raises a red flag.  The nature makes each one sui generis, so there’s no blame on they mysterious Ed for this criticism, but still BR as a whole takes the rap.  Some Blawg Reviews are great, some even bordering on brilliant.  Others, less so.  And some are downright awful.  So I’m seizing this opportunity to slam a practice that I find reprehensible.  Some BR authors use their moment in the sun to “showcase” their little niche, or their state, or something unique to them, to the exclusion of the blawgosphere.  This is now Blawg Showcase, but Blawg Review.  If you don’t like the format, don’t do it.  But who gave you the right to change the concept to suit your own self-promotional whims?

I read Blawg Review every Monday, rain or shine.  It’s a great way to show the blawgosphere who you are and get people to appreciate your savvy.  It can also be the best way to make absolutely certain that as many people as possible think you are a blithering idiot when you try to pull off some crappy move to suit your personal agenda.  If nobody is reading your “fertile octogenarian” blog, there’s a reason.  Putting together a BR of only fertile octogenarian blogs is the surest way to guarantee that no one will ever read a fertile octogenarian blog again.  If it’s of no interest in mono, it’s definitely not interesting in surround sound.  Get it?

Much has been written about fallen hero and occasional toker Michael Phelps, but few have summed it up as well as reformed prosecutor  Robert Guest

The greatest Olympian of this decade is losing endorsement deals over cannabis use. I have a paltry ad budget, but I am willing to dedicate 100% of those funds to hiring Michael Phelps. Perhaps I could hire Michael to swim the Trinity with a Robert speedo.

Michael, you are still an American hero. You have nothing to apologize for. Millions of Americans, including the current and two former Presidents, have partaken in the recreational use of cannabis.

When are we going to come to grips with America’s relationship to marijuana?  The President smoked it (as did any half-way normal person of a certain age, and anyone who says he didn’t is either a liar or such a fringe nerd that he’s unworthy of notice), yet we elect him because it’s just not the critical factor in determining who should be the most powerful man on Earth.  Yet a swimmer smokes it and he goes from hero to mutt?  It’s crazy.  We really need to grow up already. 

Watch the Saturday Night Live video on Robert’s blawg to gain a little perspective.  Humor has an amazing way of making a point, and this says it all.

And finally, Mark Bennett at the number 1 criminal law blawg anywhere, Defending People, reminds us that there are places on the periphery of America that still have traditional values, like racial prejudice, abuse of police power and rampant facial injustice.  In a throwback to the Mayberry days. there’s Tenaha.

According to the lawsuit filed in U.S. District Court, officers would stop non-white motorists for no legal reason, order them out of their cars, search their cars, call out dogs to search the cars, find nothing, interrogate the motorists, ask them if they had any money, seize the money, arrest them for “money laundering”, and then threaten to hold them prisoner and prosecute them for money laundering unless they would agree to forfeit the money.

It’s like discovery the last standing drive-in theater, or the last “whites only” drinking fountain.  Just when you thought you could never go back, you find out there’s a place that never left.  Granted, I occasional make good, clean fun of Texas for some of its more backward trends, but even the most strident Texaphile has to wonder how this one got away.  Word is that there’s a “welcome” sign as you enter Tenaha, Rotary on Tuesdays at the Dairy Queen and Ku Klux Klan on Thursdays at the Piggly Wiggly appetizer counter.

And some politicians would have you believe that traditional American values are dead.

7 thoughts on “Cruising The Neighborhood

  1. SHG

    Absolutely not, and I’m glad you brought that up.  This post was up before Jeremy’s Blawg Review #198 came out, and it in no way refers to Jeremy’s effort, which is a superlative piece of work (though, I think he’s calling me verbose, and saying I use more than my fair share of words). 

  2. Jamie


    (I thought it was a tad harsh if it had been.)

    Also, you didn’t know you use up a lot of words? I’d personally be able to post more often if you didn’t write so damn much.

  3. John Kindley

    I tried to subscribe to Law21 based on your recommendation, but its Google Reader feed link seems temporarily broken.

    Is Adam Smith actually a good read for a solo practitioner? It seems more oriented toward BigLaw. I’ve had the same impression of the WSJ Law Blog, which has kept me from subscribing to it thus far.

  4. SHG

    I’ll have the repairman up in Canada fix it forthwith.  As for AS, of course it’s a good read.  It’s just a question of what is a better use of your time, and that’s a question best left to you.  I read the WSJ religiously, but I suppose I would read it even if not appropriately garbed.

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