Archive for December 17th, 2010

Statement by Julian Assange upon his bail

| December 17, 2010 | 8 Replies
Statement by Julian Assange upon his bail

Julian Assange of Wikileaks, who is involved in a Kafkaesque ordeal, made the following statement on December 16, 2010:

It’s rather amazing how this interviewer doesn’t want to understand the situation. Maybe she would get it if she had been accused of a terrible crime by the corporate news media, and her name had been smeared across the Internet despite the fact that the prosecutor never actually brought any charges or produced evidence of any crime. Maybe then she would get it. The interviewer also can’t seem to wrap her head around the fact that Assange is likely being smeared by those countries and corporations that are being embarrassed by his devastating leaks of authentic documents.

This is nothing short of Kafkaesque.

Share

Read More

Watershed moments

| December 17, 2010 | Reply
Watershed moments

I often think of the big power of little moments; they can switch you to a new and dramatically different track in life, even though it doesn’t seem like a big deal at the time. In this way, life is chaotic:

Small differences in initial conditions (such as those due to rounding errors in numerical computation) yield widely diverging outcomes for chaotic systems, rendering long-term prediction impossible in general. This happens even though these systems are deterministic.

Another way of looking at this phenomenon is to think in terms of path dependence. Early-developed choices, habits and tastes can have huge long-term ramifications, and the person making many of the most important decisions that determined what kind of person you grew up to be was a younger version of you. Even the five-year old version of you had your life in his or her hands. If you like how your life has turned out, thank that 7-year old (and that two-year old) who had your life in his or her hands once upon a time. The 7-year old who raised me found many abstract ideas interesting, and put me on that track.

Share

Read More

Ads they don’t run any more

| December 17, 2010 | 1 Reply
Ads they don’t run any more

They don’t run these sorts of ads anymore. I remember many of these sorts of ads. It’s amazing how far we have come in the past 50 years, and this gives me a glimmer of hope for the future.

Share

Read More

New chapter on arbitration in Missouri

| December 17, 2010 | Reply
New chapter on arbitration in Missouri

I know that this is a shameless self-promotion, but here goes. I’ve often ranted about the way unscrupulous businesses take advantage of consumers by inserting horrendously unfair mandatory arbitration clauses in their contracts. A new Missouri CLE Deskbook for lawyers was released yesterday and it features a highly detailed chapter on arbitration clauses. I was one of two co-authors, along with John Campbell with whom I have the honor of working at the Simon Law Firm in St. Louis, Missouri.

This manual is geared to help Missouri consumer lawyers, but it could be valuable for anyone who wants to know the state of the law of consumer arbitration. It worth noting that Missouri law has paralleled the arbitration law of many other states, especially on the issue of unconscionability (John and I argued for the winning side of the August 31, 2010 case decided by the Missouri Supreme Court, Brewer v. Missouri Title Loans).

If you are interested in taking a look at this chapter, I would assume that you will soon be able to find this book in most law libraries and on the library shelves of many law firms.

For a glimpse of how complicated this topic of arbitration has gotten, I’m printing out the Table of Contents below:

[More . . . ]

Share

Read More

Matt Taibbi on Bernie Sanders

| December 17, 2010 | Reply
Matt Taibbi on Bernie Sanders

For the past few years, I’ve looked to Matt Taibbi for powerful ways to express, simultaneously emotionally and intellectually, the current national mess we’re in. He recently wrote of his admiration for Bernie Sanders at Rolling Stone:

While everyone else in Washington was debating the political efficacy of the deal . . . Sanders blew all of that off and just looked at the deal’s moral implications. Which are these: this tax deal, frankly and unequivocally, is the result of a relatively small group of already-filthy rich people successfully lobbying an even smaller group of morally spineless politicians to shift an ever-bigger share of society’s burdens to the lower and (what’s left of the) middle classes. This is people who already have lots of shit just demanding more shit, for the sheer rotten sake of it. . . I contrast this now to the behavior of Barack Obama. I can’t even count how many times I listened to Barack Obama on the campaign trail talk about how, as president, he would rescind the Bush tax cuts as soon as he had the chance. He stood up and he said over and over again – I can still hear him saying “Let me be clear!” with that Great Statesman voice of his, before he went into this routine – that the Bush tax cuts were wrong and immoral. He said more than once that they “offended his conscience.” Then, just as he did with drug re-importation and Guantanamo and bulk Medicare negotiations for pharmaceuticals and the issue of whether or not he would bring registered lobbyists into his White House and a host of other promises, he tossed his campaign “convictions” in the toilet and changed his mind once he was more accountable to lobbyists than primary voters.

Share

Read More