Ferguson a Week Later

After a pretty good Thursday night, things got tense on Friday. Cops were guarding some stores, but they were attacked by a few of the protesters and several officers were injured. The police then retreated to a perimeter, which resulted in a situation eerily reminiscent of the 1992 L.A. riots, when the police withdrew from […]

Ferguson Turns On a Dime

I tried, I really did. When I first heard about the shooting of Michael Brown by a Ferguson, Missouri police officer, I tried to give them the benefit of the doubt. A lot of police shootings are perfectly legitimate, stopping bad people from doing bad things. Beyond that, there are cases where the victim didn’t […]

#Ferguson

The news out of Ferguson, Missouri has had me riveted to Twitter. St. Louis Alderman Antonio French has been tweeting and posting Vine videos from Ferguson for days, and Wesley Lowery from the Washington Post has been tweeting regularly and he’s got an article up. If you haven’t been following the story, Dara Lind at […]

Another Cop Shoots Another Black Kid

I hate this kind of story. Reportedly an as yet unnamed police officer in the St. Louis suburb of Ferguson, Missouri has shot and killed an unarmed 18-year-old black kid named Michael Brown. Area residents gathered in the street, there was shouting, police assembled to try to keep order, there was a bit of a […]

Is The Legal Field Ready for CSO?

A couple of days ago, Scott Greenfield was writing about some of the complexities of federal sentencing, when a commenter named Jake proposed a crazy solution: Was there ever a task in the courtroom more ripe for automation? Well, yes, there’s tons of administrative crap that can be, or has been, automated. However, Jake had […]

What Could Be Worse Than Raising the Minimum Wage?

I see that our mayor has proposed a city ordinance to raise Chicago’s minimum wage to $13 an hour. The current minimum wage in Illinois is $8.25/hour, a buck over the federal minimum, so that amounts to a 58% hike. This follows Seattle’s decision to increase their minimum wage to $15 a few months ago, […]

What Democracy’s All About?

NYPD Police Commissioner Bill Bratton has been taking a lot of crap, deservedly so, for his comments after Eric Garner died while being arrested for selling untaxed cigarettes on the street. In a news conference, with mayor Bill de Blasio standing at his side, Bratton came out full-authoritarian: According to Mayor de Blasio and Police […]

Scattershot: Leaving Cops in the Dust, Shock Doctrine, and CSI: Gallifrey.

Random shots around the web: Yet another case of judges saying you can drive away from the cops. Well, not that you can actually do that, but if you open your window because a cop pulled up behind you, got out of his car, and knocked on your window, you are totally doing that voluntarily […]

Why Obamacare Means Insurance Refunds

At the reliably hyper Addicting Info, Wendy Gittleson is excited over upcoming insurance refunds due to the Affordable Care Act: In a story that’s bound to send Republicans straight into the spin cycle, it was announced on Thursday that insurance companies will be refunding Americans $332 million because they’ve been overcharging them for healthcare. That’s […]

I’m Sure That Goes Both Ways

Here’s how I imagine my traffic stop going: Officer: License and proof of insurance. Me: Here you go. Officer: Do you know why I pulled you over? Me: Uh, no I don’t, officer. Officer: You were doing 75 in a school zone. Me: I’m sorry to hear you experienced that. I place the highest priority […]

Maggie McNeill at Liberty On the Rocks

So last weekend I had a conversation with my wife that went something like this: Me: I’ve got some busy evenings this week. On Tuesday…um, this is going to be one of those awkward conversations… Her: As long as you’re not seeing any hookers. (silence for a few seconds) Me: How about a retired hooker? […]

It’s the Better Government Party…or Is It?

I get a lot of spammy email about political issues and politics, but this one caught my attention: Subject: A New Political Party- The Better Government Party Created by Mike Mann Dear Mark, I hope this e-mail finds you well! I wanted to introduce my client, Mike Mann, to you in regards to your upcoming […]

Site Meter WTF?

Have you been seeing pop-up ads on my blog? You see, a couple of days ago I was fiddling with some darned thing here in WordPress — I can’t remember what it was anymore — and I wanted to take a look at how the page lays out to ordinary people. As a logged-in WordPress […]

Considering a Geiger Counter

It probably says something about me that I’m thinking of buying a Geiger counter. It’s not that I really have a need to detect radioactivity, exactly. But you know all those CSI shows where they pull out the UV light and shine it around a crime scene to find suspicious stains? If you tried that […]

Net Neutrality Pisses Me Off

Net Neutrality Pisses Me Off

The debate over “net neutrality” just makes me angry. The purpose of net neutrality is to force internet service providers to carry all content equally. The ISPs — really mostly cable companies — would like to dump net neutrality so they can charge special rates for certain content such as streaming video. This would allow […]

2013 Road Trip Report – Part 4: The Road to Avalon

(I’ve been writing a rambling travelogue for last year’s trip to the Jersey shore. Part 1 got me from Chicago to Toledo, Part 2 got me to Wilkes-Barre, Pennsylvania, and Part 3 got me to New Haven, Connecticut. I’m running out of interest in writing these, but I think I have at least one more.) […]

The Queen is a Fink!

I’ve known for many years that access to this blog is blocked in mainland China. Well, sometimes it is and sometimes it isn’t. I imagine it all depends on how recently I’ve mentioned the Tiananmen Square Massacre. As I write this, it’s not being blocked (I checked here), but that could change since I just […]

Keep Talkin’ Judge

One of the most amazing developments in the legal blogosphere last year was the emergence of the Hercules and the Umpire blog, because it was written by an actual sitting federal judge. It wasn’t just warmed-over pablum, nor was it some sort of scholarly legal blather. Instead, like a classic blogger from the early days, […]

Much Ado About $300

Much Ado About $300

I think the reaction to the Hobby Lobby case is going to make me mental. Case in point: That’s from a Mother Jones article by Erika Eichelberger and Molly Redden titled “In Hobby Lobby Case, the Supreme Court Chooses Religion Over Science”. Does the young woman holding the sign realize that she’s saying it’s not […]

The Pope On Drugs

A few days ago, over at Crimlaw, Ken Lammers, whom I admire, had a few things to say about the idea of legalizing drugs. Ken starts by quoting Pope Francis, whom I admire somewhat less. (Hey, what can I say? I was raised a Lutheran, and the First Rule of Lutheran Club is the Catholics […]