How to Feed a Lawyer (and Other Irreverent Observations from the Legal Underground)

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In other news from yesterday that wouldn't fit in the post:

I bought a computer yesterday at a large electronics store. The friendly salesman told me that my new computer might break, and all my money would go to waste, unless I was smart enough to buy an "extended care plan." So I bought it. When I came home and hooked up my new computer to the Internet, I read some really scary stuff about the horrors of class action litigation. Class actions, it turns out, are responsible for much of the misery in the world. Even worse, there is simply no way to stop class actions--that is, unless I agree to lend my support to the "Class Action Fairness Act." No problem, I thought, and called my senator to lend my support. After that, I went out to the mailbox, where I got a letter from the local hospital. The letter said that all the doctors in town are being scared away by trial lawyers. Who will be there for me when I need brain surgery? Not a single doctor, the letter said, unless I'm smart enough to stand with other concerned citizens in calling for a cap on non-pecuniary damages. Hell, yes, I'll stand with them! What if I need brain surgery! After making that decision, I ate dinner with my 7th-grade boy, who told me some 9th-graders are going to take his New Found Glory CD unless he gives them his milk money. He was crying and shaking, so I gave him some extra milk money. After that, I went to bed. I wasn't able to fall asleep, so I watched the Sopranos. It was that episode where Christopher cuts some shop owner up into pieces because his envelope is a "little light." Stupid shop owner!

Finally, I went to sleep. I dreamt about the terrorists. Do you know about the terrorists? If so, you'll understand that it was a very scary dream. There were goblins and monsters and a pale-looking man with glasses and a creepy voice who said the only thing I could do prevent more nightmares was to vote Republican.

When I awoke, I was a Bush supporter. Hallelujah!

david giacalone

Evan, the Italian-American Anti-Defamation League would not like your comparing Mafiosos to Republicans and/or Sellers of Extended Warranties. You may need a good libel defense lawyer one of dese days.

Meanwhile, a tip for visitors who rely on this website for consumer advice: before purchasing any extended warranty, please read Extended Warranties and Service Contracts and this Consumers Union press release.

George Wallace

Evan, as a practicing attorney you know as well as I the pitfalls of using only the convenient and helpful portions of a longer quotation when making an argument. It annoys the judge and weakens one’s case when the full version comes out.

Criticize the Vice President if you will -- heaven knows, he gives ample cause -- but at least be more forthright than Senator Edwards was, and take him to task based on the whole statement. You can find it here, and elsewhere.

david giacalone

I dunno, George, reading the "whole statement" doesn't leave me feeling any different about what Cheney meant to say, imply, connote or denote. This Administration, like its predecessor, loves to use wording that gives one impression, but leaves room for deniability and "lawyering" later. I think we both dislike it, no matter which party does it. Being human, however, we tend to not want to see the phenomenon when it's "our" side.

Now, can we get back to being entertaining barristers?


George; It seems there are two ways to read Cheney's complete statement.
In one variant, when he says "and", he means "and". Both things will happen; we'll be attacked and we'll respond improperly. I think that's the logical way to read the sentence and, in that case, only talking about one of the consequences he mentions is perfectly OK. (Although I have no problem seeing him slammed for the lie about Kerry's position he implies in the second part as well.)
The other possibility is that he meant "and" as "followed by". In that case, he's saying that first we'll suffer a devastating attack then, after that, we'll fall into a pre-9/11 mindset. Sorry, that doesn't make a damn bit of sense. Had he said it the other way around, it would have been an inaccurate statement of Kerry's policies but at least it wouldn't have been out of bizarro world somewhere.

George Wallace

The essential argument being made by both sides -- in some cases more articulately than in others -- is that America is safer with Their Guys than it will be with Those Other Guys. Whether either pair of candidates can seriously claim a cause and effect relationship between their election/defeat and the actions of wild-eyed terrorist loons is debatable, but that's political rhetoric for you. As Mickey "I Really Really Dislike Him But I'll Vote for Kerry Anyway" Kaus points out this morning, even the Los Angeles Times (no friend to the Bush campaign) thinks Kerry-Edwards is somewhat disingenuous in its self-proclaimed outrage over Cheney's remarks.

At least both parties seem to have "spotted the issue" . . .


I initially heard Cheney's entire statement on the radio, as opposed to reading an edited version of it on the Internet. And when I heard it, it never even occurred to me to interpret it according to the "logical way" suggested to us by Mojo. It all sounds very "depends on what the word 'is' is" to me.

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