(Private Enterprise in) America, Fuck Yeah!

Posted in News on October 11th, 2010 by bl1y

Yesterday marked another milestone in space exploration as Virgin Galactic’s SpaceShipTwo made its first solo flight.  The flight did not leave the atmosphere and lasted on 25 minutes, but Virgin Galactic is now one step closer to making space tourism a reality, and it comes at at time when NASA is going down the shitter.

Virgin Galactic is expected to launch its first commercial flight next year.

NASA is expecting to not have a space flight program at that time.

When SpaceShipOne was launched in 2004 it made two suborbital flights within a period of about 10 days.  From conception to its second landing, it is estimated to have cost Virgin Galactic only about $25 million.  By comparison, the latest Space Shuttle, even with the vast majority of R&D taken care of by the previous models, cost us $1.7 billion, and that doesn’t include the costs of astronaut training, mission control, rocket fuel, or the (non-recyclable) external tank.

Granted, the ships are extremely different.  SpaceShipOne carries 3 people into a short suborbital flight; the Space Shuttle carries massive payloads into orbit.  It’s the difference between a Kawasaki Ninja and a Mack Truck.  But still, when you consider how much production costs decrease when you mass produce a vehicle, we could probably get 100  SpaceShipOnes and launch them 100 times each for the cost of building 1 Space Shuttle and allowing it to sit in a warehouse.

Also, SpaceShipOne and SpaceShipTwo are a whole helluva lot more sexy and exciting than NASA’s Winged Brick.

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OMGWTFPOM1!

Posted in News on October 7th, 2010 by bl1y

Two Philadelphia cops, Sean Alivera and Christopher Luciano, are accused of robbing a suspected drug dealer of 20 pounds of marijuana (with a street value of $24,000) and $3000 in cash.  They are also accused of a conspiracy to sell the drugs through another dealer.

Not the worst plan, after all, what’s the victim going to do, call the cops and report that his drugs were stolen?  I mean, we’ve all heard that joke before, right?

911 Operator: 911, what is the nature of your emergency?
Dealer: Some dudes just stole all the pot I was try to sell!
911 Operator: Let me just get your name and location, and we’ll send the cops over right away.
Dealer: FML

In this case, the victim didn’t have to call the cops, he was one.  The two dumbasses robbed an undercover officer.  So, it probably went down a little more like this:

Dealer: Hi, this is Sergeant _______, patch me through to internal affairs please.
Internal Affairs: *Headdesk*
Dealer: LOL!
Internal Affairs: OMGWTFPOM1!

Maybe in the future they should stick to robbing Philadelphia lawyers.

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God Bless Greg, Who Didn’t Grow Up

Posted in News on September 30th, 2010 by bl1y

Ten years ago Esquire Magazine published an article profiling the Harvard Law class of 1990.  It wasn’t the sort of look into the life of legal giants that most bright eyed 0Ls would expect:

A HARVARD LAW SCHOOL graduate could expect in 1960 to bill fifteen hundred hours a year at a major big-city law firm. In return, he was virtually certain to make partner in six years, share in the firm’s profits, and enjoy a collegial, relaxed, lifetime position of prestige. His desk and office would be kept for him until he died, sometimes for years after, as a show of respect.

Today’s Harvard Law School graduate can expect to bill twenty-two hundred hours a year, and often as many as twenty-four hundred. In return, he stands perhaps a one-in-eight chance at making partner after eight years, and even then he might not share profits. As a partner, he will never be allowed to relax; if his revenues or hours drop, he will be invited to resign. When a Harvard Law School graduate fails to make partner, he is seen as the worst kind of failure by colleagues and prospective employers, because he entered with staggering advantages and promise. If he does make it to partner, then to retirement, no one will think to keep his desk around.

“Young Harvard lawyers are less content today than we were. They work harder, longer hours. They don’t have the time to indulge themselves, to become Renaissance people. My classmates still believed that it was possible to go to plays–every night if we wished–to learn music, to have intellectual discourses. We led pretty decent lives in the law firms. Today, a Harvard Law graduate comes in conditioned to give up large parts of his life for a number of years. I don’t know if it’s a pretty decent life.”

One member of the class of 1990 was comedian and Comedy Central staple Greg Giraldo, who died yesterday of an accidental overdose.  The article goes back and forth between different members of the HLS class of 1990, but I’ve excerpted the parts about Greg below:

KIDS WHO PULL STRAIGHT A’S in grade school don’t often scare teachers. But for all his smarts, Greg Giraldo couldn’t focus in fifth grade, and it disturbed those in charge. The kid from Queens daydreamed about funny people, guys who made other guys laugh. How thrilling to live at a time when John Belushi roamed the earth! How glorious to be Mad magazine artist Don Martin and to invent words like thwap and glork! Watch the face of a kid in love with laughter; it’s not a face that soothes the schoolteacher’s soul.

Mr. and Mrs. Giraldo were summoned to school and asked, Is something wrong at home? Is something troubling Greg? Nothing that we know of, the parents replied. And they returned home and asked Greg if there was something wrong. Not that I know of, he replied, and he returned to recording funny little thoughts in the journals he kept. Mom and Dad couldn’t protest much; Greg was a perfect student, the kind who might fulfill an immigrant parent’s dream that he become a doctor or a lawyer, or, better yet, an Ivy League doctor or lawyer. Or, best yet, a Harvard doctor or lawyer.

THE HIGHEST COMPLIMENT ever paid to Greg Giraldo came when his pals in Queens refused to believe he’d been admitted to Manhattan’s prestigious Regis High School. We never knew you had a brain, they told their friend. We thought you were a fucking retard.

Once inside, Greg tore up the place. Shunning nerdiness, he pulled A’s without losing his affection for the word fuck or his taste for the off-color joke. He read great literature, not because he was an egghead, but because Swift and Shakespeare were damn funny guys who knew how to construct a joke. His classmates dug his memory for Saturday Night Live dialogue, and they’ll still tell you that his Eddie Murphy impressions were scary good. The Jesuits–great teachers, to Greg’s mind–appreciated passion in a student, whatever the passion, so no one panicked about the joke-and-gag notebooks Greg continued to assemble. In a school where the graduates matriculated to Ivy League colleges as a matter of routine, Greg was getting Columbia University to commit to him early.

And Columbia would be great. Greg would live downtown, keep his friends, and enjoy the kind of life that comes with having the kind of non-dickwad, covertly cool brain that sneaks up on people.

Columbia proved to be no sweat; he’d already read half the books assigned to English majors. Around junior year, he began to hear what many verbally talented college kids hear from well-meaning mentors: Go to law school if you’re good with words and like to argue. Sounds good, Greg figured. And if I can get into Harvard Law School, I’ll be rich to boot. Without studying a lick for the entrance exam, he scored in the 99th percentile, deity territory to those who cared about such things, which he didn’t. He got the thick envelope from Harvard, and while he still had no clue what lawyers did for a living, he figured it was time to go out and make his parents proud.

MR. AND MRS. GIRALDO delivered Greg to Cambridge full of hopes and dreams, but without the right clothes. Harvard Law School was throwing a get-acquainted cocktail party the first night, and the Queens kid had never had occasion to dress for splendor. Greg scoured the town for what he assumed to be the staple of high-fashion evening wear–the blue blazer. That he purchased one with zippers was not to embarrass him for a full four hours, since the party didn’t start until eight.

The law-school social scene never stopped being bizarre to him. HLS would plan boat rides or nickel-beer Thursdays or L. A. Law Night at the pub, events that were supposed to break the ice but that, to Greg, just sucked indescribably–”in the deepest way,” he’d tell buddies back home. Everyone was so used to being perfect, so sheltered, that they hadn’t a clue about the real world, it seemed.

The legal minutiae Greg expected to be de rigueur at Harvard Law School never materialized. Professors concerned themselves instead with sweeping issues of grand importance, about the role of society and the responsibility of citizens, and it thrilled Greg. Never the “gunner” type to shoot his hand up in class, he lived in the back rows during the first weeks of school, marveling at his classmates’ intellectual might. There were no chinks in the armor here. A student might sit for six weeks without uttering a peep, praying to be ignored. Then the professor would pick that student’s name at random from the seating chart, whereupon that student would launch into a multilayered explanation of the difference between Kant’s and Spinoza’s conceptions of free will. Greg had long ago mastered the art of skating through school on brainpower alone. But this wasn’t school. Here, among titans, he decided to commit 100 percent to his studies. Any less and he’d drown.

Greg pulled a B-plus average the first year, then landed a sweet summer gig with a small Manhattan litigation firm. The little work he was assigned worried him, though. The law wasn’t majestic in these offices the way it was at Harvard Law School. Cases seemed petty, one corporation trying to fuck another corporation. Greg chalked up his reaction to immaturity. He’d never had to buckle down–things had always come easy. Snap out of it and grow up, he’d tell himself. It’s time to become an adult. Not everything needs to be fun.

Greg pep-talked himself back to Harvard Law School. Just grow up and you’ll want to be an attorney, he repeated as if it were a mantra, but his soul wasn’t buying it. He remembered the weariness on the faces of the lawyers who took him to lunch to recruit him.

Back in Cambridge, Greg bought prepackaged outlines to cram for finals in classes he wasn’t bothering to attend. Money became a primary motivator. The firms paid a shitload of money, and he intended to keep the promise he’d made to his parents when he was seven–a restaurant for his father, shiny dresses for his mother.

Second summer–another fancy Manhattan firm. His duties: Attend Mets games, eat four-star lunches, collect $1,750 weekly paychecks. As in the previous summer, his few real assignments struck him as meaningless. Every day, Greg toyed with the idea of dropping out. Every time, his conclusion was the same: Grow the hell up. Become an adult. You’ll love this stuff.

Standing in line to register for third-year classes, Greg found a buddy and compared summer notes. Listen to this, Greg said. A recruiter tried to sell me on his firm. You know what he uses as his closer, the thing to seal the deal? He tells me, “We really encourage associates to have a life here. I’m taking a tax class at NYU and I can leave work at 7:30 p.m. two days a week, and no one says boo!” Greg and his buddy traded jokes about the kind of guy who says, “no one says boo,” but neither of them was laughing much inside. Third year was a cakewalk, then Greg took a job even most Harvard students couldn’t get, with Manhattan’s Skadden Arps, one of the most prestigious, highest-paying law firms in the world. I’m going to grow up there, Greg told himself. I’m going to give it everything I’ve got.

New suit, new attitude. Greg showed up at Skadden Arps determined to grow up and knock ‘em dead. Then they handed him two hundred documents and told him to close a real estate deal. He studied the documents, the fine print, the hereins and the wherefores. Each was uniquely necessary to the deal, and each looked so goddamned identical that he wondered if God was playing a cruel joke on him. He was earning $87,000 a year as a glorified clerk. No one at Harvard Law School during those discussions on the nature of man and society had bothered to mention that you needed to be a clerk to do this job.

Greg brought his improved attitude to closings but always managed to forget or misplace critical documents. One partner–he’ll never forget the look she gave him–asked, “What are you thinking? Who are you?” He left that closing crushed, defeated in a way he’d never known. This work was doable, yet he couldn’t get himself to care about monolithic companies trying to fuck each other for another dollar a square foot. His dreams to get rich and provide for his parents, to make them proud, were going to shit. The only decent thing in his life, he thought, was the comedy writing he’d been scribbling in notebooks–fanciful, escapist stuff he thought might work on Saturday Night Live or even onstage. But Skadden Arps didn’t pay for nonsense like that.

Snowed under a mountain of documents one evening at work, Greg reached into his bottom desk drawer and found that notebook of jokes. This is insane, he thought, paging through Back Stage for the listing of clubs that sponsored open-mike nights. Later that night, and nights after, people laughed at material he’d written, which Greg figured to be about the greatest feeling in the world. He became acquainted with an important moment, the moment that happens when you’re doing what you’re meant to be doing. Not long after, he quit the law. Once people laugh at your jokes, he thought, there’s no doing law.

Greg moved back into his parents’ home and took odd jobs to support his comedy. He helped a director move offices once, even agreed to polish the guy’s trophies. Sitting on the ground with a pail of borax and a bunch of rags, Greg thought to himself, I graduated from Harvard Law School. What am I doing with a pail of borax? Then he thought about those piles of legal documents, and he made those trophies shine.

A comedian like Ray Romano or Jerry Seinfeld works ten, fifteen years before he gets a shot at a sitcom, and then only if he’s lucky. Greg had been doing stand-up for three years when ABC offered him a prime-time show. The program, Common Law, would star Greg as a hippie-ish Harvard lawyer who, despite being trapped in a major law firm, needed to be true to himself. The network promoted the hell out of the show, plastered Greg’s mug on every McDonald’s place mat in the country. Greg is correct when he says that the show sucked. The acting, the writing, Greg’s hair–it all sucked. ABC canceled Common Law after four episodes.

Saturday night, just after the millennium, Manhattan’s sold-out Comedy Cellar. Greg Giraldo is featured this evening. “Direct from his own ABC sitcom, Politically Incorrect, and NBC’s Later show, please put your hands together for Greg Giraldo!” Lots of applause, then Greg launches into his gay-bodybuilder routine. Later, near the end of his set, he ponders why courts recently awarded a man millions of dollars for scalding his genitals in a defective shower. “That’s a hell of a way to test the water,” he says, thrusting his pelvis into an imaginary stream of boiling shower water. The crowd eats it up and stands to cheer for Greg, who will be playing Milwaukee next week, if you happen to be there.

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Phreak tha Police

Posted in News on September 28th, 2010 by bl1y

In early March, Anthony Graber was stopped at a traffic light by a state police officer for doing 80 in a 65 on his motorcycle (video below). The officer, in plain clothes and driving an unmarked car, pulled his and ordered Graber off the motorcycle before identifying himself as a police officer. (A second, marked car, arrived at some point behind Graber.) Graber then posted video of the incident on YouTube a week later. (Washington Post.)

Fast forward a month later, and six police officers are raiding his home, seizing his helmet camera and four computers.  Graber has been indicted by a grand jury and charged with felony wiretapping for audibly recording the police officer without his consent and faced up to 16 years in prison.

But now, a Harford County Circuit Court Judge has dismissed the charges, ruling that police have no expectation of privacy in their public, on-the-job communications. (More Washington Post.) Excellent work from Judge Emory Pitt.

Graber could also have argued implied consent, given the obvious presence of the camera, though drawing attention to the awkwardly situated device could have brought an addition charge from the fashion police.  Isn’t half the fun of riding a motorcycle that it’s really cool?  Isn’t that negated by wearing such a dorky helmet?

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Blind Drunk Justice, Episode 5

Posted in Blind Drunk Justice, News on September 24th, 2010 by bl1y

Blind Drunk Justice Episode 5

This didn’t make it into the final version of the show (if you want to hear the full copy, piss off, you can’t have it), but we debated which is worse, paying income tax or not being able to get alcohol, and here’s a nifty little poll for your to half-heartedly voice your opinion.

The 16th Amendment gave Congress the power to levy an income tax.

The 18th Amendment prohibited the manufacture and sale of alcohol.

Which Amendment is Worse?

Loading ... Loading ...

And here’s some links:

Judge would like to order some diversity please, deanie says we’re dummies, animals are people too (just tastier, less morally relevant people), and Mississippi hates billable hours. Oh, and of course, the Alabama bar has pretty much zero standards.

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Not Until I’ve Had My Coffee

Posted in News on September 20th, 2010 by bl1y

A Kentucky man is set to plead the Caffeine Defense in the May 2009 death of his wife, Amanda Hornsby-Smith.

Woody Will Smith (more stiff than regular Will Smith) claims he was hopped up on sodas, energy drinks, and diet pills, and that in his state of caffeine overdose caused him to be insane at the time, incapable of forming the requisite intent to kill.

Smith says that he was consuming five or six soft drinks or energy drinks a day, along with diet pills, and these amounted to over 400 mg of caffeine per day, enough to cause a psychotic caffeine overdose.  I don’t buy it.  That’s basically the same level of energy enhancement you see in a six year old after only two soft drinks.  But, that only drives you to want to kill the kid, not for the kid himself to kill.

But, Smith may have some luck.  The caffeine defense was used once before to clear Daniel Noble of charges for running down two people with his car.  Though, that case was in Washington, so it won’t have much value as precedent.  Smith may also have the Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders on his side.  The DSM puts the caffeine overdose threshold at, get this, 300 mg.  That’s less than the 330mg in a grande coffee from Starbuck’s.

If this defense works, partners, lock your doors, every associate attorney in the country is scouring their office for anything that might be used as a weapon. [And here's a hint for them: your letter opener may look like a natural choice, but consider that the handles on your scissors make them easier to grip. With scissors you can put more force behind your stab, and more easily pull the scissors out to stab again. If you prefer a bit more finesse, a retractable badge holder can be used as a garrote. My firm used to give out ones with metal wires. Sort of asking for it, I say.]

Smith may have one last, and actually pretty reasonable, trick up his sleeve.  Dr. Robert Noelker is expected to be called as a witness in the case, and in a report filed in Smith’s case he stated,

It is my opinion that this disorder was the direct result of psychosis due to severe insomnia.

While “the caffeine made me crazy” argument is pretty hard to swallow, insomnia has a much better track record of causing people to lose their minds.  Hopefully the defense will be smart enough to have a different psychiatrist testify about the caffeine-crazies, so they don’t destroy the credibility of Dr. Noelker.  Or, you know, hopefully the opposite, if you think he should be found guilty.

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Blind Drunk Justice, Episode 3

Posted in Blind Drunk Justice, News on September 10th, 2010 by bl1y

Blind Drunk Justice Episode 3

This week we explore exciting topics such as Facebook, dumb beer laws, the MPRE, Fantasy Football, Jersey Shore IP woes, and why no one wants to bang law women.  And if you think that stuff sucked, just imagine the parts that got cut out!

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Blind Drunk Justice, Episode 2 – Again

Posted in News on September 7th, 2010 by bl1y

[Repost for those of you who had something better to do over the Holiday weekend.]

Want to hear what it sounds like if you whittle 60 minutes of drunken nonsense into 20 minutes of radio gold? Tough. But, if you’re willing to settle for mediocrity, then have we got a show for you!

Blind Drunk Justice Episode 2

For further reading check out these awesome links:

Jobs for disbarred attorneys.

Scientology sues over being sued.

Lady sues over Facebook account deletion.

The freaking Constitution, because some people need a refresher.

Dude is addicted to game I’ve never heard of.

Something to help you get over your video game addiction.

Anti-American swingset removal.

Nips.

And of course, Desktop Tower Defense 1.5, and N.

Blind Drunk Justice, Episode 2

Posted in Blind Drunk Justice, News on September 3rd, 2010 by bl1y

Want to hear what it sounds like if you whittle 60 minutes of drunken nonsense into 20 minutes of radio gold?  Tough.  But, if you’re willing to settle for mediocrity, then have we got a show for you!

Blind Drunk Justice Episode 2

For further reading check out these awesome links:

Jobs for disbarred attorneys.

Scientology sues over being sued.

Lady sues over Facebook account deletion.

The freaking Constitution, because some people need a refresher.

Dude is addicted to game I’ve never heard of.

Something to help you get over your video game addiction.

Anti-American swingset removal.

Nips.

And of course, Desktop Tower Defense 1.5, and N.

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Blind Drunk Justice, Episode 1

Posted in Blind Drunk Justice, News on August 27th, 2010 by bl1y

Blind Drunk Justice Episode 1

Welcome to the next episode of Blind Drunk Justice, where BL1Y and The Namby Pamby discuss topics we’re really not at all qualified to have an opinion on.  This week we tackle the controversy over the opening of U. Mass School of Law, advice we wish we had been given when we started law school, and the fine art of over-billing your clients.

You can follow the show and get updates via Twitter.

The plagiarism story mentioned on the show can be found here, and you can find Brush With the Law on Amazon.

And didn’t we already have an episode 1? Well, it was a test show, so let’s call it episode 0.

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