Quote of the Day - I don't answer the phone. I get the feeling whenever I do that there will be someone on the other end.
Cell Phone Police In the CourtroomIn federal court the other day, the Marshall asked me whether my cell phone took pictures. Actually, it's a PDA, and it does. After waiting in line for 20 minutes, I got to return to my car to deposit my cell phone.
Arrrgh. Cell phone police.
Court stories about cell phones abound. Like the judge who orders ringing cell phones to be dropped out his courtroom's fifth story window (without the offending owner, thankfully).
Or my personal favorite, the bailiff who took a ringing cell phone and couldn't figure out how to turn it off, so he answered it.
It was a man on the other end," the bailiff said. "It wasn't clear to me whether he was trying to complete a drug or a prostitution deal. I said, 'Can I tell her who's calling?' and he hung up." Yeah, I know the story would have been better if the guy had given the bailiff his name and phone number, but you can't have everything, can you?
Of course, then there's the a stun gun that masquerades as a cell phone, and another cell phone that fires a .22-caliber long-rifle bullet.
I don't advise trying to take those through security.
Spam Canned or Canned Spammers?Here's the Michigan criminal complaint against four alleged spammers for violating the Can-Spam act.
Just in case you were wondering what one looks like.
Don't Mind Me, I'll Just Ignore YouIt was featured here when the case was just in its infancy before the Supremes decided Engine Manufacturers against the South Coast Air Quality Management District.
The SCAQMD tried to bypass the preemption doctrines of the Clean Air Act by regulating the purchase of fleet cars, not the manufacture of the cars.
The Supreme Court, Antonin Scalia in particular, saw right through it. The basic message was that the Clean Air Act regulates manufacturing of cars, and without purchasing, manufacturing has no meaning. So, regulation of purchasing is regulation of manufacturing, and if that's what you're trying to do, then it's not going to work.
Now there's still room for wrangling yet, and you can bet we haven't seen the last of this case - especially with the SCAQMD saying "We are determined to continue implementing the rules for publicly owned fleets. We will also consider asking the state and the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency to allow us to continue to regulate privately owned fleets,” according to
Barry Wallerstein, executive officer of the South Coast Air Quality Management District.
Sounds to me like they haven't read the whole decision.
Who Took My Site?There's an interesting conversation going around the blogosphere about what constitutes a blog and whether blogs should even be defined. I've so far not commented about it here, preferring instead just to join in the conversation elsewhere.
But, an article on law.com caught my eye. Seems as though there's been a rash of website hijacking going on. Allegations are flying like cat fur that people are stealing business by copying websites. That problem bears somewhat on the defining blog conversation that's likewise flying like cat fur.
But, just as a notice to copyright violators out there - this site's copyrighted. As if you couldn't have guessed.
Apparently, this site got hijacked, and sales fell. The site helps you sell your items on Ebay. Although I haven't used it, I have visited the site - perhaps unwittingly the wrong one.
An interesting conundrum, both for the reader and both purveyors. The original creator loses the return on her investment, and the hijacker reaps the benefit without the work. Meanwhile, the poor customer (or blog reader) is left without the original service bargained for.
If You Don't Want To Know The Answer, Don't AskThe company that gave us the infamous Aerojet decision (contamination that occurred over a number of years triggers insurance coverage each year) is in dutch again. This time, it's more rocket fuel north of the American River.
The Carmichael Water District is not happy - they've got a drinking water well in the area, and take 75% of their water from the river and distribute it over a seven-mile service area. Aerojet discovered NDMA when it drilled a monitoring well. NDMA, or N-Nitrosodimethylamine, is an impurity in some liquid rocket fuels and a byproduct from burning the fuel. The chemical has allegedly caused liver, kidney and lung cancer in laboratory animals.
Estimates are that it will cost an additional $10 million to clean up.
Aerojet discovered this new plume when looking for a new drinking water well. The company was searching for a new well because it had contaminated other wells.
The Cost of Not Delivering WaterThe United States Court of Federal Claims - where you go if you have a monetary claim against the federal government - is now the site of a $500 million claim for 37.5 million gallons of undelivered water over the past ten years.
And I thought I didn't drink enough water.
Another equally little-known governmental agency, the Bureau of Reclamation, is the target of the suit. The Stockton East Water District spent $65 million to build tunnels and aqueducts to carry water it rarely receives. The other Plaintiff, the Central San Joaquin Water Conservation District, together with the SEWD, service more than 320,000 residents and 130,000 acres of San Joaquin County farmland.
This will be an interesting case to watch. More to follow.
Can Earth Day Politics Transform Into Progress?On Thursday, President Bush announced a new national goal of an overall increase of wetlands in America every year. This White House fact sheet gives a brief overview how the Departments of the Interior, Agriculture and Transportation, USEPA, USACOE, and NOAA will "restore, improve, and protect" wetlands. CNN has its own perspective.
So that I'm not accused of providing equal time to the other candidate, John Kerry offered his own perspective on Earth Day.
One Man, One Idea, One ResultIt's the weekend, so time for a little light reading, and perhaps a history lesson. 50 years ago, Justice William O. Douglas led a hike to call attention to the then-plight of the Chesapeake & Ohio Canal. A proposal existed to pave over the canal.
Justice Douglas wanted to keep the canal in its natural state. He succeeded. And you wonder, what can one person do? 184 miles of canal are now preserved.