Quote of the Day - When once I have made my decision, I go straight to my end, and sweep aside everything with my red cassock.
Y for Snowmobiles in Yellowstone?The Yellowstone / Snowmobile flap has been in this blog before and before, and here it is again.
The Wyoming Attorney General apparently filed a Motion for Reconsideration, and the judge agreed to reopen the case.
No decisions yet - not even new dates for the reconsideration. Just the news that the case is not final. The decision was announced on Findlaw, and there'll be more to come here when the case reopens.
For now, follow this bouncing ball on the Yellowstone fact page.
Eggs Gone Mad - Where's the Parents Here?It had to come to this.
K.M. donated her eggs to her then lesbian partner, E.G., (no, not e.g., or exempli gratia) who presumably with only the help of a sperm donor, became pregnant and had twins. Eight years ago.
At the time she donated the eggs, K..M signed a waiver of parental rights, but then proceeded to parent the twins for the ensuing eight years.
Until K.M. and E.G. broke up. Then, when E.G. presumably denied access to the twins, K.G. filed a Petition to Establish Parental Relationship.
In Marin County. (Where else?)
In the trial court, the Commissioner rejected K.M.'s Petition, according to Courthouse News. Commissioner Randolph E. Heubach ruled that K.M. was no different than a sperm donor who gave up his rights to the sperm after donation.
The case is now on appeal before the First District Court of Appeals in San Francisco. K.M.'s argument is that her eight years of parenting should amount to something.
All the briefing's not in yet, but this brief was filed by amicus curiae National Center for Lesbian Rights.
This case is apparently the first time that a lesbian has attempted to assert parental rights to children based on donating her own eggs.
All I want to know is why we're referring to these people by initials. Don't they have names? Weren't they aware that when they got started with this that all hell might break loose?
What Will Jimmy Buffett Sing About Now?As Jimmy Buffet sings in his song, Fruitcakes:
"We lost our Martian rocket ship
The high paid spokesman said
Looks like that silly rocket ship
Has lost it's cone-shaped head
We spent ninety jillion dollars
Tryin' to get a look at Mars
I hear universal laughter
Ringing out among the stars"
Well, not anymore. NASA nailed it this time. They spent twice as much money ($180 jillion dollars) on Spirit and Opportunity, two Martian rocket ships, before getting it right.
But get it right they did. Last time, though, the Mars orbiter got programmed partially in metric, partially in English measurements, and thus Buffett's lyrics.
I often get to write about the environment and business litigation, but rarely about postcards from Mars. Those of you who know me well know that you'll get one from me when I get there.
Until that happens, here are a few to enjoy.
A 2004 RetrospectiveSo, we made it through New Year's without any terror attacks. Sure, a plane crashed and there were surely other disasters that merit our thoughts and prayers.
We were on High Alert, and it appears to have paid off. We get to pay later, though. The cost of high alerts is expensive, not only financially, but also emotionally for some.
Contrast that with the silliness of New Year's resolutions and the rationality of it all seems utterly foolish.
Fellow blogger the Sassy Lawyer celebrated with a band and a blowjob (the latter is a name for a drink) and we went to the Newport Beach Sutton Place Hotel for dinner, and then drinks at Prego with our friends and acquaintances, complete with a New Year's hat and a tiara.
Now, the first week of New Year is upon us, and the world's in front of us again. The holiday season is gone, and 2004 is here.
Welcome to another year. What are you going to do with it?
Banishment Revived Among Indian TribesWondering what to do with your rebellious teenagers? If you're a member of an Indian tribe, you can try banishment. An age old punishment, it's now coming back into vogue as a means to deal with drugs and gangs on the reservation.
The practice used to force violators out of tribal lands to fend for themselves in the wilderness. Since there's not as much wilderness left these days, banishment has sparked a debate that the Indians are just moving their problems into the general population.
The punishment is more personal for many Indians, though. According to this article, Kay Commodore, a Lummi Indian, was stripped of her tribal membership and banished from the reservation after she was convicted of drug trafficking in 1992. She served three years in prison, but said banishment is worse. She is allowed on the reservation only to visit a plot of land she holds and is forbidden to visit family members.
"They're taking away a piece of who I am," Commodore said. "I can go out to my land, but I can't stop and see anybody - that's the thing that hurts me."
The concept of banishment is nothing new. It was practiced by the Greeks and Romans. Just be glad you're not Irish.
$9M in Virtual Game MoneyOnline gaming has reached a new level of absurdity. One gamer spent more than two years and over $1,000 amassing virtual money and an online cache of weapons in a game known as Red Moon. The last time he logged in, however, a real-world hacker broke into the company's server, and wiped out his virtual money and weapons.
His response? A lawsuit when the company refused to reinstate his virtual winnings.
Now, a Chinese court has found that the gamer has virtual property rights. According to the New Scientist, noted "the case is just another example of how the line between online games and the real world have begun to blur. Some gamers already trade game goods and characters for real money through online auction sites like eBay."
Given that, an enterprising California State University, Fullerton assistant professor calculated that a successful online gamer could make $3.42 per hour amassing virtual wealth, and then selling it on Ebay.
The professor noted that so far, Ebay has sold over $9,000,000 in "virtual" goods.
Wolf in Sheep's Clothing - The ESA at 30How does it look for the Endangered Species Act, now 30 years old? Probably more cooperative efforts than lawsuits, according to this article.
The World Wildlife Fund sees a collaborative mindset as the future for the Act. In the past, the ESA has been labeled a failure, and recently targeted for repair.
At least one organization sees hope for the Act, and while typically benefiting charismatic species, it also has been applied to rare and relatively unknown species.
Expect to see more use of Habitat Conservation Plans, which generally encompass areas of habitat for multiple species.
Also be on the lookout for Safe Harbor Agreements and Candidate Conservation Agreements, two types of voluntary agreements between the U.S. Fish & Wildlife Service and private landowners. Under those agreements, the Service can issue a "take" permit in return for landowners' voluntary protection of endangered species.
Likely not a wolf in sheep's clothing, these changes have only taken 30 years to start coming about. How much longer will it take us to learn to really work together?
Past, Present and Future ImperfectThe end of the year is here, and it's been just five months of blogging for me. Typically, articles at the end of the year look back on what's happened, recapping the most significant events of the year.
Admittedly, there's a lot to look at this year, but I prefer to look ahead. Where will this blog go in the next year?
It's hard to find a formula that works, so I've just stuck with Mark Twain's advice: "Write about what you know, son." I suspect there will be more of the same next year.
But is that all there is to it? Shouldn't the end of the year and the beginning of the next cause a time for reflection and planning? Take stock and store up for the coming months?
I guess there's some of that. The blog has come a long way from the first few articles. I've added a logo, which we sell in a store (thanks to those of you who've ordered), the left nav bar is up and working, the external links page now has categories, and the comment and Permalink sections have been added.
All with you in mind, dear reader.
Which then raises the question of who I write for - you or me. I must jealously say I write for me, with the thought that if it interests me, it's likely to interest a significant number of others. So far, it apparently has - nearly 15,000 of you a week.
The fun thing about writing each day is that when I sit down to the computer, I have no preconceived idea what I'm going to write about. I scour the internet, looking for legal news tidbits that, for the most part, fall into my practice area.
Sometimes, and pretty often, I think, an oddball article catches my eye, and that's what I pick for the day. It's as simple as that. Writing does take discipline, though, but I've found it entertaining and enlightening.
I have to admit I'm better informed for it. I learn much more than I would if I didn't read news articles and other blogs. I read a lot of other blogs, but try to stay away from things that others are writing about, which is somewhat self-serving since you don't find my material on someone else's blog. Sure, there are occasions when others write about what I do, but from what I've seen, for the most part it's rare.
I stay away from celebrity tidbits. You get enough of Kobe, Michael Jackson, Winona and others in the mainstream media. You wouldn't be reading this blog if that's what you wanted anyway. Besides, I get tired of people asking my opinion about the outcome of those cases, and I typically demur, saying that I don't know enough about the evidence and repeating, mantra-like, that the jury system works best if they are allowed to do their job, review the evidence, and the defendant is innocent until proven guilty.
Plus, the news media plays judge and jury enough as it is. They don't need me to add to it.
So, what's next? I suspect that there will be more improvements to the blog, especially as technology makes changes possible. For the articles, though, you'll just have to check back.
A post a day, that's all I can promise.
I hope you've had a wonderful holiday season and that you have a prosperous new year.
By the way, if you're wondering what I was going to write about today before this idea struck me, check out this foolishness.