girl ipsa loquitur Email me!

Sunday, September 23, 2007

Long Time, No See...

[Click to read]

I have absolutely no cause to believe that there is a single former Girl Ipsa enthusiast remaining in cyber-space. However, Biggest Fan [Girl Ipsa's Dad] is probably lurking around somewhere so I intend to dust off my key board and tell you what I think, tempered only by the fact that the California Bar Association found me worthy of a number, so I have to live up to that. That and I now have to actually work for a living.

Don't go away. We'll be right back.

Monday, December 26, 2005

Tyranny Creeps

[Click to read]
Check out this article Warrantless Wiretapping and YOU! In the absense of time --- or spare brain capacity --- to tell you what I think about this I will just ask you to clink that link and tell me what you think.

This is probably my favorite part:

These "legal" explanations are also invariably accompanied by an insistence that everything the Administration is doing is a necessary component of the amorphous war on terror, and that the American people can and should trust their President to do the right thing. But this argument simply can't justify the Executive's usurpation of power: After all, America has faced crises before without deciding to revert to monarchy.

We have faced crises before without reverting to monarchy. Tyranny creeps.

Thursday, June 09, 2005

Unhappy Animal Right Activists Come From California...
PETA, Cows & Sovereign Immunity

[Click to read]
"Happy Cows ", as the advertisement goes, "Come from California." This is what the Milk Producers Advisory Board would like us to believe because they want us to buy California dairy products; mainly "Great Cheese". This is not a public service announcement, kids, telling us just how nice it is here in sunny California for our happy bovine friends. It's an AD.

So, as you can imagine, People for the Ethical Treatment of Animals (The ACLU of the animal realm) has a problem with this and they've filed suit in San Francisco County Superior Court, alleging that the MPAB's "Happy Cows" advertising campaign is false and misleading. "Far from enjoying the idyllic existence depicted in the ads, PETA's suit charged, most California dairy cows spend their lives in dry dirt lots while being repeatedly impregnated and then eventually slaughtered." (Please see linked article)

How happy, in reality, do you suppose these cows to be?

Apparently, though, the issue in the case did not turn on whether or not the cows are happy but rather on whether or not the MPAB is a "person" within the meaning of the law. It's a public entity and not a natural person, nor a corporation, nor a firm, partnership, joint stock company, association or other organization of persons.

Apparently, it's a sovereign.

PETA has suggested that the only reason to exempt MPAB from operation of this law is to protect it from interference with the exercise of its sovereign powers. This makes pretty good sense, right? Since when is it within the sovereign power to engage in unfair business practices?

However, the panel of the California 1st District Court of Appeal disagreed with PETAs contention that this advertisement fell outside the scope of sovereign powers.

"[W]e have no hesitancy in concluding there would indeed be an 'infringement of sovereign power' for the [board] to be subject to suit under the [unfair-competition law] for the content of one of its promotional campaigns," the panel said.


I am just a lowly law student but I have to wonder; is this the correct test? The infringement of sovereign power test? And if so, I must ask... Shouldn't we apply it to Executive Power as well? (I think that having to defend a tort law suit while also sitting as president probably counts as interference)

If the application of sovereign immunity is appropriate any time the contemplated action might be an 'infringement of sovereign power', then it's difficult to imagine when we might be able to curtail the wrongful acts of the sovereign. Let's assume, for the purposes of this argument, that the "Happy Cows" campaign would be unlawful if it were offered by corporate cheese producer Cheddars R Us. In this hypothetical PETA would prevail, the advertisement would be enjoined and Cheddars would have to get a new ad campaign.

But the exact same advertisement, although unlawful when produced by Cheddar, would remain "at large", deceiving the public-- not because it was an essential part of the operation of the sovereign but because It's Good To Be The King. The test, as articulated by the panel of the California 1st District Court of Appeal boils down to "If it will bother the King then we will not allow it, no matter whether the King was right or wrong or engaged in important King activities". How, otherwise, does enjoining the unfair ad infringe on sovereign power?

And since when is acting like a private market participant even within the sovereign power?

As a Monday morning quarterback, I wonder if PETA failed to properly frame the issue. The question ought to be whether or not engaging in deceptive advertising is a sovereign power at all.

And in light of this decision I have a promotional suggestion for Pakistan (In conjunction with Nike but we'll use the sovereign state primarily) ~

Soccer Balls come from "Happy Kids" and Happy Kids come from PAKISTAN!

While we're at it, let's hit chocolate & cigarettes as well.

Friday, April 15, 2005

Here's a HEADLINE: Philip Morris to Research Smoking Dangers
Why am I not more excited?

[Click to read]
This should be some good news for those wacky anti-smoking zealots. And I really tried to feel optimistic about it. However, 10 years of concerted effort on the part of Philip Morris USA has not resulted in any appreciable "hazard-reduction" so call me crazy but I'm not holding my breath. (Holding my breath! Get it?)

"Over the past decade, Philip Morris USA has dedicated significant resources toward scientific research, new product development and commercialization [sic] which might help address the harm caused by smoking," John R. Nelson, Philip Morris president of operations and technology. "This center is another step in that effort."

"new product development and commercialization"?!? Is it just me or is this laughable? Tell me how new product development is going to address the harm caused by smoking? You will say, wait just a darn minute, Ms. Ipsa! We can think of some helpful products. So can I, friends, so can I.

Here, in a totally gratuitous and altruistic attempt to assist mega-gigantic-yet-so-far-totally-ineffectual-evil-corporation in their effort to improve the dangers of smoking, are some helpful new products ideas.

The Smoking Isolation Helmet

If you find yourself both a helpless addict AND an unwitting contributor to the second-hand smoke related illnesses of loved ones this product is for you. This light weight, yet air tight helmet system offers all the benefits of smoking, as well as all the detriment, to the wearer alone. It's your own "Smoking Section", take it anywhere for smoking pleasure without all the annoying coughing and gagging from your seat mates. Simply insert the lit cigarette into the self-contained safety** chamber and inhale delightful and refreshing ciga-air, unadulterated by that unhealthful smog and allergen infested fresh air others breathe.

The Negative Reinforcement Pack

Each pack contains specially created Negative Reinforcement Cigarettes (NRCs), designed to explode when lit. The consumer receives a double benefit: Each NRC represents a short term 100% reduction in inhaled toxins since it is impossible to successfully smoke the NRC; and the flinchy fear of explosion might cause the consumer to light up less often creating a long term reduction as well. Additionally, many users of the NRC pack require treatment in emergency rooms which generally prohibit smoking creating a potential collateral gain of 6 - 12 hours in a smoke free environment with each use. The benefits are not to the consumer alone. The manufacturer also gains because it will continue to sell the same number of packs of cigarettes and suffer no loss in profit. Its a Win-Win, yeah!

Nasty Taste Paint & Stain

This handy little product allows the consumer to paint a vile tasting, staining substance onto each cigarette. It stains the lips, teeth and fingers of the smoker to an unappealing yellow-brown-nicotine color thereby discouraging the smoker from lighting up. It makes the consumers breath, hair and clothing smell revolting as well. The deterrent effect is questionable though since the results so closely resemble regular smoking and apparently that hasn't deterred smokers yet.

I don't think its likely my ideas will catch on. I don't think Philip Morris really wants to deter smoking. Although the days of pure caveat emptor are clearly behind us, I wonder how we can justify continuing to allow the production and marketing of a such a deadly product? The warnings are inadequate to deter the majority of first time smokers who just happen to be invincible, bullet-proof and immortal. This particular group is hard to deter. Which brings to mind my last helpful deterrent idea:

The $25.00 pack of cigarettes. Here's a plan we can put in place without any expensive research at all. And you can bet a cigarette just got harder to bum.

**Safety, as used in every aspect of this helpful proposal, is not intended to mean actual safety or to even imply safety-like qualities. Its is merely an illustration of a possible construction of the implicated result we would like you to presume we intended when we wrote the advertising information associated with this product which may or may not include actual safety. Your results may vary.

Tuesday, March 08, 2005

A Rule Unused is a Useless Rule ~ a new friend, process vs. result and trans-sexual fatherhood

[Click to read]
I recently had a conversation with a new friend, who possesses the spectacular quality of not thinking just like me! Imagine that. Someone with a different point of view. We determined that he is very process oriented. Rather completely unlike Girl Ipsa who is an anal-retentive-goal-oriented-control-freak, but we knew that already.

So, we're talking about interesting legal stuff and the "Ten Commandments in Court" issue arises. We boil it down to the idea that there is a technically correct bit and a technically incorrect bit but the vast majority of the matter is just "who cares"? My friend is not a law student. In fact, if he were a law student he might spontaneously burst into flames. I know this because this is the question he posed: "If it doesn't matter, really, then why don't they just leave well enough alone?"

A question like this is the antithesis of the legal process. We like details. We like minutiae. WE LIKE RULES. What good is a rule if you can not invoke it! And this particular issue stands firmly on a constitutional rule, no less. A rule from the constitution! This is not just any rule. This is the super supreme rule of all rules... Well, you can imagine in what ways my friend and I must differ. and in what ways legal study would torture my artistic, process loving friend.

In an honest attempt to answer his question I responded in the only way possible by saying "Why, because it is the technically correct RESULT."

Meaning, of course, that a rule unused is a useless rule.

Friends of Girl Ipsa know where I stand on this particular issue. A giant multi-ton concrete edifice, boldly emblazoned with the Ten Commandments** has no business in our court houses. Nor does the tastefully rendered-on-parchment Ten Commandments. Nor the collector plate lovingly painted with Jesus and a lamb and the Ten Commandments spelled out in fluffy clouds... Technically we ought to slap some separation in there.

But new friend wonders why anyone even bothers to complain, not really valuing the technicality. And I have to wonder with him as I read about this whole trans-sexual fatherhood quagmire.

There are dozens of interesting things going on in this case. Scientific stuff, social stuff, expert evidence stuff and lots of legal stuff. But the part I am interested in today is the technical correctness of the decision. To my mind, a man has been denied his parental rights to his 7 year old child -- on a technicality. (Or several technicalities if you wanna get specific)

The wife/mother (Jennifer Simmons) married this guy knowing exactly what he was. She chose to have a child with him and explicitly, by written contract, affirmed his rights as father and his obligations as father. She then went ahead and had the child and spent 7 years raising her with this man as her dad. Now, all of a sudden because mom's changed her mind, she is asserting technical defenses to his fatherhood.

He is not biologically a father since he has no testicles and could never have impregnated a woman. However, there are teaming hordes of men who can not impregnate their wives. This alone had never been a basis on which to deny them parental rights. Can you see it?
"Well, Mr. Jones. The court sees that you were married to the biological mother, held her hand while she was artificially inseminated, wiped her tears when she cried each time it didn't "take", held her hair while she vomited for 6 months straight, got out of bed at 2 in the morning to go get ice cream and wasabi, suffered a shoulder dis-location while helping her push that baby out, took 4 weeks off of work to help, got up a dozen times a night to wipe milk spit-up and change diapers, sat in the emergency room for 16 hours while the fever was lowered, taught that kid to ride a bike, read a book and change the oil in the car... However, you are not biologically his father and therefore you have no rights whatsoever. Better luck next time. Maybe you should try cloning?"

It's ridiculous. So what's left? Well, there is a presumption of fatherhood of any child conceived during marriage. That should offer our hapless parent some protection, right? But this is where another technicality rears its ugly head.

Mom says "Sure, but since you are biologically a woman then we had a gay marriage and that's not legal so we had no marriage and tough luck to you!"

Interesting that when she was happy with her man she didn't let that whole biological-gay-illegal thing stand in the way. Back when she loved him she was fine with his interesting gender. Back when she wanted him to be financially responsible for her child she was fine with his gender. But now that she'd rather get on with out him it all becomes of the highest importance. And she is using all these technicalities to deny him his child.

A rule unused is a useless rule.

Girl Ipsa is distressed. On the one hand I am a by-the-book girl. But on the other hand somethings just speak for themselves. For instance, it's wrong to tell a seven year old child that she no longer has a daddy because mommy is technically correct (and pissed off) . Further, it's wrong for the social movement against gay marriage, homosexual relationships and all those scary "gender disorders" to harm children in the name of protecting them.

The court in this case may be technically correct. Jennifer Simmons may be technically correct. But I hope they are ashamed of themselves.

**I capitalize Ten Commandments out of respect for theology, not grammar.

Monday, February 21, 2005

Girl Ipsa suggests that we've been asking the wrong question all along...

[Click to read]
This issue has been right in the front of my brain for a long time now. After all, I am a woman, a mother, an intelligent person, and a member of humanity all of which implicate a desire to satisfactorily resolve the question of

"When does life begin?"

Last week in constitutional law class we briefed and discussed both Roe vs. Wade and Planned Parenthood vs. Casey (its more recent progeny). Both of these decisions refuse to answer our question. They couch the issue in terms of "Potential Life" and then decline to issue an ultimate answer, a finite point, at which we will all say "Yep! That's life alright." We just suffice it to say that the state retains an interest in the protection of potential life. **

Potential life... Girl Ipsa has already suggested (The Pope and learned scientists all concur) that ALL GAMETES ARE POTENTIAL LIFE. Lets just face the fact that technologically all CELLS may be potential life. With the advancement of cloning, your fingernail clippings are potential life. Anything that contains DNA. The cells naturally sloughed from the inside of your cheek and contained in spit have the potential to be cloned into a new human life. Does George Bush imagine a day when we will work hard to protect ALL POTENTIAL LIFE? I honestly do not know what he would think of that idea but I must imagine that he would find it just as laughable as I do.

When life begins is not that hard a question to answer. Both sides of the abortion debate hesitate to answer it, though, since it will most likely create a bright line of demarcation. A nice, dark, clear line which on one side allows folks to do whatever they want with what is not yet life and on the other side effectively precludes doing anything but buying diapers and starting a college fund.

Isn't this the ultimate situation where our own dislike of the result works to change the process? To change the answer. To change the path we take in order to get where we want to end up and to hell with the plain simple fact of the matter that life begins when sperm meets egg and cell division starts?

I think we're asking the wrong question. (Think for a bit about what the correct question might be...)

Here is an interesting article about scientists putting a lot of effort into "technically" protecting life. I am excited about the idea of compromise, some point where we can feel alright with ourselves morally while still gaining all the advantage and knowledge and progress we can from science. However, to be honest, isn't this just technically better than another option? Do we really prefer creating a fetus which could never become a person to stopping one from becoming a person in the first place? What is the actual difference in the end? We're splitting hairs with this kind of distinction. To my mind we're wasting time as well.

Then I am left to wonder since when do we care what the U.N. thinks anyway? Really. Is the current administration going to praise the U.N. for calling for a ban on cloning? Does this some how make the U.N. relevant again? I'm sorry for my confusion. I just can not keep up with when they are relevant and when they are irrelevant and when we care what what they think.

Back to the question. Have you been pondering the correct question? Or the more correct question? I have a suggestion, friends. It's just a suggestion but think about it.

The question is not when does life begin but rather when will we protect life. At what point do we, as a society, assign individual rights requiring protection to a life?

Obviously, as the mother of an unborn fetus, I am allowed to protect it from harm and to vindicate its rights from the moment of conception. No one may force me to abort it or to hand it over for medical experimentation. I can maintain a cause of action for its death or injury. And if you kill it with malice aforethought and without my consent, you can be prosecuted and punished for its murder.

Also obviously, once a baby is born we protect it. Society protects it even from its parents. It goes without saying that we protect persons individual rights, including those rights of the woman faced with an unwanted pregnancy. Clearly an adult woman is "human life" beyond mere potential...

So the question is really when will we begin to protect life, not when does life begin.

Keep in mind that we are discussing things here. We're thinking. We are formulating opinions based on factual information and thoughtful contemplation. Perhaps after that we'll start to suggest some answers but for today we're looking for the correct questions.

** I do not subscribe to the idea that these sorts of questions are meant for the United States Supreme Court to answer in any event. I do not think that a bunch of judges are better able to decide this than scientists and theologians and philosophers and parents and grandparents and doctors and priests and anyone but a bunch of old judges.

Saturday, February 12, 2005

Remembering a murdered boy, a missed opportunity & questioning the system a bit...

[Click to read]
Today is the second anniversary of two significant events in my life. Three years ago today I almost met Justice Kennedy at the 100th anniversary celebration of the historic Riverside County Superior Courthouse. Friends of Girl Ipsa know that this would have been one of the greatest experiences of my life. Being the sort of legal geek that I am... How far behind can the title of "Supreme Court Justice Groupie" be? This was an opportunity that I am unlikely to be given again.

Dork and I had planned to go, coupled in our legal-geekness, together. So, I know what would of happened had I been there, one step behind or in front of Dork, since I know what happened to him. He spoke with Justice Kennedy, shook hands. Had exactly the experience I was hoping to have. It would of been mine as well. Had I been there. But I was not. Which leads me to the second event this day memorializes for me: The death of Jerel Cobbs.

Jerel was 15 years old when he died of a gun shot wound, in a dark and muddy vacant lot, a few yards from where my oldest daughter lay hiding from the man with a gun. Three years later I am still suffocated by tragedy, still made guilty by the thought "Thank God it was not my child." At this very moment my daughter is in the next room. I can touch her. I can speak to her. I can loan her my car so that she may go to the grave of her friend today to cry and leave him flowers. But always hand in hand with that is the knowledge that Jerel's father can not.

No situation I have experienced, no case I've studied, nothing I know of has ever so perfectly placed the competing interests of criminal defendants and society (The People who speak for the victim) in contrast. A boy is dead. He was bright and funny and filled with so much potential. Loved by his family and his friends. Loyal enough to run from safety and into harms way to retrieve his fallen friend. And no excuse or explanation will ever change the fact of his death. Nothing can bring him back. No I'm sorry. No plea of it was not my fault.

On the other side is the man with the gun who has not yet gone to trial. He is being treated in Patton Hospital for mental illness that a judge agrees has made him unable to assist in his own defense. The law is pretty clear on this. If you can not defend yourself, we will not try you. It is a basic tenant of a civilized system. Sanitized of all the details it is both rational and benign.

But in this case, I have to be honest and say, it pisses me off.

I am angry. Angry that the anniversary of Jerel's death (Murder) is passing, again, without any resolution for his family. For his father. For his friends. For my daughter. Another year has passed where the questions remain unanswered and the man with the gun goes on unpunished.

Another year without vindication for The People.

I don't know what the answer is. It's not right to try an incompetent defendant. It is not right to make Jerel's father wait and wait for some vindication, some conclusion, to the nightmare. But I am inclined to think (perhaps I am biased by my rage) that if neither choice is right then the hardship ought to fall on the man with the gun. He chose his actions. He should now suffer his consequences.

I hope to soon add another anniversary to my collection. The anniversary of his conviction. The anniversary of the final resolution.

Kiss your kids today. And take a moment to remember all the parents who no longer can.

"To live is so startling it leaves little time for anything else." ~ Emily Dickinson

"Ouch!" ~ Mrs. Palsgraff

Quis Custodiet Ipsos Custodes?

Be sure to read A Criminal Waste of Space
& check out BAD Reporter

Thanks for reading Girl Ipsa