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Blogger Successfully Quashes Subpoena

kdawson posted more than 6 years ago | from the oh-and-here's-your-head dept.

Censorship 172

Ares writes "In a follow-up to Blogger Subpoenaed for Criticizing Trial Lawyers, Katherine Seidel's blog indicates that not only has she successfully quashed her subpoena, but the lawyer issuing said subpoena is now under orders to appear and explain why the courts shouldn't sanction him for it. This should be interesting, because in addition to Ms. Seidel's subpoena in New Hampshire, the lawyer issued a similar subpoena to a doctor and a Harvard professor under similar circumstances."

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More important things (3, Insightful)

Ossifer (703813) | more than 6 years ago | (#23163576)

Good to hear she can return to addressing more important things in life... like autism...

Re:More important things (5, Funny)

The Ancients (626689) | more than 6 years ago | (#23163606)

Good to hear she can return to addressing more important things in life... like autism...

Are you saying lawyers aren't important?

Way to get sued!

Re:More important things (0, Redundant)

molecularaz (1066042) | more than 6 years ago | (#23163868)

all your Blogs belong to your lawyers

Re:More important things (4, Funny)

wtansill (576643) | more than 6 years ago | (#23164062)

Are you saying lawyers aren't important? Way to get sued!
Why certainly they are are important! I can't imagine what else I'd feed my pet alligators if the supply of lawyers ran out!

Re:More important things (2, Funny)

The Ancients (626689) | more than 6 years ago | (#23164090)

Are you saying lawyers aren't important? Way to get sued!
Why certainly they are are important! I can't imagine what else I'd feed my pet alligators if the supply of lawyers ran out!
RIAA/MPAA staff?

Re:More important things (1)

dargon (105684) | more than 6 years ago | (#23164246)

Damn, you want to make the big lizard sick?

Re:More important things (4, Funny)

trolltalk.com (1108067) | more than 6 years ago | (#23164258)

Why certainly they are are important! I can't imagine what else I'd feed my pet alligators if the supply of lawyers ran out!

I'm calling PETA and the *SPCA on you! If you hate your 'gators so much, why not just put them to sleep instead of torturing them?

Re:More important things (1)

Orion Blastar (457579) | more than 6 years ago | (#23167018)

Gators won't eat lawyers, because it gives them a bellyache and also professional courtesy like sharks have for lawyers to not attack or eat them.

Re:More important things (1)

JohnnyGTO (102952) | more than 6 years ago | (#23164716)

If it was only so easy...

Re:More important things (4, Insightful)

PopeRatzo (965947) | more than 6 years ago | (#23165068)

I can't imagine what else I'd feed my pet alligators if the supply of lawyers ran out!
I hope you never get arrested for a crime you didn't commit or your kid isn't poisoned by some product made by a careless corporation.

I hope you never get prosecuted or sued by the RIAA because your neighbor's son hacked your wireless router and used it to play with torrentz.

I hope your civil rights are never violated or that you never need the protection of bankruptcy court.

I hope you never have a problem with your income taxes, or a dispute with your business partner or get rear-ended by a drunk driver.

I hope you never have to set up a trust fund to care for a relative who is too ill to care for herself or have a dispute with your bank or have your identity stolen.

I hope you never get married unwisely and have to divorce from a spouse who wants to hurt you as much as possible.

I hope you never get overlooked for promotion because you are too old, or too black or too female.

It can be argued that lawyers do as much to protect our freedoms as the men and women in our military. Maybe more.

People who think our lives and our country would be better without lawyers are as stupid as stupid gets.

Re:More important things (2, Insightful)

compro01 (777531) | more than 6 years ago | (#23165720)

yes, good lawyers are very useful people to have (good accountants also fall in the undervalued category), but there are way too many bad (where bad="complete lack of ethics") ones around, hence the big-brushing of the profession.

Re:More important things (2, Insightful)

drsmithy (35869) | more than 6 years ago | (#23166618)

yes, good lawyers are very useful people to have (good accountants also fall in the undervalued category), but there are way too many bad (where bad="complete lack of ethics") ones around, hence the big-brushing of the profession.

As a nitpick, the problem with "bad lawyers" is usually their morals, not their ethics.

Indeed, such people (along with, say, the average large corporation's upper management) are usually an excellent example for demonstrating the difference between "ethical" and "moral".

Re:More important things (3, Interesting)

Curunir_wolf (588405) | more than 6 years ago | (#23166048)

Thank you for standing up for all the good lawyers in this country. It really troubles me that the bad ones give the other 2% a bad name.

I can't imagine what else I'd feed my pet alligators if the supply of lawyers ran out!
I hope you never get arrested for a crime you didn't commit or your kid isn't poisoned by some product made by a careless corporation.

Corporations are careless because their lawyers make them so expensive to sue, and ensure that the corporate officers are never held personally liable for unconscionable acts.

I hope you never get prosecuted or sued by the RIAA because your neighbor's son hacked your wireless router and used it to play with torrentz.

The RIAA is pretty much just a bunch of lawyers (oh - and lobbyists). Oops - most lobbyists *are* lawyers.

I hope your civil rights are never violated or that you never need the protection of bankruptcy court.
Why would I need protection of a bankruptcy court? Oh, yea, because there is someone threatening to sic their LAWYERS on me.

I hope you never have a problem with your income taxes, or a dispute with your business partner or get rear-ended by a drunk driver.

Yes, because income taxes are so complicated. Lawyers certainly had *nothing* to do with that. I just hope any business partner I have can negotiate rationally and doesn't decide to ... umm... sic a lawyer on me. I'd have to find a lawyer had give *him* my half of the business instead. You're right about the drunk driver, though. I'd want an ambulance chaser helping me with that because insurance companies are almost as bad as lawyers.

I hope you never have to set up a trust fund to care for a relative who is too ill to care for herself or have a dispute with your bank or have your identity stolen.
Actually, I had a relative that did set up a trust fund with a lawyer that was handling most of her finances. She died penniless, of course. The last I heard they thought the lawyer had left Bermuda and they were speculating he was in France.

I hope you never get married unwisely and have to divorce from a spouse who wants to hurt you as much as possible.
Because then I would have to deal with her lawyer?

I hope you never get overlooked for promotion because you are too old, or too black or too female.
Been there. Done that. Got the t-shirt. It said "My lawyer says I don't have a case".

It can be argued that lawyers do as much to protect our freedoms as the men and women in our military. Maybe more.
It can also be said that lawyers are the ones working to take away our freedoms. At least the guys in the military are allowed to shoot the enemy (without subsequently dealing with more lawyers).

People who think our lives and our country would be better without lawyers are as stupid as stupid gets.
I'm sure you could make a persuasive argument to that effect that a judge (still a lawyer) would agree with.

There are good lawyers out there that really do honest work and do not view themselves as God's gift to the peasants. But finding one makes you feel like Lot wandering the streets of Gomorrah. And our country might not be better off without them - but it might be better off without 95% of them.

Re:More important things (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#23166100)

What do the men and women in your military do to protect your freedom?

Who are they protecting these freedoms from?

Re:More important things (2)

DigitalWallaby (853269) | more than 6 years ago | (#23166790)

There really ought to be a 'didn't get the joke' mod.

Re:More important things (1)

oddaddresstrap (702574) | more than 6 years ago | (#23167254)

"There really ought to be a 'didn't get the joke' mod".

How about "whoosh!"?

Re:More important things (1)

Roger W Moore (538166) | more than 6 years ago | (#23166870)

...and how many of those problems would be smaller if it were not for the lawyers for the opposite side? How many can afford the lawyers for the rest? We have national health services (outside the US) - if lawyers are so important how come there is no national legal service?

Shouldn't courts be more interested in finding out the truth of what happened and not who can hire the best story teller? This is what I think is completely missing from the English-based legal system.

Re:More important things (2, Insightful)

Spykk (823586) | more than 6 years ago | (#23167090)

I hope you never get arrested for a crime you didn't commit or your kid isn't poisoned by some product made by a careless corporation.
Yeah, because your appointed lawyer is sure to beat said careless corporation's lawyer.

I hope you never get prosecuted or sued by the RIAA because your neighbor's son hacked your wireless router and used it to play with torrentz.
You may not be aware of this, but the RIAA has been using its highly paid lawyers to win the majority of those laughable cases.

It can be argued that lawyers do as much to protect our freedoms as the men and women in our military. Maybe more.
For every lawyer who defended someone's rights, there was another lawyer trying to usurp them for profit. Sadly, the amount of money you spend on your lawyer can be a much larger factor in the outcome of your case than being in the right is.

Re:More important things (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#23165812)

If it weren't for lawyers...We wouldn't need lawyers!

Re:More important things (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#23163738)

I for one, welcome our blogging-about-autism female overlords. Who would I date without them?

Re:More important things (4, Informative)

clarkcox3 (194009) | more than 6 years ago | (#23164206)

Wouldn't a female overlord be an overlady?

Re:More important things (1)

Z34107 (925136) | more than 6 years ago | (#23166778)

I've wondered about that.

If lord == lady, why is "Hey, lady!" casual slang, bordering on rude?

And where does the phrase "ladies and gentlemen" come from? I'd expect something more Max Payne-esque like "lords and ladies." I also doubt lord == gentleman - "Gentleman Voldemort" doesn't have the same ring to it. Does this mean "ladies and gentlemen" puts women > men, if lady is a greater title than gentleman?

And since when did "ma'am" turn into something for old people? Age isn't the only reason to show respect to another person. (Actually, I think most old people are greedy, well-lobbied-and-lobbying crackpots out for my tax dollars, but that's another problem.) I mean, men don't take offense at being called "sir" with some insipid quip about "I'm not that old!"

And why is grass green? And why is the sky blue? And why are we here? How many angels can breakdance on a pinhead...

Re:More important things (1, Funny)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#23167534)

Overlord is a word more complicated than its components. The proper female equivalent of overlord is "wife". The collective is "overload".
Hence you can have the somewhat fractious phrase "I have an overload of wives" which simply says you have several female overlords and should, in no way, result in you sleeping on the couch for a week.

Ex Parte (1, Interesting)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#23164926)

This must be why the RIAA does everything ex parte, so they don't get rulings like this...

For those who don't know, ex parte means that the other side isn't there. In RIAA cases, they misjoinder all defendants located at a single ISP together, and push for expedited discovery in an ex parte hearing and drop the case immediately after. This means that the alleged file sharer never gets a chance to respond to them in court because they don't find out in time.

Justice sure feels good (4, Interesting)

spun (1352) | more than 6 years ago | (#23163626)

I'm just wondering why, genetically speaking, it should feel so good to hear about justice being served? Justice, fairness, reciprocity, selflessness: these things naturally feel good to most people, while their opposites usually feel bad, even when they have absolutely nothing to do with us.

If we were truly selfish creatures, wouldn't the opposite be true? We would have evidence that we could get away with our selfishness, and that would feel good. It seems our genetics code for cooperative behaviors over selfish ones. Is this simply the selfish best choice for individuals, to cooperate with each other, or can genes code for behaviors that are detrimental to the individual but good for the gene pool overall?

Re:Justice sure feels good (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#23163730)

[C]an genes code for behaviors that are detrimental to the individual but good for the gene pool overall?
That's what Richard Dawkins's 1976 book The Selfish Gene argues, and I think that position is fairly accepted now.

Re:Justice sure feels good (1, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#23163840)

Oh crap. That's wrong. Genes can code for behavior that's bad for the individual, but good for the survival of that particular gene.

Re:Justice sure feels good (4, Insightful)

Hatta (162192) | more than 6 years ago | (#23163750)

Injustices benefit a few, justice benefits us all. By the numbers, you're more likely to benefit from justice than injustice.

Mo pare tup odpa entu mod arentu Modparentup (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#23163852)

..eh was having an odd repetitive moment...

Your comment violated the "postersubj" compression filter. Try less whitespace and/or less repetition in the subject line.

So I guess I use spom tools

Re:Justice sure feels good (2, Insightful)

bill_kress (99356) | more than 6 years ago | (#23164866)

Yes, but your benefit from injustice is likely to be much greater.

A company distributing a significant amount of its profits to all its employees might double all their salaries and be fair, but the top few management people could no longer draw $10m salaries for screwing the company up....

Re:Justice sure feels good (1)

evanbd (210358) | more than 6 years ago | (#23166724)

Generally such concentrations have a negative impact on the total amount of wealth created in the transaction. Look at the economics of monopolies for a good example -- they move some of the economic surplus from consumer surplus to producer surplus, but there is less total. Combine that with sublinear value of wealth (the first $1000 is worth more to me than the next $1000), and you find that injustice to concentrate wealth is not only most likely to hurt any one individual, but will do so on average as well (even after you account for the one "lottery winner").

Re:Justice sure feels good (1, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#23163762)

similarly, the fact that we like to root for the underdog...

perhaps this is related to our empathic natures. We are capable of placing ourselves into these stories, of seeing that if it could happen to them, it could happen to us. By seeing justice served, it means that one less person can act against our own best interests. In effect, when the big bully gets knocked down a peg, we are safer - even if it wasn't us getting picked on in the first place.

Re:Justice sure feels good (1)

trolltalk.com (1108067) | more than 6 years ago | (#23163908)

similarly, the fact that we like to root for the underdog...

Or more likely, we've either been f*cked over by a lawyer in the past, or know someone who has been. There's a BIG difference between the law and justice, and the law as currently practiced is often unjust.

It also explains all the lawyer jokes:

Like, "Deep down, lawyers are okay - preferrably at least 6 feet down."

... and ...

Q. what do you call 1000 lawyers buried up to their necks in sand?
A. Not enough sand.

Re:Justice sure feels good (1)

TheRealMindChild (743925) | more than 6 years ago | (#23164052)

The reason: Life isn't fair. When the square peg fits the round hole, we like the change.

A similar phenomenon (yet the opposite direction) is us always hoping that Skeletor will kick He-man's ass if JUST ONCE

Re:Justice sure feels good (2, Insightful)

spun (1352) | more than 6 years ago | (#23164204)

Hehe, that is SO true. Who DIDN'T root for the coyote to catch the roadrunner? Life isn't fair, yet most of us are born with an innate desire for it to be so. This desire for fairness has been shown to be more powerful than the profit motive. Yet our economic system is based on the premise that individual profit is most rewarding to individuals. It is set up to reward selfishness, and in essence makes life less fair. When it seems there is no possibility that life can be fair, most people resort to selfish behavior. So our economic system becomes a self fulfilling prophecy.

Re:Justice sure feels good (1)

dubl-u (51156) | more than 6 years ago | (#23165986)

Yet our economic system is based on the premise that individual profit is most rewarding to individuals.
You misunderstand. That's like saying our justice system is focused on criminals. While technically true, the point for both is still net shared benefit.

There are two reasons the economic system appears to focus on individual profit. First, that takes the minority of truly greedy and/or power-hungry people and channels their activities into something that's net positive. Second, if you aren't very careful to make it work for the individual, you open it wide up for all sorts of theft, gaming, and other anti-social behavior.

It's counterintuitive, I realize, but designing for greed permits niceness, while presuming niceness gives greed free reign.

Re:Justice sure feels good (1)

spun (1352) | more than 6 years ago | (#23166366)

Nicely put. But there is a positive feedback loop in our economic system that is not damped by an effective check or balance. Money gives one more power to influence the economic system itself, to influence valuation for various goods and services. And that lets one make more money than others without benefiting society. This leads to a runaway concentration of wealth in the hands of those least likely to care about the community, and most able to treat ruthlessly with their fellow man.

Re:Justice sure feels good (1)

tgibbs (83782) | more than 6 years ago | (#23164060)

. Is this simply the selfish best choice for individuals, to cooperate with each other, or can genes code for behaviors that are detrimental to the individual but good for the gene pool overall?
They can, but it's hard to make it work. Basically, a mechanism is required such that the benefits of the behavior accrue more to those who have the gene than to those who don't. So if it is detrimental to you, but beneficial to a other of people who are more likely than the average person to share that gene, then it can be favored by natural selection. So one tends to look for direct benefits before looking for indirect ones

Reciprocal altruism is one example--for example, if altruists are more likely to cooperate with one another than with non-altruists, then it may be to your overall benefit to be an altruist, even though individual acts of altruism may cost you, because you benefit from the assistance of other altruists. Of course, that depends upon altruists being able to recognize one another. So if "feeling good about seeing justice served" is accompanied by recognizable cues, such as smiling when you hear of such an occurrence or communicating about it to others, you might, evolutionarily speaking, be identifying yourself as part of the empathetic/altruistic genetic community, and therefore eligible to receive benefit from other members of the club.

Re:Justice sure feels good (1)

PitaBred (632671) | more than 6 years ago | (#23164266)

Look at chimpanzees vs. humans to see what the difference between naturally selfish and naturally sharing behavior is.

Chimps will take whatever they think they can get away with, and never actively teach and often try to hide things from each other. Humans may have a lot of the same tendencies, but not nearly to the same degree.

Re:Justice sure feels good (2, Informative)

spun (1352) | more than 6 years ago | (#23164498)

Chimps do teach each other things, and will not generally steal from friends. Younger males will often cooperate to distract a dominant male while a few slip in for a little hanky panky with his harem. They are quite secretive, though.

But pygmy chimps (also known as bonobos) are very, very different animals behaviorally. Researchers speculate that the abundance of resources in the South American habitat of the bonobos, as compared to the African chimps, leads to more cooperative behavior. Bonobos are highly cooperative and non-heirarchal. Pygmy chimps are also the sluts of the animal world, and use sex to diffuse any societal tension. Which leads me to hypothesize (especially to any available females) that more sex would lead to a more peaceful, cooperative world.

Re:Justice sure feels good (1)

RobBebop (947356) | more than 6 years ago | (#23165214)

If sex was used to diffuse social tension, I think you'd see people start arguments over nothing just to end up in bed after their night at the bar.

Man: Hey lady! You are sitting in my seat!
Woman: But I've been here all night.
Man: Doesn't matter. That seat is my territory and you'd better move or I will get real angry.
Woman: You know what? Fuck you, too. And you can can have your stupid chair because their is too much tension here.
Man: By any chance, could I help you relieve your tension?
Woman: I don't see why not. My hotel is across the street. Follow me!

Re:Justice sure feels good (1)

spun (1352) | more than 6 years ago | (#23166312)

You mean this isn't how it's done now? Dammit, no wonder I never get any play...

Re:Justice sure feels good (1)

grendelb (309720) | more than 6 years ago | (#23166218)

All chimps, including bonobos are African, not South American. http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Bonobo [wikipedia.org]

Re:Justice sure feels good (1)

spun (1352) | more than 6 years ago | (#23166408)

Damn it, why have I been saying they are from South America? I even link to their wiki page on occasion. I feel like a total dolt now, thank you very much. ;)

Re:Justice sure feels good (2, Funny)

argent (18001) | more than 6 years ago | (#23164548)

Chimps will take whatever they think they can get away with, and never actively teach and often try to hide things from each other.

Like the RIAA, you mean?

Re:Justice sure feels good (2, Funny)

corgan517 (1040154) | more than 6 years ago | (#23165432)

how dare you denigrate the monkeys like that!

Re:Justice sure feels good (1)

CrazedWalrus (901897) | more than 6 years ago | (#23164752)

Who says it has genetic roots? I always just figured it was a learned behavior after being screwed more times than we care to remember.

The reason I like to see these bastards get nailed to the wall is that they're usually attacking people who were minding their own damn business and not looking for a fight to begin with. The victim usually is completely unprepared for the fight and has significantly fewer resources than the attacker.

If there's such a thing as a cooperative gene, then I'd say that it feels good because opportunistic sociopathic assholes are the antithesis of cooperation.

Whether it's the opposite of our genetic coding, or part of our desire to see the underdog win, I don't know, but I agree -- it sure feels good to see sleazeballs get their just desserts.

Re:Justice sure feels good (1)

perlchild (582235) | more than 6 years ago | (#23164770)

We are built to be selfish, as long as it benefits the group. Natural selection decides what you express in the group, so you can't be un-groupishly selfish. You can't be ungroupishly selfless either.

But what you do, if it doesn't benefit the group, isn't likely to outlast you, unless you become immortal, somehow. Selfish or selfless... are abstract, survival is very concrete. The genes don't code one behaviour over the other, it's just "not too much of an asshole" are less likely to be selected against...

Re:Justice sure feels good (3, Informative)

dubl-u (51156) | more than 6 years ago | (#23164806)

can genes code for behaviors that are detrimental to the individual but good for the gene pool overall?
Genes generally code for behavior that is good for genes. A gene for you to treat family well doesn't give a shit about you personally; your family members are likely to have the same gene, so it's just being good to other copies of itself.

Those seriously wondering about this topic should read The Selfish Gene [amazon.com] (Richard Dawkins's first book, wherein he coined the term "meme"). Then follow that up with Good Natured: The Origins of Right and Wrong in Humans and Other Animals [amazon.com] . They're two very readable books by two real scientists, and they have rocked the worlds of everybody I have lent them to.

Re:Justice sure feels good (1)

PRMan (959735) | more than 6 years ago | (#23164874)

Be careful, you might end up proving the existence of God...

Re:Justice sure feels good (1)

Toonol (1057698) | more than 6 years ago | (#23164972)

I'm just wondering why, genetically speaking, it should feel so good to hear about justice being served? Justice, fairness, reciprocity, selflessness: these things naturally feel good to most people, while their opposites usually feel bad, even when they have absolutely nothing to do with us.

I think you have to go to another level of abstraction. Humans need a rational universe, or else we have no control. We've evolved to believe in cause and effect, and many universal laws of physics are practically instinctual (such as ballistics). The emergent ability to be rational in a seemingly rational universe is the greatest survival trait we've acquired.

Because of that, when we see things that just don't make sense, we feel uneasy. This can range from simple perceptual stuff, such as an optical illusion or a shadow that doesn't seem to belong, to advanced psychological and philosophical matters. Why did she laugh at that? or why does he do worse work but gets paid more? These aren't just illogical, they are illogical in an upsetting way that feels a bit like the world isn't making sense right now. Seeing a woman attacked for a common sense statement is a bit like tossing a ball and seeing it veer to the left. It mucks with our sense of the world, and trying to make sense of the world is what humans do. Having a sensible resolution like this reaffirms that we do have a chance at understanding the world, and maybe someday getting laid.

/Whoops, did I say that last bit?

Re:Justice sure feels good (1)

ScrewMaster (602015) | more than 6 years ago | (#23165430)

Justice, fairness, reciprocity, selflessness: these things naturally feel good to most people, while their opposites usually feel bad, even when they have absolutely nothing to do with us.

Honestly, it is hard to say how much of that is heritable, and how much is learned, cultural in nature (this particular argument goes back centuries.) Look at much of the Oriental world, for instance. Doing what Westerners would call "bad" things is tolerated, so long as one is not caught. Only at that point is it considered wrong. That's in diametric opposition to the Judeo-Christian ethos, which is more along the lines of "don't do bad things in the first place, because, well, they're bad." Who decides what is actually considered "bad" is often up to some debate, of course.

It's impossible to make wide generalizations of this nature across all cultures. There are relatively few absolute standards of good and evil, right and wrong, that are accepted by all.

Re:Justice sure feels good (1)

TempeTerra (83076) | more than 6 years ago | (#23166700)

If co-operation is beneficial for groups, co-operation by an individual will benefit the group and thereby themselves, reinforcing that behaviour in the gene pool.

If a group is largely co-operative, defecting (in the terminology of the prisoner's dilemma) may benefit you greatly and be a detriment to the group as a whole. This would be selfishness, since only you benefit.

If a group is mostly co-operative but there are occasional defectors, it is to the benefit of the group to exile or beat the living crap out of the defector, since they are harming the group - and thereby reducing the reproductive success of defectors - so this should be reinforced.

In a pre-rational species, behaviour would be reinforced by associationg good feelings with successful behaviours. This can arise without any planning if individuals start with randomly genetically coded preferences or dislikes for behaviours and are (naturally) selected for if they like beneficial behaviours.

Finally, since people generally like co-operating (even without a clear benefit to them) we can assume that it has been beneficial in our recent evolution. It should also feel good to hear about justice being served, since that is a natural pairing with enjoying co-operation.

Also, in my experience people who say that humans are inherently selfish are just pushing an agenda, probably a religious one, which says that you should submit to their benevolent control because you don't know what's best for you.

Of course this is all an extremely simplified view. There should be an equilibrium between co-operation and defection which is based on how easy it is to successfully defect. This would imply that people should enjoy gaining by defection BUT only if they are not found out and punished by the co-operators, even though they are themselves co-operative in most situations.

Then we get into gossiping, so we know who has defected in the past... but spreading false rumour then becomes a successful defective behaviour as long as you're not found out.

And there are Us vs Them issues where groups can co-operate within themselves, but still defect relative to other groups without wrecking internal co-operativeness. This tends to have a genetic basis, since co-operating with your relations at the expense of strangers increases your genes' reproductive success, even if the total result is damaging to society in general.

That last point is, I think, the largest problem with our society at the moment. Praising the defective actions of people in your in-group while refusing to co-operate with an out-group without rational cause is rife, from school sports teams all they way up to international relations. It is something that happens most often when we go with 'gut feelings' instead of reasoning, and is the natural result of fear-mongering in the media and by government.

Boy, what a rant. I hope some of that was useful.

Re:Justice sure feels good (1)

spun (1352) | more than 6 years ago | (#23166852)

Very nicely put. That's it, from now on I'm not ranting myself, I'm just asking leading questions. ;)

Sweet justice (1)

cweber (34166) | more than 6 years ago | (#23163632)

Aaahh the sweet smell of justice done!
Can't wait for sanctions against this scumbag. Hopefully other overzealus lawyers will take notice too.

Re:Sweet justice (5, Informative)

Bobby Mahoney (1005759) | more than 6 years ago | (#23165296)

Scumbag doesn't begin to classify this guy: He's made a career out of extorting the VICP (Vaccine Injury Compensation Fund), which allows one to file a claim for vaccine injury, with no out of pocket legal expenses, because the court pays attorneys fees, regardless of the merit of the case.

Paraphrased from Kathy's extremely... "in-depth" blog http://www.neurodiversity.com/weblog/article/149 [neurodiversity.com] :

Since June of 2006, Mr. Shoemaker (scumbag) has been paid fees in 22 VICP cases, 15 of which were dismissed.

Total fees paid to this DB for the DISMISSED CASES are up to $254,291.25.

Total fees paid for cases which resulted in awards were $330.158.04.

Oh, and it was 4 hours after this info was published on Kathy's Blog that she was served with the Subpoena.

s/Katherine/Kathleen/ (4, Informative)

McDutchie (151611) | more than 6 years ago | (#23163646)

The blogger's name is Kathleen Seidel, not Katherine. The previous Slashdot story got this wrong as well.

Re:s/Katherine/Kathleen/ (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#23163764)

Maybe kdawson's name recognition system is only good up to four significant characters.

Re:s/Katherine/Kathleen/ (2, Funny)

TheRealMindChild (743925) | more than 6 years ago | (#23163816)

Cathleen... Catherine... meh. As long as you get the first letter right

Re:s/Katherine/Kathleen/ (3, Funny)

DarKlajid (91200) | more than 6 years ago | (#23164388)

Let me guess: You don't have a girlfriend, right?

Ah, forgot that this is Slashdot for a moment. Nevermind, move along.

Re:s/Katherine/Kathleen/ (4, Funny)

Bobby Mahoney (1005759) | more than 6 years ago | (#23164864)

And she calls herself Lill, but everyone knows her as Nancy.

Re:s/Katherine/Kathleen/ (1)

oddaddresstrap (702574) | more than 6 years ago | (#23167336)

Do you mean Betty Jo Bialowski?

Hooray for a bit of legal sanity (3, Insightful)

Dutch Gun (899105) | more than 6 years ago | (#23163704)

Well, how about that... If only this sort of story were not the exception rather than the rule.

I have a friend who recently started a small business (he makes board games). On release of his first game, he was immediately sent a letter from a competitor's lawyer demanding either cease-and-desist, or a licensing agreement for the use of the term "Superheroes*". Are you kidding me?! My understanding is that this company routinely threatens any small business (they're fairly small too) that creates a game with "Superheroes" in the name, and threatens legal action or a licensing payment.

Most of these companies run on a shoestring budget and caved, but my friend hired a lawyer to write an aggressive response, threatening countersuits, etc. My understanding is that he never heard from them again. In an ideal world, this sort of through-the-legal-system extortion and bullying would be severely reprimanded, but in the real world, a small business is generally considered lucky if they only have to shell out a few hundred (or thousand) in lawyer fees.

* It wasn't really that, but a similarly generic term. I don't want to stir anything up for my friend. Lawyers may be listening!

Re:Hooray for a bit of legal sanity (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#23163956)

I will be a lawyer shortly, and I am listening. But on the other hand, part of my motivation to become an attorney was defensive. There's nothing like being your own free legal counsel in business or anything else. (And if it is beyond your field of expertise, you ask a colleague.)

Re:Hooray for a bit of legal sanity (1, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#23164156)

There's nothing like being your own free legal counsel

Something about having a fool for a client...

Re:Hooray for a bit of legal sanity (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#23165470)

On release of his first game, he was immediately sent a letter from a competitor's lawyer demanding either cease-and-desist, or a licensing agreement for the use of the term "Superheroes*". [...]

* It wasn't really that, but a similarly generic term. I don't want to stir anything up for my friend. Lawyers may be listening!

It could well have been that considering that Marvel and DC have and enforce a trademark on the term "Superheroes" [boingboing.net] . That is why alternate universes use the term "Supers". It's not that the term "Supers" covers both superheroes and supervillans, it is that the term "Supers" covers their asses from legal threats.

Re:Hooray for a bit of legal sanity (1)

PhreakOfTime (588141) | more than 6 years ago | (#23166042)

I also had a nice 'cease and desist' letter sent to me. Other than trying to suggest that I would be brought up on unspecified criminal charges(yes, criminal), the letter also mentioned copyright and trademark violations that I was being accused of violating. Actually, in one sentence of the letter it accused me of making possibly libelous statements, and in almost the very next sentence, it accused me of knowingly making libelous statements. Granted, by this point I already knew the letter was just thrown together with the amount of thought it takes to blink an eye, as the location this letter was addressed to was not mine, but someone else in my town with the same last name. I would guess that after the post office sent it back to them, they finally found the correct information, even though it was in the WHOIS records for the domains the entire time.

I had a nice response letter written out, and had it reviewed by more than one other attorney. And more than one time was advised that the less I said to them, the better. In the end I figured that sending this letter would be showing my hand, and since I knew what I was doing was in no way illegal, or libelous, I made the decision to not send the letter.

By the way, the company who sent this letter, and then demanded I transfer my rights to the domain to them, was Caton Commercial [willcounty...tcourt.com] , a real estate company. Being that the content of the sites in question contained linked information that was directly shown on the county courthouse website, I thought it would be better to not tip my hand. In my state, we have what are known as Anti-SLAPP laws, which provide for the awarding of court fees to the defendant in any case which attempts to supress the publishing of public government information.

In the end, I thought it would just be easier to publish the letter online [demystify.info] . It amazes me how people could try such underhanded tactics in this day and age, knowing full well how easy it is for the recipient to publish it online for all to see.

I imagine the attorney who wrote this knows all of this, and was just trying to make his clients happy and stop bothering him, since it has now been over 60 days since the original letter was written and sent(to the wrong address) and I have not heard any more from them in regard to this .

I Thought Everybody Knew... (1)

Nom du Keyboard (633989) | more than 6 years ago | (#23163746)

the lawyer issued a similar subpoena to a doctor and a Harvard professor under similar circumstances.

I thought everybody knew you don't mess with Harvard when it comes to legal matters. Even the RIAA has stayed far clear of Harvard Square with their John Doe suits and subpoenas for student information.

Re:I Thought Everybody Knew... (1)

godawsgo (852260) | more than 6 years ago | (#23164268)

I still think that the kids of big law firm partners go there and you'd lose a lot more than song royalties if you started snooping about the validity of full iPods of a few of the students there. Why risk it. Its not like the record companies are in pursuit of some abstract natural law restoring the free world to justice...

--Dawson

What I want to know... (3, Insightful)

fm6 (162816) | more than 6 years ago | (#23163766)

...is how much in the way of legal bills did Seidel run up getting the supoena quashed. If it was a lot, we should be outraged. And if we're outraged, we should express our outrage in a constructive manner: go to her web site, click on "donate" and drop a few bucks in her kitty.

And don't say "She can get damages from that shyster for his misuse of the legal system". That's a lot harder to do than people seem to realize.

Re:What I want to know... (0, Troll)

sconeu (64226) | more than 6 years ago | (#23164210)

Except that the Judge appears ready to sanction the shyster. If you can't RTFA, at least RTFS.

Re:What I want to know... (2, Informative)

fm6 (162816) | more than 6 years ago | (#23164532)

I read both. "Sanction" means disciplinary action. Sanctions might include ordering him to pay Seidel's costs, but it's not a given.

pro bono? (5, Informative)

l2718 (514756) | more than 6 years ago | (#23164270)

I am not sure that there were any legal fees. According to her blog post [neurodiversity.com] , Ms. Seidel was represented by the First Amendment team [citizen.org] at Public Citizen [citizen.org] . Perhaps Public Citizen should be the ones recovering some of the expenses? In any case they should be congratulated for the win!

Re:pro bono? (1)

fm6 (162816) | more than 6 years ago | (#23164542)

OK then, express your outrage with a donation to PC.

Re:pro bono? (2, Informative)

joseph449008 (1121209) | more than 6 years ago | (#23165684)

Public Citizen offered to help, but AFAIK, they didn't have to do anything. Her pro se motion to quash was top-notch. That said, Public Citizen could presumably take this further if Kathleen and they think it's warranted.

Re:What I want to know... (3, Funny)

bleckywelcky (518520) | more than 6 years ago | (#23164346)

I'll drop a few bucks in her kitty, if ya know what I mean. ;) meow.

Re:What I want to know... (1, Troll)

fm6 (162816) | more than 6 years ago | (#23164556)

Grow up.

Re:What I want to know... (1)

rgmoore (133276) | more than 6 years ago | (#23164384)

She's actually doing this pro se, i.e. representing herself, rather than paying for a lawyer. That means she's not paying a huge lawyer bill, but it has still cost her time and effort.

Off Topic - Your Sig (1)

MozeeToby (1163751) | more than 6 years ago | (#23164518)

I'm not sure if you realize this, but the person linked to in your sig was tyring (albiet unsuccesfully) to make a joke. You see, you were talking about jury nullification (i.e. the jury ignoring the judges guidelines and doing what they think is best despite the rules); he provided a (straw man) example to show how annoying/stupid he thinks jury nullification is.

Besides that, if he modded you down, then commented his moderation dissapears anyway so even if he was an ass, he was also stupid.

Re:Off Topic - Your Sig (1)

fm6 (162816) | more than 6 years ago | (#23164626)

Your interpretation is not without merit. However, I think that if it was a joke he would have said "rules" not "guidelines".

Joke or not, the link seems to serve its primary purpose, which is to discourage people from modding me down just because they disagree with me.

Re:Off Topic - Your Sig (1)

geekboy642 (799087) | more than 6 years ago | (#23165178)

Or, like I've done several times when I wanted to comment on *why* I modded something up or down, he logged out and then made an anonymous comment. (yes, I checked afterwards, the moderation stays)

Re:Off Topic - Your Sig (1)

spiffyman (949476) | more than 6 years ago | (#23165566)

No offense, but I call bs. In my first few months as a member, I tried the same thing. My moderation was wiped, across the board.

Does slash record IPs for this kind of stuff? Frankly, it should. Allowing the sort of trick that you (claim) you do and that I tried means eliminating the requirement that mods not post in the discussion. A similar trick would involve making an alternative login and garnering karma bonuses, etc., by modding up your own posts, and this patently violates the spirit of the system.

Re:Off Topic - Your Sig (1)

fm6 (162816) | more than 6 years ago | (#23166084)

Well, maybe I'm imagining things. Or maybe your are. Or maybe we both are: when you have this much randomness, it's very easy to see a pattern where there is none.

Frankly, it should. Allowing the sort of trick that you (claim) you do and that I tried means eliminating the requirement that mods not post in the discussion.
Huh? I don't follow that. I'm reminding moderators that there are rules for moderation that should not be ignored. What does that have to do with the no-posting rule?

Anyway, I don't view it as a trick. I really do believe that the current moderator pool sucks. There were some changes a few years ago that I think really hurt the mod system.

Re:Off Topic - Your Sig (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#23164792)

Besides that, if he modded you down, then commented his moderation dissapears anyway so even if he was an ass, he was also stupid.
...except if he made a sock puppet account to make the AC comment.

Re:What I want to know... (3, Informative)

joseph449008 (1121209) | more than 6 years ago | (#23165670)

She filed pro se. I understand Kathleen got some help from knowledgeable friends, but that's about it. The online free speech project at Public Citizen had offered to provide their legal help, but it would seem that Kathleen did such an excellent job with her pro se filing that Public Citizen didn't have to file anything.

Re:What I want to know... (1)

fm6 (162816) | more than 6 years ago | (#23166126)

Well, I assume PC at least taught her how to use this quaint legal language:

COMES NOW Kathleen Seidel and moves this court, pursuant to Rule 45(3)(A) of the Federal Rules of Civil Procedure, to quash the subpoena issued by Clifford Shoemaker, Esq., on behalf of plaintiffs in the above-captioned case...

Re:What I want to know... (1)

joseph449008 (1121209) | more than 6 years ago | (#23166212)

Nope. As you can see from her previous posts, Kathleen investigates legal proceedings extensively, so legalese was not a problem for her. Public Citizen first offered to help a few days ago as I recall.

Re:What I want to know... (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#23166440)

drop a few bucks in her kitty.
I really don't think it's that sort of website.

Re:What I want to know... (1)

Ares (5306) | more than 6 years ago | (#23167294)

from what i read in the original story, she wrote the motion to quash herself. so i would imagine not a whole lot.

Society Strikes Back (2)

monxrtr (1105563) | more than 6 years ago | (#23163830)

Eliot Spitzer was just the beginning. With all the massive economic damage lawyers have caused businesses and consumers, it will be interesting to see if similar numbers of lawyers can start receiving similar levels of fines and sentences, not to mention regulatory legislation. As it is, perhaps more lawyers graduate these days than MBAs, engineers, and MDs, and the amount of wealth being parasitically siphoned from productive society is approaching Roman Civilization Bureaucratic Collapse proportions.

I don't think there has ever been such an arrogant caste profession since the days of the Egyptian priesthood. We need to see massive amounts of judges, lawyers, and politicians losing their personal assets and serving lengthy prison terms. Charge them all with bribery, extortion, abuse of power, and put a government ordered price freeze limiting all lawyer wages to $50 hour maximum.

Fuck "sanctions". This guy needs to be stripped of practicing law ever again, as well as being forced to pay a significant 6 figure fine towards his attempted victim. And we need to see much higher standards and harsher penalties of these "officers" of the "Law".

Re:Society Strikes Back (1)

DNS-and-BIND (461968) | more than 6 years ago | (#23163880)

Ah, so you'll be calling the shots, and the rest of us will be out there actually, you know, doing it. Doesn't sound like a good division of labor.

Re:Society Strikes Back (3, Interesting)

ScrewMaster (602015) | more than 6 years ago | (#23165554)

I don't think there has ever been such an arrogant caste profession since the days of the Egyptian priesthood.

Sure we have. They're called "doctors", "politicians" and "Chief Executive Officers", respectively. Granted, many politicians are also lawyers, so there's some crossover but they all they tend to think just as highly of themselves. I will agree that, unlike the other three groups, doctors do provide useful if overpriced services. If all physicians suddenly disappeared tomorrow many of us would be in trouble, but if attorneys, politicians and "Chief Executive Officers" vanished from the face of the Earth most of us wouldn't even notice.

For sure there'd be a lot of nice homes and used luxury cars on the market.

Re:Society Strikes Back (1)

tony1343 (910042) | more than 6 years ago | (#23166704)

Government ordered price freeze on lawyer fees????? Without lawyers we might live in a society where the government would do or could do such things. Good luck finding a good lawyer when you need one. Good idea, let's run all the good doctor's out of the medical field, because we think they make too much, and after that let's go after the lawyers. What other profession do you not like? We should make you the supreme leader, because clearly you have a lot of good ideas and understand how the world works.

Lawyers are bastards, but you need them. People hate lawyers, but when a company poisons ground water, then they're okay. It's like how everyone hates Congress, but often like their Congressman. Look at nations where there aren't enough. Look at the Corporate Scandals that barely go punished in Korea - there aren't enough lawyers there. It's hard to get justice in countries without enough lawyers. Who was protesting against Musharraf in Pakistan? That's right lawyers. Of the 55 delegates to the Constitutional Convention, 35 had legal training or were lawyers.

The rule of law is exceptionally important, and without it, I don't think a developed society could exist. Of course when lawyers step out of line, they need to be punished. A bitch slapping by the Court will probably be enough for this guy though; don't think we need to take his livelihood away from him. Some cases like this need to come up with lawyers being punished, as to provide a warning to other lawyers.

Anyway, you should calm down. Engineers and scientists are great and society needs them. But society also needs doctors, lawyers, businessmen, construction workers, policemen, and just about every other job. The system has problems, which we should try to fix, but I'll take it over the systems that a lot of other nations have any day.

In Communist China (1)

s1d (1185389) | more than 6 years ago | (#23163894)

Subpoenas quash bloggers. No, really!

Re:In Communist China (4, Interesting)

Trails (629752) | more than 6 years ago | (#23164158)

Tanks squash bloggers. No, really!
Fixed that for ya.

Bravo (2, Informative)

MarkvW (1037596) | more than 6 years ago | (#23164540)

From looking at what looks like the email notice of order, it appears that the blogger may have represented herself. That is simply great. Reference to the order also implies that the lawyer seriously overstepped the rules by issuing a subpoena to a nonparty without court approval. I would expect sanctions in such a context. If the blogger gets serious, she can maximize sanctions if she can demonstrate a pattern or practice of similar such abuse. I wish her good luck.

Re:Bravo (2, Informative)

jjohnson (62583) | more than 6 years ago | (#23164744)

The first link includes her response to the subpoena that was so effective. It's a good read.

It was quashed on procedural errors (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#23165160)

Folks. If you look at the Judges order, the reason it was quashed was that a deposition subpoena be issued from the court in which the deposition is to occur. Also note, the motion to quash indicated that Attorney Shoemaker was not named as the attorney on the subpoena. Mistakes quashed this subpoena.

In part (2, Informative)

ricree (969643) | more than 6 years ago | (#23165652)

but did you read the rest:

and Fed R Civ P 45 (c)(1) commanding counsel to avoid burdensome subpoenas.
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