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Charles Carreon Drops Case Against the Oatmeal

Unknown Lamer posted about 2 years ago | from the practicing-law-while-angry-not-recommended dept.

Electronic Frontier Foundation 107

Dynamoo writes "Charles Carreon has reportedly dropped his lawsuit against the creator of The Oatmeal, Matthew Inman. This bizarre lawsuit (dubbed a SLAPP suit by the EFF) kicked off after a dispute between Inman and FunnyJunk.com which spun rapidly out of control. Perhaps Carreon has seen sense, but it turns out that there might be an even more bizarre twist in this tale."

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107 comments

Yay Oatmeal (1, Redundant)

KingAlanI (1270538) | about 2 years ago | (#40541479)

Oatmeal (both the food type and the webcomic) is good stuff; I was on Inman's side as soon as the story broke

Re:Yay Oatmeal (-1)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 years ago | (#40541493)

Glad to know you're an idiot who cares more about a person's perceived authority than actual facts. Having a brain, I had to actually read the story to find out on who's side I was.

Re:Yay Oatmeal (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 years ago | (#40541537)

... and came to the same conclusion? probably wasting time in the process?

Re:Yay Oatmeal (-1)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 years ago | (#40541891)

Yep, verifying facts instead of assuming that your favorite comic writer is a god that never does anything wrong is a waste of time. Stop poisoning the human race with your genes.

Re:Yay Oatmeal (2, Funny)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 years ago | (#40542211)

Hi, Tara! How are you today?

Re:Yay Oatmeal (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 years ago | (#40543459)

She's still crazier than a shithouse rat.

Re:Yay Oatmeal (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 years ago | (#40544111)

You already made that joke. Try being original.

Re:Yay Oatmeal (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 years ago | (#40549009)

No he didn't, *I* did. Time you grew up, sonny.

Re:Yay Oatmeal (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 years ago | (#40551235)

Very funny, as *I* was the original AC to reply.

Re:Yay Oatmeal (1, Offtopic)

KingAlanI (1270538) | about 2 years ago | (#40541579)

well, once I heard Inman's side of the story, better way to put it than "when the story broke"

Re:Yay Oatmeal (1)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 years ago | (#40541701)

Tara, is that you?

Re:Yay Oatmeal (-1, Troll)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 years ago | (#40541765)

I've never heard of either of these guys or their shitty sites, before all this, so I really couldn't care less.

Re:Yay Oatmeal (-1)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 years ago | (#40541965)

If you've never heard of them how do you know they're shitty? Sad troll suck at the teat of my pity as I feed you with my reply.

Re:Yay Oatmeal (1)

GigaplexNZ (1233886) | about 2 years ago | (#40546505)

I've never heard of either of these guys or their shitty sites, before all this, so I really couldn't care less.

If you've never heard of them how do you know they're shitty?

They've heard of them now.

Very strange. (5, Informative)

SniperJoe (1984152) | about 2 years ago | (#40541521)

Kudos to Oatmeal for winning this round, but this fight may not be over. Carreon seems to have shown himself to file odd lawsuits but being a lawyer, he isn't a complete idiot. Note that he dismissed his lawsuits without prejudice, which means that he can file them again at any time. He may just be waiting for the bad PR and public focus to go elsewhere before refiling. But kudos to Mr. Inman in the mean time.

Re:Very strange. (5, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 years ago | (#40541565)

This whole farce kills more and more of my brain cells each time I read it. Carreon is nuts. A new challenger appearing in the form of Jonathan Lee Riches threatens to push me further into complete retardation.

Re:Very strange. (4, Insightful)

Shavano (2541114) | about 2 years ago | (#40541599)

How does being a lawyer excuse him from suspicion of being a complete idiot?

Re:Very strange. (2, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 years ago | (#40541751)

Probably because he passed the requisite classwork and passed the state bar for wherever he was admitted to practice. These are non-trivial things and an idiot could not do them. Now, it could be that his mental faculties have gone 'south' since the time he passed the bar. But originally at least he was not an idiot.

Re:Very strange. (1)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 years ago | (#40541885)

passing classwork and the bar means you have the intellect to pass those tests -- you can still very well be an idiot* (depending on one's definition of 'idiot').

Just like most slashdotters, they can be pretty smart with technical things, but when it comes to social interactions, a lot of us are probably idiots.

Re:Very strange. (4, Informative)

AngryDeuce (2205124) | about 2 years ago | (#40541999)

Case in point, Jack Thompson:

In October 2007, Chief U.S. District Judge Federico Moreno sealed court documents submitted by Thompson in the Bar case that depicted "gay sex acts." Thompson's submission prompted U.S. District Judge Adalberto Jordan on to order Thompson to show cause why his actions should not be filed as a grievance with the court's Ad Hoc Committee on Attorney Admissions, Peer Review and Attorney Grievance, but the order was dismissed after Thompson promised not to file any more pornography. Thompson then sent letters to acting U.S. Attorney General Peter Keisler and U.S. Senators Patrick Leahy and Arlen Specter demanding that Jordan be removed from his position for failing to prosecute Florida attorney Norm Kent, who Thompson claimed had "collaborated" with the Bar for 20 years to discipline him.

In February 2008, the Florida Supreme Court ordered Thompson to show cause as to why it should not reject future court filings from him unless they are signed by another Florida Bar member. The Florida Supreme Court described his filings as "repetitive, frivolous and insult[ing to] the integrity of the court," particularly one in which Thompson, claiming concern about "the court's inability to comprehend his arguments," filed a motion which he called "A picture book for adults", including images of "swastikas, kangaroos in court, a reproduced dollar bill, cartoon squirrels, Paul Simon, Paul Newman, Ray Charles, a handprint with the word 'slap' written under it, Bar Governor Benedict P. Kuehne, a , Ed Bradley, Jack Nicholson, Justice Clarence Thomas, Julius Caesar, monkeys, [and] a house of cards." Thompson claimed that the order "wildly infringes" on his constitutional rights and was "a brazen attempt" to repeal the First Amendment right to petition the government to redress grievances. In response, he sent a letter to U.S. Attorney General Michael Mukasey, referring to the show-cause order as a criminal act done in retaliation for his seeking relief with the court.

On March 20, 2008, the Florida Supreme Court imposed sanctions on Thompson, requiring that any of his future filings in the court be signed by a member of The Florida Bar other than himself. The court noted that Thompson had responded to the show cause order with multiple "rambling, argumentative, and contemptuous" responses that characterized the show cause order as "bizarre" and "idiotic."

That's just a taste of that Thompson's madness, and boy is it delicious...

Re:Very strange. (2)

Xtifr (1323) | about 2 years ago | (#40543253)

passing classwork and the bar means you have the intellect to pass those tests -- you can still very well be an idiot* (depending on one's definition of 'idiot').

Technically, the phrase in dispute was complete idiot. The ability to finish law school and pass the bar shows a lack of idiocy in some domain. At worst, I don't think he can be called much more than 90% idiot. :)

Re:Very strange. (2)

Gr8Apes (679165) | about 2 years ago | (#40544515)

passing classwork and the bar means you have the intellect to pass those tests -- you can still very well be an idiot* (depending on one's definition of 'idiot').

Technically, the phrase in dispute was complete idiot. The ability to finish law school and pass the bar shows a lack of idiocy in some domain. At worst, I don't think he can be called much more than 90% idiot. :)

Au contraire - it's quite possibly he wasn't 100% idiot when he passed law school and the bar, but what has happened since then (brain injury, alzheimer's, alcoholism, etc) can definitely reduce someone down to complete idiocy prior to being deemed a danger to themselves. Having witnessed such a degradation in mental capacity more than once (drugs, age, and illness and combinations - you will too with enough exposure to the elderly) makes me question whether we shouldn't have competency checks periodically for professions that required an examination to begin with, especially after certain types of injuries or illnesses.

Re:Very strange. (1)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 years ago | (#40541911)

While perhaps someone with a significantly low enough IQ couldn't do those things but in general average people can become lawyers if they have the dedication and put forth the work. Average people (IQ wise) include alot of "idiots" (as the word is used in the colloquial sense) with no common sense, having personality disorders, or maintaining only a semi-stable hold on reality. So yeah idiots can be lawyers as well as many many other things.

Re:Very strange. (-1)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 years ago | (#40542115)

" include alot of "idiots" "

Including the idiots who think "alot" is a word in the English language ...

Re:Very strange. (1)

SniperJoe (1984152) | about 2 years ago | (#40541989)

Frankly, I was wording things very carefully because based on his ridiculous previous actions, I was considering the possibility that he would attempt to sue me for libel.

Re:Very strange. (5, Insightful)

Cl1mh4224rd (265427) | about 2 years ago | (#40542129)

Carreon seems to have shown himself to file odd lawsuits but being a lawyer, he isn't a complete idiot.

Someone's already pointed out Jack Thompson, so I'll offer another: Orly Taitz [wikipedia.org].

Idiots can still become lawyers and lawyers, much like any other highly skilled professional, can become idiots or crazy after being certified in their field. Just because you were smart or sane when you were younger is not a guarantee that you'll always stay smart or sane.

Re:Very strange. (1)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 years ago | (#40547015)

Cocaine is a hell of a drug.

(Yes this is on topic)

Re:Very strange. (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 years ago | (#40547113)

Someone's already pointed out Jack Thompson, so I'll offer another: Orly Taitz [wikipedia.org].

ORLY?

Re:Very strange. (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 years ago | (#40542171)

Alll of us who donated money to the EFF should be ticked that the EFF wasted money on this semi-human piece of shite. On the one hand I am glad that they are taking a stand and getting attention. On the other hand, this was an easy case that did not require the "big guns." It was a big waste of the EFF's time and resourcces that could have been better spent elsewhere. Personally, I feel that Carreon should be required to pay for this waste.

Copyright Infringement (1)

Citizen of Earth (569446) | about 2 years ago | (#40544487)

Sue Carreon for copyright infringement. Let's see, 300 comics at $150,000 each = $45-million. Maybe he'll settle for only $10-million...

WTF is the Oatmeal? (3, Informative)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 years ago | (#40541581)

I have never heard of the Oatmeal, but I do know about Barbara Streisand. It makes me wonder if wonder if Charles Carreon has.

Re:WTF is the Oatmeal? (2)

PhilHibbs (4537) | about 2 years ago | (#40541897)

This isn't a classic Streisand Effect case - it looks like a deliberate publicity stunt by FunkyJunk which has worked in the sense that I have no heard of them, although I am not inclined to visit their site since they are clearly such jerks. Others who have heard of them through this may not have the same sensibilities as me and might enjoy visiting their site.

However (5, Funny)

Chris Mattern (191822) | about 2 years ago | (#40541587)

Sources say his lawsuit against the cream of wheat will proceed.

Re:However (1)

BSAtHome (455370) | about 2 years ago | (#40541895)

Maybe that is why I always read the plaintif's name as carry-on.

Children used to be disciplined by their parents. Looks like sending all of the players to bed without supper would be a good start. And they are all grounded for three months.

It turns out (-1)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 years ago | (#40541601)

There may have actually been some bear/mother sex in the past.

What a waste of time (3, Interesting)

mortonda (5175) | about 2 years ago | (#40541643)

For once I wash I had done the more common slashdot action and NOT read the article. How do people manage to become lawyers while maintaining the maturity of a preteen girl? (and by that I reference the ability to hold a meaningless grudge and carry it out to all kinds of extremes)

Re:What a waste of time (4, Insightful)

ShanghaiBill (739463) | about 2 years ago | (#40541723)

How do people manage to become lawyers while maintaining the maturity of a preteen girl? (and by that I reference the ability to hold a meaningless grudge and carry it out to all kinds of extremes)

You need to understand the type of person who becomes a lawyer. To become a lawyer, you have to be reasonably intelligent and hardworking. People like that could do something with their lives that would make the world a better place, but instead these people choose to become parasites on society. They choose a profession to enrich and advance their own interests, despite having a negative effect on humanity as a whole.

Then the worst of them become politicians.

Re:What a waste of time (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 years ago | (#40542049)

You need to understand the type of person who becomes a lawyer. To become a lawyer, you have to be reasonably intelligent and hardworking. People like that could do something with their lives that would make the world a better place, but instead these people choose to become parasites on society. They choose a profession to enrich and advance their own interests, despite having a negative effect on humanity as a whole.

Then the worst of them become politicians.

Andrew Ryan? Is that you?

Re:What a waste of time (5, Insightful)

jheath314 (916607) | about 2 years ago | (#40542203)

Tell that to the lawyers working for the EFF. In case you didn't notice, they did an admirable job defending The Oatmeal in this case, and your rights online in general.

When I went through the process of registering as a professional engineer, one of the requirements was to pass an exam on legal theory (focusing mostly on contract law). Studying for that test was a real eye-opener for me. I had been expecting to be horrified by how disconnected and counter-intuitive the legal system was, but instead I was surprised by how reasonable the rules were. There is a strong emphasis on fairness, clear language, and preventing the litigants from using the legal system as a bludgeon. (Damages in a contract dispute, for example, are supposed to be calculated based on the actual cost of remediation, as opposed to "some arbitrarily large penalty.")

Naturally, like any large and complex system, the legal system is susceptible to hacking and abuse... but for every crooked lawyer concerned only with making money, I'd argue that there are dozens of others genuinely concerned with serving society... you just don't hear about them because only the most outrageous cases make it into the news. If anything, I believe more technical and computer-savvy people should pursue careers in the legal system, to better protect the our rights in the digital age.

Re:What a waste of time (1)

Beeftopia (1846720) | about 2 years ago | (#40542923)

Tell that to the lawyers working for the EFF. In case you didn't notice, they did an admirable job defending The Oatmeal in this case, and your rights online in general.

Gandhi was a lawyer.

But then, so is Carreon.

Re:What a waste of time (1)

UnknownSoldier (67820) | about 2 years ago | (#40543705)

All you have proved that humans have many different motives, some are good some are bad. You will find this in ALL professions, institutions, and religions.

Tossing the baby out with the bathwater doesn't solve anything.

We should be instead focusing on the fucktards (Carreon) that abuse the system, or removing corrupt systems.

Re:What a waste of time (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 years ago | (#40544149)

>> Gandhi was a lawyer.

Hitler was an artist.

I don't think so. (1)

mosb1000 (710161) | about 2 years ago | (#40543055)

The legal system is a good example of how systems run by people will never function as intended. Indeed, it is hard for someone who really knows what they are talking about to point to changes we could make (in the US) to "fix" it (though there surely are minor improvements to be made). Most of the changes people suggest (like banning software patents) are arbitrary, unnecessary, and would ultimately be unfair and ineffective.

On paper, the justice system it looks good. But in practice it doles out justice very unevenly. Some people receive harsher sentences simply because they look suspicious or seem to be lying. Wealthy people are always able to hire an attorney to defend themselves and take advantage of the civil courts in contract disputes or other business matters, while the less well-off usually have to settle out of court because they can't afford to take time off to go to court (much less hire an expensive legal defense team).

Ultimately, I fail to see how more lawyers will solve the problem. Even if we had enough lawyers to bring the price of hiring an attorney down to where it was like hiring an auto-mechanic, most of the people who really need representation couldn't afford it (and that's impossible due the the cost involved in becoming a lawyer). Of late, society seems to be made up of an increasingly large portion of lawyers (in the US). But if anything the economic system has become more unequal and less fair.

Perhaps if the law were simplified, more people could learn enough about it to defend themselves in court, but I don't think so. On the other hand, since laws and court precedents are entirely made up and written down, it should be possible (were someone so inclined) to build an internet application that could present legal information in a way that is comprehensive, localized, and easy to understand. It would also need to handle forms and filing, since that trips up a lot of people. If you really want to help people, I'd suggest that that's probably a better way to do it. By making the law more accessible, people will be able help themselves rather than needing to pony up hundreds of dollars an hour for legal services.

Re:I don't think so. (1)

UnknownSoldier (67820) | about 2 years ago | (#40543713)

> Perhaps if the law were simplified, more people could learn enough about it to defend themselves in court,

That indeed is the proper solution.

"The more numerous the laws, the more corrupt the government."
- Publius Cornelius Tacitus, AD 56 â" AD 117

The IRS is a perfect example of. A simple 10% flat tax would remove ALL the loop-holes.

Re:I don't think so. (2)

Sarten-X (1102295) | about 2 years ago | (#40543967)

The IRS is a perfect example of. A simple 10% flat tax would remove ALL the loop-holes.

It'd also remove all the definitions and clarity of the current system. What exactly is or is not taxed in this "simple" solution? If I give a gift to my brother-in-law with cancer to cover a hospital bill, does that count as taxable income for him? If so, then I'll just pay his bills directly so he can avoid the tax. If not, then I'll also give a gift to my wife of $everything, so I avoid all my taxes. If there's a limit on what's taxable to try to promote fairness, then I'll complain that it's a needless complication that slants the law in someone else's favor.

Simplicity and fairness are not correlated. No matter how simple or complex the system, there are always people who will abuse it for their own benefit, and there will always be someone who can't understand it. Thus far, the legal system has erred on the side of caution, making laws that are very specific at the risk of making them difficult to understand, and favoring the consistency of precedence over the flexibility of constant reinterpretation. They aren't too hard if you take the time to read and understand them, but most people just want something they can understand in a nutshell and not have to think about.

Re:I don't think so. (1)

Drishmung (458368) | about 2 years ago | (#40544843)

The IRS is a perfect example of. A simple 10% flat tax would remove ALL the loop-holes.

It'd also remove all the definitions and clarity of the current system. [...]

I could make the comment that removing all the clarity of the current system would leave the current system mostly untouched :)

However, I mostly agree. As per Einstein's Razor "Everything should be made as simple as possible, but no simpler." (Which seems to actually be a paraphrase of

It can scarcely be denied that the supreme goal of all theory is to make the irreducible basic elements as simple and as few as possible without having to surrender the adequate representation of a single datum of experience.

WikiQuote [wikiquote.org] Arguably the paraphrase is a nicely recursive demonstration of itself.)

Some sots of flat tax seem to work quite well. VAT/GST with no exceptions, rather than the U.K. nightmare. [guardian.co.uk]. Poll Tax [wikipedia.org] is wonderfully simple too. But not such a good idea. [wikipedia.org]

I doubt a flat 10% tax would work. That doesn't mean the US Tax regime couldn't be improved.

Re:I don't think so. (0)

UnknownSoldier (67820) | about 2 years ago | (#40545059)

> It'd also remove all the definitions and clarity of the current system.
Ahh, I see that's why we have over 10,000 of pages of the Tax Code. For clarifying that, silly me. What was I thinking. I "forgot" that over-engineering was a good thing. /sarcasm

> No matter how simple or complex the system, there are always people who will abuse it for their own benefit, and there will always be someone who can't understand it.
So we should obfuscate the hell out of it so NO ONE can practically follow it. Gotcha.

> They aren't too hard if you take the time to read and understand them
Right, so you've personally read ALL 20 Volumes of Title 26 which is 13,458 pages of the Tax Code??

If no, then how you do you know you are _following_ the law?

> Simplicity and fairness are not correlated.
Cognitive dissonance much?

If you were in school and got a 4.0 GPA is it FAIR that you are forced to give a portion of that to someone else? That is precisely what the _existing_ tax code does.
A progressive tax (graduated) is ALREADY unfair. It robs from the rich to pay for the poor.

A flat tax is
a) simple, AND
b) fair.

Re:I don't think so. (-1)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 years ago | (#40545159)

Leader of Senate: All fellow members of the Roman senate hear me. Shall we continue to build palace after palace for the rich? Or shall we aspire to a more noble purpose and build decent housing for the poor? How does the senate vote?
Entire Senate: FUCK THE POOR!

If you were in school and got a 4.0 GPA is it FAIR that you are forced to give a portion of that to someone else? That is precisely what the _existing_ tax code does.

No, that isn't, because a GPA is not income. Best you could hope to equate a GPA to is your performance review or customer reviews.

A progressive tax (graduated) is ALREADY unfair. It robs from the rich to pay for the poor.

No, you retarded neanderthal moron who's spent too much time sucking on Rush's tit and breathing in his cigar smoke. Let an adult explain to you how it works.

There's a minimal amount of money required to live in a given situation. Housing, transportation, food, and other costs that either are paid or have drastic problematic results. So if people make below a certain amount, we don't hit them with income tax at all. Of course, they still get fucked by all the fees and bullshit you republican shit-eaters like to pass in terms of regressive taxation; think about it, the registration cost of $60-per for all of Rush's cars is nothing to him, but $60 a year to a family trying to live on $20k to keep their car registered is not insubstantial.

Now we get to medicare and social security taxes - and again these are REGRESSIVE since they actually cap off at a certain amount of income.

Now we get to "capital gains", also known as "income only the rich can have" that gets taxed at 15% instead of normal income AND is only available to those who can sit on their asses playing the stock market or who are on near-CEO level getting paid in stock options rather than salary. Again, regressive: the rich can pretty much opt entirely out of the income tax system anyways.

The tax system we have today, which assholes like you came up with, is fucked up. And you want to make it WORSE? Because in addition to your "flat income tax" that is designed to fuck the poor even harder, your mormon multi-wifing son of a bitch anointed savior wants to privilege his own capital gains at a nice 0% tax rate.

In conclusion: FUCK YOU. Go die unless you're willing to grow up and join us here in the 21st century.

Re:I don't think so. (1)

UnknownSoldier (67820) | about 2 years ago | (#40549255)

Please let me know when you grow up and are able to have a civil conversation without the childish ad hominem attacks instead of ranting.

--
"Better to remain silent and thought a fool, then open your mouth and remove all doubt."

Re:I don't think so. (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 years ago | (#40546057)

c) incredibly regressive

you left that out.

Re:I don't think so. (1)

mosb1000 (710161) | about 2 years ago | (#40548353)

I'm not sure if you're aware, but regressive means the rate gets lower for higher incomes. A flat tax is neither progressive nor regressive. It is flat.

Re:I don't think so. (1)

Sarten-X (1102295) | about 2 years ago | (#40550799)

Har har. Intentional misunderstanding is not funny, it's annoying.

A (mathematically) progressive tax rate is (socially) progressive. A (mathematically) flat tax rate is (socially) regressive. A (mathematically) regressive tax rate is (socially) plutocracy.

Re:I don't think so. (3, Insightful)

Sarten-X (1102295) | about 2 years ago | (#40550725)

Ahh, I see that's why we have over 10,000 of pages of the Tax Code. For clarifying that, silly me. What was I thinking. I "forgot" that over-engineering was a good thing. /sarcasm

Yup. It covers everything from plain ol' normal income to how to tax gifts to foreign charities who are charities by American standards but not their home countries, after declaring bankruptcy. This is vitally important stuff to someone working with foreign charities and bankruptcies, but "over-engineering" to most others.

So we should obfuscate the hell out of it so NO ONE can practically follow it. Gotcha.

No, we should have them organized and cross-referenced into a document that can be read in sections, so nobody has to understand the whole thing at once, but can simply refer to the sections they need. You know, something like Title 26...

Right, so you've personally read ALL 20 Volumes of Title 26 which is 13,458 pages of the Tax Code??

No, but I've read the sections that apply to me to understand my tax situation. I'm probably not qualified to tell you your tax situation, but that's what tax preparers are for, whose training is vetted by lawyers who have (collectively) read the whole thing.

If no, then how you do you know you are _following_ the law?

For the exact same reason that I know I'm following California's laws for explosives: they don't apply to me. I've never dealt with explosives in California, and I've never been in the vast majority of situations described in the tax code.

Cognitive dissonance much?

You'll have to forgive me for not seeing the dissonance. Simplicity describes the measure of how detailed a system is, while fairness is a measure of how evenly the rules affect everyone. It's perfectly simple to say "No one under five feet tall may vote in any Presidential election" but it's obviously not fair. On the other hand, a rule of "No one may wear hats in public, except for those for whom hats are medically necessary, or otherwise required by law or an otherwise-legal mandated uniform, unless there is precipitation in excess of the equivalent of one quarter-inch of rainfall per hour, as reported by the National Weather Service" is far more complex, but fair, as it covers everyone equally and does not place undue hardship on any group of people. If the rule were simplified by, for example, removing the "medically necessary" clause, it would be less fair, because it effectively discriminates against those with skin damage or baldness, though it isn't explicitly written against them.

Similarly, a flat 10% tax rate is very simple, but also unfair, because that percentage is the only expense that changes. There are no limits that rent must be under 5% of someone's income, or that groceries are only 15%, or that vehicle maintenance will only cost you 2% of your income annually. There is no flat tax low enough to leave enough money for a family in poverty to feed itself.

A progressive tax is complicated, but much more fair. Each income bracket is assigned a rate that is (ideally) low enough to allow a decent standard of living (or in the case of poverty, not make things any worse), while high enough to cover the government's expenses.

If you were in school and got a 4.0 GPA is it FAIR that you are forced to give a portion of that to someone else? That is precisely what the _existing_ tax code does.

You mean like a group project, where my 4.0 is dependent on my fellow students getting off their ass and working? Yes, it sounds fair, because a part of the group project's lesson is management, so I am partially responsible for the work the others put in. From a different perspective, it's their hard work that lets me earn that 4.0, so it's also fair that we share the grade. I'm not sure how you're relating this to taxes, though.

A progressive tax (graduated) is ALREADY unfair. It robs from the rich to pay for the poor.

I consider that a good and fair thing. The rich (myself included, as I fall in one of the higher tax brackets) generally make their incomes through the use of employees, whose lives depends on basic social services, because they often haven't built up the financial safety net that the rich have. American society has collectively decided that everyone is endowed with a certain inalienable right to life, liberty, and the pursuit of happiness, and that the government should promote the general welfare of the people. The government provides the safety net, those that can contribute to it do, and those that must rely on it can do so, that they may continue to pursue happiness.

Re:I don't think so. (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 years ago | (#40545207)

"The more numerous the retards, the more Right Wing the government."

FTFY

Re:What a waste of time (2)

Sarten-X (1102295) | about 2 years ago | (#40543827)

I could not agree with you more. Lured by money (and the thought of looking professional with a jacket and noose^Wnecktie), I briefly studied law back in college before moving into computer science, but I've kept an interest ever since, studying anything I've encountered in nearly two decades of programming. I've delved mostly into IP and traffic law, but almost everything I've encountered seems reasonable if initially approached with the attitude of "this made sense to somebody, so I probably don't understand it yet."

Law is very similar to programming, in that the most simple goal involves an incredible amount of overhead in special cases and clarification, because undefined behavior is an opening for abuse, which some evil human will exploit at some point. Thus any basic concept, like "school bus drivers must drive safely", may be dragged out into a 30-page dissertation detailing the minimum times to wait at a railroad crossing, the appropriate type of footwear, and the blinking frequency of turn signals. Unfortunately, the explanation for each requirement is lost (as documentation so often is), so any time someone is told they can't do X, they usually just get mad at the lawyer that told them, rather than try to figure out why X is probably a bad idea.

Lawyers serve as endpoints for communication between the legislature and the individuals and businesses trying to operate. Malice toward them is shooting the messenger.

Re:What a waste of time (5, Insightful)

fightinfilipino (1449273) | about 2 years ago | (#40542895)

tough having to choose between modding parent as flamebait and replying in argument.

being a lawyer is a noble profession. no one likes lawyers until they realize they are at a point in their lives where they need one. the role of the lawyer overall is to represent their client, zealously and loyally. that's likely the primary reason that the general public dislikes them: they take on the undesirable role of being an advocate for another, and this almost always means that the lawyer will be an adversary to whoever is in opposition to their client.

but here's the thing: at one point or another, every single person will find themselves in need of an advocate to protect and ensure his or her legal rights. that remains true whether the client is a hardworking laborer or even one of the vaunted rich CEOs. in the actual world, the system can be lopsided, with wealthy persons being able to afford high-powered lawyers. nevertheless, there ARE lawyers willing to try to ensure that disparity is mitigated, if not eliminated.

the parent post tries to paint all lawyers as people who have chosen to do evil. there couldn't be anything farther from the truth. if anything, the majority of lawyers are in the very business of making the world a better place, by defending the common person or the outcast when no one else will. lawyers make sure their clients know and understand the law. most importantly, lawyers make sure that people know and do not lose their rights. that is one of the most fundamentally HELPFUL things a person can do, especially in nations founded on the rule of law.

parent post ignores the scores and scores of attorneys who choose to work pro bono or for non-profits or public interest firms. it just happens to be that the most visible lawyers are the loud and controversial ones. they are just that, loud and controversial, and give the less visible attorneys a bad name.

Re:What a waste of time (4, Insightful)

Nom du Keyboard (633989) | about 2 years ago | (#40544081)

tough having to choose between modding parent as flamebait and replying in argument.

being a lawyer is a noble profession. no one likes lawyers until they realize they are at a point in their lives where they need one.

The problem is that too often the point where you realize that need is when some other lawyer is coming after You.

Re:What a waste of time (1)

PhunkySchtuff (208108) | about 2 years ago | (#40545199)

tough having to choose between modding parent as flamebait and replying in argument.

being a lawyer is a noble profession. no one likes lawyers until they realize they are at a point in their lives where they need one.

The problem is that too often the point where you realize that need is when some other lawyer is coming after You.

Yes, but generally the reason that there's some other lawyer coming after you is because someone else (usually not a lawyer) has engaged their services to do so.

A respone to a law student (5, Insightful)

alexo (9335) | about 2 years ago | (#40544399)

being a lawyer is a noble profession.

Spoken like a true lawyer.

Hmmm... Let's check your blog [fightinfilipino.net]
i’m a first-year law student

You could have mentioned this little tidbit of information but evidently decided not to. There may be noble lawyers out there (the EFF perhaps) but I would not hasten to include you in that group.

no one likes lawyers until they realize they are at a point in their lives where they need one.

That's te first reason that no one likes lawyers: the legal system is set up so that you need to retain a lawyer, and they are not cheap (Wikipedia [wikipedia.org]: Surveys suggest that fees range from $150 to $1000 per hour when billed hourly). Apparently, justice is not an affordable commodity: it is often cheaper to cave in than to fight, not just in civil cases (settling) but in criminal ones as well (plea bargains). Public defenders are so overworked and underfunded that they cannot realistically do their job and since a consequence of the adversary system is that the side with the better lawyers often wins regardless of merits, lawyers are seen as either thugs or extortionists, depending on the side they are on.

And who do you think perpetuates such a system? Lawyers.

the role of the lawyer overall is to represent their client, zealously and loyally. that's likely the primary reason that the general public dislikes them: they take on the undesirable role of being an advocate for another, and this almost always means that the lawyer will be an adversary to whoever is in opposition to their client.

No, the primary reason that the general public dislikes them is, like I wrote above, the better (read: more expensive) lawyer will likely win regardless of merits in a large percentage of cases. The general public wants justice , not a game inherently biased in favour of those who learned to game the system or can afford to pay somebody to do that for them.

but here's the thing: at one point or another, every single person will find themselves in need of an advocate to protect and ensure his or her legal rights. that remains true whether the client is a hardworking laborer or even one of the vaunted rich CEOs. in the actual world, the system can be lopsided, with wealthy persons being able to afford high-powered lawyers.

Replace "can be" with "is extremely".

In a perfect world, *every* lawyer that practices privately would be required to serve as public defenders similarly to the jury duty of regular citizens (and for similar compensation). A lawyer that tried to avoid that duty or did not perform it *exclusively* and to the best of their abilities would be disbarred on the spot.

Some countries have socialized medicine and yet not a single one seems to have socialized justice. I wonder why.

nevertheless, there ARE lawyers willing to try to ensure that disparity is mitigated, if not eliminated.

[citation desperately needed]

Out of the 760,000 or so practicing lawyers in the US, how many are such valiant defenders of the poor as you paint them to be? (I assume you have data to back up your numbers).

the parent post tries to paint all lawyers as people who have chosen to do evil.

No, they just chose to perpetuate an evil system, and profit handsomely while they're at it.

if anything, the majority of lawyers are in the very business of making the world a better place, by defending the common person or the outcast

Wow, you make lawyers look almost as beneficial to society as payday lenders [wikipedia.org].

when no one else will.

Because you monopolistic fucks will not allow anyone to do so [fed-soc.org]!

lawyers make sure their clients know and understand the law. most importantly, lawyers make sure that people know and do not lose their rights.

For a hefty fee that the common person often cannot afford, while preventing all other alternatives.

parent post ignores the scores and scores of attorneys who choose to work pro bono or for non-profits or public interest firms.

1) This is called "advertising expenses".

2) My dictionary defines "score" as "a group of 20". What is the percentage of "scores and scores" out of 760,000? 0.01% or so?

it just happens to be that the most visible lawyers are the loud and controversial ones. they are just that, loud and controversial, and give the less visible attorneys a bad name.

Yes, lawyers are "noble" (as you wrote). It just happens to be that the 99.9% rotten ones give the others a bad name.

To summarize: you are a part of a group that wants to control access to justice in the same way that RIAA/MPAA and their counterparts wants to control access to culture. I give your advocacy of your chosen profession the same respect that I would give the efforts of Cary Sherman or Chris Dodd (both lawyers, by the way) to glorify their respective groups.

Re:A respone to a law student (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 years ago | (#40545399)

*applause*

Re:A respone to a law student (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 years ago | (#40547685)

My grandfather had a comic about bringing in lawyers for settling disputes. One farmer was pulling on a cow's horns, the other farmer was pulling on the tail. The lawyer was in the middle milking the cow.

Re:A respone to a law student (1)

MetalliQaZ (539913) | about 2 years ago | (#40551189)

Well done. I would also like to add that this quote:

every single person will find themselves in need of an advocate to protect and ensure his or her legal rights

is frightening and wrong in its own right. He is so invested in the system that he takes this as a normal part of life. It should NOT be so common that someone finds their legal rights under attack. That happens because there are too many lawyers walking around looking for income. He probably thinks that $500 an hour is a fair price for such representation.

I really, really liked your buzzword-in-the-making: "socialized justice"

Re:What a waste of time (1)

morethanapapercert (749527) | about 2 years ago | (#40545999)

It's certainly true that being a lawyer, as a profession, has among the worst possible reputations as far as the general public is concerned. It's guys like Carreon and Thompson that do that. I know from personal experience that there *are* good lawyers out there, men and women who genuinely motivated by a desire to seek justice. Our own family attorny is an excellent case for that. He specializes in family law, usually custody cases and I happen to know that he does easily twice the amount of Legal Aid and Pro Bono work the Bar Association urges on it's members.

Here on Slashdot, NewYorkCountryLawyer is also well respected for being "one of the good guys", but being a good guy, he doesn't get nearly the media attention nutjobs like Thompson get.

Re:What a waste of time (1)

swalve (1980968) | about 2 years ago | (#40541777)

The lawyer only does what the client wants.

So does a hitman (0, Flamebait)

SmallFurryCreature (593017) | about 2 years ago | (#40541865)

So does a soldier who blindly obeys orders.

So does a whore.

What is your point?

Lawyers are trash? Point made!

Re:So does a hitman (1)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 years ago | (#40542025)

The EFF has lawyers, are they scum as well?

Re:What a waste of time (0)

ShanghaiBill (739463) | about 2 years ago | (#40542119)

The lawyer only does what the client wants.

Not at all. Lawyers serve their own interests. I have dealt with lawyers professionally on numerous occasions, and they often give terrible advice. They will give their clients unreasonably rosy projections of prevailing, to encourage them to continue paying legal fees. They will discourage their clients from accepting a reasonable settlement. They will recommend responding to the other party using belligerent and adversarial language, when a more conciliatory tone would serve their clients interests.

Basically, advice from a lawyer usually boils down to this: Spend more money on lawyers.

Re:What a waste of time (1)

fightinfilipino (1449273) | about 2 years ago | (#40542967)

clearly your anecdotal, personally-biased evidence is all we need to come to the conclusion that lawyers are jerks. right.

Re:What a waste of time (2)

HornWumpus (783565) | about 2 years ago | (#40543127)

Anybody who trusts their shyster is a fool.

In every interaction with a land shark you need to be aware of the pro-billable hour bias they all carry around. You can no more trust them then anybody else on commish.

Re:What a waste of time (1)

CohibaVancouver (864662) | about 2 years ago | (#40542577)

The lawyer only does what the client wants.

Yes, but a good lawyer only does this after advising their client as to a) the law, b) precedents and c) the likely outcome based on their experience.

"Yes, we can sue your neighbour for stress after they painted their house blue, but you will likely incur $15,000 in legal costs, you will likely lose the case and you may be required to pay your neighbour's legal fees. Do you still want to proceed?"

"Yes, goddammit."

"Fine. Please write me a retainer cheque for $15,000 and we'll get started with the court filing."

Re:What a waste of time (1)

HornWumpus (783565) | about 2 years ago | (#40543169)

More realistic advice. 'It's a slam dunk, you will win millions. We need a small check to get started.'

The worst write contingency agreements where they collect when they win a judgement, not when you collect the judgement. So you take their bad advice and sue a 'judgement proof' (broke) person. Shyster wins case (often default judgement), but there is no money to collect. Shyster turns around and sues client for 'their %' of the judgement.

It's amazing more of them don't get shot.

Inman's suit against Carreon (5, Informative)

Trip6 (1184883) | about 2 years ago | (#40541645)

If you haven't seen the text of the Inman suit against Carreon [popehat.com] it is required reading. Someone is going to jail for this one.

Re:Inman's suit against Carreon (5, Informative)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 years ago | (#40541683)

If you haven't seen the text of the Inman suit against Carreon [popehat.com] it is required reading. Someone is going to jail for this one.

Apparently there's a nutcase filing frivolous lawsuits using Matthew Inman's name for that court filing. Ars Technica has more on it.

Re:Inman's suit against Carreon (3, Informative)

Calos (2281322) | about 2 years ago | (#40541835)

Goodness, I should hope that's obvious for anyone who looks at the linked complaint. An excerpt:

"...and Charles Carreon went biserk [sic] and irate on me and took my bowl of oatmeal and threw it in my face, Tara Lyn Carreon was originally using her feet under the table and secretly massaging my groin with her toes while mr. [sic] Carreon was trying to blackmail me, so after oatmeal splattered my face, then Tara Carreon kicked me in the groin under the table, everything swelled. Mr. Carreon also poured hot mrs. butterworth [sic] maple syrup on my head to humiliate me..."

Yeah, totally believable. The only person "going to jail for this one" could be the nutjob who actually filed it.

Re:Inman's suit against Carreon (1)

rs1n (1867908) | about 2 years ago | (#40541961)

One of the commenting websites (I forget which) noted that Carreon and his wife were upset that his email was used to sign up for porn sites. I would wager that perhaps a Carreon supporter (or he himself) may be attempting to seek retribution by doing something in the same vein.

Re:Inman's suit against Carreon (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 years ago | (#40541979)

No way that could be real. They don't use Mrs Butterworth's at Dennys!!

Re:Inman's suit against Carreon (1)

skine (1524819) | about 2 years ago | (#40542317)

What, you mean that Inman isn't a student at George Washington University, and his mailing address isn't a 7-11?

Re:Inman's suit against Carreon (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 years ago | (#40542871)

Apparently they can't even write DC addresses correctly, as the GW location would be 19th St NW.

Nice (4, Interesting)

canajin56 (660655) | about 2 years ago | (#40541755)

I especially like the way Mrs. FunnyJunk.com rants about how obviously Inman is a murderer, or at least is morally indistinguishable from Jared Lee Loughner (the gunman in the 2011 Tuscon shooting) even if technically he hasn't shot anybody (yet). Because that's NOT defamation of character, unlike ranting about how much FunnyJunk drag their heels on removing copyrighted works, which is the most vile sort of slander imaginable.

What are the odds?... (1)

ArcSecond (534786) | about 2 years ago | (#40542515)

...that a guy who's last name is suspiciously close to the descriptor for animals who feed on decomposing flesh decided to become a lawyer?

Re:What are the odds?... (1)

FSWKU (551325) | about 2 years ago | (#40543077)

...that a guy who's last name is suspiciously close to the descriptor for animals who feed on decomposing flesh decided to become a lawyer?

The decomposing animal itself is what carrion refers to, the creatures who feed on it. [/pedantic]

Although somehow this might make it a MORE apt description of the guy's character...

Carreon Disbarred (2)

siphonophore (158996) | about 2 years ago | (#40543865)

The demands of Carreon's initial letter--extortion, in my opinion--ought to be immediately identified as an abuse of power and information asymmetry (again, in my opinion). In a functional legal system, the state bar would review his actions, possibly leading to a revocation of his license.

As a resident of Arizona, I asked that this be looked into at http://www.azbar.org/contactus/contactusform [azbar.org].

I believe such action would go far toward preventing this kind of behavior in the future.

Correction for OP (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 years ago | (#40544091)

>>>(dubbed a SLAPP suit by the EFF)

Actually...

"The acronym was coined in the 1980s by University of Denver professors Penelope Canan and George W. Pring."

^ Pring, George W.; Canan, Penelope (1996). SLAPPs: Getting Sued for Speaking Out. Temple University Press. pp. 8–9. ISBN 0-375-75258-7.

Lose His Law License (2)

Nom du Keyboard (633989) | about 2 years ago | (#40544105)

My personal (and protected) opinion is that Charles Carreon should lose his law license over this for Barratry immediately, if not sooner. And let him be a lesson to all other lawyers who would consider the same course of action.

Re:Lose His Law License (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 years ago | (#40546461)

Judges are lawyers. They arent going to do that unless they are annoyed to the point they dont want to deal with it. They would readily fine or demand public service for "disorderly conduct" of a normal citizen than consider any action against one trained in the law. They wear suits, and file papers. They are the ones that converse in the courtroom. How can you be against that. The other people sit there. Some may speak but only when spoken to.

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