April 2014

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Get a Smell at These Emails

This isn't strictly law-related, except that the point of these emails seem to be to drive traffic to some terrible law-related site. But I'm going to make an exception here. If you write a blog you will, at some point,…

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Peeps in Law Contest: Voting is Open

I previously mentioned the ABA Journal's "Peeps in Law" diorama contest, but now all the entries are in and the voting is underway. Clearly the best entry this year was "The Emergency Peepsquatch Ordinance," by Lee Rawles: Unfortunately for these two…

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Neighborhood Bully Sentenced to a Day of Taunting

Also 15 days in jail, seven months of probation, 100 hours of community service, an apology letter, anger-management classes and mental-health counseling, but the day of taunting is the amusing part. Photo by Lynn Ischay for the Plain Dealer The Cleveland…

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Baby Walks

According to Newsweek Pakistan: A court on Saturday threw out charges of attempted murder against a nine-month-old baby, in a case that highlighted endemic flaws in Pakistan’s legal system and provoked widespread ridicule. The former suspect's bail application has also…

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Legislature Debates Which Holy Bible Should Be Its Official State Book

The Times-Picayune reports (thanks, Brad) that a committee voted 8-5 to approve HB 503 on Thursday, so it will now be considered by the full Louisiana House. The vote came after a debate in which legislators grappled with difficult questions, in particular this one: which Holy Bible should become the official state book of Louisiana?

As introduced by Rep. Thomas Carmody, HB 503 provided as follows:

There shall be an official state book. The official state book shall be the Holy Bible, published by Johannes Prevel, (Prevel, Jean, active 1510-1528, printer. & Petit, Jean, fl. 1492-1530.) [sic], which is the oldest edition of the Holy Bible in the Louisiana State Museum system. The use on official documents of the state and with the insignia of the state is hereby authorized. 

In other words, Carmody says he wants to make a specific individual Bible the official state book. He explained later that when he started thinking about which Bible should be the state Bible, he decided it should be the oldest one in the state. That's apparently the one above. There are problems, though. For example, it doesn't make any sense. How could you "use" any book (let alone one that is 500 years old) "on official documents of the state"? Are staples involved?

There's another problem. According to Carmody, that particular book is privately owned, so—for a reason he didn't specify—it can't be an official state symbol. Carmody said he amended the bill for that reason, and the version he offered on April 10 looked like this:

There shall be an official state book. The official state book shall be the Authorized King James Version of the Holy Bible that is housed in the State Library of Louisiana.

Problem solved?

Turns out you can watch Louisiana's committee meetings on the internet, and the video is available the same day. Not that most people would want to watch a meeting of the Louisiana House Committee on Municipal, Parochial, and Cultural Affairs, but you could. And I did.

First the really important business was taken up. Thornwell was declared "Yellow Rail Capital of the World," and Grand Couteau was recognized as the state's "Sweet Dough Pie Capital." All lamented the witness's failure to actually bring a sweet dough pie with her, but the resolution was adopted anyway. After several other matters, Rep. Carmody appeared. (This is about 20% of the way in, if you care.)

To kick off this part of the hearing, a staff member read the bill aloud. It was probably just coincidence that the bill to make a Holy Bible the official book of Louisiana was read aloud by Ms. Tina Righteous, but then maybe it wasn't.

Carmody explained how the bill came to be. He said "a constituent" called and wondered why Louisiana had all these state symbols but no official state book. Why, that's true, Carmody exclaimed. Well, he responded, let's say we were to have an official state book. What book do you think would be appropriate? Why, the Holy Bible, said the constituent. And that's just how it happened, boys and girls.

As you have probably realized by now, there is yet another major problem with Carmody's amended bill, and when his statement was finished, Rep. Stephen Ortego lost no time in pointing it out. "Why the King James Version?" he asked. Wait, what? Somebody introduced a bill to make the Bible the official state book, and your first question is "why the King James Version?"

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Baby Fingerprinted

Just a quick follow-up to "Baby Indicted" (April 4): Photo: Agence-France Presse, Getty Images He's apparently being fingerprinted by Steve Carell, and frankly this would have made a lot more sense if it had been on an episode of The Office….

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TSA Fines “Naked American Hero” $500

As you may recall, after John Brennan showed TSA agents in Portland he didn't have a bomb by taking off his clothes, they got all upset about it and charges were filed. See "TSA: Wants to See You Naked, Complains When You Get…

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Insurers Demand $2 Million for Negligent Squirrel-Torching

Khek Chanthalavong told investigators the blaze started after he had been using a torch on the deck of a unit he shared with Barbara Pellow to burn the fur off a squirrel he'd captured. People, how many times do I…