April 1st, 2012

Blawg Review is Back! (With some incredible, but true, stories)

One of the little known facts about April Fool’s Day  is that actual news can be discussed. And so, without further ado:

Blawg Review (which I have hosted three times, see the right sidebar) is now back. It picks up where it left off, most appropriately with an April Fool’s prequel at George Wallace’s  A Fool in the Forest. It’s theme is  that of  I’ve Got a Little List, from Gilbert & Sullivan’s The Mikado. Wallace’s blog is an art form in itself. It also reveals to the world some suitably absurd stories that are difficult to believe, but nevertheless true.

1. You know that Supreme Court argument on health care this past week? It seems the Republican party has used an audio clip from the Obama side in a commercial. But first, they distorted it. Tom Goldstein gives the details of the manipulation at SCOTUSblog and writes:

It is as if the RNC decided to take an incredibly serious and successful argument that has the chance to produce a pathbreaking legal victory for a conservative interpretation of the Constitution, drag it through the mud, and vomit on it.

More to the point, and why it is important on a blog such as mine that doesn’t deal directly with the healtcare law, but does deal (as all lawyers must) with the Supreme Court as an institution:

…the Justices now have before them a perfect illustration of the gross distortion that can instantly be made of recordings of their proceedings.  What is to stop the same misleading stunt being pulled with the Justices’ own oral argument questions and comments?  Nothing at all.  The Court made a special exception in releasing the oral argument tape for the health care arguments so promptly, and it probably will hesitate before doing so again.  If there were any chance that the Justices would permit cameras in the Court, I do not see happening now.

2.  Last year a Montana woman was hit for $2.5M in damages in a defamation suit. The defendant, Crystal Cox, claimed she was an investigative journalist and covered under the state’s Shield Law. A decision this week indicates that she  appeared more as an extorionist. According to the judge in the case:

…the uncontroverted evidence at trial was that after receiving a demand to stop posting what plaintiffs believed to be false and defamatory material on several websites, including allegations that [plaintiff]  had committed tax fraud, defendant offered “PR,” “search engine management,” and online reputation repair services to Obsidian Finance, for a price of $2,500 per month. Ex. 33. The suggestion was that defendant offered to repair the very damage she caused for a small but tasteful monthly fee. This feature, along with the absence of other media features, led me to conclude that defendant was not media. (see.pp. 13-14)

That story of first trashing a good reputation and then offering to repair it for a fee is  now being well-covered in the legal blogosphere, and each of these posts from the April Fool’s Blawg Review seems well worth reading. And it is being covered not just because of what the judge did, but because, in the truth-is-stranger-than-fiction department of April 1st, Crystal Cox is now rocketing around the blogosphere because she has now … well, you’re going to have to read for yourself to see what she has done to Marc Randazza, his wife, and their three-year-old daughter:

3.  Finally, because I can’t leave you with two miserable stories such as the ones above, there is this from Jonathan Turley:

Pinch Me: First Truck Spills Millions of Coins All Over Highway, Second Truck Covers The Money In Candy . . . Men Wait Anxiously For Moosehead Beer Truck

So head over to the April Fool’s Blawg Review for more stories that are, most definitely, true. And if you have any kids in the household who are Harry Potter fans, there is a bonus clip of Daniel Radcliffe that they will enjoy.