The NFL is Socalist

January 31, 2011 on 3:24 pm | In General, Logic, Sports | 1 Comment

Bill Maher wrote a piece for the Huffington Post pointing out that the NFL is socialist. Bill is right, but unfortunately his piece is written in a very condescending way to offend as many football fans as possible. Accordingly, it will never convince the very people he’s trying to convince.

Here’s the argument in a nutshell. The NFL is socialist in three ways.

First, there is a salary cap. That means each team can only spend the same amount as any other team. That puts all teams on the same footing. In contrast, in Major League Baseball the Yankees spend $206 million per year while the Pittsburgh Pirates only spends $40 million. The Yankees will always get better players.

Second, the teams equally share TV revenues. When the Patriots play the Detroit Lions, each team gets the same portion of TV revenue. Yes, the Lions are rewarded for failure.

Third, the teams with the worst records get the best draft picks. Once again, the worst teams are rewarded, while the teams that work hard and win, get the worst new players.

Another thing the NFL does to help lesser teams is to not have any playoff series. In baseball and basketball they play multiple games to see who wins. That’s not true in the NFL.

So in the NFL it is much more likely for an underdog team to move forward in the playoffs. Everyone was shocked that the Seahawks beat the Saints in the playoffs. If the Seahawks were forced to beat them in a series, they probably couldn’t have won two games. But they were able to pull off that one win. And that was very exciting.

It’s clear why the NFL does this. If the NFL followed MLB’s system, the vast majority of teams could never go to the Super Bowl. For example, how could the Green Bay Packers, which is located in a city of only 100,000 people, compete against the New York Jets?! Under the MLB’s system, the Packers would never have a chance to go to the Super Bowl. Much in the same way the Pittsburgh Pirates will never go to the World Series.

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Where’s the oat, caramelized sugar, yeast, and citric acid filled beef?

January 28, 2011 on 4:06 pm | In General, Law, Logic | No Comments

Someone filed a lawsuit against Taco Bell alleging that their “ground beef” is not really ground beef. I.e., it has ingredients other than ground beef.

Taco Bell responded by saying something along the lines of, “Well fucking duh. Who fucking puts pure ground beef in their tacos?! Of course we add seasoning and other flavorings to our ground beef.”

If you can’t tell by my paraphrasing of Taco Bell’s response, I think the lawsuit is complete BS. Let’s assume the facts underlying the lawsuit are correct. I.e., Taco Bell’s ground beef contains “oats, caramelized sugar, yeast, and citric acid.”

If you like Taco Bell, then it follows you like those ingredients in your ground beef. If you don’t like those ingredients in your ground beef, you almost certainly do not eat ground beef based tacos and burritos at Taco Bell.

So who is this lawsuit trying to protect? Is it trying to protect people from eating food they like? Or is it trying to protect people from food they already wouldn’t eat?

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Public conversations are not private

January 28, 2011 on 3:31 pm | In Computers, General, Law, Old Curmudgeon | No Comments

A bunch of people are complaining that lawyers are able to access and use “private” facebook content in lawsuits.

The people who are complaining have a complete misunderstanding of what private means. If you tell someone, even one person, something private, it’s no longer private. Unless the person you told has some sort of legal duty to keep it private.

So if you talk to your physician (or wife, or lawyer, etc.) about something private, it’s against the law for the physician to tell anyone else about it. Accordingly, a court cannot order the physician to tell anyone else about it.

However, if you tell your physician something private in room full of people who overheard you, you’ve waived the privilege. To put it simply: the second you tell someone without privilege something private, it’s no longer private.

As I noted before, facebook is full of “people who want to be able to reveal all — but don’t want for anyone else to violate their ‘privacy.’”

To the facebook generation: If you want your privacy, simply stop divulging it. If you want to divulge every detail of your life with your friends, accept the consequences of your actions.

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No one ever said life would be fair

January 28, 2011 on 2:48 pm | In Economy, General, Law | No Comments

A wanna-be lawyer was denied a license to practice law because he had too much debt. Where did the debt come from? It was his law-school student loans. Sometimes life is unfair. Sometimes it’s draconian.

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I shouldn’t talk to Asian people

January 27, 2011 on 4:28 pm | In Courtroom Conversations | No Comments

I have problems talking to Asian people, I’m not sure why.

The first incident happened at a Chinese restaurant many many years ago. My friend wanted butter for his white rice. Never one to turn down extra fat on my carbs, I agreed. I asked the waitress, “can we get some butter, please?”

She started screaming at us, “We have no butter. No butter here.”

The next time was at a different chinese restaurant. My co-worker had just ordered almond chicken. I said to the waitress, “I’ll have the same thing.”

She replied, “No same thing.”

Not quite getting it, I repeated myself. “I’ll have the same thing he’s having” while pointing to my co-worker, who just ordered.

She replied, quite angrily and sternly, “No same thing. Order from the menu.”

I finally got it and replied, “I want the same thing he’s ordering, the almond chicken.”

Anyway, today there was a cute young Asian couple outside our courtroom looking lost. I asked them if they needed any help. The guy told me their professor told them to come and watch a court proceeding.

I told the guy that we had nothing going on in our courtroom but that he should check out another courtroom.

He asked, “What’s ‘another courtroom’?”

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Microsoft’s Bing does not read minds

January 27, 2011 on 2:53 pm | In Computers, General, Humor, Logic, Reviews, Satire / Sarcasm, Tech | No Comments

Microsoft has a new advertisement about its search engine Bing. The ad has two guys shopping. One guy asks the other guy whether they should get salsa. The other guy starts talking about salsa dancing.

The point of the ad is that language is ambiguous. And due to that ambiguity, internet searches can be filled with irrelevant results.

The selling point of the ad is that somehow Bing cuts through the ambiguity inherent in language and somehow “knows” what you’re really searching for.

My hypothesis is that Microsoft has developed mind reading technology. To test that hypothesis I’ve decided to do three searches of the word “salsa.” During the first search I’ll think about how delicious salsa is to eat. During the second search I’ll think about how sexy salsa dancers are. And during the last search I’ll think about pink elephants. Here we go….

Ok, I’m back. I did the three searches and got the exact same results each time.

As you can see, Bing did not read my mind. Despite the fact that I was thinking about salsa to eat and sexy salsa dancers, I got results about bicycles. What’s up with that?! What does bicycles have to do with eating salsa or sexy salsa dancers?! And not once did I get any results about a pink elephant eating salsa or a sexy pink salsa dancing elephant.

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The Copyright Industry Can Compete!

January 22, 2011 on 2:00 pm | In Copyright, General, Intellectual Property, Law | No Comments

I’ve written before that the copyright industry simply cannot and will not compete in a free market. Whenever competition arises, they’ll sue. If they can’t sue. They’ll have laws enacted to allow them to sue. If they can’t get laws passed, they’ll have treaties passed, which will force new laws to be enacted.

As another example in the pseudo IP realm, D’Addario, which makes guitar strings, also wants government protection from China. He wants the government to act as his own private police force to protect his trademarks.

But one person in the copyright industry has learned that competition is a good thing. She’s the CEO of a company which makes and sells software. When an employee left the company and started selling her own nearly identical version of the software, the CEO’s first instinct was to go legal. She sued. That’s what the copyright industry always does when faced with competition.

But after spending a ton of money with no solution in sight, she decided to drop the legal action and compete. She listened to her customers and made a better product. Her sales are higher as are her profits.

Let’s hope the music and movie industries learn the value of competition before they go out of business.

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Demanding Gov. Protection in a Free Market a.k.a. An Open Letter to Jim D’Addario

January 21, 2011 on 2:22 pm | In Economy, General, Intellectual Property, Law, Politics | 7 Comments

A long long time ago, before income taxes were imposed upon the citizenry of the United States, the Federal government made its money from tariffs. If you wanted to import your goods into the US, you had to pay the government. Tariffs gave the government its loot and protected our corporations from competition.

But as the US became a huge economic juggernaut, US corporations wanted to export our goods to the rest of the world. Those corporations fought against tariffs and demanded “free” trade. They wanted to sell our goods to foreign lands without additional costs and impediments.

This system worked for a while. Because we were the world’s largest exporter, we we able to sell tons of our stuff to the rest of the world. However, it finally came back to bite us. Starting in the 60s Japan got really good at building quality products and used our lack of tariffs to import them at dirt cheap prices. Now we don’t make any electronics in the US.

But, for corporations, it was still a great system. US corporations simply moved production to third world countries such as Mexico and to former second world countries such as China. So now we don’t build much of anything in the US.

What I find so deliciously ironic is that a corporation is actually complaining about this system.

Jim D’Addario, the CEO of guitar string manufacturer D’Addario, is complaining about China. He’s complaining that the Chinese are able to produce cheaper strings and sell them for less and he’s losing money on it. He defends using the United States government his own private police force as follows:

How is possible for the public to ask the legitimate manufacturers to bear the role of the government and police every instance of (trademark infringement) with a law suit?

First, if you cannot compete in this “free” market, you should go out of business. Second, if the only way you can compete is by spending my tax dollars, you should go out of business.

Corporations rammed down our collective throats that a “free” market system works best. Now it’s killing you because you’re utterly inefficient. You want my tax dollars used to protect your trademarks?! What the frick do I get out of it? Do I get a share of your profits. Frick no. I get nothing while you get richer.

Jim, I have a solution for you which would benefit all of us. If you want government protection, demand tariffs on imported goods. You benefit because the cheap labor China relies upon and environmental laws it ignores are balanced by the collection of tariffs. I benefit because the federal government would no longer need to tax me as much. So I’d have more money to spend on your strings.

Jim, if you want protection. Ask for tariffs. Not a hand out. Thanks!

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A Pentecostal Jury?

January 12, 2011 on 9:22 pm | In Courtroom Conversations | 1 Comment

A deliberating jury sent out this note:

We need water and snakes.

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Knowing where is half the battle

January 11, 2011 on 8:35 pm | In Courtroom Conversations | No Comments

This conversation took place on the second floor directly in front of the elevators. Someone asked me how to get to his car. I replied,

I have no idea where your car is, sir.

He replied,

I’m parked out front.

I replied,

I’d go out front, then.

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