Constitutional Daily

Founding Principles

The Tenure Paradox - Robot pimp

Slap on the Wrist for "Non-Consensual Sex" - Lampshade, Esq.

Intelligence: The Gathering - Graphic and Gratuitous

Grads are the New Illegals - Robot Pimp

Meet Entitlement Eric - Robot Pimp

Wherein I Solve World Peace - Lampshade, Esq.

A Necessary Delusion - Shadow Hand

Do you even need to shave overhead? - Lawyerlite

LSAT Jenga - Publius Picasso

Time, Place, and Manner

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Merda Ipsa Loquitur

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You have an office lease which states that in the event of damage to the building or other incident which prevents you from using your office, the landlord is not liable for your lost income unless negligence was involved.

One day you're sitting in your office at, say, 315 Madison Ave, and hear a loud bang outside. You step into the hall to find the source of the sound, only to find a broken pipe, spilling feces and urine into the hallway, making your office unusable for the rest of the day.

Does the presence of human waste in the hallway establish a res ipsa loquitur argument?


You can read about what happened to Dr. Rob here: Management Hates me, Possibly Because I’m a Shrink, Part 2

And, be sure to check out his upcoming book, Crazy, Notes On and Off the Couch.

Constitutional Literacy Critic is Constitutionally Illiterate

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We previous covered a flub by GOP Presidential hopeful Herman Cain, where he confused the Constitution and the Declaration of Independence. Cain mistakenly put the "life, liberty, and pursuit of happiness" bit in the Constitution. Not really a big deal, since he was discussing the principles we should govern ourselves by, and was not trying to use the Declaration as the basis for a statute.

What made the flub noteworthy was that Cain was giving a speech in which he scolded those who were in need of a rereading of the nation's founding document. Ooops.

PolitiFact, a non-partisan fact checking site, picked up the story, explaining the difference between the two documents:

"The Declaration is a statement of beliefs. The Constitution is the supreme law of the land."

...That's not actually true.

The Constitution is a supreme law of the land, but not the supreme law of the land. Let's turn to Article VI, Section 2 for some clarity:

This Constitution, and the Laws of the United States which shall be made in pursuance thereof; and all treaties made, or which shall be made, under the authority of the United States, shall be the supreme law of the land; and the judges in every state shall be bound thereby, anything in the constitution or laws of any state to the contrary notwithstanding.

It's the Constitution, the laws that exist at the federal level, and treaties which are the supreme law of the land, not the Constitution alone.

It's an easy mistake to make, and one which we think should be easily forgiven. PolitiFact did get the gist right; the Declaration is about ideas and principles, the Constitution is about government structure.

But, if Cain's flub was noteworthy because he was criticizing people for being unfamiliar with the Constitution, then PolitiFact's flub criticizing Cain for being unfamiliar with the Constitution needs to get the same treatment.

No one criticize us if we make a mistake though, we're a bunch of drunken hoodlums, not a presidential candidate or a serious fact checker.


[Related: Roy Moore makes the same mistake while citing his legal expertise]

The Dumbest Thing Ever Said About Social Media

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Ready to hear the dumbest thing ever said about social media?

The central point here is whether Twitter and Facebook, as publishers of content, should be as accountable as traditional media. The problem is one of scale. Traditional media controls its content by employing finite numbers of staff, freelance journalists and news agencies. In contrast, Facebook have an army of "citizen journalists" numbering 500 million and Twitter 175 million and don't employ any of them.

Clearly, they are going to have to introduce a delay mechanism so that content can be checked before it goes up. There will have to be a completely different structure, which will be difficult when the whole thing about Twitter is its spontaneity.

[...]Twitter and Facebook are not blank sheets of paper. They are media publishers like any other. Social networking at the moment is like a pioneering goldrush; a real land grab. We have to get some sort of international arbitration set up, which the Americans would need to be involved in, and quickly.

Those are the words of words of the UK's self-proclaimed leading business and public relations consultant, Richard Hardgrove.

We suspect his hat may be "In this style 10/6." He is seriously calling for social media sites like Twitter and Facebook to put up a filter between the users and the Tweet button.

While he is correct that these sorts of sites are becoming important ways for people to spread news and other information traditionally left up to mainstream media, such as newspapers and television, his proposal is simply insane. Not only would it be virtually impossible to implement any sort of review process, it would undo the good these media have provided.

"Citizen journalism" has taken off specifically because there is no such filter. There is no editor in chief saying "this isn't news worthy" or "this might offend our readers and sponsors." The lack of any filters does result in a lot of idiocy, and plainly false stories being spread (Camping always said the world would end in October, this isn't changing his story; May 21st was judgment, not sentencing, so stop posting that damn story all over my Facebook wall).

But, these sites have also exposed holes in the mainstream media. Stories that would otherwise go untold show up on blogs. Ideas that can't fit into a 30 second clip are fleshed out, even if they do compete with space about news of what your puppy had for lunch. The last thing we need is for social media to become more like mainstream media. Even the mainstream media has noticed this, increasingly turning to blogs and ordinary folks for reporting.

Thankfully though, the Americans have already spoken on this issue. Section 230 of the Communications Decency Act protects service providers from liability for things their users say. This goes from your ISP all the way up to the person who owns an unmoderated forum. We also have those pesky things called Freedom of Speech, Freedom of the Press, and possible even the Freedom of Assembly applies.

Individual speakers can still be held accountable, but trying to make Twitter responsible for every single Tweet is like making a bar tender responsible for every dumb thing said by a drunk patron.

On the other hand, Hardgrove does have a pretty fetching wife. If that's what having idiotic ideas gets you, then might we suggest that Facebook be required to purchase a business license for every city and county in which there is at least one Facebook user.


Input Error: Money Can't Buy You Love

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Money can't buy you love, and a fat bonus check can't buy you productive associates.

New, from the Robot Pimp, a look at how your compensation plan might be making your associates into worse employees, and what you can do to fix the problem: Input Error: Money Can't Buy You Love.

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