June 30, 2016

Free State of Jones

I saw "Free State of Jones" last night. First-rate if not perfect movie. History as it was and is. No demons. No angels. No political scripts followed--or moral hysterics indulged in. No liberals or conservatives. Just humans under enormous pressures, and stretched for the better by real life. Well done.

Newton Knight

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June 29, 2016

What's "offensive" changes--and quickly: Frank Zappa on CNN's Crossfire 1986.

A 21-minute discussion 30'years ago about "filthy rock lyrics" with right-leaning Zappa, "conservative" Novak, "liberal" Braden and a respected if tad-demented Washington Times reporter on CNN's Crossfire. Also featuring the U.S. Const. amend. I, the function of government and, well, Real Life. What's offensive? It changes with the scopes, kaleidoscopes and gyres of time. And pretty quickly. E.g., remind yourselves that in 1900 an Oberlin or Harvard prof with the most liberal possible views on race would be viewed as a racist pariah on September 28, 2015. Expand your minds this week, and get off your knees, Campers. Thank you late Duke history prof and changing South expert Lawrence Goodwyn.

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Johann Adam Weishaupt (1748 -1830)


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June 28, 2016

July 1, 1950. Rivo Alto, Miami.


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Hell's Kitchen, NYC: Old 'hoods, like old people, are feisty as hell.

Jacob Riis photo of Bandits' Roost (1890)

Old neighborhoods, like old people, have strong personalities. And they are feisty as Hell.

The above photograph of an alley in Hell's Kitchen, then in its second century, was taken long before the midtown Manhattan neighborhood got cute and trendy again. The work, images and outcry of Jacob Riis were famous at the time. So was this photograph.

But Hell's Kitchen actually started out cute and even pastoral. Three hundred years ago there were farms. Then came suburbs, and it was not really a "bad" neighborhood until around the time of the Civil War. Movies and novels maybe over-covered that second 150 years. Hell's Kitchen kept changing but stayed famous: from Irish and German immigrant sub-city to gangland neighborhood to actors' quarter to, these days, more of a yuppie heaven.

People feared the second round of "cute"--the gentrification of recent years--would destroy it. It didn't. It's still authentic in pulse and atmosphere. A few (not many) old families could afford to stay. Real estate brokers years ago came up with the new labels of Clinton and "Midtown West"--but those did not work. They could never replace the real name, the one that no one can even trace.

Yeah, older neighborhoods, like older people, have personalities--and they are feisty as Hell.

Personally, I think of the area as smaller and more compact than most descriptions. For me, it does not start until just north of the Lincoln Tunnel at 40th and then goes up to 57th Street. Its width, of course: West of 8th all the way to the Hudson. Yet it always seems worlds away from Times Square, right next door, and Midtown East.

If you are in Manhattan some weekend, stroll around there on a Sunday morning early, when it groans, complains and even growls like its old self. You will not head east. You won't even think about leaving Hell's Kitchen for a while. Too seductive. The uneasy mixes of Irish, German, Italian, and Everyone Else that dominated it--especially in the last 150 years--left certain imprints and energies. You can still feel and hear them in the stone of the buildings and street.

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June 27, 2016

Cultural Literacy, Anyone?

Education is not just about getting a job.


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June 26, 2016

John Irving on Editing.

Half my life is an act of revision.

--John Irving (1942-)


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June 25, 2016

Dude, where's my ABA?

From a comment I made on line yesterday but I thought important enough to put here. Both the American Bar Association and its journal have been a big disappointment. I was once proud of my membership. My law firm once paid for everyone's. It was a given. And there was the excellent "Litigation" magazine out of Texas. I have kept every issue and still read if. But now there is no sane reason to be an ABA member. The remaining reason for membership are the specialty practice groups, many of which are excellent. Those, however, can be and often are already replicated through the hundreds of smaller, competing and often more personally satisfying and more expert local, state, national, international and trans-border lawyer groups which have sprouted up in English-speaking and non-English-speaking jurisdictions in the last 25 years. Even Martindale-Hubbell remains more useful and relevant to day-to-day practice. My enthusiastic alternative suggestion is join the London-based IBA, which will have its annual meeting this year in the US (DC) in September.


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June 24, 2016


Old Blighty voted yesterday to leave the EU. About 52 to 48% spread with 72% of population voting. Scotland and London voted to stay. Wales and northern England voted to leave. My take? Britain is unforgivably selfish for rejecting (1) Collectivism, (2) Mediocrity and (3) Extreme Militant Gene Pool Dilution.


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June 23, 2016

American Badass: Alice Roosevelt Longworth (1884 –1980).

If you have nothing nice to say, come sit by me.

-- Alice Roosevelt Longworth
Died on February 20, 1980 at 96.

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The other Rule 11: Treat each co-worker like your best client.

Clients want to be part of that. Watching and enjoying the "well-oiled" team is an image which sticks in the client mind, memory and senses. They will want more.

The 12 Rules of Client Service. The rules themselves have stayed the same. However, we keep adding to our expansions, takes, riffs and explanations on them (which follow each of the 12 rules themselves), and will continue to do so. The second to last rule is Rule 11: Treat each co-worker like he or she is your best client. What's this Rule 11 all about?

Three things mainly, and much of this is personal and a confession.

First, in our workplaces, we need great people and we need to treat them with respect--not just buttering up. No, they are never as important as clients. But we do need to give employees prompt feedback--the good and the bad. Above all, we want them to grow and be happy.

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Two smiling women during my associate days. Neither ever worked for me.

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Before The Great Neutering: Free Speech Word of the Week is "Stewardess" or "Stew"

Before the Great Neutering, flight attendants were women known as "stewardesses" or "stews". Generally they were young, energetic, attractive and in good physical shape. Not big enough to have their own zip codes. They were kind. And smart, too. They cared about your safety. You could take one to dinner without having NPR or Anita Hill buzzing about it the next day. They looked you in the eye when they talked. They never said tacky things in bed.

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June 22, 2016

Île Saint-Louis.

Hotel du Jeu de Paume, 54 Rue Saint-Louis en l'Île, 75004 Paris

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Anyone want to share a foxhole with Speaker Ryan?

Anyone want to share a foxhole with Speaker Ryan? I just read that Paul Ryan will not raise money for Donald Trump.

I'm not voting for Trump. Even though I like him a lot. But can you believe the Smallness and Non-Leadership on Rep. Paul Ryan? I worked for the Congress twice. Once for a Senate D. Once for a House R. I get Ryan needs to keep the GOP majority in tact. Part of his job. 434 other House members are up for reelection. But this is unusual. A tardy and lukewarm endorsement? Not aiding the presumptive GOP POTUS candidate & standard-bearer to raise $?

Is it unprecedented? I really don't know. Just wow.

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June 21, 2016

Best of ATL Surrogate's Partner Emeritus: PE Does 'Nam.


If you work for a peer firm, you will encounter me or someone very much like me. [Y]ou cannot avoid the essence of my character if you aspire to succeed... I or some form of my embodiment will exist to make your existence as uncomfortable and unpleasant as it can be. Welcome to the legal profession you self-entitled nimrods have created.

--Partner Emeritus, commenting at Above The Law, 2009

There is a reason that my late Union Street, Nantucket neighbor David Halberstam did not devote a chapter or two in his highly admired The Best and the Brightest to my friend Partner Emeritus, celebrated Dean of Above the Law's Commentariat. Sometimes, a Polo injury at Meadowbrook will change the course of world history--and not for the better:

I remember the Summer before the Tet Offensive so vividly.

I recall entering the MEPS station at Fort Hamilton in Brooklyn where I took my physical examination, which was a requirement prior to being shipped out to OCS. I wanted to serve my country and kick g**k posterior so badly that I even let a proctologist stick his index finger in my rectum while I coughed. Alas, a Polo accident caused me to incur a hairline fracture in my pelvis and I was disqualified from service just two weeks from my deployment date.

I am confident that had I gone to 'Nam, I would have deployed a strategy that would have won that war. They don't teach this at the Army War College but my endgame to the Vietnam War would have been to round up all the hippie stoners and opium addicts in the States and parachuted them into Vietcong territory. I would have used the MK Ultra Program to convince the paratroopers that the Vietcong had stolen their drugs and that the opium fields would be their prize for killing every last member of Charlie.

West Point would have been renamed after me but I accept that God had other plans for me (i.e., conquering the legal profession and establishing myself as a legal icon).

--PE comment to 3 Things Law Students And Young Lawyers Can Learn From Podcaster-In-Chief Marc Maron, ATL June 26, 2015.

Even more than about Charlie, what Partner Emeritus worries about most is gene pool dilution and mediocrity in the legal profession. We will get to that soon enough. First, though, we'll do a few posts about PE's younger years, including a few sexual adventures during the 1960s-1980s. In the meantime, below is the famous negotiation between Yank actor Matthew Modine as "Joker" and British actress Papillon Soo Soo as "the Da Nang hooker" in Stanley Kubrick's 1987 war satire Full Metal Jacket.

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June 20, 2016

Solstice: Maddeningly hot with increasing existential dread by Wednesday.

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We're still 10 days away from the hot weather period between July 1 and August 15 that early Greeks and Romans roughly 25 centuries ago named after the Dog Star, or Sirius, the brightest star in the heavens. But this week and last week, which covers mid-to-late June 2016, we think cities across the globe with temperatures in the 80s may qualify early for Dog Star/Sirius status with little difficulty.

Be reminded, however, that the "dog days of summer" coming early this year isn't just about the heat. You feeling okay there, Jack? If you are uncomfortable due to the heat and humidity alone, no problem. It does look like Al Gore was right about something.

But if you are walking around your town or city not only sweltering but also confused, overly-emotional, a bit paranoid and perhaps seeing mythical animals, penguins, weasels or other fauna you know for a fact are not real or certainly not native or known to survive in Metro Detroit--and finally you are not too much of a whack-job or flake to begin with--you may do well to head for a short summer respite at a local looney bin or garden-variety detox. Three or four days may be all you need.

There are also some highly-recommended, reputation-saving out-patient programs where you can meet not only men and women for dating purposes but also a healthy chunk of the city's Irish big law partners who would much rather try six-week breach of contract and UCC Article 2 cases than spend time learning the names of their own children back in Swampoodle.

Indeed, dog days are not just about crazy hot summers. They are in league with Chaos Itself: "the seas boiled, wine turned sour, dogs grew mad and all creatures became languid, causing to man burning fevers, hysterics and phrensies". See (above) Brady's Clavis Calendarium, 1813.

Woof, y'all.

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June 19, 2016

Another Great Dad: J. Dan Hull, II (March 11, 1900 - October 13, 1987)


J. Dan Hull, II, 1933. Above is his Yale Ph.D picture. Class act. American dream overachiever and gentlemen's gentlemen. Authentic and honest--and never went out of his way to trumpet either trait. My Grandpop.

Continue reading...

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Happy Father's Day John Daniel Hull, III (1928-2012)

They broke the mold, Dad. I could write about you endlessly. You were my hero, my foil and a pain in the ass. I was Mom when Mom wasn't there. Fun, funny, smart, strong, lyrical, eccentric. Nothing and no one bothered you. There was so much to you. No one knew you better than me. No one was your harsher critic or greater admirer. You are missed, sir. Nothing was unsaid. But you left us with no warning. We wanted even more.

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Quit Apologizing, Don Trump. Right Now? Profiling is Very OK.

My Facebook post morning accompanying the "breaking" Washington Examiner piece Trump:'I hate the concept of profiling,' but we 'have to do it'.

Happy Father's Day. Hate to intrude on it. But this is important no matter what day it is. No one should be apologizing right now for racial profiling. In my view, we are at war. Now. Time for difficult short-term (hopefully) policies and measures. Racial Profiling is Way-OK. It's not right wing; it's not left wing. It's basic survival. We should be aggressive about doing it. Rights suffer in wartime. We at war. Trump should not be apologizing for racial profiling. HRC either. Time to wake up. What more evidence do you need, Campers?

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June 17, 2016

New Yorker Cover: “Ready for a Fight,” by Barry Blitt.


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June 16, 2016

Cross-border arbitration rules for business disputes.

Want something you can use now, GCs, in-house and firm litigation shops? In late 2014, New York City-based CPR (International Institute for Conflict Prevention & Resolution) released its Rules for Administered Arbitration of International Disputes for use in cross-border business disputes. They were effective December 1, 2014. I was introduced to CPR years ago by Michael McIlwarth, a well-known in-house GE lawyer, author and expert on cross-border resolution based in Florence, Italy. As an organization and resource, CPR is a general counsel's dream. It champions super-quick, efficient and sane resolution of business-to-business disputes internationally. One of the best-kept secrets in international business litigation.


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Sensitive Litigation Moment No. 97: Winging It.

If you've a talent for Winging It, great. Use it when you must. But don't make it a procedure. Prepare.

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Blarney Castle, Cork, Ireland

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June 14, 2016

William Buckley interviews polymath Anthony Burgess on Firing Line (1972)

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June 13, 2016

U.S. Supreme Court on writers, poets and starving artists.

We are asked to recognize that authors are congenitally irresponsible, that frequently they are so sorely pressed for funds that they are willing to sell their work for a mere pittance, and therefore assignments made by them should not be upheld.

--Justice Frankfurter, writing in Fisher Music Co. v. Witmark, 318 U.S. 643, 656 (1943)

37 years in Hell: French Poet-Badass Arthur Rimbaud at age 17, 1871.

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June 11, 2016

American Pantheon: Charlotte Rampling.


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Hotel du Jeu de Paume.

Hotel du Jeu de Paume, 54 Rue Saint-Louis en l'Île, 75004 Paris

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June 10, 2016

Statesboro Blues: "Daddy died and left me wild...".

Mother died and left me reckless,
Daddy died and left me wild.
No, I'm not good lookin',
I'm some sweet woman's angel child.

--William Samuel McTier (1898–1959)

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June 09, 2016

Yeats: On Writing.

Out of the quarrel with others we make rhetoric; out of the quarrel with ourselves we make poetry.

--W.B. Yeats (1865–1939)

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On Bullying.

"'Bullying' is natural. Real human beings have Bullying in them. Worry about Bullying only if you don't."

- Holden Oliver, Kitzbuhel, Winter 2015


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June 08, 2016

Congratulations, HRC.

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You can always tell the winners at the starting gate.

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June 07, 2016

Aldeburgh, Suffolk, East Anglia.

Go somewhere different. Meet someone different. Aldeburgh, Suffolk, East Anglia. Always a festival.


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Ray Mungo: Famous Long Ago.

Released in 1970, "Famous Long Ago: My Life and Hard Times with Liberation News Service" is still the funniest and wisest read on the mostly failed revolution of the 1960s. Ray Mungo was a co-founder of the Liberation News Service, the counterculture's own wire service used by hundreds of underground and campus newspapers. He was also of the few leaders spawned by the anti-war movement of the late sixties who refused to take himself too seriously. Now in his late-60s himself, he is still writing.


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June 06, 2016

Anniversary 72: D-Day and the Normandy Landings was June 6, 1944.

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June 05, 2016

Music Before the Great Neutering: MC5, July 19, 1970 Detroit.

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June 04, 2016

Third-Wave Feminism's Sad Swan Song.

An interesting thing about the Backlash Against Feminism? It's fueled by ex-Feminist men like me. Even more interesting? Most Feminists and Social Justice Warriors don't seem to know the backlash is happening. Strange. They must wrongly assume that everyone badly wants the Feminist/SJW forced moral evolution. Because it's somehow "Good".

Germaine Greer in 2013. My kind of Feminist.

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June 03, 2016

The Art of the Old School Lunch.

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Rebecca Bricker's "The Secret of Marie."

"The Secret of Marie" is a new novel of art history set in Claude Monet's Giverny, France. It is two love stories set in the same village: a modern-day romance between a French architect and American writer in 2004, and one between storied American impressionist painter Theodore Robinson and his Parisian model, known to this day only as "Marie," 100 years earlier. "The Secret of Marie" is the third novel by my friend Rebecca Bricker, an American expat based in Florence, Italy.


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June 02, 2016

Practicing law? It's never about you, Jack.

From a comment--the kind of comment we've been making here since 2005--I made on ATL Surrogate this morning about advice to new associate lawyers:

Practicing law is never about you.

Learn how to be good lawyer on those sporadic and few but inevitable days when the worse possible things are happening to you personally and/or professionally or around you. I.e., Your car breaks down on the middle of the 14th Street Bridge one morning. You are sick. A child or parent is sick. Your wife just left you. Someone close to you dies. You just received some bad news about a certain case.

A client--any client--will still come first. You really don't get to have a bad day.


The Patient Job, Gerard Seghers (1591–1651). National Gallery in Prague.

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June 01, 2016

Phillip James Loutherbourg: River Wye at Tintern Abbey, 1805.


The River Wye at Tintern Abbey, 1805, Philip James Loutherbourg.

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Southern District Parable: Slick Lawyer Answers to Lazy Lawyer Interrogatories.


"The Lawyers", 1855, Honoré Daumier (1808-1879)

Written discovery practice shouldn't be a joke. But as business trial lawyers, litigators and in-house counsel know, it is a joke too much of the time. Not that many years ago, in Manhattan's fabled Southern District, a fed-up federal judge had had enough. He threw up his hands during arguments on a motion to compel and referred to answers to interrogatories by one of the two lawyers before him as "slick lawyer answers to lazy lawyer interrogatories".

A wonderful expression. But we do feel his pain. At this blog, we do love, admire and respect written discovery during the pretrial process in American federal courts. If both efficient and creative--and it should be both--written discovery is a way to shorten (not lengthen or extend) the generally unpredictable, expensive discovery process, and get ready for trial on issues that really belong in the case.

Continue reading...

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