Thursday, October 29, 2009

I think I understand their position on animal rights...

... but what's their position on human rights?

Friday, October 16, 2009


I'm taking a course on divorce and family mediation from the esteemed Jim Stovall at the Mediation Institute in Oklahoma City.  The goal is to learn how to get divorced/divorcing couples to agreement on issues that exist between them such as custody, property division and child support.  The other students include attorneys, counselors, ministers, and lay people (so to speak) who want to learn mediation.

It's been a pretty good course and I feel like I've learned a lot even if I don't end up practicing mediation.

Tuesday, October 6, 2009

How Messy Should My Desk Be?

There seem to be lots of theories about this.  A prominent one is that your desk should look "busy" so that people think other people are hiring me and they want to hire me too.  Another one is that your desk should be empty so that people can see you are organized.  I think personality has a lot to do with what people's desks look like and doesn't really impact their performance at all, but I wonder if it impacts what people think of you.

My desk looks like the first option on steroids.  Any thoughts?

Update:  Corrected redneck grammar.

Why You Should be Represented by Counsel in Your Uncontested Divorce

Divorce is a serious legal matter even in the best of cases.  You need representation to ensure that you get what you're entitled to even if the matter seems to be amicable.

Example: This is a nice lady I'm representing in a post-divorce modification proceeding.  Her ex-husband is an employee for a large municipality and he gets relatively good compensation compared to the average Oklahoman.  Before their divorce, she stayed at home to raise their children.  She gained some weight from child-bearing, so he started sleeping around on her and eventually decided to divorce her because he liked an extra-skinny 18-year-old girl better.  So he got a lawyer and his lawyer drafted up a decree saying that he got to keep all the retirement accrued during the marriage, didn't need to support his now indigent (dirt poor) wife even temporarily, and that he only had to pay an extraordinarily low child support payment.  He got everything, but she didn't want to cause a row, or pay for a lawyer, so she just signed the papers hoping to keep things peaceful.  She didn't even get full custody of the kids even though she raised them alone while he was out screwing around.  She literally got nothing.  And now he's dragged her back into court to bully her over the kids based on this same crappy decree.

Take your divorce seriously.  If you don't know your rights you're gonna get the shaft and the worst part will be that you agreed to it.

That is all.

Thursday, October 1, 2009

Intellectual Property Unnecessary?

This article by Kevin Carson in The Freeman basically says that intellectual property is a stumbling block to the growth of human freedom (competition) in that it makes demands about how we use our physical property. By way of example:
All-pervasive DRM prevents the easy transfer of content between platforms, even when a CD or DVD buyer simply wants to play the content somewhere more convenient. And the DMCA legally prohibits circumventing such DRM, even when–again–the purchaser simply wants to facilitate his own use on a wider and more convenient variety of platforms.
Obviously this is overreach by the publishers of the media colluding with government and demonstrates that the current regulatory regime is profoundly flawed. I think that I should only have to buy media once. I shouldn't have to buy a new copy of Pink Floyd's The Wall or Smashing Pumpkins' Siamese Dream every time I want to listen to it in a different format.

That said, I think that the implied solution, no intellectual property at all, is throwing out the baby with the bath water.

Carson gives the examples of phish and radiohead who essentially give away certain versions of their intellectual property with the expectation (realized in their cases) that users of their media will pay them anyway or pay them for auxiliary services like live performances. I don't, however, see how this can work for all artists.

I'm wondering in particular how novelists would get by if there were no prohibition on the endless electronic distribution of their materials. For full disclosure's sake my wife is a novelist currently trying to get published. She writes books for teenaged girls.

Supposing she writes something that becomes fairly popular, how would she get paid for it without copyright protection? Anybody who wanted it could have an electronic copy for free since anyone with a scanner could scan it in and post it as a torrent (this happens with books all the time). A few good-hearted souls would fork over the money, but most people would pay exactly zero, and I expect that the average profit per copy distributed would also approach zero.

I like libertarians because I like independent, liberty-minded people. But full execution of the libertarian idea almost always ends up going one step too far.