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January 21 2008 Legal Blog Roundup

( 1 vote, average: 2.4 out of 5)
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But wait — it gets worse. Agency oversight of the program is so lackadaisical that one agent was able to steal $25,000. Sweet irony or all-encompassing stupidity? You decide. Either way, you've gotta love this latest lesson in ineptitude wrought by the same people who brought you Hurricane Katrina. Read all the details at

While we're on the subject of government incompetence, Slate's Dahlia Lithwick has done us all the huge favor of compiling what she calls "Legal Fictions: The Bush Administration's Dumbest Legal Arguments of the Year." The bad news: it'll remind us of a year that was steeped in scandal, deceit, and bold-faced fearmongering. The good news: January 20, 2009, is getting closer.

Here's a listing of what Lithwick details in her "Top Ten" list:

10. The NSA's eavesdropping was limited in scope.
9. Scooter Libby's sentence was commuted because it was excessive.
8. The vice president's office is not a part of the executive branch.
7. The Guantanamo Bay detainees enjoy more legal rights than any prisoners of war in history.
6. Water-boarding may not be torture.
5. Everyone who has ever spoken to the president about anything is barred from congressional testimony by executive privilege.
4. Nine U.S. attorneys were fired by nobody but for good reason.
3. Alberto Gonzales.
2. State secrets.
1. The United States does not torture.


On a much happier note, I am elated to get to relate to you that Britney Spears will apparently not be up for Mother of the Year in 2008. After she lost custody of her children a couple of weeks ago, much of the tabloid press seemed to have found its equivalent to the sad drama that was Anna Nicole Smith in 2007. But unlike the Smith story, Spears's undoing has prompted a lot of talk about what we have been able to learn from her legal troubles.

Professor of law at Hofstra University Joanna Grossman writes in a recent article at that Spears's custody battle has taught us a few important things, including:

Lesson 1: Courts, not divorcing parents, ultimately decide custody.
Lesson 2: Parental behavior matters in custody battles.
Lesson 3: Britney: the paparazzi are not the only ones watching your every move.

Personally, I found the whole thing rather obvious, but then we legal/intellectual types don't have time for the whole pop-celeb thing, now do we? Next she'll be telling us that the biological error known as Donald Trump is in fact the world's biggest and most ubiquitous narcissist and misogynistic tool. Hiss, spit, and grooooooaaaaan!!!

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