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Don Corleone's Guide to Attorney-Client Privilege

So the President of the United States is very concerned, and very confused, about attorney-client privilege. Let me try to explain, using the example of Tom Hagen from The Godfather. Why The Godfather? Two reasons. First, I want to. Second, I have a terrible suspicion that some of Trump's misunderstanding comes from watching the Godfather movies. (He does love TV.) Trump reportedly believes any meeting that has a lawyer in the room is protected by attorney-client privilege, and oh my sweet God is that not true.

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Partial List of Hope Hicks's White House Duties

White lies
Little fibs
Harmless prevarications
Genteel fictions
Telling the truth mainly, but stretchin' it some
Artful misdirection
Poetic license
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The Deputy Who Didn't Shoot

People, including the President of the United States, are heaping scorn and shame on the Broward County Deputy who was assigned to protect Marjory Stoneman Douglas High, but who did not go into the building to confront the Parkland shooter. He has lost his job. He will probably never live this down, and may never get over his guilt. I don't particularly admire him, but we should not pretend for a second that he is the reason that lives were lost. I might hope and wish he'd gone into that building, but his behavior was completely normal.

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For Le Guin

Ursula K. Le Guin was my hero. Urusla K. Le Guin is my hero still. She is gone from this world, and only her words are left to us. Those words are marvels.

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The Art of No Deal

As everyone has already noticed, a president who boasts about his deal-making skills, author of The Art of the Deal, has been unable to strike a deal to keep his own government funded. Worse, he actually blew up a deal in the making, and now negotiations from the White House side seem to have all but stopped. This is because the word "deal" doesn't mean what Donald Trump thinks it means. He doesn't want a deal. He wants a "win," which he defines as the other side losing. And that makes deal-making impossible.

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Your Public Domain Report for 2018

Hey gang! It's time for Public Domain Day again, where we list all of the music, film, books, and other pieces of art leaving copyright today. And here's that list again, just like last year:

Nothing. Nothing at all.

Happy New Year.

Although the Framers of the Constitution only gave Congress power to grant copyrights and patents "for a limited time," repeated extensions have made sure that nothing has entered the public domain in the United States since January 1, 1979. Today makes nearly forty years since that happened.

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Never Trust an Action Hero: Star Wars' Lost Politics

Star Wars: The Last Jedi has hit the cineplex and begun raking in the customary astronomical profits. But the film has some angry detractors among hard-core Star Wars fans (a minority, I think, but a loud one) who complain bitterly that The Last Jedi is unfaithful to the Star Wars tradition. I'm not going to talk about the new movie here, and I'm going to do my best to delete discussion of it in comments (no spoilers!) for at least the next week. But I'd like to talk about the old Star Wars movies, the originals and the prequels, and the ambiguity that George Lucas tried, but failed, to give them.

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The New York Times Wants You to Know How Normal Everyone Is Here at the Applebee's

Here in bucolic Fairfield, California, amidst rolling vineyards and struggling big-box stores, unassuming souls like Norman Bates go largely unremarked. While most Americans would instinctively recoil from his habit of brutal murder and the uses to which he puts his victims’ bodies, here in Middle America he is Norman Next Door, a soft-spoken young man whose manners nearly any mother would applaud, working to keep open a family motel that serves both as symptom and as symbol of the economic anxieties roiling the heartland. Norman has heard murmurs advocating radical change, from Wal-Mart’s gun aisle to the local church’s pork-and-beans supper, and seems guardedly optimistic. Perhaps it will become easier for him to date. “Most girls don’t want to hear about being violently stabbed to death and having selected portions of their remains repurposed,” he says, browsing the knives at the dollar store. Now, he feels, things may be about to go his way.

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What Is Praying?

I have been too angry to write about the mass murder in Las Vegas, and too angry to write about the empty and reflexive offerings of "thoughts and prayers" that now follow every murder like it. But let me take this opportunity to talk about the question of what prayers are, and how they might be different from thoughts. America's general enthusiasm for religion masks deep, sometimes nearly bottomless religious differences, and so many, many people talk about praying, but use that word to mean very different things: sometimes contradictory things. What is praying, anyway?

Doctor Cleveland's picture

Some People Are Not Duelable

I'm not a big proponent of bringing back customs and manners from hundreds of years back. The centuries I study were much worse to live in than this one. But there is one concept from Ye Olden Days that (suitably retooled), I have always found pretty useful. That is the concept of people being "not duelable." I use it in my academic writing. I use it in my daily life. I occasionally teach it to graduate students. And it turns out to be a concept that both the Age of Twitter and the Age of Trump badly need.



TypeTitleAuthorRepliesLast updated
Blog entryIt's Fine To Destroy Wells Fargo Michael Maiello63 days 6 hours ago
Blog entryDon Corleone's Guide to Attorney-Client Privilege Doctor Cleveland111 week 4 days ago
Blog entryThe Deputy Who Didn't Shoot Doctor Cleveland481 month 2 days ago
Blog entryLife Goes On, So Should We Danny Cardwell451 month 3 days ago
Blog entryPersonal Best: Roger Bannister laps in at 88 PeraclesPlease11 month 3 weeks ago
Blog entryPartial List of Hope Hicks's White House Duties Doctor Cleveland91 month 3 weeks ago
Reader blogOnly Once, Why Women Don’t Tell tmccarthy0182 months 5 days ago
Blog entryThoughts On Education Danny Cardwell42 months 5 days ago
Blog entryThe Art of No Deal Doctor Cleveland172 months 4 weeks ago
Blog entryFor Le Guin Doctor Cleveland72 months 4 weeks ago
Reader blogOprah for President? HSG323 months 1 week ago
Blog entryNever Trust an Action Hero: Star Wars' Lost Politics Doctor Cleveland573 months 2 weeks ago
Blog entryYour Public Domain Report for 2018 Doctor Cleveland193 months 2 weeks ago
Blog entryCharlottesville, Salem Witch Trials and Historic Monuments Danny Cardwell123 months 3 weeks ago
Blog entryYour New Year Public Domain Report: 2012 Doctor Cleveland44 months 3 weeks ago
Blog entryThe New York Times Wants You to Know How Normal Everyone Is Here at the Applebee's Doctor Cleveland174 months 3 weeks ago
Blog entryPrayer for Atheists & the Culture Wars PeraclesPlease135 months 3 weeks ago
Blog entryWhat Is Praying? Doctor Cleveland146 months 2 weeks ago
Blog entryHef & the Culture Wars PeraclesPlease256 months 3 weeks ago
Reader blogFor the Friends of Stratofrog librewolf256 months 3 weeks ago
Blog entrySome People Are Not Duelable Doctor Cleveland257 months 1 hour ago
Blog entryHarassing the Professor Doctor Cleveland217 months 1 week ago
Blog entryTrump Does Not Care If People Get Hurt Doctor Cleveland148 months 1 week ago
Blog entryThe Three Myths of Reverse Racism in College Admissions Doctor Cleveland548 months 1 week ago
Blog entryThe Gravity of the Office Cannot Change Character Michael Maiello38 months 1 week ago


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