Loose Ends: The 24/7-366 Leap Year Paper Chase

Originally published by Mike DeVine, Legal Editor for The HinzSight Report at TMR.

Looking at my pile of printed out internet and newspaper article equivalent to Rush Limbaugh’s stack of stuff, marked up as fodder for my own dead-tree columns, blogs and book instead of a radio show, I am reminded of the movie, “Paper Chase”.

That title and movie best captured my experience in Law School that any other picture I have seen over the years. Why? Because learning the law, and how to think like a lawyer, i.e. discern the facts relevant to the case from the infinite number of facts available, requires reading every word available. After one class of subjugation to the Socratic method, one then learns that it is necessary to write down many facts and study them. It seems at times that one reads War and Peace to re-write war!

It might seem non-productive to some, but centuries of experience and even new technology haven’t reduced these piles appreciably, at least not for those that pass final exams, pass the bar and actually win cases in front of juries.

And oh yes, the virtual stack of stuff I stare at on my documents, above the paper pile, if printed, would dwarf the pile printed out for immediate use. God knows that had this geek that wants to know it all had internet as a child, I may never have left the house.

Wanting to get out as many columns from all the loose ends before the beginning of the year, including those that relate to year-end reviews and Cockstradamus predictions, in addition to the required columns I am now happily paid to do each and every day, I run across some rare of late these days wisdom from Christian, Southerner and Palin-basher Kathleen Parker in a column about a “Facebook Nightmare” world where anything one says or does can be “news” :

All of the above would be nonsense except that almost nothing any longer is. Nonsense is the new standard for controversy; and even party shenanigans qualify.

Puritans and prohibitionists would adore our brave new world of shutterbug infamy. The fact is, no one’s having fun anymore, especially in the nation’s capital, where one can’t afford to let the tongue slip or risk being caught in the cross hairs of a cell camera.

Political veterans have learned, sometimes the hard way. This new generation — the Obama cohort — needs to review The Rules. Smart grown-ups in Washington don’t get drunk in public. A glass of wine is a prop that rarely gets drained.

At a small, private dinner recently, where wine flowed freely (and no one took pictures), conversation turned to the day when politicos and others routinely enjoyed three-martini lunches. How did they do that? Not just the drinking, but the escape from scrutiny?

It was all about time. In low-tech America, people had time to sober up. There was no e-mail light blinking to demand your immediate attention, no insistent cell phones blasting “Fur Elise” into one’s pocket or purse; no 24/7 news producers demanding instant responses to urgent claims and counterclaims. Several hours — or even a few days — could pass before anyone had to Do Something.

Yes, its all about time. I have had a saying of my own for years, probably constructed after voice mail reduced deniability, and that is that after the invention of the washing machine, all future technology has actually placed greater stress burdens on us than they relieved. Many devices are, or more likely were, originally sold with a pitch that they would free up more personal time by making work more efficiently done.


All we have done is cram more work into the 24-hours we have per day and no invention will ever give us more that 24.

The closest we came was Leap Day.

How was your February 29th? My stack of stuff just got higher.

Now, the loose ends gamecock will publish (I have to put this kind of pressure on myself) before Jan 2, 2009:


…but did it “work”: (Paulson Bailout Post-Mortem)

Splitting the Dems on:

CNN testifies for The Sun vs. Gore

Will Summers only prevent tax hikes for two summers

Obama jobs program for trial lawyers only: the 4% solution

Krugman “gaffe” argues for supply side stimulus

Forget Card Check, Cap & Trade, Bankrupt Coal, Parker SUVs?

Finally Frank(en) Democratic Party accountability

Liberals as Firemen vs Pants on Fire

At Examiner.com and TMR:

End of the Year awards incl Man of the Year

Cockstradamus on 2009

Charlotte Law Year in Review

Civil Rights Year in Review (incl the Overlawyered War)

P.S. You should also see the client legal work and research stack of stuff!

No justice, no peace.

Mike DeVine’s Charlotte Observer, Examiner.com and Minority Report columns

“One man with courage makes a majority.” – Andrew Jackson