Friday, September 19, 2014

Scotland votes NO to independence.

A YES vote would have been one of the biggest stories of the century, but not necessarily a happy story.  (And this story would have major constitutional and legal implications on both sides of the Atlantic.)  For those of us across the pond who enjoyed Braveheart, this referendum had little romance of something mystically Scottish.  In the end, the decision came to utilitarian issues:

How the Superfund Came Into Being...

There is a environmental statute known as the Superfund Act that gives a federal agency, the EPA, very broad powers to clean up toxic spills and hazardous substances. 
The Superfund was enacted to answer one of the worst peacetime nightmares citizens can have: to wake up after years in a supposedly safe and peaceful home to learn there is toxic waste in your own backyard.  Love Canal is a neighborhood in Niagara Falls, New York built near the site of a partially dug but abandoned canal.  Prior to 1953, about 21,000 tons of alkalines, acids, and chlorinated hydrocarbons from the processing of dyes, solvents, and resins were buried in barrels by a chemical company in the shallow clay-lined canal.  The discovery during the 1970s of ruptured barrels leaking toxins near homes and schools is an American horror story.

Thursday, September 18, 2014

What is a consecrated host under the law of property?

On the first day of property class in law school, it is common for the professor to grab a book off a student's desk and ask the student: How do you know this is your property?  In most cases, the bewildered new law student cannot show conclusive proof that he lawfully owns much of anything, unless he keeps his car title in his pocket.

Who owns bread consecrated for religious purposes?  Is it lawful for someone outside a faith community to take something sacred to that community and publicly destroy it?  In some cases, no, in particular, if the bread is a conditional gift or gift in trust.

Fear of failure leads to failure.

Lane Kiffin is now perhaps the most famous and infamous offensive coordinator in college football.  After being the National Football League's youngest head coach with the Oakland Raiders, he was head coach at the University of Tennessee for one year before leaving suddenly to become head coach at the University of Southern California.  After both success and tumult at USC, he was fired unceremoniously in mid-season last year.

"The only wisdom we can hope to obtain is the wisdom of humility.  Humility is endless."  So said T.S. Eliot, and so we all must sometimes learn the hard way.