Recent Posts by Charles Lipson

This headline struck even me as pretty odd

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It’s a real headline from a mainstream source, the CBS tv station in Denver.

Here’s the link to the article.

It involves Musk’s company using a drawing that looks very much like the artist’s.

What’s unclear is whether he suffered damages since the publicity has helped him enormously.

Here is a headline you just don’t see very often:

Somewhere, a lawyer is thinking, “I will dine out on this case for years.”

Another lawyer is thinking, “Do I have to tell friends and colleagues I lost a farting unicorn case?”


Outstanding decision: Just because it is IMPOSSIBLE to comply with the law does not make it invalid

Wisdom from the California Supreme Court:

I double checked, even though she is an Associated Press reporter.

Yep. It’s true. This from the Sacramento Bee:

Writing for six of the justices, Associate Justice Goodwin Liu said impossibility can sometimes lead courts to excuse a failure to comply with a law, but it can’t be the basis for invalidating it. –Sacramento Bee

Judges were last seen climbing these stairs.





Ali Watkins, NYTimes’ ace reporter

“A New York Times journalist at the center of questions about media ethics and how information leaked from intelligence services reached new heights Monday after a report from the paper shows the reporter had dated more than one member of the Senate Intelligence Committee.”

According to a Times spokesperson,

Ms. Watkins erred in taking too literally the hoary newsroom adage that “you simply ‘got to f**king cross-check your anonymous sources.’ Also, she seems to have misunderstood ‘undercover reporting’ and ‘hoary.’

The Times regrets any misunderstanding.

US quits virulently anti-Israel UN Human Rights Council. The WaPo says the Council has “perceived bias.” That’s rich.

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Amb. Nikki Haley called the UN Human Rights Council a “cesspool of political bias.” She is correct, of course.

The Washington Post’s own article cites plenty of corroborating evidence, none of simply “perceived.”

Apparently the WaPo headline writer missed it. Here’s what the article itself says:

Since 2006, the Human Rights Council has passed more than 70 resolutions critical of Israel, 10 times as often as it has criticized Iran.

On one day alone in March, the council passed five resolutions condemning Israel.

The council’s current membership includes 14 countries ranked as “not free” by Freedom House:
Saudi Arabia,
the United Arab Emirates and

Haley said many countries agree with U.S. accusations of anti-Israel bias on the council and hypocrisy by abusers but would not openly challenge the status quo. –Washington Post

(Link to article here; behind paywall)

What I perceive is that the Washington Post writes misleading headlines.

RIP Matt “Guitar” Murphy, one of the greats

Matt Murphy was from Sunflower, Mississippi, made his name among the greats in Chicago Blues in the 1950s and 60s, and became widely known as the guitarist for Jake and Elwood in the Blues Brothers.

His tiny hometown of Sunflower is about 50 miles south of Clarksdale and Marks, and right next to B.B. King’s hometown of Indianola, all of them in the heart of the Mississippi Delta.

Here’s his obituary in Billboard (link here)

Now, listen to him as he is breaking out,

Here with acoustic bass, Willie Dixon, perhaps the greatest bluesman of all time.

The piano is Memphis Slim.

Virtuosity on every instrument.

And just listen to the opening guitar line on this one. The whole thing is so laid-back and graceful: “Way Down South”

And here is Matt coming out of the kitchen to join Jake and Elwood (+ Aretha!!). That’s Matt in the yellow shirt. He doesn’t play in this one, but the whole thing is Aretha pushing him around and singing “Think!”



Drop your pants, this is a robbery

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A novel carrot-and-stick approach to bank robbery.

Here’s the headline in Alabama papers:

Woman charged after using promise of sex in botched bank robbery (link to

Chief Deputy Randy Christian said [the suspect] handed the manager a note demanding money.

Christian said information from the scene is that the would-be robber passed a note to the manager demanding $6,000 from the vault.

The note read that, if the manager complied, he would be rewarded with a sexual favor.

If he refused, she would claim that he had sexually assaulted her. –

Outstanding quote from the police:

“I don’t think I have ever heard of an attempt to rob a bank quite like this,” Christian said.

“Our deputies were on the scene very quickly and saved this employee from something. I’m not sure exactly what but we saved him from something.” –Deputy Randy Christian

“She Loves Hard and is One Heck of a Woman,” friends say of Grandmother who strangles Rabid Bobcat with Bare Hands

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She was outside and said she was scared the bobcat might attack her granddaughter in the house

Here’s the link.

Outstanding quote from The Strangler:

I thought, ‘Not today.’ There was no way I was going to die,” DeDe Phillips said Thursday.

If the bobcat had thought the same thing, it might have been a standoff. But noooooooooo!

And here is a truly outstanding quote from DeDe’s friends (in another article). Real quote

She loves hard and is one heck of a woman!

Quick tip to all her lovers: get your rabies shots.


Journalism Ethics: Yesterday and Today at the NY Times

Michael Goodwin, who writes opinion pieces for the NY Post, just published a column called “New York Times reporter broke the biggest rule in journalism (link here)”

It is about the Times reporter, Ali Watkins, who previously worked for other papers and who slept with her source, the head of security for the Senate Intelligence Committee.

Good source.

He apparently shared classified information with her as well as his Precious Bodily Fluids. He has now been indicted.

Goodwin contrasts her lenient treatment with the standards of the legendary (and now departed) NYT editor, Abe Rosenthal.

Soon after a woman who had covered politics in Philadelphia was hired by the Times, a story from Philly said she had a secret affair with a politician she covered and accepted expensive gifts from him.

Rosenthal asked the woman if the story was true and, when she replied yes, immediately told her to clean out her desk and said she would never work for the paper again.

Word of the incident spread quickly through the newsroom, and several female reporters complained to Rosenthal. They argued that the woman was treated unfairly, at which point Abe raised his finger for silence and said something to this effect:

“I don’t care if you f–k an elephant on your personal time, but then you can’t cover the circus for the paper.” 

–Michael Goodwin on Abe Rosenthal


Today’s New York Times editors:

“Say, Ali, would you like to meet Jim Comey?”