Bitter News, Week of July 11th, 2011


Here are your headlines from the Bitter Newsroom, where we look forward to seeing the new Harry Potter flick in the rad 3D glasses they’ll be providing.

We kick off with some delightful economic numbers: According to NALP, the starting pay of the law school class of 2010 fell 20% from 2009. But that was a whole year ago! How do things look this year? Well, the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics’ most recent jobs report shows that the legal industry shed 2,600 jobs in June 2011, the fourth month of decline this year. Meanwhile 45 states have seen their lawyer populations rise. Fear not, however, as sales of $20-million-plus homes in Los Angeles are on the rise and if the rich are a pretty good proxy for wise economic behavior, we may get out of this yet!


Enter Christian Gerhartsreiter, the real life Talented Mr. Ripley: arraigned in California on a charge of murdering a man who went missing in the mid-1980s, Gerhartsreiter, using the false name Clark Rockefeller and claiming to be part of the storied family, used a massive ruse to marry a Harvard Business School graduate student and live a prosperous lifestyle solely on her high income. But for the discovery of the hoax, Gerhartsreiter lived the dream of many a Harvard Law student.

This made us nervous: a Navy veteran was arrested and sent to federal prison for allegedly lying on his passport application. What did he lie about? He “did knowingly and willfully make a false statement” on an April 2006 passport application in stating that he had never before requested a U.S. Passport. So what happened? The two years earlier he started filling out an online passport application but didn’t finish it. He claims he did not know it had been partially submitted so in 2006 he checked “no” next to the question about whether he’d applied before (and got a passport). Now this soldier who served as a Navy photographer in Guantanamo Bay is facing ten years in prison and has become a cause célèbre. Moral of this story: federal online forms are scary.

Police line-ups across the country are getting a revamp to prevent false IDs. While this is a right and noble reason, we add that it might hinder the work of Keyser Soze.

Cleared by a 5-4 Supreme Court decision, Texas followed through (in mere hours) and executed a Mexican national. The United Nations condemned the United States for doing so without having granted him consular access, but Texas Rangers (the real ones) quickly occupied the U.N. Building in New York City and taught those sissies that no one messes with Texas. Some of this item may have been fabricated for dramatic effect.

The Newsroom is comforted to know how easy it is for those formally committed to a mental health facility or adjudicated as a “mental defective” to have their gun rights reinstated. We would make a witty comment right now, but we’re too terrified.

Sorry, Indy: The Supreme Court of India channeled their inner Indiana Jones by ordering a search of a 16th century temple that revealed a horde conservatively estimated at $22 billion. The Court made the order after hearing the case of a local activist concerned over potential mismanagement of the previously unguarded temple’s assets. As investigators inventory the find, there is concern over opening a final, unopened vault which may involve a good old fashioned curse. In making its ruling before the search, the Court stated that the contents belong to the temple and the people, not the state (Dr. Jones would be pleased to know the items will go to where they belong, in a museum).We sense a hint of quiet jealousy from the United States Supreme Court.

Tennessee now fines drivers caught with obscene or patently offensive bumper stickers, window signs or other markings visible on their vehicle an automatic $50. Previously, the law required a judge to decide on a fine of $2 to $50 based on their opinion. If this law means fines for any variation of “Calvin urinating on [blank]”, then they can count us as enthusiastic supporters.

Massachusetts appears primed to appoint My Cousin Vinny to the bench; though this real life loser comes off as decidedly less endearing than Joe Pesci.

A tip of the hat to the sheer audacity of thousands of drivers who claimed the farm-use insurance discount for their Carreras, A4s and Z4s! Insurance companies recently discovered that about 8% of vehicles insured as farm equipment are in ZIP codes where less than 1% of the population are engaged in agriculture. Why would someone take that kind of risk? “When State Farm discovers ‘misrepresentation,’ it reclassifies the auto and charges the correct rate but doesn’t take any punitive action.” Hmm…

Roommates in Dayton, Ohio, are suing Rent-A-Center for renting them furniture infested with bedbugs. The plaintiffs alleged the couch, loveseat, lamps and tables the rented came pre-loaded with the little buggers which proceeded to infest their entire house, and are asking for the exterminator costs, possessions that needed to be discarded and emotional distress. We at the Newsroom make no assumptions on the veracity of these claims, however we did find this list of the 15 most bedbug ridden cities in 2011 to be quite biting.

And finally, the latest Australian wine is made of sour grapes: After witnessing the legalization of same-sex marriage in New York, the government of Prime Minister Julia Gillard underlined its refusal to issue a Certificate of Non-Impediment to Marriage (CNI) to any Aussie same-sex couple looking to tie the knot abroad. Under New York’s definition, a CNI shows a couple is not already married in another country and has no other impediment to getting married within the laws of New York. The Gillard administration decided to interpret New York’s definition, incorrectly, as a CNI is only for people who can be married within Australia. The opposition within the government has voiced opposition to what it views as unnecessary “bureaucratic barriers.”

Read more from the Bitter Newsroom.

1 Comment

  1. Quadoz

    July 12, 2011 at 5:11 pm

    Glad to see Bitter News back.

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