FIRE Attacks Northern Michigan University's Shocking, Wanton Rule Against Students Sharing Suicidal Thoughts

I've written about some pretty outrageous cases of university censorship, like Bergen Community College's idiotic crusade against Game of Thrones t-shirts or University of Wisconsin-Stout's imbecilic response to Firefly references. The Foundation for Individual Rights In Education -- FIRE, the boogeyman of Alternet writers and the professionally offended -- has played a major role in vindicating rights in many of those cases. But I've never seen a FIRE case that outraged me … [Read More...]

Why Openness About Mental Illness is Worth The Effort And Discomfort

Last week I was having a bad day — nothing tragic, just adult life's vicissitudes — when I got an email from a complete stranger that knocked me on my ass. I'll call this guy John. John recently survived a brush with suicidal depression and anxiety. John's story is both terrifying and inspiring because he […]

A Rare Federal Indictment For Online Threats Against Game Industry

The U.S. Attorney's Office for the Eastern District of California has sought and obtained an indictment against a young man named Stephen Cebula for sending online threats to Blizzard Entertainment, the freakishly successful powerhouse behind the Warcraft, Starcraft, and Diablo games as well as many others. The case is notable because it's so rare: there's […]

John Hinckley, Jr. and the Rule of Law

Today the airwaves are ablaze with news that John Hinckley, Jr. — would-be assassin of President Reagan — will be released from a mental institution to live with his elderly mother. United States District Judge Paul L. Friedman's order permitting this release comes more than 35 years after Hinckley's bloody assault, which wounded President Reagan, […]

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Reverence For The Blue

Wednesday was Big Government night at the Republican National Convention, with speaker after speaker extolling the virtues of public employees. Scott Walker said that government lawyers should not just be respected — they should be revered. Newt Gingrich called for zero tolerance for people who call for the death of IRS employees. Vice-Presidential nominee Mike […]

Lawsplainer: Are Milo's Faked Tweets Defamatory?

I'm not going to address the broad subject of Twitter banning the needy, cynical huckster Milo Yiannopoulos. It's been done, you know what I'd say, and I don't have much to add. I'll address just one small piece of the story. Before he was banned, Yiannopoulos retweeted bigoted tweets fabricated to look like Leslie Jones […]

Cynicism And Taking Clients Seriously

Let me tell you a story about taking clients seriously. Years ago I had a young client who got into a summer program at Big Prestigious University, or BPU. The Client didn't go to BPU — he went to a community college, but was accepted by an on-campus summer program at BPU. Client got arrested […]

Comrade Stalin

Ask Stalin

We're proud to welcome Josef Vissarionovich Dzhugashvili, better known to the world as Comrade Stalin, or Koba to old friends, to the crew here at Popehat. Each week, Comrade Stalin will answer your questions on dating, relationships, etiquette, and workplace issues. If you have a problem you just can't solve, why not turn for advice […]

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China, Part Two

I expected Tiananmen Square to be flooded with nationalist iconography. Unless selfie sticks are the new symbol of the People's Republic of China, it wasn't. The square was flooded with tourists — most of them Chinese — taking pictures of themselves, and taking pictures of each other, and taking pictures of each other taking pictures […]

Let's play "fish or garage metal band?"

China, Part One

Blue. That was my first impression of the landscape as our plane made its approach to the improbably gigantic Bejing Capital International Airport, which shortly before the 2008 Olympics turned a bucolic suburb into one of the busiest places in the world. Blue roofs. You don't see a lot of blue roofs in America, but […]

Confessions of An Ex-Prosecutor: Post Up Over At Reason

Today I've got a post up at Reason Magazine reflecting on how three different cultures shape prosecutors.