Thursday, March 22, 2007

Moron Mail

We see (saw) only what we want(ed) to see:

I don't know the motivation of those who stated that the Muslim cashiers, who wouldn't handle pork products, should go "back where they come from." But it is interesting to contrast that reaction to the reaction we heard when some pharmacists refused to dispense birth control pills because it was against their religious beliefs.

Where were the cries then of "get a different job," or "go back where you came from"?

Um, they were everywhere.

And that's just a sampling. When that issue arose last spring there was no shortage of folks simultaneously ignorant of both the First Amendment and free markets who felt the need to blather on and on in their blogs and the papers about how their supposed "rights" were superior to the very real ones of another.

(BTW this one is my favorite. Be sure to check out the comment thread to that post to see what it looks like when a smug prick gets rhetorically disemboweled and then metaphorically strangled with his own hypothetical entrails.)


Given that this letter was so easily dispatched with bandwidth to spare (didn't even have to reprint the whole thing), I will now waste your time and mine proving my superior intellect by solving a Rule Against Perpetuities problem (taken from here):

Otto devises Blackacre, "to Adam for life, then to his widow for life, then to their eldest surviving child."

The RAP provides: "no interest is good unless it must vest, if at all, within 21 years of some life in being." Generally, the rule applies to contingent remainders. I will assume that the Rule in Shelley's Case has been abolished for purposes of this Moron Mail exercise.

In this case, there are 2 contingent remainders: the life estate to the widow (it is possible that Adam would be unmarried at the time of his death), and the gift to Adam's eldest child, as we assume that none exist at the time of the bequest. (NOTE: The gift to the eldest child is also a springing executory interest, which, for our purposes here, is irrelevant as executory interests are also contingent remainders.)

First, the gift to Adam's widow is good. Adam is the "measuring life" - that is, a life in being at the time of the bequest. Therefore, as Adam's widow could only be Adam's widow if she were married to him at the time of his death, the gift to her falls within the 21 year limit regardless of when she herself was born.

Sadly though, the gift to the eldest child is void under the RAP. Suppose Adam married (or remarried) a woman born after the effective date of the device (Otto's death). Thus Adam's widow would not be a "life in being" for purposes of the RAP. Now suppose Adam dies shortly thereafter - because, say, some pharmacist wouldn't sell him a drug he needed, and he was too stupid to notice the Snyder's across the street. Further assume that his widow lived on for more than 21 years. Therefore the gift to the eldest child would not vest (because it can't by the terms of the gift until she dies) within 21 years of the eldest child's nearest life in being, Adam. The gift is void, and poor little Pubert (who was only born because of Widow's inability to procure Plan B in the puritanical little Burg she lived in) gets NOTHING! (Under the will, that is - the laws of intestate succession may provide him a little somethin' somethin'.) QED. It's the classic "Unborn Widow" scenario.

Not that I'd expect Douglas to understand.

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