Patterico's Pontifications


Washington State Takes “Going Green” To New Level: Now Legal To Compost Deceased Loved Ones

Filed under: General — Dana @ 9:10 am

[guest post by Dana]

Gov. Jay Inslee, who is also a is a Democratic 2020 presidential candidate, showed voters he is serious about “going green” when he signed off on a controversial-to-some third option for deposing of human remains:

Gov. Jay Inslee signed legislation Tuesday making Washington the first state to approve composting as an alternative to burying or cremating human remains.

It allows licensed facilities to offer “natural organic reduction,” which turns a body, mixed with substances such as wood chips and straw, into about two wheelbarrows’ worth of soil in a span of several weeks.

Loved ones are allowed to keep the soil to spread, just as they might spread the ashes of someone who has been cremated — or even use it to plant vegetables or a tree.

Supporters believe this process is a far more environmentally friendly route to go. The process would help alleviate environmental and financial concerns that come with traditional burials and cremation: the increasing use of land used to bury the dead as well as the lack of available land for burials in other areas, harsh chemicals like formaldehyde (used in traditional burials) eventually seeping into groundwater, and exorbitant costs which can run anywhere $8,000 and $25,000 for a burial, and $6,000 or more for cremation. The targeted cost for human composting is around $5,500.

The idea of human composting is the brainchild of Katrina Spade, an architecture student who adapted the traditional method used by farmers to dispose of their livestock:

She tweaked the process and found that wood chips, alfalfa and straw created a mixture of nitrogen and carbon that accelerates natural decomposition when a body is placed in a temperature- and moisture-controlled vessel and rotated.

A pilot project at Washington State University tested the idea last year on six bodies, all donors who Spade said wanted to be part of the study.(The) body is covered in natural materials, like straw or wood chips, and over the course of about three to seven weeks, thanks to microbial activity, it breaks down into soil.

While there have been objections to the legislation, and accusations of the process being undignified and disgusting, Spade’s company, Recompose is pushing ahead to raise $7 million for a facility in Seattle, with plans to expand to other locations as well.

(Cross-posted at The Jury Talks Back.)


85 Responses to “Washington State Takes “Going Green” To New Level: Now Legal To Compost Deceased Loved Ones”

  1. Why not?

    Dana (779465)

  2. Honestly — while I acknowledge that burial rituals exist to provide comfort to the *survivors*, not the deceased, if I were in control of the disposal of my body, this is the way i’d prefer to go — it causes my remains to be reintegrated into the ecosystem via natural decomposition, and it’s controlled (presumably) to prevent the spread of disease.

    aphrael (3f0569)

  3. $6000 for cremation? I am in the wrong business. Pretty sure you can cremate anybody in CA for less than $1000, complete with a nice urn.

    Kevin M (21ca15)

  4. How much for a Viking funeral?

    Kevin M (21ca15)

  5. Probably a lot less than that in Victor Davis Hanson-land, Kevin.

    urbanleftbehind (a9ef3a)

  6. Soylent green is topsoil!

    Putting the green back in Soylent green.

    felipe (023cc9)

  7. What a f***ed up state! Seriously, totally, utterly, a wormy pustule on the ass of Western civilization.

    nk (dbc370)

  8. Ashes to ashes, topsoil to topsoil.

    felipe (023cc9)

  9. In perusing costs of cremation throughout the US, the costs range from $600 to over $6,000. Costs are contingent upon what sort of cremation you want and what add-ons: urn, vault, crypt, funeral, disposal of ashes, etc. There is a wide range of choice that can substantially increase the costs.

    Dana (779465)

  10. So, when do they start composting the aborted?
    “Stewpid life3ydoodl3s are not only anti-choice, but anti-green!

    felipe (023cc9)

  11. Nk, what, specifically, is your objection?

    Dana (779465)

  12. Cremating choice(fuel): regular or hi-octane?
    Cremating choice(bouquet): natural fragrance or channel #5?

    felipe (023cc9)

  13. Nk, what, specifically, is your objection?

    It’s a general objection to the perverted, degenerate counter-culture, defiling everything and anything, from the womb to the grave and in-between. Turning people into fertilizer! Who was it, not all that long ago, who was turning them into mattresses and lampshades? (Sammy says probably not soap.)

    nk (dbc370)

  14. Well said, nk.

    felipe (023cc9)

  15. Didn’t read the article… but, what do they do with the bones?

    Honestly, composting my body after my death seems like a cool idea. Instead of a grave yard, spread my “dirt” in my favorite forest. I think this metal AF.

    whembly (51f28e)

  16. South Koreans use night fertilizer; North Koreans use….?

    urbanleftbehind (a9ef3a)

  17. Seriously, though, whenever a human dies alone in a remote location, doesn’t the Lord’s creation return that hollow vessel back into the dust from which it was formed? Yes, for the Lord noticest the falling of a single sparrow, and we are worth much more than a sparrow. But Nature does that for which it was designed, while man has designs of his own. Designs which often are in denial of our creator.

    felipe (023cc9)

  18. Didnt we see the downside of this in poltergeist.

    Narciso (7d5b61)

  19. Michigan apples for me from now on.

    nk (dbc370)

  20. Applesauce -shudder-

    felipe (023cc9)

  21. “Ashes to ashes, mulch to mulch”


    harkin (58d012)

  22. harkin (58d012) — 5/23/2019 @ 10:33 am


    felipe (023cc9)

  23. Although it may not be the intent of the law, I like the fact that this option could put a dent in the mortuary industry, which I’ve always considered a racket. How much should it really cost to bury a body?

    My former stepfather made his own casket. Way to stick it to them, old Ned!

    I wish we had the India option of placing bodies in a field for vultures to pick over. That would be my preferred way to go. You think I’m kidding.

    norcal (ce7ce7)

  24. > It’s a general objection to the perverted, degenerate counter-culture, defiling everything and anything, from the womb to the grave and in-between. Turning people into fertilizer!

    For the people who would choose to pursue this option, it’s not defilement.

    Preserving my body in embalming fluid and locking it in a box that keeps the rest of the natural world out? To me, *that’s* defilement.

    Incinerating my body — that’s not defilement, but it is kinda wasteful. My spirit/soul/whatever doesn’t need my body once it’s gone, and it has minerals and nutrients and energy that other living things could use; allowing my body to be used in that way promotes life, and what could be more glorious than that?

    aphrael (e0cdc9)

  25. — Where are you taking Grandma, Chauncey?
    — On over to Oregon, Edgar.
    — What’s there, Chauncey?
    — That’s where she’ll be euthanized, Edgar?
    — Then what, Chauncey?
    — We’ll mulch her in Washington state, Edgar.
    — That’s convenient, Chauncey.
    — Oh, I don’t know, Edgar. We’ll still need to find a place to spread her.

    nk (dbc370)

  26. nk,

    So basically, your objections are more about yet another “attack” on traditional cultural norms by the usual suspects rather than the actual procedure itself.

    Dana (779465)

  27. It’s not only the defilement of corpses that I’m talking about, aphrael. It’s the defilement of cultural values.

    nk (dbc370)

  28. Saw Dana’s comment after I posted mine. Pretty much, yes, Dana. Without denying that I have a strong personal abhorrence of desecration of the dead.

    nk (dbc370)

  29. I didn’t like it when they moved a Confederate soldier’s grave in some newly-woke Southern town, and I didn’t like it when U.S. soldiers videoed themselves urinating on Taliban corpses.

    nk (dbc370)

  30. Which of these would you eat, knowing they had been fertilized with human corpses?

    Important vegetables for the state are onions, asparagus (#1 among the states), carrots, dry peas and lentils. Beyond apples, cherries (#1 among the states), grapes, pears (#1 among the states), and raspberries are the leading fruits grown in Washington.

    nk (dbc370)

  31. In addition to the exorbitant costs of cremation, it’s not carbon-neutral!

    Didn’t read the article… but, what do they do with the bones?

    “Bones, which degrade very little, can be pulverized to spread on fields, creating good fertilizer.”

    Think of it as revenge for all the coffee fetuses whose horrible deaths the person was responsible for, nk.

    Dave (1bb933)

  32. Cultures evolve over time, nk — and I think it’s more accurate to say that you disapprove of subcultures whose cultural values are wildly different from yours.

    aphrael (e0cdc9)

  33. Do not speak landfill of the dead.

    Stephen J. (f77922)

  34. o/t

    Hey attorneys, how this for judicial language.

    “Flete-Garcia appeals, raising a gallimaufry of alleged errors. Finding his asseverational array long on perfervid rhetoric but short on substance, we affirm.” h/t Gabriel Malor.

    Stu707 (bb0c06)

  35. If California can ban normal eggs, can other states ban corpse-grown produce? (Not to be confused with copse-grown.)

    nk (dbc370)

  36. Thank you, Stu707. Your link did not work for me. Here’s one that did:

    And I don’t think judges should get all cutesy when ruling on a person’s life, liberty or property, either.

    nk (dbc370)

  37. I understand the arguments in favor of human composting. It returns valuable nutrients to the environment. It saves on land space. Its primary effect is to accelerate a process that, if dead bodies were left alone, would happen naturally anyway. I don’t think those who support such an idea are necessarily bad or evil. In a saner world, I could even see myself supporting it on the grounds outlined above.

    My primary reason for opposing human composting is that it reinforces our culture’s utilitarian attitude toward humanity. If your birth is not convenient, we can stop you before you start. Assuming we allow you out of the womb and into the world, we will judge the value of your life based primarily on what you bring to the table (only some of which you can control), and treat you accordingly. If you reach old age, we’ll most likely lock you away in a holding facility until you relieve us of the burden of caring for you. And if you have an accident on the way to old age, more and more places on earth are comfortable with harvesting those parts of you that can still be of some use to someone “functional,” and discarding the rest. Human composting is the last stop on the road — right as we reach the dead end.

    Looked at from the merely physical perspective, a human body is nothing more than a collection of chemicals. But whatever your religious beliefs are, or even if you have none, I shudder and pity you if you can’t see that there’s something more going on with us. Whether that something has a purely natural explanation, or whether it is the result of an intervening supernatural force, is beyond the scope of my thoughts here — though I have some very definite opinions on the subject. But I’m neither a utilitarian nor a reductionist…and I won’t support any policy that will so obviously aid their pernicious and all-too-widespread philosophies.

    Demosthenes (17f107)

  38. The continued dehumanization of humans while we anthropomorphize everything else.

    NJRob (b1c2bc)

  39. Off-topic (although I won’t be surprised if our host or his co-bloggers put up a new post about this soon:

    I found Treasury Secretary Mnuchin’s palpable, disgusting lies — told in trying to excuse his disgusting boss’s indefinite delay (meaning “dead plan”) switch from Andrew Jackson to Harriet Tubman on the $20 bill — incredibly depressing.

    Like his “good people on both sides” remark after the Charlottesville violence in August 2017, this is yet another example of Trump doing something that cannot fail to excite and draw approval & votes from genuine hard-core racists, whether Trump is one himself or not. My theory, as I’ve expressed here before on many occasions, is that Trump isn’t a racist, because to be a racist you have to have at least enough empathy to identify with people of one’s own race, and Trump utterly lacks empathy with anyone, even the members of his own family. Trump feels no affinity with “other white people”; everyone else in the universe he views solely in terms of whether they’re good for the Trump Brand.

    That’s offensive enough. But his political stupidity is just as appalling.

    At lunch with two Dem friends today, I pulled up this excellent post from this blog in April 2016 and its associated graphic rendition of Ms. Tubman, which is based on the cover art from this 2007 edition of a popular student-level biography of Ms. Tubman, Harriet Tubman: Conductor on the Underground Railroad by Ann Petry, an African American. Her book was named a New York Times Outstanding Book and an American Library Association Notable Children’s Book. In other words: The artwork comes from as close to a bullet-proof source as any Republican could ever hope for.

    My friends had heard Mnuchin’s presser, and were as disgusted as I am with it, but when I showed them the mockup republished by our host (among others), and asked, “What do you think the impact would be if Trump went along with the Obama Administration’s decision to ax Andy Jackson and offered up this design.

    “What could your fellow Democrats find to object to in this historically accurate drawing of a strong, outspoken, action-prone, Republican black woman, freeing slaves by exercising her constitutional right to keep and bear arms?”

    “Nothing,” they both answered. What a brilliant piece of political jui jitsu that would be,” said one.” “We Democrats would be hosed, and this would help Trump and the entire GOP in 2020,” predicted the other.

    I actually love this artwork. Every other proposed design I’ve seen of the $20 with her picture replacing Jackson’s shows her as grim, silent, passive, and frankly constipated. (That’s true of all of the faces on American currency.) This artwork, though, sings to me: “Follow me if you want to live.” I’d love to have a wallet-full of these bills; I’d grin every time I looked at one.

    But Trump is too damned stupid to recognize a political opportunity when it lands in his lap, and now he’s handed the Dems yet another piece of evidence consistent with their “Racist Trump” meme — something they’ll use to demonize everyone running in 2020 under the auspices of the Party of Lincoln.

    (Addressing quibbles in advance: No, she couldn’t vote for the Republican Party’s candidates when she was a conductor on the Underground Railroad: Blacks and women couldn’t vote then. Yes, Democrats, including Northern “Copperhead” Democrats, were absolutely terrified of the very thought that blacks might be permitted to keep and bear arms. They were wrong; so are you if you make this argument today.)

    Beldar (fa637a)

  40. @ Stu707: The judge for whom I clerked would have fired me on the spot if I’d submitted to her a draft opinion with that sentence in it. And she’d have been right to do so.

    Beldar (fa637a)

  41. nk, @35: i would expect them to be able to, yes.

    aphrael (e0cdc9)

  42. “Ocean’s dying, plankton’s dying… it’s people. Soylent Green is made out of peeeee-pole. They’re making our food out of people. Next thing they’ll be breeding us like cattle for food! You’ve gotta tell them! You’ve gotta tell them!… Soylent Green is people!” – Detective Thorn [Charlton Heston] ‘Soylent Green’ 1973

    DCSCA (797bc0)

  43. Meanwhile, in a Washington bedroom over a cheeseburger and fries…

    “You know, how can I make this about me, Melania? Soylent Orange.”

    DCSCA (797bc0)

  44. I vote for the lentils. Grandma could only improve them.

    Also odd to think that I actually would be spinning in my grave

    steveg (354706)

  45. 13. (nk (dbc370) — 5/23/2019 @ 10:03 am

    Turning people into fertilizer! Who was it, not all that long ago, who was turning them into mattresses and lampshades. (Sammy says probably not soap.)

    It took a long time to get the facts clear.

    Soap was a mistaken idea people had, probably because Nazis at oone concentration camp said the bars of soap that they gave to all prisoners, stamped RIF, were made from murdered Jews. For many many years many people thought so. My father told me, maybe it was even in the 1990s, that they didn’t know what it was at the time.

    But actually this was a lie told by some Nazi concentration camp guards. RIF stands for Reich Industrial Fabrike (sp and language?) or, I just read Reichsstelle für industrielle Fettversorgung – the name of the place that made it.

    Prisoners were told at one place, Bergen Belsen maybe, something witha B, that it stood for Reine Judische Fetz (sp?)- Pure Jewish Fat. This got into the newspapers etc after the war. And there were these bars of soap, maybe used only in concentration camps.

    But of course when you think about it, once this has been brought up,there was no shortge of letter J’s in the German language, so that they had to use I’s and just what modern typography treats those two letters the same?

    And some survivors kept a bar all or most of their lives, and would present them to museums decades later, besides what was in some museums and whereever since not too long after the war. But when
    bars of soap were analyzed, and we’re talking not before the mid-1990s, found not to contain any human DNA, so that kind of settles that. That’s not what that soap was.

    There is also some indication or documents indicating that the Nazis attempted to manufacture soap from corpses, or rather it was tissue from human forearms, stomach and legs
    maybe in 1944-5 (off and on maybe, from about March or April 1944 till Feb. 1945) at the Danzig Anatomic Institute, but they were not able to create good soap. It had a bad smell and they had to add a chemical to it. They used it for cleaning tables in the dissection room ND ALSO impregnation of the ligaments of the joint preparations [Gelenkpräparat] in order to keep them flexible; and, if they tried, they never got anybody else to take it off their hands. One of the people involved possibly mused about wanting to write a doctoral thesis about it.

    Some of it was found by Soviet troops and used at the Nuremberg trial and entered as
    exhibit USSR-393, and it was tested in 2006 and was found compatible with being a human soap, although soap with a similar chemical composition might also be made from pig fat. It migh ave been manufactured after February, 1945. Nuremberg document USSR-196 is the recipe.

    They used corpses of people executed elsewhere, mostly Poles, Russians and Uzbeks.

    This could have been attempted because during World War I, the germans were accused of having bult a corpse factory, particularly by the French, so maybe someone in the SS decided that they should do it for real, or thought that this was practical.

    They attempted to find uses for other body parts. The only takers they found were the german submarines, whch used hair (and you didn’t have to kill anyone to get tehir hair) Now this is probably why Karl Doenitz became the successor in 1945.

    Sammy Finkelman (db7fea)

  46. 39. The opinion of the New York Times writers is that Mnuchin is tryng to avoid having Trump cancel the switch of the portrait on the $20 bill from andrew Jackson to Harriet Tubman altogether, so he postponed the redesign till 2026, with it not appearing in circulation till 2028. That is something to get around Trump, not a plan by Trump.

    So now some Democrats want to mandate by law that the Tubman bill be produced no later than the end of 2020. (100th anniversary of the 19th amendment)

    Sammy Finkelman (db7fea)

  47. The lampshades: This happened only with Ilse Koch, wife of the commandant of Buchenwald, and mayne only two lampshades were made. They may have thought at Nuremberg (this was not afocus) that more of these were made than were actually made.

    When you dig deep into this, it turns out that this was not done by, but rather for, Ilse Koch, by her husband, the commandant of Buchenwald, Karl Otto Koch. She also had a position there, but she probably didn’t directly arrange for the lampshades herself, but who knows? Maybe she did pick out a second group of live prisoners whose tatooes she wanted.

    The reason they had for making the lampshades out of human skin was to get the tattoos some prisoners had onto a lampshade.

    The first lampshade her husband made for her displeased her, so he killed more prisoners, and made another one, with better tattoos, which she liked. An unknown number of prisoners may have been killed for their tattoos. Where anybody else associated with Koch wanted or got a lampshade made from human skin is unclear. There might have been a third one made, or a prototype, (which might have gone to the SS Dr. Müller) not to mention possible leftover scraps, of which there was plenty, and some other objects might have been made from human skin as well.

    All this would have happened in 1941.

    Now Karl Otto Koch came under investigation by the Nazis for corruption, (a strange story) including for killing two of the wrong people, (they treated him for syphilis) possibly by people who wanted to throw sand into the gears of the murder machinery. (Himmler called all the investigations off, but not in time to stop the case against Koch)

    Now many Nazis did this (used prisoners for personal benefit) and this actually saved lives for some time, as some found a use for slaves at places like Sobibor, which was only a death camp)

    The lampshade was obviously an instance of using his position for personal benefit, and the lampshade disappeared and was presumably destroyed.

    There were several political prisoners in his employ who knew all about this.

    In September 1941, Karl Koch got what was considered a punitive transfer to the Majdanek concentration camp in Poland (while his wife continued to reside at Buchenwald) but all of his attempts at cover-up did not help him Karl Koch; he was dismissed from his position after several months there, in August 1942 (but only because there had been a successful escape by 86 Soviet POWs) and transferred to an office job in Berlin, later arrested in August 1943, put on trial and sentenced to death.

    He did escape actual execution for a long time, and was imprisoned in an SS jail in Weimar (near but not in Buchenwald) but on April 5, 1945, less than one week ahead of the arrival at Buchenwald of General Patton’s Third Army on April 11, 1945, he was taken from his cell, driven to Buchenwald and killed by a firing squad, and his body was thrown into one of his own crematoria, which was really poetic justice. (actually I don’t know if this was one used during his time there as commandant.)

    After the war only Ilse Koch was alive and she became a target of prosecution more than she would otherwise have been. She did have a position in her own name in the SS at Buchenwald and was known for extreme cruelty towards prisoners. She used to ride a horse and whip any prisoners who caught her fancy. She’s also reported to have collected or made other artifacts made from the skins of specially murdered concentration camp inmates, like book covers (and/or a cover of a photo album) and gloves and a lady’s handbag, and to have made or received and shrunken human skulls, besides stealing for herself a lot of things that the Nazi government stole. She was first tried by an American military tribunal in 1947, found guilty of murder and sentenced to life imprisonment but then it was reduced to four years and even less and she was released in 1949 after being pardoned by General Lucius D. Clay, (she may have helped herself by becoming pregnant and giving birth shortly before or after her 41st birthday in Sept. 1947) But there was an uproar, and she was re-arrested in 1949 and out on trial by West German court for killing German nationals and again sentenced to life imprisonment for (instigation of) murder (being accused of links to 135 murders) on Januuary 15, 1951, and committed suicide in a Bavarian prison on September 1, 1967.

    The lampshade Ilse Koch had had was famous in the lore of the camp among the prisoners liberated in 1945, but not so much the connection with tattoos, and what was shown after the war to Americans or German civilians given a forced tour of the camp, and photpgraphed by Billy Wilder, almost certainly was not her lampshade. It might have been a prototype, created to test out whether it was possible to make a lampshade out of human skin, (while also preserving any markings on the skin. )
    and if so, they might not have specially killed anyone fr that since they killed people all the time.)

    There is, in fact evidence and testimony that would support the idea that it was a prototype. It is reported to have come from Hermann Pister’s office, the commandant who succeeded Koch, and he is not suspected of having made anything out of human skin himself. Pistor, according to postwar affidavits by Konrad Morgen, the SS investigator, had shown it to him and said this was something his predecessor made and he said it was made from untattooed human skin.

    So it might have stayed there, or was sent back to the pathology lab in the camp, and was there till the end of the war. They also had lots of tattooed human skin, probably collected early n the war.

    There is fact the 1951 verdict of the court in Augsberg says they had been researchin preserving skin for over a year. They originally just tried to preserve any unusual skin of dead prisoner. And it took them from December 1939 till sometime in 1941 to develop a specialized tanning procedure that worked. At some point eiter Karl Koch or his wife got the idea of taking tatooed skin and making a lampshade out of it.

    But they easily have started experimenting, after a while, on untattoed skin. For a prototype, any human skin would do and Koch may not have wanted to “waste” a tattoo, because something different would have to be done to be able to make a lampshade. So the lampshade everyone saw after the war, that was photographed first on April 16, 1945, had no tattoo.

    The (probably prototype) lampshade and other artifacts were in the possession of the Buchenwald pathology department at the end. They included two shrunken heads. One eventually wound up at Walter Reed Medical Center, in the Hospital Museum, (where somebody named it “Little Willie”) but was later stolen, and the other is in Germany. One of the shrunken heads was from a known Polish political prisoner who had escaped from the camp and was recaptured after several weeks and and executed.

    Sammy Finkelman (db7fea)

  48. @ Stu707: The judge for whom I clerked would have fired me on the spot if I’d submitted to her a draft opinion with that sentence in it. And she’d have been right to do so.

    And this opinion was joined by a former Associate Justice of the Supreme Court…

    Having read a little of the opinion, it sounds like maybe the guy was disrespectful or used similar purple prose in his filings or something; at one point they say there is no need to respond to his claims “epithet by epithet”.

    I didn’t know how to find the related filings, and decided it wasn’t worth my time to learn.

    There is a mocking, condescending tone to the entire opinion that comes off as extremely undignified, though.

    Dave (1bb933)

  49. There is a wide range of choice that can substantially increase the costs.

    Most of which aren’t options on composting. The $6K number is only tossed out to make $5,500 sound reasonable.

    Kind of like using BMWs to justify the cost of a Chevy Bolt.

    Kevin M (21ca15)

  50. If California can ban normal eggs, can other states ban corpse-grown produce? (Not to be confused with copse-grown.)

    Soon to appear: “Corpse-free” labeling.

    Kevin M (21ca15)

  51. But Trump is too damned stupid to recognize a political opportunity when it lands in his lap, and now he’s handed the Dems yet another piece of evidence consistent with their “Racist Trump” meme — something they’ll use to demonize everyone running in 2020 under the auspices of the Party of Lincoln.

    I have never agreed with you more, Beldar, than I agree with this.

    The African-America reaction to THIS $20 DESIGN would be extremely positive, although the gun-control people would have a cow.

    Kevin M (21ca15)

  52. @ Dave, re your #48: If it’s from a federal district court anywhere in the country, you can view the docket sheet, and then individual filings (including orders) via PACER. The simplest way is to type, for instance PACER SDNY into your search engine for cases from that court. You have to set up an account (which, once established, is good for any federal district), meaning give them a credit card to cover the download charges, but those charges are capped at a fairly low per-document level.

    The menus are relatively straight-forward: From the top line, pick “Query,” which will take you to a screen asking you to enter a cause number, or a litigant’s name, or the kind of case (e.g., “federal question”), and you can narrow your searches with date ranges. If you were searching for the Avennati indictments, you’ll hit some false positives in your query results in which he’s listed as an attorney-of-record (which is also a searchable term — hey, want to see all of Avenatti’s federal court cases from CDCA? It’s a click away). When you click a specifi case, the Docket Sheet will show you a chronological list of filings in that case, with short summaries and links to the downloadable .pdf versions of the filings. (Some stuff is under seal and not available via PACER, but that’s fairly rare.)

    PACER is a remarkable resource, useful both to lawyers and nonlawyers interested in the law, and you’d have no trouble picking up its use, I’m very certain.

    Beldar (fa637a)

  53. I’d be OK if they replaced LINCOLN with that.

    Kevin M (21ca15)

  54. @ Kevin M: Yes, and if Trump had a clue, he’d make them have that cow.

    Beldar (fa637a)

  55. My theory, actually, is Trump hopes to be on the $20 himself. Prove me wrong.

    Beldar (fa637a)

  56. As far as making things from bones, in Charles Stross’s The Laundry Files novels, one of the characters has a violin made by an “Erich Zahn” which is made from human bones and, when played, eats the soul of the intended victim.

    Kevin M (21ca15)

  57. My theory, actually, is Trump hopes to be on the $20 himself. Prove me wrong.

    I think that, one day while Trump is still alive, Congress will authorize a $3 bill, and put Trump on it.

    Kevin M (21ca15)

  58. The problem as I see it is that Trump doesn’t speak to anyone as an equal, and has no clue how anyone else thinks. Of course, he doesn’t care.

    Perhaps we should convince Hannity that the Tubman “Follow me” design would be a good idea. I think it is patently obvious that Hannity has better judgement than Trump.

    Kevin M (21ca15)

  59. I’ve always said that, when I die, cremate my a**, pour the ashes into a mayonnaise jar (clean or not, who cares?), and then toss the jar into a landfill somewhere. Who knew that wouldn’t be the greenest of options? Well, until the mayonnaise goes bad…….

    Bill H (383c5d)

  60. Here we go:

    Bruce Marshall Selya (born May 27, 1934) is a Senior United States Circuit Judge of the United States Court of Appeals for the First Circuit and former chief judge of the United States Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Court of Review who is known for his distinctive writing style.

    Selya’s writing style is not without its critics. Boston attorney Harvey A. Silverglate has written that his opinions are “well known” for their “remarkably judgmental but politically naive language,” and that “[i]t is not unusual to see Selya gratuitously criticize, in sarcastic and sometimes grandiloquent fashion, a party or witness. He has earned a reputation for tossing around both his power and trademark one-hundred-dollar words.”

    Wasn’t there a District Judge in Texas, subsequently in prison, who was that kind of ronion too?

    nk (dbc370)

  61. Further off-topic: The US House votes 417-3 to revamp 401(k) rules.

    The bill, which passed Thursday with a vote of 417-3, delays until 72 the age at which retirees must start withdrawing from individual retirement accounts and removes the age limit at which taxpayers must stop contributing. Now, taxpayers have to stop contributing to such accounts at age 70 1/2 and begin taking distributions. An amendment recently added to the bill also reverses an error in the 2017 tax law that had caused military families, known as “Gold Star” families to owe much higher taxes on survivor benefits.

    The retirement legislation passed the House Ways and Means Committee last month. The bill has broad bipartisan support, making it one of the few pieces of legislation this year that might be approved by the Senate and signed into law. In addition to increasing the age limit for required minimum distributions, the bill also makes it easier for companies to unite and form joint retirement plans, and attempts to incentivize the creation of such plans for part-time workers and small businesses.

    Kevin M (21ca15)

  62. Weird. I won’t hold my breath for Recompose’s IPO.

    Paul Montagu (7968e9)

  63. Oh no, stop commenting about Tubman $20 bill cuz I have a post about it for the morning! If you keep commenting about it on this thread, you will use up all your good comments here and tomorrow morning’s post will be very lonely.

    Dana (779465)

  64. If we all go back to the earth no matter option we choose, why is this option more of a utilitarian and degrading option than cremation?

    Dana (779465)

  65. I’m pretty certain the Catholic Church would not consider Grandma’s roses as ‘holy ground’, as lovely as those roses may be. Not that the state here in Washington cares about Catholics, but Catholics are supposed to be INTERRED on holy ground, not spread in the park where Fido does his business… although probort “Catholics” Patty Murray, Nancy Pelosi, Joe Biden and/or Maria Cantwell, just may deserve Fido…

    Betty Lane (97c12d)

  66. If Trump tried to put Tubman on the $20 bill, he’d put the wrong black woman on it and wouldn’t understand why all the fuss.

    Kevin M (21ca15)

  67. not spread in the park where Fido does his business

    Nor mixed with Fido’s business.

    Kevin M (21ca15)

  68. Kevin M, see my plea at 63.

    Dana (779465)

  69. If we all go back to the earth no matter option we choose, why is this option more of a utilitarian and degrading option than cremation?

    Cremation kills human pathogens. Decomposition multiplies them. How many micro-organisms that break down human flesh do we want to walk on or pick our food from?

    nk (dbc370)

  70. And they’ll get into water table too.

    nk (dbc370)

  71. Decomposition multiplies them.

    If I understood the article, the decomposition process is carried out at a temperature high enough to mulch both you AND your cooties.

    Dave (1bb933)

  72. Creutzfeldt-Jakob Disease, too? Cooking their ancestors before eating them did not help the Polynesians.

    nk (dbc370)

  73. Dana, before you post, google the phrase “Harriet Tubman maryland mural”. You might want to insert one of the links into your post.

    Kishnevi (43b9bd)

  74. nk, from Recompose’s website:

    The process of natural organic reduction destroys most harmful pathogens. However, there is not enough evidence showing that the process breaks down prion disease. So, someone who has died of a prion disease, such as Creutzfeldt-Jakob disease, would not be a candidate for natural organic reduction. Similarly, someone who has died of a highly contagious disease such as Ebola (an outbreak of which would be managed by the CDC) would not be a candidate for natural organic reduction.

    Dana (779465)

  75. I saw that, kishnevi. So great!

    Dana (779465)

  76. @ nk (#60): You may be thinking of Samuel B. Kent of SDTX (Galveston Division). I appeared before a handful of times on pretrial matters, and knowing his reputation I was careful never to give him an excuse to find fault with me, which would have redounded to my clients’ detriment.

    Kent became well known throughout the legal community for his unique orders and judgments—sometimes taking the form of humor, as in his orders in Bolivia v. Philip Morris Companies, Inc.[16] and Smith v. Colonial Penn Life Insurance.[17] and at other times serving as ridicule aimed at the attorneys appearing before him, as in Bradshaw v. Unity Marine Corp.[18] and Labor Force, Inc. v. Jacintoport Corp. et al.[19]


    Kent pleaded guilty in February 2009 to obstruction of justice for lying to a judicial committee investigating an allegation he sexually harassed an employee. He also acknowledged that he had had non-consensual sexual contact with two female employees between 2003 and 2007. He was sentenced on May 11, 2009, to serve 33 months in federal prison on the charge of obstructing justice in the investigation of the sexual abuse accusations. The obstruction charge carried a maximum punishment of 20 years in prison. As part of a plea agreement, Kent admitted that the sexual conduct was non-consensual. Kent had to pay a $1,000 fine and a total of $6,550 in restitution to the two victims. While in prison he was required to take part in the Bureau of Prisons Alcohol Treatment Program. In pronouncing sentence over Kent, visiting Judge Roger Vinson stated, “Your wrongful conduct is a huge black X … a stain on the judicial system itself, a matter of concern in the federal courts”.[31] On June 15, 2009, Kent reported to the Federal Medical Center, Devens in Devens, Massachusetts to begin his sentence.[32] In November 2009, he was moved to a state prison in Florida and held in solitary confinement for his own safety.

    The Wikipedia footnotes include nice juicy quotes from Kent opinions, one of which reads:

    Before proceeding further, the Court notes that this case involves two extremely likable lawyers, who have together delivered some of the most amateurish pleadings ever to cross the hallowed causeway into Galveston, an effort which leads the Court to surmise but one plausible explanation. Both attorneys have obviously entered into a secret pact – complete with hats, handshakes, and cryptic words – to draft their pleadings entirely in crayon on the back sides of gravy-stained paper place mats, in the hope that the Court would be so charmed by their child-like efforts that their utter dearth of legal authorities in their briefing would go unnoticed.

    Beldar (fa637a)

  77. @ Dana (#63): Good for you! Harriet deserves a post of her own.

    Beldar (fa637a)

  78. I like this one

    Defendant should be assured that it is not embarking on a three-week-long trip via covered wagons when it travels to Galveston. Rather, Defendant will be pleased to discover that the highway is paved and lighted all the way to Galveston, and thanks to the efforts of this Court’s predecessor, Judge Roy Bean, the trip should be free of rustlers, hooligans, or vicious varmints of unsavory kind.” Smith v. Colonial Penn Life Insurance, case no. G-96-503, S.D. Tex., Order Denying Motion to Transfer (Nov. 6, 1996)

    Kishnevi (43b9bd)

  79. There is no shortage of colorful federal judges in Texas.

    I appeared once on behalf one of the defendants in a massive Superfund/CERCLA lawsuit, in which there were at least 40 defendants — mostly corporate successors (with successor liability) to major industrial companies who were doing business in the Houston area in the 1950s and 1960s, who’d taken their nastiest toxic wastes to this particular spot. Most of the lawyers, though, were from out of state. Imagine their surprise when this particular federal judge, upon hearing an argument that she didn’t much like, would whip out her Nerf gun from beneath the bench and shoot the lawyer at the podium with a Nerf dart. All the Houston lawyers knew, yes, if you show up in this judge’s courtroom and you have a weak argument, be prepared for the Nerf dart.

    Another local federal judge, now senior status but still very active, is noted for his utter intolerance of archaic language. On many, many occasions, I’ve seen him look down at a proposed agreed order submitted by the parties for his signature and frown. Out comes the red Sharpie marker. You like your “wherefores” and your “premises considered” and your “came on to be heards”? Do not do that in his court. He will humiliate you in open court, even in front of your client, by ripping your proposed order to shreds, just drenching it in red ink — and he will enjoy it.

    You want to avoid being humiliated? Know your judge, or find out about him or her if you don’t already know your judge.

    Beldar (fa637a)

  80. One of my favorite federal judge from Texas was the Hon. Barefoot Sanders, who’d been the U.S. Attorney for the Northern District, served in the DoJ and Texas AG’s office, then was legislative counsel to LBJ. Indeed, LBJ liked him so much that he nominated Sanders for the D.C. Circuit in September 1968, but the Senate didn’t act on the nomination before the election or during the transition (since LBJ was already a self-made lame duck by then). LBJ went to the trouble of formally re-nominating him after the new Senate convened in January 1969. But Nixon, of course — humorless scold that he was — withdrew the nomination as one of his first acts after his inauguration. He ran for the U.S. Senate in 1972 but was beaten by John Tower. President Carter appointed him to the NDTX bench in 1979.

    Judge Sanders was absolutely as delightful as his name implied, a raconteur who loved to listen to and tell war stories among lawyers in his chambers. Technically he was “Harold Barefoot Sanders, Jr.” but no one ever referred to him as anything but “Barefoot” — and knowledgeable lawyers knew he’d wince (but not fuss out loud, much less shoot you with a Nerf dart) if you prepared a signature blank for him that had “Harold B. Sanders.” He died in 2008, beloved and respected by bench and bar, and I never got anything less than a fair shake in his court on the two or three times I appeared before him.

    Beldar (fa637a)

  81. Great stories, Beldar.

    nk (dbc370)

  82. Exceptions to the law are made for a list of Hollywood personalities who have had so much plastic surgery that they are no longer considered biodegradable. The top of the list is Cher.

    C. S. P. Schofield (f7316d)

  83. Exceptions to the law are made for a list of Hollywood personalities who have had so much plastic surgery that they are no longer considered biodegradable. The top of the list is Cher.

    Also those whose remains will need to treated as a biohazard. Top of this list is Keith Richards.

    Dave (1bb933)

  84. Speaking of Texas lawyers, Beldar …. have you seen ?

    aphrael (e0cdc9)

  85. Dana (779465) — 5/23/2019 @ 7:19 pm

    why is this option more of a utilitarian and degrading option than cremation?

    Cremation is indeed worse.

    This is worse than normal burial (and burial can be done without coffins) because there is no memorial marker, or place set aside for the grave, and they are using this as ordinaryy fertilizer.

    Sammy Finkelman (102c75)

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