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Ben v. Jerry: I've found my Pro Bono Opportunity!

It's been bothering me for a while, though it's not immediately important: Columbia Law School has a 40-hour pro bono requirement that I've had no idea how to fill. How does a right-wing republican who doesn't believe that the law should be used as a blunt instrument for social change find pro bono work? Most of the options put forward by the law school so far make the place look like a wholly-owned subsidiary of the Democratic Party. If I were to choose some picked upon client for whom I'd donate my time, it would be the tobacco companies--but since they've got the money to pay, they don't count.

Now I've found it. First there was the crusade against tobacco, then the gun industry. Then that paragon of junk science and ahistorical drivel Fast Food Nation joined forces with economic illiterate Naomi Klein's No Logo to spawn ridiculous lawsuits against the fast food industry. Now, just in time to generate a lawsuit right when I'll need pro bono work? The assault on ice cream! (From your friends at the Orwellian Center For Science In the Public Interest.)

“It’s as if these ice cream shops were competing with each other to see who could inflict the greatest toll on our arteries and waistlines,” said CSPI senior nutritionist Jayne Hurley. “It’s not just regular ice cream, but premium. It’s not just one scoop, but two or three. It’s not just a cone, but a chocolate-dipped waffle cone. It’s not just hot fudge, nuts, and whipped cream but every conceivable combination of cookie, candy, and chocolate.”

And for God's sake, gimme more! These self-described 'food sleuths' are officially nominated for my Blinding Flash of the Obvious award:

“No one disputes that the obesity epidemic has many causes,” said CSPI executive director Michael F. Jacobson. “But certainly the sheer size and caloric density of these ‘indulgences’ has something to do with the size of Americans’ pants.”

And you know, the worrying thing about that is Levi's is running out of cotton to make husky trousers. CSPI might someday replace Vogue as a leading cause of bulemia in impressionable young women.

Certainly when the inevitable class action suit comes out next year, there'll be a way for me to manage some kind of work that will take forty hours, no one will pay me for, and can be said to be in the public interest. These guys aren't exactly trying to take candy from babies, but it's close.

Only downside--if it's pro bono, I probably won't get any free ice cream.


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