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ZombieLaw studies zombies in law, politics and current events.

DMV denies Zombie Debt Killer

10News: “Vanity plate rejects: Why the DMV said ‘NO’” provides an excel spreadsheet of offensive vanity license plate requests that were denied by the California DMV. Among the list is multiple license plate requests for zombies.

zombie debt killer license plate dmv


The request for IKL ZMBI with applicant comment: “I KILL ZOMBIE” was also denied. The DMV response simply repeats the applicant comment: “I KILL ZOMBIE”

And the request for ZDBT KLR with applicant comment “ZOMBIE DEBT KILLER WE DEFEND AGAINST ZOMBIE DEBT COLLECTORS” was also denied with DMV response: “PULLING FOR ‘KILLER’”

One that was marked approved was LVN#DED with applicant comment “LOVING DAD”, but the DMV response was skeptical: “LIVING DEAD, IS THIS OK? ZOMBIES CREEP ME OUT. AND DEAD IS NOT DAD.”

There are also entries for UNDEAD3 and UNDEAD 8, both with applicant comment: “HOLLYWOOD UNDEAD” and DMV comment: “UNSURE ‘UNDEAD’ WAS MARKING BUT IN 1994″ both approved.

See also denial for LAWBTCH with applicant comment attempting to claim it as “LAW BATCH” but DMV response saw the obvious “LAW BITCH”.

But that keen DMV intuition was ignored in the approval of LAWR PE with no applicant comment but the DMV response did notice: “ONLY HAVE A SPACE BETWEEN R AND P- I SAW RAPE.”

Law rape? By zombie debt collectors? Hire a bitch and kill it!

ghosts of the past clanking their chains

Judge Desmond’s opinion in Woods v. Lancet 303 N.Y. 349 (1951) quotes:

“When these ghosts of the past stand in the path of justice clanking their mediaeval chains the proper course for the judge is to pass through them undeterred.”

(Lord Atkin in United Australia, Ltd., v. Barclay’s Bank, Ltd., [1941] A. C. 1, 29).

This ghost is a reference to precedent as the decision in Woods overturned thirty year old established case law.

Consider by way of contrast, the dissent by Circuit Judge E. Grady Jolly in the Fifth Circuit’s 1999 decision Doe v. Santa Fe Independent School District, 168 F.3d 806:

like boys on a summer night blithely whistling as they walk through a graveyard, for the panel majority it is not to worry so long as it is brave enough to look straight ahead and pretend that authoritative precedents are merely ghosts of the past not to be feared.

Despite the dissent, the Supreme Court of the United Stated affirmed the decision, Santa Fe Independent School Dist. v. Doe, 530 U.S. 290 (2000)

Notice the stark contrast in the way these quotes embody the role of the judge. Lord Atkin’s imagery is of a judge like some Lord of the Rings style once and future king (Aragorn approaching the Army of the Dead), whereas for Judge Jolly the judges are boys on a graveyard adventure.

See also, from StraightDope:”When did ghosts start rattling chains and moaning?” asked in 2005 by user named Shirley Unjest. The best answer comes from Walloon who cites “Magic, Witchcraft, and Ghosts in the Greek and Roman Worlds: A Sourcebook” by Daniel Ogden and explains:

The chain rattling goes back even further to ghost stories in Ancient Roman literature. Pliny the Younger wrote a haunted story, circa A.D. 102, with a chain rattling ghost. The ghost’s corpse is found in chains. It was believed by the Romans that chains were one of the few ways to keep a ghost from wandering about.

There is also a strong connection to the Dickens character Jacob Marley from “Christmas Carol” who appears to Scrooge as a specter, “captive, bound and double-ironed” chained to “cash-boxes, keys, padlocks, ledgers, deeds, and heavy purses wrought in steel.”

At Yahoo Answers, an answer from Bob explains:

usually what the significance of the chain is. It is the weight of your sins which you must drag behind you for the rest of eternity, forever unable to find peace and enter Heaven.

zombie pools

Zombie pools are a new issue in the Florida real estate crisis. Mosquitoes breed in stagnant water so it’s important to check abandoned homes with unmaintained swimming pools. (Query: can zombies swim?)

Yesterday in Florida Today: “‘Zombie’ pools could help spread mosquito-borne viruses” by Jim Waymer:

“Zombie” swimming pools at homes in foreclosure soon morph to algae-caked cesspools, inviting habitats for the species of mosquitoes that spread agonizing and sometimes fatal viral diseases such as dengue fever and chikungunya. Both diseases have been inching in on east Central Florida.

County officials can’t put an exact number of zombie pools but estimate dozens of similar scenarios throughout unincorporated Brevard

Wendell Koontz offers a potential cheap solution in Florida Today: “Letter: Product helps kill mosquitoes in pools“:

“Mosquito Dunks,” a mosquito-control product. …. They are little green doughnuts that you toss in a pool to kill mosquito larvae. … They cost about $1 each.

Koontz suggest tossing them into the zombie pools of your neighbors’ foreclosed home. No comment on the legality of trespass in tossing insect poison onto property you don’t own. Consult a local attorney, but I suppose the penalties might be better than getting lots of bug bite or contracting a terrible virus.

Also, we might consider “zombie pools” in terms of money, zombie funds and zombie banks. Consider also how this all might connect to Marvel’s character “Deadpool” who is very popular amongst internet upvoters and who last year fought dead presidents (a phrase which is also slang for money).

Meanwhile this week, President Obama is being harangued for his Emperor Nero moment of shooting pool while the world ends. See for example this opinion letter to South Jersey Times: “World burns while Obama plays pool“. And for another water-predator metaphor, Mediaite: “Colorado Gov. Praises Obama’s Pool Game, Calls Him ‘A Shark’” by Evan McMurry. Let’s hope there are no sharks in the pools of abandoned homes. (see also, the Obama float)

Y2K Returns: Zombie Draft – they’re coming for your driver’s license

This post is about the recent Pennsylvania Y2K mistake “zombie draft”, sending military draft letters to dead people. See CNET: “Y2K glitch orders 14K deceased men to join the military draft” by Dara Kerr:

Is the US recruiting a zombie army? No, it just appears an Y2K bug temporarily resurfaced.

Kerr also provides link to the AP story: “14,000 draft notices sent to men born in 1800s” by Michael Ribinkam. And see also Zombie Army: Y2K Bug Sends Draft Notices to 14,000 Pennsylvanian Men From the 19th Century” by Mary-Ann Russon, and Penn Live: “Pennsylvania’s zombie army?: State sends draft letters to 14K dead men” and “Pa.’s zombie army? Racist monkey T-shirts? West Philly robbery outrage: Daily Buzz” both by John Luciew, who juxtaposes this ‘zombie draft’ story with another story of an “accidental” racism, with a subheading titled:

“Oversight or offensive?”

Questions of “oversight or offensive” are becoming increasingly common refrain. Consider again, the Obama float, and consider the kerfuffle over the Washington “Redskins”. Andrew Johnson of National Review also noted these two stories together in “Judge Bars Use of ‘Redskins’ in His Courtroom“. And recall Korean Zombie’s objections to Rising Sun insignia (here and here). When symbols are so overloaded with meaning it becomes difficult to speak in global public discourse without offending someone. As is so often a problem for law: was it intentional?

The computer data entry mistake that caused draft letters to be sent to dead people was probably not intentional. But the reporters who called it a “zombie draft”, they are repeating it intentionally, in part because it gets attention, but also it’s a funny because it hits on some unusual political points to discuss of controversial issues in a funny way.

First military drafts are a sensitive subject. While referring to “zombie draft” we should notice that we have not drafted anyone in a long time. The nation has no political will to use the draft for a foreign war. That is the political lesson of Vietnam: don’t draft the rich kids and their friends, it will erupt the college campuses and eventually sway the parents and the whole effort crashes down. Instead, never-ending war can be waged with “volunteers” and paid mercenaries. We can recruit heavily in poor neighborhoods and immigrants and anyone willing to fight for us. And we can buy fancy weapon systems. Then we do atrocities in other countries and no one on the college campuses even talks about it, all too busy being indoctrinated by neoliberal pragmatism.

Rep. Charles Rangel would support having a draft to balance the demographics of our military, to

compel the American public to have a stake in the wars we fight as a nation.

Israel conscripts all it’s children (except the very religious). In the early Obama years there were hints of the conscription idea and talk of national public service. That idea seems a zombie. Americans are not interested in being conscripted. Recall also the Canadians in WW2 used the phrase “zombie” to refer to conscripts because they were less passionate fighters, but also used the same phrase to refer to military deserters.

We are all zombies now, the public discourse has deserted the military a long time ago. We send money but we are not interested in sending all our kids to service. ‘Do it with machines, with less educated angry young males, with a few well schooled natural born leaders, and leave the rest of us out of it.’ How long can that attitude last? The history of empires like that does not bode well.

It was a hard won, expensive fight, but Rangel won his primary. Maybe it’s time to talk again about the zombie draft? Maybe if we draft upper-class New Englanders and valley girls, maybe the military would be better?

This Pennsylvania Y2K “zombie draft” is also a reminder of another issue that Boomers don’t like, the idea of losing their drivers license. This Y2K glitch reminded how many old people have driver’s licenses. See this editorial available at both “Editorial: Draft notice glitch highlighted a more important issue” and “EDITORIAL: Zombies with driver’s licenses drafted in Pa.?“:

is the military manning up for the zombie apocalypse? Nah … Y2K-like computer glitch … Those 14,000 men who got zombie draft notices were between 93 and 97 in 1990 — and they all had to have had active licenses or they wouldn’t have been in the system. That’s a lot of nonagenarians out driving around Keystone state roads.

And also “Zombies with driver’s licenses drafted“:

We all got a little chuckle from this oddball story

Anyone can report to PennDOT by writing a detailed letter regarding their observations and the driver’s specific medical impairment(s). The letter must also include the writer’s name and contact information. This letter can be mailed to: Pennsylvania Department of Transportation P.O. Box 68682, Harrisburg, PA 17106-8682. The driver may be required to take a medical or drivers exam, or both. Learn more by visiting

Every “chuckle” has a second meaning. Watch out Boomers, they want to take your license away. They can create more government jobs for more eye exams and repeat road tests, enhanced reflex testing? But better yet, autonomous cars!!! If robots are good enough to fight our wars, surely they can chauffeur us around. What a boon to that industry it will be when governments start systematic revocation of old people’s driving privileges.

The big destination for this summer’s zombies is Philadelphia with museums of stolen art and stories about cracked liberty, but be careful driving and be sure to use full four digit year dates because for some, the Spirit of ’76 was the election of Jimmy Carter and an end to drafts, end to foreign wars, bring home the troops (and give them autonomous electric powered cars).

gold plague for indignities

Pennsylvania is adding gold plagues to the portraits of former assemblymen in their legislative House. The gold plagues will denote the crimes for which these assemblymen were convicted. Yes, the crimes.

At least four portraits will have new gold plagues denoting inglorious acts. See Examiner: “Pennsylvania State Capitol amends politician’s portraits to tell the whole story” by Justin Andress:

those politicians who are now facing jail time will get to have their legacy mocked by field trips from here until the zombie apocalypse.

A spokesman for House Speaker Sam Smith, Stephen Miskin, explained, “You can’t change history, whether you like it or not … There was a feeling you should keep the portraits out there and let people make up their own mind.” Don’t look now but the folks who run Pennsylvania just said they wanted to give people all the facts and let them subsequently form their own opinions. That’s dangerous talk in politics.

But it is actually somewhat dangerous because we never get “all the facts”.

What about adding plagues to assembly members’ portraits to denote the bills they sponsored? What about other accolades? Nope, the gold plague is apparently only for crimes.

I’ve quoted Lenny Bruce before:

Lenny Bruce said: “If every politician from the beginning is crooked, there is no crooked.”

So it’s a rogue’s gallery and the golden mark becomes a strange badge of honor. If political corruption is the norm, perhaps getting caught for doing something that many others are getting away with, may indicate a high matyrdom of political service?

[Note to readers: yes, of course the word is "plaque" but it's so much funnier this way]

the Obama float

Before I explain the offensive parade float in Nebraska, let’s just joke about the phrase “Obama float”.

To float on water is an indication of buoyancy but also a metaphor for relaxation and laziness. It is the hallmark of a ship’s structural integrity but less forceful than rowing oars or running motors or sailing on a gust of wind (see also Zombie Boats in a rising tide). If the government is doing ‘the Obama float’, that’s a good thing compared to his inauguration when the ship was taking on serious water, and floating is definitely better than being sunk. Still, is there an implication that we can’t just float along forever and must find a way to do more? [consider also: 'floating a loan']

Consider the river float in the new Pepsi commercial, “Lost Cooler”. Incidentally, if it were Diet Pepsi it would float by itself. The “real” sugar version is more dense – hint to the nation: it’s the sugar weighing us down! Of course if it were real life, that pepsi would be a beer, because a river float requires beer! Zombie Beer? You’ll have to go to Chicago for that, see Chicago Tribune: “5 essential Chicago beers” by Josh Noel featuring “Zombie Dust” beer from Three Floyds Brewery Co.

It is only a available in a few states so Noel describes Zombie Dust as a “destination beer” for Chicago. Could that be a metaphor for the tourism money (fairy dust) that would come from location of the Obama Presidential Library in Chi-town? That library might be better protected in Hawaii but in Chicago people could more easily float over from other states … like Nebraska…

Ok so now the Nebraska July 4th parade float:

The Journal Star “Editorial, 7/10: ‘Obama float’ was disgusting“:

Standing in front of the outhouse was a dark-skinned mannequin with a walker that Remmich claimed was a caricature of himself as a zombie.

The Journal Star editorial board thinks the float was crude, disgusting, indecent and open to an interpretation that it was bigoted. It had no business being in a parade celebrating our nation’s heritage.

Builder of Controversial Nebraska Parade Float Claims “I’m Not a Racist”” by William J. Grabowski. Because of course, no one that’s racist ever says that. So maybe time for a sensitivity workshop or a replay of Avenue Q.

KMTV: Federal Government Looking Into Norfolk Parade Float by Ashlee Pitzl:

Mayor Sue Fuchtman confirms to KMTV Action 3 News that Department of Justice officials are in Norfolk to discuss a controversial parade float.

Mayor Fuchtman told KMTV Action 3 News that she and the city administrator would be meeting with a representative of the Department of Justice before the meeting with the NAACP.

Lincoln Journal Star: Justice official, NAACP meet with Norfolk over float“:

Four representatives of the NAACP and the U.S. Department of Justice met with Norfolk Mayor Sue Fuchtman Thursday to talk about a controversial float in the Fourth of July parade. The meeting included the mayor, city administrator Shane Weidner and members of the Independent Order of the Odd Fellows, which organized the parade.

RT: “Obama library toilet parade float prompts Justice Department investigation

Washington Times: “DOJ investigates Nebraska parade float critical of Obama” By Jessica Chasmar

BizPacReview: “Justice Dept finally finds ‘real’ scandal; looking at Obama outhouse parade float” by Michele Kirk – OH, it’s “real”!

Daily Caller: “Eric Holder Gets Serious About Limiting Speech, Investigates Obama Outhouse Parade Float” by Eric Owens

The Norfolk Daily News reports “NAACP: Norfolk meeting was ‘beneficial’” by Kent Warneke.

But still some are peeved about the federal government making an investigation out this;

Washington Times: “EDITORIAL: Humorless Holder parades for justice in the outhouse“:

Some Democrats just can’t take a joke. They’ve summoned a torrent of outrage over a float in a Fourth of July parade in Norfolk, Neb., because it featured an outhouse labeled “Obama Presidential Library.” The “head librarian” was portrayed by a zombie doll. Everyone else had a good laugh about it. (Bathroom humor always works.)

Some are less fond of “potty humor” but still disapprove the heavy-handed government investigations of free expression.

JSOnline: “The eggshell President” by Rick Esenberg:

At a holiday parade in Norfolk, Nebraska, someone entered a float that depicted the Obama Presidential Library as an outhouse. There was some kind of mannequin – described as “zombie-like” – that the proprietor of the exhibit said was supposed to be himself and not the President. He says he is a veteran and was depicting himself as dismayed by the poor care at VA hospitals.

Let’s assume it was the President.

I would have thought that we were permitted to mock our Presidents.

But, no. The Department of Justice has actually sent representatives to Nebraska to address this potential violation of our civil rights laws.

I could explain all of the reasons why this is wrong, but I shouldn’t have to. If you aren’t bothered by the idea that the federal government would send agents to investigate and “mediate” criticisms of the head of the federal government, you are not a civil libertarian.

National Review: “ Free Countries Mock Their Presidents” by Charles C. W. Cooke:

Are outhouses racist now? Are zombies? Or was it perhaps the overalls in which the zombie was dressed?

The float’s maker has insisted that the zombie represented himself and not the president. “I’ve got my bibs on, my walker, I’m covering my ears and I’m turning a bit green; I intended it to look like a zombie who has had enough,” he explained. Unsurprisingly, the NAACP didn’t buy it. “Looking at the float, that message absolutely did not come through,” the president of the outfit’s Iowa and Nebraska chapters griped. Fair enough. Arguendo, let’s presume that some of the spectators misunderstood the piece and believed that the president of the United States was being compared to a toilet-dwelling zombie. Again: Who cares? Are we now so hopelessly epicene that we expect federally funded conflict-resolution teams to swoop in on the hinterlands if the locals mutter too loudly about the government?

Government investigations can chill speech. This is a silly story but overall concerning. We need more satire!

Someone should photoshop an image of President Obama in a river tube colored like an Obama campaign logo, just casually floating along with a cooler of Pepsi and Zombie Dust beer. Eric Holder should be in a tube nearby towing a bunch of guns in his cooler and calling everyone racist. And since it’s Nebraska, Chuck Hagel should be there too, flying an R/C drone overhead. Maybe Kerry is off on the shore BBQ’ing, with plenty of Heinz Ketchup and suggesting again a ‘two steak solution’.

Modest Mouse: “Float On”

zombies falling from the sky

Here’s some previous ZombieLaw posts that suddenly seem newly relevant in light of the missile attack on the airliner in Ukraine:

April 2, 2012 – Russia developing ‘Zombie Gun’ for use on Putin protesters


March 8, 2014 – Ukraine zombie – what this means? – still no idea!

March 21, 2014 – The zombie plane – the previous Mayalsian Airlines airplane that disappeared; not a good year for them.

April 17, 2014 – zombie Soviet Union – it’s cold war never end (Cf. Frozen Zombies – here and here)

June 26, 2014 – Mobile missiles in Iraq? – well, and apparently in Ukraine too.

mobile missiles

More Zombie Russia.


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