Saturday, December 31, 2005

Day 7

On the seventh Day of Christmas, my true love gave to me

Seven Swans a-swimming
Six geese a-laying

Five golden rings

Four calling birds
Three french hens
Two turtle doves
And a partridge in a pear tree

Year's End

It's painfully early in the morning, as the toddler got me up at 5. He's currently eating breakfast - crunch berries - in a most meticulous manner. 18 months, and he's separating the berries from the crunches. I have been known to do that on occasion, myself, but it's very strange to see the little boy do that. I'm not going to stop him, though. He's being quiet and still, and he seems to be enjoying himself.

One of his favorite games right now is "Go!" It's also a favorite of his siblings. Basically, I sit in the dining room, point to one of the children, yell "Go!" and they run into the living room, around my chair, and back giggling like there's no tomorrow. I'm fortunate in that my children aren't too materialistic. They prefer books to video games, play-doh to cartoons. They still love Veggie Tales, many disney movies, and the little boy loves Barney. I can handle that, though, for the fun they bring each day. Happy New Year from all of us, to all of you!

Friday, December 30, 2005

Day 6

On the sixth Day of Christmas, my true love gave to me

Six geese a-laying

Five golden rings

Four calling birds
Three french hens
Two turtle doves
And a partridge in a pear tree.

Thursday, December 29, 2005

It's not right; it's the law

Georgia recently passed a law that requires voters to show picture ID in order to vote in elections. The requirement extends to registered voters who do not have valid driver's licenses, who must pay up to $35 to buy a state-issued ID card, according to this article. Rep. Alisha Thomas Morgan plans to protest this law, and I think she's going to see a lot of support.

I don't like the idea of requiring picture ID in order to participate in the fundamental right of voting, and I especially dislike the concept of requiring people to pay money in order to exercise that right. I think the good representative has a point when she notes that this will adversely affect the poor. In an age where minimum wage is less than $6, a $35 fee is equal to over half a day's work for many people, most of whom can't afford to part with that extra money.

In the 1960's, poll taxes were declared unconstitutional in this country. I don't see any discernable difference between having to pay a fee to the state at the polls and having to pay the state before you go to the polls. This is a bad law, and needs to be repealed.

Day 5

On the fifth Day of Christmas, my true love gave to me

Five golden rings

Four calling birds
Three french hens
Two turtle doves
And a partridge in a pear tree

Random Trivia

In order to qualify as sand, the grains must be no smaller than .06 mm and no larger than 2 mm.

Wednesday, December 28, 2005

It's a ticket to watch a game

Suppose your neighbor came over and posted a sign contrary to your belief system (legalize pot now, impeach bush, down with unions, whatever) in your front yard. You'd want to take it down, most likely, and you probably would. Suppose further that your neighbor put it up when you invited him over for a barbeque, and it was byob, or byo side dishes, whatever. Does the fact that he spent some money on the endeavor make it all right for him to post said sign on your lawn?

Why then, do so many sports fans believe that when they purchase a ticket to a football, baseball, basketball, etc. game, they have a God-given right to put up whatever signs they want? The arena is not theirs. In many cases, the stadium is privately owned, much like your front yard. And if the owners don't agree with your sign, how is it different or wrong for them to take that sign away? The recent events in Buffalo show that people believe that they have a right to post whatever signs they want on private property, because they spent ( usually, way too much) money to get in.

"Just because the management and coaching is awful, where do they get off violating our First Amendment right to freedom of speech?" said one season ticket holder in the link above. He believes that since they can put up signs cheering the team, he should be able to put one up that jeers the coach and manager. Bear in mind that the stadium's website says that fans may bring signs, but management can remove any signs that management determines is dangerous, obstructive, or inappropriate - something the fan notes at the end of the article ("that's where they get you"). I also disagree with the assertion that this fan's freedom of speech has been violated. The fan can jeer the coach and management at home, in his car, even at the stadium through his voice, though I suspect that if he gets too venomoous, he may be asked to leave then, too. And why not? If my neighbor came over and started insulting me, I'd invite him to leave, as well. That's not stifling his freedom of speech.

It's a ticket to watch a game. It's not carte blanche to insult the person providing you the entertainment. If you dislike what's happening so much (and remember, I'm a Detroit Lions fan), then stop going to the games. Stop buying the season tickets and hurt them where they'll listen - their wallet. In sports, that's the most effective speech there is.

Day 4

On the fourth Day of Christmas, my true love gave to me

Four calling birds
Three french hens
Two turtle doves
And a partridge in a pear tree

Wednesday is Haiku Day

The boy rode his bike
With his helmet of many
Colors - 'twas a sight!

And, as always, everyone is welcome to contribute!


I've always liked meatloaf. It's a wonderful meal that tastes much better than it sounds. When I went out to a Polish Restaurant a few months ago, I ordered a pork meat loaf, which was outstanding. I'm not the only one who recognizes how good a meat loaf really is, as my son once declared it his favorite food.

And, lest you think we're the anomaly, here's an article that notes the rising popularity of meat loaf among the new generation. It's being served in bistros and restaurants with the kids condiment of choice, ketchup. And I'm sure many people have fond memories somewhere of family dinners with the meatloaf on the table.

Now I'm hungry.

Tuesday, December 27, 2005

Day 3

On the Third Day of Christmas, my true love gave to me

Three french hens
Two turtle doves
And a partridge in a pear tree

Monday, December 26, 2005

Day 2

On the Second Day of Christmas, my true love gave to me
Two turtle doves
And a partridge in a pear tree.

Sunday, December 25, 2005

Day 1

On the First Day of Christmas, my true love gave to me
A partridge in a pear tree.

Saturday, December 24, 2005

Just like a politician

While in Consumer Transactions this semester, we saw a couple examples of careful draftmanship of bills/laws to ensure they don't apply to the wrong people (i.e. lawyers). A good example of this is the Deceptive Trade Practices Act, which allows for recovery of damages for misleading statements, yet precludes recovery for anything that is opinion of a person providing professional services, such as a doctor, lawyer, or architect.

Now remember that as you read about the Attorney General in Florida, who passed a law against spam, and now is facing accusations that his campaign might include spam. It appears Charlie Crist, who had defended the new law, and who is now a gubernatorial candidate has been sending unwanted e-mails to residents of the state in his zeal for campaigning. One man had asked repeatedly to be removed from the e-mail list, which he didn't know how he got on.

His defense is that this isn't spam, according to his campaign spokesperson. "This is truthful, it's straight forward. We're honest. TO be spam it has to be, under Florida law, defined as being deceptive. The attorney general (Crist) does not consider this spam and is, as you know, at the forefront of protecting citizens against that."

Now, I have a problem with that affirmative defense, in that it charges that they are truthful. They are politicians campaigning for office. Need I say more?

Friday, December 23, 2005

Yes, Virginia

Apparently, the new hit show Everyone Hates Chris has a problem in that its Christmas episode made an inflammatory statement that is drawing criticism from folks who get worked up about such things.

In response, I thought, given the season and the year we've all been through, I'd reprint a timeless editorial letter written in 1897 to the New York Sun:

Dear Editor - I am 8 years old. Some of my little friends say there is no Santa Claus. Papa says, "If you see it in The Sun, it's so. Please tell me the truth, is there a Santa Claus?

Virginia O'Hanlon

Virginia, your little friends are wrong. They have been affected by the scepticism of a sceptical age. They do not believe except they see. They think that nothing can be which is not comprehensible by their little minds. All minds, Virginia, whether they be men's or children's, are little. In this great universe of ours, man is a mere insect, an ant, in his intellect as compared with the boundless world about him, as measured by the intelligence capable of grasping the whole of truth and knowledge.

Yes, Virginia, there is a Santa Claus. He exists as certainly as love and generosity of devotion exist, and you know that they abound and give to your live its highest beauty and joy. Alas! how dreary would be the world if there were no Santa Claus! It would be as dreary as if there were no Virginias. There would be not childlike faith then, no poetry, no romance to make tolerable this existence. We should have no enjoyment, except in sense and sight. The external light with which childhood fills the world would be extinguished.

Not believe in Santa Claus! You might as well not believe in fairies. You might get your papa to have men to watch in all the chimneys on Christmas eve to chatch Santa Claus, but even if you did not see Santa Claus coming down, what would that prove? Nobody sees Santa Clause, but that is no sign that there is no Santa Claus. The most real things in the world are those that neither children nor men can see. Did you ever see fairies dancing on the lawn? Of course not, but that's no proof that they are not there. Nobody can conceive or imagine all the wonders there are unseeable in the world.

You tear apart the baby's rattle and see what makes the noise inside, but there is a veil covering the unseen world which not the strongest man, nor even the united strength of all the strongest men taht ever lived could tear apart. Only faith, poetry, love romance, can push aside that curtain and view and picture the supernal beauty and glory beyond. Is it all real? Ah, Virginia, in all this world there is nothing else real and abiding.

No Santa Claus! Thank God! he lives and lives forever. A thousand years from now, Virginia, nay 10 times 10,000 years from now, he will continue to make glad the heart of childhood.

Thursday, December 22, 2005

Random Trivia

When King William Rufus was killed by an archer, his body was found by a charcoal burner named Purkiss in Hampshire's New Forest. He took the king's body to Winchester and received as a reward the right to gather all the wood in the forest that he'd need for his charcoal burners, provided he only take the wook he can reach by means of a reaper's billhook or a shepherd's crook. This reward gave us the origin of the phrase "by hook or by crook," which today means by any means necessary.

Some things need not be made

In the category of fashion trends that need to see a quick end, let me introduce subject t - the Grill.

Back in the old days, Mick Jagger had an emerald placed in his tooth. He switched that for a diamond when people kept telling him he had food in his teeth. Fast forward a bit, and you come to the era of Gold Teeth. Not that this is a new phenomenon, and it at least makes some sense if you're replacing a tooth that was pulled or lost. Nowadays, we have a wonderful new trend, which I didn't believe when I first saw it. People are taking what amounts to a retainer-type object, covering it with gold, platinum, jewels, etc. and wearing it in public. Known as the "grill," these things can cost as little as $20/tooth, and are the newest form of "bling." (An article on the mouthwear can be found here.) Apparently, wearing expensive retainers is somehow attractive. One guy said he liked his grill because it was unique jewelry, saying something to the effect of "if anyone steals it, it's not like they can wear it." Apparently, he's never heard of this thing called "heat" that can "melt" gold and "reform" it into another "shape." Not to mention, it looks hideous. You open your mouth and all you see is what looks like Little Richard's mouthguard from when he played football, and somehow that's supposed to look good? And then let's discuss hygiene. These grills go over your teeth, which you eat with, and drink with. We'll assume you're astute enough to actually remove the grill WHILE you're eating (though that might be stretching it anymore). When you're done, unless you brush your teeth immediately, you're putting the grill back on food encrusted teeth, leading to plaque. I'm willing to bet a dime that many of these folks don't brush their teeth twice a day, which compounds that problem, and then many probably don't think to do little things like clean their grills, or take them out overnight, which again adds to the tooth problems. One person removed her grill at the dentist to reveal 4 very cavity-filled teeth. How wonderful. I bet her parents (who probably are footing the dental bill, if not the grill) are just thrilled with that fashion statement. At least platform shoes made you taller and arguably were good for posture.

Wednesday, December 21, 2005

Wednesday is Haiku Day

Christmas with children
Means don't place gifts under tree
Kids will open them!

(They come by it honestly, though)

I didn't know that

Seinfeld (or rather, Frank Costanza) did not come up with the idea of Festivus. The holiday celebration was actually invented in 1966 by a Reader's Digest editor. And now, thanks to the mention in Seinfeld, it's become a more popular holiday alternative to the traditional overmarketed consumer-mad Christmas, according to this Detroit Free Press article. Sales of Aluminum poles have actually increased from $5 in the Detroit area five years ago to $40 today. For a pole. For a made up, pop culture "holiday." Yet people flock to Festivus as a solution to the overmarketing and buy-crazy world that is Christmas. I find the irony there somewhat humorous. Anyway, Merry Christmas, Happy Chanukkah, Happy Kwanzaa, Happy Festivus, and happy everything else.

Tuesday, December 20, 2005

Pick a topic

One of the more difficult parts of teaching is creating a lesson plan. You have to teach certain criteria, note how much attention to give any particular subject, make sure you properly allocate time, ensure it's easy enough for most people in class to understand, yet hard enough to keep everyone occupied on the material. That's difficult enough for a class that's already been established. Now imagine creating a curriculum for a class that you've never taught before, and that hasn't been taught at your school in years. I don't envy the people at Ector Country Independent School District as they choose the curriculum for their bible class.

This is not a class on intelligent design, it's a Bible class. In a public school. This looks to be one of the more daunting tasks undertaken by a school district in this vein in quite a while, and I imagine they're rather concerned about doing it right, so as to avoid a lawsuit. This class is an elective class, not part of the mandatory curriculum.

In my opinion, there is nothing wrong with having a bible class in a public school. I do think it would be better to have a world religions class, that would provide insight into all the major religions of the world, as opposed to focusing on one. It seems to me that would help mitigate any hint of improper motive (i.e. teaching Christianity in a public school). However, a bible class as an elective should be fine. The school board apparently has to ensure that it's taught only for historical purposes, not devotional purposes. In order to do so, they also need to ensure that this elective class remains elective, not "elective, but you better take it." I wish them well, and hope that they steer safely through the landmined field they turned into.

The Season of Giving

The boy and I went shopping today. He had some Christmas money he got from Great Grandma, and wanted to pick up a couple toys. He chose a football (that's my boy!) and the favorite of multiple generations, the slinky. We also got gifts for gramma, mom, the girl, and the baby boy. Finally, we picked up three gifts (one for a big boy, one for a young girl and one for a toddler) and donated them to Toys for Tots. The boy was very happy about this. He truly loves giving and sharing, possibly more than getting gifts. I wish I could take credit for this in him, but I can't. This giving spirit is his and his alone. Would that everyone's kids could be that willing to share.

Monday, December 19, 2005

If at first you don't succeed...

Then you resort to strongarm tactics to get your way. Apparently forgetting that the first job as a politician is that of a public servant, and thus should yield to what the public wants, Republican Congressmen and Senators have attached the ANWR drilling proposal to a defense budget plan for next year, according to the San Jose Mercury News. This is the same ANWR plan that the President and Right Conservatives have been trying to get passed for as long as we can remember, but have suffered setbacks in the form of Democrats, Moderates, environmentalists, and the majority of American People who don't want drilling in a National Reserve.

So, to get around the Congress problem (because who really cares what the public wants, it's not like they're going to remember this little bit of history come election time), we tie it to a defense spending budget that must pass in order to fund the Iraq war - the same Iraq war that the President urged us to have patience on last night. Now, the Republicans have ammunition (so to speak) to use against those who oppose the ANWR. They can suggest that those who vote against the military budget to which the ANWR was attached are unpatriotic, don't support the war effort, want us to lose, are defeatists, are playing partisan games and undermining the country.

Dirty tricks are expected in politics. They shouldn't be used to line executive pockets for short term community benefits at the expense of the environment.

Sunday, December 18, 2005

'Til Death Do Us Part, but I keep everything

Celebrity Marriages - are they doomed to failure? A Yahoo! article that I read today discussed some of the requirements imposed in a celebrity marriage per various prenuptial agreements. Some of the highlights in the agreements listed include:
- no mother-in-law overnight visits
- only one football game per Sunday (No, I wouldn't agree to this)
- mandatory sexual positions
- fidelity clauses
- who gets the pool boy
- random drug testing
- requiring a husband to pay $10,000 every time he is rude to his in-laws
- limiting a wife's weight to 120 pounds lest she forfeit $100,000 in separate property

Is it any wonder that these marriages fail constantly? It seems like the people are gearing up for the divorce before they even sign the marriage certificate. And it sounds more like control issues than property issues in a lot of the cases.

Saturday, December 17, 2005

Quiet Saturdays

My wife is cooking dinner. She's making Jambalaya. That's some good food. It got me thinking about some of the more interesting meals I've had in my day - stuff that doesn't readily come to mind.

1. Squirrel. At least, I've been told I've had squirrel. It was when I was a child, and honestly, I don't remember.

2. Bison. This one isn't so much exotic as uncommon. Tastes really good though.

3. Octopus. I've had this two different ways, both as cooked in noodles (very tasty) and in Sushi form (not as good).

4. Poshintang. I don't recommend this, and I won't go into detail unless pressed.

5. Schmaltz. Bacon pieces and lard. You smear it on a cracker. It tastes like bacon pieces and lard.

6. Care care (Pardon the spelling here, I really don't know the proper spelling). Peanut butter and oxtail soup.

7. Frog Legs. They taste like chicken. Really.

8. Makkoli. I didn't so much eat this as drink it - it's a Korean rice wine. I can't begin to describe how unsavory this was.

9. General Tso's chicken from Safeway. If the good general knew what Safeway did to his chicken, he'd have invaded Lakewood, WA. This was so bad I had to get my friends to try it to see how absolutely foul it was.

10. Scrapple. Once. Never again.

And people say I'm not adventurous.

Is it Patriotism?

President Bush complained that the Senators who opposed the renewal of the USA Patriot Act are "acting irresponsibly and standing in the way of protecting the country from attack," today in his weekly radio address. You remember the Patriot Act, the Act that authorizes, inter alia, officials to arrest and detain people for looking suspiciously like terrorists (read: looking Middle Eastern). This act has the effect of stifling individual liberties in the name of defense, the Government's looking out for our best interests.

I don't believe that opposing the Patriot Act is irresponsible, and I think that suggesting otherwise carries the hint of McCarthy-ist sentiments. Senators who oppose the Patriot Act can do so freely, and should not have to bear veiled threats of being anti-american from our Uniter, not Divider president.

Friday, December 16, 2005

Office Dinners

I have never had an office Christmas Party. I've had Squadron Christmas parties, but that's not the same. My wife, however, has had holiday dinners the last three years. This year, we all went to Fogo De Chao, a Brazilian meat house. The dinner started with salad bar, and then servers came by with various cuts of meat on skewers. There were fifteen types of meat, from Lamb, Chicken, Pork, and Beef. It was all you can eat, and eat when you want. Somehow, I doubt it's high on the PETA must-dine list.

The food was outstanding. The best rack of lamb I've ever had (not much challenge there, as I've never had rack of lamb before). I could have kept eating all night, except I didn't want to embarrass myself or my wife. Fortunately, there were others in our party that were less concerned about maintaining a demure posture. For the price of dinner (and it was quite a price), we had a nice show, too. The wine flowed like, well wine.

After dinner, we were invited to go to a Karaoke bar to sing a song or two. We declined, inasmuch as the after hours daycare we took the children to closed in about 45 minutes and we were about 25 minutes from where we had to go. Had we made another stop, we wouldn't have been able to make it before closing. All in all, it was fun. I'm glad my wife has a small office; it feels so much more personal than what I fear the big office parties are like.

I highly recommend Fogo de Chao, if you're in Houston and have a wad of cash you're dying to spend. It was a wonderful evening.

Please Don't Let Me Be Misunderstood

I stopped watching Basketball in 1998, during the lockout. I found it nauseating that people who earn an average of 2.5 million dollars a year to play a game would complain that they weren't getting paid enough. I would still watch college, because they don't get paid nearly as much as the pros. Think about it, the average salary for a basketball player in 1998 was 2.5 million dollars. There are 12 players on a basketball team (I think there are more now, maybe 14, extended bench?). That means that the middle player, number 6, who doesn't even start; he's on the bench, gets 2.5 million dollars. Then the higher salaries players were profit sharing with the players who made the league minimum to help them stay afloat while they weren't getting paid. The league minimum of $250,000 a year. And they needed help making ends meet during the hard times of the lockout. It made me sick.

But then something wonderful happened. Larry Brown went to Detroit. He taught the players how to play as a team. There were no egos. Defense was the name of the game. The team took on the persona of the city, blue collar, hard working, unappreciated and underappreciated. Then, when he had a good thing, he made it better, by trading for Rasheed Wallace. Yes, I said better and Rasheed Wallace in the same sentence. And I'm serious.

Think about it. Here's a guy who wants so badly to win that he leads with his emotions. He plays better when he's angry. He lead the league in technicals as a result of having to do so much in Portland, and the fans hated him. Yet, his teammates have never had anything negative to say about him. Everywhere he's ever been, his teammates have thought the world of him. He works hard every night, and always tries his best - something Tracy McGrady admits he doesn't do. And now that he's not the focal point, not the one who has to do everything, he's doing much better, and the technicals are so much less frequent. Think about it. He's a player that the other teams don't like, their fans hate, and his teammates love. Deep down, you have to admit that he is the perfect roleplaying star you'd want on your team. And he keeps it on the court. He talks smack, but only about his opponent, or his opponent's ability to play him. He keeps the family out of it, unlike many of the fans in the stands. He may be emotional, but he's respectful.

With that in place, the team Detroit Pistons beat the Me-First L.A. Lakers, in the first ever five-game sweep in NBA finals history. Then, the next year (last season), they came within a beautiful game winning shot by Robert Horry of winning a second finals against the very respectable Spurs (probably the only other team I care to watch in the NBA). They made the game fun again, and I wish everyone played like that. Thank goodness the Pistons got Wallace, both for them and him.

Thursday, December 15, 2005

How to support your troops

A short time back, my friend Bookworm offered a post on troop support, and how those who oppose the war end many statements with "but I support the troops." She noted (correctly) that merely saying you support the troops does little to actually support the troops. I commented on that site, and listed several ways people could show their support, not just those opposed to the war, but also those who support it. The first alternative, of course, is to actually enlist. There have been recruiting shortfalls in the Army for the last few years, and, absent the Air Force during Vietnam (they were full of people trying to avoid the draft - story related firsthand by a retired Petty Officer who went to the Navy after the Air Force turned him down), I've never heard of a military branch rejecting any qualified individuals. This way, you can not just show your support for the troops, but you can actually be a member of the military. Rumor has it they increased the enlistment age to 42, though I haven't confirmed that number. This would open the door to a great many people who otherwise couldn't show their support by stepping up and doing something for their country. This might have the adverse affect, though, of segregating those who actually support the war and the troops and those who support the war and the troops so long as they are not in the war or part of the troops.

If you're not able to enlist, there are many other things you can do. You can send out gift packages to those stationed in the war zones. A simple relief package with a Christmas (or Chanukkah, or Kwanzaa, or whatever) card, some cookies, a couple toys (think Nerf Footballs, Frisbees, etc.) can do wonders for people who don't have those at home. You can do simpler things, such as make a donation to the Air Force Sergeants Association, the Combined Federal Campaign, or other such support charities. You can tie a ribbon around your tree, or your car antenna. You can volunteer at the USO in your city. The major Airports tend to have USOs and are often looking for volunteers. A simple "thank you" to a person in uniform can mean a lot. I was at the movies a few weeks ago and I ran into a Lance Corporal who was here in Houston doing Recruiter's Assistance after returning from 9 months in Iraq. We talked for a few minutes, I told him of my time in the military and asked him about his time. He's here through Christmas, after which time he will be going back to Iraq for at least 6 months. When we parted company, I shook his hand and said "thank you, we appreciate your service." And he perked up ever so much more than he already was and returned the thanks. It helps.

Actions speak so much louder than words. If you are serious about showing the troops you support them, whether you support the war or not, then do something. It really does mean something.

Random Trivia

John Dillinger was so impressed with the quality of Ford cars as getaway vehicles that he once wrote a letter to Henry Ford praising the performance.

Wednesday, December 14, 2005

Christmas Spirit

It's been hard for me to get in the holiday spirit the last couple years. It's not because of the lack of Salvation Army Santas at Target, or the absence of "Christmas" greetings at my retail stores of choice. It certainly has nothing to do with President Bush not wishing folks a merry christmas on the White House Christmas card.

I think the problem is that I live in Texas. Right now, I live in Houston, which averages approximately negative 2 inches of snow per year. Before Houston, I lived in San Angelo, which, quiet and relatively crime-free as it may be, is pretty much the back hair of Texas. You know it exists, but you don't want to spend too much time dwelling on it.

I miss the changes of seasons. I like snow, snowball fights, snow forts (not that I ever built one more than about a foot high), sledding, skiing, walking in the snow. There's something about the first snow of the year that really brings the holiday season about for me.

Fortunately, I have an alternative to being grumpy about Christmas. I get to enjoy Christmas through my children. There are few things in this world more rewarding than watching a child get all excited looking at a Christmas tree on December 25 and seeing all those gifts underneath just waiting to be opened. It's one of the few unmitigated pleasures reserved in this world anymore, and this year, I get to enjoy three kids finding the joy of Christmas.

Now, if I could combine the two, that would be the gravy.

Wednesday is Haiku Day

We're halfway finished
With law school education
Then the learning starts

As always, everyone is welcome to contribute!

Tuesday, December 13, 2005

Semester's End

I finished my last final for the semester, and thus reached the top of the hill last night. We're on our way down for the next year and a half, at which time I'll (presumably) graduate with my Juris Doctorate from the South Texas College of Law. Last night several of my friends went out to imbibe and celebrate the end of the term. My intent was to join them, but I didn't. Perhaps I'm starting to get old.

What Purpose Prison?

Way back in the old days of my first year of law school, right on the first day of Criminal Law, our professor discussed the concept of sending someone to prison. Essentially, he said that there were four purposes for imprisoning someone, as follows:

1. Deterrent - A disincentive, we send you here and you don't want to come back after you're done.

2. Retribution - We believe that since you're a criminal, you deserve to be punished. You chose to live outside the law and now you have to pay the consequences.

3. Rehabilitation - There is a belief in people that we can "fix" a criminal, that we can somehow teach them to not break the law and be a decent, law-abiding person.

4. Incapacitation - If we put you in jail, then you can't break the law and hurt non-criminals while you're there. Thus, we reduce crime.

The idea, as I understood it, was that people will adopt one of these philosophies with respect to how we treat prisoners and why we have a penal system. I don't know exactly which section I would fall under. I wonder what other people's philosophies would fall into...

Bankruptcy changes

I'm not completely up to date on the changes to the bankruptcy codes, but one thing I understand is that once they are enacted, there will be no forgiveness of credit card debt from declarations of bankruptcy. I might not be completely correct on that summarization, as I haven't studied it, but that's how I understand it to be.

My friend and I were recently discussing the effect of this and pretty much decided it was a bad thing, something pressed for by the lobbyists for the credit card companies to be able to milk poor people who get behind and can't catch up. I suggested that for every person who gets hit with a spate of bad luck and don't have the means to catch up once they get behind (and I do believe that there are many of these people), there is at least one person who ran up all their credit cards with charges at Macy's, Sears, Wal-Mart, etc. and then, when they had an emergency where they needed that emergency money that credit can provide, it's not there. I do have some trouble empathizing with those people, as, had they exercised some restraint and not maxed out the credit cards that they could barely afford to keep paying the minimum balance on, then they wouldn't have found themselves in the pickle they're in.

I do think, however, that some responsibility must be borne by the credit card companies. Perhaps there should be a penalty or transfer of liability for that money to the agent who extends credit to someone who already has copious credit, and many credit cards. Perhaps there's a way to ensure that credit card companies don't prey on the weak, meek and unintelligent. Perhaps they shouldn't get to reap benefits from overextending credit to someone who's already stretched fairly thin. Maybe there should be a personal cap on credit extensions for credit cards to the amount of money a person earns in a month, or a year, or something like that (I don't know any right answer here, I'm just postulating). But I think credit card companies need to be more discriminating with whom they grant cards before they should reasonably expect credit card debt to be repaid after bankruptcy.

Monday, December 12, 2005

The end of finals

Another semester has passed. I have finished one half of my law school career. We finished with a flourish - Federal Income Taxation. Always a thriller. Here's the kicker, I liked the class. I enjoy tax law, of all things. That said, I don't know that I want to be a tax attorney, but it's something I potentially could do.

Now, I get to take a day off before I start getting the house ready for Christmas. That should be fun. We'll see how it goes.

I'll post more tomorrow, I promise!

Friday, December 09, 2005

Finals Stress

I've got my Property II final tonight. I'm not nearly as ready as I'd like to be. That stresses me out. I should do OK, but I'd like to do better than that.
Tomorrow morning, I have my Consumer Transactions final. I liked that class, and I think the subject matter is quite interesting, but with studies for Evidence (last Wednesday) and Property (Tonight), I've had to relegate studying for CT to the evenings, when I'm not quite as alert. Again, I should do OK, but, since I liked the class, I would like to do better than just OK.

Tax is on Monday. Which means it will be my third test in four days. That's not too bad in and of itself, as I'll have the better part of three days to study for it (Saturday afternoon, Sunday, and Monday morning/early afternoon), but, I'm already feeling worn out and burned out. I hope I can get a second wind and finish up Tax with a flourish.

Keep your fingers crossed for me. I could use the moral support.

Thursday, December 08, 2005

Random Trivia

None of the Beatles could read music. Paul McCartney eventually taught himself.

Wednesday, December 07, 2005

Wednesday is Haiku Day

Sequestration is
What keeps witnesses from Court
Exceptions exist

Sorry for the really dull one, but Evidence Final is tonight. Maybe be better in a week.

Tuesday, December 06, 2005

Study Drunk

I've apparently been cramming too hard, as on the way to class today, I started thinking of cereal brands and equating stories to their names. Here are some of the ones I came up with:

Frosted Flakes - A group of blondes get lost in North Dakota in the Winter.
Fruit Loops - The adventures of the world's first all-gay stunt plane team.
Trix - A diary of breakfast for Johns
Raisin' Bran - The trials of grain growers in Kansas.
Special Kay - A developmentally challenged girl just wants to live a normal life
Product 19 - The quest for the perfect prime number
Cheerio's - A guidebook to farewells in different languages

They're bad, I know, but necessary for my continued sanity. See what stories you can come up with!

Sunday, December 04, 2005

How not to disagree with someone

When a blogger was critical of Ann Coulter, you would assume that the well-respected, Ivy League educated professional would be able to handle it with tact and dignity. At least, that's what I would assume. I might not agree with a lot of what Ann Coulter says, but I respect that she thinks about her opinions. I can say the same about the people on Brad Blog, including guest blogger Lydia Cornell, who did criticize Ann. Imagine my surprise to find out that the inimitable Ann Coulter responded to such criticism by posting Lydia's contact information (e-mail and personal phone number), posting a personal e-mail from Lydia, and referring to those who disagree with her as "nazi block watchers."

Now, I'm nowhere near the league of Ann Coulter in terms of readers, and I'm certainly not in the region of people who would have others vociferously denounce my opinion on anything. However, I have always tried to remain as civil as possible, even with topics on which I disagree with the auther. While I was never a regular reader of Ann Coulter's before, I'm certainly will never be a reader period in the future. She's entitled to her opinion, but posting personal information, and then not removing it when asked, is wrong.

Property Rights

As I took a break from studying Property this morning, I perused the Detroit Free Press, as I am wont to do. On the website today I read an article by Mitch Albom, who I consider to be one of the best newswriters in the country, and whose books I've enjoyed immensely (Tuesdays with Morrie, The Five People You Meet in Heaven). His topic today dealt with a nativity scene in a neighborhood association community. It seems a family in Novi, MI put up a nativity scene (and a Santa Claus) in their front yard, and received notice from the association that they were to take it down, as it violated a "rule." The family complained, and talked about it on the radio, and after receiving heavy flak, the neighborhood association relented.

In the article, Mitch made the statement, "When it comes to your front lawn, it's your God and your grass." The point he was making is that residence rules such as what you can have on your front lawn, or how big a flag you can fly, or whatever, are wrong. He believes that people have a right to do what they want on their own property, and there's no inalienable right for people's property values to go up.

He quotes the son in the family as saying, "They said they'll fine us, and we said go ahead ... They have no right. They are not the government. This is not about separation of church and state, either, because they are not a state."

The child is partly right, if I understand my property correctly (which I might not, since I'm still studying it). They are not a state. But they do have a right. The point that the family and Mitch, and all the people who called and complained missed is a very important one. The family CHOSE to live there. They CHOSE to follow the community rules, whether they knew them or not. If they wanted to live somewhere where they could display items on their front lawn, then they should have moved somewhere without that deed restriction. The community absolutely has the right to tell them to take it down, if it indeed is in their rules. The association MUST challenge those small violations of the deed restrictions, or they can be estopped from challenging the bigger violations, such as opening a rendering plant next door.

"But that's just ridiculous, Steve. Nobody would open that, and EVERYONE knows that that's doing too much on the property," you might say. Well, hold on a minute. If your argument is that it's their property and they can do what they want, then what is to stop them? Especially if you put the kibosh on the homeowner's association? If it's not acceptable to open a rendering plant, but it is acceptable to place a nativity scene, then where does the association draw the line? That's simple, you draw the line at the list of regulations passed when the property was first sold to the family that has been told to remove their nativity scene. This has nothing to do with religion or the free exercise thereof. It has nothing to do with the right to own property. It has everything to do with one family choosing to accept a standard of rules and then complaining when the rules are upheld.

The family should have accepted what the homeowner's association dictated and removed the nativity scene. They've weakened the defense to larger claims against the community by their actions.

Really Bad Joke

And if I say it, it must be true, so don't read it.

If you were to give Confuscius a massage, would be able to say you have rubbed sage?

This is from a jar in my spice cabinet called rubbed sage.

I warned you it was bad.

Saturday, December 03, 2005

Amnesty, National

President George W. Bush promoted his plan to toughen border security on Saturday, saying illegal immigration was adding to crime and placing a burden on schools and police in border communities, according to this Yahoo! article.

That's good. Stepping up security to try to discourage illegal immigration is a good plan. Controlling access to the nation is something that we've supported for a while now.

So then why does he mix into his message denouncing illegal immigration a plan offering amnesty to illegal immigrants? The plan he proposed was a "guest worker" permit for illegals in this country. It would allow them to live in the States legally and work here for a period of time, provided they return to their home country at the end of the period. This would affect 11 million illegal immigrants (or is it undocumented, these days?). He said that this is NOT an amnesty program, and he's not offering a backdoor reward to people who entered this country illegally. That's right. Giving jobs to people who sneak across the border is NOT rewarding them for sneaking across the border. It's simply matching workers with employers. Because we don't already have unemployed Americans that could use work. If you break the law (being an illegal immigrant necessarily means you've broken the law, because you've entered or remained illegally), then you should be punished, not paid. If the President is serious about protecting our borders, then he needs to not grant immunity to the very people he's trying to keep out.

Interesting observation

By someone commenting on a post at the Moderate Voice:

Conservatives don't expand government control over private citizens.

Conservatives don't dramatically increase federal spending.

Conservatives don't deploy large numbers of troops to foreign countries for humanitarian missions like "bringing democracy to the Middle East."

Is President Bush *really* a conservative?
I just found it humorous.

Friday, December 02, 2005

Guilty By We Have Enough Time To Find SOMETHING!

Jose Padilla has been held at a military brig for the last three years as an enemy combatant accused of trying to set off a radiological dirty bomb targeting Americans. He hadn't been formally charged with anything. The Fourth Court of Appeals ruled in September that President Bush has the right to detain an American Citizen, on American Soil, as an enemy combatant. The Government has now entered its charge against Padilla. Strangely, the charges are not what he's been held on for the last three years, rather, he's being charged with being a member cell that conspired to support terrorists and "murder individuals who are overseas," according to this article.

Basically, what's going on here is the government is keeping an American Citizen in jail, alleging he committed one crime, while charging him with another. It's conceivable that they would reserve his detention in the military brig when taking him to trial, and if he's acquitted, then returning him to the brig until they can bring another trial.

I don't like this rule. I don't like the idea that the Government can detain Americans on one allegation and then charge him with something different. I don't like that an American Citizen has been in jail awaiting charges against him for three years. These are the acts that instill distrust of government in the minds of Americans. He's supposedly presumed innocent until proven guilty. Right now, he's presumed guilty of something, and we'll keep him here until we find out what it is.

Quick caveat here: I've been studying for finals up to and including 15 hours a day all week and I've got my family law final tonight. I needed a break from reviewing, so looked at the article and dashed off some tommyrot worthy of the hellbox.

Capital Punishment

I read a headline today that the 1000th person since 1977 was executed. Now, to be fair, I just read the headline and haven't paid much attention to that person's story, but I saw in another headline "milestone execution raises new questions." I presume these questions deal with capital punishment and whether it should be allowed. I don't know the significance of 1977, other than that's the year Star Wars came out and the year Dustin Diamond, of Saved by the Bell fame was born.

In my view, Capital Punishment is a necessary act. However, I also believe it should be necessarily rare, used only in the most extreme of cases, e.g. Ted Bundy, Timothy McVeigh, etc. I believe that it should be a product of the crimes that the individual committed, not a product of the sentiments of the jury. I don't see it as a deterrent to crime, per se, any more than going to jail. I don't trust those that argue that capital punishment should be used when jail isn't good enough, or that they can't be rehabilitated. I think that if it's a problem with the prison system not being able to rehabilitate the prisoners, then there's a fundamental flaw in the prison system, as rehabilitation is one of the goals of prison. Because of that goal, I can't equate a lack of rehabilitation as a justification for capital punishment. That seems akin to slaughtering the chicken because they keep running out of the chicken coop through the hole in the fence that you never fix.

That being said, I will reiterate that I think there are some acts that are just too heinous, too horrific, for society to accept any punishment short of capital punishment. I think the leash on this form of punishment must be kept extremely short, used only in the most extreme of circumstances.

As an addendum, I agree with the recent Court decision that prohibited performing capital punishment on convicts who committed their crimes as minors. I do think there is a fundamental, cognitive failing on the part of minors to truly understand the consequences of their actions beyond the short term. That is not to say I don't think minors deserve punishment, and I'm all for life sentences for those in such a situation, but I stop short of capital punishment in keeping consistent with my belief that it must be used exceedingly sparingly. There must be an 8th Amendment Balance there somewhere; perhaps someday I'll recognize and be able to say where it is.

Thursday, December 01, 2005

Random Trivia

In Texas, where common law, or informal, marriages exist, in order to be married through common law, you must 1. live together. 2. intend to be married. 3. hold yourselves out as husband and wife. In most states, a common law marriage from a state that recognizes common law marriage will be held as a valid marriage in that state, due to the full faith and credit principle, though it doesn't appear that this would apply to civil unions.

Though there is such a thing as common law marriage, there is no such thing as a common law divorce. This means that if someone was in a common law relationship and broke up with his or her spouse and then fell in love and got married, that second marriage is void. (Also, the person from the common law marriage would be considered a bigamist.)

In a situation where that happens, the second spouse is known as a "putative" spouse, and could be entitled to spousal maintenance, even though there was never an actual marriage.

Wednesday, November 30, 2005

Things I never thought I'd say

To my daughter: "Don't eat that stick of butter!"
To my toddler: "Don't lick the computer!"
To the boy: "flowers aren't food"
To my wife: "Carpet shampooer is funny!"

Wednesday is Haiku Day

Family Law Final
Friday is my first. I'm stressed.
But I will prevail.

Y'all are welcome to contribute till the cows come home.

Monday, November 28, 2005

Pomp and Circumstance

Earlier this year, I made my sister make me a promise: that she'd finish her last class for her AS by the end of the year. True to her word, she took Astronomy this quarter and scored a B-, the last credit she needed to finish her degree. My sister is a college graduate. I'm very proud of her for finishing, and if you want to congratulate her yourself, you can find her at Jack's Mama.

Now, for her Bachelor's Degree, I've got a few good ideas, but I will wait until after Christmas before I start nagging her about it.

Good Job, Cassie. I'm proud of you!

Sunday, November 27, 2005

Wal Mart and the economy

I'm not really a fan of Wal-Mart. I know they sell things on the cheap and as such allow people to afford to buy things tehy otherwise couldn't. However, I believe Wal-Mart and its ilk are bad for the economy in the long run.

And apparently, I'm not alone. Last night while I was up for 4 hours with my insomniac toddler son, we caught a program on PBS that discussed Wal-Mart's effect on the economy. While I can't remember much in detail (it was 2 in the morning), I can go over the gist of it here.

First - Wal-Mart attracts itself to municipalities by advertising new jobs and lower prices. This comes at a cost, though. According to the program, in many of the places where Wal-Mart markets itself, Wal-Mart won't open unless they have considerable help from the community. They claim they need the community to help by subsidizing the cost and providing tax breaks to the company in order for the community (who banks on the future returns) to have the store. In more than one location, once the subsidies that Wal-Mart gets (in one instance, a ten year break) ends, Wal-Mart will leave the store and move somewhere else, leaving an empty shell that nobody else can fill.

Second - New Jobs - Wal Mart advertises that it creates new jobs with many benefits for the community. What they don't mention is that in order to keep the prices as low as they do, they have to pay at or near minimum wage for the jobs they create. They do offer medical benefits, but they come at a price that most of the employees can't afford. The program noted that in one community, 68% of the people who worked retail were covered by insurance, but when Wal-Mart came in, that number dropped to somewhere around 35% (I think, but it was low). One man who worked for Wal-Mart stated that he worked full time for $1200/month, and the insurance that Wal-Mart offered cost $210/month, about 20% of his total pay. He couldn't afford that, and neither can many of the working poor, who end up eschewing insurance for free clinics, a cost that is passed on to the taxpayers in the community not to mention a drain on the medical community, taking away the customers that the doctors need to stay in business.

Third - revenues. Wal-Mart advertises that it creates much in terms of revenue for the community - one of the major selling points. However, market research shows that instead of the gain in revenues, there is an average loss of 10% in community revenues in a city where a Wal-Mart opens. This is due to a couple things. First, the money comes from the same people. Just because a new store opens doesn't mean that people will start spending more money. Combine this with the fact that Wal-Mart charges less than local businesses, and you end up with less revenue for the same amount spent.

Fourth - Impact on the community. Wal-Mart is headquartered in Arkansas. Their businesses are all over the country. The money that Wal-Mart makes goes back to Arkansas, as opposed to local businesses, especially mom and pop businesses, who keep the money in the locality. This ends up being a drain on the local economy. Since they're taking businesses away from the local stores, those stores go out of business. This results in a dearth of jobs in the community, and a drop in average income because now the workers are at Wal-Mart making minimum wage. This gives the consumer less money to spend and thus less money goes toward revenue, which hurts the community.

It's time to start looking beyond the few dollars and cents that you save by shopping at Wal-Mart and think about what's better for the economy. More money in fewer hands is good for the few who are getting the money, but bad for the nation as a whole. Spend that extra couple of dollars and make sure that people keep working.

What is victory?

When we invaded (sorry, liberated) Iraq, our intent was to overthrow Saddam Hussein's regime, establish a democracy, and not leave until there was a stable bastion of freedom in the Middle East. A short time back, Congressman Murtha was criticized (later retracted) for demanding a withdrawal from Iraq. Now the Democrats are being accused of wanting to "cut and run" while the Republicans are accused of wanting to "stay the course," despite a lack of tangible progress in Iraq. Strangely, most of those spouting out on one side or the other have no vested interest in what happens in Iraq; instead, they care about spouting out party talking points and declaring the other side ignorant. While this is an admirable trait in some venues (here I'm thinking of a schoolyard with dares and double dares), it's extremely childish for our nation's leaders to engage in such behavior.

Now, in the wake of cut and run talk, often by people who don't really know what it means, we hear that the President intends a withdrawal of forces in Iraq next year. This after the Republicans criticize requests for withdrawal of forces by the Democrats. The Republicans defend this action by saying it was part of the plan all along to withdraw some forces after the elections in Iraq. I don't buy that, to be honest. If that were the real case, then the Republicans could have said as much immediately after Murtha's comments and scored a bit of a coup. Instead, they chose to engage in namecalling and deceit. Now, it's possible that the Congresspeople and republicans who engaged in such behavior didn't know about the plan, but if that's the case, then the Republicans can't now say "that was the plan all along."

So this means it's a victory for the Anti-war and Democrat crowds, right? Not quite. Calling for a withdrawal doesn't mean it's going to happen. That the President indicated he intends to withdraw some forces doesn't mean much, especially if the goals aren't met. In this case, substituting "an election and police force" for a safe, secure bastion of freedom is not a victory. It seems more akin to inviting disaster. Had we not gotten involved at all, exercised some more discretion before invading, then perhaps the Democrats could have claimed a victory, but that didn't happen.

I fear for Iraq after we leave. The situation there isn't as tenuous as many would have us believe - people aren't cowering in trenches every night praying that they don't get bombed. It is, however not as secure as it should be for our withdrawal. I'm afraid that what we've done, more than anything else, is set up a large nation in the middle east for a serious civil war, one that we can't prevent, we can only delay.

Thursday, November 24, 2005

Random Trivia, Thanksgiving Edition

Every year, Americans gather together with their families to celebrate the bounty of the year and to give thanks for all that we have on the Fourth Thursday in November with a huge Turkey and all the fixin's, a tradition that started in 1621 with the Pilgrims, Squanto, and the Wampanoag Indians, right? Well, not exactly. We'll look at some of the history of the holiday today.

First, it's true that there was a day of Thanksgiving in 1621, but, it doesn't look as though there was one in 1622. The harvest wasn't as good, there were many new settlers that needed housing and whatnot. The Pilgrims probably weren't in the best of moods for celebrating.

Second, The First Thanksgiving most likely wasn't in November. It was probably much closer to the harvest in September/October. Anyone who has spent any time in Massachussetts in November would tell you it's not exactly the best weather for celebrating.

Third, the Pilgrims didn't call themselves Pilgrims. They called themselves Saints.

Fourth, The letters and journals of the time indicate that Turkeys were not the big ticket item. The colonists came from England, where the lords greatly restricted hunting, and thus most people had never had venison before. In the states, where deer was plentiful, venison was very prominent at the first Thanksgiving.
- So where did Turkey come from? It appears as though it was a product of marketing in the late 1800s. Turkey was a much more profitable than other birds, so the lobbyists advertised immensely, showing pictures of a family gathering around a table with a big turkey in the middle. It caught on, and the picture printers (Think Currier and Ives) followed suit, with pictures of Pilgrims and a big Turkey.

So, if there was no second Thanksgiving, how the the 4th Thursday become the day? Well, Abraham Lincoln. In 1863, after the victory at Gettysburg, President Lincoln declared a national day of thanksgiving on the 4th Thursday of November. In 1864, after the victory at Antietam, they had another Day of Thanksgiving on the 4th Thursday. In 1865, President Lincoln was shot and killed. President Johnson decided to follow the Thanksgiving tradition set up by President Lincoln, and it became the holiday it is now.

Everything is fine and dandy right? Not quite. You see, in the 1930s one year, There were five Thursdays in November. Since Thanksgiving had traditionally been the last Thursday, (usually there are only 4), this posed a problem. The lobbyists for the big department stores wanted Turkey Day to be the 4th Thursday, because it gave people more time for Christmas shopping. Traditionalists felt that this undermined the historical significance (unaware as to the actual history of the holiday), and pushed for it to be on the Last Thursday. There was some fallout from that, with some states going on the 4th Thursday, and some going on the last. Colorado had a Thanksgiving Week, and another state had 2 thankgsivings. Thankfully, Congress intervened, and passed a law in 1941 signed by President Roosevelt that established Thanksgiving as the 4th Thursday in November. And The Lions have been playing ever since.

Wednesday, November 23, 2005

No Child Left Behind

A federal district court judge in Michigan today issued a ruling on the No Child Left Behind Act according to this article in the Detroit Free Press:

"U.S. District Judge Bernard Friedman ruled Wednesday that had Congress intended to fully fund the programs it required in the law, it would have said so in the legislation."

Now, I'm just a second year law student, and thus not terribly well versed in the mores of Constitutional Law, but I seem to remember reading somewhere that if Congress is going to require the states to do something, they can't require the states to pay for it. In other words, if Congress wants to set up Federal Education guidelines, Congress has to provide the states with the adequate means with which to achieve those guidelines, which would mean funding.

The No Child Left Behind Act reminds me of Prinz v. United States, where the Brady Act required a waiting period before someone could buy a handgun, but then Congress required the states to employ someone to do the background check - a state official performing a federal job. Combine that with South Dakota v. Dole, which says that the Federal Government can apply incentives to follow a Federal standard, but they can't make the "apple" they dangle so much that the states have to rely on the funds, thus compelling the states to comply, and it seems as though No Child Left Behind is a healthy center, where it looks as though Congress is mandating compliance without providing means with which to do so. This strikes me as a blow against states' rights. Bad Decision by the judge, IMHO.

Wednesday is Haiku Day

Were each day a hol-
iday, then rest would be as
tedious as work

OK, this is not an original, rather, it's a paraphrase of someone else. I want to say it's Shakespear, but I don't know for sure. At any rate, I don't claim credit for this poem, but I am the one who fit it into Haiku form, so I get some props.

"I once buried a man and it was good. I ate fully that day."

As we gear up here in the States for Thanksgiving (random trivia to follow tomorrow on point), it behooves us to remember those who are unable to engage in the annual gorging contest coinciding with the annual Detroit Lions Home Loss.

Kim Chol-Soo, a North Korean defector who survived the Yodok Prison Camp, gave a speech the other day where he reported that prisoners in the gulag received 21 ounces of food per day. He spoke of how 34 of his fellow prisoners were people who had tried to defect and another 82 were former senior beaurocrats. We talk about providing freedom and a voice to people over the world and decry WMD. North Korea has a distinct lack of freedom for those who aren't spouting the party line - Kim reported about one man who was tortured to death for trying to contact Christian representatives in China. They continuously discuss their nuclear development program. Yet, this regime is allowed to continue.

For a more in-depth look at life in North Korea, including the prison at Yodok, I recommend reading Aquariums of Pyongyang, Ten Years in the North Korean Gulag, by Kang Chol Hwan, another defector. It's truly chilling.

Tuesday, November 22, 2005

What is it?

No, I'm not referring to the "charming" mascot from the 1996 Atlanta Olympics. Rather, I'm referring to White Phosphorous. You see, President Bush admitted recently that we used White Phosphorous as a weapon against insurgent strongholds last year after originally denying said use, according to this CNN article I found reading the Reaction. The debate in the Reaction turned on whether or not WP is, in fact, a chemical weapon. Considering we invaded Iraq based primarily on evidence that they had WMDs, which includes Chemical, Biological, and Radiological weapons, determining whether or not WP use constitutes the employment of a chemical weapon might be somewhat important.

Now, here's the kicker: In a recently declassified document, the Intelligence Community reported that in the war against the Kurds after the first Gulf War, Saddam Hussein "may have possibly used White Phosphorous (WP) chemical weapons." The above cite from a link at the Moderate Voice

So I guess it comes down to what the definition of is is in this scenario. I don't know what to say here. It strikes me as insanely irresponsible to decry the possession of WMDs and then use them against the person you claim has them. What will come of this, if anything?


I got home from my last class at about 9:30 last night (Thomas, class was fine. The Prof seemed to want to be out of there as quickly as possible). Being that I'd been at school for about 13 hours by that time, I was a little hungry. So I sat down at the table and had a snack. As I munched on my corn chips and queso, I noticed a piece of scratch paper on the table next to me. On it were the following:

62397 61723 56823
+ 2963 + 7213 +31359
64121510 68936 88182

Now, I know that that first answer is way off, but those other two are completely right. As impressive as it is, what's more impressive to me is that these were calculated by my 6 year old first grader. The boy is smart.

Monday, November 21, 2005

November 21, 1995

On the above date, I was in Seattle, wearing a red shirt and blue jeans, sitting in a MEPS station, along with over 200 other men and women. After most of a day of processing, we were taken in groups of twenty-five into a room with an American Flag, as well as the flags of every branch of the military (Marine Corps, Army, Navy, then Air Force). We stood in a makeshift formation while an officer entered the room. We all raised our right hands, and said:

"I, (our name), do solemnly swear (or affirm) that I will support and defend the Constitution of the United States against all enemies, foreign and domestic; that I will bear true faith and allegiance to the same; and that I will obey the orders of the President of the United States and the orders of the officers appointed over me, according to regulations and the Uniform Code of Military Justice. So help me God."

A few hours after that, nine of us got on a bus to Seattle-Tacoma International Airport, where we loaded onto a plane and flew to Lackland Air Force Base in San Antonio, Texas. After eight years of faithful service that resulted in my service in Operation Allied Force and service on the DMZ in Korea, among other places, I left the military, bringing with me the experience and pride of knowing I gave back. Service gave me a new language, three college degrees, travel around the world and the country, the opportunity to teach and to learn, and ultimately, a wife and three children I otherwise wouldn't have had. It also gave me the Montomery GI Bill, a $1200 investment that has provided (so far) almost $12,000 towards law school.

I still believe that military service is a good thing. I firmly believe that most Americans would benefit from it. I urge those who haven't yet served who are of age to consider signing up and seeing what it's like to be a part of something bigger than yourself.

Sunday, November 20, 2005

Speaking Out Against Alito

One large religious group has decided against supporting Supreme Court nominee Samuel A. Alito. The Union For Reform Judaism, the largest Jewish organization in America, adopted a resolution that said Alito would "shif the ideological balance of the Supreme Court on matters of core concern to the reform movement" on abortion rights, women's rights, civil rights, and the scope of federal power, according to this article. I don't know how much sway this has, as this group has criticized the religious right in the past, but it shows that Alito won't be an automatic acceptance...

I thought it was the turnip truck?

A truckload of live turkeys fell off their truck in New Jersey on Friday in what a spokesman for the Jersey Turnpike Authority jokingly dubbed an "escape attempt."

This apparently is not the only animal-related traffic incident in recent turnpike memory. The article notes that last year, a tractor-trailer carrying 40,000 pounds of frozen chickens collided with a truck carrying sheep, killing twenty of the animals (the sheep, not the chickens).

It's interesting that these turkeys got off the turnpike a week before Thanksgiving, but I'm sure that's just coincidence.

Saturday, November 19, 2005

Long Day

Today was one of the longer days in my law school life. I started the day as I do most Saturdays, at school at 7:30 to finish reading for DTPA (excellent class, though I'm not sold on the Saturday, 3 hour commitment). Then we have class. Due to the hurricane, and two other missed days for various reasons, we have had to cover extra material the last couple of weeks. This means a slightly more cursory examination of the material, and of course, more time between classes. We should still do all right though, for the final. I'm hoping for a B or a B+, but we'll see. Then, after an hour break where I got to see the first part of the Michigan/Ohio State Game (the most important game in College Football), I have to go upstairs for three hours of Federal Income Taxation. Now here's the strange part: I like tax. I'm not necessarily the best at it, but I like it. That being said, three hours of class at the heels of three hours of Deceptive Trade Practices Act material is not exactly what I'd consider prime Saturday Fare. I hung on for the first hour and a half of Tax, but after that, my focus was pretty much gone. I hate to say that, but, I was typing what he said, but there was no pause in my brain to process what the Prof was saying. I just hope I gisted well; I need to do well in Tax.

Then I get home and send my wife out to a movie, because, well, while I was spending 10 hours at school, she had all three kids, who were in rare form. She needed a break. So, she's watching Pride and Prejudice right now, starring the inimitable Keira Knightley, the kids are in bed, and I'm taking a break from the books. Have to unwind, after all.

Friday, November 18, 2005

Bad Joke

A man goes to a costume party carrying a woman on his back.

Several people inquire as to what's going on, "This is a costume party, what's your costume?"

"I'm a turtle."

"A turtle? What do you mean? You're not wearing a costume, and all you have is that woman you're carrying piggyback."

"Oh her? That's Michelle."

Thursday, November 17, 2005

Kelo looming

Tomorrow, we will discuss the recent decision rendered in Kelo v. the City of New London, where the Court ruled that it was proper for the city to take private land for development purposes, and where some of that land would be resold to private corporations.

In Kelo, there was a massive redevelopment program proposed to renovate the city, which had fallen on hard times. The naval station had closed; the city's unemployment rate was double that of the state, and much of the land was in disrepair. On one of the parcels situated for the redevelopment project were 9 families who owned 13 lots. They sued against the taking on the ground that the land was being taken for private use, not public.

I'm having a hard time coming to a personal conclusion on the issue. On the one hand, I can see how a major redevelopment program that can revitalize an entire city and bring in new jobs to an area that has been suffering from a glut of jobs and in a state with limited land area available is an important thing and brings good to the mass of people. On the other hand, this is personal property. I'm very big on the concept of personal property and the right to own that property freely without fear of taking from the government, or anyone else. I don't know. What do you think?

Random Trivia

Thomas Edison felt that the one flaw in the telephone was that it had no recording device, so you couldn't keep track of what was said. Therefore, he spent years trying to perfect an answering machine-type machine. He failed, and his failure became the phonograph.

Wednesday, November 16, 2005

President Bush on North Korea

President Bush is currently in Pusan (I know the current trend is to spell it Busan, but to an old school korling, that just looks wrong, as does Gyeongju, which should be Kyeongju), where he announced the importance of a showing of unity among Asian leaders to get North Korea to dismantle its nuclear weapons program. It should be noted that he mentioned the importance of patience. You see, North Korea agreed to halt its nuclear weapons program in the 1990s in exchange for help building a light water reactor for power, a bunch of oil, and a ton of food. We gave them food, and oil, and started working on a plan for a nuclear reactor, when it became evident that North Korea had NOT, in fact, abandoned its nuclear weapons program. Secretary of State Condoleeza Rice mentioned that the jury was out on what the North Koreans were prepared to do.

Well, let's parse this out for a moment, shall we? North Korea has lost over 2 million people, population-wise, in the last decade or so. They repeatedly promise to cut back on their nuclear program in exchange for concessions, which we continuously make, and then break their promise. Every time there appears to be a major diplomatic breakthrough with North Korea, some crisis comes up (crab war, submarine incident, poplar tree, tunnels, etc.).

The case to invade North Korea appears to be much stronger in terms of stabilizing a region, removing a megalomaniac from power, and freeing an oppressed people. Yet, we don't invade. We don't call for UN Sanctions (although South Korea opposes the sanctions, so that is probably a big factor there). We don't cut off aid. Instead, we treat Kim Chong-Il as a bad parent treats a spoiled kid. We tell him, "I'm sick of you eating candy bars in the living room at bedtime" while handing him a Snickers while he's sitting at the sofa. It doesn't work with a 6 year old, how could it work against the leader of a nation whose people worship him and his father?

Kim Chong-Il needs to be out of power in North Korea.

Almost There

My stat counter is showing me very close to that wonderful 10,000 hit mark. For those of you who cannot read chinese characters, that thing that looks a little like a cursive "r" is a nine, which means, that as of posting this, I have 9,913 hits. Only 87 to go! Tell your friends! Invite your family! Come back often! The haiku and random trivia will continue, but ten thousand will only happen once!

Friday, Nov. 18, 2005 - I got on the computer this morning to note that I had 10,002 hits on my blog. As of this update, I'm at 10,018, and counting. Figures I'd be asleep for such a momentous occasion.

Wednesday is Haiku Day

"No thank you" is how
My daughter replied to my
"Clean your room." She's cute.

Tuesday, November 15, 2005

In ___ We Trust

Michael Newdow, the athiest lawyer who tried for years to ban recitation of the Pledge of Allegiance, is now trying to remove the word "God" from our nation's currency. He claims it's an endorsement of religion and "excludes people who don't believe in God" according to this article.

Newdow's attempt to remove the Pledge went up to the Supreme Court, where he lost because he didn't have standing to represent his daughter, because he didn't have custody.

His argument for removing God from currency is that it's unconstitutional, and dismisses any claims that the reference is to the country's religious roots, "It's not the history that counts, it's patriotism. What it is, is these people want to get their religious views in our government."

Though I can see an argument against reciting the Pledge in schools, I'm afraid I'm missing the key point in removing God from currency. I can't see a harm in holding a piece of paper, or zinc, or nickel that has a word on it. I can't see that as an endorsement of any one religion, and I can't see it as trying to foist one's religious beliefs on another. This really sounds more like an extremist with an agenda who's not going to be happy until he finds some way to stick it to the system.

Monday, November 14, 2005

Rewrite, revisited

President Bush again attacked the Democrats today. This time, he accused the Democrats of being irresponsible. "Reasonable people can disagree about the war, but it is irresponsible of the Democrats to claim that we misled them and the American People," Bush said in prepared remarks that you can read here.

Point of order. The american people were misled. The President's admission through his National Security Advisor yesterday that we were wrong about WMDs in Iraq - the primary impetus for our invasion of the country - can stand as nothing less than an admission that the american people were misled by the President. What stands to be seen is whether the American people were DELIBERATELY misled. This would take Congressional hearings - something that the President doesn't want to see.

He doesn't defend his actions so much as he criticizes the Democrats for questioning them. He claims that it's dangerous for the soldiers who are fighting overseas to have Democrats (though he doesn't mention the Republicans who have asked for a Congressional hearing) making claims against the war. Apparently, what needs to happen is the Democratic Party needs to shut the hell up until the war is over (remember the end of hostilities some time back?) and give the troops unwavering support. The mindset is that we can't be critical of the leadership and demand accountability from one who's credibility is in the toilet while we have troops fighting a war that his leadership got us into because it might lower their morale. Pointedly, the troops' morale would be painfully lower (not to mention a ton of egg on our collective faces) if there were to be congressional hearings into the intelligence situation and it turned out that we were deliberately misled. Bear in mind that last part is a hypothetical, but consider the worst case scenario if it were the case.

I think the President is right on one part. Democrats should NOT be charging that the President and his administration deliberately misled us - not now. That is irresponsible and improper. What Congress needs to do is accept that the President admitted errors in intelligence and demand an inquiry into the situation to see what the truth is. Then, depending on what happens, history will be written. Anything that happens before an in-depth inquiry is premature.

As a closing point, I can't accept the President's line of the week that the Democrats are trying to "rewrite history." It was the President and his staff that switched tactics on invasion rationale from being primarily a WMD issue to a terrorism issue to a "make the middle east safe for democracy" issue. That is rewriting history. Mr. Kettle, meet Mr. Pot.

Sunday, November 13, 2005

Remember Pete Rose?

Pete Rose was forefer banned from Major League Baseball for betting on games. He denied he bet on the games for years. Some time back, though, Pete made a confession, of sorts. He said that what he did was wrong. The comments he made, though, didn't resonate too strongly, because baseball fans across the country already knew what he did was wrong.

President Bush, through his National Security Advisor, admitted that we were wrong about the WMDs in Iraq. He also insisted that there was no disinformation or withholding of intelligence designed to mislead or deceive the American people. This confession, that Iraq had no WMDs and our intelligence was wrong is quite similar to Pete Rose. It doesn't help very much, because we already know what they're saying. It provides a scant bit of assistance to the credibility factor for the administration, as they are admitting that they did err, and chose not to change the story or the party line. For that, they deserve credit. However, that's only part of the equation. This is a necessary first step at damage control; there are many more that need to follow.

One good next step would be an apology to those Veterans whsoe service he forsook in exchange for a partisan speech last Friday. Somehow, I doubt that will come any time soon.

Saturday, November 12, 2005

How much do I love my wife?

I love my wife. I love her dearly. She is a wonderful woman who puts up with me on almost a daily basis. She works full time while I go to school. She watches the children during my evening classes. She does the laundry. She's pretty phenomenal. So, I'm going to help her out a little.

My wife sells Mary Kay cosmetics. Apparently, Mary Kay stuff is not too shabby. They sell makeup, body washes, spa kits, and gift baskets. All the guys out there who have a significant other this holiday season, the gift baskets are neat, and the women out there who might need something, she's got quite the collection. Take a moment and check out what she has. If you need something, she'd be more than happy to help you out!

OK, I've done my husbandly duty for the decade.

A time to attack

President Bush yesterday chose to attack those who question the decisions for going to war in Iraq, suggesting that they are undermining the war effort (and, presumably, less American). I have some problems with this speech he gave.

First, it was Veteran's Day. This is a day to honor, remember, and thank those who donned the uniform and defended this country. It was a day for ALL Americans to show their respect and thanks. The decision to attack one demographic on this national holiday suggests that President Bush, who promised to be a uniter, not a divider, has foregone that promise and chosen to pander to his partisan baseline. Personally, I'm offended by this decision and strongly disagree with the choice to attack on the day he did. He could have chosen any day for shameless politicking, and not detracted from the sacrifices made by the millions of Americans who have served over the years.

Second, his speech was inaccurate. He said that Congress had the same access to intelligence that the Executive staff had - hinting that Congress should look in the mirror before looking at the Commander in Chief. His statement is partly true. The overwhelming amount of information suggested that Iraq had weapons of mass destriction. However, as the holder of the intelligence information, the executive branch had exclusive control over dissemination of said intelligence. This means that Congress certainly did NOT have the same amount of access to intelligence as the President and his advisors had. It means that whatever they got was a selected group of information, not unlike a trial brief, showing the strongest argument for one side of the argument.

Third, the President suggests that Democrats are the only ones who want hearings into this, and suggest that they are trying to "rewrite history," calling such an act "deeply irresponsible." This conveniently ignores the Republicans who want inquiries, or who suggest there were problems. To dismiss those people are "RINOs" would be to further the rift that has grown at a clip faster than at any point in the last 20 years.

Friday, November 11, 2005

Veteran's Day

This is a day for remembering. For thanking the millions of Americans past and present who have put their country before themselves and donned a uniform and taken up arms to defend it. This is a day to thank those who did what so many wouldn't do, or would do "but for" whatever reason. We're free today because these men and women were willing to preserve that freedom. As a veteran of Operation Allied Force, I would like to thank those who have served before me, including my father, both grandfathers, and my great grandfather, all of whom served during significant times in World history (Vietnam, WWII and Korea, and the Spanish American War). I want to thank my comrades in arms, for having the courage to continue to defend this country.

Thursday, November 10, 2005

Random Trivia

Lord Horatio Nelson of the British Royal Navy lost sight in one eye. He was involved in the Battle of Copenhagen (April 2, 1801). During that battle, Rear Admiral Nelson received a signal from his commanding officer, Sir Hyde Parker, to stop the attack. Admiral Nelson heard about the order, then lifted his telescope to the eye in which he'd lost sight, said "I don't see anything," in reference to the order, and continued his attack. The British won the battle, and Admiral Nelson added the phrase "To turn a blind eye" to English Vernacular.

Wednesday, November 09, 2005

Let's pause for ten seconds for some shameless namedropping

I read on my friend heatherfeather's site a couple kudos she gave to some friends of hers and I quickly realized that the way to get friends is to pander to them. So, Heatherfeather, we at the binjo ditch think you rock.

Now to sit back and wait for the kudos...

Wednesday is Haiku Day

and a quick recap for those who are gunshy - A haiku is a japanese poem that follows a syllabic form. the first line has five syllables, the second has seven and the third has five. The trick is in how much you can convey in those 17 syllables.

And now:

On my kitchen hutch
I have a bottle of oil -
Pennzoil for my car.

As always, audience participation is encouraged!

Tuesday, November 08, 2005

The Democratic Process

I'm pleased to say I voted today. It's not a Presidential or Congressional election year, but it was election day, and I got to vote for Mayor (who knew there were people running against Bill White, you couldn't tell by the campaigning).

There was a fairly important proposition on the ballot this year. Proposition 2 is Texas' attempt to add a definition to the Constitution that marriage is a union between a man and a woman. Basically, the amendment would bar all gay marriages in Texas. I voted against the proposition, but it will probably pass.

Let me explain why I oppose this legislature:
1. I don't see how this really passes any equal protection standards. I've played the advocate and argued both sides from time to time, but right down where it counts, I can't see how this really is not an equal protection violation.

2. If we want to pass an amendment defining marriage as between a man and a woman, presumably it's because gay is a sin. If it's a sin, then won't God punish the gays when they die. It doesn't seem necessary to ban gay down here, as it seems on its face a victimless sin (you're gay to yourself; it's not like stealing or murder, which happens against someone else).

3. Texas already bans gay marriage. It's against the law in Texas for same sex couples to get married. This includes transgenders (a man who had a sex-change to become a woman and now wants to marry a man). If it's already against the law for gay couples to marry, why do we need an amendment defining marriage as an act between a man and a woman? It seems to painfully unnecessary.

Of course, the argument is that if the Amendment passes, then nobody can repeal the law; we'd have to repeal the amendment, which is more difficult. I just don't see the necessity of it. Much like tort reform, I think it's more geared for the lawmakers to say "look what we did," as opposed to actually doing anything.

Monday, November 07, 2005

Computer Problems

apparently, the notebook I own has a problem with the AC input on the motherboard. This seems to be a documented problem among this model. The company from whom I bought the computer no longer makes this model, likely due to this problem.

Anyway, the motherboard needed replacing, which left me sans computer for the last few days. It was kind of nice to be away from the computer; I didn't miss it nearly as much as I thought I might.

My delays in posting will probably continue though as we near finals. I need to make sure I'm ready for tests, so that I can get my dream job over the summer. So, I'll continue the Wednesday haiku and the Thursday random trivia, but the run of the mill posting might take a bit of a hit. bear with me, Winter break will be here soon!

Thursday, November 03, 2005

Random Trivia

The phrase "Not for all the tea in China" is a misnomer.

China only grows about 10% of the world's supply. India supplies about 1/3.

Wednesday, November 02, 2005


Terrell Owens, football player for the Philadelphia Eagles, injured his ankle and is unsure as to his availability for upcoming games against the Dallas Cowboys and the Washington Redskins.

I don't laugh at injuries, especially ankle injuries. I broke my tibia and fibula at the ankle and dislocated my foot 9 years ago. It's not fun.

However, sometimes reporting injuries can be.

"[Eagles spokesman Derek] Boyko confirmed [the ankle injury] was on the same right leg he broke a year ago ..."

Seriously, was the adjective "right" completely necessary there? How many right legs does any human have? ahh, humor.

Wednesday is Haiku Day

On this Halloween
It rained and poured but the kids
still dressed and got loot.

I look forward to your contributions

Tuesday, November 01, 2005

One Small Step For DeLay

Rep. Tom DeLay and his attorneys succeeding in removing the sitting judge in his trial. The rationale his attorneys argued was that Judge Perkins' contributions to democratic candidates (that's allowed here in Texas) might create the appearance of a bias. His attorneys are still trying to get the trial moved from Austin, "one of the last enclaves of the Democratic Party in Texas."

I can't say that I disagree with the removal of the judge. Even though judges are supposed to be impartial, we know that in practicality, it's mostly impossible to be completely impartial (I commented on this yesterday), and a judge who contributed to MoveOn.Org presiding over a case in which Tom DeLay is a defendant is rather similar to an NRA member judge presiding over a Brady case.

I don't buy the argument that the trial needs to be removed from Austin though, especially if the rationale given is taht it's "one of the last enclaves of the Democratic Party in Texas." If the premise is that he wouldn't get a fair trial because Austin is liberal, then how could they reasonably argue that he'd get a fair trial in any Republican-controlled county? Reading between the lines, it appears what he wants is to be in a place where his acquittal is closer to a guarantee, whether he's guilty or not. I do think, however, that whatever the outcome of his trial, he's veering very close to OJ/Jacko territory, where he'll be viewed as guilty in the court of public opinion regardless of his culpability in the instant case.


This month marks the ten year anniversary of my enlistment in the Air Force - a move that made me what I am today. I thank the Air Force for helping me get where I am, it's a program that can benefit many people, the armed services, I mean. Try it, you might like it.

Monday, October 31, 2005

Happy Halloween everyone

Happy Halloween!

May the tricks be limited and the treats be plenty.

And the Nomination For Next Supreme Court Justice Is...

Samuel A. Alito.

"President Bush, stung be the rejection of his first choice, nominated veteran judge Samuel Alito on Monday in a bid to reshape the Supreme Court and mollify his conservative allies. Ready-to-rumble Democrats warned that Alito may be an extremist who would curb abortion rights." (From Yahoo!)

Of course the democrats are upset. This person didn't earn the nickname "Scalito" for nothing. He's a hardcore conservative who will appease the Republican base. The argument that he would curb abortion rights is problematic for me. There are so many issues going on in this country and so many millions of lawsuits filed each year that to base your opinion on a nominee simply on one position short shrifts all the other issues in the country. As far as extremist goes, one could argue (perhaps rightly so) that Justice Ruth Bader Ginsburg is an extremist.

For whoever out there actually cares, here's my criteria for a justice on the Supreme Court:
That he or she faithfully obey the Constitution of the United States and the concept of Stare Decisis.

That being said, I think a Justice should be politically neuter, or at least as much as is possible. I know it's pretty much impossible to be completely impartial on any setting, but I do believe it's possible to rule arbitrarily despite one's partiality. I've commented before on how I believe strict constructionism is too inefficient for the country to work properly, and as such, I think Justices need some liberty in interpreting the Constitution and the laws enacted pursuant to it. However much rope they get, however, they need to ensure they work for the better of the American People, and I hope that Mr. Alito understands that should be be confirmed.

Sunday, October 30, 2005

More on North Korea

North Korea is making promises again. This time, it swears that it "adheres to the denuclearization of the Korean Peninsula and to the peaceful solution of the nuclear issue through dialogue."

The statements were made to Chinese ambassadors amid preparations for yet another round of 6-party talks aimed at stabilizing the Korean peninsula. Isn't it funny how whenever we're in the planning stages for any kind of talks, the DPRK is willing to participate and obey the agreements we've come up with, but somehow, when the time to pony up happens, we find out that they've been lying to us? Kim Chong-il is not a fool; he knows exactly what he's doing with his politics. I'm sure he knows that his government is hardly holding on, and it needs the people to firmly believe that all Americans are baby eaters who hate freedom and that every other country in the world is as hungry as they. He also knows that he must rely on foreign food aid to feed his country while he uses land to grow tobacco for counterfeit cigarettes and poppies for opium, etc. As such, he knows that the only TRUE bargaining chip he has to continue his and his country's existence is the Nuclear issue. Because he knows this, he will never stop the nuclear program. He needs the bomb so that he can strengthen his grip on a tenuous situation, and continue to exist as the demigod the people believe him to be. He will never strike first because then China will not support him, which means if there's to be a war, he needs to provoke a strike from us first (which is probably why we don't attack there, and why China does nothing other than talk about Taiwan).

Talks won't work. Promises have been broken by him and his so many times in the past that it's laughable that people would choose to believe him.

If we truly want stability in the far east, North Korea must reunite with South Korea under South Korea's terms. The weapons that North Korea has that are obsolete must be destroyed so that China doesn't view a unified Korea as a threat, thus provoking a response by them. Peace is possible, but it is much stickier than anyone who has paid more than a gram of attention to knows.


The Lions play today. The First Place Detroit Lions, that is. Granted, they're in first place because Green Bay is playing primarily backups and Minnesota decided it was more fun to go fishing than play football, but still, first place is first place.

The First Place Detroit Red Wings played their second game against that team from Chicago last night. The Wings won both of the games, and have one more in the series before they move on to another team. 11-1-0 is the best record in the NHL, and Detroit has been working hard to earn it.

The Wolverines and the Spartans both won yesterday, and the NBA Runners-up Detroit Pistons start the regular season on Tuesday.

This is the exciting part of the sports year for Detroit fans, the magic of the Tigers has mostly faded (though we still stick by the mantra of NEXT YEAR!), and we have winners and high expectations for pretty much everyone else.

In other news, it's Roll the Clock Back day, which means my kids were up at 4:45 this morning. That's just wrong.

Friday, October 28, 2005

Friday's Odd News Post

Here's a little tip for all you embellishers out there. If you want to impress someone in whom you are interested, don't tell them you're an undercover cop and then tell her you left your badge at home after showing ID. Unfortunately, this bit of information is a little too late for this man. He actually had the jacket with the badge at home, too, which is more disconcerting.

Quick run down of what happened:
Showed her his tattoos
told her he was a cop
showed her his ID (for classmates: His surname is Terrell)
asked her for a date

I can't imagine a more romantic method of gaining one's fancy...