Wednesday, August 31, 2005

Someone once said

"We haven't come a long way, we've come a short way. If we hadn't come a short way, nobody would call us 'baby.'" My sources indicate that it was Elizabeth Janeway, and who am I to argue with sources?

At any rate, I encourage people to click here, so that you can see two pictures from the hurricane. One shows a couple "finders." the other, a "looter." This upsets me in ways I cannot appropriately relate in typed form.

Perhaps at least one member of the liberal media needs another lesson...

Wednesday - Haiku day

Nature wreaked havoc
On America this week
Pray for our compats

Tuesday, August 30, 2005

Random trivia

Cicero once calimed that someone wrote all 24 books of Homer's "The Iliad" in handwriting small enough to fit in a walnut shell. Over the years, several otheres repeated the feat. Over time, people came to refer to "the Iliad in a nutshell" as simply "In a nutshell," and used it to mean a condensed version of the whole story.

Monday, August 29, 2005

A Must Read

President Bush said that he thinks people should be introduced to different ideas. He said this in relation to the concept of intelligent design and whether it should be taught in schools. I submitted before that if any class that addresses the religious components of the beginning of life on earth is taught, it needs to encompass all major religions, not just the one that predominates our culture.

To fuel the fire around the intelligent design theory, this site offers a new possibility that doesn't receive the airtime that Christianity and evolution receive. I highly recommend reading it just for the entertainment value.


Male Stripper Convicted of Samurai Sword Slaying

The man was convicted of the crime of killing a female impersonator with a samurai sword. His defense was that he was insane (usually a last-ditch defense). He said that he'd been diagnosed with psychosis 5 years ago.

The guy dressed up as a ninja and attacked the man, slashing him 13 times with his sword. Then he said he didn't intend to do it. I don't buy it.

He'll be in jail for 25 years to life.

Sunday, August 28, 2005

This just in: God Hates Gays

I read it on Yahoo! News, so I know it's true.

According to the article, God is punishing American GIs for defending a country that harbors gays. So says a church who brought their anti-gay message to the funeral of two dead servicemen. According to Rev. Fred Phelps of Westboro Baptist, God is wreaking vengeance on the military for defending a nation that allows homosexuality.

Now, the church is rather small. It pretty much consists of Rev. Phelps, his family, and his in-laws, and it's not affiliated with the Baptist church proper. bear that in mind when reading this.

What I found particularly interesting was that one of the people interviewed who decried Rev. Phelps' actions said that he might otherwise join the Reverend, had he not chosen the funeral service of two servicemen to convey his message. He doesn't disagree with the message (gays = bad), he disagrees with the venue.

If God doesn't like gays, wouldn't it seem to make more sense for God to smite the gays and not the men and women of the military who defend ALL Americans? And if gay is a sin, then why would we have to deal with it now? Couldn't we just let them live in sin and let God handle the punishment at the rapture?

Saturday, August 27, 2005

Don't read this

I'm Henry VIII I am
Henry VIII I am I am
I got married to the widow next door
She's been married seven times before and
every one was a Henry (Henry!)
She wouldn't take a Willy or a Sam (No sir!)
I'm her eighth old man, I'm Henry
Henry VIII I am

Second verse, same as the first!

Friday, August 26, 2005

Upholding the Constitution

Perhaps Justice Stevens wasn't acting out of spite for the common man...

Read here, courtesy of the Debate Link.

There's some support for ya!

Cindy Sheehan is planning a bus tour. To support her cause, Rev. Al Sharpton has announced he wants to join her.

Why does this sound like inviting Carrie Nation to your MADD meeting to me?

Note: This will probably be the only post I make regarding Cindy Sheehan. I don't want to giver her any more attention than is absolutely necessary.

Thursday, August 25, 2005

The Binjo Ditch Rules

I've been pretty fortunate with my blog so far. I haven't had to deal with trolls, and the number of spams I get has been rather low. However, I know that there are folks out there who enjoy spamming and trolling, and I know people hard line on issues. I do it myself. I firmly believe we need to remove Kim Chong Il from power in Korea. I am unwavering on that.

There are other things I'm not so steadfast about, and I enjoy hearing all sides of an argument. As such, I have decided to start my version of "the rules," with which I expect my visitors to comply.

1. Speak your opinion. This is a blog. I post because I want to hear what you think. I often find it easier if I take a position on an issue than if I try to write from a neutral spot. That's my writing style. If you agree, great. Tell me what you think. If you don't agree with what I write, great. Let me know what it is you disagree about. I can't develop a well-formed opinion if I don't hear all angles.

2. Consider, for a moment, that you might be wrong. I do this constantly, because I fear that by not doing so, I have admitted defeat. I was given a mind. I get to think, to reason. Part of reasoning is realizing someone else has a valid point.

3. Be civil. This should be a no-brainer. Every society and every major religion throughout recorded history has some version of the Golden Rule. The relative anonymity the Web provides should not shield someone from their obligation to remain civil. I have no tolerance for trolls. I have no patience when it comes to people trying to start a flame war. Spirited debate is a good thing; angry retorts aren't.

4. Have fun. I am not a pundit; I have no agenda (save my stance on North Korea). I am not a wordsmith. I claim little more than to be a diversion to the rest of the day. I want to bring topics that people can think about, laugh about, and talk about.

5. Tell your friends. This is not a hard and fast rule, and there's an asterisk to it. I don't advertise. I don't solicit hits. I enjoy hearing from all people, and welcome everyone. So, if you like what you read, tell someone else. Maybe he or she will like it, too.

Those Darn Activists!

They're at it again. I can't stand those judges, always getting in the way of Congress; legislating from the bench. Tom DeLay is right. We need to keep them from intervening in the realm of Congress.

My beef this time? The Court is declaring what isn't free speech absent Congressional clarification.
According to the link, the 9th Circuit Court of Appeals (those darn West Coast folks) handed down a decision that a prisoner who offers to kill a judge in exchange for money has no protection under the First Amendment.

Specifically, Judge Carlos Bea found that a prisoner's statement "that he wanted to target a judge and 'string the up and cut her throat, his throat, and make it like a copycat so that people would do the same thing,' combined with an offer to provide weapons and money reward, can reasonably be interpreted as a serious expression of intent to harm."

Now perhaps I'm naive, but I didn't realize there were caveats to free speech. Next thing you know, people who exoercise their liberties to use cars that aren't being used by others will have to spend time in prison.

I seem to remember Congress threatening to get rid of the 9th Court of Appeals at one point if they didn't straighten up and fly right. This is authorized under the Constitution, Article III. I think it's time we did that. Behavior such as this, undermining Congressional Authority is reprehensible and this would send a message to everyone.

Wednesday, August 24, 2005

(No topic)

I'm tired. I'm stressed. I have insomnia.

So of course, I sit here pondering, and will share with you, my adoring fans, a quick insight into the inner workings of my mind.

I don't have any inner workings of my mind.

Wednesday is Haiku day!

Mister Rogers was
a little creepy if you
ask me, those sweaters!

Feel free to join in

Tuesday, August 23, 2005

Leaving children behind

In recent national news, Connecticut is the first state to formally challenge the No Child Left Behind Act that President Bush signed into law in 2002. The idea behind the act is to increase teacher and school accountability for education and encourage programs that provide a solid base of education for all children.

I don't like the No Child Left Behind Act. I think it's the Federal Government using Federal Funds to compel the states to do its bidding; something frowned upon as I understand South Dakota v. Dole (483 U.S. 203). The Act also diverts federal funding that otherwise would go to support the No Child Left Behind Act and funds that the Schools had received prior to its enactment from the schools to form "Charter schools," which appear to be federally funded private schools, and thus don't have to meet the same criteria that public schools must meet.

I'll be paying close attention to the developments here.

Monday, August 22, 2005

Don't let them win!

Heather has her part in starting a phenomenon, and I feel it my duty to promote it. The name of the game is "If _____, then the terrorists win." It's that simple. Take the mundane hypothetical, and answer it with "then the terrorists win."

If I chew any more gum, then the terrorists win.
If my son fills his diaper one more time, then the terrorists win.
If the the square of the hypotenuse of a triangle is equal to the sum of the squares of its two other sides, then the terrorists win.

Catchphraseology should be a required poli sci course.

Sunday, August 21, 2005

Grow up

I'm currently a second year law student. I'm a father of three with a wife who works full time. Prior to starting law school, I served 8 years in the Air Force where I learned a foreign language, fought in a war, helped save countless lives, and trained over 50 successors. During that time, I also finished my undergraduate degree, one that I had all but abandoned by quitting school to work full time prior to enlisting. In other words, I worked to be where I am, and I still have a long way to go to get to where I want to be.

This semester, I'm taking a Saturday class, Consumer Transactions. It's actually more interesting than I'd first imagined a class about DTPA to be. During the break, I overheard another student, a 20-something, talking about how it doesn't matter what he's doing, or how well he does, because the school means nothing to him, and the education is "just another thing." This statement brings me to the point of this post.

If you can't give a reason for being in law school, any reason, then you need to quit. You need to go and work for a living and find out what it is you want. Otherwise you're wasting your time, your classmates' time, your professor's time, and everyone who has supported you during your education, not to mention over $60,000 of your own money. If you've not workedyet, and don't know what it is you're missing, and don't appreciate what you're getting, then go and learn. Earn some money, learn about yourself.

And if you're one of those career students, who has never had a job that lasted longer than a summer, you're either in school because you're privileged and just checking all the boxes until you move into the family business or you're a coward. Yes. A coward. It's time to be responsible. Get a freaking job. Earn your keep. Be the adult you claim to be. If you haven't been able to do that through high school or college, then grad school won't give it to you either. Quit bitching about what's wrong with the world and be a part of the world. Better yet, to help you grow up, there's this thing called the military. They have an excellent program that pays you to grow up. You'll learn responsibility. You'll learn to depend on yourself as well as others. And more importantly in this day and age, you'll learn about loss, about sacrifice, about what it means to be a part of something more than just yourself.
And perhaps, after that time is done, you'll understand a little more why going to law school matters. If you are unwilling to do that, then shut the hell up and quit wasting my time.

Friday, August 19, 2005

Say it Ain't So, Dick!

Don't tell me that this is the best justification you can come up with for continuing this war!

"Every man and woman who fights and sacrifices in this war is serving a just and noble cause. This nation will always be grateful to them and we will honor their sacrifice by completing our mission," Cheney said during a speech in Springfield, Mo., to the 73rd national convention of the Military Order of the Purple Heart.

That's right. I don't care how many people have to die, we're going to honor those who have given our lives by finishing this war. That has to be one of the stupidest justifications for continuing a war I've ever heard.

Joe Gandelman at The Moderate Voice sums it up as follows:
Our view (and TMV has supported the war): if this is the new argument that'll be used to sell the war, it's doomed to failure. Officials didn't argue in the World War I, World War II, Korea or even Vietnam that the wars needed to be fought to victory to honor sacrifices soldiers already made in those wars. Leaders relentlessly hammered away at the larger missions. Sometimes these arguments failed (as in the case of Vietnam). But arguing that because young Americans have died in Iraq already the U.S. needs to stay there and face increased casualties will not — to be blunt — sell. It could actually backfire. (There are much stronger and more convincing arguments proponents of completing the Iraq mission can make).
I have to agree with this sentiment. This sounds like gambler logic to me:
I know I lost $5000 at the blackjack table, but I'm going to keep on betting until I break even. Not good policy.

*** UPDATE ***

President Bush on vacation in Idaho told a VFW in Idaho on Monday that if we pull out of Iraq now, we will be dishonoring the memory of all Americans who fought and died in the pursuit of freedom.

Think about that for a minute. If we withdraw from a nation we invaded for the express purpose of deposing a leader who had chemical and nuclear weapons that he didn't have despite the fact that he said he didn't have them, then we dishonor ALL AMERICANS who fought and died.

Those who stormed the beaches in Normandy are dishonored. The Marines who battled in Iwo Jima. The 101st at Bastogne. Eddie Rickenbacher. Alvin York. The 54th Massachussetts. Robert E. Lee. Ulysses S. Grant. Ethan Allen and the Green Mountain Boys. The Men at Fort McHenry. Chesty Puller. John Levitow. The list goes on and on. We would dishonor them.

I firmly believe we need to see our way through this. Regardless of how we got to where we are, we are in a position where we must press on to the end of the tunnel. But I think these recent statements by our CINC and Vice President are callous and wrong. I don't believe we should evoke the memory of men who responded to overt agression when we were the aggressors. That is a disservice to our forefathers and the men and women who wear the uniform today.

Church and State

"Asking a biblical scholar if the Bible should be taught is like asking a chef if he likes to cook. I think students are well served to have familiarity with the Bible, and I think it's important to our cultural literacy. I also wish students got more exposure to the diversity of religions - in America and around the world. Now, more than ever, we need that."
Doctor Mark Chancey, biblical studies professor at Southern Methodist University's stance on Bible literacy courses in public schools.

Whether the Bible should be taught mightn't be the inflammatory issue it can be viewed to be. At the simplistic, it's simply an historical text, full of accounts, history, legend, and life lessons. As far as historical accuracy goes, it's a little off. Jericho didn't fall at the time listed in the Bible, but my history books have all been updated due to inaccuracies in the past. Why carp? It's not textually factual. Well, that's a matter of interpretation, don't you think? Is the Garden of Eden really being blocked by a flaming sword? Or is that flowery license to indicate that we're going to have to toil for our lives? Did Elijah really get swept to heaven in a flaming chariot? Did Jesus really miraculously get 5 loaves and 2 fishes to feed 5,000, or is it more like Stone Soup, where people started sharing what they had been hoarding? Who knows? As far as books go in Western Civilization, the Bible has had more impact than any other. Look at other significant documents used in schools, the Magna Carta, the Mayflower Compact, Homer's Odyssey (also a history book) - They are all documents that shaped western culture, to include American culture, over the last umpteen years. As far as that goes, logic would dictate that it's an important document as well, and thus should be included in curriculum.

The problem, as I see it, doesn't come from using the Bible as an historical document. that would be easily justifiable. The problem stems from the fact that it's not considered historical to contemporaries, rather, it's considered religious, something that the Odyssey is not. That's the difference. Were it possible in this country to include the Bible as a text, it would probably be OK. However, you can't bring the Bible into classrooms without the appearance or actuality of people preaching one religion over another. You bring the problem of different interpretation. You bring the problem of alienating non-Christian children. Like it or not, in this country, incorporating the Bible in school presents the image of favoritism of one religion over others. Our country has more or less adopted the doctrine of separation between Church and State. You can argue until you're blue in the face whether that should or should not be based on the writings of the founding fathers; I don't care. The fact remains that that is how we have run things.

Since that is the case, the possible solutions, as I see it are:
Teach the Bible in an elective class
Don't teach the Bible at all
Teach a world religion class that gives equal face time to (at least) the major religions, including, but not limited to Christianity, Judiasm, Muslim, Buddhism, Confuscianism, and Hinduism

I still think religion is a personal thing, and that it's ultimately up to the family to choose how and to what extent a child should be exposed to it. Religion isn't like Vitamin D, where you need to have the government provide milk at school to ensure there's enough. As such, I believe that it behooves us in this society at this time to refrain from providing Biblical studies in public schools.

Thursday, August 18, 2005

For those contemplating a career in law:

I give you a glimpse of my reading for the day*:
Sec. 61. Gross Income Defined.
a. general definition. - Except as otherwise provided in this subtitle, gross income means all income from whatever source derived, including (but not limited to) the following items:
1. Compensation for services, including fees, commissions, fringe benefits, and similar items;
2. Gross income derived from business;
3. Gains derived from dealings in property;
4. Interest;
5. Rents;
6. Royalties;
7. Dividends;
8. Alimony and separate maintenance payments;
9. Annuities;
10. Income from life insurance and endowment contracts;
11. Pensions;
12. Income from discharge of indebtedness;
13. Distributive share of partnership gross income;
14. Income in respect of a decedent; and
15. Income from an interest in an estate or trust.

That's right. Income means income. Woohoo! I'm so glad I came to law school to learn that!

* The following supplied by Selected Federal Taxation, Statutes and Regulations, Selected and Edited by Daniel J. Lathrope, 2006 Edition.

Wednesday, August 17, 2005

Nothing but a waste of time

However, if you have the time to waste, I recommend checking out the Dialectizer. This wonderful site comes from Thomas by way of Bookworm, and is a great little diversion from the ordinary. Simply enter your blog name (or mine) and you can read your blog in a variety of dialects, including Swedish Chef and Redneck. Enjoy!

Wednesday - haiku day

Houtson is too hot
Tar bubbles just like Melmac
But there is no ALF.

Tuesday, August 16, 2005

Time won't let me

Leap year happens every fourth year, except on the century, where it happens every fourth century (there was no leap year in 1900, but there was one in 2000). This occurs because the earth doesn't revolve around in 24 hours. It actually takes 23 Hours, 56 minutes and 9.4 seconds, give or take. This is a result of the Sumerians(?) who developed the 24 hour system not being able to use the atomic clock to accurately gauge how long it really took, presumably because the battery was dead. At any rate, they had to guess. And like most men, when they guessed, they weren't quite right. However, to their credit, they came remarkably close - even with modern conveniences, my wife can't get to a 9 a.m. appointment before noon (j/k).

Anyway, what I want to know is, since a unit of time is arbitrarily assigned (a second doesn't have to last the amount of time a current second lasts), why can't we adjust the gauge of time so that 24 hours is a day, as opposed to a day plus a little bit?

Monday, August 15, 2005

Famous Last Words

"It's beautiful over there." - Thomas Edison
"Monsieur, I beg your pardon." - Marie Antoinette (as she stepped on the executioner's foot on accident)
"I am not the least afraid to die." - Charles Darwin
"John Adams still lives." - Thomas Jefferson (unaware that Adams had died earlier that morning, July 4, 1826)
"I am about to, or I am going to die: either expression is correct." - Dominique Bouhours (grammarian)
"I'll be in hell before you've finished breakfast boys, let 'er rip." - Black Jack Ketchum
"Turn up the lights, I don't want to go home in the dark." - O. Henry
"Don't let it end like this. Tell them I said something." - Pancho Villa
"I knew it. I knew it. Born in a hotel room and, goddam it, died in a hotel room." - Eugene O'Neill
"I want that fifty bucks you owe me, and I want it now." Carl "Alfalfa" Switzer

Oh, that Congressman DeLay

He's at it again, attacking judicial activism at his Justice Sunday II brunch. The purpose of Justice Sunday, established by theFamily Research Council, is "to educate voters on how the courts affect the every day lives of Americans." at the speech, Congressman DeLay reminds people that "All wisdom does not reside in nine persons in black robes. The Constitution is clear on the point that the power to make laws is vested on Congress."
And, he's right. Article I vests the power to write laws on Congress, and even to execute laws over the President's Veto. However, he isn't complete with what he says. You see, Article VI stipulates that the Constitution and ALL LAWS ENACTED PURSUANT TO IT, and all treaties are the Supreme Law of the Land, and are bound to it. It's the Judiciary's role to determine whether a law is Constitutional, not Congress. Think about it if Congress had that authority. "We're passing this law, and it's constitutional. Trust us, we're looking out for you." Yet, this scenario in a slightly different form was suggested by another participant at the speech, Bill Donohue, "unless a judicial vote in unanimous, you cannot overturn a law created by Congress." It's little surprise that the Legislative was the branch that most concerned the founding fathers (see Federalist no. 48).
Perhaps the most disturbing statement in this was provided by Mike Miller, who also attended: "Activist judges we're trying to do what we can to stop that activity. Our laws are based on the Ten Commandments."
Call me crazy, but I thought our laws were based on the Constitution...?

Sunday, August 14, 2005

You may not believe this, but

I don't like North Korea that much. I don't trust their leader, and I don't think we should coddle them any more. However, I'm a big fan of reading their propaganda. Imagine my joy, then, when I read the following on Yahoo: Man catalogues North Korea's over-the-top rhetoric. Apparently, I'm not the only one who enjoys reading about our kingpin of evil leader, President Bush. This man used his skills to create a database of KCNA archives. This is great, and something that should have been done much sooner, though, not by me - I have no computer skills. Anyway, you can find the link here, and probably on my links site on the column to your right pretty soon. Enjoy, you sycophantic stooge!


When I was in Korea, I had a conversation with a ROK officer. We were discussing the economy of the nation, which was suffering at the time. This was when the country went over its head in debt and required IMF help to get out of trouble, and the won rate went from 800w = $1 to 2400w = $1 in a couple weeks. Anyway, I was having trouble saying economy, and needed his help to get the word, so I asked him what the Korean word for economy was. He told me "Economy means kyungjae." That threw me for a loop, inasmuch as from my perspective kyungjae meant economy. We were talking about the same thing but it looked completely different. So, my suggestion for today is that the next time you talk about something, you think about whether you are talking about economy meaning kyungjae or vice-versa.

Another black eye for the U.S.O.C.

They're at it again. This time, however, it has nothing to do with venues, events, or doping athletes. Nope, this time, it's all in a name. Make it one word, rather. Olympics. According to this article, the U.S.O.C. is threatening to sue the organizers of the Ferret Olympics if they don't change their name. The ferret olympics is an event held in Oregon, whose purpose is to raise money for ferret shelters.
The basis for the suit in unlawful use of a trademark. The U.S.O.C. says in the article that it has to ask approximately 50 organizations a year to stop using the word Olympics, and that if they didn't do so, the accumulated effect would hinder what they were trying to do. This makes sense. They have been so fastidious in keeping up their good name, it makes sense that the U.S.O.C. would want to keep good natured organazitions away from the association. Who needs those ferrets, anyway? Miserable, no good critters. All claws and teeth, and they'll sink those teeth into anything they can, either. I recall an event known as "ferret legging" is (mildly) popular in Britain. The idea of that is to take your pants, tuck them into your socks, drop a ferret or two in there, and then cinch up the waist so they can't get out. Whoever can go the longest without taking the ferrets out wins. Oddly, this wasn't in the ferret olympics. You can find more info on Ferret-legging here.

As far as the use of the word olympics goes, I'm actually a little surprised that it is trademarked. Duncan once trademarked the word Yo-yo, but lost a challenge because it was the "only" name for the toy. I know there are other names for multiple-event competitions, but olympics seems sufficiently generic to not warrant protection. Of Course, I would bet that the U.S.O.C. would have deeper pockets than the ferret-olympics organizers do, but I don't know that for sure. Anyway, you won't be able to see the ferret olympics anywhere pretty soon, and that's just sad.

Saturday, August 13, 2005

Political Wars

I enlisted in the Air Force in November of 1995. I shipped off to Basic Training the week the government shutdown ended. While there, I received the training so many other airmen received. Once, while we were in the Bob Hope Theatre, someone asked our TIs what happened to us in Vietnam (why didn't we win?). The answer given to us was that there were too many limits placed upon the military by our government. We knew where the VC were, but we couldn't attack them for fear of upsetting the local population and turning them against us. We couldn't invade North Vietnam for a similar reason.
In a recent Newsweek article, Gary Berntsen, a career CIA officer, confirmed allegations given by John Kerry during the election campaign that we had Bin Laden at Tora Bora in December 2001 but he got away in part due to a decision to not send in conventional forces, and instead let local soldiers pursue. He has a book coming out called "Jawbreaker," which is awaiting approval from the CIA (this is standard for intelligence officers who write about events as this), where he criticizes Donald Rumsfeld and the defense department for not giving enough support. This sounds very similar to what we were told regarding Vietnam - politicians and politics getting in the way of the war's objectives.

I know a lot of people disdain the comparisons between Vietnam and Iraq, but there are similarities, especially concerning the approach to the situation. In Vietnam, the plan was to "Americanize" the war - U.S. troops would fight and defend. Then, there would be a transition period, where the Vietnamese soldiers would be trained and brought up to date on equipment and whatnot. Then, there would be a "Vietnamization" of the war, where the Americans would be taken out and replaced by well-trained Vietnamese troops who could take care of themselves and handle their own situation. Compare to Iraq, where foreign troops are occupying while the Iraqi soldiers receive training, after which the soldiers will be gradually replaced by indigenous troops who will be able to handle their own situation. Sometimes the comparisons are inevitable.

Friday, August 12, 2005

Worst Song survey

If you read the post directly below this, you'll find my plan for interrogation, which includes the repeat playing of MacArthur Park ad infinitum. This reminded me of a Dave Barry book I have called "Dave Barry's book of bad songs."
Basically, he took a survey of songs that people couldn't stand. They included Yummy Yummy Yummy, Wichita Lineman, and quite a few more. This leads me to my query for all of you. What are the worst songs you can think of?

Now, there are a few rules to the game. First, rap is out. I know there are some rap songs that have hit a popular vein, but for the most part, they are all indistinguishable from each other. Second, the songs must be at least five years old. Dave Barry used that as his gauge because that was the amount of time it took for a song to be truly loathed.

Now, my top five includes, of course, MacArthur Park, no explanation is necessary. It also would include:
He Hit Me (And it Felt Like a Kiss) - Could you imagine a song like this hitting the charts in this century?
Muskrat Love - The Captain and Tenille at their finest,
Red Red Wine (by UB40) - I can't think of anything more hideous than taking a Neil Diamond song, turning it into reggae as performed by a British band, and then having an unattractive woman in the video, and
I Saw Him Standing There, by Tiffany - This is one of the worst remakes ever made in the history of music. Whoever convinced her it was a hit should be struck repeatedly with paddleball paddles.

The floor is open.

If I were in charge of interrogation

The first thing I'd do is buy a copy of MacArthur Park and loop it ad infinitum over loudspeakers. Then, (and here's where I have to worry about unnecessary cruelty,) I would put the interrogatees on high school bleachers and not let them up until they told us everything they knew. I'm pretty sure my plan is foolproof.


There are many people in this country, and in this world, I'm sure, who base their life's philosophies on what a television or movie character says or lyrics in a rock song. That troubles me. I've never understood how someone can be so moved by, say, a Pepsi commercial that it would change their life. Real change comes from within. One should draw their philosophy from within, as well. There must be outside factors that help, of course - family, children, friends, etc. But at the end of the day, you need to find a philosophy for yourself.

Wednesday, August 10, 2005

Wednesday is Haiku Day!

Orientation's today
bunch of lost 1Ls.

Audience Participation is always encouraged.

Tuesday, August 09, 2005

When people suffer under the yoke of tyranny

It is our job to give those people freedom, right? Isn't that one of the reasons we invaded Afghanistan (Come Mr. Taliban, turn over Bin Laden) and Iraq? After all, Saddam Hussein slaughtered tens of thousands of his countrymen. I think that was part of the reason we got involved in Yugoslavia, as well... let those Kosovar Albanians have land that belonged to someone else. (Oh, we'll still call ourselved Yugoslavian, but we're going to have our own language, culture, money, and we won't pay taxes.)

Given our interest in humanitarian efforts to provide freedom, it seems only logical that when we look at a leader who has run his country uncontested for over 10 years, following in his father's footsteps, kills dissidents (read: anyone who says something that doesn't follow the party line), would rather grow opium for black market trade than food for his starving nation, and openly challenges the United States with overt blackmail (We'll quit developing the nuclear weapons we said we'd quit developing 10 years ago for food and oil if you give us more food and oil), we would meet him with idle chatter and sabre-rattling?

North Korea's Kim Chong-Il has seen over 2 million of his countrymen die due to starvation, though nobody in the country is trying to stop him. We claim as a nation to be interested in providing freedom to oppressed peoples, yet we do nothing. It's not like the time wasn't ripe - these people have been starving since at least 1996. Had Clinton taken any action in the 1990's, or GW done anything since 2000 (I know, Bin Laden got us and we had to free Iraq first), then perhaps there would be less death and hatred on the Korean peninsula.

I figure it'd been a while since I posted about North Korea, and y'all were about due.

Monday, August 08, 2005

Another reason to be glad to be an American

You don't have to worry about too much power going to any one branch, like here. In the link, it states that Japan's Prime Minister has called for elections next month in reaction to parliament's decision not to split up the Japanese mail service. Some would call this true leadership. The man saw a problem, asked for a solution. The government rejected that solution for reasons not given, and rather than accept defeat, the man attempts to get new legislators in that will do what he says. Strangely, this sounds a lot like what many republicans are saying the Conservative majority must do here, accept whatever the President suggests, no questions asked, because he's the leader. Fortunately, if they don't do so, the President can't fire them. Also, fortunately, we have an independent judiciary in place to keep tabs on overzealous acquiescance. Leadership doesn't mean "my way is right." Leadership sets an example for others to follow, and admitting your mistakes, or accepting that your solution might not be best.

Family Court

Parents are usually considered to be grown-ups. Even teenage parents are expected to act in the best interests of their children. Unfortunately, that expectation is quite often unmet. In a recent decision on a case of first impression, a Texas court has decided that in the best interests of the child, the court could restrict who could sleep over at a consenting adult's house when his or her child is there.
In Peck v. Peck, the court ruled that the father was not acting in the best interest of the child by sharing his (the father's) bed with another woman while the child was there (in another room, in another bed). During the trial, the court also found that the ex-husband acted inappropriately by "expos[ing] the child to 'several different women in dating relationships.'"

Think about that for a moment. It's not in the best interest of the child to enter the dating pool. Apparently the concept of a "stable family unit" that the monogamous relationship Mr. Peck was in was not in the best interest of the child.

I think that this sounds completely ridiculous, and reeks more of envy or jealousy than concern over a child's best interests. With this ruling, it is entirely conceivable that a divorced person could never date again. With all the studies that show it's better to have a complete family unit than single parents, why would the courts try to prevent relationships from occurring?
And what about equal protection? If it's not in the best interest for a divorced parent, then how could it be in the best interest for a single parent, the unmarried mother or the widower father? Bad decision all around.

Sunday, August 07, 2005

More fun with anagrams

I posted a couple months ago with some interesting anagrams (e.g Spiro Agnew - grow a penis). That was fun, but I haven't revisited it yet. With the school year coming up, I thought I'd do a quick one for everyone to add their two cents' in...

Abraham Lincoln - Oh, an ill crab man

Harry S Truman - rash army turn

feel free to make your own here!

Don't change horses midstream

I read the Moderate Voice pretty much daily. It's a good blog with usually well-written posts. Today, I opened it up and read about a recent Newsweek poll indicating the continued decline in President Bush's approval rating in his handling of the war in Iraq. His approval rating is currently 34% according to the poll, and the disapproval rating is a staggering 61%. He then queries what would happen had we known during election 2004 what we know now, would the outcome be any different?

I don't know that the outcome would be any different. Kerry's biggest problem wasn't that he flip-flopped - changing one's mind with new information is preferable to sticking to the same story despite ample evidence that it's incorrect. The problem was that he didn't suggest any alternatives to the current approach. This meant that we could either choose the war as we know it, or risk it all by looking at what's behind door number 2. Monty Hall made a pretty good game show host, but that doesn't translate to good president.

Saturday, August 06, 2005

Random Trivia for the Day

In the 19th Century, those who purported to know believed that racehorses could get spooked very easily and thus not race well. They also believed that goats had mystical calming capabilities. It seemed completely logical, then, to put a goat in the stall with the horse prior to a race. If someone wanted to secure an advantage against another racer, he would sneak in and steal that racer's goat from the horse's stall.

From that practice, we get the term "get one's goat."

Friday, August 05, 2005

So THAT'S why I missed the big promotion!

A recent study by Tulane University revealed that women who flirt at work are less likely to receive promotions and raises. In the article, it states that 49% of women surveyed engaged in flirtatious behavior, including crossing their legs provocatively or leaning over a table so men could look down their shirts. These women received two promotions compared to three for the women who say they never engage in such behavior and are most often in the 50 - 75,000 pay range vs. the 75 - 100,000 range primarily inhabited by the non-flirtatious type.

The survey was conducted among MBA holding women from their 20s through age 60.

The women who completed the study also said that women who let men hold doors for them or pick up boxes that aren't too heavy for them are also at risk, because it creates a "benevelolent sexism" in the workplace. Then it says that this is still a good thing that there are chivalrous men in the world.

I don't know what to make of the article. It's interesting to see that women who try to use their "God-given talents" to get ahead don't.

Sports are important to a guy

Some guys are even willing to kill for sports. I've heard of riots in Central America and Scotland over Soccer, I remember seeing the front page of the Detroit Free Press after the Tigers won the World Series in 1984 (ok, I saw the front page some 15 years later, because I wasn't living in Detroit then, but it counts). Sports are important to some men.

If people know how important sports are to someone, and you're the wife of a sports nut, wouldn't you want to ensure he gets to enjoy his sports? Why would you want to cuddle after coitus when the game is on? Let him be. He's deserved it. It shouldn't surprise anyone that this man would strike his wife 70 times with a claw hammer for nagging him to cuddle after sex when the game was on. She should have known what she was in for. Yet, rather than applauding this trailblazer for his new approach to an old problem, trying to fix a system that was broken, what happens? He gets arrested. Tried. Convicted. Sentenced to death. All because he wanted to watch the game in peace. Perhaps we should admire his his resourcefulness, but then again, to a hammer, everything is a nail. Where has this country gone, when a man can't watch a game in peace anymore? What a shame.

Thursday, August 04, 2005

Seventh Amendment

The Seventh Amendment provides that the right to a trial by jury of one's peers shall be preserved in all cases at law where the question shall exceed 20 dollars. Apparently, this doesn't mean that the jurors have the right to be informed. In a recent decision in New York, a Manhattan judge overturned a decision where two New York City police officers were acquitted on charges of sexually harrassing subordinates.
From the article:
"Under the facts presented here and the applicable law, this court has no alternative but to reluctantly set aside the jury's verdict," Supreme Court Justice Lottie E. Wilkins wrote in Ryan v. City of New York, 11554/01. "The reading of the dictionary definition of 'preponderance' with its various differences from the definition in the court's charge on the law, creates a sufficient likelihood that the plaintiffs were prejudiced."
That's right. Because the jury tried to determine what Preponderance means in English, they prejudiced the plaintiffs and the plaintiffs were not given a fair trial.

14th Amendment

When W. C. Fields died, he stipulated in his will that $80,000 of his money (which was a lot more back then) be used to set up a private school for orphan white boys, where no religion of any sort was to be taught. The school would not have been accessible to black children, white children with parents, Indians, hispanics, asians, girls, etc. Had this come about, imagine the uproar it would have created. Fortunately, it never came about, and we didn't have to deal with the court challenges or anything of the sort.

For those who are glad that school never opened (as I am), you might be pleased to note that the 9th Court of Appeals recently ruled that a school operating only to educate Hawaiians in Hawaii amounted to racial discrimination and violated the Constitution.

Wednesday, August 03, 2005

After a brief hiatus, Haiku Day is back

With thanks to Gramma for reminding me.

Classes start next week
For both myself and my son
He's the giddy one.

I wonder how common this is...

We've all seen the drill on shows like Law and Order. The jury comes back and finds your client guilty, so, you, as the criminal defense attorney poll the jurors. They always say the same thing as the verdict, as they usually do in the real world. So what happens when one of the jurors doesn't agree with the verdict? That happened recently in New York, and surprisingly, neither lawyer nor the judge knew what to do. After a quick reference to their Rules of Criminal Procedure, the Court sent the jurors back for more deliberations. Long story short, the accused was acquitted and there was much rejoicing.

I'm reminded of an old Cheers episode, where Frasier was talking about when he was on his way to becoming a Rhodes Scholar, and Woody asked him why when they fixed the potholes, it the blacktop was so much darker than the rest of the street. "I don't know, I missed that day, Woody."
"And now it's come back to haunt you."

Tuesday, August 02, 2005

Good news stemming from Kelo

Most people in the States are aware of the recent Supreme Court decision Kelo v. New London, where the Court determined that takings by a municipality for use by a private corporation was constitutional under the 5th Amendment. It appears that the ruling has evoked some action by the individual states to keep private corporations in check in light of this ruling.

According to this article, 23 different states have proposed 70 bills aimed at limiting the scope of Kelo. California, the article says, has two bills that would prohibit takings by private corporations. Texas, Delaware, Connecticut, and Minnesota would limit what could be taken under eminent domain.

I've played the advocate a couple times on a couple other blogs, where I've attempted to argue the benefit that comes from the recent ruling, and I can see benefit from it. As the linked article notes, economic development is certainly a function of the community, and in some of the older cities, there simply isn't room for development except in run-down parts of town - there's no space in the city limits for redevelopment. That being said, I don't like the decision, and I'm happy to see some action taking place immediately in the wake of the decision.