Sunday, April 30, 2006

That MSM

You know they can't resist any opportunity to make the president look bad, and anyone who criticizes him is going to be a media favorite. Since we know that to be the case, it only makes sense that the MSM would spend so much time covering the correspondents' dinner last night reporting on Stephen Colbert's snarky, satirical speech. Except, in this article, Yahoo! only spends three sentences on it. I really didn't understand what Colbert said until I clicked on The Moderate Voice's article here, and saw excerpts of what Colbert said.

I think there's humor in what Colbert said. I don't think Colbert was exceptionally brave, inasmuch as he was speaking from under the umbrella of the First Amendment and had job security via Comedy Central. (Example: when referring to President Bush sticking to his principles - "When the president decides something on Monday, he still believes it on Wednesday, no matter what happened on Tuesday.")

I think that Colbert's speech is less bravaso than an indicator. The majority of Americans have been critical of the President, and many people have criticized his policy on television, in the papers, amongst themselves, and whatnot. That's normal. Any leader who makes decisions is going to have people critical of him, and President Bush has made many decisions that ultimately have looked to have been mistakes. However, it's not often that someone will look a leader pointedly in the face, in front of thousands (approximately 2600 people were in attendance according to the Yahoo! article), and openly lambaste him. That one would feel comfortable enough in this country at any time to openly mock the president indicates a general lack of respect for the president amongst the populace. That's bad.

when the president loses the respect of the people, then it's a short fall to losing the respect of other nations, which leaves us standing alone, which is bad for America. I'm troubled by this development.

New Additions to the blog

I've made a couple additions to the sidebar on the blog. First, I added a site I've mentioned on here before,, where you can find out about speed traps where you live or where you're traveling. The other addition is a website from the University of Missouri at Kansas City School of Law. Douglas Linder has a website with a collection of famous trials throughout history, from the Trial of Socrates through the Clinton Impeachment. There is a lot of really interesting reading in here. Stop by and check it out.

I think we're going to take the kids to the park this morning at some point, and I've got to keep studying. Otherwise, it's pretty much business as usual here. I really want Macaroni Grill for dinner.

Saturday, April 29, 2006

Liberty for Security

I've never committed murder. Yet I wouldn't allow the police to search my car for a dead body without a warrant. I've never embezzled funds, yet I wouldn't allow federal agents to check my bank records without a warrant. I've never been a drug user or a drug dealer, but I wouldn't let the DEA enter my house looking for drug paraphernalia unless they had a warrant sworn to based upon probable cause.

Yet I've been asked to trust the President and the government to decide which American Persons should have their phone lines tapped based on little more than a hunch and nothing like a warrant to grant permission for that invasion of privacy. Conceptually, I assume the idea is that if I've done nothing wrong, I have nothing to worry about, and these searches are geared to prevent crimes from happening. Random house searches based on hunches could catch a lot of drugs and video surveillance could catch a lot of batterers, but it invades our persons, our privacy, and ourselves. We built this nation on the premise that as free people, we would be free from heavy government interference, yet that interference is what we've been asked to accept in the name of security.

I read at Donklephant (link here) that the FBI sought information on 3501 U.S. persons last year, which is considerably lower than what many had feared. Sean Aqui from Donklephant was reporting on this article. I suppose that's good news, yet I wonder if this is less good news like "you don't have cancer" and more "good" news like "we THOUGHT you had four types of cancer, but you only have 2."

Maybe the government is looking at this like fishing. You keep casting and get one or two bites, and when you do, you're happy. I think it's more akin to fishing with dynamite. You hit a whole lot of fish, only keep the ones you want, and let the rest rot. It's more efficient, but, it's just not right.

Further Evidence That the Economy is Doing Well

Not that I've doubted the rosy reports of the status of our economy by certain executive branch officers over the last couple of years, but it would seem to me that items such as this could be taken as evidence that perhaps they've not been completely accurate.

And the lunch special for today

Will be Crab Bisque. The chef will be using an old-Candler* family classic.

8 Ounces of flaked crab meat
1 small onion, minced
2 tablespoons butter
2 tablespoons flour
1 teaspoon salt
a dash of pepper
1/8 teaspoon celery salt
1 cup Sprite
3 cups milk.

You drain the crab meat and reserve the liquid. In a 2 quart saucepan, melt the butter and saute the onion until transparent. Stir in the flour, salt, pepper and celery salt. Cook, stirring constantly, until well blended and bubbling.

Remove from the heat and gradually stir in the Sprite and milk. Bring to boil and boil for 1 minute, stirring constantly.

Stir in the crab meat. Add the reseved liquid and head to serving temperature.

Serve with saltines or oyster crackers.

I made this once before, about six or seven years ago. It's not a bad side dish, but it's not really main dish fare. Hopefully it will taste as good this time.

* the recipe is taken from "Classic Cooking With Coke," by Elizabeth Candler Graham (great great grandaughter of Asa Griggs Candler, founder of Coca-Cola) and Ralph Roberts. I highly recommend buying this book for any Coke connisseur.

Friday, April 28, 2006

Random Quote

If you think you can or you can't, you're right - Henry Ford

Thursday, April 27, 2006


Renew FAFSA - Check
Turn in Financial Aid Request to School? Not yet - tomorrow
Last day of work before finals? Check
Outlines? Check, for the most part.
Paper? Half Check, or Che.
Lost sleep? Check
General Stress? Check

Random Trivia

In Korea, Sea Lions are called Mul Gae, which translates to "water dogs"

Wednesday, April 26, 2006

Wednesday is Haiku Day

Last Wednesday before
Finals, so much to do and
Very little time.

I look forward to your contributions

Tuesday, April 25, 2006

Dessert with the kids

Daughter - "Daddy, touch my strawberry, how cold it is."
Me - "Brrr, my finger is frozen!" (Blows on finger to warm it up)
The Boy - "Daddy, now touch my grape, and see how cold it is!"
Me - "Brr, my finger is frozen!" (Blows on finger to warm it up)
Daughter - "Daddy, touch my other strawberry!"
Me - "Ow! That burns!" (shakes hand to cool it off)
Son - "Dad, now touch my grape!"
Daughter talking over him - "Daddy, it's (the strawberry) not hot, it's cold!"
Me - "Ow! My finger is on fire!" (shaking hand)
Daughter talking over me - "No! It's so cold!"
Daughter - "Daddy touch my cold strawberry"
And so it went.

Tuesday Essay Question

Should Marijuana be legal? Remember, this is an essay question, so support your answer with a why or why not. Qualify your answer as need be (e.g. medical purposes), but explain your position! There is no "right" or "wrong" answer, there are well supported answers. As always, grades will be arbitrary and capricious.

Saturday, April 22, 2006

Down day

I'm sick. Not too feverish, but I'm certainly fighting something. As such, I've not too much energy to get done what I had hoped to today, namely reading and writing. I'll get some work done, but not enough. Only 4 days of class until finals.

Free Speech in Public Schools?

It's fairly clear to most people that students don't enjoy complete Constitutional Rights. For example, they are subject to - let's say abridged - First Amendment rights at school. This means that students have a limited right to free speech. Generally this means that they are able to speak on a public matter so long as the speech is not lewd, vulgar, obscene or plainly offensive.

Over the years, the Court has defined where the line is. Typically, a student is free to protest in school in a non-disruptive way. In one case, students protested the Vietnam War by wearing black armbands. The Supreme Court ruled that the armbands were protected free speech because there was no evidence that the mere wearing of the armbands (which said nothing on them) caused any disorder or disruption of the educational process. Fear of a disruption is not enough; there must be evidence in the record to allow officials to "reasonably ... forecast substantial disruption of or material interference with school activities." (Tinker v. Des Moines Independed School District, 393 U.S. 503, 514 (1969)).

The Supreme Court ruled later, however, that not all speech is protected in the same manner as Tinker's armbands. In Bethel School District No. 403 v. Fraser, the Court, while ruling on First Amendment Protection of a speech that included an "elaboratte, graphic, and explicit sexual metaphor" by a high school student, cited a similar case by an adult, Cohen v. California (403 u.s. 15, 91 S. Ct. 1780 (1971)), who wore a jacket that said "Fuck the Draft." The Court summed up the difference by stating that "the First Amendment Gives a high school student the classroom right to wear Tinker's armband, but not Cohen's jacket." Bethel School District No. 403 v. Fraser, 475 us 675, 106 S. Ct. 3159, 3164 (1986). Fraser lost the decision.

Kuhlmeier is a third Supreme Court case that deals with First Amendment speech issues. In Hazelwood School District v. Kuhlmeier, the Court looked at the the extent to which school officials could censor a school newspaper written by students in a Journalism course. The Court noted that public schools are NOT traditional public forums, and as such are subject to a different rule than traditional public forums. The Court ruled that there must be a clear intent to create a public forum and looked to the district policy. The Court ruled that schools can place restrictions on "school-sponsored" speech, such as a student paper, so long as the restrictions are reasonably related to legitimate pedagogical concerns. Hazelwood School District v. Kuhlmeier, 484 U.S. 260, 108 S. Ct. 562 (1988).

These cases, taken together, establish essentially a trifurcated system for school officials to use to determine whether or not student spech is protected by the First AMendment. First, one must ask if the speech being delivered is "school sponsored" speech (Kuhlmeier) or is it "school tolerated" (Tinker)? Then, we ask whether the speech can be considered lewd, vulgar, obscene, or plainly offensive. (Fraser).

For the record, all of this information is from Texas School Law, A Practical Guide, Second Edition, by Kelly Frels and Jeffrey J. Horner Copyright 2004.

Why do I take the time to explain all this? Because recently, the 9th Court of Appeals ruled on Harper v. Poway School District. The background in Harper is that the school allowed a "Day of Silence" for gay and lesbian students. These students participated by wearing duct tape over their mouths and didn't speak in class for the day in a symbolic gesture. One student took offense to the day and wore a T-shirt that said on the front "Be ashamed, our school has embraced what God has condemned," and on the back "Homosexuality is shameful." When questioned by the vice principal, the boy admitted that there was a terse

The school asked the boy to remove the T-shirt because it was offensive. He refused and was denied suspension, rather had to spend the rest of that day in the principal's office working on homework. He then sued the school alleging violation of First Amendment Rights. The trial court ruled and the 9th Circuit Court of Appeals affirmed the ruling that his First Amendment rights were not violated.

Why is there a different standard for the boy than there was for the gay and lesbian students who partook in the day of silence? Well, for one, the boy's shirt was offensive to a segment of the population, and even if he didn't physically accost any students, his shirt's message can send the same message. This violates Tinker. Additionally, the t-shirt said on the back "homosexuality is shameful" which is offensive to a segment of the population, and thus this shirt violates Fraser. On the other hand, the Day of Silence, while "allowed" by the school wasn't an endorsement of gay rights, rather it was an authorization for passive protest speech which is authorized under Tinker. Second, the speech is not lewd, vulgar, obscene, or plainly offensive, indeed, it's duct tape, which is fairly passive speech, so it doesn't violate Fraser.

The 9th Circuit Court of Appeals might come up with some very interesting rulings and might march to its own beat quite often, but I think they reached the right decision here.

Friday, April 21, 2006

So Tired

I'm so tired. I got up WAYYYYYYYYYYYYY too early. Lousy kids on London time.

I have chicken out for dinner, but I'm open to suggestions on how to prepare it.

Good Morning!

I've been up since about 4:15. That's when the little boy woke up and decided it was time to play. I managed to get him to lay down again, but not before I was all awake.

Since I'd lost hearing in my right ear, and since I was already up, I decided to clean it out via irrigation. Good news is it worked, and I can hear again. I went back upstairs to get a little more sleep, and was met in the hallway by the girl. She "need gotta lay down with mommy," and went into the bedroom to lay down with Mom. Mom, had gotten up to get the little boy a new diaper, because he'd taken his off. I went back downstairs and grabbed a diaper for the boy, took it up to the bedroom where the girl had climbed into bed between little boy and mom, who had laid down again. Little boy, it seems had fallen asleep in the time it took me to get his diaper, so naturally, when I put the new diaper on, he woke up. This new development meant that he and the girl had to start bickering about who got to lay down next to mom and who didn't have to lay down next to me. After a few minutes, I decided that we weren't going to get any more rest, and I took the little boy and girl downstairs so they could eat breakfast, I could make mom some coffee, and mom could get ready for work. This was about 5:15. At 5:20, the little boy started throwing a temper tantrum in the classic eyes not focused on anyone and the all energy diverted to full scream mode. He wasn't at all happy with the breakfast I got him or the milk he had asked for, or pretty much anything at all. Daughter was happily munching on her cereal until she spilled it in her lap and on the chair, which set her off into temper tantrum mode while she tried to get her nightgown off to go change. Daughter exited upstairs and son finally decided that the cereal he had requested wasn't too repulsive to eat, so long as he was sitting on my lap.

Daughter comes down with a new pair of pajamas. I suggest that, since it's now 5:50 and we normally get up at 6 to get ready for daycare, perhaps she would want to get some clothes. Well, how stupid can dad be? She starts crying because she doesn't feel good and can't go to daycare. Mom then comes downstairs for some coffee, slightly annoyed that I hadn't made any, and informed me that Daughter had carried on her tantrum upstairs and that daughter told her that she (daughter) was sick and needed medicine. I took daughter's temperature to show her that she wasn't sick while little boy came into the kitchen to lean on my legs with his hands straight up in a pick-me-up style, repeating "up" in case I wasn't clear on the drill. Daughter's temperature was 98.1, which, as we all know, means that she needed medicine to get better. I picked a purple pill to give her after she got dressed. Since she likes purple, jellybean flavored pills, she ran upstairs and got dressed in about 22 seconds. Mom finished getting the coffee ready and went upstairs to start getting dressed for work, and to watch the news - severe thunderstorms heading this way, just what you want to hear on a moving day (she's moving the office building from one suite to another today).

I go upstairs a couple minutes behind her, it's now 5 til 6, so I have to wake up The Boy. He doesn't want to wake up, so I have to do some cajoling, and daughter joins in, also advising us that it's started raining. I end up turning on the light and getting back to other morning preparation. We then hear playing in the bedroom, which is great generally, but when you're not dressed, haven't had breakfast, still have to brush your teeth and comb your hair, get your backpack ready, and get your shoes and socks on, it's not the most pleasant sound. I go in to get The Boy going on getting ready for school again and go back downstairs, trusting him to do what he needs to. Never trust your child to do what he or she needs to.

A few minutes later, wife comes down to get her first cup of coffee and informs me that the children are "scared" and playing around due to the thunderstorm and that daughter is being a lion and roaring to scare the thunderstorm away. I go back upstairs, get The Boy to get dressed and bring him downstairs to get breakfast. It's now 6:25. I put a wiggles tape on for the little boy and the daughter, a tape that apparently only holds their attention for about as long as it takes to get off the sofa. The Boy gets most of the way through breakfast (honey nut cheerios) by 6:37 and realizes he has to use the restroom. Surprisingly, today this task only takes about five minutes, meaning we have 18 minutes left to brush our teeth and get our shoes and sock on. I send The Boy and the daughter upstairs to brush their teeth. Five minutes later I go upstairs to yell at them to stop jumping on mom and dad's bed and brush their teeth. I manage to comb their hair at the same time, so one more step is done. I then say to the kids "go get your shoes and socks. Don't do anything else but get your shoes and socks. We have to leave in five minutes, get your shoes and socks on. Put on your shoes and socks. Shoes and socks, go." I know I'm not completely up to date on modern day slang or contemporary American suburban child vernacular, but I think anyone would be hard pressed to realize that what I just said actually nowadays means "go downstairs and play with magna doodles." So I now, after I've finished getting little boy all ready, have to go downstairs and harangue the other two for not getting their shoes and socks on.

Finally, daughter has her sandals on (I'll concede this, because it gets us out the door and it's already past 7 - leaving time), so I get her and the little boy and we open the door to head to the car. Of course we have to pause so daughter can bring in the paper, which slips out of it's plastic wrapping, which daughter has to try to replace, which is impossible for a 4 year old, so I tell her to forget about it and we'll go. Can't go. It's raining, so we need an umbrella. So I grab the umbrella, and daughter informs me that she has to carry it. I'm 5'9" or so, daughter is about 3'5". Fine, let's just get in the car. I get everyone loaded in the car, The Boy was only about 30 seconds behind us, thankfully, and we get on our way at 7:04.

So, how was your morning?

Thursday, April 20, 2006


I won't try to pretend that we don't spoil our children. We set standards, but they want for little.

The girl lately has had a favorite song on my Rolling Stones CD. As soon as we get in the car, she invariably starts asking to hear it and won't stop pestering me until I play the song for her to sing along with. And, of course, I eventually play it for her.

The name of the song? You Can't Always Get What You Want.
Whoever said real life had no irony?

Random Trivia

John Scopes was the losing party in the celebrated Monkey Trial.

Wednesday, April 19, 2006

Scott McClellan Resigns

In another mix up of Executive Staff, Press Secretary Scott McClellan announced today that he would be stepping down.

Scott McClellan is the man who was videotaped coaching the military on who would answer questions during a Q&A with the President, as well as what they would say in response to questions. He's also the one who recently had to explain what he meant about documents being declassified "today" when they'd been declassified ten days prior (regarding the intelligence for going to war with Iraq). Scott McClellan's job was unenviable, and I don't blame him for stepping down. Ultimately, however, this one is probably slightly less than a blip on the radar.

Generally, I like that President Bush is doing some moving and shaking in his office. I think that he would be well served to change some of the bigger dogs in the administration, such as Donald Rumsfeld, but I think the constant calls for Rumsfeld's replacement has made that option impossible. As I said in Bookworm's room, I think the choice to stand by Rumsfeld is wrong, but the President is doing it for the right reason. But overall, he is doing what many of his critics have asked of him, and for that is a good thing.

Wednesday is Haiku Day

Must finish paper
So I can get extra grade
but I want to nap.

I look forward to your submissions!

Tuesday, April 18, 2006

I'm ashamed

OK, so I'm watching American Idol. It's a bit embarrassing, because, well, it's American Idol, and I'm an adult with brain cells. Yet, I watch. I actually enjoy the show. It's american pop culture to the Nth degree, and is geared mostly to ensure record sales (read: marketability). However, there is a talent side to the program, and usually the most talented make it to the end. For that, I'm willing to stick it out. That, and it doesn't require too much heavy thought to enjoy.

Tuesday Essay Question

Should there be prerequisites that a prospective couple must fulfill (e.g. premarital counseling, waiting period, couples therapy, etc.) prior to getting married? Why or why not?

Explain your answer and be creative. Grades will be arbitrary and capricious.

Monday, April 17, 2006

I miss Rocky and Bullwinkle:

B: Hey, Rocky, watch me pull a rabbit out of my hat!
R: Again?! That trick never works
B: Well, it's become something of a fetish with me.

For your consideration

I present you with the following:

Among the rights afforded the accused in a criminal case is the right to the Assistance of Counsel for defense, according to the Sixth Amendment.

In an upcoming case, the Supreme Court will look at how far that right to counsel extends with respect to choosing one's own counsel.

The issue is whether or not an accused has the right to counsel of their own choosing, or merely the right of "capable" counsel. The argument is that lawyers are not fungible, or interchangeable, like CBS dramas. In U.S. v. Gonzalez-Lopez, the question will come straight to the front, as Gonzalez-Lopez is a paying defendant (i. e. he's hiring his own defense counsel, not being assigned one). According to the article linked above, Gonzalez-Lopez had attempted to hire an attorney from California to represent him in his Missouri trial, but the Judge wouldn't allow it, to such a point that he relegated the would-be counselor to the gallery and assigned a U.S. Marshall to stand between said counselor and potential client. If you read the article, you can get more specifics.

I think I like the idea that an accused should be entitled to the lawyer of his or her choosing, especially when he or she is able to pay for said attorney. I don't think that it works right to say "well, you need a lawyer, so here's a lawyer." That doesn't play as well. Look what it's done for the Lions - they've needed a quarterback for 40 years, and while they keep putting people behind the center who are called "quarterback," they're just not as good as other quarterbacks.

However, I don't know if I agree that any lawyer should be allowed simply because local lawyers might be intimidated by the judge. I think that's a stretch. I think that if there is a compelling reason to not allow an attorney, then that should come into play and perhaps the lawyer should be disallowed. However, I feel that we should start with the rebuttable presumption that the lawyer the accused hires is best suited for the case.

Sunday, April 16, 2006

It's good, darnit!

President Bush yesterday urged Congress to make the tax cuts permanent, on grounds that it creates jobs and creates economic growth.

Perhaps capital gains tax cuts do create jobs - I don't know. But I think it's interesting to note that while the jobs arguably are being created, and the median salary is (arguably) going up, the mean salary is going down. Wal Mart (for example) might bring in a lot of minimum wage jobs to the marketplace, but they don't increase wealth by paying a salary so low that people can't afford to buy health insurance and live at the same time. Providing capital gains tax cuts to the folks who run Wal Mart so that they can pay a couple more people 6 bucks an hour doesn't seem to be the answer, instead, it looks to me that it creates a demographic dependant on federal assistance to get by, which would be more difficult if taxes remain cut so that the CEOs, CFO, COOs, and whatnot can write off more on taxes.

Now, the democrats who argue that tax cuts primarily aid the wealthy are basically spouting a given. Since the wealthy are the ones who pay the bulk of the taxes, any tax cut necessarily are going to benefit them more than the poor, so I don't completely buy into that argument, but I'm also not convinced that creating more minimum wage jobs is the right way to go, either.
Happy Easter!

Saturday, April 15, 2006

What would you do?

So according to this article, a South African commercial has a rugby player eating beans and smelling "stinky." The dry bean growers of the country complained, which makes perfect scents (get it?), because nobody suffers from malodor after eating beans. Except that beans do cause malodor (stinkiness). The Advertising Standards Authority dismissed the complaint on grounds that "[the advertising] plays on an objectively determinable factual reality which cannot be denied..." Wow. They didn't just lose, they stunk up the joint!


The Boy is at a birthday party. I'm happy he got to go, mostly because he gets out with other kids his age, but also because it means that he behaved today and cleaned his room up. It's not clean. I don't know that it's possible for a seven-year old's room to ever be "clean," but it's going in the right direction.

The girl and the wife are napping. I started out napping with the girl, but the wife sent the little boy up to wake me so that she would have an open window to go in and lay down - evil wife.

The little boy is currently watching Barney and sitting quietly, not quite a nap, but not awake, really, either - he's very tired, but won't go to sleep. I think he gets his stubborn from his aunt, or maybe his mom. Can't be me, I've always been the agreeable one in the family.

Anyway, I'm using the time to post, and then open a book and get some reading done. I think I'll work on my paper a bit more this evening, after the kids are in bed.

Oh, and for those of you out there, you all are amazing, and I think the world of all of you!


So, we are familiar with the concept of preventive war or preemptive strikes, where we attack someone so that they can't attack us, such as the invasion of Iraq. The premise is that they will hurt us in some way in the future, so we need to ensure that they can't.

Why is it we can attack another nation and kill thousands of people in the name of preventive maintenance but we can't arrest someone who we believe is going to commit a crime (say murder or a bank robbery)? Why do we generally have to catch them in the act (or soon after), have a trial and then convict them? Does an individual in the United States have more rights than a sovereign nation in the eyes of the authorities?

Perhaps we should start arresting people and holding them in prison until they admit that they were intending to commit the crime for which we arrested them. Then we can charge them, convict them, and send them to jail. It would cut down on actual harm caused, because the crime will never have been committed. People won't have been murdered, houses not broken into, banks not robbed. Insurance money would be saved.

And think of ease of conviction. We don't have to prove that the crime happened and that this individual committed it, because there was no crime! All we have to show is that the person intended the crime to occur, and that can be anything as simple as a passing thought. Court costs would be tremendously minimized, saving more money. We could streamline the system.

One small problem is with the field of illegal immigration, since the criminals then aren't typically in the country before they become illegal immigrants. This means that we'd have to be able to enter other countries where the illegal immigrants live and arrest them before they think of entering illegally. Unfortunately, the Supreme Court seems to think that the writ of habeas corpus applies to everyone, not just good old fashioned americans, so they'd have to be given court time, but I think the convictions would be pretty easy, especially if the Republicans get their way and illegal immigration does become a felony. All the proof we'd need is that they'd rather be in America, and since America is the land of the free and better than every other country, who wouldn't want to be here instead of where they currently are? Bam! Guilty. No more illegal immigration.

Of course, then again, sometimes, perhaps people consider breaking a law and then change their mind before they actually go through with it. It doesn't seem quite fair to hold them responsible for passing thoughts, or for NOT breaking the law. Perhaps the current system is ok.

Maybe preemptive strikes against countries with whom we're not at war aren't right, either?

Friday, April 14, 2006

on the trail

I hear you all loud and clear. I know what you're saying, but the answer is still no. I am not going to run for governor this year. You will not see my name (steve houchin) on the ballot. Steve Houchin is not a candidate for governor of Texas. I understand how hard it is for everyone out there to hear that, but it's true. So I've not made myself a candidate. Now, if everyone in Texas decided to write in Steve Houchin on the ballot in the fall under Governor, then I suppose I, Steve Houchin, would accept. And I, Steve Houchin, the write in candidate (tell your friends) would work hard to improve education in the state. I would work on creating jobs for people, real jobs, not "I'm a college graduate and all I could get was this Wal-Mart minimum wage job" jobs. And dental care. I really believe in dental care. I think everyone should have dentals. Remember that when you write in your candidate (that would be Steve Houchin) on the ballot this fall.

Do you?

I know why Jimmy cracked corn.

Secondary education

When I was in high school (Lakes High School - Go Lancers!), we sold sweatshirts to wear to football games to show our school spirit. We played at Lakewood stadium, our "house." to show our spirit, and demonstrate that this indeed was our "house," (and, apparently to show our academic prowess) sold shirts that said "Who's house?" "Lakes House." on the front and back, respectively.

Thursday, April 13, 2006

More Random Trivia

It's against the law to whistle underwater in Vermont (not to mention impossible).

Random Trivia

Ransom E. Olds, not Henry Ford, created the assembly line, in 1901.

Home again home again, jiggedy jick

The little boy is still feverish, so I am at home once again. He's sleeping right now (a nap at 8:15? he's really not feeling well), so I've got a little bit of time to get some research and studying done. And of course post.

I'm missing work today, the first day I've missed. I get very anxious about going to work, but I think I'm just about as anxious about having to miss it for the child. Would that the boy was all right and I could go in, or that the wife was able to stay home, but alas, the boy's fever is over 100, so daycare can't keep him, and the wife is coordinating an office move for her office, so she's pretty much indispensible at work right now. That leaves me. Hopefully the office will understand, sick children don't keep track of things like schedules or whatnot. They merely get sick and then get better at their own rate.

Here's hoping he gets well soon!

Keeping Up Appearances

A few months ago, I criticized former Justice O'Connor and Justice Breyer. I said that they should recuse themselves from a case involving Merck, a company in which they owned stock. Even though they were shareholders in the parent company, they weren't involved in the named party to the suit. I said that they should not have un-recused themselves based on the appearance of improper influence or impropriety.

Now I'm going to criticize Justice Scalia for substantially the same thing. Blogger seems to be acting up a little this morning, so I'll try to fix the link later, but for now, click here:

In a nutshell, justice Scalia declared pride at not recusing himself from a case where his friend (and current Vice President) was a party. VP Cheney was party in the suit as an official at the head of the group being sued (click on the link for better details). Justice Scalia said "for Pete's sake, if you can't trust a Supreme Court Justice more than that, get a life." Yes, it's better to attack the people who question the appearance of improper influence than to take the simple step back and let the other justices deliberate and make the decision free of the appearance. That he didn't trust them to make the ruling in his recusal could arguably speak to his distrust of the other Justices' abilities.

As with O'Connor and Breyer, it's not that he would be influenced, it's that it looks like he could be that is the issue.

Wednesday, April 12, 2006

"This is reckless reporting!"

Said Scott McClellan this morning after ABC questioned him regarding whether or not President Bush KNOWINGLY relied on information regarding the existence of biological laboratories that had been debunked to justify the war in Iraq.

I won't recap the story, because Joe Gandelman at The Moderate Voice does a superior job of summarizing what's going on. Read his summary here.

I will simply say that this strikes at the heart of the growing credibility issue that this administration has been dealing with. Read the article, and think about everything that has happened since the invasion of Iraq and ask yourself if it's at all possible to trust the president anymore.

A new development in the Court system

The Supreme Court voted to change the rules and allow unpublished opinions in federal courts starting Dec. 1.

In many jurisdictions, unpublished opinions have no precedential value. The basic idea is that they are typically written by law clerks and staff attorneys (back to this in a moment). The appeals courts for four federal circuits at this time don't allow unpublished decisions at all while six others discourage them. The new rules will allow the circuits to determine the amount of weight they give to unpublished decisions, but will no longer allow them to ban them.

One of the biggest opponents to allowing unpublished opinions is 9th Circuit Court Judge Alex Kozinski. He compared the idea of allowing the opinions written by law clerks and staff attorneys with making sausage: "When the people making the sausage tell you it's not safe for human consumption, it seems strange indeed to have a committee in Washington tell people to go ahead and eat it anyway."

I don't agree with Judge Kozinski. If the decision is correct, then there should be no error in allowing it. Precedent is Precedent. It's based on the same statutes and same common laws. It makes little sense to me to have a sausage maker tell me, "Yeah, our factory made that sausage, but *I* didn't make it, so it's not good to eat." If it's not good, then don't issue it. If it is good, then use it. The end.

I just liked the headline

Geologists find ancient worm feces.

Another reason to love Detroit

During an intermission at yesterday's hockey game between the Red Wings and the Edmonton Oilers (Detroit won, 2-0 and clinched home ice throughout the playoffs - yay!), there was a promotional wherein a Toyota SUV made a lap on the ice. The crowd booed.

Wednesday is Haiku Day

Sick child, so no school
For me today, can get some
sleep and study done!

As always, I look forward to your contributions!

Tuesday, April 11, 2006

Tuesday Essay Question

Ever since the fall of the Soviet Union in 1991, the United States has enjoyed the title of Superpower alone. Given our superpower status, the essay question for today is, what is the responsibility of a superpower in the governing of the world and why?

As usual, be creative, and support your answers. Grades will still be arbitrary and capricious.

It must be Tuesday

I have a tightness in my chest
my hands tremble
I can't focus on any one task
I'm beginning to understand why those who have gone before me (e.g. the dean of the school) have suggested not clerking during the school year.
Were it not for the calls, I think I'd be all right.

Monday, April 10, 2006

Technically speaking

The bigger blogs will do a much better job at this than I can.

President Bush admitted today that he declassified Iraqi intelligence as per Scooter Libby's testimony. He claims that he has the authority to do so. He also explains why he declassified the documents, "I wanted people to see what some of those statements were based on. I wanted people to see the truth. I thought it made sense for people to see the truth. That's why I declassified the document."

You see, it's OK to declassify the document when it makes the President's decision look good. Would he have declassified any documents (if we assume any exist) that would have made him look bad? Of course not.

Now, I suppose, since the president declassified the documents, the administration can make a technically-correct argument that he didn't leak classified information. But let's not kid ourselves. The spirit of leaking information has been violated, and that strikes deep into the president's OJ Simpson-esque promise to find the real leakers. I'm not entirely sure if there's any credibility left in this administration, but whatever it is, it's falling off the back of the truck right in front of us.

"A Uniter, Not a Divider"

The President accused the Democrats in Congress of using "blocking tactics" stalling immigration overhaul, according to this link.

According to the article, President Bush said "Unfortunately this [bipartisan immigration compromise] is being blocked by the Senate Democratic leader who has refused to allow senators to move forward and vote on amendments to this bill, ... I call on the Senate Minority Leader to end his blocking tactics and allow the Senate to do its work and pass a fair, effective immigration reform bill."

He's right, from what I understand, that Senator Reid did prevent a vote. However, I like the phraseology to pass a fair, effective reform bill. It implies that any plan other than the one that is on the table, the one that President Bush approves of, would not be fair or effective. The president also conveniently forgets to mention that many Republicans are not on board with this program, ostensibly fearing backlash at election time.

Unfortunately, the crux of this story has little to do with actual civil debate over an important issue among voters and more to do with the Commander in Chief again pushing an "us vs. them" agenda. I can't say as I blame him, as finger pointing has gotten him this far, but enough is enough. Unless the President intended to have the entire country united against him, actions such as this continue to undermine his promise.

Sunday, April 09, 2006

Another day

I feel like I'm sleepwalking, like I'm in a bit of a haze. I've done reading, I've taken out the trash, but everything feels like it's on time delay between when I do it and when it registers that I've done it.

It's not even like I've done that much. The wife has been superwoman today - doing 8 loads of laundry, baking turtle bars for the Boy's PTA, cleaning the kitchen, did two dishwasher loads, put clothes away, helped pick up the kids' rooms, let me sleep in, fed and watered the plants, etc.

I hope things will be slightly different after finals. I've started my paper, just need to finish.

Nuke Iran?

Would he?

Saturday, April 08, 2006

A moment of happiness

The Wiggles is on right now. While I don't so much care for the Wiggles (I blame the wife for bringing into the house), the youngest two are both dancing along with the video, and you can't dislike watching children dancing.

something to remember

The current administration took another shot across the bow when Scooter Libby said that the President authorized the leak and the White House didn't deny it. The administration seems to be stuck in an "issue du jour" rut, having to explain its statements and actions again.

Joe Gandelman at The Moderate Voice has an excellent summary of the current situation and does a much better job of explaining than I ever could. I highly recommend reading his submissions, starting with this one.

My post title is "something to remember," and the thing to remember is that, as bad as things have gotten with this administration as far as unilateral action and untruths, we elected this administration because he was what appeared to be the lesser of two evils. While many people may not have been fond of President Bush in 2004, at least we knew what his plans were - something we (probably still) can't say about John Kerry.

Friday, April 07, 2006


I saw a yahoo link today or yesterday referring to curses, and one of the links was for the Seinfeld curse. Without clicking on the link, I suppose the curse is that the stars are all doomed to failing television shows as a result of their being so familiar as the characters in Seinfeld.

I don't think that's quite accurate, except maybe for Jerry himself. He's always going to be Jerry.
I think Jason Alexander and Julia Louise-Dreyfus are more victims of an Oscar-jinx type situation, where they're expected to star and carry any tripe they're put in, and usually that tripe is rancid (Listen Up, anyone?)
Michael Richards can't be a star, I don't think. He's got to play a sidekick/supporting actor role, which he did perfectly in Seinfeld. Much like Bull from Night Court. Therefore any vehicle that he's put in will fail because it will rely too much on schtick.

So it's not a curse for the most part, rather, it's self inflicted. If the former stars of Seinfeld exercised a little more discretion and chose parts slightly more diligently, they'd not suffer from post-Seinfeld doldrums.

Re-ci-ta-tion time, come on!

So, I had to recite in Agency and Partnership today. I wasn't surprised, I've been due for a couple weeks now.

We started the Business Judgment rule today, and I was called on in part to discuss the concept of good faith and judicial immunity. It was going all right, I stumbled a bit until I saw that I'd highlighted the words "good faith." After that, we moved on to another speaker. The prof likes to bounce from reciter to reciter and gets 6-8 per case (I prefer this to rote recitation on one case by one person). After a while, the cycle comes back to me, and I expect to comment on reasonable under the circumstances, or informed and deliberated decisions with regard to corporate entities or LPs with one General Partner. Instead, the question I had to answer was "Who had the plaque on his desk that said 'The buck stops here?'" (Harry Truman).

Then we moved on to the next case and the next reciter.

Thursday, April 06, 2006

Random Trivia

William Shatner once made a movie entirely in the Esperanto language.

For the doubting Thomas and Bookworm, I give you this link.

Thursday, April 6, 2006

Anxiety attacks abound.
School, work, kids, wife,
Juggling everything, why did I take up the extra stressor?
Constantly tired, can't sleep, can't study, petrified
At a loss for words.

Wednesday, April 05, 2006

Wednesday is Haiku Day

Used to play euchre
all the time in the Air Force
Houston? Euchreless.

I look forward to your submissions!

Pat Buchanan Speaks

About Tom Delay's resignation, and what will happen in the coming election.

He suggests that we all need to continue to vote Republican because, though the Republicans "[don't] deserve an A" the democrats will "censure the president and raise taxes."

He made comments to the effect of the election being about red and blue.

If I had to pick one reason why I would not support a Republican Candidate this election, it would be based on the continued attempts by Republicans to turn everything into an "us v. them" situation. This goes profoundly against how I think the government should work, especially Congress. I firmly believe that all elected officials should work together to achieve the common good, not try to polarize and divide the nation through name calling and threats. (Note: I'm aware that there are Democrats who do the exact same thing, but they currently aren't as vociferous.)

Tom Delay had a black book full of lobbyists and republicans, and if you were trying to get an appointment with him, he wouldn't give you one unless you were in the book, because then he knew you "were on the right team." How can anyone work for the good of america as a whole if you marginalize a third or better of the country?

One of the things I like about John McCain is that he actually tries to work with both political parties, and I'd strongly consider voting for a McCain/Lieberman ticket (or Lieberman/McCain).

As for Mr. Buchanan's comments regarding censuring the president and raising taxes:
Censuring the President is a slap on the wrist, saying that he ain't done good. Given the number of mistakes and errors in judgment (leaving vacation to sign emergency legislation for Terri Schiavo under the premise of "always err to the side of life" while not committing emergency vehicles during Katrina despite reports of overtopping and potential flooding is rather inconsistent, IMO), perhaps this is worth genuine consideration. I am not saying it's something that should HAPPEN, I'm saying it's something that might deserve to be DISCUSSED.
Raising taxes - This is a red herring argument. The taxes that would be raised, if they were raised, would not be to the majority of voters. It would primarily go to those who typically vote Republican. This argument is a scare tactic that has been used many times in the past. Bear in mind that the top 50% of wage earners in the country pay about 94% of the taxes, and that the top ten percent pay over half the taxes, and you'll recognize who would be affected, and it's not the blanket insinuation that a statement such as "they'll raise taxes" presents.

I don't suggest the Democrats are any better. The Democrats, collectively, don't appear to be able to (as LBJ once said about Gerald Ford) "fart and chew gum at the same time." But, perhaps it's time for a change of the guard.

Tuesday, April 04, 2006

Tuesday Essay Question

Should active duty military members pay federal income tax?

Remember to support your answer, and remember that grades will still be arbitrary and capricious.

Monday, April 03, 2006

From KPRC News Channel 2 in Houston

Tom Delay is dropping out of the Congressional race tomorrow.

Being a daddy

Means always screaming in fear when your lion-child roars at you, no matter how many times you're roared at over the course of five minutes.

Being a daddy

Means being hand-held led by a toddler who's explaining to you "mas" and you knowing exactly what he means - milk, cheese, yogurt, apple, whatever.

Being a daddy

means eating a Peanut butter and Jelly sandwich on a princess plate and not blinking about it.

Sunday, April 02, 2006


I'm a sports fan; primarily a Detroit sports fan, which means while I have to cheer for the Lions and the Tigers, I also get to root for the Pistons and Red Wings. I also cheer for the home team, which for the last three years has made me a Houston fan.

Anyway, the Pistons were on TV today, a rare television appearance for the team here in TX. Apparently being one of teh two best teams in the league for the last three years is less important than having a player named Shaq, Kobe, or Le Bron on TV.

Detroit got off to a slow start, they were down by as much as 17, and were trailing by 14 at the half. So I changed the channels a lot. I change channels during breaks when my team isn't doing well. I do this because I figure their luck needs a change, and if I flip the right combination, then the team will do better. It didn't work, until about halfway through the third quarter, where I picked the right combination of channel changes, and Detroit hit its stride. They ended up trailing by only three at the end of the third quarter, so I stopped flipping channels - I didn't want to change their luck. Sure enough, it worked, and Detroitended up winning. Sure the players did their part, but I know - it was me and my remote control that did it.

I'm superstitious with a lot of sports. When I bowl, if I get a strike, I repeat whatever actions I did prior to that frame, and continue to do so until I no longer get a strike. I also won't look at my score while I'm running a mark streak.

For racquetball, I always bounce the ball off my racket one time before I dropp for the serve - ditto tennis (back when I played these two sports). When I play baseball or softball, I always have to spin the bat like a propellor at least once before I am ready for a pitch, and I won't step on chalk or a base when going to or from the field. With chess, I always have to listen to Van Halen's "You really got me" and drink a vanilla coke before each game.

I'm most proud of how I help other people excel at sports via channel changing or hope rays (little dotted lines that are invisible to the naked eye, yet can change the course of a game by sheer concentration by the fan. I first learned about them in a Dave Barry book).

Pickle Things

I like Pickles, dill pickles, if I'm eating just the pickle itself. I don't care for pickles on things, like hamburgers or sandwiches.

My best friend is a pickle junkie, though. He would put them on his hot dogs (pickles, not relish), with cheese. I couldn't do that, myself. He's also the one who would get excited when the last pickle was eaten, because then he could drink the pickle juice. I remember the first time I saw him pour a glass of pickle juice; I thought he was playing a game with me. But no, he drank it all, and did so on several other occasions.

As for me, I'll stick with the Vlasic Kosher Dills.

Saturday, April 01, 2006

Apparently, I'm evil

Just for playing an April fools' joke on my blog.

For the record, the rabbit is not dead. At least, *we* didn't kill any rabbits.

I understand that the euphemism "the rabbit is dead" is a bit of a misnomer, as you kill the rabbit to do the test, but I'm not sure abotu that, and I'm not looking it up.

However, it did lead me to wonder, If we say "the rabbit is dead," do the welsh say "the toast is sliced?"

Not so much an essay question, but sort of

Detroit's juvenile crime rate has increased 25% over the last year. This has led some Detroit officials to consider enforcing a parental responsibility statute that's been on the books since 1987. The link takes you to the statute language and the Free Press article about the concept, but I'll run through the basics right quick.

Essentially, enforcing the statute would make parents liable for being repeatedly negligent in their parental responsibilities if their children continually commit law-breaking acts. If found negligent, the parent could be fined up to $500 and/or jailed for up to 90 days. The article notes that Detroit is one of "dozens" of cities that have similar ordinances, such as Chicago and Cincinnati

My question for you is, do you think enforcing this is fair?

As if we didn't have stress enough

What with the wife working, three kids, full time law student, finals coming up, paper due, office move for wife, bills, etc...

Now the rabbit's dead.