Thursday, November 30, 2006
Ironically, Felix Powell committed suicide in 1942.
Wednesday, November 29, 2006
Tuesday, November 28, 2006
Oh well. Next up is Payment Systems, which I once said I liked, but now I'm having second thoughts. It was a short honeymoon.
Wish me luck!
Monday, November 27, 2006
The man was allegedly the city prosecutor, who claims he was having an adverse reaction to his medication.
The charges were dropped because he was charged under a law that is no longer in effect. No decision has been made as to whether or not to file new charges.
Sunday, November 26, 2006
Wednesday, November 22, 2006
The report is unclear as to whether the police actually found any narcotics in the woman's house, and while some claim it was a matter of mistaken identity, the police note that she was the only resident of that house for the past 17 years.
Some people are going to hear this report and consider it an argument in favor of gun control. Others are going to look at it and try to find a 4th amendment violation. Even more are going to read it and just laugh at the concept.
The police did not act inappropriately. If they are executing a valid warrant, based on 4th amendment requirements, which based on the report it was, then they did not act improperly in defending themselves from an assailant shooting at them. They should not be expected to do an inquiry as to the circumstances surrounding the shooter - an on the spot balancing test to determine whether or not the assailant is too old to shoot back at.
The woman did not act inappropriately, either, necessarily. She arguably saw this as an intrusion by three strangers, the argument would then say that she acted reasonably in defending her home, her castle, from the intruders. That she did not hear the announce of the warrant or that she could not falls to the wayside here.
I think the police do owe the family of the deceased an apology, but I don't think they owe anything more than that.
Tuesday, November 21, 2006
"I, (our name), do solemnly swear (or affirm) that I will support and defend the Constitution of the United States against all enemies, foreign and domestic; that I will bear true faith and allegiance to the same; and that I will obey the orders of the President of the United States and the orders of the officers appointed over me, according to regulations and the Uniform Code of Military Justice. So help me God."
A few hours after that, nine of us got on a bus to Seattle-Tacoma International Airport, where we loaded onto a plane and flew to Lackland Air Force Base in San Antonio, Texas. After eight years of faithful service that resulted in my service in Operation Allied Force and service on the DMZ in Korea, among other places, I left the military, bringing with me the experience and pride of knowing I gave back. Service gave me a new language, three college degrees, travel around the world and the country, the opportunity to teach and to learn, and ultimately, a wife and three children I otherwise wouldn't have had. It also gave me the Montomery GI Bill, a $1200 investment that has provided (so far) almost $19,000 towards law school.
I still believe that military service is a good thing. I firmly believe that most Americans would benefit from it. I urge those who haven't yet served who are of age to consider signing up and seeing what it's like to be a part of something bigger than yourself.
Sunday, November 19, 2006
Rep. Rangel's proposal would make draft eligible Americans between the ages of 18 and 42.
While I don't think it would go over well with America, I do think I support a draft. We have units that are going on their third tour in Iraq. We have a war in Afghanistan that has been pushed to the back burner while we're busy "winning" in Iraq. We have a force that is undersized for the task that has been asked of it by the administration, and one that needs help. Raising the enlistment age so that those ardent supporters of the war who were too old to enlist in the past didn't alleviate the problem - in part because many war supporters are too hypocritical to take their turn standing the line voluntarily - and additional motivation is needed. Freedom isn't free, and while it might be nice to say "I've supported the troops from the beginning," it's an even better thing to say "I support the troops because they are my comrades in arms. I served proudly alongside them and am honored to know that I helped them protect our country and the freedom we love so dearly." Trust me on this.
And maybe, just maybe, it will require future administrations to be a little less trigger happy when deciding to go to war.
Saturday, November 18, 2006
We went to Bubba's, a burger shack on the south side of town, on the beltway. It literally was a shack - the kind of place that is either REALLY good or REALLY bad. Fortunately, it was the former. Talk about good eats. We all got buffalo burgers, except for the daughter and the little boy, who shared a grilled cheese and a hot dog.
The buffalo burgers were good - leaner than beef, with a little more flavor to them - and these were BURGERS - the kind you need to wrap up to eat because they get all over the place. If you're a carnivore in Houston, I highly recommend getting to this place - head west on Westpark Dr from downtown, and just a little before highway 59 - there it is. You'll like it.
Friday, November 17, 2006
The courts have a job - their job is to rule on issues of law and determine if the issues of law are lawful or unlawful, legal or illegal, constitutional or unconstitutional.
a couple hundred years ago, one of the presidents asked the court whether a certain course of action would be appropriate. The Court refused to answer, because the Court does not have advisory power to the president. This was a big deal in ConLaw, but now I can't remember the details any more clearly than what I stated above.
Anyway, it appears the current president views his role with the courts somewhat differently. Ironically, the issue at hand stems from the president issuing a memorandum ordering a TX court to apply international law to a case. The TX Court of Criminal Appeals ruled on the matter and determined that the president exceeded his authority in dictating to the court how they should rule on an issue of law. This is a good decision, no matter how you slice it. The separation of powers doctrine is designed to prevent any one branch of government from gaining too much power over the others.
Now the case at issue was an appeal on Ex Parte Medellin. Jose Ernesto Medellin was convicted of the rape and murder of two teenage girls. He appealed the decision in part on grounds that his rights under the Vienna Convention were violated due to the fact that he was never advised of his right to talk to a Mexican consular official after his arrest. This claim may have merit, but there's one small problem - he didn't raise this issue at trial. This is where some knowledge of procedure comes into play - if you don't raise an issue at trial, under most circumstances, you have waived it, and cannot raise it for the first time on appeal. In other words, he is asking to be given something he didn't ask for at trial, which isn't allowed in our trial system. This is a judicial issue; the president has no business getting involved.
Thursday, November 16, 2006
Wednesday, November 15, 2006
You resubmit the same people who were opposed 3 months ago to try to get them approved before the Senate goes to an opposition majority. Because you said that you look forward to working in a bipartisan manner, because the people have spoken and they don't want partisan politics.
I don't know how qualified or unqualified the nominees are, nor do I care at this point; I just know that this is contrary to a stated desire to eliminate partisan politics.
The plain language does not grant
It's hard to put a civics lesson in Haiku form.
Anyway, the Sixth Amendment grants the right of assistance of counsel, but does not expressly provide that a person can represent one's self. As such, one might argue, there is no Constitutional right to represent yourself in a criminal case.
Tuesday, November 14, 2006
We're a bevy of scintillating conversation at our house at 6 am.
Or could it be due to all the abortions in the US creating a shortage of available US workers?
Monday, November 13, 2006
But it also means that I'm not done yet. While I don't fear failing - I should do well enough to not have to worry about that - I don't usually like to think too far ahead of myself because I tend to lose focus. For example, as I'm typing this, discussing next semester, I have TWO payment systems books open on the desk in front of me. Yet, instead of reading them (I justify this by saying I'm taking a break), I'm going to tell y'all what my next semester entails.
I have six classes next semester, though I'm only getting credit in five, and only have finals in three.
First, I have National Security law. This makes sense, inasmuch as I formerly was in the Air Force, and have a vested interest in national security.
Then I have NAFTA. I'm interested in international work, and there are not a WHOLE lot of classes available here with an international tone.
Then there's International Environmental law - see above.
Those are my classes with finals.
Then I have the Bar Pre-view class - to (ready for this?) help me get ready for the bar.
Next is Criminal Trial Advocacy. South Texas is "the advocacy school." It makes little sense to go through law school, especially the advocacy school, without getting some exposure to what trial court life is like.
Finally, I'm taking a transactional skills class in international business. Our school has limited transactional classes, and while I'm interested in international business, I think I'd have preferred the Contracts Negotiation class. Unfortunately, that filled up VERY quickly, and International Business is a more than satisfactory substitute.
Anyway, that's my next semester. Hopefully I'll be singing graduation-type songs in 6 months. Whodathunkit?!
Sunday, November 12, 2006
Yesterday, President Bush signalled that a change in government leadership was not a sign that we were weak. He commented on past wars, not just the present one. His speech, while containing moments that arguably were partisan (such as his insinuation that he felt obligated to clarify that a switch to a democrat-controlled congress was not a sign of weakness), was less a political speech than last year's, and more of what one might consider a Veteran's Day speech - remembering the past, supporting the present.
My question is - which is the real president? Is he the divisive finger pointer, or is he the bipartisan cooperator, who wants what's best for the country and the military and not just what's best for the republicans? I hope that it's the latter, or at least that he can play at being the latter for the next two years. Those who went to war for all of America deserve that.
Saturday, November 11, 2006
Friday, November 10, 2006
That's your Friday lesson. There will be a test later.
Thursday, November 09, 2006
Wednesday, November 08, 2006
But today he says that he hears the people calling for a change. The people have been calling for a change for months now, yet the administration insisted they were going to stay the course - wait, last month they told us it was never stay the course - they were changing constantly, but always moving toward victory.
I want to know, what possible explanation could there be for the decider's actions other than the fact that the Democrats won? Does anyone honestly believe that Rumsfeld would be out of a job today had the elections not turned out the way they did yesterday? Does anyone think that the President would have "listened to the people" who had been calling for Rumsfeld's resignation had he still had a majority in the House? How did the war suddenly go from "we're making continued progess" to "it's time for a change in course" based on anything other than the election results? The president listened for once because he couldn't ignore; that's why the election results are good in my opinion.
Now, let's get a solid moderate party for a viable third option.
Congratulations on your election into office. This must be a happy day for you, as it is for so many others who have been elected into office. Now it's time to get ready to work, but before you do, may I say a few things?
First - You did not win this election. The other party lost it, either because he or she was viewed as too deferential to the president or because of scandal, or because the people in your district wanted a change and you happened to be the alternative. Be aware of this every day you are in office, as we have no compunction about voting you out in two years if you don't actively represent us and our interests.
Second - You are a representative. Despite your campaign to be a leader, it is especially important at this point in this administration's term that you act as a voice - a representative, if you will - speaking for those in your district.
Third - This term is about what is best for the country, not what is worst for the president. He is unpopular, and he has us in an unpopular war, but you must use caution in choosing a course of action. Do NOT seek out impeachment, or at the very least not until you have sought out a good faith inquiry into what is going on and attempted other courses of action.
Fourth - Think about why your opponent lost. Avoid the same mistakes. Don't be a congressman for the base, or for special interests, or for lobbyists. You received more votes in the election, but you don't represent just those who marked your name on the ballot; you represent everyone, whether they voted or not. Don't ever forget that. Think of this term as your job interview for your next term, as opposed to a campaign to get reelected.
Fifth - The other party is not necessarily wrong just on general principle. This may come as a surprise, but from time to time, both parties bring good proposals and bad proposals. Consider what is brought to the floor, not who brought it. Your representatives don't like bloc voting. Period.
Again, congratulations on your election into office. May the next two years show you to be a capable representative who serves us all well. If you can manage to do what I've suggested above, then who knows? Maybe you will win the next election, instead of merely being the one who got more votes.
An independent American
Tuesday, November 07, 2006
I am happy to announce that I am registered for spring semester. I'm pissed, however, to announce that two of the classes that I most wanted to take were unavailable to me as a last-semester student because I didn't have enough hours to register at the start of the day. For whatever reason, the school decided to let students with 79+ hours register starting at 6 am, and not let the rest of the 3ls start registering until 11. This means that the transactional classes that we have available to us - and there are VERY few transactional courses available at "the advocacy school" - were already full by 11:02 when I finally managed to get onto the server. I did manage to get into one transactional skills class, though - so all is not lost.
Additionally, I got into 3 classes that I did want to take, though I had to miss out on First Amendment law because its final conflicted with my National Security law class, which I wanted a little more. That's all right - I got a little bit of First Amendment exposure when I was in Education Law last semester, and I have the general idea down all right.
I mostly just wish we had more transactional courses available to us, so that when the school sets an arbitrary hour requirement not in keeping with general educational credit schemes, we wouldn't be shut out.
Monday, November 06, 2006
One of the big pushes toward limiting the power of the "runaway judiciary" that has been allowing "activist judges" to legislate from the bench has been the perceived attack on Christianity by the ACLU to remove reference of God, Jesus, and Christianity from the schools. I've commented on this on a couple occasions in the past, both here and on other blogs. One of the things I commented on was that, while holding a mandatory "Bible class" in a public school has been ruled to be a violation of the First Amendment, an elective class that would result in no pressure being applied on students to take said class might work to be a permissible means of teaching the Bible in school. That is quite a generalization, and there would have to be a lot of items ironed out - proponents need to walk carefully along the path, but it could be viable.
This looks to be the course taken by a school district in Tennessee, though they appear to have put the measure on hold, waiting to see what might come. The measure would allow a Bible class to be taught, but the Bible would be the only text, and some of the citizens in the area (even proponents) appear to want a little more. Read the article; I'm not going to go into any greater detail, but I think it's a good example of a good start towards working into schools what so many on the Religious Right fringe have accused the courts of trying to kill. Undue Coercion is the key term here - let's see if it can be avoided!
I always hear about kids eating candy until they get sick, but I always figured it was a figure of speech. That is, until Saturday, when we found the daughter was, in fact, ill. She was going at both ends, poor thing. I don't think it was due to eating all the candy, but that surely didn't help; anyway, she managed to associate the sick with the candy, and hasn't had any since Friday.
Sometimes, it's ok to have unintended consequences. She's fine now, and a little wiser for the wear. All in all, she's a good kid. All my young'uns are, even when they sneak candy.
Sunday, November 05, 2006
Of course, then you grow up, and you realize that Sambo is a derisive term for blacks, and you hear that Little Black Sambo is a racist book. At least, that's what I'd heard. But is it?
I looked up the story on Wikidpedia, where I found out a few things about the book. First of all, it's set in India, not Africa. This makes sense, when you consider it's about tigers, and makes reference to "ghee" - butter. The author, Helen Bannerman, was a Scot who lived in India when she wrote the book. The story is about an Indian boy, who is given European "darky iconography," and hence looks black. Unfortunately, this information didn't make it across the Atlantic with the book, so in Jim Crow America, people saw the story of Little Black Sambo, they associated the image they saw with the blackface theatre to which they were accustomed, and adopted the term Sambo to be a racist word for blacks.
So what we ended up with is a book that is racist because it contains a name that didn't become a racist term until ignorant people misinterpreted it. It's such a shame that an innocuous children's book had to be the product of such a thing, especially a book about a clever boy.
Saturday, November 04, 2006
I'm confident that I got all the informed consent questions right, but as for everything else, I have my doubts. There's a chance I'll be taking this test again in March (though I hope not!)
Anyway, I'm either ethical enough to practice in TX, which has the second highest standard in the country (behind Utah), or I'm not ethical enough to be a scumbag lawyer (scary thought)
Friday, November 03, 2006
I spent 8 years in the Air Force. During that time, I worked as many as 100 hours a week. I still managed to find a way to finish 2 associate's and 1 bachelor's degree while serving. After separation, I chose a new path - law school. I chose to enroll in law school full time, so that I could finish more quickly and get back to work to help my wife, who supports us by working while I am in school, better provide for our children. Yet, in spite of the fact that I am a veteran, and a veteran who knows how to think, I have my patriotism called into question by these same hypocrites who refuse to do what I did and what so many others have done by donning a uniform and declaring that they are willing to put their lives where their words go, because I dare to question the accuracy of what we are told by our CINC and his administration. I have been called a liberal because I disagree with what the president says. I am no liberal; I am an American, who belongs to no party, but who listens and reasons, and I believe that there are many questions out there that need answering; yet instead I hear oxymoronic rhetoric. Yet when I question this, I'm labeled instead of addressed.
Who is the less patriotic? The veteran who asks questions of the administration, or the civilian who supports a politician's war from his or her recliner?
For all you hypocrites out there, if you REALLY support the war, then shut up and show the troops that you mean it. Click here.
Thursday, November 02, 2006
Wednesday, November 01, 2006
3 Lbs boneless chuck roast
2carrots, julienned (Or you could use about 6-8 baby carrots)
1 Medium onion, cut in half, then sliced (so it looks like rainbows)
4 cloves of garlic, crushed
4 green onions, sliced lengthwise then cut into 1 cm slices
½ Tsp black pepper
2 Tsp toasted sesame seeds (not necessary, but looks nice)
Pinch MSG (says you gotta use it, don’t know why)
¼ cup sesame oil
1/3 cup sugar
1½ cups soy sauce
½ can (6 oz) Coca Cola
1 Tbsp Vinegar (rice vinegar works best)
1 Really big bowl
First, slice the chuck roast into really thin strips, as thin as you can. You will need a REALLY sharp knife for this. Trim off any excess fat as you go. If there happens to be a Korean grocery store in your area, then you can probably buy the meat already trimmed. Put all of this into a large bowl, ‘cause that’s where everything ends up. Add all of the rest of the ingredients; it doesn’t matter in what order. Mix it until all the meat and veggies are covered in the liquid marinade and cover. Let the mix sit overnight in the fridge or for 4+ hours on the counter. When you are ready to cook, break out a really big skillet and cook the mix over medium heart. Just add enough to cover the bottom of the pan; it will take several times to get it all cooked. When the meat is no longer red, it’s ready. It only takes a few minutes because the meat is so thin. Serve over a plate of steaming rice, of course. If you want, any remaining meat can be stored uncooked in the freezer for later use. This makes a LOT of bulgoki, but you'll be glad when you try it.
While I have no problem with Kikkoman or La Choy soy sauces with my chinese food, I recommend, if you have a good sized asian market near your place, to try to find a Korean brand of soy sauce. There's one brand (I can't think of the name right now) that has a dark beige cap, it's shaped sort of like a wine bottle, and it has some orange on the label. This is a little milder than what Kikkoman offers, and I think it works better on the bulgoki.
Now I invite my regular readers, all 5 of you, to share your favorites! Bon Apetit!