Friday, March 31, 2006

It's gettin' hot in here

And our A/C is not working. The heat is annoying enough, but it's painfully humid, as well. We'll put in the work order tomorrow, I think, and hope that someone shows up then, if not, then on Monday.

I remember in the Barracks at Osan, the rule was that the base wouldn't turn on the A/C in the spring until there were five consecutive days of 80+ degree weather. The exceptions were the barracks for the Civil Engineering squadron, and the ones who got the A/C turned on first when it was time were the ones who were in good with the CE folks, so needless to say, everyone was buddying up with the CE people as best they could.

I also remember that our barracks were right next to the Security Forces Barracks, and they didn't believe in such little things as 24 hour quiet hours (a base staple for barracks) or various other things. It's not like anyone would enforce the rules against them for such trifles, inasmuch as they were the ones to whom you complained. It was a real pain when you were on Mids and trying to go get some rest. Rotating schedules aren't fun, and are less fun when you can't sleep.

I miss parts of Korea, but not the dorm life.

Friday Morning

I should be at school right now. My first class is in 30 minutes, yet I'm still at home. I'm trying to get out the door, but I'm just not able to. Exhaustion from last night factors in, but I just feel completely wasted in general. I'll still get myself to school today for the rest of class, but I'm going to miss A&P.

Great Day Houston is on while I'm trying to gather my thoughts and things to get out the door. The host is rather annoying, and I'm unimpressed with the program as a talk show/morning show. Then again, I'm probably not the target demographic, so it doesn't make a whole lot of difference.

I did hear Chad Hedrick say that he might possibly be the next "Bachelor" on ABC... he made sure to mention it's just speculation and only a remote possibility, but you've heard it now. That's my celebrity gossip for the rest of the decade.

In other news, what should I do for dinner tonight for the family?


My children get the squeaky wheel concept.

Tonight, the little boy fell asleep at 7:50. I put him in his crib and let him to his dreams. I went to bed at about 9:30. I fell asleep at 9:40-ish. About 10 minutes later, I was awaken by the cries of the little boy. He woke up and wanted comforting (read: attention). After checking on him and laying him back down, my wife came and started getting ready for bed. This was, of course, completely unacceptable to the little boy, who voiced his displeasure at having to stay in bed by crying. We figured we'd let him cry it out, after all, he's tired, and we're tired, and by picking him up and giving him attention, he's winning.

That was right around ten. He's still crying (my clock says 1:11 am right now). He's not sick, he's just crying. I'm not sleeping, the wife's kind of sleeping, and the little boy is going strong, despite being completely exhausted.

Update - the boy finally fell asleep at about 2:30. And was bright eyed and bushy tailed this morning at 6:15. I thought toddlers needed lots of sleep... I know grown-ups in this house do.

Thursday, March 30, 2006

The Worst of the Best

I came across this while perusing the Moderate Voice - a game where you choose the ten worst movies that have won the Best Picture Oscar.

In no particular order, I list the following:

The Deer Hunter
How Green Was My Valley (only because this one should have gone to Citizen Kane)
The English Patient
Dances With Wolves
Shakespeare in Love
Out of Africa
And - Kramer v. Kramer

Now it's your turn!

Random Trivia

hippopotomonstrosesquipedalianism is a term that means "the practice of using long words."

Thanks to KevinC for catching my typo - but I blame the book in which I got the word - it misspelled it as well.

Wednesday, March 29, 2006

Wednesday is Haiku Day

I might have a job
And then again, I might not

I look forward to your submissions!

But is it deductible?

An accountant who formerly worked for the Cardiovascular Research Foundation (a charity) recently admitted to using company credit cards and writing checks to himself, stealing over $237,ooo. He pled guilty to larceny in New York. The judge said that she would sentence him to a maximum of six years in prison, but might lower that time depending on how much of the $237K+ he pays back.

All this is fine and dandy, but the more interesting part of this stems from the fact that he used some of the money (at least $11,000) to pay for a dominatrix in Ohio to beat him. According to the DA, he also used some of the money to pay for plane trips and car rentals, though it's unclear whether these were for him or her.

He said he would try to raise enough money to pay off the debt by selling off his house in Long Island where he lived with his wife and two children. It probably goes without saying that his wife is leaving him.

Also, since Alexander is not a citizen of the US and he pled guilty to larceny, his attorney says he will probably be deported back to India (his home country) after he finishes his sentence.

So, is this income under Section 61? Is it excludable under any of the sections? Is it deductible?

I used to believe

When I was a child, I knew monsters lived in my room - as most kids do. My monsters weren't the sharpest marbles in the bag though. You see, they couldn't see me if I was under my covers; they could only see the parts of me exposed from under the blankets.

I used to believe that Michigan had unique garbage trucks that no other state had. I was so surprised and excited to see a "Michigan" garbage truck at McChord AFB in Washington.

There are plenty more "I used to believes," but that's a good start. For a better start, my friend Angie pointed me to this website:, which is filled with memories of what today's grown-ups believed as children. It's worth it just to remember a little more of what childhood was like, and how the mind makes the misunderstood magical.

Tuesday, March 28, 2006


Surgeons in Pakistan operated on a 2 month old infant to remove two fetuses that were growing inside her. The doctors said that it was absically a case of triplets, where two of the fetuses just happened to grow inside the third. It's abnormal, but it happens occasionally (approx. 1 in 500,000 is what the article says regarding the odds). These particular fetuses were reported as partially grown and weighed a total of about two pounds. They also reportedly died at four months.

Tuesday Essay Question

Should overpass cameras/corner cameras be allowed for purposes of ticketing speeders/red light runners? Why or why not?

As always, I'm not looking for a "right" answer, I'm looking for thoughtful answers. Support your argument, and grades will be arbitrary and capricious.

Monday, March 27, 2006

Random Quote

"Politics would be a helluva business if it weren't for the goddamned people. I would've made a good pope." - Richard M. Nixon

Parenting Realizations

In a battle for a four year old's attention, a parent will always lose to a fly in the room.

When your 21 month old says Poohpooh, he's making a statement of fact.

When your seven year old is quiet for any period of time, it's already too late.

Good thing, Bad thing

Yesterday we went to the bookstore, where I bought a new book - De Tocqueville - Selections from Democracy in America. This is considered one of the premiere studies on the sociology of democracy - an excellent book, well worth reading.

This morning, I got downstairs, then had to go upstairs to get the daughter out of bed so she could get ready for school, on the way up, I hit the landing, where the stairs turn around, and I feel something cold and wet slide between my toes. The cat picked the perfect spot to throw up.

In the meantime, the kids were ten minutes late for school - daycare for the youngest two, so it doesn't matter, and we ensure that the Boy is at least 15 minutes early in the mornings, so even when we are late, we're not late. OK, by we, I mean me. The wife tends to think of arrival times as suggestions as to when you should start preparing to go (I'm kidding honey! I love you!).

I hope today doesn't turn out to be cat puke in my toes all day, that wouldn't be fun.

Sunday, March 26, 2006

Fee Fee Fi Fi Fo Fo Fum

I smell smoke in the auditorium.


The Attorney-client privilege is a rather significant aspect of the American legal system. It is what allows a client to speak candidly with a lawyer so that a solid defense can be built - without it, a client would be less likely to be candid with his representative.

The privilege is held by the client, not the lawyer. Privilege can only be waived by the client, generally. There are, of course, exceptions and limits, but the general rule is an important one. This rule transends death of the client. Simply dying does not remove the privilege, indeed it would appear to lock it in place, as a client can't consent to revealing privileged information if the client isn't living. Why would this matter? Because otherwise a client who knows that what he says might be available in the event of his death could decide not to be completely candid. The interest here is to defend the client and the client's interests. Privilege = good.

Saturday, March 25, 2006

It's a Trap!

I learned to drive in the Puget Sound region, where the common knowledge of the day was that when you drove I-5 and got to Fife, you slowed down, because otherwise you were getting a ticket. The same has been my experience with Boerne, Texas, and all of Maryland. Little did I realize that common knowledge recently gave way to technology, and there is now a website called whose purpose in life is to notify drivers of the cities that plan their annual budget on estimated traveller speeding tickets. The article that gave me this information (here) notes a town in Missouri that has a reputation covering three states. It also notes that some cities have suffered a loss of traffic and money from travelers because of their reputations as speed traps. Perhaps there's somethign to be learned here.

Friday, March 24, 2006

Why, Indeed

A San Antonio area school district decided recently to remove the novel "A Handmaid's Tale" from the curriculum after a parent complained it was sexually explicit and offensive to christians.

The district reversed the decision yesterday.

It sounds to me like a case of the school district overreacting to the woman's overreacting, and the media making a mountain of what needn't be more than an anthill.

Unjust Enrichment?

I like Barbara Bush. I like the Bush Clinton Katrina fund. I like the idea of helping those who were displaced by nature's actions. I especially like that a person with the financial means to do so made a monetary donation to the relief efforts, because it takes money to make the efforts work, so Kudos to Barbara Bush for that.

Here's my only gripe. She made the donation on condition that it be used on Ignite Learning programs for education. That in and of itself is not so bad; the disagreeable part to me is that this is that the company she wants the funds used on is owned by her son Neil. Now, she didn't specify that all the money she donated go toward her son's company, only some undisclosed amount; the rest was not dedicated to anything in particular.

I want to be clear here about one thing: I don't presume that Mrs. Bush partook of impropriety. It's also unclear that this would enrich Neil at all. However, that is less important than the appearance of impropriety that is connected with her actions. If she felt so strongly about the education programs, she could have just as easily purchased the programs herself and donated the purchases to the relief efforts. As it is, charitable donations will be used to purchase a program owned by the son of the person making the donations, which looks bad, regardless of actual intent.

Thursday, March 23, 2006

Mmmmmmmeatloaf! Again!

After some rescheduling due to administrative error, Red Hot Mamma and I were finally able to get together at Polonia for some good ol' Polish food. It was as good as I remembered it. My wife and I took her parents there last summer and really enjoyed it. It was definitely as good as I remembered it.

Now, I might be a moderate/center left politically, but mentally I'm an old fashioned republican - I fear change. Therefore, I got the pork meat loaf, again. Let me tell you, pork meat loaf mightn't sound that tasty, but then again, so many things that are really good don't necessarily sound that good. Like Manicotti, or ham hocks, or lumpia, or goulash. Then again, there are some foods that taste as bad as the sound, like dinuguan, or poshintang, or okra, or liver and onions. And then there's the stuff that sounds good but tastes bad, like Sweetbreads, Rocky Mountain Oysters, etc. Anyway, the pork meat loaf was as good as I remembered it. And this time, for the lunch special, they included pea soup. This is something I would classify as a dish that tastes much better than it sounds. After all, who would want to drink pea (sic)? But it was really good, and I recommend anyone who is interested try it.

RHM had the pierogi, which is always a good choice at a Polish restaurant. And I managed to convince her to try the schmaltz, which is an acquired taste, to be sure. All in all, I would rate this as a good meal and a great chance to talk with a good friend. 4 stars.

Random Trivia

Senator McCarthy once stated that the paper he held out during his famous "communist" speech was nothing more than a laundry list.

Wednesday, March 22, 2006

Wednesday is Haiku Day

Some week! Kid won't sleep
Coursework growth, aunt is dying
I might quit blogging.

As always, I look forward to your submissions!

Tuesday, March 21, 2006

Random Quotes

More than one today, because they're from one of the greats.

"It's amazing what you can accomplish when you don't care who gets the credit."
"Once a government is committed to silencing the voice of opposition, it has only one way to go, and that is down the path of increasingly repressive measures, until it becomes a source of terror to all its citizens and creates a country where everybodyone lives in fear."
"Those who want the government to regulate matters of the mind and spirit are like men who are so afraid of being murdered that they commit suicide to avoid assassination."
"A president is either constantly on top of events or, if he hesitates, events will soon be on top of him."
"You can always amend a big plan, but you can never expand a little one. I don't believe in little plans. I believe in plans big enough to meet a situation which we cannot possibly foresee now."
"Some of the Presidents were great and some of them weren't. I can say that because I wasn't one of the great Presidents, but I had a good time trying to be one, I can tell you that." (There are those of us who would disagree as to his self-assessment).

- All by Harry S Truman.

On agents

According to our text, the power an agent has to bind the principal is his ability to do so. The authority to bind the principal stems from the principal's consent to be bound by "manifestations" to the agent. Essentially, it means that an the agent who can bind the principal has the power to do so.

The next question in the book is, "is the converse true? Does an agent have the power to bind the principal even though the agent was not authorized to do so?"

The concept is that in an agent/partner relationship, there are going to be times where the agent exceeds his authority. The task is to determine when the principal should bear the risk and where the third party should be allowed to reasonably rely on the agent's actions and hold the principal accountable.

Think of sports agents, or lawyers, or leasing reps, or auto dealerships, or restaurant managers, etc. There are more principal agent relationships than many can see.

Tuesday Trivia Question

I've come to the conclusion that Fridays aren't the day that most people want to think about answering essay questions. As such, I've decided to move my essay questions to Tuesday. Tuesday's slightly better, I think, inasmuch as people aren't looking to the Weekend, and they're over the shock of Monday's return to work.

The question for today deals with right to die.

At what point, if any, should a person be allowed to choose to die? Should a doctor always have a duty to try to resucitate a patient? What about DNR requests, should they be ignored? What about living wills? As always, support your answer, tell your friends, and grades will be arbitrary.


There was an old Looney Tunes cartoon that had this big dog (a bulldog?) that had a little dog companion. The little dog would jump around the big dog, all the time chatting about this and that in a manic manner "hey boss, hey boss!"

That's what North Korea reminds me of sometimes. It seems rather apparent that, of the countries that comprise the Axis of Evil, North Korea is the one that least concerns the administration. Every now and then we say something to show that we at least acknowledge the existence of the Chonger and his nefarious existence (I can't stop mentioning 2+ million less in population over 10 years, as compared to tens of thousands elsewhere). This time, the country suggested that it is capable of effecting, and has a right to launch, a pre-emptive strike against the United States.

What does North Korea want? They want the same cooperation with the US on nuclear issues as India has. This seems to be standard MO with North Korea. Threaten to try to strongarm your position. Then, when things look like they might be going the right way, have some incident (the crab war, the submarine incident, the poplar tree, the tunnels) come up and screw everything up again. It's a great way to keep the uninformed masses under your control. As an aside, I suggest anyone who bitches about the media slant here in the US read the tripe that the KCNA (google search it, I won't link) offers daily and consider what might happen if the press weren't critical and didn't demand accountability from the government.

North Korea really wants continued attention, because the more attention it gets, the more likely it is to get aid. Now they are essentially threatening the US with nuclear weapons and preemptive strikes. Yet we do nothing. What should we do? We liberated Iraq for WMDs that it didn't have to stabilize a country that isn't stable. We're threatening Iran with sanctions for looking into nuclear development. North Korea announces it has WMDs and threatens to use them against the US. Millions of people have died in North Korea in the last ten years from starvation. Prisoners live on 8 ounces of rice and 20 kernels of corn a day - prisoners often convicted of questioning the government, or being homeless, or speaking, or thinking. Tobacco for counterfeit cigarettes, opium, and heroin are all big crops in North Korea. The country runs in a shadow, believing that the rest of the world is worse off than they are, so swept up in Juche (self reliance). Perhaps we liberated the wrong country. Perhaps freedom should have started in the land of the morning calm first.

Monday, March 20, 2006

Da Conspiracy

Dan Brown's popular best-seller The Da Vinci Code is set to come out in movie form later this year. I remember seeing a commercial for it during the Super Bowl, and maybe one other. Then, the commercials stopped. Why did they stop? Because of a lawsuit that was filed regarding stealing ideas. After suit was filed, the commercials stopped, but news stories ran constantly online, and in the papers. I even heard about it on the news a couple times. How interesting that the plaintiffs would choose now, five months before the movie came out to file suit, when they had years to do so beforehand. Or at least, how interesting that the suit makes press now.

It makes me wonder, is this a legitimate suit? Dan Brown's books, the ones I've read, have come across as a little too fancy with his attempts to display what nifty little trivia bits he knows are. TDVC is heavy on conspiracy theory regarding the illuminati, masons, etc. And I know that some people have heard rumblings about the supposed Da Vinci Code back as far as the 1960's, and don't doubt that it's been around much longer than that. The last point is to demonstrate that perhaps there might not be legitimate merit in the suit, but that's merely a suggestion, as I've done no in depth research of the suit, just a cursory glance. It still won't stop my from postulating here, though. I think that the lawsuit is a sham. I think it was filed simply to drum up attention for the upcoming book. I think that this was a clever attempt to drum up free press and free advertising, so that the studio wouldn't have to spend money on advertising.

It's been done before. Paris Hilton's video that ran all over the news is one example. Harry Houdini's used to excel at getting his name in the news through various acts. According to a recent Wall Street Journal article, many actresses and actors have their own "reporters" who send in staged pictures and press released to take advantage of the media. Is it really a stretch to believe that the makers of the Da Vinci Code wouldn't attempt something of a similar manner?

On Judicial Activism

Here's an interesting post that suggests it's not a recent phenomenon to look to foreign opinion in Court cases.

It's worth a look.

Sunday, March 19, 2006

Some say many things.

But, perhaps the question we need to ask is, "Who are the some, Mr. President? And are you properly reciting their concerns?"

On winning

I was up for a couple hours last night trying to get the little boy to go back to bed, as apparently he's on Seoul time and thought 1:30 was a great time to play hide and seek. I put him back in his crib and got to listen to him complain (read: cry) very loudly about it until 3:30. While I was listening to this, I had an epiphany. I knew ultimately, I would win, and he would fall asleep again, but until he actually fell asleep, he was taking up my time and my resources (read: energy). I realized that, while he was awake, he was winning, and it wouldn't be until he finally gave up that he would lose.

Over the last year, I've read and heard plenty of talk regarding Iraq, the war, the aftermath, the insurgency, etc. Much of the talk revolves around the president's party line of "we're winning." The thought process is that the insurgents are losing their resources, their manpower, places to hide, etc. I conclude, as I did with my son, that this line of thought is incorrect.

We are not winning in Iraq. So long as there is an insurgency, we can't win, as our goal is to establish a free, safe Iraq. Until that happens, then we can't be winning. Anything that leaves insurgents in place, or a civil war in the wake of the government we overthrew, or a country where all Iraqis aren't equally free is a loss. This has turned into a battle of wills, and the question now is who has more patience? Are we more willing to stay as long as it takes? Are we willing to do what is necessary? Or even more importantly, is this war winnable?

Saturday, March 18, 2006

This post is specifically for you.

You are awesome. You rock. You're one of my favorite people and I'm so glad you're hear to read this.

Back to the Grind

These are the last two days before I return to school, to the drudgery that is 4th Semester. This morning I'm spending reading up on Agency and Partnership. I've already read the cases for this class, but it's been a couple weeks, and I'm getting older. This is probably my favorite class of the semester. I like the professor, and I enjoy learning about the different types of partnerships and agency relationships there are. I can't imagine this to be a lucrative field to specialize in, though, so I'll just enjoy it while I have it.

I also need to read up on the rules for Pro Res. I've got the Model Rules here, so I'll be able to read up pretty well. Corporations will be next, as I've already done most of what I need for WIlls. Then I can return to finishing my paper, which I'd like to finish by the end of this month so I have plenty of time to proofread it.

Anyway, that's the update on 2L Steve. Enjoy!

Friday, March 17, 2006

Alone again ... naturally

Well, here it is, Friday night. I'm home and the wife is out. She gets to go out from time to time because she's in charge. I got to go out on a Friday night last year, at the end of my first year of law school. That was nice of her.

But tonight, she's out again. She's at a party with a coworker. This means that I get to stay home and watch the children. I love my kids, and I enjoy spending time with them, but sometimes my child-patience level breaches - wait, I mean overtops. That seems to be the case tonight. I need a vacation, and I'm on vacation. Go figure.

Tomorrow I get to go back to school and pick up my texts for A&P and Pro Res., so I can make sure I'm read up on both of those, as well. There's a fine way to end spring break, I can't wait!

Friday Essay Question

In some places in the U.S. convicted felons lose the right to vote. In the 1960's, poll taxes were declared unconstitutional. More recently there has been talk regarding a "voter's ID card" that would be required to be presented at the polls to prove your identity and help eliminate voter fraud.

Your essay question for this Friday involves voting. You have carte blanche to create the laws regarding voting, who should be allowed to vote, who shouldn't, methods of identification, etc. How, if at all, would your laws restrict who can vote (uninformed, uneducated, criminal, non-citizen, whatever)? Make sure you explain and support your answer. Tell your friends! I might update with follow up questions after a couple days. Grades will be arbitrary and capricious.

Thursday, March 16, 2006

You know what I never got?

All right, so the A-Team were supposed to be these crack commandoes from the Vietnam war, right? They were charged with a crime they didn't commit so they run to Los Angeles and start working as mercenaries for the common good?! BA had a Mohawk DURING Vietnam?

Anyway, the thing that I don't get is how these commandoes can go for however many years the show was on, shooting who knows how many rounds at various bad guys, and never hitting any of them. Sure they blow up some cars and whatnot, but you're telling me that the best of the best can't hit a gang of evil thugs from 20 feet with an automatic rifle?

Perhaps they were charged with aiding the enemy when really they weren't aiding them, they were just incompetent and couldn't shoot them...

Random Trivia

In the olden days at Cambridge, during registration, a student was required to write their noble rank next to their names. Back in those times there weren't many common folk that went to college. Those that did, however, had no title to put next to their name, and would thus have to note that they were not nobles by the latin term Sine Nobilitate (or however it's spelled, I'm not a latin linguist). Because the space on the registration was limited, the students would often abbreviate this term as S. Nob., which gave rise to the derogatory snob, or person who ignores those who he thinks is inferior socially, educationally, or in taste.

Wednesday, March 15, 2006

Wednesday is Haiku Day

Halfway through spring break
slept a lot, researched paper
haven't read a page

I look forward to your contributions

Random Quote

"An arrest is not justified by what the subsequent search discloses." - William O. Douglas

Tuesday, March 14, 2006

Queen of the Silver Screen

I broke down and spent money today. I've been really good at not spending money, but I've had no CD player in my car for over a year now, and I need a change from listening to a 1993 4-track recording of the Anachronauts.

So I bought a CD player and a Rolling Stones CD. I dig the old music, Stones, Kinks, YardBirds, etc. I actually prefer the Stones to the Beatles. I think the Beatles probably had much more influence on the evolving Rock Sound, but I think the Stones perform better - I could see spending money to see a stones concert more easily than I could have seen spending money for a beatles concert. That's not to say I wouldn't go see the Beatles... just given a choice of the two, I'd take the Stones. Even today in their Night of the Living Dead look.

Rumour has it if there's ever a nuclear war, the only survivors will be Cockroaches...
And Keith Richards.

Apples, Peaches, Pumpkin Pi

Just wanted to be the first on the block to wish everyone a happy Pi Day! (Mar. 14)

Monday, March 13, 2006

What's the Difference?

Isaac Hayes recently quit his role on South Park, a sitcom on Comedy Central. He said that the show crossed a line when it came to religion, and that he couldn't stomach it anymore.

I understand what he's saying. I hit that limit with the show myself, back around 1998-99. Originally, I found it humorous. However, after watching a couple dozen episodes, I noticed a trend. The writers were trying less to be humorous and more to be obscene. I'll try to explain my rationale:

Lines in sand exist on television and in the movies. Many things are taboo, or were taboo. A lot of modern tolerance can be said to be found as a result of efforts in the name of entertainment. We sweep the stuff out from under the carpet, as it were, and we become better for it. Examples might include All in the Family, or Lord of the Flies, or Mississippi Burning, or Boyz 'n da Hood. These shows/movies were vulgar, crude, at times obscene. However, they explained a part of our society that needed uncovering and explaining. In other words, the shows were obscene to make a point.

South Park, on the other hand, appears to have a different outlook. It seems to me that the MO of the writers runs something along the lines of "let's be as crude, vulgar, and offensive as we possibly can, but we need to think of a reason to justify that crudenes." And so they'll come up with a "message," much like those public service "don't fight each other" messages at the end of He-Man or GI Joe, so that they have plausible cover for their shows. In other words, they have a point as an excuse to be obscene.

Now, do I think it's wrong that the show goes like that? I don't care. If that's what the censors will let them do, and people continue to buy advertising space in their time slot, then I won't say they can't do that. Nor can I say the stuff isn't funny. Indeed, it most likely is to a certain portion of the populace, as they watch the show. I can say that it's not funny to me, because I don't think they work hard enough to make a joke, but I think that's the case with many comedies.

So in conclusion, Isaac Hayes quit. I don't blame him. The creators of the show glibly note that he didn't have any problems cashing the checks when they made fun of other religions, which I thought was inappropriate and unnecessary. I don't find the show humorous. Other people do. I would prefer writers and shows that work at creating jokes, and not resorting to crudeness just to save effort.

Spring Break

It's spring break for me. Last week was spring break for The Boy. He had fun; we took him all over with his grandparents, and made sure that everyone was kept rather busy. In other words, we recreated for spring break.

I haven't really had any opportunities to recreate during spring break. In the Air Force, of course, there really is no spring break, which meant I still had to work when my undergrad classes were on break. Before the AF, I worked for a fast food company, and thus my spring breaks then were spent getting myself covered in grease - so much fun.

Last year, I spent spring break working on my appellate brief for class - another fun way to spend the break.

This year, with The Boy back in class, the mrs. back at work, and the inlaws having left, I'll not be going anywhere this year, either. I'm not too disappointed - we have no money for any trips, anyway. I also have a lot of schoolwork to get done - and job interview type preparation. Today, I spent some time on my writing sample. While I know what I want to write, I find that I have a hard time sometimes conveying the message in legalese. Practice should take care of it, but it's still a disappointment. I also have my research assignment to write - regarding ID at school. I'm looking forward to getting through that. The topic interests me, which is a refreshing change.

I also have some outlines I need to update, and get back to present. All in all, it should make for an interesting week.

Sloppy Joes for dinner tonight! it's not Polonia, but it'll do.

Friday Essay Question

I know it's Monday, but I've been busy with family. Anyway, here's the essay question for the day:

Should polygamy/polygyny/polyandry be legal? Why? Make sure you support your answer, (read: don't just say "because it's cool" or "because it's disgusting!"). Grades will be arbitrary and capricious.

I look forward to your replies.

Sunday, March 12, 2006

Random Quote

"It is dangerous to be right when the government is wrong." - Voltaire

Saturday, March 11, 2006

Kaboom, the evening edition

We took the inlaws to the Battleship Texas. It was great. The kids had a blast, mother in law had fun, and father in law really enjoyed the whole thing. The kids always enjoy the trip. I understand it's a popular school field trip destination, as well. I can imagine children getting tired of going to see the battleship every year, but I rather enjoy it. I got to take a tour of the Mighty Mo when it was in Bremerton back in the early '80s, and I toured the Pampanito (WW2 Submarine, and the sub they used to film Down Periscope) when I was in California. There's just such an awesome feeling to tour those old ships.

When I took a trip to Massachussetts, we went to Plymouth and I got to take a tour of the Mayflower II, a full scale reproduction of the original Mayflower (which is no longer available). That was another really interesting trip.


The in-laws are supposed to leave Monday morning, which means these are the last two days we get to spend with them. Mom in law is going to make taco casserole tonight, which I've never had, but I've been informed is rather good.

As for entertainment, I think we're going to drive them eastish, and go look at the San Jacinto Monument, where, in 1836 Texas won its independence. 1836 was also going to be the name of the Houston Soccer team, but they changed it when officials decided it would be offensive to the mexican population in Houston to name the team after the day their home country lost 1/3 of its land area. So now they're called the Houston Dynamo, after a character in Ah-nuld's "The Running Man." But I digress.

The plan also includes going to the Battleship Texas, which is moored right by the San Jacinto Monument. I've been a couple times, and always like touring old warcraft. The static displays at Lackland AFB, McChord AFB, and various other bases (There's a MiG-23 and a MiG-29 at Goodfellow AFB) are all really cool, and I have a shot of The Boy on the wing of a P-51.

Anyway, Dad in law should enjoy the ship, and Mom in law has expressed interest, as well, so hopefully it'll be a fun trip. The only other thing I can think of to do is drive down to NASA and let the kids have fun there - Space Center Houston really is geared more for kids than adults, I think.

Friday, March 10, 2006


We took the family to the rodeo yesterday. Except for the little boy, we've all been to rodeos before. I personally prefer smaller rodeos to the show that we get here in Houston, but then again, I prefer smaller towns, and smaller environments.

The kids had a lot of fun. We saw the livestock show for the most part, and skipped the rodeo part. There was a petting zoo, which the kids really liked, until a goat tried to jump on The Boy, thinking he had some goat food to munch. Kind of freaked The Boy out. The girl, on the other hand, had a blast, and little boy was going crazy running around petting the fawns, goats, sheep, and the pig.

Later, we took The Boy and the girl on the pony rides. The girl was in heaven, almost beside herself in anticipation - though not quite as pure joy as The Boy was when he first rode on the log flume. It was fun, though.

Then we ate. Nothing like rodeo, state fair, carnival food to get you going. It was just mildly overpriced for the quality, though it wasn't bad. The Boy, the mother in law, and I got to try alligator for the first time. It was tough, and it kind of tasted like a turkey neck. It wasn't bad, but it wasn't something I'd make a habit of having.

For the most part, the day was good. The kids had some issues near the end, and only a few of us got to see the pig races (the men, the women all missed the races). Everyone was tired, and we had a nice relaxing evening at home afterwards.

All in all, it was worth it. 30 dollars admission for the seven of us, so it wasn't too bad. Good fun all around.

Who's #1? Who Cares?

The last couple weeks have seen the end of the regular season for NCAA basketball, where the teams in each conference who have the best record get the honor of declaring themselves, well, nothing, really...

Thanks to the advent of the conference tournament, the regular season really means little more than trying to get enough wins to get yourself into the NCAA tournament. You don't win anything by having the best record. Instead, someone in a moment of brilliance said "Hey, I know how we can fleece more advertising dollars, and get some money from students who have nothing better to spend their cash on than, say, food, shelter, tuition, or books! Let's have a "tournament" to determing who the "champion" will be!" And everyone fell for it. So now, the regular season serves as nothing more than a seeding mechanism, which is kind of a shame, because that's where most of the work gets done.

Now I do like the idea of the NCAA tournament. It makes sense to grab the best teams from each conference and have them play each other for the best in the country. But when the conference gathers the teams that have already played together twice to play each other again to determine who's the best, well, there's nothing more to that than simple greed on the part of the conference.

Thursday, March 09, 2006

Random Trivia

In archery, as well as gunshooting, accuracy is very important. Any time you shoot and you don't hit your target, you've failed. In other words, almost ain't good enough. Therefore, the saying arose "An inch in a miss is as good as an ell." Sir Walter Scott shortened the phrase in the 19th Century and changed it to be the more alliterative "A miss is as good as a mile."

Wednesday, March 08, 2006

What about us?!

While the more popular nations of the "axis of evil" receive the majority of the press time, what with continued instability in Iraq and hints and accusations of possible civil war, and nuclear posturing and chest puffing and staredowns with Iran, North Korea once again does what it can to keep its name at least on page 2.

From Yahoo!:

North Korea fired two short-range, SAMs near its border with China on Wednesday in what appeared to be a test...

According to the article, a "western military source" indicated that the missiles landed in the of Japan, about 60 miles northeast of the launch site.

Of course, this location for a landing of missiles launched by North Korea makes sense. NK knows that China is the closest thing to an ally that they have right now, so they're not going to shoot anything toward the Chinese Border and accidentally hit anything or give the impression that they're getting "pushy."

They're not going to shoot missiles south, toward South Korea. Not even the fan-death believing DPRK is that dumb.

That pretty much only leaves the SOJ.

Anyone can speculate the reason for the test launch, and there are plenty of plausible reasons, but I think the most likely one is that it gets them back in the news again with a newsworthy act, but not one so egregious that it would spur any real dialogue on containing the country.

Ahh, DPRK - You need a new leader, and a Taco Bell.

Wednesday is Haiku Day

My son is obsessed
With purple; I think it is
His favorite colour.

I look forward to reading your contributions.

Tuesday, March 07, 2006

Dictator For Life
You scored 71% Campaigning, 86% Personality, and 71% Effectiveness!

People were shocked when you told them you wanted to be a politician
and not an actor or model. Your drive and ambition is unimaginable, you
only sleep three hours a night and work twenty hours a day. Your
campaigning team shames and defeats every person who dares stand
against you and they soon become a secret police force. The people
can't stand the idea of you retiring after your two terms as President,
so the constitution is altered and you are declared Dictator for life.
After your long career and peacful death the country returns to
democracy. All currency is changed to have your face on it, and a book
of your sayings sells more copies than the bible.

My test tracked 3 variables How you compared to other people your age and gender:
free online datingfree online dating
You scored higher than 70% on Campaigning
free online datingfree online dating
You scored higher than 80% on Personality
free online datingfree online dating
You scored higher than 60% on Effectiveness
Link: The achievable political office Test written by Flu102 on OkCupid Free Online Dating, home of the 32-Type Dating Test

Chon Achim! (Good Morning)

I got an early start to dinner making tonight. The In-laws are in town, and one of the things I try to make whenever family is near is My Friend Susan's Mom's Bulgoki. It is a big recipe - 3 lbs of meat - so I like to have a larger gathering when I make it.

Homemade bulgoki is so much better than what you can buy in those jars at the asian market. It doesn't taste as thick.

Additionally, I'm going to try to make cucumber kimchi tonight. I've got a recipe from my friends' wives from when I was at Goodfellow. I've never tried to make it before, and the wives didn't really know what measurements to use since they just eyeball everything, so I'm a little concerned with how this will turn out.

In other news, we're still unsure what we should do today for entertainment. Any suggestions?

Monday, March 06, 2006

Haven't we been here before?

From Yahoo!:

"Democratic lawmakers on the U.S. Senate Budget Committee said on Monday they opposed putting in the 2007 budget bill language assuming the government will raise billions of dollars in oil drilling leasing fees from Alaska's Arctic National Wildlife Refuge."

The proposed drilling has been an issue that the President has been trying to implement for five years, and for five years it has not worked. The reason? People don't want it. American people don't want it. Many Democrats don't want it. Some Republicans don't want it (from the article: "Last week, 24 House Republicans sent a letter to House Budget Committee chairman Republica Rep. Jim Nussle, urging him to keep Arctic refuge drilling out of the 2007 budget bill"). It is unwanted.

Just a few months ago, the administration attempted to get this language in a defense spending budget, gambling that they could get it through because nobody would want to risk looking the villain by voting against funding the military. That gamble didn't work.

This appears to be an attempt to use a constructive loophole to avoid any filibuster efforts to try to push this using legislation. The reason? Budget proposals aren't open to filibuster.

Perhaps the purpose of the repeated ANWR is to appeal to the Saturday Morning crowd, because it seems to be going the route of the Trix Rabbit - try to sneak by one way, get caught, try again with another disguise...

Sunday, March 05, 2006

For those poor downtrod majority Christians out there...

The time has come for the great migration. Leave everything behind, for your salvation is at hand! Two representatives in Missouri have forwarded for consideration a resolution that would recognize Christianity as the State's Official "Majority" religion. The legislation (House Concurrent Resolution 13) would recognize "a Christian god." Additionally, it would "protect the majority's right to express their religious beliefs," according to KMOV (the link above). It also recognizes that "a greater power exists," and only Christianity receives what the resolution calls "justified recognition."

Now, Justin Gardner over at Donklephant is the one who did the post where I found this information. He notes that KMOV refers to this as a bill, when in reality, it's a resolution. He points out that resolutions are politically charged, and bear the approval of at least some legislators.

Now the most glaring issue that this seems to present is the Establishment Clause issue. But, perhaps the primary issue should be one simple word: why? Why does Missouri need to introduce this resolution? What possible benefit can it bring? It protects the majority belief at the expense of the minority beliefs, which is painfully contrary to the MO of this country.

This strikes me as very wrong.

Random Quote

I beseech you, in the bowels of Christ, consider it possible that you are mistaken. - Oliver Cromwell, to the synod of the Church of Scotland, 1650. But, isn't it a good rule of thumb for everyday existence?

Saturday, March 04, 2006

My assessment

The headline reads "Many Defendants' Cases Kept Secret."

The first line states: "Despite the Sixth Amendment's guarantee of public trials, nearly all records are being kept secret for more than 5,000 defendants who completed their journey through the federal courts over the last three years."

The object is to point out that secret trials take place, and suggest that this is wrong. But, perhaps, maybe it isn't wrong...

My housecleaning-muddled mind is looking at this, and the first thing I read is the Sixth Amendment: "In all criminal prosecutions, the accused shall enjoy the right to a speedy and public trial, ..."

Now, without looking at anything, and simply reading the language on the paper (you strict constructionists will love that!), it appears quite plainly to me that the amendment guarantees the RIGHT to a public trial, not a guarantee to a public trial. Rights can be waived, such as Miranda/Fifth Amendment. Given these facts, then one could argue that perhaps a defendant could waive his right to a public trial in lieu of a private one. In fact Wikidpedia, where the 6th Amendment link above will take you, considers that very concept, as well as a government interest in keeping a trial private.

Now let's look at the cases themselves. The article notes that the majority of the cases causing the concern deal with plea bargains for murder suspects or drug dealers, gang members. The pleas are kept private, which means, the article says, that the public doesn't get to see what kind, if any, of punishment the bargainers receive.

While I can understand the concern over not knowing the fate of a murder suspect, I think perhaps the tradeoff of receiving the trial and increased likelihood of a conviction of a more deplorable criminal or criminals might just be worth it. There's also the concept of repeat offenders. Drug dealers, from what I would guess, aren't wont to repent off a plea deal, and likely will commit further crimes if released as a result of the plea. Thus you're delaying the process and catching a bigger fish in the net. Perhaps that's worth it...

I think this article is much ado about little.

Spring Cleaning

The inlaws are coming. They will be here in 2 days. There's nothing like the pending arrival of family to kick even full time employees and law students into high speed cleaning mode. I can't wait until I have money enough to afford a housekeeper, though. I've never been the best at keeping a house clean. It's nice to have a clean house, but impossible to do with our schedules and three kids.

oh well. It will be nice to have the inlaws here for a bit. FIL plays cribbage, and hopefully I can convince him to play a couple games of chess. I still have to break in my Staunton Rekjavik (Fischer v. Spassky, 1972) set. And perhaps get a couple backgammon games in.

Friday, March 03, 2006

Being a grown-up

Michael Brown received a lot of flack from a lot of people after the disaster with Katrina. Newly released videos now show that perhaps he was one of few individuals who did what he could to try to care for the situation. While President Bush appeared to be asleep at the wheel, Michael Brown apparently was trying to wake everyone up to the scale that the disaster could reach. (We can discuss the Blanco video later, I find it interesting that these videos were non-existent until the White House needed them to rebut damning videos.)

One site, The Moderate Voice, took the big step, and Joe Gandelman apologized. He apologized on his blog, clearly and loudly. This is something that more of us need to do. Michael Brown received flak that should be reserved for many others, and he took it on the chin better than most could. Not only that, but he took the grand step of actually addressing Mr. Gandelman via comments, and accepting Joe's apology.

Mr. Brown, I too apologize. Comments that I made and thought were inappropriate and premature. I don't anticipate you'll read this little corner of the web, but I want to get the apology out, as well.

Friday Essay Question

The 13th Amendment says that "Neither slavery nor involuntary servitude, except as a punishment for crime whereof the party shall have been duly convicted, shall exist anywhere in the United States, or any place subject to their jurisdiction."

The military has, in times past, used a draft to ensure a full contingent of soldiers. Additionally, in times of crisis, the military has adopted a "stop loss" policy, which freezes soldiers, sailors, airmen, and Marines from separating at the end of their enlistment, involuntarily extending their enlistment until trained replacements become available (this was in effect, inter alia in 1999, 2001, and 2003).

The essay question for today:

Is it hypocritical for the Federal Government to put in place a draft or stop loss program which compels involuntary service upon Citizens of the United States? When, if ever, should such a policy exist? Do the obligations to the country outweigh the obligations to the family, or the individual?

Again, I am looking for the best answer, not necessarily a right answer. Grades will be arbitrary and capricious.

Eager Beaver

The Daughter wants to be a big girl so badly. She's chomping at the bit to go to school and wants to start yesterday. She does everything she can to keep up with the Boy. Usually, that's great. I love that she is so eager to learn, though I don't like the rush to grow up.

Today, we had a slight incident when I dropped the kids off at Day Care. The Boy elected to let the daycare driver take him to school in the van, as opposed to my dropping him off. I don't object to that; I can see the urge to go to school sans parents, and he has a safe alternative. However, the van driver elected to ask the Daughter if she wanted to go to school. The girl was excited beyond words at the chance to go to school. It was a crushing blow when she realized she wasn't going to be able to go with her brother - you could almost hear the little heart breaking. I felt so bad for her.

Now I'm sad.

Thursday, March 02, 2006

What, a day?

I get up this morning, and after I drop the kids off, I check the mail - something I manage to do at best twice a week anymore. In the bundle of envelopes and mass mailings (seriously, who needs plastic wrapped coupon mailings five times a week?), I found a nice letter addressed to me from a law boutique in Beaumont. It's one I mailed my resume out to a short time back, and I figure this is their rejection letter. I open it, and get a nice compliment - your resume is very impressive, both from a quality and content standpoint. They then tell me that they can't offer me employ this summer (see, I was right for once!) but told me they would keep my resume on file and "hope to be in touch with [me] again soon." Signed by one of the partners - always nice. I must say, all in all, this was one of the nicest rejections I've ever received. Much better than the time I invited a girl to prom when I was in 10th grade and she laughed at me.

Then, I start reading pro res and watching Monk, and I fall asleep. Which is a real shame, because I really like Monk - excellent show with good writing.

I pull the weeds on the patio; there's too many. Stupid weeds.

Now I'm doing laundry, and I have to put in the fabric softener, because I'm married, and apparently you have to use fabric softener if you're a married male - and not just drier sheets, either.

Now I have to get ready for class. Education law. This class rocks! I'm really getting excited about my paper. I have most of the research done. I just have to put it together and work on the proposed curriculum, with legal analysis. It's going to be a fun one.

Random Trivia

Pound for pound, you are stronger than a horse.

Wednesday, March 01, 2006

Wednesday is Haiku Day

ball park franks, my kids
love to eat - but hot dog first,
then, ketchup-dipped bun.

As always, I look forward to you contributions. Open floor day on Haiku Wednesday

Poor little rich girl

Apparently Anna Nicole Smith is rather charming among the octogenarian set. According to Yahoo!, the Supreme Court has expressed sympathy for Miss Smith in that her stepson is blocking her from retrieving a portion of her husband's estate.

Perhaps it is a moment for sympathy. After all, she didn't get to inherit 400+ million dollars. However, she wasn't in the will. Her claim stems from a promise that her husband made that he would "take care of her." In Texas, where he's from and where they lived while they were married, parol evidence like this doesn't work in probate. If you want the oral agreement, or even a written contract to "take care of someone for life" to count in a will, you also need an attestation in the will that the contract or parol evidence is to be kept. This is something that J. Howard Marshall's will didn't have, and is the reason why she was not able to recover in Texas.

So how did she get to receive money? Well, unlike her late husband, Anna Nicole spent a lot of time in California, and had a lot of trouble managing her money. She ended up in a bankruptcy hearing in Federal Court in California, where the judge allowed her to recover damages from her stepson for "tortious interference" by keeping his father from executing a will that would list Anna as beneficiary. I'm not quite sure how they determined that they had standing to settle a (settled) probate issue from Texas in a bankruptcy hearing in a California federal district court, but apparently, they found a way.

Now, I'd think that res judicata would rule on this issue, as the probate issue had been settled. However, it appears that my law student mind doesn't see things as well as the Supreme Court, who said that "that's just not the way our system works" (Justice Ginsburg), and "I fail to see your logic (on a similar assertion by J. Howard Marshall's son Pierce's lawyer) (Justice Souter)."

I'm anxious to see how this is going to turn out; but I fear that the decision will be the one that I think is wrong.