Monday, July 30, 2007


President Bush better Call an emergency meeting of Congress to have them put together an eleventh hour bill for him to sign banning this: Hollywood plans on controlling the pigeon population by placing The Pill in their bird feeders.

I must say, I'm shocked and appalled by this disgusting behavior by the citizens of Hollywood. They should not be interfering in Nature this way. What they need to do, if they want to control the pigeon population, is not through birth control, but to teach them abstinence. Because Abstinence teaching is 100% effective in removing unwanted pregnancies from the population. This abomination must cease. I, for one, will write my Congresspeople and DEMAND they take swift and decisive action on this potentially divisive subject.

Iraq Wins Asia Cup

In a bit of good news coming from Iraq, the Iraqi National Soccer team won the Asia Cup, despite being quite an underdog.

President Bush did not say that this was evidence that the surge was working, though I wouldn't rule his making such a connection out. Or his suggesting that this is a major victory on the War on Terror.

Sunday, July 29, 2007

Other things that aren't Bush's Fault

I had a little fun yesterday pointing out all the BDS stuff that people use to accuse President Bush of being a bad president. But I forgot a couple.

It's not his fault Al Qaeda took advantage of the Iraq invasion to rebuild its strength.

It's not his fault he invoked the law of war (military order #1) and then tried to say he wasn't bound by the constraints of the laws of war.

It's not his fault his Social Security reform platform stunk.

It's not his fault he couldn't convince anyone of the logic of his immigration reform platform.

It's not his fault Karl Rove is implicated in so much scandal.

It's not his fault he has no clout anymore due to his complete lack of credibility.

It's not his fault the details surrounding Pat Tillman's death were held back to capitalize on the high profile sacrifice while those in charge knew of the cover-up.

It's not his fault Alberto Gonzales' testimony doesn't match up with others', making it appear as though he is lying.

It's not his fault so many people in his administration have such horrible memories when it comes to key conversations they had that just happened to revolve around criminal behavior.

It's not his fault that people tried to rewrite history. And it's not his fault he chose Veteran's Day, 2005 to attack those who he says were trying to do so, dividing the country even more.

And, of course, it's not his fault he spent 20% of his presidency on vacation.

The thing is, President Bush was not lying when he said "I'm a uniter, not a divider." I've never seen more of America opposed to one President's policies, actions, statements, and positions than I see now. Most of America is in agreement - President Bush is the worst president this century. See, you just have to pay attention to what he says and what he does. President Bush has definitely united this country.

Saturday, July 28, 2007

Bush Derangement Syndrome

One of the favorite lines of the 20 something percent of Americans who still support President Bush like to spout out against anyone who dares to question the Dear Leader is that those who are questioning the Decider are suffering from Bush Derangement Syndrome, or BDS.

This is because nothing that has happened in the past six plus years are President Bush's fault. We need to remember this.

It wasn't his fault that No Child Left Behind ended up leaving hundreds of thousands of children behind, what with test scores being lower, discipline being worse, and fewer funds going to activities that could keep those children active, engaged, and interested, or counselors to identify the problems students are encountering outside the classroom.

It isn't his fault that God speaks to him and guides him in his decisionmaking. That should go to show the infallibility of his plans and decisions.

It wasn't his fault that the military "found" a tape of a guy who looked like Bin Laden in 2002 discussing Al Qaeda's role in 9-11 (though he does get some points, because it turned out whoever he told to make that tape was right, ultimately).

It wasn't his fault that Iraq didn't have WMDs, wasn't involved in 9-11, or most of the other justifications for liberating those people, so that they never have to worry about violence on their streets again.

It wasn't his fault that he staged a round table discussion with officers to look like it was a genuine discussion with troops about the goings on in Iraq.

It wasn't his fault Donald Rumsfeld criticized one of his troops for daring to ask about going to war ill-prepared with the now-famous "you go to war with the army you have, not the army you wish you had."

It wasn't his fault Terri Schiavo's husband did have the right to make the decision he did and the President couldn't stop it no matter what he told Congress.

It wasn't his fault he said you always err on the side of life, and then declined to send aid immediately in the midst of reports that there could be overtopping of the levees in New Orleans after Katrina. "You're doing a heckuva job, Brownie!"

It wasn't his fault the Iraqi soldiers didn't stand up.

It wasn't his fault the insurgency wasn't in its last throes, as Dick Cheney suggested.

It wasn't his fault the Mission Accomplished banner hung directly behind his head so everyone could see it. They should have known the banner referred to the ship, and not taken the implication that the banner referred to Iraq.

It wasn't his fault the tapes of Abu Graib got out.

It wasn't his fault people don't like the idea of their phone lines being wiretapped without a warrant, or that the pesky 4th amendment still exists.

It's not his fault that Alberto Gonzales went to John Ashcroft's bed while Ashcroft was heavily sedated to try to wrest an OK to go ahead with said wiretaps, then justify it by saying "there are no rules."

It's not his fault Libby was arrested, indicted, tried, and convicted with regard to the Valerie Plame affair. It's not his fault Libby's sentence was commuted - oh, wait. Yes it was.

It wasn't his fault the AG fired seven prosecutors for not going after democrats fast enough, or (gasp!) for daring to go after Republicans!

It wasn't his fault the presidents before him did not make quite as much use of the signing statements as he did. Seriously, didn't they realize that they could keep themselves from being held accountable to any kind of law by simply saying it doesn't apply to them when they sign it?

And, of course, it's not his fault that the democratic majority in Congress, elected as a result of America's disgust with the Republican Party, dare to choose their own path instead of blindly following the orders of the least popular president in 35 years.

Seriously, people. Give it up. You're making America weaker, and your traitorous behavior emboldens the enemy.

New Tactic from President Bush on TSP

Since he cannot go back to warrantless wiretaps without the Republican majority in Congress to shield the administration, President Bush has apparently decided to take a new approach to encroaching upon our civil liberties. Apparently, it's time to update FISA. From the AP, via Yahoo!: "President Bush wants Congress to modernize a law that governs how intelligence agencies monitor the communications of suspected terrorists. 'This law is badly out of date,' Bush said Saturday in his weekly radio address."

President Bush then explained why this law needed updating:
Bush noted that terrorists now use disposable cell phones and the Internet to communicate, recruit operatives, and plan attacks; such tools were not available when FISA passed nearly 30 years ago. He also cited a recently released intelligence estimate that concluded al-Qaida (sic) is using its growing strength in the Middle East to plot attacks on U.S. soil.
This is, of course, a serious issue. However, the President is notoriously silent as to HOW Al Qaeda managed to regain its strength, namely the misguided, poorly planned, underprepared, misrepresented invasion of Iraq, which has drained our resources in a police action. Remember, the Iraqi troops were being trained in 2004 and were almost ready to take over security of their nation. But, instead, 3 years later, instead of fighting the "entity" known as "terror," we are still trying to clean up the mess we made in Iraq. In other words, President Bush's actions made America weaker, and now he wants a revamped law that strips more of our civil liberties (an encroachment into our 4th amendment protections) to "fix" what he jacked up.

Let's see what, exactly is outdated about FISA. The law requires a FISA judge grant the warrant as long as the allegation is not deficient. This is not a probable cause requirement; it's a "are all the spaces filled in and are there no typos" requirement. In other words, as long as the agency requesting the warrant fills it out right, it cannot be denied. In the history of FISA, over 96% (and possibly higher, but I'm not going to do the calculation right now) of the applications have been approved. But that's not all. The law also allows for the intelligence agencies to collect intelligence through warrantless wiretaps even WITHOUT A WARRANT. From the language of the Act:
[W]hen the Attorney General reasonably determines that (1) an emergency situation exists with respect to the employment of electronic surveillance to obtain foreign intelligence information and before an order authorizing such surveillance can ... be obtained; he may authorize the emergency employment of electronic surveillance if [a properly authorized] judge ... is informed by the Attorney General or his designee ... and if an application in accordance with this subchapter is made to that judge as soon as practicable, but not more than 72 hours after the Attorney General authorizes such surveillance (emphasis mine).
In other words, surveillance can be done without a warrant for up to three days, before an application for a warrant which cannot be denied due to lack of probable cause (a 4th amendment requirement) must be asked for. Yet this is insufficient to fight the war on terror that took a backseat when the President sought to fight a war that need not have been fought, at least not when we did. Rubbish.

Friday, July 27, 2007

Fair and Balanced

The Apple had a fever this morning, so I couldn't take him to daycare. Fortunately, I am unemployed, and officially no longer studying for the bar exam, so I was able to stay home and keep an eye on him, give him tylenol, etc. We went to the Y this morning, because I needed to get back to working on getting back into some sort of shape. While I was on the elliptical machine (THE best exercise machine ever made), I listen to the various televisions that are on through my earphones. First, I listened to Fox News. The lady on Fox News used a segue similar to this:

"this may be the season of vacation for many of us, but one group that isn't taking vacations is Al Qaeda. A recent report shows that Al Qaeda may be preparing to make a summertime attack on the United States. All this going on while the debate continues on whether or not we should be allowed to wiretap terrorists."

In about 15 seconds, she spat out exactly what it is about Fox News that so many people don't like. Start with a veiled threat ("We're taking our guard down for the summer, but the bad guys aren't"), then explain how the threat applies to us ("They may be preparing to do something someday") and then tied it to a Neocon talking point, with a remote implication that those who oppose warrantless wiretaps support terrorists, even though the wiretaps are not being used exclusively to listen in on TERRORISTS, but whoever the CinC determines may be a terrorist, or may be supporting or connected to a terrorist, without, apparently even a reasonable suspicion standard, let alone probable cause.

This is not "fair and balanced" reporting; it is scare tactics with an agenda. And the worst part about it is that agenda has an end aimed at limited the liberties of all Americans in the name of security. That just scares me.

Invitation to July 2007 bar examinees

I know a bunch of you are going to find your way to this blog via google or whatever. I wonder, what did you think about the bar exam? Did you find it overdifficult? Did it seem easy? Somewhere in between? What were you thinking during the various sections? Did you cram during lunch?

I enjoy hearing what other people think. I look forward to hearing from all of you.

Thursday, July 26, 2007

Bar Exam

The Binjo Ditch has completed the July 2007 Texas Bar Exam.

I'd like to say I kicked the Bar's tail, but that's not entirely the case. There were parts of the exam where I felt very comfortable with the answers I was giving. However, there were parts where I'd read a fact pattern several times and still not have any of the words stick in my head.

The analogy of the bar with a marathon seems to be quite appropriate. After about 30 minutes on the multistate, you stop worrying about what the rule of law says, and instead look to see which answer seems most plausible. On many of the questions, you look at the answer choices and say "none of those are the right answer," and you're right. Then there are questions so obvious you look at it and think you must have gotten it wrong because it couldn't be that easy. Finally, there are questions that you look at and say "choice A is so obviously wrong. It doesn't even belong in the answer choices. Why is it there? Is this a trick question? Is that really the right answer? (expletive deleted)!"

The essay was not much different. I got done answering the morning session, looked at my first essay answer, couldn't figure out what the topic was, decided I had the best answer I could think of, finished up, then in the afternoon had two questions on the topic that I thought I'd answered with my first essay in the morning. That's not a good feeling.

Fortunately, you can miss an entire essay and still get enough points to pass the bar. Additionally, I didn't feel like I lost it. I did my best; I prepared the best I could, and that's about it. I think I did ok; but we won't know until November.


Saturday, July 21, 2007

Choosing my religion

I was raised Methodist. My parents were Methodist, and we went to a Methodist church every Sunday. I knew that we were Methodists, because that is where we went, and I knew that others weren't Methodist, because they went elsewhere.

As a child, I believed that everyone worshiped their own way - hence the numerous churches. I don't know if my parents told me or if I just assumed that people made their choices and that was all right with God because he listened to us all as we were all his children, but that's what I grew up believing. I don't know that I ever thought that those whose faith differed from mine were "wrong;" I just thought their faith was different.

Perhaps that was one of the intangible benefits of growing up Methodist - that you are encouraged (or at least not discouraged) from questioning faith, or asking about how things come to be. In my experiences since I left the nest, I have encountered scores of people of different faiths. Some of them believe similarly to me, others believe that the only way to worship God is to do so "their" way (i.e. they are right and I am wrong). It's interesting to me to be a part of an adversarial conversation where I don't believe the other to be "wrong" while they believe me to be.

I don't think I'm better than those who believe differently than I. I don't think they are better for thinking I'm wrong. After all these years, the one thing I am most convinced of is that God encourages us to find our own faith, and to adopt that manner of belief that best supports them.

Friday, July 20, 2007

Friday Night Lights

But not the football kind.

We're going late again tonight, to make sure that we are OK as far as this stuff goes. We're going to go over Criminal Procedure tonight, I believe (though it might be civil - I have to check the books again).

We have four days until the bar. I think everyone in the family is looking forward to coming out of this tunnel, though it would be nice to have something other than just light at the end of it. But we'll worry about that after next Thursday.

Wish us luck - we're almost there!

Thursday, July 19, 2007

Can't make these things up

This statement left me speechless. I wouldn't even know how to respond to it, it seems so... well, read for yourself:

Tom Delay: "I contend [abortion] affects you in immigration... If we had those 40 million children that were killed over the last 30 years, we wouldn't need the illegal immigrants to fill the jobs that they are doing today. Think about it."

Wednesday, July 18, 2007

Wednesday is Haiku Day

One Week to study
Before the big test of tests
Then sleep all week long.

Monday, July 16, 2007


I should be studying right now. I probably should be looking up Guardianships, since I didn't get to that last night.

Instead, I have spent the better part of the last 90 minutes dealing with an Apple that came home from daycare this evening with headlice.

Why is there a bullet in my leg?

Click here for Veterans' discussions about Iraq.

Saturday, July 14, 2007

Not Insomnia, Yet

It's Saturday night.

I spent the morning trying to learn Texas Real Property, which, to paraphrase my Evidence professor, is like trying to nail Jell-O to the wall.

Then I take the kids to the Y with the wife after the Apple takes a nap. We get done there, buy some dinner (Chinese at Empress Chinese on Long Point - try it, good stuff, good price), get home and eat with the family, all the while trying to not yell at my children because - and follow me closely here - they were acting like children.

After dinner, I had parenting I could have done. I had laundry I could have done. I had dishes I could have done. Most importantly, I had studying I SHOULD have done. Did I do any of that? No. I went to my room, turned on Scrubs, and proceeded to watch the rest of Season 3 on DVD. The whole time I was watching it, I knew I should be getting up, but I couldn't.

I froze.

I didn't leave the room until about 20 minutes ago to see if the Tooth Fairy had left a Susan B. Anthony dollar for the Princess, who lost her first tooth today, and to get myself some water.

I'm rather upset with myself right now. I can justify absentee parenting when I'm studying, and I can justify not studying when I'm parenting. But I did neither. I sat in a bed, in a room, while my wife took care of everything else. She doesn't deserve that. I need to make use of the time she's giving me to study, so that I can get my 675. Scrubs won't help that.

The funny thing is, I couldn't even really enjoy the show, because I knew I was wasting time, and that was 4 hours of studying I'm not going to get back. I promised myself yesterday I was going to take it light today, but I should have done more than just 4 hours of Real Property essays.

But, it's too late to undo that now. Tomorrow, back to the grind; estates and guardianships, Con Law, and Crim Pro, and Texas Civil Procedure. Wish us luck.

Friday, July 13, 2007


It's after midnight. I started the day at 6, getting up with my wife, getting the kids dressed, in their swimming suits, teeth brushed, hair combed, and out the door to daycare. Then I came back home, kissed my wife goodbye, hopped in the shower, got myself clean and shaved, complete with razor burn, dressed and out the door.

Got to school at 9. Did 40 questions - 20 Tort, 20 Contracts - we got 33 out of 40 right, though I missed about 3 more because they were questions my study partner knew that I didn't. Then we ate lunch and my study partner, Aaron, another friend, Debra, and I started up on Business Associations. I know jack about Corporations, other than you have to give 3 days notice for an organizational meeting after you form the corporation by filing with the Secretary of State. I know a bit more about agency and partnership; I just hope it's enough for the Bar. After 4 hours of studying that, we took a break so Aaron and Debra could have some Starbuck's, while I sort of stared into space for a bit, to let the previous several hours of essays and outlining soak in. Then it was back to school, where Aaron and I got to study Texas Criminal Procedure and Evidence by going over last Spring's MPT (Multistate Practice Exam). We finished up around 8, at which time I got back in my car and drove home, where the wife had gotten the children showered (they had splash day at daycare, so they really needed a bath), but none of them were in bed yet, because they have this thing where if one of them is still awake, then the other two must also still be awake, and they can't fall asleep until the other two are asleep. So I help the wife get the kids' teeth brushed and shuffle everyone off to bed.

Now I go downstairs to check my e-mail and just kind of enjoy the silence (and eat dinner - bbq = good). The wife comes down with me, which I'm thankful for, because I needed some non-study company (anyone who has ever been married and studied for the bar knows what I mean). Then we went back upstairs to watch my birthday present (Scrubs, season 3). We watched a couple episodes then tried to go to sleep. A short time later, it's midnight and I'm still wide awake thinking about all the stuff I still have to learn to take the bar and what we need to go over tomorrow and then what we're going to cover on Sunday when we do a full day again instead of the abbreviated day we're going to take tomorrow.

It's not that I don't think I can do this; in fact it's the opposite - I know I can do it if I just work a little harder. It's just a question of getting myself to focus enough to do that little bit harder. It also means that I have to ask my family to be that little bit more patient with this for that little bit longer, which makes it more difficult on everyone involved. Then I top everything off by being up at midnight thinking about all the things I have to worry about and the thing my wife worries about and the things that worry and stress my children and, well, you get the idea.

I've never encountered anything as mentally taxing as the Bar. But I've never felt like I was more ready to do what it takes to ensure that I pass something as I am with the Bar.

I just need to find a way to control my stress and my temper and focus on getting the knowledge down. And getting myself some sleep.


From Gramma's blog, I found out that I'm:

Which HP Kid Are You?

Thursday, July 12, 2007

Random Trivia

Moose are very nearsighted.

Wednesday, July 11, 2007

If only...

United States intelligence indicates that Al Qaeda is has rebuilt to an operating capability it has not had since just before the 9-11 attacks. The intelligence report says that Al Qaeda has been gathering strength along the Afghanistan-Pakistan border.

It's tragic. If only there was some way we could have had more forces available to fight this war on terror. If only we could take several hundred thousand soldiers from one nation and use them to fight a war declared by our Commander-in-Chief.

But, we fight with the army we have, not the army we wish we had, to paraphrase Donald Rumsfeld. Of course, that seems somehow less effective a defense when the army we had was taken away from our total strength to fight in a war that needn't be fought at the time. A war that now has the administration referring to every act of insurrection against our "liberating" forces as Al Qaeda - which, incidentally, is the organization now as strong as it was in 2001, according to our own Department of Defense.

Fortunately, Al Qaeda's days are numbered. We were told two years ago that the insurrection was in its last throes, so they should be throwing in the towel, soon. We just have to be patient, and not set any arbitrary dates for defeat. Then we can finish what we started in Afghanistan, and then Osama Bin Laden better watch out!


I was tagged. I was actually tagged a couple weeks ago by Bookworm, but forgot due to my copious studying. I then had my mild panic attack the other day and got tagged again by Jae. Since I'm trying to stave off going back to study some more (8 hours of going over a multiple choice test, woohoo!), I figured I'd take a moment to answer:

The rules are simple…Each player lists 8 facts/habits about themselves. The rules of the game are posted at the beginning before those facts/habits are listed. At the end of the post, the player then tags 8 people and posts their names, then goes to their blogs and leaves them a comment, letting them know that they have been tagged and asking them to read your blog.

So, here goes:

1. Thing - My wife and I met in 1987 on my third day in the Mann Jr. High Advanced Studies Program - ASP. She was in 9th grade; I in 7th, and our teacher, Mr. Shelton, assigned us as writing partners. 14 years later, we got married - my wife and I, not Mr. Shelton and me.

2. Thing - I drink Coca-Cola. A lot. Much more than I should. At least once a year I try to quit, and succeed for a day, maybe two. I think the most I have gone in the last 10 years was a week. I also refuse to drink Pepsi. If I'm at a restaurant that serves Pepsi, I will have root beer.

3. Thing - I am a veteran. I received a medal for my service during Operation Allied Force. This is significant to me, because I feel like that's where I really did serve my country.

4. Habit - I'm a nail-biter. I have been my whole life. It's chronic, and gets worse when I'm stressed, which is probably why I have no nails now.

5. Habit - I'm superstitious when it comes to sports. When I played softball/baseball, I wouldn't walk on the chalk in the basepaths. When I play tennis, if I have a very strong serve, I will repeat everything I did for that serve, including position, until I don't serve well (often, the next serve - I'm not a good tennis player). When I bowl, if I get a mark, I won't look at the scoreboard until I don't have a mark. If I get a strike, I will also return to my previous seat and sit in the exact same position and not move until my next turn - if I get another strike, then I will repeat that, until such time as I don't get a strike.

6. Thing - I speak Korean "fluently." I put the fluently in quotes, because even when I was "fluent" in Korean, I had difficulty carrying on conversations that went beyond normal chit-chat. I still believe that I could pick it back up pretty quickly if I really wanted to, being that it's the vocabulary I've lost, not the rules of grammar.

7. Thing - My birthday has something in common with a convenience store chain.

8. Habit - Before taking a test, I drink a bottle of orange juice. When I was in Physical Science in 9th grade, we were studying the scientific theory, and the example in the book used orange juice, and the results of the testing showed that people who drink OJ on the day of a test scored 2 to 3 points higher than those who didn't. Now it's become a superstition.

Now I'm off to study some more. I've not included the links of those I'm going to tag, and I won't tag 8, but, for those of you who are interested, go ahead.

My taggees are: Mom, Cassie, Kir, Nuje, Just Wondering, and RHM (because I know you aren't doing anything important right now - j/k)

Monday, July 09, 2007


I'm starting to stress a little. We did the PMBR simulated MBE today, and I got 100 right. When I took the BarBri simulated MBE 2 weeks ago, I got 101 - I'm going backwards when I should be improving.

Perhaps the exam was more difficult, but still, I think I should be doing better considering the amount of review I've done...

I'm stressed again.

Sunday, July 08, 2007

Fair and Balanced

I was watching some political talking heads program on Fox this morning. The show itself was all right, I didn't it really slanted right as far as many think, except for one part. One guy, in discussing the commutation of the Libby sentence, in the same breath, connected it with the terrorist attacks in London and suggested a justification for the warrantless wiretaps, inviting a debate.

I have a piece to say on that issue, being, 1. the Fourth Amendment still exists, 2. there is a legitimate means for the Executive to obtain warrants with little to no probable cause (indeed the FISA courts are, by law, not allowed to gauge the substance of the FISA warrant applications, rather can only check to see if there are no procedural irregularities), and 3. the President has yet to show that using FISA, which allows for warrants AFTER THE FACT is unduly burdensome to such a point that it would justify violating the Supreme Law of the Land, other than to say "trust us."

I'm sorry, but the President, has burned through all his trust; there needs to be some substance to support it. Referring to all acts of insurgency as "Al Qaeda" without any evidence connecting them to Al Qaeda is not the way to do it. The attacks in London are evidence that wiretapping can be used to limit potential threats, but it does not suggest that I need to forfeit my right to be free from unreasonable governmental intrusion. And to the guy on Fox (I don't check any of their names), if you are so sold on winning the war on terror, enlist. Do your part. Don't tell me what rights I need to give up or defend against having stripped from me.

Sorry, I'm tired and grumpy.


As I study more, I need more sleep.

We've been reviewing wills today, though we have yet to do any essays for Wills.

In Texas, holographic wills are recognized under certain conditions. Additionally nuncupative wills are recognized for limited purposes, but not for real property. For Real Property, a person may have a proxy signature, though, if the circumstances allow it.

Saturday, July 07, 2007


I took a break from studying today after doing 50 Torts questions (35/50, so I'm right on pace). We decided to take in a movie, so the wife and I took the kids to see Ratatouille. The Boy and the princess have both been to movies before, so I more or less knew what to expect from them - The Boy, being 8, knows how to sit through a movie, while the Princess does well for a while but gets a little antsy near the 2/3 mark (though not today, she was very good). But the Apple had never been before, so I was a little concerned about how well he'd do.

As luck would have it, the movie was nearly sold out, and the only place we could find four seats together were in the third row from the front (except for the front row, which is not happening). This did indeed turn out to be a good thing, because there, the screen is so big, especially to little kid eyes, that the Apple was completely mesmerized. Throw in a tub of popcorn the size of his torso and costing about a quarter of the Gross National Product of Belize, and you have a happy kid.

The movie was very good. I will stop short of calling it great, because while I was thoroughly entertained and the story progressed well (it's evidence that deliberate pacing is not completely dead in Hollywood), there were a couple things that seemed less... "likely." Still, it was the first movie I've seen this year that I thought was worth paying admission for, and the kids really liked it - the Princess's favorite part was the cartoon before the feature, which was quite funny as well. The Apple loved "the movie!" And The Boy liked when the people saw the rats.

Very Good, not Superb, but right up there with Pixar's other offerings. 8/10

Bar Reviewing, Part III

We are doing Torts questions today. After one of the answers, the explanation for why that was the right answer and the others were wrong came up on the screen. One of the wrong answers mentioned Palsgraf. I remember reading Palsgraf in law school, but I didn't remember the case at all. Go figure - I forgot a case I read 3 years ago.

BTW, Palsgraf deals with the limits of negligence. But I'm studying so I won't go into any more detail.

Saturday Morning

I woke up to The Boy's alarm at 6. He set the snooze, twice, so I got to hear the alarm three times total. Yay.

The princess came in to show us that she got all dressed and ready and aren't we proud of her? Of course, but we'd be even more proud if she did this on school days vice Saturday.

The Apple comes in next telling me I need to get up (to which the wife laughs quietly). He needs to "munch some popcorn! Come on, daddy!" He then proceeds to grab me a shirt and shorts so I can go downstairs with him.

I get downstairs, make breakfast for the apple while the other two kids are taking turns on the DS. It's almost seven now. If it were a weekday, we'd be on schedule for daycare departure, which for whatever reason is a struggle to do on weekdays.

Then I had to clean up the cat poo on the landing, and change the litter box. So much fun. Next were the dishes, which I washed with much aplomb, including the coffee pot, so that I could make coffee for my dear spouse who slept in. She deserves it, inasmuch as I'm going to be studying for the bar yet again.

Bar study is not as much fun as it sounds. I'll go over the test after the exam.

Time to get back to work.

Friday, July 06, 2007

Crim Law Today

50 questions on Crim Law - I'm shooting for 35 right. Cross your fingers - here we go!

Thursday, July 05, 2007


Why did I sign up to take the bar?

Frustrating day.

Bar Reviewing, Part II

I'm frustrated.

We went through some K questions earlier - We hit about 60%, but I think we learned a bit from what we missed.

Then we started going over Secured Transactions and Commercial Paper and UCC.

I got the Secured Transactions questions right, did OK on the UCC, but completely missed the answers for commercial paper, which is the class I actually took. I cannot for the life of me remember covering indorser's ks at all. I did do all right with the presentment warranty, though I struggled with the articulation (I hope that will come with practice).

One day half done. 19 to go.

Wednesday, July 04, 2007

On Commuting Scooter Libby's Prison Sentence

I've gone to several blogs over the past several days that have addressed President Bush's handling of the Scooter Libby sentence. What I've noticed, mostly from anonymous commentators, because the anonymous usually are the loudest and most ignorant, wishing to spew bile without anyone knowing who they are, is that there are a couple basic arguments that are going through the system in defense of the President.

First - "The President has absolute power to grant pardons." Yes. That is true. Under Article II, Section 2, Clause 1, the President "shall have Power to grant Reprieves and Pardons for Offenses against the United States, except in cases of impeachment." However, Libby was not pardoned. His prison sentence was commuted. To clarify that he was not pardoned, the president himself has said that he has not ruled out pardoning Libby at a later time. This means, necessarily, that President Bush did not use his Pardoning power. Perhaps is granted a reprieve, but that seems to be more a matter of semantics, and there seems to still be a potentially legitimate question as to the Constitutionality of the President's act, though most people also seem to agree that it is within his power.

Second - "Clinton granted 450 pardons" aka the Clinton did it too defense. I feel it would be remiss to let this defense go without noting that this administration rode into Washington under the premise that it would "restore honor to the White House," that Bush would be a different President, a better President, than Clinton was. It boggles my mind how on the one hand, the President can express a desire to be better than his predecessor while on the other, his supporters insist that people should not criticize his actions because "Clinton did it, too." It rings hollow, and does not address the fact that President Bush is a poor President.

Third - "Congress's approval ratings are worse than the President's. They should just shut up." This is apparently true, according to recent polls. But what it fails to mention is that Congress' approval ratings are as low as they are because, in the minds of many Americans, Congress has not done enough to pull in the reins on President Bush, and they view this Congress as weak in the face of the President. This isn't a dislike of the "Democrat Congress," it's a dislike of the "Do nothing to stop an unpopular President and an unpopular war-stonewalling Congress." Ultimately, the digust goes back to the President.

Perhaps the act of commuting Libby's sentence would not be so difficult to swallow on the premise of the President's explanation if he had used his authority and discretion a little more prior to now. According to the internet research I've done (admittedly cursory), while he was Governor of Texas, President Bush pardoned 19 people, six of whom proved their innocence, something Libby didn't do. He has pardoned 113 as president, as of March 11 2007. All the while, the president has expressed as his rationale the importance of the rule of law and the decisions reached by the people. That is what makes the pre-incarceration sentencing of Libby all the more bizarre and seemingly hypocritical, and reeks of cronyism.

President Bush isn't the first president to be unpopular. He's also not the first president to engage in apparent (or outright) cronyism. That said, it doesn't make it right, and it doesn't do anything but preserve a few popularity points from his base. But, when you're near the bottom, you do what you must to keep from hitting it, regardless of how it looks.

Independence Day, 2007

When in the Course of human events, it becomes necessary for one people to dissolve the political bands which have connected them with another, and to assume among the powers of the earth, the separate and equal station to which the Laws of Nature and of Nature's God entitle them, a decent respect to the opinions of mankind requires that they should declare the causes which impel them to the separation.

We hold these truths to be self-evident, that all men are created equal, that they are endowed by their Creator with certain unalienable Rights, that among these are Life, Liberty and the pursuit of Happiness. --That to secure these rights, Governments are instituted among Men, deriving their just powers from the consent of the governed, -- That whenever any Form of Government becomes destructive to these ends, it is the Right of the People to alter or to abolish it, and to institute new Government, laying its foundation on such principles and organizing its powers in such form, as to them shall seem most likely to effect their Safety and Happiness. Prudence, indeed, will dictate that Governments long established should not be changed for light and transient causes; and accordingly all experience hath shewn, that mankind are more disposed to suffer, while evils are sufferable, than to right themselves by abolishing the forms to which they are accustomed. But when a long train of abuses and usurpations, pursuing invariable the same Object evinces a design to reduce them under absolute Despotism, it is their right, it is their duty, to throw off such Government, and to provide new Guards for their future security. -Such has been the patient sufferance of these Colonies; and such is now the necessity which constrains them to alter their former Systems of Government. The history of the present King of Great Britain is a history of repeated injuries and usurpations, all having in direct object the establishment of an absolute Tyranny over these States. To prove this, let Facts be submitted to a candid world.

Tuesday, July 03, 2007

Random Trivia

More shoplifters are arrested on Wednesdays in January than any other time of the year.

Monday, July 02, 2007

"I respect the jury's verdict"

That's what the Decider said. Then he said, "But I have concluded that the prison sentence given to Mr. Libby is excessive. Therefore, I am commuting the portion of Mr. Libby's sentence that required him to spend thirty months in prison."

Let's rephrase that. What the President said, in essence, is "While I know that the Jury found the defendant guilty, I don't think he should go to prison, because he's my VP's former aide. But, since I'm going to get too much backlash if I pardon him, I'm just going to see to it that he doesn't go to jail. In other words, he's not going to be fully punished for breaking the law."

So, it's easy to see that he respects the jury's decision, so much so that he's going to reverse part their decision. Now, he's not getting off scot-free. He does still have probation, and a $250,000 fine. And let's not forget the damage to his reputation, and professional work in the legal community (why not keep him off the bar altogether?) But, the meat of the punishment is the prison sentence, and to suggest otherwise is nothing short of blowing smoke. What this act by the President does, in essence, is show that he feels his administration is not subject to the checks and balances provided for by the Constitution, and that the People have no say in how his office is governed. "I respect their decision. I considered their decision. They are wrong. Only I know the right punishment." The Decider, indeed. By the people, for the people be damned, this is his show, and he wants to make sure EVERYONE knows it. I for one am disgusted at this. Shame on President Bush.

CROSS POST: Check out Just Wondering's post on Vim and Vinegar - she has another view on this, and is equally unhappy with the result.