Sunday, May 31, 2009

And We're Back!

It's been a fun weekend. Six Flags Fiesta Texas was a whole lot of fun for the whole family. We went ahead and bought the Flash Passes - completely worth the investment. Rather than waiting 50 minutes for one adult to take 1-2 of the children on a ride, they got to go on a ride immediately while the smallest one or two and the other adult got to go on a more child-size ride. We ended up getting about 20 rides plus at least 90 minutes in the water park - we would have gotten far less had we not done that, if only because of the lines.

For breakfast yesterday, we met up with one of my coworkers who is now distance working from San Antonio. We ate at Las Palapas, which was an outstanding breakfast (really good food and a terrific price - 9 people for under $50). We then went and played for a good 7 hours before finding our way to IHOP for dinner.

This morning, we met Red Hot Mamma and Photog and Mrs. Photog at Mi Tierra for another Mexican Breakfast. Another outstanding meal with terrific company. We left tired but happy.

On the way back was the inevitable stop at Buc-ee's for jerky and fudge. If you've not had Buc-ee's fudge, then you're missing out.

Other than that, it was a rather nondescript ride home, the kids didn't drive me insane, and the wife didn't get mad at my faux road rage.

Friday, May 29, 2009


One more day of work, then we drive to San Antonio where tomorrow the kids, the wife, the Photogs and I will enjoy a thrilling day at Six Flags Fiesta Texas!

Yeah, you're jealous.

Thursday, May 28, 2009

Yesterday's News

North Korea has been shouting from their little corner of the world the last few days, screaming "look at me! I'm relevant!"

They've tested some rockets, and according to some are "testing the resolve" of President Obama.

I think this is inaccurate. I think, rather, they see an opportunity - a country devastated by the previous administration - out of money, struggling banking and automobile industries that require government assistance to keep from sinking the entire country, a tar pit in Iraq where we never should have gone in in the first place (even though we did have the right), Af-Pak teetering on the brink, and a minority party who seems to be of the position that they're going to oppose anything that the President offers simply because he's the one proposing it - and they're going to see what leverage they can squeak out of the situation.

I think the best option is to open discussions with the other countries in the region - China, Russia, South Korea, and Japan, and come to a conclusion on how to handle North Korea from a united front - this would alienate North Korea, inasmuch as China doesn't want their ugly nephew with nukes or getting all belligerent, as it would give cause to re-arm Japan, and the leverage could reverse itself.

The Chonger isn't stupid - he can see an opportunity when it presents itself - let's just hope we don't end up giving him what he's looking for.

Wednesday, May 27, 2009

Refreshing in its Idiocy

At least the fringe (read "controlling portion of the") Republicans are not shy about opposing anything Obama. Rush Limbaugh has gone on record already as referring to Obama AND his nominee Judge Sotomayor as "reverse racists."

Part of the "basis" for this assertion is the following sentence said by Judge Sotomayor: "I would hope that a wise Latina woman with the richness of her experiences would more often than not reach a better conclusion than a white male who hasn't lived that life." The problem with using this as the launchpad is that this is one sentence in a speech, buried in the middle and completely out of context. If you read the entire speech (available here), you see that the overall message of the speech is precisely the opposite of what the Limbaugh Republicans would have you believe. In fact, she maintains that while she is aware of her limitations (a message Rush would be better served by hearing), she hopes that she will use her experiences and life story judiciously: "Hence, one must accept the proposition that a difference there will be by the presence of women and people of color on the bench. Personal experiences affect the facts that judges choose to see. My hope is that I will take the good from my experiences and extrapolate them further into areas with which I am unfamiliar. I simply do not know exactly what that difference will be in my judging. But I accept there will be some based on my gender and my Latina heritage." Finally: "I can and do aspire to be greater than the sum total of my experiences but I accept my limitations. I willingly accept that we who judge must not deny the differences resulting from experience and heritage but attempt, as the Supreme Court suggests, continuously to judge when those opinions, sympathies and prejudices are appropriate."

Another question involves her apparent position on the New Haven affirmative action case. In this case, a white firefighter sued after the results of a promotion examination produced an overwhelming majority of caucasian promotions. The city rejected these results in order to comply with the Civil Rights Act, yet to comply with this law rendered the city vulnerable to this lawsuit, which of course, is now a Right rallying cry as well "Affirmative Action judge!" Never mind that she wrote no opinion on this case, and the rejection was en banc.

Rather than take a couple Republican Talk Show cherry picked examples, it's probably more prudent to look at a compilation of Judge Sotomayor's time on the bench, which you can find at SCOTUS blog.

There could be legitimate reasons to oppose the appointment of Judge Sotomayor to the bench, but nothing that's been run up the flagpole yet by the talking heads on the right. Perhaps that's not such a bad thing.

Pot, Meet Kettle

John Yoo - you remember him - the Justice Department crony who said that if the President wants to, he can crush the testicles of someone's child if he needs to torture, whose legal memos advocating violation of the Supreme Law of the Land and international law were so awful that they sparked an internal investigation, has decided to attack the nomination of Judge Sotomayor on grounds of excellence.

The guy must have some balls - if only the ones of the children he advocated the presidential authority to crush.

So, It's Sotomayor

Sonia Sotomayor was nominated by President Obama for the Supreme Court vacancy being created by Justice Souter's retirement. Already there are rumblings about her being an activist justice.

Just this morning as I got up to get ready for work I saw a quote from an irate law student at my alma mater on the news complaining that justices shouldn't be nominated to fill some quota, or something like that. There have been others who have complained about her activist tendencies - not that anyone from Texas has actually looked into her opinions to know what they're talking about, they're just going to oppose her because she was nominated by Obama - and appointed to the Appeals Court by Clinton. They conveniently ignore the fact that she was first appointed to the bench by the good President Bush, or that she has sided with the "conservatives" more often than not. Rather they take a couple talking points that have been used by opponents of anything Obama that use a couple quotes to try to paint her as an "activist."

This, of course, is disingenuous, but that doesn't matter, because right now it's not about qualifications (Yale undergrad and Yale law school - not to mention Yale Law Review, DA's office in NY, more time as a Judge than any nominee in the last 70 years), but more about being against anything President Obama favors. But that's all right, because as long as they whine, they're "relevant."

Monday, May 25, 2009

Memorial Day

This is Memorial Day - one day that we pause and ponder the memory of those who served our nation, who fought for our country's rights, for the rights of the citizens and for liberty around the globe. Thank you, to those who served with, before, and after me. And particularly, take a moment to thank those who gave of their lives.

Sunday, May 24, 2009

Random Trivia

In Madagascar, pregnant women are prohibited from eating eels, and are prohibited from wearing hats. Pregnant men can eat all the eels he wants while wearing whatever had pleases him.

Saturday, May 23, 2009

When I Join, Can I Get a T-Shirt?

That says "why do you hate my Country?" That way I can invite so many others to my party, as Mark Levin did with this exchange I first read at New Majority.

But the Republicans don't have an image problem, they just are being maligned by the MSM.

Rumblings of Discontent

That's what I felt in my stomach after reading summaries of President Obama's speech (I was at work and didn't get to actually hear it), including what Hilzoy wrote at Obsidian Wings. What troubles me the most is his statement that he will not release those who he feels are threats to America, even if we can't convict them in court or a military tribunal. He's essentially embraced the indefinite detention policies that helped turn public opinion against President Bush.

I disagree with the notion that we should not let people go who we cannot convict. I understand that there are some individuals who are indeed threats to America and who would likely attempt to harm America if released and given the opportunity and that we cannot convict them because the evidence against them is tainted through Bush Administration era torture or other means. That being said, I find the answer that "the state can't convict them, but the state's decided that they are dangerous, so the state is going to keep them imprisoned for as long as they want for the state's protection" to be a very dangerous proposition.

This is not what free countries do. It's what tyrannies, regimes, and totalitarian governments do. The state fucked up. The state needs to own that fuck up and accept responsibility for whatever damage comes from it, and they'd better 1: not make those mistakes again and 2: do their damnedest to keep any residual damage from their fuck up happen to the citizens - and do so within the laws of our nation and the international community.

Memorial Day Weekend

We had kicked around the idea of going up to Brenham to have some ice cream at the Blue Bell factory, but perhaps that's a bit much of a drive with so many people, particularly in light of the fact that we're driving to San Antonio next weekend.

I'd also thought briefly about driving up to Dallas so that Gramma could see the School Book Repository, the grassy knoll, and Medieval Times, but the commute issue still exists.

Instead, I think we'll enjoy some jambalaya tonight, something light tomorrow, and then a nice burger and hot dog grill on Monday. I've not had time to get to the Korean Market to get my bulgoki fixins, so we might miss out on that this trip. More's the pity.

Friday, May 22, 2009

"Absolutely Torture"

And he didn't even last 30 seconds in the one instance he was waterboarded. Imagine going through this involuntarily 183 times. You'll give the location of Jimmy Hoffa whether you know it or not.

Thursday, May 21, 2009

Moving Goalposts

Lest people forget, as was found in Boumediene v. Bush, the detainees were not sent to Guantanamo Bay because of concerns for the security of the United States (as Cheney and his apologists seem to be suggesting, with the new palaver that we can't now move them to the US because we can't have "terrorists running around" - you know, like they'd be dropped off at the mall, or something), but rather because the Bush Administration believed that they would not be subject to the United States Constitution if held there rather than stateside. This point cannot be overlooked, though that's what the Republicans and Harry Reid would have you do for the sake of convenience in the current talking points.

Monday, May 18, 2009

Obama's Done it Again!

He's done what so many Republicans have wanted to do since Lewinsky first hit the stage. He's getting Bill out of the country!

The guy has a knack, that's for sure.

I Hate CSI Miami

Season finale!

What a stupid jail break to start the episode. Seriously. Russian prisoner is poisoned, so they need to rush him to the hospital - why not the infirmary to try to stabilize him first? Fortunately, El Poseur shows up to take the last rites of the prison guard who unbound Russian prisoner before prison guard passes.

Let me just say I love how their vehicle identifying software says "Chevy" instead of Chevrolet.

Wow, the rest of the episode is seriously too stupid for even my ranty recaps.

Sunday, May 17, 2009


After about a month of blogging with fewer than 10 comments, I'm starting to think perhaps it's time to hang up the spurs. I'm running short of commentary that isn't related to pushing for a truth commission, and I think perhaps it's time to put my feet up and take a breath.

Work's been heavy, the kids have lives, and the wife could use more attention, too.

Saturday, May 16, 2009

Necessary FIrst Steps

I've been overseas before - I was stationed in Korea for a year and on the return trip spent about 4 hours on Okinawa (I don't know how much that qualifies as being "in" Okinawa, but I'm counting it).

However, that all took place while I was in the military and I had my military ID to get me from place to place. Now that I've been out of law school for a while, I figured it's probably time to get myself a passport on the off chance my wife and I decide to do some traveling.

I was impressed at how quickly I got through the process at the Post Office. The picture's not going to be attractive, but it was done and I was out of the office in less than 15 minutes - there was almost no line at the downtown post office - totally worth the trip.

Now, it's going to be at least a month before I get the passport back, and I don't expect I'll be taking a vacation this year, but, who knows? The summer could show some promise... Maybe I can take my wife on a long weekend trip to Macchu Picchu, or a week in London, or a quick Caribbean Cruise... I REALLY need a vacation.

Cutting the Grass

I swear, someone is putting nuclear powered manure on my lawn in the back yard. That grass is growing like it's going out of style. We've not had any rain this week, I cut it last week, and it's longer than it was before I cut it last week.

Friday, May 15, 2009

Of COURSE They did!

And I'd be willing to bet that if we handcuffed him from the ceiling, denied him sleep for 11 or so days, subjected him to stress positions, played games with the temperature to bring him to the brink of hypothermia, wrapped a towel around his head and slammed him into some plywood walls a few times, then strapped him to a board, placed a towel over his head, and poured water over it so he couldn't breathe, Dick Cheney would admit that HE was the Al Qaeda-Iraq link.

That's what torture does - it gets an answer that the torturers want to hear, whether it's accurate or not (and it usually isn't). It's a means to an end. The torturers don't stop until they hear what they want. This is more than dehumanizing - it's wrong - more than wrong, it's illegal.

Thursday, May 14, 2009

Not Much

The Boy's working on a report on the Czech republic.

I'm working on proving fraud.

The wife's working harder than she probably should.

Tuesday, May 12, 2009

Just Keep Walking

I do enjoy Non-Sequitur. I sometimes wish I got a daily newspaper because I miss out on the comics (I read more than the comics, but can regularly get my information elsewhere, comics aren't on my internet reading list). At any rate, I thought this was particularly poignant given the current clime:

Pop Quiz Hot Shots

Obsidian Wings brings quotes of or relating to torture. Your mission? To figure out who said what.

The Logic

Texas lawmakers are currently moving towards a more restrictive child booster seat law. The law would require that all children through the age of 7 be restrained in booster seats in cars. Texas is currently one of 7 states that do not have at least this requirement (Texas requires kids be in booster seats until age 5).

Sunday, May 10, 2009

What He Said, Part II

This time the "he" is an editorialist at the Salt Lake Tribune. And what he said was: "Bybee's 46-page memo is a painstakingly detailed treatise on how to skirt the laws and treaties that bound previous administrations from engaging in interrogation techniques that ape the torture methods used by the communist Chinese government against captured U.S. GIs during the Korean War, and for which the U.S. and its allies prosecuted Japanese and Nazi interrogators following World War II."

There is plenty more good stuff in this editorial. I'm not in favor of immediate impeachment hearings, but I'm definitely in favor of disbarment.

Thursday, May 07, 2009

This Needs an Investigation!

A non-partisan, open-ended investigation with subpoena power. We need to know who was involved, both Republican (Bush, Cheney, Yoo, Gonzalez, Bybee, etc) and Democrat (Pelosi, it appears, and who knows who else). Complicity needs to be determined and criminal charges, if warranted, need to be filed! We need to show that we're better than this, even if we weren't always (btw, the soldiers in the Philippine-American war who waterboarded were court-martialled).

Wednesday, May 06, 2009


I've been working a lot recently. We have a lot of work to be done and, frankly, we can use the overtime. While it would be nice to see some of the fruits of the overtime, having lived on one salary with three children through law school means playing catch-up now.

Still, it's nice that we've gotten to get out and do a few things, here and there. But it's going to feel a lot nicer to not have the CC payment staring us in the face every month, too. It's halfway done, and hopefully will be completely gone by the end of the summer, or at least by Christmas. That's no small task, either way.

Monday, May 04, 2009

It Was Torture.

It was torture in 1902. It was torture in 1983. It was torture for the defendants at Nuremburg. It was torture when we hanged the Japanese for doing it. It was torture when it went into Cambodia's Torture museum. It was torture, and it is torture.

Unfortunately, we still have these Bush Administration fools out there saying it's not, even when they concede that it might be. (linked to The Moderate Voice).

Sunday, May 03, 2009

I'm Still Not Sure About This Process

I guess this is a plausible explanation. From the Moderate Voice:

In a ground-breaking move Thursday, the Texas Senate passed a bill approving new license plates that read “Choose Wife” — thus allowing Texans to publicly display their concern for high divorce rates in the state.

I'm sure the reason is to display concern for high divorce rates, and that's why it says "choose wife" instead of "choose to not get divorced." It couldn't POSSIBLY have any connotation with opposition to gay marriage now, would it? Of course, if they were forthcoming about that prospect, then it would meet with severe outrage. But come on, let's figure it out...

Friday, May 01, 2009

Look at These Bright Shiny Things!

Who cares that we have an administration that just left office who spent 8 years trampling on the Constitution, the Bill of Rights, and multiple treaties? Who cares if they ordered, then justified, the torture of prisoners? Who really gives a crap that warrantless wiretapping occurred in direct violation of the 4th Amendment and FISA? Does it really matter if the former President and his staff attempted to manufacture a connection between Al Qaeda and Iraq to garner support for an invasion that 1. didn't need to occur, and 2. didn't need added support to be ordered (yes funding it was a different matter, but President Bush had the authority to go in again)? Who does it hurt that at least 30 people have been disappeared by our previous administration? Who cares that we have a black spot on our nation that won't be cleared up for who-knows-how-long? Who cares that we had 8 years of increased spending and decreased revenues with recod increases of national debt during a period of growth, and those brain-dead supporters of the potential war-criminal office chose to bitch about the current administration by holding tea-parties on tax day for the previous administration's taxes?

We need a football playoff, or Congress is going to be REALLY pissed!

The Replacement

Justice Souter is reportedly retiring. If he does, in fact, retire, this would present President Obama with his first opportunity to fill a Court vacancy. I would also consider this a litmus test of sorts. President Obama is a Democrat, and Congress is majority Democrat with a near-filibuster-proof majority in Senate. In other words, it's going to be rather difficult to not get his selection approved - unless he chooses a Harriet Miers.

The test comes in the form of "what type of Justice does President Obama nominate?" Does he nominate a judge who is far left? Does he nominate one who is moderate? Does he nominate one who is conservative (don't laugh, Souter was a GHW Bush appointee)? I think it's going to be telling as to what President Obama's true political philosophy is.

My hope? That he continues to show his more moderate streak.