Friday, July 31, 2009

Worst of the Worst

Except when they're innocent. The Bush Administration was a pox. Read this Glenn Greenwald article. I can't summarize - too ticked.

Happy Birthday Enoch Eller

I don't have much today.

But I do have money again - yay payday.

Thursday, July 30, 2009

Gotta draft some Wills

I will be drafting at least 2, one medical power of attorney, and possibly 2 living wills.

Can't wait.

In other news, I'm about ready for a barbeque, y'all are invited.

To the "Birthers"

What proof is going to be sufficient? The birth certificate has been produced and reviewed by an independent panel. The State of Hawaii has gone on record affirming it as true and correct. The Supreme Court denied cert on a challenge...

My guess is there will never be sufficient proof for this particular brand of numbskullery. I think this is going to persist until he's out of office, and even then there will be whispers.

Get over it. There are several legitimate reasons to malign the president, such as his shameful embrace of Bush administration detention tactics that this trumped up tripe is a total timewaster.

Wednesday, July 29, 2009

Well-Known Liberal Bias

I have long wondered how there came to be this "well-known" liberal bias that I keep hearing spouted out as a talking point. Last I checked, Fox News, the Washington Post, and the New York Times were all part of the "MSM," not to mention "Meet the Press."

Glenn Greenwald did an outstanding job of covering this myth here.

My take on it is that several years ago some stories that some influential people on the right considered important were overlooked by the media because the majority of Americans didn't care (if people don't care, it's not newsworthy). They then decided that this was a product of "liberal bias." If it's not this, then it could be a product of Rush and his machine creating this environment of a split nation.

But what to do with all the favorable reporting of President Bush during his first 2 years in office (ignoring the dangerous situation he and his policies were creating), as well as all the negative reporting regarding President Clinton, President Obama, and other such situations? That's simple - you ignore it - and focus instead on piddly stories that mean little, if nothing, to bolster your claim. If you repeat a story often enough, it becomes true, apparently.

Tuesday, July 28, 2009

Pork Chops

We're having pork chops and Kraft dinner tonight.


Monday, July 27, 2009

Sarah Palin's Gone

Yet she couldn't resist taking one last swipe at the media that for whatever reason decided they couldn't love someone who ran on style but no substance. She criticized the media for attacking her family, though she's the one who put her family in question by foisting them as one of her qualifications for the office of the Vice Presidency.

Now while I think most of the real challenging to her qualifications came from bloggers and not the MSM, who for reasons known only to the GOP were not given press conference access or the ability to ask follow-up questions to the darling candidate, I think she reaped what she sowed, and had she wanted her family to stay out of the limelight, she easily could have done so (see Vice President Biden).

Saturday, July 25, 2009

A Train Wreck, the Unfortunately, Isn't Going Anywhere

Sarah Palin is gone from the Governor's office in Alaska, subject to several ethics complaints (note: not frivolous), and an academic/intellectual disinterest that seems dangerous in a politician.

But, she did give her own remarks yesterday, with no teleprompter, so she must be better than Obama!

Friday, July 24, 2009

Passing it Forward

Today I'm just the conduit, linking to what Glenn Greenwald wrote about the hypocrisy of the Obama administration on detainee treatment.

This was abhorrent under Bush, it's no less abhorrent under Obama.

Thursday, July 23, 2009

To All the July 2009 Texas Bar Exam completers

Congratulations on getting through the exam, and good luck on the results.

I offer this post as an open post for anyone coming in looking for results to the 2009 Texas State Bar Exam to write about their experience. Was it hard? Not as hard as you thought? Surprisingly easy? Did you get your rear handed to you? Did you knock it out of the park?

Enquiring minds want to know - besides, it's therapeutic to decompress.

Tuesday, July 21, 2009


There are few words out there less appealing to hear as a Plaintiff's lawyer than the accusation that something is "frivolous." It's what the Health Care lobby has paraded around for years to help cut down on malpractice suits (doctors have to charge a lot because insurance is high because of all the "frivolous" lawsuits), tort reform (insurance lobby?) (ambulance chasers waiting to file "frivolous" claims), etc.

The problem is that the term is so overused that people forget that it has meaning. Quit frankly, if a case has merit, it's not "frivolous," and although I would much prefer people work through their issues via other methods such as ADR or mediation, if a claim is enough to withstand summary judgment, then it's definitely NOT frivolous.

Why do we bring this up? Because one of the Darling of the Right Base's current talking points is this whole concept of her detractors wasting government money by filing "frivolous" ethics complaints against her. The problem is, they're not all frivolous, (source: Celtic Diva) in fact, several have merit, or were dismissed for procedural reasons. More to the point, it would appear that there's been a report that a recent ethics violation filing was found to to be "valid," (source: the Mudflats) which is most certainly not "frivolous." Of course, since she's already been found to have violated the ethics act, (source: Andrew Sullivan) it's hard to believe her anyway when she says that investigations into her alleged ethics violations, and then complains about it driving up taxpayer dollars (another lie - courtesy of the Mudflats again).

Yet in a recent Rasmussen poll, she was found to be only 4 points shy of President Obama, who's spent his first 6 months working to undo the damage from the last intellectually incurious governor the GOP raised on their banner as the best possible leader for the country. My question is, where do these people come from, and do they pay attention?

Now I'm not particularly fond of President Obama's approach to civil liberties, particularly with regard to the detainees, (source: Glenn Greenwald) but I don't believe for a moment that things would have been any better with "Bomb, bomb bomb, bomb, bomb, Iran," "The fundamentals of the economy are strong," reckless Senator McCain and the farce of a Vice Presidential candidate he selected.

We're All Egyptians Now?

I don't have a lot of time this morning, but I wanted to link to a post I found while reading at Andrew Sullivan's blog. This post hypothesizes that the Christian concept of heaven comes from Egyptian polytheism...

The blog is called the "Evolution of God." I've only read this post that I've linked to, but I do believe I will find my way back to this site. It's always interesting to read how the church has changed over the years, from once rejecting potatoes to its position on abortion, not that I expect these concepts on this blog, but anything explaining how our Christian belief system came to be what it is now can only be helpful.

Monday, July 20, 2009

But They Made a Pact!

Look, I'm all about teaching abstinence, and I'm even all for practicing it - I've been doing so since my wife told me I was, which pretty much coincided with the birth of our last child over 5 years ago...

But as Bristol Palin might say, it's not realistic to teach children to just say no. Interestingly enough, a Palin made a public statement that's backed by empirical evidence, in this case by the CDC.

Of course, anyone who's been paying attention probably already knew that.

When it comes to gun safety, you teach gun users how to do so safely. The same should be true with sexuality - you hope they don't have to use the knowledge and that the kids spend their time just practicing by themselves, but should they find themselves in a compromising position, they're prepared to handle the situation, as opposed to draining the state's resources on shots at the free clinic, hospital stays that are paid for by taxpayer dollars. Additionally, it would ostensibly help cut down on terminated pregnancies - something that seems to be very high on the priority list for the Abstinence-only crowd...

Sunday, July 19, 2009

I just think this is funny

It's Parody.

The Case Against Sotomayor?

So, Judge Sotomayor's confirmation hearings ended last week, and among the first things I heard from the Bush base was that she was unintelligent, an "activist," a "bigot," and unqualified for the job that was a foregone conclusion to be hers. What I didn't see in these posts, however, was an ounce of support for their conclusory statements.

As recently as yesterday on an open post on my good friend and fellow AF vet Gun Toting Liberal's site there were such conclusory statements:
As a person, Judge Sotomayor is a racist, a bigot and a liar, there is no way, besides blatant liberal hypocrisy, to excuse her statements of the last 20 years, let alone the way those statements exactly contradict the ones of the last twenty days. As a judge, she is mediocre at best and cowardly at worst, She has shown no exceptional abilities to explain why she should attain the highest level of her profession, besides a decidedly liberal bent.
If her personal opinions were voiced by anyone besides a “wise latino woman” that persons public service career would come to a very abrupt and publicly humiliating end. Schumer, Leahy et all would make sure of it.
To this, I posted a reply:
Links, and support please. Judge Sotomayor has a longer record than any nominee in the past generation, surely there are several cases that show her lack of exceptional abilities and decidedly liberal bent, and contradict the ABA’s rating of “Well qualified,” as well as her record of being rated (at a minimum) qualified over her tenure.
What I was looking for, and what I thought was fairly apparent from my comment, was some evidence supporting the claim that she was "mediocre at best and cowardly at worst," as those statements seem to need to stem from some empirical evidence. What I got in return was yet another conclusory statement:
If any conservative or moderate justice seated presently had ever once even mumbled anything remotely similar to what has basically been a mantra of Sotomayor, the liberals in congress and the media would have crucified them. The double standard that has been achieved here is stunning.
What's interesting about this comment is that it doesn't even come close to the subject on which I had asked for support - rather it reinforces (such as it is) the specious claim that Judge Sotomayor is a racist.

I attempted again to gather support for this position:
I never imagined GHWB would appoint anyone who was far left liberal to any judicial position. But again, I ask for the opinions that she wrote that establish her as a far left liberal as well as her reported lack of quality in her position, as well as explanations for those opinions demonstrating why they are liberal (or as others have suggested on other sites “activist”). Here, I’ll start the ball rolling by posting to another Obsidian Wings post on Sotomayor’s record, which in turn links to a Tom Goldstein SCOTUS Blog post on her record. His summary:

In sum, in an eleven-year career on the Second Circuit, Judge Sotomayor has participated in roughly 100 panel decisions involving questions of race and has disagreed with her colleagues in those cases (a fair measure of whether she is an outlier) a total of 4 times. Only one case (Gant) in that entire eleven years actually involved the question whether race discrimination may have occurred. (In another case (Pappas) she dissented to favor a white bigot.) She participated in two other panels rejecting district court rulings agreeing with race-based jury-selection claims. Given that record, it seems absurd to say that Judge Sotomayor allows race to infect her decisionmaking.

This record stands in stark contrast to the position that she is a racist or a bigot, though it does demonstrate she is of a different caliber than Justice Alito, who announced at the opening of his confirmation that he does use his ethnicity to help him form his opinions, a statement borne out in his concurring opinion in Ricci, arguably an activist decision based on empathy.

Here, as you see, I have produced not only evidence of Judge Sotomayor's record and the dearth of cases supporting a claim of racism or that her race would somehow influence her ruling based on the best evidence available - namely her record, and then proceeded to produce some evidence in controversion to the claim that the "liberals in congress and the media would have crucified" a Conservative appointee who made similar statements with the recent appointee of Justice Alito, who, one would assume, would have ample evidence of Media and Liberals "crucifying (interesting choice of words)" his statements about ethnicity affecting his decisionmaking. I don't recall a media frenzy about this when he went through the confirmation process, nor do I remember a huge media crucifiction of Justice Alito with his concurrance in the case linked above.

The response to this, supporting the categorical statements made above?

[I]t is your choice to ignore what she has repeatedly stated is her belief, the comment concerning her gender and ethnicity allowing her to render better decisions than others who do not share those same traits is not a one time, off- handed comment. It has been an oft repeated, ingrained belief, which happens to be bigoted and racist. My point being ... is that their (sic) exists a huge double standard in the Lib/ Demo leadership that is repugnantly hypocritical.
Again - note the complete lack of documented support for the position, rather a third iteration of the same talking points. This, of course, is how the Conservative base works - issue a conclusory statement that seems supportable by one or two statements taken out of context and then run on those - repeating them ad infinitum and then citing those others who repeat the same talking point to garner the appearance of greater support, thus leading the talking point to fester into a "fact."

Now I don't know - perhaps there is ample evidence of Judge Sotomayor acting as a racist/bigot and using said racism/bigotry to form her positions, but without actually seeing any of it - I cannot subscribe to such a position. Unfortunately, there are many out there incurious and partisan enough to take such a position and then dig in so deep that nothing can shake their "opinion." That said, I'm still open to empirical evidence demonstrating that Judge Sotomayor is what the wingnuts on the Right claim her to be.

Saturday, July 18, 2009

Saturday Evening Posting

We finally got some rain - of course it started about 2 minutes before I was going to put the burgers on the grill - but we got some much-needed rain today. I actually can't remember the last time we got measurable rain up here.

I'm so very tired. Work hit hard when I got back, and it's going to continue for the foreseeable future.

It's going to be an interesting couple of months.

Friday, July 17, 2009

Weekend Plans

Either Bulgoki or Harry Potter. Is the new Harry Potter movie any good?

Mountains Out of, Well, Nothing, Really

One of the talking points against the current health care plan, as I've heard it, is that the plan will make private health care illegal. Indeed, a very quick perusal on the blogs will show the flailing, wailing, and posturing. Not only that, but you can even find the language they are all up in arms about in the House version of the bill: "Except as provided in this paragraph, the individual health insurance issuer offering such coverage does not enroll any individual in such coverage if the first effective date of coverage is on or after the first day" of the year the legislation becomes law."

Yep, you look at the bill on page 16, and there it is, plain as day! In fact, so is the entire section: Sec. 102 A(1)(a):


    (a) Grandfathered Health Insurance Coverage Defined- Subject to the succeeding provisions of this section, for purposes of establishing acceptable coverage under this division, the term `grandfathered health insurance coverage' means individual health insurance coverage that is offered and in force and effect before the first day of Y1 if the following conditions are met:
        (A) IN GENERAL- Except as provided in this paragraph, the individual health insurance issuer offering such coverage does not enroll any individual in such coverage if the first effective date of coverage is on or after the first day of Y1.
If you read the entire section, you see that the language that has so many people up in arms is actually limiting a DEFINITION of what qualifies as Grandfathered Health Insurance - it does NOT make private health insurance illegal.

Hats off to Hilzoy of Obsidian Wings for going the extra step of actually looking at the bill that so many others (as she documents on her blog post here) clearly missed.

Thursday, July 16, 2009

Curiouser and Curiouser

What is it about Republicans that they want a judge who only rules according to the Rule of Law (a "strict constructionist"), yet then criticizes Sotomayor for doing so? And why do they chastise her for being referred to as having empathy (as Alito did during his confirmation), then try to lambaste her by parading the plaintiff in the recent reverse discrimination case and having him present his sympathetic fact situation?

One might suggest that Republicans are hypocrites. (and I focus on the Republicans because for 8 years during the Bush administration we heard about how important it was to be impartial, like an "umpire" calling balls and strikes, etc. by the talking heads of this very same party).

Monday, July 13, 2009

To Put it Bluntly

Dougj at Balloon Juice make a very sensible statement:

"I have a hard time wrapping my head around the fact that the same people who wanted to investigate Bill Clinton for an affair with an intern don’t want to investigate the Bush administration for torture and illegal surveillance."

So, let's hear the reasons.

The post linked above also notes: "MSNBC apologized for Wheeler’s choice of words. They didn’t apologize for Pat Buchanan’s comments about killing Levi Johnston."

Stay classy, Pat.

Sunday, July 12, 2009

Unclear on the Definition

Sarah Palin is apparently not done with politics. It seems she has decided to strike out on her own, campaigning for all those who share her views of politics - which one would assume means "real Americans," though she does claim that she's going to campaign for Democrats as well.

What I found interesting about the article linked above is John McCain's assessment: "I don't think she quit. I think she changed her priorities."

While some might claim there is room for semantics here, the fact is that she campaigned for, and was elected to, the governorship of Alaska. She made a commitment to serve out at least one term. On July 3, she made a rambling wreck of a press conference where she explained that she was leaving prior to the end of her term, though she never explained why. According to, what that means is that she is, in fact, quitting. Definition #3: "to give up or resign; let go; relinquish: He quit his claim to the throne. She quit her job."

So, either Senator McCain is unaware of the plain definition of quitting, or he is trying to help salvage his tattered reputation for having so recklessly chosen this farce of a politician as a candidate by attempting to manufacture a plausible explanation for her giving up on her state.

Saturday, July 11, 2009

7-11 is closing

It's not been a bad birthday at all. I got to sleep in until 8, I got to relax and play college football on the Wii, the spouse took the children out to the store and allowed me to go to the driving range for an hour or so. I even got to pretend that I knew how to drive a golf ball (I really should sign up for lessons).

I got home and found the children all home and excited - they got me the first season of Psych (really a rather entertaining show), and then we went out for dinner at Bluewater Grill with some very good seafood, though apparently I'm not much of a crayfish shucker...

Now I'm off to bed, where I will sleep a lot and wake up tomorrow enjoying my last day of rest before heading back to work.

Friday, July 10, 2009

Change of Plans

According to this article from Religion Clause Blogspot, the 9th Circuit Court of Appeals vacated an injunction (preliminary) that a federal district court in Washington state entered enjoining enforcement of the regulations requiring Washington pharmacists to fill all prescriptions, to include Plan B, even if doing so violates their religious beliefs. The Appeals Court applied the Rational Basis test in reaching its decision. For those unschooled in what that means, it means that the law is presumptively valid and the burden is on the challenger to show that there is not a legitimate state interest being affected. In this case, the legitimate state interest is the dispensing of drugs labeled safe for use by the FDA, as well as approved for use in the State of Washington for use by the citizens.

The challenge was brought by some pharmacists in the state, who argued that this law, mandating the dispensing of pharmaceutical drugs that they disapproved of, violated their religious beliefs. This, of course, is tripe. The state is not forcing the movants to dispense the drugs, rather, the state is saying (in essence) "if you want to be a pharmacist, then you must dispense the drugs that we say are allowed to be dispensed. If you don't want to do so, then don't be a pharmacist." In other words, you have to take the bitter with the sweet.

There is a very simple remedy for those pharmacists who truly feel a religious opposition to this, namely, they can stop being pharmacists. That's the beauty of capitalism - they can take whatever job they want, free of government interference. Of course the pay might be a bit lower than the $116,000+ Median salary of a pharmacist in Lakewood, WA, but at least you can rest with a clear conscience.

Understand, I am not making light of their religious beliefs. I completely understand that there are those who truly believe that their religion precludes them from assisting with Plan B or other contraceptive measures, and I respect that. That does not, however, mean that there is an automatic injury because the state is requiring one job to provide said contraceptives.

The Importance of Completeness

Sarah Palin recently attacked the "liberal media," this time quoting one of their own, Walter Cronkite: "Most newspapermen by definition have to be liberal; if they're not, by my definition, they can hardly be good newspapermen."

Clearly, this shows a liberal bias on the part of all members of the MSM. Of course, that's a load of crap, but you know, those that consider her a darling of the base will buy whatever she throws out there.

However, the point isn't that she's trying to use one cherry-picked quote to paint a broad stroke over all the media, though that is important. Instead, one has to look a little bit deeper. I recall when in law school we were taught that you have to present all the law that you find, whether it is beneficial for your client or harmful - in other words, you have to tell the judge the whole story. This also means that you need context for what you present before the court. If you have text from a deposition wherein the defendant says "Yeah, I shot the guy," then it's disingenuous to not present the sentence immediately preceding it that says "I saw him with his girlfriend and they looked cute so I grabbed my camera."

The reason why this matters is that if you read the quote attributed to Cronkite above, and it is his quote, then you will note that he qualifies what he says with the words "by my definition." This begs the question, what is "his definition?" Well, in order to find that out, what one must do is actually look at the ENTIRE QUOTE:
Playboy: Implicit in the Administration's attempts to force the networks to "balance" the news is a conviction that most newscasters are biased against conservatism. Is there some truth in the view that television newsmen tend to be left of center?

Cronkite: Well, certainly liberal, and possibly left of center as well. I would have to accept that.

Playboy: What's the distinction between those two terms?
Cronkite: I think the distinction is both clear and important. I think being a liberal, in the true sense, is being nondoctrinaire, nondogmatic, non-committed to a cause - but examining each case on its merits. Being left of center is another thing; it's a political position. I think most newspapermen by definition have to be liberal; if they're not liberal, by my definition of it, then they can hardly be good newspapermen. If they're preordained dogmatists for a cause, then they can't be very good journalists; that is, if they carry it into their journalism.
When you read the entire quote, you see what Cronkite meant, and that he was very clearly distinguishing between a political position and a state of mind. But that doesn't score pity points when you are making a career out of playing the victim.

Movie Review: Ice Age 3

We took the kids out to see a movie today. It's really hot, and we decided to take a break from the pool, though we might still go this evening - we don't yet know.

We saw Ice Age: Dawn of the Dinosaurs. All things considered, it was a cute movie. I wouldn't list it on my top 10, but it wasn't bad. As Sid the Sloth, John Leguizamo really was the best returning character, and it was his "mothering" 3 dinosaur eggs that led to the adventure. However, the most entertaining character was that of Buck - the weasel guide who helps the adventurers on their trek through the dinosaur world. The part is voiced by Simon Pegg with a spirit and character that brings the weasel to life. Indeed the most entertaining moments of the film are with him in the front and center.

The movie is not one that you want to think about too much, a couple plot holes here and there and one or two modern culture references that are clearly thrown in as claptrap. But for a kid's movie, it's not too bad.

The Real-3D is completely unnecessary, and gave me a slight headache.

Thursday, July 09, 2009

"Worst of the Worst"

How do you qualify as the "worst of the worst," and thus rate continued detention at Guantanamo Bay? Apparently, by fighting a jihad against Russia, fighting against the Taliban and Al Qaeda at Tora Bora, and attempting to advise the US commanders on where to fight. After all this, and being held without trial, without the right to see the evidence against him, after being held without any proof of his being an enemy "combatant," and even after he was shown to be innocent, it wasn't until 2008 that Wakil was released. Despite all this evidence, and the fact that he is currently an advisor to his government for his province of Kunar, this man - who has been vouched for by Karzai - is currently one of the 74 former detainees who have "returned to or are suspected to have returned" to terrorism.

But now we only have the "worst of the worst." Really.

This Just In - Sarah Palin Lied!

In what must be a first in the former VP candidate's career (if you ignore the over 30 easily debunked whoppers she told already in the past 8 months), we now know that Sarah Palin has been caught in a lie. It turns out that the money that was going to the lawyers to pay for the ethics complaints were going to be going to the lawyers regardless. Oh, and those "frivolous" ethics investigations? Not "millions of dollars" worth, and, oh, by the way, the most expensive of the investigations? Started by Governor Palin herself.

As much as I've been disappointed with President Obama on the torture question and the detainee question, at least his election resulted in the very real fact that Mrs. Starbursts isn't in the Federal Executive Branch chain of command.

Wednesday, July 08, 2009


We just got back home from our trip to Arkansas to see a family member prior to his departure for Iraq. While there, we had a discussion about driving. You see, my brother in law and I both drive when we take our respective families on trips. I made the astute observation that this is because we, and quite possibly all dads, have the uncanny ability to know when the passengers in the car need to use the restroom. Even more amazingly, we both noticed that nobody had to use the bathroom until we needed to fill up the gas tank. It was really interesting how this phenomenon played out with two very different families. But rest assured, when you are a passenger in our car, we'll know when you need to make a pitstop, and we'll make certain you are cared for.

Sunday, July 05, 2009

And we're off!

We're on our way to Arkansas today. Surprisingly, we're almost ready to head out and we're going to be stunningly close to my target departure time of 7:00 a.m.

I've got to look up the address for the hotel we'll be staying at, and make sure we have breakfast covered.

We'll let you know how it went.

"The tyrant always has a pretext for his tyranny." - Consider that in relation to the recent discussions about torture.

Saturday, July 04, 2009

Happy 4th, Everybody

Source: Our Founders, linked from Indiana University School of Law

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 of 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 invariably 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 [George III] 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.

He has refused his Assent to Laws, the most wholesome and necessary for the public good.

He has forbidden his Governors to pass Laws of immediate and pressing importance, unless suspended in their operation till his Assent should be obtained; and when so suspended, he has utterly neglected to attend to them.

He has refused to pass other Laws for the accommodation of large districts of people, unless those people would relinquish the right of Representation in the Legislature, a right inestimable to them and formidable to tyrants only.

He has called together legislative bodies at places unusual, uncomfortable, and distant from the depository of their public Records, for the sole purpose of fatiguing them into compliance with his measures.

He has dissolved Representative Houses repeatedly, for opposing with manly firmness his invasions on the rights of the people.

He has refused for a long time, after such dissolutions, to cause others to be elected; whereby the Legislative powers, incapable of Annihilation, have returned to the People at large for their exercise; the State remaining in the mean time exposed to all the dangers of invasion from without, and convulsions within.

He has endeavoured to prevent the population of these States; for that purpose obstructing the Laws for Naturalization of Foreigners; refusing to pass others to encourage their migrations hither, and raising the conditions of new Appropriations of Lands.

He has obstructed the Administration of Justice, by refusing his Assent to Laws for establishing Judiciary powers.

He has made Judges dependent on his Will alone, for the tenure of their offices, and the amount and payment of their salaries.

He has erected a multitude of New Offices, and sent hither swarms of Officers to harass our people, and eat out their substance.

He has kept among us, in times of peace, Standing Armies without the consent of our legislatures.

He has affected to render the Military independent of and superior to the Civil power.

He has combined with others to subject us to a jurisdiction foreign to our constitution and unacknowledged by our laws; giving his Assent to their Acts of pretended Legislation:

For Quartering large bodies of armed troops among us:

For protecting them, by a mock Trial, from punishment for any Murders which they should commit on the Inhabitants of these States:

For cutting off our Trade with all parts of the world:

For imposing Taxes on us without our Consent:

For depriving us, in many cases, of the benefits of Trial by Jury:

For transporting us beyond Seas to be tried for pretended offences:

For abolishing the free System of English Laws in a neighbouring Province, establishing therein an Arbitrary government, and enlarging its Boundaries so as to render it at once an example and fit instrument for introducing the same absolute rule into these Colonies:

For taking away our Charters, abolishing our most valuable Laws, and altering fundamentally the Forms of our Governments:

For suspending our own Legislatures, and declaring themselves invested with power to legislate for us in all cases whatsoever.

He has abdicated Government here, by declaring us out of his Protection and waging War against us.

He has plundered our seas, ravaged our Coasts, burnt our towns, and destroyed the lives of our people.

He is at this time transporting large Armies of foreign Mercenaries to compleat the works of death, desolation and tyranny, already begun with circumstances of Cruelty and perfidy scarcely paralleled in the most barbarous ages, and totally unworthy the Head of a civilized nation.

He has constrained our fellow Citizens taken Captive on the high Seas to bear Arms against their Country, to become the executioners of their friends and Brethren, or to fall themselves by their Hands.

He has excited domestic insurrections amongst us, and has endeavoured to bring on the inhabitants of our frontiers, the merciless Indian Savages, whose known rule of warfare, is an undistinguished destruction of all ages, sexes and conditions.

In every stage of these Oppressions We have Petitioned for Redress in the most humble terms: Our repeated Petitions have been answered only by repeated injury. A Prince whose character is thus marked by every act which may define a Tyrant, is unfit to be the ruler of a free people.

Nor have We been wanting in attentions to our British brethren. We have warned them from time to time of attempts by their legislature to extend an unwarrantable jurisdiction over us. We have reminded them of the circumstances of our emigration and settlement here. We have appealed to their native justice and magnanimity, and we have conjured them by the ties of our common kindred to disavow these usurpations, which, would inevitably interrupt our connections and correspondence. They too have been deaf to the voice of justice and of consanguinity. We must, therefore, acquiesce in the necessity, which denounces our Separation, and hold them, as we hold the rest of mankind, Enemies in War, in Peace Friends.

We, therefore, the Representatives of the united States of America, in General Congress, Assembled, appealing to the Supreme Judge of the world for the rectitude of our intentions, do, in the Name, and by the Authority of the good People of these Colonies, solemnly publish and declare, That these United Colonies are, and of Right ought to be Free and Independent States; that they are Absolved from all Allegiance to the British Crown, and that all political connection between them and the State of Great Britain, is and ought to be totally dissolved; and that as Free and Independent States, they have full Power to levy War, conclude Peace, contract Alliances, establish Commerce, and to do all other Acts and Things which Independent States may of right do. And for the support of this Declaration, with a firm reliance on the protection of divine Providence, we mutually pledge to each other our Lives, our Fortunes and our sacred Honor.

Friday, July 03, 2009

My First Day of Vacation

We cleaned the house, cleaned the bathrooms, changed the cat litter, washed the dishes, took out the trash, cut the grass, swept the driveway, cleaned out the minivan, got the oil changed, got the inspection done, cleaned the bedrooms, did laundry, swept, mopped, edged, went grocery shopping, barbequed, and saw the Apple swallow a mancala marble.

We've not had a vacation since just after I took the bar back in 2007. That year, we went to Indiana to visit family.

This year, we're going on vacation again - to visit family. This time, however, we're going to Arkansas. It's to see family, but on a more serious matter - the brother in law is going to Iraq to serve for a year. His unit's been called up. We're looking forward to seeing him off, and wish him well while he's over there.

Sarah Palin is Quitting

At the close of her statement, she quoted General Douglas MacArthur, "we are not retreating, we are advancing in another direction." This, of course, is a euphemism for retreating, which, in part makes it an interesting choice to close with by the soon-to-be former Governor.

I found it interesting that she chose to quit, but even more interesting was the "very clear" reason she gave - to "effect change," which is a rather vague reason, to say the least.

I'm sure there will be pundits all over on both sides of the political spectrum giving reasons for her departure, some more truthful than others, some more partisan and defensive or offensive than others, but I think at the end of the day what we need to remember is that we came within 4 percentage points (8 million votes) in a national election of having a politician who couldn't handle the spotlight of the Alaskan Governor's office for a full term elected to the office of the Vice President.

In a final note - the man she quotes, General MacArthur was fired because he didn't respect the authority of the President, in her statement, she alludes to a lack of respect for the current President...