Saturday, February 28, 2009

This Just In - Bush is a Four-Letter Word

At least, that's what this Yahoo! article says.

Apparently, some in the Republican party are starting to recognize that the past 8 years didn't go so well. While I'm glad that this galvanic reaction has finally arrived, the question is where to go from here. How do the Republicans regroup?

One thing they need to do is own their mistakes - I don't just mean acknowledge that the previous administration was incompetent, dangerous, and potentially in violation of the law (sign the petition!), but I mean acknowledge that you veered down a dangerous path.

One of the quotes I read in the above-linked article troubles me with this necessity - Indiana's Representative Mike Pence: "the American people walked away from us, so now we’re in the wilderness.” No. They did not walk away from you - you followed a path that was not on the map you sold the People. The American people didn't walk away from the Republican Party, the Republican Party walked away from the American People. After 8 years of an administration that believed in cutting taxes, increasing spending, running around the Constitution and International Law (Geneva Conventions are the Supreme Law of the Land), and the most governmental expansion in the past 60 years, the American people chose not to follow you into that wilderness. What you need is not to draw the American People back to where you are, rather you need to go to where the American People are - and this is something President Obama thus far has done much more deftly than any politician in the past 20 years.

It's not a difficult choice when the choices are between a party whose current President encourages bipartisanship to such an extent that he makes 300 Million in tax cuts after meeting with the Republicans in Congress and trying to find common ground, and a party whose talk radio spokesman tells his dittoheads that he hopes the President "fails." Given the current void in a lead politician in the Republican Party, going to the chief dittohead for policy position is no stretch. The question is, will he remain the face of the Republican Party? If so, the Party shall remain to be a caricature of serious politics.

Flush Rush?

Could the problem with the Republican party be their spokespeople?

Thursday, February 26, 2009



Our firm is expanding/moving, which means I'm moving. I will be moving up one flight to the new floor we will be occupying. This is bittersweet, as I'm leaving the office I've had for the past 9 months, and to which I've grown rather fond. Additionally, I'm leaving the floor/area where most of the people I know/spend time with are. We're moving in an effort to consolidate the different practice areas, so that those working on one docket are all together. It makes sense, and should make things rather more efficient. I'm also glad that I'm switching offices, and not leaving, as we've had a few people be asked to leave recently.

I'm in a relatively sturdy place for the time being, but who knows what the next 6 months might bring?

I Hate CSI Miami

Yes, I watched it this week. Yes, it was as dumb as ever.

So what happens is that there's a psychologist who practices out of her house. I won't comment on the logic of inviting violent personality types to your place of residence. After one session with a client who gets really upset that the hour is up, we cut to the next morning where the psych's daughter is dead in the office.

Police are investigating and the mother states that she doesn't understand why the daughter was in there in the first place, as she's not allowed in that room. Well, we all know that if a parent says "don't" do something, the children "do" it. At any rate, as the rest of the team shows up, The Jaw (aka Adam Rodriguez) looks around and notices "this is my psych's office." I find it odd that he has to get inside the office to come to this realization, as opposed to recognizing the address, or the house, but I guess attention to detail isn't terribly important when you're a crime scene investigator.

The team determines that the murder weapon was 7 inches long, because it chipped a tooth, even though it went in through the back of the head. This, of course, gives them reason to play back the death blow several times, so we could see the tooth chip - key to solving any murder.

You know what I find most bizarre about this? At no point does the CSI team even CONSIDER that the killer might be the mom. Seriously - isn't family usually a pretty good starting point?

Anyway, they go through a list of several suspects, all of whom are the psych's clients, even though the client doesn't give any names. They have the spoiled trust fund boy, the aggressive guy who was the last client she saw the night before, and the ex-con who's going through a divorce. Unfortunately, they all have alibis. But the son remembers seeing a car drive away with vanity plates (how lucky can you get!) and he remembers them (even luckier!). These plates belong to the wife of the ex-con who was there "just checking in on her husband to get some dirt for the divorce."

They then find out that someone stole the psych's files - so they have to investigate that, and manage to find fingerprints on the inside of the file cabinet. Here's the great thing - they only find fingerprints from ONE person, and they just KNOW it had to have been from the murder or the day after - it's ex-convict! They go and question him again but he was fishing with his son. This leads them back to his wife, who is a hair stylist. As El Poseur is questioning her, he notices her work station has a pair of scissors in that blue crap that stylists keep their utensils in. The scissors are sharp, so EP brings her and her scissors in to investigate. They find no blood (they've been cleaned and disinfected), but, amazingly enough, they do find ONE PIECE of brain matter. She cleans the damn things, is sensible enough to do that, but doesn't get everything? And cleaning the blood doesn't happen to wipe off the (relatively) large piece of brain they find? I'm more impressed that the scissors aren't hurt at all from going through the bone or chipping the tooth, but finding a piece of brain that belongs to the victim? Pretty astounding. Still, was she planning on using those scissors to cut people's hair after that? And what was she doing at the salon with nobody in it? Was she opening it? Or does she just like to hang out there after stabbing someone in the brain? Anyway, what a fortuitous turn of events for the CSI Miami team, and it only took what must have been 3 minutes, since it was still that morning when they got her to confess!

There's a whole lot more going on - much more crazy luck. The other murder suspects (trust fund and the rage guy) both end up committing other crimes - trust fund burgles, apparently, and rage guy, they catch killing the lady because they read all her files. I'm glad the cops are willing to violate the law to keep us from doing so. Makes that liberty thing seem so important.

Anyway, maybe next week will be a believable episode.

Wednesday, February 25, 2009

Wednesday is Haiku Day

80 Degree high
Is what they predict today
Ahhhh, Houston Winters!

As always, I look forward to your contributions!

The Speech

I watched the majority of the speech last night, but not all of it. My overall impression was favorable.

I thought President Obama did a very good job of not mincing words and speaking plainly and intelligently. He did not vilify the previous administration but did note that the current administration did inherit a difficult situation.

I did manage to hear him say some things that I've been waiting for a President to say for some time. First and foremost, President Obama stated in no uncertain terms that the United States does not torture. This is key to maintaining our way of life as well as our standing in the international community. This stands in stark contrast to the previous administration's hair-splitting (e.g. what is "torture," Extraordinary rendition, etc.). The next step is to show it - call for hearings, investigations into what may have been illegally done in the past.

The next key statement President Obama made was that education requires the family, "there is no program or policy that can substitute for a mother or father." This is subtly eloquent as it notes that the government is going to continue to work on education while reminding the American People that they cannot rely on the government alone to make it work. This is in stark contrast to the position of the Previous Administration and the way NCLB was originally sold - that the teachers and schools are failing the students, with little to no mention of the need for home support. The President not only made this statement, but he coupled it with a challenge to the students of today, "Dropping out of high school is no longer an option. It’s not just quitting on yourself, it’s quitting on your country." Again, this is an outstanding statement. It connects a personal obligation with a patriotic one, showing that we are all part of a greater equation, but that all are important individually. Brilliant.

The President made some very ambitious statements. I'm not convinced that he will be successful in all he hopes to accomplish, but he strikes me as sincere in wanting to achieve what he sets out to do.

Andrew Sullivan live-blogged the speech. His assessment can be found here.
DB compares President Obama with Gov. Jindal here.
Joe Gandelman of The Moderate Voice asks if the speech put the President Left of Center?

Tuesday, February 24, 2009

Hypocrisy Inaction

According to a recent poll, 74% of Republicans are worried about the deficit.

While that is indeed something that deserves worry, and it's certainly an issue that needs to be tackled, let us not forget that of these selfsame "conservatives," only 45% were worried about the deficit in December (when there was a Republican in office).

This is the same party whose most recent Vice President once stated "deficits don't matter."

Like Andrew Sullivan, I am glad to see fiscal conservatism return to the GOP, and amused by the timing of this moment of clarity. I wish I could believe that it was sincere, and not a knee-jerk partisan stance, but I need some evidence of bipartisanship, particularly in light of the Republican near-lockstep refusal to participate in the President's stimulus plan.

Calling for an investigation would be a good start.

Monday, February 23, 2009

Good Luck

To the February 2009 Texas Bar examinees. You'll be fine.

Sunday, February 22, 2009

Ahh, CLE

I did a free 30 minute CLE this morning. Having to finish 15 hours a year, it makes sense to do as many free ones as possible - the more you do, the fewer you have to pay for. I have no problem with that.

Today's CLE was on communicating with your clients. They discussed different personality types - I'm a "Blue," as opposed to a "Red," "Yellow," or "Green." Apparently, I like to have structure, yet have some lattitude in how I perform. That's not really surprising, to me, though I think the stereotypical attorney is the Red - the guy who doesn't want to be muddled with details, just wants the facts and to render his opinion.

CLEs are not the most exciting thing in the world, but they've gotta be done.

Saturday, February 21, 2009


It's not just for Ham Sandwiches anymore.

I feel like I'm in a rut again. This happens from time to time.

Perhaps I need to go fishing. It's been quite a while.

Thursday, February 19, 2009


"I think only a fool would be unconcerned about any kind of commission or investigation in this political town and in this political climate. Having said that, again, because I feel like I’ve got nothing to hide and I’ve done nothing wrong, I’m not worried about the truth, so long as what we’re talking about is the truth and things don’t become politicized" - Alberto Gonzalez (Quote found at Andrew Sullivan, who linked to this article)

Again - sign the petition!

Wednesday, February 18, 2009

Wednesday is Haiku Day

Stupid weeds conquer
Overtake my lawn, kill grass
But, I have a lawn!

Super Bowl Halftime Show

They've had some big names in recent years. Ever since Janet Jackson and her nipple made their appearance, the Super Bowl has gone to well-established (i.e. old) performers - the Rolling Stones, Pal McCartney, Prince, Bruce Springsteen, etc.

The question posed on Mike & Mike in the morning a few days ago, and I think last year at some point, as well, was who should go on next? There are still a few strong performers out there, but who's really established that could fill the shoes?

The first (and probably most obvious) is Bon Jovi, and I think that would be well received, to be sure. But then who? I would think Queen would be a good fit, but are they the same without Freddie Mercury? I've not really heard them since he passed. I've heard the name AC/DC...

Any thoughts?

Sunday, February 15, 2009

Inquire Within

When the President "defends" his torture policy by saying "I got legal opinions that said whatever we were going to do was legal," (courtesy Andrew Sullivan) what he's saying is he wanted legal cover to do what he wanted - at least, that's how I interpret the statement.

Torture took place during the previous administration - that much is clear. The Justice Departments OPR looked into whether the legal work of John Yoo and Bybee, as well as Steven Bradbury, "was consistent with the professional standards that apply to Department of Justice attorneys," (also from Andrew Sullivan's blog, citing Isikoff).

There clearly needs to be an impartial investigation into what transpired at the top levels during the previous 8 years. Sign Senator Leahy's petition.

Saturday, February 14, 2009

The End of Partisanship?

Yet Limbaugh is already publicly stating he hopes Obama fails. I know he's a partisan, and I know he gets his ratings on his nattering, but come on - stating you hope the President's stimulus package (with no House Republican votes and only 3 Senate Republican votes) is "blown to smithereens" to teach Americans a lesson - that's beyond the pale.

This is why I can't listen to Rush.

(for a better take on this, check out The Moderate Voice post here)

Friday, February 13, 2009

In Search of the Truth

I was at Vim and Vinegar's blog this morning - a great blog that you should read regularly - and I saw that she had a post regarding Senator Leahy's petition for a Truth Commission to inquire into what transpired during the previous administration - who knew what, who authorized what, what was lawful and what wasn't...

There is a difference between a witch hunt and an investigation - Senator Leahy is calling for the latter, which I support.

The petition is available here. I signed this morning, and, regardless of party affiliation, I encourage you to do so, as well. Government transparency is in the interest of all Americans.

Thursday, February 12, 2009

Those Persecuted American Christians

According to Mike Huckabee, that's exactly what the stimulus bill creates.

In a nutshell, he says that the Stimulus package is anti-religious because it prohibits stimulus funds going to "schools and houses of divinity." Because those churches can't survive without the government funding them.

What gets me about this is that the Christianists (to borrow a term from Andrew Sullivan) seem to not understand that it goes both ways - if the government is giving the church money, then the government gets to say how the money is spent. Keeping the money away avoids the threat of excessive government entanglement in the church. The last thing I want is the Federal Government telling me how or when to pray. If I wanted that, I'd move to Iran.

This is really just a nutshell encapsulation. For a better parsing of the situation, I recommend going to DB's post on the topic here.

And I Bet He Didn't See the Irony

I was driving home from work on Tuesday and as I was getting on the loop, I found myself behind a truck (Silverado? F-150? They're all the same to me). What I noticed about this truck was that the owner had two bumper stickers attached to the rear window. The first one read "Mcain/Palin Country First," which I remember from the campaign. The second bumper sticker was a sticker of the Texas Flag with the word "Secede" superimposed.

Gotta love Texas.

Wednesday, February 11, 2009

Wednesday is Haiku Day

Glistening raindrops
Gathered on the rush hour drive
Accidents await!

Tuesday, February 10, 2009

I'm Convinced

I'm absolutely convinced that that mandatory switch to digital was a ploy to get everyone to switch to Cable or Satellite. Our reception was fuzzy before, but you didn't have the choppy, crappy outages when there was a breeze or overcast skies.

Monday, February 09, 2009

I Hate CSI Miami

Let's just stretch reality that little bit more, shall we? Seriously - Puff Daddy as a lawyer?

The episode starts with a murder trial - Diddy is the defense attorney. While speaking to the witnesses, and the jury, he continually refers to his client as "my client." That might be fine and dandy, but I always imagined you wanted the jury to associate a name with the defendant. I could be completely off here - someone follow up with me on this, but I think a jury would have more trouble convicting "tommy" (or whoever) than "the client."

During closing arguments, the prosecutor points out that the defendant never testified in his own defense, and suggested that in and of itself was evidence of his guilt. Mistrial. That simple. You cannot use the fact that a defendant exercised his 5th Amendment right to not be a witness against himself as "evidence" of his guilt. The trial should have ended right then and there. Of course, it didn't. Instead, the case goes to the jury, and while they are deliberating, El Poseur is having a discussion with the deceased's father. Immediately, EP is at the CSI body bag center, where the victim is still in stasis. Odd that a murder trial could be put together more quickly than it takes a body to be buried, but, hey, it's Miami - I guess anything's possible. After all, Puffy Combs is a lawyer! As the jury renders its guilty verdict, EP is asking to see the corpse, and, amazingly, there are flies all over, which leads EP to say "this changes everything." Cut to opening theme. Someone explain to me how a body could be resting at room temperature (so that the flies could be roaming about, maggots and all), without decomposing in Miami, long enough for an arrest to be made, DNA to be extracted, a trial to begin, be conducted, and go to jury instruction and not have any sense of "you've gotta be kidding me!"

The jury of course, finds the guy guilty, just as CSI realizes that they got the wrong guy.

I miss a little bit, though I don't think I missed anything. I find it somewhat amusing that the whole point of this episode is to show how El Poseur, the Smirk, the Jaw, Doe-eyed girl, and company screwed the pooch by not considering alternative suspects when going after "the guy."

Pretrial discovery must not exist in Miami. The Smirk starts looking at some sources for some blood they found, and decides to check golf gloves. Fortunately, she finds a match. What luck! A golf glove that matches blood stains! What are the odds?! Seriously, what are the odds that they can find a glove that would match the blood pattern at the scene (and the odds that these professionals would skip such an "obvious" step in the process the first time around)?

They then decide to detain the one guy on the golf course who has that glove, though he volunteers that several people have those gloves, but they aren't suspects. He is, though, because his friend used to have relations with the corpse (before she was a corpse). Makes sense to me.

Some police brutality ensues, as they try to outsmart Attorney Diddy. Torgo stops the suspect, because he was going 36 in a 35, and is driving around with a broken taillight.

He has to surrender his badge and gun, but turns his camera over to The Smirk and the Jaw. They inspect his pictures, and see a broken tail light that was broken "from the inside." they enlarge and enhance the picture, and magically see an eye! Someone is alive in the trunk of the car! Just imagine, if this guy hadn't assaulted the driver, he never would have been in the absolute perfect spot to take a random photograph on the way out clearly showing an eye!

I just love how the CSI team is there to execute the search warrant. Now, was the warrant for the house, or the car? Apparently, doesn't matter to these guys, or Sean "Puffy" lawyer, who lets them search everything.

I just don't want to say anything about P-attorney telling CSI where to look for the allegedly kidnapped person, but at least it gives EP a chance to ride in a helicopter using IR equipment! Do they have a bold cutter to find the kidnapped girl? Yes! They do! El Poseur to the rescue once again!

Seriously, DNA from an air filter? Nobody else was in the car, ever, except for the corpse and the suspect? What a load of crap!

P-Diddlesticks should be disbarred. He's one crappy lawyer.

Ooh, a twist - the judge is dirty. We didn't see that coming. What a surprise. and now the judge, who has a brain, you'd think, is sitting here spilling it.

Now, convicted guy from the beginning of the episode is released, even though there's no evidence that his conviction's been overturned, or that he's been paroled... but who cares about that? CSI was right again! (except for the convicted guy who's been in jail this whole time).

Sunday, February 08, 2009

Bar Exam - Full Court Press

If my math is right, then the February Bar Exam is right around the corner. If that's the case, then there are probably scores of very stressed out recent law school graduates who are really feeling the pressure right now.

Let me reassure you for a moment. This is a stressful test. It's a difficult test. You will question many of your answers, even the ones you think are very simple. But - this test is not impossible. Average pass rates over 80% for most schools over the previous 3 exams should attest to that. What you need to remember is that this test goes over basics. It's pretty simple - use your IRAC, issue spotting is going to be easy with the essays. If you don't know the rule, make one up - you'd be surprised how often common sense gets you very close to the rule (practice this with your yellow book essays).

With the multiple choice, the best advice I can give is - don't think too long. If one answer jumps out at you, look at the question again to make sure you understood it, and if so, then go with it unless you know otherwise. Make certain you read all the answers, though - you'll surprise yourself at how often you neglect to do this.

The test is designed to stress you out. It's not designed to fail you - the state gets no annual dues from you if you don't pass, so they're rooting for you, too.

At the end of the day, you'll be fine.

And don't bring your books to study during lunch. If you don't know it by then, odds are highly against you learning it between sessions.

And for those of you testing in Houston, try not to think about how close you are to where the manure from the HLSR gathers during the stock show - unless you want to remember that you're not the only one who's filled that room with BS...

Go Red Wings!

I miss hockey. We don't see much of it out here. I should buy more tickets to the Aeros (local AHL affiliate), but it's kind of a luxury we don't really have...

To Market, To Market

I'm off to Indianapolis at the beginning of next month. I'll be there for a couple days. This time, though, it's not for a deposition.

I'll explain later.


It's amazing how different a drive can feel on tires that don't have tread showing. There's a noticeable difference in the minivan's performance now that we have the tires changed and the alignment done. Hopefully I'll get a little better mileage, too.

Saturday, February 07, 2009

How Can You Compromise?

I have heard recently that the recent attempts to reach a compromise on the stimulus package that President Obama is attempting to get passed has turned into a "victory" for the Republicans. Apparently, (and I really haven't paid close attention at all, so I could be far, far off base on what I understand) President Obama went in a spoke with the house Republicans. They explained their hesitancy with the bill the President wanted. They suggested alternatives. The President yielded some, but not completely. As such, the Republicans voted no en masse.

Now, the quagmire has become a "victory" or, at least, an "opportunity" for the GOP, according to some. Because they didn't want to play nice.

I don't know if the stimulus is the right thing. I don't know if it will work. And, I really don't know how much different either side's position is. But that's not really the point. The point that I see with this situation is this: You can't compromise when one side refuses to yield at all. It bothers me, that after 8 years of stubbornness - "do it my way, or else" from the White House, we have an executive that understands that no political party has the exclusive on good ideas or what's "best" or "correct," and we have a minority party that refuses to even come close to playing nice.

Evidence that the President is attempting to compromise? The Democrats are reportedly unhappy with the bill, as well, now. And we all know a good compromise leaves everyone unhappy.

In Case You Needed

Another reason to NOT vote for Rick Perry, I have one. He was endorsed by Sarah Palin because he's a (in her words) true conservative.

My feeling on the matter is that anything Palin comes out in favor of is immediately suspect and potentially dangerous to the general welfare of the nation. (I'm being a bit snarky, but I think she was a horrible selection as a VP candidate and I don't trust her judgment at all).

New Tires

The minivan's tires are bald. I mean, really bald. Tread is showing in multiple spots on one of them, and all of them are looking pretty haggard.

So we're getting new tires today.

Being strangely finicky about what I'm picky about, I have taken to shopping around for tires. Last year, when I was getting new tires for the Chevy, I ended up getting Goodyear Assurance. I originally was looking for Michelin Destiny, which I understand has a great tread life and isn't too loud, but Discount Tire (great place to buy tires) didn't have any. I am happy with the Assurances. They are smooth, handle very well (particularly compared to the 7 year old Bridgestones that were original on the car), and increased our gas mileage noticeably.

So when I was looking for something for the minivan, I figured I'd look at the same place. The prices are a bit high for what I was willing to pay for the minivan's cars, as I don't expect to keep it for more than another couple years. So instead, I'm looking at Firestones. I used to exclusively buy Firestone, not necessarily by conscious decision, but because whenever I needed to get new tires, the closest shop was invariably a Firestone. I don't have any issues with them, but I think Goodyear quality is a little better - something I noticed when I had to replace a dead tire on my Escort. Anyway, I'll be going in today to replace the tires; hopefully it will go fairly quickly.

Thursday, February 05, 2009


I think our kids have musical ability. The Boy can read music - he taught himself last week. The Princess can already play by ear. I think she played "Hot Cross Buns" the first time she picked up the Boy's recorder...

I'm impressed.

Tuesday, February 03, 2009


The Boy has a new project. He has to study an historical Texas personality. The individual he must study is James Butler Bonham. It should be interesting - Bonham was once a lawyer in South Carolina, until he hit opposing counsel with a cane. He was at the Alamo. I don't know anything else about him yet. Hopefully, I will learn more as the Boy studies.

Sunday, February 01, 2009


I heard about this on the radio yesterday. If you are so completely unable to enjoy a football game without making bets on:

The final score
The number of turnovers
The first song Bruce Springsteen will sing
The last song Bruce Springsteen will sing
Who the first person the MVP will thank ("God" is even money)
How long Jennifer Hudson's version of the National Anthem will be
The color of the gatorade that will be dumped on the winning coach
How many different foods John Madden will refer to during the game

Then maybe you need to check yourself in for some therapy.