Wednesday, December 29, 2010

As the Year Draws to a Close

While I can say I'm frustrated with what's going on, I can't say who I think bears the brunt of the blame. Republicans have been nothing but obstructionist game players who have shown an unwillingness to bend on anything that isn't their creation, but Democrats have been very slow to call Republicans on this obstructionism.

I do think the next two years are going to be constant attempts by the Republicans to destroy President Obama, which is unfortunate, because if they gave him a fair chance, they'd probably see that he's closer to the center (and possible a little bit on the right) than the wingnuts in charge of the Republican Party care to admit.

I've been mostly absent from this blog this year - I'm just not feeling the draw that I once felt for this. Not sure whether I'll get my mojo back or not; I tend to think this was more a distraction from Law School than any bona fide desire to get my voice out there the longer I go between posts...

Tuesday, December 07, 2010

The War On Christmas

I love the line about being secure in one's own religion.

The Daily Show With Jon StewartMon - Thurs 11p / 10c
The Gretch Who Saved the War on Christmas
Daily Show Full EpisodesPolitical HumorThe Daily Show on Facebook

Monday, December 06, 2010

Food for Thought

I've more or less given up on the notion that Republicans are at all interested in serious governance. I think they have made it quite clear over the past decade that they are interested in one thing: the accumulation of power.

Sometimes, though, it's good to hear someone else's take on the position, just to give a better explanation for that determination. To that end, I direct you to read Steve M. at No More Mister Nice Blog, who has written quite well on this topic here, building on Andrew Sullivan's post here.

Both reads are good.

Wednesday, December 01, 2010

Sorry for the absence, again

So it's been a busy year. I've been mostly gone from the blog, but that's more due to malaise than anything else. Frankly, with spare time, I have nothing to avoid doing by blogging, which means I have less desire to blog.

I've been working as an Oil and Gas title attorney now for about 6 months. I don't mind the work, though, strangely, I do miss the commute. There's something to be said about having to get away from home and going to an office.

I am pretty certain I've decided to try to find work elsewhere. We had the opportunity to move to St. Louis earlier this year when I received an offer to work for the Department of Social Security, but we had to decline that offer due to the short notice of the start date as well as their refusal to help pay relocation. In the long run, it may have been a beneficial placement, but circumstances kept that from being a possibility legitimately.

At any rate, I think the spouse would be more comfortable moving west as opposed to midwest, and to that end, I've started looking for positions in the private sector on the West Coast. We'll see what, if anything pops up. In the meantime I'll keep plugging away at the job I'm doing, though I'm still not terribly pleased with the position (more about pay than performance).

Tuesday, November 30, 2010

I'm not sure why this is still a story

But Anderson Cooper does an outstanding job of showing the inanity of the "birther" position.

Tuesday, September 14, 2010

Busy Morning So Far

Turned in a new timesheet, finished another Chain of title, went and bought a new lawnmower (Toro - man that thing is quiet!) and cut the grass for the first time in like 3 weeks.

Need to get the title opinion for this newest COT done - I'll get a good start to it today, but probably won't finish it until tomorrow, but still, it's progress. I should be able to get through at least one more runsheet this week beyond this one. Getting through these a little more quickly now that the Base runsheet's done.

Saturday, September 04, 2010

Cut and Run

That's apparently Governor Jan Brewer's new tactic after being shown to be inarticulate and unprepared for her first debate. She has now stated that she will no longer participate in gubernatorial debates and that she only did the first one for the money (public funds for her campaign). (all links from TPM unless otherwise specified)

Of course, facing people who ask questions would require her to answer to her false claims about beheadings in the desert. Because when she's not tied to a chair, she can just ignore it ( and walk away (

This appears to be the future of the Republican Party - no direct answers, avoid the media directly but use them for their talking points. We see it from Palin to Angle to Paul, and now Brewer appears to be doing the same thing.

It astounds me that people support these candidates. Jan Brewer has a 20 point lead according to the Fox News clip on that last article. That's shocking.

Tuesday, August 31, 2010


I don't care about Dancing with the Stars, and I don't care about Bristol Palin. I really don't care about Dancing with the Stars FEATURING Bristol Palin.

Tuesday, August 24, 2010

We're Still Here

School started this week and I've been somewhat busy with work and other concerns.

Need to find a hunting spot.

Wednesday, August 18, 2010

My Two Cents' On the "Cordoba Center"

I find it interesting just how much disinformation is out there regarding the Cordoba Center or the absurdly misnamed "Ground Zero Mosque."

First off - it's a former Burlington Coat Factory.
Second - it's a Community Center, more along the lines of a YMCA than anything else - basketball courts, swimming pools, etc., and open to all.
Third - It's less than 300 feet from an already existant Mosque.
Fourth - Muslims are working on the reconstruction in and around the ACTUAL ground zero with no complaints - though are they not doing a disservice to the memory of those killed by the attacks by practicing the religion of those who killed in the name of the same Allah they worship on the selfsame site?
Fifth - No Muslim Americans were involved in the bombing of the WTC. (if you need a link for this, then I really have no time for your opinion)
Sixth - Imam Rauf is arguably as big (or bigger) target of Al Qaeda than the "infidels" because he is not as pious (radical) as AQ.
Seventh - This "controversy" is the product of Fox News and company.
Eighth - Muslims were among those killed on 9-11. Denying one religion the ability to build on private property while not pining for a similar moratorium should other religions plan to build on private property diminishes the religious freedom (one of the things for which we ostensibly stand) and by extension their equal standing as American citizens - the very things that Al Qaeda hates us for.

I support Park 51, because of a couple reasons - first and foremost, it's their right to do so and I support 1st Amendment rights. Second, I think it's a slap in the face to AQ to allow this center to be built - "we respect the rights of all religions so greatly that we're able to accept willingly the construction of a center founded by men and women who subscribe to the same religion as you - we don't hate your way of life, we embrace all comers!" Third - For those who say "we support your right to build, just don't build 'here,'" I ask - what distance is far enough to be "acceptable?" One of my problems with the opposition (and with much Right-Wing rhetoric anymore is that there's never a serious (or in this case *any*) alternative proposed, just "no."

Quite frankly, unless you live in Manhattan near the site, how does this story affect you? Had Fox News and friends not manufactured the controversy in time for the new election cycle, would you have even known about it?

Wednesday, August 04, 2010

Wednesday - Crossroads

So I turned down a job offer a couple weeks ago, though I'm having second thoughts. The attorney is quite amicable, very knowledgeable, and I'd have full time hours at about $75-100/hour.

My current job allows me a lot of flexibility - I get to work on my own set of hours, I get to work at my own pace, and I get to stay at home - no commute, but I make less money per hour and I work fewer hours.

I'm not sure how I should handle this - maybe I should call the attorney who I'd turned down to see if he might have a spot for me part time a couple days a week, or maybe I should give up on the job I'm doing currently, or maybe I should continue doing what I'm doing, or I should switch jobs altogether and move to the new firm, which would give us the financial means for my wife to leave her job to find a new one if she wanted, closer to home...

Tuesday, August 03, 2010

Truth to Power

Thank you, Michael Bloomberg For speaking to one of the core tenets of our nation.

Sunday, August 01, 2010

Dana Milbank Tackles Glenn Beck

The article starts by talking about an event outside Oakland, where a Glenn Beck listener got it in his mind that he needed to go do some killin' to stop the evil liberals from stealing our country. Dana then goes into greater detail about how this isn't an isolated incident, and that there is a common denominator here - listeners of Glenn Beck's conspiracy theories...

Speaking of Conspiracy Theories, Rubicon starts tonight.

Monday, July 26, 2010

Those Who Don't Study History

Are doomed to repeat it.

Sarah Palin claims her interviews were edited to make her look bad during the 2008 campaign.

Here is the full transcript of the Charles Gibson interview. There are other links to her other interviews there as well. Read them in their entirety and determine what you think.

Then Why is There Still Violence?

Apparently, John McCain knows something that he's not telling the rest of the world. I wish our guys knew that we already won the war in Iraq and that it's a peaceful, stable democracy that is a regional ally like we were told it would become.

Wednesday, July 21, 2010

What to Say

I've been neglecting the blog. I know this.

I'd like to say that I have a good excuse, like I've been busy with work, but while that's technically true, it's also misleading, as I was out of work for several months, and even now that I am working again, I'm working from home, so I have no commute to speak of to muck things up. In other words, I have more free time, yet I feel like I have less.

The kids are home for summer vacation. I'm glad, because I don't have to pay daycare, and I get to spend the summer with our rugrats. The Boy and the Princess have both started swimming this year, which is good for me, in that I don't have to try to watch 3 separate kids all at once while we go to the pool, but it's bad, because now they constantly want to go to the pool (I don't oppose activity, but I can't always take an hour or two each day to take them in).

The Apple is still somewhat afraid of the water. I'm sure a lot of it has to do with the water being deeper than he is tall, but I would like to see him getting a little more active in the pool.

At home, we've gotten accustomed to the dog. Molly is basically a gassier part of our family now. Very sweet dog who just knows that she loves us and we love her. Sometimes the Princess loves her so much it hurts (literally).

As you know, I've yet to get paid, but once the checks start coming in, I should be able to get out of the house from time to time. That will be nice. Sometimes I feel like a shutin.


I've got several invoices in now for work, and hopefully it's just a matter of time before the checks start arriving.

I'm doing a reasonable job of getting between 25 and 35 hours in each week, which is better than a lot of their folks do, I guess. While I'd like to get closer to 40 billable hours a week, the kids still require attention, as does the house.

At any rate, if the math is right, I think I'll be making a fair bit more part time than I was making full time at my last job.

Saturday, July 17, 2010

What They Said

Apparently, this came from a commenter on Balloon Juice - one of my favorite reads, as he's got a team of snarky, witty writers with him, and quite frankly, I enjoy reading about the antics with his dogs and cat.

The article linked about sums up quite nicely my sentiments about Republicans and Democrats with regards to voting.

Friday, July 16, 2010

How can one express outrage properly for something like this?

I defy anyone to say there's no racism in the Tea Party.

Tea Party Leader Mocks NAACP "Coloreds" In Online Screed


I should be getting a new set of binders tomorrow. That will be nice, as it will get me some steady work for the next week.

I did not get the job I'd kind of been crossing my fingers for, as the notice stated the position was cancelled.

I don't know what that means, exactly, but it would have been nice to at least get an interview for it.

Going to take the kids to the pool today, since it's summer, and that's what kids do.

Thursday, July 15, 2010

Binders Finished

I finished the last of the binders I received for work today. The time to complete these have dropped down significantly over the past couple of weeks as I've started getting the hang of things.

I now have to wait to get 1: new binders on which to work and 2: paid. I'm perhaps a little more concerned about getting 2 right now.

Beyond that, after seeing that my writing style apparently most often resembles David Foster Wallace, I decided to pick up a copy of his opus, Infinite Jest at the library today, while the kiddoes got their first library cards, well, two of them did. The Apple did not, as I"m certain he'd lose it before we got home.

Anyway, after much trial and tribulation, we're home. I'm caught up on work for the moment, and there is relative silence in the Binjo Ditch.

Will speak more soon, I hope. Don't want to give up the blog forever.

Wednesday, July 14, 2010

Writing Styles

Found this on another blog that I read. Thought it was interesting. I submitted 9 different blog posts of mine and the name that I got most often (it was actually a majority) was:

I Write Like by Mémoires, Mac journal software. Analyze your writing!

Of course, I don't know who this guy is.

Tuesday, July 13, 2010

MidMonth Update

I've been doing my new job for somewhere around a month now. I have yet to receive a paycheck, which is stressful in and of itself.

I've also discovered a couple truths about myself:

1. As tempting as it is to want to work from home, it takes a certain mentality to do it. I've been far more productive than I feared I might be, in part because I've done a good job of convincing myself of the need to continue to turn in work.

2. Working while watching children is not a good combo. There is always a distraction. Either the computer or television is too loud, or the kids are fighting, or they're chasing the dog around the house, or it's quiet (which means they're up to something)...

3. Working from home does not get you away from work at home. From my study, I can see the dishes piling up in the sink, I can hear the washing machine and dryer when they stop running, when I go check up on the kids I see the mess in the living room that needs picking up...

4. There's no transition from "home" to "work" back to "home." One of the things I enjoyed about my commute was that it granted me the ability to mentally shift from "Work Mode" to "Home Mode." With work being literally "in the other room," there's no way to separate yourself from it - particularly when you know you just need to do that little bit more...

I don't mind my job. I do title opinions of properties for Oil and Gas leases. It's rather interesting to see the conveyances from one person to another to another and all the hiccups that turn up in the chain of title. Every property has its own little idiosyncracies that need to be handled, which brings me to my next item of concern - 5. There's nobody "here" to get guidance from. So far, the firm has been quite good about answering my questions. I think today was the first time I asked a question where I was told I would be unable to get the answer until tomorrow, but there's a certain comfort zone to having someone who knows what's going on right down the hall to talk to. Maybe that's for the best then, that I have to try to figure it out on my own, but I prefer to get the reinforcement on my idea rather than try to figure this out through guesswork and hoping that I get a response on the phone.

My current plan is to ride this out for a few months and see if maybe after I get up to full salary (about 1 year), maybe start looking for a similar position in an office environment. I think I am better suited for office work than I am for working from home, but I do need the experience.

Friday, July 09, 2010

A Staggering Statistic

Bearing in mind that the US Government fought tooth and nail to deny these detainees even the most basic of civil liberty protection, how can anyone say with a straight face that Guantanamo only hold "the worst of the worst?"

U.S. has now lost 75 percent of Guantanamo habeas cases | McClatchy

Sunday, July 04, 2010

Happy 4th

When in the course of human events, and all that.

Sunday, June 20, 2010

Happy Father's Day

Happy Father's day to all you dads out there.

Saturday, June 19, 2010

Hunting Plans

While I've started a new job and thus have a bit less free time to worry about, I can say that I have been able to get myself out today to go scope out some hunting spots in the Sam Houston National Forest. The first spot that I'd found a few weeks ago turned out to be perfect. So perfect, in fact, that it's already been claimed by a hunter. The stand is already up with a guy line running across the view that we'd ended up finding.

I'll have to keep heading out to see what turns up, but it was nice to head out and actually see some deer.

Friday, June 18, 2010

Since I've Been Gone

I've managed to find a new job, which, combined with having the kids at home for the summer has kept me somewhat busy.

On the bright side, I have found work. I am putting a bit of trust into the payment system, as I've not actually met any of my bosses, though I do have my of counsel agreement signed and ready to go. I'm working as an Oil and Gas title attorney, which is a departure from pharmaceutical litigation, but appears to be somewhat more lucrative, at least at the lower end.

The best part is I'm working from home, which means 1: I get to spend time with my kids, 2: I don't have to pay daycare, and 3: I don't have a commute, so I save on gas, tolls, and automotive wear and tear.

Anyway, I'll see how this goes, and will, as always, keep the 3 or 4 of you who read this blog in the loop.

Friday, May 28, 2010

A disgrace of historic proportions

Glenn Greenwald strikes again. Imagine spending 1/3 of your life in jail with not even the minimum of Constitutional guarantees...

A disgrace of historic proportions

Why do People Take Republican Congresspeople Seriously?

Never Mind that they had their chance to play nice and help out, and that they were given unbelievable deference in helping to draft serious proposals to the bill that they nevertheless spent months opposing violently and then proposing an "alternative" that didn't cover any more people than now and cost more than the Bill that passed. The fact is America Wants the minority bill, which is why they voted for Democrats in the last election. The proof, of course, is that reactionist idiots who follow Fox News as though it's gospel shout loudly against health care reform and people start to believe the uninformed crap they spew. Otherwise, if they looked, they'd realize that the law that passed is actually quite conservative, and very similar to the GOP proposal from 1993.

GOP moves to repeal healthcare law -

Wednesday, May 26, 2010

ALong with everything else...

Can't we use this as further evidence that we elected George Bush III in our last election? And seriously, can we cut down on the "antichrist" rhetoric, just a little?

Thursday, May 20, 2010

Palin Duplicity

While I'm not exactly the biggest fan of Sarah Palin, I'm definitely not her biggest detractor. For an example of how Palin likes to cherry-pick lines that support her or show her as being simpatico with those she used in her rise to the top, I present: Mudflats

And the search continues

I had one interview today at a temp agency that does staffing for short-term document review projects.

In addition, I stopped by two other firms where I'd sent resumes. I received a kindly "no" at one and was unable to get any information from the other as the attorney was out of the office. This one I'm kind of crossing my fingers for, though, as it might be what I am looking for...

That's about it at this time. Hope all is well with you guys!

Tuesday, May 18, 2010

Not to get My Hopes Up

But perhaps I'm moving towards something again here soon...

Saturday, May 15, 2010

Random Quote

"Necessity is the plea for every infringement of human freedom. It is the argument of tyrants. It is the creed of slaves." - William Pitt

Friday, May 14, 2010

A Great Wonkette Article

There are a couple concerns here, but I think the most unbelievable part of this Wonkette article is that Republicans trashed a public school classroom, then called the principal of the school (a guy named McCarthy, no less) to complain about various un-American items found, such as THE CONSTITUTION!

I understand that you can't paint an entire party by the actions of a few individuals. But it would be an error to completely dismiss this action, as well as so many others taken under the Republican umbrella over the past several years.

Gotta love the embrace of Tea-Party talking points for a Republican Platform, too.

Thursday, May 13, 2010

Thursday Morning

I've had a couple busy job searching days. I've even driven out to various law firms to offer my services. Nothing has really borne fruit, of course, but I'm definitely moving through different options.

The Boy's concert is tonight. I'm looking forward to hearing the band and how much they've improved this year.

So tired.

New target of rights erosions: U.S. citizens

I've complained in the past about how the US treated its detainees, the abuse of habeas corpus, the denial of legal counsel, indefinite detention, etc. Part of the reason is my concern for ceding too much power to the Government in the name of "security." I, of course was not alone in my complaints, and several others do a much better job at pointing out the dangers than I. One of those individuals is Glenn Greenwald.

He does such an outstanding job summarizing the steady erosion of rights taken from us in the name of Security. Of course, many people support these changes, because "it's not going to happen to me." The problem, of course, is that once everyone else is eliminated, you are what's left to go after. Do we really need legislation stripping citizenship of Americans ACCUSED of being terrorists? Of course, it's unconstitutional, but who cares about that? We have to worry about children seeing the Lion King in Times Square.

Monday, May 10, 2010

Random Quote for Monday

In the wake of recent discussions I've had with friends regarding profiling and other short circuits of Due Process and the Constitution:
The Constitution of the United States is a law
for rulers and people, equally in war and in peace,
and covers with the shield of its protection
all classes of men, at all times, and under all circumstances.
No doctrine, involving more pernicious consequences,
was ever invented by the wit of man than
that any of its provisions can be suspended
during any of the great exigencies of government.
Such a doctrine leads directly to anarchy or despotism,
but the theory of necessity on which it is based is false;
for the government, within the Constitution,
has all the powers granted to it,
which are necessary to preserve its existence;
as has been happily proved by the result
of the great effort to throw off its just authority."
Justice David Davis
(1815-1886) U.S. Supreme Court Justice 1862-1877
Source: Ex parte Milligan 71 U.S. 2 (1866)

Sunday, May 09, 2010

There are Days

Where I'm not entirely sure we didn't elect another President Bush in the last election. I think in many respects, President Obama has done rather well, but on National Security, Civil Rights, and if this report is accurate, selecting Harriet Mierses for the Supreme Court nomination are very Bushesque.
You know, when President Obama ran for office, he made constant mention about moving away from the excesses of the Bush Administration, particularly with respect to the Constitution and the Rule of Law. I don't understand how advocating for Miranda-lite might possibly work toward that end. It seems like an embrace of Bush-era inexcusable encroachments is the norm, and that's not what I would consider change.

Though it does show the hypocrisy of those who embraced Bush yet condemn Obama...

Random Quote

It is better, so the Fourth Amendment teaches us, that the guilty sometimes go free than the citizens be subject to easy arrest. - William O. Douglas

Saturday, May 08, 2010

Just a Quick Thought

Has anyone noticed how, when President Obama does take action on something, a bunch of talking heads on the Right complain that he's doing too much, taking control of the country, etc., yet when he takes his time on acting, trying to let individual actors set everything right, he's criticized by the same Right as "not doing enough?"

One might suggest he could do nothing right according to the Right. And Lieberman.

Friday, May 07, 2010

Random Rant

I don't watch Survivor. I don't know that I've ever seen more than 10 minutes of any one episode of the show. I think if it was a case where people were rewarded for being the best contributors to a team or punished for not pulling their weight it would be a better quality show. I know that this wouldn't translate to ratings, necessarily, but I'd prefer it to the crap they have listed as "Survivor."

Now, even though I haven't ever watched Survivor, that doesn't mean that I've not been inundated with "Russell." I can't stand the guy. I don't understand what kind of control he exerts over anyone. I think he looks like the Dwarf from Lord of the Rings and really can't understand what he charisma/appeal is...

Mostly, though, I'm sick of hearing his name on all the commercials. I actually prefer Boston Rob to the guy and I REALLY can't stand Boston Rob.

Lunch Today

I had lunch at Chacho's today with Jamie. It's been a while since we got together for lunch. Definitely a nice chance to reconnect.

Still no job offers, but I have gotten some leads out. We'll have to see how everything goes.


Senator Lieberman is advocating for stripping the citizenship of Americans accused of being Terrorists, an unconstitutional bill, but that doesn't matter when it's emotionally charged...

Glenn Greenwald touches on this and several other topics, including how the potentially illegal predator drone attacks on pakistani civilians may have led to Faisal Shahzad's alleged "attack." I say attack in quotes because it was non-explosive and covered in useless wires. One could argue that the attempt was actually not to inflict actual damage but rather to do what actually has happened, which is irrational frothing at the mouth...

Thursday, May 06, 2010

It's Thursday!

And I've applied to more jobs this week than I have in any week for about a month. Not to say I've not been applying a lot, but I've definitely done more this week than in others, and I'm not done yet, either.

There's a lot going on right now, I'm just not exactly a part of it yet...

Hopefully I'll be back in the employment group here soon enough.

Wednesday, May 05, 2010

Gerson First Wrote This

But I think it bears repeating. Defenders of Arizona's Illegal Immigration law need to recognize that they went on the record in defense of a law that was so overbroad and blatantly racist that even the drafters of the law had to change it.

What Gerson wrote: It must be awkward to have risen to the vigorous defense of legal language that even its authors, in the end, could not defend. But the law’s advocates are making the best of things out on their sawed-off limb. The law is now more “explicit” about its true intention. It is a “clarification.” But this isn’t a clarification; it is retreat. The authors of the Arizona law initially wrote it as broadly as they thought they could get away with. But they were caught. Their retreat does not confirm their intentions were good. It confirms that the original law was deeply flawed -- a dramatic, disturbing overreach.

He goes on to note that "lawful stop" can still be quite broad, as it allows investigation for violations of community ordinances, property or rental codes, such as having a car on blocks...

In addition to all this, someone needs to address how this new law will impact border security or prevent illegals from crossing the border, it just serves to harass those who are already here, both legal and illegally.

Tuesday, May 04, 2010


Senator McCain came within 7 Million votes of becoming President. He's now openly lamenting if a criminal suspect may have had his Miranda Rights read to him.

Rep. King probably says it all: "I know he's an American, but still..."

Does anyone need to hear anything else to understand today's Republican Party?

Republicans warn against Miranda rights for terror suspect - Kasie Hunt -

Interesting Thoughts

On Monday the Supreme Court reportedly asked President Obama his opinion on laws that bar felons from voting and whether they violate the federal Voting Rights Act.

Years and years ago, circa 1793, President Washington asked the Supreme Court (specifically John Jay) to opine on the 1778 Franco-American Treaty and America's obligations stemming therefrom. John Jay sent a letter to President Washington at the time declining to offer an opinion unless there was an actual controversy - the Court was the "Court of last resort," and could not offer advisory opinions, which generally speaking, the Court has done a decent job of respecting.

I think the question on whether a felon should be deprived their right to vote is an interesting one. As a general principle, I don't object to stripping felons of the right to vote. I think that this should serve as a strong deterrent to committing felonies. I also understand that voting is a "Fundamental right" and as such is a right available to all American Citizens. I do think there could be some precedent against denying the vote to convicted felons. There's an old case from the last century involving forced sterilization of people convicted of 3 felonies in Oklahoma. The statute was struck down because of the technicalities in filing charges - stealing chickens could be either a misdemeanor or a felony depending on certain circumstances (this is a VERY abbreviated version of the case). I would think that this case which involved a fundamental right would be pertinent to the instant question...

I guess I'm split. I like the idea of denying the vote to people who show such disdain for our laws that they commit felonies, but on the other hand, I think there's a strong question about the Constitutionality of the ban...


I've applied to more jobs than I like to think about. I've received about 10% response. It's a bit frustrating.

If I had the financial resources to do so, I'd like to volunteer with Lawyers Without Borders as a legal observer in Africa or something like that. I think that would be a terrific opportunity.

More job searching today.

Friday, April 30, 2010

I Hate CSI Miami

I was going to post a recap on this week's episode, but quite frankly, I'm tired and grumpy. Let's just say the Constitutional Violations are still intact on this ridiculous show.

And can someone explain to me how the cops managed to extract 2 partial fingerprints of the suspect off a kerchief yet inexplicably failed to find any fingerprints of the kerchief's owner? How fortuitous do you get?

I'm not entirely sure I understand the need for this

I think this bill is along the lines of Arizona's Illegal Immigrant bill. I think it's designed as a political maneuver to try to galvanize a certain demographic to the polls. I haven't seen the spate of airport-related violence in Georgia on the news that would necessitate a specific bill/law to be able to carry firearms into Airports, though I'm familiar with several checkpoints in airports where you cannot bring firearms beyond...
I don't disagree with the right to carry firearms in general, and think there's a utility to people carrying firearms - people are less likely to try to rob a person who's packing heat, but I don't know about the timing/necessity here.
Ga. House OKs Guns At Atlanta Airport - Atlanta News Story - WGCL Atlanta

Thursday, April 29, 2010

Judicial Activism Lives

Of course, according to certain mindsets, it's not Judicial Activism if it's a decision that favors Christian Conservative mores, but I direct you to this post on Americans United and say that I share their disappointment. Perhaps I'll have more to add to this later, but for now I'll just say I think the Roberts Court just made a mockery of the 1st Amendment.

For more information on the background of this story, I direct you to a post I wrote some time ago on the subject, back in 2007.

It's been a long Day

What's up with BP and safety? That oil spill's not looking good.

I think I'll be missing HYLA's last Thursday this month. I was hoping to go, but circumstances dictate otherwise...

Tired of not working.

On Arizona's Immigration Bill

It seems like many people aren’t entirely certain what’s going on with the bill recently signed into law in Arizona. I thought it might help to explain some of the concern with the law and its enforcement, concerns shared by Arizona Association of Police Chiefs and several Arizona sheriffs who have come out in opposition to this law.

Let’s consider a couple things that I see as potential problems, first. The law itself is purportedly drafted to enforce federal laws. The law then dictates when inquiry into legal status comes into play: Title II, Ch. 7, Art.8 Sec. B: For any lawful contact made by a law enforcement official or agency of this state or a county, city, town, or other political subdivision of this state where reasonable suspicion exists that the person is an alien who is unlawfully present in the United States, a reasonable attempt shall be made, when practicable, to determine the immigration status of the person. The operative language here is the term “lawful contact” where “reasonable suspicion” exists. I’ve been searching and have been unable to find a definition for “lawful contact,” so for lack of a better term, or until someone can provide me with a codified definition, I will write from the premise that lawful contact is any contact that isn’t unlawful.

The law does require “reasonable suspicion” that the person is an alien who is unlawfully present in the U.S, however, the language is unbelievably broad. This places a burden on the police officer to determine even in passing, if practicable, if a person is here illegally if the person looks illegal. Contrary to common talking points, the plain language of the bill does not restrict this to stops based on violations of other laws. This language is even broader than the already broad Terry Stops based on reasonable suspicion of unlawful behavior, as it confers the power to determine on lawful contacts that are based on appearance, not limited to behavior.

Further, this law allows, after a stop based on appearing to be illegal, a police officer to arrest an individual “without a warrant if the officer has probable cause to believe that the person has committed any public offense that makes the person removable from the United States.” (Sec. E). Note that this provision allows arrest for removal if the police officer develops probable cause AFTER the stop based on lawful contact based on appearance. Not only that, but this clause allows warrantless arrest for LAWFUL immigrants who appear illegal, not just undocumented immigrants.

The law in question creates a further burden on law enforcement, as it requires the diversion of resources to the enforcement of this law. This law includes the following provision (Sec. G): A person may bring an action in superior court to challenge any official or agency of this state or a county, city, town, or other political subdivision of this state that adopts or implements a policy that limits or restricts the enforcement of federal immigration laws to less than the full extent permitted by federal law. If there is a judicial finding that an entity has violated this section, the court shall order any of the following: 1. That the person who brought the action recover court costs and attorney fees, and/or 2. That the entity pay a civil penalty of not less than one thousand dollars and not more than five thousand dollars for each day after the filing of an action pursuant to this subsection.” Note that the law does not require a written policy, it allows for a lawsuit if a person believes a policy has been implemented that limits enforcement.

There are a few causes for concern here. The most glaring one, of course, and the one focused on by the most people, is that this law does not appear to be enforceable without profiling. Now, Arizona does not have any laws against Racial Profiling, unlike some other states, so perhaps there’s nothing facially illegal, however, from a Constitutional standpoint, there might be an issue with regard to the Fourteenth Amendment Equal Protection clause. The fourteenth amendment reads: “All persons born or naturalized in the united States, and subject to the jurisdiction thereof, are citizens of the United States and of the State wherein they reside. No state shall make or enforce any law which shall abridge the privileges or immunities of the citizens of the United Sates; nor shall any State deprive ANY PERSON of life, liberty, or property, without due process of law; nor deny to ANY PERSON within its jurisdiction equal protection of the laws (emphases mine). While some may argue that the people who are going to be deported are illegals, that’s missing the point. Even with the best of intentions, police officers are going to be targeting one racial group over the others with their lawful contacts and their stops. This detention, based not on reasonable suspicion of criminal activity, poses a burden on citizens of Hispanic descent that is not present to those of other national origin. Not only that, but the Equal Protection clause does not limit itself to protecting CITIZENS of the state equal protection, rather it protects ANY PERSON. This would include the lawful immigrants who would be subject to arrests based on probable cause developed after a search based on appearance, vice reasonable suspicion of criminal activity. Remember, this law allows warrantless arrests, which brings us to the 4th Amendment. The 4th amendment reads “The right of the people to be secure in their persons, houses, papers, and effects, against unreasonable searches and seizures, shall not be violated, and no Warrants shall issue, but upon probable cause, supported by Oath or affirmation, and particularly describing the place to be searched and the persons of things to be seized. Of course, we know that warrantless protective searches are lawful based on Terry (supra), but this law needlessly expands upon the rights of police to conduct warrantless searches and arrests for, in essence, looking illegal (i.e. Hispanic).

I understand that people argue that police aren’t just going to randomly stop people on the street for looking like an illegal immigrant, but consider a couple things. For one thing, the law requires inquiry into legal status on lawful contact. This could mean that a witness to a crime, or a victim of a crime would be put at risk for an inquiry if a police officer determines he or she looks illegal. If we recognize how difficult it is to get domestic violence charges reported already by victims, imagine how hard it will become with passage of this law. Further, the police possess very broad powers to stop individuals as it is. Pretext stops are very simple for a police officer because it becomes a case of one person’s word against the cop’s. I’ve been the subject of a stop where a police officer accused me of crossing a median when I hadn’t, and I know I’m not the only one who’s had that happened to him. How many people are stopped for malfunctioning taillights that work just fine after the cop leaves? To create a situation where police are encouraged to profile and expand upon their already broad powers runs contrary to what I would determine our nation’s reason for existence, which was the right of individual liberty. For those who have argued that it’s a small inconvenience in the name of security, I would counter with the notion that our Declaration of Independence noted an unalienable right to “Life, Liberty, and the Pursuit of Happiness.” Further, the Constitution sought to secure the Blessings of Liberty to ourselves and our Posterity.

I apologize for the length of this post and the clarity. I've written this in a style similar to Ulysses, so it may not be the easiest read.

Thursday Morning Random Thoughts

The Apple is on a field trip today. I'm excited for him.

I do think we've determined what rifle we're going to get; it's just a matter of finding a left-handed model. For some reason, stores down here don't stock them...

I've been suffering a good bout of insomnia recently. It's not a fun experience.

I don't understand how encouraging racial profiling in Arizona doesn't violate the Privileges and Immunities clause of the 14th Amendment...

Tuesday, April 27, 2010

A Society of Equals

I've commented a couple times on Arizona's Illegal Immigrant Law, on here and on my facebook. I believe at one point I made a comment that it was legislating the enforcement of "Driving while Mexican."

It appears from this article that I first read about on Balloon Juice, that perhaps there's a reason it seemed racist. As the article reads, one of the main proponents of the law is a man named Kris Kobach, who according to the article linked above, is "a Birther who’s running for Kansas secretary of state. But his Birtherism is the least offensive thing about Kobach. His campaign Website brags, 'Kobach wins one in Arizona.' He’s also an attorney for the Immigration Reform Law Institute, the legal arm of an immigration group called FAIR, the Federation for American Immigration Reform."

To continue, the article reads:
For nine of the first years of FAIR’s existence, the group reportedly received more than $1 million in funding from something called the Pioneer Fund. The Pioneer Fund describes itself as based “in the Darwinian-Galtonian evolutionary tradition and eugenics movement.” For the last 70 years, the Pioneer Fund has funded controversial research about race and intelligence, essentially aimed at proving the racial superiority of white people.
As disagreeable as this sounds, it's not exactly surprising to hear a birther is also a believer in racial superiority.

What I find interesting, though, is that as this law is being pushed into effect and supported by an apparent white-supremacist, there is currently a Supreme Court hearing regarding whether a school may deny funding and official recognition to a student organization that violates the school's "all comers" policy - namely that all students must be allowed full access to the organization. Over at the Powerline Blog John wrote on this case a few days ago:
As is often the case in Supreme Court arguments, the justices pelted both lawyers with hypothetical questions, sometimes involving rather far-fetched scenarios. At one point Justice Stevens asked this question:

JUSTICE STEVENS: What if the belief is that African Americans are inferior?

MR. McCONNELL: Again, I think they can discriminate on the basis of belief, but not on the basis of status.

Given the information at the top of this post, I would argue that this scenario is not "far fetched," rather, it's a matter of fact that there are individuals, even lawyers, who believe that one race is superior to another. Personally, I agree with the concept of "who pays the piper calls the tunes," and that the school isn't denying the CLS the right to discriminate if it chooses, rather it's saying "If you want to discriminate, that's fine, but you won't be recognized as an Official Student Organization," i.e. "we won't subsidize your discrimination." I would hate to see schools be forced to subsidize outright racism like Arizona is.

It's a Tuesday.

I'm hunting for jobs, I'm hunting for an outfit for the Boy, I'm hunting for a rifle, and I'm hunting for a hunting spot. It's a great day.

Tomorrow I'll be making it out to the resale shop to see if I can find something nice for the Boy.

Somehow I need to be able to find a piano for him to use...

Glenn Greenwald has a knack

I don't think I know anyone who can point out the hypocrisy of being pro-censorship and anti-censorship simultaneously depending on which religious group is being offended. I agree with him in his disdain for censorship large-scale. The problem, though is that this ire doesn't make itself know until it's people bowing to Muslims. Why not the outrage over the Corpus Christi play that closed near Dallas due to threats of violence against the students who wanted to run it? That's but one example of several that Glenn provides...

The New York Times' Muslim problem

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Monday, April 26, 2010


Job search is still not bearing good fruit.

I have gone out scouting potential hunting sites in the national forest, though. While I don't think I've found *the* spot, I do think I've found a couple potential sites and have a general idea, I think, of where I'd like to hunt.

The real trick is going to be finding an actual deer.

On the plus side, though, I've gotten plenty of exercise the last few days hiking through the woods. We do need to be careful, though. We managed to come across a tick on the Boy's sock.

A Confederacy of Grown-ups, Ctd.

So the Republican strategy is to delay, mislead, argue, and then give up.

The GOP's Terrible FinReg Bluff | The New Republic

Saturday, April 24, 2010

Random Quote

"'Sort of' is such a harmless thing to say. Sort of. It's just a filler. Sort of - it doesn't really mean anything. But after certain things, sort of means everything. Like after 'I love you' or 'You're going to live' or 'It's a boy.'" - Demetri Marten

And You're Out!

I had 3 job interviews over the past week. That's the most I've had since I lost my job. Unfortunately, I don't anticipate any offers from any of those positions, and in fact the one job of those three that I really did want told me that I wasn't going to be their choice.

Today I'm going up to the National Forest to start scouting for hunting locations. In the Mitt Romney sense, I've pretty much been a hunter my entire life. However, in a more accurate sense, I'm a guy who went out hunting once or twice with my dad when I was a teen, never saw anything, and now is interested in getting back into hunting 20 years later.

I just have to get the kids to finish getting themselves together. It's only been 3 hours.

Friday, April 23, 2010

The party of no ... credibility

Who'd believe that Republicans are more prolific liars than members of other political parties? The party of no ... credibility

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Thursday, April 22, 2010

Job Hunting Update

I just had what must have been the worst interview I've ever been on. I actually felt physically uncomfortable during the interview. That's usually a sign that what you're interviewing for is where you want to be.

It was rather awkward.

Old News, But Still Funny

Having problems embeddign the video, so click the link above.

Tuesday, April 20, 2010

Kudos to Mark Halperin

According to this Who Runs Gov post, Mark Halperin was on MSNBC's Morning Grind talking about the GOP talking point about Democrat Financial Reform creating a "permanent bailout."

The transcript, according to the link, reads:

JOE SCARBOROUGH: Just this once, defend the Republican position.

MARK HALPERIN: I cannot defend what they’re doing.


SCARBOROUGH: Look at you! Look at you!


HALPERIN: They are willfully misreading the bill or they are engaged in a cynical attempt to keep the president from achieving something.

Personally, I think it's good to see Halperin refuse to argue against himself on something blatantly false. Kudos to him.

There is video on the link.

It's the Law!

A few years ago, while I was still in law school, there was a case that went before the Supreme Court involving military recruiters. Various law schools, including my alma mater, did not want to allow recruiters on campus because of the schools' objections to "don't ask, don't tell." The Court determined, as my old friend Bookworm wrote at the time, "He who pays the Piper calls the tunes." Essentially, the schools didn't want to allow military recruiters, objecting on 1st Amendment grounds, yet still wanted to receive the federal funds that were tied to allowing the recruiters on campus. I disagreed with the decision at the time, however, I do believe that it is the correct decision.

Yesterday, the Supreme Court held oral arguments on a case involving the Christian Legal Society at the Hastings College of Law in San Francisco. The gist of the case is that the Christian Legal Society (CLS) wants to be recognized as an official student organization, which allows the group to receive "a small subsidy, preferred use of campus facilities, use of all campus bulletin boards and e-mails and use of the school logo." In order to be recognized as an official organization, the school requires that a student organization accept all comers. In other words, the organization cannot discriminate on any grounds. The CLS had been recognized as an official organization until 2004, when it changed its bylaws to bar admission to homosexuals or those who participate in pre-marital sex. The school stripped the CLS of its official recognition at the time, and cut off its stipend.

At this point in time, the CLS had a couple options. They could: a.) change their bylaws and allow all comers to have full benefits of the society, or b.) accept the decision of the school and continue to discriminate as they see fit understanding that they would not receive funding from the school. What the CLS did, of course, was option c.) file a lawsuit and claim injury.

The CLS argued that this requirement violated the organization's rights, and that it didn't make sense for the CLS to be required to allow an atheist to lead a CLS meeting. Justices Scalia, Alito, and Chief Justice Roberts seem to be wanting to participate in what would be called "Judicial Activism" if they were Liberal-appointed Justices with their questions during oral arguments, including Justice Alito opening asking if other organizations were allowed to discriminate on campus despite the CLS's stipulation that others did not, and Chief Justice Roberts trying to parse this case as different than Bob Jones University being denied federal funds for wanting to deny students who believed in interracial dating.

I fail to see a difference between the CLS case and the two Bob Jones University or the Military Recruiters case. I believe that as Bookworm would write, "who pays the piper, calls the tunes," but given the makeup of the Court and the fact that the complainant in this case is a Christian organization and not a Buddhist one, I would not be surprised to see the Court engage in some legal gymnastics to find the holding they want, namely to force the Hastings College of Law to fund an organization that openly wants to discriminate.

It's interesting to think that the organization's argument seems to stem around denying access to atheists as I believe Jesus taught that he wanted Christians to be Fishers of Men, and that would be a pool from which they sought to draw...

Monday, April 19, 2010

On the Surge

One of the great talking points during the runup to the 2008 U.S. Election was the question of whether or not the Surge worked. The politically convenient point to make, and the one made by so many politicians on both sides of the aisle was that the Surge was, in fact, successful as sectarian violence was down. I remember talking with family members and friends who provided this decline in violence as their proof that President Bush was tactically brilliant in making the determination to implement the Surge.

I went on record at the time President Bush announced the Surge while refusing to accept responsibility for creating a situation where a Surge would be necessary ("Mistakes were made"). I said that I had "hopeful pessimism." The reason I was pessimistic was that I distrusted President Bush's ability to assess the situation and create a situation out of the mess his policies had made where his stated purpose of the surge, namely "to give the Iraqi leaders breathing room to work out a [political] settlement" (quote from latter link).

After the various U.S. Politicians and Talking Heads started racing to embrace the popular story of the day (i.e. the Surge Worked), I was asked whether I agreed. My answer then was that there was no way to know in 2008 whether or not the surge worked, because we didn't know whether there was a stable working government in Iraq, which was the ultimate goal of the Surge. Recently, there is evidence that this goal, and perhaps other Surge goals have not been reached. Violence is increasing as American presence is decreasing, which is not a good thing.

While it might be a fun game to point the blame to President Obama for this, remember that removing our forces from Iraq was one of his stated goals on the campaign trail. Further, according to all the big names, including former Presidential Candidate John McCain, the Surge was successful. Republicans were in a great rush to declare the war in Iraq "won" right around the time Obama took office (as it turns out, a resolution declaring victory in Iraq came about right about 6 weeks after Obama was sworn in). The point of the resolution, of course, was not to celebrate actual victory, but to divorce the invasion from the withdrawal, to be able to pin any subsequent increases in violence or collapses of Iraqi government not on the President responsible for an ill-advised (but legal) invasion creating a tenuous, unstable environment in a country with a history of sectarian discord, but rather on the President who had to follow up one of the most incompetent invasions/occupations in world history.

I said before that I was hopeful that the Surge would work, but I was skeptical. I would say that as of this minute, President Bush's last Great Attempt to secure his legacy merely added to the scale of its failure. This is not a failure of the U.S. forces, nor is it a failure of a nation that wasn't ready for western style democracy. This failure belongs to the President who was absolutely incapable of ever owning responsibility for any of his actions.

Sunday, April 18, 2010

Quick Question

While I suspect it's the overly liberally-slanted media, I can't state that definitively, but, with a Health Care reform bill that is paid for on paper that will cover an additional 30 Million working poor, an economy that is working again despite 8 years of painful damage caused by increased spending, decreased revenue through taxes and decreased/no regulation of major financial sectors, inheriting 2 wars and unbelievable debt, saving the auto industry, and protecting several million jobs that otherwise would have been lost had the stimulus not been enacted, all while the Republicans in Congress and the Senate sat there with their thumbs up their collective asses complaining all along about "not being included" despite overwhelming evidence to the contrary including televised sit downs with Republicans, including $300BB in tax cuts to said stimulus, etc., WHY are the Democrats expected to lose seats this fall?

Thursday, April 15, 2010

A Hunting We Will Go

I'm off to an interview tomorrow. I'm not exactly looking forward to it. This is a panel interview, and I'm never comfortable with these interviews. Actually, I'm not terribly comfortable with many interviews.

I keep hoping that the dream job is going to pop up. I've sent out more resumes than I can count, and it's getting rather frustrating to hear either "no" or just hear nothing in return. I've followed more leads than I thought I'd have, and they've led nowhere.


Wednesday, April 14, 2010

More McConnell

Whodathunkit? McConnell lied about the Financial Reform Bill? And there are printed talking points encouraging the misinformation? Glad we live in a confederacy of grown-ups.

Sen. Dodd accuses Republican leader of lying about his bill | McClatchy

Why have integrity when you can just lie?

Breitbart peddles misleading video, again

I'm sure most people aren't going to be surprised that the guy who lied about the ACORN videos presented a video of Congressman John Lewis leaving the Capital on the day of the incident as "proof" that John Lewis lied about being called an inflammatory term by tea partiers on his way INTO the Capital, one hour earlier.

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Tuesday, April 13, 2010

Just Curious

But I wonder what the ratio is of teapartiers who believe Barack Obama is intent on turning this country into a Socialist Mecca is to teapartiers who believe that Jesus is coming back to earth in their lifetime and coming to the United States for the Rapture...

I Get Confused

(Cross posted at Vim and Vinegar)

I understand that the Republican Party's current platform is essentially "whatever is the polar opposite of what President Obama supports," but how is it possible to, in the course of a week, take both sides of the financial reform debate? That seems to be what Senator Mitch McConnell has done.

On the one hand, is April 8, where, according to this article from Washington Monthly, Senators McConnell and John Cornyn went to New York City "to explain what it means for Wall Street, and how financial executives might help prevent some of [the financial reform bill's] lease market-friendly aspects from becoming law by electing more Republicans." Steve Benen, who wrote the article adds clarity: "Democrats, the GOP leaders said, are going to try to punish the irresponsible industry that caused the crash, and prevent similar crises from happening again. McConnell and Cornyn want to stop these efforts, and need the industry's help -- if Wall Street will work with Republicans and elect a whole bunch of GOP candidates, the industry will be better off without all of those pesky regulations imposing oversight and accountability.

Clearly they were arguing for small government and corporate/fiscal responsibility. in a nutshell, "we know you screwed up and nearly towed the entire nation into complete financial collapse that was staved off by the government's bailouts that have shown in early returns to have been prudent decisions in the long run. But we trust you won't do that again; after all, Wall Street has never had problems before, so it must be a one-time problem and now you know to police yourselves. So vote for us. We need your money."

Now, Senator McConnell went on the record on Tuesday (today, via to argue that the American People don't want oversight or regulations on Wall Street. Because putting in place minimum standards of regulation and oversight to help save the country from potential future financial ruin by the greed and obfuscation of the people in charge of our nation's financial pulse isn't in our best interests: "If there is one thing Americans agree on when it comes to financial reform, it's absolutely sure they agree on this. Never again should tax payers be expected to bail out Wall Street from its own mistakes. We cannot allow endless tax payer-funded bailouts for big wall street banks."

The article linked above goes on to note that the proposed legislation would create a sped-up version of bankruptcy with a $50BB resolution fund taxing the biggest firms (not the American people, so the funding would come from the financial institutions - consider it a form of insurance, maybe).

So on the one hand, Senator McConnell is looking out for Wall Street and trying to protect them from Government Intrusion, yet less than a week later, hes looking out for the American People when he urges Republicans to oppose Financial Reform because it doesn't do enough to punish Wall Street for their excesses, without mentioning that it was in part the lack of oversight or regulations, the tax cuts, increased spending and inability to account for the overreaching during the previous administration that led to the collapse...

Interesting that he can point fingers to everyone except those who in theory were in charge of the country or who were in charge of the industry that (nearly) collapsed...

Monday, April 12, 2010


I have now received three separate e-mails from the campaign supporting Debra Lehrmann for the Republican Runoff for the Supreme Court. This is a de facto placement to the Supreme Court here in Texas as ALL Texas Supreme Court Justices are Republicans. In the time I've been practicing law here in Texas, and the time I was in law school, I have not seen any Democrats, Libertarians, Green Party, Whigs, etc. on the Supreme Court, thanks to the electoral process in the state. Though there are 9 Justices and at least 1/3 of the state would qualify as "liberal" or "Democrat," the majority is Republican and in statewide votes where majority rules, the result is a non-representative Supreme Court makeup.

While that is frustrating in and of itself, the issue that I have with this particular e-mail is that I have, after EACH e-mail I have received from this campaign, responded with a request to remove my name from the contact list and have received electronic notification that my e-mail account will no longer receive any more e-mails. This is just like telemarketers and spam e-mail accounts. I'm no more likely to vote for a Judicial candidate whose campaign has such little respect for the people who would be subject to her holdings than I would be to buy whatever crap is being spewed out in spam (I can't even think of examples because they go straight to my bulk e-mail box and get deleted without viewing).

I still have no idea how I ended up on a Republican mailing list, as I've never signed up for anything that advertised I would be subscribing to receive campaign e-mails from Republican candidates, but the utter disrespect on the part of Judge Debra Lehrmann's campaign with respect to bulk e-mails is enough to cause me to declare that in terms of the primary campaign, I will support Rick Green in the Primary. At this point it's no longer about judicial records, it's about respect for the citizenry.

Rick Green for the Republican Supreme Court nomination.

Sunday, April 11, 2010

Random Quote

"You hypocrite, you fraud! The atheist who believes in God" - E.K. Hornbeck (played to perfection by Gene Kelly), Inherit the Wind

Man Needing to be Fished.

I think it's time to start looking for another church.

I have said for some time that I favor separation of church and state. What I mean by that is that I don't want politics getting involved in my religion and I don't want religion getting involved in my politics.

I really don't care what political persuasion my pastor subscribes to, so long as he keeps it off the pulpit. But when you go on record about your feelings on Glenn Beck during your sermon, then you've made it clear where your politics are, which creates a wedge. I am uncomfortable knowing that somehow my pastor's political beliefs are strong enough to allow them to encroach into his preaching, and that is genuine cause for concern.

On Government Spending

I have had this discussion with family members over the past - who is responsible for the crippling national debt? Most of my family members fall into the well rehearsed mantra of Democrats increase spending and Republicans are the party of fiscal responsibility. It's easy for them to say this because that's the message the Republicans have been spouting for 30 someodd years, and nobody in a position of message control (i.e. MSM) has the nerve to call them on it.

I came across the following link to the Fourth Branch today in my blog searches and found someone who actually went to the trouble to point out just how much Republicans and Democrats respectively are responsible for our debt. Key phrase: "Republicans tolerated spending under Republican presidents for 30 years, accounting for 59% of our total national debt, all the while benefiting from federal spending at the expense of their counterparts in blue states, only to then go bananas when a Democratic president and Congress spend money to rescue a floundering economy." Think about that as you read the article and see the charts.

There is a party of Fiscal responsibility. It's just not the ones the message handlers would have you believe.

Friday, April 09, 2010

Just a Reminder

Newt Gingrich, Sarah Palin, Glenn Beck, Rush Limbaugh, Michelle Bachman, et al. are interested in only 3 things: Power, Controlling the Message, and Attention.

And they will do or say anything to get it without regard to the truthfulness of the matter.

Rosetta Stoned

I purchased a copy of Rosetta stone to help repair my atrophied Korean skills. It's been some 6 years since I spoke the language with any regularity.

I can say that the first few lessons helped quite a bit - I realize how much is dormant and not exactly "dead." Still, I'm going to have to get through a lot of this before I'm comfortable listing myself as fluent in Korean on my resume again...

Wednesday, April 07, 2010

Random Comment

What's up with Ryan Seacrest on American Idol this year? I can't be the only one who sees how incredibly discourteous he's been with Simon this season. He needs to grow up.

More "Bad" News

(Cross posted at Vim and Vinegar) I remember the hubbub last year when President Obama determined it necessary to bail out the nation's auto industry, which included the bankruptcies of GM and Chrysler. My father in law among others was particularly nonplussed about the idea of "Government Motors."

It turns out GM has made it not only a priority to increase quality and payback the loans, but GM now reports that they plan to pay off their loans by June of this year, 5 years ahead of the 2015 payback date.

So President Obama prevented a dramatic loss of jobs by preventing the collapse of two of the nation's three automakers, keeping people employed and money flowing while allowing the automakers precious time to reformulate their strategy (i.e. "modernize"). As a result, American cars are better, sales are increasing, and the damage to the economy was greatly diminished.

President Obama has his failings (namely most of the wartime policies he carried over from the Bush administration and the subsequent broom and carpet policy with regard to past violations of the law by the same). However, it would seem that with regard to his economic decisions, he's been doing all right. This information is right up there with the news about the Government's profit margin in its Citibank stocks.

Tuesday, April 06, 2010

Tuesday Update

Well, I had an interview of sorts last week. It was an interesting situation where the job isn't immediately open, but they anticipate it will be available in the next 30-60 days. The attorneys I met were both genial and professional, which is a good combination to have. In addition, they both were very knowledgeable, which provides a good resource from which to garner information.

I broke down and got Rosetta Stone for Korean last Friday, as well. This will help my transition into an IP or immigration position as my language skills are not what they were back in the late 90s. We'll have to see what happens.

Hope all is well out there in blogland.

Saturday, April 03, 2010

History is Written by the Petulant

I remember a point in the Bush Administration wherein the former president accused Democrats of "rewriting history" with regard to the workup to the War in Iraq. It turned out, of course, that the majority of what was pressed as the justifications for invading Iraq were, in fact, false, but the accusation stood.

This is an interesting concept, because there appears to have been a strong push on the part of Conservatives throughout this country to attempt to rewrite history, including McCarthyism and others. For a good example, I refer my reader(s) to this McClatchy article that does a good job debunking several of the attempts at rewriting...

Thursday, April 01, 2010

Judge: Bush wire-tapping illegal

This probably shouldn't suprise anyone who's followed my blog, but I am happy to hear the smackdown of the Bush Administration's intentional circumvention of FISA and the 4th Amendment.

Judge: Bush wire-tapping illegal

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Wednesday, March 31, 2010

Maybe I'm Just a Cynic

But I have a hard time believing that Sarah Palin and/or Fox News didn't intentionally advertise her new interview show with a screen shot of L.L. Cool J knowing that she never interviewed him just so that they could get the free mileage out of the subsequent "story" that the denial/controversy created. It managed to get me talking about it...

Say what you will about Sarah Palin (and I have), but she and Fox both have a knack for garnering attention.


It's a long day. Still, managed to get a couple things done. Kids will be home soon - I'm sure they're going to be happy about Chicken and Dumplins for dinner tonight.

Interesting Comparison

I'm watching a show on the History Channel right now about Nazis in America. They have discussed a book called the Turner Diaries, which was a fictional telling of the overthrow of America (in favor of Nazi/Aryans). Apparently this book, along with messages of hatred for races other than Protestant Caucasians, was part of what led to violence like Timothy McVeigh, among others...

The author of the book stated that he wasn't advocating violence, however, and thought that the violence came out by itself.

Another speaker - former White Supremacist, noted that the propagandists/leaders' modus operandi is to recruit young/impressionable people, fill their minds with messages of hate and rhetoric, and then, when these people go out and take matters into their own hands, the propagandists can sit back and disclaim any ownership of the actions - "we didn't tell them to do this stuff."

It's sort of like the soil and the seed. The leaders plant the seed - the thought of violent action in furtherance of their agenda and the necessity of it being carried out - into the fertile soil of the young person's mind...

For some reason, as I heard this, I thought about Glenn Beck, Sarah Palin, and the like...


I repeatedly hear complaints about the Health Care Reform that it didn't include anything touching on Tort Reform, with regard to Medical Malpractice. The generic complaint I hear is that frivolous lawsuits are driving up malpractice claims which in turn drives up the cost of medical care. The (Cliff's notes version) proposal, as was passed here in Texas, is that by capping damages for medical malpractice claims, fewer claims will be filed and thus health care will cost less.

This sounds logical on paper, however, it doesn't really address the problems. The first problem is that a case that goes to recovery, either by settlement or judgment by definition is not "frivolous," there was an actual injury that resulted in actual damages. The second thing that this does is, by limiting damages, you deny appropriate recovery for severely injured individuals - the man who goes in for a gall bladder removal who ends up losing both legs (happened to an A1C in California last year - but the airman couldn't sue, because he received the surgery by a military surgeon while on active duty) is unable to receive sufficient compensation to make up for the act that makes him or her an amputee.

When pressed for details on what qualifies as "frivolous," on more than one occasion I've been given the "McDonald's coffee case" as evidence of what the complainer means. The case is actually the case of Stella Liebeck, and there was really little frivolous about it (source - Lectlaw). While not going into to great a detail on this site, the gist of the story is that McDonald's had been sued 700 times over the 10 year period and the coffee was served well over the industry standard. Stella was not driving - she was a passenger and the car was standing on the shoulder while she attempted to pour in creamer. She suffered 3rd degree burns to at least 6% of her body and required skin grafts. She asked for $20K to help pay for the recovery due to the burn that McDonald's was aware their coffee was liable to cause, and was instead offered $800. Her damages the jury awarded were $200,000, which was lowered by the jury to $160,000 as they found her comparatively liable for 20% of the injury. The punitive damages are what people get upset about - that's the $2.7 Million that immediately causes people to yell "frivolous," but those are punitive damages - awarded to punish McDonald's for continuing with a practice that it knew could cause injuries such as what happened to Stella. This punitive damage was ultimately lowered to $480K, and finally was tossed out as McDonald's and Liebeck came to a confidential settlement between them.

Tuesday, March 30, 2010

Status Update

I've been out of work for about 6 weeks now. I didn't expect the job search to be this frustrating, but I've had precious few solid leads.

I've got a couple positions that have some promise to them, but they're not as strong as I'd like them to be. One of these positions would be a title review type position that sounds right up my alley, but the firm is just starting up and the guy wasn't sure that there'd be anything for another 30-60 days. The second one is an immigration firm that sounds somewhat frustrating in nature, as I'd be defending removals, with a high failure rate as the nature of the beast.

It's not the best way to go, but it would pay the bills.

I'm still sending out 15-20 resumes/contacts per week, but I've noticed that for everything I send out, I get little in return.

Keeping the faith, but getting frustrated.

Monday, March 29, 2010

Habeas What?

I remember hearing pundit after pundit and talking head after talking head and Republican lawmaker after Republican lawmaker rail about the (accused) terrorists being held at Guantanamo Bay. I remember hearing claims that these "terrorists" are the "worst of the worst" and they don't deserve habeas corpus, they aren't entitled to see the evidence against them, they are not being "tortured," rather they are subject to "enhanced interrogation techniques" that result in waterboarding as many as 183 times. Stress positions, sleep deprivation, induced hypothermia? Slamming heads against walls? Force-feeding? Tricking individuals into believing that they bore witness to murders in an effort to coax confessions? All this was completely kosher and indeed was part of the "arsenal" needed to protect America from the scourge of Terror." And besides, these evildoers aren't even being held in America, and they're not POWs, so American law doesn't apply!

Now that the Joint Terrorism task force has arrested 9 individuals from an American group charged with planning attacks against the United States, including attempted use of WMD, in theory, shouldn't these same politicians, pundits, and talking heads be demanding that this same treatment be applied to Caucasian American Citizens? What are the odds that they will?

An Interesting Link

I've not discovered the blog "Slacktivist" before today. I don't know too much about the authors of the blog or any similar details. What I can say, however, is that I find this particular post rather interesting. Check it out, and if you feel likewise, stick around and check out a few other posts.

Sunday, March 28, 2010

The Fox News Party

On one hand, I am not terribly surprised that the Republican Chair would send a letter to members of the RNC recommending a book written by a Fox News Channel commentator advising on how to "take back" America from the Democratically-elected President, particularly because Fox news is so clearly partisan in favor of the Republican Party that a quid pro quo seems logical.

On the other hand, it seems to completely drop all pretext that the Fox News is "fair and balanced," or that there's any separation between the RNC's and Fox News's agendas.

I like David Frum's quote that is included in the linked article: "Republicans originally thought that Fox [News] worked for us, and now we are discovering we work for Fox."

A Confederacy of Grown-ups, ctd.

I remember a huge deal being made of filibustering during the Bush Administration when Republicans held both houses of Congress. I remember talk of "Mandates," and threats to do away with the filibuster legislatively. The phrase "up or down vote" was thrown around constantly to let us know that nominees like Harriet Miers and John Bolton could get into office despite concerns about their qualifications. That Democrats could even contemplate ignoring the mandate of the people by trying to block the nominations of the sitting president was laughable, at the very least.

I don't disagree that the concept of filibustering and other processes to hold up progress in Congress are frustrating, and I generally dislike seeing them. I do see a purpose for the process, though, as there are times where there might be legitimate issues that need to be figured out, or more facts that need to come through (see Miers, Harriet. By contrast, I still don't understand the point of holding up the Bolton vote). However, much like I feel about labor unions, I believe it is something that should only be used rarely, when necessity dictates.

That is why I find it deplorable that President Obama felt it necessary to make 15 recess appointments to office. I disagree with the concept of recess appointments as a general principle, but I do think that given the unprecedented scale of obstructionism the Republican Party has embraced during the Obama administration (in part because of "fear" of the "Tyranny of Majority" that mysteriously didn't exist during the Bush years). To wit:
This opposition got so out of hand at one point that one senator put a blanket hold on all of the President’s nominees in an attempt to win concessions on two projects that would benefit his state. And another nominee’s confirmation was delayed by one senator for more than eight months because of a disagreement over a proposed federal building in his home state. When that nominee was finally given the vote she deserved, she was confirmed 96 to 0. When you attempt to prevent the government from working effectively because you didn’t get your way, you’re failing to live up to your responsibilities as a public servant.

To put this in perspective, at this time in 2002, President Bush had only 5 nominees pending on the floor. By contrast, President Obama has 77 nominees currently pending on the floor, 58 of whom have been waiting for over two weeks and 44 of those have been waiting more than a month. And cloture has been filed 16 times on Obama nominees, nine of whom were subsequently confirmed with 60 or more votes or by voice vote. Cloture was not filed on a single Bush nominee in his first year. And despite facing significantly less opposition, President Bush had already made 10 recess appointments by this point in his presidency and he made another five over the spring recess.
Emphasis Mine. This isn't governance; it's petulance. And it really has no place in government.

Saturday, March 27, 2010

Clearly a Bad Decision

I remember clearly the complaints over the bailouts of the banking industry. I remember clearly how angry so many people on the Right were that Bush signed the initial stimulus and that Obama signed the second stimulus. I recall specifically friends and family members complaining about doling out money to Citibank in the wake of everything they did. I can't say I disagreed with the ire, however, I felt that since there seemed to be a general consensus among the electoral leadership and financial experts that it needed to be done, I yielded and hoped for the best.

Unfortunately, it seems my decision to trust the government was not the best choice. As it turns out, if the Government sells its stock acquired in exchange for the bailout of $25BB, we will only receive $33BB in return. Clearly an 8 Billion Dollar profit is nowhere near enough for making sure our financial structure didn't completely collapse.