Singing Loudly: September 2004

Singing Loudly

Thursday, September 30, 2004

Two Truths and a Lie

Introducing Two Truths and a Lie.

After finishing the commissioned play I started to think about what I wanted to do for creative escape. One thing that I envy is people who are willing to really open up a lot on their blog and show a personal side to themselves. But I am willing to do it if there is a bit of lying involved.

With that in mind I started to think about how some personalities on blogs and voices that come through in writing are different than real life. This doesn't just happen with blogs but with all forms of writing. With that in mind I decided that I would create a writing project (that happens to be well served by the blog form of writing) that mixes blogging with the game "Two Truths and a Lie."

In this blog I will keep a nice balance of 2/3 true and 1/3 fictions or partially-fictional accounts of my life. This will leave it to the reader to try to determine if I'm telling the truth or lying in a blog. People ought to leave with a better view of who I am, while at the same time creating a character of me that might be different than what is actually true.

Characters in drama are often built the same way where the playwright uses bits and pieces from her own life and from her imagination. I'm pretty excited about this and hope that a few of you enjoy my writing on that blog.

This shouldn't impact my blogging over here because they serve very different purposes. It really is more of a writing project for me that will hone some of my fictional skills. At the same time it will allow me to share a lot more about myself without getting in the way of the legal/cultural/and whatever else I talk about here.

What do you think?

Daily Show: Squabble in Coral Gables!

What did the Daily Show think of the debate?

Comes out and points out the stylistic uses of the debate and mocks how stupid these guys were. How silly the debate is that they can't speak to each other, and that it really was just like the political speeches they already gave.

This goes back to my opinion that we wouldn't hear anything new here. And we didn't.

Later John Stewart points out that the Iraqis HAVE taken things into their own hands in Iraq. Bush stated that we can't let them do it. He let them do it by his piss poor planning. This "group of folks" that Bush claimed we sent over there (who the fuck says "group of folks"?) are being killed in droves because of his lapse in his duty.

Stewart mocks the fact that for Allies Bush goes from England to POLAND. "To be fair, Costa Rica has put us on the Do-Not-Call-List" is Stewart's response.

We didn't have a coalition of anything which is why Bush is grasping straws. We never had a coalition because we decided to go against international law and even customary law.

Stewart reveals what Kerry was scribbling down: something along the lines of: I crushed this guy.

The interview with General Wesley Clark was pretty good. He points out that Kerry probably has convinced the American public that he could do the job. I also think that the debate showed a better side of Kerry. Bush was very disappointing. Bush came across angry, condescending, and unintelligent on matters of international politics. I would like to vote for John Kerry because he seems to know more than Bush. It isn't just that I don't want Bush but Kerry has proved himself as the more discerning candidate. There are still a couple more debates with the Presidential Candidates, so I'm liable to change my mind. This, however, was a strong showing by Kerry.

The Democrats have a good reason to feel strongly about what has happened tonight. The country is in a bad situation but any improvement that could come in the future, which I think Kerry would be able to bring (even if it's not all that is needed) would be better than the chaos of Bush.

A Political Sadness and Broken Dreams

These are just a few of my thoughts that I have and aren't necessarily supported by actual research. I'm not trying to debate here but just expressing my views. By all means tell me what you think if you agree or disagree. Just know that I'm not saying this is political gospel.

In just a few minutes the first of four Presidential debates will be held. It is the first of four meaningless staged productions that are no better than the worthless waste of money political conventions. We know that neither candidate will say anything that is too far removed from what they have been saying all along. The questions, while maybe secret in form, are not secret in topic. These debates are meaningless.

I feel a real disappointment and fear as I watch this political election. America has seemingly lost something in politics that it once had. Maybe we haven't had it for awhile but the issues being debated are issues for the rich. There might be waves that reach the poor but it is so removed, so terribly far removed that it doesn't matter. Politics doesn't matter any longer to some of the people who matter most in America. The people who really want to experience the fiction of the American Dream.

The problems in the political system: both federal and state wide have become so political that they are basically in a deadlock. Health Care is a dream that won't happen. A fair tax system is a dream that also won't happen. Protections that have helped the underprivileged in the European Union will not ever be anything more than a contemplated dream here in America. Actual adherence to international norms, customary law, and treaties that we've signed onto (let alone conventions like the Convention for Women's Rights) will probably never be respected in the same way. Cleaning up the police, fixing problems of representation in the legal system, getting rid of the death penalty, or at least curing the glaring defects, will probably never happen.

This is a deeply divided country and a deeply wounded country. This year we have John Kerry and George W. Bush running for President. Neither of these Presidential candidate have shown much, if any, interest in really fixing the underlying problems that have caused these divisions. Instead they show a zealous desire to represent their strongest supporters: the wealthy. I do realize that this is a strong generalization that can be argued against with a few pieces of anecdotal evidence. However, I don't believe there is anything other than weak evidence to support the opposing arguments. America is divided right now. There are many Americans who are suffering a daily basis. These politicians have no desire to really address these problems in a true way. They have no incentive to do so.

When I look back at politics, I see a different America where people were at least heard. People had a voice. Whereas today most people do not have a voice. Most people are simply ignored and will remain so. There is something wrong with politics in America. The solution to this problem has to come from everyone demanding of their parties a more honest selection of candidates. I hope that in the next election year we can be given candidates who both understand (which arguably Kerry and Bush might understand) and be willing to pursue solutions to cure problems plaguing a large part of America.

2004 NFL Regular Season Week #4

What a boring week!

Sunday, October 3
Cincinnati at Pittsburgh: Pittsburg
Indianapolis at Jacksonville: Jacksonville
Oakland at Houston: Houston
New England at Buffalo: Buffalo
Philadelphia at Chicago: Philly
Washington at Cleveland: Washington
NY Giants at Green Bay: Green Bay
Atlanta at Carolina: Atlanta
New Orleans at Arizona: Arizona
NY Jets at Miami: Jets
Tennessee at San Diego: Tennessee
Denver at Tampa Bay: Denver
St. Louis at San Francisco: San Francisco

Monday, October 4
Kansas City at Baltimore: KC


Add this to the reasons I don't want to have children:

Pisces: (Feb. 19—March 20)
You've always thought you'd make a great father, but private investigators hired by seven of your former girlfriends have different views on the subject.

Or perhaps those PI's just found this blog which more than damns me.

Wednesday, September 29, 2004

Cure your "ignorance" Prof. Leiter

Brian Leiter called my attention to the recently announced receipients of The MacArthur Fellows Program. He mentions that he doesn't know many of the people on the list. I urge him to read a few of the books written by one of the recepients, Aleksandar Hemon.

I've mentioned him before and strongly recommend Question of Bruno, which is a beautiful collection of short stories. The MacArthur website has a good description of his subject matter as a writer.

We're Not Talking about Spud Jones

One of a handful of great American playwrights has agreed to take a leading role on the stage in New York. The play is Caryl Churchill's "A Number" This is the first NYC acting role that Shepard has taken in about thirty years.

If you happen to be in NYC or close enough to attend the show, do. According to the description of the play in the article: "[d]ealing with nature vs. nurture, the play centers on a son's discovery that he is one of a number of genetically identical offspring cloned by his father."

Churchill is another playwright who fits into the great living playwrights. Plays like Cloud 9 have revolutionized playwrighting and the way critics view theater.

This show opens December 17th at the New York Theater Workshop.

Link (there is an annoying ad to watch if you want access)

Tuesday, September 28, 2004

Happy Sad at the Grocery Store

After a dismal failure before my professional responsibility class I decided, once class was over, that I was going to go and get alcohol and then groceries. Both are necessary evils.

I get to the grocery store and remember that I need dental products. I buy some Toms of Maine toothpaste, because I hear nothing but good things about it. Plus I find it entertaining to stick it to the really big dental product companies like Proctor and Gamble and whoever makes Colgate crap. Then I buy some Listerine mouthwash (I realize it's a big company too) even though the store brand would have been cheaper. On occasion, although not usually, I can be quite a name whore. Then I am forced to buy a name brand toothbrush because I had the bristles fall out of a crappy store brand brush once. I wouldn't want that to happen again. My experience with a generic cotton swab had a worse outcome when the tip fell into my ear canal. I don't want to relive the nightmare of the ear, throat, and whatever specialist laughing at me again, so I'm going to move on.

As I was walking out of the aisle I remembered that I should grab some of my favorite floss. The only shit that really works well. Glide Floss made by W.L. Gore, which is, yes, also a big name company. You've seen it before, look...


It's great stuff. I look around and then notice that it's repackaged. Now it's owned by Proctor and Gamble! I was furious as I stomped around in the aisle like a little toddler who can't get the corndogs. I sort of hit the packages and gave the lady next to me an evil eye when I noticed her watching my tantrum.

Even though I'm worried that Crest is going to be manufacturing this and that'll shred and whatever I still buy it. To console my disappointment I go ahead and buy two bags of some cool mix called "Homemade Cookies for Dummies." This is what I need. Erin knows that I can't bake cookies. I really can't unless they are break and bake. At least with this mix I still can add my own egg and milk or whatever is needed. I swear I'm bad with cookies. Just last week I called my grandmother to beg her to bake me cookies and send them. She agreed to the cookies but wouldn't meet my demand of making the kind with a hershey's kiss on top. She thought the kisses would melt in mail. Probably but it's my request so if I want melted kisses then I get melted kisses. But I don't get the melted kisses. Instead I will get either chocolate chips or snickerdoodles. Oh well.

As soon as I got home I looked up this Glide Floss merger with Crest to see what happened. The W.L. Gore website tells me good news:

W. L. Gore & Associates, Inc., today announced it is selling its GLIDE® dental floss brand to Procter & Gamble of Cincinnati, Ohio. The sale involves a cash transaction as well as a separate long-term production agreement that calls for Gore to continue to develop and supply GLIDE® floss products exclusively to Procter & Gamble. Procter & Gamble will market and sell GLIDE® floss under the existing brand name, which P&G will own.

Good! It'll still be the same high quality floss for the time being. Now I'll be able to get those cookie remnants out of my teeth before I fall asleep at night.

Screw Legal Writing

In case you are worried about your legal writing skills there is no need to worry. Contra to what former Chief Justice Burger said in Jones v. Barnes, 463 U.S. 745 (1983) which reiterates what most legal writing professors say, it is not necessary in a system of justice. Burger writes,

There can hardly be any question about the importance of having the appellate advocate examine the record with a view to selectiing the most promising issues for review. This has assumed a greater importance in an era when oral argument is strictly limited in most courts -- often to as little as 15 minutes -- and when page limits on briefs are widely imposed. Even in a court that imposes no time or page limits, however, the new per se rule laid down by the Court of Appeals is contrary to all experience and logic. A brief that raises every colorable issue runs the risk of burying good arguments -- those that, in the words of the great advocate John W. Davis, "go for the jugular," Davis, The Argument of an Appeal, 26 A.B.A.J. 895, 897 (1940) -- in a verbal mound made up of strong and weak contentions.

Brennan replies to that in dissent by arguing,

The Court's opinion also seems to overstate somewhat the lawyer's role in an appeal. While excellent presentation of issues, especially at the briefing stage, certainly servers the client's best interests, I do not share the Court's implicit pessimism about appellate judges' ability to recognize a meritorious argument, even if it is made less elegantly or in fewer pages than the lawyer would have liked, and even if less meritorious arguments accompany it. If the quality of justice in this country really depended on nice graduations in lawyers' rhetorical skills, we could no longer call it "justice."

Whose argument is more on point? Of course, Brennan acknowledges the strength added to a strong argument. A brief that is written well, organized, and focused on the key issues. However, he realizes that in many cases such an argument is not practical. Will the court, be it Supreme Court or appellate or even a state supreme court, really recognize the brilliance of an argument that is buried within many silly arguments that a defendant wants included?

Monday, September 27, 2004

Monday Night Football Sling Blade Style

Does anybody else find it odd that Billy Bob Thornton was giving the opening monologue for Monday Night Football? I mean, I'll be the first to admit that I think Billy Bob is one cool guy. But Monday Night Football? Talking about the rivalry between Joe Gibbs and Bill Parcells. About the longstanding rivalry between the Redskins and Cowboys. Isn't that odd?

For the entire minute or so I anxiously anticipated him saying, "Reckon what you is wanting to know is what I'm a-doing in here. 'Reckon the reason I'm in here is 'cause I've killed somebody. But I reckon what you is wanting to know is how come me had killed somebody so I reckon I'll start at the front and tell ye." Unfortunately he did not give me that satisfaction.

Criminal Law and the Supreme Court This Term

Today is the day when the Justices arrive back at work to look through some 1900 cases that have piled up over the summer. It is difficult to know exactly what cases will be looked at by the Court but we do know a few. My question is whether this term can outdo the joy of last term with criminal cases?

Think about some of the cases the Supreme Court decided: Crawford (testimonial evidence and the excited utterance exception), Blakely (State Sentencing guidelines), Patan (Failure to give Miranda does not require suppression of physical fruits of suspect's unwarned but voluntary statements), Padilla (custodial material witness), and Hamdi (enemy combatant must be given a hearing within a reasonable time). I'm sure that I'm missing some other criminal law decisions from last term, but those are the huge ones. There are some HUGE decisions last term. Will that happen again this term? Here are some of the big criminal law cases the court will hear.

The court will hear Fanfan and Booker to determine whether the Blakeley decision will apply at the federal level.

In more of a First Amendment/Criminal Law hybrid the court will probably hear the relgious rights of prisoners in Bass v. Madison.

I can't recall the name of the immigration case but there is a BIA decision that the Supreme Court will decide concerning the factors the BIA looks at when deportation is at issue for a convicted immigrant.

Here are some of the other cases the court will consider that deal with criminal law in one way or another.

Brosseau v. Haugen. Qualified immunity for police officer who shot a fleeing felony suspect.

Castellano v. Fragozo. Whether a Section 1983 malicious prosecution claim can be brought based on a Fourth Amendment violation.

Bramwell v. Federal Bureau of Prisons. Whether a prisoner can sue under the Federal Tort Claims Act for inadvertent destruction of his eyeglasses.

Locke v. Farrakhan. Whether disenfranchisement of felons violates Voting Rights Act.

Mesa, Ariz. v. Petersen. Whether warrantless random drug testing of firefighters violates Fourth Amendment.

Death penalty case that I can't remember the name where the court will decide whether juveniles can be subject to the death penalty.

It looks like it should be a good term.

Middle School Nightmares

To the two attractive girls who went to the same hamburger place for lunch as me and my friend, I apologize for not speaking to you.

You have to understand that as soon as you walked in to take your order my eyes were locked on you. I was at high alert because you were certainly hot. I know, I know, I'm not good at concealing the fact that I'm staring. It's not my fault though as I'll explain.

After you placed your order I felt a sense of relief when you both took off to the other room to sit. For a couple minutes I was back at peace with my surroundings. I was able to enjoy my cheeseburger like every man has the right to do. Why did you change your mind? Why did you come back?

There were plenty of tables open in the dining area. You would have been content in the other room. There was no need to come and sit at the table that was directly next to our table. Again, my eyes locked on you. Of course, from this non-stop checking out I'm sure you imagined that it wouldn't be long before we engaged in conversation. I imagine that it would go something like this...

Me: Hey
Hot Girl 1: Hi
Me: I'm Curtis
Hot Girl 1: Gina
Hot Girl 2: Ginna (with two N's)
Me: Cool -- I can't decide which I like better
Hot Girls: (Giggle)
Me: Which name I mean (laugh like an idiot)
Hot Girl 1: Riiiight
Hot Girl 2: You have a piece of hamburger stuck by your nose?
Me: Oh thanks...I think I'm still a little drunk from last night.
Hot Girl 2: Us too
Me: You're both hot
Hot Girls: Thank you
Hot Girl 1: You're so confident.
Me: That's what they tell me but I say I'm drunk.
Hot Girl 2: (Giggles)
Me: Ginna I've got to be honest.
Hot Girls: Yes
Me: That Ginna (points to curly haired Ginna)
Hot Girl 2: Yes?
Me: My friend is going to be talking to you because I don't like curly hair as much.
Hot Girl 1: I told you that he would like me.
Hot Girl 2: Why don't you like curly hair?
Me: You're friend is a little hotter...that's really all.
Hot Girls: (Giggle)

Except it wouldn't go anything like that because that's ridiculous on numerous levels. Anyhow hot girls, I apologize for not saying anything at all. I should have offered a hello or what's up in the least.

The problem was everything to do with the fact that in middle schools hot girls would occasionally come and sit next to my friends. Except then the purpose was to call me "Ronald McDonald", laugh, and leave. I was in a shock when you arrived because I imagined the same thing happening as in middle school:

Hot Girl 1: I hope you don't mind sitting so close to Ronald McDonald Ginna
Hot Girl 2: No, I don't mind, I just can't understand why he's not at McDonald's for lunch.
Me: What are you two saying?
Hot Girl 1: Look he talks...
Hot Girl 2: He's such an idiot
Me: Actually I'm in law school so how could I be an idiot, huh?!
Hot Girls: (Laughter)
Hot Girl 2: You're such a dork
Me: That's one person's opinion
Hot Girl 1: No both of us think that
Me: Well her opinion doesn't matter because nobody would spell Ginna with two N's.
Hot Girl 2: How the hell did you know how I spelled me name? You're creepy.
Me: Our previous conversation you told me when I said that you were hot.
Hot Girls: (Gasp in horror)
Hot Girl 2: We've never spoken you creep
Hot Girl 1: And stop staring at girl's asses so much you dork.
Hot Girl 2: Nobody likes Ronald McDonald leering at them.
Me: I wasn't leering I was in shock.
Hot Girl 2: Let's go
Hot Girls (Get up and leave after giving a disgusted look)

I imagine that in reality the conversation would have found some pleasant mix between these where I wouldn't have left the restaurant in tears, but I also wouldn't have left with Gina's phone number. I apologize for not talking but also thank you for not calling me names.

"Let Me Explain"

Not such a bad dog, British researchers have successfully trained dogs to detect bladder cancer. Finally putting to use the dogs fondness for the smell of urine.

Sunday, September 26, 2004

NY Times Magazine Covers the Political Bloggers

The place was crowded. Everyone was sitting, staring at their laptops, at bridge tables or completely sacked out on couches. Markos Moulitsas, who runs the blog Daily Kos, at, was slouched in the corner of one squashed-down couch in shorts and a T-shirt, his computer on his lap, one of the keys snapped off his keyboard. He's a small guy with short brown hair who could pass for 15. Duncan Black of the blog Eschaton, who goes by the name Atrios, sat at the other end of the couch, staring out the window. On the table set up behind them, Jerome Armstrong of MyDD worked sweatily. Jesse and Ezra, whose blog is called Pandagon, were lying with two cute women in tank tops -- Ezra's girlfriend Kate and Zoe of Gadflyer -- on futon beds that had been placed on the tiny stage of the performance space. Their computers and wireless mice and some carrots and radishes and paper plates with Chinese dumplings were scattered between them.

And that's how Matthew Klam's story, "Fear and Laptops on the Campaign Trail" begins in the NY Times Magazine this week.

The thrust of the article is that blogging has changed the way people view the political landscape. A lot of this comes from the speed of which bloggers work. As he describes to those who obviously don't know anything aboug blogging, "Moulitsas copied and pasted the story, wrote ''Novak blows another one'' at the top and clicked Submit. A couple of seconds later, the item appeared on Daily Kos, and his hundreds of thousands of readers began to take note, many of them posting their own fevered thoughts in response."

The article discusses the origin of political blogging: Kausfiles. Then goes on to bring up such heavyweights as Wonkette (who I've always found to be boring and fitting of the description Klam gives her: "a foulmouthed, hard-drinking, sex-obsessed politics junkie"), Joshua Micah Marshall, Glenn Reynolds (also quite boring), and Andrew Sullivan.

Then he points out an interesting statistic. It seems that left wing political blogs are exploding in traffic while news channels that cater more towards Republicans (ahem, Fox News) are doing better than their more left counterparts.

But just as Fox News has been creaming CNN, the traffic on Kaus's and Sullivan's sites has flat-lined recently, while Atrios's and Moulitsas's are booming. Left-wing politics are thriving on blogs the way Rush Limbaugh has dominated talk radio, and in the last six months, the angrier, nastier partisan blogs have been growing the fastest. Daily Kos has tripled in traffic since June. Josh Marshall's site has quadrupled in the last year. It's almost as though, in a time of great national discord, you don't want to know both sides of an issue.

Continuing with the article will present a more detailed look at this group of bloggers. Specifically Wonkette and Joshua Micah Marshall. It's a well written piece that tries to show what the motivation is for these bloggers. What is it they want to get out of blogging?

Dumb and Dumber

Via Instapundit I find this blog written by Robert Musil: Man Without Qualities who writes the following bullshit:

It is not just that one sees few Bush-Cheney bumper stickers and lawn signs - even in areas in which one knows his support is high. I do not have such a bumper sticker or lawn sign. In fact, most Bush supporters I have asked, even those who are fairly passionate on the topic, just don't think the risk of a key-scratch or broken home or car window, or much worse, is worth whatever benefit one receives from a partisan bumper sticker or lawn sign. There are just too many personal stories of cars and homes defaced and damaged.

The sentiment is not symmetrical: One sees plenty of Kerry-Edwards bumber stickers and lawn signs - even in highly Republican neighborhoods. Indeed,one sees plenty of such stickers and signs that express left-wing sentiments much more intense and partisan than mere support of the Democratic presidential ticket. Not infrequently these stickers and signs mention some form of violence or even death with respect to Republican officials.

Is he really as dumb as he comes off? Hopefully he's just clouded by his own partisonship to the point where his views make no sense. First, is he polling Bush Supporters around the country? "most Bush supporters I have asked". Haha! What the hell? More to the point he obviously hasn't lived in a conservative state like Texas. His polling didn't extend out this far instead it stayed with he and his friends over a couple beers, it would seem. Let's see what has happened to people who show their support for Kerry:

The idiocy of his statement is that he seems to be drawing some sort of a link between being liberal and being violent. People get riled up about politics. Not just Democrats and not just Republicans. People. Plain and simple. Not every person to be sure. But there are idiots who would rather fight with someone, destroy their property, and kick down signs than engage in useful discussion. Of course, one might say that the liberals who get made at Mr. Robert Musil have only realized that he's not willing to discuss. He isn't willing to look at things fairly if he is coming from the assumption that liberals are violent while conservatives are peaceful.

He ends by stating:

I call it "a climate of fear" because nobody should have to take into account a serious likelihood that those who do not agree with a bumber sticker's sentiment will damage a car or a home. But I am not really afraid of these new liberals. They are pathetic.

Oh, that's ironic because I was just about to call your blog a "climate of stupidity."

Saturday, September 25, 2004

The Real World and Legal Inequality in Gay communities

On the Real World premiere Karamo says to the camera that being a gay black is very difficult from a societal aspect. Racism still exists as does homophobia which present two separate issues in and of themselves. Then when they are together I'm sure it's compounded.

Hearing this reminded me of an article I found a few years ago by Darren Hutchinson (formerly of SMU law school, currently at American University's Washington College of Law): "'Gay Rights' for 'Gay Whites'?: Race, Sexual Identity, and Equal Protection Discourse," 85 Cornell Law Review 1358-1391 (2000).

The essential thrust of this paper goes beyond showing that homosexual racial minorities have a more difficult time in social settings, but they are treated differently by the law. Professor Hutchinson's area of expertise lies in critical race theory which provides the foundation for a paper that examines how gays are treated unequally under the law depending on whether they are a racial minority or not.

Professor Hutchinson argues that ultimately "success or failure of efforts to achieve legal equality for gays, lesbians, bisexuals, and transgendered individuals will depend in large part on how scholars and activists in this field address questions of racial identity and racial subjugation."

The problem as he sees it is that scholars create a comparative approach to addressing issues of inequality under the law: "use of analogies between "racial discrimination" and "sexual orientation discrimination," or between "people of color" and "gays and lesbians."...this approach impedes the quest for gay and lesbian equality."

What has happened that creates further inequality under the law is that the comparative approach has created a narrow construction of the gay and lesbian community as largely upper-class and white. Opponents of gay and lesbian equality then use this narrow construction of the gay and lesbian community "in political discourse and judicial opinions; scholars, activists, and jurists contest the "morality" and necessity of extending civil rights protections to gay and lesbian citizens by depicting the gay and lesbian community as largely white, privileged, and unharmed by any discrimination they face."

See, watching TV can be a good thing for getting you to think about the legal world that is revolving around us.

Watching the Game

A couple weeks ago there was a daily email sent from the Student Bar Association office saying that for fifteen dollars we could get a ticket to the baseball game, a bus ride there, access to three kegs, and BBQ, so of course I signed up with a few friends.

Yesterday afternoon some 90ish student met out in the quad to head over to the game. I've never cared much for the social aspect of law school. I don't go to the happy hours, to law student parties, or to the tailgating before the football parties. I realized pretty early on that I share little in common with most of the students at my school. Typically I just do my own thing and I've met a few people who have become great friends.

That said, yesterday there were all of like 15 people who I knew and maybe 7 or 8 who I'd hang out with outside of school. One of the guys going to the game is someone who I have very little respect for. He was in my constitutional law class where he proceeded to alienate just about everyone with his racist views. I wasn't all that happy he was around, but I am good at evading people when necessary.

We get to the parking lot at the stadium. The kegs come out. Everyone starts to load up on the alcohol. Then we grab cold boxed lunch BBQ and have to drink more to feel better about the bad food. Soon my group ends up at the game. We were possibly the first to go in and watch the game, so we got to see everyone stumble to their seats. I was lucky that behind my group was another group of people who I would hang out with. One of them was a girl who I hadn't ever met. I guess she's an LLM who graduated from Case Western. She was extremely drunk and kept ordering more beer.

It wasn't long before she was druming on my back and mentioning her breasts a lot. Probably too much. I think after her fourth beer she forgot she was at a baseball game and started to think I had taken her home for the night. Around the 6th inning I mentioned to her that it was about last call so she should go and find more beer. She agreed and took off. Then her group decided they were going to leave to go home on the early bus. She came back a little while later without any beer and without a group. This just made her get even more annoying. I think she mentioned that it was silly for her group to leave her because she has breasts. Then she did a little dance in the aisle and screamed at some of the players. I guess she remembered, during the dance, that she was at the baseball game.

After we lost the game we all left and got onto buses. She ended up on the same bus as me but went towards the back as my group hadn't really talked to her. Then my enemy got on the bus and sat next to her. From what I could tell, I think that I can add another reason I dislike the guy -- taking advantage of a really, really drunk girl on the bus ride home. But she has breasts, right?

Friday, September 24, 2004

NFL Regular Season Week 3: My Picks

Sunday, September 26

New Orleans at St. Louis: St Louis
Pittsburgh at Miami: Miami
Chicago at Minnesota: Minnesota
Cleveland at NY Giants: Giants
Arizona at Atlanta: Atlanta
Baltimore at Cincinnati: Cincy
Philadelphia at Detroit: Philly
Jacksonville at Tennessee: Tennessee
Houston at Kansas City: KC
San Diego at Denver: Denver
Green Bay at Indianapolis: Green Bay
San Francisco at Seattle: Seattle
Tampa Bay at Oakland: Oakland

Monday, September 27
Dallas at Washington: Dallas

Singing Loudly Friday Picture

Cate Edwards hanging out with John Edwards at their home.

Sign up to vote.

Jumping the Magic 8-Ball: Getting a Dose of Reality

How is it that good shows can suddenly go so wrong? People complain about shows like Survivor but at least it is consistent. The alliances, the scheming, and Jeff's witty retorts are always going to be there. Somehow Donald Trump's ego out grew the Apprentice.

I remember that after the Emmys he was complaining about how he lost to The Amazing Race. Obviously he hasn't seen the Amazing Race, because it deserves the Emmy. As far as reality TV shows go it is the best one right now. The only reality show that was able to match the creativity and enjoyment of AR was The Mole. The Mole, before they started all that celebrity shit, was genius. No other way around it.

So now we've got stupid crap like Makeover shows, destroy my home and build it back in three days, and make me go through months of plastic surgery reality shows. Hopefully they'll all die. Mixed in with these shows were once good shows like The Apprentice. Last night signaled an end to the Apprentice. It is clear that it is has gone hill. The evidence:

  • Lame royal trump music when Trump was coming down the escalator
  • Two of the last three firings have been stunts
  • Bradford did a good job but was fired because Trump goaded him into giving up his immunity. Then Trump kept pointing out to other contestants that they shouldn't make the mistake Bradford did. Come on, there was no mistake. Look, these people are in their mini-corporations. Bradford gave up his individual immunity to try to repair some of the divisions in his corporation. He made a selfless decision to help his company. Trump got it wrong when he turned it around to that act being something that would destroy a corporation. No Trump the act wasn't destructive it was constructive. You just plain got it wrong.
  • Stacy was a nut. Stacy was probably a bitch to be around. But she didn't screw up the assignment. She was fired last night for using a magic 8 ball a few episodes ago. Give me a break.
  • It's getting really tiresome to watch these episodes which have become one big commercial for different companies. It didn't bother me as much last year when it was usually big commercials for Trump's companies. Now that it's crap like Crest and Mattel...give me a damn break.
Thankfully, it is only going to be a few weeks until a new Amazing Race starts. I don't mind Survivor but it gets better as the season goes on. American Idol should be coming around again which will be good to mock Ryan Seachrest. That's it for the reality shows I care about discussing. I know there are others out there. Watch at your own risk.

Thursday, September 23, 2004

One Good Reason

Can anyone tell me why the federal sentencing guidelines are much harsher for possession of crack-cocaine than possession of powder-cocaine? The difference between the two is essentially no more different than that of ice and water. I'm sure you can draw your own conclusions as to why sentencing for possession of crack cocaine is much hasher.

Playing the Blame Game

Last weekend I had a lunch date with Tara on Saturday and a movie date with Cynthia. I haven't talked to either of them since those dates. But we talked a lot before this weekend, so why aren't we talking now?

It's not good that I have taken this long after dates to call. I'll admit that. But why haven't either of them called or emailed? More importantly, why am I not terribly upset by them not calling? Maybe it has something to do with this book.

I need to get my act together!

Wednesday, September 22, 2004

Do you give a search?

Google isn't the only good search engine. For a while many people have considered it one of the best search engines. I think that comes from their search algorithm that produces, on most occasions, very accurate matches and the speed of the search. It has been awhile since Google has added much to its search options, making me question whether it is the best search engine.

There are at least three other search engines that are experimenting with different search options. Options that are quite handy. is the search engine owned by If you use it you'll get, I think, 1.2% off your purchases at More importantly A9 allows you to personalize your search. This creates a history for you which saves and later tells you whether the site is new or has been clicked on (and will tell you when you last clicked it). Bookmarks you save can be accessed from any computer. Best of all their results come from a variety of sources: the web results are powered by Google, Amazon delivers inside the book results, and internet movie database information and gurunet are also included.

Also, Ask Jeeves (remember before Google it was the most popular search engine for awhile) has recently added a personalized function to searching.

Finally, Mark Cuban and one of his companies have been developing a new search engine. Icerocket allows you to see a thumbnail of all the website hits it pulls for you in your search. This allows you to see if it is what you are looking for before you click on the site. This is a great feature if you fear popups or dangerous scripts because you can tell if it's where you want to go or not. Another feature that I like is the find a friend feature. You can see search for friends registered on sites like face the jury, hot or not, and other post your photo sites.

Even though there are alternatives out there, Google is certainly not out of the race. They have recently been hiring a gaggle of new engineers, which is making some people suspect that we'll soon see a google web browser. There is a little evidence to support it: the new hirings and registering There are other explanations for those besides making a new browser. Besides, you can already have a great browser if you just download Firefox.

So what are you waiting for! Get to searching!

Today I'm Dilbert

I'm Dilbert!

Which Dilbert character are you?

Credit: Julie at No Fancy Name.

Casting Doubt

Yesterday I sent my final revisions to the theater company in New Mexico. It's polished and ready for them to do whatever they want with. It was a nice experience to be commissioned to write a specific type of a play in that it challenged my creativity. I can't say that I really enjoyed it; it reminded me too much of a creative writing exercise you might be given in an undergrad course. The whole write a poem on this topic and show your imagination and creativity. Blah.

The play is finished and they completely own it. That's probably the biggest difference to me -- selling a play. In the past I've only licensed a couple of my plays for performance. Licensing doesn't really bring in all that much money if you're only doing it a few times a year. I'm sure Neil Simon makes plenty on licensing, so he'd probably have a very different opinion of it. However, selling the play is a little more lucrative. I do enjoy that. Now they have a play they can perform as much as they want forever.

Maggie was telling me that the cast is going to be shuffled around, because the director saw something new in the revision that made him rethink the characters. She thinks that she'll continue to play the same character, which I think is appropriate. The actors are frustrated with the director because they've had a working copy of the play for over a month. Now they will need to learn a new part or possibly not be in the play. To the directors credit, there were a couple substantive changes to the end of the play. The changes were enough that the characters involved reveal a new capability.

A weight off my chest.

Tuesday, September 21, 2004

Hate-Monger Jimmy Swaggart

It was funny when Jimmy Swaggart said that The Police were sinners who were bound for hell because they wrote the song, Murder By Numbers.

It's alarming and disgusting that he would say on broadcast TV: "I'm trying to find the correct name for it . . . this utter absolute, asinine, idiotic stupidity of men marrying men," he said. "I've never seen a man in my life I wanted to marry. And I'm gonna be blunt and plain; if one ever looks at me like that, I'm gonna kill him and tell God he died."

Please tell me how this level of homophobia exists, let alone has a broadcast voice? I hope that Christian denominations of all every sort will disassociate themselves with this hateful, wretched, broken man. As Eugene Volokh points out Leviticus 18:22 states, "If a man also lie with mankind, as he lieth with a woman, both of them have committed an abomination: they shall surely be put to death; their blood shall be upon them." Thankfully that is not followed.

Even the most conservative Christians will admit that it is not the Christians place to make these determinations. Jesus said, "First take the plank from out of your own eye, and then you will see clearly to remove the speck from your brothers eye." (Mt.7:5). No Christian is called to enforce Leviticus 18:22 and no loving Christian would even consider saying something as appalling as what Swaggart said.

There is little that upsets me more than a religious leader who uses his platform, the respect and admiration he has from others (often because he is in a position of power), to spread wickedness. I hope that this revelation will show anyone who potentially might have listened to Swaggart that his understanding of religion is nothing to admire, believe, or certainly not to follow.

[If you want to read more about Swaggart's quote you can at Christianity Today's Weblog]

UPDATE: In reply to the comments --

There is a reason that theologians say that Jesus was the great equalizer. Thanks to the sacrifice that Jesus made it doesn't matter if your brother has a speck in his eye. He has been redeemed. It doesn't matter if you have a plank in your eyes, you have been redeemed. Assuming that you have taken the leap of faith and trusted in Jesus -- accepting Him as your Lord and savior.

The point of the post isn't to claim that homosexuality isn't a sin -- I realize that Christians have mixed emotions on that. The point is that Swaggart is a hate-monger. If there is anything that is explicitly clear in the New Testament it is that harboring that sort of hatred and spreading it (especially to people who watch you around the world) is just as bad, if not worse, than a man laying with another man or being a liar or stealing from the store.

Jesus commanded: Love God and Love your neighbor. Swaggart can't claim to love his neighbor if he is saying he'll murder him for "looking at him like that." As a pastor what sort of a man would seek his help if he is struggling as a sinner? It is an appalling statement on many levels.

Public Service Announcement

The last day of summer means free ice cream cones at Dairy Queen. Enjoy.

Quick Emmys Summary

In case you, like everyone else, missed it:

Angels In America, The Sopranos, Arrested Development, and a couple other shows. Like Deadwood. And Frasier, which, come on it's not like Pierce was doing anything different this year than last.

They sure didn't play the music for Pacino, did they?

Also, Allison Janney! You won, even though your scripts were shit! But you forgot to mention Martin, even though he was sitting right in front. And Martin, you poor, big-haired thing. OK, your hair was looking less coiffed than normal, and much more like you'd just rolled out of bed and thrown on a tux.

Finally, what was up with all the Coldplay music? Not that I hated it, or anything. You caught me I did hate it.

Monday, September 20, 2004

Good Things Are Gone Again

I think that many people were able to check out I Found Some of Your Life, but if you didn't than it's too late. The author of the blog -- finder of the pictures -- went ahead and took it down. I guess that the owner of the camera card was never located but people who were in the pictures might have emailed him. It's a shame because it was a really good thing.

Love for Bad Politicians

Jennifer waxes eloquent in a post about Newt Gingrich. What? Newt!? Are we really going to discuss this embarrassment to the Republican Party? Not only is he going to be discussed but he's going to be praised despite being a failure. Jennifer says the following:

And while Clinton was loath to give the Gingrich Republicans any credit, they are responsible for the biggest achievements of his presidency. For they forced him to accede to the balanced budget (which he had previously vetoed). They compelled him to acquiesce to welfare reform (which he previously rejected)

Loath to give the Gingrich Republicans any credit? Clinton out-witted them. Newt was a hapless nobody whose idea of a Contract with America utterly failed. Clinton knows how to play the game. He vetoed a VERY different balanced budget amendment and then CREATED his own that he was able to slide through Congress. Why? Because Newt, despite being the Speaker of the House, had no control over the course of the Congress. I'll elaborate on Clinton's two budgetary legislations in a moment.

And they "compelled him to acquiesce" to nothing. Unless you consider acquiescing using something good for your own political gain. Typically acquiesce means that you have lost something. Clinton lost nothing in that and gained everything. Most Republicans wanted far stronger changes to welfare. Many, included this contract with America, wanted to get rid of the welfare state. Clinton forced them to accept the minor change of restricting access to extra funds for extra children. Newt was NOT happy with that welfare reform. Newt would have been happy with the welfare reform that Clinton was not willing to let him have (referenced by "which he previously rejected).

Looks like on two counts Clinton outwitted the entire Gingrich Congress. At first many democrats feared the changes Clinton was calling into play because they were not main line Democrat appeals. Rather, he was bridging a gap to the future in the ways in which he dealt with politics. At times it required that he fight the Congress until the conceded to work with him. However, public opinion stayed with him through his changes in 1993 with the Omnibus Budget Reconciliation Act and in 1996 with his Balanced Budget Act.

1993 OBRA:

One of the first issues that President Clinton dealt with upon entering office was how he would get rid of the looming deficit that was making the national debt uncontrollable. The only way to effectively solve this was through lowering spending and increasing revenue, which through classic budgeting is done through a tax increase, and lowering benefits. Lowering spending was done through both a reduction in military spending and lowering both means tested and non-means tested programs.

The Cold War had ended and there were problems with the welfare system, so Clinton put legislation into the omnibus to help correct both of these problems. The Congressional Budget Office was predicting a current year deficit of $310 billion. With these sorts of alarming numbers the balance between revenues and expenditures had to be fixed. Clinton was stuck with this gap caused by Reagan and unfixed during the Bush administration. It was going to take first raising revenues. The main features of OBRA were the new 36 percent or 39.6 percent tax rates for certain upper income levels. The other revenue changes that OBRA made were to Social Security and business deductions.

The other thing OBRA hoped to accomplish was reductions in spending. These were accomplished by means of discretionary spending caps, entitlement reductions, and interest savings.

1997 Balanced Budget Amendment

President Clinton worked with Congress after the failure of the attempt to make a Balanced Budget Amendment. This agreement between Congress and the President called for the balancing of the budget by 2002.

Initially there was negative reaction to the Clinton budget of 1993 by both liberals and conservatives. Ronald Reagan claimed, ?I have serious concerns about the future of America if this tax-and-spend plan becomes law.? It did eventually become law with bipartisan support. The fears of Reagan proved to be unfounded. According to a CNN poll in Spring 1992 only 12% of the population felt that economic conditions were excellent or good. These statistics rose to 15% in 1993 and to 46% by 1996.

The necessity to get this deficit reduced was spurred by reports from the General Accounting Office claiming that ?if nothing is done about the deficit by the year 2020, middle-class incomes will effectively decrease by one third?

Clinton was the one who took control and made things work. In the process he helped a saturated Medicare, which Bush has now effectively destroyed, and created a more productive welfare system. Instead of rewarding people for having more children they can barely provide for the rewards stopped. Thus creating more social responsibility in the welfare system. All of this was complimented by creating federal responsibility in spending.

Newt might have been a decent politician but he was outplayed by Clinton.

Upcoming, Presently, Forthcoming

Ok, this weekend, was pretty busy. Friday was a quiet evening in. I watched the first part of Angels in America.

Saturday afternoon I had the worst food ever for lunch. Ever! It was at On the Border where I met a girl named Tara. She was wearing a cool shirt that she had made while in Vietnam. She is cool. Saturday evening, I met some out of state friends in the West End for some Italian food. The people I was meeting weren't there, but my friend Ben made it, so we grabbed a couple beers in the bar. A guy who sells roses on the street came in for a beer and asked us if we were in town for the gay parade. Ben told him that we were together but not together and had friends coming. The guy then said, "so you're just waiting for your bitches?" Classy.

Sunday I was supposed to meet a girl for lunch but she was 30 minutes late. Grr. 30 minutes late! We ended up skipping the lunch and just seeing the planned movie, Maria Full of Grace. It was pretty good, and I was able to catch up on my Spanish.

A review, much like my Parallel Stories: Dodgeball and Fahrenheit 9/11, will be posted later today. Right now I'm catching up on homework.

Lessons from the weekend 1

Looking around at some fellow blogs I realize that other people offer questions that need answers. I intend to provide.

Melissa at Quarter Life Crisis indirectly posits whether it is more unbearable to run into Carson Daly or watch the train wreck that defines KU football?

Melissa, this is easy, it is much more difficult to run into Carson Daly. I feel for you. Running into Mr. Daly is worse than running into Dustin Diamond, because Dustin Diamond doesn't have as much of a delusion of grandeur complex. As Jimmy Fallon ironically said on SNL, "I'm Carson Daly and I'm the biggest tool in the world."

Amber wonders whether there is any better way to deal with homophobes than singing show tunes to them in the subway where they are annoyingly "preaching" to the sinners.

There is a better way. However, it's so immature that even I am above it. I've always wondered why there aren't people who go out and protest "Ugly Protesters." Shallow? Yes. Off point? Definitely. But wouldn't it be fun if while the homophobes are telling gays that they are going to burn in hell some attractive group of people are screaming "No more ugly protesters. Look at yourself! (Holds up the mirror) you need to shave and put some gel in your hair! You're ugly." This would only be used on Anti-homosexual protesters as they most deserve such shallow, stupid, and illogical treatment.

The people protesting ugly protesters would be more fun because it is a direct insult to an immutable characteristic. I'm not, however, above singing a good show tune. Good call.

Stephanie is curious if Green Day will ever have an album as good as Dookie.

Ok, she didn't even bring up Dookie, but the answer is a definite no. They'll never reach that pinnacle again. I ask, "do you have the time to listen to me whine about nothing and everything all at once"?

Jennifer has a difficult time admitting it but in substance wonders if the Cowboys are still America's Team.

Yes, that fact will never change. They are America's Team. They are the team that every football player respects and fears forever and always.

Julie asks how she gets any work done with three cats who congregate on her desk?

Well Julie, this is why God made cats so sleepy. Once they fall asleep you can move the laptop to your coffee table and get all the world done that you need. The cats will wake up later and come to find you. By that point you'll have your work a little further along.

Dylan wonders if I was a DA what I would consider more of a child endangerment: Taking your toddler to a Pro-Kerry Union Rally and having her hold a Pro-Bush sign or taking your toddler to any Republican rally?

I'd slap the parent with an indictment in both of the cases, but I'd especially slap it on the Republican rallies.

Dylan also wonders if I can forgive Kerry for not being able to throw a football?

The easy answer to this is probably not. Damnit Kerry.

Craig at Heavy Lifting asks, in a great posting, why drunk drivers aren't given the sirens and flashing lights like fire engines?

The logistics of this would be difficult. With a good chance that I'll be going into criminal defense work it would be a welcome thing for me as long as DWI laws remained on the books. The problem then is that drunk drivers would still be logical enough to know that if their sirens are on they will be pulled over. If states removed DWI laws if you used your sirens then it would effectively give drunk drivers more of a right to the road, which would cause non-drunk drivers to turn on their sirens too. Wouldn't that be fun?

That does it for this week. I hope this helps.

Sunday, September 19, 2004

When the taxman come to the door

This evening I was napping during the Cowboys game when I heard my doorbell ringing. It took me a little while to get to my senses before I ran over to the door. I didn't see anyone, but I heard a man's voice from below saying "Oh, hey, I was wondering if you have the new John Fogerty album."

About at that time my neighbor from below was back up the stairs and standing by me. My neighbor who apparently wants to discuss rock n roll music on Sunday afternoon. Now, this guy is in his 40's with long white hair. He's sort of tubby and wears jean shorts every day. Definately looks like someone you would expect at a John Fogerty concert if you were to go this weekend. Probably at one point in his life he was a really cool guy, he's actually quite friendly, but that time in his life was probably 20 years ago.

I've talked to him a couple times, but I wouldn't say we're anything but neighborly aquaintances. Actually, I typically make it an active point to not befriend apartment neighbors. I just never have really cared for it. I've got my own thing to do and they have their own thing. Plus, I won't feel as bad about calling the cops on them if they have a raging party. Anyhow, that's why this was sort of odd. I'm not actively friendly towards my neighbors but he seems to think I'm pretty cool.

I told him that I had not heard the new John Fogerty album. He asked if I liked Fogerty, so I told him that I think Creedance has some good songs. He agreed. Apparently he just bought this new Fogerty album and wanted to know if I wanted him to burn a copy of it for me.

Woah! My neighbor below wants to give me illegal music, cool! I told him sure thing if he wants. I actually don't care too much about listening to the album, but it would be stupid to say no. This seems to mean a lot to him. He took off down to his apartment and returned a few minutes later with a burned copy of the Fogerty album.

Now on the days when he's blasting his music below I'll pop in Fogerty and blast it on my stereo too.

Innate Culpability?

Tonight was a really fun evening that didn't involve going to the Austin City Limits. It didn't involve Austin at all. A friend came from out of town to hang out with her ex-boyfriend; she came down here from Kansas with a few high school debaters and their coach. This evening they wanted to hang out with me and Ben, so I told them to call me whenever the debating finished. Around 8:30 they gave me a call, so I took the rail downtown to where they were going to hang out.

On the rail I found a seat in a crowded car. It was nosier than normal, so I was forced to become engaged in a conversation that was occurring. From a couple benches apart two black teenage boys were arguing with each other. It started with little snide jokes and soon escalated into a full blown fight. The tension seemed to be near the point of blows being thrown. Before it reached the boiling point they exchanged a conversation that I thought was interesting.

In the form of an insult one boy, probably 15-years-old, said to the other the following three things. First, turn around Kobe; second, turn around Michael Jackson; and third turn around O.J. Simpson.

All of these were meant as insults which was sort of interesting. Normally insults are ordered from the least to the most insulting. Did this young guy attach moral culpability to the crimes that these people supposedly committed? Or was it random? The crimes would be rape, child molesting, and murder. In another situation being compared to any of these people could be a compliment (ok, perhaps not Michael Jackson). But if you were playing basketball and somebody told you that you had hops like Kobe, it would be cool. If you were juking on the football field and someone told you that you're game was similar to OJ then it would be great.

In the context of an insult the comparisons change dramatically. No longer is it good to be called Kobe or to be called OJ. Rather it is someone saying that you are no better than a rapist or murderer. One of these is worse than another in a teenagers mind. Someone who probably has little knowledge of the sentencing guidelines This is someone who wouldn't know, at least if he has any life, what Blakely is or what Booker and Fanfan mean. Yet, he has an innate sense that one crime is more morally culpable than the other.

Why is it that people know that one crime is worse than another? The bible teaches Christians that one sin is no worse than another sin, right? If you are a sinner than you are a sinner. That seems to go against the human nature that one crime is worse than another sin. You are less a person if you are compared to OJ than if you are compared to Kobe Bryant. Why? Is the victim any better or worse off in one situation than another?

I think this sort of an exchange is fascinating. Probably because I'm a dork, but I still enjoyed it. Everyone else in the car, at least those trying to maintain there distance, seemed to be more concerned that a gun would be pulled. And here I was sitting there considering the social aspects of criminal culpability.

Saturday, September 18, 2004

Tearing my ACL: The Problem with Festivals

I'm thinking that I'm going to go to one or two days of Austin City Limits. For those of you who might not know what it is, it's a three day music festival in the heart of Austin, Texas. The music goes from noon until midnight on Friday, Saturday, and Sunday. This year they are expecting around 75,000 people each day.

Besides music there is always a lot of really fun stuff to do. They have a huge art market where you can meet all sorts of visual artists, buy works, and even have paintings or pictures made. Food is always one of my favorites, so the food court is also pretty fun. It has plenty of cool tea shops and vegetarian/vegan booths.

Today there are quite a few bands that I wouldn't mind seeing. One thing that I don't like about festivals is that they always have multiple stages so at some point there is usually a band playing on one stage that I want to see while another band is concurrently playing on another. Another bad situation is when there is a band that there is either just a tacid attraction to or it is still nascent, so I debate whether I should go and check out a new band to see if I like them. To combat this I usually try to separate the must sees from the I'll check outs.

Today the bands I would have to see include: Old 97s, The Sounttrack of Our Lives, My Morning Jacket, and The Pixies. Then I wouldn't mind checking out Howie Day, Mason Jennings, Cat Power, Josh Rouse, Modest Mouse, and Big Head Todd and the Monsters.

Tomorrow is a big scheduling problem. Ok, here are bands that are scheduled at the SAME time. Jack Johnson and Elvis Costello. Damn. Spoon and Drive-By Truckers! DAMN. Cake and David Garza: I'd probably go for Cake. However, to see Cake I would have to leave the Wilco set. Could I do it? Man. Also, if I wanted to see Ben Kweller I would have to leave The Roots. Could I do that? Probably not. Earlier in the day I would be able to see Calexico and American Analog Set without any conflicts. The night ends with Ben Harper. I'm completely ambivalent about him, so I would probably watch for about half the set then head home.

Anyhow, it looks like it should be fun. I'll have to see if I can round up some people, last minute, to go to the festival.

Focus on This

Before it was too late, Dr. James Dobson alerted Fafnir to the fact that his toothpaste is gay. "'Crest toothpaste have you been hidin this all along?' I says to the toothpaste. 'Why didn't you tell us? We would still love you, we are your consumers.'"

Friday, September 17, 2004

If I was a Prosecutor

Would I consider indicting the father who used his daughter as an actor in his stupid stunt?

This is assuming that the allegations that this was staged by the father and another are true then I think that you could make the argument it would fit under both the model penal code and probably the West Virginia Penal Code. Since I don't have WV's code and don't want to research it today I'm just going to use the Texas Penal Code to show how it can be done.

The father of a toddler has a lot of influence over his daughter. I'm not sure how this little act was developed. It could have been that the father and son were in on this and the daughter was an unknowing actor or it could have been that she was told to cry when her sign was ripped. Either way it is disgusting. I'm not sure which would be worse. This father puts his daughter in a situation where her she unknowningly has become a national exploit. Everyone is learning about this story and she has been forced to be an unwilling participant.

I decided to look at both the Model Penal Code and the Texas Penal Code to see whether the father could be charged with a crime against the family for using his daughter in such a cruel manner.

Under the MPC crimes against the family section 230.4: Endangering Welfare of a Children.

A parent, guardian, or other person supervising the welfare of a child under 18 commits a misdemeanor if he knowingly endangers the child's welfare by violating a duty of care, protection or support.

The MPC doesn't give any definitions for what is included in a child's welfare. I do think that this could be quite traumatic for both what happened at the event and this aftermath. The father knew that this would cause a reaction. This can be shown by the fact that on two separate occassions similar stunts caused a reaction.

Under the Texas Penal Code Section 22.04(a)(2) gives a little more information on what might be necessary to indict this guy. In pertenant part, Injury to a Child:

A person commits an offense if he intentionally, knowningly, recklessly, or with criminal negligence, by act...causes to a child...serious mental injury.

Perhaps a little stronger argument can be made under Texas law. The mens rea is met here but would a jury find mental injury? The interesting thing under this section of the penal code is that the mental injury does not have to be "imminent" to prosecute. Unfortunately, the code does not define mental injury.

I don't think that a father should treat his daughter in this manner, but I doubt criminal charges would be able to apply. More importantly, I doubt any DAs would ever attempt to get an indictment.

Pulling a Rather or Good Actors Break Hearts

Dylan, and to be fair many other people, might have pulled a Rather.

Seems that oh-so-adorable-girl was manipulated by her oh-so-disgusting-father, Phil Parlock, and older brother. I guess they couldn't hack it in Hollywood so they take their acting to the street. And a mighty fine job they do too. Replete with costumes and props!

Everywhere this guy goes he gets signs ripped up and is bullied by Democrats. In 1996 it happened and again in 2000. Damn the luck of this guy. See the evidence here for yourself. The credibility of the father's story seems dubious at best.

P.S. "Pulling a Rather" is going to hit it big time -- just watch.

NFL Regular Season Week #2 -- My predictions

Sunday Sept. 19

San Francisco at New Orleans : New Orleans
Washington at NY Giants : Washington
Denver at Jacksonville : Denver
Pittsburg at Baltimore : Baltimore
St. Louis at Atlanta : St. Louis
Houston at Detroit : Houston
Chicago at Green Bay : Green Bay
Indianapolis at Tennessee : Indy
Carolina at Kansas City : KC
Seattle at Tampa Bay : Tampa Bay
Buffalo at Oakland : Oakland
New England at Arizona : New England
NY Jets at San Diego : Jets
Cleveland at Dallas : Dallas
Miami at Cincinnati : Cincinnati

Monday, Sept. 20
Minnesota at Philadelphia: Philly

Thursday, September 16, 2004


Johnny Ramone died of prostate cancer. Sad times.

Jackie is a punk
Judy is a runt
They both went down to Berlin, joined the Ice Capades
And oh, I don't know why
Oh, I don't know why
Perhaps they'll die.

[Second verse, same as the first]

[Third verse, different from the first]

Jackie is a punk
Judy is a runt
They both went down to Frisco, joined the SLA
And oh, I don't know why
Oh, I don't know why
Perhaps they'll die.

Beware of Lawyers

After arguing for 30 minutes with four other students about the options in the war of terror I am spent. I'll note that their one solution, and the only solution for getting rid of Al-Queida, is to destroy their cities using military force. People who I once believed were otherwise intelligent demonstrate their complete lack of understanding of international law, comparitive religions, and international relations in one fell swoop. Not surprisingly their argument hinged on the far too simplistic "They hate everything about western cultures" thus equating that with it is either us or them. The argument ceased to be an argument when they concluded that in the end there might be cities or cultural centers left but "we will win."

I can understand that one person might be this radically unreasonable and ignorant, but I was shocked that four people would believe this ape-talk.

Wednesday, September 15, 2004

Questioning the Shrinking Death Penalty

Talk Left reports that the Death Penalty Information Center is going to have a report today showing that the amount of death penalty sentences have dropped in recent years. It seems that they are suggesting that this is due to the public not wanting to issue the death penalty as much as they used to:

The Death Penalty Information Center, which is to release the report tomorrow, attributes the decline largely to growing public awareness of death-row exonerations and concerns that innocent people might be sentenced to die.

In the Talk Left post there doesn't appear to be any discussion of a couple other factors that could cause fewer death penalty sentences. First, it could be because prosecutors are simply not going forward with as many death penalty cases. Second, it could be that there are other reasons the jury decides not to sentence death.

The second issue is pretty difficult to determine. I'm sure that the public has become more aware of exonerations, DNA tests, and other death penalty related news that has increased the publics awareness of problems with the system. However, that doesn't mean they won't issue the death penalty if they are trying a case where they truly believe the person is guilty and deserves the maximum penalty. What seems more likely to be the case would be that the facts of the case aren't strong enough or there are mitigating circumstances.

I'm interested to see if this report addresses other reasons the death penalty might be issued less frequently. Perhaps I'll make a little time to ponder over the report.

Lyrics to enjoy

Interpol - Leif Erikson

She says It helps with the lights out
Her rabid glow is like braille to the night.
She swears I'm a slave to the details
But if your life is such a big joke, why should I care?

The clock is set for nine but you know you're gonna make it eight.
So that you two can take some time, teach each other to reciprocate.

She feels that my sentimental side should be held with kid gloves
But she doesn't know that I left my urge in the icebox
She swears I'm just prey to the female,
Well then hook me up and throw me, baby cakes, cuz I like to get hooked.

The clock is set for nine but you know you're gonna make it eight.
All the people that you've loved they're all bound to leave some keepsakes.
I've been swinging all the time, think it's time to learn your way.
I picture you and me together in the jungle it will be ok.

I'll bring you when my lifeboat sails through the night
That is supposing you don't sleep tonight

It's like learning a new language
Helps me catch up on my mime
If you don't bring up those lonely parts
This could be a good time
You come here to me.
We'll pick up those lonely parts and set them down
You come here to me...

She says brief things, her love's a pony
My love's subliminal

Tuesday, September 14, 2004

Random thoughts

A few things that have been in my thoughts:

  • There are always a lot of attractive people at the grocery store, why?

  • My t-shirt idea has been well received: "I got more OCI bids than you"

  • Apparently I have a crush on my con. crim. pro. Professor

  • Apparently she's married

  • After I finished my grocery shopping I noticed that I had absolutely nothing of any significant nutritional value. No vegetables; nothing fresh. Instead, I had frozen pizzas, milk, sports drinks, diet coke, beer, potato chips, sliced turkey, break-and-bake cookies, pasta, and spaghetti sauce

  • And yet my mom is somehow proud of me

  • I've updated my growing index. I wish that blogger allowed categories

  • More blogs have been added to my blogroll despite my aversion to having a bloated blogroll

  • I've noticed a growing trend of attraction towards girls with either tattoos or piercing or both. I used to think it was silly to do that what has happened?

  • First skipped class today; more to come

  • Tru Calling has been delayed this season. I wonder whether they will drop it?

  • In a somewhat related note, if you live in Canada you can catch the entire series of Wonderfalls

  • Personally, I enjoyed Mark Cuban's show. I know a lot of people didn't.

  • It looks like it could pour down rain any second so I debate whether I should run

  • Why have there been so many "Open Threads" at different blogs? What is the point? Also, is it really a "Thread?" Perhaps someone better versed in computers can help me with that, but I always thought that a blog has postings. A message board has threads that people can then post in. Wouldn't your entire blog be a thread -- so to speak? Anyhow, I think the "Open Thread" idea where people can just use the comments for anything is a little silly.

  • I guess I'll be active and go on a run

Pretexts and Probable Cause Stops on Traffic Violations

Some 32 years ago the court stated that "the word 'automobile' is not a talisman in whose presense the Fourth Amendment fades away and disappears." Much has happened to the Fourth Amendment since that statement was made.

In 1996, Whren v. United States expanded the power of the police to conduct searches on the basis of a stop or arrest for a minor offense, such as a traffic offense. This expansion allows police to use their investigatory power as to the minor crime to search for evidence of a more serious crime for which probable cause or even reasonable suspicion does not exist.

This has pretty much given police the power to use minor offenses as a pretext. Professor Maclin, in Race and the Fourth Amendment, 51 Vand. L.Rev. 333, cites some statistics that might give some perspective to the impact of Whren on Fourth Amendment protections.

A count of the traffic indicated that 13.5% of the automobiles carried a black occupant. A count of the traffic surveyed for speeding indicated that 98.1% of the vehicles on the road exceeded the speed limit. Fifteen percent of the speeding vehicles had a black occupant. Fifteen percent of the automobiles that both violated the speed limit and committed some other moving violation also had a black occupant. While automobiles with black occupants represent 15% of the motorists who violated the speeding laws, 35.6% of the race identified stops involved with black occupants.

Despite these troubling statistics, many people reconciled themselves with the belief that even though the stops were pretextual, the person stopped had done something wrong.

In United States v. Miller (1998) the court held that a traffic stop can only be used as a pretext under Whren if the officer has reasonable cause to believe the motorist actually violated a traffic law. The police pulled over Miller after the motorist was seen driving with his left turn signal on for a period of time during which it went through an intersection but didn't turn left. The officer then proceeded to search the motor home for illegal contraband and found 80 kilos of marijuana. The reasoning for the holding was articulated as,

The rule articulated by the Supreme Court in Whren provides law enforcement officers broad leeway to conduct searches and seizures regardless of whether their subjective intent corresponds to the legal justifications for their actions. But the flip side of the leeway is that the legal justification must be objectively grounded. Here, given that having a turn signal on is not a violation of Texas law, no objective basis for probable cause justified the stop of Miller.

But would that holding stand up today? Probably not because the court has started to give officers broad power under the "community caretaker" role of police officers. One area where this is frequently seen is with surprise checkpoints set up by police officers. Every car that passes through is subjected to bright lights shining in the car where officers can see all that is in plain view. Their reason for these has been everything from wanting to see if you have a license and registration to wanting to make sure the lights on your car are working properly.

I won't be surprised when I hear that pulling someone over for having their turn signal on too long is a valid community caretaking role for police to pull you over, and then conduct a search of your vehicle.

Needing to be said

I'm sorry, but I don't think that Neon Deion Sanders has any business being in the league again. That said, I'd rather have him on the field ever weekend than behind the half-time show table. His commentary defined the essense of incepid. Thank you Baltimore for saving us all the pain of hearing his "analysis."

Monday, September 13, 2004

Nothing, nothing, really though

In general, I think that my life is pretty uneventful. This morning my cat didn't want to go into my room when I left. I normally close her in there with her food and whatnot. She sat in the living room and stared when I beckoned her into the room. I don't blame her; I wouldn't want to be locked in one room all day.

Then I get to school and talk about sports and do a little reading. My class isn't until 1pm and I'm not on the side of the room that'll be called. Sort of a relaxed-Socratic Method. Thank you. People come and go from where I'm studying. I say a few things that elicit laughter. I study. Then I go to get BBQ lunch.

That's it for my day. Why aren't anvils falling off buildings in front of me? I can predict what the rest of the day will be like: I'll go on a run before settling down to watch the Benefactor (I love Mark Cuban) and football. On that run I'll see a guy running shirtless who really ought to have a shirt on. I'll probably see a couple girls running together who are attractive. Then I might even see a guy and girl running together as my steam runs out.

Uneventful life but not too bad.

Sunday, September 12, 2004

Friendly Squirrels

My friend tells me about how she became friends with a helpful squirrel:

Today I made friends with a squirrel. This primarily means that he followed me around the yard while I was weeding the garden, occasionally doing helpful things like knocking over the watering can (it was empty) and sniffing my weeds to double-check that I hadn't pulled up anything tasty (I hadn't). (Squirrels don't think carrots are tasty, by the way. I pulled some up to munch on and he wasn't interested in sharing...which is fine by me, because I worried about him getting a taste for them and trying to help himself to more when I wasn't around.)

Sometimes he would sit on the fence while I was weeding, and I would come over and stand next to him. After awhile I put my arm out to him to see what he'd do, and he climbed on it! We were both kind of unsure of this squirrel-on-the-arm thing, and when he started gripping my arm to climb down it his little toenails HURT, so I jumped and he jumped and then we went back to watching each other from a foot or two away.

It's nice to have company when you're gardening.

This reminds me of the time that a squirrel and I ate french fries together. He saw me sitting on a bench and trotted up to the bench. I would hold out a fry and he would eat it. Then I would eat a fry while he waited patiently. Then I gave him another. He had a lot of french fries that day.

But Dallas Is Better

Houston's ad campaign is actually pretty good and funny

Losing My Trust

It's my third year of law school and I realize that I'm a different person than I was before I entered law school. The first year all the professors mentioned to us that we would never be the same people again. We would look at things differently. At a party you'd see the keg hanging off the ceiling and say "Holy shit that's a tort waiting to happen...", instead of "Holy shit I want to drink the entire thing."

That hasn't happened to me. I don't notice torts waiting to happen. I don't see contracts and say "that's poorly written." I don't think about whether or not the real property will vest in time. What has happened to me is that I don't trust much of anything.

The trust started to drop with the formation of study groups. I saw people hoarding outlines. Then around finals people who were nice to others suddenly became mean. Most people started to lie about silly things like how much they studied and whether they really understood a complicated jurisdiction analysis. I'm not sure why people asked each other how much they studied but they did. Then people would say "Oh just a few hours last night."

Then my distrust grew larger. From not trusting classmates it turned to not trusting others outside of law school. I don't trust my landlord anymore. I pour over the lease agreement on a monthly basis. I have no doubt that they will screw me over if they can. I don't trust my cable company because it is a contract-free agreement. Where does that leave us? I want to know their duties.

Of course, probably the biggest distrust for me would be police. As a child I always trusted police. Now I don't trust a single one. I am certain they all lie to get ahead. They all make up facts if the story isn't fitting together too well. I fear being pulled over because, well, I have no respect for police officers at all. It would definitely show.

Finally, even though I want to go into criminal justice. I don't trust the system. From elected judges to juries that don't care. The entire thing is fucked up. Overall, I like the American criminal justice system better than other systems, but I think it has sunk to a bad level. Defense attorney's aren't adequately representing their clients, the judges have too many cases, the judges are too political, prosecutors are prosecuting cases that do not need to be prosecuted, and the public is eating the shit up because it looks like criminals are going to jail.

Law school never told me that I'd leave an untrusting bitter man.

Singing Loudly 10, 5, & 2

The 10 most recently played songs on my iTunes:

  1. Low - Embrace

  2. Aimee Mann - You Could Make A Killing

  3. REM - Low

  4. Jonathon Keyes - Waiting to Fly

  5. The Postal Service - Such Great Heights

  6. Elliott Smith - Everything Reminds Me of Her

  7. Avenue Q - The Money Song

  8. Unwound - Who Cares

  9. Wilco - More Like the Moon

  10. Old 97s - Oppenheimer

5 Countries on my Itinerary for the Summer
  1. Hungary

  2. Germany

  3. Prague

  4. Austria

  5. Romania

2 Foreign beers I drank this past evening
  1. Chimay Grand Reserve

  2. Guinness

Saturday, September 11, 2004

Garbage Pail Kids and 9/11

For most of my life Art Spiegelman has been a strong influence. He started by giving me a twisted humor, and appreciation for the absurd. I loved the Garbage Pail Kids cards.

For a period of time I lost complete interest in my baseball cards, as I wished to focus my attention on collecting the entire GPK's series.

I still find it strangely charming that these were issued for kids to collect.

I even liked the movie when it came out. When I think back on that I wonder why I liked the movie. Maybe it was the completely random musical sequence that occurred?

Then in college the Maus I and Maus II books were on the reading list for my suitemate's honor's rhetoric course. After he raved about how good the books were, I picked up my own copies and read them in a weekend.

I've never been too interested in either comic books or graphic novels, but I am glad I trusted my suitemate's opinion. Despite the speed at which I read these they are not easy to handle. Spiegelman forces you to look at the holocaust in a new way by the simple tranformation of different nationalities into different animals.

Entertainment Weekly has a story in this issue about In the Shadow of No Towers, the new graphic novel by Spiegelman. It was released on September 7 -- in perfect time for the anniversary -- and is currently the sixth best seller on


EW says that,

Like Maus -- the groundbreaking graphic novel about his father's experience in the Holocaust, a 1992 Pulitzer Prize winner -- the new strips exist at the intersection of global events and personal history.

His story starts by depicting the morning of the attack, which led to him running to his daughter's high school.

Generally I am glad that artists are attempted to give us another perspective, possibly understanding, of what happened during and after the attack. Specifically, I'm glad that Spiegelman with his emotional sophistication, yet playfulness, has offered the world his account.

He says that, "[i]n my head, it was as visceral as having those towers fall behind my back." With as powerful as Maus was in his description of what happened to his father, I am excited to discover what he delivers with In the Shadow of No Towers.

Friday, September 10, 2004

What I'm reading: A roundup of sorts

Vice Squad dispells the myth that if you only stayed at the slot machine longer you would have won.

Erin from Erin-go-blog whet my appetite for meatballs, which I cured by getting a yummy meatball sandwich at Potbelly's. Her story, for some reason, reminded me of a movie that I watched as a kid where a successful businesswoman moves to the country with a baby and starts to make applesauce or baby applesauce or something. What movie is that? Maybe Erin can make a successful living with making yummy meatballs and packaging them to sell at boutique stores?

Will Baude busts up on people for misusing the word comprise.

Talk Left provides two reasons why doing criminal defense work in Texas is so harrowing. This behavior from the jail in Dallas is not surprising. When I talk to clients and hear their stories of how they were treated (often very similar stories -- very detailed) by the police it is clear that both socially and constitional unacceptable practices are occurring Texas.

Yglesias presents further evidence that Arnold is a liar. This appears to be a trend for Republicans lately. Smear, lie, and repeat.

Dylan provides some of the commentary that is going on with all this memo talk concerning Bush being AWOL. I haven't been reading it because the word "memo" reminds me too much of my nightmarish first year of law school.

Fafblog tells his story about busting out of Guantanomo Bay. I didn't realize the walls were tasty: "the gingerbread walls (the better to lure unsuspectin young terrorists inside!)"

Stephanie has made it quite clear to the world that she loves Ken Jennings (possibly as much as she loves REM).

And yes, as Angry Bear shows, it is time to work on a national healthcare system.

Thursday, September 09, 2004

NFL Regular Season Week #1 -- My predictions

Finally, the season officially kicks off on Thursday 09/09/04 with the following game:

- Indianapolis at New England : COLTS!

Here are the remaining games for Week 1:

Sunday, September 12

- Seattle at New Orleans : Seattle
- Cincinnati at NY Jets : Bengals
- Arizona at St. Louis : Arizona
- Tennessee at Miami : Tennessee
- Oakland at Pittsburgh : Steelers
- San Diego at Houston : Houston
- Jacksonville at Buffalo : Jacksonville (I went against Dallas too)
- Detroit at Chicago : Da BEARS
- Baltimore at Cleveland: Baltimore
- Tampa Bay at Washington : Redskins
- Atlanta at San Francisco : Falcons (Vick will laugh in the face of the 9ers)
- Dallas at Minnesota : Vikings win unfortunately.
- NY Giants at Philadelphia : Eagles
- Kansas City at Denver : Chiefs

Monday, September 13
- Green Bay at Carolina : Packers

If you bet the bank on my predictions I am not liable for any loses. However, you'll be filthy rich.
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