Thursday, March 31, 2005

Sometimes, things work out . . .

I've been noticing a number of reports, editorials, alerts, etc., all about the present American epidemic of obesity. People are eating so well that they are eating themselves into an early grave. (Me, too.) Food is cheap for Americans in the post 20th century, whereas all through the history of mankind, food has been expensive in terms of the number of calories that had to be burned to get more food.

But look. It's like magic. Cheap and abundant food equals no more Social Security problem!

Lots of fat people are going to die off before they claim their social security, thus spreading the finite fund among a smaller number of (thin) people. Maybe we actually have plenty of money-- if we can just get all our fat people to make a couple three kids before they die of heart failure.

(And in case anybody can't tell, I'm kidding.)

(At least I think I'm kidding.)

Ready to rock, takes on a new meaning . . .

I don't think anybody is clicking on the adds that Google puts at the side of this blog. I know I wouldn't.

Just about all the adds look like issue stuff, and most of us have no need of any more issue stuff. We all get way too many invitations to join one side or the other in the culture war between the leftist moonbats and the righty mouth-breathers.

Nah, I think most of us want ads for products.

Right about now, I'd be interested in an add for a senior-citizen type lounge chair. Shoot, maybe I'll start up a recliner blog, like Manolo does for shoes.

Sometimes, love isn't all you need. . . .

Two people who live in Connecticut drive into Massachusetts to get married. They don't live or work in Massachusetts; they just want to get married in Massachusetts.

Most states usually want to marry pretty much their own citizens and aren't generally about trying to get others to come there just to get married. There even used to be residency requirements. (Back in the olden days, Reno, Nevada, used to offer a several week residency period to claim residency status to get a divorce, when many other states wanted you to live in the state for six months or so before you could get a divorce. So, Reno got to be known as the quickie divorce capitol of the nation. I'm told.)

Anyhow, these two people want to get married in Massachusetts. It probably had something to do with Massachusetts starting to allow same sex marriages. So, now that they are married, they decide that the weekend wasn't all that great after all, so they apply to Connecticut to annul their marriage.

Connecticutt says, no. Why? Because the marriage didn't count in the first place, so there is nothing to annul.

I have two questions. First, are they still married in Massachusetts? And second, do they get to keep the wedding gifts?

Tuesday, March 29, 2005

He said what?

Pat Sajak! Pat Sajak? Pat Sajak. Doesn't fit your preconceptions, does it?

Zealous representation. Or something . . .

Remember the woman here in Portland who drove her SUV off the bridge and into the Willamette river this weekend? She had to go over and through a fairly substantial looking guard railing to do it. Supposedly, the fact that the bridge deck is made of metal grating had something to do with it. But still, she had to hit the sidewalk curb, go up and over, then hit the guard rail which wasn't chopped liver itself, and then smash through. In other words, she hit the side of the bridge pretty forcefully.

I'm glad for her that she survived the crash through the guard rail, the nose first impact with the water and the swim to the surface. It was probably horrible for her. But . . .

Maybe I'm wrong about this, but it looks to me as if she had to be doing something really, really wrong to put herself in that position. I mean, all sorts of vehicles cross that bridge every day and have been doing so for years. And hardly any of them go over the side of the bridge into the water below. And this isn't the only bridge in the U.S. with a metal grating deck. They are all over the place. With all the sympathy in the world, I figure she screwed up.

But bless her heart, even though she screwed up, she went through a horrible experience. So I have a hunch there's probably at least one attorney in town who can't wait to represent her and sue the manufacturer of the SUV, the steel in the bridge, the rigging company that installed the steel, the architect, the bridge painters, the city, the county, the state, you, me, and heaven everlasting. To some attorneys, this poor woman could be the perfect representative of a class, for a class action seeking, among other things, attorney fees for the plaintiff's attorney.

What class? Why, all of us who are screw-ups, have been screw-ups, or ever will be screw-ups.

Does it show, from this post, how much I miss practicing law?

Monday, March 28, 2005

Osama's still on the loose. But . . .

Damn. Just damn. I know we have a state department. But just what kind of state are they in? Can you possibly read this and come to any other conclusion but that our ambassador was a pure bonehead?

Sunday, March 27, 2005

The Next Secretary General . . .

I notice that Austin Bay is taking nominations for somebody to take over for Kofi in the United Nations. What do I think? First, except for that Austrian ex-Nazi, they seem to pick an undistinguished person most people never heard of. Second, while I'm certainly sufficiently undistinguished, I just can't accept the job myself because I don't think they play golf at the U.N. and I think I have to teach that week.


I said years ago, before Bill Clinton's second term, that we ought to do the exact same thing the voters in Arkansas did. Get rid of him by kicking his butt upstairs, this time, to New Yawk City and the United Nations. But no, nobody would listen to me. So we all had to spend his entire second term choosing sides and insulting one another over his messing around with Monica. For whatever good it did anybody.

Yeah, I know. It wasn't about the b.j. in the oval office; it was about the lying under oath. C'mon, we all knew about his proclivities and failings before his first election, and people voted him into office anyway.

Anyway, I was just joking at the time about getting rid of him by kicking him upstairs. But now that I come to think of it, it just might be an inspired choice.

If it were Slick heading the U.N., that would pretty much ice the possibility that President Hillary would want to internationalize the U.S. and hand over any U.S. sovereignty to the U.N., wouldn't it? I think Hillary's strategy is and has been for a long time to give her husband nothing. Not even a divorce. (That's probably why Monica got in there in the first place.)

So. How can we get Clinton into the U.N.?

Easy. But we all have to work together. Everybody start talking it up and spreading the word on the internet and in letters to the editors that if Bill Clinton isn't in charge of the U.N. by the time of the next election, we all will simply have no choice but to vote for Condi. But if Clinton is in charge of the U. N. . . (pause meaningfully.)

That should should do it.

Friday, March 25, 2005

The Guard returns . . .

The Second Batallion, 162nd Infantry of the Oregon Army National Guard is coming home today after a year in Iraq.

Welcome home; good job; we all should be grateful. And best wishes to all who've been waiting so long for this day to finally come.

Thursday, March 24, 2005

My Social Security, and Yours . . .

The Heritage Foundation has a summary of the Social Security Trust Fund report, here,
(Thanks to Amy Ridenour's blog. which you should be reading from time to time.)

As near as I can tell, I'm going to be okay. But you young-uns out there . . . better be pushing for big-time social security reform, AND, your private social security accounts, AND be tucking money away in your own accounts. Oh, and also you should be making lots of babies who will grow up and earn money and contribute to the system.

That's because, did you notice that Alan Greenspan is once again on the lookout for inflation? Inflation is how government pays for stuff when it doesn't want you to think your taxes are being increased by governmental confiscation of a greater proportion of the country's productivity. Inflation is how we pay for wars, so we can have, in the estimable words of L.B.Johnson, "guns and butter." For many people, inflation means -- better spend your money on stuff right now, because your money will be worth less next year -- except you don't have any extra money to spend right now and next year is kind of iffy, altogether.


I just scared myself. This coming late in life to see the practical benefits of socialism, and getting comfortable with the idea of a big government caring for me just isn't as great a deal as I'd lately come to think.

I think I'll go buy something.

New Infantilism, indeed . . .

. . . Chirac of France, described by the "real" Times. (Not the New York Times). Aw, shucks. A person would probably have to go to school to be able to learn how to use the language with venom and style such as this.

Wednesday, March 23, 2005

Beats flipping burgers . . .

Instapundit provided this link which can confirm my suspicions. Protesting can be a job! It doesn't always represent a heartfelt concern for issues of the day rising out of the grassroots. Imagine that.

So on reflection, I think I owe some of those folks an apology. Here I thought protesters were protesting just to get a little something from all those loose lefty chicks. But they were in fact engaged in a noble quest for a W-2.

I applaud that. I applaud that so much that I call upon all right leaning political types to come together and vote for more stuff to give the protesters things to protest about. Like maybe drilling for oil in Alaska (oops.) 'Cause our protesters are coming up a little dry of late. Not too long ago they had to protest the draft when we don't even have a draft, so then they had to protest not having a draft. This just illustrates what a poverty of material protesters have to work with, currently.

So come on, all you legislators. Let's have a bill to install at least one working atomic powerplant in every state. That will give the protesters something to talk about. And when the protesting starts and the national debate on atomic energy begins, I bet just talking about it will drive the international price of oil way down.

Lets' get together on this and give our noble protesters something more to protest about.

We're all in this together and we all need to work together.

Who owns your e-mail?

Here's the deal. I have a g-mail address. I made a "drive" out of the g-mail address, so now if I want data storage to be duplicated somewhere other than my hard drive or standard removable medium, I store it in g-mail. Google people are real nice about the free storage. And since I never actually learn anything of much importance, I don't use up much of Google's memory. Couple drops, is all.

Here's the question. Assume for a moment that I know something valuable. (If I did, do you think I'd be wasting my time on silly questions like this?) I store my valuable information, say, a treasure map, on my g-mail account and then promptly die leaving no other copies of the information around. Who owns the information?

If you e-mail from work, I guess your workplace owns the e-mail files, right? And Yahoo says it owns the e-mail of a fallen soldier in Iraq because it owns the medium it was stored on. (His parents want to see what he may have written.)

I predict interesting legal questions to come. And I predict I will be outraged. (I pretty much always am outraged.)

Tuesday, March 22, 2005

Congress to the rescue . . .

I've been thinking about Teri Schaivo today, because starving to death is a tough way to go. I know she is in a "vegetative" state (there's a repulsive metaphor). But even so, she is a human being in such a state, and as such, she is still an extremely complex individual, and probably feels things. It's not as if she is some simple organism without much of a nervous system. (Go ahead. Squish it, man. Bugs don't feel nuthin'.) For heavens sake, if you want her to die, find some vet to calculate the juice to inject to just put her down without the possibility of pain.

If you have the nerve.

But mostly I'm thinking that I don't know what to think about the Teri Schaivo matter. It's possible that her husband is fighting a desperate and noble battle to give his wife the one thing left he can give her -- her wish not to live this way. It's also just as possible that her husband is using the law to kill his wife legally after having scored a big judgment based on the necessity of caring for her economically for the rest of her life. And it's possible that her parents are tirelessly trying to preserve for their daughter the possiblity that with care and time, she can return to a full life. And it is just as possible that they are sentimentally and foolishly preserving the husk of their dead daughter long beyond the point at which it would have spoiled but for medical science. Any of those could be true, or false. So I don't know what to think about her family and husband.

But I know exactly what to think about the United States Congress. Those bozos jumped on a current issue that did not concern them under the U.S. Constitution and created a federal court jurisdictional basis for the parents to bring their case to federal court, where there wasn't one before. And they did it, as far as I can tell, without providing a clear cause of action on which to base the case.

Did you ever notice how, whenever a television camera is set up on the street to video a scene or an interview, some juvenile or some adult with a case of arrested maturity will come into view and stick his goofy face sideways into the camera's field of vision? And grin and say woo? Just to interrupt and call the attention to himself? And pretty much to annoy the real adults? Well, my question is, why do we elect clowns such as these to Congress?

Sunday, March 20, 2005

War is not the answer . . .

For all my lefty friends and relatives, hey, take a look at this blog. I figure this guy is probably in a better position to express an opinion about the last two years of combat than almost anybody you see reading the news on the tube, or writing for most of the newspapers and newsmagazines. (Horsefeathers gets a tip.)

Yeah, I know, war is not the answer. I read that on bumper stickers all the time. And we all know that bumper stickers are the source of all wisdom, all condensed and packaged for easy comprehension by even the simple-minded.

Oh, waitaminit. I forgot. It's all about the oil! ($2.18 a gallon, regular unleaded.)

Make that phrase, "easy comprehension by the especially simple-minded."

Update: And in that connection, take a look at what Hanson says.

Friday, March 18, 2005

Thursday, March 17, 2005

Campaign Finance Reform, or something like it . . .

This is big. The current campaign finance reform law, which as we've recently seen did nothing to improve the perception of trustworthiness of politics and just maybe made things worse, was all a structured, intentional exercise in pulling the wool over the eyes of Congress. (Apparently not very tough to do if you have the money to do it.)

Take a look at this report. You can follow the path to get a full transcript if you don't want to believe the report. In fact, on the web you can find partial videos of the insider explaining exactly how they did it.

The result? Sens. McCain and Feingold, who had been jes' itchin' to look like leaders, got in front of what they thought was parade of interested constituents coming up from the grass roots. They sponsored and got passed some legislation to provide campaing finance reform, in accord with what they thought a whole lot of of citizens wanted. But there was no actual big parade. The wide-spread support was faked. Notice that it worked in Congress, and then again, it worked in the Supreme Court.

Okay, we have to live with the unintended and unexpected consequences of McCain's grandiosity.

But notice this. First, the mainstream press had in their hands all the information necessary to break this story at the time the legislation was being considered. It didn't either because the reporters weren't smart enough to see the significance of what they knew, or else they flat didn't care. But second, the mainstream press, for all its self-congratulatory fist-pumping about its investigatory abilities, still hasn't reported this story, much, even after it's been handed to them. (The story is contrary to the mythology currently adopted by the press.)


Wednesday, March 16, 2005

Another bright idea emerges from the shallow end of the gene pool.

I heard right. Rachel Corey's family is sueing Caterpillar for making and selling the 'dozer that killed her. (See my earlier post below.)

I think there's something in the law about keeping a dangerous 'dozer. Yeah. It's coming to me now. But I'm pretty sure I learned this in lawschool, umphfty years ago.

I think there's something in the law about how every 'dozer gets the first bite free, based on the theory that you don't know your 'dozer is a dangerous 'dozer until it attacks and harms somebody. After that, if anybody is injured, it's because the owner is harboring a known dangerous 'dozer and the owner will be strictly liable for any injuries caused by the permitting the dangerous'dozer to run free.

Okay, I know. It's not much of a defense. But I bet it's as good as the theory undeneath the Corey lawsuit against Caterpillar.

And not that anybody asked me or is likely to, but if I were asked to represent somebody, I'd prefer to defend the manufacturer using this silly argument, rather than represent the the plaintiff, using whatever the hell they must be using for a theory of recovery, sight unseen.

World Banking - The Way It Could Have Been . . .

The President has nominated Wolfowitz as President of the World Bank. 'Course I never expected Bono to get it. But I did have my heart set on Cher, because now she is going to have to schedule the "Absolutely this is Really the Last Time , No I Really Mean it This Time, This Is the Last One" world tour.

Sometimes lawyer jokes aren't funny ,. . .

I thought I heard on the televised local news this morning that the family of Rachel Corey - the young woman who perished under a bulldozer while protesting in favor of Palestinians - is going to sue the 'dozer manufacturer for its part in her death. I'm not 100% sure I heard it, as I'd stepped into the kitchen to pour a cuppa. And I did a quick search of local news on-line with no mention. Anyhow, if it turns out I'm mistaken, well, I'm sorry.

But if it is true, I gotta say -- this kind of lawsuit is tinted with the same kind of stupidity that tells a person they should try to stop a bulldozer by getting in front of it. It's kind of like the guy in front of the tank in Tiennamen Square. It makes for a nice iconic news image if it works. But if it doesn't work, well . . . all your friends get to shake their heads and say, "What a waste." And not even the main stream news will show pictures of the results of a miscalculation of such sort.

But if what I heard is true, I would not criticise the family for this suit. Despite how one may feel about the circumstances of Rachel Corey's death, it was nevertheless a death of a loved one and her family would quite naturally feel great grief and loss, and maybe even attempt to "balance the books" to deal with the loss.

But a lawyer representing them in a suit against the manufacturer of the bulldozer being used to increase security in the midst of constant conflict in Israel?

I'm sure there's some good explanation about why a lawyer would agree to represent a party in such a lawsuit. I just can't think of it right now. But I'm really sure there's a reason. There has to be a good reason, right?

Friday, March 11, 2005

Finally . . . . .

Miriam Rachel was born this morning at 11:25 a.m., weighing 7'13" and stretching out 21". It made her very tired. It made her mother very tired. Her father and her grandparents, however, are jazzed!

Wednesday, March 09, 2005

An Indecent Proposal . . .

The news is reporting beheaded corpses in Iraq. Just another new horror. It seems to me that beheading a person, while an effective means of killing them, is not particularly efficient, particularly where one has a number of people, as above, to kill. It sounds like work. Too much effort for the result.

That tells me that the beheading part of the murder has ritual significance beyond the mere killing of another human being with malice. And as the killers are most likely motivated by some sort of religious zeal -- jihad -- it is a nearly unavoidable conclusion that the ritual beheadings are a religious ritual that finds a comfortable home in their religious heritage.

In other words, religion of peace, my perfect, aging ass. You can't see these people as criminals to be handled in a justice system that aspires to notions of due process. They aren't criminals in their own mind; they are behaving with religious purity. And you can't see these people as simple soldiers in a war of opposing uniformed armies sharing cultural notions of military fair play, holding prisoners of war for the duration and for eventual repatriation. Their religion apparently rejects those cultural notions both for themselves and for their captives.

It occurs to me that we should not long adhere to our own cultural notions of decency in this regard. The conflict is something more primal, more "red of tooth and claw." I think once we got beyond the problem of distinguishing between ordinary Muslims and the spooky, dangerous jihadists who conceal themselves among them, it's time to set aside decency to look to efficiency in our treatment of jihadists. No jail. No imprisonment. No internment. Just kill them.

They'd do it to you.

Monday, March 07, 2005

I Think There Just Might Be a Message to the U.N. in here . . . . .

Oh, this is good! Our new ambassador to the United Nations is going to be Bolton, a diplomat who doesn't hesitate to criticise the United Nations administration for lack of effectiveness. Bluntly and repeatedly.

Like his boss, there seems to be nary a "nuance" in him. (That means he says what he means, not pleasant sounding murmurs that don't actually mean anything or expect anything from anybody.)

Of course, the Senate democrats will line up to criticise him at the confirmation hearing. I can predict their line -- "how can we have somebody representing us who is so abrasive and critical of diplomatic dithering, corruption, and betrayal of principle, when what we need is somebody who won't point out to the spineless ditherers that they are spineless ditherers, and won't blow the whistle on corruption. That's no way to get along, when we need our international (French) friends now, more than ever."

For myself, I'm going to entertain myself by forming images of Kofi, Kim, and Assad hearing the news with mouthfuls of their favorite beverages, doing classic Hollywood spit-takes.

Yeah, this is good. This is a whole lot more fun than thinking about Bono in the World Bank. It's starting to be fun to follow the news again.

Sunday, March 06, 2005

Rather reflects on being a big game hunter . . . .

Ol' Dan never got shot in the back 'cause he always attacked head on. He's a rhino but once in a while a spear hurts even him -- but only for a little bit. He's a big game hunter and always will be.

Yeah, those guys driving humvees around in Iraq are real pussies. Those firefighters never have to take that much heat. Cops are all well-known pansy sniffers.

Real men like Danno just eat up brutal risks that would make all lesser men whimper, by stubbornly sitting behind desks and reading out loud.

The man's a cartoon.

Televised interviews with terrorists. . . .

Iraq the model is posting about Iraqi television broadcasting interviews with terrorists. What's coming out is that these are not insurgents seeking to overthrow an invading force (us) or religious monomaniacs furthering jihad. Contemptible.

Need a little help on this First Amendment thingy . . .

So, when I complain in this blog about how Sen. McCain's finance reform dealio really sucks if it is interpreted to cover blogs, and when I suggest we should keep that in mind when McCain and all his like-minded political masters of unintended consequences and brandishers of well-named legislation come up for election, am I breaking the law?

Oh, good.

And Out With the New (notice uppercase) . . . .

Finally. Finally got the personal website, up, with the real estate stuff on it that I've been hinting about to my students. Finally. Only had to go in and patch and redo bunchteen twenny links. Who would ever suspect that upper and lower case names would make a difference? I know I'd heard rumors, but you don't pay attention.

Now if we can just get the first grandchild born, an event which has been predicted to take place since Friday, February 25, but which like the upper-case rule, is also merely a matter of rumors. The daughter tells us that doc says little kid is doing fine in there so there's nothing to be concerned about. That's the problem, I'm sure. Way too comfortable.

I know the daughter has spoken at the baby, at least once, attempting to encourage her to make a run for it, but, well, kids. you know. It isn't that they don't understand.

Kids have bad ears. They don't hear well. Sometimes you have to shout before they can hear you. Sometimes you actually have to stand on a chair and jump up and down, wave your arms, and shout before you can get them to hear you.

I'll suggest that approach to the daughter. In my usual helpful way of course.

Saturday, March 05, 2005

Liberal entitlement . . . . .

The Supreme Court has apparently come around to the notion that we need a world view to determine what the Constititution means. This has some truly dangerous possibilities. Sisyphus has done a terrific job outlining the intellectual and political antecedents, here. Wish I could take credit but I can't, so just go read it. But just considering how helpful the world view is, consider Hanson's latest take on the message out of Europe.

Then, take a look at the consequences of McCain-Feingold. Lots of blogging going on about this, but take a look at the Captain's spot.

They do take liberties, don't they?

Tuesday, March 01, 2005

Jumping off buildings . . . .

For thrills, teenagers are reported to be jumping from one building to another -- six stories up. One didn't make it and fell. What to do? Why, sue the building owners for failure to anticipate that people would jump off a perfectly good building to the adjoining building, and failing to erect a fence to prevent such leaps.

Hey, if you jump off a building that isn't on fire or anything, just for the thrill of it, well, I think evolution should be permitted to take its course. But that's just me. The law doesn't consider the beauties of evolutionary processes. Just foreseeable risk of harm. And imaginary duties.

Well, okay then. It's foreseeable that maybe some day somebody might toss somebody else out a window. It's happened before. I guess we need to block all windows.

But it's also foreseeable that maybe someday somebody might want to exit a building rapidly so as to escape fire. That fence up there on the sixth floor to block recreational leapers will be a death trap. Somebody will have to be sued. Again.

I guess the only caring thing to do is to eliminate all tall buildings altogether because there are foreseeable risks involved. Yeah, that will do it. And make the sidewalks around the low buildings out of nerf, like the footballs. And post signs, like, "Don't jump off buildings," which, in my mind, is always good advice. And while it probably isn't needed by most of us, it's good to publish a reminder from time to time. Just in case.

Don't jump off buildings.

And you have a nice day.