March 2005 Archives
Something has been bothering me for some time about the direction politics are headed in my country. It started with all this talk of 'activist judges,' and continues through the Shiavo debacle. It has to do with the Judiciary becoming the favorite target of some of the more . . . fervent . . . members of Congress. I listened to an NPR interview recently with some senator who was talking about writing bans on judicial review into a host of laws and, even scarier, cutting funding for those courts who ruled in ways with which the political majority disagrees.
This is the path to disaster, if it actually happens. I'll be the first to admit that I disagree with a lot of the rulings of what I consider to be a relatively conservative Supreme Court. Nevertheless, what I think these people don't understand is that our government functions on one simple premise: You do what you're told, or as some call it, the Rule of Law. I'll be the first one to stand up and challenge an illegitimate law or ruling, but some Congresspersons are talking about entire branches disregarding the judiciary.
The judiciary is a stabilizer. It doesn't work perfectly all the time (Plessy, anyone?) but I think it has improved drastically in the last 100 years. The idea of our democracy, according to some theorists, is that the judiciary is there to reinforce valid democratic process. Where that process fails, that is, where there are flaws in the system, the judiciary is there to fix the effects of those flaws. One flaw may be the oppression of a minority by the majority (as pointed out in a good and enthusiastic post at C&F). In these cases, it is the role of the courts to ensure that the mob doesn't take control to the excessive detriment of the minority.
If Congress is allowed to control the courts through the funding stream, they will become simply another arm of Congress. Independence, to the degree it exists today, will be gone. I have no doubt that there will be some judges who will not buckle under the pressure, who will struggle to maintain that independence in the face of Congress, but there will also be many who will buckle and rule in cases the way Congress desires.
Then there's another problem: The courts only have power to the extent that people, including the rest of the government, actually obey. This is the rule of law component. The second Congress or the President chooses to ignore the courts, our system collapses. If it truly is a situation of a court seizing power or something (Rehnquist is hereby declared Supreme Ruler of the United States), the damage to our system can be justified. But I doubt you're going to find that, given that courts function only on what they say, not what they do. When the Court ruled that Nixon had to turn over evidence in the Watergate affair, he wisely chose not to simply ignore the court's ruling. Here was someone that recognized that to simply ignore the Court, which was a concern, was to invite disaster.
I think one of the main problems is that for some time there was a great deal of tension between Congress and the President. It makes it harder to get anything done, and it means that their focus was on each other. Now that they're both run by the same party, and their views seem to be more or less in alignment, they've started to look up. They see the courts as the only real limit on their power and now are looking at expanding that powerat the courts' expense. This should be opposed by all of us, liberal and conservative alike.
I know it must be spring, because after my post of a couple days ago, it snowed today. That's when we know it's here.
In other news, I had my appellate advocacy practice oral argument today. It went quite well, I simply need to add a few details to my outline. I found myself having time left but already having made my points, but there are a few persuasive details I could throw in. Overall, it went pretty smoothly and I feel ready. Now back to work on other stuff.
Yesterday was the first day that I actually felt like we were headed somewhere, seasonally speaking. Granted, we've had a few warmish days here and there, and yesterday wasn't scorching, by any means. But there was something about the feel of it that just gave the impression that things were turned around.
Of course, the forecast for today is for some rain and/or snow, so it looks like that feeling will be pretty short-lived. Easy come, easy go.
In other news, the new law school rankings are out (they'll apparently be on the web in the next week or so). I don't know how my school did, nor do I particularly care. With all due respect to those who go to Yale, Harvard and the rest on down, I think the graduations on quality of legal education are usually so fine that it's irrelevant. And the methodology of the rankings is a joke.
So what do I think should be important in choosing a law school? Here are a few factors, in no particular order:
- Region: For those of us who don't go to those high-priced top-ranked schools, it makes a lot of sense to attend a school in the geographical area in which one intends to practice. Local schools usually have pretty good local reputations. Plus it makes the job hunt easier.
- Cost: Legal education can be expensive, but what's the substantive difference in the quality? Yale's tuition this year is over 36k. My tuition this year didn't even hit the 6k mark, as mentioned here. My contracts casebook is the same one they use at Harvard. Big deal. You get what you put into it, and I doubt my grasp of the subjects so far (which seems to be pretty solid) would get any better if the professor were one of the Anointed.
- Curriculum: Does the school you're considering have the program you want? If what you want is nothing special, then you'll be pretty free to pick any school that strikes your fancy. If your interests are more esoteric, perhaps you'd like to become a scholar in one faced of Constitutional law, you'll need to find a school that has the faculty to adequately train you in that area. The thing is, in many cases this will be dependent on the Faculty, not the school. Rank is irrelevant. In many cases, however, what you want to do will be pretty standard in any school. I'd like to prosecute, and CrimLaw is standard, so just about any school would have been fine for me.
- Clinical Opportunities: This is one of the few areas where I suggest a hard and fast rule: Pick a school with clinical opportunities. Period. It's a not-so-well-hidden secret that law school doesn't really teach you how to be a lawyer, until you start doing it. You may not want to do any of the clinics, but to rob yourself of the opportunity right away is starting out your career with one strike against you.
- Culture: This is the most important for actual happiness while in school, I believe. Do your classmates tend to be cutthroat? Do they want to 'win' law school? Are important cases sliced out of the reporters in the Library (this can happen)? For anyone who wants a great, comfortable atmosphere, academic yet not competitive per se, my school is fabulous. You can walk through the library, or even in the classrooms, and find that we trust each other enough to leave all our personal stuff unattended while we do whatever. We all work hard, but I don't get the feeling that anyone is really all about grades or rank. And let's face it, while employers may look at that stuff for your first job or two, it doesn't really matter in the long term. Anyone know of the top of their head what school Johnny Cochran attended? Do you know his rank and GPA? Is he a highly successful attorney?
None of this is to suggest that if rank is really that important you shouldn't base your decision on that in part, but if that's the sole factor, rather than finding a school that's a good fit, chances are greater that you'll have a miserable three years. Life is too short to be miserable. Another upshot is that if you're interested in PI and go to a less-costly school, there's less motivation to sell your soul to BigLaw to make up the cost. And if you think BigLaw is for you, you can still make it, you just have to be top in your class.
For anyone looking to select a law school, it's probably too late by the time you read this. But if it isn't, try to have fun with the process.
For the record, I applied to precisely one school.
Due to a few extremely valid, yet non school-related events this week, I'm forced to do as much of my classwork ahead of time. I know have four class sessions remaining for which to prepare; I've done the reading for the rest. I still have a lot to do tomorrow, but I think nine solid hours of case reading is plenty.
Good: done with CivPro (other than perhaps a touch of review before class) and Contracts (I think, I guessed about Thursday's assignment) for the week.
Bad: I'm having trouble focusing my eyes on anything more than eighteen inches or so away. At least I only have two Property classes (easy), one Torts class (easy) and one ConLaw class (10 pages, not bad) to go. Plus prep for my practice oral argument (must finish reading opposing brief; practice go on Wednesday), my second Torts paper, my job, etc.
I should maybe start my outlines soon...
If any one would like to send me a care package, please include SLEEP, as I have no time to produce my own.
I don't generally follow celebrity lives, but I was skimming this article about the Aniston-Pitt divorce filing, when the following sentence stopped me short: "Pitt, 41, and Aniston, 36, began dating in 1998 after being set up on a blind date."
I'm just wondering how celebrity blind dates work. How blind could they be? Does it just mean they've never seen them in real life? I have a pretty good idea of what both of them look like, so it's hard to believe they didn't if they knew who they were to date. Maybe their friends just said, "yeah, we know someone. No, I'm not telling you."
Somehow the idea of celebrity blind dates fascinates me. Like some sort of game show.
I'm afraid I only have one picture today. I'm running out, and blog-worthy photos don't happen every day!
This one is a bit blurry, but I was trying to get Jupiter to look in the general direction of the camera while I shot it. It's still pretty cute. He does this thing with his tongue all the time. Click for a larger picture.
Also, I've changed my quote on the sidebar. Check it out!
As short as the week has been, it's been pretty darn good. I got all my class work done pretty early, so I had an opportunity to do some fun stuff like being a bailiff for a friends' appellate argument (I learned a lot), getting my law review case note proposal in (it's fun for me, I love learning about this stuff), going to a panel wherein I got to see one of my admission letter-writers (she chose wisely, I like to think), and hosting a fabulous dinner at my place with a few close friends. Sadly, one is moving soon, but I suppose all one can do is have fun while you can.
Theoretically, I can get a lot of work done this weekend, even with a few recreational activities thrown in. I have lots of work lined up, but it's times like these that just reinforce that law school was the correct choice. I'm having probably the best time I've had in my life. I know that I'm priveleged in a lot of ways, but rather than self-flagellation thinking about all the people that don't have these opportunities, I'm just going to make sure that I don't take it for granted.
For anyone thinking about law school, I highly recommend it.
I know I shouldn't let things get to me, but sometimes I have a hard time believing what comes out of people's mouths. (The same goes for my own mouth at times, but that's a different post.)
"Conservatives . . . say the court treatment of the Schiavo case illustrates a judiciary that is willing to ignore the will of the public and elected officials."
I'd like to know precisely who said this, because it's just idiocy. The full text of the law is here. One doesn't need a law degree (indeed, one only needs to know how to read) to see that the bill grants federal jurisdiction to the case. It allows her parents to sue in District Court. Nothing else. There is no directive that a verdict be entered in their favor. Indeed, I'm not sure such a directive to the courts would be legal. As much as the congress members who voted for the bill may have wanted the result in the District Court to be different, their intention or desires are irrelevant in the law.* What matters is the plain text of the law they passed. The court even assumed arguendo that the law is constitutional, which is debatable. To say that the court "ignored the will of the public and elected officials" is just plain wrong. I'll be generous and assume gross ignorance on the part of anyone who says that. Additionally, since it's unattributed, I can't ignore the very real possibility that the press exaggerated the sentiment somewhat.
Next: "'Judge Whittemore has engaged in a gross abuse of judicial power,' said Burke J. Balch of the National Right to Life Committee."
Um, no. I don't know much about the case law cited in the case, with the exception of Mathews (it played a significant role in the case I'm working on for my case note). On the surface though, the complaint (see below for a link) seems pretty weak. It seems well within possibility that the judge made the correct assessment, that the parents failed to show that they have a substantial likelihood of success on the merits, which is required for a temporary restraining order. It's also quite a coincidence that Balch uses the term "gross abuse," because abuse of discretion is exactly what the appellate court would have to find in order to reverse the ruling. It's a high burden, and not likely to be met.
Next: "Mr. Viguerie [a conservative mailing coordinator] added, 'It is very dramatic proof of what we have been saying: that the judiciary is out of control.'"
Um, no. It seems to me that trying to legislate jurisdiction for the benefit of two people (the parents) is out of control, but that's another matter.
Next: "'Just because there is a judge somewhere in the world who would give an estranged husband like that the time of day tells you how bad the court system is,' the Rev. Jerry Falwell said."
This one is just too easy. Seriously, here's an appeal to anyone who might be Republican/conservative and reads this: Is the Nutball Jerry Falwell the person you want to be your voice? Seriously? I like to think that most people, on either side of the spectrum, are reasonable, but this guy? You've got to be kidding me!
Next: "Representative Tom DeLay, the House majority leader, had tough words for the justices: 'When this tragic episode is resolved, the Supreme Court will have some serious questions to answer about its silence and arbitrary interpretation of federalism, but those questions will have to wait for now.'"
Are you kidding me!?! This is the guy who was a prime mover on a bill that bequeathed jurisdiction to a federal court on a single case that was fully litigated in state court!! And he wants to talk about federalism? Never mind that "arbitrary interpretation of federalism" is something about which the liberals (or at least this liberal) have been crying foul for years.
Now, there's some hyperbole on the part of a couple liberals quoted in the article, as well. "Nan Aron, founder of Alliance for Justice, a liberal group [said,] '. . . this case . . . certainly would be their excuse to enthusiastically support George Bush's court-packing agenda.'" Nominating conservative judges is hardly "court packing." That's a pretty specific term to a particular practice, as far as I know. Bush is trying to fill the court system with conservative judges, and I wouldn't expect anything different. I totally disagree with his selection of the few people I've researched (and I suspect I'd feel the same way about the others, if I bothered to look into it), but it his prerogative to nominate whomever he pleases.
Overall, though, the collective apoplexy on the part of the religious right on this particular issue seems to be getting out of hand.
[UPDATE: I should clarify that while the intent of the legislators is relevant in some circumstances, as a general rule if a statute is clear and plain on its face, courts will not jump through hoops to add in the 'intent' of the legislature.]
The personal is not based on any legal premise/discussion/though.
I've been paying attention to the Schiavo furor recently (no links because you'd have to live under a rock to not hear of it) and have been naturally thinking a lot about the Castle Rock case. Something is seriously bothering me.
The nation is in a mild uproar about the prospect of one woman being taken off mechanical life support measures. Many people are concerned about the prospect of apparently 'killing' this person who, experts seem to agree, will never be conscious again.
Yet just today a bunch of people argued about whether or not a local government should take responsibility for its actions in failing to protect citizens whom the state specifically promised to protect. As a possible result of that failure, three little girls are dead. (And yes, I realize it's not proven that if they had acted, anything would be different.)
These were three girls who had their entire lives before them. Who knows what contributions to humanity they may have offered in their lives? Who knows what impact they might have had, what good they could have done? We'll never know because we've been denied that opportunity. This isn't to say that Schiavo wouldn't make contributions, as well, if she awoke. But the prospect seems unlikely at this point.
The city of Castle Rock wants to essentially turn this protection into a discretionary exercise, not just for that community, but for every community in the country. The same government which granted Federal jurisdiction for Schiavo's parents argued today - on the very same day - that no city should be liable for effectively removing state-granted protection on a whim.
Am I the only one who sees this fundamental unfairness here? Life and death, one in each hand, and which one the government deals you depends on . . . what? Whether it will have to pay damages?
Well, I've just finished more classwork; I now have two classes this week to prepare for. In one I don't even know what the assignment will be just yet. This leaves plenty of time to, oh, I don't know, work on oral arguments, write a paper due soon, get some paid work done, start my outlines, revise and turn in my case note proposal . . . it's all very exciting to think that I'll be done in just a month and a half.
And speaking of my case note, what good is free Westlaw and Lexis if they don't get the SCOTUS oral argument transcripts any sooner than anyone can get them on the site?* I guess I'll have to keep checking back. It's not unheard of for things to move a bit quicker, sometimes. And I have plenty of briefs and caselaw to read while I'm waiting. From all accounts, it doesn't look good for the side I'd like to win.
*That's supposed to be somewhat tongue-in-cheek. I heart Westlaw, though I'm not going to let the info-crack dealers rule my life post-law school.
Well, it looks like "Spring Break" (bit of a misnomer in my case) is over. During my time here, I have left the house exactly three times. I've done tons of work on my paid job, finished my case note proposal (though I'm going to revise on Monday or Tuesday before I turn it in) and finished a draft of a proposal to bring a big-name speaker to campus next year. I won't talk about that until it's final, if it ever is.
I was considering just reading for fun for the rest of the night, but I suppose I had better do my appellate advocacy stuff for oral argument prep while I have time.
All that and I didn't even pretend to start my outlines. I'd better get on that.
At least this week is only a four-day-er.
I hate it when things don't work out as I plan.
For my law review case note proposal, I was hoping to do TOWN OF CASTLEROCK, CO V. GONZALES (04-278), which is to be argued before the US Supreme Court on Monday. This is an exceedingly important case in the area of domestic violence. The following is a bit of an oversimplification.
The short version of the facts is that a woman in Castlerock, CO had a protection order against her partner, with whom she had three daughters. When the daughters disappeared one evening, she suspected the father took them, which was later confirmed by direct contact with him. The protection order specified he was to have no contact with the mother or the daughters, with some exceptions. The mother (Gonzales) called the police department five times over the course of the evening, sometimes with specific information on the location of the father and daughters. Each time, she was told to call back later. Eventually, the father showed up at the police department, opened fire on the building, and was shot dead. The police found the bodies of his daughters in the back of his truck; he had killed them before his suicide-by-cop.
Gonzales attempted to sue the city under 42 USC 1983 for violation of her and her daughters' due process rights. The trial court examined cases for both substantive and procedural due process and dismissed the case under both. A panel of the 10th Circuit reversed with respect to the procedural due process grounds, and an en banc hearing of the 10th Circuit did the same. The Circuit essentially said that the mandatory enforcement language in Colorado statute created a property interest in the enforcement of the protection order, which should not have been revoked without some kind of procedure with notice an opportunity to be heard.
This case is very important because on a policy level, reversal would remove any real incentive for law enforcement to enforce domestic violence protection orders. Given the peculiar history of domestic violence in our country, many law enforcement agencies look at DV in general and POs in particular as burdens and would rather not deal with them. My own experience in an advocate in a place that I consider to be far from the worst law enforcement environment is abysmal. Police routinely failed to arrest, or even contact, offenders when clear proof of violation of a protection order. In 4.5 years, I saw exactly two prosecutions (and convictions) for protection order violations. Granted, I didn't see everything, but for a large portion of that time I actively followed all DV-related activity in the local court.
This sounds like it would be a perfect case for a case note, and it probably would be if the dissent didn't make such a darn good argument that the procedural due process argument is basically a substantive due process argument flipped around. Additionally, there is compelling evidence that the Colorado legislature didn't mean to create the property right that the majority found. This means that the case could be reversed on simple threshold issues before the Court gets to any of the interesting, widely applicable grounds. And I have a feeling that is exactly what will happen.
I'm reserving final judgment until I see a transcript of Monday's oral arguments, but right now I'm looking at another case.
And to top it all off, the advocate in me is screaming for the Court to affirm. Everything in my experience tells me that the only way to get law enforcement to consistently take PO violations seriously is to open them up to civil litigation. And if police aren't going to take them seriously, what's the point of having them?
My career will make me a poor, poor man. I think I had better start saving up now for my bar application fees.
To give the uninitiated an idea: At the moment, I tentatively plan on practicing in either Washington, Oregon or Alaska. I may get into my reasons later.
The cheapest of the three is Oregon, at $525. Then Alaska weighs in at $800, and Washington finally comes in at $985. This is all assuming I'm reading the sites correctly. Apparently, lawyers aren't web site designers.
It's a good thing they have bar exam loans, but am I the only one who sees something fundamentally wrong with the fact our system makes it necessary to have BAR EXAM LOANS!!!?
I hope I never get a stalker. And if I do, I hope said stalker doesn't find this site. The reason is that it would be totally easy to know when I go to bed at night and wake up in the morning. I have music going while I'm awake, unless I'm watching a movie or something, so barring computer problems, the little music thing on my sidebar will tell a site visitor if I'm up or not.
Now there's no excuse for calling me while I'm asleep!
This post caused me to think about my life outside the law, and come up with things I'm passionate about. But doesn't this presuppose that law students are passionate about the law? I realize if we're not this may not be a great line of work for us, but I also think a lot of us look at law school as a means to an end, that end being a particular line of work (which may or may not be actual practice).
For myself, I am passionate about the law. I find even those subjects that aren't high on my priority list to be fascinating (such as, dare I say it, Civil Procedure). But this isn't something I had in mind when I chose law school. It's something I picked up around my second week of school. My motivation for choosing law school was far different. It's an overriding, superceding passion: Justice.
The thought of a law firm life makes me throw up in my mouth a little. This is because, while it's not impossible, I don't think it would be easy to incorporate all my hopes and dreams for a better world. I realize I'm a little idealistic with all my, "I'm going to make a difference" talk, but you have to remember, I've worked in an area where I made a significant difference in people's lives. I've helped people change their lives, so how can I settle for anything less in my post-law school career?
Well the answer is that I can't. I can understand why lawyers are depressed, because if I had to work for a firm and do that kind of work, I'd want to shoot myself in the head, too.
This isn't to say that it's evil and nobody should do it, of course, but there's no way I could stomach such a life.
I love my cats, as regular readers will be aware. I buy for them the finest things: cat beds, toys, little (toy) mice they can rip apart. My best friend hand-knitted them a cat toy. Their treats are imported from New Orleans (imported meaning that I stock up whenever I go, and bring back a ton to last me the year), and they go absolutely nuts over the stuff.
So last night, Jupiter is batting something around. I look over, to make sure it's not some kind of contraband.
It's a new, shiny, copper penny.
A penny. *sigh*
Well, it's springtime in Wyoming, and my old-school friends know what that means: While it's 17 degrees outside, my green thumb is taking over my grey matter. As a consequence, I have 27 more plants or potential plants than I did yesterday. Most of these are African Violet cuttings, but there are a few daffodils and some of whatever plant I have that grows like crazy and I put some in two new pots. My friends also gave me some pepper seeds, so she planted them for me yesterday while we were hanging out. We'll see how those do.
As a consequence of my little adventures today, I have a hankering to get rid of some of my little african violet babys. A few are committed already, but I figure I still have somewhere around ten for the taking. If you're in my area and you want one, email me. They have dark purple flowers, FYI.
Now, I have some serious cleaning up to do.
This is spring break time for us at UW, which for me means that I don't talk to many people and I have time to vacuum my house more than twice a week. Which is nice given my two live furballs and however many dead ones they've shed all over my house.
This weekend, in preparation for the work I have to do this week (Paid work, law review casenote proposal, outlines, etc.), I did nothing. That's right, nothing. At least nothing that will go on my resume. I watched movies (which I already own) and knitted for 2.5 days straight. My hand was a little cramped last night when I went to bed. I finished a pair of socks for a friend, started one for myself (and got pretty far), and plotted my next pair. To top it all off, my impulsive bid at Retail Therapy was foiled when I couldn't find a copy of this game, which is just as well because it means I didn't spend the money, and I wouldn't have had time to give it justice anyway. (Though if you'd like to get it for me, just follow the rightward links to my wish list. I won't put up a fight.)
So today I made up for it by working hard for money. Tomorrow I'll do that some, and I need to do some indoor horticulture. Overall, I think this week will actually be quite action-packed and busy, despite having no classes. Or perhaps because I have no classes.
Anyway, I'm off to a friend's house for dinner.
Every week I put a new quote on my locker, just for fun, and maybe to remind myself and everyone else that there are more important things in life than law school. Let's not lose our perspective, here.
Well, I've decided to expand to the site, so you'll see some quotes on my sidebar. I hope you dig them.
Note: I normally change up on Friday mornings, but I won't be doing that next week because our spring break started, and I will therefore not be spending any time at the school, if I can help it. So I won't be changing my locker, or here. I'll probably keep going over the summer, though.
It's that time again, time for Friday Catblogging!
Here's Jupiter doing his little Discovery Channel posing thing. He's quite a ham.
For the curious, the poster in the background is detail from Heironymous Bosch's Garden of Earthly Delights: Hell. I have a weakness for odd/disturbing art.
I thoroughly enjoyed watching the presentation, but the largest reason isn't what you might think.
Wyoming isn't known as being particularly progressive. Laramie is more so than most people might think, but it's still tough to say things like, "I think the President has made some poor choices" free of some sort of indignation from someone in the area. And yes, while I can respect some people with opposing viewpoints (though certainly not all), it's not the same thing.
It was extremely nice to be in a room full of people who were all aligned towards a goal: the elimination of sexism, racism, heterosexism, and the like. That's the greatest service the Guerrilla Girls gave to us on this frosty March day. It wasn't changing anyone's mind, but was instead providing a little reinforcement. A kind of get up and go, you're doing the right thing, don't stop fighting sort of inspiration.
Of course it didn't hurt things that I got called up on stage to be part of their production. I love it, and my peeps from Women's Action Network, who were (not incidentally) responsible for arranging the whole thing, gave me a great cheer to welcome me to the stage. Thanks.
So, I'm now a Baboon Boy, of whom I'm sure there are thousands across the country.
Still, I'm glad I got to do it, here in my little western town. And thanks to my friends for pointing me out.
*Oh, and for the curious: Yes. A skirt and tiara were, in fact, involved.
Law Review season is upon the 1Ls at the University of Wyoming College of Law.
In our school, there's only one journal, Wyoming Law Review. We're not really large enough to sustain any specialty journals.
I like the process here. At some schools, it is invite-only to law review. Here, it's a bit different. The top ten in our class (which is more persons than just the top 10% because our class has 75 people or so in it) will be invited. But, there's also a write-on component. Basically, if one is invited, one must work on an article in good faith for publication. If it isn't published, one's name is still on the masthead.
Or, if one isn't in the top 10, one can still submit a proposal and try to get one's casenote published. If it is selected for publication, one is officially on law review.
I like this system. I feel like it rewards those who succeed academically, while making sure that others' brilliant writing skills are not lost because they tanked an exam or two.
I'm working on my proposal, which is considerable work, naturally. I have had a case in mind that is currently pending oral arguments before SCOTUS. It will be decided this year. I hope it makes good casenote fodder.
Readers (both of you) may have noticed that I've been off my game a bit the last few days. I've been in a bit of a funk, but thanks to my best friend, all one can eat tacos, three margaritas, and dirty Pictionary, I'm feeling right as rain. More will follow. Fun posts, not dirty pictionary. Though that would be fun, too.
If an atheist tries to build a tower to the heavens, he has nobody but himself to blame when it comes crashing down.
I watched Amélie again tonight. I love this film; I own it, but I rarely get the chance to watch it. I particularly love all the work she goes through to keep her fantasy from becoming reality. Sometimes I'd like to live in her world, the world of her imagination.
Of course, the film does a good job of showing that things don't always work out for the people she "fixes," but still. Things did work out for some. And for her, apparently. It's a film that really highlights what could happen, the risks we take, when we try to put our fantasies into action. If we don't, we will always have those fantasies, the possibilities, but if we do we'll have at least a chance of actually living our fantasies.
Everything in life is one big Schrödinger's Cat. Things are and they are not, until you act and they coalesce into one of the two.
I'm sure most people already know this, but sometimes it's worth stating the obvious. Perhaps it's a little reminder.
bold the states you've been to, underline the states you've lived in and italicize the state you're in now...
Alabama / Alaska / Arizona / Arkansas / California / Colorado / Connecticut / Delaware / Florida / Georgia / Hawaii / Idaho / Illinois / Indiana / Iowa / Kansas / Kentucky / Louisiana / Maine / Maryland / Massachusetts / Michigan / Minnesota / Mississippi / Missouri / Montana / Nebraska / Nevada / New Hampshire / New Jersey / New Mexico / New York / North Carolina / North Dakota / Ohio / Oklahoma / Oregon / Pennsylvania / Rhode Island / South Carolina / South Dakota / Tennessee / Texas / Utah / Vermont / Virginia / Washington / West Virginia / Wisconsin / Wyoming / Washington D.C /
Go HERE to have a form generate the HTML for you.
I've just read the Tenet decision that came out of the Supreme Court today. Essentially, the Court ruled that because of the super-secret nature of the deal, and because there's a chance (however remote) that the government's espionage activity could be revealed, former spies cannot sue for enforcement when the government doesn't follow through on a deal wherein they spied in exchange for being set up for life.
I understand the reasoning, though I have some qualms about it. The government interest in keeping such activities takes precedence over the individuals potential contract rights.
What gets me is that the Government seems to have gone about this in the wrong way. I would think that the thing to do would be to deal with this type of incident quietly, at least settling the claim before it got to the Supreme Court. Now, the entire world knows that the government can welch on it's deals with impunity. That doesn't seem like good policy for the purpose of recruiting more spies.
Of course, the government has other incentives to honor the deal in most situations, but it just seems like the suit should never have gotten this high up before being resolved.
Most compatible with: sock.
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Here's a partially edited transcript of an IM session with Travis, prior to our racquetball session today:
Travis: T minus 10 minutes until I make you scream
Mackenzie: with laughter as a consequence of your action on the court? Are you talkin' smack already?
M: Bring it!
T: I am not talking smack.. i am talking ABOUT the smack you are going to get when it's GO TIME
M: I suppose even winning one game will be a victory, right?
T: for you? (Travis beat me the first time we played, my first time ever. Not since then, though that's only twice. -ed)
M: you really weren't paying attention last time, were you?
T: I just was taking it easy on you because I didn't want you to hurt yourself
M: so you elected to knee yourself and hit yourself in the elbow with your own racquet? perhaps you're being too nice.
T: just trying to make you smile.. haven't you heard of physical commedy
M: yeah, but laughing at you on the court is like laughing at a baby on fire: it's just sad and inappropriate.
Note: I apologize in advance to anyone who may be offended by the idea of babies on fire, or who may have some personal thing with the topic.
Now I must go and eat yummy turkey soup.
Not too far from my parents' house in New Orleans is the Notre Dame Catholic Seminary. What you can't see from the photo (it's off to the right) is a sculpture of what appears to be Jesus preaching to three sheep.
This got me thinking a little about the ever-present analogy of a religious following as a group of sheep. I know the origins are having to do with the religious, patriarchal figure guiding the people. The thing is, and I don't know if it's always been like this, sheep are not well-regarded at this point in history. They're regarded as stupid, easy to manipulate followers. They're widely considered one of the stupidest, if not the stupidest, domesticated mammal. I'm sort of excluding fish, here.
So given that, whenever I hear that analogy, I think of someone just leading these dull-eyed, slack-jawed yokels. I don't think I would ever want to be compared to a sheep and it seems kind of presumptuous to be the one doing the comparing. I know that's not true for most religious figures; it's just an analogy that has been around for a long time. Maybe it means religious leaders should come up with a better one, something that stresses autonomy and personal dignity? Perhaps try something that says, "we know you have many choices in the faith-based market, so thank you for choosing us."