Wednesday, December 29, 2010

Parting Gift

"How soon can I get divorced?"

I start to give an answer, but then think better of it.  I sense that there's a little bit more to this story.

Most of the time, when I'm asked this question, it's because the next wife-to-be is waiting in the wings, driving the process full throttle.  Other times, the couple can hardly stand to hear each other's names, and they're trying to officially end it before someone goes to jail.

So, instead, I ask, "What's your deadline?"
This is an older man, distinguished-looking, and dressed in a sharp, yet conservative suit. His question is asked with a nervous waver to his voice.  He gives me a look of embarassment, but does not crack a smile.  He's all business.

"Many years ago, I got married up north.  We gave it a go, but at one point decided it was not going to work out.  We talked it over and decided to separate.  After some time, I saved up the money and gave it to her to pay for a lawyer.  That was 15 years ago.  A couple of days ago, I found out that she never filed for divorce.  I made several calls and verified.  Nothing has ever been filed.  I'm still married to her."

I think for a moment, pretty sure that I'm missing something.  I explain the process for divorce in our state and line out the steps.  I can tell none of this is quite registering with him. 

He is impatient and terse, but not rude.  "I need this done as soon as possible.   I don't care what it costs."

I go back to my unanswered question, "By when, exactly, do you need this done?  The more information you give me, the more I can help."

He sighs, and says, "About eight years ago, I remarried.  We have children.  We've made a new life.  I have a good job and hold several high-level leadership positions in several organizations.  If any of this gets out, my family will be affected and I could lose my job, my positions, and let's not even mention the embarassment."

"Does your current wife know?"

"Yes."

I put together a plan for him.  "We can take care of this, but you need to understand that there are two things at play here. First, you have committed the crime of bigamy.  I'm not too worried about them coming after you, but I need to make sure you are aware.  Secondly, once this divorce is final, you will need to officially remarry.  Your second marriage currently has no legal effect."

He looks down at his hands and shakes his head.  "What a mess...I guess it was her parting gift to me."

Monday, December 27, 2010

13 Years

To my lovely wife:

It's only been 13 years, and it really feels like we just got started.  I'm often told by those who know us that I married way above my class.  I sure did.  You are an awesome gift and I love you!

Happy Anniversary!

Ummm, but can we go out to dinner another night?






















Of course,




























We can eat outside, if you'd like...

Sunday, December 26, 2010

Not Again!

Apparently, the North is leaking white stuff again.  Now it's all over my truck and all over the road.  Can't we get the government to do something about it?

Quote for the Week

A journey is like marriage. The certain way to be wrong is to think you control it.

John Steinbeck

Saturday, December 25, 2010

Thursday, December 23, 2010

Though He Slay Me

I had to think fast.  I couldn't though.  I was speechless.

And heartbroken.  And, truth be told, scared.

This was supposed to be the moment we told the world.  At least those in our world.  There would be pictures, high fives, and congratulations.

This visit was supposed to be routine.

It was anything but.

My wife cried on the phone.

"There was nothing there."

"They tried four times but found nothing."

Miscarriage.

My heart sinks in pain.  Though I am at my desk at work, my vision gets blurry, my throat dry, my mind starts racing.  A hundred thoughts running through my head, each searching for a place to land.  Trying to be the man, reaching for solutions to a problem that I will never solve.

I had heard the term before, but it's one that had never held a personal interest.  Now, it was ours.  Just like that, all the joy and planning and hope are gone.

For the doctor, though, it's purely mechanical.  No emotion, just checkmarks on a list.  Sign here, check here, appointment next week.  D & C a week after that.  The tears barely get noticed.  There are, of course, other patients to see, and besides, there's nothing more to do here. 

Three weeks later, tears still show up every now and then.  There have been two visits to the ER, each one slashing away at what little hope was left.

There are questions.  Guilt.  What if?  There's many reasons to get bitter.  Did the stress of work contribute?  Why did they not help?  Why was the doctor so cold?  Why....?

And yet, it does not matter.  None of that can reverse what has happened.

But, even now, the anger fades into resolve, and then resolve gains new life as hope.

We still have much to be thankful for.

Some say religion is a crutch.  That's okay, I guess.  Sometimes, the best you can do is try to walk, though with a limp.  These times, I can use a crutch.

Though He slay me, yet will I trust Him.  Job 13:15

Wednesday, December 22, 2010

Music

My wife is a bit upset with me, but I'm not sure why.


Over the past several days, I've been teaching my daughters the lyrics to "On Top of Spaghetti."

Apparently, the girls have learned well. It turns out they've been practicing every day after school. Loudly. Repeatedly.

Still not sure what the problem is.

Sunday, December 19, 2010

Quote for the Week

Unthinking respect for authority is the greatest enemy of truth.


Albert Einstein

Friday, December 17, 2010

Sovereignty and Priority

So, I'm trolling the news sites for blog fodder when I visit msnbc.com.  A scrolling breaking news banner gets my attention.  Apparently, Bernie Madoff's bankruptcy trustees have found some money.  Good for them.

I keep scanning the headlines, and note, about halfway down the page, it says this:

Mexican Government Drone Crashes in El Paso

??!!

Surely that does not mean what I think it means.  So, I click and read.

Let me get this right.  We are a sovereign nation, no?  On Tuesday, an unmanned surveillance drone owned and operated by another country, flew into our airspace, and then crashed.  Nobody seems to have blinked.  At least yet.

Our government, rather than addressing this as what it is--an international incident--returns the drone to the offending country.  What?!  I wonder if we apologized to Mexico for not having strong laws against gravity to prevent this sort of thing from happening.

On top of that, most of the country is only now hearing about it, two and a half days later.

Doesn't this bother anyone?  Am I overreacting?

I'm happy for Madoff's victims, but I would figure a violation of sovereign air space would be a bigger deal.

Maybe it's just me.

Never mind.  Carry on.

Wednesday, December 15, 2010

Police as Protection

This video is for those who believe we ought to wait for the police.  I simply post it to illustrate a point I have made here before.  Please take a minute or two to watch the video.  Put yourself in the position of the Board members.  At what point do you think you would have dialed the police.  Pretend to do it now.  Remember this video is real-time.  Speaking of time, if the phone is all they had, they would have been dead before the first, "Hello."

The police aren't typically called until the incident is over.  In fact, that's what happened here.  Police do not show up until the dead are dead.  They take notes, take pictures, and make plans.  The difference in this story is that there was someone else armed there.  That person put a stop to the attack.  The only dead, by his own hand, was the initial attacker.  But he didn't think to stop until someone else stopped him.




Of course, people may ask, "Why would you ever have to carry to a school board meeting?"  Aren't those supposed to be safe?  Let's ask these school board members.  I'm glad there was a security officer there, but I'm not taking my chances that the guard is a good shot, knows the weapon, and is alert enough to shoot.  If that security guard had not been there, or had not been alert and able, this would have been a completely different news story.

I will take responsibility for my own safety.

UPDATE:  Weerd has the full video, and an excellent post as well.  I have embedded the video he linked to.

Tuesday, December 14, 2010

Observations from Training

At my previous job, I oversaw the volunteer security department at the church.  One of the things I did was require the security officers to take the state licensing course in order to keep our insurance company happy.

I'm no longer there, but I decided to renew my certification, mostly because it was ridiculously inexpensive, but also because it's something different and is a fun break.

So, I did it and I passed.  Now, for no real reason, here are some of my observations from the course:

1.  Slide bite is real, and hurts.  But, the victim was a trooper and made it through the class.  She had to take the test twice, but passed on the second try.

2.  Shooting a certification class with a headache is no fun at all.

3.  I did not get a perfect score, but still had one of the highest scores each time.  I still passed, with 291 and 295 out of 300 each time.  I had to test twice because I was qualifying with two calibers.

4.  For those whose life identity is only that of security guard, please try to relax and switch to decaf.  Seriously.

5.  There is a local security firm that is outfitting its officers with HiPoints and nylon holsters.  I guess that's ok.  There are better choices out there, though.  This same firm gives their security officers an extra magazine.  A Glock magazine.  Different caliber.  I had to see for myself.  I'm not sure what the clients are paying this security firm, but, really!?

6.  As soon as everyone in the class found out I was an attorney, they lined up to get free advice.  Remember this?  I don't do free advice.  I still outscored most of them, much to their shock.  I guess people don't like to lose to a nerd.

7.  Anytime I go to the range is a fun time, headache or not.

Sunday, December 12, 2010

Quote for the Week

Many a man's reputation would not know his character if they met on the street.

Elbert Hubbard

Friday, December 10, 2010

Teaching a Girl to Fight Back

I've never met Mary Peret.  Don't know much about her.  In fact, other than one article that caught my eye, I know nothing about her.

She writes a blog, under the name BarnMaven.  The post that caught my attention, through the Google News aggregator, was titled "Why I'm Not Sad My Daughter Punched a Little Boy in the Privates."  You see what I mean?  That is an eyecatching title.  TodayMoms reposted the article under the title "My Daughter Punched a Boy in the Privates--I'm So Proud."

Go read it, I'll wait.

For those who can't or won't read it, here's the short version.  A 10-year old boy (the writer reveals the boy's age in the comments) shoves his hips into the author's daughter's face, (also 10-years old), wiggles the hips, and yells, "Talk to Mr. Weiner."  She does, with her fist.

My wife and I work hard to make sure that my daughters understand that their bodies and dignity belong to them, and are to be respected by ALL.  We are constantly teaching my daughters about the right to defend themselves from both physical and verbal threats and attacks.  We teach them the difference between being the initial aggressor, and being the one attacked.  We teach them about appropriate levels of response, and what is an excessive response.

I will be using this article to have a conversation with my daughters this weekend.

I don't know who Mary Peret is, but she is right to be proud of her daughter.  If my daughters had reacted this way, I, too would be proud.

Tuesday, December 7, 2010

Why Today?

December 7, 1941.

The Attack on Pearl Harbor

Take the time to know what it was, and why we pause to remember it today.

And note that every generation has had or will have its Pearl Harbor.

For every generation, it is a moment in which society will have to make a choice.

Do we ask for more security, closing ourselves up in an ever tightening cocoon?  Do we accept stricter bounds, regulating ourselves into a small, safe box?  Do we get to where we finally own some semblance of security, yet no longer have the freedom to live and enjoy it?

Or do we answer force with force, beating evil into submission, fully understanding that those enemies who hate peace will only respect the strong.

Si vis pacem, para bellum.

Remember today.  Remember why.

Sunday, December 5, 2010

Quote for the Week

Character cannot be developed in ease and quiet. Only through experience of trial and suffering can the soul be strengthened, vision cleared, ambition inspired, and success achieved.

Hellen Keller

Saturday, December 4, 2010

What a Week

Blogging has been a bit light this week. It's been a bit of an emotional roller coaster for reasons I can't quite share yet.  Thankfully, we're all well and healthy and God is still good.

Oh yeah, and the furnace in the house appears to have given up the ghost.  Thank God it's not like winter or anything like that.

So, for those keeping score at home, that's the water heater, the washing machine, and now the furnace, all in a couple of months.  The dryer did its own thing earlier this year, and the AC hiccuped over the summer, so I'm hoping everyone's got their issues out of their respective systems.

Thursday, December 2, 2010

Request for Prayer

Fellow blogger Curt (Sailor Curt) is asking for prayer for his sister, who was seriously injured in a crash on Tuesday.

Details here.

If you have a minute, please take the time to say a prayer for her and the family.

Thanks.

Sunday, November 28, 2010

Quote for the Week

 Armed people are free. No state can control those who have the machinery and the will to resist, no mob can take their liberty and property. And no 220-pound thug can threaten the well-being or dignity of a 110-pound woman who has two pounds of iron to even things out … People who object to weapons aren't abolishing violence, they're begging for rule by brute force, when the biggest, strongest animals among men were always automatically right. Guns ended that, and a social democracy is a hollow farce without an armed populace to make it work.

L. Neil Smith

Thursday, November 25, 2010

Happy Thanksgiving

By the President of the United States of America, a Proclamation.


Whereas it is the duty of all Nations to acknowledge the providence of Almighty God, to obey his will, to be grateful for his benefits, and humbly to implore his protection and favor-- and whereas both Houses of Congress have by their joint Committee requested me to recommend to the People of the United States a day of public thanksgiving and prayer to be observed by acknowledging with grateful hearts the many signal favors of Almighty God especially by affording them an opportunity peaceably to establish a form of government for their safety and happiness.

Now therefore I do recommend and assign Thursday the 26th day of November next to be devoted by the People of these States to the service of that great and glorious Being, who is the beneficent Author of all the good that was, that is, or that will be-- That we may then all unite in rendering unto him our sincere and humble thanks--for his kind care and protection of the People of this Country previous to their becoming a Nation--for the signal and manifold mercies, and the favorable interpositions of his Providence which we experienced in the course and conclusion of the late war--for the great degree of tranquility, union, and plenty, which we have since enjoyed--for the peaceable and rational manner, in which we have been enabled to establish constitutions of government for our safety and happiness, and particularly the national One now lately instituted--for the civil and religious liberty with which we are blessed; and the means we have of acquiring and diffusing useful knowledge; and in general for all the great and various favors which he hath been pleased to confer upon us.

[A]nd also that we may then unite in most humbly offering our prayers and supplications to the great Lord and Ruler of Nations and beseech him to pardon our national and other transgressions-- to enable us all, whether in public or private stations, to perform our several and relative duties properly and punctually--to render our national government a blessing to all the people, by constantly being a Government of wise, just, and constitutional laws, discreetly and faithfully executed and obeyed--to protect and guide all Sovereigns and Nations (especially such as have shewn kindness unto us) and to bless them with good government, peace, and concord--To promote the knowledge and practice of true religion and virtue, and the encrease of science among them and us--and generally to grant unto all Mankind such a degree of temporal prosperity as he alone knows to be best.

Given under my hand at the City of New York the third day of October in the year of our Lord 1789.

President George Washington

Wednesday, November 24, 2010

Conversations at Work

Gathered at the coffee pot.

Me:  You need to buy more creamer.

Office Manager:  That's the largest they have and it hasn't even been opened yet.  That'll last a long time.

Me:  No it won't.  I like a lot of creamer in my coffee.

Office Manager:  [pause] Why don't you use half and half?

Me:  I do.  Half the container today and the other half tomorrow.

Tuesday, November 23, 2010

The Smile

The first thing I noticed was her smile.  Although it did not seem forced, there was effort behind it.  That's not that odd, I guess.  I don’t practice happy law.  Rarely are people happy to see me.

She was a petite, almost frail woman, in her early to mid fifties, according to the client intake form, though she did not look much older than forty or so.  She had come here once before, over a decade ago, to file for bankruptcy.  She swore she would never return.  You don't often get a chance to start over, but she was going to take advantage of this chance, she said.

Now, life is different.  Six years ago, her husband got a huge promotion, with an equally large pay increase.  And just like that, a thirty year marriage was over.  He gave no reason.  He only said she would make someone a lucky man.  But it wouldn't be him. He didn't love her anymore.  He left her penniless, in debt, and literally homeless.  Even my last name isn't even mine, she says.

Her body shakes in spasms as she sobs.  And yet, the smile is still there.  The smile, she said, is all I have left.

She had no family in the country, no job, and now, only shattered dreams of a future she had planned to share with her husband.  But like a stubborn reed, she would not break, though bent well beyond the strength that she knew.

She returned to school, the face of experience standing out amid a sea of youth.  She became a nurse, after long nights of studying, and early mornings lying in bed, crying, hoping for the strength to make it one more day.  Her nights were spent with friends, saving money until she was finally able to move out on her own.

Now, she is ashamed.  Once again, she is in our conference room, discussing bankruptcy.  She still smiles.  She still cries.  Her shoulders sag and she looks down.  Almost as if someone has let her air out, she sighs and says, "I tried.  I really, really tried.  I did the best I could and still failed.  Again."

Sometimes, my job is not so much about answers I can give, but rather about giving direction.  Sometimes I just help people find their way through the noise.

And so, I do.  I lay out the plan, and in doing so, give her some hope.  She leaves our office with a road map.  And a smile.

[A] bruised reed he will not break, and a faintly burning wick he will not quench; he will faithfully bring forth justice  Isaiah 42:3.

Sunday, November 21, 2010

Quote for the Week

I never drink coffee at lunch. I find it keeps me awake for the afternoon.

Ronald Reagan

Saturday, November 20, 2010

The Maze

Well, it's time to buy a better gun safe.

Or study for another bar exam.

For all the research I'm doing and the options I need to sort through, I may as well be taking another exam.

Interview

Believe it or not, when a prospective client comes to me for potential representation, there's a mutual interview process that goes on.  While they're sizing me up, I'm doing the same to them.  Every now and them, warning bells go off in my head and I end up sending the person on down the road.  Here's some of them.

1.  I filed my own case and now need help.  This is a big no-no for me.  Chances are very high that some critical step has been missed, some deadline has passed, or they have otherwise sabotaged their own case.  Think about it.  If everything had gone well, they would not be sitting in my office asking for help.  In order for me to get involved, I have to look over what they have done, identify every error, fix those errors (if even possible), and charge them a higher fee than they would have paid in the first place.  On top of that, once I sign on, no matter what they have already done, it will be my fault when things don't work out as they intended.  None of that sounds like fun.  Sorry.

2.  I paid for these documents online and just need you to help me file them.  Nope.  If my signature is going on those documents, I'm drafting them.  I'm not being an elitist.  The document I will prepare will comply with the local laws and court rules, and cover all the bases.  When people push generic documents in front of me, I have no earthly idea what is in them, and I'm certainly not going to take the time (time for which I would have to charge) to review them when what I have works perfectly well.

3.  I already know the strategy for the case, I just need someone to carry it out.  If they've already determined the strategy, they don't need me.  People may not understand that life does not equal legal drama on TV, or some disjointed article on a blog (including this one!).  I need to review every case thoroughly before I come up with a strategy.  I may come to a different conclusion, that may, in effect, be better for the client.  I'm not interested in helping someone who will fight the advice I give them.  Note this, though:  I enjoy working with informed clients.  If someone tells me they researched the topic before coming to me, in most instances, they are a better client for it.  This, as long as they understand that not everything online applies to every situation.

4.  I want to fight back on principle--it's not about the money.  Let me be blunt here.  At the end of the month, I have to pay expenses with money, not principle.  So, there has to be some money involved.  I already worked for a non-profit before.  I'm not trying to turn my firm into one.  More importantly, though, when people fight on principle, there is no satisfaction unless we end up with a perfect result.  But sometimes, as Calvin tells Hobbes, "A good compromise leaves everyone mad."  I'm not that crazy about picking up a case where the client already tells me how it needs to end up.  If the client has already figured it out, there's no place for me to go, but down.

5.  I just need someone who will bend the rules for me.  Please leave.  Right now.  I'm not even playing with this one.

6.  None of my previous attorneys have been able to finish this case for me.  Really?  Look, I hate to burst a bubble, but I'm not the world's best attorney.  If several attorneys have bailed out, what would make someone think I can do it?  There's actually a very distinct possibility that the client could be the problem.  Or, it could be an extraordinarily difficult case.  I don't know, and I don't want to find out.

7.  I just need someone to stick it to the other side.  I have to zealously represent my client.  I will not, however, be a boor.  This system works best when the attorneys can communicate without hyperbole or attacks.  In fact, in the few cases where I have dealt with obstinate overbearing attorneys, their clients have always come out worse for it.

8.  Can you beat this other attorney's fee?  No.  We set our fee based upon what it will take to put sufficient time into a case without feeling like we have to cut corners to keep from going broke.  We believe our fees are fair.  Others are free to disagree.

Those are just a few.  I'm sure there are others I've missed.

Friday, November 19, 2010

Riiiiiiight

I mean, really.  He asked for it.

Let me get this right.

"I was literally scared for my life. At this point, I thought he was going to kill me..."

"He slammed me against my car, threw me to the ground, and started beating me unmercifully."

"I was screaming for him to stop. I told him, you know, I'm really sorry, you know, it was a fake weapon. I was never going to hurt you at all."

OK.  I have to admit it.  This story actually made me laugh.  You see, those words are not the words of a crime victim, but those of a criminal.

Tucker Connor tried to rob someone at an ATM.  Sure, he was using a toy gun, but it appears that his intention was to use the threat of severe bodily harm and injury in order to deprive someone else of hard-earned money.

Now, I don't know if the potential victim (who apparently did not get the memo on how to be a good victim) knew it was a toy gun.  I don't really care, actually.

Because if you intend to make someone think you are going to kill them, it's simply beautiful poetic justice that they return the favor.

Wednesday, November 17, 2010

Not Here

It was odd to see our neighborhood in the news earlier this week. I may be biased, but I think we live in a nice neighborhood. Actually, the adjectives used in the reports were: "quiet street," "close knit community," "nice neighborhood," "middle class," "peaceful," "one of the safest places."

And yet, two days ago, just after midnight, a man broke into the house of one of our neighbors and raped her.

This kind of stuff always happens in "bad" neighborhoods, not here.

When I first received my concealed handgun permit, I had to make a decision.  I was either going to carry the gun full time (except where prohibited by law), or I was wasting time and money.  I decided that if I was going to spend the time and money and hassle of getting the permit, I was going to carry as often as I could. 

And so, I do.  I carry to the store, I carry to the restaurant, and I carry to the park.  This also means that I carry while walking the dog, walking my wife to her car in the morning, even while dragging the trash to the curb.  I'm not paranoid.  I'm prepared.

You see, there's a difference between being paranoid and believing everyone is out to get you, and being prepared just in case someone does.  People need to earn my trust; they don't automatically get it, whether sitting across from me in my office, or walking past me in the street.

I assume nothing.  I wear a seat belt, not because I believe I will get into an accident.  I wear it just in case.  I can't walk around believing that my zip code will protect me from evil.  I can't just assume that because I respect others, everyone else will do the same.  The heart is deceitful above all things, and desperately sick; who can understand it? Jeremiah 17:9.


It's sad because, a week ago, my neighbors may have thought my attitude was weird and over the top.  I'm not so sure they would think the same now.

These things may not happen here, but we're all "not here" to someone else.

Monday, November 15, 2010

Eye Opener

I walk into one of our conference rooms to meet with a client.  She is at the final step before filing her bankruptcy case.  Her case is actually pretty standard, so our meeting is brief.  We have spent some time reviewing her case prior to her coming today, so I'm pretty sure we have squeezed all of the surprise out of this file.  I double check signatures, counter sign the petition, and we both get up to leave.

Suddenly, she asks, "How can I find out if I'm married?"

"Ummm, ehhh..., wha.... what do you mean?"

"Well, I met this guy some years ago, got married at the courthouse, and I left him three months later.  That was about three years ago."

"Do you have a marriage certificate?"

"Yes."

"Then, you're married."

She sits.  "WHAT?!!"

[Silence]

"Even if he's been gone for so long?  How do I undo it?"

"You need to get a divorce."

"WHAT?!! I have to get divorced now?"

Talk about a life changing meeting!  I think I ruined her day!

Sunday, November 14, 2010

Quote for the Week

Thunder is good, thunder is impressive; but it is lightning that does the work.

Mark Twain

Thursday, November 11, 2010

Veteran's Day

Thank you to all who have made this life we live possible. 

Wednesday, November 10, 2010

Changes

Today, I begin a two day planning meeting for the firm.    When I began this journey anew back in January, I did not have a concrete idea of how it would shake out.  All I knew was that I was leaving my post as a Chief Adminstrative Officer and Legal Counsel of an 8,000 member megachurch, and returning to the practice of law.  I have written about it here and here.

The timeline has been skewed a bit.  When I initially came on, we planned for a three-year transition.  That has shortened over the past ten months, and now we are at the cusp of finalizing the transition.  Effective December 1st, my law partner will serve an advisory role, and I will be fully in charge.  The responsibility has been shifting since I got here, but on that date, I fly solo.

Interesting, exhilarating, and frightening.

Sunday, November 7, 2010

Quote for the Week

The challenge of leadership is to be strong, but not rude; be kind, but not weak; be bold, but not bully; be thoughtful, but not lazy; be humble, but not timid; be proud, but not arrogant; have humor, but without folly.

Jim Rohn

Saturday, November 6, 2010

Once Again, The Way It's Supposed to Work

Look, I'm a Christian.  I make no attempt to hide that.  That does not mean, however, that I am a doormat.  Likewise, I don't condone doormat thinking.  Everyone should have the right to defend themselves.  And those who choose to commit a life-threatening crime have a right to die for their choice.

Head on over to Massachusetts and stop by Jay G's blog, if you don't already.  (Don't panic, you won't have to disarm or anything).

Lead Beats Paper.

Wednesday, November 3, 2010

Open Letter to Our Representatives

To those who won their elections, congratulations. There’s been a lot of talk about how you have heard the message. There’s a lot of lip service to acknowledge the “earthquake.” Save it. Lip service means absolutely nothing to me.

You may be new to the office, but we have been down this road before. This election was not about the Democratic Party. This election was not about the Republican Party. This election, at least to me, was about making sure that the representatives we send to Washington are just that, OUR representatives. You have been elected at our pleasure, and that is how you serve.

The last time the Republicans led Congress, they learned very well how to expand government, while cutting taxes. Then the Democrats took over and continued to expand government, while raising taxes. Neither approach worked. Now, you have been given a new chance. Don’t blow it. To help you, I thought I would put together a few pointers to help you out.

1. Read the Declaration of Independence, the Constitution and the Bill of Rights. Then, re-read them until you understand them. Those documents do not grant us any rights. We already had those rights when you got here. We owe you nothing for them. Those documents serve to limit the role of government. Make it your job to do the same.

2. Understand the following: “That to secure these rights, Governments are instituted among Men, deriving their just powers from the consent of the governed.” I’m not going to tell you where that is written. You should have found it in Step 1. You are not our great savior. Believe it or not, we get along just fine without your help most times. We’ll let you know when we need you – you know, that whole “consent of the governed” thing. Ask for our advice. And when you get it, don’t dismiss it because we are “racist,” “bitter,” “dumb,” etc… Don’t tell me to accept it, and that I’ll like it when it’s all done. You’re not my mom, and it’s not medicine. I trusted you enough to send you to Washington, trust me with an honest explanation. Don’t take it upon yourself to think for a moment that you know better or that we are too dumb to understand.

3. Before you stick your nose in something, find out if we want it there. Ronald Reagan said: "The nine most terrifying words in the English language are: 'I'm from the government and I'm here to help.'" Understand that a lot of us feel that way. Therefore, the first response to a problem should NOT be a federal program or department. That just probably means you need to take more of my money to create a mediocre, complicated way to pretend to do something about it. Don’t.

4. Speaking of money. I work a bazillion hours a week. I’ve been doing so since I was a teenager. I have worked at jobs I either just tolerated or outright hated. I’m not even that happy with what I am doing now. But, my obligations as a husband and father outweigh my desire to be comfortable and happy. Why does that matter to you? Because you need to know that I work for me and my family. I don’t work so that you can continue to take my money and make someone else happy. And, no matter how you phrase it, a tax, a fine, a fee, whatever, it’s all about your hand going into my pocket, taking my wallet, and giving the money in there to someone else. If I do that, it’s called robbery. Don’t expect me to be too happy if you do it to me. I may not be able to send you to jail, but I can send you home.

5. Keep your promises. That’s why we put you there. If you lied to us, we’ll replace you, and if you lie bad and often enough, we’ll replace your party.  If loyalty to your party is more important to you than loyalty to your constituents, you will hear us again.  We will find someone who gets it.

Given the tone of this message, you may be concerned that I don’t trust you. You’re absolutely correct.  My trust, like my vote, must be earned.  Then, even when earned, it must be kept.  So far, Congress has been striking out.

It's your turn to bat.  Remember, I'll be keeping score.

Tuesday, November 2, 2010

Colorblind?

I saw the following posted on a friend's facebook page:

[Friend] has just heard a powerful statement from a friend. "We have put President Obama in office now we have abandoned him for the white man to lynch." If you have not voted you disgust me!

Okay, that got my pressure up.  No, that's not accurate.  It made me angry.  So, I responded as follows:

I think that may oversimplify the issue, though. It does not leave room for people like me, who though very far from being racist, may have different policy viewpoints. I don't believe it's a blacks vs. whites issue. That quote almost says that we should support someone just because of their race. I'm not sure that is being truly colorblind. I hold every politician to the same standard, regardless of their color or race. No one is entitled to my vote. They have to earn it and work hard to keep it.

That mentality is just unfortunate.

It's Time

I have complained, written, criticized, and hoped for the last two years.  Now, the time has come.

Today, I voted.  Today, I was heard.

Have you voted?

Sunday, October 31, 2010

Congratulations

Happy Anniversary to Mom and Dad!  It's been 40 years and you are still setting an example for us!

Quote for the Week

Politics is supposed be the second oldest profession. I have come to realise that it bears a very close resemblance to the first.

Ronald Reagan

Friday, October 29, 2010

Toxic Shock

I hate vegetables.  But, I am trying to change that.

This morning, I ate four baby carrots for mid-morning snack.  My body is in shock.  It has no idea what to do with the nutrients.

Must. Have. Caffeine!!

Thursday, October 28, 2010

That's Mr. Lawyer with a Gun, BS, JD, LMNOP To You!

Hat tip to the excellent Tam for this:


Call Me Senator from RightChange on Vimeo.


Don't forget to take out the trash on November 2.  We've worked hard for this.

Wednesday, October 27, 2010

Interesting....

If this is true, it's, at the very least, an interesting development.

Justice Scalia takes Justice Kagan skeet shooting.

Now, I in no way believe that a single trip to a gun range will change a lifetime of ideas.  However, I do believe it will have some positive impact.

I've taken more people to the range than I can count.  I've introduced many friends to the sport of shooting.  Some have become converts, and all have left the range with a wide, permanent grin.

Here's to hoping this trip makes at least a small difference!

Tuesday, October 26, 2010

No Thanks!

Funny what happens when you turn down the government's assistance.

Link

Government help doesn't come with strings attached.  It comes with a heavy chain and asks for the deed to your freedom.

Sunday, October 24, 2010

Quote for the Week (late edition)

One day of practice is like one day of clean living.  It doesn't do you any good.
Abe Lemmons

Thursday, October 21, 2010

Censorship Via Political Correctness

Not to name drop, but I know Juan Williams.  Although he may not remember me from Adam, I had the privilege of serving as his VIP liaison when he came to speak at a conference here some years ago.  During the couple of days I got to spend with him, I was impressed with him, though I did not always agree with him.

Now, he has fallen victim because of the idea that in order to be heard, you must only speak that which is approved.

Sad.

Tuesday, October 19, 2010

Polite Society

Given the issues we had over the past couple of weeks (water heater, washing machine, truck), I called for backup and asked a friend to come help. Since the truck gave up the ghost at my job, we started there, and once the truck was going again, we stopped by Subway on the way to the house.

As we were turning left into an empty parking spot, a vehicle behind us decided to pass us--on the left.

Physics being what it is, both vehicles could not occupy the same space at the same time. She, of the compact car, wisely deferred to us of the large work van.

She did however, note her objection for our record. And for the record of everyone else in the busy parking lot. There was lots of hand waving, lots of expletives, even the gratuitous one-fingered salute. We had the A/C going and the windows up, but we still were treated to her lengthy monologue. After her speech, she pulled around the other side and pulled into a nearby parking spot, now going into part two of her animated diatribe.

We pull into our spot, and get out. Now, my friend is not a small fellow, so he cuts quite the imposing figure. She begins to tone down her delivery.

Then, when I get out, our dissenter becomes incredibly docile, and is suddenly preoccupied with something on the dashboard. She remained so occupied until our business was done.

I wonder if it had anything to do with the fact that I was open carrying.

Monday, October 18, 2010

Wow!

Two weeks ago, I met with a potential client and before I walked in, I had no hopes that it would turn out well.  I gave her some very candid advice, since, as I have mentioned before, I don't like to beat around the bush and hide my advice.
This one was particularly painful for me because she is someone I know and the facts of the case, most of which were not her fault or under her control, are disturbing.   However, she has kept some measure of control over what has happened since then, and that is the subject of the upcoming court hearing.

I laid it out for her, politely placed the blame of recent events squarely on her shoulders, and told her what it would cost for us to be there in court with her.  I also told her what she needed to do, most of which involved getting out of the way.  I did not have a good feeling when it was over, and I'm not sure she appreciated my advice.  She did not retain me.

In today's mail, I received a Thank You card from her.

Sunday, October 17, 2010

Quote for the Week

Be courteous to all, but intimate with few, and let those few be well tried before you give them your confidence.

George Washington

Saturday, October 16, 2010

Money's Worth

Well, I think I've tamed the former satan spawn, and she's now sort of a cross between a wolverine, a badger, and a fluffy stuffed teddy bear.  I'm convinced Mia loves me, with outstretched paws... and bared teeth.

We have wood flooring and tile on the first floor of the house.  Depending on her speed, Mia sometimes has a spot of trouble keeping traction as she scoots everywhere.

She loves rubber balls.  We have this big multi-colored one that she'll chase until the day is done.

I'll take the ball and throw it down the hallway.  She chases after it.

It's all legs, paws, skids and crashes, with the occasional belly slide when the parts don't work well together.

Heck, if I have to buy the food, she's bringing the entertainment.

Friday, October 15, 2010

Thursday, October 14, 2010

Speaking to the Police

So, I get this from a colleague, who is representing this scholar.  I present it with a mild disclaimer.  I wasn't there, and a small part of me wants to think that our clients are really not that clueless.  But then again...

-o-o-

The defendant is driving too fast, and gets the attention of the local police. 

Officer:  Do you know why I pulled you over?

Future Scholar (fidgeting nervously):  Umm...no.  Maybe because you want to search my car?

Officer:  No.  I pulled you over because you were speeding.  Do you know how fast you were going?

Future Scholar:  No!  But you're just trying to use that as an excuse to search the trunk of my car.  I know how you guys are!

Officer:  I'm not trying to search your car!  Let me see your license and registration.  [Disappears for a moment, then returns with a ticket.]  Can you please sign the ticket here?

Future Scholar:  Huh...Then you'll ask me if you can conduct the search.

Officer:  (now clearly aggravated) Fine, if you insist.  Do you mind if I search your car?

Future Scholar:  No, since it's what you wanted to do in the first place.  I'm not dumb!

So the officer pops the trunk open and what do you know?  Inside there are several bags of marijuana.  Large bags.

Future Scholar:  @$%#&!!!!  I knew that's why you wanted to search!  You set me up!

Wednesday, October 13, 2010

Wow...

I have a live feed of the mine rescue on one of my monitors at work.  One website is running the raw feed, so I'm avoiding the tripe time-wasting commentary.

I have to say, this is quite emotional and encouraging.  This has been an international effort and it's good to view some good breaking news for once.

Monday, October 11, 2010

Defending the Poison

Wetback.  Spic.  Foreigner.  Illegal.

I've been called all of those, just because I am Hispanic.

Bigot.  Racist.  Hatemonger.  Intolerant.

Yep.  Been called all of those, too, just because I am a Christian.

I have walked into stores, only to be followed around by store clerks.  I have walked into places and have been told to leave. "We don't like your kind here."  I have felt the heat rise up the back of my neck and my face involutarily redden.  I have sensed the anger boiling inside of me while I have forced myself to walk away, even as my hands ball into fists.

Personally, I don't like those experiences.  But, really, I'm not that special.  We all have our lists of shame.  We have all at one point or another been insulted and offended, some for reasons much more personal and deep than any of mine.

I got to thinking about this as I read the briefs and heard the oral argument on Snyder v. Phelps.  I believe Westboro Baptist Church is immoral, classless, offensive (on more levels than I can count), repulsive, and morally indefensible.  However, I would, without a moment's hesitation, defend their legal right to be unrepentant, ignorant fools.

Walk this through with me for a minute.  Many people want to ban the church's antics because they are offended.  That's not a good enough reason.  We have all offended someone at some point.  Watch me for a moment, and I'm sure I'll find a way to offend someone else.  It's what humanity is made of.  And it's what the First Amendment was enacted to protect.

Asking the courts to come in and protect us from insult can backfire.  It makes no sense to sharpen the sword of governmental power, when you remember that "our" side (whatever that is) will not always be the one holding the sword.

Whack-a-mole is only fun if you're holding the hammer.  And yet sometimes, we are the moles.

We cannot run to the government every time we are offended by some narrow-minded, neanderthal, self-important bigot.  Because, ultimately, we are all that to someone else.

The First Amendment is not a guarantee to protect the thin skinned, milquetoasty, limp-spined among us.  No, we are Americans. As offensive as it may be to us, it is that very exchange of discourse that has made this country great.  Let's defend that.  Even if, in the end, all we are doing is defending someone else's right to spread verbal poison.

Sunday, October 10, 2010

Quote for the Week

Things that will destroy man: Politics without principle; pleasure without conscience; wealth without work; knowledge without character; business without morality; science without humanity; worship without sacrifice. --Mohandas Gandhi

Saturday, October 9, 2010

Half the Story

What I will not see:

The owner of a 2010 Cadillac CTS-V will argue with the dealership that sold him the car.  He will point to the trunk of his brand new, $60,000 luxury car.  Inside will be his ruined golf shoes, soaked leather golf club bag, dozens of important papers, all drenched in water.  The carpet in the trunk will be soaked, and there will be some water puddled in the low spaces.

The dealer will insist that the weatherstripping is not defective.  The owner will argue that it is, since the contents are soaked.  Much arm waving and vigorous disagreement will ensue.

What I did see:

After hours of a drenching downpour, I walked outside to get to my car.  Right in front of the door there was a cream colored 2010 Cadillac CTS-V.  The owner had left the trunk lid open, allowing the trunk to collect gallons of water.  I quickly looked around for the owner and saw no one.  I waited around for about a half a minute and then ran around to the back of the car to close the lid.  Inside I saw a fancy pair of golf shoes, a beautiful golf bag with a nice set of clubs, and an open briefcase with papers exposed--all getting drenched.  I looked around for a moment, then reconsidered the wisdom of staring.  I shut the lid, ran to my truck, and headed home.

Good luck at the dealership!

Friday, October 8, 2010

Empty Handed

I've been preparing for a case I've got this morning.  I have nothing.  It seems like the less I have, the more I have to prepare.  Today, the facts are not on my side.  The law is not on my side.  To some extent, I'm not on my side (sorry--need to hike up the dose on my meds).

[Cue dramatic music]  So today, I will swing for the fences.  I will stand proud and deliver my monologue...

And I will have my rear end handed back to me.

I will let you know how it goes.

Monday, October 4, 2010

BRRReaking News!

Shooting to Wound

"You're only going to shoot to hurt someone, right?"

"You don't really want to kill anyone, do you?"

"Why don't you just aim for the arm or leg or something?"

I get those questions all the time.  I could, of course, write an answer here, but I won't.

Someone else has done a much better job answering the question.  Listen to me.  Put down the bagel.

Brigid's post is titled:

If you or a loved one read any post this month, read this one.

She is oh-so-on-the-money.

Seriously.  Her post is an eye-opener, and unlike anything you will read here, could keep you from making a huge mistake.

You must take the time to read it. 

Sunday, October 3, 2010

Quote for the Week

Let every man, every corporation, and especially let every village, town, and city, every county and State, get out of debt and keep out of debt. It is the debtor that is ruined by hard times.


Rutherford B. Hayes

Saturday, October 2, 2010

My Birthday Gift!

Yeah!!!  I got it!

After much research, I have chosen this as my birthday gift.

Umm... yep, that's not a gun.  The water heater in the house has given up the ghost.

A moment of silence please.

@#$%!!!

Don't get me wrong, I'm not trying to complain.  Well actually, I am... but only to the extent it's fair to complain.  I still have a gorgeous wife, two beautiful daughters, a job with a future, etc...  I've been blessed with a place to live, a lot less debt than I had a year ago, and a multitude of friends.  We're all a happy, healthy, and only mildly dysfunctional family.

I'm going to be 38 years old on Tuesday.  I still have clients asking me how long I've been practicing, and whether they'll actually get to meet with an attorney instead of a paralegal.  At least once a week, I'm told I'm too young to be an attorney, even though I've been practicing for 10 years.

Sooooo, I don't really have anything to complain about, but I still would have preferred a gun instead of a water heater.

Oh, well...

Friday, October 1, 2010

My Day

I live on the east coast, and as you may know, we’ve been working extra hard to destroy single-day rainfall records.  One of my paralegals finally located her oars and was finally able to escape her home and come to work.  I just barely dodged having to buy a boat just so I could make it to court on time. Today’s hearing was in a court four cities away, so it would have been quite the haul.

By coincidence, I managed to score a court hearing on the day the court is discussing the bankruptcy of a well-known professional athlete. No one from the press was there, thankfully. I have nothing against reporters; I just like to keep them at arms length when it comes to official business. Actually, that case wasn’t my business anyway, so they would have taken no interest in me. Still, the hearing was steeped in legal issues, so, though of interest to me, it would have put the general public to sleep (just like I do here!).

On top of that excitement (eyeroll), the court had lost power, so the building was running on the emergency generator. It gave the courtroom a very cozy, romantic, low light feeling. Actually, given what they were doing to debtors inside, the ambience may have been appropriate. Anyways. Apparently, the generator in this new building was barely adequate, because the lights alternated between dim, fading, and going out altogether. The judge just kept looking down from his bench, and saying, “Let’s keep going.” So, there was a lot of reading ahead on case notes in the event my case was called while we were on the dark side.

Finally, I get back to the office, where I meet with a client who needs to pin down the value of his house. I suggest that perhaps he may know a Realtor who can help. He looks down and says my daughter was a Realtor.

“Maybe she can still help you,” I say with great eagerness, not noticing that he's shaking his head.

“Well, she just passed away.”

Shoe leather tastes nasty

Thursday, September 30, 2010

Digging Out

I'm a little snowed under, so I'm spending the next day or so digging my way out.



Cover me, I'm going in...

Tuesday, September 28, 2010

Decisions, Decisions

Sooo, I have a birthday coming up, and I'm trying to decide what to ask for as a gift.  Maybe a GSG5?  Maybe a .22LR AR15 upper?


Hmm... what to ask for?

Saturday, September 25, 2010

Friday, September 24, 2010

Good On Ya, Drew!

I saw this article this morning, and I had to read it because of my perpetual struggle between personal growth and personal shrinking.

Drew Carey Weight Loss

Umm... Good for you!  He lost 80 pounds, the hard way. 

Personally, I know that I will struggle with my weight for the rest of my life.  It's just something that I have to deal with.  That's not a depressing thing, it's just a test for my self discipline.  I've regained most of the weight I previously lost (lost 40, regained 30), but I'm now back on my way down.  I've now given back 5 of those pounds.

It's hard work, since I enjoy gaining more than losing the weight.  Even so, I'm always proud of those who make the trip.

I'm still on that road, heading back in the right direction.  Let's hope I don't have a round trip ticket.  Even if fall back a little, though, every attempt makes me a better person because it develops a better self discipline.

Thursday, September 23, 2010

Violence in Churches

This evening, I will be presenting a seminar at a local church on the topic of church order and safety.  During my research for this seminar, I found a resource from a gentleman, Carl Chinn, who has been tracking violent incidents on church property since 1999.

Of major interest to me was the following, tracking incidents from 1999 to the present:

Attacks resulting in the death of others:  168  Not all of those attacks involved someone rushing in to kill people, and some involved seemingly random events that just happened to take place on church property. 

Number of those attacks stopped short by the authorities:  5 (less than 3%)

Number of those attacks stopped short by others:  7 (a little over 4%)

Number of those attacks that did not stop until the attacker was finished: 156 (almost 93%!)

In 93 percent of those cases, the attacker decided when to start the attack, who to attack, and then, when to finish.  Many churches refuse to talk about security, for whatever reason.  That doesn't make the risk go away.  Churches who depend entirely on good will and a good name to protect them from violence are being foolish.

Violence does not make an appointment, nor does it respect.  When the attack comes, those at risk are already behind the curve.  All the arming, training, and preparing we do is simply to allow us to catch up a bit faster than the attacker can react.

Wednesday, September 22, 2010

Staff Meeting

I thought I'd let you look over my shoulder at my notes for a recent staff meeting, not that you'd be interested, but I think these may be helpful.

1.  I'm the attorney here.  Do you know what that means?

That only means that I went to law school and passed the bar.  It doesn't mean I'm smarter, it doesn't mean I know best, it simply means I'm the one with the student loans.  Therefore, if you disagree with my conclusion, or if you have information that may help me come to a different decision, I expect you to share it.  I will value that more than I will value you simply agreeing with me.

After a staff meeting some years ago, two of my directors came to me separately and each told me they disagreed with a decision I had made.  They shared some information which would have changed my mind.  I was not pleased.  I had to publicly change my decision (that affected many people, some who did not even know me).  Not a good feeling.  Don't do that to me.

2.  Be where you are supposed to be.

My number one pet peeve, by a far margin, is tardiness.  Show me you value this job and my time by showing up when you are supposed to.  After you tell me, for the third time in a row, that traffic delayed you, I expect you to be intelligent enough to leave your house earlier.  If you have a legitimate scheduling issue, I may work with you, but lack of proper planning gets no sympathy.

I had one receptionist that was often a few minutes late.  I remember driving to court one day, calling the office repeatedly to make sure she had come in.  Then, it hit me.  I was more worried about her showing up than I was about my case.  That's a waste of my time.  We fired her.  Don't be that person.

3.  Don't be afraid of the push.

If I like you, I will push you.  If I'm getting B-grade work from you, but I think you can do A-plus work, I will push you.  If I catch you slacking, I will push you.  It doesn't mean I have it out for you, it just means I want to see you grow.  If I ever stop pushing you to do better, start looking over your shoulder.  Start looking for another job, too.  It means I've given up on you.  I may be biding my time, but you will be replaced.  That's not a threat, because I like my team.  Just keep that in mind.  Don't be afraid of pressure.

4.  Don't lie.

This is a biggie.  I'm quick to give the benefit of the doubt.  I've needed grace often enough to know I need to dish it out as well.  And, I do.  In spades.  But, if you lie to me, regaining my trust will be near impossible to do.  Not impossible, but nearly so.  Even if you do regain my trust, it will be as tenuous as a strand of hair.  Take responsibility for your actions.  I don't like blame hunting.  For most of our problems, we don't have time.  I'm just trying to fix it and prevent it from happening again.  That process is a lot quicker if I know where to start.

And for heaven's sake, don't fudge your time sheet!  That's stealing.  I will find out, and when I do, it very well may be the last time sheet you sign here.

Don't make me think I made a mistake by trusting you.  I can be very hard on myself when I make a mistake, and I don't like to repeat the process.  That's not good for you if the mistake I made was trusting you.

5.  Don't poison the well.

We all drink from the same well here.  We all spend the majority of our weekdays here.  I don't expect everyone here to become drinking buddies, but I do expect everyone to make a huge effort to get along.  We all have quirks and issues (I have more quirks than any normal person should), so flare-ups are going to happen, but that should not be the norm.  I don't tolerate a lot of drama.  Clients can bring it in (it's how we make money), but they take it out with them.  If we start manufacturing our own drama, I will shut it down.  To that end, I can't stand gossip.  Don't bring it.  Handle your issues with your co-worker and leave everyone else out.  If that doesn't work, bring me in, but I'd better not be the last one in the office to find out.

When I was working as a consultant for this firm, I quickly identified three employees that were poisoning the work here.  They are no longer here.  It's that important to me.

6.  Pay follows work.

There's plenty of work to do here.  Don't be afraid to do some.  That means that, if you see work that needs to be done, don't let it sit just because it is not in your job description, or because you think you ought to get paid more to do it.  This is a small business.  Everyone wears multiple hats, and I will never ask you to do something I have never done or am unwilling to do.  In prior jobs, I have mowed lawns, I have cleaned toilets, I have worked with garbage, etc...  As the managing partner of this firm, I have answered phones, set appointments, and done many other things I ask you to do.  If I'm not too good to do it, neither are you.

There are some times when a promotion comes before you do the work. But, don't be afraid to take on greater responsibility if you have the ability to do so.  I see pay increase as a reward for good work, not as a way to improve work habits.  Usually, pay follows work, not the other way around.  Who knows?  You may end up being so good at some other work you pick up here, that I am forced to promote you to the new position and hire someone else to do your old job.  That's how I became co-owner and managing partner of this firm, even after the founder told me it would never happen.

Remember, if I ask you to do something new, it's a task.  If you do it before I tell you, it's initiative.

Tuesday, September 21, 2010

Heartbreaking

The short, thin man rises to greet me. He extends his hand and smiles weakly, as if that very act is taking what little energy he has left.



He has been married for over 20 years, but his wife recently left him for another. He is alone now, recently unemployed and trying to raise four kids. The youngest is barely out of her teens, and the oldest is not much older. One is a special needs child. Other than those, he has no family left.

He has now reached the proverbial end of the rope. He is here for information on divorce. And perhaps, he is seeking confirmation for the plan he has laid out.

With an steady voice, he explains his plan. He wants to allow the house to go into foreclosure, and then, give up his children to the state. Just as his wife has walked out on the family, he plans to follow behind her.

His voice is emotionless, not because he has no heart, but because all his emotions are spent. There is no anger left to summon, no tears left to cry, no resolve left. Despair and surrender have moved in, and the only fight left is over which one will take him first.

Now, I am not going to judge him for any of this. I don’t have enough information to pick a side, so I’m not going to judge his wife either.

But man, this sucks.  I try not to get lost thinking about four kids.  Four kids who have no idea their dad is in my office planning to leave them in the hands of a stranger.

I’m still mentally processing this, long after he has left…

Sunday, September 19, 2010

Quote for the Week

Those who are too smart to engage in politics are punished by being governed by those who are dumber.

Plato

Saturday, September 18, 2010

You Say That Like it's a Bad Thing

A friend was looking at Bing Maps and said he couldn't believe he saw my car parked at the gun range when he zoomed in the pic.

I double checked, and sure enough!  There I was!

Friday, September 17, 2010

Arrived

Well, it’s not like I have a lot of free time, but I hadn’t heard from Tony Cassise, blogger at My Road to Freedom, for a while, so I did some digging. I’m not sure what triggered the curiosity, since I don’t chase down every blogger that disappears for a while. He was a frequent commenter, using the name “Did it MY way.” He had not posted on his blog since July 25th. His last post promised a range report, and since I was looking for a 1911-style pistol, I kept checking back. Nothing.

Out of curiosity, while looking for blog fodder, I Googled his name and found this.  I wasn't sure if it was him, until I looked at the photos on the site and found the same photo he used on his blog profile

Anthony Lewis "Tony" Cassise passed away on July 29, 2010.

I never met him, but judging from the comments on the memorial sites and his comments on mine and other blogs, he had a lot to offer and I learned a lot from him. 

Rest in peace.  Your road to freedom has taken you home.

Thursday, September 16, 2010

Another Outcome

Contrast the prior story with this one:

Added neighbor Betsy Sirkorski, "As a person who's been an opponent of gun ownership, I'm glad he had one now."


That's how it's supposed to work!

I'm still seething.

Don't Worry, the Police Will Protect You

This story is absolutely, enragingly, sad.

To say that I am angry is blisteringly insufficient.

The message from the government is simple:  Stay calm, folks.  Stretch out a begging hand to those who wish to lord over you.  Help will be here soon, we hope.

Not me.  I will not wait around for the government to finally believe or deem my plight important enough to intervene.  Neither should you.  Arm yourself.  Fight to ensure these scum-sucking, worthless, hell-bound maggots get what they deserve.

Unbefriekinglievable.

Tuesday, September 14, 2010

Open Carry

I have been carrying my gun openly for some time.  Around here, I get very little notice.  It could be because I resemble a police officer or detective, or it could be because people don't care or don't find it noteworthy.

I did have one interesting conversation recently.  An employee at the local big box store was ringing up my purchase at the register when he remarked to a coworker standing nearby, "Guns make me nervous!"  Although he wasn't actually talking to me, since he was supposed to be attending me, and was only about three feet away, I joined the conversation.

"Why does my gun make you nervous?  I haven't done anything to you."

"They just do.  Why do you feel like you have to carry a gun?"

"I carry a gun to protect myself if necessary.  I don't carry it to intimidate, and I'm not a violent person.  I'm may be one of the nicest guys you'll ever meet.  However, not everyone I deal with is that understanding."

By now, customers that were nearby began to show an interest in our conversation.

"Well," the employee said, "you would have a different view if anyone ever pointed one of those things in your face."

I paused for a moment.  "I'm sorry you had to go through that, but the problem was not the gun, the problem was the individual who pointed it at you."

"I guess you're right."

"Besides, would your story have been any different if you had been armed and able to defend yourself?"

[a brief pause and look of understanding]  "Never really thought of it that way."

Sunday, September 12, 2010

Quote for the Week

The penalty good men pay for indifference to public affairs is to be ruled by evil men.

Plato

Saturday, September 11, 2010

9 Years

I'm not even sure I'm awake. I'm trying to shake the fog out of my head, it's not even 9am yet. The owner of the firm, Dave, walks into my office and quietly says, “I'm sorry to bother you so early, but you may want to say a short prayer. There's been some kind of major accident in New York.”  I grunt a response and look back down at my file.

Something is nagging at me, though.

I turn to my computer and pull up some news websites. Well, I try. I'm not sure what's going on, but it must be big. All the news sites are down. Dave comes back in, “It's a plane. They say some kind of plane has crashed into a building.”  The hairs on my arm stand on end.

I turn on my radio and try to find a news station. Another employee walks in.  Her face is pale.  “Another plane has crashed into the World Trade Center in New York.”

My throat is suddenly dry. “I know.  Dave told me.”

“No, its another plane. Into the other building.”  She's fighting her emotions.  And losing.

I try to swallow.  Stupid websites! Why can't I pull anything up? I find a radio station and my life changes. 

Dave and I look at each other. I don't remember who, but one of us decides to cancel all appointments for the day. The receptionists are sent to the task.  There is a dark silence in the air.

I have to get home.

It's only a few minutes away, but no matter how hard I push the accelerator, the car does not want to move. There are three stop lights, and today, they stay red forever.

I finally make it to the apartment, taking up two spaces as I park.  There's no one outside.  I run up the stairs, two and three at a time. I pound on the door while trying to fit the key in the lock. The key is three sizes too big. Did someone change the lock?

My wife, holding my 5 month old daughter, comes running to the door. My two year old is playing on the floor.

No greeting, no fanfare. “Have you talked to your sisters?” I can barely get the question out.

“No, why?”

“Call them. There's been some kind of accident in New York.”

“What is it?” She's impatient, and my mouth can't speak as fast as my mind is moving.

“Baby, you have to turn on the television. I think it's bad. I've got to get back to the office.”

I grab the small TV from the spare room, yank the cord from the wall, and rummage through a drawer to find the old rabbit ear antenna. I jump down the stairs. I barely make the last step, almost falling. I throw the TV in the car and race back to work.

I get to the office and bring the TV into the conference room. Everyone follows me in.  I plug it in and try to adjust the rabbit ears. Stupid TV. Why won't it work? Do we have cable in here?

Finally, I bring up a snowy, grainy news broadcast. I move the antenna around, trying to get a better picture. All of us are gathered around that small television, with different degrees of disbelief registered in our faces.

Then, we see the buildings begin to collapse. Behind me, someone screams out in horror and begins sobbing loudly. It's contagious. As the buildings collapse, most of us have tears in our eyes. All I can think about is the thousands of people who are in those buildings. I can't see them, yet the knot in my stomach is paralyzing. I am watching people die.

After an eternity, I walk back to my office. My feet weigh a hundred pounds each and I feel like I'm walking through mud. I sit in my chair and stare. I don't know what I'm looking at, but it doesn't matter. My eyes can't focus anyway.  I keep replaying the sight of those buildings collapsing.

So much changed that day. So much will never be the same.

I was not there.  I lost no relatives or friends that day.  But, I lost something just the same.

We have grieved.  There was time for that.  We have nursed our anger.  There was time for that as well.  But, eventually, it's time to put the tissues down, take the bandages off, and take our post, ever vigilant, at the guard tower.  Freedom worth having is freedom worth protecting.  At all costs.

They who can give up essential liberty to obtain a little temporary safety, deserve neither liberty nor safety.
Benjamin Franklin

Never forget.

Wednesday, September 8, 2010

Yes, Extremely Distasteful, But...

The decision by Rev. Terry Jones and the Dove World Outreach Center to burn the Quran is in poor taste, does nothing to advance Christianity, and in fact, goes very far toward alienating those the church purports to reach.

That is my personal opinion on that subject.

And yet, all that aside, I also believe this same activity is protected speech and should be treated as such.

Muslim Advocates executive director Farhana Khera said after the meeting that Holder had described the Koran-burning plan as “idiotic and dangerous,” but regretted the ceremony itself was not a violation of federal law. (Article by Mike Bernos)

Now, granted, this is hearsay, with a newspaper reporter quoting Farhana Khera, who is quoting Eric Holder, but, if true, this statement troubles me.

You see, I for one, do not regret that the ceremony is not a violation of federal law.  The last thing I need is some stuffed shirt deep in the bowels of the political wasteland telling me what should be an allowed ceremony.  That, Mr. (or Mrs.) Government, is none of your business.

If there is a bedrock principle underlying the First Amendment, it is that the government may not prohibit the expression of an idea simply because society finds the idea itself offensive or disagreeable.  Texas v. Johnson, 491 U.S. 397, 415 (1989).

Texas v. Johnson was the very controversial "flag burning case," that limited the government's ability to "protect" our fragile feelings from someone else's behavior.  Hmmm.  It looks like we need to grow up, suck our lower lip back in, and understand that there are people out there that will hurt our feelings.  That does not make it a federal crime, it only proves that some people are just mean.

The State's position, therefore, amounts to a claim that an audience that takes serious offense at particular expression is necessarily likely to disturb the peace, and that the expression may be prohibited on this basis. Our precedents do not countenance such a presumption. On the contrary, they recognize that a principal “function of free speech under our system of government is to invite dispute. It may indeed best serve its high purpose when it induces a condition of unrest, creates dissatisfaction with conditions as they are, or even stirs people to anger.” It would be odd indeed to conclude both that "if it is the speaker's opinion that gives offense, that consequence is a reason for according it constitutional protection […] and that the Government may ban the expression of certain disagreeable ideas on the unsupported presumption that their very disagreeableness will provoke violence. Id., 408-409 (citations and footnotes omitted; formatting changed for clarity; emphasis added).

Let's hope our elected leaders get this right and stay out of it.  This issue should be handled in the public square as a difference of opinion, not in the stale halls of Washington as a potential crime. 

Monday, September 6, 2010

Happy Labor Day

Got an "encouraging" message from my staff telling me to enjoy the rest of my vacation and the Labor Day holiday.  They sent me a picture of my inbox:



Thanks team, I think.

Sunday, September 5, 2010

Quote for the Week

Most people aren't appreciated enough, and the bravest things we do in our lives are usually known only to ourselves. No one throws ticker tape on the man who chose to be faithful to his wife, on the lawyer who didn't take the drug money.


Peggy Noonan

Saturday, September 4, 2010

The Puppy Arrives!

Well, Mia has arrived.




She's a small Pekingese with an oversized attitude. It took me all day but I think I have been able to make peace with her.  Now, I’m no expert on dog speak, but I think this is how our conversation went.

Me: “Hello, Mia! Welcome to your new home!”

Mia: ROARRRRR (What she thinks she sounds like.) grrrrr, yip, yip (What I heard.)

Me: Why are you mad at me? I've barely met you. What did I do?

Mia: Like you don’t know!

Me: What are you talking about? What could I have possibly done?

Mia: You never know what you do! Are you really that clueless?

Me: Listen, can you at least give me a clue?

Mia: If you don’t care enough to notice, I’m not going to tell you!

Me: Whaaaaaat?! OKAY, I’M SORRY!! FOR WHATEVER!!!

Mia: [Wagging tail.] See, that wasn’t so hard, was it?

Me: GRRRRRR

Thursday, September 2, 2010

Found Dog

Well, I just found out that my sister-in-law and her husband are giving us their dog.  We are about to have a Pekingese dog underfoot.  Funny, I wasn't looking for one but we now seem to have found one.

Unfortunately for me, this dog has been here before, so we have some history.  She hates me.  Absolutely, bark-to-high hades, go-absolutely-ballistic hates me.  This, from the moment she first saw me.  I'm not sure what I did or what my ancestors did, but apparently, there's heck to pay.

Looks like I'm going to have to stock up on doggie biscuits to try to win this one over.

Sigh...

Wednesday, September 1, 2010

Phone

Setting: Juvenile Court.  I don’t even remember what my case was about.

Bailiff: ALL RISE!!

We all stand up, I button my jacket, and the Judge walks in.

Weighing almost 400 pounds, he looms over the courtroom from his high perch, staring like an owl on a tall tree, surveying his territory.  He is not the large, jolly type.  I have never seen him smile.  This judge and courtroom hold a particular place in my memory.  Years ago, this was the very first courtroom I appeared in.  He was the first judge I ever addresed as an attorney.  These are facts which I am sure he neither remembers nor cares about.

We are in his world now.

On today's menu for him are a mother and her teenaged son.  The prosecutor reads out the charges.  They don't appear to be anything terribly serious, so I tune out and review my case folder one more time.

A cell phone rings out.

The courtroom goes deathly quiet, and my heart skips a beat.  I grab my phone and look at it.  It takes a moment or two to register in my mind that my phone is off.  The sound is coming from the direction of the Judge's bench.

I glance up.  The judge is leaning forward, staring holes into the teenager.  "Do you need to answer that, young man?"

"No, sir," the teenager says in a small voice.

"Well, it must be important, since you kept the phone on.  It might be an emergency.  Are you sure you don't want to answer it?"

"No, sir.  I'm sorry."

"Please, go ahead and answer it.  You've already interrupted my court.  We'll wait."

"No, thank you, sir."

It did not end well.

Monday, August 30, 2010

It Works!

I love success!  After we all pitched a fit, the EPA has denied the worthless petition trying to ban lead ammunition.

Sunday, August 29, 2010

Quote for the Week

Friendship is a plant of slow growth and must undergo and withstand the shocks of adversity before it is entitled to the appellation.

George Washington

Friday, August 27, 2010

Tech Support

Her face is flushed red, and she looks as if she's about to punch something.  The office manager rushes into my office.  "My computer is down!  It won't work!"

"What's wrong with it?"

"I don't know, come look at it!"

Ugh... "Ok, I'll be right there."  I walk into her office, and stare at the computer.  It's on.  "What's wrong with the computer, it looks like it's working."

"It's the internet."

The internet?...I thought she said the computer wasn... "Ok." I sit at her computer, open a browser, and connect to the internet.  "The internet seems to be working fine."

"I know, but it's the email.  I can't use it."

Email!?!  "Let me open up your email."  I do and it immediately receives email.  I just look at her.

"It's this one right here," she points at a message.

I double click the message and it opens right up.  Again, I just look at her.

She stares back.  "Well, I can't get it to print.  I don't know what's wrong with my computer."

I pause for a moment.  Then, I reach around to the back of the printer and turn it on.  It powers up.

I wonder how many times she tried to print?  As I walk back to my office, I hear the printer spitting out God-only-knows how many copies of the email.

Thursday, August 26, 2010

Even More Edjukashun

This morning, I saw this sign at the school where my girls are attending summer camp.


Tuesday, August 24, 2010

Edjukashun

I just received a letter from an attorney representing the opposing party in one of my cases.  The letter is mercifully short.  It has 8 sentences, all in one paragraph.

The letter has at least 7 spelling or grammatical errors.

Not a good way to make an impression.

Sigh...

Sunday, August 22, 2010

Quote for the Week

Progress always involves risks. You can't steal second base and keep your foot on first.

Frederick B. Wilcox

Friday, August 20, 2010

Health Care Law (Behind the Scenes)

Soooo, what happens when this albatross of a health care disaster law, starts coming home to roost? Well, for starters, we have already seen stories of doctor and nurse shortages, reports of employers and employees having to pay more premiums or change plans, etc..

We were promised on a stack of food stamps and entitlements that these things would never happen.  They were just schemes and lies from the vast right wing conspiracy to keep the subjects from pointing out the emperor's clothes.

Now, it seems that every day yet another justification hits the dust.  That whole idea of saving money, that very few people actually believed?  Now it looks like they're being advised to drop that.

Verum Serum has the scoop and a link to the Power Point presentation.

Of course, this is all the fault of Bush and the Tea Party, somehow, I'm sure.  I expect that if this discovery gets any play at all (don't hold your breath), the elites will distance themselves from it claiming either no knowledge of it, or some other contrived nonsense.

They're good at that.

Thursday, August 19, 2010

Cracks

I walk in the conference room, and there you sit, a picture of elegance.

Your hair is impeccably styled.  You carry yourself with an air of self confidence.  Your clothing confirms what the client intake sheet shows.  You are a professional.  As you answer my questions, you do so with incredible poise, as if telling someone else's story.  You tell me of your success.  You tell me how you are singlehandedly supporting you, your husband, and your children.  You tell me of how you have wrestled down debt, survived your husband's incarceration, his unemployment, and his refusal to find a job.  You tell me this with a sense of accomplishment and pride.

You have developed an impressive image, an almost impenetrable armor.

But I can see cracks.

Although you seem very composed, your eyes betray the fact that you have been crying.

Abuse.  Alcoholism.  Threats.

Someone who has so strongly survived the storms of life now needs a hand to guide her.  And I sense the shame.

Shame because of what has happened.

Shame that you can no longer fight this alone.

Shame that someone of your status and accomplishment is unable to hold out any longer.

Slowly, the armor begins to crumble.  And you weep.

Come, let's talk.  We have a lot of work to do.

Wednesday, August 18, 2010

Ground Zero Mosque

I've tried to stay away from this issue somewhat, because others who write much better than I do have said it better than I ever will.  However, I can think of no other reason for this mosque than to be confrontational.  Of all places to build, they choose a spot where our history of freedom was attacked with the intolerance and hatred of Islam.  I'm not saying all Muslims behave that way, but we have to look at the practices of those who were pleased as our innocent countrymen died.

To think that we have struggled for years to come up with an appropriate memorial to build on this site, and now have rushed through with plans for his mosque is puzzling.  To argue that one design or another does not do justice to the memory, and yet erect a mosque in the shadows of our pain is inexplicable.

This goes beyond freedom of religion.  This goes to their demonstrated ideals, coming from the very roots of their beliefs.  Those beliefs are highly inconsistent with peace.

From DC:

But to be clear, yes, I do have a problem with Islam. Actually, I have several, really more than that. I have a problem that virtually all the terrorists in the world claim to be Muslims. I have a problem with child brides, which Mohammed had and some of his modern-day followers (i.e., Zarqawi) have. I have a problem that no major Muslim cleric has ever denounced armed jihad. I have a problem with the way Muslims treat women. I have a problem with the way that Muslims treat people who disagree with them. Although I believe homosexuality is wrong, I have a problem with the way that Muslims treat homosexuals. I have a problem with how Muslims tolerate and encourage anti-Semitism, and also I have a problem with any religion that says "convert or die." I have a problem that Islam makes democracy difficult. I have a problem with Sharia law.


Well said!

America's Drug of Choice

My ten year old just walked into the kitchen, rubbing her eyes, "I need some coffee!!"

What?!?!

Tuesday, August 17, 2010

Cricket

You've kept me up half the night.  I could not find you.  I know you're in there somewhere, because I can hear your infernal music.

I have to go to work now, but you have turned this into an obsession.

When I return, I hope you are still there.

I will find you and I will kill you.

Monday, August 16, 2010

Mosquito at a Nudist Colony

I'm not even sure where to start.  I wanted to quote a section of this article for emphasis, but the hits keep coming.

The Stunning Decline of Barack Obama.

This from a correspondent for a British newspaper.

Sunday, August 15, 2010

Quote for the Week

Life will always throw you curves, just keep fouling them off... the right pitch will come, but when it does, be prepared to run the bases.

Rick Maksian

Friday, August 13, 2010

Murphy Carpools with Me Today

Well, I'm in our second office today, about 45 minutes away from home.  My Jeep was stalling on the way here until I got on the interstate.

It's Friday, so the ride home is typically brutal anyway, but now, if the Jeep stalls in rush hour, it will be more interesting this evening.  I hope I won't be frustrating everyone else's ride home.  Sorry folks... I would say move on, but I guess you can't do that if I'm in the way.

Ugh...