Sunday, December 30, 2012

Quote for the Week

Government is not reason; it is not eloquent; it is force. Like fire, it is a dangerous servant and a fearful master.

- George Washington

Tuesday, December 25, 2012

Sunday, December 23, 2012

Quote for the Week

I'm afraid, based on my own experience, that fascism will come to America in the name of national security.

-Jim Garrison

Sunday, December 16, 2012

Quote for the Week

To live without evil belongs only to the gods.

- Sophocles

Sunday, December 9, 2012

Quote for the Week

Government's view of the economy could be summed up in a few short phrases: If it moves, tax it. If it keeps moving, regulate it. And if it stops moving, subsidize it.

- Ronald Reagan

Sunday, December 2, 2012

Quote for Week

'Need' now means wanting someone else's money. 'Greed' means wanting to keep your own. 'Compassion' is when a politician arranges the transfer.

Joseph Sobran

Sunday, November 25, 2012

Quote for the Week

The consuming desire of most human beings is deliberately to plant their whole life in the hands of some other person. I would describe this method of searching for happiness as immature. Development of character consists solely in moving toward self-sufficiency.

Quentin Crisp

Saturday, November 24, 2012

Thursday, November 22, 2012

Sunday, November 11, 2012

Quote for the Week

It is the soldier, not the reporter, who has given us freedom of the press.
It is the soldier, not the poet, who has given us freedom of speech.
It is the soldier, not the organizer, who gave us the freedom to demonstrate
It is the soldier, who salutes the flag, who serves beneath the flag.
And whose coffin is draped by the flag, who allows the protester to burn the flag.
 
Father Dennis E. O'Brien, USMC
 
-o-o-o-o-o-
 
Thank you, to all veterans and their families.

Friday, November 9, 2012

Control

It’s the end of the day and this meeting is supposed to be routine. I’m supposed to go over the papers and explain what happens next. The client is supposed to sign the papers, express relief that the process is almost over, and then go home.

It almost goes according to script. She sat there with a smile, her back kept straight, and her head held high. Drawing on years of experience in high-pressure jobs, she sought to portray the image of a successful woman, in control.

She almost made it.

Just as the waves of the incoming tide go higher and higher, eventually, her emotions surprised even her, as they came crashing over the wall she had so carefully built. She apologized again and again, covering her face with her hands, almost as if by doing so, she would disappear into some quiet place of peace.  And just as suddenly, the dam broke.  Her story poured out, in between sobs.

This week was supposed to be different. And yet, here she is. Alone. Somewhere in her house is a box of invitations, no longer needed. The dress in the closet will not be worn. Guests from out of town are headed back, taking with them different memories than they expected.  Plans for a future together have been replaced with debts of the present, now hers alone.  She has many questions, but no answers.  She cries out, but gets silence in return.  It's a dark, hopeless, lonely place.

But she cannot dwell there. Years of acting have made such a place uncomfortable for her.

With a strong effort, she gathered herself, pushed back the tide, and placed the smile back on her face. The papers were explained and signed. She stood up, offered a confident handshake, a firm smile and headed out the door.

I headed back to my office, deep in thought, thinking of the old Twila Paris song:

They don't know that I go running home when I fall down
They don't know who picks me up when no one is around
I drop my sword and cry for just a while
'Cause deep inside this armor
The warrior is a child

Tuesday, November 6, 2012

Vote!

I voted this morning. Did you? When I got to the precinct, the line snaked outside the door and around the building. I told my wife, “This is how I like to see it.”


After waiting in line, I made it into the large room that held the voting machines. Inside the room, the line weaved around four times before you reached the end.

I guess the voting booth is the only place where I don’t feel good unless I have to wait in line.



Sunday, November 4, 2012

Quote for the Week

Some men change their party for the sake of their principles; others their principles for the sake of their party.

-Winston Churchill

Sunday, October 28, 2012

Quote for the Week

Earth and sky, woods and fields, lakes and rivers, the mountain and the sea, are excellent schoolmasters, and teach some of us more than we can ever learn from books.

- John Lubbock

Wednesday, October 24, 2012

Racist Voters

--Cross posted with Facebook--

I believe everyone who exercises their right to vote should do so based on their conscience and research. I know I will.
However, do not for a minute presume that because I am Hispanic and a minority, I am required to vote a certain way. Moreover, whichever way I vote, do not accuse me of racism. Do not claim I would vote a certain way if skin color were different. You do not know me, and to claim I am racist makes you no better than the worst you assume of me.
People have been persecuted and died because of actual racism. People have suffered because of prejudice and have lost much because of it. To claim I am part of the opression because I ignore skin color in choosing a leader is offensive, patronizing, insulting, and immature.
After all, the great civil rights hero, Dr. Martin Luther King, said "I have a dream that my four little children will one day live in a nation where they will not be judged by the color of their skin, but by the content of their character."
That is exactly what I will do, without apology.
You may or may not agree, and that's fine. But to claim that I make ANY decision based on race is simply reprehensible.

Sunday, October 21, 2012

Quote for the Week

Rich people have small TVs and big libraries, and poor people have small libraries and big TVs.

- Zig Ziglar

Thursday, October 18, 2012

Moby Dick

Today is the anniversary of Moby Dick. As a little kid, not a month went by without somebody telling me, "Did you know your name is in the book, Moby Dick?"

Finally, when I was 12 years old, I went to the library and borrowed the book. The unabridged version. And I read it. All 800 pages.

Happy birthday, Moby!

Wednesday, October 17, 2012

Was That Information Important?

I'm in a bankruptcy hearing room, waiting for my client to arrive and her case to be called.

I'm listening to the trustee (appointed by the court to administer the case) question the couple currently appearing before him. The bankruptcy papers have been filed under oath and are supposed to be accurate. Moreover, the testimony is given under oath, so that's supposed to be accurate, too.

Is this case, the trustee is asking about income.

Trustee: Your papers show that your income may not be enough to be able to afford what you're trying to keep. Are you going to be able to afford this?

Debtor: Oh, yeah! that's because I get paid under the table at another job. I get paid cash and I don't report it.

Trustee: ?!?! I'm sorry what was that?

Debtor: That paperwork doesn't have all the income.

Trustee: [Turning to the attorney]. Of course I'm going to be very interested in finding out what's going on here. Please provide a written explanation regarding the income. I need that within 10 days.

I'm glad that wasn't my case!

Sunday, October 14, 2012

Quote for the Week

One doesn't discover new lands without consenting to lose sight of the shore for a very long time.

- Andre Gide

Friday, October 12, 2012

I'm Speechless...



I can't even keep a straight face.  Not sure what to say...

Sunday, October 7, 2012

Quote for the Week

It is amazing that people who think we cannot afford to pay for doctors, hospitals, and medication somehow think that we can afford to pay for doctors, hospitals, medication and a government bureaucracy to administer it.

-Thomas Sowell

Sunday, September 30, 2012

Quote for the Week

The media's the most powerful entity on earth. They have the power to make the innocent guilty and to make the guilty innocent, and that's power. Because they control the minds of the masses.

-Malcom X

Sunday, September 23, 2012

Quote for the Week

Some see private enterprise as a predatory target to be shot, others as a cow to be milked, but few are those who see it as a sturdy horse pulling the wagon.

-Winston Churchill

Saturday, September 22, 2012

Foreign Language

Wife (to my oldest): Go to the room, to the bottom thing of the thing that we have and bring me a brush.

My daughter leaves and comes back with not just a brush, but the exact (of several million we seem to have) hair brush my wife had in mind.

Me? I'm still trying to figure out which room she's talking about.

Sunday, September 16, 2012

Quote for the Week

One of the consequences of such notions as "entitlements" is that people who have contributed nothing to society feel that society owes them something, apparently just for being nice enough to grace us with their presence.

-Thomas Sowell

Friday, September 14, 2012

Ready to Go

For some time now, I have wanted to go hunting.  Finally, this year, I have the opportunity to go deer hunting with a friend.  I was able to score a great deal on a hunting shotgun/scope combo, so I was ready to go.  My friend had been researching his options and, unknown to me, had come to the same conclusion regarding a new shotgun/scope combo for him.  So, we both ended up with the same style shotguns.  This fact becomes important in a minute.

Purchases made, it was time to sight in the scope.  We made plans and headed out to the range, which was about 40+ minutes away.  We get there, and he goes first.  He sets up and begins the process.  I use the binoculars and call out the shots.

Once he's done, it's my turn.  I take out my shotgun and, ... just stare at it.

Ugh...

Um.... Jonathan?

Yes.

Can I borrow your bolt?

My bolt?!?

Ermm...yes.  I seem to have left my bolt at home.

Why did you take out the bolt?

Note to self:  Don't forget the important parts of the shotgun when it's time to go hunting.  It'll be a lot harder to use someone else's there.

Sunday, September 9, 2012

Quote for the Week

The media works in sound bites. They can make you look like a genius or stupid.

- Kato Kaelin

Friday, September 7, 2012

Just in Case


I walk into the conference room and sit down across from the client.

He is huge.  His muscles have muscles.  He is sitting down, hunched over, as if trying to make himself as small as he can.

I start the conversation and have to strain to hear him because he is soft-spoken.

“I need a divorce because I don’t want to hurt her.”

?! “What do you mean?”

There is a battle going on in his mind.  His face shows no emotion, but his eyes are brimming with tears he won’t release, and his shoulders sag, no longer held up by the determination that left him long ago.

Over the next few minutes, he tells me his story.  He returned home from the war several months ago, a new person.  He is not the person his wife married and they both know it.  Now suffering from PTSD, he has destroyed his marriage and his wife is afraid of him.  He understands.  After all, he is afraid of himself.

He tells me, “I have seen things I hope you never see.  During the day, I try hard to forget them, and during the night, I close my eyes only for those thoughts to fill the darkness.”

Over the next several minutes, I lay out a map for him, giving him several options, as well as directing him to some places to get help.  I can tell by the way he speaks that he loves his wife, and yet...

We finish, and he walks away.  I know I won’t see him again.  He’s not coming back. He knows what he has to do, but he still has some hope.  He wants to wait.  Just in case this monster gripping his mind will tire of him and finally let go.

Just in case.

Thursday, September 6, 2012

Good Samaritan


The wind was cold, strong, and stiff, so I pulled my coat tighter as I walked.  It was dark, and I was tired after a long day of work.  I stuffed my hands deep in my pockets and made my way toward a solitary car in the middle of the road.

I had been on my way home when I saw the car, stopped in the middle of the road on the opposite lane, with the hazard lights flashing.  As I drove by, I could barely see the driver slumped over the wheel.  Since it was late at night and very cold, I decided to stop and see if the driver was ok.

Up until this point, I hadn’t really put much stock into my surroundings.  I was content to come and go, keeping to myself, mostly staring at the ground as I walked.  I had never heard of situational awareness, and even if had, I would have dismissed it as some sort of paranoia.

I made a u-turn, pulled into a nearby parking lot, and walked toward the car.  I would just ask the driver if he or she was alright, offer the use of my phone if needed, and then be back on the road.

I was about 10 feet away from the car when the driver's door opened.  A young man got out and stared at me.

I asked, “Are you ok, do you need any help?”

He did not respond.  He just kept staring.

At that point, I stopped getting closer.  After a series of stupid decisions, it was the first smart decision.  The other three car doors slowly opened and several young men started stepping out of the vehicle.  It was almost like the overloaded clown car routine, except that I wasn’t amused.  Suddenly, I was scared.  I was now outnumbered about five or six to one and none of those guys looked friendly.

I quickly looked behind me to make sure no one was approaching from the rear.  My hands came out of my pockets and I started backing away.  Once I felt that I had enough space, I turned around and quickly made it to my car.

I learned several lessons that day:

  1. Being nice can sometimes get you in trouble.  Being nice has to be a measured risk.  This time, there was too much going against me.  I couldn’t see inside the vehicle, it was dark, I was tired, etc…  Now, I’m more cautious whenever I see someone needing help.
  2. Situational awareness suddenly became important to me.
  3. Rather than being ready to offer someone my phone to use, I should have just made the call myself.  I could have been stranded, without a phone.
  4. Don’t take anything at face value.  What looked like someone needing help could have been a set-up instead.  What you see is usually not everything.  Look around.  Be aware.
  5. Always be prepared to defend yourself and even the odds.  Here, I wasn't.  But not for long.  Shortly after that, I got my concealed weapon permit.  In this situation, I put myself in trouble.  Now, I try to stay out of trouble.  If, however, trouble should find me anyway, I want to be ready.


Sunday, September 2, 2012

Quote for the Week

A wise and frugal Government, which shall restrain men from injuring one another, which shall leave them otherwise free to regulate their own pursuits of industry and improvement, and shall not take from the mouth of labor the bread it has earned. This is the sum of good government, and this is necessary to close the circle of our felicities.


-Thomas Jefferson

Saturday, September 1, 2012

Gun Safety Tuneup

As more and more of my friends start buying and carrying guns, I thought I would post a reminder article I found interesting and helpful

Tune Up Your Gun Handling

Sunday, August 26, 2012

Quote for the Week

Nobody can be so amusingly arrogant as a young man who has just discovered an old idea and thinks it is his own.

-Sydney J. Harris

Monday, August 20, 2012

Uncultured Swine

The last several months have been a whirlwind for me.  Early morning and late nights have meant very little "me" time, with my mind and body suffering for it.  I finally got a chance to catch my breath last night for about an hour while my wife and daughters were having a salon night at home working on their hair.

Flipping through the channels, I happened to catch the PBS replay of the Ernani opera at the Metropolitan Opera House.  Now, I've never been to an opera, but I'm not exactly a stranger to classical opera-style signing.  Having taken voice lessons from an opera vocal coach (never really followed through after the first semester), I know that it takes a lot of effort on top of talent to make it.

So, I briefly watched the opera, and listened to the actors perform their parts after years of training and months of rehearsal.

As they sang of love and murder plots, I marveled at their talent and kept coming back to the same thought.

"I have a structured settlement and I need cash now!"

I am so sorry.

Sunday, August 19, 2012

Quote for the Week

To be prepared for war is one of the most effectual means of preserving peace.

George Washington

Sunday, August 12, 2012

Quote for the Week

Always end the name of your child with a vowel, so that when you yell the name will carry.

Bill Cosby

Wednesday, August 8, 2012

Take Your Time



I walk into the conference room and introduce myself to the pleasant older man seated there.  According to the client intake, he’s here to talk to me about a will.  He’s given me sufficient information, and I only have a few follow-up questions.

As I sit, I notice he has some documents with him.  Now, normally, a free initial consultation is not the appropriate time to review documents.  There usually isn't sufficient time in a 15-30 minute consultation to ask questions and review documents while giving a clear, concise and accurate read of a case.  These things can’t, and shouldn’t, be rushed.  In this case, however, since this is an appointment for the drafting of a will, I want to review what he has.  If it’s a prior will, that becomes the starting point for our work.

I review the documents and, somewhat puzzled, notice that they are not signed.  

“I notice that these documents are not signed.  Are these draft documents?”

“Oh yes, I’ve been meaning to bring them back.  These are the drafts you sent me to review.”

“Ok.  Let me pull your file.  I’ll be right back.”

As I walk back to my office, I’m thinking…  I don’t recognize the client, but then again, I don’t have the world’s best memory.  Normally, we draft the documents, send them to the client for review, make any necessary corrections, and then set up the will signing.  However, this was not set up as a will signing but as an initial consultation, so I'm curious.

I get to my desk, check the computer and note that, sure enough, we drafted the will and sent it to him for review.

Back in 2003.

Wow.

I walk back to the conference room, and not even thinking, I ask, “So, have you had time to review it?”

Sunday, August 5, 2012

Sunday, July 29, 2012

Quote for the Week

Good people do not need laws to tell them to act responsibly, while bad people will find a way around the laws.

-Plato

Sunday, July 22, 2012

Quote for the Week

Two things are infinite: the universe and human stupidity; and I'm not sure about the universe.


-Albert Einstein

Thursday, July 19, 2012

Meet the Stars

Duwayne Henderson (gunboy)
Davis Dawkins (batboy)


Well, here they are.  We talked about what they did in yesterday's post.  Now, we see who they are.

The misunderstood, underprivileged, street thugs who will hopefully have decades to reflect on the proper purpose of internet cafes and their dumb luck in not getting killed the other night.

More information here, along with the obligatory whining from one of the idiots.









Tuesday, July 17, 2012

Robbery Done Right

Two thugs are no match for a "seasoned" bystander/potential victim.  Just ask Davis Dawkins and Duwayne Henderson, both age 19.  Dawkins and Henderson decided it would be a bright idea to rob an internet cafe in Ocala, Florida.

Thankfully, one of the cafe patrons, Samuel Williams, age 71, was armed with a pistol and decided he didn't want to get robbed or killed that night.  He stood up and fired at Dawkins and Henderson, who tucked their tails between their legs, remembered they had somewhere else to be, and tripped over each other on the way to the hospital.  One is currently at guest of the state at the local GrayBar Inn, and the other will head there once the doctors are done plugging up the extra holes he picked up during his adventure.



That, my friends, is how it's supposed to work.

Monday, July 16, 2012

I Owe My Success to the Government


I’d like the President of the United States to name ONE business he has started.


Well, Mr. President, I am a small business owner, something you know absolutely nothing about.  And in this economy, I feel every penny, review every expense.  I sit down with my business partner and create business strategies and marketing plans.  We review the mundane, such as employee schedules, as well as the more theoretical, such as whether a new marketing campaign will pay for itself.  We do research to set pricing, and continually review our internal processes to ensure that we remain competitive.  We constantly (and constantly) have to keep city, state, and federal rules and regulations in mind as we tread the regulatory minefield that is today’s business landscape.

For you to suggest that I should pay more in taxes (or, “do more”) because somehow I owe the government for creating the internet and paving the roads is absolutely nonsensical.  Moreover, I find it interesting that the examples you cite are examples of government involvement.   It’s like you truly believe I owe my success to the efforts of the government, and not due to what I have done (or even the efforts of those in the private sector that have assisted me).

Look, the government is so incredibly inefficient that most people get stuff done IN SPITE of the government.  Think about it.  When was the last time you were excited about the help you were going to get at city hall?  When was the last time you were looking forward to speaking with the IRS?

No, Mr. President, I do not owe my success to the government.  Although I appreciate the infrastructure, I cannot believe you think my business is thriving mostly because of something the government did.

You're completely wrong.

Sunday, July 15, 2012

Quote for the Week

Never interrupt your enemy when he is making a mistake.

-Napoleon Bonaparte

Monday, July 9, 2012

No, You Sure Can't

Overheard on the Scanner:

This event took place over several minutes, with several officers chiming in. They were being dispatched to a stolen vehicle.

Dispatcher:  Hold the air for a stolen vehicle.  [Broadcasts make/model of vehicle and tag, as well as last location/direction of travel]. Also be advised, the vehicle is blue in color and there is a bumper sticker in the cab window that reads "You Can't Fix Stupid."

After several minutes of officers broadcasting locations, the chase turns into a foot pursuit, with the driver giving them the slip.

Dispatcher:  Radio to any K-9 that can switch to channel B and assist in a stolen vehicle recovery.

Shortly after the dog arrives on scene...

Officer:  Radio, be advised suspect is in custody, you can release the air.

-o-o-o-o-o-

Well, whaddya know! It's true!  You can't fix stupid.

Sunday, July 8, 2012

Quote for the Week

Ah, summer, what power you have to make us suffer and like it.



-Russel Baker

Monday, July 2, 2012

Irony, Sweet Irony

Gun group takes 'junk' guns to Chicago for trade-in

They used the money "to purchase ammunition and firearms for a youth program that teaches gun safety and marksmanship."

Awesome!

Read more here: http://www.sacbee.com/2012/07/01/4604242/gun-group-takes-junk-guns-to-chicago.html#storylink=cpy"

Read more here: http://www.sacbee.com/2012/07/01/4604242/gun-group-takes-junk-guns-to-chicago.html#storylink=cpy

Sunday, July 1, 2012

Quote for the Week

My grandfather once told me that there are two kinds of people:  those who work and those who take the credit.  He told me to try to be in the first group; there was less competition there.

-Indira Ghandi

Monday, June 25, 2012

Just Thinking...

I'm being forced to sit through "Extreme Couponing."

Isn't that just "My Strange Addiction" meets "Hoarders"?

Sunday, June 24, 2012

Quote for the Week

Many wealthy people are little more than janitors of their possessions.

-Frank Lloyd Wright

Friday, June 22, 2012

Sunday, June 17, 2012

Quote for the Week

Spread the diaper in the position of the diamond with you at bat. Then, fold second base down to home and set the baby on the pitcher's mound. Put first base and third together, bring up home plate and pin the three together. Of course, in case of rain, you gotta call the game and start all over again.


Jimmy Piersal, on how to diaper a baby

Happy Father's Day!!

Wednesday, June 13, 2012

The Original Digital Reader

I was multitasking.  The computer had a virus, so I was running some software to clear it up.  My wife’s phone was damaged, so I was trying to fix that as well.  My phone was tied up since I was using it to review instructions and step-by-step videos.

In short, I was hogging the technology, to the dismay of my daughters.  They had kept themselves entertained for while by reading, etc… but I guess they had enough.

My oldest complained, “Can I get to use some technology, please?”

I responded, “Do you know how much technology went into printing books?”

“I mean something more modern!”

“Books are mostly written on computer and printed on computer driven presses.”

“Daddy, you know what I mean!  I mean something digital!”

I help up my hand and wiggled my fingers.  “These are the original digits.  Here, let me show you.  You grab this page with these two digits, and move it over to this side.  You keep doing that as you read.  See?  Digital!”

-o-o-

I don’t think she bought my argument.

Monday, June 11, 2012

Quote for the Week

Patriotism is supporting your country all the time, and your government when it deserves it.

-Mark Twain

Monday, June 4, 2012

Something Awfewy Scwewy Going On

This morning, I grabbed my file, and headed out to my bankruptcy hearing. Traffic was light, and when I arrived, I found a great parking spot.

I walked out and was able to get right across the street without having to dodge the train or any traffic. I arrived at the federal building and there was no line at the security check point. Normally, I light up the metal detector like a Christmas tree, but, today, I made it through without any problems.

I got to the hearing and my clients were there, already signed in, and ready to go.  I got called reasonably early, no major issues with my case, and I got back to the office at a reasonable hour.

Ok.  What's going on?  Is this a joke?

Sunday, June 3, 2012

Quote for the Week

Some cause happiness wherever they go; others, whenever they go.

-Oscar Wilde

Friday, June 1, 2012

Update

I just wanted to give everyone a quick update since I've been keeping away for a minute. On May 30th, we welcomed our son into our lives. Mom and rugrat are doing great and are now at home.

Sunday, May 27, 2012

Quote for the Week

The brave die never, though they sleep in dust: Their courage nerves a thousand living men.
-Minot J. Savage

Friday, May 25, 2012

Sunday, May 20, 2012

Quote for the Week

Blessed is the man, who having nothing to say, abstains from giving wordy evidence of the fact.

-George Eliot

Friday, May 18, 2012

Need


Not sure where it came from, but I could really use some.

Sunday, May 13, 2012

Quote for the Week

The most important thing a father can do for his children is to love their mother.

-Theodore Hesburg

Saturday, May 12, 2012

Joe Cool

You just can't look cool if you lose your car in the parking lot.

Sunday, May 6, 2012

Quote for the Week

I am more afraid of an army of 100 sheep led by a lion than an army of 100 lions led by a sheep.
-Talleyrand

Wednesday, May 2, 2012

Kingmakers No More

About two weeks ago, a white couple is driving in Norfolk, Virginia when they are attacked by at least several dozen African-Americans.  The woman calls 911, but the lines are busy.  She tries again.  Still busy.  All the while, the attack continues.  On the third call, she finally connects.  The responding officer treats it as a simple assault and can barely muster enough effort to take the cap off the pen.  No witness interviews, no follow-up.

That's bad enough, but what troubles me more than anything else, involves another set of facts.  The man and woman were attacked four blocks from the offices of the local newspaper, the Virginian Pilot.  The man and woman were employees of the newspaper.  The newspaper reported nothing about this story (and still has not reported anything).  The only reason we know about this is because Michelle Washington wrote an opinion piece (link below).  Not a news article, but an opinion piece.  It must not have fit the narrative.

Back when I was in college (in the early 90's), I took a class, the subject of which has left my memory a long time ago.  There was one lesson, however, that stayed with me.  It was a lecture on what the professor called "Kingmakers."

The Kingmakers, according to the professor, were the news media editors and governing boards.  With limited space on paper and limited time on the screen, these kingmakers made decisions as to what stories would be covered and what would be ignored.  Because both time and space are limited resources, every day, important and critical news stories would fall to the editor's knife.  Sometimes, popular reaction would dictate coverage, but more often than not, it was easier to run a negative story attacking something they found disagreeable.  After all, they didn't have time to cover it all, so it was perfectly legitimate to make editorial choices.

Even letters to the editor were edited for "clarity and available space" or maybe just not printed altogether.  Again, they didn't have a lot of space, so they had to work with what they had.  Of course, if anyone wrote to complain about that, their letters may be lost or edited as well.  No one would know.

Nowadays, the Kingmakers are still there.  They still sit around a conference table discussing what stories will be covered.  They stand firmly at the gate of our attention, trying to decide what gets in and what stays out.  But now, there is a problem.  The gate is still tall and strong, ably protected by the Kingmakers.  The fence, however, is gone.  While the Kingmakers try to control the dialog, social media has taken over.  And social media does not respect the gate or the Kingmakers' "authoritah."  It jumps the fence.

From the stunning fall of of Dan Rather when CBS was caught with its pants down in Rathergate, to more modern examples of social media forcing the narrative on new stories, the Kingmakers no longer control all we hear and can no longer dictate what we believe.

If you trust any media, whether mainstream or social, without researching the issue or story yourself, you deserve what you get.  More importantly, if you make political decisions based on news stories or advertisements, you merely confirm you are the fool the press thinks you are.

Story:  A Beating at Church and Brambleton


Sunday, April 29, 2012

Quote for the Week

Success usually comes to those who are too busy to be looking for it.

-Henry David Thoreau

Friday, April 27, 2012

Shades of Nixon

It seems like our president is not above using his office to intimidate those who have the audacity to support another candidate.  That's great.

Support my rival and I'll publicly shame you, even if you are a private citizen.

The President Has a List

Bringing a Gun to a Knife fight.

Kiet Thahn Ly, 34, for reasons yet unknown, walked into a Smith's Marketplace in Salt Lake City Utah on Thursday, at a bout 5:20pm, with a purpose.

Apparently unarmed when he arrived, he purchased a knife, walked to the foyer of the store, and started randomly stabbing people.  He attacked two men, stabbing a 30 year old several times in the abdomen and cutting a 45 year old in the arms and head.

Thank God (literally), that at the same time, there was a 47 year-old in the foyer, who was carrying a gun.  He stopped the attacker and held him at gunpoint until the police arrived.

Some (not so random) thoughts:

1.  Ly was no boy scout.  LinkLink.

2.  Stricter gun control laws would not have stopped this crime, but they would have stopped the armed 47-year old.  Which in turn would have meant that the crime would not have been stopped.

3.  By the time the police arrived, it was all over.  They arrived in time to take notes and arrange for transportation for those involved.  Wonder what would have happened if everyone just waited for the police to arrive.

4.  For those who ask me, "Why the heck would you need a gun at a grocery store?  Are you afraid the eggs are going to attack?"  No, I'm not worried about the eggs.  I'm concerned with the fruitcakes and nuts.

Wednesday, April 25, 2012

Be Careful

Lately, I've been seeing more stories about parents strapping recording equipment onto their children and recording what is going on in their classrooms.

Stuart Chaifetz


Joe and Melisha Salinas

Now, I understand why some parents might want to do this.  You never know what is going on with your children when they leave your house.  And sometimes, children, for whatever reason, may not be open to discussing what happens at school.  Parents, perhaps sensing something wrong, will do whatever it takes to be heard and to have their concerns addressed.

I know that the vast majority of teachers are good.  They care for their students, work long hours, and even devote personal resources to teach my children.  These few teachers, all of them bad apples (no pun intended), should not be teaching.  Somewhere along the way, they've lost the passion or succumbed to the pressure.  Either way, they should have stopped a long time ago.

I'm grateful for the good teachers that my daughters have, and I pray they never have to go through this.

Monday, April 23, 2012

Warning!!

Interesting look at California's downward spiral.  This is a microcosm of what can happen in our country on a grander scale.

The Great California Exodus

Excerpt:


According to Mr. Kotkin, these upwardly mobile families are fleeing in droves. As a result, California is turning into a two-and-a-half-class society. On top are the "entrenched incumbents" who inherited their wealth or came to California early and made their money. Then there's a shrunken middle class of public employees and, miles below, a permanent welfare class. As it stands today, about 40% of Californians don't pay any income tax and a quarter are on Medicaid.
It's "a very scary political dynamic," he says. "One day somebody's going to put on the ballot, let's take every penny over $100,000 a year, and you'll get it through because there's no real restraint. What you've done by exempting people from paying taxes is that they feel no responsibility. That's certainly a big part of it.
And the welfare recipients, he emphasizes, "aren't leaving. Why would they? They get much better benefits in California or New York than if they go to Texas. In Texas the expectation is that people work."

Sunday, April 22, 2012

Quote for the Week

When nobody around you seems to measure up, it's time to check your yardstick.

-Bill Lemley

Friday, April 20, 2012

The Rich Candidate

Recently, the press has been in a twist over the personal wealth of presidential candidates (although, oddly, it's only a problem for candidates of one particular party.  Candidates of the other party can be as rich as they want to be because it's, well, different.

Entertainers can be rich because of their talents.  Athletes can be rich because of their talents.  But heaven forbid someone become rich by starting a company, inventing something, being a successful doctor or attorney, or having the skills to manage a multi-billion dollar company.

I don't understand the envy and hatred of those who are successful.  Why do we attack someone simply because they have money?  Why does that automatically disqualify someone just because they have been more successful than I have?

Think about it.  Do I really want to put this country in the hands of someone who has never risen above the average?  There's a lot of talk about rich candidates not being able to relate to what the "common" person is going through.  Interesting.  Neither President Obama nor Governor Romney are "common."  Both are in the top 1% of earners in this country.  Neither of them live paycheck to paycheck.  They both enjoy vacations and privileges the likes of which the rest of the 99% may never see.  And yet, one is portrayed as out of touch, and the other as the people's candidate.  Oh, sure, one is richer than the other, but when they are both in the 1%, isn't it just a matter of degree?  Why is it acceptable for one but not the other?  And when do they become ineligible?  Is being richer than 99.4% of the country permissible, but being richer than 99.5% disqualifying?

And then, there's the issue of the "silver spoon."  Specifically, this is aimed at Governor Romney because he inherited money from his parents.  Of course, we are being asked to completely ignore the fact that he donated his inheritance away.  But let's obey the press and ignore that for a minute.  Is inheriting money a bad thing?  I thought that's what the Bible required of parents?  The first half of Proverbs 13:22 says that "a good man leaves an inheritance to his children's children."  Think about that.  Your work should be such that it should sustain two future generations.  And yet, we demonize and tax those whose wealth has been through inheritance.  To me, it's personal.  I hope (and work so that) I can leave an inheritance that my grandchildren will still enjoy in their adulthood.

And so, when choosing leaders for our country, I'd rather choose someone who has tasted success and knows how to get there.  I have no intention of voting for someone who believes financial success is a curse or crutch to be limited, criticized, regulated, and stripped away, just because someone else is not as successful.

I work way too hard for that.


Wednesday, April 18, 2012

Ouch

Here's a recent opinion where a judge takes an attorney to task for being unprepared and for lackluster legal work.

Summary Quote:  This was the lowest moment in attorney representation the court has ever
witnessed.

Here's some more.

You know, no one is comfortable during these types of hearings.  Even just sitting in the gallery, you feel like ducking just in case there is some shrapnel.  Now, of course, I wasn't anywhere near Nevada to be part of this case, but it is still painful to read.

Sunday, April 15, 2012

Quote for the Week

A people that values its privileges above its principles soon loses both

-Dwight D. Eisenhower

Sunday, April 8, 2012

Quote for the Week

If you confess with your mouth that Jesus is Lord and believe in your heart that God raised him from the dead, you will be saved.

Romans 10:9

Friday, April 6, 2012

On The Exploitation of Trayvon Martin

The tragic story of Trayvon Martin has divided my friends into two camps, each supporting one side of this tragedy.  I am, and remain, in the undecided middle, a product of my skeptic nature.  I don't trust the mainstream reporting of this case, since everyone (even me) has an agenda.  And sometimes, that agenda will trump the ethics of a reporter, who will feel compelled to spin the story however he or she sees fit.

I was taught that, prior to passing judgment on somebody, I need to ensure that all the facts are in.  Otherwise, I would only be prejudging somebody.  Prejudging--that's where we get the word prejudice.  But here, I have watched twisted facts (also known as lies) be offered up by either side as justification for whatever the point might be.  I have watched with disappointment as church leaders, who should be leading the charge to pray for both Trayvon Martin AND George Zimmerman and his family, instead continue to use their pulpit to uplift one and excoriate the other.

I don't know for sure what happened.  Of the ones who do, one is dead and the other is not speaking.  No one else--no one--knows what happened.  And yet, we are surrounded by leaders spreading division based solely on third-party claims and hearsay.  People who would otherwise be level-headed, well-reasoned people, have been quick to take on the banner of one side over the other, doing nothing more than reading a report written by someone who wasn't there, or listening to people who weren't there either.  We lose sight of the fact that, by doing so, we become pawns of politicians and self-annointed community leaders.  We gladly offer up our heart strings and emotional buttons, willingly becoming nothing more than marionettes in the hands of people who care more about their name than our cause.

Please read:  The Exploitation of Trayvon Martin




Wednesday, April 4, 2012

Hiding

The newsreader just said this is supposed to be the worst season for pollen in a long time.  He said allergy sufferers will really feel it.

Great.  I'm going into hiding.  Come get me in August.

Sunday, April 1, 2012

Quote for the Week

Political correctness is tyranny with manners.

-Charlton Heston

Friday, March 30, 2012

Shame




Now, I don't know their stories, but their own words do them no favors.  And, unlike some of my friends, I don't blame the president, since this goes too far back to blame one leader or one party.  I blame the culture we have created, where the successful and wealthy are demonized and those who do not work are coddled, pitied, and lifted up to encourage guilt for success.

Yes, there are those who really do need help.  I understand that the economy is in shambles and unemployment is high.  I also understand that not everyone is like these people, but when we insult and criticize the successful for not doing "their part," what do we say to these?  Are they doing theirs?

Don't you remember the rule we had when we lived with you? "If you don't work, you don't eat." And now we're getting reports that a bunch of lazy good-for-nothings are taking advantage of you. This must not be tolerated. We command them to get to work immediately—no excuses, no arguments—and earn their own keep. Friends, don't slack off in doing your duty.

If anyone refuses to obey our clear command written in this letter, don't let him get by with it. Point out such a person and refuse to subsidize his freeloading. Maybe then he'll think twice. But don't treat him as an enemy. Sit him down and talk about the problem as someone who cares. 

2 Thessalonians 3:10-15 The Message Bible

Sunday, March 25, 2012

Quote for the Week

The best years of your life are the ones in which you decide your problems are your own. You do not blame them on your mother, the ecology, or the president. You realize that you control your own destiny.

- Albert Ellis

Friday, March 23, 2012

Conversations at Work

We're discussing the lengths to which clients will go to customize their cars.  Then we start talking about cars we've owned.

Me:  I had a car that would change colors depending on the weather.

Paralegal:  Really!? That sounds cool!

Me:  Yeah.  When it was dry out, it was brown and gray.  If it rained it was red and black.

Paralegal:  Was it special paint or something?

Me:  Nah.  It was rust spots and gray primer.  The water made the rust look red and the primer look black.

Paralegal:  I don't know why I even listen to you.

Sunday, March 18, 2012

Quote for the Week


A rock pile ceases to be a rock pile the moment a single man contemplates it, bearing within him the image of a cathedral.

-Antoine de Saint-Exupéry

Saturday, March 17, 2012

Reading

So my wife tells the girls she wants them to read to her belly so the baby can hear them.

I offer to read as well. I have books on AR15s, 1911s, gun laws, self defense...

I guess not.

Sunday, March 11, 2012

Those who are the happiest are those who do the most for others.

Booker T. Washington

Thursday, March 8, 2012

Ugh...

100.5 degree fever and I've spent the last 8 hours laying down. No fun at all. My stomach feels like I swallowed a grenade wrapped in loose fiberglass.

Monday, March 5, 2012

The Song of My Road

Eyes on the road, I keep forwarding to the next song on my music player, trying to find one that can speak to what I feel. Not finding one, all I hear is the rain falling on the windshield and the tires pushing against the water as they press forward. The wipers attack the rain, furiously defending their patch of glass. But, the rain does not stop, invading the space as soon as the wipers go by.

I let the music player do what it wants, for now. The windows are fogging up, and the weather has taken a firm grasp on my attention. I don't want to hear that song right now, but the road will not allow distractions. Meanwhile, the tires continue to grab the road ahead and push it into the past, leaving only the sound of water splashing as it gives way.

I finally turn off the music player so I can think. But there's so much going on in my head right now, so I can't. A million thoughts are coming at me like the rain on the windshield. I try to make sense of it, pushing thoughts aside, waiting for the right one to make sense, to break through, but it's no use. I feel like the tires, grabbing the day ahead and pushing it into the past, leaving only the faintest memory as I make my way forward.

I had a nightmare a few days ago, where I was driving and was hit head on by a large vehicle. I woke up with a start. There was no life flashing, only the fog in my mind mind as I made the effort to bring my heartbeat back to normal. Perhaps I didn't survive the accident, having died in the dream only so I could wake up and take stock of where I am. Of who I am.

The last few months have been a frenzy, marking time on some cosmic odometer, at times too busy to see where I'm headed. Early days have been followed by late nights, a cycle that's become as mindless as the wheels chewing up the road. Littered alongside this road are more thoughts. More tasks. More intentions. I am paving my own road to a destination I hope I never see.

I remember a college class years ago where the professor asked us to imagine a taxi driver headed to the airport with a businessman in the back seat. The professor asked us to discuss what each might be thinking. I spoke of the businessman maybe wanting to spend more time time with his family, yet pulled away by his job. I spoke of regret and of the taxi driver glad to have the time to enjoy his loved ones.

Now, I have become those I have criticized. Twenty years later, I am the man in the back seat.

Forty-five minutes later, I pull into my parking space. This leg of my journey is over. I realize I have arrived. I have reached my goal. And yet, I remember nothing of my journey. Even the music was pushed aside, giving way to the dull, predictable soundtrack of wipers on glass, tires on wet road.

I never did find a song. Maybe there's a reason for that. The soundtrack for this journey cannot be written by someone else.  I have to write it.  I have to sing it.  I have to live it.  It is the song of MY road.  And it is not yet over.

H/T to Brigid for this post, which got me thinking.


Sunday, March 4, 2012

Quote for the Week

If you would not be forgotten as soon as you are dead, either write something worth reading or do things worth writing.

Benjamin Franklin

Saturday, March 3, 2012

Debt Relief

Phone call:

Me: [After all the pleasantries] How can I help you?

Caller: [Nervously] I heard that your company deals with debt problems...

Me: We do. Tell me what's going on.

Caller: I have some debt that I need help with. I can't sleep at night and I have no peace because of it.

Me: Ok. How much debt do you have?

Caller: About two.

Me: Two what? $200,000?

Caller: No. $2,000.

Me: Who is the creditor? Who is the lender?

Caller: There's two people. I only know their first name.

Me: Wait, how did you...Why do you owe the money?

Caller: I borrowed it some time ago for something I had to do.

Me: And you don't know the name of the person you owe? Where are they?

Caller: Well, they live in South America. One of them, she sent people over here to to collect. They're the ones I'm scared of.

Me: And the other debt?

Caller: They were able to track me down, too. But I'm making payments to them. Otherwise, they'll go see my family.

Me: So they did not know you moved here?

Caller: No. I moved to the US to avoid them.

Me: Umm... Sir, I can't help you with that kind of debt. What are they trying to do?

Dial tone ...

Tuesday, February 28, 2012

Hang On, I'll Be Right There!

I was listening to the scanner, following the response to a robbery involving a shooting.  Units were dispatched to the victim and the attacker's description was released.  Someone else calls in with a description of a vehicle driving quickly and erratically.  Units are dispatched to that location since the description of that vehicle matches the description of the vehicle involved in the robbery.  The police receive more information that the suspects in the vehicle have left and are running away.

Scramble the jets!  More units are dispatched to set up a perimeter.

In the meantime, another call comes in.

Dispatcher:  General broadcast for a violent domestic on 1234 Residential Street.

Units dispatched to the robbery call begin to check in.  A perimeter is set up and there is a lot of radio communication.

Four minutes go by.  Then,

Officer:  Radio, 232

Dispatch:  232, I need you to respond to a violent domestic disturbance on 1234 Residential Street.  Female called and said her boyfriend is hitting her.  Call taker could hear screaming in the background and then the line went dead.  No answer on call back.

Officer:  232, Copy.  Show me en route.

-o-o-o-o-o-

4 minutes, huh...?

1.  A robbery victim is shot.  By the time the police are called, the crime is over.  Now everyone is just reacting.
2.  A woman is a victim of a violent domestic attack.  She has managed to call police, but while she is struggling, for at least four minutes, none of the responders has even started to respond.

You know, I don't intend this as a rant against police officers, dispatchers, etc...  I am merely pointing out that we cannot simply and blindly rely on the police to protect us.  In this day and age, and in our society, their hands are full as it is.  We must always be vigilant and take responsibility for our own protection.  The police may be tied up with a higher priority call, or they may simply be trying to get there as fast as they can.  Either way, the first line of self defense begins with us.

Sunday, February 26, 2012

Quote for the Week

But the person who scored well on an SAT will not necessarily be the best doctor or the best lawyer or the best businessman. These tests do not measure character, leadership, creativity, perseverance.
-William J. Wilson

Wednesday, February 22, 2012

Rebellion

I 'm so disappointed.  She's almost 6 now and I guess she feels like she can do whatever she wants.  I went home for lunch and I found her smoking a fat one under the table.  I didn't raise her this way.  And then, she's staring at me with those eyes...like she doesn't care what I think.  I don't know what to do... 



Sunday, February 19, 2012

Quote for the Week

When the politicians complain that TV turns the proceedings into a circus, it should be made clear that the circus was already there, and that TV has merely demonstrated that not all the performers are well trained.

Edward R. Murrow

Friday, February 17, 2012

Traffic Fun

I was on my way to run an errand during lunch.  As I approached the intersection, I saw that the light ahead was yellow.  I looked in my rear view mirror as I started to slow down.  I saw a small sports car bearing down on me at high speed.  I took a quick look around to see if there was anywhere to escape should the car not stop.  Thankfully, the car whipped into the turn lane to my right.

As it drove by, I looked over to get a quick glimpse of the driver.  The young man was either swatting at flies in his vehicle, or he was really upset that I refused to run a red light.  In any event, he glared at me and wildly gestured.  I grinned as he zoomed by, and waited for the light to change.

Our Indy 500 driver turned right at the light, drove about a block, and then turned left.  He drove past a parking lot and turned left again.  At this point I lost track of  him, but I figured he was trying to circle the block to avoid stopping at the same traffic light that stopped me.

Lunch hour traffic continued to pile up behind me, and I continued to wait.  Finally, the light turned green and I pulled through the intersection.  Up ahead, the next light turned green as well.

As I drove up to that intersection, I saw our friendly driver stopped to my right, his light having turned red so I could drive through.  I looked over in his direction and he recognized me.  His face turned into a wide-eyed scowl.  Trying to be a good neighbor, I give him my best Friday smile and a friendly wave as I drove by.

I don't think he appreciated that.  I think his head exploded.


Monday, February 13, 2012

Wiped Out

Weeks of late nights, early mornings, and busy days have me nodding off at my desk.

Must ... have ... caffeine ...

Sunday, February 12, 2012

Quote for the Week

Don’t tell me of your happiness if it daily depends on the uncertainties of the earth. Your home may be rich in comforts; your wife and children may be all you could desire; your income may be amply sufficient to meet all your wants. But oh, remember, if you have nothing more than this to look to, that you are standing on the edge of a cliff! Your joy may be deep and earnest, but it is fearfully short-lived. It has no root. It is not true happiness.


J.C. Ryle

Monday, February 6, 2012

Starbucks and St. Valentine's Day

Soooo, a whole bunch of anti-gun groups have gotten their knickers all knotted up because uncultured, backwards, and barbaric gun owners (like me) have been taking their guns into Starbucks.  Apparently, we gun toters will get incredibly angry and shoot up the place when our White Chocolate Mocha is too cold, or the Apple Purse scone is too hot.  These anti gun groups have asked that everyone boycott Starbucks on Valentine's Day.  They hope to force Starbucks to ban guns on their premises.

Well, shoot heck!  This represents two of my favorite things, guns and coffee!  I will do my part to make sure the boycott fails.  Also, since it's on Valentine's Day, and my wife, the World's Most Beautiful Woman, is addicted to Starbucks, I'll bring her with me.

You see, Starbucks can do with their private property whatever they want as long as they don't violate the law.  However, I'm glad they have chosen to allow me to carry my gun into their place of business.  So, I want to support them with my dollar (or twenty).  Therefore, on the 14th, I (along with other gun owners across the country) will be stopping by to spend some money there.  I would love it if their business went through the roof as a result of this "boycott."  Isn't America great!

Let's go get some caffeine!

Sunday, February 5, 2012

Quote for the Week

The trouble with fighting for human freedom is that one spends most of one's time defending scoundrels. For it is against scoundrels that oppressive laws are first aimed, and oppression must be stopped at the beginning if it is to be stopped at all.

-HL Mencken

Saturday, February 4, 2012

Sorry

To the lady in front of me with the stalled car:

I know you needed help getting the car pushed out of the way.  Yes, I know it was very cold outside.

I apologize for not getting out of the car to help you yesterday morning.  Normally, I would have, because I have been there before.  That day, however, I couldn't.

It's not personal, really, at least not against you.  You see, if I would have helped you, I could have gone to prison.  For a long time.

Let me back up a little, because that's a bold statement.  Here's what I mean.

Your car was stalled on school property.  I know that's not a crime, but bear with me.

I carry a weapon daily.  I had a gun on me this morning.  It's in a holster, hanging on my belt.  So, as I was driving onto school property, I was doing so, while in possession of a firearm.  I have a permit to carry concealed, issued by my state.  Therefore, my carrying of a firearm was legal both under state and federal law.

However, in order for me to have the gun on me, the gun has to remain holstered, and I have to remain seated, in my car, at all times while on school property.  If I would have stepped out to help you, I would have been committing a felony.

Now, under the combination of state and federal law, I did have the option of leaving the gun in a locked container in the vehicle.  But in order for me to do that, the first step would have been to remove the gun from my holster, thereby committing a different felony--while trying to avoid committing the first felony.

Are you confused?  I hope not, because as we know, ignorance of the law is no excuse.

So, the end result was that I had to drive by and was unable to help you.  I hope someone else did.

It's interesting to note that this law has been around since 1990.  The purpose of the law is to protect our students from gun violence in schools.  Since the law passed, according to Wikipedia (I know--not the best source) there have been over 185 school shootings.  Maybe the criminals didn't know it was against the law.  Or maybe, since they didn't care about laws against murder, they didn't care about that law either.

One more thing, did you know that if there is a shooting on school property, I can get in trouble just for trying to help?  Presumably, in order to defend myself or my family, I will have to remove the gun from the holster and present it (a felony, remember?).  Then, if things head to the gravest extreme, if I have to shoot, I will commit another felony (discharging a firearm on school grounds).  And, no, there is no exception for self defense.  So, I hope to be alive, but I may have to spend many years in club fed thinking about it.  Oh, and since I would then be a felon, I would be unable to own or possess guns anymore.  How's that for laws keeping us safe?

Every day, the federal government creates new laws to give the lawless something else to ignore.  In doing so, they only affect those of us who were paying attention to the existing laws in the first place.  Sadly, Ms. Motorist, yesterday, you were the victim of unintended consequences.  I wasn't going to be.

Sorry.

Thursday, February 2, 2012

Gun

Ok...so how many gun errors can we see in this movie photo...


I saw this question posted on a forum and had to steal the idea...

Tuesday, January 31, 2012

NO, NO, NO!

No, no, and HECK no!  I don't know that I've ever blogged about fashion before, but, ...really?!?!?

Drop Crotch Jeans

Sunday, January 29, 2012

Quote for the Week

Americans are far more remarkable than we give ourselves credit for. We've been so busy damning ourselves for years. We've done it all, and yet we don't take credit for it.

Ray Bradbury

Tuesday, January 24, 2012

Edjukashun

Takes place at SHCOOL.

Sad thing is that this was out there for weeks, and no one at the school thought it was bad enough to get someone to fix it.

Sunday, January 22, 2012

Quote for the Week

Take our politicians: they're a bunch of yo-yos. The presidency is now a cross between a popularity contest and a high school debate, with an encyclopedia of cliches the first prize. 

~Saul Bellow

Thursday, January 19, 2012

Theater

In just about every place I go as an attorney, I have to navigate through some type of security.  Depending on the place, the officers can be local, state, or federal employees, or, they may even be contracted employees of a private security firm.

Sometimes, it's the same people I have seen before, some have been seeing me for over a decade. They get to know me, and understand why I am there. They do their job well and I do mine.

Other times, the teams rotate, and there's no telling who will be there at the security post.  I dread seeing new officers. It's not personal, but I know that it's going to take a while.

Recently, that has been the story in one of the buildings I frequent. The new crew routinely backs the line up for 15-20 minutes, taking forever to screen everyone.  There are four security officers stationed at one metal detector.  One runs the xray machine, one has the magnetic wand, and the other two yell at us.

Keep your hands visible, don't take anything out of your pockets (except our hands, I presume).  Stand here, don't stand there, move up, back off,  don't talk, speak up, don't use your cell phone...

And yet, I'm amused at the misguided hypervigilance I see. More often than not, they are either talking to each other, looking at whoever is getting yelled at, or otherwise preoccupied with looking like they're on post. It's very easy, after some brief observation, to spot the weaknesses.  It's all theater. It's well intentioned, perhaps, but still theater.  We're fooled into thinking that being loud, armed, and large in number is enough to serve as a deterrent.

True vigilance is not necessarily loud or even always visible.  True vigilance begins in the mind.  As long as the officers are content with griping about their supervisors, puffing out their chests, and yelling stock phrases, no true "securing" will be done.  The pictures will look good, the list will be checked, and checks will be written.  But it's all an act, serving only to give the illusion of security.

We haven't actually made anything any safer.  What we have done, by rule or statute, is placed our well-being in the hands of those who at times care more about their authority than their duty.  In the end, if I depend on them to keep me secure, I am in trouble.

So, what to do?  Well, I have to follow orders if I'm going to get in. Fine. But if the officers are more about style than substance, then I just can't respect the work they are doing.

They can play their games. I'll watch.

Vigilance begins in the mind

Mine.

Tuesday, January 17, 2012

(Mis)Overheard on the Scanner

Dispatcher (rattling off a long list of fire engines, medical engines, ambulances, the fire marshall and the battalion chief):  Please respond to [ADDRESS].  Homeowner states he was working on his water heater and he found a bomb.

So the jets are scrambled, everybody jumps on their trucks and head for the call.  The units are in the process of checking in when:

Engine 4:  Dispatch, this is Engine 4 on scene, you can clear all units.  Homeowner is reporting finding a BONE, not a bomb.

Well, they sound alike...

Sunday, January 15, 2012

Quote for the Week

Pay no attention to what the critics say. A statue has never been erected in honor of a critic.

-Jean Sibelius

Thursday, January 12, 2012

Yes!



Well, not yet.  But, ultrasound is normal, and it's going to be a boy!





Dillon Responds

The doorbell rings.

I get up and head toward the door, trying to act normally.  I'm fighting the urge to run to the door, like a kid anticipating Christmas morning.  I've practically had my face up to the window since I got home from work.  I received an email shipping update telling me my package was on its way.

Some time ago, I had purchased a used Dillon Square Deal B for less than $50.  It was only the press itself, and was missing all of its components.  I had every intention of buying the parts to get it all working again, but other projects took precedence and the press was relegated to a shelf in the garage.

After I mentioned it in a previous post, Ed Skinner suggested I send it back to Dillon and have them take a look at it.  Per my email conversation with a Dillon representative, for a fee of $68, they would look it over and tell me what I needed to get it running again.  A little skeptical, I was hesitant to do it.  However, after encouragement from Carteach0, I shipped it off for a little over $10 and asked that they call me to arrange for the payment of the $68.

I didn't hear anything for a couple of weeks.  Then I got the shipment confirmation email.

The result was not what I expected.

This is what they sent me.


So far so good, since it's definitely a different box than what I sent them.  I wrestle the staples out and open the box.


This is even better!  All this stuff is new!  I remove the new toys and pull off the foam.  And there she is.  

With all kinds of new attachments!  As if that wasn't good enough, there was an invoice in the box as well.  Bottom line:

No charge, warranty repair.

So, for about $60, I got a Dillon Square Deal B.

I'm happy!  Thanks to Dillon for the work and thanks to Ed and Carteach0 for the direction and encouragement!

Monday, January 9, 2012

Wow

These are my people.

Please go read the whole thing.

Dress Professionally

And, fresh on the heels of yesterday's post, we see this:  "Crack jacket" is not proper courtroom attire.  At least his clothing matches his alleged profession. 


My Clients continue to amaze me with their courtroom attire.  I posted about one of my stories here, but I can't top the crack jacket.


H/T to my sister.

Sunday, January 8, 2012

Quote for the Week

Friend, you cannot legislate the poor into freedom by legislating the wealthy out of freedom.  And what one person receives without working for, another person must work for without receiving. The government can’t give to anybody anything that the government does not first take from somebody. And when half of the people get the idea they don’t have to work because the other half’s going to take care of them, and when the other half get the idea it does no good to work because somebody’s going to get what I work for. That, dear friend, is about the end of any nation.

Adrian Rogers

Friday, January 6, 2012

Pro Se

In just about every area of law, there are people that chose to represent themselves instead of hiring an attorney.  I normally don't have a problem with that.  If it works, that's something to be proud of.  If it doesn't, well... it can be bad.  Very bad.

The best advice I can give is to get an attorney if at all possible.  However, if you ever decide to represent yourself in your own legal matter, here are some tips.

1. Know your stuff better than the other side.  I just don't mean know your facts.  You must know the law as it relates to your facts.  It doesn't matter if you think the facts are on your side.  If the other side proves they have the law on their side, facts won't matter.

2.  Lose the emotion.  No one cares.  No, really.  Falling apart or giving in to your emotions will only make you lose credibility.  Not fair, I know, but still true.

3.  Be organized.  Present your case in an organized manner.  Have an outline of what you want to present, sticking to the key points in your case.  If you start chasing rabbits, the judge may decline to follow you.  If you're lucky, the opposing party may just hope you keep talking and trip yourself up.  By the time you bring your presentation back on track, the judge may have already decided.  Worse still, the judge may interrupt, assuming you have nothing else to say.

4.  Be respectful.  For the judge, it's not personal.  Don't make it that way.  Don't be overly familiar with the judge, joking like you're best friends.  On the other hand, don't attack the judge because you think he or she is "in with the man."  You don't win by belittling the other side or the judge.

5.  Know when to shut up.  I have won more close cases by keeping my mouth shut than I have with some dramatic surprise.  Come to think of it, I haven't won any case with a sudden dramatic TV lawyer moment.  Don't interrupt the judge or the opposing party.  Present your case, present your argument, and know enough about the process to know when to stop.

6.  Be focused.  Stick to your situation.  If you're arguing a speeding ticket, it's no defense to claim that everyone else was also speeding.  The judge won't care and you are just admitting that you were speeding, which is the accusation anyway.

7.  Dress professionally.  Yes, I know.  You don't judge a book by its cover.  Whatever.  Dress like a professional so you will be treated as one.  If you come in dressed as a hoodlum, you will be treated as such.


Sunday, January 1, 2012

Quote for the Week

New Year's Day - Now is the accepted time to make your regular annual good resolutions. Next week you can begin paving hell with them as usual.

Mark Twain