May 10, 2013 § Leave a Comment
After reading about the current concession offerings at Kauffman Stadium (Kansas City Royals), I now envy all season ticket holders.
Here’s a screencap that should pain anybody with wholesome, American taste buds.
May 6, 2013 § 2 Comments
I already raved about Leo’s Donuts in Radcliff, Kentucky. They are the best. I spend my disposable income there. The proof is my body-fat percentage.
On Friday, they set the bar even higher.
Picture, if you will, a small-town donut shop experiencing late-morning doldrums after the breakfast rush.
I enter and look at the case. The maple bacon donuts are gone. I sigh and say “It looks like I missed your morning batch of maple bacon donuts. Bummer.”
The lovely employee at the counter replied “I can make you a couple right now.”
I had no words. I merely nodded my head and wept softly.
April 26, 2013 § 1 Comment
As a kid, most of my Saturday mornings were spent rumbling along gravel roads in NE Kansas in my dad’s beat-up Chevy truck. We meandered from farm auction to farm auction. He bought a lot of dollar boxes–piles of junk in disintegrating and smelly cardboard, but with the possibility of a little piece of farm-gold contained within. They were all still piled-up in the barn when I cleaned it out 20 years later for our own farm auction–the only one of them I wish I could forget.
On those trips, the radio was always tuned to 61 Country, a Kansas City country and western station. AM, of course. Waylon and Willie were always heard on those mornings. So was Ronnie Milsap, and Johnny Cash, and Conway Twitty, and even the Nitty Gritty Dirt Band.
On the best of those days, there was always at least one offering from George Jones. His tales were the ones that made my dad listen. Really listen.
I listened, too. But, I’d never admit it. As a kid, I couldn’t admit such a thing to my father.
Now, though, I admit it to all of you, wishing I could do the same with my father and sad that one of the voices from my childhood passed today.
April 9, 2013 Comments Off
I’m not a fan of Twitter, but I look occasionally out of morbid curiosity. Occasionally, true gems are posted (in 140 characters or less). Here’s one that deserves its own sign:
Now, I’ll be the first to admit that I think highly of the Fishtown Lawyers. They seem to have a lot of fun as a sort of Philly Laurel and Hardy. Jordan tends to be the more mischievous of the two, and Leo acts as comic foil while interspersing pearls of hard-earned wisdom. They also practice law the right way, knowing that clients come first. Personal comforts come a distant, distant second.
Anywho. I love what Leo said in 140 characters or less. I wish more potential clients understood it. Clients who are focused on obtaining the services of an “aggressive” lawyer present us with a no-win scenario. How is it no-win? Consider a few possible legal courses of action and how a demand for aggressiveness causes them all to fail, even if the legal outcome is positive.
Note: I’m putting this in terms of criminal representation, but you could easily change a few words to make it apply to any flavor of adversarial practice of law.
Course of Action 1: The Amicable Negotiation
Lawyer: Hey, Biff, I talked to the prosecutor, and he’s willing to settle your case for X. This is great because most cases like yours result in X+Y. I think he was feeling pretty good when I talked to him at the local bar golf tournament, and I caught him in his happy place. Otherwise, I think you’d be looking at 2 or 3 times this result, since they had you on video, you gave a written confession, and it was witnessed by 40 sober people during daylight. I know from my 20 years of experience that you’d probably get a lot more from a judge or jury.
Biff: What the hell, dude? You played golf with the guy? I want you to kick his ass and make the prosecutor suffer. You’re supposed to fight for me. I thought you were AG-RES-SIVE?! I want to fight this thing the whole way. You suck.
Course of Action 2: Your Standard, Ho-Hum Ethical Practice
Biff: Hey, Lawyer, thanks for sending me a copy of this motion you filed with the court. I looked through it and saw that you didn’t make any mention of the fact that the police officer who questioned me served detention in high school back in 1999 for not bringing a calculator to his Algebra 2 class. Remember, I told you that my mom, who is a secretary at the school, looked up his disciplinary records and found it. I gave copies to you. Remember?
Lawyer: I understand, but that really doesn’t help, and I think we’ll win based on—
Biff: He’s an asshole! I thought you were going to show this and destroy him. I thought you were AG-RES-SIVE!?
Lawyer: I know, but I think we’ll lose credibility with the judge. I think we can use his conduct on the day of your arrest to show that you did not voluntarily gi—
Biff: Also, I see at the end of the motion that you provided the prosecutors with a copy of the motion on the day you gave it to the judge.
Lawyer: Yes, I did.
Biff: Why are you sharing it with them? I thought we were supposed to have confidentiality. I thought you were going to be aggressive and protect me from them!
Lawyer: Well, I’m required to—
Biff: I’m your client!
Lawyer: Yes, but the judge will—
Biff: I don’t care what the judge will do. I want you to be AG-RES-SIVE! Fight for me!
Course of Action 3: Aggressive
Lawyer: OK, here’s what I did. First, I filed this motion by throwing it in the court clerk’s face. After all, that old bag works about 50 feet from the prosecutor’s office, so you know they’re part of the conspiracy against you. Then, I went into the prosecutor’s office and told them that, if they wanted a copy of the motion, they’d have to go get one from the court clerk. When they left to retrieve the motion, I grabbed your case file from their desk, found their work-product notes, and took pictures of them with my cell phone. Then, I took a copy of the motion, put it in a paper bag. I pooped in the bag, went to the judge’s house, lit the bag on fire, and placed it on his front step. Then, I hid in the bushes. The judge walked out and stomped on the bag, causing poop to splatter. Then, I ran out of the bushes, pointed at him, and said “You just stepped in my poop! Ha! Ha!” They all hate us, and I’ll probably end-up in jail. Plus, they’ll never negotiate or cut us any slack, and I’m sure they’ll ask for a higher sentence in the end. However, I really showed them that we aren’t going to take any of their crap. I totally own them.
Biff: That sounds nice, but I wanted you to be a bit more aggressive.
March 19, 2013 Comments Off
Kansas City Mayor Sly James continues his state of the city address with aplomb.
Notice that he didn’t even flinch.
March 10, 2013 § 36 Comments
So, today I received an online survey from the Boy Scouts of America. They want to know what I think, as the parent of a scout, of changing their policy on homosexual membership.
The problem is that they didn’t let me fully answer the questions. I was merely allowed to rank things on a numerical scale from “Totally Unacceptable” to “Totally Acceptable,” with a few in-between rankings. Mine were absolute, so I won’t bother you with the middling possibilities. Since they won’t let me re-access the survey to get the questions exactly, let me try to remember them as best as possible.
Question 1: Is it acceptable for a church (as a chartering organization for a scout unit) to deny membership to homosexual scouts or leaders.
My answer: Totally Unacceptable.
Why: Those organizations blatantly discriminate against segments of the population and are therefore incompatible with the values that the Boy Scouts of America purports to support and encourage. In short, policies of discrimination are completely incompatible with scouting values.
Question 2: Is it acceptable for a homosexual boy to be allowed to join Boy Scouts? (I believe this was styled as a question that had the homosexual boy joining an organization where my son is a member.)
My answer: Totally Acceptable.
Why: Why not? Why discriminate? The life lessons taught by the scouting program do not ever touch on sexuality. Instead, they focus on life skills, treating others with dignity and respect, and leadership. How would the presence of a homosexual boy alter or diminish those central tenets? It wouldn’t, except that it might benefit the other boys who are taught a valuable lesson about tolerance, acceptance, and diversity because of his presence.
Question 3: Suppose a church sponsors a scout unit. Suppose that church allows homosexuals. Suppose the pastor of the church is homosexual and also a scout leader. Is it OK for him to take scouts on trips and campouts, even if youth protection policies are followed?
My answer: Totally Acceptable.
Why: See the why for question 2. The same applies here. Additionally, the assertion that gay=pedophile is one of the most ignorant, bullshit arguments I’ve ever heard. Whomever created that lie should be (figuratively) fed into my wood chipper. Feet first.
There you go. My answers to the 3 questions posed to me in the survey. So, why am I bugged so much that I’d write a blog post about it?
The fact that they even need to ask these questions shows that the organization is still a deplorable not-for-profit (or not-blatantly-for-profit) group of deluded and unethical scum who have no loyalty to the core values of the program.
I’ve said it before, and I’ll say it again.
The Boy Scout Program is a wonderful and enriching one that helps boys to be better men.
The Boy Scout Organization is a disgusting business that disguises itself as a not-for-profit and angelic presence in our society while supporting discriminatory policies.
Oh, and while we’re at it, they should also drop their ban on atheists and agnostics. Want to know why?
They say that atheists and agnostics are also incompatible with scouting values.
I have a few questions for the Boy Scout Organization.
Have you read a few of the headlines about the Catholic Church and little boys? Their reaction to the same allegations? Their policies concerning employment of women. Their history in the area of human rights? Yet, it is perfectly fine to be a devoted follower of this church.
Have you ever read a fact-based (as opposed to biased) biography of Joseph Smith? Do so. Then tell me if he embodied scouting values. Trustworthy? Clean? I think not. Yet, the organization wholeheartedly embraces the followers of the stuff he translated from reformed Egyptian language written on gold plates through a seeing stone. Oh, in a hat. The plates were also in a hat. I forgot to mention that.
Have you ever really read some of the atrocities committed by “god” in the Old Testament? Do those, in any way, embody your values?
Just think about it. Think about all the horrible, disgusting things that have happened in the name of religion. Sure, there are good things, too, but doesn’t the same hold true for those who have no belief (or no established and embraced belief) in god? Maybe you’ll realize that perhaps atheists and agnostics aren’t so darned bad after all. Think about reading about the American Humanist Society (with many, many atheists), which advocates doing good things for people, not because they want to buy eternal salvation or approval from some all-powerful entity in the sky, but just because it’s a decent thing to do.
I guess that’s the real problem here, isn’t it? I’d be asking you to do something decent, and that’s just a bridge too far for the Organization.
Keep dragging your feet fellas (especially those earning handsome not-for-profit salaries in Irving, TX. Maybe those pesky and evil atheist homosexuals will someday shut up, or so I’m sure you’re hoping.
March 8, 2013 § 4 Comments
Fresno, California criminal-defense attorney Rick Horowitz won, and he hadn’t even entered the courtroom.
As he approached a very familiar courthouse in his jurisdiction, Rick watched as another attorney cruised-through security in the usual, smooth fashion.
Once Rick reached the gate, anticipating a similar and anticipated stroll through the metal detectors, the game changed.
“You have to empty your pockets.”
“What?,” I asked.
“You have to empty your pockets.”
The officer said something about a new security issue or something along those lines. He stated that they were making all court personnel and attorneys empty their pockets now.
“A court person went through just ahead of me,” I said, motioning in the direction the prosecutor had gone. “You didn’t check her.”
And then one of them told me it was because of my blog post yesterday. He even specifically referenced the sentence that they found so offensive. “So now you’re a security risk,” I was told.
So, he wrote something, which he admits was intentionally offensive (that he later retracted upon further reflection of its magnitude of offensiveness). Because somebody in the courthouse security/law enforcement community was offended, they labeled Rick a security risk. Even worse, there was an unhealthy vibe among these officers.
At any rate, the overreaction of the department today shows just how dangerous they can be. And, in fact, I suspect that’s just the start. It will not surprise me if something happens to me for what I’ve written. At least a few attorneys — including me — think that there was a plan in place this morning to set up a situation where I could be given a beatdown, which almost certainly would have been followed by criminal charges against me for “resisting arrest,” or “assaulting an officer,” or something similar to that. Because that happens to more people than you could possibly imagine, more often than you would believe. And, as I said, there is reason to believe they were trying to set it up — reason enough that another attorney decided to stick around “just in case.” (Which is probably why it didn’t happen.)
His is a win because we are caused to think about a few things:
- If someone is offended at something you say, they can screw with you and make your life difficult. This can happen even if they are paid with your tax dollars and purport to operate to support and defend the Constitution.
- Those with actual government authority can retaliate against us in ways that make our life difficult, even if they are merely offended and you did nothing legally wrong.
- Law enforcement is necessary and beneficial, but there is the constant danger of them operating with the mentality of a fraternity or pack. When they stray, they still wield power and authority. We protect ourselves by being vigilant and keeping our cool.
- The fellow attorney who stayed in the area “just in case” deserves a drink, or lunch, or, hell, even a fruit smoothie (I hope you comported to this appropriately, Rick.). There are occasionally events that show that we lawyers, even those who compete for the same business, are a pretty darned tight-knit group. This was one of those times. Celebrate it, and then demonstrate it more often.
- We must constantly remind government officials that we are watching them.
- We are caused to ask ourselves this: What if Rick was completely alone with the several officers at the security check?
I make it no secret that Rick is my friend, and here he did so much for us by keeping his cool and then fighting back with free speech. Because of that, we all notice. Because of that, we can talk about it. Because of that, the officers in that courthouse know they are being watched. Because of that, Rick wins.
Though, in possible defense of the officers, they may have been offended by so much aquamarine. Rick, you never go full aquamarine.
And, that’s my gift back to you.
March 4, 2013 Comments Off
Sequester, you say? I respond with, “What about the children?!”
No, seriously, what about the children?
Most people have been passively following the hubbub over sequestration in the federal government. It inspires a collective “meh” for most people who see our military as bloated and wasteful (as well as the rest of the federal government). They are not entirely wrong, but they are not entirely right, either.
Consider this: The Department of Defense is in the business of educating children.
Yep, really. Educating children.
For stateside military installations that do not have an arrangement with local school districts for educating military children who live on the federal installation and overseas bases where no local schools are available, the Department of Defense runs schools under the Department of Defense Educational Activity (DoDEA). The children who attend DoDEA schools have no other public school options.
Generally, they have a reputation for providing good Elementary, Middle, and High Schools for military children.
Now, say goodbye to 5-day school weeks for thousands and thousands of military children, including high school kids who are taking AP courses and attempting to compete with college-bound students across the nation for placement and scholarships.
You see, local community school districts are run by elected school boards who levy taxes in various ways in the community. They plan their budget based, largely, on the value of property within their district, and that amount is generally known each year.
DoDEA schools depend on the defense budget. That was once known and highly predictable. Not now. Now, DoDEA is forced to furlough employees (read: teachers) the same as every other government agency during sequestration. In doing so, they will close schools on days that teachers are furloughed.
Using the Fort Knox school system as an example, the following days will be eliminated from the Spring Semester school calendar:
April 24 and 26; May 3, 8, 10, 17, 21, 22, and 30.
That’s right, a total of 9 days must be eliminated from spring semester due to furloughs starting with the week of April 22. Starting that week, the remainder of the school year consists of 3 3-day weeks, 1 4-day week, and a 2- day week. This means that the kids lose 10% of spring semester days due to sequestration.
But, that’s not all. Remember, the sequester lasts until the beginning of the next fiscal year (October 1).
This means DoDEA kids face the following days off in August and September:
August 1, 9, 14, 16, 23, 28, and 30; September 6, 11, 13, 20, and 27.
This means that the kids start the first two months of next school year with 3 3-day weeks and 5 4-day weeks, a loss of 13% of their Fall Semester days.
What happens after October 1? Does it matter?
We can point fingers and assess blame as much as we want. We can blame lawmakers for dragging their feet and engaging in partisan gridlock. We can accuse high-level bureaucrats of cooking the books to maximize their present and future budgets. However, neither of those tactics help any of the children who are subject to DoDEA jurisdiction because their parent(s) were ordered to serve at a certain location across the globe.
Finally, military personnel (many at the lower-end of the pay scale) are forced to make arrangements for child-care. Most will pay out of their own pockets for child care services. They do this because they must spend their days training for combat operations and preparing for deployment. Also, don’t forget the families of deployed service members who also much make arrangements for these several sequester snow-days.
The second and third-order effects of the sequester are almost limitless, including the effect on military children, their futures, and their education.
And, that’s fine. After all, all’s fair in love and sequestration.
February 22, 2013 Comments Off
Honestly, I don’t know any more than you do about the Pistorius thing.
But, have you ever seen a courtroom with such dramatic lighting? I’ve seen a few bail hearings, and they tend to occur in the basement courtroom with cinderblock walls or via video teleconference from the detention facility.
They must have a special courtroom down in Johannesburg for cases that garner a worldwide audience, or they rented the one used for the People’s Court.
December 18, 2012 Comments Off
In a chat with my paralegal, we discussed the recent uptick of people calling with cases that are procedurally or substantively worthless. This is not to say that the potential clients are wrong. On the contrary, they are sometimes very, very right. However, their cases are often dead procedurally or lack the necessary evidence to facilitate a fighting chance. While the truth may be on their side, evidence to support the same is often missing.
Then, she had a “eureka” moment.
“Why don’t we offer to write letters to Santa for them?” she exclaimed gleefully.
“Huh?” I replied.
“You know, they have no shot with a board, or in court, so writing a letter to Santa for them has just as much of a chance of succeeding.”
At that point, it dawned on me that she was onto something.
So, without further hesitation, we are proud to offer our Legal Letter to Santa service.
Recognizing that SantaLaw is woefully underrepresented in the legal market, we emerged as industry leaders and are widely known as the go-to law firm for all SantaLaw cases.
From a recent press release that we might send to FORBES, CNN, MSNBC, FOX NEWS, and the NEW YORK TIMES:
Most people with seemingly-hopeless legal cases fail to recognize that, if it is close to December, they can seek relief by writing a letter to Santa using existing SantaLaw precedent. Sadly, many people are unsure where to start or lack the skills to write a good, legal letter to Santa. Some lack access to applicable SantaLaw regulations. That’s why we’re here. We bring proven industry success to the table. As past-believers of Santa who, as children, occasionally saw success in receiving the things we wished-for, we have the inside track with his offices and can negotiate a favorable outcome. It may just be some warm wishes or festive platitudes, but try to get those same things from a Federal District Court Judge. Something is always better than nothing, and we are here to try to get our clients more than nothing.
What do you get with this service? I’m glad you asked.
- Passionate, aggressive yuletide-specific representation.
- A one page, grammatically correct letter to the big guy at the North Pole. (More pages are available for an additional charge per page plus hourly fees.)
- Postage is included! (Delivery confirmation or signature service for an additional fee)
- Certified SantaLaw Specialists.
- Correct and up-to-date legal citations.
- Ample justification to get you past the naughty vs. nice procedural hump.
- We utilize our knowledge of Santa’s agency to penetrate layer upon layer of elf bureaucracy standing between you and the fat man.
- As former believers in Santa, we have first-hand knowledge of the process and personnel in his agency. In short, we have the inside track.
- Reasonable fees (relative to the price you just paid for that Coby Tablet Computer for your soon-to-be-disappointed teenager).
- As recognized Santa thought-leaders, you know you are getting the very best from proven industry game-changers. We put some Awesome into Advent.
- We GUARANTEE that you will have the same chance of receiving relief from Santa as you would in Federal District, State District, government administrative board, or appellate court, or your money back.
Have a very Merry Legal Xmas.
Please note: We will not provide the same service at Easter regarding the Easter Bunny. That would be silly. It’s a fucking rabbit. We’re not shysters, you know.
November 23, 2012 § 6 Comments
Once upon a time, I found the little world of Avvo to be cute, and humorous. They devised their little grading system for lawyers that, essentially, rewarded attorneys for working really hard entering data on a profile. The scores were ripe for various double entendres. It was good fun.
Then, I noticed that they provided a Q&A portion of their site for lawyers to further improve their Avvo length and girth. It was amusing to see practitioners scrambling to provide free advice to unknown individuals in unknown jurisdictions. They seemed positively desperate to be the first, learned person to answer various insipid inquiries, but then I started thinking about the ethical problems with such advice. I don’t care how many disclaimers you splash across the page, people are going to rely upon the words of lawyers when they address specific legal questions.
Yet, I still found it to be more amusing than harmful.
After the release of bar results each year, you could count on a swarm of brand-new lawyers flooding the site and “earning” high scores, with great marks in the “experience” subcategory.
None of my friends has ever found a meaningful client through the site, so we find Avvo’s apparent importance to be mostly amusing. However, the longer it existed, the more influence Avvo gained. Now, solidly-established lawyers tout their 10.0 score on websites and fliers (Full disclosure: I’m but a puny 7.7. Too small to be a “big hitter” and yet too big to qualify for subsidized Enzyte) . It makes me sad (the experienced attorneys touting their score, not my inability to receive chemical assistance for growth).
Recently, Avvo sunk to a new low. They now advertise an upcoming webinar for downtrodden, scared, and new lawyers who want to make millions in legal practice, with minimal effort.
What is Avvo doing? A webinar. I could tell you, but, instead, I’ll show you.
November 21, 2012 Comments Off
November 21, 2012 Comments Off
I’ve already stated that I hate the word justice. It is a mushy word, devoid of concrete and universal meaning. In that respect, it serves no useful role in educated discussion. Yet, people persist.
With it’s perpetual inclusion in conversations about how we should frame and model or society comes the inevitable symbols of justice. Males, especially, are very visual people, always looking for a way to visualize and visually depict thoughts and ideas.
Hence, the invention of lady justice. You’ve seen her many times. Blindfolded. Comely. Combative, yet playful and lithe. Displaying fairness in a way that is unique and personal to each viewer. She is, in short, everything you want her to be.
Check her out, in statuary.
How about a drawing?
How about a tattoo? It’s always OK to get a tattoo of your favorite gal, right?
November 20, 2012 Comments Off
It seems I do this annually. Time to change the beer-soaked carpet at Unwashed Advocate and replace it with something cleaner.
Actually, the old theme was starting to have a few glitches. So, I switched to this. Don’t like it? Don’t worry. Just wait a year, or maybe a few months.
From a cursory check of my recent stats, it appears only 8 people will notice. I’m not heartbroken about that. Not at all.
Last year at this time, I promised myself that I’d put an end to this wretched rag. Thankfully, I’m better at keeping promises to others than I am to myself.
November 13, 2012 § 22 Comments
Let’s check our direction without the help of any paid or unpaid social liaisons. Though, this week I’ll be applying for “unpaid social liaison” positions at my nearest military base. Who’s willing to bet that I lack fundamental, requisite qualifications?
Too many people are reacting with extreme seriousness to this whole situation. Stop. Let’s have fun with a prime example of the fallibility of humanity. After all, the only thing separating those two from the morally-upright-citizens-regiment is circumstance. Frankly, we should be thrilled that neither of them has the title “Reverend,” as with most stories of this nature.
So, let’s go “All In” with some unwashed trivia.
Does the Military Have Jurisdiction?
Here’s our trivia question. And, I think this is a pretty good one.
Can Mr. Petraeus be given a court-martial for committing adultery? After all, he is retired and no longer wearing a uniform on a regular basis. He is entitled to military retirement pay and benefits as a result.
First, what is adultery?
The elements of the crime are as follows (Article 134 of the Uniform Code of Military Justice):
1. That the accused wrongfully had sexual intercourse with a certain person;
2. That, at the time, the accused or the other person was married to someone else; and
3. That, under the circumstances, the conduct of the accused was to the prejudice of good order and discipline in the armed forces or was of a nature to bring discredit upon the armed forces.
So, knowing that the evidentiary hurdle for establishing element 3 is extraordinarily low, 1 and 2 are easily met by the General’s own confession.
The big question is whether the military has jurisdiction.
Article 2 of the Uniform Code of Military Justice answers the question for us.
a. The following persons are subject to this chapter:
4. Retired members of a regular component of the armed forces who are entitled to pay.
So, the answer is yes. General Petraeus could be recalled to active duty for the purposes of holding him accountable for the military crime of adultery. Of course, this is highly unlikely given the bureaucratic nightmare that is recalling someone back to the active rolls (not to mention the unnecessary and burdensome media attention). However, this is trivia. We’re not worried about probability, only possibility.
So, what about his paramour?
November 7, 2012 § 4 Comments
Let me describe a hypothetical candidate for Congress. Then, you tell me if you’d vote for him/her.
- Absent from office since June 2012 with no return date known (initially, his whereabouts were unknown to the public he purported to zealously represent as a lawmaker).
- Diagnosed this year with “mood disorder” and bipolar disorder.
- Something about a Peruvian hostess.
- Implicated in the Senate-seat-selling scandal of Rod Blagojevich.
- Currently the subject of a Congressional Ethics Investigation.
- Previously implicated in an FBI investigation.
- Currently the subject of an FBI criminal investigation.
- Previously named one of the 15 most corrupt members of Congress by liberal group Citizens for Responsibility and Ethics in Washington.
So, would you?
If you would, you would get-along just peachy with 60% of voters in the Second Congressional District of Illinois.
November 5, 2012 § 4 Comments
The staff at UA met and decided to officially endorse the following individuals in presidential and congressional races across the nation:
President of the United States:
House of Representatives:
We support these individuals because of their firm grasp of current events, unwavering (yet pragmatic) principles, mastery of logic, and dedication to duty.
So, congratulations to everyone who earned our endorsement. You deserve it.