Thursday, September 28, 2006

Ignorance is Bliss

The link below will send you to an article by Dahlia Lithwick at Interesting reading.

Wednesday, September 27, 2006

Straight to the Top

I was mystified and amused to see than less than a week from the inauguration of my blog site, it was the first result in a Google search for its title. I guess it is true that everything worth knowing is found on Google.

On the flipside, no one has visited the site since Monday.

Monday, September 25, 2006

The Federal Judge Song

Folks, I'm apparently the number one result for a Google search for the Federal Judge Song. I'm sorry, but this link doesn't work anymore, and I can't find another source for the song. If you find one, let me know in the comments and I link to it for the benefit of your fellow surfers.

The link below is a must listen for those of you in the law biz. Just plain funny for everyone else.

Coercion, Torture, Clarification, Interpretation and Due Process

The Bush Administration and three prominent Republican senators recently announced their compromise on the allowed limits of coercion (torture) and the allowed limitation of due process when dealing with detainees (terrorists, combatants, suspects).

I don't have much to say about the first compromise, beyond the observation that coercion/torture, rightly or wrongly, has always taken place and will take place in the future regardless of how it is defined, interpreted or clarified. It is interesting to note that the allowed limit now appears to differ depending on the affiliation of the actor: Military personnel at Abu Grave (phonetic) are court-marshaled for revealed mistreatment of prisoners; but, the CIA sends prisoners to Guantanamo from secret prisons, no one asks what happened to them there and the Administration becomes very interested in clarifying what the CIA can do without subsequent fear of prosecution.

With respect to the second compromise, detainees, against whom charges are brought, apparantly will be entitled to hear sanitized summaries of evidence and testimony against them(Detainees not charged, will apparantly sit in Guantanamo with no ability to challenge their incarcaration). Since the defendant will not see the actual evidence or hear the actual testimony, there seems to be no way to cross-examine, impeach or otherwise mount an effective defense.

The Bush Administration, and now the senior Republican leadership, trust no one when it comes to their pursuit of national security, not even the Third Branch, the Federal Judiciary. What threat to national security is posed by a United States District Court Judge (subject to appellate review) reviewing the authenticity of evidence and hearing actual testimony by witnesses, then redacting information or concealing the identity of a witness where there is a probability that divulging the information or identity will harm national security in his or her independant judgment? Our national security interest is protected and the defendant gets a somewhat fairer trial. Who or what is harmed?

Sunday, September 24, 2006


Recently I bought toner for my printer, installed it, and, 3 days later, it was low on ink (buy HP not the Office Depot brand).

I took it back to the store with a sample of the poor printing and the original receipt. The return had to be authorized by a manager. I got an HP toner cartridge which cost $11.00 more - the start of my slide to curmudgeondy.

The young lady at the cash register scanned the old and new boxe labels and advised that I owed an additional $15.34 (the screen did show that total - $11.00 plus $4.34 in tax). Since the price differential was $11.00 and sales tax in DeKalb County, Ga. is 7%, I told her that I owed $11.77. She looked at me blankly. I gave it another shot. The old toner was $54.99. The new toner is $65.99. The difference is $11.00. Tax is 7%, hence (no I did not use that word) I owe you $11.00 plus $.77 in tax or $11.77. More blankness; but, I made progress as she called over another manager.

The manager was 40ish (so this does not constitute a diatribe against just today's youth). She looked at the screen and confirmed that I owed another $15.34. It only took one explanation for her to understand that the tax on $11.00 was not $4.34. She then, practically, reduced the price by $2.00 and announced that I owed $13.34, the new difference of $9.00 plus that $4.34 in tax that the pesky cash register still insisted that I owed (now I rail against the machine). I repeated my calculations. She returned to the register and announced that I owed $11.34 (she reduced the $9.00 to $7.00. The machine still got its $4.34 in tax). I thought about insisting that I owed $11.77 but thought better of it. I told her she had a deal and gave her the money.

I am not a victor in this exchange. I now have my toner, paid $.43 too little tax, BUT, I have a receipt that says I returned the $54.99 toner and paid them $11.34 for the new toner. So much for my chances in a tax audit (will this contemporaneous document help me with convincing the examiner?)

Friday, September 22, 2006


Should anyone happen upon this blog, you may safely move on. I created it about five minutes ago and I am playing with it to learn how to do this. Come back in a month or so. It will either be gone due to lack of interest or ability on my part; or, there might be something here to interest you.