Monday, February 20, 2017

Long Absence Explained

Sorry for the long absence from posting. I've been really busy starting my own law firm, coaching tee ball, and generally living life with my wonderful family. Sorry for the lack of posts.

To apologize, here's a picture of a dog relaxing.

Tuesday, February 14, 2017

Flynn out as NSA

Mike Flynn is out as national security adviser.

Eh, probably not a bad thing. Not sure Patreus is the right fit for the job, either. Can't anyone here play this game?

Monday, February 13, 2017

Tee Ball Coaching

It's been a busy time for me, as I am now the coach of our son's tee ball team. Our first practice was yesterday afternoon, which was nice as the temperature on February 12 was in the neighborhood of 78 degrees. Prime baseball weather.

Here's hoping everyone has a productive Monday. Keep your eye on the ball.

Thursday, February 9, 2017

How to Fix the Education System

To make it two British related posts in a row, I thought I'd share this short clip of how the British Prime Minister decided to fix the educational system.

It's so crazy, it just might work.

Wednesday, February 8, 2017

Theresa May to Decide on Brexit

Just so you don't think we're so provincial here, there is news outside of the United States. Today, the British Parliament voted to give Prime Minister Theresa May the ability to take the UK out of the EU.

It will be interesting to see if the US and the UK form a strong trading partnership in the wake of a Brexit.

So apparently, a few people liked this...

In response to this from our President, I subtweeted today.

And it got a ton of ReTweets and likes. So I thought I'd pass it along to the blog audience. Carry on.

Tuesday, February 7, 2017

The Most American Bike You've Ever Seen

I came across this motorcycle today while helping a friend run some errands. He had to drop off his car at a place to get the seats redone. Next door was an auto body paint shop. Got talking to the owner about this bike he had out front. He painted this motorcycle eighteen years ago.

I'm no expert, but I'm guessing it was made in America.

Monday, February 6, 2017

Brady's Super Bowl Jersey Stolen?

Tom Brady says someone stole his Super Bowl LI jersey after the game.

Isn't this kind of like stealing a famous piece of art? For example, if you stole the Mona Lisa you can't sell it, because everybody would know it's not yours to sell. And nobody would buy it anyway, because everyone knows it's stolen property.

Friday, February 3, 2017

Trump's Political Blitz

It's certainly been a busy first few weeks of the Trump administration. Fay Voshell at American Thinker makes an interesting analogy:

The president is putting into play a classic military maneuver applied to politics: keep going on a total and accelerated offensive no matter what in order to keep your enemy digging foxholes and putting up barriers -- while all the while they actually are being forced to slowly retreat under the onslaught, screaming and holding up protest placards all the way to the back of the line.

Democrats are unused to a total war offensive, as they have relied on relentless guerilla warfare and the long march. They are even more unused to being on the defensive, and are ill-prepared to fight defensively. They are aghast over the Trump tactics being applied against them, are assuming the old weapons once applied so effectively against their political enemies still work.
Trump has referenced how much he likes Patton numerous times. Accordingly, it's amazing that Voshell gets through her entire piece without a reference to Patton - who famously advocated for and employed this same sort of strategy of keeping an opponent on his heels. Despite this obvious missed opportunity, it's not a bad piece.

Go read the whole thing.

Dept. of Education Gives Failing Grade to...Itself


Huh, so just sending people billions of dollars didn't actually accomplish anything? Gee, I wonder if we should keep doing that. Or maybe should we try something else?

Everyone wants public schools to get better. Everyone wants well-educated children. When do we admit that maybe we should try something else?

Gif of our current policy below the jump.

Thursday, February 2, 2017

Thursday Open Thread

Been working all day. Mediation, and had to prepare for Court tomorrow. Accordingly, you'll get an open thread. Lots of work got done today.

Wednesday, February 1, 2017

Supreme Court Nominee - Neil M. Gorsuch

Just to start off with, if you read my blog regularly, you might recall that I picked up on Gorsuch being the frontrunner back on 1/23. So, you know...kudos to me.

I think this is a great pick by Trump, and it's another campaign promise kept. For all the things he's wrong on (and it's a good bit) I'm very happy that Hillary Clinton wasn't the one announcing her nominee last night.

Gorsuch is a great pick. He's going to be very much in the mold of Scalia, in that he's going to hew to the letter of the law regardless of where that outcome takes him - and that's exactly what you want in a judge. One line that Gorsuch had in his acceptance speech last night, which I tweeted out was:

As a practicing trial lawyer, I can tell you that it's wonderful to have a judge who will follow the letter of the law, rather than try to figure out what outcome they want, and then working backwards to get there. The proper role of a judge is to apply the law faithfully, fairly, and without any intent to reach an outcome they prefer. With Gorsuch, that's what we will all have on the Supreme Court, and we can't ask for anything better.

Tuesday, January 31, 2017

Top Headlines - Tuesday January 31, 2017

Lately, I've been busy with a personal project that has taken up lots of my otherwise free time. Accordingly, I've been sort of phoning it in with the blogging lately. Hopefully, I can get some time to get some good content up because there's certainly lots of news out there. Here's what I'm seeing today.

1. Trump fires Acting AG. Sort of the same situation as the clerk in Indiana (or wherever) who wouldn't do her job because she disagreed with it on a moral basis. Can't really do that. This Acting AG should have resigned, but she wanted to make a statement a/k/a grandstand, so she got fired. 

2. Trump to announce SCOTUS nominee today. Actually, he's going to do it in tonight, in primetime. For the ratings, I guess. It's truly a television age. It sounds like the Democrats are going to object no matter who is selected.

3. Iran conducted a ballistic missile test in violation of UN resolution. Great. It's not like Iran wasn't already getting too big for it's britches with all their aggressive actions. I'm sure they'll be really interested in moderating things now, right?

That's all I've got for now, campers. Everyone try to be nice to each other and don't burn the house down.

Monday, January 30, 2017

Monday Open Thread

Sailing Ships at Dawn - Konstantinos Volanakis 
Happy Monday, campers. It's cold out there today, so don't forget your booties.

Friday, January 27, 2017

Thoughts after Week One of President Trump

So it's been a week of Trump. I don't believe any nuclear war has broken out, and I don't think the re-education camps are up and running yet, but hey, it's early. Who knows what week two will bring.

The nice thing is, I didn't vote for Trump. I'm not tied to him. I have no investment in him which I need to defend. I also didn't vote for Hillary, so I don't have to go around lighting my hair on fire every time a few people at the State Department leave so I can try and somehow make the argument that Trump is a failure. I don't have to pass around false stories that the GOP is going to be selling off National Parks. I don't have to pass around false stories about a .27 cent foreclosure. (Keep it up, though, lefties. It's entertaining.)

Trump is wrong-headed about a lot of things. Not everything, but some things. He's wrong on foreign policy and wrong on trade, two give two specifics. I'm not sure we need a wall either. I'm not convinced it will make much of a difference, but I'm pretty sure it won't make things worse, either.

However, there is one thing I like about his Presidency so far: He's taking the rules created by the left over the last eight years and applying them to the left as equally and punitively as they have applied them to the right.

I do civil litigation for a living, which basically means I argue with people and advocate for my clients. In lots of cases, we end up settling the case. That's just the nature of the legal system these days. Contested trials are pretty rare. During settlement negotiations, I'm always trying to convince the other side why I'm right and why they should concede certain things. I'm directly engaging the opposing party/counsel and trying to convince them they are wrong (or at least not as right as they think they are).

However, every once in awhile I get an opposing party/opposing counsel that I just can't reason with. When I finally realize there's no reasoning with them, and that no settlement is possible, I stop trying to convince them that I'm right.

Why? It's a waste of time. It's not necessary anymore because they stop being my target audience. My target audience that point becomes the judge and jury because they are the only people who I need to convince. In a way, it's freeing. I don't have to argue with the other side anymore, I just make my case to the court and try to be a better advocate than the other guy.

That's where we are in politics these days. There's really nothing that either side can do to really convince the other side of anything. There's no point in having committed Democrats make arguments to committed Republicans, and vice-versa. It's mostly a big waste of time. I'm not going to some of my really good friends' minds because they're committed Democrats. And they know they probably won't convince me of much, either. We've all pretty much already made up our minds. And that's okay. We don't have to all agree,and we don't have only politics to talk about.

However, national politics has been in a state of affairs where total war has been declared. The left, supported by with the power of the Presidency, Congress for a few years, journalists, and other fellow travelers have been carrying it out for the last eight years. A few examples:

1. Memories Pizza being driven out of business.
2. IRS targeting of Tea Party groups
3. "I won. Deal with it"
4. "Ride in the back of the bus"
5. "Elections have consequences"
6. Shoving the ACA through using every parliamentary trick available.
7. "I've got a pen and a phone"
8. Killing the filibuster in the Senate
9. Everyone opposed to Obama is a racist.
10. Everyone opposed to Hillary is a sexist.

Democrats were so confident they'd be in perpetual power, they didn't stop and think about the precedents they were setting and the norms they were breaking. They never stopped to consider if the GOP might use these same sort of scorched earth tactics, too. But now the shoe is on the other foot - at least for a little while.

And yes, all glory is fleeting, so I'm sure the GOP won't be in power forever. I have an understanding of history to know that. But spare me the calls for a ceasefire now that your side is out of ammo. Sorry, fellas. Fair's fair.

I've gotten to the point where my offer is this to the left: Nothing. Not even the fee for the gaming licence, which I would appreciate them putting up personally.

That's probably a bit cold-hearted of me, but that's how I feel.

Wednesday, January 25, 2017

Patrick O'Brian Quotes about Lawyers and the Law

As you may (or may not) know, I'm going through Patrick O'Brian's Aubrey-Maturin series. I've just finished The Reverse of the Medal, which is the eleventh book in the series of twenty one.

The series is set during the Napoleonic wars, and centers on the exploits of a British naval officer (Jack Aubrey) and his friend (Stephen Maturin), who is an intelligence agent. It's wonderful writing, and I've been enjoying it thoroughly. Although most of the action takes place at sea, the most recent novel deals with Aubrey's being framed for a stock exchange fraud and the civil trial that ensues. It allows O'Brian to give some wonderful commentary on the legal system. Here are a couple of my favorite quotations:

On lawyers: "I do not say that lawyers are bad, but I do maintain that the general tendency is bad; standing up in court for whichever side has paid you, affecting warmth and conviction, and doing everything you can to win a case, whatever your private opinion may be, will soon dull a fine sense of honor."

On truth in the law: "What should like is simply to have my say, like a man called before his captain, and tell the judge and jury just what happened. Everyone agrees that there is nothing fairer than English justice, and if I tell them the plain truth, I am sure I shall be believed"

On the complexity of the law: "It is a game that has been going on for hundreds and hundreds of years, growing more tortuous with every generation, the rules multiplying, the precedents accumulating, equity interfering, statues galore, and now it is such a bitter tangle that a layman is perfectly helpless."

The ideal of the law: "For him they [certain complex civil cases] do not represent the real law at all, but only the technical warfare of pettifogging attorneys. For him the law is something much simpler and more direct - the wise impartial judge, the jury of decent fair-minded men, with perhaps a few barristers to speak for the inarticulate and ask questions designed to bring out the truth, probing questions that he is happy to answer." 

One Third of Californians Ready to Seceed

The ruins of Columbia, SC after Sherman's burning in 1865. This is the view from what was the statehouse.

As a friendly reminder to everyone in California, South Carolina tried secession once. It didn't really work out so well for us.