Sunday, November 29, 2009

My Sunday Feeling

No post today. My Mother is not long for this world.

Which I guess is a post of sorts.

I will be back someday.

Sunday, November 22, 2009

Vox Populi: The Notre Dame Fan

Here is last night's text conversation between me and a friend who roots for the Irish who inexplicably lost again yesterday, this time to traditional basketball power UConn who has only been playing DI football since 2002 or something.

Me: Looks like the end for Charlie Weis.

NDF: Come home, Urban.

Me: Urban Meyer would be insane to leave Florida for the 24/7 psychodrama that is Notre Dame football. My personal choice for that job would be Jim Harbaugh if only to prove that the Irish would still suck with a white coach from Stanford. Besides, the Chicago papers say the coach at Cincinnati has the inside track.

NDF: That's what I've heard. I'm saying a novena for Urban.

Me: After all, why waste them on the sick and the poor?

NDF: That's what they're for, asshole.

Me: Ah! Might I suggest that ecumenicism is not exactly your strong suit?

I got no response. Somewhere Ty Willingham and Bob Davie are laughing their asses off.

My Sunday Feeling

I suppose, like Wal-Mart and Dillards, I might be accused of rushing the season. But here are my annual Reasons to Hate the Holidays.

1) Office Christmas parties.

2) Christmas parties.

3) Christmas music

4) Religious Christmas music, (and no I'm not being redundant) especially those exceedingly dreadful Christmas "cantatas."

5) Forced quality time with relatives.

6) Fruitcake.

7) Tedious debates concerning the appropriateness of graven images festooned upon public property.

8) Andy Williams

9) Christmas lights

10) Miniature "Dickens Villages" in front yards. Didn't anybody around here read "Bleak House?" When I think of Dickens I think of tuberculosis. I do not think quaint, happy thoughts.

11) Christmas specials on TV.

12) Presidential proclamations. Believe it or not, Jefferson and Madison thought such official pronouncements on religion as an inappropriate comingling of church and state. It's true. You could look it up.

13) School buses full of kids from the sticks clogging up Woodlane Avenue in front of the State Capitol making it hard for me to cut through on my way to lunch back in Hillcrest.

14) Business failures come January.

15) Reluctance on the part of the Courts to evict deadbeats during this time of year.

16) Buying presents.

17) Returning presents.

18) The inevitable spike in consumer bankruptcies that will take place @ February.

19) "The Little Drummer Boy."

20) Oh. Before I forget, "Hallelujah!' is from the damn Easter Section of "Messiah." Not the Christmas section.

21) Cranberries and cranberry sauce.

22) Christmas cards. I once got a Christmas card from a private investigator who once served me with a subpoena to appear in Court concerning a rather difficult child custody matter. It still hangs on the wall in my kitchen as a silent reminder to me that some people are way too much trouble than they are worth.

23) Drunks calling at midnight.

24) Branson.

25) I really do have a framed subpoena on a wall in my kitchen. No foolin'.

26) TV ads for car dealers and jewelers. Who buys jewelry at the mall anyway? Probably the same idiots that buy golf equipment at Sports Authority.

27) "The Night Before Christmas."

28) Even the dirty version.

29) The "orderly account" of the Nativity in the Gospel according to St. Luke. Which is anything but.

30) People referring to "Messiah" as " Handel's Messiah." Quick. Name another one.

Of course, I have engaged in hyperbole here. There are some good things about the Holidays. It comes but once a year. The tablepiece caught on fire two years ago at my brother John's house. That was fun.

And Bing Crosby's dead. That's about it.

Happy Holidays!

Saturday, November 21, 2009

Vox Populi: The Country Banker

Me: Hello?

CB: Can I park at your house for the game?

Me: Sure. I don't care.

CB: You ain't goin'?

Me: Nah. It's on TV. I got stuff to do around here.

CB: You live at (insert address here)? Right?

Me: How did you remember that?

CB: I got a lien on your house.

Me: Oh yeah.

CB: That's nothin'. Susan back at the bank that actually closed the loan has your ass on her GPS in case she has to make a quick trip to Little Rock to discuss things.

Me: Y'all's faith in me is humbling.

CB: Bidness is bidness. See you in an hour.

Me: You can park in the driveway. You got a lien on that too.

Sunday, November 15, 2009

My Sunday Feeling

Curtis Vance caught two consecutive life terms from a Pulaski County jury that convicted him for the murder of local television personality Anne Pressly. He also was received another 20 years or so for burglary.

I am no criminal lawyer. But it seemed to me that the defense's strategy was not to piss the jury off in order to keep him off Death Row when it got to the penalty phase of the trial. And the fact of his guilt was never seriously in question to my mind. He foolishly gave 3 confessions to the police. DNA matched him up to both this crime and another rape in the little town of Marianna where a detective played a hunch and brought the knucklehead in for questioning for the rape there and ultimately tipped off the police here. Not enough credit has been given the Marianna PD for the solid police work that led to Vance's apprehension.

In any event, the only question to my mind, and to the minds of most other lawyers that I spoke to, was whether Vance would get the death penalty or spend the rest of his days in the joint. One of my criminal lawyer friends said on Facebook that as a "whodunit" the Curtis Vance case was not even particularly interesting.

Ah yes. Facebook. Where the pulse of the zeitgeist may be regularly taken on any subject on any particular day. And judging from the comments I read during the trial, there's a lot of people had what I perceive to be an unusual sense of personal vindication at the outcome of the trial. I know people in the media that were friends with Anne Pressly. By all accounts, and I mean all accounts, for all of her incandescent beauty she was a sober, religious and exceedingly proper young woman.

Her death was exquisitely brutal. She was raped and quite literally beaten to a pulp in a rent house situated in a neighborhood where violent crime is virtually unknown. The incomprehensible violence visited upon this woman in her bed created a spasm of fear in the Heights-Hillcrest part of Little Rock. The sale of handguns spiked. Women in the neighborhood took self defense classes. Women who thought nothing of walking alone started buddying up with their neighbors.

And so relief at the arrest and conviction of the man who killed a beloved public figure and created a panic among law abiding citizens is entirely appropriate. A feeling of personal vindication is not.

Some of the statements in the media and on Facebook have been nothing if not irresponsible. Pressly's mother was quoted as being angry with the defense lawyers for "protecting" the man that killed her daughter. She has been the model of grace and comportment up until now. Her wild grief has colored the better judgment she has historically displayed. In my book, she gets a pass.

Not so the Facebook posters who have stated that God moved the jury to convict (no disrespect to God, but Vance's big mouth helped the jury just as much), who have said that Vance deserves no more appeals or that they should have shot him right there in the Courtroom after the guilty verdict was read.

The people that write such things forget that there is a difference between punishment and vengeance. The criminal justice system attempts to mete out penalties that are proportionate to the offense, taking all the aggravating and mitigating factors into account. This is the job of the 12 people on the jury after they are instructed by the Judge.

Vengeance is personal. Criminal liability is the result of numerous factors only one of which is the act complained of.

From what I can tell everybody did their jobs. The Judge kept the proceedings from becoming a circus. The prosecution got a dangerous man off the streets for good and the defense kept him off Death Row.

No possible outcome in the Courtroom would have brought Anne Pressly back to her friends and family. Neither will irresponsible commentary from those who confuse the rule of law with vengeance.

Friday, November 13, 2009

The Book Thrown

Evangelist, pamphleteer and major creep Tony Alamo caught 175 years from US District Judge Harry Barnes today. He was convicted of numerous counts of crossing a state line to transport minors in order to have sex with them.

He shouldn't despair. His lawyers will argue on appeal that the sentence is excessive. Why, with any luck the Eighth Circuit might cut his sentence back to a more clement 90 or so.

Have fun in prison, Bernie!

Wednesday, November 11, 2009

A Whiter Shade Of Pale

Just when you thought you had heard the last of steroid using knucklehead Sammy Sosa, he has reemerged. And this time as a less sepia toned version of his former steroid using knucklehead self. He claims his bizarre appearance is due to a reaction to a cream he uses on his face. It is either that or the dude needs to get a little more sun on his face now that he is retired. Or maybe he is iron deficient.

Or maybe all those years of steroids has turned him into a white guy. If that's the case I have news for him. Being a white guy is not all it's cracked up to be. Rush Limbaugh, Sarah Palin and Cole Hamels are all white. You think I'm proud to be part of that demographic? Go see a dermatologist.

But not the one Wacko used.

Here's the AP story on the jump:

Monday, November 09, 2009

Vox Populi: The Taciturn Cardiologist

TC: I remember now that our birthdays are close together.

Me: Oh yeah. I forgot.

TC: Happy Birthday.

Me: Happy Birthday to you.

TC: Thank you.

Me: Thank you.

TC: OK. Now that we got that bullshit out of the way......

Saturday, November 07, 2009

Duty Calls

The usual Sunday offering will not be available this weekend as I am off to Heber Springs to attend a wedding.

Talk among yourself.

Sunday, November 01, 2009

My Sunday Feeling

The Birthers are downright apoplectic over the latest setback. As was reported here last Thursday, a Federal Judge in California granted the Government's Motion to Dismiss. You can find the case in last week's post on the subject. The lead attorney for the Birthers is a dentist/lawyer/real estate agent named Orly Taitz. Predictably, she has her own website which you can access here: .

If you will examine the response by Dr. Taitz Esquire to the post I Am Very Angry you will read that evidently she attempted to sue the President as an individual. I deduce this by her statement "I am not obligated to serve the US Attorney as I sued Obama as an individual for fraud that he committed as an individual." Evidently, and without going through the docket, the Department of Justice stepped in and substituted the United States as the Defendant instead of the named Defendants in their individual capacity.

As Rocky the Flying Squirrel used to say, "That trick never works."

First of all, the Birthers and other crackpot litigants have a unique conception of both what a filing fee will get you and what constitutes "fraud." The last time I was personally set upon by nutbar Pro Se Plaintiffs was around Y2K. They filed suit against me and other members of a Board I served on. Our lawyer-who was basically me-filed a Motion to Dismiss for various reasons. Our Motion was sent back to us by the Plaintiff stamped "Refused for Fraud."

I was curious about this, having never had a pleading refused for fraud or for any other reason and so I went to that well known repository of all things nuts-the Internet-to find out what was happening in the land of tin foil hats. Turns out there is a theory-concocted out of whole cloth-that the payment of a filing fee is a contract between the Plaintiff and the Court that means Plaintiff is immune from dispositive motions and gets a trial on the merits of any claim.

Secondly, "fraud" is a pretty expansive cause of action for these folks and basically means "anything Defendant did that we don't like." In the case that just got dismissed the fraud allegedly perpetrated by Obama is that he was not eligible to be President because he was born in Kenya.

Anyway, what I suspect happened was that the tried to get a Default Judgment entered against Obama when he didn't file an Answer within thirty days. The flaw with this theory-or one of them anyway-is that the United States gets sixty days to respond. If I have seen this stunt tried once I have seen it a hundred times.

The argument goes like this: I sued Obama not in his capacity as President but as an individual. Therefore the United States wrongfully substituted and (in this case) I am entitled to my Default Judgment because he didn't answer timely.

The defense probably went something like this: The lawsuit seeks to remove not only Barack Obama as President but most of the Cabinet. How could this suit against him not be in his official capacity as President since there is no other capacity in which he can so serve?

Ah, but to the Birthers and their ilk repose trust in what I call the "magic word" theory of law. If I say I am suing Obama as an individual then that is dispositive of the issue of his capacity. Which is, of course, ridiculous. And the Government soon resorted to the arsenal of technical defenses at its disposal, jurisdictional defenses, failure to state a claim upon which relief can be granted, and Boy This Is Stupid. And there's nothing the nutbar litigant hates worse than a successful technical defense. Because then he doesn't get to go to Court and tell The Truth.

If you will go back to the Taitz's website you will note the usual reaction from the Birthers. The judge that ruled against them took a bribe. The judge was somehow "gotten to." The judge should be impeached. The judge lied to them at the start of the case by saying they would get a trial on the merits which I do not for a moment believe actually happened.

Everything but " Hey, these theories aren't working. Maybe we should cool it for awhile before I got sanctioned again." Or "Maybe I should just stick to dentistry."

But we all know this will never happen. Because it's all a conspiracy.

And there will always be those that are committed to The Truth. No matter what the facts are.