Category: Personal Blog (Page 1 of 27)

Get Ahead of Generational Inflation

“I think this is the most extraordinary collection of talent, of human knowledge, that has ever been gathered at the White House, with the possible exception of when Thomas Jefferson dined alone.” — John F. Kennedy in 1962 while dining with 49 Nobel Laureates

“Fuck Thomas Jefferson.  He owned slaves.” — Your average bonehead

I’ve spent a lot of my life studying the founding fathers and the early republic.  In schools today they’re taught in two different forms:  1)  solemn reverence and 2) disregard and scorn.

These are both wrong ways to teach about the founders and other canonized leaders.  The first is wrong because it elevates them above us, as though their accomplishments are unattainable by us modern mortals.  Why reach for greatness if it is surely out of our grasp?

But it isn’t the first group I am here addressing.  It’s the second.  I don’t know how many times I’ve been in a conversation with a person, mentioned a great idea or deed by Washington or Jefferson and was immediately dismissed because the men were slave owners.

However, most of these people advocate various forms of slavery.  Recently John Stewart was quoted as suggesting a return of the draft.  This is a pretty popular concept not only with progressives, but also conservatives.  The only separating matter is whether the draft would be military or civil in nature.

Today, Supreme Court Justice Sandra Sotomayor advocated mandatory pro bono service for attorneys.

Allow me to recite the 13th Amendment:

Section 1. Neither slavery nor involuntary servitude, except as a punishment for crime whereof the party shall have been duly convicted, shall exist within the United States, or any place subject to their jurisdiction.

Section 2. Congress shall have power to enforce this article by appropriate legislation.

Now, I’m certainly not the only person to suggest that the draft was unconstitutional.  Indeed, it’s been argued in front of the Supreme Court and summarily laughed out of the court despite just how obvious a violation it is to force men to labor against their will.  The court’s argument was simply, “Nuh huh, it isn’t slavery or involuntary servitude because we need it.”  This sort of sound legal thinking is why I’m glad we have a Bar Association holding the line on legal ethics and professional development.

It’s also why a sitting justice can advocate involuntary servitude and not immediately be laughed at.  “Because we want it” is a legal argument that has stood the test of time since the first ruler enacted his first tax on a free man.

Gary Johnson is the presumptive presidential nominee for the libertarian party.  And yet he is advocating the imposition of anti-discrimination laws saying that the jewish baker should be required to bake the cake for the Nazi customer.  How is it that even so-called libertarians cannot see past their generation’s version of slavery?

What these people are caught up in is generational inflation.  The modern man may advocate slavery or involuntary servitude, but look with scorn upon those men of the past as though they are somehow less intelligent or more barbaric.  He’s completely oblivious to the fact that there has been no intellectual growth — he’s at the same place intellectually as the men of the past — he’s supporting forcing people to work against their will.  Now, if he wants to advocate the draft or compelling me to free work, then so be it.  But do not damn Thomas Jefferson for being a slave owner.  He was simply performing as a man of his time, just as draft advocates are today.

It should be our goal to get ahead of generational inflation.  That means we have to not just do the same bad things as before under a new justification or with only the veneer of growth, but rather let us think independently, embrace the good, and abandon the bad.  That is going to require us to always be in a place of intellectual insecurity.  Question your sacred ideals and embrace the possibility that you’re wrong.  It is my standard assumption in my ideals that I’m probably correct 75% of the time.  I figure that that means I’m pretty full of myself, but it also means that I’m wrong…. a lot.  It means that I’m constantly in a place where I have to reevaluate my beliefs constantly.  Insecurity, especially intellectual insecurity, is not fun, but it’s the only way to grow.  Be intellectually proactive, not simply reactive to your times.


Be Careful Who You Live With

The Supreme Court has issued another opinion on the Fourth Amendment, and *gasp*it further dilutes one of the most valuable liberties you have.  No surprise here.  Just in the short time this blog has been running you can see posts regarding the further degradation of the 4th.  The entire body of 4A jurisprudence is a whimsical walk down the erosion of your freedoms.  Don’t worry, there will be many more awful decisions to come.  You can find the full text of Fernandez v. California here:

First, a quick recitation of the facts:  Cops are told that their suspect is an an apartment.  They go to the apartment and a beaten woman answers the door.  They seek to do a protective sweep of the apartment but the suspect appears and tells the cops they can’t search his apartment.  The cops, with probable cause to believe he’d beaten the woman, arrest him.  They then return after they had taken the suspect to jail, and the woman consents to the apartment search which yields evidence of criminal activity.

Here’s the important fact:  the suspect already told the officers no.  They returned and got a yes after he was arrested.

This case focuses heavily on a few other cases, the largest being Georgia v. Randolf , 547 U.S. 103 (2006).  The main holding in that case was that if a person was present to tell the cops no, then another person could not give the cops consent.  The cases are similar, except here, the cops took the guy who said no, and arrested him, then came back and got their yes.

Next I’ll hit some main points in Justice Alito’s decision.

“And even where the police could establish probable cause, requiring a warrant despite the owner’s consent would needlessly inconvenience everyone involved—not only the officers and the magistrate but also the occupant of the premises, who would generally either be compelled or would feel a need to stay until the search was completed. Michigan v. Summers, 452 U. S. 692, 701 (1981)”

That’s correct, when your Supreme Court considers whether or not the 4th Amendment should be called to protect you, they’re considering “convenience”.

“As the Court put it, ‘the consent of one who possesses common authority over premises or effects is valid as against the absent, nonconsenting person with whom that authority is shared.’ ” United States v. Matlock, 415 U. S. 164 (1974).

This is true, and while I believe a wrong decision, it is key to the Court’s holding in this case.

What they aren’t strongly considering is the holding in Randolph where they stated, “a physically present inhabitant’s express refusal of consent to a police search [of his home] is dispositive as to him, regardless of the consent of a fellow occupant.”  They aren’t overruling that holding; they’re placing far too much weight in the physical presence part.

Basically, they’re still onto the idea that if multiple tenants are present, the cops can’t just keep asking all the tenants until they get a yes, the Randolph holding, but that in this case, the no vote was gone, never mind that they made him go away.

Then there’s the added issue that comes with what is called the “good faith exception”.  Under this exception, an officer can make a mistake of fact, but still have that evidence admitted so long as he didn’t violate your rights on purpose.  Fortunately, the state of Idaho at least recognizes just how silly a rule this is and we don’t recognize it, but that isn’t going to help you on the federal level.  So when the officer approaches and gets permission to search your house from, say, an angry girlfriend, a neighbor, pretty much anyone, so long as that officer doesn’t KNOW that they didn’t have the right to give consent, that evidence can be admitted (again, not in Idaho).  In fact, the Court cites to another case, Illinois v. Rodriguez, 497 U.S. 177 (1990) where this very thing happened.  The cops wrongly assumed a person who gave consent to search was still a resident.  Yet because their assumption was a reasonable one, evidence was still admitted.

So the Defendant felt that he was protected under the 4th Amendment for 2 reasons:  1) because he did not allow the officers consent, so they removed him.  He feels that the other tenant’s consent is not valid then, as in the Randoloph holding; and 2) that his previous objection denying them consent was sufficient.

To the first point the court holds that “We therefore hold that an occupant who is absent due to a lawful detention or arrest stands in the same shoes as an occupant who is absent for any other reason.”

This is a decent statement of law so long as you accept the idea that the Matlock holding was correct giving each tenant the right to give consent.  I would say that the 4th Amendment requires informed consent from all parties, but I’m not a justice so we’ll just play along.  However, the above holding just doesn’t fit the facts of the case very well.  Why a tenant is gone shouldn’t matter, UNLESS, it’s because the cops physically removed him.  It’s almost like the joke from Ron White where he is arrested for being drunk in public after he was thrown out of the bar, “Hey, I was drunk in a bar.  They threw me into public.  I don’t wanna be drunk in public.  I want to drunk in a bar”:

The second argument is dismissed by the Court also on grounds of convenience.

“Suppose that a husband and wife owned a house as joint tenants and that the husband, after objecting to a search of the house, was convicted and sentenced to a 15-year prison term. Under petitioner’s proposed rule, the wife would be unable to consent to a search of the house 10 years after the date on which her husband objected. We refuse to stretch Randolph to such strange lengths.”  They then refuse to use the term “a reasonable amount of time”.

It appears that Justice Alito doesn’t understand that our Bill of Rights don’t exist in the name of convenience.  GET A WARRANT.  Let us consider this the above scenario.  Are you going to tell me that at no point during those 10-15 years would the officers be able to get a warrant?  Double so when you consider the case placed before the court.  The other tenant gave consent to a search of the house.  So you can now use an affidavit by her TO GET A WARRANT.  They’re removed any possibility of the suspect destroying evidence because he’s in county at this point.

The Bill of Rights is designed specifically to make life hard for government.  It’s there to protect us.

Everything that you need to know about this decision, and about the 4th Amendment as a whole is right here in Justice Ginsburg’s dissent: “The Court has accordingly declared warrantless searches, in the main, “per se unreasonable.  If this main rule is to remain hardy, the Court has explained, exceptions to the warrant requirement must be “few in number and carefully delineated.” (citations omitted for readability).

“Although the police have probable cause and could obtain a warrant with dispatch, if they can gain the con- sent of someone other than the suspect, why should the law insist on the formality of a warrant? Because the Framers saw the neutral magistrate as an essential part of the criminal process shielding all of us, good or bad, saint or sinner, from unchecked police activity.”

There are then a variety of property law arguments made, which are good, but not dispositive.

So, what does this mean to you?

Well, in his concurrence, Justice Thomas sums it up well:

“[c]o-occupants have ‘assumed the risk that one of their number might permit [a] common area to be searched.’” Ibid. (quoting United States v. Matlock, 415 U. S. 164, 171,(1974)).

So be careful who you choose to live with.  Be careful who you let into your home.  Many families have a fire plan.  Have a police contact plan.  Make sure each party understands that they are not to give consent to search.  And don’t go around beating up on women.  They might not care about protecting your sorry ass if you do.

It’s not Xenophobic; You’re a Baby

People are losing their fool heads over the new Cadillac commercial.  Watch it here really quick:

If you want a good laugh, go directly to the YouTube site and read the comments, or perhaps check this article out by Bustle:

Now, as if admitting that the writer has nothing of substance to say, she opens with a really big close up (and therefore having no possibility of being flattering) picture of the man, who admittedly has a mild creepiness to him.  I imagine this is why he played a bad guy in Justified.

Believe it or not, I’m not a fan of blind patriotism despite what you may think, especially after my last post.  But that has been replaced by this idea that simply hating on your country is a sufficient indicator of your intelligence and incorruptibility.  I’m not sure so much that we’re moving into a new era, or if it’s just easier to see what with the ease in a which many people can get a message out there.  But on the intellectual level, hating on a commercial such as this is the equivalent of jumping in with, “Yeah, but the book was better!” when someone compliments a movie.

If you’re denying that America is the greatest country on this planet then there are only 1 of 2 possible explanations:  1)  You simply don’t value the things that make our species great (art, science, general advancement of the species); or 2) You’re just insane.

As to 1):  I’m an American.  Odds are that I’m probably going to use more American cultural markers as a sign of my national and cultural superiority.  I suppose it’s possible to look at a country with a great welfare system, high quantity of leisure time, more (or less) religious influence, or more economic equality, and take that as a sign of that nation’s superiority.  But you’d be wrong.  At the end of the day, out there in the black is death, destruction, and the end of all mankind.  The culture that helps us survive it is the best culture.  Now if the 13th Imam is actually coming back, then I guess I’m wrong and Arab nations are the best.  But I think it’s safe to say that that’s probably not the case.  Additionally, it’s hard to call anything specifically an American cultural marker.  We’re probably the most diverse nation on the planet.

Now I’d like to hit on a few key thoughts in this person’s article:

“He goes on to note that other countries take August off. That also sounds nice, but it’s clear he thinks this is an insult.”

Yeah, because it IS an insult.  Work isn’t necessarily slaving away for “the man”.  It isn’t always the 9-5 at the factory or those mythical 80 hour weeks that everyone claims they have that they don’t.  Work can be your 9-5 then coming home and sitting on your computer typing out code for the next big iPhone app.  It can be playing your guitar instead of sitting on your ass in front of your television.  It could be making television.  It could be going to the gym and working out.  Work is production in this sense.  It’s making your atoms come together to create!  He points to this in the commercial by citing men who achieved greatness, not just laborers.

And herein is where the naysayers get lost.  They are the people who stunt growth.  They don’t understand that some people do more than work a 9-5.  Some people chase dreams.  There’s more to success than wearing your fingers to the bone.  Some of it is having the balls to chase a dream.  To take chances.  To decide to sell your silly possessions and put that money into a beat up race car to take to the county drag strip.  Maybe you’ll never make it.  Hell, you probably won’t.  But dammit, don’t try to tell me that only being born talented or with a silver spoon in the right country is my only hope.  History bears that false.

Intestinal fortitude isn’t everything.  Hard work isn’t everything.  There are no guarantees of a payoff.  But that’s why there’s valor in the risk.  There’s glory in taking chances.  Perhaps we should glory in the risk takers rather than trying to tear them down along the way.  The whole damn world is full of people who tell you you’re wrong from the day you fought your way out violently from inside your mother.  It’s a war out there people.  And the more you listen to the crybabies and the naysayers the further from success and survival you’ll be.

But there’s this hatred from those critics.  They don’t like you being cocky or taking credit when you succeed.  “You didn’t build that!  Somebody else made that happen!”

Why do they tell you this?  Because they don’t understand the mindset of winners, or warriors, or entrepreneurs, and ass kickers.  And when they see it, it throws their own weakness back into their face.  When you work a safe job with a steady paycheck as you are taught to do in school, you want to be rewarded.  And you are, with a modest roof and security.  But hard work on its own isn’t enough if you want more.  It needs a winner’s mindset.  It needs a refusal to fail.  But we are taught in school to be cogs in the machine.  To invest 10% of our money and maybe some day when we’re old and frail we can be comfortable.

Comfortable.  In the Corps we had a saying, “Complacency kills”.  It’ll kill you in peace just as quick as in war.  In complacency our body atrophies.  Our soul shrinks.  The safe job and steady paycheck is okay.  But if you aren’t chasing greatness.  If you aren’t seeking to produce, then, as in the commercial, take your August off, be happy, but don’t cry about why the other guy has a prettier wife, or scratch your head as to why your job at the factory isn’t causing people to line the streets of your home town to cheer for you after a moon landing.

“In the end, McDonough unplugs his hybrid Cadillac while saying, “You work hard, you create your own luck, and you’ve gotta believe anything is possible.” Ugh. Optimism is great, but along with everything else he says this commercial is more about promoting the grand idea of American capitalism — which, of course, has never, ever left a poor person behind — than it is about a car.”

Poor people get left behind in the American capitalist system.  It’s a cut throat world of risk and reward.  Fortune favors the brave.  Yeah, you gotta believe anything is possible, because when you don’t, you accept your station. You cannot grow past your own personal limitations.  In other words, even if you’re wrong (and you very often are) then you still have to believe it, because the alternative is suicide and complacent serfdom.  I’d rather be a belligerent serf than a someone somewhat better off who’s reached his limits.  I’ll always know there’s a hope for a better tomorrow.

“Wait, so he’s saying if I work hard and only take off two weeks, I can afford a mansion and a Cadillac. I’m in! I’ve gotta go tell everyone making $7.25 an hour that they shouldn’t want the minimum wage raised, they just need to work harder and they’ll have a new hybrid car too!”

You missed the message ma’am.  But the best way to show your superiority is to fall back on sarcasm and be offended for others.  It isn’t all about hard work.  If that were the case, then we’d seek employment based solely on hours, rather than pay scales.  It’s about using your head, working hard, and being bold.  It’s about laughing at naysayers in their smarmy faces and forging ahead anyways.  It’s about being willing to be a casualty if it gives you a chance at the brass ring.  Risk and reward.

But the message wasn’t about stuff.  That was just the backdrop.  But it’s expected that’s what you’d say if you’re a critic.  Goldwater stated in his book Conscience of a Conservative that “Liberals, on the other hand, — in the name of a concern for “human beings” — regard the satisfaction of economic wants as the dominant mission of society.”  You talk about telling the poor about how “they’ll have a new hybrid car too!”  The message wasn’t about being able to buy the stuff.  It was about being able to make the stuff.  He wasn’t saying that if you work hard you can buy the car.  He was saying that Cadillac was bold and created something awesome — a powerful, luxury hybrid.  Did he cite Ali, Wright, Gates, Paul for their wealth?  No!  They were cited for the fact that they accomplished great feats.  The marketing angle was that you were supposed to see yourself as an American badass, and that this car was a marvel befitting a kindred spirit.  But so has it always been with the capitalists and the socialists.  Capitalists are creators — socialists are consumers.

All this said, well, damn those are ugly cars.

Contradiction in the Name of Consistency

I’m a libertarian.  Yet I’m also what many call an imperialist.  I also believe in one world government, though I would grab my rifle in a heartbeat and head off in aid of the first state to secede from the United States.  Come with me on an adventure

I believe in American empire.  That isn’t to say that I adore my country in its current form.  This monstrosity we’ve created is not America.  The modern police state is not America.  NSA spying is not America.  The welfare state is not America.  This is America:


mercury 7

Americans are thinkers.  They are arrogant, rebellious and unruly.  We mock kings.  We do not bow before them.  We do battle with nature.  We are explorers.  We are liberators.

America is less a place than it is an idea.  Such novel ideas as that men should not kneel before others, or that the fruits of a man’s labor are his own, and cannot be taken just because he’s outvoted, are ideas that led to the most prosperous nation that ever existed.  We’ve moved away from that today.

But let us imagine a new nation.  Let us call it, oh, I don’t know,  America.  Now in this new America we live up to our ideals rather than just piss rhetoric out of our mouths.  Why should this culture not dominate the globe?

A friend of mine recently decried the Iraq War, saying that it’s a shame that Iraq has become a terrorist breeding ground.  I don’t know about you, but I’d prefer a terrorist breeding ground to a stable, totalitarian torture state.  We Americans might be a bunch of cowboys, but don’t think for a minute our deaths are in vain.  The destruction of these tyrants is worth our lives regardless which nation we invade.  You know why we Americans are so arrogant?  You know why we act like we’re better than you?  Because we ARE better than you.  We spill our blood to liberate this whole god damned planet.  Our warriors give their lives cheaply, and it makes their lives all the more valuable.

You don’t find men like this everywhere.  I’ve seen Americans fight harder for the liberty of Iraqis than the Iraqis did.  I saw the same during my time in the Philippines in 2002.  The bulk of these people have lost their freedom to thugs and tyrants due to their own cowardice and decadence.  They don’t deserve their liberty.  But deserve’s got nothing to do with it.  Rights should not have to be earned.  In America you will find no dearth of men willing to give their lives in the defense of others, even outside our borders.  Why?  Because “[w]e hold these truths to be self-evident, that all men are created equal, that they are endowed by their Creator with certain unalienable Rights, that among these are Life, Liberty, and the Pursuit of Happiness.”

All men.  Not all Americans.  All men.

Now, why should such a nation not supplant every pissant dictator, thug, and wannabe tyrant?  Why should we leave in place governments that intrude on the rights of man?  I recently read an article about prison life in North Korea.  How could it possibly be immoral to walk men across the DMZ right now?  Make no mistake, I’m not advocating forced military intervention.  I’m talking about a volunteer force from our standing military.  In my constitution, written elsewhere on this blog I have a military branch dedicated to just this sort of thing.

Do not talk to me of accepting the customs of others.  Liberty and the rights of man are not negotiable under your customs.  If you do not abide them, then your customs and culture are forfeit.  British General James Napier illustrates this perfectly.  From Wikipedia:

A story for which Napier is often noted involved Hindu priests complaining to him about the prohibition of Sati by British authorities. This was the custom of burning a widow alive on thefuneral pyre of her husband. As first recounted by his brother William, he replied:

“Be it so. This burning of widows is your custom; prepare the funeral pile. But my nation has also a custom. When men burn women alive we hang them, and confiscate all their property. My carpenters shall therefore erect gibbets on which to hang all concerned when the widow is consumed. Let us all act according to national customs.”

This brings us to the idea of what America was to be.  Our system was to be a federalist one.  We were to have a powerful, restrained, central government.  We’ve lost sight of that.  Properly executed however, this opens the door to valid, legitimate one-world government.  Our federal government was not supposed to roll over the states.  Each state was to have its own rules and customs.  So too should our whole world.  There is power in diversity.  We should have communists, and monarchies, and republics, and states with obscure religions run by priests and holy men, or racist communities.  We should have full anarchist states and places as diverse as a Disney ride.  And we should have everything in between.  But a man should always have the ability to opt-out and choose his society.  One world government that ensures local governments honor this ability can allow every sort of custom and human deviancy to exist.  Then the marketplace of ideas will weed out the bad ideas and the good ones will grow.  So one-world government could allow for the Indian custom of Sati, so long as it was a custom chosen willingly, not one where your place of birth doomed you into the local culture.

This is why our federal government should exist expressly for the preservation of our natural rights.  Past that, each state should be able to choose its own rules and customs.

So why would I grab my rifle and help the first state to secede?  Simple.  Because everything I’ve espoused is theory.  It isn’t practice.  In practice, government grows.  It doesn’t shrink.  It grows and becomes powerful.  The more powerful it becomes the more it attracts those that hunger for power.  Those that hunger for power expand the state to achieve it.  And thus the cycle continues.

Nye Blinded Me With Science

I’m a few weeks late on this, but I felt compelled to write about the recent Bill Nye-Ken Hamm debate.  You can see it in its entirety here:

This was actually a very interesting debate.  Full disclosure:  I’m a deist in the Thomas Paine, Age of Reason sense and I don’t think that whether there is or is not a God is of any import.  More to the point, I believe in evolution, and I think that while creationism is silly, young earth creationism is comically absurd.  I’m embarrassed of my species that anyone actually buys that at this point.  That said, there was a lot to be learned from this debate, if only you were willing to listen.

After watching the debate, I took the time to watch some of the after-debate commentary as well as saw some of my friends’ responses as well as some of the Facebook science pages I frequent.  Yes, I’m looking at you Tysonism.  What was so interesting about it was how very little either side took from the debate.  In my estimation both sides did quite poorly and yet afterwords pointed at just how ignorant the other was.  There wasn’t much civility at all in the way these sides view each other.  I can understand that each side would find difficulty in getting along with the other.  They both impact each other quite negatively in very tangible ways.  But then why debate?  Debates should be there to give us a chance to learn and exchange ideas.  They should not be there to do battle.  If battle is what we seek, then you should make it real.  Pistols at 10 paces.  Otherwise, this was just a silly chance for people to feel superior to each other as they high five each other in their respective battle lines.

A few of the flaws in each man’s debate:

— Hamm decided to parade out various scientists and inventors who are young earth adherents as if to say, we can science (it’s fun to use as a verb) too!

Uh, okay?  So the guy that invented the MRI believes in young earth creationism.  Big deal.  I’m a lawyer.  If you talk to me about family law, criminal defense, or the Constitution, I can be treated as some sort of authority.  But I still know zero about Worker’s Compensation.  Anything I say in an unrelated field carries no validity.

— Nye debated by appeal to emotion, especially at the end.  And it brought with it not only a weak argument, but a flawed one.  He asked the audience whether we should believe what science has to tell us, or what Ken Hamm tells us the bible says.

Well, we needn’t listen to Ken Hamm telling us what the bible says.  There are countless bibles littering the planet translated into every language imaginable.  These are no longer the days where priests spoke latin, and read the bible in latin to people who can’t read anything in the first place.

And what of science?  I have to base my opinion off of information SCIENTISTS tell me.  I can make my own opinion about the bible (Hint: it’s bunk), but all the science I know is based off of what teachers have told me, or what I’ve read in books.  I’ve conducted precious few experiments myself, recorded no observations about red/blue shift or observations of other disciplines, especially those showing things on the macro and micro levels.  I have to rely on what scientists observe and what they surmise from that information.  And science is often wrong.  I give you the entire history of medical science.  Sometimes it’s rife with charlatans, such as the guy who “found” the nonexistent Brontosaurus.  And even the most respected of scientists may change their minds.  Stephen Hawking just came out saying that now he thinks black holes don’t exist.

“But they’re peer reviewed!” you shout.  Well, there are dozens of peer reviewed biblical journals.  Google is your friend.

— Hamm’s end all answer, “Well, we’ve got a book that answers that.”

This in and of itself points to why this debate shouldn’t have happened.  The men cannot work on the same playing field.  Science can be proven wrong, faith cannot.  Nye can point out all the flaws in the shipbuilding skills of Noah and the way wood would behave under strain on a ship of the magnitude of the ark.  But, assuming that there’s this book with an invisible flying bearded sky man (and those don’t even scratch the surface of his superpowers), and you believe this book to be legit, then it’s perfectly logical to buy the Noah story.

The major takeaways:

— Christians need to stop being crybabies.  You used to face down lions in the arena and now you’re crying about how mean the atheists are to you and how academia forces you to hide your beliefs.

— He’s right though.  That definitely happens.  But that’s because liberals have cornered the market on science as a buzzword.

— Science as a buzzword.  Both men sought to take ownership over the word.  He who wields mighty Excalibur  wins the debate.  Hamm sought out legitimacy by showing scientists in unrelated disciplines who agreed with him.

But Nye, and moreso, those in his camp, have turned science into a religion.  All you need to do to shut down debate is to say that, “Science has shown.” or “the scientific community agrees” and then not only do you shut down debate, you stop asking questions.  Consider the attitudes toward those in the anti-vaccination movement.  Consider the global warming skeptics.  There is no room for questions, only blind acceptance.  Science should be the kingdom of renegades, skeptics, and outcasts — not conformists who seek to silence those that disagree.

I concede, I put my faith in science.  Not in the fact that it has all the answers now, but that it’s the instrument by which we will unlock the secrets of the universe.  But those who treat science as a buzzword are practicing religion and are every bit as backward as the young earthers.  We don’t have all the answers yet.  We’ve barely scratched the surface.  So much of what we believe is wrong — we just don’t know it yet.  What an exciting time to be alive!  Someday we’re going to figure this universe out.  And science will take us there.  But we don’t have the answers yet, and it’s arrogant and suicidal to pretend that we do, whether it’s in medical science, current cosmology, or the belief in a deity.

Do You Need a Lawyer for Your DUI?

Short answer:  Yes

Long Answer:

So you’ve been pulled over and charged with a DUI.  You know you were drunk, so you figure you’ll just plea guilty and deal with it.  Since you know you’re guilty you figure that there’s nothing a lawyer can help you with.  Well, you’re wrong.  Get a lawyer.

Sometimes you do the one thing I tell people not to do over and again and flat out tell the officer that you’re drunk.  Even then your lawyer can help you.

When you hire a lawyer you get several benefits.

Firstly, you get the piece of mind of hiring a lawyer, then just forgetting the matter unless you have to show up for a sentencing.  You don’t have to show up at 8:30 to make your first appearance.  Rather your attorney fills out paperwork with the court, and then you don’t deal with the state again.  Your lawyer makes every meeting with the prosecutor.  All the paperwork goes through him.  You get to sit around and get back to your life.

Your lawyer knows the procedure.  If you look at your citation, you can see that you’re actually dealing with 2 issues.  The first is criminal, and the second is civil, with the Department of Transportation.  Most people who don’t get a lawyer, don’t know that they have to request that hearing or else they automatically have their license suspended.  You gotta read the fine print.

Why do you want that hearing?  Well, for starters, depending on how you do things, you can affect the dates of any suspension you do receive.  This might be really important if you REALLY need to drive.  Secondly, having a suspension hearing that hasn’t yet happened is a great bargaining chip to bring in to the prosecutor when you’re dealing with the criminal side of things.  Finally, the license suspension hearing results can give you a great first look at what the strengths and weaknesses of your case are.

Next, your lawyer is going to know the right rules and the right procedure to give you the best outcome.  He’ll know to demand a pretrial (though in Moscow they are very good and will give you one even if you don’t ask).  Your lawyer will make certain you can get a jury trial, because you have to ask for one.  Your lawyer will file the right papers at the right time to make sure  you have plenty of time to go over the evidence against you.  This is called the “discovery process”.

When the prosecutor provides all of the evidence against you, you get the biggest benefit of hiring a lawyer.  This is when you get a legal mind to pick through all of that evidence.  Your lawyer will see the cracks that most people miss.  He will be able to see if there if there was probable cause for the stop.  He will see if you were given proper warnings.  He will see if you were given your roadside sobriety tests properly.  He will see if your breathalyzer was properly calibrated.

When your lawyer finds these weaknesses he knows how to file the paperwork to attempt to get that evidence suppressed.  Even if he fails to get the evidence suppressed, oftentimes all it takes is the very possibility that the evidence against you will be thrown out to get the prosecutor to agree to offer a lesser offense.

Prior to trial your lawyer will go in to see the prosecutor in a pretrial conference.  This is when your lawyer and the prosecutor discuss your case together and decide what to do about you, you troublemaker you.  Your lawyer works with the prosecutor.  They know each other.  Your lawyer will always be taken more seriously by the prosecutor than you when he says that the prosecutor has weaknesses in their case.  Your lawyer will always be able to bargain better than you.

Sometimes your lawyer bargains better simply because most people don’t even know what to ask for.  Are you familiar with a Withheld Judgment?  Ask a lawyer what that is.  Do you know DUIs can be lowered from a second time DUI (with heavier penalties) to a first time DUI?  Do you know the difference between an “excessive” DUI with enhanced penalties and a regular DUI?  Do you know when to get an alcohol evaluation?  Do you know when it helps you and when it hurts you?

Finally, assuming that you are in fact dealing with a sentencing date, you want a lawyer with you.  He will advise you what to tell the judge.  If you’re looking at jail time, your lawyer will be able to make sure to ask for days that work with you.  He’ll make sure you have time to pay any fine.  And when it’s all said and down, your lawyer is there to let you know exactly what happened when you’re done.  Quite often people get out of the courtroom not understanding exactly what happened.  These mistakes and misunderstandings are the kinds of things that get you in trouble months later.

So get a lawyer.  When your liberty and property are on the line you need a specialist to protect you.

I love this song.


Ladies, you are what is right with America.  I wish we had more like you.  You’ve set an example, but remember, that doesn’t mean you can let up.  You’re Marines.  Semper Fidelis…

…and call me.


Seriously, 90% of my hits come from people searching for some variant of “hot” and “redhead”.  If that’s the case, then dammit, I should at least have one hot redhead drop me a line sometime over the last year.  Not.  Fair.

Redheads.  Bane of my existence.  Each of these have grabbed my heart in my formative years.  Note:  I’m still in my formative years.

xmen mj sarah phillips saffron ariel regshow widow peppermaid marion

Permanence (A Post About Love and Divorce)

The concept of permanence is rather troubling to me.  I need to know that something is permanent.  This, I believe, is a very close tie-in between thinkers like myself, and your more religious types.  They (mostly) hold onto the idea that souls are immortal and we will find ourselves in heaven, valhalla, whatever, following our departure from this mortal coil.

Now, I personally do not ascribe to that belief.  I think when we die, we die, and we come apart, continuing the circle of life.  We came from star stuff only to return to star stuff.  But, as with most things, I think along larger time lines.  Again, I need something to be permanent.  I talk of my politics as playing the long game where we leave this planet and our species survives  forever, beyond even the death and rebirth of the universe.  If there is no chance for anything to be permanent, then I see no reason to care about any of this.  There is no reason to set an example with my life, or to even preserve our species another day.  I am a selfish man.  It is just that my utmost desire is permanence for our species, so my selfishness can be misconstrued as altruism.

I loved, no, strike that, I adored my ex wife.  Still do.  However, she is gone.  She has been for a few weeks shy of 2 years at this point.  Gone, and remarried.  Now, I have adapted as necessary, but I don’t believe I’ve adapted terribly well.  One of the hardest parts to deal with was the acceptance of the transitory nature of love.  One day I was told she loved me, the next that she wanted a divorce, her kind words going instead to a former friend.  Permanence indeed.

Now, I cannot control another human being, but I can control myself.  I still love my ex-wife, though sometimes I have to ask myself why.  It has crippled my ability to create good close relationships with other women.  I could not control her.  Indeed, I’m convinced my active desire to not control her was a large part of the downfall of the relationship.  But, I can control myself.  And in controlling myself and pushing women aside I can tell myself that something is permanent: my love for my ex-wife.

I’ve spoken at length about the issue of awareness.  Once a person has become aware of a problem, he is then in full control as to what he does in response to the problem.  At this point I think I’m nearing a place where I need to recognize my need for permanence, but to accept that perhaps the best course of action is to seek permanence elsewhere.  Perhaps by disconnecting from the permanence of the love for my ex-wife I will find nothing permanent in this life.  But by the same token, fortune favors the brave, and what joy is there in seeking permanence in something you can no longer have?

You may ask, “Why is this post in the Legal Blog?”.  Well, about half of my practice relates to family law.  What I have found so interesting about dealing with family law is that sometimes the lawyer’s most important job is managing the hearts and minds of their own client as well as that opposing party.  These are emotional issues that people deal with, and at times the best thing an attorney can do is tell someone things they are not ready to come across by themselves yet.  They sabotage their case through a lack of awareness, and perhaps by the overzealousness of their attorney who is enflaming and endorsing their hatred.

Be wary of the lawyer that wants to take everything to the mat.  Sometimes it’s better to let that $300 television go than to spend $400 on legal fees to save it.  Sometimes it’s better to bite your tongue and give up 2-3 days of extra custody each year than to have your child have to watch her parents go through a 6 month long nasty divorce.  Yet for others, perhaps you need to spend that extra time drawing things out into a nasty fight.  I see it with women especially.  Sometimes, women need to put up a fight for their own growth and to begin to learn their own value as humans, especially in relationships where they’ve been abused or have lived as the submissive housewife.

The point is that every person is unique.  We all have unique needs.  We are all in different places in our lives which have their own set of challenges and advantages.  When you hire a lawyer, you need one you can trust to see you as a person rather than a dollar sign.  You need a lawyer who adapts to your case rather than simply going through the traditional motions of trial prep.

Choose wisely.

In other news, I went to see this guy at the Alley the other night. Great show. It was also one of the few times I’ve ever been in a bar so packed I couldn’t drink for want of space to be able to lift my glass of Turkey.

Women in the Infantry (almost)

It appears that 4 female Marines are going to pass infantry school.  I’ve spoken at length about women in the infantry before so I’m not going to rehash it here.  I would like to make a few points though.  First off, I’d like to congratulate these women.  When I graduated boot camp I did not feel it was terribly difficult physically.  Mentally on the other hand…

Perhaps the biggest surprise for me was the fact that boot camp did NOT even come close to preparing me for infantry school.  The humps and range runs were very difficult for me.  So congratulations to these women. They’ve done something to be very proud of.  It’s also worth noting that in general you cannot just drop out of infantry school.  You can be dropped, and if you’re persistent you can drop out of boot camp or infantry school, but you can’t just put up your hand and say, “I quit” like people going out for special forces can.  These women had the option to quit that the men didn’t.  That they pushed through is a testament to their character.

Secondly, I am somewhat concerned about watering down the standards.  I’m not sure when they chose to do so, but the final hump was 12.5 miles.  This is just a shade over the 10 miles the final hump in boot camp is.  I haven’t been out all that long (I graduated infantry school in 2000) and the final hump was 18 miles  (word is that it was closer to 21, but I’ll stick with the published number).  Were my tin foil hat improperly adjusted I’d say women joining the infantry and lowering of the most grueling task in infantry school are related.

Finally, and perhaps the part most entertaining to me, is the fact that these women will not actually be attached to an infantry unit.  They’re going back to their pogue units.  I would hate to be a male Marine in the same admin/supply/motor T/air wing/whatever section as a female Marine who passed infantry school.  Those men would have to go to work every day knowing that the most badass Marine in their section was a female.  Seriously, grunts think they’re invincible.  Grunts think they’re better than everyone else.  If you’re an admin Corporal or Sergeant and you want to chew this female Lance Corporal’s ass for any reason, and she’s passed infantry school, well, good luck with that.

In short, Marine Corps, toughen up your damn standards.  But all the same, congratulations ladies.  I’d be honored to meet one of you over a beer.  I’ve always wanted a wookie I could call my own, and it’d be amazing were she a grunt as well.

That about sums it up

That about sums it up

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