Wednesday, December 10, 2008

A Note on Blagojevich

Just in case they ever release all of the taped conversations, I will go ahead and fess up now.

I am (or was) "Candidate Number 6,487." I know, it was surprising to me, too. I kept telling them I didn't have any money, or power, or government contacts, or corporate contacts. I even told them several times that I don't even live in Illinois. They just kept saying stuff like, "Commit now! This offer's going fast," and "Don't miss this rare opportunity to participate in history!"

I lost interest when they tried to introduce me to the nephew of a Nigerian Prince, who wanted me to give him bank account information.

UPDATE: Okay, so it's not really an update; I've just been thinking about how much the Illinois Governor's name sounds like that of a bad Bond villain.

"Ahhh, yes, Mr. Bond, I presume?"

"You know who I am, Blagojevich! As I recall, I stopped you from selling royal titles in London in 1994."

"That was, shall we say, unfortunate, Mr. Bond. Now be still while I detail my plan for world domination through influence-peddling before I allow you to escape and defeat me..."

Thursday, December 04, 2008

Thoughts on the "Big 3" Bailout

We all know it's coming, right? Despite the "weelllllll, maybe," protestations of some members of Congress, we all know that the Democrats never saw a Union member pleading without shedding tears of cash. By the same token, Republicans start salivating gold bullion anytime a corporate CEO shows up with hand outstretched.

So it's going to happen. The only question is: How much?

Last I saw, the breakdown looks like this:

Ford wants a bunch of cash;
GM wants a bunch of cash; and
Chrysler wants a bunch of cash.

Oh, I know the media's reporting that it's more specific than that ($9B, $18B, and $7B, respectively); but what it all boils down to is bailing out idiot businesses with borrowed money that my kids (and their kids, and their kids) will have to pay back. And my oldest daughter is 6. She doesn't even have a job yet, even though I believe she could do at least as well as, say, your average "Big 3" CEO.

So what do I think we should do, you ask? I suppose I could tell you I think we should bail them out in the interest of the economy, but I'd be lying. I think if the government wants to really help the U.S. economy, they'll line up our current crop of Congressional hand-wringers and calmly escort them to their new jobs as migrant farm workers in California.

I can't for the life of me figure out why the economically struggling citizens of this country should go deeper into debt to prop up failing businesses just so union workers and manager payscales can continue to be responsible for the high cost of low quality goods.

Let 'em tank, and let the chips fall where they may. If any of the "Big 3" rise from the ashes of their failure, good for them.

But I won't hold my breath.

Monday, October 13, 2008

A Question for Lawrence Lessig

A friend of mine just emailed me a snippet of Andrew Sullivan's Blog which contained a link to an article by Lawrence Lessig.

It's a great article, and I think anyone even marginally interested in copyright, piracy, or intellectual property in general should read, and take heed.

I have a question for Professor Lessig (who has been one of my copyright heros ever since I started caring about it):


I sometimes catch myself in my automobile singing Metallica's "Master of Puppets" at the top of my lungs. Now, most of the time the windows are rolled up, but occasionally I realize I have left one of them down. Inevitably, when that happens, I notice that someone else (in a car, on the sidewalk, etc.) is staring at me, quite obviously in awe of the balding, thirty-something white guy with the ability to death-grunt just like Hetfield (and yes, I realize that Hetfield is a likely balding forty-something white guy, but I'm just not as cool as him).

Should I be worried? Oh, goodness, I just realized I admitted to entertaining various passers-by with songs I do not own...

I'm afraid I already know the answer to my question. The recording industry has become so rabid that I'll probably have their jack-booted thugs on my doorstep when I get home today.

Anyway, read the article. Lessig is a prophet.

Thursday, October 09, 2008

Thanks Congress!

Thanks for saving the stock market with your brilliant "we-had-to-do-something" bailout plan.


Saturday, October 04, 2008

You've Got to be Kidding Me?

So they passed the idiot bailout bill, right?

And then what happens to the stock market? Well, wonder of wonders, it starts to tank again.


Mike Conaway said in a press release that he voted for this bailout package mainly because the stock market would tank if he didn't. I'll go ahead and quote him, for posterity's sake:

"After the vote on Monday, the stock market reacted very negatively to the defeat. Confidence in the short term lending facilities, particularly commercial paper markets and overnight lending between banks, had to be addressed."

Well, welcome to the real world, Mr. Conaway. Everybody saw the market drop on Monday. We all figured the same thing you did, at the time, that the market was reacting to the defeat of the bill. Except that it wasn't. It was obviously reacting to the possibility that this thing might pass. In fact, it recovered slightly after the bill failed to pass.

Similarly, all the MSM outlets were saying on Tuesday (when the market, ahem, rebounded nicely) that the market was responding to renewed efforts to pass a new bailout bill. They were saying this even though the market had trended down while you Congressmorons were working on the first bill.

Do you pork-barrel elites in DC really have the MSM in your back pocket, or what?

Well, now you have your answer. Congress is responsible now. I'm not blaming banks anymore, or mortgage lenders, or even the Enronization of our nation's businesses.

I'm blaming Congress. They have chosen to accept responsibility, and I for one will give it to them.

I can't believe we send these complete and total idiots to Washington to lead. I wouldn't trust them to mow my lawn.

Friday, October 03, 2008

Our Economy is Soooo Bad...

How bad is it?

It's so bad that our poor manufacturers of wooden arrows for children simply must have a tax-break.


No, I'm serious. Click the link already.

They added everything including the kitchen sink to this bill, most of which had nothing whatsoever to do with any economic "bailout" or "rescue plan" or whatever the political morons are calling it right now. Read the bill, too. You'll see all the pork in there. They didn't even try to hide it.

When the economy's down, the best way to help is to start throwing money around, I guess.

You know, it was interesting to me a couple of years ago when they passed the new bankruptcy laws. You know which ones I'm talking about. The ones that told American consumers, citizens, voters, workers, etc. that if they got into financial trouble, it didn't matter. They couldn't expect any help whatsoever from Poppa Government. As a matter of fact, they made it incredibly hard for folks to even file to restructure their debt.

And now, because we've got banks involved (and because those banks are intimately tied together with members of Congress from both sides of the aisle) we simply had to do something to help. Gasp! The only idiotic comment I expected but didn't hear was that we had to do it "for the children!!"

I am incredibly disgusted with Congress' bi-partisan shellacking of the American taxpayer.

Well, I'm gonna let my vote speak. Congressman Conaway, you've just lost a vote the next time you're up. Senator Cornyn, Senator Hutchison, same goes for the two of you. As a matter of fact, you've lost not only my vote, but the votes of every Texan I can convince.

You three, along with all of your fellow Congresspeople and Senators, have turned your backs on the hardworking people of this country, and put them into hock to bail out the truly undeserving.

Shame on you.

Wednesday, September 03, 2008

Campaign Twists

I've been mulling this post for a couple of days now, and what I keep coming back to is, "Man! I hate politics!"

Let me start by saying that I don't like the Democrat or the Republican ticket. The only person I can actually say I marginally "like" in the race right now is Joe Biden. Oh, no, don't get me wrong. I'm not talking about his positions/policies, those I disagree with vehemently. I'm talking about personally, Biden seems the kind of guy you could meet at a dinner party and actually enjoy talking to. Like he wouldn't bore the tar out of you with gladhanding or self-aggrandizement.

Sorry, Joe, that doesn't mean I'm voting for Obama/Biden.

And John, don't think that means I'm voting for McCain/Palin, either.

I haven't decided yet. I'm leaning towards Grampa McCain, if only because I'd rather have a D-congress and an R-president than have either party hold both.

What I really came here to post is an interesting turn I've noticed since Grandaddy made his VP announcement.

It seems as if Obama is now campaigning against Palin. Oh, sure, they still throw in a couple of "he's the same as Bush" (which I don't necessarily deny) here and there. But the overwhelming message coming from Obama's campaign (other than, of course, "change") is "I'm better than her."

It is just me, or does it read to anyone else as if the Obama campaign's new slogan is, "Now wait just a gosh-darn minute! I'm the only wildly inexperienced* person who should be in this race!"?

*Or "underexperienced," if you are offended by "inexperienced."

Friday, August 22, 2008

Whew! That was close!

Drudge is reporting that somebody else already reported Obama's running mate will be Evan Bayh.

FLASH: Fri Aug 22 2008 17:52:03 ET /// KMBC's Micheal Mahoney reports a company in Kansas City, which specializes in political literature, has been printing Obama-Bayh material... MORE... Gill Studios, would not confirm information about the material. They would not deny it either. At least three sources close to the plant's operations reported the Obama-Bayh material was being produced. The company is in the Obama FEC reports for previous work...

I sure hope everybody finds this out from Drudge (or from me).

'Cause I've been worried that the coming mass text/email from the Obama campaign might cause massive failures of the intertubes.

UPDATE: Biden? Really? Are you sure, Barry, that he's clean and articulate enough for ya?

Monday, August 04, 2008

Sad and Glorious Day...

Today my wife and I went to our daughter's new school to register her for Kindergarten.

I'm bummed.

My little 5-year-old beauty is starting school in 3 weeks at the same school I attended when I was a kid. I never had the pleasure of Kindergarten there, since I started public school in the 5th grade.

But all of this makes me look back on the last 5 years.

Our first daughter was born 2 days before first semester exams during my second year of law school. For the first week after she was born, I was spending an immense amount of time studying for tests. My wife and my mother-in-law would insulate me from the night-time crying so that I could sleep. I was afraid that the lack of initial bonding time would hamstring my relationship with my daughter.

It didn't. My wife went back to work a couple of weeks after our beauty was born, and I only worked a couple of hours a day at a law firm in Lubbock. That's where I met a great fella, fantastic attorney, and wonderful father by the name of Jo Paul Archer. He had two young daughters, and was as devoted to them as any Dad I'd ever seen before. He told me that his motto was, "I'm a Dad who happens to be a lawyer. Not a lawyer who happens to have kids." I adopted that motto as my own, and I've never looked back. Jo Paul has since passed on, and the world is the worse for it; but I can give him a bunch of credit for making me a better father in those days I worked with him.

I was starting the process of setting up interviews with all of the big Texas firms at the time. When she was born, that all changed. I thought about working long hours for really good money; only to have my daughter wonder who I was her entire life. So, I decided to go the other way, working shorter hours for less money, and being a Dad first.

For the first year of her life, while my wife worked, I got to do the "Mr. Mom" thing. It was beautiful. It was stressful. It was tough (much tougher than law school), but also enjoyable. I only wish I'd had the same opportunity with my next two beautiful daughers.

Because of it, I developed an extremely close bond with her, and I know she'll be a "Daddy's girl" for life.

Magic, I know you're not allowed on the internet yet (after all, you're only 5); but someday you may read this. I'll try to tell you every day how proud I am of you; but in case I slip from time to time, here I am telling it to the entire world.

I love you, sweetheart.


Friday, July 18, 2008

Barbie's Getting Some Step-Sisters

No, I'm not talking about Cinderella. If I were, then Mattel wouldn't be able to rest from the round of litigation it just won against the makers of Bratz.

I'm talking about the federal jury verdict that determined the fella who came up with Bratz (or, as I call them, "Cosmetology-school dolls") did so while he was working at Mattel (insert standard IP contract terms here).

Wonderful. The Barbie Dreamhouse is going to have to build some additions.

Aside from the millions of dollars Mattel is likely to win in the next round, they'll also probably be able to form the world's first "Doll foster family." The heavily made-up Bratz dolls will descend on Barbie's white-bread utopia of a life, bringing a bit of ghetto with them. They'll teach Barbie the importance of bling. Barbie will stop driving that little corvette and get an Escalade instead. Conspicuous consumption and a steadfast reliance on the toy-cosmetics industry will be Barbie's new rule.

Ahhh. I just hope there aren't any gang members in the Bratz line. Barbie's likely to get shivved.

Wednesday, July 16, 2008

Trans-Texas Corridor Update

Recently, Terri Hall of TURF (Texans Uniting for Reform & Freedom) was invited to speak in Washington D.C. at the Freedom March. For those of you who may not know, TURF is an indispensible organization working tirelessly to fight the unjustice that is the TTC. Ms. Hall is the executive director of the organization.

With her permission, I have chosen to re-print her speech from the Freedom March here, in its entirety:

I think the words of a patriot of the past, Thomas Paine, that were uttered on December 23, 1776, reflect where we find ourselves again today in America.

He said:

"THESE are the times that try men’s souls. The summer soldier and the sunshine patriot will, in this crisis, shrink from the service of their country; but he that stands by it now, deserves the love and thanks of man and woman.

Tyranny, like hell, is not easily conquered; yet we have this consolation with us, that the harder the conflict, the more glorious the triumph. What we obtain too cheap, we esteem too lightly: it is dearness only that gives every thing its value."

Is that not so true today? Fellow Patriots, the Trans Texas Corridor and the widespread proliferation of toll roads, particularly the use of public private partnerships to exploit the eminent domain powers of govt and join it with the financial self-interest of private corporations, that is about to befall not only Texas but our country, is nothing more than an all out assault on our freedom: the freedom to travel, the freedom to own private property, the freedom from oppressive taxation and overbearing government. And that, my friends, is tyranny! Though not easily conquered, it can and must be crushed.

The NAFTA Superhighway, known as the Trans Texas Corridor to Texans and called a myth by those trying to silence the truth, is very real and even has some segments already under construction. It’s a 4,000 mile, multi-modal network of toll roads, rail lines, utilities, telecommunications, and pipelines of all sorts. It will be up to 1,200 feet wide (4 football fields wide) and will take a total of 580,000 of private land. Two foreign companies partnering with an American company have been given the rights to develop the TTC, which includes the right to build the most lucrative segments without being subjected to competitive bidding, leaving the taxpayers to subsidize the parts that aren’t toll viable.

The TTC will literally bisect whole cities and towns slicing them in two giving residents, farmers, and schoolchildren no access to the other side of this 1,200 foot wide tollway. In fact, the law states the private operator only has to build overpasses where the corridor intersects state hwys and interstates so on TTC-35 there are only 5 exits in the entire state of Texas!

So make no mistake, this nightmare called the TTC is alive and well. We’ve personally attended most all of the nearly one hundred TTC hearings since 2006. When more than 40,000 Texans have gone on record against it, politicians take notice. But instead of KILL this nightmare, they try to find new ways to put lipstick on their pig.

There was a recent announcement disguised as a victory for angry farmers and ranchers, where TxDOT said it would now expand the existing highway system to build TTC-69 instead of building a massive new corridor through rural Texas. But guess what? There’s always a catch when billions of dollars are to be made, and when multi-national corporations are chomping at the bit to get their cheap Chinese goods into the U.S. exploiting cheaper Mexican ports, Mexican trucks, and Mexican labor.

The private "partners" conducted toll viability studies and found the new corridor route wasn’t a money-maker because it bypassed all the urban areas where beleaguered commuters could be forced to pay tolls to get out of congestion. So they had to go back to the "free" roads that would have been the toll operators’ primary "competition" to their toll revenues.

So now they’re going to toll those existing roads and kill any competition. See how this isn’t free market? Oh they’ll tell you your free lanes will still be there, but they’re fixin’ to do what they’re about to do to a freeway near my home, and that is, toll the existing freeway lanes and make the only free lanes, frontage roads. Calling it highway robbery isn’t hyperbole! So it was really the private operators, not TxDOT or the politicians, that changed the route of the TTC-69 and, believe me, it’s no victory. It can still be a 1,200 wide privatized, foreign-controlled toll road with most of the profits leaving our country.

Within TWO weeks of that announcement, TxDOT signed a public private partnership contract with ACS of Spain and Zachry of San Antonio that gives them 12% guaranteed annual profits, a no bid right to cherry-pick the most lucrative segments to build, and they’re not even bringing their own money to the table since 3/4 of the construction cost will be paid for with YOUR MONEY…that’s right Texas lawmakers are stealing YOUR federal taxpayer backed bonds and loans to build the NAFTA superhighway and give all the profits to Zachry and ACS of Spain!

We’ve been brow beat with a pack of empty talking points by Reason Foundation and many libertarian think tanks, that these public-private toll deals are the silver bullet to funding infrastructure without having to raise taxes, because the private partners bring all the money to the table, not cash-strapped govt, and it’s the private partner, not the taxpayers, who carry the financial risk.

Well, all you have to do is dig into any one of the 3 contracts in TX and those in other states (Indiana, Illinois, and Virginia) to know that not one of those things is true. First of all, a toll is a tax! Second, there is no risk to the private operator when 3/4 of the construction cost is being paid by the taxpayers and when the state grants investors a non-compete agreement that prohibits any expansion of or building of free roads surrounding their tollways guaranteeing congestion on free lanes for a half century or more and indebting us for generations. One contract even gives TxDOT a financial incentive to lower the speed limit on the competing "free" interstate, I-35, to drive more traffic to the high speed Trans Texas Corridor.

Our government has become the puppet of private industry and they’ve figured out how to team-up to make billions off the public’s roadways. These highways belong to WE THE PEOPLE, not the government, not the road lobby.

They have NO right to steal our land in the name of "public use" when it’s really about private gain and big government profiteering that will relegate those who cannot afford the tolls to second class citizens. Eminent domain has always been used for roads, but now for the first time, the government can literally steal your land, pay you next to nothing for it, and give it to a private company for private profit. It’s the Kelo vs. New London case applied to roads.

In Texas, they even passed a law, called quick take, that allows the govt to vacate the landowner within 90 days of notice of condemnation whether or not your case is settled. This almost guarantees the landowner will have to take the state’s offer, because who can re-locate hundreds of head of cattle in 90 days without compensation?

There is a massive war going on in this country between the pro-privatization special interest groups and freedom loving Americans. The laws have already been dramatically altered to allow these PPPs, and this Administration and Governors like ours, Rick Perry, and Indiana’s, Mitch Daniels, have orchestrated a shift away from an affordable, gas tax funded freeway system to a new policy of prolific and oppressive toll taxation. They’re planning to toll the living daylights out of urban commuters in order to give their cronies government-sanctioned monopolies over YOUR roads that you depend for daily living.

Today we are in uncharted territory at $4 a gallon for gas, above the inflation adjusted high of 1980. The mentality inside this building is that no matter what they decide to charge us in new toll taxes, that motorists will pay it. They know we have to get to work. We won’t have real alternatives.

This is oppressive taxation on top of skyrocketing fuel costs. There’s only so much money in the family budget that can go to transportation before it takes money away from the necessities. We already see the dramatic decline of the standard of living in America in a very short period of time. It’s only going to get worse, they tell us, in order to condition us into accepting the globalists’ agenda.

So isn’t this what we’re conditioned to accept in government? We’re endlessly being asked to tighten OUR belts, while both our state and federal governments squander our gas taxes on frivolous earmarks that don’t even pertain to roads, like the bridge to nowhere?

How about TxDOT spending $9 million of taxpayer money to wage an ad campaign to advocate tolls roads and the Trans Texas Corridor? TURF filed a complaint with the Travis County District Attorney’s office immediately upon learning of this illegal use of taxpayer money. The DA’s office did nothing. So we filed a lawsuit in civil court to stop TxDOT from spending anymore of our money on taxpayer funded lobbying.

• Through our lawsuit we’ve discovered that indeed TxDOT has been engaging in illegal lobbying. They can’t say they’re not lobbying when invoices show they’ve hired 5 registered lobbyists to the tune of $100,000 a month to lobby elected officials in Washington particularly targeting local elected officials in the path of the Trans Texas Corridor.
• We found documents that show the purpose of the ad campaign is to "neutralize" toll and TTC opponents and to target counties opposed to the TTC in order to turn the tide of opposition.
• PR firm stated this in their proposal: "The political environment needs to be changed to make it less hostile to the TTC." The goal of the campaign is to define the benefits of the TTC to the majority of Texans and help inoculate it from negative attacks."
• They’ve conducted push polls on the taxpayers’ dime to garner support for the TTC.
• TxDOT was told by the Transportation Commission to show the "DOUBLE TAXATION" claim of toll opponents is untrue, which is illegally engaging in a political policy debate when state agency’s are to implement, not shape of make policy. The testimony from someone in the State Auditor’s office found TxDOT is knowingly ginning-up false gas tax numbers and funding figures in order to push toll roads!

I’m afraid this doesn’t stop in Texas. Just weeks ago, a new lobby group called Transportation Transformation or T2 announced that not only TxDOT, but 3 other state DOTs have officially teamed up with the bond investors and private toll road and corridor interests to directly lobby Congress here in Washington for more public private partnerships and toll roads.

This is a recipe for tyranny! We must demand political reform to ensure checks and balances and put the power back in the hands of the PEOPLE as the 10th Amendment to the U.S. Constitution guarantees a free people.

So I ask you, have we had enough? I cannot help but be inspired by the resolve of another patriot, Patrick Henry, who said in his famous speech that sparked a revolution:

"Is life so dear or peace so sweet as to be purchased at the price of chains and slavery? Forbid it, Almighty God! I know not what course others may take, but as for me, give me liberty or give me death!"

We need to ask ourselves, will we allow our government to shackle us with oppressive taxation just to get to work and go about daily living? Will we allow this Administration and the state governments aiding it to carve a 1,200 ft wide swath through the heartland of America and sacrifice what vestige of private property rights we have left in the name of foreign trade and commerce? Or will we continue to fight a new revolution, a taxpayer revolt, a political movement to stop the Trans Texas Corridor, the NAFTA superhighways, to stop tolls across Texas and America, preserve private property rights, our way of life and our precious freedoms bought with a price from those who came before us?

They, those who have sold out American freedom in favor of the almighty dollar and the intoxication of power, aren’t counting on you and me and this freedom movement taking our government back. But as for me, and I think all of you here today and the hundreds of thousands who couldn’t be with us, the resounding answer is: give us liberty!

Well said, Ms. Hall. And keep up the good work.

Thursday, June 26, 2008

Breyer's Dissent in Heller

Well, Justice Breyer tried to do a little number.

His suggestion is that the Court should apply an "interest-balancing" standard of review in determining the Constitutionality of firearms restrictions.

He equates such a standard with the way the "strict scrutiny" standard is often applied, except that, throughout his analysis, he gives all deference to the statute (and the state's interest) instead of the right it infringes (instead of the interests of the right-holder).

He says of less-restrictive alternatives, "Here I see none." He says this, not because none were shown, but because none were asked for. Despite his insistence that "policy" judgments are better made by legislators, he goes on to determine that no alternatives exist short of complete bans. And to support this,... wait for it... he shows that other cities have instituted complete bans.


I'll leave you with a sentence I think is particularly indicative of Breyer's nanny-state mentality:

"If a resident has a handgun in the home that he can use for self-defense, then he has a handgun in the home that he can use to commit suicide or engage in acts of domestic violence."

Breyer apparently likes the idea of abolishing the presumption of innocence, as well.

Okay, here's more.

Just started Breyer's dissent. I'm wondering if, in his and Stevens' dabblings in historical textualism, he would be interested to learn that the term "well regulated," as used in colonial times, overwhelmingly meant "in proper working order," and was not a reference to restrictions.

Re-reading the sentence above, I also wonder what his views are on run-on sentences.

Regarding Heller:

I've finished reading the majority opinion and Justice Stevens' dissent.

Scalia's opinion is quite an interesting history lesson (if you haven't already read the history on the subject exhaustively). It is, quite plainly, an adequate discussion of both the structure of the Second Amendment and also the history surrounding it.

What it doesn't do (and here I agree with Justice Breyer, albeit for different reasons) is set out a Constitutional standard by which firearms restrictions may be judged. It affirms that the Second Amendment protects the right of the people to keep and bear arms unconnected with military service; but it does not yet (as it should) afford that right the same Constitutional protections as other specifically enumerated rights.

Stevens' dissent, if you focus solely upon his attempts at textualism, reads like a pretty compelling argument to overturn Roe v. Wade, which I thought was particularly ironic.

Maybe more to come, maybe not.

Heller Is Affirmed!

I'm reading the opinion now, so I'll have more later, but Heller was affirmed today by the Supreme Court by a 5-4 vote.

Justice Scalia delivered the opinion of the Court, in which Justices Thomas, Alito, Kennedy, and the Chief Justice joined.

Justice Stevens filed a dissenting opinion, joined by Ginsburg, Souter, and Breyer; and Justice Breyer filed a dissent joined by Stevens, Souter, and Ginsburg.

Held: The Second Amendment protects an individual right to possess a firearm unconnected with service in a militia, and to use that arm for traditionally lawful purposes, such as self-defense within the home.

Heller Decision Today

I must apologize in advance to all 3 of my readers. Due to a scheduled court hearing, I will not be able to blog immediately following the release of the opinion today in D.C. v. Heller.

I will, however, read the opinion as soon as I return from the Courthouse, and will have something for you then.

Wednesday, June 25, 2008

Four Cases Decided Today -- Heller Decision Tomorrow

The Supreme Court issued four opinions today out of the 7 it had remaining.

Links go to SCOTUSWiki

Giles v. California (Justice Scalia writing for a 6-3 majority)

Exxon v. Baker (Justice Souter writing for a 8-0 Court, Alito took no part)

Kennedy v. Lousiana (Justice Kennedy writing for a 5-4 majority)

Plains Commerce Bank v. Long Family Land and Cattle (Chief Justice Roberts writing for a 5-4 majority)

For the best commentary on the decisions above, keep a close eye on SCOTUSBlog and SCOTUSWiki.

And, tune in tomorrow to SCOTUSBlog's live blog coverage as the Supreme Court issues its opinion in D.C. v. Heller.

Monday, June 16, 2008

Obama's Birth Certificate -- Shocking Revelation!

Okay, by now you've all seen that Barack Obama has released his birth certificate in response to the rumor floating around about him not being an American citizen. He did so on his "fight the smears" website, which he started for the purpose of, well, fighting smears.

Here's a picture of the document I got from DailyKos:

Aside from the fact that it's obviously not genuine (I mean, c'mon. Look at the black bar next to "Certificate no." Mine doesn't have that bar.), I have more news regarding this obvious sham that I'd like to discuss...

Here it comes...

Prepare yourselves...

It's a fake.

I personally spoke with my next-door neighbor the other day. He told me that his cousin's girlfriend's best-friend's half-brother said that Barack Obama is...

An alien.

Yes, you heard me right. I said an alien. And I don't mean your average, everyday, run-of-the-mill undocumented immigrant, either.

No, Barack Obama is really from the planet Zoltar (hang a right at Alpha Centauri, and straight on till morning).

I know. Shocking, isn't it? See, my next door neighbor's cousin's girlfriend's best friend's half-brother said that he himself is also from Zoltar (his name is Kragnor, btw). Kragnor said that he grew up with Barack (real name: Baracknor), and that they were actually squeezed from the same bio-pod.

So, by our reckoning, Kragnor and Baracknor are actually brothers, although they don't reckon biological relationships the same way we do here.

Since this information has come to light, there are some "hard questions" I'd like Baracknor to answer:

1. Why wouldn't you embrace your heritage instead of trying to pass off an obviously fraudulent birth certificate? You could have simply given us your Men-In-Black issued alien identification documents, and we'd have called it a day. Shame on you, Mr. Senator (or Senatnor).

2. Now that this information is public, are you going to own up, or will you continue to assert that you were born in "Hawaii," which we all know is a made-up place anyway?


3. If you are elected President, will you do whatever is within your considerable Superman-like powers to make sure our lives are made easier through the application of alien technologies?

Thank you in advance, Baracknor, for just answering the questions instead of putting my post on your "fight the smears" website. It'll be refreshing to hear a presidential candidate actually address the concerns of the earth-born public, even if he's not technically one of them.

Thursday, May 22, 2008

FLDS Mandamus Granted

Well, folks. The Texas Court of Appeals in Austin has decided what any critically-thinking person could see all along...

Texas' CPS did not meet their burden of proving that there was immediate danger to the physical health or safety of those kids on the Eldorado ranch.

PDF Opinion issued today.

Shame on CPS. Either way now, they've doomed those children.

Either CPS was right all along about the abuse but, because they didn't even attempt to substantiate it, they've hamstrung their own department's ability to ever get to the bottom of things; or

They were wrong all along, and despite their attempts to pump their case in the media, they've now opened the State to the possibility of litigation.

I'd like to see some serious reform of Texas' Department of Family and Protective Services over this.

Sadly, though, to judge from the public's reactions so far, the rule of law will likely be made less strict so that, in the future, CPS can do what they did in this case without fear of reprisal.

That's been our legislature's answer in the past. Problems at CPS? Give 'em more money and a broader brush with which to paint!

We'll see.

Tuesday, April 29, 2008

Which Is It?

Is Wright right? Or not?

'Cause you Democrats out there need to decide. First it was, "You're taking Wright out of context!!"

Now it's, "He belongs in the right wing!"

Sheesh! Make up your minds, already.

Barack Obama has now disowned his pastor. Really, this time. Oh Discordia! But does it confuse anyone else that the Obama campaign obviously believed Wright would simply shut up after the last foofaraw?

He's a fiery preacher, for heaven's sake (no pun intended). It's what he does.

I'm sorry, but I'm starting to believe Wright is right, at least about Obama being your average, everyday, run-of-the-mill politician.


Now I'll just sit back and wait for the recriminations from Obama supporters (or adherents, or disciples, or acolytes, or whatever you consider yourselves now).

Happy Birthday To You

I'm beginning to think I should re-name this blog "VolokhWatch."

Guest-blogger Robert Brauneis has an interesting post about the copyright status of the words-and-melody to "Happy Birthday To You," currently "owned" by Warner Music Group.

The post discusses the possibility that copyright protection for this song may extend to the year 2030. Yuck! So I've got to endure 22 more years of restaurants making up their own idiotic birthday songs to keep from paying fees to WMG?

I wonder if anyone's copyrighted, "Happy birthday to you. You live in a zoo. You look like a monkey, and you smell like one too."

Maybe I can get some cash out of that.

Wednesday, April 23, 2008

BarBri Parody Video

I needed a laugh today.

Thanks to Volokh for the link:

Trans-Texas Corridor Update

Well, folks, Governor Perry is still gunnin' for your land. just sent me an email update containing the entire speech Rick Perry made to TxDOT's Transportation Forum yesterday. I went to Corridor Watch's website, and they haven't yet posted the remarks there, but I'm sure they will soon, so keep checking.

Here's a couple of snippets I'd like to comment on:

If anything, those challenges have grown larger, and this moment in time finds us at a crossroads. Our population continues to grow by roughly 1,500 people per day. For you Aggies in the audience, that means we could fill Kyle Field up with newcomers every 55 days, or fill it up 66 times in the next ten years.

That's a whole lot of people with a whole lot of needs, but that's not the only factor in play. We're also dealing with a funding crisis brought on by a less-than-reliable federal gas tax system. inflation at the national level for everything from materials to labor, and the fact that the bonds passed in 2003 have been spent. As of right now, TxDOT construction lettings are projected to be half of what they were in 2005.

That is not what I call progress. It's what I call a problem.

Ladies and gentlemen, as I travel around Texas and the country, one of the things I enjoy the most is bragging about the Texas economy. Texas is leading the nation in job growth and has been voted the top state in the nation to do business. Just yesterday, I read where we are now the leading state in the nation for corporate headquarters, recently surpassing New York.

Companies are moving to Texas in droves, creating thousands of new jobs for our people and investing billions in our economy. If we can't find a way to move their goods, services and workers around this state, they will leave just as fast.

The simple truth is: When it comes to roads, we need more of them.

Because I'm sure as heck not going to stop inviting companies to relocate their operations to our state. Those jobs mean income for Texas families, tax revenues for local communities, and a continually rising economic tide. And good roads mean a better quality of life for our citizens.

Unfortunately, folks on the various sides of this issue have lost sight of these simple facts. Too often, we have seen the issue of road construction driven by emotion, rather than reason. When this happens, honest debate is stifled, and solutions are sacrificed at the altar of politics.

Those "challenges" our illustrious governor speaks of are the challenges of ramrodding through a plan that the people of Texas overwhelmingly do not want. And yes, he seems committed to overcoming them.

He doesn't even pay lip service to the possibility that, with such a robust and growing economy, the increases in tax revenues alone should be more than adequate to keep our roads Texan-owned and Texan-operated. Sure, there's emotion involved. Texans care deeply about autonomy. We care deeply about our land and our rights. And most importantly of all, we care deeply that we should be able to rely on our elected officials to represent Texas, and not the interests of corporations and profits.

What he says he wants is:

...we need to innovate. We need to thoughtfully debate. And we need to bring all ideas to the table to tackle the overwhelming need our state faces. And we already have some pretty innovative ideas on the table.

I'm sorry, Mr. Governor, but your actions on this matter so far (and those of your appointees) have shown that you do not care about "thoughtful debate." You don't care about bringing "all ideas to the table." Because you've got your "innovative ideas," and you've shown so far your absolute disregard for not only the voices of the regular citizens of this great State, but also the voices of those folks in Austin elected to represent us. You've disregarded our voices solely so that you can force this corporate boondoggle, this monumental land-grab down our throats, and we're not going to be silent just because you're not listening.

A good portion of our legislators are listening, Mr. Governor. And it is my sincere hope that they keep their ears open. That they hear the concerns of ranchers who will have their lands split by a quarter-mile-wide monstrosity with no access points. That they hear the concerns of small communities that will be swallowed up and turned into ghost towns. That they hear the concerns of Texans who have paid for our highways all these years and don't want to turn them over to a corporation.

In closing, Mr. Governor, I'll leave you with the words of a song I learned as a small child. I think they're particularly appropriate:

The eyes of Texas are upon you,
All the live long day.
The eyes of Texas are upon you,
You can not get away.
Do not think you can escape them,
At night, or early in the 'morn.
The eyes of Texas are upon you,
'Til Gabriel blows his horn.

Friday, April 18, 2008

Eldorado Bombshell


Maybe that little voice I was talking about in my last post wasn't far off the mark.

From (link)

DENVER -- A Colorado Springs woman was arrested on charges of false reporting to authorities and is being investigated in connection with her alleged involvement in the call that tipped authorities off to possible abuse at a Texas polygamist compound.

Police said they arrested 33-year-old Rozita Swinton at her home on Wednesday.

The Texas Rangers were in Colorado Springs Wednesday as part of their investigation involving the compound in Texas. They left and have not filed any charges on Swinton, said Colorado Springs police spokesman Lt. Skip Arms.

If you read the entire article, it looks like Jessop's hotline has been recording calls from "Sarah" for two weeks (at the Texas Rangers' urging). It was two weeks ago that the first affidavits were filed in the case affirmatively stating that the girl was calling from inside the ranch.

And those calls were traced by the Texas Rangers to Colorado Springs.

When were they traced there?

I wonder about the other calls allegedly made to the San Angelo shelter and to CPS. While they may not have "caller ID" hookups (in order to protect privacy), that doesn't mean they can't, at very short notice, get usage logs from the phone company showing the numbers people are calling from.

So the question I have for my fellow lawyers out there...

What does (or should) happen to CPS' case if it's proven the original warrants were based upon a fraud?

I've been monitoring the play-by-play from the hearing in San Angelo, and I can't find where anyone's mentioned this. The story was just released about 2 hours ago, so maybe they're too busy and don't know about it yet.

Although the CPS reps down there probably do. And the Texas Rangers down there certainly do.

Thursday, April 17, 2008

My Take on Eldorado

Yes, I'm an attorney in West Texas. So let me start off by saying that I am not one of the 350-odd attorneys serving as volunteer ad litems in the case. I say that only to let everyone know that I know nothing more about the case than the national and local media are saying, along with a bit of West Texas gossip thrown in for good measure.

I don't place much stock in the gossip. You can't really believe most of it anyway, so I'm not going to dwell on it here. I also won't be providing any links to news stories. There's too many of them, and I wouldn't want to pick and choose which ones to include and which ones to leave out.

I will provide a link to a page where you may find the affidavits (in the green box on the left-hand side) filed in the case, but only because a newspaper has already done so.

I'm a lawyer, but I'm also a plain ol' average everyday human being. My first reaction to the "raid" was probably the same as most others'. That anyone could force a child into a "spiritual union" is abhorrent to me. If what they're saying is true, and we've been given no clear reason to doubt that it is, then the State was pretty clearly justified in taking most, if not all, of those kids into custody.

But that depends on a bunch of stuff that the State, I believe, will have a hard time proving.

See, they received some phone calls from a 16-year-old girl who says she was forced into a "spiritual union" with a much older man. She apparently gave birth to one child (at 15) and, at the time of the calls, was pregnant with another.

This was the basis for the initial warrant.

They have yet to locate the girl, and the man she named apparently is on probation in Arizona. His probation officer says he hasn't left the state.

Now for my lawyer side to come out.

The natural thing, at least if you've ever been exposed to Texas CPS, is to have a tiny little annoying voice buzzing in the back of your head. That voice is saying,"Surely they didn't make that girl up just to get inside?" If not, where is she? Where's the phone records showing the number she called from? Was there a recording of the calls themselves?

I know that the Texas Family Code provides for "post-deprivation" procedures (essentially, the adversary hearing they're having today) when a child is seized in the absence of probable cause, and that those procedures have been deemed sufficient to protect the Due Process rights of families.

But, I can't get past the fact that they had one unsubstantiated allegation of abuse. One. And that entitles them to take all of the children from the entire ranch?

Yes, I know, the Family Code allows them to remove the subject child and others "similarly situated." That, however, has normally meant other children in the same home. Are there possibly families in this sect who haven't engaged in polygamous and pedophilic pursuits? Doesn't the law entitle them to that presumption until there's something to rebut it?

I think it does.

I've got to close by stating my clearly held opinion that anyone who harms a child should have the full force of the law brought to bear on them. That law, however, must be tempered by the protections of the Constitution. These people must be afforded the opportunity to defend themselves without being prejudged.

To those of you who would accuse me of condoning pedophilia, I can only say that's not what I'm doing. I'm merely defending the rights of accused persons in this State to have their cases fairly heard.

Scalia-Stevens Smackdown in Baze v. Rees

Saw this on Volokh (Paul Cassell).

Scalia, writing about Stevens' separately written opinion says:

Purer expression cannot be found of the principle of rule by judicial fiat. In the face of Justice Stevens' experience, the experience of all others is, it appears, of little consequence. The experience of the state legislatures and the Congress-who retain the death penalty as a form of punishment-is dismissed as “the product of habit and inattention rather than an acceptable deliberative process.” Ante, at 8. The experience of social scientists whose studies indicate that the death penalty deters crime is relegated to a footnote. Ante, at 10, n. 13. The experience of fellow citizens who support the death penalty is described, with only the most thinly veiled condemnation, as stemming from a “thirst for vengeance.” Ante, at 11. It is Justice Stevens' experience that reigns over all.


Orin Kerr, apparently, concurs:

The Stevens concurring opinion is certainly a throwback to an earlier age. I think Scalia's response was devastating, as the Stevens opinion does seem remarkably uninterested in distinguishing good policy from what the Constitution demands. Perhaps the most puzzling line in Stevens' concurrence was his statement that the Supreme Court's decisions "retain[ing] the death penalty as a part of our law" have been "the product of habit and inattention." The Supreme Court is inattentive to the death penalty like college guys are inattentive to women and beer.

Couldn't have said it better myself.
I guess that's why I just linked it.

Monday, April 14, 2008


Okay, so I'm going to weigh in on the Obama "bitter" comments.

First of all, I don't care what Obama says about voters in Pennsylvania. What I think voters in Pennsylvania are most "bitter" about is that the Eagles can't win the Superbowl.

But let's look at the argument from both sides...


Those against Obama (Hillary, McCain, the right wing, half of the Democratic Party, and one or two media folks who haven't "gotten the memo") are saying his comments were "elitist." They point out the utter gall it takes to presume to speak for the feelings of such a large group of people. They point out also that it's pretty demeaning to suggest that just because government hasn't accomplished anything economically worthwhile in oh, about 6 decades, voters are going to become single(or double, or triple)-issue automatons so disaffected with the whole shebang that all they care about anymore is their guns. Or their church. Or their Klan buddies. Or their national isolationism. Or their economic isolationism.

Well, certainly some folks are bitter. And certainly some folks are bitter because the government (or lack thereof) has led to them being so.

But saying what he's said has effectively marginalized those issues he brought up. We'll leave out the comment about "people who aren't like them," since it's a cleverly worded play of the race card (good show, old chap!). Is he actually suggesting that people who value their faith would just give it up if an "economic Messiah" came along? Or that people who value their 2nd Amendment rights will be first in the "gun buyback line" if a factory's coming back to town?

Not bloody likely. And when you elevate economy above faith in one of your speeches, you've attempted to elevate yourself above that faith, as well.


Those who are for Obama (everybody else) say that his words are "the truth." Well of course they are. Especially when there's no way for them to be objectively proven. I've seen them actually referred to as "'unartful,' but not inaccurate." (Donna Brazile said that, and she'd know all about unartful comments and inaccurate ones).

Obama's response to the wave of criticism was essentially to say that he meant what he said, just not exactly the way he said it.


He said he apologizes to those who were offended by what he said. Great.

But does it bother anyone but me where he chose to say it? A closed fund-raiser in that last bastion of the liberal "we-know-better-than-you" elite?

That's right, folks. San Francisco.

I can't for the life of me figure out why he chose to address his comments not to the downtrodden, rural voters of Pennsylvania, but to the upscale $500-a-plate crowds in S.F. I'd really like to hear an explanation of that part of it.

Wouldn't you?

P.S. -- Obama supporters, please stop posting youtube videos of rural Pennsylvania voters saying, "You're darn tootin' I'm bitter." It proves nothing.

'Cause we all know by now that if Obama had stood on stage and said, "All those rural Pennsylvania voters want is a ham sandwich! And I intend to give 'em one!" You'd all be falling all over yourselves to video rural Pennsylvania voters saying, "Boy, I sure could go for a ham sandwich right now."

Wednesday, April 02, 2008

Trans Texas Corridor Update

Some have said it's dead. But, to borrow a line from Stephen King...

Sometimes they come back.

Now, apparently, TxDOT is lying about funding problems, saying they have to scrap current projects, even though State Senator Troy Fraser has said they have plenty of money for the current projects.

Now, do they honestly want to threaten like this? Are they trying to make transportation problems worse, in order to bring Average Joe Texan on board with their idiotic TTC boondoggle?

Governor Perry, stop serving corporate interests and start serving the people of this State. You weren't elected to shill for foreign corporations, and the people of Texas aren't interested in your land-grab.

Monday, March 31, 2008

Archiving is Fair Use?

Rebecca Tushnet has an interesting blog post about a recent federal court decision. A group of students sued a company called iParadigm, L.L.C. over that company's archiving of their term papers in a database.

Apparently, iParadigm does this via a service called "Turnitin," so that they can authenticate the originality of a student's submitted paper.

The school districts these students attend have contracted with this company to provide this service.

From Tushnet's post:

Turnitin is a plagiarism-detection service. Schools using Turnitin require students to submit papers through Turnitin’s system, which compares their papers to Turnitin’s database and, if there’s a suspicious match, generates a report for the relevant teacher. Schools can also choose to allow their students’ papers to be added to the database to improve Turnitin’s ability to detect among-student cheating. Plaintiffs objected to Turnitin’s approach and sued for copyright infringement based on papers they’d been required to submit as a condition of receiving school credit.

The plaintiffs were, understandably, miffed at a company being able to use their works to generate a profit.

Well, the court found that the Plaintiffs' claims were without merit. Apparently, a contract of adhesion (I'm sorry, a "clickwrap license") is only a bad thing if you're not signing it at the insistence of a third party.

The court said that iParadigm's use of the papers is "fair use" under copyright law, mainly because they're not using the papers for anything but plagiarism detection...

So, for those of you out there who care...

That huge library of unlicensed songs you've got on your computer is no longer a "library." It's a "database of songs for use in determining if there's anything new under the sun."

Hope that helps.

Tuesday, March 25, 2008

Medellin Decision Handed Down

The Supreme Court has handed down its opinion in the case of Medellin v. Texas.

Here's a link to the opinion (89 page pdf).

I haven't read the entire opinion yet, but here's the holding from the syllabus:

"Held: Neither Avena nor the President’s Memorandum constitutes directly enforceable federal law that pre-empts state limitations on the filing of successive habeas petitions."

Johnathan Adler at Volokh writes:

"Chief Justice Roberts wrote the majority opinion, which held that neither a judgment of the International court of Justice nor the President's executive order directing state courts to follow the ICJ's judgment constituted federal law that pre-empts a state's pre-existing bar on the litigation of subsequent habeas petitions. Justice Stevens concurred in the judgment, while Justice Breyer wrote a dissent on behalf of himself and Justices Souter and Ginsburg."

There's some great links from that Volokh page, too.

Saturday, March 15, 2008

Thursday, February 28, 2008

Obama: "Yes We Can" Mortgage Our Future

U.S. News is reporting on Obama's let's-help-the-poor-of-other-countries-and-dance-to-the-U.N.'s-irrelevant-tune bill that's on its way to the Senate for consideration.

Good grief! Does this seem like biting off more than we can chew? With the Democrats constantly harping about how our economy is tanking, should we really be even discussing the possibility of increasing foreign aid?

I was really hoping against hope that the candidates for President would do something to rein in the out-of-control spending we've been saddled with by the Bush Administration.

Obama's not one of them.

Tuesday, February 26, 2008

Heller Briefs

Here's a list of links to all the briefs filed thus far in D.C. v. Heller. (Thanks to ABAnet)

District of Columbia v. Heller, Docket No. 07-290
Questions Presented

Merits briefs
Brief of Petitioners District of Columbia and Adrian M. Fenty, Mayor of the District of Columbia
Brief of Respondent Dick Anthony Heller

Amicus briefs
Brief for Violence Policy Center and the Police Chiefs for the Cities of Los Angeles, Minneapolis, and Seattle in Support of Petitioner
Brief for Major American Cities, the United State Conference of Mayors and Legal Community Against Violence in Support of Petitioner
Brief for Jack N. Rakove, Saul Cornell, David T. Konig, William J. Novak, Lois G. Schwoerer et al. in Support of Petitioner
Brief for Law Professors Erwin Chemerinsky and Adam Winkler, as in Support of Petitoner
Brief for American Public Health Association, American College of Preventive Medicine, American Trauma Society, and American Association of Suicidology in Support of Petitioner
Brief for Former Department of Justice Officials in Support of Petitoner
Brief for Professors of Criminal Justice in Support of Petitioner
Brief for the City of Chicago and the Board of Education of the City of Chicago in Support of Petitioner (reprint)
Brief for DC Appleseed Center for Law and Justice, D.C. Chamber of Commerce, D.C. for Democracy, D.C. League of Women Voters, Federal City Council of Lawyers in Support of Petitioner
Brief for the American Academy of Pediatrics, the Society for Adolescent Medicine, the Childrens Defense Fund, Women Against Gun Violence, and Youth Alive! in Support of Petitioner
Brief for District Attorneys in Support of Petitioner (reprint)
Brief for the NAACP Legal Defense and Educational Fund in Support of Petitioners
Brief for the American Bar Association in Support of Petitioner
Brief for the Brady Center to Prevent Gun Violence, the International Association of Chiefs of Police, Major Cities Chiefs, the International Brotherhood of Police Officers, the National Organization of Black Law Enforcement Executives, the Hispanic American Police Command Officers Association, National Black Police Association, the National Latino Peace Officers Association, School Safety Advocacy Council, and the Police Executive Research Forum in Support of Petitioner
Brief for New York, Hawaii, Maryland, Massachusetts, New Jersey, and Puerto Rico in Support of Petitioner
Brief for Professors of Linguistics and English Dennis E. Baron, Ph. D, Richard W. Bailey, Ph. D, and Jeffrey P. Kaplan in Support of Petitioner
Brief for the United States of America in Support of Petitioner
Brief for the the American Jewish Committee et al. in Support of Petitioner
Brief for the National Network to End Domestic Violence et al. in Support of Petitioner
Brief for American Legislative Exchange in Support of Respondent
Brief for, Inc. in Support of Respondent
Brief for the Congress of Racial Equality in Support of Respondent (reprint)
Brief for the Buckeye Firearms Foundation LLC, National Council for Investigationand Security Services, Ohio Association of Private Detective Agencies, Inc., DBA Ohio Association of Security and Investigation Services (OASIS), Michigan Council of Private Investigators, Indiana Association of Professional Investigators, and Kentucky Professional Investigators Association in Support of Respondent
Brief for the Disabled Veterans for Self-Defense and Kestra Childers in Support of Respondent
Brief for Criminologists, Social Scientists, Other Distinguished Scholars, and the Claremont Institute in Support of Respondent (reprint)
Brief for the Foundation for Free Expression in Support of Respondent
Brief for the Association of American Physicians and Surgeons in Support of Respondent
Brief for the Rutherford Institute in Support of Respondent (reprint)
Brief for the Pink Pistols and Gays and Lesbians for Individual Liberty in Support of Respondent
Brief for the Alaska Outdoor Council, the Alaska Fish and Wildlife Conservation Fund, SITKA Sportsman's Association, the Juneau Rifle and Pistol Club, the Juneau Gun Club, and Alaska Territorial Sportsmen, Inc. in Support of Respondent
Brief for Major General John D. Altenburg, Jr., Lieutenant General Charles E. Dominy, Lieutenant General Tom Fields, Lieutenant General Jay M. Garner, General Ronald H. Griffith, General William H. Hartzog, Lieutenant General Ronald V. Hite, Major General John. G. Meyer, Jr., Honorable Joe R. Reeder, Lieutenant General Dutch Shoffner, General John Tilelli, and The American Hunters and Shooters Association in Support of Respondent
Brief for the National Rifle Association and the NRA Civil Rights Defense Fund in Support of Respondent
Brief for Grass Roots of South Carolina, Inc. in Support of Respondent
Brief for the Libertarian National Committee in Support of Respondent
Brief for the Second Amendment Foundation in Support of Respondent
Brief for 55 Members of the United States Senate, the President of the U.S. Senate, and 250 Members of the U.S. House of Representatives in Support of Respondent
Brief for 126 Women State Legislatures and Academics in Support of Respondent
Brief for in Support of Respondent (reprint)
Brief for Paragon Foundation in Support of Respondent
Brief for the CATO Institute and History Professor Joyce Lee Malcolm in Support of Respondent
Brief for the International Law Enforcement Educators and Trainers Association (ILEETA), the International Association of Law Enforcement Firearms Instructors (IALEFI), Maryland State Lodge, the Fraternal Order of Police, the Southern States Police Benevolent Association, 29 Elected California District Attorneys, the San Francisco Veteran Police Officers Association, the Long Beach Police Officers Association, Texas Police Chiefs Association, Texas Municipal Police Association, New York State Association of Auxiliary Police, Mendocino County, California Sheriff Thomas D. Allman, Oregon State Rep. Andy Olson, the National Police Defense Foundation, the Law Enforcement Alliance of America, and the Independence Institute in Support of Respondent (reprint)
Brief for the States of Texas, Alabama, Alaska, Arkansas, Colorado, Florida, Georgia, Idaho, Indiana, Kansas, Kentucky, Louisiana, Michigan, Minnesota, Mississippi, Missouri, Montana, Nebraska, New Hampshire, New Mexico, North Dakota, Ohio, Oklahoma, Pennsylvania, South Carolina, South Dakota, Utah, Virginia, Washignton, West Virginia, and Wyoming in Support of Respondent
Brief for Jews for the Preservation of Firearms Ownership in Support of Respondent
Brief for Organizations and Scholars Correcting Myths and Misrepresentations Commonly Deployed by Opponents of an Individual-Right-Based Interpretation of the Second Amendment in Support of Respondent
Brief for the President Pro Tempore of the Senate of Pennsylvania Joseph B. Scarnati, III in Support of Respondent
Brief for the American Center for Law and Justice in Support of Respondent
Brief for the Mountain States Legal Foundation in Support of Respondent
Brief for the Institute for Justice in Support of Respondent
Brief for Former Senior Officials of the Department of Justice in Support of Respondent
Brief for Foundation for Moral Law in Support of Respondent
Brief for Gun Owners of America, Inc., the Gun Owners Foundation, Maryland Shall Issue, Inc., the Virginia Citizens Defense League, Gun Owners of California, Inc., the Lincoln Institute for Research and Education, and the Conservative Legal Defense and Education Fund in Support of Respondent
Brief for State Firearm Associations in Support of Respondent
Brief for the Southeastern Legal Foundation, Inc., Second Amendment Sisters, Inc., Women Against Gun Control, 60 Plus Association, Inc., Robert B. Smith, J.D., Christie Davies, M.A., Ph. D. Joe Michael Cobb, and Mrs. Minnie Lee Faulkner in Support of Respondent
Brief for Dr. Suzanna Gratia Hupp, D.C. and the Liberty Legal Institute in Support of Respondent
Brief for Academics in Support of Respondent
Brief for Academics for the Second Amendment in Support of Respondent
Brief for the Center for Individual Freedom in Support of Respondent
Brief for Retired Military Officers in Support of Respondent
Brief for the Heartland Institute in Support of Respondent
Brief for National Shooting Sports Foundation, Inc., in Support of Respondent
Brief for Goldwater Institute in Support of Respondent
Brief for American Civil Rights Union in Support of Respondent
Brief for the Maricopa County Attorney's Office in Support of Respondent (reprint)
Brief for the Eagle Forum Education and Legal Defense Fund in Support of Respondent
Brief for Jeanette M. Moll et al. in Support of Respondent
Brief for Members of Congress in Support of Reversal

That's 66 Amicus Briefs. By my count, 47 of them are in favor of Heller's arguments.

I haven't read them all, but I'm going to.

Thursday, February 21, 2008

Clinton in Odessa

Former President Bill Clinton is in Odessa today, stumping for the wife.

Just goes to show how hotly contested the Texas Democratic primary is, considering the lack of voters turning out for our most recent elections.

I thought about going, but I figured this would be such a big day for all 20 or so Odessa Democrats, I didn't want to rain on their parade.

Wednesday, February 20, 2008

Clinton or Obama?

I don't understand the Democratic Party. Bunch of fickle wierdos, if you ask me.

I've listened to my liberal friends (yes, it's possible to have some) for 7 years now whine about how much better it would have been to keep Bill Clinton in office...

And now,... Ummm. They're doing everything they can think of to keep Bill Clinton out of the Whitehouse.

Okay, so he's not actually running again, but does it seem strange to anyone but me?

I mean, as early as 6 months ago all we heard from the left was that Hillary was a genius. "Smartest Woman Alive." Couldn't do better for the country than elect her to the Presidency. Right?

Has Barack Obama done anything but talk for the last 6 months? What's changed? Is Hillary not smart anymore? Does this mean I can stop listening to how "maverick" she is? Or how she's "broken down barriers?"

Probably not. The Democrats just decided they'd try breaking down a different barrier this time, I guess.

My head hurts.

Monday, February 04, 2008

To Infinity... and Beyond!

This guy's a regular Buzz Lightyear.

Who's with me in thinking his next Youtube video is gonna be of him getting blown to smithereens?

Tuesday, January 22, 2008

I'm Officially in Mourning

Fred's dead. (Link goes to Volokh Conspiracy)

No, not really dead. He's dropped out of the race for President.

Okay, so I realize his poll numbers were abysmal not too long after the post-announcement honeymoon. But now I can't vote for him. My choices now apparently have been reduced to Rudy Bolonioniagni, the Romneybot, and Great-Great-Great-Great Grandpa McCain.

I just don't know what to do now. I've been a "Friend of Fred" since September 12 of last year, and now I'm a ship without a rudder. A sailboat without wind. A dinghy without an oar. A canoe without a paddle.

I didn't even get a break-up email. I don't know why. I'm on the mailing list, along with all of Fred's other Friends, and he didn't even have the common courtesy to call me first. I would have convinced him not to quit.

Seriously, if my vote now is to be a protest vote, shouldn't I be able to cast it for a conservative candidate instead of Pollyanny, Romneybot, or John-Jacob-Jingleheimer-McCain?

And don't get me started on Huckabee. I've had quite enough of allowing Arkansas to determine the future of the nation, thank you very much.

And so, with great reluctance, I will remove the "Fred '08" widget from this page. I will add in its place a similarly widgety widget for Ron Paul, if I can find one.

If not, oh well. Maybe I'll vote for a Democrat. It'd be the same as voting for a Republican now, anyway.

Thursday, January 17, 2008

Bands of Fury

I can't resist re-posting this. The link was sent to me in an email.

Some fella in the UK decided the world needed a "rubber band mini-gun."

To that I say: Amen, my brother.

It makes me happy just looking at it.