Friday, November 28, 2008

Friday Fragments

It is Friday, right? Yes, I think so. And good thing since I can't form coherent thoughts yet.

Kids.... have spent the night with grandmothers the past 2 nights. It is so nice to wake up in the morning without someone wedging me out of my own bed, not to have to hear Playstation Justice League at full volume at 5:30am, not to have to find milk and cereal spilled all over the kitchen. I even get to watch the news while having my coffee, instead of cartoons.

Thanksgiving... was good. We all went to my mother-in-laws. I am thankful she is wonderful. WE had a good dinner, the kids played outside, upstairs, downstairs. Even our dog went and had a good time. As a side note, I forgot to medicate my ADHD child #4 so he was balls to the wall full force all day long. I am thankful he didn't get hurt.

Barry Manilow.... is on my tv? Barry is the featured singer this morning on the Today Show. For whatever reason I think this is really funny, maybe because he is singing 80's hits- Islands in the Stream...that is what we are.... Usually they have some hip singer... Barry? I think I have an 8-track of his.

School.... a new class has started. Actually 2 classes. So far Federal Courts is a LOT of reading. There is also a weekly quiz. And I haven't even read for Environmental Law yet...

Sayings.... I heard a good one this week about politics. "If good people don't get involved, bad people will". True that. Sign me up.

Child #1... is going on a cruise to South America with her grandmother for Christmas. They aren't going until early January, but that is her Christmas gift. She also needs a fancy dress for a school dance. The school dance also requires her to have a date. She is considering going with her best guy friend, and I am totally good with that. But not good with the dance idea... she is getting big. I am not old enough to have a child going to high school next year.

Home.... I have the house to myself for the majority of the day. Husband is at work today and will be picking up children on his way home this afternoon. He won't work a full day, but that still gives me nearly a whole day home alone. This is a rare treat. While I would love to read blogs and play all day, I have work to do. Cleaning before Christmas decorations go up, and reading and quizzes to be done.

Thankful.... I am thankful for all of you who are reading this. I really never expected anyone to read any of this, it was mostly for my own sanity. But I have been pleasantly surprised and I enjoy your comments, suggestions, and stories. Thank you all for being here.

Monday, November 24, 2008

Free at Last...

Well, I'm not really free... but my kids are. I recently learned that my parenting style is considered "Free-Range". That would be the opposite of "Helicopter". Its the difference between hovering over your children and allowing them freedom without constant supervision. As some of you may realize by now I have 5 children. The oldest is 12 nearly 13, and the youngest just turned 4. If I tried to watch them all at all times I'd either have to tie them together or have x-ray vision to see through walls. It would be impossible!

At age 7 I walked to school alone, stayed home alone after school, and rode my bike alone to the donut shop on Saturdays. When I was 12 I took the bus to the mall for the day or downtown to hang around the history museums. By the time I was 14 or 15 I rode my bike with my backpack of overnight clothes nearly 30 miles down country roads to my grandparents house- in an entirely different state!!! So, ever since I heard all the fuss on the Today Show about Lenore over at Free Range Kids, and how she let her 9 year old ride the subway home alone, I've been stalking.... ummm... following her blog. She has some great ideas. And I especially enjoy the comments from other parents. If you have children, no matter if you are helicopter or free-range, you should check her out. She isn't nearly as drastic as everyone makes her out to be. She was recently on the Dr. Phil show, and they are re-airing that episode on Thanksgiving Day- which may be the perfect time to watch because we all know the kids are going to be running around unsupervised with their cousins while the adults drink spiked eggnog so they don't maime or injure their in-laws.

So... along with my kids being free from my constant supervision, they will also be free from school after tomorrow. Until next week. I love holidays, but why do they have to cancel school? Oh, yeah... so that Vodka Mom over at I Need a Martini Mom can get a break and have some vodka martinis too. God bless you for your service to our children... your martinis are well deserved. (By the way, I tried some martinis made with blueberry vodka and they taste like blueberry muffins... dangerous stuff)Also, I am feeling pretty free. And No... I didn't confront friend's jackass husband. I will lie in wait and suprise him later. I actually got more awards!!! From Tova Darling... who has a perfectly evil mother-in-law (if you thought yours was bad check this one out!). She also has a secret identity since her name is not really Tova or Darling. She actually has a journalism degree, and felt it fit to bestow upon me the following awards:

The Superior Scribbler Award, which you can read about here....

She also bestowed upon me this award....Which translates as "This blog invests and believes in proximity" (meaning, that blogging makes us 'close'-being close through proxy). Or, if as Tova Darling believes, it translates however you like... then I think mine translates as "You are the hottest mother of 5 children and your brain power and ability in law school is freakin amazing"..... at least thats what I'm pretending it says...

And last she gave me this one of Marie Antionette...

Which is a really beautiful picture. MA was married at age 14 and later executed by her husband. It reminds me to tell you all that if you have not seen The Other Boleyn Girl, you should watch it. Mental Note: do not watch with small children- there are some fairly vivid sexually intimate scenes... and Eric Bana is pretty hot.

Sunday, November 23, 2008

Some People are So Rude

To begin, let me apologize for my lack of comments lately, but I promise I will get all caught up on reading in the next few days. I actually worked on Friday, as in went to a real workplace outside of my home.... I know, I know, weird. Then Friday night I went out with a few friends. Ever since Friday night I have been puzzling over how some people can be so rude.

A friend of mine from work and I decided we would call a couple other girls and go out to a local bar we like to go to on Friday's for karaoke. We had also discussed the possibility of running over to our local gay bar for an hour or so to see a friend of mine that bartends there. My husband had a long day and he didn't want to go. Her husband had been flying back across country all day after being out of town on work all week. He said he wasn't sure if he wanted to go or not. As background- we have gone on vacations with this couple for the last couple years, and go out with them on weekends or hang out at their house pretty regularly. Another friend wanted to go, and her husband may come with her. We all get to the bar around 7:30pm. Myself, my friend, our other friend and her husband, and another couple- we all eat and have a beer. Karaoke starts and we decide it might be a good time to run over to see my buddy at the gay bar. Obviously (although not necessarily so), my bartending friend is a gay guy. He is also my study partner at school. I am friends with him, his boyfriend, and about 10 of their other friends. A bunch of great guys.

So my friend calls her husband to see if he is in fact going to come out or not- so that he doesn't show up at one bar just as we have run over to another one. She tells him what the plan is. That is when he goes ballistic. For the next 20 minutes he is screaming at her on the phone. He was not only disparaging her- calling her all sorts of names and telling her she was being irresponsible. He was also being extremely rude and disrespectful to gays in general. She held the phone for me to listen during part of his tirade and it was all I could do to keep my mouth shut. Now, if you don't like gays, so be it. But name calling is really childish. And just an FYI- gay bars are not a den of iniquity with guys all over each other while straight women hang all over them wishing they could get in on the action. Our gay bar anyway, looks like any other bar- except perhaps that it has a disproportionate amount of attractive men sitting around.

At any rate, they argued and the entire time he was driving over to check and see if we were really at the karaoke bar. Then he asks my friend if my husband knows we are planning on going to the gay bar. She says he does indeed. Her husband says, "we'll see about that", hangs up, and proceeds to call my husband! Which my husband tells him that he knows and could care less. Really- is a woman safer in a karaoke bar full of drunk straight guys, or a upscale bar full of gay guys? hmmmm..... At this point I am pretty pissed that he called my husband anyway, because it isn't like I needed his permission to go to the gay bar, although I did tell him I would likely be going there out of married courtesy. I mean WTF?!?! You actually called my husband to ask if I had permission? Are you freakin kidding me?!?!

Friend then asked her husband if he called my husband. He says he did. She asks what did my husband tell him. He says, "well I'm not going to tell you all what he thinks about it.." Insinuating that my husband actually had an opinion that I shouldn't be going. Now I am even more pissed because I had just gotten off the phone with my husband and he relayed a brief rundown of the conversation. Basically the "I don't care if she wants to go there, but I don't want to go, and I hope she doesn't spend too much money". To keep myself out of trouble and not make things worse, I went back inside the karaoke bar and waited for them to finish up their argument. Had I said anything it would have gotten really ugly. Partly because I had heard all his crappy remarks about gays and then for him to call my husband and say what he said... oh, it would have been really ugly.

So my friend tells him that if he will go back home, she will stay at karaoke bar. Fine with me. Her choice. I can be happy either way. Do I think its ridiculous? Sure. Do I think he is jackass? Yep. Do I want to ever hang out with him again? Not so much. Do I want to tell him exactly what I think of his bigoted filthy mouth? you bet. Would it do me any good? It might make me feel better, but I'm pretty sure it wouldn't change his closed-mind. Do I stick up for my friends who are gay and tell him his attitude is rude and hateful and I refuse to go anywhere with him? Maybe I need to. So.... I ask all of you.... what would you do if you were me?

Wednesday, November 19, 2008

The Final Final Exam

This post is written in the most PC way possible. I mean absolutely no disrespect to either my beloved institute of higher learning, nor the knowledgeable professor to whom this refers. All incidents were a result of an act of God by which none can or will be held responsible.

Last Wednesday our exam was postponed because our dear professor could not access it from his work computer due to a power outage. The power outage was caused by our local power company in response to a gas leak in the downtown area. Power was cut off the entire day from a 10 block radius in the center of downtown so as not to spark some explosion. He did not feel it would be possible for him to bring his work computer to a location with power in order to print out the exam. When he realized at 10am that he would not be able to administer the exam, he did not feel he could do us justice by just writing a new exam in the following 8 hours so that we could have taken it anyway. Last week I was so frustrated I could not post about it, because it would not have been very PC. It would have been this...
and our professor would have understood it completely and perhaps been proud that I had used it in an appropriate context. (for you other law-geeks out there, you now know the topic of my exam)

So.... It was rescheduled for this evening. I will not be as prepared as I was last week. I do not have anyone to watch child #5 for me today so I can go to the school early and immerse myself in review. I believe my grade will suffer. Last week many of us called the school to express our dissatisfaction with this situation. Many of my classmates had travel plans, plane tickets, or had taken a day off work to prepare themselves like good accountable students would. We can not do that again this week. Many requests were made for a take-home style exam. No messages were returned. The exam will proceed as scheduled. This is the last exam of my round of final exams. I will overcome.

Tuesday, November 18, 2008

Are you Fur Real?

Eudea-Mamia posted a lovely reminder this morning about the beauty of Christmas and little children. The tinsel, twinkling lights, trees and beautiful ornaments that bring out the joy and amazement on the faces of our children. Who knew so much beauty could be had in a Super Target? However, there is a dark side to Christmas....

Commercials. It seems like every year for the ever-longer months of the Christmas season the retail world is bombarding our children with all the things they absolutely must have from Santa. Last night we were watching some television program, and each commercial break I was harassed with "I want that", "Santa needs to bring me this", "why do brothers get all the good stuff and we get clothes?".... you get the idea.

Well, to begin with, I have subliminally spoken with dear ol' Santa and he is bringing each child #1-4 one of these... in their favorite color so as to avoid confusion.

We do not need one of these...

We have a dog. A real one. Play with her. She is no fun you say? Well, there are children out there begging for a real dog and all they will get is one of these Fur Real Friends. Be thankful your Mama loves you enough to get you the real deal.... I mean WTF? I got you a For Real Dog. Is she chopped liver?

Neither do we need any of these....

Baby Alive? I have 5 kids, just the thought of more babies make me cringe, especially ones that pretend to be alive. Besides, what do you think you have younger brothers for? Play with them.

Its a no win situation in the end. While the gifts are cool, there will always be something missing. Something Santa forgot. Or more accurately something Santa refused to buy. And the dollar amount of the gifts has nothing to do with the joy of Christmas morning- its all about the size of the pile. I could give my kids each a $1000 piece of jewelry and it wouldn't be near as cool as a $20 huge ass bouncy ball. In their defense, I may have provoked that part, I mean really, who doesn't like to see a huge pile of stuff with their name on it? To make up for the relatively small size of the DS, I convinced Santa to bring new bikes as well. Hopefully between those 2 things and the rest of the little stuff like coloring books, crayons, underwear, a few shirts, and maybe some play-doh or a slinky thrown in, this year Santa will remain in their good graces as the guy with all the goods.

Monday, November 17, 2008

I Knew It!

I have had the nagging feeling for over a month now that there was something I needed to do. I couldn't place it though. I had talked to nearly every friend lately, my parents, my brother. I have listed all the band practices, holiday parties, snack days, and letter of the day on the calender. What on earth could I be forgetting?

Then I was cleaning out my car this weekend. I had taken 2 bags of clothes to Goodwill on Sunday. Bags that had been in my trunk for 3 months (sshhhh... don't tell my husband, he thought they were already gone). I drug a couple pair of my shoes out of the backseat, and a black suit I had taken to IN back in May for the funeral of my best friends mom. Buried beneath the junk....

The booklet and CD of my beautiful 5 year old boys pictures! I had taken him to have his special Kindergarten pictures made back in August. I totally forgot! I had made each of the girls a special smocked or pleated dress that they had fancy pictures made in, and I had dug out the outfit my husband wore in his special picture when he was 5 for my son to wear. He looked absolutely adorable. She even lets the kids bring their favorite thing and makes some less formal pictures with their special item. He picked the shotgun he got from his namesake grandfather who passed away the month before. This blessed photographer didn't flinch when I told her that was what he wanted to bring. She said it would be great and she would bring out the horse saddle and cowboy hat for him. Bless her heart- she is wonderful!

But then after a few days of showing off my beautiful child #4, I threw them in the back of the car in a rush and hadn't thought much of them since. I haven't ordered any, I haven't done anything. I showed them around when I first got the proofs, but after that- nada! So I made a note on my handy dandy calender to call this wonderful photographer, apologize profusely, and hope that I can still order the pictures.

Wish me luck

Sunday, November 16, 2008

Helluva Week

I totally intended on doing this post Friday as part of Friday Fragments, however... its been one heck of a week. I've been busy, sidetracked at every turn, and distracted. Here goes:

- My dad called on Thursday and has been laid off his job. He lives in IN and the economy there is worse than it is here, and chances are slim he will find something. He is thinking of moving closer to me, so close in fact that he may very well be living in my spare bedroom. The good news about that is, as former military he is super duper clean. And he would probably clean my house because it would drive him crazy.

- My last final exam was supposed to be on Wednesday. I got Child #5 dropped off with my husband, and got over to the school for a few hours of study and down time before the exam began. And about that time, they canceled the exam. Actually, postponed it- to this coming Wednesday. I appreciate the extra study time, but I was ready for the hell to be over.

- Friday night I was supposed to go celebrate the end of exams with some friends. Since exams weren't over I was torn. I ended up going anyway, but it was hard to really have a good time
when I felt guilty for being there instead of home studying. However, watching really bad karaoke is always good to take your mind off whats bothering you.

- Some good news- my kids actually let me sleep in until 9am on both Saturday and Sunday mornings. I haven't slept in that late in a very very long time. I usually am up at 5:30 to start getting the kids ready for school, and I didn't even realize I could sleep so late.

- A friend of mine from school saw one of our professors on Thursday at a CLE class and was told he turned in our grades. He said the spread was 8 A's, 1 D, and the rest in between. The grades should be posted tomorrow. Please, sweet baby Jesus, let me have an A.

-Child #2 has been sick all day today. My twins (#2 & #3) had a friend spend the night Saturday night. Then Sunday morning #2 woke up not feeling well. Her stomach has been hurting all day, a slight fever, we've had the bowl nearby. One nice thing did come out of it- I was getting ready to leave and run errands this morning and she asked me "but who will take care of me while you are gone?" I told her Daddy was staying with her. Her lip quivered and she said, "but what if he doesn't know what to do?" I reassured her I told Daddy exactly what to do. At least I know I am needed.

There is probably more that has happened, but I have purged it from my mind already. Making room for exam materials up there. Tonight, after the kids get in bed, I am getting in the hot tub for a well deserved relaxing soak. Maybe my husband will quiz me with my notecards for the exam while we're at it...

Thursday, November 13, 2008

Michael Jackson, Scott Peterson, and... the Dhaliwals

I know what you are thinking... who the heck are the Dhaliwals? And what do they have in common with Michael Jackson and Scott Peterson? Well the Dhaliwal brothers, Amritpal and Kulbir, are the young men from San Jose who were attacked last year by the 243 pound tiger, Tatiana, who escaped from her enclosure at the San Francisco zoo. (Or San Fran-Sicko if you listen to Michael Savage). It seems the brothers have finally retained an attorney, Mark Geragos. The same attorney who swore that Jacko was a 'perfectly normal human being' and Scott Peterson was 'an innocent man'. Yeah, I can take him seriously.

The brothers and a friend were visiting the zoo last year when the tiger escaped, attacking the brothers and killing their friend. At the time, word on the street was that the group of young men taunted the tiger into attacking. Now the young men, ages 20 and 24, have filed a lawsuit in federal court against the city, zoo and others, claiming slander and civil rights violations. They are seeking unspecified damages. I can't imagine why folks would think these young men taunted the tiger... maybe there were witnesses? Or maybe its because teenage and young men don't routinely hang around at zoos? I mean really, when was the last time you saw a group of young men just out enjoying the wildlife....
"look look! a ring-tailed lemur! way cool..."
"oh next we just must go over to the reptile house!"
"yeah, but I can't wait to see that new prarie dog exhibit!"
"oh, come on! the tiger exhibit is the best- remember when that one ate Siegfried?"
"no dude, I thought he ate Roy..."
"omg who cares... lets check them out, maybe they've got the white ones too"
Kulbir Dhaliwal contends his federal civil rights were violated because he was deprived the use of his BMW M3, the car the three took to the zoo. Police impounded the car during their investigation. (Aww... bless his heart, they took his sweet ride).

The brothers also contend city officials along with Sam Singer, a crisis management spokesman for the zoo engaged in a smear campaign to suggest the young men were disreputable and had taunted the tiger before the escape. Disreputable? Amritpal Dhaliwal was sentenced in August to 16 months in state prison on a probation violation in Santa Clara County, and appeared this week in Alameda County Superior Court charged with shoplifting video game equipment from three Target stores. Sounds like an upstanding young man if you ask me....

I'm not judging though. Innocent until proven guilty and all that. Besides, the brothers contend they were permanently scarred by the attacks and the city and zoo were negligent in keeping Tatiana in an enclosure that had walls lower that what is recommended by the Association of Zoos and Aquariums. They also say the zoo ignored workers' warnings about the wall height and that Kulbir Dhaliwal wasn't attacked until after an employee refused to allow him into the safety of a zoo cafe. (Hindsight is 20/20 isn't it? Maybe they should have consulted with Roy). In their defense, City Attorney Dennis Herrera's office has said the city is not liable and directed the brothers to file a claim with the San Francisco Zoological Society, the nonprofit that operates the zoo. Way to 'pass the buck'.

I'm hoping they show this trial on CourtTv. The details you hear at trial are never the ones printed in the paper. I wouldn't count my chickens (or tiger cubs) before they hatch if I were either side.

Wednesday, November 12, 2008

Widow's Tragic Death

Maybe she took his remote one too many times.
Maybe she nagged.
Maybe she expected him to clean the toilets.
Maybe she was a bad cook.
Or maybe she didn't cook at all.

On the other hand, maybe she was his life.
Maybe he couldn't go on to the other side without her.
Maybe he knew she couldn't go on without him.
Maybe he just couldn't bear to leave her alone.

Any way about it, I'm wondering what sort of relationship this woman had with her husband resulting in this sort of divine intervention. Mr. Coimbra passed away at the age of 76 as a result of a heart attack he suffered while at a dance with his wife, age 67. The next day, while on the way to the funeral, the hearse containing Mr. Coimbra in the rear and his wife in the front seat, was struck by another vehicle causing the casket to fly forward and strike his wife in the head killing her.

The poor family. I wonder what they are all thinking now.

I know what I'm thinking. Don't ever ride in the front seat of a hearse.

Tuesday, November 11, 2008

Thank a Veteran

Today is Veterans Day, just in case you wondered why so many people didn't go to work today, or why you didn't go to work today. Originally called Armistice Day, it is now known as Veterans Day. A day to honor all veterans and armed service members for their sacrifices. For all the faults of the military, it has produced some wonderful soldiers who take protecting our country and freedoms very seriously.

Beyond just thanking all the former and current service men AND women out there, I want to give a special shout out to:

1) MY DADDY. My daddy signed up for the army during the Vietnam War. Daddy and his 2 best friends signed up together right out of high school. Now honestly, he did this because he had been less than studious in high school and couldn't afford college without the GI Bill, but still. He signed up, he served all over the world, he devoted years of his life to the army- heck, I was even born in a military hospital in Germany for pete's sake! So thanks Daddy, for your service.

2) MY BROTHER-IN-LAW. My brother in law also comes from a military family, his daddy and granddaddy all served in the army. He is currently deployed and will be returning early next year. Every time I hear a story about progress being made in the war, my heart just beams with pride for him. He has won many awards for his brave conduct, including a Bronze Star and a Purple Heart for being combat wounded. He is one tough guy. Thanks, love and big kisses from all of us!

3) MY COUSIN. Who is also preparing to deploy again for the 3rd time. He joined the army right after getting his GED and has spent time all over the US, Korea, Iraq, and Afghanistan. Who would have thought some kid from IN could do so much traveling? The army has been a wonderful place for him and taught him lots of things- he is responsible, caring, kind, smart, and I am proud to be his cousin. Much love for you!

4) MY ANCESTORS. I have ancestors who fought in the Civil War, Revolutionary War, World Wars I and II, and all the little skirmishes in between. When my great-great granddaddy was 15 and working in the fields with his daddy they were approached about serving in the MI Infantry in the Civil War. He lied about his age and said he was 18 so he could go. They had one horse between them, and his daddy told him to take it and go into the Calvary because it would be safer for him. They both served in many battles. At the end of the war my great-great-granddaddy came back home to MI to take care of his mama and younger siblings. His daddy died from wounds received in battle at a camp in Arkansas. Until about 5 years ago, no one was even sure where he had been buried. My brother finally found him- at the National Veterans Cemetery in Little Rock, AR. He even made a road trip to visit the grave. I had tears just thinking that finally after 140 years someone in our family had found him to pay respects. He was buried alone, without family by his side. I imagine he is thankful he gave the horse to his son, because from that son he has many proud young men and women descendants who have also faithfully served our country. Thanks and love to each and every one of my ancestors- especially those who made the ultimate form of sacrifice.

I know that many people don't agree with the war, want the soldiers home, want this to be over... but please, know that those soldiers are doing a wonderful job and are proud of what they are doing. They are protecting our own soil and our children and families. If you see one... thank him or her.

Sunday, November 9, 2008

This is What I Love About Sundays

I left my house last night after dinner to go and study and spend the night at my mother-in-laws house and really get some quality work time in. It was productive, but after 24 hours of reviewing I was spent. I packed it up and started home. When I got home, I found this....

I love fires. They make you feel all warm inside, and are wonderful for reading and thinking. My dear husband not only watched the children while I studied... he made a fire.

I went in search of him to thank him and see about dinner. That is when I found this.

Our neighbor, who regularly hunts on our land, killed this buck this afternoon. Husband was outside helping Neighbor, and Child #4 was helping husband (see above). In exchange for hunting privileges, he shares the meat. You may not believe me, but deer meat in chili tastes the same as ground beef. So, while I sit here enjoying my fire and your new posts, Husband is outside helping clean the deer so we can save money and not buy so much meat at the grocery. What a trooper.

Saturday, November 8, 2008

Giving Lawyers a Bad Name

As a law student, I am sometimes amazed at the lawsuits that get filed. The one that always springs to mind is the one filed by the woman scalded by hot coffee at McDonalds. Really? You didn't think your coffee was going to be hot? You're right, I like my coffee lukewarm... just in case. Anyway, I came across this story this morning and once again realized why so many people hate lawyers.
Now don't get me wrong. I feel for people who have been injured, had their property injured, have crimes committed against them, had someone screw them over in a contract, you get the idea. But this guy? Not so much.

Jerry Glenn Hayes of Boise is suing the state of Idaho as well as Ada County for $3 million claiming it failed to educate him about the West Nile virus.

"Ada County and several other government state agencies have been named in a lawsuit filed by a gentleman who claims not enough was done to protect him during the 2006 West Nile virus outbreak," said Laura Wylde, public information specialist for Ada County.

Oh, where do you even start with this? Where is Mr. Hayes sense of personal responsibility? I realize that contracting West Nile is life-threatening, and it must really suck to have it. But he really wants to blame it on the state and county for lack of education?

And the lawyer... oh the lawyer. Please, please file something that makes the rest of us look like ambulance chasing scum of the earth. Can we set a worse precedent by filing suits for these people? Whats next? Suing the county over not warning you that remaining in the sun for hours will cause sunburns and potential skin cancer? Shall I sue the police department for failing to stop you for speeding because, had you only known, you would not have driven wrecklessly and crashed your car? The first rule of remedies is to restore the plaintiff to the position he would have been in, but for the wrong of the defendant. Hear that lawyers? But for the wrong. I realize that is a very broad statement, but we are (or will be) lawyers for goodness sakes. After 3 or 4 grueling years of law school do we lose all common sense?

The hearing on this case is scheduled for next week.

Friday, November 7, 2008

For the Fairness Doctrine

Although the Fairness Doctrine has not been reinstituted as of yet, I wanted to go ahead and post my brother's opinion on the recent election. Since we communicate via email, I am just going to copy and paste his words, lest I leave out some important detail. I re-read this all before I copied it, and I still don't agree with him. I actually was really tempted to tear apart his email piece by piece with facts & figures (like the fact that we don't have employer based healthcare either, but we still have insurance or that tax refunds are actually just allowing the gov't to use your money interest free and you should change your withholding so you get to keep more each check and invest it). In fact, I am not even sure we are really related anymore. Just kidding! I think age has a lot to do with our differing opinions. After all, when I was young I voted for Clinton because I thought he was going to change things. I love my brother's idealist views on things. Especially his view on inadequate participation in the system. Amen to that! And if you happen to be an Obama supporter, I'd love to hear your thoughts as well. So, in the interest of fairness....

Although I understand your sentiment that you don't like having your money taken for someone else who is not working, I might suggest that the majority of your money that's being taken will go toward a tax cut for working Americans and to pay for health care initiatives. My tax refund will increase, and I'm hardly not working; the health care plan also provides for folks who can't get employer-based healthcare (again like me). I think if you crunched the numbers, you'd see that welfare, food stamps, WIC, and other 'handouts' form a miniscule amount of the federal tax bill.

I do agree with you on the notion that now a certain race or color will be 'in charge'. That possibility has always concerned me as an Obama supporter, but I don't think you can attribute it to Obama just as it's difficult to attribute to McCain the shouting at Palin rallies to kill Obama.

The conservative ideology of relying on civic duty often doesn't pan out well when it's aligned with the conservative ideology of 'work hard, keep what you earn' capitalism. After all, why engage in your civic duty to help the less fortunate when your ideological goal is to make as much money as possible? Government's job is to be the civic duty and to make sure everyone is doing their civic duty; that's why comments such as 'paying taxes isn't patriotic' bother me so much. Palin was wrong to assert that, because it denies the social contract.

I don't disagree that government could be more efficient. We should not, however, throw out the baby with the bathwater. Falling prey to the argument that we must denude government of its functions because it is inefficient amounts in a separation of government from its basis of power in the people. Doing so only makes the problem worse by convincing us we must fight against government waste from the outside rather than take the attitude that government waste is a symptom of inadequate participation in the system.

I also might point out that, unfortunately, churches and charities cannot make up the difference sometimes. They often are stretched to the breaking point by economic downturns, and even in good times certain areas lack charitable assistance. While we all might like to think that charity can and will provide a floor for the poverty-stricken, the reality is not the case. I myself would love it if churches could pay the rent for everyone and if charities could make sure every student I teach has enough food to eat. But the reality, again, is not the case. The government, as a collective of individuals, can be relied upon to provide that floor.

Thursday, November 6, 2008

Random Political Thoughts

As a little Prologue, my only brother is 12 years younger than I am. I grew up in Northern Indiana very near the Michigan state line. He grew up mostly in middle Tennessee. I went to a small college in Indiana, he went to a small college in northwest Missouri. He is 22 and this is his first year teaching school in St. Louis. If you've read my previous posts, you probably know that I voted for McCain along with the majority of TN residents. He not only voted for Obama, he donated to his campaign and went door to door for him (Tena you may have seen him at your door?). After some initial gloating on his part, we had a bit of a philosophical discussion on politics and civic duty. Below are some thoughts I shared with my brother the morning after the election...

I don't have a problem with Obama on immigration, education, and several other things. I don't think its possible to deport 12-20 million illegal immigrants, and I believe if they are working and not in trouble we ought to give them a path to citizenship. We should secure the borders, but securing the borders and giving paths to citizenship are not mutually exclusive. I disagree with him on taking from the "rich" to give to the "poor". I disagree with his taxes on small business during this economic downturn. I don't have a solution, but I didn't run for President either.
My thoughts on social programs: I have a heart. I feel sorry for people who work hard and can't make ends meet. I've been there. I would like to see them receive help to make things better. But I don't believe that the government should be responsible for providing that help. The government, at all levels from local to federal, has a history of mismanaging money. The government takes $20 of my money to help others and wastes $15 of it on red tape and administrative costs. I would rather give my time and money directly to my neighbors, friends, and family that need help. Cut out the middleman. Make my $20 worth $20 in assistance. Obama talked last night about civic duty, and I think if people really heard what he said and really helped others around them, people they see on a daily basis, then we wouldn't need the government to intervene with assistance programs. Maybe because people here are more involved in religious organizations it is different. I know people here that the church has provided assistance with rent, utilities, food. That is the sort of civic duty and assistance that I am more than happy to support. I think the government assistance programs fuel a co-dependant relationship. People who need help depend more and more on the government and people who would be willing to help them through churches and other organizations become less and less willing to help them because they know that those people can get money through government programs. Its a vicious cycle that ends up taking a larger percentage from those who have and giving a lesser percentage to those who need it.

I think if Obama inspires change that is wonderful, so long as he doesn't dictate it. I think he is very intelligent and well spoken. NPR had a piece in which some whites offered their concern that the "they are in charge now" thing may get out of hand by some and that now the whites will have to step off the sidewalk and into the street to let them by. Barack and Michelle's law professor was also interviewed and said they are both intelligent and will do well, and also said that blacks can no longer claim any 2nd class citizen routine or fall back on "I'm black and deserve more" now that a black man is President- we are now officially equal, so get over the color issue.

After l
istening to McCain and Obama both speak last night I thought I could be on board with this. And I will certainly support my President and my Country. BUT, then I saw the freakin thugs (a very specific type of person, not necessarily related to a particular race) in Grant Park acting like now that Obama won they are in charge, and I'll admit I was a bit bothered. I don't get this same feeling from Obama, but I think some of the other blacks (like John Lewis from Atlanta) are feeling 'now its our turn to oppress the whitey'. Maybe its a different perspective living in the South, but thats the biggest thing besides the tax plan that bothers me. (At that point my brother even had the humility to admit that as an Obama supporter that thought had also crossed his mind).

I suppose for me, color makes no difference because I've never treated a black person as a second class citizen. Our own family is like the United Nations: my uncle is black, my cousins are biracial, another cousin married a Mexican immigrant, another married a Korean while stationed there in the army, and my own first husband and biological father of Oldest was a green card immigrant from Estonia in the former Soviet Union. I graduated from a high school where whites were a near minority. I do think some blacks will try to take advantage of this, but I would think and hope that Obama would make it clear that that sort of behavior is only magnifying something that should be a nonissue. The behavior yesterday of some Black Panther members at polling locations in PA, blocking entrances and telling white voters they won't be 'kept down by the man anymore', may be indicitive of how some will behave now that Obama has won. If I were black I would be just as embarassed by the 'now we are in charge' behavior as I personally am by the 'I won't ever support/vote for Obama because he's black' behavior of some whites. Racial equality is still a few years behind here in TN, and especially so in the rural areas. I remember in high school having a black girl cut me in the lunchline, and when I told her no cuts and moved up, she retorted with 'you owe me, get out of my way'. That behavior is the kind that only diminishes all the good things that have been accomplished. It may not happen in IN or MO anymore, but it certainly still happens here. If you fall back on feeling like you deserve something because of your history and the color of your skin, you are only perpetuating the stereotype that you are a second class citizen. I don't care if Obama is purple, I care how he is going to perform as President of the US.

I'm just hoping I don't have to plant a garden and keep money in shoeboxes under my bed to survive the next few years.

Wednesday, November 5, 2008

Wednesday: Wordless, Wordful, but not Wonderful

I have a lot of really insightful thoughts I planned to share with you after our country elected Barack Obama as our new President. Unfortunately, that will have to wait until tomorrow. My final exam last night went pretty well, but that was the easy one. Tonight- the dreaded evidence. Rules within rules and hearsay within hearsay... the whole exam is 4 hours long. In honor of that, I leave you with this

Tuesday, November 4, 2008


It amazes me how many people don't vote. Or only vote in presidential elections. Then those same people want to complain about how the 'government' did or didn't do something. Really? If you don't like it, maybe you should have educated yourself about the issues and voted?

Several things have come to mind about voting this year:

1) dead people really can vote. No? You don't think so? Well, when you early vote, then you die before the election, your vote still counts. Moral of the story.... if you are on your deathbed, vote absentee or vote early.

2) no matter what people tell you, they will still vote based on race. and it goes both ways. white people will NOT vote for Obama because he is black, and black people WILL vote for Obama because he is black. in my opinion, thats racism either way. don't vote race, vote issues.

3) the electoral collage is still a good system. how can that be? well, usually the popular vote and electoral college results will mesh pretty well. however, if we were only concerned with popular vote, what would stop the candidates from pushing hard in densely populated areas like NYC, LA, Miami and ignoring the voters in Minnesota, Montana, North Dakota, etc? We certainly don't want the entire country to be ruled by the big cities.

I look forward to this years election results. I am hoping for the best. Hoping that people realize how important this is and get out and vote after actually considering the issues facing our country. There are so many things to consider, much more than the generic terms of environment, war, economy, healthcare.... everything is interrelated. The backlash of policies enacted 10 years ago are just starting to rear their ugly heads. Think it through, be smart, and then Vote.

I've enjoyed this little saying I heard a few years back from a black pastor in Chicago, truer words were never spoken...
"The more you have to conserve, the more conservative you become."

Also, while you are at it, send me some good vibes, well wishes, prayers, whatever it is you do, that everything goes well for me tonight when I take the first of my final exams.

Sunday, November 2, 2008

No Rest for the Weary

Well, its down to the line now. McCain, Palin, Obama, Biden, and ME are all in that mode to make the most out of what little time we have left. My exams begin in less than 48 hours. I vary between moments of panic and moments of confidence. Last night at the Halloween party while everyone else was enjoying karaoke, I was pretending to listen while reciting the rules of evidence in my head. I spent the morning reviewing, took a little nap, and will be up into the wee hours of the morning hoping to solidify some morsel of knowledge that will make the difference between a B and an A. At times like this I begin to resent the people who make those lawyer jokes. You have no idea how hard this is. Sure, make fun of lawyers all you want, but when you need one dammit you will be grateful someone is willing to help bail your ass out of whatever you got yourself into. I've never been to med school, obviously, but I betcha this is just as hard and I don't hear people making jokes about doctors at the bottom of rivers. Its all fun and games until you need a will or estate plan, wreck your car because you didn't notice that stop sign, have you kid get picked up with a bag of weed, find out your spouse is cheating, or have a boss who sexually harasses you. I'm spending hours, weeks, years, of my time that could be well spent with my kids to figure out how to make sure your constitutional rights are protected and vindicated in a court of law. Bite me people who want to crack jokes. Then call another lawyer.

DISCLAIMER: the following paragraph is political in nature and probably not very nice... if you are sick of politics feel free to skip it....

Maybe I'm just tired and cranky, a little snappy. Or maybe I've been watching too much Fox news. Or driving through affluent neighborhoods where people jogged and rode their bikes to coffee shops scowling at my Suburban and lamenting the fact that I still use plastic grocery bags and don't recycle and compost my coffee grounds. I mean, after all, if Obama wins I may not even have time for being a lawyer. I'll be too busy growing my own food and tending to my solar panels so my kids and I can survive. After his plan bankrupts the coal industry and electric prices skyrocket, I don't get a tax cut under his plan, and he takes even more than the 50% I already pay in taxes so we can redistribute the wealth to those who can't or won't work, I may be better off staying home and living like the Amish. I especially hope that Obama can appoint some Supreme Court judges with empathy rather than ones that are willing to uphold the constitution and seperation of powers. Really, that would just round out the worthlessness of my future degree. On the other hand, if it won't be worth being a lawyer, maybe I can look into politics... that seems to be the way of the future- at least when we become socialist I can keep my stuff.

I guess, on Tuesday, when I begin taking finals and our country begins to elect a new leader, we will only begin to know what fate awaits us....