Monday, December 31, 2007

Wednesday, December 19, 2007

Correct Me If I Am Wrong..

But I thought that one of the hallmarks of Republican ideology was to have less government regulation at the national level so that the states had more autonomy to legislate for themselves within the national system. What usually gets referred to as the state laboratories or experiments or something along those lines. Its actually not a bad idea some of the time.

Apparently, when it comes to serving their corporate backers, ideology and values are not so important to the Republic Party of the current administration. Today, at about 6:30 p.m. EST, the EPA, headed by Stephen L. Johnson, decided to not grant a waiver to California.

Had the waiver been granted, California, and possibly other states, would have been able to set higher standards to decrease the amount of emissions. In all, the proposed California law would have mandated a 30 percent cut in tailpipe emissions by 2016.

Now, first it might be helpful to explain what this "waiver" is all about. The waiver California was seeking has to do with the Clean Air Act. The Clean Air Act, first signed into law in 1970 and amended as recently as 1990, sets standards to combat air pollution in the United States. While states may not legislate levels below the standards set in the Clean Air Act, they may create laws which exceed the standards of the law. In order to do so, they must first obtain a waiver from the EPA.

Since the Clean Air Act became law, nearly four decades ago, there have been 40 applications for waivers. Until today, none of had been rejected.

It should also be noted that California was not the only state that was seeking a waiver, it was simply the first in line. Also stating that they would seek waivers from the EPA were Connecticut, Maine, Maryland, Massachusetts, New Jersey, New Mexico, New York, Oregon, Pennsylvania, Rhode Island, Vermont and Washington. Four more states, Arizona, Colorado, Florida and Utah, were preparing to adopt the same of similar standards as those in the California proposal. Furthermore, Iowa is considering adopting them as well.

In all, those states represent apparently 70 percent of new car sales. Going by the figures for the population of the U.S., if all the states were to adopt these standards (which seems likely given that only Iowa is still at the consideration phase), then it would represent 157.5 million people, or 52.6% of the population. All of these legislatures are responsible to their constituents, in some ways more so than the EPA is through Congressional oversight and Presidential administration control.

So what was the rationale for the EPA's decision? As the AP noted, "In explaining his decision, Johnson cited energy legislation approved by Congress and signed into law Wednesday by President Bush. The law requires automakers to achieve an industrywide average fuel efficiency for cars, SUVs and small trucks of 35 miles per gallon by 2020."

Anyone else notice what they were doing there? Instead of admitting that they were breaking with precedent, the EPA was changing the subject. The laws being adopted by the states had to do with emissions. The new federal law deals with fuel efficiency. The two are not the same.

Whats the real reason? In my opinion, I think you need to look at who stands to gain from all this. Perhaps... the auto industry. GMC has gone on record stating that they are opposed to the California style regulations and that refusing the waiver would "[remove] the disproportionate burden of complying with a patchwork of state-specific regulations that would divert our resources, automakers can concentrate on developing and implementing the advanced technologies in ways that will meet America's driving needs."

Of course, GMC has been fighting California's stringent air quality standards in the courts. And recently, their attempts failed when the U.S. District Court last week.

Again in my opinion, if you look at what auto industry is saying, is that they do not want to change. They want to be to continue do business the same way. Yes, I have read the arguments that imposing change in industries is a bad thing. However, this time, I do not believe that the argument works. The law, at least the California version, did not mandate how the reduction in emissions were to occur. It was just that the emissions had to go down. The automakers would have a clear deadline to come up with whatever way would work for them... just as long as they met the deadlines.

Now, its not all the auto industries fault. They are doing what corporations are supposed: trying to maximize their profits for their investors. However, the actions of the EPA in this case seem to be at odd with what the current administration has been instructing them to do: namely find a ways to reduce greenhouse gas emissions in the U.S.

And here I thought that the goal was to find a way to protect the environment (and by extension our health) without submitting to Kyoto. And by letting the states do this, we see what works and what does not. And its something that every other administration has permitted applicant states to obtain for more than thirty years.

Oh well, I must have been wrong.

What Follows Is Purely My Opinion

Law firms which deal primarily, or largely, in the collection of debts are, in my opinion, slime. Perhaps, scum would be better a word?

I mean, how fraking hard would it be for them, when they have intiated a law suit, to consent to a telephone call in an attempt to settle the case.

Yes, I know, deadbeats should have to pay their debts. I am all for that.

Yes, I understand that Federal laws have been enacted which can result in liability to them if they act improperly with a consumer. Those are some good rules put in place to prevent abuses that were, and in some cases, occur by debt collection agencies.

But why must I, having identified myself politely as opposing counsel in the case, write a letter begging them to deign to talk to me on the phone?

I did want to just work out a settlement with them. Now, I'm thinking go with my original instinct and file the summary judgment and see how they like that.

But like I said earlier, in my opinion, attorneys who are debt collectors are scum. If one would like to prove my opinion wrong, please do.

Tuesday, December 18, 2007

My Thoughts On The Mitchell Report and the Hall of Fame

So I have had a few days to think about the implications of the Mitchell Report.

A few things have to be accepted if you accept that Mitchell is correct. First, banned substance usage in Major League Baseball was widespread. Some of the best players, and some of the not so great, of the 1990s and early 2000s are implicated in the report. If anything, I would not be surprised to learn that more players were involved for the simple reason that the Major League Baseball Players Association was telling the players not to participate in the investigation.

Second, this was not something where there were a few "bad apples" who were participating in it. The management of the teams, as well as Major League Baseball, were turning a deliberate blind eye to what was happening. As long as McGwire, Sosa, and Bonds were hitting the balls out of the park, no one wanted to look too closely at how they were able to do it. The same with Roger Clemens and Andy Petite racking up World Series victories and Cy Young Awards while pitching for the Yankees.

So with all that out there, lots of people are mumbling about not letting many of these people into the Hall of Fame, about tagging records with asterisks, and possibly other things. To me, this seems wrong. Because it seems that their usage was so prevalent that the argument that there was an imbalance in the playing field seems to fail because it appears that to get on the field you had to be doped up in the first place.

This is what I think should be done: let the records stand, let those who offended go in to the Hall of Fame on the merits of their career (even with the use of performance enhancing drugs) but include on their plaque their offenses (or alleged ones).

The new regime in baseball should mandate random tests and an actual penalty for first time offenders (as opposed to a warning) and much more severe penalty (say a 60 game suspension), with a third offense getting a year and a half suspension and the team is allowed to void the contract. Now, if the team allows it to continue, say by hiring now peddlers of the illicit substances, they too should be penalized. A first time offense costs the team a first round draft pick. A second reduces the amount that it takes in as part of revenue sharing (or has to contribute more).

Of course, that would require the Commissioner of Baseball to be an actual commissioner for baseball as opposed to a member of the owners. Almost makes me wish for Judge Landis to come back from the dead.

Although if he did, he would not be nearly as lenient as anything I have heard.

Wednesday, December 12, 2007

Oh The Irony...

Some readers may have heard, but others may have not, about the little trial that is going on down in Texas. In the 226th Judicial District, Mary Roberts and her husband Ted Roberts, have been standing trial for multiple counts of felony theft. In March, her husband, Ted, was convicted on three counts of theft. Yesterday, the jury apparently found for the prosecution and convicted Mary of five counts of theft.

The thefts alleged stemmed from Mary cheating on her husband. Her husband, like any good red-blooded man, was not going to stand for being cheated on by his wife, whom he presumably loves. However, instead of the time honored beat-down or perhaps, in view of Texas' liberal gun policy, shooting them, he fell back on what he knew.

You see, Ted and Mary, are both attorneys. So Ted, as soon as he found out about the affairs, sent demand letters to his wife's paramours threatening them with lawsuits for emotional distress caused by their actions (Texas apparently abolished the alienation of affection statute back in 1997).

Now, Ted's actions are in a bit of a gray area, in my opinion. If he intended to go through with the suits, then it may be that the prosecution got it wrong. Otherwise, it would seem that lawyers sending off demand letters in any case where they represent clients on contracts or in personal injury accidents could end up facing theft charges. To me, it seems there is an inconsistency in this, unless they showed that there was some plan whereby Mary would sleep with the men with Ted's knowledge so that he could pounce on them.

A few asides... Apparently the prosecutor charged them with blackmail, but failed to secure convinctions on those charges. Mr. Robert's appeal is currently pending. And finally, it should be noted that Mrs. Robert's practice areas included "ethics-Legal malpractice". Perhaps Mr. Roberts should have run the scheme by her first...

Wednesday, November 28, 2007

Its Like Novocaine

So I have this case running right now. Straight forward contract. One side did the work under the written contract the way they were supposed to do it. The other side did not pay. Now, there could be a good reason for this, but the other side refuses to say what it is.

My clients asked nicely to get paid. That got them no response at all. Then a demand letter got sent. The other side said "No". My client, after not getting anywhere, finally hired me to file a lawsuit to get paid.

The other side has since engaged in a Fabian campaign. First they claim that no, we never got your complaint. Then it was, we got your complaint but we did not get the complaint. Then, they asked for an extension. Finally there is an answer, with a bushel of affirmative defenses... some of which don't even bare a resemblance to the type

Ok, I get it. They are doing their best impression of Quintus Fabius Maximus. Maybe later, they will go scorched earth a la John Ofori-Tenkorang.

Part of me wants to push through all this, try and accelerate the process somehow and get my client the recovery to which they are entitled. But then I have to remember, there are certain things which just can not be moved in civil litigation. That there are stations of the cross that we all have to go through.

The mantra for this case now is what Coach Boone in Remember the Titans said, "Its like novocaine, just give it time, always work."

Why did we elect these people?

And why do we not keep them on a shorter leash? Apparently, those leading lights whom we have entrusted our safety have come up with a new way to try and infringe on our civil rights. And this time, its not just one party trying to do this, its a bi-partisan effort.

What am I talking about? That would be H.R. 1955 aka `Violent Radicalization and Homegrown Terrorism Prevention Act of 2007'.

The act, which apparently passed the House of Representatives on October 23, 2007, seeks to establish a commission within the legislative branch. This commission will

Examine and report upon the facts and causes of violent radicalization, homegrown terrorism, and ideologically based violence in the United States, including United States connections to non-United States persons and networks, violent radicalization, homegrown terrorism, and ideologically based violence in prison, individual or `lone wolf' violent radicalization, homegrown terrorism, and ideologically based violence, and other faces of the phenomena of violent radicalization, homegrown terrorism, and ideologically based violence that the Commission considers important.
So they want to establish a commission which will look at what people are advocating on the internet. The commission's membership will be composed of

Qualifications- Individuals shall be selected for appointment to the Commission solely on the basis of their professional qualifications, achievements, public stature, experience, and expertise in relevant fields, including, but not limited to, behavioral science, constitutional law, corrections, counterterrorism, cultural anthropology, education, information technology, intelligence, juvenile justice, local law enforcement, organized crime, Islam and other world religions, sociology, or terrorism.
Alright, now I am not a defender of Islamic terrorists, but reading that language seems to indicate they are looking at possible threats being "organized crime" and "Islam and other world religions". That just strikes me as seeking people who want to go after gangsters and members of non-Christian religions. But maybe that is just me being too paranoid.

How will commission carry out its mission? That is covered in subsection (j) of the bill. There it states,

    `(1) IN GENERAL-
      `(A) HEARINGS AND EVIDENCE- The Commission or, on the authority of the Commission, any subcommittee or member thereof, may, for the purpose of carrying out this section, hold hearings and sit and act at such times and places, take such testimony, receive such evidence, and administer such oaths as the Commission considers advisable to carry out its duties. `(B) CONTRACTING- The Commission may, to such extent and in such amounts as are provided in appropriation Acts, enter into contracts to enable the Commission to discharge its duties under this section.
      `(A) IN GENERAL- The Commission may request directly from any executive department, bureau, agency, board, commission, office, independent establishment, or instrumentality of the Government, information, suggestions, estimates, and statistics for the purposes of this section. The head of each such department, bureau, agency, board, commission, office, independent establishment, or instrumentality shall, to the extent practicable and authorized by law, furnish such information, suggestions, estimates, and statistics directly to the Commission, upon request made by the Chair of the Commission, by the chair of any subcommittee created by a majority of the Commission, or by any member designated by a majority of the Commission. `(B) RECEIPT, HANDLING, STORAGE, AND DISSEMINATION- The Committee and its staff shall receive, handle, store, and disseminate information in a manner consistent with the operative statutes, regulations, and Executive orders that govern the handling, storage, and dissemination of such information at the department, bureau, agency, board, commission, office, independent establishment, or instrumentality that responds to the request.
Holding hearings. Administering oaths. A committee, I'm sorry "commission", which will sit and examine people for what they have written. Remember, the purpose of the committee is to go ideologically based violence. This all sounds a lot like they want to set up a commission which will go after the thoughts that we put down and discuss in public and on the internet.

But the first thought I had when I read the bill, was "Oh, wait a second, I've seen this committee before, it was Joe's."

With such a commission being proposed, why has the mainstream media not picked up on this story? Oh, that's right, I needed to know that some starlet with boobs spent 84 minutes in jail on DUI arrest.

One of the few mainstream news providers that has run a story, even though its only an op-ed piece, is the Baltimore Sun. There, wrote,

The proposed commission is a menace through its power to hold hearings, take testimony and administer oaths, an authority granted to even individual members of the commission - little Joe McCarthys - who will tour the country to hold their own private hearings. An aura of authority will automatically accompany this congressionally authorized mandate to expose native terrorism.
Ms. Harman's proposal includes an absurd attack on the Internet, criticizing it for providing Americans with "access to broad and constant streams of terrorist-related propaganda," and legalizes an insidious infiltration of targeted organizations. The misnamed "Center of Excellence," which would function after the commission is disbanded in 18 months, gives the semblance of intellectual research to what is otherwise the suppression of dissent.
While its purpose is to prevent terrorism, the bill doesn't criminalize any specific conduct or contain penalties. But the commission's findings will be cited by those who see a terrorist under every bed and who will demand enactment of criminal penalties that further restrict free speech and other civil liberties. Action contrary to the commission's findings will be interpreted as a sign of treason at worst or a lack of patriotism at the least.

Since no one was watching, the only places left to stop this travesty masquerading as a well-though out proposal to actual do something about our national security, it is up to the Senate to kill it. If it passes there, it goes to the White House for signing. Part of me hopes that Bush will be able to recognize this for what it is. On the other hand, the President has yet to veto any sort of legislation which would inhibit our civil liberties...

If this were true...

Not sure if the following is true, but even if it isn't...


If you ever testify in court, you might wish you could have been as sharp as this policeman. He was being cross-examined by a defense attorney during a felony trial. The lawyer was trying to undermine the policeman's credibility...

Q: 'Officer -- did you see my client fleeing the scene?'
A: 'No sir. But I subsequently observed a person matching the description of the offender, running several blocks away.'
Q: 'Officer -- who provided this description?'
A: 'The officer who responded to the scene.'
Q: 'A fellow officer provided the description of this so-called offender. Do you trust your fellow officers?'
A: 'Yes, sir. With my life.'
Q: 'With your life? Let me ask you this then officer. Do you have a room where you change your clothes in preparation for your daily duties?'
A: 'Yes sir, we do!'
Q: 'And do you have a locker in the room?'
A: 'Yes sir, I do.'
Q: 'And do you have a lock on your locker?'
A: 'Yes sir.'
Q: 'Now why is it, officer, if you trust your fellow officers with your life, you find it necessary to lock your locker in a room you share with these same officers?'
A: 'You see, sir -- we share the building with the court complex, and sometimes lawyers have been known to walk through that room.'

The courtroom erupted in laughter, and a prompt recess was called. The officer on the stand has been nominated for this year's 'Best Comeback' line -- and we think he'll win.

H/t the Wanderingbell's father-in-law who got it (I think) from Reb's Politically In-Correct Blog

Yeah, its been a while

It has.

I got busy.

Baseball season ended. And for me, that is always a downer. Now I am counting down the days until Spring Training starts in Scottsdale with pitchers and catchers reporting (74 days I think). Man I hope that Lincecum and Caine are still in the orange and black. But... then again I remember back in the winter of '96-'97, when I hoped that Matt Williams would still be wearing our colors...

And then there was a trip. And that was fun.

So now I am back. I think. But still busy.

With crazed and crazy clients. Some certifiable, some actually certified.

Monday, September 17, 2007

I think I am qualified...

I handle difficult clients all the time.

A lot of them don't take my advice. Most of them do things that they later swear they never did (especially when it prejudices their case and I have warned them about it constantly... but I'm not bitter).

And I've been doing it at probably a tenth the price some others have been doing it.

I figure if other people can do it and make some money off of it, then why shouldn't I?

So here's my offer to Britney: I can be your lawyer. You can ignore my advice, do inane things which will cause the court to rule against you at the custody hearings and all at a reasonable price for as long as you want. All you need to do is make sure that the retainer check does not bounce and the Angry Bell will be happy to beginning appearing on your behalf.

Thursday, September 13, 2007

Two Weeks, Two Trials

That is the truth and I am tired.

For the record, both were losses for my clients. Overall, that leaves my record at 1 - 3. If this were baseball, you could break down my record in a couple of ways. Such as:

Number of jury trials: 2

Number of bench trials: 2

Number of jury trials where the client testified: 1

Number of bench trials where the client testified: 1

Number of witnesses cross-examined: 6

Number of juries picked: 2

Number of times effective voir dire questions were
asked: 1

Number of sidebars: 4

Number of sidebars per jury trial: 2

Number of jury questions: 3

Number of jury trials where the client showed up: 1

Number of trials where the client did not show up: 2

Number of trials where the client could have shown
up, but chose not to show up: 1

Number of trials where the client could not have
shown up: 1

Number of cases that settled after being sent out
to a trial department: 21 (I think, this is an estimate)

Number of cases dismissed by opposition after being
sent out to trial department: 3

Number of cases I think clients accepted bad deals
on rather than continuing through after being sent
to a trial department: 3

Number of voir dire sessions where I wanted to
strangle people for believing that the right to trial
is an antiquated notion: 1

I will put up more about the two trials in the next few days (really!). The short version is that both cases were unlawful detainer matters which I inherited at the last minute because the clients were unrepresented going into the day of trial after they received help from various pro bono groups in the area. Needless to say, with little in the way of discovery.

Discovery is a crutch anyways. (Alright, maybe thats just a little bit of rationalization there).

Lessons were learned. Skills were gained.

But the bottom line is this: losing still sucks.

Wednesday, September 12, 2007

I Didn't See Anyone and if I did, I wont say anything...

Posting has been a little light here for a while, mostly because I was gearing up for a few trials. Anyways, I thought I would throw this up in honor of wacky testimony that can come up during a trial. This particular bit came to me via one of the listservs I am on.

Q. And no women that you can recall enter or exit? I mean the frequency you have of entering into that unit is the fifty-year-old man and the seven or eight year old boy, then B standing at the door and I am assuming between the frequency of Mr. BZ standing at the door and the seven or eight year old and the fifty-year-old man entering or exiting, you never saw one female ever. Would that be fair to say?
A. For a period of time, I can't say that I never saw one female ever for five months.

Q. Let's talk about the period from April of 2000 to September of 2000.

A. For that period of time, I can't tell you that I never saw one female walking in and out that building.

Q. But there was no female of any frequency coming to the house; is that correct?

A. Not with any great frequency.

Q. Would you see a female like maybe once or twice?

A. That's possible. I can't recall for sure.

Q. Do you know what the females looked like?

A. What?

Q. Do you know what they looked like?

A. I don't remember.

Q. Anything in particular? Anything particular that made them remarkable or outstanding or significant?

A. No.

Q. What color was their hair?

A. I don't remember anybody specific.

Q. But would you remember like a tall blonde, a short redhead?

Q. Do you remember the color of the hair of the women that came into the the house.

A. I am just saying I won't say I never saw a woman enter or exit that place during those months. But I am not saying I can think of anybody specific.

Q. When you saw the women enter, was there anything specific

about them like the color of their hair?

A. No.

Q. I mean if someone said describe the woman who came in who went to the house, you would just say it's a woman and that's it?

THE COURT: I take it your testimony is, you are not saying there was a woman entering?

THE WITNESS: I am not saying there was any woman entered.

I am saying that I won't say that I never saw one.

THE COURT: So the woman you won't say you never saw, you can't describe?


LANDLORD’S ATTORNEY: The woman you won't say you can't describe.

THE COURT: Won't say you never saw.

LANDLORD’S ATTORNEY: The woman you won't say you never saw?

THE COURT: You can't describe.

LANDLORD’S ATTORNEY: You won't say you never saw. I am trying to get this straight.

THE COURT: If you speak Spanish, you can do that real easy.

LANDLORD’S ATTORNEY: Q. How about this. Would there be more than

one person who you won't say you never saw? How about that?

A. I don't speak Spanish.

Q. Touche. But what makes you think there was any women you saw?

A. I am just saying -- all I am saying is --

Q. Yeah?

A. -- that during those months, I saw some people with frequency, and I won't say that nobody else ever went through that door, whether or not I saw them.

Thursday, August 30, 2007

Not Exactly Where I Would Expect This Ruling To Come From

But apparently, a court in Iowa just upheld gay marriage and struck down an Iowa state statute which declares that marriage can only be one man and one woman. Now, this was a district court and not the state supreme court. However, barring a motion to reconsider, it appears that this will be on the Iowa Supreme Court's docket very soon.

Right now, political operatives in the Democratic and Republican parties are drinking... for very different reasons.

The 63 page decision of the court can be found here. The briefings on which the court decided can be found here, on the Lambda Legal site.

Monday, August 27, 2007

It Took Way Too Long

For him to resign. Ignore the fact that he seems to be a sycophantic lackey of the President, this man lacked the moral integrity to stand up for his positions.

Mr. Gonzales was supposed to be the Attorney General of the United States. As such, he was the head of the Department of Justice, the man charged with overseeing the U.S. Attorneys around the country. Instead, he seemed to have spent his time trying to find ways to serve his master but avoid taking any blame for his action. Either he was in charge of everything at the Justice Department, i.e. the person with whom the buck stopped, or he had no control over his Department.

Say what you want about Janet Reno. At least when she did something similar, she did not try and duck it.

There is also talk about how this administration has politicized the Department of Justice. I am not sure that this is actually true, since every administration does this with the choices they make in their appointments. These appointments determine the way that policy is conducted and laws are enforced by the Department. Gonzales was no different than Meese, Ashcroft, Thornburgh, Barr or Reno in that regard. However, I do not recall any of them having such a need, hunger, to shroud the American Justice system in secrecy as Gonzales and Ashcroft have.
Hopefully, this time, the Bush Administration will install someone who can act as an Attorney General, and not a craven shyster.

Good riddance to bad rubbish. Cue music.

Thursday, August 16, 2007

Known By The Company They Keep

So, without commenting on whether either of the parties are innocent or guilty, I was thinking about what these two guys are going through. Both face the destruction of their careers for allegedly committing illegal acts. One of them has been given up by his so-called friends. The other's is being protected by his.

Say what you want about Barry, but it looks like his friends have his back. Vick's on the other hand...

Funny, I Thought They Said Terrorist Trials Would Never Work..

And yet by my count, the Bush Administration has a winning record in prosecuting terrorists. The managed to get verdicts against Moussaui and Reid. And today Padilla was convicted in a trial held in the U.S. District Court.

For more than 2 years, the Bush Administration fought against the idea of according him his civil rights. They maintained that it would be too dangerous, that it he could be summarily designated an enemy combatant. That essentially, the President could determine which citizens of this country they thought should be tried and accorded their rights.

Whether or not he was innocent, the fact that he had a reasonably fair trial (since no trial is perfect) just goes to show what is right with the system. And what is wrong with Bush's perception of justice and the American system of justice.

Wednesday, August 15, 2007

Just When You Thought You Could Stop Mocking Him

Roy Pearson, Jr., steps back up to the plate to give lawyers more bad press. That's right, it appears as though he is appealing the decision.

Apparently, the soon to be former Administrative Law Judge in Washington D.C. has decided to appeal the decision in his case against the dry cleaners. This case, you might recall, began when the dry cleaners may or may not have shrunk his pants. An error so grievous that Pearson demanded $54 million (after dropping down from $67.3 million).

At trial, which was... interesting, he represented himself (see the live blog here in Washington Post's archives). And lost. Apparently, he is repeating the same strategy on appeal.

Now I could understand filing the appeal if there was as question of his having to pay the other side's legal fees and costs. Apparently, that is not the issue. The defendants in the case have already offered to not seek costs which they could have under the law in the hopes it would buy themselves some peace.

Ahh, thanks Mr. Pearson for being the one man campaign for litigation reform. In a few years, after they change the consumer protection laws again to favor businesses, you still won't have your pants, but many others will not have the protections and opportunities to be heard that they should have had.

Tuesday, August 14, 2007

Another Reason Why IP Law Is Ridiculous... from the makers of Johnson and Johnson

Alright, who out there knew that Johnson and Johnson held the trade mark on the red cross? If someone were to ask me what the Johnson and Johnson trademark is, I would answer that it is the script version of the company's name.

Apparently, I am mistaken. Apparently, in addition to the above type trademark, Johnson and Johnson also claims the exclusive use of the red cross.

The American Red Cross, with whom Johnson and Johnson has an agreement dating back more than a century, which gives the American Red Cross the ability to use the symbol for its non-profit work. However, now that, in trying to raise money for the non-profit work, the Red Cross sells things with the red cross on it. They also license the trademark to others to get royalties, money which goes to fund their disaster relief projects.

Since they have started using the symbol for "commercial" activities, apparently Johnson and Johnson is up in arms trying to protect "its" trademark. In their statement, the company states their justification by complaining,
Johnson & Johnson began using the Red Cross design and "Red Cross" word trademarks in 1887, predating the formation of the American Red Cross. The Company has had exclusive rights to use the Red Cross trademark on commercial products within its longstanding product categories for over 100 years. Since its creation, the American Red Cross has at all times possessed only the rights to use the Red Cross trademark in connection with its non-profit relief services.
After more than a century of strong cooperation in the use of the Red Cross trademark, with both organizations respecting the legal boundaries for each others' unique legal rights, we were very disappointed to find that the American Red Cross started a campaign to license the trademark to several businesses for commercial purposes on all types of products being sold in many different retail and other commercial outlets. These products include baby mitts, nail clippers, combs, toothbrushes and humidifiers. This action is in direct violation of a Federal statute protecting the mark as well as in violation of our longstanding trademark rights.
The American Red Cross on the other hand fired back with their press release. In it, they stated,

The Red Cross has been selling first aid kits commercially in the United States since 1903. Until now, J&J has never challenged this activity. In fact, for over 100 years, J&J and the Red Cross have enjoyed their concurrent right to use the Red Cross emblem.
By offering Red Cross first aid, health, safety and emergency preparedness products at retail locations, the Red Cross is reaching more families and making it easier for Americans to get prepared. The money the Red Cross receives in the sale of these products to consumers is reinvested in its humanitarian programs and services.
The Red Cross, a nonprofit, received only $2 million in revenue from the sale of its products in 2006. J&J, a corporation, received $53.3 billion in annual revenue in 2006.
“We hope that Johnson & Johnson will act as a good corporate citizen and recognize the right of the American Red Cross to our own emblem to carry out our mission—not stand in the way,” Everson said.
“Our legal argument is based on solid substantiated facts,” he continued. “J&J has taken a criminal statute intended by Congress to protect the American Red Cross and is now using it to distort history and the law.”
The rest of the response can be found here.

At first glance, and this is without going into the whole question of who used the symbol first, what the law actually says, or what agreements may not have existed, some jury may be asked to decide between a Pharmaceutical giant who makes $53 billion a year versus a non-profit who makes a couple of million a year and then uses the money to pay for programs which help save lives in the wake of tragedies.

Could Johnson and Johnson have found a more sympathetic defendant to go after?

And remember, that's before we get to the fun questions of who was using the mark first (ARC seems to make the case that they were), of what the agreement said or even if it existed, and what the law says.

Patent Baristas has a much better look at this.

Wednesday, July 18, 2007

Milberg Weiss Update

So even though it has been over a year since the indictments came down, very little has moved, it would seem, that is visible in the Federal case against Milberg Weiss. At least until recently.

A few days ago, it was announced that David J. Bershad, the former financial head of Milberg Weiss, has agreed to a plea deal where he will forfeit almost $ 8 million and pay a $250,000.00 fine. In return, he will become a government witness in the case against his former employers. This was followed on July 10, by the announcement that former client Steven Cooperman would be pleading guilty to receiving more than $6 million in kickbacks from the firm.

Now today, the government filed its response to the motion to dismiss the indictment filed by defendants Steven Schulman, named plaintiff Seymour M. Lazar and Lazar's former lawyer, Paul T. Selzer. Schulman, Lazar and Selzer argue that the "honest services fraud" alleged in the indictment against them should be dismissed because the government cannot show that the class members of any of the cases were harmed by their arrangement. The amended motion to dismiss contends that under the law, they did not violate it since their agreements with the named plaintiffs did not cause an actual divergence of interests.

The government's position is that harm to the class members is irrelevant, that there simply needs to be a showing that there was a "fraudulent concealment of material facts". Simply put, it seems to say, there just needs to be the secret agreement that is hidden by the alleged conspirators.

As this is going on, William Lerach and Melvyn Weiss have been in negotiations with the prosecution to get some sort of a plea deal. The sticking point seems to be jail time. Neither Lerach or Weiss wants to go to jail. Of course, if they were contributors to Bush's administration, maybe they could get the Scooter Special. Hell, if they were in Nebraska, ... let's not go there.

Tuesday, July 17, 2007


dol·drums (dōl'drəmz', dôl'-, dŏl'-) pl.n. (used with a sing. or pl. verb)
    1. A period of stagnation or slump.
    2. A period of depression or unhappy listlessness.
    3. A region of the ocean near the equator, characterized by calms, light winds, or squalls.
    4. The weather conditions characteristic of these regions of the ocean.
    1. A region of the ocean near the equator, characterized by calms, light winds, or squalls.
    2. The weather conditions characteristic of these regions of the ocean
(Courtesy of the American Heritage Dictionary, Dictionary of the English Language)

This last month, I slipped into the doldrums. Now I need to learn how to harness the little whisps of breeze around me to get me out of it when they come.

Thursday, July 12, 2007

Sometimes Being Useful Means Just Standing There


This afternoon I volunteered with the S.F. Bar Association's Courthouse Project to try and help some people stay housed. For the most part, I did alright. Had three clients. Got three deals that the clients wanted and worked in their favor.

And then as I was dropping off my files with the coordinator, there was another case that was not moving towards settlement. Part of it was the landlord's belief that there was no way in hell that anyone would take the tenant's case to trial at the last minute. The pro tem, who has a mediation practice, was looking for a way to get the landlord convinced that doing a deal today would be better. When he saw me, since I've appeared before him before, he came up with an idea.

A statute of liberty play.

Basically, I sat on a bench in the hallway reading my treo (science fiction not law related) and looked over at the tenant next to me every so often.

Suddenly the landlord changed his tune and started dealing. Amazing what I can accomplish when I do nothing.

Wednesday, June 27, 2007

Now Here Is An Interesting Lawsuit

And another reason why I think that IP law has gotten out of control. But I get ahead of myself.

Apparently, in 2000, a documentary was released titled, "Ashes to Glory". It was the product of Deborah Novak and John Witek's work into documenting the aftermath and rebirth of the Marshall University football team after the tragic crash which killed all but five members of its football team in 1970. The following year, the team was rebuilt, essentially from scratch. Amazingly, it managed to win a couple of games, the first of which was apparently a 15-13 nailbiter against Xavier University.

Now, a little bit better known, since it was a studio release last year, was the Warner Bros. movie, We Are Marshall. It covered the same story. The crash. The rebuilding. The young coach trying to ready a team for Division I-A games. The nailbiting win over Xavier on the last second pass to the end-zone.

Big deal? Actually, it apparently is. Sports Illustrated is reporting that Deborah Novak and John Witek have filed suit in the U.S. District Court for the Central District of California. The suit alleges that Warner Bros breached a contract with Novak and Witek to have them be involved in any theatrical movie dealing with the Marshall story. The lawsuit also (the actual complaint can be found here) alleges We Are Marshall "dramatizes the events depicted in Ashes to Glory, in the same chronological order, with the identical tone, sequencing, story emphasis, principal characters, theme, and archival clips[.]"

Let's think about this. Both the documentary and the movie deal with an actual event. So, unless the We Are Marshall filmmakers wanted to take some sort of Faulkner-esque route to telling the story, how else were they going to tell it? They also say that We Are Marshall stole their method of telling the story by having the climax of the film be the Xavier game with a slow mo shot of the football coupled with flashbacks.

Well, lets think about this. How many football films have climatic nail biting games which are decided on the final drive? Off the top of my head, I can think of Friday Night Lights, the Longest Yard (both versions), The Replacements, Any Given Sunday (I think). How many of them have slow motion shots of the decisive pass, intercut with flashbacks? As I recall The Replacements has that one. All I am saying is that the elements are not exactly new in football movies or sports movies in general.

I am not defending what the movie studio did in regard to the contract, if it existed. However, as far as trying to benefit off the other portions of the complaint, specifically First and Sixth Causes of Action (in the case of the Sixth Cause of Action only as it applies to the themes and sports cliche moments), it as if they are saying that they are the exclusive the holders of the right to film anything that incorporates themes and set pieces which have been used repeatedly in sports movies.

That is just ludicrous. Or to put it another way, it would be like local Odessa newspaper suing the makers of Friday Night Lights because they had originally published the accounts of the season. Or HBO suing the makers of Miracle for presenting the story of the 1980 Miracle on Ice in the same chronological way that they presented it in their documentary.

Just another example of IP laws running amok.

Tuesday, June 26, 2007

The Sorting Hat Speaks

Your Score: Gryffindor!

The Sorting Hat has spoken! You've got 81 House Points!

Head of House: Professor McGonagall

House Colors: Scarlett and Gold

House Animal: Lion

Gryffindor made his choices of students based on Bravery. A little knowledge, however, did go a long way with him. You are a very brave person indeed, always willing to help out a friend, or innocent bystander who is in need... or anyone who is in need mostly. I salute you. Gryffindor is known mainly for it's heroic members... HUZZAH! Great deeds await you in this house.

Some students from Gryffindor house are Harry Potter, Hermione Granger, and Ron Weasley.

Link: The Hogwarts Sorting Hat Test written by Demeratus on OkCupid, home of the The Dating Persona Test

So I am Chaotic Good (Guess I won't be playing any paladin characters in D&D)

Your Score: Neutral-Good

82% Good, 46% Chaotic

Plane of Existence: Elysium, "Blessed Fields". Description: The plane of peace. Notable Inhabitants: Guardinals - noble immortal humanoids with bestial features.

Examples of Neutral-Goods (Ethically Neutral, Morally Good)

Cloud Strife (FFVII)

Boogenhagen (FFVII)

Mother Theresa


Sidhartha Gautama (the Buddha)


Bilbo & Frodo Baggins

Samwise Gamgee

Indiana Jones

The Dali Lama

Ben (O-Bi-Wan) Kenobi

Luke Skywalker

Harry Potter



Often goes along with the laws and desires of the group as being the easiest course of action, but ethical considerations clearly have top priority. May pursue quite abstract goals. Often aloof and difficult to understand.

Will keep their word to others of good alignment

Would not attack an unarmed foe

Will not use poison

Will help those in need

May work with others

Indifferent to higher authority

Indifferent to organizations

Neutral Good "Pure Good"


A neutral good [person] will obey the law, or break it when he or she sees it will serve a greater good. He or she is not bound strongly to a social system or order. His or her need to help others and reduce their suffering may take precedence over all else. Neutral good [people] do good for goodness' sake, not because they are directed to by law or by whim.

This alignment desires good without bias for or against order.

Other Alignments and Tendencies (Tendenices are what you would more often sway towards; esp. for Neutrals):

0-39% Good, 0-39% Chaotic: Lawful-Evil

0-39% Good, 40-60% Chaotic: Neutral-Evil

0-39% Good, 61-100% Chaotic: Chaotic-Evil

40-60% Good, 0-39% Chaotic: Lawful-Neutral

40-60% Good, 40-60% Chaotic: True Neutral

40-60% Good, 61-100% Chaotic: Chaotic-Neutral

61-100% Good, 0-39% Chaotic: Lawful-Good

61-100% Good, 61-100% Chaotic: Chaotic-Good

Link: The Alignment Test written by xan81 on OkCupid Free Online Dating, home of the The Dating Persona Test

Following up

So as you may have noticed, I have been venting a lot lately. Partly, it has to do with my clients losing heart. Partly it has to do with opposing counsel not having brains that were issued to lemmings.

A little harsh? Well consider that when I finally was able to contact opposing counsel in this matter, their response to my numerous emails and phone messages was "We thought you meant something else."

That's right. When I tell you in no uncertain terms that my clients wish to take you up on your offer on the terms which you proposed, I am really trying to confuse you.

Since I was nowhere near a fax machine, being in a foreign country, I tell them I will send them a pdf (which is permitted under the way the document is drafted) of the signature pages. Which I send, and tell them that if they do not get them in the next hour, to email me back.

Or call.

Or send a smoke signal.

All of which gets a "O.k." from the other side.

Now, today, believing that they have received the instruments of surrender, since I have not received any message in any form to the contrary, I set about to getting back to work. Only to receive a letter accusing me of double crossing them by not transmitting the documents by fax.

Right. What part of "I have to send the documents to you by email" and you saying "O.k." told you that it would be sent by fax?!?!?!?!?!

It is probably just me, but lately, I am getting really short fused with slumlord attorneys.

Thursday, June 21, 2007

All I want to do is to surrender dammit!

So in one of my cases, the clients were all full of vim to go and fight this out to the bitter end. However, after I had gotten through rejecting the other sides offer, the clients call me back to say that "no, we really want to just end it on any terms at any price."

Alright, so those were not the exact words. But that was the gist of the message.

I did my best to tell them that this was not in their best interests. They said no, just end it.

So now I am trying to end it. And the other side won't take my phone call or return my letters.

Now I am getting to a point where I may have to tell the clients that surrender is no longer an option.

I wish there was an ethical way to put in my retainer agreements that my clients are not allowed to surrender after rejecting the other sides offer, and especially after declaring to me that they want to fight it to the bitter end. This is just happening too often.

Tuesday, June 19, 2007

Time Well Spent

So this afternoon, I got to spend a fair amount of time in a meeting. Now this would not have been a bad thing if there was any chance at all that something good could come out of it. I was not going to get paid for the meeting. I was not going to be able to help someone through the Bar Association's Pro Bono program. I was not even going to get the pleasure of just spending time with some friends.

Instead, it was a meeting to try and head off a client from suing yours truly.

What am I being sued for? As near as I can figure, the basis of the suit will be that I did my job well and got the client a good result. When I became involved in the case, the client had a judgment against them. The sheriff was about levy the client's bank accounts and possibly other property to satisfy the judgment. When I was through, I had obtained not only the best result possible in the situation, but also the deal which the client had previously authorized and was asking to have reinstated.

Now I believe it is everyone's right to pursue meritorious claims in court. And this case is no different. If this person is the mensch they claim to be, they will walk away from this and realize I did a mitzvah for them. I received no money for representing them. I did what no other attorney was able to do.

At the meeting, I remained mostly silent while others attempted to broker an accord between myself and this client. But what I really wanted to say was this:

"You want to sue me? Go for it. When its over, whatever lawyer handles it will have you looking like France after the last time Germany went on tour."

The Difference Is....?

In light of the recent, and sudden, rush of the U.S. and Israel to back Fatah, I thought it was important to show the difference between the two. Fortunately for me, Cox and Forkum have done a nice little visual.

Of course, some may say that this is just a knee-jerk conservative leaning artists' impression of the complexities of the Middle East. So going to the tape we have this picture of Hamas supporters...

And then we have the Fatah supporters...

Let's see. About the only difference I can tell between these groups is that one is in favor of Sharia law for all while the other is in favor of a kleptocracy. Other than that, their goal is simply the destruction of Israel, the murder of Jews, and a continuing jihad against the West in order to establish a new caliphate.

Monday, June 18, 2007

This Would Be So Much Easier Without Client Categories

So I have this person who is considering whether or not to retain me. I really think that this person's case is marginal at best. I keep telling this prospective client this, but the prospective keeps coming back with more and more questions.

To date, I have not signed this person up as a client, but I am starting to get the feeling that if this person does not make up their mind soon, I am going to start to charging just because of the amount of time I am wasting while they go through an endless-decision loop.

It makes me want to grab the prospective client and yell at him "Make up your mind!"

Thursday, June 14, 2007

Man I hate it when the other side makes sense

Of course, in doing so, he has probably alienated a healthy number of registered latino voters.

What am I talking about? Governor of California, Arnold Schwarzenegger, said something that should be commonsense, yet is already being referred to by activists as "so naive and out of it '.

Here's what Governor
Schwarzenegger when asked how immigrant Spanish speakers can learn English quickly, said, "You've got to turn off the Spanish television set" and avoid Spanish-language television, books and newspapers."

He did not say that they should ban anything, but just said if you want to learn a language quickly, you need to immerse yourself in it. Seems I recall being in school and told constantly that the best way to learn was through an immersion program. Of course, by tomorrow, it will have turned into an endorsement of English as the national language and an attempt to end Spanish language media.

Wednesday, June 13, 2007

For Those Interested

The case of the $67.3 million pants is currently being tried. A reporter from the Washington Post is live-blogging it. Apparently the plaintiff, Administrative Law Judge Roy Pearson, has dropped his demand to $54 million.

Not a Good Day for

Fatah. Looks like they are on the losing end of a fight against Hamas. I was kind of hoping that this would drag out a bit longer, but it looks like Fatah is getting the short end of the stick. Either way this ends, Israel is still facing an enemy who is not interested in any sort of real peace negotiations.

Israel. Hamas is winning (today at least). I'm wondering if it almost makes Bibi wish that Arrafat was not spinning in his grave? At least the U.N. and Human Rights Watch are not blaming Israel for the current Arab civil war in the West Bank and Gaza Strip.

Democracy in Lebanon. Lebanese parliamentarian Walid Eido, a critic of Syrian involvement in Lebanese affairs, was killed when someone (could it be the Syrian intelligence services) set off a car bomb. Also killed in the blast were his son, two bodyguards and three (some say 2) other passersby. Charles has an eyewitness account of the blast. (Hat tip Israellycool)

Haiti's under 17 world cup soccer team. Apparently, most of them dissappeared in New York during a stopover to the under-17 World Cup in South Korea. You would think that they would have done it after playing in the international match instead of before it.

Children. Mr. Wizard died.

The porn industry. In Iran, the parliament has voted to make the production of porn punishable by death.

Friday, June 08, 2007

A Good Step In The Right Direction

So Paris Hilton is on her way back to jail. Good start for the Judge.

No the question is, why is the Sheriff not being held accountable for this by the court. It seems clear that the court's order clearly stated that she had to server her time in jail and not in some alternative custody program. It would appear to me that the Sheriff's action clearly was contary to what the court ordered and therefore the Sheriff should be held in contempt.

And now it looks like the Hilton defense team will be racking up the billables as they prepare a petition for habeas corpus as a way of appealing the court's decision. Until then, it looks like the heiress will continue to be incarcerated L.A. County's finest medical detention center.

Ms. Hilton, on the hand, has absolutely no one to blame for her situation but herself. She had three chances to avoid going to jail. It was only after the third violation of her probation terms that she was finally sentenced. She could have avoided all this if she had done three little things. First, she could have registered for her drunk driving class. Second, she could have avoided driving until she got her license back. Third, she could have remembered to not speed 70 mph in a 35 mph zone. For those interested, go take a look at the City Attorney's moving papers for the May hearing.

Now, one final word in all this, about the "medical condition" that Ms. Hilton allegedly has. Its called "Not-wanting-to-go-jail Syndrome". Nearly all first timer incarcerants have it.

Thursday, June 07, 2007

Who Is Running the L.A. County Jails?

This morning, I awoke to the news that Paris Hilton was being released after three days. This of course led me to curse and start to lose faith in the justice system (and having worked on both sides of it, I've seen it work well, work ok, and work terribly, but usually coming back to close to where it should be.) According to the reports, she was being "reassigned" to house arrest for "medical" reasons. It has been speculated that her legal team put together a case that she was on verge of a nervous breakdown.

So let's see, she sheds some tears and she gets to go home to her mansion, with her only restriction that she can not leave it and has to wear an ankle bracelet. Yeah, sounds like the Pablo Escobar version of doing time sans the heavy weapons.

The answer to the question (who runs the L.A. County Jails) is that it is Sheriff Lee Baca. It was Baca, not the Superior Court nor the District Attorney's office who has control over Hilton while she is in custody. Interestingly, it was a unilateral decision by Baca's office that permitted her to leave. This after the court which senteced her stated that she had to serve her time in jail and specifically stated that she could not serve her time in an alternative program.

Now, I'm sure with cases where there is not this level of scrutiny, Baca could have transferred her without anyone realizing it. On the other hand, with everyone and their mother watching, he went and created a media frenzy.

Given the almost guarranteed coverage of Hilton leaving early, it's almost as if he wanted to thumb his nose at the court. In either event, Baca looks to be in hot water, since even his attorney, in this case the Sheriff is represented by the County Attorney's Office, is saying that if they had known about Baca's decision, they would have opposed it on legal grounds.

Fortunately, someone at the Los Angeles County City Attorney's Office was on the ball and filed a request for an order to show cause why the Sheriff should not have her reincarcerated at the L.A. County Jail. The judge, apparently, signed the order and the hearing has been set for tomorrow morning at 9 a.m.

Tuesday, June 05, 2007

So Why Is This A Big Deal?

Two people get married back in the 1970s. The husband works. The wife works at home. They raise a family. The husband is successful in business. Husband and wife hit middle age and decide that now that the kids are out of the house, they can no longer stand each other so they want to get a divorce.

They go to the court. The court looks at everything and decides to do the equitable thing: everything accumulated as part of the marriage gets split in half.

Why is this news? Even if it resulted in the wife getting $184 million of the $368 million accumulated by the husband during the marriage, to me its still a no brainer. Apparently Illinois courts are just catching up to what California and other property states have been doing for centuries.

Can someone please explain to me the rationale of not having community property for married couples?

Sunday, May 27, 2007

Working on The Weekend.

And right now, all I can hear is Colonel Tigh in my head.

Colonel Tigh
: Yes, we're tired. Yes, there is no relief. Yes, the Cylons keep coming after us time after time after time. And yes, we are still expected to do our jobs!

(Artwork borrowed from Grant Gould)

Thursday, May 24, 2007

Do I have FNG tatooed on my forehead?

So the other day, I was at court on a family law case, on a child custody dispute. Yay. Always a lot of fun.

My client, as a bit of background, has restricted access to their child because the opposition inserted in its last "supplemental" filing that they believed that my client was going to harm themself and their kids because of the client's despondency over the break up of the marriage. The court, upon seeing this ordered that my client lose custody of their child and have only supervised visitation for an indefinite period of time.

Did not matter that the client has no history of trying to hurt themself (i.e. commit suicide). Did not matter that statement which the basis for the oppositions believe that my client was a suicide risk came about during one of only 2 marriage counseling sessions which the opposition showed up for... and was explored by the then therapist who concluded that there was no danger of harm to my client or the client's children. Nope, the court simply cut off access (probably fearing an Andrea Yates situation) and said that the client could only see kids through a supervised visitation center.

Why did this court do this? Mostly because my client is not terribly articulate and was effectively ambushed by the other party and their attorney.

So today, the first time I am active in the case, I have the opposing counsel come up to me. Now I know what opposing counsel must have been thinking. It probably went something along the lines of, "I don't know him and since I've been practicing when Blackstone was still lecturing on law he must therefore be a) new and b) stupid."

I'm used to this. Mostly because I am still, comparatively in the world of law, a new face. However, when opposing counsel thinks like this, it leads them to make ludicruous statements. Just like today.

Opposing counsel stated, while we were talking about the case before going back before the judge, "We never had any intention of interfering with your client's custody."

Never had any intention? Let's think about this. Virtually the entire supplemental declaration which was filed before the lasting hearing dealt with one thing: my client's alleged mental instability and likelihood that my client was going to commit suicide or harm the children and then committ suicide. None of it, mind you based on anything that a mental health professional had said, all based on statement alleged, by the petitioner, to have been made by my client, the respondent. And I'm to believe that there was no intent on their part to make a grab for full custody this way? Especially when they neglected to include a return date by which the professionals who would supervise my client's contact with the children would provide a report regarding how my client interacts with their children?

The more I deal with family law practitioners the more I dislike most of them. Sure there are a few goods ones, like my cousin or the minor's counsel, I have dealt with on another matter, but so far the majority of them are starting to make understand why family law lawyers get shot by their clients so often.

Give me a landlord's attorney. At least they don't pretend to be your friend while they try and put the screws your client.

Monday, May 21, 2007

Finally the purpose of the UN discovered...

Apparently it is to negotiate cease fires to prevent governments from rooting out terrorist groups in its midsts. At least, that seems to be what is going in Lebanon.

The Lebanese government, finally coming to the conclusion that allowing terrorist groups to remain within its territory is not a good policy if it wants to actually rebuild itself after years of civil war, began a campaign against one of the terrorist groups making its home within Lebanon's borders.

Yes, it appears to be only one group. But if we discourage them now, then they will go back to not caring. And that means Israel has to do the job. And since it is clear that Lebanon (as well as virtually anyone who is either a) Islamic or b) kowtowing to Islamic interests) does not appreciate Israel's efforts to rid southern Lebanon of terrorist groups, we are back to supporting Lebanon. Yes, it is like having a Bush regulate the oil industry, but baby steps.

In any event, now that Lebanon has gone on the offensive against a terrorist group (in this case Fatah al-Islam, which has been linked with Al Qaeda), the U.N. wants a cease fire. The UN, officially, has control over the camps where the fighting is taking place. Officially, the camps are not supposed to be bases for violence. Of course that does not stop the terrorists from using the camps as bases of operation against or from firing on government troops.

So rather than be part of the solution and allowing the government to clear out the terrorists from the camps, the UN wants a cease fire. A cease fire which can only benefit the terrorists.

Good job UN, showing your true colors once again.

At least in Israel, it looks like the Arabs are starting to run out of rockets. According to Israellycool, there have only been 3 rocket attacks during the latest day of the current bombardment of Israel's civilian population. Could it be because Israel has using its military to strike back at the launching sites or because Israelly stopped targetting those trying to kill its people, like it did when it withdrew from the West Bank, the Gaza Strip, and Southern Lebanon?

Sunday, May 20, 2007


Sderot is a modest-sized town of about 20,000 people. It is near a modest-sized (approximately 8000 students) university. It is also just on the Israeli side of t

And in the last year it has been hit by approximately 3000 rockets.

That does not count the 13 rockets that fell on Sderot yesterday between 9am and 10pm. (Hat tip: Israellycool).

Wednesday, May 16, 2007

Belief Will Have To Be Postponed Until Next Year

The Warriors run is over, falling to the Utah Jazz tonight 3 games to 1.

But the last memory of this series, for Bay Area sports fans should be...

Especially after what Benitez did tonight in the Giants-Astros game.

Tuesday, May 15, 2007

How Do Terrorists Celebrate Holidays?

If you are an Arab terrorist in the West Bank or the Gaza Strip, you celebrate Naqba by firing rockets into Israel aimed at civilians. Despite the fact that a few days earlier, your leadership stated that it specifically does not target civilians.

Because of course, Hamas and other Arab militias never would do such a thing.

Of course, it could be argued that the real way to celebrate Naqba is to shoot and kill other Arabs in an unending series of fratricidal gunfights to determine who gets to be in charge the next time there is a chance for a renewed campaign against Israel.

Either way, the PA is deserving of Western aid and support why?

In any event, their "celebrations" have resulted in at least a mother and her child being wounded when one of the rockets fell on their home.

(Hat tip to Israellycool and Elder of Ziyon)

So I am trying to think of something nice to say....

But I really can not for the life of me think of something nice to say about the late Reverend Jerry Falwell. I mean... he was such a contributor to our national life. For instance he:

1) Said that the antichrist was alive and most likely a Jewish male.
2) Blamed the 9/11 attacks on feminists, minorities, and liberals.
3) Who, if not instigating, then inflamed the culture wars by consistently castigating and blaming homosexuals for the ills in society.
4) Founded a university to spread his ideals to others.

About the only thing I can say that is nice is that that he apparently went quickly.

Monday, May 14, 2007

The Bar Mitzvah From Hell

Hat tip to Israellycool for the following:

City ordered to pay for bar mitzvah from hell

Pierrefonds resisted apologizing for 4 years after drunk janitor ruined family's party

ALAN HUSTAK, The Gazette

Published: Monday, May 14, 2007
A bungled bar mitzvah reception in Pierrefonds four years ago has cost the city of Montreal more than $27,000 in damages.
Quebec Court awarded West Island pediatrician Peter Neumann moral and legal damages for what Neumann describes as the bar mitzvah from hell.
Neumann paid more than $1,000 to rent a room in the Pierrefonds Cultural Centre on Aug. 31, 2003, to celebrate his grandson's coming of age. Two caterers were hired for the 350 guests.
Things started to go wrong even before the party started when a drunken city janitor stole party ice from an ice machine, padlocked it in a freezer, then tried to sell it back to Neumann.
When guests twice got stuck in the elevators, the janitor, identified in court documents as Alain Blanchette, was of no help. As the evening wore on, the pianist on stage suffered a heart attack, but the custodian was nowhere to be found.
He appeared again just before 10:30 that evening and abruptly ordered the dance band to stop playing even though the room had been rented until 2 a.m. Then he threatened to lock everyone out of the building at midnight.
To add to the discomfort of the event, Blanchette didn't bother to fill the centre's toilet paper dispensers, and Neumann had to supply his own.
When Neumann complained to the city about the behaviour, a city investigator suggested he didn't have a case. After Neumann filed for damages, he learned that someone in the city's legal department advised the city that he didn't have a case because his grandson, Ace (Alexander), wasn't even Jewish.
Two months ago - almost four years after the event, and a month before the lawsuit was to be heard in court - he received an apology from Pierrefonds borough director Jacques Chan. By then, Neumann said, he had no intention of dropping the suit.
"For four years the city took us through hell. No explanations, no apologies, no nothing. I wasn't about to back down," Neumann said.
The court awarded Neumann $22,000 and four years' interest, at five per cent, in damages. In his written judgment, Judge Henri Richard said the allegation filed by the city that the bar mitzvah boy was not Jewish was "manifestly unfounded," and was "an unnecessary source of distress" to the family.
Neumann said he received the cheque this month and will donate it to charity.
"This was always about the principle, never about the money," he said.
The janitor was fired.