Friday, August 28, 2009

Some Random Thoughts On Health Care Reform As I Print Out Stuff

So I have been reading here and there, from the left to the right, about the proposed health care reform. And here is what I am sure about: I am really, really confused.

And I'm an educated person. As far as I can tell, there is no true proposal by President Obama. It seems like there are lots of wishes and desires, but no set of proposals down on paper currently being debated (or scheduled to be debated) by Congress. And no, his campaign plan does not count. The Obama Administration has not gotten someone to submit that as a bill to Congress.

I am pretty sure that no final plan is ready right now. And that is particularly worrisome. How am I supposed to know what I should support if the target keeps moving. Is the plan to go single payer? That's what everyone was saying when this mess began. Is it a a government plan which will compete with private plans? I know that the insurance companies fear this one. Is it a healthcare co-op plan? And if so, what the hell is a government sponsored co-op plan other than a single payer health care plan?

See why I'm confused.

The one thing I am sure about is that under any of the guises currently being bandied about, it will cover illegal immigrants. This is an anathema to the conservatives on the right (just like the specter that the a health care reform will mean that women have their abortions covered just like men get their viagra covered). However, absent a constitutional amendment, I am not sure how any plan would not include coverage for illegal immigrants.

Now, how many of you out there have actually read the Constitution of the United States? All of it. Seriously, you should. Its not that long. We have in it an amendment called the 14th Amendment. It states:
Section 1. All persons born or naturalized in the United States, and subject to the jurisdiction thereof, are citizens of the United States and of the state wherein they reside. No state shall make or enforce any law which shall abridge the privileges or immunities of citizens of the United States; nor shall any state deprive any person of life, liberty, or property, without due process of law; nor deny to any person within its jurisdiction the equal protection of the laws.
Section 2. Representatives shall be apportioned among the several states according to their respective numbers, counting the whole number of persons in each state, excluding Indians not taxed. But when the right to vote at any election for the choice of electors for President and Vice President of the United States, Representatives in Congress, the executive and judicial officers of a state, or the members of the legislature thereof, is denied to any of the male inhabitants of such state, being twenty-one years of age, and citizens of the United States, or in any way abridged, except for participation in rebellion, or other crime, the basis of representation therein shall be reduced in the proportion which the number of such male citizens shall bear to the whole number of male citizens twenty-one years of age in such state.
Section 3. No person shall be a Senator or Representative in Congress, or elector of President and Vice President, or hold any office, civil or military, under the United States, or under any state, who, having previously taken an oath, as a member of Congress, or as an officer of the United States, or as a member of any state legislature, or as an executive or judicial officer of any state, to support the Constitution of the United States, shall have engaged in insurrection or rebellion against the same, or given aid or comfort to the enemies thereof. But Congress may by a vote of two-thirds of each House, remove such disability.
Section 4. The validity of the public debt of the United States, authorized by law, including debts incurred for payment of pensions and bounties for services in suppressing insurrection or rebellion, shall not be questioned. But neither the United States nor any state shall assume or pay any debt or obligation incurred in aid of insurrection or rebellion against the United States, or any claim for the loss or emancipation of any slave; but all such debts, obligations and claims shall be held illegal and void.
Section 5. The Congress shall have power to enforce, by appropriate legislation, the provisions of this article.
Now take a look at Section 1. It's interesting to note that at first it specifically talks about groups of people who are considered citizens. But in the second half, it talks only about persons. Not citizens. Big distinction. Was it intended? Arguably yes. In fact, the Supreme Court has read it that way in the past.

In 1886, Justice Matthews wrote, in the opinion for Yick Wo v. Hopkins,

The fourteenth amendment to the constitution is not confined to the protection of citizens. It says: "Nor shall any state deprive any person of life, liberty, or property without due process of law; nor deny to any person within its jurisdiction the equal protection of the laws." These provisions are universal in their application, to all persons within the territorial jurisdiction, without regard to any differences of race, of color, or of nationality.
Justice Matthews puts it very plainly there. And this interpretation has been upheld in later cases. This includes the Plyler v. Doe case, decided in 1982, which held that public schools would educate illegal aliens just as they would other citizens. Although the court was split 5-4 in deciding for Doe, the court was unanimous in deciding that the 14th Amendment applied. The split was over the level of scrutiny.

It appears established in the law (both black letter and by stare decisis) pretty much that the 14th Amendment means that all person cannot be discriminated against. Illegal aliens are people. Therefore, if health care reform is passed, its applicable to all persons, citizens and non-citizens alike.

So can we please argue about something else when it comes to health-care reform? Unless someone wants to amend the 14th Amendment that is.

Alot of this was sparked by reading James Taranto's daily Best of the Web column a few weeks ago in the

Wednesday, August 26, 2009

Ahh yes, tenants getting evicted finally makes the news

So, as I am waiting for my car to be fixed, I read about what is going on over in Oakland at the Amber Tree Gardens apartment complex. Apparently, the city has shut it down as a nuisance.

And the Chronicle noticed for once. Good job. Where was the Chronicle the other times that tenants were being wronfully evicted by the banks? Or other slum lords. Apparently, it requires a fire truck to merit the attention of the Chronicle.

But I am reading some of the comments by the tenants. They are complaining that they do not get to go home. Fair. But why have they let this go on for so long? I understand that not everyone wants to be involved in a lawsuit, but if the conditions there were as bad as the article indicates, I have to wonder how anyone could live there that long and not stand up for themselves. Why weren't the tenants not more proactive about getting the city involved or getting a lawyer in there to sue whoever this slumlord is? And why wasn't the city noticing this before if they were?

Anyone there needs an attorney to handle their affirmative suit? I can give you a list or an introduction to a whole bunch of them (I can understand if you don't want me to represent you for calling you a bunch of sheep). The City Attorney, being the one who initiated the legal end of the process, seems to feel like they done enough for now by evicting everyone.

Of course, this being Oakland, I am sure that the city is going to completely muck this thing up. The last time they went after a slumlord was when the Oakland City Attorney's Office went after JP Morgan bank. JP Morgan was wrongfully evicting tenants from their apartments when the buildings went into foreclosure. This was not just one or two people. This was a case of dozens of wrongful evictions. They settled the case. For $35,000.00. Total.

And this was hailed as an example of landlord wrongdoers stepping up and the City of Oakland being tough. Excuse me? No mention of people getting their homes back. No mention of people getting compensated for landlord wrongdoing. JP Morgan paying $35,000 advertises on their website as having $2.1 trillion in assets. That would be akin to fining me a 1¢.

As a matter of fact, I'm not even sure that $35,000.00 would cover the hourly that went into that case.

So yeah, if you think Oakland is going to serve you by protecting your interests a citizen, it looks like you are in a for a rude awakening. When it comes to tenants, the City of Oakland seems to be more interested in looking good, than doing good.

But who knows, maybe City Attorney Russo will surprise me. I'm not going to hold my breath.

Tuesday, August 18, 2009

The Hypocrite Skates By...And San Francisco Gets...?

But somehow, did we expect anything else from the enfant terrible of San Francisco politics? I mean he is going to be termed out, so that he can abandon San Francisco for the suburbs. Yes, that's right, Chris Daly was cleared by the San Francisco City Attorney's Office yesterday when it issued a report on its investigation about the supervisor. Essentially, it states that Daly really does live in the city and not the suburbs where he and his wife and children live in one of two properties they purchased earlier this year.

If its true, I guess he just doesn't like being around his family. I can't think of a reason that I would spend at least 5 of 7 days a week in an apartment with people other than my wife and children.

But this is Chris Daly.

But I still don't believe it.

Mr. Daly clearly does not want to be in San Francisco. He is clearly just marking time, improving his credentials before he makes his next run for some other office. But that's not what we should have as a supervisor. We have too many problems in this city that need to be addressed by someone willing to stay and work, not jsut use the office as a stepping stone to a higher level of government. In any event, if Mr. Daly had any honor, he would resign. However, when was the last time any politician demonstrated that?

Its Starting Again!!!! (Yes, My Dancing With The Stars Madness Rears Its Ugly Head Once More)

All I have right now are the stars and a couple of the pairings. The initial list of performers announced yesterday are:
Mya (singer)
Macy Gray (scary singer)
Aaron Carter (former tween star... now not sure)
Ashley Hamilton (son of George Hamilton)
Melissa Joan Hart (Teen Witch, and according the Mrs. Angrybell, harlequin romance stories made into tv movies)
Debi Mazar (Entourage and other tv)
Joanna Krupa (Model)
Kathy Ireland (Former SI Swimsuit Model)
Mark Dacascos (Martial Arts dude, Actor, currently on Iron Chef America)
Kelly Osbourne (of the Osbournes)
Donny Osmond (Marie's brother... that's mean but hey)
Chuck Liddell (mixed martial artist)
Louie Vito (professional snowboarder);
Natalie Coughlin (Olympic swimmer)
Michael Irvin (former wide receiver for Dallas Cowboys)
Tom DeLay (former congressman)
Right now, it appears that the pairings have not been announced. And that really affects my handicapping. I mean, if Kelly Osbourne gets Maksim, she's toast (because who really sees her being able to deal well with him?), but if she gets someone else, say Jonothan Roberts, she might have a chance.

Now if we look at previous seasons, we see that atheletes do better than non-atheletes. Models are usually good to bow out quick. Actors have some staying power, but rarely win. Singers (loosely definied I suppose) are the exception to the rule in Dancing With The Stars. In the past 8 seasons, there have been 1 actress winner (Kelly Monaco), 3 olympians (Shawn Johnson, Kristi Yamaguchi, and Apollo Anton Ohno), and 2 other atheletes (yes I use that loosely since one was Helio Castroneves is a driver and I have trouble calling that atheletic even though I recognize it takes a lot of skill to do, and Emmitt Smith), and 1 singer (yes, boy bands count as much as it pains me, so that would be Drew Lachey).

The final winner of the previous eight was Brooke Burke, a model. However, if you look at the other models who have competed, most have not done well. The next best showing by a model was Rachel Hunter way back in season 1 when she took fourth. After that, most of the other models have gone out early, finishing about 9th (or in the lower half) of the competition (Shauna Moakler, Shandi Finnessey, and Holly Madison). Bottom line, its looking bad for Cathy Ireland and Joanna Krupa.

At first glance, the class of the women right now has to be Natalie Coughlin. She's known. She's won gold medals. She's attractive (sorry but fact is it will help). Given that she is probably competitive (good guess since she competes), and that she knows how to train and take coaching (hello did we mention the gold medal?) she has to be the odds on favorite for the women right now.

Now, there are a couple of wild-cards in the women this time. Mostly, they come from the singers. There is Macy Gray and Mya. Nothing would sugget that Macy Gray has any dance background, and at 41 she falls into the cougar category (could she end up with Jonothan or Tony?). Neither of which really help her here. Mya, on the other hand, Mya does have a background in dance according to her wiki bio. She's also performed as a dancer in some of her work (including Chicago). Now I'm not saying that this makes her a favorite. However, it might give her some basics which will help her pick up stuff faster. Both have a fan base already, but will they vote? Macy Gray has a tendency to rub some people the wrong way (including me when I watch/listen to her) which may work against her. Of the two, I'm picking Mya to go further.

Next on the review is Melissa Joan Hart and Debi Mazur. Both actresses who have worked with Adrien Grenier (was this a consideration?). One was a huge popular teen actress who has sort of dissappeared into made for tv movies (such as Holiday in Handcuffs and Holiday in Handcuffs 2). Ms. Hart's career does not indicate she has anything under than her sweetness and light routine, but who knows. The other is the nice Jewish girl who has a recurring role on Entourage. However, in her past she was apparently a dancer in music videos. Sure this was 20 years ago, but she might really like dancing and take to it well. Of the two, I have to go with Mazur.

Now, typically, actors also do not win. However, in looking at this list, I am not bowled over by the men in the competition. However, I am intrigued by a couple of them. My initialy gut reaction is to take Mark Dacascos. Football players have won in the past, and made it to the finals, but that has more to do with their built in fan base. Dacascos, however, is a martial arts actor guy. If he can translate the martial arts discipline and movement ability over, he could be potent.

Then there is Donny Osmond and Ashley Hamilton. One has been a performe his whole career and may have some skills transferrable over to ballroom dancing. The other is the son of George Hamilton who's biggest claim to fame seems to be that he was married to Shannen Dougherty and survived. Donny could go far. He has much the same fan base, or could, that his sister had. He could be a dark horse here. Hamilton... can anyone tell me anything about him?

Tom DeLay could hang in for a while, but really, how popular can a politician be in the long run in a talent show? Sure, there could be a "vast right-wing conspiracy" to get him to the finals, but I figure he is going to be Jerry Springer of the year (i.e. just happy to be there).

Then there is Michael Irvin. Of the men, he could potentially have the biggest fan base because of his years with Dallas Cowboys. The question, however, is going to be whether he will be an Emmett Smith or a Clyde Drexler? Time will tell.

Next up is Aaron Carter. Oh Aaron, what shall we truly classify you as? Are you really a singer? A motorcross racer? Or a reality TV star who occasionally has the tv guest spot in non-reality shows? Pretty much, the odds are against him. He's no longer a tweener superstar. He's had run-ins with a variety of people, including taking his own mother to court. Then there's his bad dating choices (Lohan and Duff, at the same time, sparking a feud where he just comes off looking bad). Does not help with his fan base.

Then we have Chuck Liddell, a mixed martial artist, and Louie Vito, the snowboarder. Their incoming fan base is probably not going to be big. Liddell might benefit from the guys who are watching the show to keep their wife or girlfriend happy, but the same may not hold true for Vito. Either way, both come from sort of niche areas (yes I know MMA is getting more popular, but it hasn't hit that tipping point yet where people who don't follow it are aware of them, same for snowboarders). That's not going to help them. Therefore, unless they show something early, I doubt that they will be around come semifinal time.

Now, as I started writing this, a few of the pairings have been announced via twitter. They are:

Natalie Coughlin is with Alec Mazo (trained the winner of Season 1)
Tom Delay is with Cheryl Burke (oh boy has she got her work cut out for him)
Ashley Hamilton is with Edyta Sliwinska (like father like son)
Donny Osmond is with Kym Johnson (He's a little bit rock and roll and she's... Australian)

Looking at this, Cheryl got that shaft. I mean really, a politician. Shouldn't that have been given to the new Russian girl (whats her name?). The best matchup, I think, of these is Donny and Kym. Kym is good at reigning in guys and matching the dances to their strengths. Donny is an entertainer. It might work.

So here's my predictions: Dacascos and Coughlin. Edge right now to Coughlin (more so now that we know she has Mazo and Burke is off the market).

More madness to come.

Friday, August 14, 2009

John Mortimer Must Be Rolling in His Grave

I suppose that Speaker's Corner will go next because apparently the United Kingdom no longer believes in freedom of speech.

Now, I am not a fan of Michael Savage. Or really of talk radio in general (unless its sports). It tends to bring out the kooks (and there is Salty for the sports talk). But everyone is entitled to their own opinion.

However, according Her Majesty's Government, only people with acceptable view points may now enter the United Kingdom and its remaining colonies. Hard to believe that the birthplace of many of the freedoms we take for granted, now cannot stand to have people say things that they might offend others.

Sir John Mortimer would have Rumpole on this, but now all he can do is roll in his grave.

Thursday, August 13, 2009

I can't, I can, I won't, I will, I should, I shouldn't

So I saw this over on Colby's blog and for the first time actually felt the urge to do a meme. So here goes:

I can't:
  • Work for someone I do not respect. It ends badly for all.
  • Extend courtesy to someone who refuses to do the same.
  • Call someone by their first name until they actually tell me that I can. Until then, everyone is a Mr., Ms., Miss, or Mrs. (as appropriate).
  • Forget that I participated in two executions. I was not in the room, but I helped make sure that they happened.
  • Forget how amazing it was to see my daughter emerging from Mrs. Angrybell.
I can:
  • Work on being more tolerant of people who do stupid things.
  • Work on restraining my Irish temper when confronted with said people who do stupid things.
  • Return phone calls within 24 hours of getting them, even from my that client I just can't stand.
I won't:
  • Sell out a friend. I will however make fun of them endlessly when they deserve it.
  • Root for the Dodgers.
  • Forgive a certain person. You know who you are. You know what you did.
  • Turn my daughter into me (or at least a female version of me). She should shoot for better.
  • Drink coffee. Its icky.
  • Eat squash. I know its good for you and all, but I can't eat it. I figure every adult is allowed one food that they can always say no to. Squash is mine
I should:
  • Work on being more understanding of Prius and BMW drivers. Its not their fault they were born with a gene that prevents them being considerate on the road (with the exception of my mother, aka Grandma Angrybell. Not Lil Grandma Angrybell, she doesn't drive a Prius).
  • Drink more. Seriously, I should, but only with other people. Because drinking alone is just sad.
  • Rediscover that discipline that I've let lapse since I became a solo.
  • Finally finish training for an Iron Man and do it. Of course, that would mean starting again. The training that is.
  • Stop being so damnably fearful.
  • Find ways to make more money. Not because I have a particular need for something. Because I know my daughter needs some things. Things she doesn't even know yet.
  • Develop a way to market myself that is effective and I can live with. I am so bad at selling myself.
  • Not feel guilty about asking to be paid what I am worth.
I shouldn't:
  • Enjoy certain news items so much.
  • Enjoy cheese steaks so much. But I do. Especially at the place over on Divisadero.
  • Take as many pro bono cases as I do. G-d I sound like Hoskins (bonus points if you can identify the character and the series).
  • Take such joy in making other attorneys miserable.
  • Expect other attorneys to show the basic courtesy that I was taught. Its not their fault they were raised by wolves and educated by hyenas.

Tuesday, August 11, 2009

Velez Needs To Go... NOW!!!!!

Apparently, Eugenio Velez thinks he is to pretty and too valuable to play defense. Apparently, he thinks that he is so important, that he cannot take a sliding runner. So instead of playing the ball, he didn't keep his eye on the ball.


Velez = gutless showboating wuss. If I was the manager, he'd never see the plate again. He doesn't know how to sacrifice, play defense, or steal bases. He is a waste of space.

Where the frack is Schierholtz?

Bring me the head of Bochey!!!!

Monday, August 10, 2009

The Good and The Bad

So for the first time, another lawyer has made me their first call for when they were in trouble (as opposed to "can you cover this hearing for me"). The short of it is an attorney I know is having their work questioned on an old case. They are bringing me in to help defend their work.

The bad: I'm reading the case right now. I'm sorry they got involved in this mess. The client that is now turning on them... very bad news indeed.

But still, got to look on the upside of things.

Monday, August 03, 2009

So Somehow Its All My Fault

So I have this case that I am working on with another attorney. We subpoenaed some records from a witness who did work on what Rumpole would call "the locus in quo". The witness, a company, got their records together and sent us copies of the records, keeping the originals.

No problem there. Pretty straightforward.

So since the defense in the case is being ridiculously unreasonable about settlement (Mrs. Angrybell's translation: what good defense counsel is supposed to do for their clients), it looks like we are going to have to depose someone from this company. So we sent out the deposition subpoena requiring them to send someone to be deposed and to bring copies of the records (including any that might not have been covered in the original request) .

No problem there. Pretty straight forward.

Now the witness company is saying that they cannot bring the records. Apparently, in between copying them for us pursuant to the original subpoena and their receipt of the new subpoena, they have lost every single document related to this case. Every. Single. One.

And because they have lost every single document related to the locus in quo, they are blaming us. Somehow, its our fault that they lost the paperwork between the copy machine and the file cabinet in their own office.

All completely logical of course. All my fault.