Monday, December 31, 2007

The Law According to BushCo

Slate lists some Legal Fictions. It must have been a struggle to parse them to only 10 *laughing*. Some of my favorites:
10. The NSA's eavesdropping was limited in scope.

Not at all. Recent revelations suggest the program was launched earlier than we'd been led to believe, scooped up more information than we were led to believe, and was not at all narrowly tailored, as we'd been led to believe. Surprised? Me neither.


8. The vice president's office is not a part of the executive branch.


4. Nine U.S. attorneys were fired by nobody, but for good reason.

Of course, the great legal story of 2007 was the unprecedented firing of nine U.S. attorneys who either declined to prosecute Democrats or were too successful in prosecuting Republicans.


1. The United States does not torture.
I wonder which ones made the cutting room floor. It had to be one of their toughest edits ever.


H/T Zeitlin. And GiGi, check out his Juno review.

Thursday, December 27, 2007

Its about the Commas-2nd Amendment

Interesting grammatical dissection of the 2nd Amendment in a Freedman NYT OpEd:
This will be the first time in nearly 70 years that the court has considered the Second Amendment. The outcome of the case is difficult to handicap, mainly because so little is known about the justices’ views on the lethal device at the center of the controversy: the comma. That’s right, the “small crooked point,” as Richard Mulcaster described this punctuation upstart in 1582. The official version of the Second Amendment has three of the little blighters:

A well regulated Militia, being necessary to the security of a free State, the right of the people to keep and bear Arms, shall not be infringed.
The decision uses the 2nd comma to plead its case:
he second comma (the one after “state”) as proof that the Second Amendment does not merely protect the “collective” right of states to maintain their militias, but endows each citizen with an “individual” right to carry a gun, regardless of membership in the local militia.
Interesting read.


Tuesday, December 25, 2007

Christmas Morning

The boys are still sleeping. As teenagers, no big Christmas Morning anticipation anymore.

Yeah, I miss the excitement that little kids bring to a day like today, but certainly not enough to relive the time that is in between those moments *laughing*

There is a few things under the tree for us to open this morning, and a wad of cash for them to spend later. The rest of the day will be spent relaxing and grazing.

After breakfast, the pasture will be spread out over the dining room table and everyone is on their own. No cooking for me, today. There is enough food in the house right now to survive a blizzard

Wishing you and yours the very best this Holiday season.


Monday, December 24, 2007

Lights Please . . .

From 'A Charlie Brown Christmas':
"And there were in the same country shepherds, abiding in the field, keeping watch over their flock by night. And, lo, the angel of the Lord came upon them, and the glory of the Lord shone round about them! And they were sore afraid ... And the angel said unto them, "Fear not! For, behold, I bring you tidings of great joy, which shall be to all my people. For unto you is born this day in the city of David a Saviour, which is Christ, the Lord."

"And this shall be a sign unto you: Ye shall find the babe wrapped in swaddling clothes, lying in a manger." And suddenly, there was with the angel a multitude of the Heavenly Host praising God, and saying, "Glory to God in the Highest, and on Earth peace, and good will toward men."

"That's what Christmas is all about, Charlie Brown."

- Linus Van Pelt
Enjoy the spirit of the Holidays! Things are different with a house full of teenagers, but they have been doing a pretty good job of occupying themselves as the city slowly shuts down.

Be safe in the New Year, there is much work to be done!


The above photo is of the "Grotto of the Nativity in the Church of the Nativity, Bethlehem — where it is believed Jesus was born." obtained via the Wiki

Friday, December 21, 2007

Now There is Only Two

In a Veterans Day thread at Shot in the Dark, frequent Commenter AngryClown stated:
Armistice Day. Hug a WWI vet.

Very, very gently.
Word comes out of Ohio today that one of the last remaining WW I vets has passed:
J. Russell Coffey died yesterday at the age of 109. He had been living in a nursing home. There's no word on the cause of death.

The Veterans Affairs Department says Coffey was the last World War I vet in Ohio. Coffey enlisted in the Army in October 1918 while a student at Ohio State University.

It was a month before the Allied powers and Germany signed a cease-fire agreement and Coffey did not see action overseas. He did play semipro baseball and earned a doctorate in education from New York University.
According to the article, that leaves only two known WW I veterans left.


Holidays Fast Approaching

The rant will have to wait. Even after getting up at 5 bells I still wasn't able to catch up on those things that need to be done. Work is bonkers as we begin to secure things for the Holiday Break. Remember, only half of this break is paid, the other half is forced unpaid time off. So don't think us educators have it all that easy.

We are actually having a slightly shorter break this year, coming back on the Wednesday after the New Year begins. That means we won't be going to school till mid June, ending the year on June 5 instead. I'll gladly trade a few days in the middle of Winter and have them back in the Summer.

Maybe more at Lunch time.


Thursday, December 20, 2007

They've been Working on the Railroad Treptow

Last week, in Treptow -v- Beard, I mentioned the impending indictments in the June 2007 road rage case:
But for now, we'll have to wait and see why both men will be going before a judge next week. One can only suspect they will be answering charges, and what those charges are, will be sealed until then.
Treptow went first, yesterday, and is facing three felony counts:
1. Drive by shooting. MS 609.66 subd 1e(b) -- felony, up to ten years.

2. Reckless discharge in municipality sub 1a(3) -- ditto, up to two years.

3. Terrorist threats. 609.713 sub (1) -- ditto.
I am ready for a rant, but will hold off until Beard faces the music today. Until then, you will find excellent interpretations from Mitch, Joel, and NorthernMuckraker

What can you do until then, all three point it out, but I'll share Mitch's plea:
Martin Treptow isn’t loaded - not even close. And this case could embarrass the hell out of the Robbinsdale PD and, given its behavior for the past six months, Anoka as well. My two cents: Anoka County is throwing the book at Treptow, dredging up the worst possible assortment of felonies (and absurd ones, at that), to try to induce him to take a plea bargain rather than spend his family’s entire future defending himself against the combined weight of every law enforcement agency in the Metro.
A defense fund has been set up. It would make a nice Holiday gesture:

Martin and Rebecca Treptow
Anoka Hennepin Credit Union,
3505 Northdale Blvd. N.W.
Coon Rapids, MN 55448


A Touch of Class: Part Deaux

Another honor for Taylor, the other day:
it was agreed they should pick Washington's Sean Taylor posthumously as the NFC's starting free safety. The Vikings weren't the only ones thinking that way since Taylor, who died a day after being shot in his home in Miami on Nov. 26, was named the starter on Tuesday.

"It was the right thing to do, and not only because of the tragedy," Vikings backup quarterback Kelly Holcomb said. "The guy was a good football player who was leading the league in interceptions [five] before he passed away. This is just one more chance to honor his memory."

Redskins coach Joe Gibbs said, "It meant a lot to everybody around here" that so many opposing coaches and players helped Taylor earn his second Pro Bowl selection. Players and coaches can't vote for members of their own team.
I hear the Redskins already have a play the NFC All Pro's could use their first time on Defense. I think it is a no brainer that they run it run more time. We'll find out in February.


Tuesday, December 18, 2007

Hillary's Problem

Cillizza of WaPo's The Fix points out something that we all need to recognize:
Asked to say whatever first came to mind when Clinton's name was mentioned, the group offered a fascinating panoply of descriptions. "Can't be trusted," said one. "I just got a glimpse that she's got an evil side to her," said another. A third offered a backhanded compliment of sorts: "Very good at saying what she thinks we want to hear."

Others were more positive in their remarks -- if not effusive. "Work ethic," said one; "I think she's really focused," said another.

The comments signal a larger theme when it comes to voters' views in Iowa and nationally about Clinton. She is widely respected but not widely liked. Time and again in last week's focus group, the voters said they had few doubts about Clinton's ability to do the job of president; they also expressed a frustration with the essential unknowability of Clinton as a person.
Did you catch that, "Can't be trusted", "she's got an evil side to her". And who was saying this:
As always when a group of Democrats are gathered, the conversation was dominated by Sen. Hillary Rodham Clinton (N.Y.) and revealed the problems and potential Clinton has in Iowa and beyond.
Yeap, those were Iowa Democrats talking. Now, can you imagine what the Republicans will do to her!

There's more over there so read the whole thing!


Monday, December 17, 2007

Iowa Prognositcation

The games begin in about two weeks, and everything happens very quick after that. I don't know if people really realize how quickly this first phase is going to be over. I am convinced this won't be healthy for either party. Whomever is peaking will have the edge, and that won't necessarily mean the best candidate for the general.

As mentioned below in the comments, here is my take on what I believe to be the most likely scenario.

Edwards must win Iowa to survive, and I just don't see it.

Obama has made significant gains with Hillary a close second. Edwards a distant third and Gov Bill hovering around double digits for some time. Once Edwards recognizes his time has come and gone, his supporters will have to decide a new direction. I am not sure where they will go, but I suspect that there is NOT many Edwards supporters that have Hillary as their #2.

This race will start getting more interesting once Edwards sucks it up and takes a bow then we will start seeing how much truth there is to the anti Hillary surge. I know in Iowa she isn't in many peoples #2 slot.

Before Super Duper Tuesday in February, Edwards will be gone, along with probably Biden and/or Dodd. Obama and Clinton will battle it out for the top spot while Richardson quietly gains the support of the underlings. There is a reason those folks weren't supporting Obama or Clinton to begin with. We'll know on Feb 6th who the nominee is, and the GOP will be gunning from them all the way through the general.


Friday, December 14, 2007

Bulking Up

The report's out, and it seems many are talking about it:
Now, Roger Clemens joins Barry Bonds in baseball's version of hell. It's a slow burn that lasts a lifetime, then, after death, lingers as long as the game is played and tongues can wag. In baseball, a man's triumphs and his sins are immortal. The pursuit of one often leads to the other. And those misdeeds are seldom as dark as their endless punishment.

Shoeless Joe Jackson, an illiterate outfielder who hit like a demon in the 1919 World Series, but neglected to blow the whistle on his crooked teammates, died with his good name as black as their Sox. Pete Rose, who bet on his team, but never against it, finally confessed. It could be good for his soul, and buys him dinner at my house any night, but may never get him into Cooperstown. Now, they have company: two giants of our time, just as humbled, though no less tarnished.
Yesterday's finger pointing actually frustrated me. Don't get me wrong, these individuals cheated. They participated in an environment that coerced others to make poor decisions to remain competitive. I will not condone their actions, but where is MLB's and the Players' Association's consequences? How long have they turned their head to look the other way, knowing some of this was going on.

Boswell continues:
Mitchell's opus was intended as many things. It was, of course, a severe front-to-back slam at the union for its 20 years of intransigence on drug testing. The charge is absolutely correct. Still, how self-serving can Commissioner Bud Selig be? He appoints Mitchell, closely affiliated with management in general and specifically with the Red Sox, to spend 21 months finding out who's guilty when he already knows that Don Fehr will get handcuffed in the last chapter.

And, of course, owners, mid-level baseball employees and even Selig get taken to ritual task. Oh, everybody should have acted faster, been smarter, seen the signs. But, gosh, how were we to know? Just because our players showed up for spring training like they'd spent the winter inhaling helium. Just because scouts in their reports and general managers discussing trades evaluated how much weight to give the "juice" factor.

Finally, naturally, because Congress knows a vote-grabber in an election year, the report serves as baseball's proactive shield against further embarrassing visits to Capitol Hill. I'm shocked, shocked, to discover that both Mitchell and Selig -- who, just two hours later, endorsed every recommendation in the report -- are passionately in favor of tougher "best-practices" drug testing. What a stunner. Why, right off the bat, Bud said there would be no more 24-hour warnings to clubs that a random drug test would be held the next day. You mean there were warnings for "random" tests? And MLB could have changed it unilaterally, but it took the Mitchell report before they did it? What impressive self-motivation.
And what happens:
a punch in the nose to the union, a slap in the face to MLB, a predictable recitation of the usual (already revealed) steroid suspects and a T-bone steak to placate congressional watchdogs
The commentary focuses on "The Rocket's" decent, but I am more concerned about the bigger picture, and the culpability of the Players group and MLB itself. Seems like they are getting a free pass, while everyone else becomes obsessed with our "heroes" of the diamond. This entire event wouldn't have happened without a catalyst, and I point to the Player's Union and MLB for being the oxygen that kept this fire going for far too long.

But that's just me!


Thursday, December 13, 2007

Welcome to Our World, Violet Jane

8.6 lbs. and 21.3 inches

Congratulations to the new parents! Let the roller coaster ride begin!


Deja Two, Bush Bonks SCHIP

The President shows his true colors once again by turning his back on children:
For the second time in three months, President Bush yesterday vetoed legislation that would have expanded the State Children's Health Insurance program by $35 billion over five years and would have boosted its enrollment to about 10 million children.
This is after Bush's major issue was negotiated:
Democrats and some Republicans had argued that the second version addressed Bush's major concern by capping eligibility at 300 percent of the federal poverty line -- slightly more than $60,000 for a family of four.
And even more concessions:
tightening restrictions on illegal immigrants receiving SCHIP benefits . . . and preventing adults from receiving benefits.
But the Presidents wants more, and he is not letting the needs of the children take precedent over his greed.

The irony, of course, is the five year 35 billion dollars is only half of what the President is begging for to extend his war in Iraq. Come to think of it, it is December, and the President told us he would have Iraqi security turned over to the Iraqis by now, following the success of the Surge. How is that working out for ya?

This is becoming 'their' war, not our war and the children in America are starting to suffer because of it. When is the President going to honor his commitment he made to us?


Wednesday, December 12, 2007

Treptow -v- Beard

I spoke briefly about the Coon Rapids road rage shooting last Summer. In what can be described most accurately as slow motion justice, a Grand Jury was finally convened and handed out probable indictments to both individuals, yesterday:
The results of the two-day grand jury proceedings will remain sealed until each man appears in court next week, Anoka County prosecutor Paul Young said. That both the officer and the civilian have been summoned suggests the grand jury found evidence supporting charges against each, the attorney for the civilian said.
The short version of the case:
The investigation stems from a June 7 rolling dispute on a Coon Rapids side street. In one vehicle was Landen Beard, an undercover Robbinsdale police officer; in the other were Martin and Rebecca Treptow and their two children.

Martin Treptow, a former security guard who is licensed to carry a handgun, shot Beard in the leg. Both he and his wife have said Beard never identified himself as a law enforcement officer and that he pulled a handgun first and pointed it at Rebecca Treptow's face.

Beard, who has never spoken publicly about the incident, was interviewed by investigators and released the same day.

Treptow was arrested and booked but released the next day without being charged.
Both Mitch and Joel have been all over this case. What the articles fails to mention, is what happened following Treptow's release:
As a variety of Second Amendment bloggers reported last summer, Treptow was released from jail almost immediately (by the standards of these cases), and not charged with anything; the Anoka County Sheriff didn’t even bother to revoke Treptow’s carry permit, which is normally pro forma in these sorts of incidents.
What I have found, is that decisions and statements made closest to the incident tend to be the most accurate and pure. A lot of spinning is going on to try to protect a defend Beard. There is, in fact, some unsubstantiated speculation out there, that if it becomes public, could change this case significantly.

On the surface it seems that Treptow did everything correct, while responding to a road raging Beard. I wonder where this case would be if Beard hadn't turned out to be a cop. It also seems like law enforcement, and the media are reluctant to recognize that the MPPA works. I don't think I'll ever 'carry' but the bad guys don't know that and will have to think twice before they engage people in public, or at least in public places that aren't 'Gun Free Zones'*

But for now, we'll have to wait and see why both men will be going before a judge next week. One can only suspect they will be answering charges, and what those charges are, will be sealed until then.


*There is a cartoon posted at the link above, the text reads;

Why do mass shootings happen in "Gun Free Zones"?

Same reason they DON'T happen at firing ranges.

Some common sense to go with your morning cup of coffee.

Tuesday, December 11, 2007

One Miiiiiiiillion Cases!

Ollie brings us the milestone via the New Ulm Journal:
Schmaltz’s Alt, which is named after Ted Marti’s father, Warren “Schmaltz” Marti, is the Schell’s craft brew that will have the honor of being in the Millionth Case. It is the only beer Schell’s makes that is named after one of its former presidents.

Ted Marti said “Schmaltz” led the company though some of its toughest times in the late 1960s, when many family-owned breweries were going out of business and facing competition from ‘the big guys.’
/Homer voice/ Mmmmmmmm Beeeeeeer /Homer voice/


Power Baby Cometh?

At 41 weeks and 2 days our good friend REW at Power Liberal will be spending most of the day in Labor and Delivery. I wish her and father to be, SMartie, all the best as they enter parenthood.

My only advice is to remember one thing. No matter how cute and adorable the young Buddha is, they still turn into teenagers *laughing*


Monday, December 10, 2007

Viking's Don't Suck

Excerpt from Peter King's Monday Morning Quarterback:
i. Adrian Peterson rushed 14 times for three yards at San Francisco, and the Vikes won by 20 points. Yes, the tide is turning for the Vikes all right.

j. I'm no ratings maven, but I'll bet a dime that a Dallas-New England or Green Bay-New England Super Bowl would draw the biggest audience in American television history.

k. Why do I think the Vikings might have something to say about that?
I've been burned too many times and far too often. I'll take these one week at a time and enjoy the moment for what it is.

Next week, Monday Night Football against the Bears

Friday, December 07, 2007

Day of Infamy

Flags will be flying at half staff throughout the nation in remembrance of Pearl Harbor Day. Take a moment to recognize the valor of our brave fighting soldiers on that monumental day, along with those that continue today defending our freedoms from the evil amongst us.

Although their numbers are dwindling, the survivors of the attack continue to speak out:
Civilian survivors who recall the attack include Hawaii's two U.S. senators, who were 17 at the time.

Sen. Daniel Inouye, now 83, said he served as a first aid volunteer, helping treat civilians who were wounded in his Honolulu neighborhood. In 1943, he joined a celebrated Japanese American unit and was highly decorated for combat valor.

Japanese planes did not bomb residential neighborhoods, but misfired U.S. antiaircraft shells fell on homes and businesses.

"One shell fell into the dining room and this old Japanese lady was having her breakfast. When I got there, she was slumped over in her food," Inouye said in an interview. "Shrapnel went through her head and killed her. She didn't know what hit her."

Inouye said about half a dozen shopkeepers were killed when their stores were hit.
So let's be sure to acknowledge the innocent loss of life, while we realize how the American spirit drove civilians to step up during this time of tragedy.


Where's my Reward!

The GOP is notorious for enforcing personal responsibility. They believe welfare is a lifestyle choice, and children without health insurance is a consequence they brought on themselves. Sad, really, when you think about it. I've ridden the roller coaster of life. I found myself with a young family and struggling to make ends meet. Thankfully there were programs to prevent me from falling down to the bottom. Our kids never knew the situation. They always had a roof, and food, and fun. That is what was important. Now I am relatively successful, and don't need 'assistance'. But as an inner city middle school educator, I see many children, and families, who still do. Sure there are a few, oh so few, that try to game the system, but for the most part, these folks want nothing more than to be on their own, and not rely on others for help. I get it cause I've been there before, and I see it now.

When the President vetoed the latest SCHIP proposal I was just confused. Kids don't choose their lifestyle anymore than they chose their parents. But the President sought to punish them anyway, for fear a few families who may not really need the assistance might slip through the cracks. Shame on them, so shame on everyone else. It made me wonder where the President's priorities really are. Yesterday we found out.

I'm in a great place in my life, and a few years ago I took advantage of the refi bubble like many people did. But I was not foolish enough to give up that which I worked so hard to attain. I went into the refi with specific goals; lower my rate, take out a few extra bucks to consolidate some lingering old debt, retain at least 50% equity in my home. I succeeded with a 4 3/8 15 year fixed. The lingering debt is gone and right now I have over 60% equity in my home. I did it right. I didn't max out my equity for some fun money, or to live beyond my means. I also knew that the appreciation bubble would burst pretty soon as well, so any appraisal would be a peak, not a valley, during this time. Fortunately, my neighborhood is one of the few still holding their own pretty well.

So while kids go without health insurance, bridges falling down, and programs that help folks get back on their feet are being targeted for cuts, what does this President do? He proposes a bail out to those who should have known better. I am not alone in my frustration:
The agreement has sparked bitterness and anger among those who either sat out the housing boom or endured friends' snickers when they stuck with a traditional mortgage and a smaller house. To some who watched prices rise out of their reach or who moved to cheaper cities, the agreement looks like a penalty for those who didn't gamble.

"What about those of us who played by the rules? Can we get six months of free gasoline? Isn't there something for the rest of us?" asked Tim MacKinnon. After watching a friend use his home as an "ATM" for years, MacKinnon left Washington for New Jersey, where the $25,000 he had socked away went further.
I don't have a problem helping out those who find themselves in dire straight due to a boom followed by a bust. Our economy would be very vulnerable if we didn't have some level of security built in. My issue is with the priorities of this administration, and their inability to recognize who actually needs help first, and refusing to spend the time and effort in those areas.

But thats just me!

Thursday, December 06, 2007

December DL at Groveland Tap Tonight

Drinking Liberally returns to Groveland Tap this evening.

Domestic schedule permitting, I plan on making an appearance, you should too!


Wednesday, December 05, 2007

Taking Orders

via Cagle:
Interesting how the Bush taking orders from Cheney slide is conspicuously missing.


Tuesday, December 04, 2007

Its All About Me

Local heady legal rag, The St. Paul Legal Ledger, has been bopping around the blogosphere doing candid bios. This week was my turn. The website is subscription only, but GreenTeaMN was able to get a hold of the copy:
The St. Paul blogger known as Flash who writes the Centrisity blog is admittedly left of the political center.

He identifies himself as a Democrat; he's supporting New Mexico Gov. Bill Richardson's bid for the 2008 Democratic presidential nomination. And Schiebel's liberal stance runs in the family: his mother, Jean, served as one of 10 U.S. Electoral College "electors" in Minnesota for Democratic presidential candidate John Kerry for the 2004 election.

But Schiebel, 47, often takes heat from fellow liberals in the blogosphere on a host of issues ranging from Minnesota's smoking ban to welfare policy to the war in Iraq.
After discussing my break with the liberal wing of the DFL on the War on terror, they sneak in a comment Charley made regarding the level of civility here at Centrisity:
"I celebrate that our disagreement has been polite and respectful, with none of the name-calling and dismissiveness that has often been typical of these discussions,"
Even a hat tip from Mitch:
"He gets flak from both sides. I think he might be one of the last of the Kennedy Democrats out there," Berg says, referring to the foreign policy of former President John F. Kennedy.
I might have changed a few things, but over all the article was done well and gives you a pretty good picture of who I am and why I keep poking my head out there in the new media.

Bop on over to Green Tea and read the whole thing.


Monday, December 03, 2007

A Touch of Class . . .

. . . to a fallen teammate:
the Washington Redskins' defensive players held close a secret unknown to even Coach Joe Gibbs. It was a formation, devised the day before by Gregg Williams, the team's assistant head coach-defense. Its title a jumble of code save for the one word Williams placed in the middle: "Taylor." They would use it the first time they were on the field.

Drawn on paper, the play called for 10 living Redskins to fill their normal spots, with their dead teammate's name and his No. 21 marked in the 11th. As Williams handed it out Saturday night, he said that even though just 10 players would be on the field, the one missing would still be by their side.

"He was going to ride with us one more time," Williams said.
Video Here!

Taylor's funeral is today.