Friday, December 30, 2005

Deliver the letter, the sooner the better

Usually a trip to the mailbox isn't worth the effort of going to the end of the hall. Today was exceptionally different. Of 3 items, only one was junk mail. The others, well one was expected, and the other was not. The expected item was a loan check, so living expenses are covered for awhile. The unexpected item once again proves how much more respect for customers, etc. companies in Europe have then their American counterparts. About 2 weeks ago, I sent an email to the company that manufactured my wristwatch (Hanowa Swiss) to find out who to contact about a new band, as the leather one I had dried out and needed replacement. Today I received a new band, completely free, which arrived via Swiss Post. No hassles, no charges, no frustrations or headaches...just a brand new leather band.

Tuesday, December 20, 2005

It's not always going to be this grey.

So I'm still suffering with 1 remaining final ahead, and a CivPro paper that refuses to write itself. (Official tally: 2 finals done). Always save the best for last? Not in this's the one class I had this semester that I really could take or leave. It wasn't difficult material, it's just a regrettable lack of interest in the subject. Substantive Criminal Law, I'm sure, is very interesting if you plan to prosecute or defend criminals. I don't.

On a side note, Spring 2006 schedules were out today for those of us who didn't get to handpick for a variety of reasons. I got my second choice elective, which is fine. It likely means, however, that a Con Law I lecture (or two) may be simulblogged...considering who my prof is.

Saturday, December 17, 2005

Words occasionally fail me

From the depths of my a ten-year-old, I had the great fortune to travel to Washington, D.C. in April of 1987. While in Washington, I got to see the typical tourist fare, the Air and Space Museum, the Bureau of Engraving and Printing, Monticello, etc. I also got to meet one of my Senators in his office. This Senator was William Proxmire. I really didn't know much about government or politics at the time...that knowledge was still long in my future, but he still made quite an impression. A teacher of mine arranged the appointment at his office, and my mom and I were there to talk to him about gifted and talented education...a program still in its infancy, especially in central Wisconsin. I don't know if anything came of our talk, but knowing that he was interested enough to talk to us is a strong testament to the type of leader he was. I am especially proud as a Wisconsinite to know that Herb Kohl is filling the Senate seat that Bill Proxmire once held. Over the past nearly 50 years, they did everything possible to remove the tarnish placed on it by Joseph McCarthy.

Rest in Peace, Bill, and know that you left Wisconsin and the nation a better place because of your efforts.

From The Capital Times (Madison):
William Proxmire, a maverick Wisconsin Democrat who gained national fame for his crusade against government waste and served 32 years in the U.S. Senate, died early today at age 90 at a convalescent home near Baltimore.
Proxmire had fought a decade-long battle with Alzheimer's disease.
The Associated Press reported that he died around midnight at the Copper Ridge Alzheimer's care facility in Sykesville, Md.
A gifted orator and tireless campaigner, Proxmire - who had lost three consecutive gubernatorial elections - won his first U.S. Senate race in 1957 by upsetting Walter Kohler in a special election to fill the seat left vacant by the death of U.S. Sen. Joseph McCarthy.

He served Wisconsin with distinction over the next three decades before shocking friends and colleagues by announcing he would not seek re-election in 1988.
He was best known for the one-man campaign he waged against government waste with his monthly "Golden Fleece Awards," although it won him few friends among liberal Democrats. He once gave one of the dubious awards to a federally funded research project on why people fall in love.
"I don't want to know the answer," the senator said.
He also crusaded for the Senate to ratify the international Genocide Convention, which it finally did in 1988.
One of his biggest victories came in 1971 when he stopped government funding for the supersonic transport plane. He also set a Senate record by going more than two decades without missing a roll call vote.
"I am deeply saddened today at the passing of former Wisconsin Sen. William Proxmire, a great Wisconsin statesman and dear friend," Sen. Russ Feingold, D-Wisconsin, said in a statement this morning.
"Sen. Proxmire leaves behind an unparalleled legacy as a defender of the American taxpayer and one of the hardest-working senators in U.S. history. Today my thoughts are with his wife Ellen and his entire family."
U.S. Sen. Herb Kohl, in a statement, saluted Proxmire as "a great senator, a great Wisconsinite, and a great man." "He was a proud gadfly - the conscience of the Senate - reminding his colleagues daily of the dangers of financial misbehavior, the sins of wasteful spending, and the crime of genocide."
Democratic Rep. David Obey, the dean of the Wisconsin congressional delegation, said that Proxmire's election helped make Wisconsin a two-party state after years of Republican domination.
"He was 100 percent always on the side of the little guy," said Obey, D-Wausau. "He hated government waste, and he hated abuse of power."
U.S. Rep. Tammy Baldwin, D-Madison, said Proxmire was "a hero to all Wisconsinites who value honesty, integrity, and common sense in their leaders and in government."

"How do you have patience for people who claim they love America, but clearly can't stand Americans?"

All I want to know now is the date and time impeachment proceedings will commence. Lying about a blowjob or violating several sections of the Bill of Rights...hmmm...tough fucking call here. I bet the Senate Ethics committee deadlocks on this one too.

From Reuters via Yahoo! News
President George W. Bush defended a secret order he signed allowing for eavesdropping on people in the United States, as he fought on Saturday for the renewal of the anti-terror USA Patriot Act.
On Capitol Hill, where a hearing has been promised on Bush's order, lawmakers in both parties said they wanted to avoid allowing the Patriot Act to expire. One possibility was a temporary extension until differences could be resolved in efforts to balance national security with civil liberties.
Bush said he made the secret order to allow eavesdropping of people in the United States after the September 11, 2001, attacks, and criticized leaks to the news media about it.
'I authorized the National Security Agency, consistent with U.S. law and the Constitution, to intercept the international communications of people with known links to al Qaeda and related terrorist organizations,' Bush said a rare live radio address.
'This is a highly classified program that is crucial to our national security,' Bush said.
House Minority Leader Nancy Pelosi, a California Democrat, later responded by saying: 'The president's statement today raises serious questions as to what the activities were and whether the activities were lawful.'
Bush initially refused to confirm a report on Friday in The New York Times about the NSA program, saying he would not discuss sensitive intelligence matters.

Thursday, December 15, 2005

The Truth (with Jokes)

So, I've finished my contracts final, and have entirely too much damn free time between the finals. It's as though the law school is encouraging procrastination. Hell, we already knew they encouraged alcohol consumption when they sent an email to all 1Ls informing us that there was a free drink waiting for us after our last final next Thursday. Anyway, to battle this excessive amount of time, I've been reading (and not to review for finals).

Here's a few selected passages from "The Truth (with Jokes)" by Al Franken for your enjoyment. I recommend you go out and buy it immediately.

From page 136:
"Unlike Mom, Dad was comfortable talking with me about religion and God. He believed in God, but not as an old man with a long white beard sitting in Heaven. In many ways, Dad's view of God was like our Founding Fathers'. Not Abraham, Isaac, and Jacob. Thomas Jefferson, John Adams, and James Madison, who were not really Christians so much as Deists.

To Dad, the Bible - meaning the Old Testament - was not to be taken literally. Woman evolved along with man through natural selection. Not from Adam's rib. The work of God could be found, as our Founders believed, in Nature.

Dad told me that he believed Nature, which to him included humankind, to be so beautiful, so magnificient, that there had to be something behind it all. That was it. That was Dad's idea of God: something behind it all. It was no more or less complicated than that."

From page 288:
"You can't trust them to care. About Iraqis. About Americans.
You can't trust them to do the work of actually signing killed-in-action letters. You can't trust them not to lie about not signing killed-in-action letters.
You can't count on them to acknowledge any mistakes whatsoever. You can't trust them not to lie when confronted with those mistakes.
You can't trust them not to believe their own propaganda.
You can't trust them. Period."

From page 305 (a glimpse into the future):
"When Republicans had control of the whole government, they had the chance to pass their own solutions to American problems. But what they did showed what they really cared about. Themselves and their cronies.

I'm glad my party cares about something bigger than that.

Liberals believe that government, at its best, is the way we come together to tackle problems we can't solve on our own. I'm a liberal, and as it turns out, most Americans are liberals, too. A lot of them had forgotten they were, until President Bush tried to mess with Social Security."