Wednesday, November 29, 2006

Court rules that Rehabilitation act requires redesign of US Currency

Interesting report and discussion at the Volokh Conspiracy on a Judge's ruling in the United States District Court in DC's court that the Treasury must redesign US currency to accomodate the blind.

The original decision can be read online.

I'm pretty sure the Treasury will appeal this ruling.

Creative Sanctions on North Korea

US bans luxury items to deprive Kim of the goodies.

As reported by the AP: U.S. bans sale of iPods to North Korea
Experts said the sanctions effort - being coordinated under the United Nations - would be the first ever to curtail a specific category of goods not associated with military buildups or weapons designs, especially one so tailored to annoy a foreign leader.

The ban includes Ipods, Rolexes, cognac and sports equipment among other luxury goods.

Certainly the Bush administration gets points for creativity in trying to modify North Korea's behavior with effective sanctions directed at its supreme leader.

Not only will Kim be 'so ronery', he's now going to be bored without the toys.

Monday, November 27, 2006

If they could just make it Practical with 4WD and room...

An impressive write-up of the elctrically-powered Tesla Roadster, possibly the first real high-performance electrically powered production sportscar.

2-place Sportscars have their niches and at $100,000 a copy its a nice that's out of my budget, but also out of my needs and desires for a vehicle.

Make it with 4WD for michigan winters and wilderness, give it a good cargo capacity for hauling the kids and gear and decent range between plug-ins (the 250 miles it currently has isn't a bad start, make it 500 and you've got the practical radius for most serious non-stop day trips).

The Tesla Roadster is a good example of what great engineering can do. Now if the engine and battery design can be turned to a more practical mass-market and affordable direction, it would be extremely attractive indeed.

For those of you with the high-end sports car owner mindset, give it a look as it seems to be very impressive.

Thursday, November 23, 2006

Weird Thanksgiving Activity

Driving by a Best Buy today at 3:330pm on the way to the Fine Thanksgiving Meal at Lagniappe's mom's house, we noticed that there were already people lined up in front of Best Buy, presumably for whatever "Black Friday" sales are to be held tomorrow.

On the way back from the meal at about 8:00, we noticed the line was even longed and people even had some tents up.

Thanksgiving is supposed to be about spending time with family and a traditional feast. I can't see waiting in line for whatever it is thats on sale as a good family experience, nor whatever it is as being worth camping out overnight in the cold on a family holiday.

Happy Thanksgiving!

We've just had a fine meal with Lagniappe's family, as Lagniappe and his owner were in town.

A wonderful meal with Turkey and mashed potatoes done to perfection, along with other delectables.

Everyone had a great time and it was good to be together, especially with Lagniappe's keeper in good health and getting around in style. Abby always has a good time with her honorary uncle, but if he keeps teaching her to act up, Natasha is going to give him a severe beating.

Yesterday he and I went to practice some shooting skills and had a great time, and he's even looking at getting back on a motorcycle.

So far its been a great Thanksgiving weekend, with much to be thankful for: a good friend recovering from a terrible accident with style and thankfully still here with us, and family in good health and happiness. When you've got good friends and family, all else can be handled nicely.

Thursday, November 16, 2006

Second Major Trial Victory

This time as a Plaintiff's attorney (hourly fee, not contingent
) for a guy who was badly taken advantage of when he sold his businees. Taken advantage of to say the least - the contract was for $210k with 100 due at signing and 110 to be paid by a promissory note, he was paid only 50K and then even sued by a bank personally on a line of credit from the business after the buyer stopped paying on it ashe was never released from liability for the business credit line. That kind of being taken advantage of.

Add to it that our client is not fluent in english, and defendant #1 drew up the contract in english with very nebulous and one-sided terms including that our client acknowledged he received the full 100k at signing, and that defendant #1 has been convicted for multiple violent acts and is now under indictment federally for fraud and other nasty business and that he even defrauded defendant #2 in the case it makes the judgment sweet.

Sometimes you may have a doubt as to who is telling the truth in a he said - he said situation, but here given how he and his defense counsel acted throughout the case, and the multitude of lies he told and how he acted at his deposition, its pretty clear to me that we were on the side of the angels, admittedly an imperfect one, in this case.

Here's an example of their conduct in the case - giving me a stack of documents on the day of trial saying how they "just found it" after I sent them a document request a year ago -- it doesn't wash and the judge was not impressed. In addition, his attorney filed a trial brief on the day before trial, over two weeks overdue with new riddiculous allegations that were contradicted by his filed answer and prior discovery responses and included witnesses that were not on his witness list. This was par for that attorney's and firm's compliance with the court rules and discovery process in this case from day 1.

This win feels real good considering the main defendant was a total, complete and insulting jerk at his deposition, including personal insults of me. One of his memorable insults was "I [him, defendant #1) should have the t-shirt saying my lawyer is better than your lawyer"

We got a $110,000.00 judgment against him and defendant #2 for our client.

Who's got the better lawyer now, baby?

Thursday, November 09, 2006

Inspired to Excercise

Lagniappe's Owner comments on his blog that
We (meaning me and him)also went to the gym every day to work out, (Hooray! I finally found someone younger than 60 who is in worse shape than me!)

Simply not fair, and I resemble that remark :-)

After all, a cop better be in better shape than a lawyer right?

However, inspired by his show of grit and determination I am taking up the challenge.

I'm setting myself the following goal, within one year, and preferably less, I will to be able to do the following:

1. Do 50 sit ups in one minute with no stops

2. Running a 300 meter sprint in 45 seconds

3. Do 50 push-ups non stop

4. Run 1.5 miles in 10:34-10:15 minutes

Time to join a gym and get going.

October Trip to West Virginia

Country Roads took me to Lagniappe's Lair in Harper's Ferry, West Virginia. Ok, first I was Leaving Michigan on a Jet Plane, but that's besides the point and enough of those country song references.

Harper's Ferry is absolutely beautiful in the Autumn:

At Antietam this line of cannon was a sobering reminder of the carnage that the armies faced. Over 20,000 Americans died in one day during the battle. To put that in perspective, we need to be in Iraq for 17 more years at the current casualty rate to get to the losses suffered in one lone day in the Civil War.
When men charged cannon and rifled muskets that were in good defensive positions, the slaughter was horrendous.

Visiting Lagniappe and his Owner was great. It was good to see him in good spirits and with a determination not to let his injury stop him from anything. As you can see from his bog, on our visit he dropped his crutches and started walking unsupported, including up and down 121 steps, as you can read on his Walking post. He's got more guts and sheer determination than most people will ever have.

Weird netflix Delivery

Yesterday in the mail I received two movies that did not show up in my current Queue.

Strangely enough, I had requested them back in September (they were supposed to have been sent together) and never received them and reported them as missing. I then received a replacement shipment, viewed them and sent them back.

Now I suddenly received them both. I wonder if they were lost in a Netflix Shipping facility and finally found and shipped or if they somehow were hidding in the post office. Both envelopes were unopened when i received them.

Very strange to receive them after a delay of almost 2 months. I sent them back to Netflix today.

Just strange indeed.

Election Campaign Pet Peeve -Electoral Junk Phone Calls

For some reason this 2006 campaign season seems to have been the birht of a tremendous number of unwanted and unsolicited political telephone calls to an unnaceptable level.

During this political campaigns phone I received calls with computer messages and recorded messages at all hours of the day and night. Such calls seemed perfectly timed for whenever I was in the shower, about to eat dinner, far from the phone, or once the baby finally settled down to sleep. Of course such a call would wake the baby up - which to sleep deprived parents is not just infuriating, it could lead to justifiable homicide by said parent against the originator of these electoral junk calls.

The caller ID on most of these calls showed up as "blocked" and given I have friends and family with blocked numbers I would pick them up only to hear these %$!$ messages.

This was extremely annoying, so much so that I'm now adopting a voting policy that whichever candidate calls me the most with such stupid annoyances and wakes up the baby will automatically earn a vote against them and for their leading opponent, regardless of party.

Enough already.

Politicians look, just because you exempted yourselves from the Do Not Call list doesn't mean I want your calls at all hours of the day - you're not persuading me, your annoying me and losing my vote. Quit the blocked numbers, identify the origin of the call and just quit calling. I get enough campaing info through mail, internet and media and your calls do not inform or persuade me to vote for you.

I'm on that Do Not Call list for a reason, I don't want junk calls whether from telemarkers with a consumer product or you with a political product.

More Michigan Results and general Election Comments

Governor: Jennifer Granholm (D) was reelected.
Granholm is not t she's not that bad, and certainly she's much better than many other Democrat governors. Certainly much of the state of the economy in Michigan is her fault (economic policy, tax system, this cool cities initiative to nowhere)and lack of strong leadership for change in business taxes and regulations to improce the economy. But much is not solely her fault due to structural problems with the way the state's economy is focussed on the auto industry and years of neglect of vital infrastructure such as roads. It is somewhat surprising that she was reelected given the one-state recession Michigan is in, but I think she got a boost from the anti-Bush straight-ticket Dem vote that helped her move forward.

Granholm is not rabidly anti-gun and instead seems to be a "way the wind blows" politician on the issue, and for now, the wind is not blowing towards more gun control.

Michigan will not cease to exist due to Granholm's reelection, and hopefully her time in office has seasoned her and she's ready to work with the Republican legislature to move the State forward out of its economic malaise.

Attorney General: Mike Cox (R) was reelected.
This is a positive result. he's been very effective as our Attorney General and good on gun rights in terms of getting reciprocity agreements signed with other states (Although he really needs to hurry up and get the deal through with West Virginia, what 's the delay there?)and on properly interpreting Michigan law to permit Class 3 firearms after a Democrat anti-gun AG did a twisted interpretation to prevent it.

Cox was also very effective in collecting child support from non-payors, which saves taxpayers money from having to support the kids the deadbeat parents should be supporting.

Democrats also took control of Michigan's State House and increased their presence in the Michigan Senate.

At the Federal level, Democrat Senator Debbie Stabenow was reelected and easily beat challenger Michael Bouchard 57% to 41%. There's no doubt Michigan is a blue state now.

As an aside It is funny that Dems are blue and repubs are red. Democrats really should be Red considering they are closer to socialism/communism than Republicans, but perhaps they're blue for all the blurbloods they run such as Kerry and Kennedy.The change seems to be media driven and perhaps has the message of Republicans as red for aggressive or dangerous and Democrats for blue as cool. Sadly the media reality is the reality and given the media's constant bad news about the economy in the nation, even in the face of excellent economic growth and cnstant downplaying of the situation in iraq, its not surprising that many people went for the Dems this time.

I expect the media to soon start reporting how wonderful the economy is once the Democrats take control of the House and Senate. Indeed, on Iraq, had it been a democrat president I'm positive the media would be reporting things are going very well, not to mention playing up the fact that the pre-insurgency stage where Iraq was overwhelmed in short order in Operation Iraqi Freedom was the greatest military victory in the Middle East since the Six Day War.

In many ways this election was the Republicans to lose, and lose it they did. Hopefully they will learn that"

1. You can't be Democrat-lite and try to spend like a Democrat, if you do, there's nothing distinguishing you from "The Real Thing" and people wil vote for the real thing everytime.

2. The corruption must cease. Once again quit being the Democrat-Lite party.

3. Small government Republicans win, Big-Government (ie Democrat-lite) loses. if you turn your back on your principles, expect voters to turn their backs on you.

4. The media reality is the reality. Republicans must work harder to handle a hostile media environment, whether by holding lots more townhall meetings, fireside chats and other direct addresses to the nation and lots more internet-savy activities or some other means, it better be done.

Wednesday, November 08, 2006

Michigan's Election Results - The Proposals

First The Proposals:

Proposal 1 - Passed 81% to 19%

Proposal 2 - Passed 58% to 42%

Proposal 3 - Failed 31% to 69%

Proposal 4 - Passed 80% to 20%

Proposal 5 - Failed 38% to 62%

All in all, this was an excellent result from a conservative and individual rights perspective. Affirmative action in government was struck down, ensuring more fairness in hiring, contract and University admissions. Property was protected from takings from other more politically connected private takers, and natural resource licensing fees and monies were enshrined to actually protect and improve the natural resources they are collected for. In addition, the teacher's union failed to vote itself largess and a guaranteed income stream from the public purse. While dove hunting failed,hopefully it will not embolden those such as HSUS into thinking that its open season on hunting activities in Michigan.

Four out of five proposals that I advocated for passed, which is an excellent result.

Tuesday, November 07, 2006

2006 Michigan Election Results

For Results of the 2006 Mid-Term Election:

Check out's 2006 Election Coverage

For the Official numbers check out The Michigan Secretary of State's Election Page.

Commentary to follow.