Saturday, November 22, 2003

Thanksgiving Hiatus

After a few hours of sleep, I will be on the road for Texas. I will return next weekend for your regularly scheduled blogging. Have a nice Thanksgiving, all.

Friday, November 21, 2003

Vote for Cocky

Vote for Cocky as best mascot. My alma mater's is falling behind. Don't let that happen to my beloved University of South Carolina!
Pick of the Litter

I had another one of those odd encounters with the famous "Regent Philosophy of Love" today. My office hours in the international law journal overlap with a 2L who happens to be a newlywed. An ickey, gooey, "I wuv my widdle snookie--ookie woogie uggums" newlywed. Thou knowest the type. She's also been home schooled and graduated from an unaccredited Christian school in the middle of nowhere that no one has ever heard of. I say all this for the piint of proving she has, at best, a tenuous grip on reality and will probably get chewed up and spit out as a lawyer.

Wait, that wasn't my main point. Okay, I have two cynical observations to make. That was the first.

Anyway, I'm working on an article while she's sitting nearby chatting away on her cell phone. I can't help but here their conversation, as she is practically sitting in my lap. (It's a small office.) She's talking to a male friend who is planning to study in Strasbourg this summer, the same as I did. He does not wish to trave alone, so right there, over the phone, he makes a pitch that he should take one of her four sisters, sight unseen, and adds in what wonderful wicves any of them would make.

Excuse me? These are your sisters, not cocker spaniel puppies. Is this really how the more sheltered Christian girls trhink? Like that Henrietta hen from the Foghorn Leghorn cartoons? Why do these girls consider their self wrth to be so low, marriages need to be prearranged with guys they've never even met? Not only that, who'd let their baby sister trot off to Europe with someone who is practically a stranger? I'm baffled. The longer I stay here, the more scared I get.

In other news, I watched Charlie Chaplin's first sound movie tonight, The great Dictator It was an hilarious satire on Hitler and Nazi Germany. I seem to recall Chaplin stating somewhere that if he had knownn the extent of Nazi brutality, he would not have made this film. i can't remember where he said that, but i am glad he made the movie anyway. It's a classic.

Thursday, November 20, 2003

Wednesday, November 19, 2003

Jacko in the Box

Reading the news articles about the mess Michael Jackson seems to be in, I noticed the following:.

The 12-year-old boy at the center of the Michael Jackson child molestation scandal may have confessed to his psychiatrist that the pop singer plied him with wine and sleeping pills when he allegedly molested him, according to sources. The boy has also hired Los Angeles attorney Larry Feldman, the same lawyer who represented the family of a 13-year-old boy who made similar allegations a decade ago, the sources said.

"The boy hired that attorney?" The boy is twelve years old. His parents presumably hired the attorney. These are the same parents who let their kid stay at the home of Michael Jackson, reportedly in the same bed, long after rumors and jokes about Jackson and pedophilia were common knowledge. And then these parents did not apparently know about or report the violation of their son. It only came to light when a psychologist heard enough about it from the kid to feel a report to the police was warranted.

If the allegations are true, Jackson ought to be in prison. And I've love to hear a good reason why Mom and Dad should not be in the adjoining cell.

Tuesday, November 18, 2003

Aftermath's Aftermath

Sympathetic ear found, didn't sink any lower, but still floating around in the doldrums. Thanks go to my buddy "LN" regardless.

Much weirdness has ensued. It's just one of thoseodd things that whewn you are feeling melancholy, Fate lines up to kick you in the butt yet again. Tonight, I was standing in line at a cafeteria when I absentmindedly glanced to my right. I saw a ghost from my past--or so I thought. It looked so much like Lenna that for a moment I tried to decide how the heck she could be in Virginia. My second thought was, "Why, God, why?" before i realized it wasn't actually her. Few people have wounded me as deeply as she had. I've put it behind me, yes, but tonight's encounter put the thought back in my head: how's it going to go when I step into a courtroom in Charleston sometime in the near future, and she's sitting at opposing counsel's table? Well, tonight I came up with the answer.

I'm going to mop the floor with her.

Monday, November 17, 2003

Aftermath

Heather and i won thr trial this morning. I made some hopelessly amatuer mistakes, but there isn't anything i can do about it now. The grade i get is the grade I get. Really what's bothering me is what happened afterwards. Yes, some reality has set in on what is already a cynical and emotonally detached heart. I'm going to go hunt for a sympathetic ear before I sink any lower.

Sunday, November 16, 2003

Almost Showtime

Although i took off last night to go to an Irish pub to listen to a live band, the rest of the weekend has been completely preparaing for trial tomorrow. I met with mywitness to go over his testimnoy and am fine tuning my opening statement. Once this is all over, maybe I can get back to regular blogging.

Wish me Godspeed.

Saturday, November 15, 2003

I Can Only Imagine

I plopped down in my easy chair this afternoon and absentmindedly flipped on the radio. Soon, this song came on. I was incredibly moved by it, especially because it was played on a general rock radio station. It's a beautiful song, and just pasting the lyrics here doesn't do it justice.

I Can Only Imagine
(Mercy Me)

I can only imagine what it will be like,
when I walk by Your side...
I can only imagine,
what my eyes will see,
when Your Face is before me!
I can only imagine. I can only imagine.

Surrounded by Your Glory, what will my heart feel?
Will I dance for you, Jesus? Or in awe of You, be still?
Will I stand in Your presence, or to my knees will I fall?
Will I sing 'Hallelujah!'? Will I be able to speak at all?
I can only imagine! I can only imagine!

I can only imagine, when that day comes,
when I find myself standing in the Son!
I can only imagine,
when all I will do, is forever, forever worship You!
I can only imagine! I can only imagine!

Surrounded by Your Glory, what will my heart feel?
Will I dance for you, Jesus? Or in awe of You, be still?
Will I stand in Your presence, or to my knees will I fall?
Will I sing 'Hallelujah!'? Will I be able to speak at all?
I can only imagine! Yeah! I can only imagine!

Surrounded by Your Glory, what will my heart feel?

Will I dance for you, Jesus? Or in awe of You, be still?
Will I stand in Your presence, or to my knees will I fall?
Will I sing 'Hallelujah!'? Will I be able to speak at all?
I can only imagine! Yeah! I can only imagine!

I can only imagine! Yeah!
I can only imagine!! Only imagine!!!
I can only imagine.

I can only imagine, when all I do is forever, forever worship You!
I can only imagine.

Friday, November 14, 2003

Just Realized

You know why lawyers specializing in civil litigation get paid so well? Because civil trials are a pain in the butt. Even mock civil trials that are only for a grade. Yeesh.
The Hour of the Wolf

Here I am up at 3 A.M. once again because I crashed this afternoon. I'll be glad when this semester is over, because this class schedule is killing me. After Business Associations this morning, I had to go to the Journal office and finish editing that international abortion paper. As I rolled into the second hour of staring at the computer screen, I decided all the citationswere starting to look exactly alike, chucked it all, and went out for a burger. I needed to shop for groceries, but I think I did so in a somnabulistic (Whoo hoo! I finally got to use that word!) condition. I varely put the stuff in the fridge before falling asleep.

Now, I'm wide awake. I've run through the work I've done for my trial Monday. I'll be making the opening statement, cross examining the first plaintiff's witness, direct examining our first witness, and reading in the stipulated testimony of a witness both parties have agreed not to put on the stand. Heather will cross the second plaintiff's witness, direct our second witness, and give the closing statement. Now that we have built a defense startegy, it sounds like a more interesting case than I previously thought.

My Trial Practice professor invited the class to his law firm's Christmas party on December 13. I wasn't going to go, since I had thought of having a late birthday dinner that night (my birthday is the 11th), but laurie talked me into going anyway. I probably will. Perhaps i'll plan something for Friday instead. It's tough to do these things smack in the middle of exam time.

Hmm..I need to go find some constructive way to occupy myself.

Wednesday, November 12, 2003

Art Carney-- RIP

Art Carney, best known as Ralph Cramden's neighbor on The Honeymooners, died yesterday. Although he was terribly (and unfairly) typecast, Carney was actually an exxtremly versatile actor who could get a laugh just by being there. I think his biggest feat was winning the oscar for Harry and Tonto in 1974. No one expected that win, up against Nicholson in Chinatown, Pacino in Godfather II, Dustin Hoffman as Lenny, and Albert Finney in Murder on the Orient Express, but did. He will be missed by fans of old time comedy--like me.
Complimentary

Prof. Kohm complimented the article I wrote on fraud in estate planning today in her Wills, Trusts, & Estates class. It was a genuine compliment, because as far as she was concerned, I would never had known she had done so if I didn't have a friend taking that class this semester.

Monday, November 10, 2003

Random Busy-ness

Not much time today, so a few random thoughts.

I watched the assigned classmates put on the first civil trial this morning. Those are much tougher to try than criminal cases. There is often no sense of righteousness to tilt you as a juror from one side to the other. Indeed, the fact pattern of this case involved a personal injury settlement in which two companies (a pricipal company and a subconteactor) where force to pay dmages to an injured construction worker for their combined negligence. They both admit to being at fault; the issue was who would pay the bulk of the money. The verdict was a 60/40 split in favor of the subcontractor, but It could have gone either way. I know it was the defense attorney's brilliant argument (Julie, you are going to be one fine trial lawyer) put them over the top for me.

My trial, which is a breach of contract dispute, begins on the 17th.

I spent the afternoon cite checking and editing 25 pages of an international law journal article. The article talks about the promotion of abortion in Third World countries by the West. The author is staunchly pro-life (and I am sympathetic to his cause) but i have had to tone down his fiery rhetoric. It's the largest overhaul I have ever had to do on an article since joining the journal. Ergo, its also the most time consuming at a point in which I have very littletime available.

The dean approved my schedule today I will be allowed to take one less class than the full load since it is my last semester and only electives remain. I need the extra time to study for the bar exam anyway. Speaking of which, I met a 1L who will be taking the South Carolina bar, too. Small world, but we're taking it over as fast as we can go.


Friday, November 07, 2003

For the Record

Just to be thorough and thoroughly boring, the pre-trial conference went fairly well. We hammered out pretty much all the issues we plan to litigate and were 50/50 in our motion in limine. Yes, that does mean that I have lost my first motion before a judge, but my overall record is 4-1, so I can't complain. I also disn't count Heather's motion for summary judgment, which she, of course, lost. There was no way in Trial Practice class that the case was goin to be decided on the merits of no material facts in dispute. But she wanted to go for it, so who am I to question it.

You know, I've spoken ill of Heather here. I do not mean to give a bad impression of her. Yes, she is a pain in the butt, but so are most of my friends. It doesn't mean I don't like her. In fact, it might be the contrary.
Can a Christian Be a Crimnal Defense Attorney?

I wrote earlier that i had to give a devotional in my Criminal Pre-Trial procedure class the other night. This isn’t the first time I’ve had to do that, and when the opportunity arrises, I usually tie the devotional into the class subject. It seemed logical to explore the Biblical position on representing criminal defendants.

I know its a concern for employer’s when they see their prosepective employees are devout Christians. Issues arise in how one’s religious beliefs could affect proceedings in family and criminal matters especially, but zealous advocacy in general. One thing I think Regent often does not do well is explain to its students the intricacies of dealing with these matters.

The first crime recorded in the Bible was, of course, when Cain slew Abel. God do not permit anyone to harm Abel for the crime. Instead, he banished Cain, and gave him a mark to identify him. Genesis says that anyone who encountered Cain and killed him would be subject to God’s vengeance sevenfold. God had not yet ordained government to punish criminals.

When he later established the nation of Israel, God did set down the Mosaic Law. In doing so, He ordained government to punish various crimes, and—it should be noted—allowed for the death penalty for some.

Romans 13 establishes that Christians should respect a government as having authority to maintain order in a sinful world. (Let’s save some of the more pointed questions, such as Nazi Germany, for another ime.)

So, having established both above points, the question remains whether one can advocate a criminal defendant’s case as a Christian. I believe the answer is yes.

In Genesis18: 16-19, God told Abraham He was about to destroy Sodom for its wickedness. Abraham, knowing the city dwellers were evil, advocated them notheless.

“Lord, its seems togh to annihilate an entire city. What if there are fifty righteous men in Sodom?” God agrees if there are fifty righteous men in Sodom, he will spare the city.

“Well, Lord,” Abraham continued, “What if there are only forty-five righteous men? Surely you wouldn’t destroy a whole city for lack of five righteous men.”

God agrees again, and Abraham continues to talk God down to ten righteous men. Abraham was serving as a zealous advocate for men he knew were probably guilty. As it turns out, they were. The angels God sent into the city could not find ten righteous men, and the city was destroyed, minus Lot and his family--although his wife didn’t quite make it intact, but that’s another story, as well.

Abraham went before God to plead for guilty men, therefore it seems like a Christian calling to do the same.

Thursday, November 06, 2003

Natural Selection in Action

When 11-year-old Joshua Gardner rode his skateboard luge-style (lying flat on his back) into a drugstore parking lot and under the wheels of a minivan, he was killed instantly. His parents did what all Americans do when tragic stupidity has killed someone they love: They sued.

The good news is that the lawsuit against the poor driver--who already has the horror of crushing a child to death to deal with--was thrown out. The judge asked the obvious question: What did the driver do that contributed to this child's death? Answer--Nada!

But if you wonder why lawsuits like this get filed to begin with, consider this comment from one of the dead child's neighbors: "They lost their kid, for God’s sake," said Kathy O’Brien. "What do people expect them to do? They DESERVED SOMETHING for their loss."

Something bad happens to you, then you deserve to take someone else to court and take some of their money. It doesn't matter that they are faultless. You "deserve something." Anyone who thinks liberalism's entitlement philosophy hasn't changed America's character simply isn't paying attention.

Wednesday, November 05, 2003

It's All Good

Kentucky and Mississippi both flipped from Democrat governors to the GOP, Kentucky doing so for the first time in 32 years. Now if we could get rid of the Donkeys in the Virginia and North Carolina governors' mansions, we'd be set.

Tuesday, November 04, 2003

Once More Into the Breach

I spent hours tonight with opposing counsel hammering out our pretrial order. Unlike criminal trials, the parties to civil litigation have to agree precisely over what issues are going to be litigated, what witnesses will be called, what in general they will testify to, and what evidence will be used. Basically, there are no surprises in a civil trial (on ocymoron if there ever was one). I have nowlearned it takes a considerable period of time to decided on all these things.

I also have to write a devotional for tommorrow night's class at some point, and I have no clue what I am going to say. After the pretrial conference tommorrow morning, I'll have a chance to throw something together. Hopefully. *Sigh.*

Monday, November 03, 2003

Answer From Below

The kneejerk reaction is that itwouldn't matter how many coin tosses the Devil gave you, the odds are fifty/fifty--i.e., it's either heads or tails. This is not true. According to the scenario, you will only need for heads to come up once regardless of the number of tosses, so the formula would in fact be:

1 - (probability for heads never coming up)
= 1 - (0.5^n)

where n is the number of trial tosses.

Now, while it sounds like the torture described would drive you insane immediately and you should take the offer on the first day, if you waited until the 13th day, you would have a 1/50,000 chance of losing. If you wanted to get the chances better than 1 in a million, you would have to hold out another week. It all depends on your utility for pain. The first day, after all, is the only day you can escape eternal torment completely.


Gambling With The Devil

You are in hell and facing an eternity of torment, but the devil offers you a way out, which you can take once and only once at any time from now on. Today, if you ask him to, the devil will toss a fair coin once and if it comes up heads you are free (but if tails then you face eternal torment with no possibility of reprieve). You don’t have to play today, though, because tomorrow the devil will make the deal slightly more favourable to you (and you know this): he’ll toss the coin twice but just one head will free you. The day after, the offer will improve further: 3 tosses with just one head needed. And so on (4 tosses, 5 tosses, ….1000 tosses …) for the rest of time if needed. So, given that the devil will give you better odds on every day after this one, but that you want to escape from hell some time, when should accept his offer?

(As if I don't have tons of other things on my mind, I've had to dwell on this question a bit. I have some thoughts on it, depending on one's sense of utility and whether it is approached from a philosophical or mathematic viewpoint. Why do I do these things to myself?)

Sunday, November 02, 2003

Let's Keep This Streak Alive

"Who Botched the Occupation?": NYTimes Magazine Cover, November 2, 2003

"Who Botched the Occupation?": Saturday Evening Post Cover, January 26, 1946

"Americans Are Losing The Victory in Europe": Life Magazine Cover, January 1, 1946

From Instapundit.com
Movie Selection

By the way, I chose to see Three Amigos last night, as Peter came in as I making food and mentioned he hadn't seen it in years. I remember how that movie wasn't a very big hit in its release in 1986, yet all the kids knew all the best lines from it. Yes, it's silly humor, almost vaudeville in its style (that's fine with me, being the vaudeville fan that I am) but well worth a viewing. Too bad it's a barebones DVD with no hidden Easter Eggs like director's commentary or deleted scenes and such. I like that sort of thing, as it enhances your view of the art of film making to see the rationale for remving certain scenes.

There was no commentary track from the acrors, either. Have Steve Martin, Chevy Chase, and Martin Short disowned the movie?
Pitching Friends

It has been brought to my attention that my friend Ruth has a LiveJournal. It's just as eclectic as mine, with everything from the mundane to the boring--with a little fun stuff here and there, of course. Go read it. You'll see why the two of us get along as well as we do.

Saturday, November 01, 2003

Saturdaze

I have spent the entire day drafting a Pre-Trial Order for my next trial. It clocked in at fifteen pages, so it would probably be more appropriate to call it an "ordeal" instead of an "order." At least I had the Eagles, Counting Brows, and John Denver to pass the hours with. Now that I'm through, I'm going to scarf down foof and settle in with a DVD. Which one? I don't know. I'm going to randomly pick. Life's more fun with a little uncertanty in to spice it up.

Speaking of DVDs, I bought the new Looney Tunes collection. I know it's only the first volume in an ongoing series, but where is What's Opera, Doc? That's the most classic cartoon ever. ("Kill the wabbit! Kill the wabbit!") I also would have liked the one with the "Rabbit season, duck season" bit on it, but noooooo. We get Foghorn Leghorn and those two gay gophers (not that there's anything wrong with that.) I hope the subsequent volumes have a better mix of famous cartoons.