Friday, April 29, 2005

Prior Work At The Ebb & Flow Institute

As I transition from full time to honorary Fellow at the Ebb & Flow Institute, and part time to full time work here, I though I would link my work at EFI in the last month that was not also posted here. Enjoy. Please visit the Institute often, but don't forget to stop here also. Tell us that Pile sent you for a 10% discount.

Animal News - Brought to you by PETA;

Good Hygiene Is Essential To The Workplace;

Dumbass of the Week;

Feelings - Post Tax Day;

How Did This Guy Get His Job;


Educated Marine Takes On His School's Protesters;

A special Thank You to Pile On for letting me help him with his fine Institute. Other than a guest appearance now and then, I am working here on the solo career. I hope to be as successful as Ringo Star.

Thursday, April 28, 2005

You Might Be In The Wrong Line Of Work If ...

Americans change jobs every day. Sometimes, it is because they have just chosen the wrong line of work for their talents. For example, even though I am an attorney, I would never choose to be a family lawyer. I know my personality. I do not have the patience to hold someone's hand through a divorce and take seven calls a day about the toilet seat being left up.

A person in Oklahoma has evidently chosen the wrong line of work as well. He chose to be a burglar. Problem is, he appears to have a conscience:
ENID, Okla. -- Oklahoma lawman Jerry Niles has investigated plenty of burglaries.
But a break-in to return stolen stuff is a new one on him. A television, stereo and VCR were taken over the weekend from a house in the small town of Kremlin, Okla.

Niles, the Garfield County undersheriff, said the woman who lives in the house called again this week to report another break-in. But this time all her electronic gear had been returned. The apparent crook-with-a-conscience even reconnected the wires and repaired the door jamb damaged in the original break-in. Deputies are investigating.

We applaud his honesty. We would also suggest a career change.

Death To A Traitor

Sgt. Hassan Akbar killed 2 officers and injured more than a dozen others in a grenade attack on an Army base in Kuwait leading up the Iraq War leg of the WOT. He was tried by a jury of 15 in a military trial and sentenced to death.
The 15-person jury deliberated seven hours after hearing a barely audible and unsworn statement from Akbar, who said he was sorry.
I hope he was sorry, because he committed a terrible crime against his own and his country. The description of his mercy plea doesn't sound very convincing though, does it?

My position on the death penalty is fairly simple. I have no problem with it in cases of murder or attempted murder where there is no doubt about guilt. Many people think that most convictions involving the death penalty are based on solid but possibly wrong evidence. There may be innocent people on death row, I don't know. I do not do criminal law by choice. I have several close associates that have worked death row cases from behind the bench, however. In Georgia, over 90% of the death row cases involve defendants who are "no doubt" guilty. They only try the case to try and prevent the death penalty. The real trial doesn't even start until after the guilty verdict. The defendants have typically admitted to the guilt and take the stand to mitigate the sentence. In these cases, the death penalty is fine by me.

In cases where guilt is denied and there is only circumstantial or eyewitness evidence, I would impose life without parole, even if I felt the evidence was strong enough to convict. A real public example would be the Scott Peterson trial. I think he did it. I think the jury was right to convict him of two murders. I would not have imposed the death penalty. He denied it, and the case was circumstantial. The evidence was very strong, but that case was not a no doubter. Life is the safer decision.

I wonder if the death penalty is as hard to complete in military court as it is in the civilian courts. This is one of those "no doubter" cases as far as guilt and innocence go. Thus, carry on.

The Problems With Labels

One of the major problems with our political system is labels. They are not inherently evil, I don't think. They are often convenient shortcuts to generalize large amounts of information. Some generalization is simply statistical fact, some anecdotal experience and some merely prejudice. Of course, labels can be misused if one relies too much on the generalizations, true or not, and ignores the individual.

If someone is going to get to know me, personally, it will take a while. That process can be cliff noted with knowledge of my labels.

I am a Caucasian, though I know that I have a little American Indian, or my compromise with the politically correct, "Less Recently Immigrated American," in me. My father has told me that his side of the family is part Kraut-Mick, which makes me just like Tom Hagen in the Godfather.

I am a Christian. I am a member of a United Methodist Church, though I place less importance on that label than the label Christian.

I am a top tier small liberal arts college graduate, a top-100 state university law school graduate, an attorney, a "Greek" (I am a member of a national Fraternity) and politically I am probably best described as a neo-libertarian with a strong preference for rule utilitarianism, and I have been profoundly affected by 9/11 and believe that we are in midst of World War IV. In other words, the left hates me and certain factions of the right wish I would get with the program. That makes things easier now doesn't it?

Of course, it doesn't tell you about what my labels were 10 or 25 years ago, or about my journey to these labels. Depending on which label to which you attach, you may believe certain things about me that don't fit my personality or psyche. My dry sense of humor is easy enough to miss in person, much less in print. But people have to start somewhere and adjust.

As a pre-9/11 Dennis Miller said, "I am baffled by the concept of racial prejudice. Why hate someone based on the color of their skin when, if you take the time to get to know them as a human being, you can find so many other things to hate them for?"

A lot of these things will be fleshed out on this blog as ideas, current events and humor are used and discussed. But, if you don't have the time to get to know me, then just apply, generalize and hate me for my labels.

Defend Thyself Brother Floridian

Florida, the Sunshine State, has just flashed the spotlight on human predators. A new law explicitly recognizes every person's natural right to defend him or herself from predators without first having to try to escape. In Florida a person now has "the right to stand his or her ground and meet force with force, including deadly force, if he or she reasonably believes it is necessary to do so, to prevent death or great bodily harm to himself or herself or another."

In other words, inside the home, an intruder is fair game even prior to attacking the resident. Outside the home, any person under attack may defend with deadly force without trying to run away first. The law also immunizes the victim from civil liability for exercising the right to protect him or herself, or the home.

The left and France is just beside themselves over this law. The law gets Florida closer to the "Wild, Wild West," said Rep. Eleanor Sobel, D-Hollywood. Of course, the left is always against legislation that protects the law abiding over the criminal.

This law provides the right to self defense. What an outrageous concept. Governments are formed, primarily, for the purpose of defending the people that formed them. The U.S. Supreme Court has held, however, that a person has no special right to expect law enforcement to protect him. Thus, we have a duty to protect ourselves to the extent possible. The recognition of our right to self defense is reaffirming to our individuality. We are not the government's citizen, waiting for rescue, and dead if the government comes late. We are individuals with rights. And the predator that ignores that does so at his own risk. The Florida legislature, by and large, gets it.

Saturday, April 09, 2005

This Just In

Headline: Secret Papal Election Set for April 18.

Don't tell anyone.

Headlines Tell The Story

Over the last few weeks I have collected some headlines, some found by me, most by others, and I thought I would share them you. Who writes this stuff?

This is what happens when you elect fish to run your county.
Sharks Force Broward Beach To Close -- headline, Local 10 (TV station), March 29

Why we have experts:
Early classes could deprive teens of sleep, experts say -- headline,, March 22

Experts Agree Child, 4, Can't Comprehend Effects of Shooting -- headline, Houston Chronicle, March 15 (cite no longer available)

Youth Weight May Lead to Obesity -- headline, Harvard Crimson, March 15

Why we read books:
Hitler Was Personally Behind Holocaust, Book Says, headline, Reuters, March 22

Why we have studies:
Study: X Chromosome Could Account for Differences Between Sexes -- headline,, March 16

Malt Liquor Drink of Homeless and Unemployed--Study -- headline, Reuters, March 14

Mental Decline Linked to Alzheimer's -- headline, Al-Jazeera Web site, March 9

His lawyer wanted him to be a strong witness.
Selig Willing to Testify on Steroids -- headline,, March 14

When will the Gorilla/Monkey partisanship end?
Primates Divided Over Royal Wedding -- headline, Church of England Newspaper, March 18

Why Pirates always write so big.
Buccaneers Ink Bolden -- headline, Local 6, March 29

It is the best thing ever for comedy, he said.
Comedy Camp Leader Testifies in Jacko Trial -- headline,, March 29

All right -- who's the narc?
Gruesome Chimp Attack Doesn't Surprise Experts -- headline, Arizona Republic, March 5

If this is optimism, maybe I am an optimist.
County Hopes to Prepare for the Worst -- headline, Longview (Texas) News-Journal, March 16

He isn't a very cooperative corpse.
Slaying Victim a Reluctant Witness -- headline, Philadelphia Inquirer, March 17

I got mine for free.
U.S. May Restrict Sale of Social Security Numbers -- headline, Associated Press, March 15

Getting a Tiger into grad school is tough.
Tigers tested before getting past Duke -- headline, Salt Lake Tribune, March 29

I thought the purpose was to mourn the victims.
Funerals are held for shooting victims -- subheadline, Chicago Tribune, March 18

Glad we cleared that up.
Leaders Learn to Be Better Leaders Through Leadership Program -- headline, Woodstock (Ill.) News, March 1

A good friend will be straight with you.
Woman Accused of Naked Dog Wrestling: Friend Says Woman Has Been Acting Strangely Recently -- headline and subheadline, Internet Broadcasting System, March 4

Finally, race and death in Detroit:

Blacks hurt most by death?
Blacks' Higher Death Rate Blamed on Racial Divide --headline, Detroit News, March 10

Black men's death rate exceeds 100%?
Black Men's Death Rate Exceeds That of Whites -- headline, Detroit Free Press, March 10

When Your Name Is A Verb

Pile On, Resident of the John Locke Chair here at the Ebb & Flow Institute, made a comment in this week's WTW about Judge Robert Bork. It made me think about the verb he helped coin, "to Bork" which means essentially to be roughly treated and then fail at a Senate confirmation hearing. Other people have had their names becomes verbs, almost always people with political significance. For example, one may "Clintonize" a word when one parses its meaning so finely as to say one thing but mean another. Or one may engage in a Lewinsky, which used to be illegal in some states before Lawrence v. Texas was decided. And of course there is the blogosphere famous version, "to Fisk" someone or their column.

So, I ask you, what other names are there that transcended into the world of verbs? What other names are there that should make this transition. Please provide a definition with your use of the name.

Discuss amongst yourselves, but do it here in the comments section so I can eavesdrop.

The Unruly Law -- Georgia's Green Tree Frog

As you know, I am a stickler for the rule of law. I know that you think there are some important legislative issues out there. Congress has passed a bill directed at the Terri Schiavo tragedy and is considering Social Security reform. Georgia has issues of its own, trying to balance a budget and reform tort law as we know it. But all of that is small potatoes, with a little garlic, compared to a bill just passed in Georgia.

I recently learned, however, that there is bill pending in the Georgia legislature trying to make the Green Tree Frog the State Amphibian. The bill has passed and house and senate, and just awaits Gov. Sonny Purdue's signature.

The first thing I wondered was why we never had such a designation before. We do, after all, have a state side dish (grits), vegetable (Vidalia sweet onion) and crop (peanut). And I think grits and a baked vidalia onion would go great with frog legs in a peanut sauce.

So, why no state amphibian before? The article answers that question.
In fall 2002, a fourth-grade class, jointly taught by Ruth Pinson and
Marilyn McLean, realized while studying government and science that Georgia
could not claim an official amphibian. The class drew up the bill, and several
lawmakers from their area worked for its passage.

The bill foundered in past years, when the Legislature was divided
between a Democratic House and Republican Senate.
Apparently, it was a partisan issue. Since Georgia is now all Republican, and the bill passed, I must assume that it was the Democrats that stopped this bill in 2002-2004. Why? Do Green Tree Frogs tend to vote Republican? Did they jump in the lap of a famous Democrat one time and embarrass him?

And what about this "amphibian" label. Do we really trust a bunch of fourth graders to know that this frog is amphibious? If it lives in a tree, that would kind of cut against the water aspect of this frog, now wouldn't it.

I think this needs to go back to committee.