Begging The Question

Friday, July 02, 2004

I've isolated the brain chemical that makes me blog. I call it: Poindextrose.
If it weren't for Milbarge convincing me to join him in this distraction we call BTQ, I doubt I would spend even 1/10th of the time surfing the net that I currently do. Whether that is a good thing or not, I cannot say. However, were it not for BTQ and my unending search for bloggable topics, I likely would not have found the following interesting posts, stories, resources, and tidbits.

- The guys at Boots & Sabers (the blog title is an A&M Corps of Cadets reference) have posted some cool photos of an alligator swimming with a deer in its jaws near Cross Lake, Louisiana. Residents of Cross Lake, swim at your own peril.

- Phil Carter took a break from his bar exam preparation to attend the oral arguments in FAIR v. Rumsfeld (the Solomon Amendment case). His post-argument wrap-up can be found here.

- Dylan at Slithery D (one of my favorite reads) debunks the vaccine - autism connection myth advanced by Mother Jones and picked up on by my co-blogger. Thanks for saving me the effort Dylan.

- Michael, the purveyor of the fine blog Bayou City Perspective has been posting daily excerpts from the warfare treatise "The Stratagemata" by Sextus Julius Frontinus. Really excellent reading - the posts are longer than almost anything you would read here, but reading a little ancient strategy is time well spent. To catch you up, here are the archived posts: Part 1, Part 2, Part 3, Part 4, Part 5, Part 6, Part 7, Part 8, and Part 9.

Visit the U.S. Army's Professional Writing Library for a modern equivalent.

- If military strategy doesn't do it for you, then skip The Stratagemata and read this article about a Kansas City "juice bar" and its fight against a city measure to raise the minimum age for strippers from 18 to 19. (link via How Appealing).

- Finally, here is a snippet from Roger Ebert's review of Spiderman 2: "It's a superhero movie for people who don't go to superhero movies, and for those who do, it's the one they've been yearning for." I think I just threw up a little bit in my mouth. Someone please explain why they loved Spiderman and why they want to see the sequel. I just don't get it. The first one was just your basic mediocre comic book movie - an average movie at best, save perhaps Willem Dafoe as the villain. Substitute Eric Roberts or Rutger Hauer for the villain and Spiderman would have been USA Original Picture material. Why all the love?





A BTQ PSA: Always treat every gun as if it is loaded. Always.
Apropos a story relayed to me by my sister, I offer the following advice to anyone who handles firearms: Always treat a weapon as if it is loaded. Never take someone's word for it that the weapon is empty. Never. And even when you have personally verified that the weapon is empty, treat it as if it was loaded.

This simple advice was among the first lessons I received from my father and grandfather when I was taught to shoot. I learned never to point a weapon, even an unloaded one, at someone (including myself) when in the field, on the firing range, at the cleaning bench, or anywhere else. The NRA's Gun Safety Rules also emphasize this point, and I am sure that a poll of gun owners in the blogosphere would reveal that they too received similar instructions as young shooters.

It seems like such an obvious rule, but I have yet again learned of a death caused by an "empty" gun. After returning from a day of plinking at tin cans, my sister's friend and his cousin retired to the family basement to clean and put away their weapons. The young man's cousin assured him that their pistols were unloaded. Before sitting down to clean the weapons, this boy put one of the 22-caliber pistols to his head, made some joke about ending it all, and then pulled the trigger. Well, the "unloaded" pistol discharged, killing him instantly. Unloaded indeed.

This is not the first time I have heard or read of someone being killed or injured by an "unloaded" gun. An elementary school classmate of mine lost half of his face when his brother pointed an "unloaded" .410 shotgun at him. A friend from college lost his brother after he discharged a rifle while cleaning it. There are countless other examples, and you can find them easily in your local paper (especially in the fall when most hunting seasons commence). The deplorable fact is that these deaths and injuries are absolutely preventable. If you handle every weapon you touch - even the unloaded ones - as if they are loaded, then you will never have to worry about shooting yourself or someone else with an unloaded gun.





You want that in a bottle or from the tap?
Staying hydrated is key to success in all outdoor endeavors (I assume it is key to success in indoor endeavors as well, but let's just say that indoor arenas are not my milieu). I have always used water bottles for this purpose - I am particularly fond of the 32 oz. wide-mouth Nalgene bottles - but hydration bladders are all the rage now and I feel like I am missing out. I am intrigued by the purported convenience of a hydration pack - Camelbak makes many different styles - and God knows I like to collect gear, but I don't know anyone who uses one, and I don't want to buy one if it is not really worth it. So, I will put to the readers this question: have you used a hydration pack, and, if so, how would you rate it as compared to a pair of water bottles? Any recommendations on which models to look at for hiking / running? Thanks in advance.



Thursday, July 01, 2004

Random Thoughts
1. I've got some new neighbors, three women in two apartments. One moved in about a week ago. She has a Shar-pei pup that is cute but still at the yappy stage. The others are twins who have decent faces but smokin' bodies and matching tattoos. Sadly, all of these young women appear to have boyfriends. However, it should make life around the old homestead more interesting than having to deal with my previous neighbors, which included a morbidly obese woman whom I overheard use her father's recent death as an excuse for parking in the wrong spot. Classy, that one.

2. I was looking at my lease for my new place. My very nice landlord told me that her lawyer drafted it to be very landlord-friendly. I checked, and the lawyer's name is Crook. Karma. There's this long addendum about mold. Apparently I breach my lease if I fail to "wipe down bathroom walls and fixtures after bathing/showering." Look, unless it is happy splashy time, or that scene in Bull Durham with the candles and the song "Sixty Minute Man," I don't think my first thought upon hopping from the shower is "Better wipe the walls!" Also, I am supposed to report, in writing, any "leaks, moisture accumulations, [or] major spillage." I think I will mail a certified letter every time I spill a drop of water. And I'll cc the lawyer. I'd hate to fail to be in compliance with this sucker.

3. I meant to mention this when I wrapped up my recent travels. The hotel I was not good. I stayed there three nights and didn't get maid service one time. (Once was arguably my fault, for leaving the "do not disturb" sign up and oversleeping.) I got there on a Sunday night. The room's air conditioner was not emitting any cold air; the unit's fan was turning aimlessly. So, rather than try to get someone to fix the thing on a Sunday night, they moved me to another room. Perhaps Housekeeping did not get the memo. And, I would have thought that by now, HBO or Showtime is pretty much standard fare in a hotel room. At least your basic cable stations. But this room had none of the pay channels, and not even the usual cable stations. No Comedy Central, even. As a matter of fact, I'm not sure I even had the Weather Channel. What kind of hotel doesn't have the Weather Channel?! Instead, I had about fifteen channels to chose from, about half of which were either (a) Spanish-language, which I don't speak, (b) community access, (c) religious, or (d) some combination of the above. At one point, I kid you not, I was relegated to watching Espias Improvisados: "Doctor, doctor, doctor, doctor...." (pronounced "dok-TOR," of course). And in case you were wondering what kind of Bates Motel hovel I was staying in, let it be known that it claimed to be part of the world's largest hotel chain. It was pathetic. I will say, though, that the location was fine: right next to a strip club. I didn't go, despite the lack of entertainment options my hotel offered. I don't like those places because they are noisy and smoky and give me headaches, plus they can lead to SRI (one of my favorite all-time stories, and see also here). But I thought about going. And I was going to start out the blog post that was sure to follow with "Have you ever done something just so you could blog about it?" That would have been my only reason for going, and in the end it wasn't worth it. However, once I move there, at least I'll know where it is. And my (female) college friend who is also moving there tells me that New City has some strip club that is supposedly nationally known as one of the best, and informs me that we're going to it. I'll keep you posted.

4. I've seen some buzz about this quite attractive teacher in Florida accused of having sex with a 14-year-old boy. Naturally, I got sort of interested in this and did some research. You might be interested in seeing her engagement and wedding photos. More flattering than a mug shot. I've heard all these people saying that we shouldn't be upset for the boy because it's such a coup and he's now the coolest guy in the school and all. (I won't ruin an otherwise light-hearted post by discussing how it's interesting that the double standard we have for older women/boys statutory rape versus older men/girls statutory rape seems to mirror the double standard we have for male-on-female rape versus male-on-male prison rape.)

But here's why it is a problem. It's a problem that this teacher was messing around with this kid because she should have been messing around with me! For every 14-year-old guy out there scoring with the teacher, there's a guy like me who she ought to be seeing. The word is that this woman said she liked being with the kid because it was so taboo. Well, she was married -- cheating on her husband by being with me would have been taboo enough for most people. If that's not kinky enough, we can do it Jack Ryan style.

Anyway, maybe I should write to this woman. As pretty as she is, I'm sure her stock will drop quite a bit after a felony conviction and prison term. I think I would have a chance then. We could have one of those prison weddings like all the guys on death row get. I'd wait for her.



Tuesday, June 29, 2004

Milbarge at Large: Back in the Saddle Edition
What I am doing at work: Lately, I've been working on several direct appeals from convictions in criminal cases. Of course, the Supreme Court's recent decision in Blakely will shake up any of these cases raising sentencing issues. But I haven't had too many of those lately. What I have a had a bunch of are challenges to the sufficiency of the evidence. And boy, do I hate sufficiency cases. Usually, when we get a new case, the first thing we do is flip to the issues page just to see what it's all about. And when we see "sufficiency," we groan. (A quick primer for the uninitiated: You can't be convicted of a crime unless the prosecution proves you did it beyond a reasonable doubt. On appeal you can argue that the evidence presented at trial was not sufficient for a rational factfinder to conclude you were guilty beyond a reasonable doubt. If the court agrees, you're acquitted, and they can't retry you, like they could after many successful appeals.)

Here's the reason: Sufficiency challenges are tedious and boring. You have to take whatever the charged crime was, set out the elements, and go through the trial transcript, list all the evidence going to all the elements, and say whether or not there's enough there there. Unlike, say, a complaint about a jury instruction or improper admission of certain evidence, sufficiency challenges are usually broad and unfocused. I'm not trying to denigrate appellate counsel; it's sort of the nature of the beast. If you say, for example, there was no evidence that the defendant possessed the drugs, I have to read the whole transcript trying to find some. I don't wanna read the whole transcript! (Note to shocked litigators: Yes, I read the whole thing, even without a sufficiency challenge. It's just that most of the time I'm not scouring with a fine-toothed comb, because there's no reason to.) But sufficiency cases are a sort of meta-review of the whole trial. And I prefer the discrete, technical, legalistic nature of appellate work. I don't want to be the thirteenth juror that sufficiency challenges ask me to be.

Of course, lest you think this is simply a do-over for trials, I should also point out that sufficiency challenges aren't brought in every case because they are incredibly tough to win. Simplifying quite a bit, as long as the government's case is rational, you're not going to get a conviction overturned on sufficiency grounds. The reason, of course, is that we leave it to the (twelve original) jurors to assess the evidence and determine if it meets that elusive, mysterious, penumbral "reasonable doubt" threshold. Overturning a conviction on sufficiency grounds basically says the jury was off its collective rocker, which appellate courts are loathe to do. Just to give you an idea of how rare, in two years here I have recommended reversing a conviction on the ground that the trial evidence was insufficient to support the verdict exactly one time. I know that some co-workers of mine have worked here five or six years without ever having recommended such, and it wouldn't surprise me to know that some had been here even longer without doing so. Granted, not every appeal raises it, and by nature the ones we get are more open-and-shut cases, but still...it's like lightning striking.

Anyway, partly because they are so boring, and partly because they are so often frivolous, I hate doing sufficiency cases. And I've had a lot lately. Ugh.

What I am doing at home: Recuperating. I spent most of the last week traveling. I went to visit my mother and see a high school friend get married, and then went to the city I'll be moving to (New City) for the purpose of hunting living quarters. Happily, I found a little house with everything I wanted, including close proximity to work. You're all invited to the housewarming.

But it's only now starting to sink in that I really have to move, and that in about a month, I'll have to have all my stuff packed up into handy boxes. So, mostly at home I've been fretting over how I'm going to do that when I lack the motivation to carry a stack of newspapers out to the recycling bin.

What I am reading: Catching up on blogs and magazines. Dabbling in David Sedaris's new book.

What I am watching: "Nip/Tuck", which is so trashy and so good at the same time. "Reno 911", which is trailer-trashy and also good. Clementine: "Do I think the guy Trudy's seeing is the Truckee River Killer? [pause] Yeah, I do. [long pause] And it's the best she's ever gonna do." Also, The Cooler, which had its ups and downs, but William H. Macy and Alec Baldwin are great in it.

What I am listening to: A friend turned me on to a band called the Old Crow Medicine Show, a sort of new-grass band from Nashville. Good stuff, and I'm definitely going to pick up this album. Also, some Buddy Holly. Holly wrote some simply perfect pop songs, and I think he's kind of like Roy Hobbs in The Natural: he could have been the best there ever was to play the game.

What I am thinking about: Eh, not much. Mostly I'm lying here, just staring at the cieling tiles, and I'm thinking about what to think about. I've been trying to catch up on a week's worth of missed blog-reading and Supreme Court decisions, so a lot of my attention has been focused there. I don't think it reveals any confidences to let you know that people in our office have been discussing Blakely a lot.

What I'm not thinking about: I'm really not giving a lot of thought to Michael Moron's love note to the President. I'm interested in seeing the movie, but I'm not getting into debates over what it means to the country or its potential effect on the election.

I'm also not thinking too much about Major League Baseball. I'm not a big fan of pro sports generally, but baseball is one I'll still at least watch a regular season game of. (I watch some of the Stanley Cup playoffs, some of the Super Bowl, the occasional NASCAR race, but other than that, very little.) But I usually don't get interested in baseball until the pennant races start taking shape. So, apparently there are games going on and stuff, but I don't really care yet. (Addendum: I always enjoy seeing a baseball game in person.)

What I'm eating: This may not turn into a usual category, although it might allow Fitz more opportunities to provide grilling tips. But I wanted to mention a couple of things. For some reason, the grocery stores where I live don't stock the Archway Soft Sugar Drop cookies. They've got molasses and iced lemon out the wazoo, but no soft sugar. In the past, I have been frustrated enough about this that I have emailed the company, but now it appears that the official site is down, so I can't renew my request. Anyway, I really like these cookies, and hate not being able to find them. But, my Mom steps up. I was at her place last week, and she had a couple of packages waiting for me.

Also, brace yourself for a calorie injection. My Mom also made Krispy Kreme Bread Pudding with Butter Rum Sauce. (Thank you, Paula Deen, for the recipe.) Sweet Jesus, this stuff is good (and easy). A few tips: If you leave out the fruit, it's more like a coffee cake, but still good. You probably won't need to bake it as long as it calls for. Also, halving it works fine.

Peeve of the week: Yeah, I know that Ashley Judd is some huge fan of Kentucky basketball. And while I don't want her to be Aminu Timberlake to my Christian Laettner (scroll to the bottom), I have never seen the sense in being a UK fan. But do we really need an article extolling her love for the Wildcats more than three months before the season starts? Really? I mean, we get it: She's a hoops junkie. People act like she's the only girl to ever watch a game. Give it a break.

Also, another unanswered email issue. A few weeks ago, I saw a blurb somewhere about a symposium or workshop or something involving several law professors. One of them, a young professor at a top ten law school, was discussing a paper she wrote about an issue that is sort of a pet issue of mine. (I don't want to get specific because it's sufficiently esoteric and discrete that you could figure out who she was just by my telling you the topic of the paper.) I was very excited, nerd that I am, to hear that someone was writing a comprehensive study of this issue. So, I looked up her email address from her school's web site, and dashed off a note. I was very apologetic about writing out of the blue, and explained very clearly how I got her name and why I was writing. And, in the process of looking up her address, I saw on her c.v. on the school's site that we had a semi-obscure professional connection, so I used that as an "in."

Anyway, I explained that I was very interested in the topic of her paper, and would very much like to read it. I asked, as politely as I could, if she had any information about where I could find the article. I tried to make it sound like I wanted to know which law review's table of contents to keep an eye on or something, but secretly I would have been very happy if she had just said, "Here's an electronic copy; enjoy!" But I understand that the paper was probably still in an unfinished stage (it wasn't even on SSRN database yet) and maybe it hasn't been picked up anywhere. But I haven't heard anything from the professor for two weeks now, and it's not like this is the busiest part of the academic year.

I know that the main goal for writing stuff like this is tenure and prestige, but is getting someone to actually read the thing so secondary (or tertiary) a goal that you wouldn't even care if someone came begging to read your work? I wasn't asking her to overnight me a hard copy at her expense or anything. And assuming it gets published, I'll find it eventually. But I thought it was a little rude to just ignore me and never tell me anything. (And note: I used my work email address, because that "uscourts.gov" domain name tends to get results. Kind of like how lawyers always answer the phone for me when "U.S. Court of Appeals" shows up on the caller-i.d.)

Shout-outs: First, a disturbing article in the oft-disturbing Mother Jones, from a few months ago. It's about how it looks like a preservative containing mercury, used in standard childhood immunizations, might be responsible for the dramatic rise in autism in America. If you have Westlaw, you can see the article at 2004 WL 64807322. (On the website, you have to be a subscriber to read it.) Scary stuff. Not only because of that possible link between immunizations and autism, but also because the CDC and doctors might have cooked the books to avoid revealing the evidence.

Also, on Slate, a week-long diary from a woman struggling to assess her options after being told she carries a genetic mutation that significantly increases her likelihoof of developing breast cancer. It's really compelling and heartbreaking. She has to weigh the risks of cancer against the complications of getting preventive mastectomies or having her ovaries removed. I highly recommend it.

Finally for now, I don't say enough about The Idea Shop, a blog devoted to making economics interesting and accessible. Check out this post on the economics of prostitution for some neat questions. For the record, I don't plan on using any of this information this weekend at Sebastian's bachelor party.





Fitz-Hume 411: Waking up in Reno (with apologies to Billy Bob Thornton)
What I am doing at work: A routine de minimus award workers' comp decision. In this case, the employer voluntarily paid temporary total disability compensation to the injured worker. However, the worker believes that in the future his work-relayed injury is likely to affect his ability to earn a wage. Mind you, he has no loss of wage-earning capacity at the present, only the belief that his future wage-earning capacity may be jeopardized by an as yet unrealized effect of his work-place injury. Thus, he seeks what is called a nominal or de minimus award. This nominal award is not based on any actual present loss of wage-earning capacity (which is the measure of compensation under the Longshore and Harbor Workers' Compensation Act, 33 U.S.C. 901 et seq.). Rather, the nominal award is method whereby a worker who anticipates that his injury will one day affect his earning capacity can keep open indefinitely the filing period for a motion for modification. See generally Metropolitan Stevedore Co. v. Rambo [Rambo II], 521 U.S. 121 (1997).*

A motion for modification under section 22 of the LHWCA (which may be filed by either party) can be filed any time before one year after the last date on which the worker is paid compensation. Ordinarily, this presents little problem for a presently disabled worker whose condition (and, thus, his wage-earning capacity) deteriorates over time. Since he will already be receiving compensation as a result of his current loss of wage-earning capacity, the tolling of the time period for filing any modification request will not commence. However, for a worker who is currently earning as much or more as he did prior to his injury (for a variety of reasons, but usually because he takes a foreman-type job in the same shop), but expects that this will change in the future as a result of the injury, is in trouble. That is because he is not currently receiving any compensation, and, thus, the one-year period for filing a modification request will likely expire before he actually suffers the lose of wage-earning capacity.

Enter the nominal award. The United States Supreme Court determined in Rambo II that the LHWCA permits an administrative law judge to award to the worker an ongoing nominal amount of compensation - typically 1 percent of the worker's pre-injury average weekly wage - when the worker can establish that there is "some particular likelihood that in the future the combination of injury and market conditions may leave him with a lower [wage-earning] capacity." Rambo II 521 U.S. at 128. The employee must present evidence of a "disability that is potentially substantial, but presently nominal in character." Id. at 132. The end result when a nominal award is granted is that the worker remains free to file a motion for modification whenever his condition eventually worsens and his wage-earning capacity decreases, thus making an end-run around the one-year time limit that would otherwise bar him from future compensation.

So what will Fitz-Hume the judge decide? The likely result is that this claimant will lose. There is no specific evidence that his injury will worsen or that the worsened injury is likely to effect his earning capacity. Similarly, there is no evidence that his current job is somehow in jeopardy. All he has is a generalized argument that he may get worse and he needs to keep his options open. That falls far short of the standard. If this guy is eligible for a nominal award, then all injured longshoremen are eligible for one.

*Yes, the claimant's name is John Rambo. No, the case is not referred to as First Blood: Part II. Well, it is, but only by me.

What I am doing at home: Running and playing X-box with one of my younger brothers who is staying with me for the month. In particular, we have been enjoying Simpson's Road Rage, Red Dead Revolver, and The Lord of the Rings: The Return of the King. I highly recommend each.

What I am reading: Outside Magazine and The Atlantic Monthly.

What I am watching: Not much - playing X-box instead.

What I am listening to: Nothing. I'm sick of my music, I don't want to pay for new music, but I will not illegally download music from the net.

What I am thinking about: A couple of things. First, I wonder why our government, which clearly knows that torture does not produce reliable results, on at least some level authorized and approved of the use of torture in the current conflicts. We know it isn't reliable, we know it is not as effective as professional interrogation, we know that the probability of abuse is virtually guaranteed, and yet we still gave the go ahead on the use of torture. I'd like to know why in the face of contrary information we decided to okay this.

Second, and on a much lighter note, I am in the post-interview debriefing stage. I returned to Casa de Fitz-Hume on Saturday after a cross-country jaunt to Nevada (at this point in my search I can't be too choosy). I interviewed on Thursday morning in Carson City - which seems like a nice enough place - and spent the rest of the day hiking in the mountains above Lake Tahoe, which is less than 30 minutes from Carson City. The mountains there are beautiful beyond description (stay tuned for photos). On the return leg of my journey, I ended up volunteering my seat on the flight from DFW to home, stayed in a hotel for free, got a $300 voucher from the airline, and had a little BBQ and beer in the Lone Star State. Friday was the first time I had been back to Texas in 3 years, and it was worth all the hassles with the airline.

What I could give a shit about: The NBA drafting pre-teens and Bill Clinton's memoirs. Add to that list Michael Moore and his new movie. Yeah, sure, I need to see it. Why? Because it's important. Really? So was BarBri, and I got through the bar exam without taking it. If Justice Thomas can get a seat on the Supreme Court without having ever discussed Roe v. Wade, then I can get through life without ever seeing Fahrenheit 9/11. I don't plan to offer my opinions on the movie, so whether I see it or not seems irrelevant. I did see his previous movie Bowling for Columbine and it was a pathetic smear job and a travesty of truth telling. I don't need to see the same techniques applied to W and Iraq.

Having said that, if you want to see the movie, go right ahead and be my guest. Just don't try and convince me that I need to see it too. Go sell crazy some place else, we're all full here.





Update on an Update
A few weeks ago, I noted here the latest development in those stadium-style movie theater/Americans with Disabilities Act cases I've been following for some time. (Go there for the links.)

The latest update is that, as the Solicitor General's Office recommended, the Supreme Court denied cert. So, rulings against theaters stand, and further rulemaking is supposed to clear up any confusion for future building. As for retro-fitting thousands of theaters at a cost of tens of thousands of dollars per screen, well, say goodbye to free refills.





Believe it or not, Fitz and I are working on some new material. But in the meantime, to get something (anything) up here, we want to extend our overdue and sincere thanks to Soup Johnson and Sebastian Haff for guest-blogging here at BTQ the last week or so.

Were it not for their contributions, your shining beacon of information would have been dark and silent last week. We are deeply indebted to them.

I will be able to thank Seb personally this weekend, when I travel to celebrate his impending nuptials with what I am fearing will be quite the bacchanalia. Note that the possibility of shaving Seb's head was raised, but was considered too ho-hum for the guys who will be in attendance. So, they're going to try to find something to top that. Lock up your daughters.

As for Soup, he's too busy reading tax cases to allow time for a personal thanks, or bathing, but be sure to visit his regular haunt at the BBQ and Daycare. It's no secret that the quality of that site was the reason we invited Soup to bring a little class to our little Heckle and Jeckle outfit.

Anyway, look for more from these guys when they get inspired to comment on our posts.

Finally, the next blackout on Radio Free BTQ may be coming up soon. Fitz and I will both be moving during the last half of August. We're unsure as of yet how much or how little internet access we'll have. But if you're really dying to guest-blog, let us know. The requirements: (1) You have to be better than Soup and Seb, because they start with the advantage of incumbency. (2) If you're Larry, I may require a date. And not the kind of date whose "skin is wrinkled and coated with a sticky, waxy film."



Monday, June 28, 2004

The Soup Johnson Experience
In what will likely be my last BTQ post (unless, in a drunken stupor, one of the guys asks me to guest blog again later), I thought it would be cool to do a BTQ-style post.

What I am doing at work: The amount of work for Prof. Legal Writing has dwindled, mainly because he--like myself--is inherently lazy and doesn't want to spend his entire summer painting doors and whatnot. This is not necessarily a good thing, however, because I am pretty broke and could use ten or fifteen hours there. Plus, Mrs. Johnson likes to point out whenever I am not working, as if I am supposed to feel bad about it or something. (Actually, I haven't really figured out why she does it. She'll come home, see that I'm not covered in paint, and say "So, you didn't work today?")

In my other job, I am still knee-deep in tax cases. I've gone through all the Sixth Circuit cases from 1909-1931 and have them entered into a spreadsheet. I cannot explain to you how un-fun this is. The best part, though, was that Prof. Tax told me "all of this will make a lot more sense once you take tax next year." I haven't broken it to her yet that, not only am I not taking tax, but that, if tax would make this make sense, I am pretty happy with my decision not to.

What I am doing at home: Still going to the gym regularly and starting to see some results because of it. I did my final two sets of leg presses with 720 pounds this past Thursday, which is a new high for me. It's the little achievments like this that make me love weightlifting.

What I am thinking about: Major League Baseball. By their own standards (see also, Johnny Damon and Jermaine Dye), KC did much better in the Beltran deal. However, by anyone else's standard, it was still a typically foolish Kansas City trade. They could have made a run at uber-stud Dallas McPherson and a pitcher from Anaheim. They could have had Milton Bradley and some prospects from the Dodgers. The list goes on and on. Baird was just too stuck on getting both a 3B and a C too recognize that other deals could be better overall for the Royals. Lost in the trade was the fact that, once again, Billy Beane got his man. He gave up a decent minor league third baseman (remember, he has Eric Chavez locked up long term already) and got a great reliever in Octavio Dotel.

What I am not thinking about: Bill Clinton's book. No matter what you think of the guy (I happen to like him a lot as a President), it just seems too early for his memoirs. This seems like the kind of book that need 15 or 20 years of historical perspective to really understand the effects of decisions made during his tenure.

What I am listening to: In the car right now, I have Bars from the Jimmy Buffett boxed set, Doggystyle by Snoop Doog, and Long Way to Mexico by Roger Creager. A pretty standard assortment for me this time of year.

Peeve of the Week: The fact that Farenheit 9/11 has caused people to re-mention that piece of crap, Bowling for Columbine.



Sunday, June 27, 2004

MLB All-Overrated Team
C- Paul LoDuca
1B- Darin Erstad
2B- Luis Castillo
3B- Sean Burroughs
SS- Derek Jeter
LF- Carlos Lee
CF- Scott Podsednik
RF- Ichiro
--
SP- Esteban Loaiza
RP- Troy Percival
Mgr- Tony LaRussa

**Note, just because someone is on this list does not necessarily mean he is not a "good" player... just that he is not as good as the media would have you believe.



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    AIM: milbargebtq
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    Milbarge Recommends

    Chuck Klosterman IV: A Decade of Curious People and Dangerous Ideas
    Chuck Klosterman IV: A Decade of Curious People and Dangerous Ideas

    The Men Who Stare at Goats
    The Men Who Stare at Goats

    O.C.M.S.O.C.M.S.



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    Disclaimer

    The views presented here are personal and in no way reflect the view of my employer. In addition, while legal issues are discussed here from time to time, what you read at BTQ is not legal advice. I am a lawyer, but I am not your lawyer. If you need legal advice, then go see another lawyer.

    Furthermore, I reserve (and exercise) the right to edit or delete comments without provocation or warning. And just so we're clear, the third-party comments on this blog do not represent my views, nor does the existence of a comments section imply that said comments are endorsed by me.

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