Begging The Question

Friday, September 17, 2004

Do as I say, not as I do.
This is not a post about President Bush shirking his TANG duties and then sending other Guardsmen to fight in Iraq no. This is just a tribute.

So I'm sitting here at work, counting the minutes until 5pm and it hits me: I've become what I despise. No, not John Kerry. I am one of those jerks who spams the comments sections of his favorite blogs with stupid little one-liners. Yes, I've become the guy who clogs the comments with mildly amusing gotchas and catch phrases. Lord, help me. Not long ago, I banned someone from BTQ because his one-line comments were annoying the shit out of me. Now, too late, I realize that I am That Guy. Ugh. Hypocrisy, thy name is Fitz-Hume. Apologies all around, but especially to Soup and Dylan.





I'd Rather not talk about it.
For a nice distraction from Hurricane Ivan and Hurricane Dan on this fabulous Friday afternoon (or early evening for you East Coast types), I recommend the following best of the web:

1. At Southern Appeal, guest-blogger Centinel's coverage of the hotly contested congressional race in the Big D. For the lowdown on Centinel, point your browser here. Also, congrats to SA for hitting the quarter-million mark today.

2. Brian Leiter deems Dylan worthy of derision. Too many good lines, but here's the short version: "I do sometimes wonder whether stupid public displays like this are simply an artifact of the Internet, or whether the individual in question really conducts himself, say, at school in a similarly presumptuous, loud, and ignorant manner? Insight, anyone?"

Head to Dylan's post for the long version. Why do you guys read his blog? Leiter's blog, that is, not Dylan's.

3. Jason Van Steenwyk on how Air America has affected at least one voter in Florida.

4. Professor Yin on Saddam, WMDs and weapons inspectors. Don't avoid the link just because you think you've heard enough about Iraq. And if you're not reading Yin and Heller every day, you should be. Bookmark it. Now.

5. Slate's Brendan Koerner on what exactly is an assault weapon. Well, an assault weapon as was once defined by Congress that is.



Thursday, September 16, 2004

The BTQ Review: Last Train to Paradise
In the latest entry in our occasional feature, The BTQ Review, I present Last Train to Paradise: Henry Flagler and the Spectacular Rise and Fall of the Railroad That Crossed an Ocean, by Les Standiford. I got to watching a lot of weather coverage with all the hurricania of the past few weeks, and I heard lots of references to the Labor Day hurricane of 1935, the most powerful hurricane to hit the United States in the 20th Century (although not as deadly as the 1901 Galveston hurricane). Anyway, my Mom and Stepdad are thinking of retiring to Florida, and spend a lot of time down there, and after one trip she brought me this book. So I pulled it out and read it with the Weather Channel going in the background.

Henry Flagler co-founded Standard Oil with John D. Rockefeller, so he had buckets of money. He got into the railroad business, and when the tracks ended he decided to build some more. He went south to Jacksonville, then St. Augustine, Daytona, West Palm Beach, and Miami, laying tracks and building luxury resorts to give people a reason to ride the rails. It's probably not much of an overstatement to say that Flagler darn near founded most of the big cities in Florida. There might have been little outposts of civilization there before he arrived, but consider this. When Flagler started building his railroad empire (the Florida East Coast Railway, FEC), Key West was the biggest city in the state, largely because of its location in the shipping lanes and proximity to Cuba. So you know there couldn't have been much to cities like Jacksonville and Miami before Flagler started erecting hotels and railroads.

Eventually, Flagler decided to extend the line to Key West by hop-scotching from the mainland across a few rocky points and a lot of open water. His vision was decried as "Flagler's Folly." The money he had spent just getting to the ocean was staggerring, and no one really knew what it would cost to build a railroad that would appear to "cross an ocean." Flagler was undeterred. Or, if he was, he didn't show it. He was a pretty resolute and introverted man who didn't display a lot of the fire that must have been stoking his dreams. This was what he did with his retirement years. He could have very easily coasted on the Standard Oil stock and lived the life of one of the world's wealthiest men, but he wanted to leave something behind. And he decided it would be one of the modern marvels of engineering.

So Flagler built his railroad extension from Miami to Key West. The bulk of Standiford's book tells the story of the building of the railroad line -- the challenges, the successes, the cataclysmic failures when hurricanes hit the construction site in 1908 and 1910. Standiford is a novelist, and the book reads like a novel. In some ways this is good, and Standiford can tell a gripping tale. But I was hoping for more details, something more like a history book, and didn't get it. I think the book could be improved -- even without losing its novelistic character -- with nothing more than detailed maps of the site (I've never been down there and have no familiarity with it) and some renderings of the innovative tools the engineers used to build the massively long bridges between the keys. I'm not asking for Melville-on-whaling level of detail, but a little less gloss would have been nice.

It's not giving anything away to reveal that Flagler is able to realize his dream to "ride his own iron" to Key West. He starts an Havana Express service, so tourists could get on the train in New York and the next day pull up to the depot in Key West next to a boat ready to steam to Cuba. As a money-making endeavor, though, the FEC wasn't doing as well as Standard Oil, to say the least. Flagler thought that he was in prime position to take advantage of the building of the Panama Canal and the annexation of Cuba after the Spanish-American War. Key West was hundreds of miles closer to the Canal than the next-closest port, and Flagler thought it would become a major international shipping center. However, difficulties with building a deep-water port in Key West prevented this from ever happening. Also, while the FEC did decent business with the tourists, there wasn't enough shipping in or out of Key West for the line to turn a profit.

Standiford doesn't think that the failure of the FEC was evidence that Flagler's golden touch had tarnished, or that Flagler never had a touch to begin with (certainly the public remembers Rockefeller's role in Standard Oil more than Flagler's). Standiford's theory is that Flagler wasn't in it to make money, but to make history. Maybe so. I'll leave that for readers to discuss. I think that, regardless of whatever other benefits Flagler got from the FEC, he wouldn't have minded if it made him some more scratch.

Anyway, Flagler died in 1912 and the railroad line teetered for a few more decades. During the Depression, FDR put a bunch of indigent World War One veterans to work building a highway over the Key West extension route. The workers were housed in flimsy shacks and in some cases tents. We all know where this is going. Over Labor Day weekend, 1935, the storm hit. Modern storm-tracking was, of course, non-existent. Keys residents, including Ernest Hemingway, only had a day or so to prepare, and no one really knew how bad the storm would be. As it turned out, very bad. Wind speeds were estimated at over 200 mph. The hurricane slammed into the Keys and the devastation was massive. There's no such thing as higher ground when the average elevation is about ten feet above sea level.

In the most harrowing points of the book, Standiford tells the tale of the storm. Again, because the work isn't a standard history text, we don't get a lot of sourcing for this, but a bibliography indicates it comes from contemporary news accounts and later oral histories of survivors. When the strength of the storm became clear, a rescue train was dispatched from the mainland. But a giant tidal wave washed it off the tracks. Standiford's description of the storm is compelling. The hurricane looks just as bent on wiping out the road as Flagler was in building the line. In the end, hundreds died and many were never recovered, no doubt swept out to sea.

Last Train to Paradise is well-written and a page-turner. I do wish it had a little more detail, but it's not Standiford's fault I picked up the wrong book. Seeing that I was interested in the storm more than the railroad, I should probably have gotten Storm of the Century: The Labor Day Hurricane of 1935, but my Mom didn't get that one for me. But, Standiford's book certainly piqued my interest in reading more about the storm, and it gave me an idea of some of what was lost. Knowing all that Flagler put into building the Key West extension makes the storm's destruction seem even more tragic. I'll follow up if I ever read the more detailed history of the storm. This book is probably more like, say, The Fountainhead than a disaster epic. For what it is, it's good. I just have to admit that I was a little disappointed because I was looking for something else. All in all, though, not bad. I certainly recommend it if you like tales of people struggling to realize the seemingly impossible. You can read it as quickly and easily as a novel, and still have plenty of facts to bore your companions if you ever find yourself barrelling down the big highway that now connects Key West to the rest of America. You'll know what used to be there, and what it took to build it, and what it took to tear it down. I give it four cans out of a possible six-pack.
Won't you gentlemen have four Pepsis?





Random Thoughts
1. I saw that Jessica Simpson is going to play Daisy Duke in the upcoming "Dukes of Hazzard" movie, opposite Seann William Scott and Johnny Knoxville as Bo and Luke, respectively. I can see it now. Bo: "Dude, where's the General Lee?" Luke: "I blew it up trying to use sticks of dynamite to light my farts." Daisy: "Wait a minute...is the car in the Army? I don't get it."

2. I saw that ESPN has apparently decided to move all their chat wraps to their premium, subscription-only "Insider" section. To this I say "boo." This is the only way I'm able to keep up with all the "why don't you respect us?" rants at the likes of Ivan Maisel, Trev Alberts, and the inimitable Beano Cook. Rest assured, BTQ will never have any premium content. Uh, maybe that didn't come out the way I meant it.

3. I finally had an hour or so of semi-reliable internet access the other night, and decided to update my Match.com profile to reflect my new city. Three observations. (a) There are more attractive women here than in my old city. I haven't sent any emails yet because I'm waiting to get my profile pictures straightened out and I'm trying to refine my search parameters. (b) Amazingly, I saw a woman in my new search who was also in my searches in Old City. I guess she's just moved here too. Funny coincidence. To pre-empt, no, I don't have any plans to email her. Yes, she falls within my broad outlines, but she doesn't really jump off the screen at me. Plus, I think it would sound odd, to the point of stalkerish, to send an email saying, "I used to ogle you in Old City too!" This would be especially true if I'm not within her searches, and thus wouldn't even recognize the coincidence. Now, if her searches did include me, and she sent me an email, I would respond, but I won't initate that in this case. (c) Folks, here's a tip. The arm-and-neck-strecthed-as-far-as-they-will-go-so-you-can-take-a-picture-of-yourself-with-your-cell-phone pose just isn't that flattering. It tends to draw a lot of attention to one's chin, unless you hold the phone up more, which usually ends up giving us a lot of arm in the shot. Bite the bullet and ask someone else to take a picture, like I did, an event Fitz-Hume probably won't let me live down.

4. Speaking of dating, the female co-clerks here have long-term boyfriends, so I don't foresee any interoffice dating. One of them I find very, very pretty, and I also get the feeling she's my kind of gal, so I'm especially pained about her being spoken for. But it's probably for the best. The other clerks and I did spend some time today talking about how hard it is to find someone to date, and discussed my "type" a little, so I'm going to get them thinking about finding me someone.

5. Two of my co-clerks were talking about a gym at which they're both members. The girl said that it was pretty crowded when she went the night before because that was when the [local pro sports team] cheerleaders were working out. The guy replied that the gym's major selling point when he went to join was that the cheerleaders work out there. I just found that funny. I don't think I'll be joining because I don't like crowds, and unless one of the cheerleaders offers to spot me, it's not like I'd have any interaction with them. I'm not going to pay a huge fee after a selling point of "watch hot girls get sweaty" unless there's a chance of a lap dance being involved.



Wednesday, September 15, 2004

Better? Worse? About the same?
We changed the blog color scheme. Any thoughts?



Tuesday, September 14, 2004

Katie Couric: Journalist or Carnival Barker?
Inspired by Dan Rather's complete lack of integrity, I dug through the BTQ archives and found this old draft I had intended to post in May of 2004. My complaints are about Katie Couric, but they work for Danny Boy too.

The following report is an unprecedented attempt at humor sponsored by the non-partisan think-tank Bloggers for the Return of Journalist Integrity (BRJI):
In an unbelievable move, I shockingly slept through the alarm this morning. In the unimaginable rush to prepare for the day, I still managed to catch a few minutes of the Today Show featuring the incomparable Katie Couric. In an unprecedented report, Katie presented to dramatic story of a heroic Wisconsin mother who lost one of her three daughters in Iraq last week. In an unparalleled display of journalistic stupidity and as an extraordinary reminder of why I don't normally watch the Today Show, Katie demonstrated a striking level of sympathy with the mother while simultaneously comparing the woman's daughters to the real-life Sullivan brothers of World War II and the fictional Ryan brothers of Saving Private Ryan. The comparisons were spectacularly misplaced. Nevertheless, Katie bravely permitted the mother to plead for the return of her still-living daughters even as the mother explained that her daughters did not want her to violate the chain-of-command.


In the first ten minutes of the Today Show I lost count of the number of adjectives peppered throughout the news reports. Shocking murder? Hmm. Murders, gruesome, horrible murders occur every single day but this murder is shocking?Unimaginable violence? Really? No one can imagine that there is violence in Fallujah? The history of mankind is replete with examples of violence on a scale much larger than that of the firefights in Fallujah. It is indeed shocking that anyone considers the fighting in Iraq to be unimaginable.

Unprecedented report? No precedent? None? There is not a single example of an analagous situation ever in the history of the world? That is unimaginable! Wow. It's a good thing I caught the Today Show this morning.

I really get upset when reporters insist on editorializing within their news reports. It adds nothing of substance to the story but it does have the effect of skewing the story to reflect the reporters opinions. If the Humvee is green, then call it green. Don't describe it as a stunningly dull shade of green. If it stuns me or if I find it to be a dull green, then I can damn well figure that out on my own. If it stuns your reporter, she should keep that to herself. Or, if she is incapable of separating her personal opinions from the content of her news reports, then she should consider doing guest commentary on NPR instead of "reporting" the facts.

I have no problem with op-ed writers and Andy Rooney mixing fact and opinion. Most people understand that Paul Krugman's column and Andy Rooney's commentary on 60 Minutes are just that - commentary. [As opposed to partisan shilling, right Dan? --ed.] I submit that most people still believe that reporters are just reporting facts. [Perhaps this is less true today, as a result of Rathergate. --ed.] Should people be so naive? Perhaps not. However, I don't think the answer is, "Come on, everyone knows that journalists' stories reflect their own views and we all know that people cannot divorce themselves from their opinions." That answer might be sufficient except for the fact that journalism as a profession explicitly rejects the notion that news stories carry the inherent biases of the reporters. For example, the Society of Professional Journalists' Code of Ethics requires that journalists "Distinguish between advocacy and news reporting. Analysis and commentary should be labeled and not misrepresent fact or context." In addition, the New York Times' Ethical Journalism Guidebook instructs Times reporters to provide "the complete, unvarnished truth." I have been unable to find an official statement of NBC's code of journalistic ethics, but I doubt if it permits editorializing in news reports. [In the context of Rathergate, note that the Radio-Television News Directors Association Code of Ethics is substantially similar to the codes of ethics set out above.]





Fitz-Hume: I'm back, baby, I'm back!
What I am doing at work: I started my new job three weeks ago and today received my first assignments. One project involves making minor changes to a licensing law, and the other project will require drafting a completely new law. I apologize, but I cannot provide more details at this time - what with client confidentiality and all. Trust me, though, you are not missing much.

I was handed a box of business cards today. They look quite professional - unlike me. My title sounds so official: Deputy Legislative Counsel. Ooooohhh. From now on, feel free to address me as "Deputy" or "Sir."

What I am doing at home: Still unpacking from my cross-country move.

What I am watching: I am constantly bombarded with presidential campaign ads. I counted 15 ads this morning between 6:45 and 7:30. Fifteen!

What I am reading: The Journals of Lewis and Clark.

What I am thinking about: My return to blogging after a somewhat lackluster sabbatical. My Summer of George, if you will, was short and unproductive. I am ready to come back. Unfortunately, I just don't know what to write about. The blog topic du jour is not my cup of tea. What am I going to say about that fraud of a newsman Dan Rather that hasn't already been said by better and more knowledgeable people? What can I say about John Kerry's self-inflicted - and likely mortal - wound as a result of making this presidential campaign about events from more than 30 years ago? Others have done it, and done it better.

In light of the above, let me pose this question to the readers: What would you like to see in future Fitz-Hume posts? Or do you want to see Fitz-Hume posts at all? Use the comments or email me with suggestions.

Peeve: People who characterize the Ashcroft Gestapo DOJ as the worst or most repressive in our history. Maybe I am missing something, but, for example, wasn't it Janet Reno's DOJ that murdered a family at Ruby Ridge? Wasn't it Janet Reno's DOJ that stormed Elian Gonzalez's hideout and returned that child to Cuba? Wasn't it Janet Reno's DOJ that was responsible for the events at the Branch Davidian compound in Waco? Mind you, I am not suggesting that Ashcroft has been the perfect Attorney-General. Clearly, that's not the case. But for all the wailing and gnashing of teeth over jack-booted thugs raiding libraries, secret detentions and other Patriot Act abuses, I would like to see opponents of the administration put it all into perspective.

Shout out: Thanks to all the guest bloggers who kept BTQ humming along while Milbarge and I slacked off. You really saved our bacon. Hopefully, some day I can return the favor.





Shirts vs. Skins
Via the Duke Basketball Report, the premier sports fan site on the internet, I see this interesting story about a University of South Florida women's basketball player, Andrea Armstrong, who has converted to Islam and wants to wear long sleeves, long pants, and a head scarf while playing. She left the team when the coach wouldn't let her. (Well, actually, it looks like there's some dispute over whether she left or was booted, plus some question over how accomodating the school has been about her scholarship.)

What an interesting question. I hope Eugene Volokh tells me what the right answer is, but I'll take a stab at it in my sleep-deprived state. Speaking of states, we know that the NCAA isn't a state actor (Tarkanian), but USF is. My guess is that USF can condition the receipt of an athletic scholarship on a player's compliance with all NCAA rules, even if those rules might infringe on the player's constitutional rights. (The easiest example is that the NCAA can restrict an athlete's right to shill for a product -- normally the athlete would have the free speech right to do so, but the NCAA can say that doing so would cost the player his or her amateur status, and schools can implement that rule without running afoul of the First Amendment.) The NCAA rules state that all team members must wear the same uniform, so Armstrong's refusal to comply means she can't compete without breaking the rules.

But it gets murkier when we note that the NCAA makes allowances in other cases. It allows BYU and Campbell to avoid playing on Sundays in the basketball championship tournament, because those schools have religious objections to playing on the Sabbath. And, as the linked article and the DBR note, former Towson State basketball player Tamir Goodman, an orthodox Jew, played in a yarmulke, even though that wasn't a part of the team's uniform.

USF now says it will petition the NCAA on Armstrong's behalf for an exception. That's nice of them, because I don't think they have any obligation to do so. My bet is that Armstrong is a good enough player for them to be willing to go the extra mile on this, but that may be too cynical.

Two other thoughts. First, I don't remember enough common law contracts stuff (where are you, bar exam crammers?), but I wonder if Armstrong might have a breach of contract suit against the school here (assuming they did in fact drop her scholarship on these grounds). Again, I'm sure that conformity with all NCAA rules is a requirement for continued receipt of the money. Second, what about a procedural due process claim? It sounds like her dismissal from the team was entirely up to the coach (probably a good idea), but it also doesn't sound like there is any policy in place for review of these decisions. This may be why Armstrong has been reinstated. If we assume her scholarship is a property interest, the school might have been concerned about liability for depriving her of that interest without any real process, especially when its decision could be painted as religious discrimination.

These are just some unformed and unresearched musings on the issue. I'll try to remember to keep track of it and see what happens, but I have my doubts that we'll see Ms. Armstrong on the court fully clothed. I welcome your thoughts.



Monday, September 13, 2004

Milbarge At Large: Poor, Poor, Pitiful Me Edition
What I am doing at work: Well, I just started, so the answer is, not much. The first day or so was a lot of paperwork and setting my computer and whatnot. My first case is an immigration case that looks pretty easy. I have a feeling that the toughest part, at least initially, is going to be losing all the habits I picked up at my old job. There are a lot of similarities, of course, but plenty of little things are different. For example, here we have a Big Mac, but we call it a Le Big Mac, and we call a Quarter Pounder a Royale with Cheese. Actually, it's things like whether to italicize or underline, stylistic stuff like that, or different conventions within the office. Nothing major. But I really don't want to be that guy who's always saying, "Well, in my old circuit...."

But I think it's going to be a good experience. The judge is nice, and seems to be approachable and personable. But he's also going to let us do our work without constantly checking in. For example, the other day I only saw him when he passed in the hall. The other clerks are nice, and I think we're all going to get along well, which is important. Anyway, very little to report on that front, so I'll keep you updated as I can.

What I am doing at home: I've already mentioned the internet hassle. Other than that, I'm still unpacking and figuring out where I want everything. I'm still living out of boxes and unpacking things like pots and pans as I need them. Plus, I'm trying to find my way around the city. In a perfect world, I'd be going out and having fun and meeting people, but, well, you know me. I wish I could say that I was catching up on about three weeks' worth of blog-reading, but computer issues prevent that. So, goodbye productivity at work and hello more tv-watching!

What I am reading: I started reading The 9/11 Report, and found it very interesting, both in its description of what happened that day and also what led to it. I haven't gotten to the "what's next" part yet, and I've gotten distracted by other things. (One minor complaint: To save a few bucks, I bought the smaller paperback version, only to find out later it doesn't include the footnotes, which is a bummer.) Also, a few days ago, Fitz said in passing that he's glad he's not in Darfur. I responded, "What's Darfur?" He thought I was kidding, but I was really that out of it. The next day, I turned the page in a recent New Yorker I had been thumbing through, and saw this article about the situation there. (If you're as clueless as I was, the basic deal is that Darfur is a region in Sudan where the government is pursuing a program of ethnic cleansing.) I also read an interesting law review article last week that I might try to make a post out of.

What I am listening to: As you might notice from the new masthead quote, a little Weezer. As you might notice from the title of this post, a little Warren Zevon. Also, I'm trying to figure out which local radio station I want to be my usual station here. It's a pretty good radio town. There are two classic rock stations, an '80s station, an oldies station, plus two public stations (one NPR/classical and one independent with a more eclectic mix). They all have their pluses and minuses, but I've noticed a couple of things. First, the classic rock stations apparently hate each other. I've heard competing radio stations advertise with stuff like "Springfield's REAL country radio" or the like. But here, they call each other out: "None of that wimpy [other station] music, this is [city's] real classic rock." Hard core. The other funny thing is the playlists these places have. For example, in my old city, the big classic rock station played Bruce Springsteen about ten times a day. Here, I don't hear him at all. I'm not the world's biggest Bruce fan, but it's hard to call youself a classic rock station if you never play his songs.

What I am watching: Way too much tv. I finally got cable after a week here without it, and I'm making up for lost time. Plus, I have DVR now, so I can record whatever I want and I have picture-in-picture and oh my it's a television orgasm. As for specific items, I watched Gerry, an odd Gus Van Sant move with Matt Damon and Casey Affleck. The story: two guys go hiking in Death Valley and get lost. That's it. I also watched two old favorites: Grosse Pointe Blank ("Ten years!!") and Groundhog Day, a modern classic. Oh, and for my money, last night's season finale of Six Feet Under was the one of the series's best episodes ever.

What I am thinking about: The bar examination. One of my co-clerks is waiting to hear any day about the bar, and another will hear soon. In the back of my mind, I have little mini-panic attacks when I think I might have to take another, depending on my future employment. Sherry has had a few (more) words to say about the bar lately, and I saw Wisconsin Chief Justice Shirley Abrahamson add a few thoughts in her "20 Questions" interview on How Appealing. Justice Abrahamson discusses (question #9) Wisconsin's "diploma privilege," of which I was unfamiliar. Graduates of the state's two accredited law schools don't have to take the bar. I hereby go on record in support of this idea. It wouldn't work in a big state with lots of lawyers and law schools, but it sounds like it works fine in a state like Wisconsin, and would probably work just as well in other smallish states. To take Sherry for example, she graduated at the top of her class at the Maine law school; if that's not good enough for the state bar, why have a law school at all?

What I am not thinking about: My next job. I need to be looking, and I do indeed have a few ideas of places to apply. But I haven't done the serious thinking about this job search that I ought to be undertaking. Also, in case you're looking for more political thoughts here, keep looking. I should probably try to be less overtly partisan anyway (although I think I've been pretty critical of both candidates). But thinking about the way one of the candidates has run his campaign makes me too sick and angry to form coherent responses, so it wouldn't do any of us much good.

Peeve of the Week: See my immediately prior post about Verizon. That's sort of swamping all other minor hassles right now.

Shout-Out: I have been so behind in my reading that I don't really have anything to add here. But I do want to mention that in less than a week, guest-blogger and frequent commenter Sebastian will be a married man. I'll be attending (and participating in to some degree) the wedding this weekend, and I'll report anything fit for blogging. (And if Seb wants to post about any pre-wedding issues, I'm sure we'd all welcome his thoughts on the noble institution.) So congrats to my man for finding the love of his life. It's truly a Lyle Lovett/Julia Roberts pairing, although I'm certain Seb's union will last much longer. The best to both of them, from all of us here at BTQ.





Programming Note
Alright, here's the deal. I still don't have the internet at home. Take it from me: Verizon DSL sucks. I figured, "What's the difference between cable and DSL?" Well, it turns out there's a huge difference, because I can't get the DSL installation cd to run properly. So, what I have is worse than dial-up, because at least dial-up eventually dials up to wherever it's dialing. Basically what happens is this. Every time -- I'm not exaggerating; I mean literally ever single time -- I click on a link, I get the "cannot find server" error page. Maybe, maybe, if the thing feels like being nice to me, if I hit "refresh" it eventually loads correctly. So, sending an email or doing something that requires information to re-load over several pages (like, I don't know, say, blogging) is impossible, because it won't remember the stuff I entered on the previous page by the time the new one loads properly. In the end, I end up spending so much time trying to do simple stuff like sending a dang email that I can't get anything else done.

Now, I know that in theory I could have been doing what I'm doing now, which is writing posts at home and posting them at work. But, (a) I've only been working a few days, and I'm trying to look like a busy bee for a while, and (b) I sort of have this hope that the Verizon thing will clear up sooner or later. Seriously, though, this has been going on for over a week and it's freaking ridiculous.

So, I've already made an appointment with the cable company for cable internet, and I'm going to cancel my Verizon service as soon as that's set up. But, the bad news is that it will probably be a couple of weeks before I'm fully up and running at home. Until then, I'm going to write at home and post at work.

What that means is that my posts might have fewer links that I would like, both because of the time and propriety of linking to certain things from work. If Fitz gets especially bored, he might want to fill in some spots, but I don't expect him to, and I figure everyone will muddle through.

As for my guest-bloggers, I can't put into words how appreciative I am of their help. Clearly, this place would have been a ghost town and we would probably have lost almost all our readers had it not been for them. But I'm finally releasing them from any further service here. I can't keep using them as a crutch. I probably won't get around to removing them from the blog contributor list for a few more days, so if they have anything more to say, feel free to post away. But, for better or worse, I think I'm back in business. Stay tuned.



Recent Posts

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  • If I had my way, I would tear this whole building ...
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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.

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