Begging The Question

Friday, October 15, 2004

Just Because

Sure, I could have shamelessly ripped off Soupie's tournament idea, but there is no need for a contest. In my book they are all winners.

Click on the picture for lots of fun at the Cowboy Cheerleaders' homepage.

As requested by E. McPan, here are some pictures of the detritus of my existence. I don't think it looks this messy in person, but either I'm just used to it by now, or it looks a lot worse when framed by my camera phone. Anyway, the first one is my office. (Note to the skeptical E.: the two big boxes on the left are mostly t-shirts and some towels.)

Here is some stuff I've shoved to the side of my living room. It's some clothes and bedding, as well as a few boxes of kitchen stuff.

And, for fun, here is my refrigerator between visits to the grocery store. I'm having trouble finding the right temperature. If I keep it as cold as I like it, I can't put my water or sweet tea on the top shelf, for they will end up frozen solid.

Sorry if the size of these pictures makes the page slow to load. Fitz or I will toy around with the sizes, and eventually change them to thumbnails or just links. Thanks for your indulgence, because posting photos sure beats coming up with something to write about. Feel free to request more pictures.

Wednesday, October 13, 2004

Random Thoughts
1. Some other bloggers have been posting pictures of various miscellany of their existences. Feel free to request photographic representations of stuff in our lives, and we'll see what we can do to comply.

2. Professor Douglas Lichtman has been guest-blogging at Crescat about self-help. The first three entries are here, here, and here. It's good stuff. This reminded me that one of the classes I would liked to have taken in law school, but never had the chance to, was Remedies. Fitz-Hume took it, and I remember asking him if chapter one was "self-help." It seems like any discussion of remedies offered by the justice system ought to start with an understanding of why we need them in the first place. I look forward to the rest of the professor's posts.

3. So the New England Patriots keep winning football games, and have now set the record for consecutive wins (dating back to last season). Last week, after tying the record, ESPN's Daily Quickie column (which I like even though the author is a Duke-hater) called the Patriots' streak "the greatest all-time team game-winning streak in any sport." I agree it's impressive, but that statement seems a bit overblown. For one thing, it only includes one championship, and for another, several of those wins were at the expense of the lowly Dolphins and Jets -- NFL parity only goes so far. Maybe this streak is better than the UConn women's basketball streak of seventy wins from a few years ago, given the poor quality of some of their opponents. But I'm not sure it beats Bud Wilkerson's Oklahoma football streak of 47 games in the 1950s, or UCLA's men's basketball streak of 88 games in the 1970s. (Am I forgetting a big streak somewhere?) Wake me when the Pats get to 47.

4. Speaking of football, I caught this story about how a former NFL kicker is wanted in connection with a drive-by shooting at the home of tiger-baiters Siegfried and Roy. Is it just me, or do you imagine him screaming as he drives by, "The laces were in!" Finkel is Einhorn, Einhorn is Finkel.

5. Speaking of crazy, I saw that Michael Jackson is upset at an Eminem video that mocks Jackson. He even asked video stations not to air the video. So far, only BET has done so, but with an odd rationale: they felt it was wrong to disparage a celebrity. Um, since when? I don't watch a lot of rap videos, but my understanding is that some are quite disparaging of other rappers' rhyming ability, manliness, wealth, or skillz in other areas of life. Will BET pull them too? And who is a celebrity? Will BET pull videos that are disparaging of, say, George Bush? I'm not saying they can't take this editorial stance, but why on earth would they? And of all people, why hitch your wagon to Michael Jackson? Does anyone think that Jacko will have a longer career, or sell more records, than Eminem from here out? Is BET relying on re-airing "Thriller" all the time, or something? Perhaps BET is taking the side of the black [sic] artist over Eminem, which is also an acceptable stance for them to take. But my guess is that your average black rapper would rather hang out or otherwise be associated with Eminem than Michael Jackson. I'm just saying, it's a weird position for BET to take, and for an even weirder reason. It also reminds me of a funny headline I saw one time. Back when I used to live in another city, around the time of some allegation or another against Jackson, the city's black newspaper ran the huge banner headline "Jacko Called Wacko!" Yeah, stop the presses -- some people think he's a little strange. Extra, extra, you heard it here first.

6. Speaking of extra, extra (I know I'm stretching, but I don't care), I was at the Cinnabon the other night after I got a craving. I bought a four-pack, and the guy asked me if I wanted extra icing. (Note that they are already slathered with icing when you get them.) Usually they just give you one little extra thing of icing (at least that had always been my experience), but this guy gave me four. Four! "Sweet!" or "super-sweet" doesn't even really being to describe it. It's like I'm icing a cake. Oh, and my heart hurts a little.

7. Given the source of our pseudonyms, I would be remiss not to point to the blog The Diplomad, written by a group of foreign service officers. Trust me, folks, those people are the real spies; we are just the decoys. (link via Southern Appeal)

8. Any guesses on how bad John Kerry's inevitable Red Sox joke will be at the debate tonight? I think all he ought to say is, "Like a lot of you, I'd rather be watching the baseball game." Anything more is just going to sound dumb. I originally had a longer riff on this subject planned, including trying to figure out some kind of wager between the candidates if the World Series ends up being Sox-Astros. But here's the thing. Whether it's baseball, or other sports, or our schools, or places of worship, or the deli we go to for lunch, there are so many institutions that remind us of our connectedness as Americans. We just have to remember that we have so many more commonalities than we have differences. No matter who wins on (or about) November 2, we're still Americans, democracy will survive, and things will be pretty much okay. And that's all we can ask for. And if the apocalypse happens as a result of one side's victory, at least we won't be here for you to tell me I was wrong. I'll probably watch more baseball than hardball tonight, which is a choice I'm glad I have. I heart America.

Tuesday, October 12, 2004

Stone Coldwell Banker
Need a real estate agent in Malibu? Then this is your go-to guy:
He has the solid judgment and knowledge to help you and will negotiate shrewdly
or, if they won't sell at your price, he will mess them up.
(hat tip to Tom Kirkendall)

So John Kerry mentions Christopher Reeve in a debate...and then a few days later, Reeve dies! Maybe there's a reason he also mentioned all those Republicans who "agree" with him.

How can you not vote for a guy with this kind of power?!

Seriously, though, r.i.p. Superman.

On Hillary
A few days ago, K-Lo in The Corner posted a musing about Hillary Clinton's machinations. It was just an email from a reader, so I won't attribute it to the official Corner-ites, but I've seen lots of similar stuff there before, from several of the NRO writers.

In this specific instance, Hillary's stumping for John Kerry was noted, and was seen as obvious proof that she actually hates Kerry and wants him to lose. "Yes," one imagines her saying to herself as she consults the Lee Atwater Spell-Booke of the Dark Arts, "it's so clever: the best way for me to help Kerry lose the election is to do all I can to help him win it! No one will ever suspect a thing!" Too bad the super-sleuths at The Corner (and their minions) don't miss a thing.

I wonder if this has been a pattern throughout Hillary's life. "I can tell that tall guy would make me miserable personally and professionally, drag me to a backwater, cheat on me with trampy women, and make me a national laughingstock and hated by half the country. How can I undermine him and avoid all that misfortune? I know: I'll marry him and help him every step of the way!"

Tim Noah at slate has discussed the conservatives' drooling over a Hillary for Prez campaign, so I won't rehash it all here. But my frustration at this inanity compels me to add a few thoughts.

Once it got too late for Hillary to run in 2004, the conservatives decided that she must be eyeing a run in 2008. To do that (without challenging an incumbent president), Hillary would have to hope for (and presumably work against, or at least not work for) a Kerry victory this year. First, there's no reason to think that 2012 is too late if Hillary wants to run. In fact, waiting that long would allow her to build up more of a record in the Senate, perhaps even a chairmanship if the majority switches or the party leader post.

Second, it's one thing to be Machiavellian, it's another to be masochistic. Four years is a long time, and lots can happen. See, e.g. 2000-2004, inclusive. I'll concede that, assuming she wants to be president, Hillary probably sees it in her best interests that there are fewer strong opponents within the party. But do these people really think that Hillary would prefer another term of George Bush? Say what you will about Hillary, but she's no Nader.

I think people are complex enough to have mixed feelings. For example, I might lament a particular candidate's ability to appoint judges of a certain stripe, while simultaneously realizing it gives me more clerkships to apply for. Hillary, I'm sure, sees some good consequences and some bad for her, professionally, if Bush is re-elected. But why can't the conservatives admit that Hillary probably also see some good consequences from a Kerry victory -- chief among them: Bush won't be president.

I can't begin to understand the motives these conservatives have for harboring such a fetish-like devotion to the belief that Hillary would crack John Kerry's skull open and feast on the gooey pulp inside if it got her one step closer to being president. I think she's perfectly capable (and perfectly understandable) of seeing that a 2008 run might be easier if Kerry loses this year, while, at bottom, preferring four years of Kerry to four more of Bush.

The conservative Hillary-lovers (and really, I have to call them that because they want to see more of Hillary than even her constituents do) tend to use Hillary's sense of the many roads a political life can take as the prime example of her special brand of malevolence, even though of course there's no proof of any of it. But it wouldn't surprise me if in 1976 Ronald Reagan considered for a moment how his political fortunes might be affected by a Jimmy Carter victory over Gerald Ford. Would we have even had the Reagan Revolution -- or Bill Clinton? -- if the 1976 election had gone the other way? I see Hillary now in the same position that Reagan was then -- except, of course, for the fact that Hillary hasn't run a primary challenge to an incumbent from her own party, like Reagan did in '76. No one talks about how Machiavellian Reagan was then, even though he no doubt wanted to be president and his chances might have been hurt had Ford won. And in his heart of hearts -- his "never speak ill of another Republican" heart -- does anyone really think he wouldn't have preferred four years of Ford to the four years we got from Carter?

The bottom line for me in all this is that the conservative Hillary-lovers will spin everything Hillary does as more "evidence" that she is trying to Foster-ize John Kerry. I'm not saying we have to believe every word every politician utters, what they're doing long ago slipped the bonds of rationality. All the "proof" they have is in the manner of the email to the Corner I started with: Hillary says A, ergo ipso facto, she means B. I should start using this methodology; all those women really meant they loved me and didn't ask me never to call them!

Finally, I should remind the conservative Hillary-lovers of the old adage "Be careful what you wish for." I'm assuming they don't want her to actually be elected president. But the chances of that happening sure do improve if she ever decides to run.** That's a risky obsession you have, folks.

**I'm not saying Hillary would necessarily win if she ran. But if the chances of her winning the election in 2004 are zero, if she ever decides to run, the chances of her winning would have to be not zero. Why the conservatives want to increase the chances of Hillary becoming president is simply beyond me.

Monday, October 11, 2004

Rufus confesses that in his day they didn't have a fancy name for "those law students who always need to volunteer an answer, and do so by in a manner that shows off how 'smart' they think they are." We call them gunners, but back then, they just called 'em assholes. A bunch of guys running around with rabbit skins on their dinks, with rocks for toys, and no special names for their asshole classmates. And that's the way it was and they liked it! They loved it!

Well times have changed, but asshole law students have not. Every class at every law school has them. That's not really news to our readers, but Rufus' stroll down memory lane brought to mind a particular fellow with whom Milbarge and I attended law school. His name was Mark.

Mark - a mustachioed gentleman with an Elvis-inspired coiffure and a snowflake sweater - liked to talk during class. He raised his hand to inflict his personal hypotheticals on his classmates and professors. When his ever-raised hand was not acknowledged, he carried on in a stage whisper while other students asked questions or while the professor lectured. Mark's running commentary was accompanied by very animated gestures and head movements. It was distracting, to say the least. He was infamous for the constant use of air quotes around commonly used and accepted terms like "the court" or "the plaintiff" or "damages."

Mark was "unusual." An older "student" and a "fellow" native Texan, he "often" approached legal "issues" from a unique "perspective." "Red" "herrings" of his own creation "were" his "specialty."

One day in a first-year property course, the class discussion involved the concept of chattel - "personal" as opposed to "real" property for the uninitiated. Mark raised his hand and delved into an extended discussion of Texas, ranches, and cows, and how a rancher should be able to prevent the theft of his livestock. Air quotes flew from Mark's hands like spent shell casings from Rambo's M-60. After a few painful minutes, the student sitting next to Mark leaned over and whispered (to the delight of all the students in the class), "Mark, that word is 'chattel,' not 'cattle.'" Suddenly, Rambo's machine gun was out of ammo. For once, Mark was silent. He withdrew his hypothetical, mumbling something incoherent, to which the professor responded, "You can take the boy out Texas, but you can't take Texas out of the boy."

That's as true now as it was in Rufus' day.

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    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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