The kinder, gentler lawyer

Lawyers are everyone’s favourite group to hate, and it seems that many lawyers feel much the same way. There was a really good piece in today’s Boston Globe Magazine about lawyers who are sick of what they do and how they do it – sometimes physically sick, as in the case of one lawyer: “Every time she was due for court, she would vomit and have diarrhea.” The article discusses a variety of groups that are looking for an alternative to “toxic law” – a modus operandi that’s better for them and better for their clients. Encouragingly, they seem to be having some success. Recommended.

"The number of executions goes down pretty quickly" [corrected]

Quote of the day, from the Salon article about Howard Ahmanson Jr., the guy who’s bankrolling the schismatics in the Episcopal church. Rushdoony (who died in 2001) was a loony racist type who was a formative influence on Ahmanson.
Rushdoony spelled out his philosophy in painstaking detail in his 1973 magnum opus, “Institutes of Biblical Law,” which he self-consciously named after John Calvin’s “Institutes of Christian Religion.” In the 800-page tome, Rushdoony presents his vision for a new America in which the church subsumes the federal government and society is administered according to biblical law, or at least his interpretation of it. According to biblical law, he writes, segregation is a “basic principle,” and slavery is permitted “because some people are by nature slaves and will always be so.” Those who don’t comply with Rushdoony’s rules — disobedient children, “pagans,” adulterers, women who get abortions, repeat criminal offenders and, of course, homosexuals — would be executed. Mrs. Ahmanson, who described Rushdoony as “quirky in some ways,” qualified his extremism: “To impose the death penalty you need two witnesses. So the number of executions goes down pretty quickly.”

My naivety is showing…

I was under the impression that the U.S. system of justice was a matter of public record – that if someone committed a crime, was arrested, charged, tried, convicted, and sentenced, these events would be in the public record. Of course some trial proceedings have to be in camera, some testimony or evidence has to be redacted for legal or security reasons, but I thought that the existence of the judicial events was a matter of public record.
Wrong. As this story in the Smirking Chimp (reprinted from the South Florida Sun-Sentinel) shows, there have been trials unconnected with matters of public safety or national security in which:
Neither case appeared on the court’s public docket, where it would have been assigned a number and scanned into a computer file. As a result, the public had no way of knowing they existed. Hearings were conducted behind closed doors, and all documents and legal motions were filed under seal. The sensitive court papers were kept separately in a vault at the court clerk’s office in Miami, according to attorneys familiar with the practice.
I thought such things only happened in police states….

My colour….

you are deeppink

Your dominant hues are red and magenta. You love doing your own thing and going on your own adventures, but there are close friends you know you just can’t leave behind. You can influence others on days when you’re patient, but most times you just want to go out, have fun, and do your own thing.

Your saturation level is high – you get into life and have a strong personality. Everyone you meet will either love you or hate you – either way, your goal is to get them to change the world with you. You are very hard working and don’t have much patience for people without your initiative.

Your outlook on life is very bright. You are sunny and optimistic about life and others find it very encouraging, but remember to tone it down if you sense irritation.

the html color quiz

Buses page now up

For those of you that had asked, the Buses page is now populated. See the navigation link to the right. Please post any suggestions, requests, etc. as comments to this blog entry. Enjoy…

What would you like to see in 2004?

As my son Chris asked in his blog, what would you like to see in 2004? If you were a professional soothsayer (no shortage of those!), what predictions about 2004 would you like to become true?
I’ll start with three:
(1) In spite of rampant paranoia, there are no 9/11 scale terrorist acts during the year.
(2) The US will undertake no new military action against another country.
(3) George Bush is soundly defeated in November.
Your turn.