12.10.2010

Happy Furlough Friday...

I'm peacing out.

My supervising partner's kid starts her Wnter break today, so he's gone. All of the support staff have today off for "Furlough Friday" (e.g., courthouse is closed, and I type really damned fast, in any event). And, already had my meeting client this morning. To top it all off, there is a massive storm howling out of the North; a fierce tropical Nor'easter that is rather intimidating.

All of this gray, cloudy muck and complete silence in my lil' part of the boutique has led to one conclusion: Fuck it. I'm goin' home early.

Besides, I always type faster in my boxers than in slacks.



-d.s.

Shadow Q&A: Part Three

Previously, in editions One and Two, I discussed my abiding love of Stoya, my admiration for Genghis Khan, hinted at a possible sex addiction and dissatisfaction with monogamous Western societies, briefly ran down the reason why I am a lawyer, and detailed my particular mix of politics.

This time, we move on to the more esoteric.


Mr. Shadow, you've mentioned previously that you grew up in grinding poverty. When you became a lawyer, did you go nuts with money? Buy new stuff all the time? 


No. My prior positions haven't exactly been flush with cash, first of all. I worked for judiciaries out of school. While prestige gigs, they don't make you rich. And I've worked for Indian tribes, and as in-house for a Fortune 500 company. Comfortable living, but nothing to go nuts about. Besides, the average lawyer today walks out 100K in debt; and I am no exception.

The one and only thing nice I did for myself was buy a brand spanking new, one day old, 1.2 miles on the odometer, fully loaded Black Scion xB, with custom stereo. I love this car almost as much as life itself. I only regret that there aren't enough wide open spaces here to really cut loose for my other great love: Road trips.



 In fairness, it is a pretty sweet car.
And it damn well better be...I'm going to have to drive it for the next decade.



So, um, you're not rich? I thought lawyers were rich?

Um, no, I'm not. And, admittedly, many lawyers do very well for themselves. But, like any profession (and more so than most) you have to absolutely bust your ass, literally 70-80 hour weeks for nearly a decade, before you get that "lawya' money". And, that's if you're fortunate enough to work at such a place where hourly rates are the norm and where the clients actually pay the bills. 

Sure, there are some -in the large cities- where you make 100-200K outta' school and clerkships. Those firms are surprisingly few and far between. The silk stockings, so to speak. And, they are supercompetitive mills where you hold a brief case for five years, doing tasks like "doc review" and "due diligence".

I could have worked at one in Omaha/Chicago. But, you're talking 90% attrition within three years for new associates. Moreover, everyone in my "hiring class" was summarily laid off when the bad times hit. 

So, no, we're not immune from financial turmoil. Especially we younger guys and gals. We're fired first, and yet we're the ones in the most debt.



Sorry I can't stick around to hear how much you enjoy that third home in Montana, Senior Firing Partner. I've got to get to the food stamp office by 5:00.



Wow. That's grim stuff. Let's move on: I understand you may possibly be a sex addict. So, what's your favorite position? Doggy? Missionary? "Buck"? Do you like to take control? Be dominated? Light BDSM or full-on edging? Toys? The Scott Turow "Peach Pit"?

 Yes.



Which one?

Yes.




"Yes": The best word in the English Language.
And, if it's said three times, or in conjunction with "Oh God", you've done well.



 Very well. Are you ready for this one? What's your Myers-Briggs?

 INTJ. Look it up lawya'.

INTJs apply (often ruthlessly) the criterion "Does it work?" to everything from their own research efforts to the prevailing social norms. This in turn produces an unusual independence of mind, freeing the INTJ from the constraints of authority, convention, or sentiment for its own sake ... INTJs are known as the "Systems Builders" of the types, perhaps in part because they possess the unusual trait combination of imagination and reliability. Whatever system an INTJ happens to be working on is for them the equivalent of a moral cause to an INFJ; both perfectionism and disregard for authority may come into play ... Personal relationships, particularly romantic ones, can be the INTJ's Achilles heel ... This happens in part because many INTJs do not readily grasp the social rituals ... Perhaps the most fundamental problem, however, is that INTJs really want people to make sense.

Makes sense, now. But, I refuse to believe you're introverted. What are your other weaknesses?


It's true. Look, I don't like to admit this, but I am terribly shy in social situations. A "rainmaker" I will never be, except on the basis of referral, which is presently how I do things. Although, once I get relaxed or comfortable with a person, you'll find that I just never shut up. As people have noted I'm not the most approachable person, and my smile very often looks like sneers of contempt.

Along with this social awkwardness comes stage fright. Amazing, huh? I make my living upon a stage but am terrified for days leading up to the consummation of the efforts. When I was a professional musician, I had to be nearly falling-down drunk to climb on a stage.


What is your biggest, irrational fear?


Easy. Flying and Clowns. And, especially flying clowns.

And you call it "irrational".



 
I see that it's time for you to head to work. Is there anything you'd like to add this morning?


Yes, I really want to move out of this condo. It was rented for me when I was still on the mainland. But, the covenants forbid animals (and the median age of tenant is about Methuselah).  I love and miss pets; especially dogs. To that end, I adopted a stray starving kitten, and have turned her into a talkative, loving indoor/outdoor kitty.



 Mr. Fuzzy-Pants, the talking terror of West Hawaii...
She loves stealing the newspaper, and eating the local wildlife.




Anything else?


Yes, I love geckos. They are the coolest critters ever. If you ever come visit, watch out for your ice cream and beer, as they will sneak down to steal either one.



Say goodbye, Slappy the Gecko.






-d.s.





 
 



 

Friday woke up humming K√ľnstliche_Welten


And for good reason. It's iconic. Not only is it probably the best known song by phenomenal German duo Wolfsheim, but it's also one of the most covered songs I've heard at clubs. I can personally think of at least two other bands that cover "Welten". Hell, there are probably half a dozen more that I can't name.

Sad really, that I can't name them, considering I used to get my DJ on at Alabama goth night clubs.

Enjoy your Friday, kids. The weekend is almost here.
-d.s.

12.09.2010

This Week's Internet Winner...

LULZ.

I really wish I could remember where I found this, because this is just funny.
-d.s

You know what America needs?

More advertisements like this...


I've never seen an ad that made me want to grab the special sock before....
Not sure it's effective as far as shoe sales go, but I do approve.



-d.s.

Thursday overslept

Again. Normally, out here I never have to set my alarm of doom; I've always woken up as the sky starts to grey and the sun makes its way over Volcano Hualalai. In the Summer that was 5:10. In Fall -so far- it's been around 5:55. The last week, however, the sun's not even making its way over the mountain until abut 6:40.

Far, far too late. So, in that spirit, let's pray for the Solstice, shall we? And an end to the darkening days.


Chalice and Blade's "I hear you calling".
Nope. Not a Wiccan either (or, more precisely a Gardnerian neo-pagan). 
But, I do think that if most of Americans were intellectually honest, they'd be a lot more down with some offshoots of European druidical religions or Asatru rather than follow some provincial pissy desert god.

That's a rant for another time, though.



-d.s.

12.08.2010

Let's take a minute to think about "circle sentencing"

I presently do complex civil litigation, typically involving land use, ocean access and construction work: Usually, it's rich developers suing rich companies and bringing in rich insurers. Not too much black-hat/white-hat stuff, usually.

However, my first love has always been tribal law. It's the reason I went to law school, and that's what brought me to the Great Plains. One of the fascinating things about indigenous law is the over-arching concept of "punishment" as much more a community shunning than it is one of vindiction as in Anglo legal traditions (yep, was a philosophy guy in college, why do you ask?). Particularly interesting is the concept of "circle sentencing"



 "John Marshall" of the Lakota.




What is circle sentencing? Interesting really, it's a form of "restorative justice" that takes into account all of the needs and concerns of the interested parties and victims of a particular crime. The State of California describes it pretty well.

A sentencing circle is a community-directed process, conducted in partnership with the criminal
justice system, to develop consensus on an appropriate sentencing plan that addresses the
concerns of all interested parties. Sentencing circles — sometimes called peacemaking circles —
use traditional circle ritual and structure to involve the victim, victim supporters, the offender,
offender supporters, judge and court personnel, prosecutor, defense counsel, police, and all
interested community members. Within the circle, people can speak from the heart in a shared
search for understanding of the event, and together identify the steps necessary to assist in
healing all affected parties and prevent future crimes.

Sentencing circles typically involve a multi-step procedure that includes: (1) application by the
offender to participate in the circle process; (2) a healing circle for the victim; (3) a healing circle
for the offender; (4) a sentencing circle to develop consensus on the elements of a sentencing
plan; and (5) follow-up circles to monitor the progress of the offender. The sentencing plan may
incorporate commitments by the system, community, and family members, as well as by the
offender. Sentencing circles are used for adult and juvenile offenders with a variety of offenses
and have been used in both rural and urban settings. Specifics of the circle process vary from
community to community and are designed locally to fit community needs and culture.


It sounds dirty hippy, but trust me; it's not.



Seems a fascinating concept, doesn't it? And one which would definitely be more at odds with the notion of punishment as a mechanism for restitution and rehabilitation, doesn't it? 
Well, imagine my surprise, when I was reading the local paper today, and the concepts of "circle sentencing" were brought to bear on the tragic story involving a 1-year old killed by a drunken driver:


Cradling a photo of his little girl, Wayne Braden sat in court with a heavy heart. A happy child who loved dogs and the ocean, 17-month-old Aliyah was the apple of her father's eye.

"There's thousands of girls that look just like that, beautiful, who are out there waiting to be smashed by drunks who have no consideration whatsoever," Braden said.

* * *

"I stand before you today with my head down in shame and with guilt for what I have taken from you," Kaleohano-Knittle said through tears. "You may never be able to forgive me. I have deprived you of your child."

"I acknowledge the devastation that I have caused in your life," Kaleohano-Knittle said. "Your continuing pain and sorrow are in my heart forever."

* * *

The 51-year-old says she no longer drinks, attends Alcoholics Anonymous meetings, and wants to speak about her experience to schools and community groups.

"I will work tirelessly to keep drunk drivers off the road," she said through tears. "I'm sorry. I'm so sorry."

* * * 

Wayne Braden then stood up and hugged his daughter's killer, bringing others in the courtroom to tears.

* * *

"What I just witnessed was one of the most extraordinary acts of compassion and contrition that I have seen," Elizabeth Strance, Circuit Court judge, said.


So, when you hear the concept of circle sentencing and restorative justice; this is what we're talking about: Not a group kumbaya, but the best interests of the victim, his/her family, the state, and the offender. FWIW; this lady was then sentenced to ten years in prison, financial restitution and community service relating to her already-prolific anti-drunk driving public service work.

A tragedy not compounded by punitive measures is the point.



-d.s.


Spend Four Minutes...

and learn about the wealth/health intersection and 200 years of industrialization and mortality tables, from the master of animated data, Prof. Hans Rosling.

Simply phenomenal.


via BBC Four

Wednesday needs to talk to his homie in the State Department...


..I need to pull some strings and see if I can get these guys a damned visa. Been on the Haggard mailing list for four years (hey, it helps me bone up my my Germans), and every year at this time I always get the winter email with the dates for the upcoming Summer tour.

Invariably, and this year was no different, it is is always apologetic for the lack of U.S. dates as the lead singer (a German national from Libya) can't enter the country.

Seriously, people. It's the arts. Do the right thing.

Anyway, this is "Full Moon Procession"; not my favorite track, but because I've not heard it lately, I thought I'd share some piccolo grimness.
-d.s.

12.07.2010

Real Life Intrudes...

Sorry about that. In the meanwhile, please enjoy these  Boston Terrier puppies losing their dignity...




Least.Dignified.Animal.Ever.






 Just Say No to dressing your puppies...



-d.s.


 

Tuesday should really just move to Europe


And, yes, I really should. There are dozens of bands that I want to see play that just are to obscure to even make it to the States. Maybe that's what I'll do next summer? Buy tickets to lots of the outdoor festivals and party my way from St. Petersburg all the way to Liverpool?

Anyway, enjoy this Lacrimas Profundere piece, "Melantroduction", off of 2001's brilliant "Burning: A Wish".



-d.s.

12.06.2010

Toilet Paper Dispenser goes "nom nom nom"

 Bloodthirsty toilets are just one of the things to fear when going to the potty


The legal standard may be technically correct, e.g., whether a duty of care was breached is a factual question, yet, the case is still ridiculous. The Court can always declare that there was no duty of care here (trust me, when I "clerked --i.e., was a shadow judge-- that is exactly what happened with ridiculous cases).

In any event...

Via the AP


A Michigan woman says she can't work or crochet and her bowling game has suffered since her right hand was broken by a toilet paper dispenser in a restaurant bathroom.

The Michigan Supreme Court, in a 4-3 order, has refused to throw out Sheri Schooley's lawsuit against Texas Roadhouse in suburban Detroit.

***

Schooley, 58, acknowledged it's a "bizarre story." She and her husband were out for dinner on New Year's Eve 2007 when she visited the restroom.

"I reached and the cover of the toilet paper dispenser fell down on my hand," the South Rockwood woman told The Associated Press on Monday. "It looked like the dispenser was up but it wasn't latched. At first I thought I was all right. I thought it was just bruised."

But the pain didn't fade, she said, and her husband had to cut her steak. When Schooley returned to work, she couldn't use a stapler. Diagnosis: broken bone.

***





Which is a shame; because this would be fucking epic...

 





"It is not for this court but rather for a jury to decide if the dispenser that harmed her constituted a dangerous condition," she said.

The court's three conservative justices said the liberal majority was overreaching. In a biting dissent, Justice Stephen Markman noted that the restroom was checked for wet floors and other obvious problems every 15 to 30 minutes.

Texas Roadhouse "apparently also had a legal duty to inspect for hazards that could not reasonably have been anticipated, such as a toilet paper dispenser opening unexpectedly," Markman wrote sarcastically.






Both sides have a point; however, I think this "duty" is a bit tenuous -- unless we're getting to status of persons on land, which seems to not be part of the case. Anyway, it's going to jury, where 12 people in Detroit get to decide whether or not a restaurant has the legal obligation to stop people from putting their hands into the feeding mechanism of toilet paper dispensers.


Where's directed verdict when you need one?


-d.s

Perhaps Boston University and Columbia University could read the law?

"Legal administrators" should read the law that they cite when bullying students in an attempt to discourage discussions of the Wikileak cables.

The letter sent from BU administrators to law students (and ditto at Columbia), referenced
Executive Order 13526.

Well, what does the prefatory language of the Order state?

Sec. 1.7. Classification Prohibitions and Limitations.
(a) In no case shall information be classified, continue to be maintained as classified, or fail to be declassified in order to:
(1) conceal violations of law, inefficiency, or administrative error;

(2) prevent embarrassment to a person, organization, or agency;

(3) restrain competition; or

(4) prevent or delay the release of information that does not require protection in the interest of the national security.

What do we know right now? Some illegal actions, such as contractors paying for boy prostitutes in Afghanistan/Clinton spying and obtaining UN employees' DNA. We know some embarrassing things, such our "partners" in the Middle East aren't worth a shit: from Israel to Saudi Arabia to Pakistan.

What then is the logic of classifying these documents, when, by the terms of the Executive Order used to threaten students, there simply does not appear to be a "national security" perogative? There's not; that's why. It's just the shibboleth invoked by a lazy, secretive government hell-bent on lying to us.

We are not mushrooms: You can't keep us in the dark and feed us shit.

Monday has got some redass

Just because you're paranoid doesn't mean they aren't out to get you.
Ditto with the Wikileaks cables. Once released, the needle and the damage done, know what I'm saying. Yet, as I'll discuss a bit later, the Gov't is doing its damnedest to create a class of offenses and designate them as a mindcrime. We have psy-ops, infowars, and Orwellian doublespeak filtering down to us from on high, where the content of the disclosures aren't being repudiated by the gov't, rather, that citizens are accessing them, and discussing the contents, is the official worry.

Disgusted.




-d.s.

12.05.2010

Nerd question for the Blogosphere

This site has been on Blogger for about three years now. I like the flexibility and use of Java-based items. My understanding is that Wordpress may be a bit more powerful, but it really restricts the use of Java in its script. Moreover, it doesn't support 3rd party Java-apps for tracking, such as the incomparable StatCounter.

My question is, those of you who've used WordPress (and/or Blogger) what do you think of it? And, are there any serious advantages to moving over?


Thanks.

Welcome to the "first serious infowar"

Happy Sunday: I don't usually post on the weekend, but it's too hot for golfing --yes, I do that because it's fun, and, I love sanctioned drinking and driving. And, I am really kind of worried about my world. I apologize in advance for the length of this, as I usually just get in/get out, and then let you minions sort out the meaning of it all, on your own, in an uncaring silent Universe (Hey! I didn't realize that I might be God?!).

If being bummed/frightened/unsettled isn't your thing, then please accept this offer of boobies...there's many more on this site, I promise, Otherwise, enjoy the offering of boobies then proceed.



 We can all agree that boobies make everything better, right?


Welcome to the first serious info-war.

Does that sound like Alex Jones' craziness? I admit, it does to me. However, that statement is not the histrionics of a conspiracy-obsessed blogger. No, this seeming bit of hyperventilation comes to us via Electronic Freedom Frontier (EFF) president, John Perry Barlow, who stated that "the first serious infowar has been engaged", referring of course to the administrative, corporate and governmental response to the Wikileak'd cables.

The effect of this statement is staggering. EFF is not a fringe 9/11 truth-er movement, or a tea-bag rightist fantasy camp. No, EFF is a well-respected major player in the realms of electronic privacy advocacy and all other issues affecting the intersection between humanity and computing. They bring suit, complaints and file amici on everything from eBay TOS to DMCR to extra-governmental snooping in your bank records, to the RIAA's punitive allegations of file-sharing and copyright. Barlow's release, then, is akin to the ACLU telling all 374 million of us that Congress has declared a literal war on American citizens and their rights. (In fairness, Barlow has issued some awfully hyperbolic statements before, but this one on behalf of EFF, is professional, not personal).



Okay, we get your point; we should be paying attention.



What is this info-war? Specifically, it's the war being waged on Wikileaks, a non-profit entity, by some of the most powerful nations on the planet, some of the largest online businesses, right down to the smallest DNS providers. Here's the rundown:

November 28, Wikileaks begins to release cables from the U.S. functionaries, containing highly embarrassing name-calling by diplomats, and revealing other embarrassing "secrets", such as Pakistan is close to a failed state, Saudis admit their citizens bankroll terrorists, Merkel doesn't know her ass from a hole in the ground, Sarkoszy is thin-skinned French wanker, the Russian mob and the Italian mafia are in cahoots, Putin and Buerlusconi are as crooked as the day is long. To which one can only say "No shit. We already knew this stuff". Anyone who reads the major papers of records such as PakTimes, NY Times, Pravda, BBC News, Le Monde, etc could have told you all of this...without blinking.

Yet, this information is deemed "damaging". And, that same day so-called "massive" denial of service attacks, effectively shutting down the site's Swedish servers. Private hackers and hacktivists have claimed credit for the attack, yet, there appears to be evidence of state-sponsored involvement in shutting down Wikileaks.

So, after suffering nearly 1/2 million attacks per minute on its own servers, Wikileaks then moves to Amazon. Predictably, Amazon pussies out, citing a non-existent violation of their TOS, and shuts down the site. Daniel Ellsberg, the hero who released the Pentagon Papers and thus set up some of the most profound First Amendment doctrine, has predictably struck back at this corporate censorship. His open letter to Amazon is powerful stuff. 

So, Wikileaks is on the move again. This time to "wikileaks.org" in the U.S. and Wikileaks mirrors in France. Fast-forward to December 2, 2010, where Wikileaks announces that it has a massive dump of documents that will absolutely destroy the veil obscuring the shady dealings between the U.S. and multi-billion dollar giant Bank of America.



Still following? Good, because shit is about to...Well, you know.



Anyone paying attention to the role of corporate influence in the U.S. can figure out what happens next: The war begins in earnest on Wikileaks. It is only after this disclosure that Amazon removes the site citing an undisclosed term of service. What about Wikileaks.org? EverDNS, the Vermont-based server for Wikileaks.org in America pulls the site, also citing a trumped-up violation of TOS.

Fine, you say, there are still European servers, right? Places where free expression and whistle-blowing/gonzo journalism are still taken seriously? You'd be wrong. First, France pulls Wikileaks' main site on the basis of no established French law. Fine. Move on the mirror in Switzerland, wikileaks.ch. Only problem is, now the Swiss have pulled the site as well, again, citing to no violation of law; information just goes down the memory hole.

Meanwhile, Assange is the apparent victim of trumped-up "rape charges". Swedish authorities have, since the Afghan/Iraq war dump stated that he's wanted for rape. After declining to prosecute for nearly a year, they now are attempting to re-file the charges. But, was there rape? Ummmm, no. The basis for the sexual assault charges are now apparently "sex by surprise" in having "unprotected sex".

And, on the homefront, American corporations are still fighting the BoA release tooth-n-nail. For instance, PayPal today announced that it will no longer permit donations to Assange's operation. And, it appears as though Twitter and Facebook are about to silence Wikileaks as well.


Sounds like an Infowar to me...


While all of these governments/agencies/corporations are shutting down the site in advance of the lending documents' release, the U.S. Government has apparently decided that a spoke truth can be obliterated if you just don't talk about it; and that the words/actions of our nation didn't occur if only they don't mention it by name, or try to ham-fistedly deny access to the documents. 

For instance, the Library of Congress, the largest repository of human knowledge in the world, has denied access to any site which could potentially discuss/release the cables. As the NY Times reports, the Government has jumped the shark in a more pernicious way, by ordering employees not to discuss the contents of the cables.  I shit you not. Government employees, many of who's work went into formulating the policy and actions described in the cable, cannot discuss, even amongst themselves, what work/words/actions actually got released.

As though administratively-required amnesia has ever worked.

The most recent head-in-the-sand, Orwellian approach is threatening grad/law students not to discuss this information that is already in the public sector. As Above the Law wrote today, several law schools are assisting the government in chilling, unconstitutional prior restraint of free speech. The pre-emptively bullying reads as follows (from BU School of Law):


Today I received information about Wikileaks that I want to pass on to you. This is most relevant if you are going to apply for or have already applied for federal government positions. Two big factors in hiring for many federal government positions are determining if the applicants have good judgment and if they know how to deal with confidential/classified information. The documents released by Wikileaks remain classified; thus, reading them, passing them on, commenting on them may be seen as a violation of Executive Order 13526, Classified National Security Information. See Section 5.5 (Sanctions).
For many federal government jobs, applicants must obtain security clearances. There are various levels of security checks, but all federal positions require background checks. As part of such checks, social media may be researched to see what you are up to, so DO NOT post links to the documents or make comments on any social media sites. Moreover, polygraphs are conducted for the highest levels of security clearance.
I have not yet heard any fallout about specific individuals, but we wanted to give you this take on the situation.
Maura Kelly
Assistant Dean for Career Development and Public Service


Ladies and gentlemen, this is an info-war. Rather than asnwering the fucking question, such as why the U.S. State Dept ordered spying on the UN; rather than discuss our uncomfortable ties to the Saudis; the failings of our policies in the Middle East; the torture that created hundreds, if not thousands, of new Jihadis, our government would rather silence the voices, pretend the words were never spoken, and then threaten and bully its citizens in any means at its disposal.

Chilling doesn't do this justice.
Perhaps our "leaders" would be better served by actually going back and reading the words of some of our Founders with respect to information, the press, and an engaged citizenry. In fact, a guy named Thomas Jefferson once said "Where the press is free and every man able to read, all is safe."

Good advice, what else did he have to say?

"The light which has been shed on mankind by the art of printing has eminently changed the condition of the world... And while printing is preserved, it can no more recede than the sun return on his course." --Thomas Jefferson to John Adams, 1823. ME 15:465

"Our liberty cannot be guarded but by the freedom of the press, nor that be limited without danger of losing it." --Thomas Jefferson to John Jay, 1786. 

"Our citizens may be deceived for awhile, and have been deceived; but as long as the presses can be protected, we may trust to them for light." --Thomas Jefferson to Archibald Stuart. 1799.

 

It's about time we fucking listen, I'd say.


In our failing democracy, we can at least count on boobies, Katherine Zeta-Jones' incomparable beauty, and the two combined.

 

 

-d.s.