Thursday, November 30, 2006

Fair Weather Veggie

Once again I am inspired by someone else's post (see generally plagiarism). This time it is my favorite Mlle's musings on being veggie.

After a similar internal debate, I have come to take the following logically untenable position; I don't eat animals with big brown eyes and fur Mammals. It is based on a loose set of events and thoughts.

First, it was an article about how cows were treated that initiated the whole thing for me a couple of years ago.

Second, I am too busy to be veggie or vegan and I like going out to eat. When I cook for myself, I usually keep it veggie, but I don't want to make choosing a restaurant a chore for others. I dated a veggie a while back, and travelling around Europe with her was rough. I don't have time to be really strict. I go to the gym quite a bit, I need protein, and I don't have time to count my beans and rice.

Third, as a practical matter, it's just easier to avoid some meet than all meat.

Fourth, I like chicken.

But I do have two escape clauses.

1) Travel. You can't go to Spain and not eat pork. Many specialties of foreign countries involve mammals, and life is too short not to try time-tested cuisine when travelling.

2) Being a good guest. It's happened a couple of times where people cook mammals for me. If they ask me in advance, I'll say no mammals, but I'm not going to refuse a meal that someone else has prepared for me just because it has meat in it. Life is too short to annoy friends.

Now I now it doesn't really hold together, and I'm not going to get into a moral debate with anyone about whether a turkey's life is worth less than a pig's. This is just how things have settled for me, and it seems to work. It's my way of splitting
the baby the moo cow.

Wednesday, November 29, 2006

U.S. Grounds North Korea, Revokes TV Privileges, Sends to Room Still Hungry

The U.S. announced a list of the products forbidden for sale to North Korea as a part of the UN approved sanctions. It includes ipods, Harley Davidsons, Cognac and even sports equipment. Well, there goes those North Korean drunk motorcycle basketball tournaments set to "Eye of the Tiger."

I think this is actually an interesting ploy. Economic sanctions seem to usually end up hurting the people more than the government it is intended to weaken. This way, I guess we're trying to weaken Kim by eliminating his ability to reward his cronies with the fancy-shmancy or artsy-fartsy. I don't think North Korea's starving population will miss their Rolex Watches or caviar.

Tuesday, November 28, 2006

This is why

Me: In the practice guide, it says I should contact opposing counsel if I intend to file a motion to shorten time. Should I call them up?
Partner 1: Oh, don't bother. They'll just dick you around.

Several days later...

Partner 2: Hey did you contact opposing counsel about that motion to shorten time?
Me: Um, actually no, bec....
Partner 2: Well you should always do that. That should be standard practice. You're probably going to be getting a bunch of angry phone calls.
Me: Ok, I will. I did ask th...
Partner 2: I'll take the heat this time, but make sure you always contact them.
Me: <<sigh>>. Ok. Sure thing.

Wednesday, November 22, 2006

Slappy Turkey Day!!

I'm off to LA for what should be an interesting Thanksgiving with my Uncle who my Dad didn't talk to for 15 years, my Mom and my 14-year old cousin who used to be in show biz. Woo Hoo!

Tuesday, November 21, 2006

A Call For Interpretation

I had a disturbing dream last night. It wasn't disturbing in the normal "teeth falling out" or "falling off of a cliff" dream kind of way. It was about my ex...uh...ex "friend." Some context is needed here.

Before my current gf I was involved with a girl for about a year. I will call her "la malinche." It was the most passionate and unhealthy relationship I have ever been in. Our first physical encounter was in an employee-only area next to a freight elevator in a hotel in a different city. That represented about 6 months of sexual tension that just blew up. When we started "seeing" each other regularly, she lived with her boyfriend of several years.

It started out as more or less purely physical, but I think part of why I was so attracted to her was her personality and intellect. Seriously. Don't get me wrong, la malinche is beautiful, but it was more than just a pure physical attraction. I was attracted to her in a very animal, soul-yearning, painful way. Based on what transpired I can only guess that it was reciprocated. Well...the passion part anyway. We did it everywhere: my place, her place when her boyfriend was gone, the library at school, bathrooms, barely hidden corners of public places. She moved out of the apartment with her boyfriend. It eventually became a bit more domestic. We took trips together, watched movies, and had quiet nights at home. Eventually, it almost looked like a real relationship. Almost.

Looking back on it now, I don't recognize myself. I think part of it might have been the fact that my dad was dying at the time, and I was struggling for some sort of meaning. Oh yeah, I was studying for the bar for part of this too. Very odd time in my life. To tell the truth, I don't know if I've ever fully recovered from all of this.

Anyway, she eventually had an emotional crisis, we stopped seeing each other, and as far as I know I think she got engaged to her previously ditched boyfriend. Several months after this all blew up in my face is when I started dating current gf. After la malinche, my current gf was a breath of fresh air. She was attractive, single, and we got along really well.

Ok, right, so the dream. I dreamed about la malinche last night. And we kissed. And it was like it was before with her: aggressive, playful, sensual. I could feel it in my toes. It made me tremble with excitement and I felt very alive. When I woke up, I realized that I don't really feel that with my current gf.

Now I don't know what to make of this. I don't think kissing la malinche was always that good...or at least as good as my dream made it out to be. And I do believe that part of my attraction to la malinche was the fact that she was never really attainable. Like I said, we almost were a real couple, but she went out of her way to remind me that I was disposable.

My physical relationship with gf is pretty good (great sexy time), but I don't yearn for her the same way I yearned for la malinche. Now part of that might just be age, and the fact that I work a lot now (my justification thus far). But my dream made me worry a bit more that maybe...just maybe....I need to find someone with whom I have that soul-wrenching yearning for. Or was that yearning just a function of my dysfunctional relationship with la malinche, and something that I shouldn't look for because it's a symptom of an unhealthy relationship?

I love this song and it kind of reminds of me of that whole "relationship"

Monday, November 20, 2006

You left your what in San Francisco?

On a foggy day such as this, it is easy for me to grow weary of my fair city. And then I see it in the news. I don't know if SF just has a certain reputation, or the fact that it is a certain self-selecting group of people who choose to live here, but it always seems to get world attention in stories such as this (originally found on corriere della sera here, article on same thing from SFGate here). And suddenly I am reminded of why I love living here.

Mark your calendars people. December 22, 2006 is the day to make your contribution to the Global Orgasm for Peace. I don't know if it will help, but it couldn't hurt. According to the people who came up with this latest one (apparently there have been others), this is how one is to let other people secretly know you are going to participate:

I wonder if they know what that means in Brazil? Hmmm....maybe they do....maybe they do.....

Friday, November 17, 2006

Lost in Translation

No matter how much I am forewarned, and no matter how ready I think I am for the expected unexpected, I am always surprised by the things that come out of Japan.

Whether it's the strangely shaped pillows

The neck stretcher

The Classic Hello Kitty Vibrator

To me, Japanese culture I think is the most foreign. And I love it. Enjoy this clip about a girl and her hamster. Be warned. NSFW as I found out a bit too late. Originally found on

P.S. I love the fact that the hello kitty vibrator and Milton Friedman are like 4 inches apart on this page.

Thursday, November 16, 2006

Farewell Milton

Milton Friedman died today at the age of 94. I am often a reluctant friend and admirer of the Chicago School, but Friedman's contributions cannot be ignored.

Milton Friedman (July 31, 1912-November 16, 2006)

The Roma

I made a comment about "gypsies" over at law school virgin the other day, and it motivated me to write a post on them.

I think my first exposure to "gypsies" was as a child. It always seemed they were depicted as carnies, or fortune tellers, and in an ominous, though often Disney, sort of way. I'm sure I'm not alone here. When I got older, my dad got really into the "Gypsy Kings." Later, I heard they throw their babies at you so that when you drop your bag to catch it, they steal your bag. Never really thought much about it.

When I lived in Paris, I had a special Romanian friend, Karina. She moved back to Bucharest around Christmas time. I went and visited her during spring break. She was smart, educated, easy on the eyes, tolerant and fairly liberal. We traveled around Romania together for the week and it was an absolute blast. Romania is a beautiful country, I highly recommend traveling there if you get the chance, but getting around without a "special friend" might be difficult. If you speak any latin-based language, you should be able to get along.

We spent a few nights on Neptune Beach along the Black Sea. As we were walking down the street one day, a girl of about 10 years-old who had been walking in front of us suddenly turned around so that she was facing us. She had dark skin, dirty black hair, and to this day, the most beautiful eyes I have ever seen in my life. They were a profound greenish turquoise: what you would imagine the color of a moderately deep lagoon filled by a waterfall in New Zealand to be. Set against her darker skin, it was a thing of beauty. I stopped in my tracks and just stood there staring at her: bouche e.

What's wrong with you?
, Karina asked me.

That...that...girl's eyes...they're...beautiful.

Yeah...but she's a gypsy.

It was at that moment, I realized that if this educated girl would come out with a comment like that, these people had problems.

I don't want to go into the details of what you can find on wikipedia or by googling "gypsy," but I think that the Roma are the true diaspora of the earth, and they have always evoked a certain sympathy with me.

Basically, the Roma are only called "gypsies" because of an old mistaken belief that they came from Egypt, and that misnomer exists in several different languages. No one seems to care enough to change it. They don't have a written history, so no one really knows where they came from, but we now think they that they immigrated from India in the 10th Century, but no one knows why. Some say they were disaffected "untouchables." The largest population now is in eastern Europe (especially Romania) and the balkans.

They were the only race other than Jews were who slaughtered during the holocaust, but again no one knows the exact number. About 70% of the Roma population in Poland was wiped out. Dialects of the language were extinguished. Estimates range that from between 200,000 to 1.5 million Roma were killed by the Nazis. Roma victims have never received any sort of reparations, and their slaughter during the Third Reich was only belatedly recognized.

To this day, most countries treat them as a problem. They are not a recognized national minority in most countries, are not represented in local or national governments, and are subject to discrimination and often physical attacks. They live in squalor and unsanitary conditions in make-shift shanty towns. Many Eastern Europeans (not all of course) see them as dirty outsiders who live off of social welfare. While we have abandoned the pejorative "to jew someone (thank goodness), we continue to use "gyp" which owes its etymological source from gypsy, which again, isn't even accurate itself.

And it's not helped by the fact that the Roma themselves see the outside world as unclean themselves and so have no real desire to integrate or participate.

I saw a film about a Slovenian working for Habitat for Humanity, who decided to try and help the Roma in that country. When he was asking local businesses for help, the owner of one business said that he would like to donate 3 and 1/2 cents for each roma person that lived in the community. The Slovenian thanked him for his generosity, but asked him..."why such an odd amount?"

The man responded, "Because that's how much a bullet costs"

Tuesday, November 14, 2006

Bitch (that's what I do)

Based on this rant from first year, I was inspired to have my own today.

Dear Ms. Partner:

When I go out of my way (I volunteered for f's sake) to pick up the slack for one associate who is gone playing GOLF on company time, and another one who has other things to do (like I don't) and you call me to tell me that I sent the extra work I did to the wrong person (because we had a new person hired last week and his role is still vague to all of us), could you at least say, "hey thanks for stepping up" or "thanks for getting that done on such short notice" or really anything positive? Otherwise next time, I'm going to ignore the email like everyone else does around here. That would be great...thanks....

No Way José

José Padilla (pronounced padila, not padiya, by personal preference), a U.S. Citizen detained on U.S. soil, has now been in federal custody for about 4 and 1/2 years. He was originally detained in May 2002 on a material witness warrant, as he was accused of having (not formally charged, mind you) helped to plan a dirty bomb attack in the U.S. Two days before a district court was to rule on the validity of Padilla's continued detention under the warrant in June, 2006, Bush and Rummy changed the authority under which he was detained, now labeled him an "enemy combatant," and transferred him to a military brig in South Carolina, giving no notice to his attorneys or family.

This in turn, led to a habeas petition that was eventually turned down on technical grounds by the U.S. Supreme Court in 2004. The petition was rejected in part because it was filed in NY and not South Carolina, where Padilla was actually detained. I imagine they tried to file it in NY, rather than in South Carolina where he was detained so as to avoid the 4th Circuit and take advantage of the 2nd. Before a corrected petition could be ruled on by the Supreme Court (which had been predictably denied by the 4th circuit), U.S. authorities finally formally charged Padilla in November 2005, about 3 and 1/2 years after his initial detention and was transferred to a Miami (civilian) federal prison. He was charged with aiding terrorists and conspiracy to murder US nationals overseas; no mention of a dirty bomb was made. In fact, the indictment itself is pretty vague (indictment from ABC).

Padilla has now petitioned the court to have the case thrown out, saying that he was subjected to torture and abuse including sleep deprivation, threats of execution, exposure to fumes, etc. while in military custody. The U.S. denies the claims. The case is set to go to trial in January 2007, almost almost five years after he was first detained in Chicago.

I know this story has been around for a while, but I think that's why I felt the need to say something about it. Here, a US citizen was detained in the United States for the better part of three years with no charge and was only allowed to meet with his attorneys in March 2004. The government's position was basically that, upon the president's unreviewable determination of status as "enemy combatant" the Bill of Rights do not apply to a U.S. citizen on U.S. soil. I think the government finally got around to charging him with actual crimes just to avoid a showdown with the Supreme Court.

I think it's also interesting to note that a lot of the "alternative interrogation techniques" that Padilla complains of sound an awful lot like the ones that Bush and Cheney have been advocating are legal and useful in Gitmo and the secret CIA detention centers, e.g. "water boarding." And Padilla was being held in military custody during this time period....coincidence? And I don't think the government can argue that the Eighth Amendment doesn't apply in South Carolina.

Hey about defunding some these thing, huh?

Friday, November 10, 2006

Les banlieus de Paris-Un an après

It has been about a year since the suburbs of Paris and other cities in France were burning. This blog didn't really exist then. So I will take this opportunity to comment on it. Lucky you.

In the U.S., we think of the suburbs as being nice and safe while the downtown area is usually the depressed and dangerous part of a city. Paris is the opposite. Well, that's not totally true, there are some nice suburbs of Paris in the west, but central paris, especially the 16e arrondissement, is exceptionally nice. The suburbs to the north are really the "ghetto" of Paris. I spent some time in Seine-Saint-Denis and let me tell you, it is scary. Unemployment among the young ranges from 50 to 80% in these areas. Crime and drugs are rampant. This is where a lot of Maghreb immigrants ended up several decades ago when manufacturing jobs were plentiful, and now their children find themselves jobless and disenfranchised in the french modèle social. Marseille, in a similar fashion, is also known for being une ville chaude.

It is a sad situation, similar to our own ghettos. I think these riots were a wake-up call to the french, who had grown accustomed to thinking that the their système social could solve all problems of poverty. Not that we're doing much better, mind you. Sadly, it seems that the french authorities, Sarkozy at the front, are reacting in a rather american fashion, by focusing on police enforcement rather than opening a dialogue on what needs to be done to get to the root of the problem. Le Monde article. I mean, I know people can't just run around burning cars, and laws must be enforced, but there's a bigger problem here.

Anyways, here's a great track from a French rap group from Seine-Saint-Denis called NTM. This is from a while ago, but I still like it. I'm not going to tell you what NTM stands for. Ask a french friend :) Bon week-end à tous!

Thursday, November 09, 2006

International Criminal Court: Prosecutor v. Mr Thomas Lubanga Dyilo

Today three pre-trial judges heard evidence in the above-captioned case to determine whether "sufficient evidence to establish substantial grounds to believe that the person committed each of the crimes charged" See Article 61 of the Rome Statute. I believe (please correct me if I'm wrong) that this is similar to a preliminary hearing in the U.S., in which a judge determines if there is probable cause that a crime was committed. Lubanga Dyilo is the first suspect to be delivered into the custody of the court.

Lubanga Dyilo is charged with conscripting children under the age of 15 into his militia (the military wing of the Union des Patriotes Congolais) in the Democratic Republic of the Congo. If the charges are "confirmed" this could very well be the first case to go to trial at the ICC. The judges have 60 days after the end of the hearing to render a decision.

Groundbreaking stuff. Too bad the United States STILL hasn't signed the damn treaty.

ICC press release.

Come again?

I thought Bush had seen the election results. Apparently he's trying to sneak this one under the radar. If the last Congress didn't like him, I doubt John Bolton will fare much better now.

For Immediate Release
Office of the Press Secretary
November 9, 2006

Nominations Sent to the Senate

John Robert Bolton, of Maryland, to be the Representative of the United States of America to the United Nations, with the rank and status of Ambassador Extraordinary and Plenipotentiary, and the Representative of the United States of America in the Security Council of the United Nations.

John Robert Bolton, of Maryland, to be Representative of the United States of America to the Sessions of the General Assembly of the United Nations during his tenure of service as Representative of the United States of America to the United Nations.

Wednesday, November 08, 2006

Why on Earth Would Britney Divorce K-fud?

Maybe it's because he wanted to be given the "pile-driver" in public.

I know I know. That's a body slam. But "body slam" doesn't have the same sexual overtones. Wait, WWE paid him for this?

Pic from

Bush Says Rumsfeld Is Stepping Down

I think I just came in my pants

A kind of santorum we can do without

And a special goodbye to former Senator Rick Santorum. It is with utmost pleasure that I watch this douchebag get kicked out. This is the man who conflated a homosexual relationship between two adults with bestiality and child molestation, co-sponsored the ill-fated constitutional amendment against gay marriage, and shepherded the Terry Schiavo legislation through the Senate.

Hopefully one day, this will be the only kind of santorum we remember.

Good job Dan Savage!

Tuesday, November 07, 2006


I am not a partisan person. I am a democrat and generally vote democratic, but I tend to go by issue or by candidate. I am extremely liberal on social issues, but tend to be a bit more conservative (and by that I mean liberal) on economic issues; a libertarian in denial perhaps, if it were not for my occasional anti-establishment socialist outbursts.

For the first time ever, I voted a straight democratic ticket. And as I watch the results come in on CNN (actually I watched it on fox news, just to watch the facial expressions) I could not be happier.

My reasoning was thus: the retardicon party has drifted away from the few things I found attractive about them (free-trade, small government) and has moved to embrace many of the things I despise (unilateral and arrogant foreign policy, rolling back of civil liberties, nepotism, etc.). Most of all, it was the hypocrisy (party of "morality," but then everyone passes the buck with Foley) and the meaningless rhetoric they used to back up their ideological policies forged in denial, with their "cut and run" and "stay the course" and all that other bullshit. Oh and the torture thing. Oh and the complete disregard for process, whether it was creating special federal court jurisdiction for Terry Shiavo, creating secret CIA prisons, suspending habeas corpus for detainees at Gitmo, or tapping domestic communications without ANY regard for the Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Act. While most of this had genesis in the White House, the party of small government just went along with it, while turning a $236 billion surplus into a deficit of the same amount and increasing earmarks by 10 fold.

So anyone who continues to associate themselves voluntarily with this horrible, greedy, sleazy, war-mongering, vapid party no longer deserves to be elected.

So I am ecstatic that the Dems have taken the House, and if they don't end up taking the Senate, at least there will have to be some damn compromise. Which I think is in every one's interest after the shenanigans of the past 6 years.

What do you think Bush is going to say tomorrow?

Friday, November 03, 2006

Weekend Reading

As I am tired of writing meaningless motions that disappear into the ether, here's something of substance; briefing has begun in two (al Odah v. United States and Boumediene v. Bush) pending habeas cases of detainees at Guantanamo subsequent to the passage of the Military Commissions Act (MCA). The government has argued that the D.C. district and appellate courts no longer have jurisdiction after the passage of the MCA to entertain habeas petitions. This is the first challenge to the MCA (that I know of). The petitioners argue, inter alia, that the MCA violates the suspension clause, and that Congress cannot bar Geneva Conventions-based claim. Cross your fingers.

Previous Posts here and here

More detail at National Security Advisors

Have a great weekend!

Fingerless gloves, skinny tie, and an obvious Colombian marching powder habit? No no no. You're supposed to dress up like somebody else for Halloween. Silly Hipsters.

Wednesday, November 01, 2006

Why Do We Care What You Think? Part I

I have noticed that a lot of celebrities and pundits often give their unsolicited opinion about pretty much anything. And it makes me ask the question: Why should I, or anyone, care about what you think? Whether it's what Nick Carter thinks of Paris Hilton, what that one guy said about Lindsay Lohan's nether regions, or what Bill O'Reily really has to say about anything. I am just floored that what these people say or think is, by someone's definition, "news." As this has been a sentiment I've been harboring for a while, this might be a reoccurring segment.

Nothing illustrates my frustration better than this guy and what he had to say about Michael J. Fox.

Now, in a vacuum, I would also be sceptical about what Michael J. Fox had to say about anything. HOWEVER, Michael J. Fox has Parkinson's disease. He was appearing in support of candidates who in turn support stem-cell research, because stem cell research looks like it could eventually lead to a cure. But Rush Limbaugh apparently decided that Michael J. Fox was off of his meds in the advertisements, and that this was somehow disingenuous because it exaggerated his disease. A few things before I get to my main point.

First. Yeah, sure campaign ads never exaggerate anything, right?

Second. The meds Fox is on quell the symptoms of Parkinson's. Even if he did miss his meds, you would be seeing what the true ugly symptoms of the disease were. He didn't take meds to exaggerate his condition.

But my main point is, why does anyone care what Rush Limbaugh thinks anymore? This is the same guy who fully supported the War on Drugs, saying things like

And so if people are violating the law by doing drugs, they ought to be accused and they ought to be convicted and they ought to be sent up.
and then came out and said that, well, actually he had been addicted to pain killers for several years and was put under investigation for doctor shopping. I never thought the guy really added anything to the conversation, but now he was just a hypocritical douchebag.

So when Rush Limbaugh says the beloved Alex P. Keaton is somehow exaggerating the symptoms of this horrible debilitating disease, I am surprised that anyone cares, not only because his comment was just plain mean, but because this guy is so full of it. Why does this man get paid to have opinions anymore?

A side-note to Mr. Rush Limbaugh himself. You should really consider supporting stem cell research yourself, not only because it could eventually cure leukemia, a disease that you yourself are helping to cure, but also because it could eventually help you get over your own illness now that they have mapped and isolated your problem area: