Tuesday, October 20, 2009

Good News! Old Gay Lawyer Ramblings Is Moving!

Good news!   The web server is restored to life with brand new parts and pieces and some used  parts and pieces cannibalized from older retired boxes!  it has a brand new 500gig hard drive to keep me happy for awhile.  I will be migrating this blog to http://oldgaylawer.com over the next several days and will be attempting to restore some of my old Ramblings that are still resident on the bricks that formerly were the hard drives in the new bigger and better server!  I am even planning a cyber server warming party.  I am going to try to convince Jay Brannan to perform!

Monday, October 19, 2009

Don't Sweat the Small Stuff Law Enforcement.

    As everyone knows who has anything more than a very casual contact with me, I have been involved on the defense side of criminal law enforcement for almost forty years.  During my career I have handled all types of crimnal cases from serious felonies to ridiculous misdemeanors.  One of my earliest cases involved the defense of a misdemeanor citation issued in Huntington Beach for  a violation of a city ordinance that declared wall sitting on the city's pier to be a criminal offense.  My client, a young surfer, was ticketed for sitting on the pipe railing on the pier. That railing was not a wall under any definition of wall I could find and the city ordinance didn't define the term wall either. 
This clearly was a case of violating the "don't sweat the small stuff" rule of law enforcement. Not only did we file motions in the trial court but we also tried the case to the court and the court found my client guilty of sitting on the wall, even though only a railing was involved.  We appealed to the next higher court and that court reversed holding that a railing is clearly not a wall. The city spent probably $15,000 in attorney time, court time and other time, including  police overtime all over a $25 ticket. The City sweated the small stuff.

Today Attorney General Eric Holder has announced that the Department of Justice will no longer sweat the small stuff and has ordered U S Attorneys nationwide to not bother with prosecuting people and clinics who are  using marijuana in strict compliance with state laws concerning medicinal pot.  Good job, General Holder, it took you long enough. If federal and local prosecutors would use some of the  prosecutorial discretion we have invested them with and not file crappy low worth cases which achieve no serious public good or remedy serious social problems, life could be a lot better and simpler for John Q Public and the expenditure of public funds on all levels less than it is now when money, public and private, is very scarce.

Sunday, October 18, 2009

Food, Processed Food, and Other Poisons

This morning as I was mourning my awakening by my 'roommate', Rupert over a first cup of very good coffee and wandering through Google News I stumbled upon this article in the Denver Post.  I read it and thought about it and had another cup of coffee and then decided that I would send it around to various people I know, most of whom have been collected over the last half century.  When I was  preparing to send it on, I wondered what the hell is going on?  I wondered what on earth the 'zoning issues' mentioned in the article could possibly be in areas of the Nation and its urban cancer-cores unserved by traditional (as of the mid to late 20th century) paradigm of food distribution.  I am still wondering about the political question.  I didn't know much, in fact I know practically nothing,  about this process of 'aquaponics' but apparently it's a very simple self contained process for growing high quality fresh unmodified (hopefully) fruits and veggies and other good stuff l in places starved for fruits, veggies and fresh fish (read protein)  e.g., damn-near everywhere in America and particularly in America's marginalized and poverty-stricken inner cities.    The area in Denver where this abandoned green house (pictured in the article) is located does not have food outlets other than are found in convenience  stores and liquor stores and the like, where the chief items of sale are beer, wine, booze and cigarettes, those narcotizing and anesthetizing drugs sold to Americans 'living' on the underside of the pile of humanity in order  to keep them quiet.  I wondered how many fast food franchises are found in that area of Denver and similar areas of our cities.  I don't know the answer but  I am going to snoop and look around and see what Doctor Google  and his applications like Google Earth can tel lme.  I will report back.  People on my email list to whom I sent the  Denver Post link responded in droves (for me) and spoke of the historical destruction of American cities, the destruction of fresh, healthful food outlets in the inner cities and with more links to articles on aquaponics (and at least one offer to let me help).  You grow fresh fruits and vegetables and fish. The fish eat, defecate, breed and their waste feeds your veggies and share the aqueous environment with your growing produce and fruits. I bet you can even use the water to irrigate root veggies that are hard to grow hydroponically.You eat the fish and fruits and veggies which have grown strong and healthily and everything replenishes itself and hopefully you  and your children grow strong and healthy and not obese and diabetic 'living' off poisoned and mercury laden fish (available locally at your nearest Corporate Grocer) and genetically altered fruits and veggies and  grease burgers and grease-fried potato-products and cheese food found in fast food joints across America, all while watching the dumb-downed shows on that Great Wasteland referred to by Newton Minnow in the early days of the Kennedy Administration.  You can read more here, here, and here.  If I were to do this, and I am seriously considering doing it and I end up with a surplus of fruits and veggies and fish, I bet I could trade some for chickens (hopefully pre-butchered) and eggs and maybe even home-baked bread (or tortillas). Just think of the great salsa that can be made from this stuff!
The late Speaker of the House of Representative, Tip O'Neill, himself from the central core of one of America's great but rotting cities, Boston, said that all politics is local.  He was right.  He would also agree, I am sure, with the current mantra to think locally and act globally.

Thursday, October 15, 2009

There's a Time Machine in Louisiana.

I find this hard to believe.  This sounds something like out of 1939.  A Louisiana Justice of the Peace has denied a marriage license to an interracial couple.  I like to attach pictures of people who are the subject of my rants but I just cant find one of Justice Keith Bardwell. So this one  of a neanderthalian from the Encyclopedia Brittanica will have to do until I find one of this man who claims to treat everyone equally. I love his comment about him not being a racist, he just doesn't believe in mixing the races that way.  I wonder what he would have done had this couple promised him not to make babies.  You can read the AP news story here
Mr. Bardwell is more than just a neanderthal, he is an endangered species...all by himself.  Apparently he doesn't believe in the principal of equal justice under the law. I wonder what Governor Jindal will say.  Especially since our biracial President saved his bacon today in New Orleans.
 Finally I have located a picture that may be Keith Bardwell.  This is the picture that accompanies an article  on this whole sordid affair. You can read the Inquisitr article here  Here is the picture that accompanies the article. I wonder which of these gentlemen pictured here is Mr. Bardwell.  One could not have asked for a better picture to display on a rant like mine.  I am not entirely convinced that this (or one of these) is actually Mr. Bardwell but we can hope.  Hope we can believe in!
Finally CNN.com has done something worthwhile instead of chasing Fixed News' tail and trying to out-whacko them.  It has published the first found picture of Keith Bardwell.  This picture should hang in a Jim Crow museum somewhere.


Monday, October 12, 2009

The Powers that be in America Need You.

           The powers that be in this Nation need you.  They need your back.  They need your hands and they need your brains.  They need your bodies.  They need your reproductive capacity.  They need your undivided attention to the task at hand.  The task at hand is simply to support their avarice and greed. They need you to work hard and they need your money.  When you are a child they need you in school.  When you are older they need you to spend.  When you are older still they need you to breed and they need you to spend.  They need you to borrow money you don’t need and can’t afford and  most importantly they need you to spend that borrowed money.  And will you are doing this they need you  to be contented cows.  When you are old they need you to die.  Most especially they need you to die.

Sunday, October 11, 2009

A Great Speech!

  The President gave another Great Speech.  You would almost think he was Candidate Obama again!  Perhaps he is Candidate Obama, and the Great Speech was his opening salvo for his re-election bid in 2012. If the GOP can use wedge issues to win elections by electrifying its base, why can't Mr. Obama?
  My neighbor stopped by last night both to visit my cat and to tell me how impressed she was with the  Speech. I hope she wasn't too let down when I let the air out of her tires by asking if he had announced he was going to use his power under the law to stop the continuing discharge of patriotic soldiers, sailors, airmen and yes marines while he is pondering how many, if any, more troops he's going to send to fight, bleed and die in Afghanistan.  I was exceedingly underwhelmed by the reiterated 2008 promises.  There is no doubt that the man can talk the walk but seems totally unable to walk the talk. There really is nothing to be seen here, folks, move on. You can come back and tell me when actually does something that resembles walking the talk.

A Video for Our Times.

This is an amazing video. Guess which cat wins out and obviously has the brains.http://www.wimp.com/threecats/   There is a  political lesson in there somewhere.  Enjoy.

Friday, October 9, 2009

President Obama Wins Nobel Peace Prize.

Now that the President is the surprise winner of this Nobel Peace Prize. I have a suggestion.  The actual cash prize is not insubstantial, so why doesn't he donate the proceeds to some organization like the National Association of Free Clinics.  The NAFC are the good folks who are bringing mobile medical and dental clinics to various locations in the US that are sorely in need of medical care for the working poor in this country.  Keith Olbermann has suggested that the NAFC should bring mobile clinics each week to the capital cities of each state in the union that is represented by a Blue Dog Democratic senator or a GOP senator sitting on the Senate Finance Committee who oppose the public option in the pending health care bills.  This is in the hope of shaming those servants of the health insurance companies into changing their position on the public option.
Mr. Obama gets a $400,000 year salary and has free rent  and great medical care.  He doesn't need the prize to live well.  He should donate it to push his desires for real health care reform in this county.  We should all write the President and urge him to do this.

Thursday, October 8, 2009

Let the Democrats Enforce Party Discipine!

  I listened last night to part of Keith Olbermann's very personal special comment on healthcare in America.  It was pretty impressive and very personal.  But he is absolutely correct, Americans are in servitude to the health insurance industry and apparently the health insurance industry owns the Senate of the United States outright.  It is time for Americans tio do something to cast off the shackles of servitude imposed by their masters.  Keith is right, premium strike would not work. For the simple reason that if Master cancels your insurance for non-payment  and then it's reinstated later you are saddled with the yoke of a pre-existing condition and you are franky "shit out of luck" as they say in my part of the woods.  The only way besides the traveling Free Clinic which sets up shop each week the capital city of each of the Blue Dog Democrats to shame them into supporting real health care reform, is to pester the senate leadership and the democratic caucus to understand that health care reform is the most important thing in America and to let them know shaply, frankly and loudly that any senator votes no on cloture on the coming GOP filibuster of real health care reform will lose his or her positions in the senate leadership and by this I mean they will lose the chairmanships of committees and sub-committees in the senate.  Let's get on this and demand they enforce party discipline.   Vote No on Cloture and "Off with their heads!"

Monday, October 5, 2009

Big Brother Wants to Know More About YOU, Everything About YOU!

   The Los Angeles Times this morning published an article about Tony Rackauckas' latest scheme and power grab. Tony, the man who in past years has organized poltical campaigns that resulted in the removal from office of a California Chief Justice and several associate justices of the Supreme Court and who was rewarded for his efforts by being appointed to a vacant judgeship in Orange County and who subsequently ran for District Attorney and was elected to that office  has come up with a new scheme.  Under this new scheme, which is really a scam, a person charged with a misdemeanor (a public offense which is punishable by no more than a year in the county jail) or a 'personal use' drug felony (punishable by imprisonment in State Prison) can have his or her criminal case dismissed with absolutely no personal consequences upon payment of a $75 processing fee and the 'contribution' of a sample of the person's DNA to a database maintained not by the FBI or the California Department of Justice but rather by the District Attorney himself.  Tony's database is completely independent  of the ones created by law and controlled by law.  The lawful databases have restrictions on how those databases can be used and controlling access to the use of the information contatined in those databases.  There are no such restrictions on Tony's database.  Conceivably Tony or any successor could sell the information, license it, patent new therapies developed from it or just plain old use it for nefarious poltitical purposes.  Not only that but the source of this 'wealth' is any citizen who is charged by Tony, since he and he alone decides who is charged with crimes.  After almost 40 years as a street lawyer, handling a large number of misdemeanor criminal cases over that period of time, I know that most people being dragged into the criminal justice system, deservedly or not, are terrified of what might happen to them, their families and even their careers. For example the conviction of any person of a marijuana offense, renders them ineligible for any federally guaranteed student financial aid.  This ineligibility follows that person for the reminder of their lives.  It is a classic bill of attainder. Conviction of certain misdemeanors, rightly or wrongly, disqualify a citizen from certain professional licenses.  Citizens charged with such crimes are rightfully fearful of their futures and their careers.  So what happens when a young deputy DA summons a person charged with such a crime into a conference room and offers to dismiss the case for a mere $75, their signature on a waiver, and a swab of their mouth?  Let me guess, the overwhelming number of such people pay the money, sign t he paper and open their mouths.  From that day forward each such person has given up his or her essence, the code which describes them as a member of homo sapiens and which differentiates them from every other person on the planet.  It is the essence of who YOU  are.   This Essence is now under the direct and unsupervised control of a politician.
There are other evils associated with that.  Currently a prosecutor's duty is not to ensure convictions of crime, but rather to use his or her best efforts to ensure that justice is done.  That means a prosecutor is obligated to dismiss a criminal case if he or she has evidence of the innocence of a defendant that puts in serious doubt that person's guilt of the offense charged.  This scam  is destructive of that end, the prosecutor is now willy nilly dismissing cases in order to build this database.  Justice be damned!  We have a database to build!  Not only that but it places the prosecutor in the untenable position of being a witness against the defendant in the person of the witness who testifies to the identity of the perpetrator based upon the DA's database.  That witness is an employee not of an accredited, licensed and independent crime lab but of the DA's own office.  That is unprofessional and unethical.
While I am certain that Tony is possessed of some modicum of good faith, a locally controlled database within the prosecutor's office is just too much of a temptation to be waived in front of a politician.

Sunday, October 4, 2009

Some Things Need to be Passed On.

I did not know who Anne Lamott is until after I found this letter to President Obama on the web this morning but I really am envious of the skills of this author.   I read it. Then I read it again, this time. aloud, It read to me like a good sermon coming from the mouth of a good preacher and when I had finished reading and listening to it there was a great silence in my soul and a calm and a knowledge that this is what we, as Americans, must do for all the reasons set out in this letter:  Here is its full text:
"Dear Mr. President,
I am afraid there has been a misunderstanding since that election in 2OBAMA008, during which 66,882,230 Americans cast their votes for you. Perhaps one of your trusted advisors has given you bum information. Maybe they told you that we voted for you -- walked, marched, prayed, fund-raised and knocked on doors for you -- because we hoped you would try to reunite the country.
Of the total votes cast that long-ago November day, I'm guessing that about 1,575 people wanted you to try to reconcile the toxic bipartisanship that culminated in those Sarah Palin rallies.
The other 66,880,655 of us wanted universal healthcare.
You inherited a country that was in the most desperate shape since the Civil War, or the Depression, and we voted for you to heal the catastrophic wounds Bush inflicted on our country and our world. You said that you were up to that challenge.
We did not vote for you to see if you could get Chuck Grassley or Michael Enzi to date you. The spectacle of you wooing them fills us with horror and even disgust. We recoil as from hot flame at each mention of your new friends.
Believe me, I know exactly how painful this can be, how reminiscent of 7th-grade yearning to be popular, because I went through it myself this summer. I did not lower my bar quite as low as you have, but I was sitting on the couch one afternoon, thinking that this adorable guy and I were totally on the same sheet of music -- he had given me absolutely every indication that we were -- and were moving into the kissing stage. Out of nowhere, I thought to ask him if he liked me in the same way I liked him.
He said, in so many words, no.
And Mr. President, that is what the Republicans are saying to you: They are just not that into you, sir.
This may have thrown you for such a loop that you have forgotten why you were elected -- which was to lead your people back to the promises of our founding parents. Many of us no longer recognized our country after eight years of Bush and Cheney, and you gave us your word that you would help restore the great headway we had made on matters of race, equality and plain old social justice.

People, get ready, you said; there's a train a 'coming. And we did get ready. We hit the streets. We roared, whispered, cried, whooped and went door to door, convinced that even if Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. had not specifically dreamed of you, his dream of justice and equality and pride might come into being through your vision, your greatness, through the hope that your words gave us, through the change you promised.
He dreamed of a leader like you. Just like you. And something in the deepest part of this country's soul heard.
After eight years of Bush, and then the Palin nomination, we were battered and anguished and punch-drunk. But in rallying behind you, we came back to life, like in Ezekiel when the prophet breathes the spirit of bearing witness and caring onto the dry bones, and those bones come back to life, become living people again, cherished and tended to.
We did not know exactly how you would proceed to restore our beloved Constitution. It seemed beyond redemption, like my kitchen floor did briefly last week after my dog, Bodhi, accidentally ate 24 corn bread muffins. You said you would push back your sleeves and begin, that it would take all of us working harder than we ever had before, but that you would lead. While acknowledging the financial and moral devastation of the last eight years, you said you would start by giving your people healthcare. You would do battle with the conservatives and insurance companies. You said in your beautiful way many times that this was the overarching moral and spiritual issue of our times, and we understood this to mean that you took this to be your Selma, your Little Rock.
I hate to sound like a betrayed 7-year-old, but you said. And we believed you. Now you seem to have abandoned the dream. That is why moderates and liberals and progressives like myself all seem a little tense this summer. It is time to call your spirit back. We will be here to help when you get back from vacation. We want to help you get over the disappointment of Mr. Grassley's cold shoulder, of Mr. Enzi blowing you off, even that nice Olympia Snowe standing you up. We can and will take to the streets again, march and hold peaceful rallies, go door to door, donate to any causes that will help get out the truth of what a public option would mean. But we need you to shake off the dust of the journey and remember the promises of Dr. King, and we need you to lead us toward what is no longer so distant a shore.
Do it for Teddy Kennedy, boss. Do it for the other Kennedys too, for Dr. King, for Big Mama, for the poorest kids you met on the trail, the kids who go to emergency rooms for their healthcare, do it for their mothers and for Michelle. Just do it.
Trusting you, Mr. Obama

Anne Lamott"