The Musings of

Something full of magic, religion, bullsh*t.

Monday, January 31, 2005

The truth is out there

Remember when conspiracy theories were cool? I was discussing this a few days ago with a friend of mine. There was a time in the mid-90s when conspiracy theorists were seen as more than just geeks or people who forgot to take their meds. I call it the "X-Files" effect. Chris Carter started with that show, then moved on to Millennium and the lesser-known Lone Gunman. Next thing you know, we've got JFK, Conspiracy Theory, Enemy of the State, and Keith Hernandez spitting on Kramer ("Back, and to the left!").

During my time in politics I met my share of conspiracy theorists -- John Bircher types and others -- who believed in all sorts of fantastic machinations that were affecting their lives and ours from behind the great curtain. One campaign worker in Montana refused to go through metal detectors because he believed that the Government could tell how much cash he had on him by reading the little metal strips in the bills (needless to say, he also didn't keep his money in a financial institution).

There was the guy who lived in the mountains in Virginia who was convinced that he was keeping the world safe by not selling his farm to the Trilateral Commission, who owned the property next to him. It seems that they were trying to take over the world by starting a John F. Kennedy University on the land, but he was blocking them by refusing to sell out. He even claimed to have seen everyone from Henry Kissinger to Elizabeth Taylor drive down the rural route in front of his house heading next door.

The most bizarre experience I ever had with a conspiracy nut was in Lansing, Michigan. I was doing some work establishing state affiliates for national organizations, and someone suggested I look this guy up. He was thrilled to hear from me and invited me over. I arrived to find an immense ramshackle house with plastic sheets hanging from the roof. I knocked on the door and this little bald man with a huge white beard answered. He shuffled me upstairs -- right past a woman who had to weigh upwards of 400 lbs. sitting on a couch watching a soap opera with a hat made of . . . wait for it . . . tin foil. I had to ask about this woman, and my host gave me some vague statement about how he was a holistic health expert who was helping her to lose weight. We ended up in his study, a room filled with a desk, a dozen overflowing filing cabinets, and papers strewed about. Before I had a chance to extricate myself, he curled my toes with tales of government evildoing, including the fact that the ATF deliberately caused the Oklahoma City bombing and that Communist agents were infiltrating South American fruit warehouses and injecting fruit bound for the U.S. with sleeping agents. He told me that he was able to beat the latter by only buying local organic produce, but that he had actually caught the Commies trying to get into his cupboard.

Despite my distrust of government, I have never been a big believer in conspiracy theories for two reasons. First, I know that the more people involved in keeping a secret, the harder it is to keep. If 2 people know something, the spread of information is pretty well policed. But when a hundred know, it's only a matter of time before someone writes a book or goes on 60 Minutes. I think Occum's Razor tells us that vast conspiracies involving the CIA, the Mafia, and Fidel Castro are just too unwieldy to remain effective and secret.

The second reason I don't buy big conspiracy theories is that I do not think bureaucrats are competent enough to pull off a bake sale, much less a war. For some reason, most conspiracy theorists are able to reconcile the traditional conservative belief that government is a train wreck waiting to happen with the suspicion that it can do anything. Covertly.

What spurred this introspection on was a surprising study that was released by the Rand Corporation regarding the conspiracy beliefs of blacks as they relate to condom usage. Rand found that blacks who believe conspiracy theories regarding the government and AIDS are less likely to use condoms. I found some of the statistics fascinating. For example, 53% of blacks agree with the statement "there is a cure for AIDS, but it is being withheld from the poor," and a whopping 16% believe that AIDS was developed to control the black population. Wow. It blows my mind that 1 out of every 6 black citizens believe that their government is actively working to kill them off. The irony is that those who believe that AIDs was intended as "a form of genocide against African Americans" also have no trust for public health organizations and are therefore less likely to believe them when they report that condoms can protect against HIV. Rand suggests that marketing campaigns be geared toward this community in an effort to increase their usage of condoms. I cannot imagine what that billboard would say. "Condoms are good -- Brought to you by Jesse Jackson and the Rainbow Coalition"? How do you sell people who think their own government is out to kill them?

For a return to the old days of "Blood for Oil," try the George W. Bush Conspiracy Theory Generator. Hey, it could happen.

Update: For those interested in conspiracy theories, there is no better book than Umberto Eco's Foucault's Pendulum.
Centinel 2:11 PM # | |

Friday, January 28, 2005

Trickle-down taxation

I wish I had more time to look into this, but I have noticed a disturbing trend as of late. It appears that state and local governments are using the Bush tax cuts as cover to raise their own taxes, even in states controlled by Republicans and they are currently expecting surpluses. I'm initially conflicted if this true. On the one hand, I would much rather see more revenue moving from the federal government to state governments -- although this would be a pyrrhic victory since there has not be a corresponding drop in federal spending. On the other hand, by raising their taxes, local governments are nullifying the potential investment increases that Bush hoped to realize by cutting taxes at the federal level.
Centinel 12:10 PM # | |

The remaking of Hillary Clinton

In a recent post I made an esoteric attempt to say that Hillary Clinton has learned from the mistakes of John Kerry and is actively moving to C her A in preparation for her own White House run. The subtle suggestion I made was that the numbers showed that Kerry lost the "morality" crowd in a big way and that Hillary is making a valiant, if conniving, effort to solidify her Jesus credentials.

Thanks to the ever-watchful eye of Milbarge over at BTQ, we are presented with another fine example of her political repositioning -- abortion. Cynic that I am, had I been older than I was in 1973, I probably would have predicted that abortion would be a non-issue in two generations if Roe could be sustained for at least 10 years. That has not been the case. To this day, a large segment of the population firmly believes that abortion is wrong and are willing to support politicians who agree with them. At the same time, the Democratic party has been co-opted by the most radical pro-abortion groups on the left. So tight is the ideological stranglehold, that they have a history of lock-step opposition to even the most reasonable limitations on abortion.

Whatever else she may be, Hillary is not an idiot. She, and others on the Left, recognize that 1) a majority of Americans believe there needs to be stricter limits on abortion and 2) there are as many people who identify themselves as "pro-life" as those who self identify as "pro-choice." Hillary realizes that, by taking such an extreme rhetorical stand on the issue, Democrats are ceding those pro-life votes to the Republicans.

My personal beliefs aside, I believe that Hillary is not a pragmatist/opportunist in appearing to move to the middle. I say appearing, because, in truth, she has not really made any policy step away from the traditional Democrat unwavering support of abortion. This "new, moderate" stance is neither new nor moderate. She has not moved one iota away from the most extreme support for abortion on demand -- support that has earned her a 100% rating from NARAL. If asked, we would find that she still supports partial-birth abortions and opposes notice and consent laws -- in fact, not three weeks ago she was slamming Bush for not providing financial support for international organizations that promote abortion. As one Democrat consultant stated, this is "not a change in position as much as an example of change in the way Democrats can talk about things."

Despite the heralds, Hillary's position itself is just a repackaged version of her husband's edict that abortion should be "safe, legal, and rare," and there can be no doubt that her intent is to insure that the first two are met while giving lip-service to the third. The only solution Hillary is offering to end the tragedy of abortion is the same warmed-over approach of more sex education and birth control. The overwhelming majority of teenagers already get comprehensive sex education, yet we are still experiencing over 1.3 million abortions every year.

You know what? Hillary's plan works. Even the stolid Washington Times has proclaimed her "pronouncement" as a move to the middle -- as if her statement that people need to find "common ground" on the issue is anything more than blind opportunism.

If, indeed, this is a "move to the middle," where are the howls of protest from the "extreme" left? There aren't any because they support everything that Hillary is doing. They know that having Hillary in the White House is the best way to protect their agenda for the next generation. Many of them also know that, contrary to being an admission of weakness, this position is a natural public-relations progression of the abortion on demand movement. Historically, the Left has had to rely on the argument that abortion is just the removal of unwanted tissue. This is not a person, they say, just a fetus. They would quote some doctors on viability and then try to shift the argument to one of privacy, not morality. Now, after 30 years of this willful ignorance, Hillary is comfortable admitting that abortion is indeed a moral choice. This rhetoric gives Democrats the ability to say "tut-tut" every time the issue of abortion arises, collect the votes of those who buy that this is somehow a middle path, and then go about the merry business of insuring that abortion on demand goes forward unhindered.
Centinel 8:07 AM # | |

Wednesday, January 26, 2005

Centinel's Field Guide to the North American Liberal, p. 9

Republicans failure to balance the budget is irresponsible because by not controlling spending they are "killing the US economy."

Democrats were hailed for voting to defeat the Balanced Budget Amendment because it would have resulted in less social spending, and they have continued to fight against "pay as you go" budgets and caps on discretionary spending.
Centinel 7:35 AM # | |

Tuesday, January 25, 2005

Welcome to Big Rock Candy Mountain

There's a certain freedom to being powerless -- a lesson the Democrats are learning well. Today Sen. Harry Reid posted the "Democrat Agenda for the 109th Congress" to the lilting strains of "Santa Clause is Coming to Town." It's filled with a host of goodies for everyone. Feeling insecure? The Dems are going to give you 40,000 new soldiers and 2,000 additional special forces (along with billions of dollars in new military spending on new bureaucracy and health care for reservists and their families), and they are going to end terrorism (by hiring new translators and supplying cash to "support to non-governmental organizations working to enhance democracy and development in the Muslim world"). Worried about the tykes? Why the Dems are going to make them all geniuses with good posture by pouring billions into Head Start and No Child Left Behind (as well as ponying up some pork for rural school systems to use to buy new busses). Feeling faint? No worries, friend, the Dems are here to heal you with new Medicaid and Medicare spending (open up and say "Ahhhh!" -- oops! Wrong end!). Worried about who's going to pay for all this government largesse? What largesse?!? The Dems even have legislation that will abolish deficit spending.

It really is amazing the fantasy world that you can concoct when you know you'll never have to follow through. It puts me in mind of a verse in an old classic song:

There's a lake of gin
We can both jump in
And the handouts grow on bushes
In the new-mown hay
We can sleep all day
And the bars all have free lunches
Where the mail train stops
And there ain't no cops
And the folks are tender-hearted
Where you never change your socks
And you never throw rocks
And your hair is never parted
My only concern in all of this is that one day the American people will buy into the (apparent) fantasy and elect enough of these big spenders to actually pass these boondoggles. I guess the Dems thought of that too when they promised contraceptives and rape counseling for everyone, because in their America we'd all be screwed.
Centinel 7:52 AM # | |

Friday, January 21, 2005

Centinel's Field Guide to the North American Liberal, p. 8

Bush should push for trade with countries that have a record of human rights abuses if we are not currently trading with them.

Bush should not work with or trade with countries that have a record of human rights abuses if we are currently working and trading with them.

Centinel 12:44 PM # | |

Thursday, January 20, 2005

The second time as farce

Acts 9

1. And Saul, yet breathing out threatenings and slaughter against the disciples of the Lord, went unto the high priest,
2. And desired of him letters to Damascus to the synagogues, that if he found any of this way, whether they were men or women, he might bring them bound unto Jerusalem.
3. And as he journeyed, he came near Damascus: and suddenly there shined round about him a light from heaven:
4. And he fell to the earth, and heard a voice saying unto him, Saul, Saul, why persecutest thou me?
5. And he said, Who art thou, Lord? And the Lord said, I am Jesus whom thou persecutest: it is hard for thee to kick against the pricks.
6. And he trembling and astonished said, Lord, what wilt thou have me to do? And the Lord said unto him, Arise, and go into the city, and it shall be told thee what thou must do.
7. And the men which journeyed with him stood speechless, hearing a voice, but seeing no man.
8. And Saul arose from the earth; and when his eyes were opened, he saw no man: but they led him by the hand, and brought him into Damascus. . . .
20. And straightway he preached Christ in the synagogues, that he is the Son of God.
21 But all that heard him were amazed, and said; Is not this he that destroyed them which called on this name in Jerusalem, and came hither for that intent, that he might bring them bound unto the chief priests?
22 But Saul increased the more in strength, and confounded the Jews which dwelt at Damascus, proving that this is very Christ.

Update: I don't think this experiment worked. Back to the drawing board.
Centinel 1:48 PM # | |

Monday, January 17, 2005

Days of future past

Do you remember the second Bush Administration? I do, like it was yesterday.

Despite the warnings of 2 or 3 ultraconservativerightwingnut doomsayers, Conservative Republicans turned out by the millions on election day 2004. Although Bush had treated them like $2 hookers during his first term, social conservatives were energized by the movement on one of their bread-and-butter issues: gay marriage. Faced with a choice between Bush and Kerry, they convinced themselves that the lesser of two evils wasn't really evil, and actually began to get energized by Bush's conservative rhetoric.

After their tremendous victory, Conservatives lined up with their collective faces pressed against the Oval Office screen door, begging for a glimpse at what glorious legislative goodies awaited them. What would the first priority be? The FMA? A balanced budget amendment? Perhaps a cut in the capital gains tax? No, it was Social Security reform. While not sexy, thought the conservatives, it is extremely important and necessary for the long-term fiscal health of the country. "Huzzah!" they all shouted, or at least said loudly, "we'll have some entitlement reform." They even allowed themselves to dream that, unlike Medicare "reform," this reform might not cost them billions of dollars. Unfortunately, due to "moderate" Republicans' attempts to out-liberal the Democrats, true reform was doomed to failure.

But just when the sky seemed to be clearing, the President stepped forward and announced that the social Conservatives' biggest legislative target, a constitutional amendment outlawing same-sex marriage, was dead in the water, before he was even sworn in for a second term.

Having no accomplishments to tout or distinctions to draw, the GOP lost seat in both chambers during the midterm elections. This downward spiral continued until the 2008 elections in which a disillusioned populace surrendered to the fire and elected Hillary Rodham Clinton and a majority of Democrats to the House and Senate. Taxes and regulation began strangling the economy, unemployment and inflation began to rise, terrorism flourished, then came the wolves . . .

All because Republicans always forget the first rule of politics: Dance with the one that brung ya.
Centinel 1:45 PM # | |

Wednesday, January 12, 2005

Tarquin Fin-tim-lin-bin-whin-bim-lim Bus Stop F'tang F'tang Ole Biscuitbarrel

Ever the dutiful husband, I let Mrs. Centinel control the TV remote for awhile last night. I'm not a big fan of reality shows or docu-dramas, but my wife loves anything that has cooking, shopping, or medical procedures. As such, I was forced to watch some show dealing with the trials and tribulations surrounding several difficult births. I feigned interest through most of it, but one thing did set me thinking. I kept getting two of the story lines confused because the mothers looked very much alike -- they were black, heavyset, and had the same facial features -- but when they spoke you could tell that one was more educated than the other. Eventually, both had their kids and the educated one named hers something simple, I think it was Eric, while the other one was named something uniquely black, like Rayneesha or LaQuinta. This prompted a brief conversation between my wife and I as to the social impact of naming your child LaVan instead of Mary. We both agreed that, simply put, by adopting some unique, non-traditional name, black parents were starting their kids in a hole. I think my comment was, "I don't think there are too many brain surgeons named Shaniqua."

It turns out that I was not far from the truth. In two recent studies, economists have been attempting to get a grip on the cost of racial identity. They have designed a test whereby they submit similar resumes to employers where half have white-sounding names and half are black-sounding. What they found was that the former group need to send 10 resumes out to get 1 callback while the latter must send out 15 -- a 50% difference. The estimate is that a white name is worth 8 years of additional work experience.

It comes to mind that names can be a funny thing, depending on time, place, and race. I look to my own family tree and can pull down such fruit as Eunice, Guyula, Alphaeus, and Bird. However, these were common, simple folk whose names have long since dropped out of favor. Equally odd and amusing is the current, matching trend among whites to give their children racially distinctive names. Gone are the Franks and Jennifers, replaced with Masons and Kaitlyns.

It will be interesting to see how these trends continue and whether they have a lingering effect on the economic well being of the community. Whatever the case, it appears that currently blacks are paying a high price for racial pride and independence.
Centinel 2:18 PM # | |

Tuesday, January 11, 2005

Centinel's Field Guide to the North American Liberal, p. 7

Diversity is important and should be celebrated, rewarded, and even required . . .

. . . unless you are pro life.
Centinel 4:33 PM # | |

Centinel's Field Guide to the North American Liberal, p. 6

When a liberal journalist for a major network news organization attacks a Republican presidential candidate during an election using patently fake documents, it is an "irrelevant story" and the journalist is a "hero" for defending the error.

When a minor conservative journalist admits that he was paid to publicize a proposal he was on record for supporting beforehand, he is a "weasel" who "turns stomachs" who has no credibility and should be fired.
Centinel 9:44 AM # | |

Monday, January 10, 2005

Reinventing government

In a groundbreaking study, scientist proves what we already knew: You have a better chance of having your policy question answered correctly by a toad than a government bureaucrat.
Centinel 11:24 AM # | |

Thursday, January 06, 2005

Barking dogs

Morton Blackwell, the campaign educator of the conservative movement, is famous in certain circles for his public policy homilies. My favorite goes as follows: "Keep your eye on the main goal and don't stop to kick every barking dog." This advice is vital to a well run political campaign, and, as Mr. Blackwell will tell you, "governing is campaigning by different means."

The general problem with "kicking every barking dog" in a campaign is that you waste time with minor issues and cloud your main message. The same thing happens in legislation, with the additional problem of appearing to be obstructionist. The GOP learned this lesson years ago when it went toe-to-toe with Clinton over government spending by refusing to pass Clinton's appropriations requests. The GOP had been challenging Clinton across the board, but when the government shut down resulted, the Republicans were the ones being blamed.

It appears that the Democrats are gearing up to learn this lesson. There is only so much political capital available to any party, and the Dems look prepared to go into deficit spending by fighting the following current and looming battles:

1) challenging the vote count in Ohio, while admitting that their efforts won't change anything;
2) challenging the appointment of Alberto Gonzales as Attorney General;
3) challenging Bush's attempt to "repair" Social Security; and
4) challenging anyone Bush may appoint to the Supreme Court (as well as certain nominees to the lesser courts).
Combine these with the Democrat's general obstruction of the War in Iraq, and there is a real threat that they are going to run out of political fuel pretty quickly. Sure, the GOP will be fighting these battles too, but they are the enviable position of being the proposing party. The Dems, on the other hand, face the real threat of appearing to be obstructionist because they are only reflexively opposing Bush's actions. Their tendency has been to make everything a "do or die" issue (Estrada filibuster, Donald Rumsfeld), and the recent elections show that the American people just aren't buying it. By "going nuclear" on so many issues they leave themselves open to the charge that they are crying wolf.

Far be it for me to give the Dems advice, but if it were me I'd start picking my fights. Protesting Florida's 2000 vote led to a bigger GOP win in 2004, so what do they expect to gain by challenging Ohio's conceded vote? Is it possible that kicking up a storm over Gonzales' appointment may actually be counterproductive?

Remember: There's always another dog.
Centinel 2:50 PM # | |

The Tampa Bay Devil Rays of economic freedom

Kudos to the Bush Administration and our Republican-controlled Congress, who's inability to deal with government fiscal and regulatory growth has led to the United States no longer being one of the top 10 freest economies according to the newly released 2004 Index of Economic Freedom. Keep up the good work you UltraRightwingConservativeNuts.¡
Centinel 1:31 PM # | |

Where common sense is "audacious"

I don't know what's sadder:

1) That Gov. Schwarzenegger's State of the State address was filled with bureaucratic reforms -- such as legislative redistricting, budget cuts, and merit pay for teachers -- that have absolutely no chance in hell in actually being passed by the legislature (and probably result in ridiculous and unmanageable propositions); or

2) That at least some Californians view these modest proposals as "nuclear" reform.
Centinel 8:43 AM # | |

Wednesday, January 05, 2005

Montana, revisited

Over the past week or so things have gotten pretty wild in Montana. I've written in the past how control of the entire state House of Representatives was unresolved a full month after the election due to a contested seat and a 50-49 split in the House. The Democrat, Jeanne Windham, had sued to stop the local electoral commission from counting 7 disputed ballots in her race against Constitution Party candidate Rick Jore. The district court had refused to take action and left the race a tie. As a result, outgoing Republican Gov. Judy Martz was allowed to choose who would fill the seat, and, surprise, she picked Jore, which gave the Republicans control of the House.

That was the story as I left it. Since then, all hell has broken loose. At the end of December, the Montana Supreme Court overruled the district court and tossed the 7 ballots, giving Windham the win and shifting the balance of the House to 50-50. The rule is that when the House is split, the Speaker must come from the Governor's party. Since the incoming Governor is a Democrat, the Democrats get the speakership.

The Democrat caucus voted to support Rep. Dave Wanzenried (D-Missoula) as their new speaker. However, just when the Dems thought they had finally won, the GOP turned things on them by voting in unison with 3 dissenting Democrat representatives for Rep. Gary Matthew (D-Miles City), who is generally considered to be more moderate and accommodating than Wanzenried.

God, I love small state politics. It's like watching a soap opera.
Centinel 2:07 PM # | |

Tuesday, January 04, 2005

Double standards

A Michigan teen has been charged with intentional conduct against a pregnant individual resulting in miscarriage or stillbirth, a felony, for "terminating" his girlfriend's "fetus."

According to Michigan State Police detectives, the youths intentionally caused the death of the fetus by striking the mother's abdomen with the twenty-two inch bat over the course of two weeks. The parents of the youths were apparently unaware of the pregnancy and the decision to abort it.
The article goes on to state that the 16-year old boy will be charged as a juvenile and could be sent to jail for up to 15 years. In fact, the prosecutor has stated that there will be no plea bargain due to the "shocking and reprehensible" nature of the crime. Despite this, the complicit girlfriend will not be charged.

OK, maybe I'm stupid, but there are a couple of things that really bother me about this case. First, I can't figure out for the life of me why this is a crime, much less a reprehensible one. Instead of taking body shots for a couple of weeks, the girl could have popped down to her local Planned Parenthood (another great oxymoron) with the same results, and the doctor not only would have not been committing a crime, he would have been paid for his "assistance." It can't be the violence. I've never heard of a law that forbids you from punching a consenting person in the stomach. Hell, I don't think anyone in Michigan would give a fig if I paid this idiot kid $300 to take a couple of weeks' worth of pot shots at me. It can't be the fetus. It wasn't viable and so it couldn't be considered a person, right? So if the girl consented to being punched in the stomach, and the only thing that happened was the loss of some meaningless cells, why is the boy looking at serious jail time?

Second, if this crime is so heinous, then why is the girl walking while the boy is sent up the river without a tackle box? She clearly made the same choice as the boy did with the same intent and achieved the same result, so why the free pass? Notice, the article quoted above states that the "youths," plural, intentionally caused the "death," not just the boy.

It seems to me that the good folks in Michigan are seeking to have it both ways. They want to pay fealty to some notion that what the girl did was just a "choice" and not a killing, yet they want to punish her boyfriend for causing the death of a fetus. The Supreme Court has told them what the girl did is merely a privacy issue, yet the Michiganders clearly know that something wrong happened here and want someone to pay. I guess that's what happens when you rationalize around the truth.
Centinel 4:21 PM # | |

Let the games begin

Not to in any way denigrate the namesake event itself, today marks the first day of what is affectionately known around here as the Bataan Death March -- that nearly 5 month stretch of the year between New Year's Day and Memorial Day where there are no holiday breaks. Oh, I know there's MLK, Jr. Day (or as it used to be known back in the Commonwealth, Lee-Jackson-King Day), but that is a working holiday (nice oxymoron) where we all celebrate civil rights by, well, doing what we do most every other day. Free at last, free at last.

I managed to split my last Death March by getting married right in the middle, but I don't think that's going to work two years in a row. Of course, come March I may be up for an attempt.

Update: Milbarge over at BTQ is working on solving this problem. I hope he succeeds, because I don't think I can afford another wedding.
Centinel 6:49 AM # | |

Monday, January 03, 2005

Back in purple

After a week and a half of sublime "not work" and an uneventful flight back to the Lone Star State, I'm filled with piss, vinegar, and about 6 shots of Jack Daniels and am ready to take on the world. Ha! Actually, there's nothing like some time off to remind you of how much this whole "gotta have a job" thing sucks.

[Tangent]: Why do some people feel that their job must provide them with some sort of personal fulfillment? Every now and then, someone will ask me about my job and, sensing my boredom, will quiz me about how much I "enjoy" my job (as compared to what, prison?) or want to know what I'm getting out of it (a paycheck). I admit that most people who ask these questions are seeking to push Amway or some other religion, but some of them are real people who are looking for some sort of "Answer" in their jobs. My first thought is, would these folks be quizzing me about fulfillment if I worked as a waste management artisan? My second thought is, how screwed up does your life have to be for you to look for work to bring you happiness? My view on my job is simple and unenlightening. I work to pay for the stuff I want to do. My job is not an attempt at betterment, but is the result of simple utilitarian calculus. If you are able to find some sort of enlightenment/fulfillment in your job that justifies doing it beyond the monetary remuneration you receive, then I commend you for your luck. Loser. [/Tangent]

One thing I hate about being a "big flaw" lawyer, is that you never really get a vacation. For example, last week I check my voicemail and find a call from opposition counsel, Slick Plaintiffs Lawyer, from a case I'm working with 2 partners. Evidently, our client has done something bad and now SPL wants to file a temporary restraining order of some type. Of course, both the partners involved are either (1) out of the country and not checking voicemail/email or (2) in the country, sick with ebola, and not checking voicemail/email. I, on the other hand, am merely driving my long-suffering wife across the state to visit her best friend, so I must spend two hours on a crappy cell phone trying to figure what the hell is going on and fixing the problem so I don't have to fly halfway across the country to attend a hearing the next day.

[Tangent]: The Anonymous Lawyer is satire -- not very funny satire, but satire nonetheless. Bitching -- which is what I'm doing -- has even less literary value (if possible). Get over it. (I only included this paragraph because there is obviously some statutory requirement that all blawgers must have an opinion on AL and Jeremy Whasisface.) [Tangent]

Another thing that sucks about "big flaw" is the general administrative/office protocol charliefoxtrot that happens to me every year around this time. This year some of the mysteries were: (1) why I couldn't log onto the firm email from the internet (still don't know); (2) where the hell my bonus was (for some unknown reason, the firm doesn't direct deposit them); and (3) whether I should/must show up for work on the Monday following New Year's -- or as I like to think of it, Today.

The answer to the last question turned out to be tricky. While this is the New Year's vacation day, I've been out of the office since before Christmas and I had some work that needed to be accomplished, although it is non-billable administrative stuff that could be done tomorrow. That said, there is a low-level fear that there is a ticking time bomb sitting in my "in box" waiting to explode. My plans, then, were to treat today like a regular working day. However, I spoke to a trusted, more-senior associate last Friday and she told me that no one (read: no partners) would be in today and she might come in for and hour or two but she would definitely be in blue jeans.

Big mistake. She knows that I'm a creature of the lowest denominator. If no partners are around and other associates are wearing blue jeans, then I'm going to be wearing blue jeans. I admit it -- I'm a slob. Sure enough, this morning I slept in, got up, showered, changed into a purple Lacoste and a pair of jeans, and headed in.

My first worry began when I noticed that the parking garage under the building was full -- what kind of holiday is this? Worry #2, everyone around me is dressed in at least khakis and a button up. As soon as I get to my floor I go to the aforementioned associate's office and, sure as hell, find her in a suit! Turns out, some partner memo went out late Friday reminding that today was a "staff" holiday -- meaning that, while our secretaries and paralegals are out, lawyers are supposed to be grinding away. So here I am, two hours late for work, wearing jeans, and more than slightly peeved.

If I can hide in my office all day, I may be able to sneak down to the parking garage late tonight by mingling with the janitorial staff. Now, that is what I call fulfillment.
Centinel 12:50 PM # | |