Sunday, April 30, 2006

Good ol' Roscoe

In our library is a bust of Roscoe Pound, the great jurist. He was once the dean of the University of Nebraska College of Law, and went on to be dean of Harvard's law college.

It's been a tradition for a long time to rub Roscoe's nose for good luck during finals. People have more recently been leaving offerings to Roscoe during finals, for good luck or whatever other help he can give. This semester, as last, someone has left him a liter bottle of Jim Beam.

I find myself wondering if Roscoe had a particular fondness for Jim Beam in particular. I'm also wondering if the person who left this is in any of my classes and, due to this particularly great offering, is going to wreck the curve. And then I find myself wondering . . . why does anyone else bother to leave him anything? Your offering of fruit juice or candy or whatever can't possibly compare to a liter bottle of bourbon. Unless of course you gave him a better bourbon, or perhaps some Irish cream.

And then I start wondering if leaving him alcohol is going to hurt your cause. I mean, if Roscoe's drunk then how much help could he actually be?

Thursday, April 27, 2006

Godsmack: IV

I picked up Godsmack's latest album, IV, on Tuesday. First off, I want to say what a brilliant name for the album they chose. I don't mean that facetiously since it's so simple, but because a lot of the all-time hard rock greats have named their 4th album simply by the number, including Led Zeppelin, Danzig (both of which titled theirs simply IV even though their prior albums had the band name with the number), and Black Sabbath. The statement is, "We're good enough to just give our album a number, we don't need a catchy name." Well, Godsmack lives up.

This is the first effort where band members other than frontman Sully Erna have contributed to the writing. Honestly, the songs that he wrote himself are as a rule better than the others, but it contributes somewhat to the band's evolution. There's nothing groundbreaking here, but I think Godsmack fans want consistency, and it works for Slayer, so why not the smack?

All in all, it's simply another solid effort by Godsmack, and like all their other efforts it doesn't disappoint. It's simple, great, American heavy metal music.

Wednesday, April 26, 2006

I'm a damn ignorant racist

It's true. Just read the post directly below this one. I think it proves the case. But I'm trying.

Incidentally, Trusty Getto directed me to this opinion article about Omaha's new school districts, and it's excellent. Like this:
I was disabused of that notion one memorable day when I was maybe 9 and went on a school field trip to the L.A. Zoo. More fascinating to me than the Eastern Lowland Gorilla (Gorilla beringei graueri) or the Eastern Grey Kangaroo (Macropus giganteus) was the Suburban Southern California White Kid (Caucasianus americanus), giggling blond herds of which roamed the zoo that day. I stared after them in amazement, wondering -- this is true -- how their parents could tell them apart.
I have to admit that I suffered from the same problem (although in the inverse) as the black author of this article.

Political Corectness and Innacurate Terminology

I know that ripping on politically correct (or PC) speech is old news, but I think it needs another punch in the gut.

Like everyone else, I've heard comedians and everyone else making fun of PC-speak. It was really cool in the mid-90's to make fun of it. But the first time I realized something was incredibly wrong with PC-speak was in the 8th grade. I was reading my social studies book, and it was discussing the situation of black people in Africa. It referred to these black people, who lived in Africa, and had most likely never even been to America, as African Americans.

And this is an African American lion, of course. Or, perhaps more PC, an African large cat. It occurred to me then, and it has bothered me until this day, that the term "African American" is an inaccurate term. It only adequately describes a certain group of black people who live in America, but usually it's used in situations in which their citizenship is not really at issue. It neglects to recognize that some people of African descent are not really black, and that some black people aren't of African descent. It also seems to belittle any black people who aren't also Americans.

I believe that words should say what they mean. And if our society wants to put more emphasis on politeness than on accuracy then I think I'm going to go live in the woods somewhere, with raccoons.

I'm sorry. Nocturnal scavenging animals with cute ringed tails. Huh. After I uploaded this I realized that there's kind of an antiquated racist epithet lurking in there, but I think I'm going to leave the cute picture anyway.

The situation with blacks, at least, has a solution. Call them black. Call us white, too, by the way. These are both accurate terms (not in the sense that the color is accurate, but that there is at least a shared meaning to the words in this context) that aren't offensive. "Negro" would be okay, I suppose, but only if you're wearing pantaloons and a white wig. And of course, the problem with that is it sounds too much like something else.

The problem is worse, however, when you talk about Hispanics or Asians. These are both horribly inaccurate or over-inclusive terms, but they seem to be the best ones I can come up with. First, the term "Hispanic." It's a terribly over-inclusive term because it includes all people of Spanish-speaking descent. This is no good because most people in Spain are included, but they're largely white, and it also includes many black people. It's also terribly under-iclusive because it excludes people of Portuguese-speaking descent (e.g. from Brazil). "Mestizo" would, I suppose, be an adequate term to use, but I don't think most people know what it means. "Latin" would not be a good term to use because it means pretty much the same thing as "Hispanic," but is even more inclusive.

I've heard that even the term "Hispanic" is offensive to some people. You're supposed to refer to them by their actual national ancestry, such as "Mexican," or "Cuban," or "Argentinian," and so forth. This is all fine and dandy, but only if you actually know the origins of the particular person of whom you're speaking or if speaking about a particular nationality is adequate. What if you wanted to talk about the position of all people of these groups in America? It would be insane to, every time you need the words, say "Cubans, Mexicans, Puerto Ricans," and so on and so forth until you've named every possible ethnicity of the people of whom you're speaking.

But we don't have an adequate term for the group as a whole. The same goes for "Asians." You of course have the same nationality-specific suggestion for this group, but I for one can't tell whether someone is Japanese or Korean simply by looking at them, and you might again want to talk about the situation of the group as a whole. "Asian" is a bad term because it also includes people in India, the Middle East, and large parts of Russia where other racial groups live.

As I understand it, the term "Oriental" is offensive. As far as I can tell, it's an accurate term. The offensiveness of it hasn't been adequately explained to me, but I've heard that "Oriental is a rug." Well, ok. I suppose another problem with it is that as little as 200 years ago "Oriental" also referred to the Middle East and the Indian sub-continent. "Mongoloid," though accurate, really doesn't sound good, and also has some mental retardation connotations as I understand.

And I'm not even going to get into the American Indian thing. That's just as confusing.

So anyway, the point I'm trying to make is that we need to have accurate terms to use to talk about things. The terms currently in vogue, while maybe not hurting anyone's feelings, are hampering out ability to speak clearly about issues. I say, get rid of them. Give the races a letter designation, like A, B, C, and so forth. I don't care. Just come up with a way that we can actually talk about things.

Monday, April 24, 2006

Thursday, April 20, 2006


No, I'm not talking about GW. I don't think that there's any grounds for his impeachment. What I'm talking about is Hergert.

The best thing the Nebraska legislature did a the end of their amazing session was to impeach Hergert. He ran for (and won) a spot on the University of Nebraska Board of Regents. Then it came out that he engaged in mail fraud and violated campaign finance rules.

He essentially admitted that he broke the campaign finance rules, but said something to the effect that his constituents voted him in and they want him regardless of any wrongdoing.


I think he's missing the point of having campaign finance regulations in the first place. The point is that they skew the voting results in favor of people that have access to a lot of money. If you violate the rules, you can't use the argument that "the people want me in office anway." It might work if he forgot to disclose a DWI conviction or tax evasion or something like that. If the argument works for him, then it should work just as well for someone who engaged in voting fraud. I'm not sure if that creepy smile betrays total stupidity or, more likely, sneaky bastardness.

What kind of ethical message does that send to the students of the University of Nebraska, or to potential students? Not a good one, I imagine.

I just want to tell the legislature "thank you" for doing this. What boggles my mind, though, is that it took so long to do it. This came out some time in 2005, and it took them until last week to get around to impeach him. Also mind-boggling is that the vote was a close one.

I hope Hergert gets removed from office and barred from ever running in Nebraska again. (Can they even do the second one? I think that'd be great.) But even that's too good for him. He should also be forced to eat sea food at a Chinese buffet until he gets food poisoning. That's the appropriate punishment, I think. I'm pretty sure that was in Hammurabi's code.

Tuesday, April 18, 2006

Educated Horses

I got the latest Rob Zombie album, Educated Horses, for my birthday from my wife. You've probably heard the first single for the album, "Foxy Foxy," on the radio. I did, but I thought I was listening to H.I.M. Don't get me wrong, I like the album, but it's certainly no The Sinister Urge. He's mellowed out a bit, but before anyone cries "sell-out" I'd like to point out that it's been five years since he had a real new album, and people change a lot in their tastes in five years. Note also the big change between White Zombie's stuff and any of Rob Zombie's solo work--nobody was crying "sell-out" in 1998 when Hellbilly Deluxe came out.

It's definitely worth picking up, especially if you're a fan of Zombie. But the problem with releasing an album when your name is Rob Zombie is that it's going to be compared to other Rob Zombie albums. So, that's what I'm going to do. On a scale of 1 to 10:
The Sinister Urge: 9.8
Hellbilly Deluxe: 8.5
Educated Horses: 7

Monday, April 17, 2006


By the way, make sure to click on my renter's thumbnail. Meltwater's owner is a good guy who has purchased one of my prints, so he definitely deserves a lot of visits this week. Check it out, especially if you're interested in rafting.

When I was coming in to school today, on one of the U's roads there were two minivans stopped next to each other, hogging up 2/3 of the road. They forced someone around them, who almost ran into me. I was just about to flip off the driver of one of the minivans when I saw that it was Somebody Important from the law school. I think this is a lesson well-learned in restraint. Have you ever flipped someone off on the road and regretted it?

Sunday, April 16, 2006

Friday, April 14, 2006

$20 down on certiorari

The Nebraska unicameral legislature went out with a bang this time as most of the state senators are the first to leave under the recently adopted term limits. And although I don't think any cases have been filed yet, I would put $20 down on certiorari being granted for a case involving one thing they did.

Omaha has been trying for some time to swallow up suburban school districts into the Omaha Public School district. This has been in the news for some time around here, and the legislature finally decided to act on it. So what did they do? Did they let OPS annex the other school districts to make one even larger super-district.

Nope. They split up OPS into three districts.

Many people are crying "segregation" over this, saying that Nebraska is the first state in 20 years to try to segregate schools. Ernie Chambers, a crazy nutbag of a state senator (who is black and represents the affected people in particular), says it will be good for the minority children because decisions will be made by people who know what they need and care about them. But Brown v. Board says that segregation is unconstitutional even if it's in the minority children's interests. But Chambers also said that under the OPS regime there was de facto discrimination and segregation by the OPS board (who I have previously criticized in three parts: one, two, and three) and that this measure will rectify the situation.

The attorney general of Nebraska himself has said he has grave concerns about the move. He could end up on either side of this case, depending on what he concludes about it, as I understand his duties.

Although the districts have been drawn on racial lines (some who were against the bill said there was no other way to draw them) there may be some saving graces built into the statute. It makes uniform tax levies, which as I understand it will give the districts relatively equal amounts of tax money. The districts will work together on some issues. And it puts the burden on the school districts themselves to integrate. We will see if that last one is enough to save it from being found unconstitutional, because I'd put another $5 down that this will be the element that will be the most fiercely litigated and scrutinized by the courts.

Now, are there any takers?

10,000th Visitor is . . .

Well, the 10,000th visitor didn't stop to leave a comment, but here are a few notes about him/her:
1. This person was in Tampa, Florida
2. They found my blog through my new MySpace page
3. They came at 2:44 yesterday

From the first two things, I think that it was most likely my old roommate from college, who I will only call Croz unless he shows up here and gives another name.

Thursday, April 13, 2006

10,000th Visitor

BTW--look at the top of the sidebar. There's an image there with the total number of visits I've received here at Full Metal Attorney. If it shows 10,000 when you're here, PLEASE leave a comment and let me know!

Jumping the Fence

You may have seen this picture, which displays Russell's excellent jumping ability. Our neighbor says it's like his legs are springs, and he's never seen a dog jump as high as Russell can. While it's impressive and I'm proud of this ability, it does have its downside.

Jumping on a tree, he can get his forelegs seven feet in the air. Without a tree to propel him, he can still jump about five feet off the ground. Our fence in the backyard is about three and a half to four feet high.

I tried punishing him when he jumps the fence. That may have been a mistake, because once he jumps it, now he's reluctant to go back. On Tuesday, I had just woken up when I let the dogs outside. Before I could get any socks or shoes on, he decided he would run around the neighborhood. I followed him in circles, barefoot, for at least 20 minutes.

And, of course, somebody complained. Like he was really hurting anything. But we got a note from animal control telling us about the rule that you can't "let" your dogs run free. So we got him a leash, and that seems to be working.

As a side note, I should point out that when I make the wife mad, I imagine Russell saying "You really jumped the fence now, dad."

Anyway, of course when I read the note from animal control, I began (naturally) to think of what legal arguments I could make to fight such a citation. (I'm totally into the legal mindset now.) My first argument: I didn't "let" him do anything. "Let" implies intentional allowance of a thing. I didn't intentionally "let" him run free--he jumped the fence.

My next argument: we have a fence. That should be considered adequate per se at least absent reason to believe that the dog is dangerous.

Monday, April 10, 2006

Guest Blog: Infinitely Pie

I have a new guest blog at Full Metal Photographer, and I'm proud to announce that it's Infinitely Pie. Click the pic to check it out:

Sunday, April 09, 2006


I recently got an invite to MySpace, so I thought I'd try it out. It seems to be mostly a huge waste of time, but I did find someone on there that I wanted to say something to. Have you ever regretted doing or not doing something, and never had the chance to apologize? I can tell you, it means a lot to me to have had the chance to say what was on my mind.

Saturday, April 08, 2006

Daffodil Stems in Vase

I have a brand new shot up at FMPhoto. Not only that, but the last few days were all new ones, so click the [<<<<] to go back. This new shot also contains an announcement: I sold my first picture through! If you want to buy there too (it's probably more convenient than getting it from me, but you don't get it signed from them) then just go here, where so far 4 of my shots are available. If you'd like to see a particular shot up there, then just comment and let me know!

Thursday, April 06, 2006

Attorney's Fees

We talked about fees and billing yesterday in Legal Profession class. And comparison of two particular situations bothered me. In both of them the billing is based on time spent.

1. Attorney is on a plane for two hours for the sake of Client X (who has a really cool name--I like that letter). While on the plane, he does work for Client Y.
2. Attorney talks with Client Z for 5 minutes. He then does work for Client W for 10 minutes. That's all the work he does for either client the whole day. He bills in 15-minute increments.

In situation 1, Client X is getting his plane flight. It's perfectly acceptable to bill him for the flight. Client Y is getting 2 hours worth of work out of Attorney. So, in effect, Attorney is doing 4 hours of work in a 2 hour span. But he can't bill them both for 2 hours. He can only bill for a total of 2 hours. This is insane, because it encourages attorneys to be inefficient with their time. Just because he's doing work for Y doesn't mean that X should get free travel, or vise versa.

In situation 2, however, although Attorney only works for 15 minutes, he can charge each of his clients for 15 minutes of time. So he gets paid for 30 minutes of work when he's only doing 15!

This doesn't make any sense to me.

Take another situation. Attorney does a will for R. It takes five hours, so he bills R for five hours of work. Attorney then agrees to do a will for S and to charge hourly. It turns out that S's will is exactly like R's, so it only takes 15 minutes to do the work. Attorney is only allowed to bill S for 15 minutes here. Does this make any sense? Assuming Attorney's rate is $100/hour (pretty darn low for a lawyer) then R paid $500 and S paid $25 for the exact same thing. Is this fair?

Maybe I'm biased because I plan to go into law. I'm not sure. That's why I'd like to know what you think.

New Renter

I have a new renter, "My Life in Italy." She's a girl from good old Sioux Falls, South Dakota, where I spent my honeymoon, so she might like this picture. Anyway, it appears now that she's living in Italy and teaching private lessons in English. It's kind of interesting if you're from the great plains and you wonder what it would be like to live in a completely different climate and culture. Check it out by clicking on the thumbnail in my sidebar.

Wednesday, April 05, 2006


We have birds nesting in our dryer duct. They're not any pretty birds or anything, just those black ones with the bluish-green tint to their feathers like they've been slopping around in oil. Russell has taken quite the interest in them, and I've realized that their young are doomed to be killed by him when they start learning to fly. This doesn't bother me at all.

I like rabbits and squirrels and other fluffy creatures of the earth. My wife does too, and she gets mad when I give Russell the opportunity to catch them. It does not seem to follow, for me, that because you like the prey you must avoid killing it. I have the suspicion that hunters of deer very much like deer, and big game hunters have a very healthy respect and love for their particular prey animals.

Russell is built for killing rabbits--he's probably half whippet, and that's what they're bred for. If we lived on a farm, I'm sure he'd kill a rabbit a week. It seems wrong to completely deny him his natural instincts.

Frank Herbert wrote in God Emperor of Dune that the predator does not hate his prey. The predator in fact does something quite beneficial for the species of the prey as a whole.

In any case, I just hope the presence of Russell in our backyard will contribute to the extinction of birds that nest in dryer ducts and make a lot of damn noise.

Tuesday, April 04, 2006

Random Quotes

I'm not sure how many people noticed, but every time you load the page a different message will appear in the yellow bar below the title. I think there are 30+ in there now. I want to dedicate this post to your ideas about what other quotes I should include in there. So, comment away!