Nasty, Brutish & Short

February 2007 Archives

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In case you missed it...

February 25, 2007 10:32 PM

...on December 11, 2006, NBS published a post entitled "All of Episcopal Church's Problems Helpfully Summarized on Back of Hybrid Vehicle."

People are still commenting.  To review the action, go here.

Taxes, Taxes, Taxes

From the Llamabutchers, we learn of what it's like to pay taxes in Virginia.  Apparently it is much, much better than it is here in Ohio. Blogger Robert describes how he:

1.  Mailed his return two weeks ago.

2.  Already has his refund check.

3.  Received, along with said check, an explanation from the Commonwealth of Virginia explaining that if he'd filed differently (married filing jointly v. married filing separately), he would have received a bigger refund.

4.  Further explaining that the Commonwealth has gone ahead and recalculated the amount, and added the extra funds to the enclosed check.

Can anyone imagine any of this happening in Ohio? 

When the revolution comes...

February 22, 2007 05:04 PM

... I suggest that some of the first people to go up against the wall ought to be spoiled adults who suffer "post-renovation depression."  Yes, they are the latest suffering group to be profiled in The New York Times in "The New Kitchen is Done.  So Why Can't I Be Happy?"

Let's hear from one of them.  Ann Toth (who can't be mocked on the internet enough) told the NYT:

“People said it would be a great relief when it was over,” she recalled of the project that, for a while, had left a huge hole in the back wall of her house. Instead, she said, “there was a huge hole in my life.”

Suddenly, there were no more decisions to make. “I wasn’t rushing to the home improvement store to pick out faucets or paint or drawer pulls. And I wasn’t up at 3 a.m. obsessing over backsplash tiles,” Ms. Toth said. “And I felt empty.” Not only that, but with the renovation complete, she said, “I was in mourning for the possibilities that were.”

What a shallow and vapid woman!  Mourning for the possibilities that were.

She's not as vapid as Jill Marquiss though: 

Renovating — like planning a wedding or caring for an infant — is “all-absorbing,” said Jill Marquiss, who recently redid the kitchen of her 1920s bungalow in Baltimore. For months, the constant shopping was “a kind of rush, a narcotic,” she said. “When I realized that I had to stop, it was a drag.”

Part of the problem was “suddenly having more free time and not remembering how to fill it,” she said. To her “complete and total surprise,” she even began cooking in the kitchen that she and her husband, Michael Norris, had spent almost a year refurbishing.

I love that "to her complete and total surprise she even began cooking in her new kitchen" bit.  Get a life, Jill Marquiss.  She further explains:

But the letdown may also reflect a shattering of the myth that a room is more than just a room. “There is a place where I unconsciously believed that remodeling the kitchen would remodel my life,” said Ms. Marquiss of Baltimore. But it didn’t. “The kitchen was done, but I was still me and Michael was still Michael.”

Aren't you glad you aren't Micheal?  I bet they spent over 100K remodeling the kitchen, and the best his wife could do when the project was finished was tell The New York Times that "Michael was still Michael."  What a self indulgent b****.

Great Closings, and Not So Great Closings

February 21, 2007 10:40 PM

Everyone is commenting about the Liz Carroll conviction today in the Marcus Fiesel case.  I had to lay off of this story because of the professional involvement of my law firm in the civil case.  Thankfully, that matter has been resolved.  But anyway... back to the Liz Carroll conviction.  There's really not much more that can be said, other than the guilt was pretty damn obvious, though it was something of a question whether she intended for Marcus to die, since having foster kids out the a** was her meal ticket. 

The other point to make is that the defense's case was just bizarre.  Sometimes you do have really bad facts, and it's not defense counsel's fault if the client has really, really screwed up.  But in this case, defense counsel actually argued in their closing that while Liz Carroll may be morally responsible for what happened to Marcus, she's not legally responsible.  What jury is going to buy that?  I'm surprised they didn't start fashioning a noose out of their shoelaces right then and there.  But again, I want to emphasize that the conviction is not defense counsel's fault.  It's Liz Carroll's fault because she's a freaking murderer.

But the main thing I wanted to add to what everyone else is already saying is that I hope the taxpayers realize what phenomenal talents they have on their payroll in the prosecutors that tried this case.  Woody Breyer (Clermont County) and Mark Piepmeier (Hamilton County) are fantastic attorneys, and tried a very compelling case.  And no, I don't know either of them personally, and don't try criminal cases, so I'm not biased about this.

Take, for example, Woody Breyer's closing argument from this morning.  He was talking about how the Carrolls tied Marcus up, and left him in a closet while they went to Kentucky for a family reunion. 

They say you wouldn’t treat a dog like that.

And you know what?

 She wouldn’t.

She took the dog with her.

She took the dog with her.

The words in print don't capture the proper emotion, but I still think it's clear were talking about a great line, well delivered, and perfectly timed.   Everyone knows the phrase "you don't treat a dog like that," and the fact that the prosecutors pulled this evidence out and used in in this way shows that they really understand phraseology, the importance of words, and human emotion.  Few attorneys do.

People should understand that Woody Breyer and Mark Piepmeier could leave their public sector jobs tomorrow, walk in any law firm in the City, and be paid five times as much as they are now.  I don't know exactly what their government salaries are, but I can tell you, they are ridiculously low.   We are talking about two public servants who have made extraordinary personal sacrifices so they can serve on our behalf.  We should be very thankful, but I think most people have no idea.

They did get some rare props from the Enquirer, though:

The prosecutors, Daniel “Woody” Breyer and Mark Piepmeier, are considered by many to be among the best trial attorneys in Greater Cincinnati.

“The lawyering by the prosecution was outstanding,” Shiverdecker said. “They were methodical. They laid out the case. They wrapped it up and put a bow on it.

Indeed they did.  Hats off to them.  And thanks, as well.

And now, back to our regularly scheduled programming...

February 20, 2007 01:39 PM

...creepy Valentine's Day articles in The New York Times about old people.  Having sex!

Or, as the headine broadcasts: "Greatest Generation Learns About Great Safe Sex."  There's even a picture.

Don't you love the body language on the geezer in the front row?  He's all "yeah, baby" with a shit eating grin, but the grandma next to him is not having any of it.

The copy is cringe-worthy too:

As the teacher, Monique Binford, delved into an unexpurgated discussion covering issues from vaginal dryness to Viagra, one student’s cane clattered to the floor, another student adjusted his hearing aid and a third fidgeted in her orthopedic shoes.

Oh yeah!  It looks like Justin Timberlake really has brought sexy back!

As one might expect, the sex educator sounds pretty clueless:

Urging her charges to meet potential partners at senior centers, social functions and places of worship, Ms. Binford recommended carrying a “bag of tricks” containing condoms, lubricant and wipes.

Yes, that's a great way to meet people.  With a perv bag.  At church.

Fortunately, there was one realist in the crowd:

Out of a pink Victoria’s Secret shopping bag, Ms. Binford and Ms. Bigio pulled out lubricant and condoms. “You can actually get this in drugstores, so you don’t have to go to sex shops or anything,” Ms. Binford said of the lubricant, noting there were also coupons in her pink bag. “You can even get your lube flavored. After I get finished with you, you’re all going to rush out and buy condoms.”

Bella Cohen, an 89-year-old widow in the front row, scoffed, “Oh yeah, by the thousands.”

Bella sounds like our kind of of gal.

Episcopal Church Ordered into Receivership

February 19, 2007 10:42 PM

For those of you wanting an update on the Episcopal/Anglican crack-up, today brought very, very good news.  Today was the last day of the Primates' meeting in Tanzania, and after a long, tense day of meetings that went past midnight, the Primates produced a Communique that gives the American Church until September 30, 2007 to shape up or ship out.  From a reliable source, the word is that the Presiding Bishop was in tears as she reluctantly signed on.  I don't celebrate tears, but given the stakes, I am glad they were not mine.  Everything was in play the past few days, and they could well have been.

The Primates have set up what basically amounts to a governing board that will monitor the Episcopal Church's compliance with the Anglican Communion's mandates.  There are various other provisions, (including a call to halt lawsuits against conservative parishes) but the bottom line is clear.  No more going it alone with theological "innovations" that are inconsistent with 2,000 years of basic Christian doctrine.  Given some of the statements the new Presiding Bishop of the Episcopal Church has made about salvation through Christ alone, this is no small matter.  It is incredible that she (and the Episcopal Church) has strayed so far from its Christian moorings so that would even be an issue, but it has.

And for those who care about the sex aspect of things (most conservatives such as myself have always said that sex is not what this is all really about) the document produced by the Primates means no gay bishops and no gay marriage, period.  Again, it's pretty basic Christian doctrine, and literally the only argument the Episcopal Church had in favor of their innovations was that the "spirit" moved them to be so innovative, and modern times call for modern rules.  It's not a particularly strong argument theologically, but it's one I see all the time in my legal practice with constitutional interpretative theory.  Usually the innovators wind up losing those arguments, too.

And so we're left with a pretty astounding judgment from the Primates: Give in to our demands, our you're out.  It could well be that the liberal leaders of the Episcopal Church will find that the demands are simply too onerous, and refuse to comply.  If that's the case, though, the Primates have made it clear that the Episcopal Church will be kicked out, which would be fine by me.  Conservatives would still have the Church of England, and the Episcopal Church is nothing but a national branch of that.  We can, and do, have other branches of the Anglican Church here, as the Primates' Communique explicitly recognizes.

As one might expect, the liberals are furious.*  And of course, that means there will not be smooth sailing between now and September 30.  Look for them to claim that the Primates' requirements are not actually what they are.  Or plead for more time.  Or take some vague steps at compliance, not actually comply, and then complain indignantly that they've done everything that has been asked. 

In the meantime, I think receivership is the most apt metaphor.  For the non-lawyers, receivership is what happens when a court orders that a bankrupt corporation's property is to be placed under the control of an outside group, so that it may be preserved for the benefit of the affected parties. The business usually continues, but it is subject to the receiver's control.  Though the liberals would howl and a lot of conservatives would say I am overly optimistic, I think it receivership is an apt metaphor for what has transpired.  For now, it is a perfect solution for a perfectly bankrupt organization.  But the final verdict will depend on the entity that emerges from bankruptcy.

For now, though, a very good day.

*Still don't believe me?  The liberal Mad Priest has blasting at his blog the Violent Femmes REM's "It's the end of the world as we know it." 

UPDATE:  The mainstream media has it fairly right... but of course play up the sex parts.

The Guardian (liberal U.K. paper)

The New York Times (" U.S. ")

Episcopal Presiding Bishop: And So I'm Telling You I'm Not Going

February 13, 2007 08:53 AM

For those of you wondering where NBS is, I've been swamped with real work (the kind that actually pays) and apologize for the slower posting. 

I've also been obsessively following the goings on in the Anglican Communion at other blogs which are on top of that story 24-7.  So I've been doing more reading than writing.  For those who are unaware, the leaders of the Anglican Church are meeting in Tanzania this week, and topic A is whether the Episcopal Church will be kicked out for being too liberal.  I very much hope that they will be, so that a foothold for the Anglican Church can be reestablished in the United States.

This is an extremely important moment for Christianity and the culture of the Western World, because what happens in this denomination has repercussions for both the Catholic and Protestant churches.  If you're not up to speed, you should be, and I would direct your attention to the following websites.


Stand Firm

I would also urge you to exercise caution when news reports start circulating later this week in the mainstream press.  The news media has absolutely no idea how to cover religion, and there is a very good possibility that whatever they report on will be wrong, or will only tell half of the story.

Senator McCain to Mix It Up at the Keating Firm (of all places!)

February 11, 2007 12:00 PM

The Cincinnati Post is reporting that John McCain will be in town this week for a fundraising breakfast, and then a meet and greet at Keating, Muething and Klekamp.

You'd really think he'd avoid reminding folks he was one of the Keating Five.

In case you've forgotten, Charles Keating was one of the founding partners and KMK, and good friends with John McCain.  Here's the condensed version on the Keating Five scandal:

 McCain was one of the so-called "Keating Five" senators. He was investigated by the Senate Select Committee on Ethics in 1991 regarding the acceptance of favors from Lincoln Savings & Loan Association (Lincoln) and its owner, Charles H. Keating, Jr. Simply put, the issue was whether McCain and the other senators used their official positions to attempt to pressure Federal Home Loan Bank Board officials to go easy on the troubled institution. Eventually Lincoln went bust, costing depositors and taxpayers millions.

In its final report (November 20, 1991), here is what the Senate Select Committee on Ethics concluded about McCain's conduct:

"Mr. Keating, his associates, and his friends contributed $56,000 for Senator McCain's two House races in 1982 and 1984, and $54,000 for his 1986 Senate race. Mr. Keating also provided his corporate plane and/or arranged for payment for the use of commercial or private aircraft on several occasions for travel by Senator McCain and his family, for which Senator McCain ultimately provided reimbursement when called upon to do so. Mr. Keating also allowed Senator McCain and his family to vacation with Mr. Keating and his family, at a home provided by Mr. Keating in the Bahamas, in each of the calendar years 1983 through 1986.

Three items to note: (1) McCain's Keating Five history pretty clearly demonstrate his complete hypocrisy on campaign finance issue, which is supposedly his baby, and one of the reasons why the media adores him, (2) why he gets a free pass on this hypocrisy is a mystery to me, and (3) clearly his political skills are not what they appear to be if he thinks it's smart to make an announced visit to the Keating firm. 

He should be running from the Keating name as fast as possible!

Michelle Malkin's Take on the Crazed, Angry Bloggers Who Were Hired by the Edwards Campaign, Fired by the Edwards Campaign, and Rehired by the Edwards Campaign after the lefties threw a fit...

February 8, 2007 11:06 PM

The wheels on the bus go round and round

Once upon a time, there were two little boys who rode the school bus together.  One little boy was nice, adorable, humble and meek.  The other little boy was not.  One day on the school bus, the other little boy grabbed the nice little boy's sister and twisted her nose ALL THE WAY AROUND.

The authorities did nothing.

The nice little boy studied Church History, Shakespeare and the architecture of the English Renaissance at Oxford.  The other little boy fled to Cambridge to avoid a 2004 trial, before being extradicted back to the United States.

The nice little boy grew up to be a successful attorney and charming (though under-appreciated) blogger.  The other little boy grew up to be convicted of "three counts of rape, three counts of kidnapping and one count of sexual battery."

MORAL OF STORY: Heed the prophetic voice of the nice little boy.

How can I be expected to write a Motion for Summary Judgment under these circumstances!!!

Anna Nicole Smith is dead!

UPDATE: Gawker reports on how, in the moments following her death, Anna Nicole's Wikipedia entry was rudely defaced:

On February 8, 2007, Smith was found unresponsive in a room of the Seminole Hard Rock Hotel and Casino in Hollywood, Florida. She was rushed to hospital. A witness told local media that paramedics were pumping her chest when they took her out of the hotel. She's dead Anthony. Sorry buddy. [20]

Tacky, hysterical, or both?

An even better preacher than football coach? Tony Dungy talks about his son's suicide, and much more...

February 7, 2007 10:38 PM

For those wanting to get up to speed on the Anglican crack-up...

February 6, 2007 11:19 PM

...Ruth Gledhill's Times of London interview with N.T. Wright is a very good place to start.  N.T. Wright is the Bishop of Durham, and one of the leading figures in the Church of England.  If his perspective is to be believed, the liberals who have taken over the Episcopal Church in the United States are on very, very thin ice.  Ms. Gledhill writes of Bishop Wright:

He quoted Romans 11:11-26, about the pruning of the olive tree, and John 15: "I am the true vine, and my Father is the vinedresser. Every branch of mine that bears no fruit, he takes away, and every branch that does bear fruit he prunes, that it may bear more fruit." Dr Wright continued: "I rather hope that anything that needs pruning will not be lost, but grafted back on sooner or later." It is significant I think that  he does not think TEC will be cut away, merely pruned back a bit. He said: "There are some people in The Episcopal Church who dig themselves very firmly in and talk about rights and justice in the gay lobby. I do not see any way they can be reconciled with those in the Windsor position firmly committed to the truth by which Anglicanism lives today...."

He ends by quoting the last paragraph of Windsor. "If we finally discover we cannot walk together, we may have to learn to walk part. None of us wants that."

He's right, none of us does. Outside my front door in Kew is a cherry tree, budding unseasonally in the January sunshine. Soon it will need pruning. I cannot bear to do it, and will ask a gardener to do it for me while I hide inside. But it will have to be done, if it is to flower as beautifully again next year. I guess, from what Tom Wright is saying, that Rowan Williams will be taking a pretty fine set of shears with him to Tanzania next week, newly sharpened, nice and polished. I wonder who, or what, the shears will be, and who will be the gardener he gets to wield them. And whether either, or both, will be of this world, or the next.

For more specifics, I strongly recommend reading the whole thing.  Though I largely agree with Bishop Wright, and the Times of London, I don't share their reluctance to get out the pruning shears.  The Episcopal Church is in serious need of pruning, if it is to grow again.  Hopefully the shears will be wielded by someone who is very, very wise. 

It is something to contemplate.  Or, simply enjoy this: a fantastic photo of Durham Cathedral in winter.


In a new twist on the grandmotherly admonition about always wearing clean underwear in case you're in a car accident...

...we have the case of Lisa Nowak, the NASA astronaut who set off on a 900 mile love triangle kidnapping crime spree with a wig, a trench coat, a pepper spray package, a BB-gun cartridge, a new steel mallet, a knife, rubber tubing and large garbage bags.  And to fortify her for the journey... adult diapers to avoid bathroom breaks.

Lisa, Lisa.  Never be caught in adult diapers when you're on a kidnapping, pepper-spraying crime spree to take out your romantic rival!  It reflects very poorly on your upbringing.

BTW:  We also love that she gave a typical NASA puff-piece astronaut interview in September to, of all publications, Ladies' Home Journal.

Run for your lives!!!!!!!

The snow is coming.  RUN!  FOR YOUR LIVES!!!

Willy Cunningham is playing Mozart's Dies Irae on his radio show.  Derek Beasley (Channel 5's weatherman) is on saying it will be 3-5 inches.  The support staff is all atwitter.  The illegal space heaters that the attorneys have running in their offices have caused fuses here at NBS's downtown headquarter's to blow.  And the Mayor is pleading with the business community to let their employees go home early!


UPDATE: Derek Beasley successfully navigated Willy's loaded global warming question.

Is this what was going on last night?

February 5, 2007 03:32 PM

St. Louis: "Spectacle in Midwestern sky was probably meteor, officials say."


Minneapolis: "Bright Lights Reported Over Midwest Skies."

Something was going on last night... it was like white fireworks going off in the middle of the street, with explosive pops that sent the dog howling.  We never could figure out what it was.  It sounded like a transformer, but no electricity went off on our street.

Did this happen to anybody else?


February 1, 2007 10:05 PM

Alex Tourk probably worked his ass off as campaign manager for his boss, San Francisco Mayor and left-wing fave Gavin Newsom.  And how was he repaid?

SAN FRANCISCO (AP) -- Mayor Gavin Newsom apologized Thursday for having a sexual relationship with his former campaign manager's wife.

"I'm deeply sorry," Newsom said during a brief news conference at City Hall the day after the aide resigned. Newsom appeared poised but visibly emotional. He spoke for about a minute and left without taking questions.

The sad part is that San Francisco will almost surely "forgive" the Mayor, and promptly forget all about the his former campaign manager, who has now quit his job, lost his wife, and been left with--perhaps--nothing.  You know, because people in San Fran are "not ones to judge."  In fact, I'd say chances are pretty good folks in San Fran will decide that the Mayor is the victim here.

Nice place to visit but I wouldn't want to live there.

Oldie But Goodie: Ali G Interviews Former AG Dick Thornburgh