12.29.2004

GWAR!

Dwight and I went to see GWAR last night at the 9:30 Club. It rocked!

I was covered in blood and guts and urethral pus. John Kerry was decapitated, Paris Hilton was disemboweled, and Laci Peterson's unborn fetus sprayed us all with goo, and that was just the first half hour.

By the end of the show my shirt was completely ruined and I was standing in a puddle of unknown fluids.

My life is now complete.

Yours truly,
Mr. X

...rowr...

12.18.2004

One Eighth Done

My exam-induced hiatus is over. I took my Torts exam last night; four hours of pure stress. The best part about it is...well...it's over. Not that the class wasn't great, but there's nothing very good about spending four hours writing answers to weird hypothetical questions. Now I have three weeks of relative normalcy before I wade into the depths of Constitutional and criminal law.

In the spirit of SeƱor Coconut and the Moog Cookbook, Dwight tipped me off to Richard Cheese and the Lounge Against the Machine. A quick viewing of his Gin and Juice video will give you the idea. Relish in the bizarro fun.

I got my hair cut today. My stylist has a new shampoo girl. I wonder what the shampoo girl thinks about while she's shampooing my hair; I think about the shampoo girl. She's very thorough and attentive and there's something incredibly sensual about having a woman wash your hair, even if you subsequently get it all cut off.

Yours truly,
Mr. X

...keepin it real...

12.03.2004

Shocker: Tobacco settlement money being misspent

According to a report by the Center for Tobacco Free Kids, New Hampshire spends none of its tobacco settlement money on smoking prevention.
'New Hampshire's failure to spend even a penny of the millions of dollars it receives annually from the tobacco settlement to protect its kids would be criminal if this was a private company,' said Matthew Myers, the campaign's president. 'When New Hampshire sued the tobacco companies, it said it was doing so to protect its kids.'

Like many, many bad ideas, the tobacco lawsuit was pursued "for the children". When pressed about why the settlement monies aren't going to help the children, the Legislature finance chairman, State Senator Dick Green said:
"The vast majority of the funds we receive from the tobacco settlement go into the general fund and go to other purposes," he said.

The campaign's report also said the state stands to collect a record $135.4 million this year from all tobacco-related revenue. Green couldn't confirm the figure was correct, but said the revenue would be "in that ballpark."

He said the state had prevention programs ready should funding become available. But he said they likely wouldn't become a priority in future budget cycles, when shortfalls could reach roughly $300 million.

"It's not the way it should be," Green said. "But as a practical matter, the state has a very difficult problem balancing its budget."

So what's wrong with all of this? Nothing, really. Settlements are made to compensate the plaintiffs in lawsuits. It's well known that plaintiffs are not very good at spending settlement or judgment monies on the harm that they are being compensated for, hence the popularity of structured settlements. The real problem here is that people assumed that the government, given a large stream of revenue without any legal restrictions on how it must be spent, would behave any different than any other plaintiff.

Yours truly,
Mr. X

...alas...

12.02.2004

Wisdom from MDFMK

I was listening to Control¿ off of MDFMK's self-titled release and there's a lesson for Libertarians and other anti-authoritarians.
Fight the power
And the power will fight back
You're only as good
As the system you hack


We shouldn't expect to dismantle oppression without a fight. We should expect ridicule, hatred, media blackouts, and worse. We must be more and better prepared than the enemy.

Yours truly,
Mr. X

...you can sleep when you're dead...

11.30.2004

70s Pop, Remixed

Warner Brothers has released a new remix album, What is Hip?, Volume 1. Old pop songs from their catalog, mostly from the 70s, remixed by modern artists. Best of all, for those try before you buy people, there's a free player on their website.

With the strangely compelling sounds of Do Ya Think I'm Sexy remixed by Halou and Midnight at the Oasis remixed by Cuica, my workday soundtrack is set. If loving this is wrong, I don't want to be right.

Yours truly,
Mr. X

...rocking out...

11.29.2004

Turkey Day Weekend Recap

Thanksgiving with the family, stuffed to the gills with turkey and pie. In between gluttony, I played lots of gin with my grandfather and my sister had her fourth birthday celebration. I stayed over and hung out most of Friday, eating and playing cards. Occasional reprieves from the studying are nice.

Over the weekend I sold my motorcycle to a guy from Craigslist. While I didn't get as much as I would have liked (as is the case with most old vehicles), I was saved the trouble of renewing my registration and the attendant $97. My baby, a 1980 Suzuki GS550, has a new daddy now.

My 1980 Suzuki GS550

Allyson and I went to see a Chinese dance recital on Saturday night, featuring or friend Teena. The performances were wonderful and the company at dinner afterward was equally so. Myke insisted on eating frog, while I was content with the novelty of drinking heavily from a bowl embossed with a hula dancer.

Sunday was spent studying and taking care of silly domestic things, like dishes and bills.

Yours truly,
Mr. X

...back in the swing...

11.24.2004

Killer Shrimp

As my Torts exam approaches, it's good to see that all this proximate cause stuff is useful in the real world:

A piece of grilled shrimp flung playfully by a Japanese hibachi chef toward a tableside diner is being blamed for causing the man's death.

Making a proximate-cause argument, the lawyer for the deceased man's estate has alleged that the man's reflexive response -- to duck away from the flying food -- caused a neck injury that required surgery.

Complications from that first operation necessitated a second procedure. Five months later, Jerry Colaitis of Old Brookville, N.Y., was dead of an illness that his family claims was proximately caused by the injury.

But for the food-flinging incident at the Benihana restaurant in Munsey Park, N.Y., Colaitis would still be alive, attorney Andre Ferenzo asserts.


Check out the full article at law.com. It just gets funnier.

When I mentioned the case to Professor Popper after last night's class, he replied, "Sounds like an exam question."

Yours truly,
Mr. X

...beware the flying prawn...

Twain's Writing Advice

"Substitute 'damn' every time you're inclined to write 'very'; your editor will delete it and the writing will be just as it should be." -Mark Twain, author and humorist (1835-1910)

That's some damn useful advice.

Twainquotes.com has more of his writing quotes, but oddly doesn't have the one above. The Mark Twain Wikiquote site does, though. There's also Mark My Words, for those of you who like your quotes on paper.

Yours truly,
Mr. X

...aspiring...


11.23.2004

Should a Law School Take Sides?

Will Baude has a thought-provoking commentary about law schools taking sides on political issues at Crescat Sententia:

The trouble with Dean Koh's sentiment is most clear with his suggestion that a school should not be neutral "when it comes to questions of law and justice."

The trouble is that people-- especially professors and students of law-- disagree about what law and justice require. For a school not to be neutral on those questions is for it to take an institutional stance on the very questions its faculty members are supposed to be free to be debate. The role of a great university (and, I submit, a law school) should be to let, to encourage, its members to change the world themselves, not to be a second-rate political force.


There is a crucial difference between having a majority of faculty and students sharing positions on issues and having the school itself take positions on issues. Failing to draw that line will eventually lead to the creation of a hive-mind, probably capable of turning out lawyers, but not lawyers ready for the real world outside the liberal cocoon. I hope that administration of my fine school recognize that.

Yours truly,
Mr. X

...the anti-borg...

Killing the Monkey

I turned in my open memo for Legal Rhetoric last night. After a month of reading and synthesizing Connecticut case law on prescriptive easements, it's a relief to have it all behind me. No more thinking about poor Ms. McGregor and her rose-lined path to the lake that mean Mr. Zuckerman wants to fence off. No more bourbon-fueled nights trying to clearly describe what "open and visible" really means. (Trust me, bourbon helps with that.)

There was a little post-memo celebration at Buffalo Billiards (props to Will for putting it together), thought it's a little premature. There's still a cover letter exercise due tomorrow and tons of outlining and studying for exams left before the semester is done. And there's still seven more semesters to go after this one. It's a long road to travel.

Update: John has pictures over at his blog.

One day at a time.

Yours truly,
Mr. X

...temporarily calm...

11.17.2004

Good and Bad from the Republicans

Good: It looks like Senate tradition will win out over conservative mass emailing/calling, resulting in Arlen Specter being named chairman of the Judiciary committee.

Bad: The Republicans changed their party rules to allow Representatives under indictment to serve in leadership positions. So much for 'sauce for the goose...'

One of the NPR commentators pointed out that this in some ways reflects the different nature of the House and the Senate. The House is a smashmouth partisan brawl, while the Senate is more of a social function amongst people with differing opinions.

Yours truly,
Mr. X

...law school hasn't killed me yet...

11.04.2004

I welcome our Skull & Bones overlord

Well, that's over with. What a successful campaign. Bush/Kerry managed to work the American people up to a fever pitch with bugaboos of Supreme Court nominations, gay marriage, and other elements of the culture wars, ensuring that they won the election.

Shockingly, on November 3rd, Kerry nicely conceded and everyone became friends again. Almost like they were really friends all along, or members of the same secret society, or something. Now we have four more years of the Bush arm of that campaign. Here's hoping that they're better than the last four.

Michael Badnarik did better than Harry Browne, better than all the other third-parties combined, and was within 18,000 votes of Ralph Nader, last I checked. Pretty respectable for a campaign fought in a [culture] war zone.

Further thoughts on the campaign can be found on the Montgomery County Libertarian Party site. We didn't win this battle, but we're not quitting. Not by a long shot.

Yours truly,
Mr. X

...noncombatant...

10.12.2004

No injunction granted in debate case

From Michael Kielsky:

The Arizona Libertarian Party and co-plaintiff Warren Severin were represented by attorney David Euchner.

Arizona State University was represented by Carrie Brennan of the Attorney General’s office.

Commission on Presidential Debates was represented by Glen Hallman of the firm of Gallagher & Kennedy, physically in court, as well as Lewis Loss, General Counsel for the CPD by phone.

The judge started by ruling that the service was sufficient for purpose of notice of this hearing. Then, each side was given 30 minutes to argue the issue.

Euchner reserved 15 minutes of his argument for rebuttal, and argued the case based on the violation of Arizona’s Constitution, Art. 9, Sec. 7, which prohibit gifts to private entities. He presented additional arguments based on the 1st Amendment, the 14th Amendment equal protection clause, and case law which was on point.

Carrie Brennan argued the doctrine of laches (that the delay in bringing this suit worked an unfairness against the defendants). She further argued that the funding was provided by private parties, that there is great value to the University in hosting this, and that case law provides that such expenditures are allowed as long as they are not excessive or unreasonable.

Finally, she stated that there is an adequate remedy for any violations of the constitutional gift clause, therefore injunction is not appropriate.

Glen Hallman argued that Libertarians are not a special protected class, thus only a rational basis test applies to the equal protection argument, and using that test, the Libertarians were not discriminated against.

Lewis Loss argued that the CPD is non-partisan, and that Bush & Kerry would not proceed if Badnarik were admitted to the debate.

Euchner then rebutted, arguing that nobody remembers the location of the debates, and thus there is no value to the University in this expenditure, in other words, it is a gift to these two parties. As an example, Euchner argued that the only way debates are even remembered for any time is if they are parodied, such as on Saturday Night Live, and the rerun repeatedly. Further, even with a rational basis test on the equal protection clause, the judge should find for the Libertarians, because the discrimination is so blatant.

At the conclusion of the arguement, the judge issued his ruling from the bench:

1. No restraining order, because of the doctrine of laches, and that there appears to be sufficient public purpose for this debate.

2. The Plaintiffs may continue to pursue damages for any violations of the constitutional provisions.

In summary, we couldn’t stop the debates or get Badnarik in, but we may still be able to hold them accountable through damages.



Yours truly,
Mr. X

...disappointed...

Debate Lawsuit Update

There will be a hearing this morning in Maricopa Superior Court on an order to show cause issued against Arizona State University and the Commission on Presidential Debates. Each side will be given 30 minutes for oral argument. See all of the related lawsuit documents
at The L Factor.

Here's hoping that David Euchner, lead counsel for the plaintiffs, is persuasive and that we see Michael Badnarik on stage tomorrow night where he belongs.

Yours truly,
Mr. X

...let Badnarik debate...

10.05.2004

Hijacking Media for Badnarik

Last Friday, the Libertarian Party of Arizona filed a lawsuit against Arizona State University and the Commission on Presidential Debates, alleging that the University's sponsorship of the October 13th debate amounts to an illegal campaign contribution to Bush and Kerry.

David Euchner, the self-described "gonzo lawyer" who filed the suit, has written an article at Liberty for All answering some criticisms of the suit.
The complaint is available online at www.badnarik.org and elsewhere. (A copy of the signed complaint is available on the Internet here.) There is solid legal basis for it; we allege violation of two provisions of the Arizona Constitution that prohibit state gifts or loans to private individuals or corporations, and in so doing the state subdivision has violated the Equal Protection Clause of the Fourteenth Amendment. The AZLP brought the suit in the name of its 17,429 registered voters and named its Treasurer Warren Severin individually. In addition to ASU, we also name the Commission on Presidential Debates as a Defendant; after all, they accepted the illegal donation.

As far as I know, the complaint was on today's docket. Regardless of the result, we've already won. As Euchner points out:
So this time we had to buy front-page media coverage. It cost $205, the price of a filing fee in Maricopa County Superior Court. For that price, we got our "government number", and now the media is allowed to cover us. Some are asking me whether I think we'll win. WE ALREADY WON. WE WON THE MOMENT WE FILED.

In other news, a media tip I sent to the Badnarik campaign about a sympathetic reporter in New York appears to have born fruit. On the front page of today's New York Sun was an article entitled "Election Spoiler May Turn Out to Be a Libertarian. It's one of the best and most in depth articles I've seen yet, describing why Badnarik has so much momentum:
"So many people who lean Libertarian have been arguing for years that the only effective thing to do is to work in the Republican Party," the editor of Ballot Access News, Richard Winger, said. "All those people ... have been rebuffed by what Bush does in terms of deficit spending and starting the war."

Mr. Winger said the anti-war message has been adding momentum to Mr. Badnarik's campaign. "He's certainly more opposed to U.S. involvement in Iraq than Kerry," Mr. Winger said.

If we never give up, we never lose.

Yours truly,
Mr. X

...back to studying...

9.27.2004

It's time to come back from Iraq

Al Lorentz is an Army Sergeant currently serving in Iraq. He recently wrote a brilliant article entitled, "Why We Cannot Win". In it, he lays out, with hard facts and the perspective of an experienced civil affairs officer in country, what is wrong with our Iraq policy.

First, we refuse to deal in reality. We are in a guerilla war, but because of politics, we are not allowed to declare it a guerilla war and must label the increasingly effective guerilla forces arrayed against us as "terrorists, criminals and dead-enders."

This implies that there is a zero sum game at work, i.e. we can simply kill X number of the enemy and then the fight is over, mission accomplished, everybody wins. Unfortunately, this is not the case. We have few tools at our disposal and those are proving to be wholly ineffective at fighting the guerillas.

The idea behind fighting a guerilla army is not to destroy its every man (an impossibility since he hides himself by day amongst the populace). Rather the idea in guerilla warfare is to erode or destroy his base of support.

So long as there is support for the guerilla, for every one you kill two more rise up to take his place. More importantly, when your tools for killing him are precision guided munitions, raids and other acts that create casualties among the innocent populace, you raise the support for the guerillas and undermine the support for yourself. (A 500-pound precision bomb has a casualty-producing radius of 400 meters minimum; do the math.)


Retired Air Force Lieutenant Colonel Karen Kwiatowski has written a follow-up article, "Roadmap for the Prosecution," about Sergeant Lorentz's assesment.

Al penned a factual personal assessment of what is happening in Iraq. He revealed no classified information. Far more detail on Iraq challenges has long been provided by respected retired military officers like Marine General Tony Zinni and former Director of the National Security Agency William Odom. Al wrote nothing more damning than what has already been published and released in part by the Central Intelligence Agency regarding conditions and future possibilities in Iraq.

So what is the problem?

The problem is that Al Lorentz, "Big Al" to his friends, has something that the Bush administration needs badly.

The Holy Grail in Washington is credibility. Bush and the Pentagon brass want it. The administration’s credibility deficit is its Achilles’ heel. Lack of credibility is the primary reason Bush will lose in November. George W. Bush’s own troubled past, a presidential lack of interest in terrorism until 9/11, criminal mendacity on the way to war in Iraq, flagrantly abused tax dollars at home and abroad, Patriot Act absurdities, artificial dummy governments amidst social and economic disaster in Kabul and Baghdad, the odd Iranian agent provocateur (Chalabi) and the more familiar Israeli-linked ones (Chalabi’s former allies in the Pentagon), the list goes on and on. It is as if Bush and Company signed up for a credibility destroyer of the month club at a special four-year subscription rate.


This is the kind of wisdom that the leaders of our country need to listen to. Unfortunately, neither Bush nor Kerry will seriously discuss our Iraq problems or propose any real solutions to it. Michael Badnarik has a real position on the war in Iraq and what our policy should be. It may not be perfect, but it's honest and actually deals with the issues. If you think this message needs to be heard, donate to the campaign today.

Until something changes, I'll keep getting emails like the one I got from my friend Brian today.

I was up in Boston this weekend to visit my brother-in-law who's back from a 6 month gig in Bosnia. He's a highly skilled tank commander, and went over to "keep peace" and maintain a few tanks for his final gig. But once he got over there they handed him a 75 lb backpack and an M16. He's fucking 45 years old! He is so pissed. Now his back is shot. And he's being "held in" until December 6th...so far. See, he was supposed to finish his service after Bosnia. Now there's talk of sending his unit to Iraq in January. It's just too close man. So at the base, right after getting back, He got fitted for desert gear and had his picture taken (for his obituary, not because he's so damn cute). Welcome home. Thank you for your 11 years of service. You're almost done. Kinda.

So there's our backdoor draft, in case anyone needs a little evidence.


Yours truly,
Mr. X

...let Badnarik debate...

9.21.2004

Whose Reign of Terror ?

I got out of torts class early tonight because my professor, Andrew Popper, had to moderate a debate, entitled "Whose Reign of Terror at the Department of the Interior? A Debate About Cobell v. Norton," sponsored by the Administrative Law Review. We were encouraged to attend and it seemed a bit more interesting than going straight home to brief cases.

Professor Popper gave a brief overview of the case. Cobell v. Norton was a case originally brought by Cobell and a number of other American Indians calling for the Department of the Interior to account for property held in trust. During the course of the proceedings the Department has failed to comply with numerous court orders, leading the judge, Royce C. Lamberth to hold various government parties in contempt. As a result of one of the contempt orders, all of the computers in the Department were disconnected from the Internet. Full disclosure: Gale Norton, Secretary of the Interior, was Popper's student and research assistant at the University of Denver.

Professor Richard Pierce, Lyle T. Alverson Professor of Law at George Washington University, wrote an article entitled, Judge Lamberth's Reign of Terror at the Department of Interior. Professor Pierce was challenged to a debate by Keith Harper, member of Cherokee Nation of Oklahoma and senior lawyer at the Native American Rights Fund, along with Jamin Raskin, professor of Constitutional Law at American University. Both Harper and Raskin are acting as counsel for the plaintiff in Cobell v. Norton.

Pierce noted at the outset of his opening statement that he does not know about Indian Law and that his article focuses only on present remedies for judicial misconduct.

Pierce was inspired to write the article in 2002 when he went looking for data on how much oil or gas was produced on Federal lands and found that there was no data, due to an Internet disconnection at the Department of Interior, Minerals Management Service, related to one of Judge Lamberth's contempt orders in Cobell. Pierce had first heard of Judge Lamberth in 1997 regarding an order in a suit against Hillary Clinton. Lamberth had characterized attorneys for Clinton, "dishonest, reprehensible, outrageous, and officials run amok."

Keith Harper replied first, noting that Judge Lamberth has been courageous to take steps to force the Department of Interior to fix a broken system that they refuse to fix. They've been ignoring orders for years. Giving some more background on Cobell, he noted that there has been an admission by each Secretary of Interior that the system is broken. The Department of the Interior has never provided an accounting, in the 100-year history of the trust, for the billions of dollars in the trust fund.

Further, Pierce ignores a century of mismanagement. The Department is a recalcitrant trustee, ignoring even a Congressional directive to change. He asked, "When is it appropriate for a Federal court to intervene?" They have no Accounts Receivable system. There is self-reporting of the oil companies of how much oil is taken from the land. The audit system is inadequate and broken.

He further noted some of the specific cases of malfeasance that resulted in the contempt ruling. The Department claimed that they had an acocunting of pre-1951 accounts based on Government Accounting Office reports, in spite of a letter that they had received from the GAO saying, in essence, that those reports did not constitute an accounting. The Department attorneys did not tell the judge of the existence of this letter.

The Department also destroyed 162 boxes of documents during a contempt hearing.

Harper said, "This article is not shoddy; it aspires to shoddiness." Pierce left out many pieces of the fact picture that would have been challenging to his conclusion.

Professor Raskin followed up Harper's comments briefly, first by asking, "Why write law review articles?" Raskin feel that they should be written to either advance the cause of justice or advance the study of law. In this case, Pierce writes an article that just attacks a particular judge. Raskin called the article "an academic drive-by shooting by a sharpshooter recruited to go into an unfamiliar neighborhood who then gets lost."

Pierce replied that he, "Agrees that the trust has been horribly mismanaged." He strongly suspects that the problem would not have been fixed unless they [Harper and Raskin] had brought the lawsuit. He further congratulated them on convincing the court that there needed to be an accounting.
In cases like this, Pierce felt that one needs a strong judge, but one who will not use criminal contempt to induce behavior and will not use sanctions such as disconnecting an entire agency from the Internet.

Raskin noted that the accounting was originally ordered in 1996 for merely five plaintiffs and they still have not been produced, eight years later. Even was Norton to walk in the door with that accounting, there are 499,995 other beneficiaries of the Indian Trust to go, and at eight years per every five Indians, it would take 400,000 years.

Raskin noted that Pierce's article was appended to a complaint he had filed for judicial misconduct that was rejected as without merit. In his knowledge, this is the only law review article repudiated by a Federal circuit court.

Harper added that the special master appointed in Cobell was able to go into the system and move property interests from one account into another without an audit trail. He then asked, "What should a Federal judge do in such a case?" He went on to say that Pierce's article and presentation are bereft of any challenge to the facts of the misconduct. Somebody is responsible.

Popper opened the floor for questions. I asked the first one, "What, if any, limitation should their be on the contempt power when applied to a trustee who is also a sovereign agency?"

Raskin replied that any contempt order should be narrowly tailored, just as it would be if it applied to a private trust. However, if the trust data is in danger, it is acceptable to have a contempt order even if it affects other operations.

Pierce noted that in this case, there had only been one instance of hacking, the one commissioned by the special master. Disconnecting the entire agency from the Internet was not appropriate.

Harper clarified that the order was only to lock down the systems that had access to the Indian Trust data. The Department did not have any insulation or firewalling of those of those particular systems, and thus, they chose to disconnect all of the computers.

There was some discussion of whether the contempt was properly civil or criminal contempt. Raskin explained that the purpose of a civil contempt order is to get a party, in this case the Department of Interior, to comply with the orders of the court. Pierce was of the opinion that Judge Lamberth's orders were more properly criminal contempt charges, and should have been handled by a neutral judge.

Harper asked a question near the end, directed rhetorically at Pierce, "At what point should the courts take action? And if not this action [contempt], then what action?"

After the debate I had a chance to ask Professor Raskin about what could possibly be done to open up the debates to candidates like Michael Badnarik, knowing his background on the issue. He seemed interested in talking more and invited me to stop by his office later on in the week. Another thing to add to the plate.

Now it's off to study.

Yours truly,
Mr. X

...let Badnarik debate...

9.16.2004

Update: Let Badnarik Debate

I just called the office of the Commission on Presidential Debates. Apparently Ms. Brown is out of the office today, but I left my name and phone number.

Keep up the pressure, people.

Yours truly,
Mr. X

...202.872.1020...

9.13.2004

Let Badnarik debate

The following is the text of a letter that I wrote to Janet Brown, executive director of the Commission on Presidential Debates regarding Michael Badnarik's inclusion:

Dear Ms. Brown,
It has been suggested by numerous op-ed writers on editorial pages throughout the country that your organization, the Commission on Presidential Debates, is a partisan organization unwilling to allow voices from outside of the major parties. It has further been suggested that the format of your debates encourages highly scripted conversations between the major party candidates, with their surrogates negotiating to ensure that truly substantive issues of interest to the American people are left off the table. I am writing you in hopes that you can dispell those rumors.

As you may know, Libertarian candidate Michael Badnarik will be on the ballot of 48 states and the District of Columbia this year. In his campaign he is stressing issues where there is a clear difference between his approach and that of his major party opponents. Issues like the war in Iraq, the proper policy toward gay marriage, and the War on Drugs. These issues are of great import to all Americans and his inclusion in the debates would further the public interest in bringing them to the fore.

I urge you to include Michael Badnarik in the presidential debates and to include his running mate, Richard Campagna in the vice-presidential debate. If you have questions about Mr. Badnarik or Mr. Campagna, please don't hesitate to contact me and I will ensure that you get them answered.

Thank you for taking the time to read my letter. I eagerly await your reply.

Yours truly,
Mr. X


If you have a moment, please take the time to contact them. Full contact information for Ms. Brown:

Janet H. Brown - Executive Director CPD
1200 New Hampshire Ave., NW Suite 445
Washington, D.C. 20036
202-872-1020
jb@debates.org

Yours truly,
Mr. X

...bring the noise...

9.12.2004

"And did I mention that I don't lie?"

I had an awesome day at the Takoma Park Folk Festival. People kept asking if it was lonely working the booth for Michael Badnarik in a sea of Democrats and I replied, "No, most everybody here is opposed to the War in Iraq, opposed to the Patriot Act, and for gay marriage; just like my candidate."

From the Badnarik blog an interview with Michael by Erie Voices:

Erie Voices: All right. I already know the answer to this, but just for the record: What sets you apart from the Democrats and the Republicans?

Badnarik: Honesty. Integrity. And 20 years of studying the Constitution.

Erie Voices: Okay so -

Badnarik: And did I mention that I don't lie? You may not like the answers I give but if you ask me questions you’re going to hear what I believe. And my answers don’t change from Monday to Friday like some candidates I know - and I also recognize that my power is limited. When I take an oath of office it is my responsibility to protect the life, and the liberty and the property of my fellow Americans. And everyone has learned that in our system of government there’s supposed to be a system of checks and balances - we have no checks in Washington. Congress will pass an unconstitutional act - the President will sign that act into law - and the Supreme Court will misinterpret it. We have no one in Washington protecting our rights. By electing a Libertarian Presidential candidate we can easily restore the system of checks and balances because I promise to veto any unconstitutional law that Congress sends to my desk.

Erie Voices: [long pause] Wow.

Badnarik: Oh I’m sorry, am I straddling the fence too much for you?

Erie Voices: [laughs] No. I love it. I love it.

Badnarik: Thank you.


The whole interview is here.

Yours truly,
Mr. X

...crashing hard...

9.10.2004

Vote for Inclusiveness, Freedom, and Peace

I've survived another week, barely. I'm not exactly behind on my studying, but I'm not exactly caught up either. I should be in the midst of drafting a predictive memo for a negligent hiring case, rather than just briefing the source cases, but hey, that's what weekends are for.

Then again, this one has a Habitat for Humanity thing on Saturday and manning the Libertarian booth at the Takoma Park Folk Festival on Sunday. Hmm...

Yesterday was a huge media day for the Badnarik campaign. Articles in Las Vegas City Life, the Las Vegas Mercury, the Denver Post, USA Today, a TV interview with 9News in Denver, and even a mention on CNN.

On top of that, there was an endorsement of Badnarik from the Pink Pistols, a gay gun rights group. Excerpt:
"We're excited to endorse the only candidate in this election who stands for equal rights -- and the means to defend those rights -- for everyone," says Douglas L. Krick, founder of Pink Pistols. "With the 'major' parties competing to see who can be most strident in encouraging different standards for the queer communities, it's more important than ever that we stand up for ourselves -- and support candidates who stand with us."

Badnarik, 50, of Austin, Texas, welcomes that support. "Pursuit of political reform is best exercised through the ballot box and the jury box," he says. "But ultimately the cartridge box must be there, especially when lives are at stake. In America today, it's still considered acceptable in many places to attack gay men and lesbians for no other reason than who they are. When that happens, the victim can't wait for a police officer or a jury to try to sort things out."


After class, I went to the AU College Libertarians meeting to discuss strategy for getting the message out to voters on campus. Lots of new people showed up and a good number of them seemed excited about having a real option. Mike's right, selling his message is "like selling ice water in hell".

Speaking of selling the message, the following is a letter I submitted to the American Jurist:

Dear Editor,
Thank you for covering the Presidential campaign in your August 2004 issue. I was dismayed that the Libertarian candidate, Michael Badnarik, was omitted from your candidate profiles.

Mr. Badnarik supports the rights of gay Americans to equal protection under the law, including the right to marry whomever they choose. In contrast, Bush and Kerry only disagree over whether gay marriage should be prohibited at the state (Kerry) or federal (Bush) level.

Mr. Badnarik opposes the encroachment of our civil liberties by the Patriot Act. Bush and Kerry only differ in that Kerry voted for the law and Bush signed it.

Mr. Badnarik opposes the war in Iraq and supports bringing our troops home. Bush brought this country into the war and Kerry has gone on record that, even knowing what he knows now about weapons of mass destruction, he'd still vote to authorize the war.

It seems obvious that Mr. Badnarik's positions on issues that may be of importance to the WCL community stand in stark contrast to Mssrs Bush and Kerry. I would urge your readers to vote for a candidate that shares their values of inclusiveness, freedom, and peace. I would urge them to vote for Michael Badnarik.


We shall see if it gets published next month.

Yours truly,
Mr. X

...keeping it real...

9.07.2004

Secret law, secret testimony

The DOJ has asked to keep their arguments secret in the case brought by John Gilmore, the co-founder of the Electronic Frontier Foundation, challenging the requirement to show ID before boarding a plane.

"We're dealing with the government's review of a secret law that now they want a secret judicial review for," one of Gilmore's attorneys, James Harrison, said in a telephone interview Sunday. "This administration's use of a secret law is more dangerous to the security of the nation than any external threat."


Not only do they want the proceedings secret, but they also want to present their arguments to the judge outside the presence of the plaintiff and his lawyers.

The government contends its court arguments should be sealed from public view and heard before a judge outside the presence of Gilmore and his attorneys as well. The government, however, said it would plan to file another "redacted" public version of their arguments.
- from the Mercury News article

I love my country, I fear my government.

Yours truly,
Mr. X

...who is Michael Badnarik...

Jack Valenti is an ass

Props to Scott for letting me know that Carrington Vanston is at it again with a wonderful essay on the stupidity of Jack Valenti.

In fact, the only thing that’s ever made me want to pirate movies more than that annoying must-sit-through-it-again FBI Warning was the pre-show PSA by stunt man Manny "don’t call me Jack" Perry. The gall of running that ad before cinema audiences — who are by definition people who have just paid for a movie, and therefore the one group that we can be absolutely certain isn’t the ad’s supposed target audience — was not just satirical but insulting. I’m sure Manny’s IMDB listing page took a digital pounding as people across the continent compiled their own to-download lists.


What a maroon.

Yours truly,
Mr. X

...don't know jack...

9.05.2004

Gun safety lesson

Apparently Monroe County Coroner David Toumey should practice a little more before giving any more gun safety lessons.

Perhaps he should remember the rule, "don't check to see if a weapon is unloaded while pointing it at your own leg.

Yours truly,
Mr. X

...a public service announcement...

9.03.2004

Oreos, Pigface, and relief from convention burnout

Ben Cohen, the Ben of Ben & Jerry's, made a little cartoon to educate us about the federal budget. Mmmm, Oreos.

My friend Brian sent me an email last night about a Pigface song that spoke to him. Excerpt:

I was just listening to Pigface's "Notes From Thee Underground"
(1994, Invisible Records); and the lyrics to "Your Own You Own" caught my attention. The lyrics are by a guest vocalist, Genesis P-Orridge, lead singer for Psychic TV.

I wonder how long I've been a Libertarian? I was a Pigface fan long before this CD came out - but something about THIS song always overwhelmed me. Well...Enjoy. Another reason to love this acid-industrial crew outta Chicago!


Lyrics:

for 23 years we've told you to beware
to be aware
before awake
your freedoms are being eroded [x2]
your needs blocked [x2]
your freedoms are being eroded
your needs blocked
your sexuality legislated
your dreams your right to dreams, stolen [stolen!
stolen! stolen! stolen!]
you are being criminalized
you are being reposesed
your being digitized for ease ov location
your breath thee breath ov youth is being polluted
[provication! [x4]]
your own you own
your very own
your own you own
your brains are being polluted, poisoned, and
fragmented by fear
not your fear [x3]
your own you own [x10]
you only run free
as ov this day
you do not have the right to socialize
your own you own [i lost count, i'd say 30]
or criticise, or analyse, or fantasise, or politicise,
or publisice
or subsidise, or visualise, or conceptualise, or
realise anything!


Also, for those of you burnt out on the taxpayer-funded parties that are the RNC and DNC conventions, equal opportunity satire courtesy of Mark Fiore:

The Republican Games

The Democratic Convention Game

A pox on both their houses, vote Michael Badnarik. Remember, he's not Bush either.

Yours truly,
Mr. X

...bomb-diggity...

9.02.2004

Loose ends

I had a good weekend.

Friday night I went out with the peeps to Cafe Japone for sushi and some really bad karaoke. If I can get pics from Tina, I'll post 'em.

Went to visit the family down at Fort Belvoir on Saturday. Got to play Viking King Kubb, an awesome outdoor game I picked up at the County Fair. Afterwards, Allyson and I went to see her friend Marissa Levy play at the Grog & Tankard. Good times.

Sunday was spent studying. This will probably become a trend.

Nemo sent me a great link to the DNA Lounge's experiment in ATM subversion. Gotta love jwz's sense of humor.

I've been arguing gun control with a lot of people this week. In my travels, I found a really good site that takes a look at things from a far more fundamental perspective than the typical, "what does the Second Amendment really mean," standpoint.

a human right

Also, on Tuesday, August 31, Michael Badnarik took part in the first debate of the campaign season. Check out the blog for the post mortem.

Keep it real people, I'm off to Torts.

Yours truly,
Mr. X

...catching up...




8.27.2004

The first quarter-century, a retrospective

25 years ago I was born in Phoenix, AZ. I've managed to graduate from college, get a good job, buy a house and survive my first week of law school. I've dated a lot of cool women, made a lot of cool friends, and thrown a few good parties. I've fed refugees in Albania, been evacuated from a square in Jerusalem by a bomb threat, and walked through the Blue Mosque in Istanbul. I've lived in Phoenix, Yuma, Kansas City, White Sands Missile Range, Binghamton, Dominica, Lanesboro, Naperville, Silver Spring, Takoma Park, and some little town outside Lansing, Michigan. I've served in half a dozen positions in the Libertarian Party, been to three Libertarian National Conventions, and appeared once a month on the radio for about three straight years now. I've skydived, learned to ride a motorcycle, parasailed, scuba dived, rock climbed, and got my shodan in kendo.

Thank you to everyone who has touched my life. Here's looking forward to sharing the next 25 years with you.

Yours truly,
Mr. X

...taking stock...

8.25.2004

A sane(r) view of terrorism

The Washington Post has a great article by Gene Weingarten about living with terrorism. He also did a follow-up online chat with readers about it. Well worth reading. We often forget that a) terrorism is just a tactic and b) there's not a lot to be done about it. Good reminders.

Yours truly,
Mr. X

...impressed...

Less and less sleep

Last night was my long night. Torts from 6:00 - 8:00 pm, Legal Rhetoric from 8:00 - 10:00 pm, then home to read for contracts until about 1:30 am. I'm a little bit tired and frazzled today.

My Torts class is taught by Andrew Popper. He was head of the admissions committee that whittled the 9,400 person applicant pool down to the approximately 480 person class. When he's not teaching, he's busy testifying before Congress about tort reform. His class promises to be the most challenging of this semester.

Allyson's taking me to see The Presidents of the United States of America tonight at the 9:30 Club after class tonight. I'm so glad they got back together.

Check out the latest animated Badnarik banner (picked up on the blog):


Back to work.

Yours truly,
Mr. X

...punchy...

8.24.2004

Contracts Killa

Well, I survived my first class last night. Contracts, with professor Teemu Ruskola (it's Finnish). We did lots of hypothetical scenarios involving promises of pens and party invitations and explored some of the different theories behind contract law. Interesting subject matter.

It's really starting to hit home that the left side of the bell curve didn't get accepted to law school (at least not at WCL with me). Even the people who sit in the back of the room seem like they're sharp and up on the class readings. This is in stark contrast to my last brief foray into evening grad school, an Organizational Behavior class with a bunch of government workers looking to pad their resumes (and their salaries) with another degree.

I stayed up until midnight reading for my Legal Rhetoric class tonight (and I'm still not quite done). Looks like no free time for a while.

The Tofu Hut has a link to a really good funky protest song, Sharon Jones and the Dap Kings doing "What If We All Stopped Paying Taxes?". Imagine, if we didn't give the government money to prosecute wars, how would they pay for the bombs? Hmm...

Tonight is Torts and Legal Rhetoric. Whee!

Yours truly,
Mr. X

...sleep deprived...

8.23.2004

The rubber hits the road

Tonight's my first night of class for law school. I've already briefed three and a half cases (need to finish the one for Legal Rhetoric) before class has even started. The realization that all of those people who filled out the middle of the curve didn't get into school with me has started to hit. If I'm not too brutalized by my first night of Contracts, I'll update further.

I saw the most awesome Badnarik image ever today:



If I get any free time this week or weekend, I think I'm going to go to the park and play with my new Viking King Kubb set. Hopefully with a lot of beer.

Yours truly,
Mr. X

...hit and run...

8.18.2004

The law school journey begins

I'm sitting in room 101 of the Washington College of Law, waiting to have my ID picture taken. The line is so long that it looks like we'll get to pick up the finished ID sometime tomorrow. Cheap movie tickets await, but I doubt I'll have any time anymore to go to the movies. Ah, irony.

The dean of students welcomed us, the dean of the school welcomed us, the professors and Student Bar Association president and vice president of the Evening Law Students Association. I'm felt pretty damn welcome.

I took (really) bad pictures. Check 'em out.

Part of the class


Dean Jaffe


Dean Grossman


Weren't those awful? I'll try to hold the camera a little steadier next time. Back again tomorrow for more fun, fun, fun...

Yours truly,
Mr. X

...a little tired...

All I wanted were some shoes...

Carrington Vanston has a great article that should make us all very happy that most web designers are stuck on the web and have not yet escaped into the real world.

When I stepped out of the cab, the shop exploded. Not into flames, but into advertisements for adult video stores.


Yours truly,
Mr. X

...looking for my animation scrapbook...

8.17.2004

Swords, drunks, and a better president...

After work last night I went out to see Takeshi Kitano's remake of Zatoichi. It was a long day at work, but the trailer convinced me to go. Damn, what a good movie. "Beat" Takeshi is cool, as always (go rent Brother), the violence is stylized to the point of high camp, and the song-and-dance number at the end just crowns it off as a great piece of filmmaking.

Nemo sent me a link to The Uppity Drunk, a feature of Modern Drunkard magazine.
It's true sir, I AM going to kick your ass. With ass-kicking FACTS!
Brilliant, simply brilliant.

Finally, Walt Thiessen announced that he has produced a documentary about Michael Badnarik. There's links to a mirrors in the blog post.

Tomorrow's the first day of law school orientation. Wish me luck.

Yours truly,
Mr. X

...kicking it hardcore...

8.12.2004

Danny Diaz, Fascist for Bush

Michael Badnarik was campaigning in Santa Fe on Wednesday. The Santa Fe New Mexican interviewed him, mentioning his poll numbers.

New Mexico is the first building block in an aggressive strategy aimed at growing long-term party support, he said. A Rasmussen poll commissioned by his campaign revealed earlier this month that he had the support of 5 percent of New Mexican voters.


When asked for comment the Democrats protested ignorance, while Danny Diaz opined that there were no other candidates in the race.

Bush spokesman Danny Diaz, who was with the president in New Mexico and Arizona on Wednesday, repeatedly refused to address a Libertarian factor. “This is a race between the president of the United States and John Kerry, and voters will make their decision between those two candidates,” he said.


Funny that the Bush spokesman should so vehemently deny that the American people have another alternative in November at the same time as Bush is pandering to Libertarians by mumbling something about thinking that a national sales tax is "an interesting idea"...

As an aside, BugMeNot is a great resource for reading articles from sites requiring "free" registration. They even have their own registration page for anyone who is an "employee, partner, affiliate or legal representative of any site which enforces compulsory user registration". Try it out...

Yours truly,
Mr. X

...gotta go, crack don't smoke itself...

8.10.2004

Choices, choices

Received today from a disgruntled Democrat:

"Responding to President Bush's challenge to clarify his position, Sen. John F. Kerry said Monday that he still would have voted to authorize the war in Iraq even if he had known then that U.S. and allied forces would not find weapons of mass destruction."
Full story:In Hindsight, Kerry Says He'd Still Vote for War

Let's compare this to Michael Badnarik's campaign commercial airing in New Mexico, where he asks to be our "Peace President". Badnarik's blog has a post about this very problem.

Boy am I glad that there's at least one honorable presidential candidate working his way through New Mexico this week.

Yours truly,
Mr. X

...such a world we live in...

7.25.2004

Gambatte!

Nemo and I competed in the Third Annual Annapolis Kendo/Iaido Club Invitational Kendo Tournament in the shodan/nidan division. I placed third and he placed second (maybe I should go to practice or something).

The Washington Kendo Club team (Nemo and I in the front, with our little plaques)


Yours truly,
Mr. X

...catching up...

7.16.2004

Life imitates art, super-size edition

In Wednesday's Onion: "In spite of billions of dollars spent and decades of research, scientists at the University of Chicago said Monday that the scientific community is no closer to finding a cure for the potentially fatal disease of obesity." - Report: Scientists Still Seeking Cure For Obesity

In Friday's USA Today: "In a major decision that turns obesity from a personal failure to a medical problem, Medicare announced Thursday that it would remove barriers to covering anti-obesity treatments after 40 years of saying fat was not an illness and not covered." - Medicare redefines obesity as medical


Yours truly,
Mr. X

...feeling sick...

7.15.2004

Cyrano

Went to the Shakespeare Theatre last night to see Cyrano de Bergerac. I've seen almost 20 plays put on there and this was definitely in the top two. Incredible pacing, great performances, wicked swordplay, beautiful set and costume design. It's a must see.

6.08.2004

Mmm, Kool-Aid...

Online polls are like Kool-Aid for Libertarians. Just this morning I received an "ACTION ALERT" from some (I hope) well-meaning Michael Badnarik supporter about the urgent need for me to vote in an online poll about who I'd be voting for in November. Badnarik was at 68% when I clicked.

The danger of these polls is that people think they're actually doing something. As though an online poll will get the debate commission to open up the debates or translate into better results in November or something. People don't feel a need to do real campaigning or give money or other "real" activism, 'cause they voted in an online poll.

What do they want, a cookie?

5.26.2004

Heading to Atlanta Tomorrow

Flying to Atlanta after work tomorrow to attend the Libertarian National Convention and support Aaron Russo's bid for the nomination. Russo has done more outreach and received more support from people outside the party than any Libertarian candidate I've seen in the eight years I've been involved, and he doesn't even have the nomination yet.

I've been getting crap from friends about being too excited, but, as a Libertarian, I usually have to be depressed about the options I have, so it's a nice change of pace.

Yours truly,
Mr. X

...jet setter...

5.17.2004

Onward and upward...

It looks like it's about time for me to enter the 21st century and start a blog. What vanity website would be complete without pedantic screeds on topics of interest to me that might also be interesting to...well...me?

Yours truly,
Mr. X

...back in black...