Thursday, December 30, 2010

So, yeah, I am a moron and that's all that really needs to be said about that.

Hope you all had a lovely Christmas. 

Monday, December 27, 2010

I got lots of nice things for Christmas. A new sweater dress to help in my quest to bring dresses back. New sweaters. Knitting accessories. Some books and DVDs.

But my favorite gift is the one from which I am writing this post. I love my new iPad.

Sunday, December 19, 2010

Dear St. Louis Rams

Please be nice to Matt Cassel today.  He just had his appendix out 10 days ago, so go easy on him.  Oh, and could you be sure to let us win, too?  Thanks.

-Chiefs fans

Saturday, December 18, 2010


This vote deserves a post of its own.  The Senate has now voted to end filibuster on repeal of Don't Ask, Don't Tell.  Because of those silly Senate rules, this is the vote that really mattered.  As the clerk read through the aye votes, I was madly marking them down.  On the initial roll call, we got to 59, needing 60.  And I noticed that Harry Reid of Nevada had not yet voted.  So I knew we had it.  In the end, we got 63 votes, so room to spare.

My mom and I were madly texting back and forth, each confirming that we had reached the critical number.  Why C-Span wasn't showing a running count, I do not know.  Just to add to the suspense?  Once the final tally was officially announced, the blubbering began.  We prevailed.  Equality, fairness, justice prevailed.  In just a matter of days, the federal government will officially end one of the most despicable, discriminatory policies on the books.  I feel some lingering sadness that the Dream Act failed, but I will not let that take away from the glow I am feeling over DADT repeal.

Of course as my mom points out, it's a tad annoying that the actual vote on repeal won't happen until Monday.  But that vote is going to happen and it will go our way.  Then President Obama will sign the bill and he will have accomplished one of the biggest things I hoped for when I voted for him.  And all of our honorable gay and lesbian service members should have a very Merry Christmas and/or a Happy New Year!

C-Span geek

I am on tenterhooks this morning, watching the debate and procedural votes on Don't Ask, Don't Tell and the Dream Act.  As regular readers know, I have long argued in favor of repealing that evil, discriminatory DADT policy that requires good and honorable military service members to lie about who they are.  If today's procedural vote goes the way I hope it will, I promise you that I will cry.  In a good way.  Because a vote for repealing DADT is this generation's vote for civil rights.

I have not written about the Dream Act before, but I am also strongly in favor of that bill.  My very good friend from high school, the Language Lover, and I have both been busy bees on Facebook, promoting our two bills.  I have taken the lead on DADT while she has been on the charge for the Dream Act.  I think between the two of us, we have them both covered.  I know that she is as glued to her television or computer as I am this morning.  We have both invested a lot of energy and emotion in advance of today's votes.  I really hope that we both get the payout we have hoped for.

Come on, Senate.  Don't let us down!  (And could you hurry up, because I have a basketball game to watch in an hour...)

UPDATE: Well, there goes the Dream Act...  But there's still hope for DADT repeal.

Wednesday, December 15, 2010

Kenny, Kenny, Kenny

Count Dale Helmig as the next guy who's thrilled that Kenny Hulshof is not the governor of Missouri.  Hulshof rode his "illustrious" career in the Missouri Attorney General's office straight to Washington, D.C. where he represented Missouri for many terms.  He hoped that Congressional career would lead him straight to the governor's mansion in Jefferson City.  Fortunately, some of Kenny's bad, bad deeds as a prosecutor had started to surface before that 2008 election and the voters of Missouri smartly rejected him.  (Yes, I just used "Missouri voters" and "smart" in the same sentence.  Maybe I'm getting over that whole "those Missouri hooligans burned my town down 147 years ago" thing.)  Turns out a lot of those high-profile convictions Hulshof won that earned him the attention of voters were only obtained by breaking the rules.  A lot.

Back in February of 2009, I had suggested that it was probably to the benefit of Kenny's victims (aka wrongly-convicted defendants) that he did not win that election.  Some of his convictions are still percolating through the courts.  Cases like Dale Helmig's.  A district court judge recently reversed Helmig's conviction and released him on bond, not just finding that Hulshof had committed serious misconduct in handling the case, but also that Helmig's defense team had established Helmig's actual innocence.  And putting 2 and 2 together, the implication is pretty clear that Hulshof and the rest of his team had to have a pretty good idea that Helmig was innocent.  (Hulshof worked it out so the alibi witness couldn't testify, for example.) 

For Helmig's sake, I'm glad the district court judge who reversed his conviction and released him on bond didn't have to navigate the tricky minefield of calling out the current governor for his gross misconduct in handling Helmig's case.  As it stands, the district court judge, in his 100+ page ruling, didn't shy away from calling out Hulshof by name.  A judge doesn't have to worry about awkward run-ins at state functions with the guy who lost the election.

So this is now at least 6 murder cases (4 death penalty cases) that have now been reversed at least in part because of Hulshof's misconduct.  And yet, he has, to the best of my knowledge, suffered no consequences.  Instead, he works at a big Kansas City law firm.  On the firm's website, Hulshof's bio touts his prosecutorial and Congressional careers and refers to him as having a strong national reputation as a leader with integrity.  Sorry, Big Law Firm, but the word integrity is not one that should ever be applied to a man who broke the rules repeatedly to obtain wrongful convictions against no fewer than 6 men. 

Instead of raking in money doing business law for a big firm and still hiding behind this false reputation for integrity, Kenny Hulshof should be facing disciplinary hearings.  He should be facing tough questions about his long history of egregious Constitutional violations.  He should be defending lawsuits from the men he convicted, the taxpayers who are stuck with the bills for his shenanigans, and the family members of murder victims whose true killers went unpunished.  But prosecutors have near absolute immunity from lawsuit.  And disciplinary administrators, for whatever reason, just don't have the guts to take on prosecutorial misconduct in a real, meaningful way.  And obviously no prosecutor will charge him with any crime.  At the very least, Hulshof should donate his yearly salary (hell, just half of his yearly salary) to each of the 6 men (that we know about) who spent years behind bars because of his misdeeds.  But that'll never happen.  He'll just keep going to his cushy office, collecting his big paycheck, and enjoying his national reputation for integrity.  And I can only hope that someday, his trail of misdeeds will catch up to him in a real way.

Suspension of disbelief

I just got around to watching last night's episode of "The Good Wife."  In it, our heroic, plucky protagonist, Alicia Florrick, and her merry band of big law firm lawyers have taken on the last ditch appeal of a death row inmate.  The story picks up at 9 a.m. on the day of his execution; the lawyers have until 6 that evening to file paperwork with the 7th Circuit Court of Appeals to win a stay of execution.  And in magic television style, they instead manage to convince one of the appellate court judges not only to stay the execution, but to grant the guy a new trial because he's innocent.

Yeah, 'cause that really happens.

Monday, December 13, 2010

Chicken Noel

We all have certain dishes we remember from our childhood.  Our Moms made just the perfect breakfast casserole or our Grandmas made the best beef dish.  Or pies.  Remember the desserts we loved as children?  (Ask me about my Grandma J's gingerbread with chocolate sauce...)  About 12 years ago, my mom put a little index card holder in my stocking.  Inside were index cards with all my childhood favorite recipes on it.  Grandma J's Noodle Casserole.  My mom's macaroni and cheese.  The Anna Anderson cookies we had every Christmas.  (Anna Anderson being some random Swedish woman who shared her recipes with my great-grandmother.)

Somehow, and I don't know when, I acquired an actual notebook meant for me to write my own cookbook.  It's labeled as the Heriloom Cookbook, intended to hold all of the recipes passed down to me by my family.  This weekend, I finally sat down to transfer all of those index card recipes into the cookbook.  Of course I had the recipe for my mom's beef stroganoff (still the best I've ever had) and Grandma J's beef in herb wine sauce and Grandma Rieke's egg casserole.  These index cards have all seen much better days, because I have pulled them out so many times over the years.  So I finally wrote those recipes into a more permanent book and threw away the index cards.  (I'm fairly certain that was cheese on the mac and cheese card.)

And then I saw it.  The index card with that beloved recipe I hadn't had in 20 years.  Chicken Noel.  Oh, Chicken Noel.  We used to love that.  We used to make that for every special occasion.  When we went to visit my Iowa grandparents, my grandma would make that to show that she was excited to see us.  We would have that during holiday seasons.  Not actually on Christmas, but near it.  I thought Chicken Noel was the pinnacle of fine dining, the best thing ever.  So when I saw that recipe on Sunday and had already offered to cook dinner for my friend on Monday, I knew.  I would cook her Chicken Noel.

All day today, I worried.  Maybe it wouldn't be as good as I remembered.  Maybe it's a lame recipe, a little too Sandra Lee semi-homemade.  Maybe I could make it better if I substituted the processed ingredients for more organic, wholesome foods.  Maybe my grandma's style of cooking really isn't for me.  But I made it exactly the way the recipe said to.  I used the canned mushroom caps and the frozen broccoli spears (not as easy to find in 2010 as they were in 1980) and the cream of mushroom soup, just as I remembered it.  And it was awesome.  Delicious.  Ridiculously good.  (My friend agreed!)  So good, I could go eat a second serving right now.  For once, the memory of my childhood survived, lived up to a revisit by my adult self.  I am now thrilled that I made those two extra servings, so I can have lunch the next two days.  Chicken Noel is just as fabulous as child Sarah thought it was.  It isn't often that our childhood memories survive in the cold, harsh light of adulthood.  I am so, so happy that this one has.  Grandma may still be gone, but her paprika-covered baked chicken dish will keep her near to me.

And I'm pretty sure my mom will make it this Christmas, now that I have made my sister and my mom crave it as much as I had.

Thursday, December 9, 2010

The appendix is a stupid, useless organ. I curse its existence. An organ that serves no purpose in the human body has no business mucking up the finest, most hope-filled seasons the Chiefs have had in years.

I hope Jamaal Charles and Dwayne Bowe have theirs removed during the off-season, just to be on the safe side.

- Posted using BlogPress from my iPhone

Wednesday, December 8, 2010

Ok, I'm ready for spring.  Somehow, once it gets dark outside, I just can't seem to do anything but sit on my couch.  So now that it's dark by the time I get home, I can't do anything productive, like wash dishes, go Christmas shopping, walk my dog, do laundry.  Even reading is difficult.  It's just too easy to huddle on the couch under a pile of blankets.  Because my stupid house is old and not properly insulated, any activity or project that can't be done while wrapped in or sitting under a blanket isn't going to happen.

Plus, when it's dark and cold, it just becomes that much easier to give into the blues.  I don't know if you've noticed, but I have a tendency to be a little blue anyway.  

And so that leads me to sitting on my couch right now at 7 p.m. feeling blue and pondering how long do I have to wait before I can go to bed.  I'd kind of like to stay in bed until we get back to the days when sunset isn't before 7.  But I can't really do that, now can I?  And it's not even winter yet.  Blerg.

On the plus side, there's an adorable pup curled up on my lap (which makes using a laptop a bit tricky).  She seems to think hunkering down on the couch all evening is perfectly acceptable.

Monday, December 6, 2010

Monday evening quarterbacking (and, no, this post is not about the Chiefs)

Here in Kansas, the state supreme court broadcasts its oral arguments over the internet.  I think that's great.  When I have argument, friends and family from far away can spend 15 minutes learning a little about what I do.  When I don't have argument (and it's been a while for me), I can still feel connected to the court, its hot issues, and its trends by listening.  I have definitely used ideas I picked up from oral arguments in my own issues.  Plus, I'm just a bit of a court junkie, so I like listening.

From the safety of my office, in my jeans and holding my latte in my hands, I can just listen without the pressure of actually standing at the podium.  I try to be mindful of that and not express criticism of my fellow appellate advocates' performances.  And usually I don't have much to criticize, anyway.  (Well, unless the advocate is a prosecutor.)  The people in my office are god's gift to appellate practice.  And many of the civil attorneys have been there before.  But there is one thing that I will scream at any attorney presenting oral argument without feeling the slightest twinge of guilt that I'm speaking from my comfy ivory tower where I've had lots of time to think about it.  It's usually aimed at the trial attorneys who are used to a more casual argument with trial courts.

It is this: DON'T INTERRUPT THE JUDGES!  Let them finish their questions.  No matter how much you might disagree with an underlying presumption or want to correct a misunderstanding of a fact.  I don't care if you've anticipated this exact question and have already formulated the perfect, home-run, knock their socks off, dead-bang winner of an answer.  Don't interrupt the judges!  Really.

Saturday, December 4, 2010

Jason Mraz just might be the coolest guy on earth

Mr. Mraz, best known for his songs "I'm Yours" and "The Remedy", called KU on Thursday and said, "Hey, I'd like to put on a little show at your student union on Friday evening.  But don't tell anyone, 'kay?"  To which KU replied, "'Kay."

So this famous singer-songwriter with a huge hit on his resume (truly "I'm Yours" is a great song and one of my favorites, it's just so happy) just walks into the KU student union around 6 pm and starts playing.  A 2 hour show.  But only for those lucky few who happened to be there or who got texts from a friend who happened to be there.  Sadly, I don't have any friends who just happened to be there, so I missed it.  (The disadvantage of being a 30-something professional: I don't have friends hanging around the student union.)

Life is messy

Every once in a while, it occurs to me that a particular item of mine is lost in the black-hole-to-me that is his house.  The football pants that I once bought for a Halloween costume I don't really care about (especially now that I've decided "Hot chick in a slinky black dress" will be my go-to costume).  The cheap bottle of lotion couldn't matter less.

But the dress.  I can't believe I forgot about that dress.  I didn't exactly forget, though.  I knew that there had been 3 dresses at his house at one point.  I remember looking in my closet soon after the break-up and being reassured when I saw that one of the dresses was in my closet.  I thought they had all 3 traveled in a pack.  But they didn't.  And a thorough review of my closet this morning confirmed that the Ann Taylor dress, the sweet little floral sheath that is really only useful for summer weddings since my friends aren't the English garden party types, is not there.  Because it's still at his house from the time I wore it to his cousin's wedding.

It would be really nice if I came home from work someday soon and found that dress in a plastic bag on my carport, but I suspect I will never see it again.  Too bad because I think it would look awesome on my new, svelter frame.

Thursday, December 2, 2010

Can I tell you how I really feel about John McCain?

Every time I think I couldn't dislike John McCain any more than I already do, he opens his mouth.  And these days, all he seems to open his mouth about is Don't Ask, Don't Tell (DADT).  From all he has said, it is now clear that the distinguished senator just flat doesn't like those icky, nasty gays and doesn't want them serving in his precious military.  First, he said he would support repeal of DADT when military leaders said it was ok.  Apparently that doesn't include the Defense Secretary and the Chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff, who have both supported repeal.  Then he said he would support repeal if a survey was conducted of service members that would determine what effect repeal would have on morale and readiness.  That survey has been done, shows the vast majority of respondents think repeal would have no detrimental effects and yet the distinguished senator still is not satisfied.  Because it wasn't the right kind of study.  And it's flawed.  And there are typos.  And it should have been printed on ivory paper.  And we didn't get responses from any dogs serving in military police K-9 units.  And who knows what other nonsensical, illogical reasons he'll come up with to keep stonewalling on repeal.

Now he's resting his opposition on a part of the survey that demonstrates that combat forces have the highest level of concern about repeal of those service members responding.  In testimony at the capitol today, Defense Secretary Gates noted that those members tend to be younger and with less military experience, suggesting that their concerns could be mitigated with training.  The distinguished senator responded with this telling comment, "We send these young people into combat, we think they’re mature enough to fight and die. I think they’re mature enough to make a judgment on who they want to serve with and the impact on their battle effectiveness.”

Think about that response for a minute.  John McCain would really allow service members to decide who they want to serve alongside?  So if service members proclaimed they no longer wanted blacks in the military, McCain would go along?  Or Muslims?  Or Jews?  Or Arabic-Americans?  I can't quite believe he would really allow service members to decide to that extent who they want to serve next to.  Isn't the whole idea of the military that you serve next to who your superiors tell you to?  The truth is that McCain would not make that statement in reference to any other demographic group besides gays.  Because gays are different, they aren't born that way, they make a lifestyle choice that he and many others in the military find icky and it's perfectly ok to keep those icky, nasty gays out of the military.

It is time for John McCain to stop pretending that he would ever, under any circumstances, vote to repeal DADT.  It is far likelier that he would vote to reinstate the complete ban on gays serving in the military that preceded DADT.  All of his conditions for repeal have been met and he's still stonewalling, so let's just call it what it is.  Frankly, I might respect him more if he would be honest and admit he just doesn't like gays.

Wednesday, December 1, 2010

As I said yesterday, I've had a fairly packed social calendar of late.  I have a lot of great friends with whom I have a lot of fun.  And I get more than my fair share of love from them.  In addition, in the past few weeks, I have received many compliments on my new hair cut, my new dress, new boots, my general stylish attire.  I have definitely put some effort into dressing well and having a good time when I am out with friends.

But at the end of every day, I go home alone and there is really no way to escape this bottom line: I am still pretty much hopelessly in love with someone who has so thoroughly moved on, he won't even talk to me.  Sigh.

Tuesday, November 30, 2010

You can love your dog, just don't LOVE your dog... to death.

Ok, y'all know I'm kind of nuts about my dog.  I buy her too many toys and feed her expensive food.  I definitely talk about her too much.  And I do occasionally worry about what would happen to her if I were in a car accident or something.  I don't spend inordinate amounts of time worrying about this, just the odd thought here and there.  (But my friends probably should know that the best thing they could do for me when they get that phone call about my car accident is track down the person who has the key to my house and get someone on doggy duty.)

But were I to get into that bad car accident and not survive, I would never want anyone to euthanize her so she can be buried with me!  I'm sure she would be a sad doggy and would spend lots of time waiting for me to come home, but that is no reason to cut her healthy life short.  I may be a little too attached to my dog, but at least I know I can't take her with me.

Random Tidbits

1) There's nothing like an old friend posting a photo from your high school prom to make you realize how far you've come.  (And perhaps I should rethink this friending high school folks on facebook thing.)

2) I have apparently become quite the social butterfly of late.  I have had many weeks in which I did not have a single night free.  I don't have another day without a social obligation until next Monday.  And on many days before then, I actually have multiple options.  I can't quite decide if I like this or not.  My dish and laundry pile are suffering.  And Maddie decidedly does not like it.

3) We all would do well to remember that not all biological materials yielding DNA results are blood.  Many samples are other materials, like vomit, saliva, vaginal fluid, semen, or even just skin cells.  Let's not just assume any positive DNA result is blood because it isn't.

4) When a former client files a habeas corpus motion alleging I provided ineffective assistance of counsel, the prosecutor does not "represent" me.  And I don't need defending.  If I screwed up, the only ethical thing for me to do is own it and try to correct the mistake.  I don't actually consider it a personal attack on me and even if I did, well, I'm a big girl and can handle it.  What I can't handle is a prosecutor who describes me as "cagey" because I have the nerve to still feel some sense of loyalty to the client and still protect his/her right to attorney/client confidentiality.

5) Matt Cassell has turned out to be a pretty decent quarterback.  And if he keeps passing, moving, and blocking like he did against Seattle on Sunday, I might even declare him the best-looking quarterback in the league.  (Yes, my judgment of his looks does in part depend upon his play.  Though objectively, I think it must be admitted he's a good-looking guy.  He'll just look much better to me if (when) the Chiefs make the play-offs.)

Wednesday, November 24, 2010

At dinner tonight with my parents, a famous local criminal case came up in conversation.  My dad insisted that the case had resulted in a particular outcome, but I assured him he was incorrect.  He persisted in his assertion until my mom spoke up and said that no, my dad was wrong.  My dad responded by conceding he must be misremembering something because the expert said so.  He was referring to my mom as the expert.  And my mom was quite willing to accept the title of expert.

Umm.  Do these people know what I do for a living?  My mom is a very lovely, smart, well-informed woman and she was, in fact, correct, as evidenced by the fact that she was agreeing with me.  And I acknowledge that she has a long history of activism on criminal justice matters, most notably in opposition to the death penalty.  So she really does know her stuff and my dad is right to defer to her superior knowledge.  But I have to pull a little rank here; he should have deferred to my even greater knowledge long before Mom ever spoke up!  Because on matters pertaining to Kansas criminal law, I actually AM an expert! 

The fact that this irked me as much as it did suggests that I might have some unresolved issues from my childhood relating to my dad not taking my word for things on subjects that he should have trusted I knew about.

Saturday, November 20, 2010

Who needs a guardian angel? I just need a coffee angel.

I have often bemoaned the fact that there is no coffee shop in this town that delivers.  Never more so than this morning, the morning after taking a limo to Kansas City's Power and Light District, spending several hours singing and dancing at a dueling piano bar, and not arriving home until 2:30 a.m.  (I would note I am not the least bit hung over, just exhausted.  A dueling piano bar really can't be enjoyed properly if too much alcohol is involved.)

In the past, I have on occasion let it be known on Facebook that I wish a coffee shop delivered and that if any of my dear friends wanted to bring me a vanilla latte, I would accept that kind offering.  Strangely, no one has ever actually brought me that latte.  It's like they think I should be able to get my own damn latte or make my own coffee in one of my 3 coffee makers or something.  Sheesh. 

Until today.  Because today, when I begged for a 4-shot, Venti Pumpkin Spice Latte from Starbucks, Mr. Awesome actually brought me exactly that.  Thereby establishing that my nice friend, the coffee angel, is in fact the greatest person on earth.  You rock, sir.  And I am now much closer to meeting my goal of not leaving my property all day.

Friday, November 19, 2010

Sally Albright taught us that once we've said something, we can't take it back.  No matter how much we might want to, it's already out there.  Once it's already out there, there's only one thing you can do.  Just let it lie.

Of course Sally's right.  I wish she weren't.  I would give just about anything to take back 5 little words today.  But I can't.  Nothing I do or say will fix it.  So I really do have to let it lie.  If only I were any good at letting things lie.

Wouldn't it be nice if we each got like 5 take-backs in life?  Some system that would allow us to wipe our much-regretted words from the memories of their recipients?  'Cause I would use one today.

Wednesday, November 17, 2010

Sometimes prosecutors' closing arguments are so outrageously frustrating, they make me want to jam a knitting needle in my eye. Perhaps I shouldn't knit while reading transcripts.

- Posted using BlogPress from my iPhone

Sunday, November 14, 2010

Skinny jeans update

Every woman has a pair of skinny jeans in her closet.  The pair she holds on to as her ideal, the jeans that make her feel her best.  Even when we can't quite fit into them, we keep them and use them as the measure of when we've gotten back to our dream weight.  I actually had two: my skinny jeans and my super skinny jeans.  I hadn't been able to wear either of them for a while, but over the summer, I made my way back into both.  But I didn't stop there.

The skinny jeans now require a belt.  The super skinny jeans now look like a relaxed fit jean.  They have been replaced by a new pair of super duper skinny jeans.  Size 2 jeans.  And judging by the reactions I've received, they look pretty darn good.  Yes, I'm bragging, but I don't think I've ever been able to buy size 2 jeans before in my life, so I think I've earned one little braggy post.

Thursday, November 4, 2010

I should be shocked, but I'm not really

You can probably guess how I feel about this story without me writing anything.  Yep, that's right, I enjoyed this story and thought it was a giant hoot.  I am a big, big fan of jailers using stun guns on inmates as some kind of sport.  I am all for randomly tasing disabled and pregnant inmates just for the fun of it.  And inmates should definitely be shocked with stun guns for violating jail rules or simply to "soften them up" to make sure they don't violate rules in the future.

Oh, wait.  I think all of those things are bad, evil, immoral, criminal, and generally an indicator of really, really bad character.  I hope that the Feds charge the crap out of all of those Franklin County Ohio jailers.  I hope people lose jobs, pay massive fines, and do time in jail.  And when they're doing that time in jail, I hope they're treated fairly and compassionately by their jailers.

In which a celebrity gossip story irks my feminist sensibilities

I'm not a big country music fan, but I do like my celebrity gossip.  So I've heard plenty about the LeAnn Rimes - Eddie Cibrian scandal.  For purposes of this rant, it really isn't important that you are familiar with these people.  LeAnn is the big country star who got her first record deal when she was 13.  Eddie has been on several tv shows over the years.  Both LeAnn and Eddie were married to other people when they met on the set of their t.v. movie. 

Soon, rumors swirled that LeAnn's "good girl" image was tainted by an affair.  Nobody seemed all that worried about Eddie's image.  Sure enough, LeAnn announced she was divorcing.  Then Eddie, too, filed for divorce.  And just a few months later, Eddie and LeAnn were living together.  Shape magazine put LeAnn on their October cover and received complaints for celebrating a "husband-stealer", prompting the magazine to apologize.  I am unaware of any calls to keep that "wife-stealing" Eddie off magazine covers.  For her part, LeAnn has expressed some sadness that things went the way they did, but maintains that both of their marriages were failing anyway and does not regret choosing to be with the man she loves.  Nobody has asked Eddie to explain himself (other than, presumably, his ex-wife) but then no one ever projected a false, unfair, unattainable image of perfection on him.  'Cause he's just a man.

And today comes news that Eddie and LeAnn are officially engaged.  Or as msnbc puts it, "Eddie Cibrian is going to make an honest woman out of LeAnn Rimes."  Which pretty much made my head explode.  Because, see, only LeAnn is the adulterer.  Only LeAnn is the cheater.  She's the dirty, dirty whore of a woman who needs to be purified, made honest, by a man.  Fortunately for her, Eddie (that adultering wife-stealer) is just the man to do it.  Phew.

Monday, November 1, 2010

Really, really Artur for AG

I made the mistake of watching t.v. in bed last night.  (How I Met Your Mother is on at all hours these days, so even though I have the series on DVD, I can't turn off the t.v. if a good episode is on.)  As a result, I saw commercial after commercial in the Kansas Attorney General race.  Now, as I've already told you, I have no intention of voting for either of these smarmy politicians.  But if I hadn't already been decided on Artur for A.G., I'm fairly certain last night's commercials would have persuaded me not to vote for either of them.

This election seems to be all about which of the two of them is the real prosecutor, the guy who has been a personal injury lawyer and judge or the guy who has been in the state senate for 10 years. 

Steve Six (trial lawyer/judge) says he is the real prosecutor because he has prosecuted two (2!) trials himself, both of which will he was AG.  I wasn't in the courtroom for either of those trials, but I have been told by those who were that his inexperience at trying criminal cases showed.  There have also been rumors that he has actively sought out cases he could take over from county attorney's offices so that he could get more experience prior to election season. 

Then there's Derek Schmidt (Senator) who insists he is the real prosecutor because he has personally prosecuted over fifty (50!) violent criminals (Domestic batterers!  Those who assault law enforcement officers!) himself just this very year.  Ooh, that sounds impressive.  Except his prosecutorial experience comes as a small town city prosecutor where he practices entirely in municipal court.  That's not even "real" court.  He's probably handling 3 or 4 "trials" in one evening session and who knows how many of those even involve opposing counsel.  The folks facing battery and assault charges in municipal court aren't exactly the sort of violent criminals his commercial might lead voters to believe.  Violent felonies aren't tried in municipal court.

So I don't think either of them are really all that great on prosecutorial experience.  But my bigger question is, so what?  Does the Attorney General himself really need to be in the courtroom, trying felonies?  Or should he perhaps leave that to the experienced prosecutors on his staff so he can do his actual job of administering the entire agency?  I personally opt for choice 2.  I don't expect my Attorney General to spend his time in a courtroom, focusing only on criminal cases.  The AG's office does not just handle criminal prosecutions, but also oversees consumer protection and all sorts of civil matters.  It is essentially the state's law firm.  The AG's office would actually  represent me were I to be sued.  The Attorney General's office handles a wide variety of legal matters and only steps in to criminal cases when individual counties ask for assistance or have a conflict.  The AG should be a lawyer well-versed in many areas of law so he can oversee the entire office, but should fill each department with attorneys who specialize in that area of law.  So, no, I don't expect the actual Attorney General to prosecute cases personally; I expect him to set policy and supervise the people who actually prosecute.  Evidently, though, I'm in the minority because prosecuting big, bad scary violent criminals is all these two want to talk about.  No wonder I don't want to vote for either of them: they don't even understand the job they're running for.

Fortunately, this will all be over tomorrow and I can go back to being sold sneakers and soda and fast food while I watch my late night sitcoms.  And maybe over the next 4 years I can at least get some entertainment value out of watching Mr. "I prosecute violent criminals in municipal court" take over a capital murder case in big kid court.
It is time to face the cold,  hard truth: There is nothing for me in this town anymore.  Nothing.  The place I love more than anywhere else in the world and the place I swore I would never leave has become hell.  Everything I thought I had built here has turned to dust.  For months, I have resisted suggestions that I move somewhere because I thought I had something to hold onto.  But it has become all too apparent to me over the past week that I have been holding onto an illusion.  What I thought should be my greatest source of comfort, the thing that should have given me a reason to keep plugging along even when I felt down, has instead become my greatest source of frustration.  And I feel utterly powerless to fix it.  I feel powerless to voice my frustration in any way that will be heard and respected.

And so, I am officially on the job market.  I hate applying for jobs and had long delighted in the fact that I would never have to go through that process again because I believed that if I ever switched jobs, it would be as a result of an opportunity looking for me, not the other way around.  I'm exhausted already at thinking about all of the logistics involved, the applying for a license in another state, dealing with my house (which I probably will have to rent as I can't afford to sell it), finding a new place to live, the actual move, etc.  But I will not survive here.  Not as anyone I want to be.  And the sad truth is that my departure won't affect anyone's daily life here.  The last 9 years of my life have largely been a waste and I have got to cut my losses before it's too late for me.

So, my fellow defenders, if any of you know of any job possibilities, please let me know.  (Preferably no mountains, desert, or states where I would have to take a bar exam.)

Sunday, October 31, 2010

This should be a fun 4 years

Kris Kobach is running to be Secretary of State in Kansas.  I don't think he actually wants to be Secretary of State, but he's probably going to win.  You might not realize it, but you've heard of Kris Kobach.  Arizona's new immigration law?  Kobach wrote it.  A Nebraska town passed an ordinance about renting to and employing illegal immigrants.  Kobach wrote that, too.  He made headlines a few years ago for his lawsuits aimed at stopping illegal immigrant college students from paying in-state tuition rates.  Pretty much any law or lawsuit in this nation targeting illegal immigration, Kris Kobach has had a hand in.  Around these parts, we like to call him Krazy Kris Kobach.  (There have long been rumblings that he has some kind of ties to white supremacists, too.)

In the past, he has run for Congress.  Happily, he lives in the one Congressional district of Kansas that has consistently been represented by a Democrat, so he has not been successful.  He took some time off from campaigning after his last defeat and focused on making a name for himself on the illegal immigration front.  And then he waited for an elected office, any elected office, to open up so that he could run again and win this time.  So he settled on Secretary of State.  And somehow, even though the Kansas Secretary of State oversees elections and the registration of businesses and corporations, he has managed to run on an illegal immigration platform.  And he will probably win in this Republican crazy state.

His only real campaign point has been voter fraud, which seems to be code for "illegal immigrants are taking over our state."  Somehow, even though there have only been about 7 documented allegations of voter fraud in this state in the past decade, he's managed to make an entire campaign about the need to stop this epidemic.  He even has a radio commercial railing about out-of-control spending in Washington, that triumvirate of evil (Pelosi-Reid-Obama), "Obamacare", and all those other Republican talking points.  But he's running for Kansas Secretary of State, so that's all relevant how?  Well, because of voter fraud, of course!  He actually claims that all of those evil things can be cured if we elect him to be our Secretary of State so he can stop voter fraud.  (Never mind that this state hasn't voted for a Democratic presidential candidate that I can remember, has two strongly conservative Senators, and 3 of our 4 Representatives are quite conservative.  And the 4th spot should go Republican on Tuesday, too.  So it's pretty illogical to claim that voter fraud in Kansas contributed to Obamacare.) 

His most recent dire warning about the reality of voter fraud in Kansas was to claim that 2,000 names on the voter rolls in the state appear to match federal death records.  He didn't do much research on how many of those apparent matches really are names that should be removed from the voter rolls because the voter is dead.  This became obvious when he cited the specific example of a man who died in 1996 but miraculously voted in this year's primary.  This made for a great story when the Wichita Eagle called up the alleged dead man and asked him if he intended to vote on Tuesday.  (He does.  And it was his father who died in 1996, which is why this alive and well man was not removed from the voter rolls.)

I'm really excited about having to pay this guy's salary for the next 4 years.  Sigh.  You would think that Kansans would have learned not to allow ideologues to use an ill-fitting elected state office as a vehicle for pursuing their own crusades.  We let Phill Kline use the Attorney General's office in his single-minded pursuit of putting the state's abortion providers out of business and we're still dealing with the fall-out.  That office's other duties were badly neglected, most notably consumer protection.  I wonder how badly the mundane, very non-sexy, actual day-to-day duties of the Secretary of State's office will be neglected while this nut tilts at his voter fraud windmill and fills his free time with his anti-illegal immigration crusade.

Saturday, October 30, 2010

Halloween just might be growing on me

In recent years, I have taken some flak for being a grown adult who doesn't particularly care to put together a costume for Halloween.  I would much rather take the opportunity to dress up in one of my cocktail or evening dresses that I don't get to wear that often.  Especially now that I'm back down to half-marathon weight and all my dresses look fabulous.

So last night I decided to compromise.  I wore my favorite, slinkiest black dress and declared that my costume was "Hot chick in a slinky black dress."  Judging by the reactions of Brett Favre and Old Spice Guy*, I do believe it was my most successful costume ever.  Maybe I have been a little too rigid about this whole Halloween costume thing.

*In case you're wondering, choosing between Brett Favre and Old Spice Guy isn't easy, so I didn't.  They both got my number.  But Brett is on a short leash when it comes to texting...

Wednesday, October 27, 2010

Can I confront you now?

If you've been around this blog for a while, you know how much I love my Confrontation Clause issues.  They are easily my favorite issues to write and to argue and just to ponder.  And, of course, I also love football.  And true crime stories.  Which brings us to the latest twist in the strange, sad saga of Rae Carruth.

Remember Rae Carruth?  He's the former Carolina Panthers wide receiver who, in the middle of the 199 season (his 3rd in the NFL), was accused of arranging the murder of his pregnant girlfriend, Cherica Adams.  Happily, the child was delivered safely before its mother died, though rumor has it the child is not exactly healthy.  There was also the side story of Carruth jumping bail after Cherica died and being found a few days later, hiding in the trunk of a car.  In 2001, he was convicted of conspiracy to commit murder and a couple smaller charges, and I haven't given him much thought since.

Until today, when I read that he is appealing his convictions in federal court.  Some of the evidence presented in court were statements Cherica Adams made to a paramedic, a nurse, and police before she slipped into a coma.  Those statements implicated Carruth, but because she died, Carruth's defense was never able to cross-examine her. When I read that this morning, the appellate defender in me let out a big gasp and said, "Oh, snap!"  Because this, my friends, is a good issue.  There may be some procedural issues (I'm not an expert in federal habeas by any stretch, I'm not getting into the question of whether Crawford applies retroactively, etc.), but on the merits of the Confrontation issue, it's a good issue.

See, in 2001, those statements were admissible under the current state of U.S. Supreme Court law.  But things have changed since then.  Oh, how they have changed.  Back in 2001, the district court was able to decide those statements were sufficiently reliable to be admitted at trial regardless of the defense's inability to cross-examine the witness.  In cases where a hearsay declarant was unavailable to testify at trial, district courts were empowered to consider the circumstances in which the statement was made to decide whether the statement was admissible without cross-examination.  Happily, in 2004, the Supreme Court overruled that dreadful precedent and said the Sixth Amendment means what it says: the accused has the right to confront his accuser.  If the witness isn't available and the statement is testimonial in nature (roughly meaning a statement made in anticipation of a prosecution), the statement cannot come in unless the defense has had the opportunity to cross-examine the witness.  So much simpler and more constitutional than the old rule.

So going back to Carruth's case, Cherica Adams told a police officer among others that Carruth was involved in her shooting.  The defense never got to cross-examine her.  There are lots of significant facts this short article doesn't include that would be necessary to properly analyze the Confrontation issue.  Was she responding to medical questions?  Was she safely in the ambulance?  Was the police officer asking questions and she was responding?  I am a big, big law nerd because I have been pondering these questions all day long.

The real lesson of this is what a difference 3 years makes.  If Carruth's trial had happened just 3 short years later, he wouldn't  have these grounds for appeal because his case would have been tried fairly the first time.  Courts do that all the time, though.  They change the rules midstream and it's usually with not even an, "Oops, sorry," to the poor schmucks whose appeals were done even the day before this new rule was announced.  I'm really hoping the federal court in this case won't find some stupid procedural bar to keep from considering Carruth's legitimate confrontation issue.  Maybe even without Cherica's statements, there was plenty of evidence to convict Carruth.  Maybe not all of her statements would be excluded under proper confrontation analysis.  But a court should at least consider the possibility that Carruth deserves a do-over.

Sunday, October 24, 2010

Artur for A.G.

It's probably not a surprise for you to learn that I'm a big believer in voting.  I vote every election and I always go to the poll on election day.  None of this advanced mail-in voting for me!  There are two particular races that always pose problems for me: District Attorney and Attorney General.  Two years ago when our District Attorney was running unopposed for reelection, I just couldn't bring myself to vote for him.  On behalf of my clients in this county, I just couldn't vote for the man who had prosecuted their cases.  So I organized a write-in campaign of sorts.  I got about 10 of my friends to write-in my suggestion. 

This November brings a vote for Attorney General.  In 2006, I had no difficulty whatsoever voting for the guy who was running against Phill Kline, but that was the only A.G. election where I wasn't conflicted.  When Kline first ran in 2002, I was no fan of his crazed anti-abortion agenda, but I didn't think he was the worst choice for my clients.  Kline's opponent in that year was a prosecutor whose work I knew, and disrespected, well.  After 4 years of A.G. Kline, though, I had no difficulty voting for his opponent.  I might have voted for Satan himself.  Happily, Mr. Kline lost, though the state is still dealing with the fall-out of his tenure.  The man who replaced Kline was forced to resign about a year later.  He was replaced by the current Democratic nominee for A.G., Steve Six.  I was excited by this because Six has seemed like a nice good, sensible man when I've met him, and because he went to my college. I was thrilled at the prospect of getting to vote for a fellow Carl.

But over the course of Six's tenure as A.G., reality has set in.  Much as it pains me to say it, I have come to the conclusion that I simply can't vote for him, Carleton connection notwithstanding.  He has disappointed me too profoundly on too many occasions.  First, when the state legislature was considering repealing the death penalty on the basis of cost, the A.G. opposed that.  I recall him making a disingenuous statement to the legislature that there was no real added cost to his office, but I can't find the testimony I'm recalling.  At any rate, I wasn't pleased with his repeated public statements that we should keep the death penalty so we can execute my clients.  As noted with the D.A. election mentioned above, I tend to take those things personally.

Then Six very much upset me this May when he filed an amicus brief with the U.S. Supreme Court supporting the Maryland father who has sued the Westboro Baptist Church over their funeral protests.  He is simply on the wrong side of that issue and I am appalled to have the lawyer for my state (and a Carleton grad!) leading the charge to use a court of law to silence unpopular speech.  Other Kansans should stop trying to get me to "Stand with Steve" on that one because I most definitely do not.  In fact, I'm fairly certain he lost my vote the moment he stated that the Phelps family should not be allowed to "hide behind the Constitution."

The campaign he has run this fall hasn't done anything to change my mind about not voting for him.  He has run ads criticizing his opponent for taking contributions from payday loan companies and then supporting legislation that allows high interest rates on those loans.  I liked that point until I realized that Six has accepted twice as much money from payday loans.  So should I worry that he would go soft on pursuing consumer protection claims against payday lenders?  He's also touting the fact that he has tried two murder cases since he's been A.G., but in my view, those cases would have been better left to experienced trial prosecutors rather than by a former civil lawyer looking to score political points.

The bottom line is I simply cannot, will not, vote for Six.  But his opponent isn't someone I would ever consider voting for, either.  (Supports the death penalty, wrote the Kansas Jessica's Law bill, etc.)  Once again, I am in a no-win position when it comes to voting for an elected prosecutor.  Since May, I have been casting about for a proper write-in choice.  Obviously, my chosen candidate will not win and the two major candidates won't stew about this one voter's choice, but I am making a point.  To myself if to no one else.

So since we are coming up on election day, it is time for me to announce the lucky recipient of my write-in vote for Attorney General.  I considered many candidates, but in the end I selected the one best-suited to my needs (and by that I mean we were drinking shots at The Burger Stand one night and he asked me to write him in).  My vote for Attorney General will go to Artur Bagyants.  (Sorry, Meryl, but it's been a while since you've done a shot with me.)

Wednesday, October 20, 2010

My own version of Don't Ask, Don't Tell: Don't ask me to support Boy Scouts and I won't tell you how I really feel about their official policy of discrimination

This is why you should not dare to ask me to buy anything from your adorable little Cub Scout or your oh-so-earnest Boy Scout.  As an atheist, I'm not terribly offended by the exclusion of atheists from leadership roles.  It's a private club with a religious philosophy, so I wouldn't be a good leader.  I would have no interest in leading, either, because I would want to leave out anything relating to religion.  I am, however, offended by the exclusion of atheist boys from the organization at all.  I have heard stories of young boys not being welcome because they did not believe in god, which strikes me as utterly absurd because 8, 9, 10 year-old boys have surely not yet figured out what they believe.  The vast majority of kids that age are just parroting what they've heard at home, so it offends me deeply to exclude the boys who parrot the "bad" things while including the boys who parrot the "good" things.  Neither one of them has any real clue what they'll think when they mature and stop parroting their parents.

But I am terribly, horribly, deeply offended by  the exclusion of this father from any official role with the organization.  I am so beyond done with all of this nonsense about homosexuality being immoral, unclean, icky, gross, something we need to shield our kids from.  Good grief, it's so ridiculous.  And mean and hateful and wrong.  Any father who wants to be an active participant in his son's scout group shouldn't be relegated to the role of a non-leadership "volunteer" who isn't allowed to wear a Boy Scout shirt.

As long as this remains the policy of the organization, they will not get one red cent from me.  And should I ever have a child, no way in hell would I allow that child to be part of this organization (unless and until the official policy changes).  I would start my own scout group.  Because excluding good people just because they are gay  is wrong.  And I will  not in any way, shape, or form support an organization that thinks otherwise.
Here is a sweet story out of Topeka about prison inmates getting involved in the outside community.  Inmates at Lansing Correctional Facility grow pumpkins.  Then in the fall, they travel to local schools and distribute those pumpkins to kids who otherwise might not get a pumpkin. 

There are a lot of things to like about this story.  I think prison gardens are a great idea, giving inmates something to feel proud of, providing them a connection to their community when the product of those gardens goes to schools or hospitals or soup kitchens.  Not to mention it's always a good idea to teach inmates skills, especially a skill as profound as growing their own food.  I think there's also tremendous value in showing guys who will likely be released eventually, or even soon (these guys are all minimum security), that they are not total pariahs, outcasts who will never find a friendly face on the outside.

In a time of state budget cut after budget cut, I feared that programs like this one would be the first to go.  There just isn't enough money to house all the inmates we insist on imprisoning in our "no sentence is too long" culture.  But cutting out the programs that allow inmates to feel like humans, with skills, the ability to contribute to a community, and a connection to good  people, is pretty darn counter-productive since we can't actually keep every offender in prison forever.

I was also pleased to see that, for the most part, the comments on this story were not of the sort I would have expected.  Some were downright positive.  I was worried that more people would see this as something to be outraged about (inmates near children?!  inmates on a field trip off the prison grounds?!  inmates breathing fresh air?!  Outrageous!).   There was some of that response on other newspaper websites, but still less than I would fear.  It's good that at least some people recognize the value of a program like this.

Sunday, October 17, 2010

I'm all for giving Sarah Palin what she wants

I just saw a promo for Sarah Palin's new show, "Sarah Palin's Alaska."  Sorry, it's not a "show" it's "An 8-week television event" according to TLC.  (And, yes, I saw the promo because I was watching "Sister Wives."   Polygamy fascinates me.)

In this promo, Palin gave great ammo to anyone who should ever run against her for any political office in the future.  She oh so delightfully says, "I'd rather be in the Alaskan wild bein' free than in some dumpy old political office."  That, her speech quitting the governor's office.  The political ads for her opponents should she ever put her hat in another ring, like say for the Republican presidential nomination in 2012, practically write themselves.  Or rather, she writes them.  As someone who trembles in fear at the prospect of Palin getting anywhere near the White House, I can only say, "Thanks, Sarah!"
Today, I'd like to wish a happy birthday to one very special little boy.  Love ya, kiddo.

Tuesday, October 12, 2010


That is the most apt description of so many aspects of my life these days.  Home repairs are unfinished.  (I need to patch some drywall, repair the kitchen ceiling from the leak damage, and paint.)  Knitting projects are unfinished.  (Two hats, a glove, a blanket, a table runner.)  My cases are unfinished.  (They drag on for years and none of them are near resolution.)

And then there's that big Thing, the thing I'm supposed to be moving on from.  It feels so unfinished.  I may be the only one who feels that way and I don't think I'll be getting any help in no longer feeling that way.  Maybe it will just always feel unfinished to me, like the symphony a master composer was working on when he died.  So I'm feeling the pressure to get all of those other projects finished in the hopes that maybe that will make up for the big, giant unfinished elephant in my life.

Saturday, October 9, 2010

The truth about Sarah

I may be a little competitive.  Or a lot competitive.  If you host a competition or contest of any sort, I play to win.  Casual friendly Texas hold 'em gathering at a friend's apartment?  I'm taking the trophy.  Silly word games at a baby shower?  Please, we all know who will have the highest score.  Wine tasting contest?  No one is walking out with that shiny new set of $5 Walmart wine glasses but this gal.

If there's a trophy or a prize, I want it.  I want the bragging rights, the high score, the respect.  Even the games no one else cares about, I do.  Because I have to come in first.

And don't try to tell me you are more competitive because I will win that contest, too.

Saturday, October 2, 2010

Charge first, then investigate

Back on August 2, an 11 year-old boy in Kansas City apparently shot and killed his father.  As I recall the details from the original story, police upon entering the home determined the house was uninhabitable.  I definitely remember mention of exposed wires and other structural concerns, and I can only imagine that sanitation issues were also present.  Yesterday, prosecutors dropped the charges of second-degree murder and armed criminal action against the boy, saying that the years of severe neglect the boy had suffered left him with "no choice" but to shoot his father.  Not many details have been revealed, but what we have learned suggests that this boy was living a life more horrific than we might easily imagine.  I shudder to think what was going on the night of the shooting that left the boy with no choice.

I am glad to see that good sense and human decency have prevailed here.  From what few details have been released, it seemed clear to me that the last person who should be held accountable for this man's death is the young boy who was treated so horribly.  First, daddy dearest should be held responsible for putting his son in the position of needing to pick up a gun to protect himself.  Other family members who let the boy remain in those deplorable conditions should bear some of the blame.  I don't know whether the state agency responsible for investigating abuse and neglect were ever notified about this boy, but if they were, boy, should they be held responsible.  I'll also level some blame at all the other adults who had a chance to see this boy and not pick up on what was going on in his life.  Bottom line is the severely neglected kid should be receiving care, treatment, and support, not a criminal record.

The juvenile court held open a child-in-need-of-care petition in the case, so the boy will be able to receive some of the care and treatment he so desperately needs.  I want to credit the prosecutors and the court for finding the right resolution to this case, but I don't quite want to let them off the hook for filing murder charges against him in the first place.  The linked article notes that the boy was brought into court wearing shackles, which would seem a ridiculous overreaction for almost all 11 year-olds, let alone one who should not have been regarded as a criminal.  (Whether any 11 year-old should be regarded as a criminal is a topic for a different post, but long-time readers might have a good guess what my thoughts on that topic are.)

So the default position was to assume this severely neglected boy was a felon and then let an investigation clear him.  Shouldn't the presumption work exactly the other way?  Especially with a child this young.  The state didn't need to file felony charges against him to take this boy into custody.  That much ought to be obvious.  A severely neglected child found in an uninhabitable house can be taken into protective custody.  It shouldn't have been that hard to keep him in state custody pending psychiatric evaluations, educational evaluations, etc.  Not to mention it shouldn't have been difficult for a judge to decide there was no suitable familial placement available for this boy since his family let him live this way without intervention.  But instead of treating an 11 year-old as a child in need of care and letting an in depth investigation reveal whether the boy should in fact be charged with some form of murder, the powers that be defaulted to charging a crime and then deciding whether that charge was actually warranted.

I'm disturbed that this seems to be the way things work in the criminal justice system anymore.  The charge is filed first and then the prosecution investigates to see if the charge will hold up.  Prosecutors shouldn't file charges so lightly, though, because the mere fact of being charged with a crime can be devastating.  Adults can lose jobs.  They can lose thousands of dollars to bondsmen and to attorneys.  And they don't get any of that back when it turns out the complaining witness was a big, fat liar or an alibi turns out to be ironclad.  But think of how emotionally devastating a charge might have been to this little boy.  For years, he had no one to protect him or stick up for him.  When he finally reached the point where he could stick up for himself, he was immediately treated like a criminal for doing so.  Will he ever have the courage to stick up for himself again?

The need for police and prosecutors to investigate a case fully and make sure they understand the facts before filing charges has never seemed more starkly obvious than in this case.  This boy had suffered more than enough without the state piling on by accusing him of murder.

Friday, October 1, 2010

October 1 will always be a significant date for me.  It's not an official anniversary or someone's birthday, but 5 years ago tonight was the most exciting, memorable night of my life.  It didn't quite end the way it was supposed to, so it was also one of the more upsetting nights I had experienced.  But in hindsight, I think it might actually have been a good thing that a wrench was thrown into the plan because the way we both responded made it all the more clear we were pursuing something we both really wanted.

That night didn't mean much to most of the people who were there and I don't expect anyone else remembers the date.  For me, though, this date has always meant more than any actual anniversaries or holidays.  As I was sitting alone tonight, wishing I could recapture the feelings of that night and find the confident, interesting, put-together woman I used to be, it became really important that this anniversary be acknowledged, even if only by me.  Five years ago tonight was truly the start of something special.

Wednesday, September 29, 2010

I want

You might recall my deep and abiding love for all things infomercial.  The ultimate infomercial item, of course, is the snuggie.  Even though it's actually a rip-off of the original and superior slanket.  I'm not gonna lie; I kinda want one.  Even in summer, I tend to lie on the couch with a blanket over me.  We could get into the psychology of me needing to feel covered and unexposed or we could just go with the "I'm always cold" explanation.  It has been suggested that I should buy one like this adorable offering from Urban Outfitters.

But here is the one I really want:

It's a snuggie.  It's Royals gear.  It's a sluggie!  And it's the promotional item being given away to the first 20,000 fans at this Saturday's Royals game.  If only I hadn't sworn off going to Royals games.

Monday, September 27, 2010

Six months in a leaky boat

Six months ago today, the one person I trusted completely and thought would never hurt me ripped my world apart, with no warning and nothing approaching a satisfying explanation.  (Fair point: no explanation could be satisfying.) It seems like a good day to take stock of how I'm really doing.

Boy, would I love to be able to tell you all that I'm completely over him, totally whole and healed, and moving on to bigger and better things.  I know there are some who want only to hear that, as opposed to the negative.  But that would all be a big lie.  It is certainly true that I am not crying (much) anymore.  I'm not nearly as raw as I was even two months ago.  But I'm still a very long way away from being ok with this life change.  I still can't picture a happy ending for myself that doesn't involve him.  I still have a hard time listening to Weezer.  I still think of all the little things he should be a part of, like watching "How I Met Your Mother" on Mondays and cheering on the Chiefs on Sundays.

And it still happens that I'll just be in the middle of some chore or walking down the street or reading a book and it will hit me that he and I will never speak again.  And every time I have that thought, it feels like taking a wrecking ball to the chest.  Because it's wrong.  So very, very wrong.  I still feel to the core of my being that there is something wrong with a world in which he and I don't speak.  I feel like I've woken up in some twisted alternate reality, but that my real life is tantalizingly close.  I can feel it and sometimes, if I try, I can still hear it.  It's like Brigadoon, lost in the mist, and I just don't know the magic words to make it reappear.  It doesn't help that he is physically so close and that every foray outside brings some risk of running into him.  Which then raises the possibility of the two of us being in the same space, the same block, or even the same room, and yet not speaking, which then just reinforces for me how very wrong all of this is.

I don't think I will ever think of him with anything other than sadness and regret, because this just isn't the way things should have turned out between us.  Consequently, I don't think I'll ever be able to think of the last five years of my life as anything other than a waste.  A colossal waste.  But, hey, at least typing that didn't make me cry, so that's progress.

So that's my six month report.  Maybe in another six months, I'll actually have good news for you.

Sunday, September 26, 2010

Hope springs eternal

Things haven't been good in Kansas City sports for quite some time.  The Royals won the World Series in 1985.  Then our manager got a brain tumor and died.  And our owners, possibly the most awesome owners in professional sports history, died.  And all hell broke lose.  We did have one bright season in 1994 when we lead the division.  But we didn't make the playoffs, now did we, because that was the stupid strike season.  So the world missed out on a Kansas City Royals - Montreal Expos World Series.  Since then, we've had one winning season.  We finished over .500 by about 4 games.  It was a fun season in 2003.  We lead the division for most of the season, but we faded in the end and missed out on the playoffs.  And it's been pretty miserable since then.

Meanwhile, the Chiefs haven't given us much more to cheer about.  They haven't been to the Super Bowl since 1970.  The last time we made the playoffs was about 3 seasons ago, and that was just sneaking in with a 9-7 record.  We didn't look very good losing in the first round.  The next two seasons were pretty bad.  We got a new GM and a new coach, but most Chiefs fans were feeling pretty discouraged after last season's fairly miserable results.

The Chiefs powers tried to tell us all that this season would be different, that we should be hopeful, have expectations.  In our draft this spring, all of our picks were captains of their college teams.  We drafted speed and quickness, qualities this team hasn't had in a few years.  Then we got to open the season at home on Monday Night Football.  We haven't seen MNF in several years.  And that opener was against our division foe, the San Diego Chargers, who have totally had our number the past few seasons.  They have definitely been the class of the division.

So cut to that Monday night 3 weeks ago.  Arrowhead was jumping and the weather was the kind of nasty storm only a midwesterner can truly appreciate.  They may have scored first, but before they knew it, our young running back had reeled off a 56 yard TD run.  Our defense had forced a fumble and returned it to the red zone, leading to a TD catch by our rookie tight end (who is looking a lot more Tony Gonzalez-like than I expected), and another rookie blew past them all for a TD punt return.  Just like that, the Chiefs were 1-0 and since all other AFC West teams lost their season openers, we were in sole possession of first place.

Then the second week, we went to Cleveland and came out on top.  2-0 and still in first place.

And yet, coming into week #3, most of the pundits thought San Francisco would come into Arrowhead today and beat us.  Because even though the 49ers were 0-2 and we were 2-0, SF was still supposed to be the better team.  Plus, San Francisco's tight end guaranteed victory.  And everybody knows that Matt Cassel isn't a real NFL quarterback.  Even the guy I chatted with on the street this morning as I walked home from the coffee shop wasn't so sure we could keep winning.  (I told him I was confident we would win today, using slightly more colorful language.)

Happily for Chiefs fans, all those naysayers don't know what they're talking about.  Because Matt Cassel threw a beautiful 45 yard bomb on a flea-flicker.  And then he threw another beauty to our rookie tight end, who made a better catch for a TD than SF's big talking tight end could have.  The only thing that kept the score from being completely embarrassing for SF was the last second TD we let them score.  So they only lost 31-10 instead of 31-3.

So now the Chiefs are 3-0 and Kansas City has a little something to be excited about for the first fall in a while.  And I will have to wear the exact same outfit for at least a 4th Chiefs game day in a row.

UPDATED: Thanks to Indianapolis, Seattle, and Arizona (with an assist from Sebastian Janikowski), the Chiefs now have a 2 game lead in the division a mere 3 games into the season.  No one but the nuttiest of uber-loyal Chiefs fans would have predicted that.

Someone should now tell Rodney Harrison that teams that start 3-0 make the playoffs over 75% of the time.

Wednesday, September 22, 2010

The Whole Truth

I am one of those lawyers who watch law shows and movies.  "My Cousin Vinny" comes on, I watch it.  I chuckle every time Tom Cruise asks Noah Wyle about eating meals at Gitmo.  "The Practice"  "Raising the Bar"  I watch them all.  (Except for "Law & Order" which I have boycotted ever since the episode when they successfully prosecuted a defense attorney for refusing to reveal client confidences.)

This new t.v. season brings us a new law show I have to check out.  (There's "The Defenders" with Jim Belushi and Jerry O'Connell, too.  I don't feel the need to try out any show with Jim Belushi.)  The show I have to try is "The Whole Truth".  (It doesn't hurt that Rob Morrow is in it as "Northern Exposure" is one of my favorites ever.)

The premise is that we watch the run-up to a trial and then the trial through the jury verdict.  Then, we the audience, learn the whole truth.  The way it's been described, I get the idea that the last scene in every episode is of the actual crime, so we definitively learn whether the defendant is guilty or innocent.  What I'm interested to see is how often the show's "whole truth" actually completely follows either the defense or prosecution trial presentation.  In reality, the truth is more often than not somewhere between the two sides.  There are certainly some cases where the defendant wasn't the robber or killer.  Those cases should be clear enough.  But there are lots of cases where something happened between the defendant and the victim and neither side is totally right.  I'm also curious to see how often they will have an innocent person be convicted or a guilty person go free.  Or, of course, how often a guilty guy gets convicted or an innocent one gets acquitted.  In short, I'm curious to see how accurate and nuanced the show is.

One step closer to banning the Florida gay adoption ban

As you might have guessed based on my history of objecting to don't ask, don't tell, yesterday's shenanigans in the Senate disappointed and angered me.  I think both sides have to accept some blame for refusing to allow repeal of DADT to come up to a vote.  The police is discrimination, pure and simple, on par with racial segregation.  There is no excuse for continuing to allow this to be the law of the land.  So, yes, I was pretty disheartened yesterday.  (Oh, and I "lost" a Facebook friend over my statement that anyone who opposes immediate repeal of the policy should be ashamed.  Seems like a friend I didn't really need.)

I have reached a point of utter disgust with all policies that treat gays and lesbians differently.  More importantly, I'm disgusted by the prevalent notion that it's ok to have policies that treat gays and lesbians differently.  There is just no rational basis for thinking that being gay is weird or wrong or immoral.  There is no rational basis for thinking that "they" shouldn't get to live by the same rules as "us".  There is no rational basis for thinking there's a "them" and an "us".

But today brings good news.  Today, a Florida appellate court found that state's atrocious ban on gay adoptions to be unconstitutional.  I would like to offer a Godless Huzzah to Frank Martin Gill, his longtime partner, and the two lucky boys who (I hope) don't remember any other family and who have flourished since being in Gill's custody.  I'm sure they didn't need appellate court judges to tell them they're a family, but what a relief it must be to have those judges affirm they're a family unit that will be legally recognized as such.

There seems to be a thought in Florida that the state Supreme Court ultimately needs to rule on this to make it official, but from this article, it appears that no relevant state officials really want the ban to survive.  As they shouldn't because there is no reason whatsoever to prohibit gays and lesbians from adopting.

UPDATE: Gov. Crist has just announced that the state will stop enforcing the ban.

Saturday, September 18, 2010

Maddie the Mouser (Wanna-be)

My name is Maddie.  I am the fiercest mouser in all the land.  I remain vigilant all day and all night, guarding my house against those icky things that my mommy hates.  My job would be made considerably easier if mommy would remove the gate barring me from getting to the kitchen, where the mice love to play.  Mommy says it's to keep my paws and nose safe from mouse traps.  I do not think she respects my toughness.  If she would let me into that kitchen, I wouldn't get hurt and I would put an end to this mouse invasion right quick.  I am Mommy's most valuable weapon against the mice and she is wasting my talents.

At least, I think that's what Maddie would write if she could be taught to type.  But let me tell you.  My dog is adorable, loving, energetic, and full of infectious fun.  But a mouse hunter, she is not.  She's terrible at it.  Awful.  Truly, she is the world's worst mouse hunter.  Last Saturday, I watched a mouse run along the baseboard in the living room before ducking under the wall.  About a minute later, Maddie perked up and started looking for the mouse.  I have discovered kibble stashed under the couch in a spot that Maddie clearly could not have reached.  So, evidently, under her watch, mice have been able to steal food right out of her bowl without consequence.  Maddie is very sweet and well-intentioned and her eagerness to find mice is pretty freaking cute.  But she's dumb, oblivious, and slow.  And even if she ever did catch a mouse, I don't think she would know what to do with it anyway.

So, Maddie dear, sit vigilantly at the gate and watch for mice all you want, but when it comes to catching the little buggers and getting them out of my house, I think I will stick with traps.

Thursday, September 16, 2010

I think it's fairly obvious to all that I've been in quite a funk since the end of March.  There have definitely been days, nights, weekends when the funk could only properly be called depression.  I haven't always eaten very well or kept the fridge stocked with edible items.  (Upside: I've lost 17 pounds!)  I haven't been so good at washing the dishes or doing laundry.  (Upside: my compulsive purchasing of underwear, pajamas, and jeans is finally paying off because I can get away with not doing laundry for weeks.)  And then there's that academic project I do every April.  This year was definitely my best effort at that project.  I got it done, but it wasn't great.  In general, I've put a pretty damn half-hearted effort into life in 2010.

But I've never put anything less than full effort into my cases, into defending my clients.  Nothing makes me angrier than seeing defense attorneys skip steps, take short-cuts, not cover all the bases.  I know public defenders are over-worked and appointed attorneys are underpaid.  But that's not the clients' faults.  If you can't follow all the steps, review all the material you should, then don't accept the case.  There are no excuses for not giving every case your all.  It's just laziness.  Or arrogance.  Either way, it's unacceptable.  Courts and prosecutors are far too willing to overlook things in pushing our clients' cases through without our help.

If you ever see me not bothering to review every piece of a case, that's when you should truly worry about me.

Monday, September 13, 2010

This afternoon, the Royals hosted the Oakland A's.  And tonight, the Chiefs are hosting Monday Night Football to kick off what I have to believe will be a better season than last.

I really wish I were at the Truman Sports Complex today.

Thursday, September 9, 2010

Well, duh!

A federal judge says "Don't Ask, Don't Tell" is unconstitutional.  Well, duh!  Interestingly, according to this MSNBC story, the ruling is based on the First Amendment.  That's one way to get there, but it seems like the most obvious route is through the equal protection clause of the 14th Amendment.  I'm curious to find the actual decision and read it.

Regardless of how you get there, it seems clear to me that DADT violates about 17 constitutional principles, so I really don't care which one any particular judge relies on.  The sooner we can get this awful, repugnant, discriminatory policy off the books, the better.  How we get there is, frankly, irrelevant to me.

Tuesday, September 7, 2010

Things that are unfortunate

1) No one told me gmail has an "undo send" feature.  I could have used that knowledge.

2) Now that I have lost my opera date, my favorite opera is coming to town.  I don't mind going to a movie by myself, but going to the opera should be a night out.  It should involve suiting-up.  And it really should involve a romantic escort.

3) Venus Williams' tennis dress.  I mean, I kinda like it (more so in black than in the pink), but it seems ridiculously awful to play in.  It rolls up on every play, requiring her to adjust it constantly.  I hate running or playing tennis in clothing that doesn't cooperate.  I would like to think if I were a world-class athlete at the pinnacle of my sport, I would have clothing options that were lower-maintenance.

4) Mouse traps that succeed in trapping a mouse, but fail to kill the mouse.

Thursday, September 2, 2010

I hope you all don't mind that I enjoyed my much-needed vacation too much to check in.  I visited the Washington Supreme Court's "Temple of Justice".  I have to say the actual courtroom was not impressive.  Shockingly small with very little room for an audience.  But the pink ceiling in the foyer was cool.  I rubbed George Washington's nose in the capitol.  Judging by the shine on his nose, I was not the first.  I relaxed at a Korean spa.  I saw the best Crowded House concert I've ever seen.  I went to a Mariner's game, once again deciding that the new style of downtown baseball park just can't match up to the K, which was built in 1973.  I wandered around the Pike Place Market and saw lots of other parts of Seattle.  I flew right past a mountain.  Mt. Rainier is so tall that as we ascended through the cloud cover, we could still see the peak when we got over the clouds.

All in all, I had a lovely, low-key, no-pressure vacation.

But even before the wheels of the plane landed yesterday, that old familiar knot was back, right in the middle of my chest.  By the time I left the airport, I was already crabby, unhappy, and ticked off.  It's time to face the fact that I just flat hate living here now.  Hate it.  Which makes me both incredibly sad and incredibly angry.  Because I used to love this town.  I thought it was pefect.  Just the right size, college town, big city nearby, all my sports teams.  I thought I never wanted to live anywhere else.  But I just don't think I can stay here.  Now I hate to go out because I always fear that I will run into him, out having fun living a life that he's not willing to share with me.  And in the course of 4 plus years, there aren't many places around here we didn't go to together, so memories are everywhere.  Then there's the fact that my social circle has pretty much disintegrated as a result of this. 

Moving isn't a great option, either, though.  I can't afford to sell my house (nor do I want to).  A legal career isn't exactly the most portable career.  A lot of states would still require me to take a bar exam and those that don't still require a big, long hassle of an application and an ethics test.  All of it is such a logistical nightmare, it's hard for me even to think about it.  But it's got to be preferable to continuing here.

Thursday, August 26, 2010

Day 1

Here is my travel recommendation: when traveling to a city with which you are not familiar, be sure that by pure happenstance, you book the same flight as a friend who is visiting his former home. I am sure I would have figured out how to take the light rail from the airport to downtown Seattle so I could catch my train to Olympia without his help, but it was pretty nice not to have to think about it.

And now I am happily sitting by a lake in Olympia. I am staying at the house of a woman I have not seen in nearly 20 years. Through the wonder of facebook, we reconnected virtually about a year ago. As it happens, we have a ton in common. It has become apparent to me that I made a poor choice years ago when I let myself lose touch with her. It's rather exciting now to find a great new friend in an old, long-lost friend.

And now I'm going to put down my phone, pick up my beer, and gaze at this beautiful lake.

- Posted using BlogPress from my iPhone

Wednesday, August 25, 2010

Vacation, all I ever wanted

If anyone needs a criminal defense attorney in the next week, don't call me!  I am officially on vacation and by this time tomorrow, I will officially be in the greater Seattle area.

(Digression: Lest anyone think this might be a great opportunity to ransack my house, it will not be unoccupied.  My fierce guard dog will be on watch and she will have a very sweet young woman as a companion.  If anyone were to scare my sweet friend, I would be seriously ticked off.  Plus, in burglarizing my house, you would be screwing yourself out of any decent representation once you got caught.  I'm friends with all of the defense attorneys in this town.)

In the next few days, I will:

-Check a new state capitol off my list.  (And a new Supreme Court building 'cause I'm a big, big law nerd.)

-See the greatest band ever (Crowded House) for the 5th time

-See a new baseball park (Safeco Field) and add a new mini-bat to the collection

-Attend a fantasy football draft.  (That could actually be fun since I'm not drafting.  I'll get to drink beer and laugh at all the bonehead moves without running the risk of making a bonehead move myself.)

-Have a life-altering experience at a Korean spa.

And there will be no transcripts in my bag.  No case law.  No drafts of issues.  Just vacation.  (Though I do reserve the right to jot down a note or two if something happens to occur to me about my next case.)

Tuesday, August 24, 2010

Done. And done.

It's done.  The giant case that I've been whining about, dragging my feet over, and stressing over is now done.  And there is a huge part of me that wishes it weren't so.

I'm glad the actual work is done.  I'm always excited to move on to new issues.  These cases really are so big and take so long, the issues can start to feel very stale.  I read blawgs and new case law voraciously because I don't want to lose track of what other legal issues are percolating out in the bigger world.  My next case is a much different beast altogether, with a brief I can probably write pretty quickly and involving issues I haven't addressed in years.  So from a lawyer standpoint, being done is good.

But since that awful day in March, I've had this day in my head.  I've always thought my period of deep mourning could continue until this day.  I figured there was no point in trying to develop a new life plan until after this deadline was met.  Nobody could reasonably expect me to look forward in the first two or three months.  And by that point, I would be so deep into brief-writing that I wouldn't have time for anything new.  Now that the day is here and the case is done, I have no more excuses.  I have to move on.  But I still just don't want to.

I still hate this stupid, stupid break-up.  I still feel it is just as wrong and pointless as I did in March.  I still can't picture a happy ending for myself that doesn't involve him.  But I think my absolute biggest beef is that I don't like being told what to do.  I hate not being in control.  Especially of my own life.  And I'm really quite stubborn.  (I know that is a shocking revelation.)  I think a large part of my foot-dragging over finishing this brief was really foot-dragging over having to face the fact that the future I chose for myself isn't available to me.  I had no say in this and it still pisses me off.  I don't think I should have to let go of the future I've put so much time and energy into wanting.  Letting go of that means letting my future look like a big, empty space that I have no idea how to fill.

So this is why I didn't really want to finish this case: I have no idea what comes next and that scares the hell out of me.

Sunday, August 22, 2010

I'm in the final stretch now.  The last 36 hours.  Most everything is now done, just the finishing touches need to be completed.

I feel wrung out.  More so than I have with past cases.  Some of this, I think, is related specifically to this case (and, no, I won't elaborate why).  But, let's be honest, much of this is related to the state of my personal life.  This work is tough, intense, personal, and presents an easy dark hole for someone like me to fall into.  And my support system is definitely not what it was in the past. I used to be quite capable of keeping myself from falling into the dark hole, but I haven't had to do it in a while.  I'm quite rusty.

But I'm almost there.  I can see the finish line.  I think.  And then I can let go.  And while it might be tempting to hide in bed and cry for a week, I won't have time between all the sangria and renewed friendships and Korean spas and baseball games and Crowded House concerts.  I am really, really looking forward to Tuesday afternoon.  And even more so, Thursday afternoon!  Vacation, here I come... if I make it.

Saturday, August 21, 2010

It's just wrong

This thing that we do, where we find someone guilty and weigh his past, weigh the aggravators of his crime against the mitigators of his life, where we sit in judgment and say "this person should die," where we calmly, coolly, rationally, and with complete and total premeditation, put a needle in his arm and fill him with poison that will end his life: It's just wrong. 

No matter how justified we want to pretend it is.  No matter how much he brought it on himself with his actions.  No matter how much he deserves it or has forfeited his right to life.  It's just wrong.

Killing people is just wrong.  Why is that simple, basic truism so easy for people to set aside?

Friday, August 20, 2010

Things I miss

1) Having someone to pull my right cowboy boot off.  (It's cut just a little tighter than the left one and is a tad hard for me to remove.)

2) Having someone bring me dinner when I'm in the final throes of brief-writing.  (Really, there reaches a point where I need someone to step in and take care of me because I get so wrapped-up, I don't take care of myself.)

3) Oral argument.  (I haven't argued a case in over 2 years, which really sucks because I'm really good at it.)

4) Sex.  (Sorry for the over-share, but it's my blog, dammit.)

5) Having someone around who knows me THAT well and still likes me.  (This one will at least temporarily be remedied next weekend.  Yay for hanging with Andres!)

6) Football.  (Oh, but wait, there's at least pre-season football on tonight!  I won't be missing this one too much longer.)

7) LOST.

8) Being in a good mood and enjoying life.  (I hope to put some serious time and attention into this one next week.  Not much point in trying to be in a good mood when I'm in the final throes of brief-writing.)

Thursday, August 19, 2010

Why I don't trust forfeiture actions...

So, remember the other day, when I expressed concern about forfeiture actions?  Where the state claims the property (homes, cars, cash) that were tangentially connected to crimes, like drug and child porn possession?  Well, this is the kind of story that makes me think I'm not just a crazy conspiracy theorist, anti-cop, anti-prosecutor nut.  This prosecutor is charged with taking way more than a million bucks from forfeiture actions and turning it into bonuses for himself and his staff.  (At least he's not an elitist, classist schmuck as $1.2 million went to secretaries.)

I called forfeiture actions a racket the other day.  Stories like this are the reason why.  Some cops and prosecutors do seem to think they can just take whatever they want from motorists.  That is a thought we all might want to nip in the bud.
You know what I love? Coming up with an issue that everybody else tells me is crazy, nuts, frivolous, won't work, etc., and then rocking the hell out of it. Because I'm just that awesome.

- Posted using BlogPress from my iPhone

Tuesday, August 17, 2010

Tapped out

This job is draining.  Exhausting.  At times, emotionally crippling.  It can be overwhelming when you're in the best of moods.  Because I'm it.  I am what is standing between my client and the precipice.  Rather, my client is on the precipice and I am standing between him and the giant machine moving inexorably towards him, intent on pushing him over the edge.  Some days, I feel so powerful that I believe I can stop that machine with nothing more than a flick of my wrist.  Some cases require a lot more blood, sweat, and tears, but leave me feeling hopeful that the machine will ultimately back down.  But some cases just leave me feeling like I'm doing nothing but futilely spinning my wheels, waiting for that damn thing to toss me aside like a rag doll on its way to obliterating my client. 

And then I feel selfish for taking it so hard when we do lose (and for whining so much about the process).  It's not actually going to affect my life, after all.  I still get to go home at the end of the day.  I can go curl up with my dog and watch as many episodes of Glee as I want.  Or I can share a bottle of wine with a friend.  Or go any damn place I please.  Or leave the criminal justice system behind entirely and go bake cupcakes.  Because much as I may "feel" the losses, I'm not the one who has to bear the consequences.  I'm not the one who has to live in a 6x8 cell for the next 25 years or more.  I'm not the one who will only get 1 hour of outside time a day for the rest of my life.  I'm not the one who truly loses.

But right now, I feel like giving in to the selfish.  I'm tired.  I have no energy.  I am completely and totally wiped out.  I resent having to expend so much energy on other people when I don't have the energy to do anything for myself.  2010 has chewed me up and spit me out.  I want to go hide under a pile of coats.  I want to crawl into a deep hole and hibernate for a few months.  I want to chuck it all and go -- do -- argh!  I want to go figure out how to finish that sentence.  Drink wine?  Read books?  Run in snake-free prairies? 

I won't, though.  Because I can't.  I signed on for this.  I signed on for a job that often requires me to put other people's needs first.  I made a promise to my guys that I would stand between them and the mighty power of the state.  I would never break that promise, no matter how much I want to spend a few months, ummm... as a go-go dancer in Vegas?  Or as a circus performer?  Or renting scooters in some exotic tourist trap? 

And, hey, my life's not going anywhere so I might as well focus on something that has a hope of succeeding.  (That's a little appellate defense humor for you, because criminal appeals are really hard to win.  So, see, there's more hope for a criminal appeal than my life.  Ha, ha.)
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