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.
Blog Designed by : NW Designs