Super Lawyers
William C. Altreuter

Wednesday, February 28, 2007

The thick envelopes keep pouring in for CLA, but I doubt that I'll be happier with any more than I am about this one.

I must confess that my first reaction, upon learning that the Bush Administration was firing US Attorneys and replacing them with political cronies was to blame the Senate Democrats. "Those lapdogs," I thought. "They have to confirm these appointments-- why are they letting this happen?"

Reader, I was wrong. The lapdogs don't have the power to confirm those appointments-- they gave it away in the Patriot Act. And I can't tell you how thrilled I am to discover that the henchman who is charged with carrying out this despicable chore is Buffalo's own Michael Battle.

Tuesday, February 27, 2007

I couldn't stay awake for all of the Academy Awards, but it seemed to me that the big winner was Al Gore. He even had the coattails to get a win for an indifferent Melissa Etheridge song. (Are there more than two decent Melissa Etheridge songs? It seems unlikely.) David Remnick gets it right, I think: "[D]espite the burden of injury and injustice, Gore, more than any other major Democratic Party figure, including the many candidates assembled for next year’s Presidential nomination, has demonstrated in opposition precisely the quality of judgment that Bush has lacked in office. Gore’s critiques of the Administration’s rush to war in Iraq and of the deceptions used to justify it were early, brave, and correct. On the issue of climate change, of course, he has exercised visionary leadership. With humor and intelligence, and negligible self-pity, he dispensed with the temptations of political martyrdom and became a global Jeremiah."

He even wore a nice looking dinner jacket.

An interesting thing about the slate of current Democratic candidates is that the front runners all seem to have substantial problems. Clinton's problem is that she is unpopular with both the left and the right. Too bad about the Iraq vote- she cast it with an eye towards the right, afraid-- like so many of the sheep in the Senate-- to take on a President who was riding high. Being unpopular with liberals and conservatives does not mean that you are popular with the middle (whatever that is)-- it means you have no base. Edwards was everyone's second choice the last time. I don't see that changing this time. Obama's lack of experience doesn't bother me, but it is an issue. Biden is an idiot. Richardson, who I like, is obscure, and I don't see that changing. Dodd is not white enough. Dennis Kucinich (campaign slogan: "I was right last time") is still Dennis Kucinich-- the boy mayor of Cleveland who set his own hair on fire. A bigger problem for all of them is that they are already out there-- Hillary made a big mistake by declaring this early. I still see a Nixon-like comeback as a possibility for Gore-- his little shtick on Sunday was eerily reminiscent of Tricky's appearance on Laugh-In.

Monday, February 26, 2007

CLA has got the hot hand. Friday she learned that she had been accepted into the Student Conservation Association's summer program for the second year. Otherwise known as Cool Hand Luke's Summer Vacation, she'll be doing backwoods trail maintenance in the White Mountain National Forest. And today she got her first thick envelope from a college. It's fun to be around her when things like this happen-- she gets so excited she practically squeaks.

I also don't want to forget sunscreen and a Mr. Ed's shirt to wear at the start. And my hat. Where'd I put my hat?

Sunday, February 25, 2007

Cross-Posted from the KRAC Blog:

Ways I Am Prepared For The Los Angeles Marathon:

--Gu-- 4 packs, 2 Chocolate Outrage, 2 Vanilla Bean
--Cliff Bloks
--Extra Strength Tylenol-- fast acting gel tabs
--Body Glide
--KRAC singlet
--RaceReady shorts
--Nike Maxisight contacts
--Host gift(Highland Park 12 year old-- the Official Whisky of the Keith Richards Athletic Club)

Ways I Am Not Prepared:

--Adequate training miles
-- I should get a haircut. (At least there is still time for that.)

Other Concerns:

The miles I have put in have been over snow and ice. This has had an effect on my gait-- I have been obliged to take smaller steps, and have seldom been able to open my stride. Who knows how this will affect me over 26.2?

Weather, specifically heat. I'd say the average temperature for my long runs has been around 20°. It is 56° in the City of Angels as I write this-- not roasting, but a significant difference nevertheless. I did two hours at Alumni Arena last week (the tedium is somewhat mitigated by the co-eds) and found the heat to be a complicating factor.

Don't get me wrong-- I figure I'm in for up to three hours of fun. Too bad about the other hour and a half or so.

Thursday, February 22, 2007

I figured they were only holding out to get lunch, but no. Scooter Libby's jury wants art supplies, too: a large flip chart, masking tape, and Post-it notes; and any one of the documents with pictures of the witnesses. (I wonder if any of those were actually admitted into evidence? It sounded like they were more for demonstrative purposes during summation.)

We had this happen in a trial of ours, actually (one of our associates tried the case, in Saratoga County). The jury wanted Post-its, different colored markers and a flip chart, and as I recall they were out overnight. This sounds to me like it could end up a hung jury-- someone is trying to make someone's case in there.

It's a damn shame that Bush and Cheney won't be going to jail because of this awful war, but Judith Miller did, and if Scooter goes too, that'll be fine with me. I'd sent Colin Powell if I could, and if I started looking around the Senate chamber there are a number of members who would be well advised to hide behind the Candy Desk. Yes, I'm looking for you, Joe.

I wish it happened to me more often, but there is no denying that one of the small pleasures of our glamor profession is doing a Westlaw search and having one of your own cases come up.

"Aristotle defined our five senses over two and a half thousand years ago. But in fact we have many more. In this five part series, Graham Easton delves into the Extra Senses that we take for granted. He finds out how they work and meets some remarkable people who experience these senses in a unique way." (Via Follow Me Here.) What I think is interesting about this notion is that taking an expanded view of sensory perception nevertheless leaves me still an Empiricist-- but maybe it wouldn't if one of the Extra Senses allowed me to think about square circles. There is something kind of Tralfamadore about the idea.

Wednesday, February 21, 2007

I remember when "World Without Tears" came out-- and find myself surprised that it was 2003-- four years ago. I was in a rental car, on my way back from an EBT in Huntington when WFUV played "Sweet Side", and I bought it the next day. It's funny to think that in the time since I've moved away from needing to hear the new Lucinda side as soon as it's released, but I think Christgau has nailed the reason: "That Lucinda had released four albums of her own songs on four labels in eighteen years....This Lucinda has released three studio albums plus a redundant live double in six years...."

Even so, I'm sure that I'll be playing "West" sooner rather than later.

Tuesday, February 20, 2007

To my disappointment, I will be out of town for this year's Mugel Tax Law Moot Court competition, and cannot act as a judge. It's the easiest, most enjoyable CLE credit out there, it's free, and it's one of the best things that practicing members of our glamor profession can do for the people who aspire to our lofty position. Last year they had a tough time finding enough judges, which was something of an embarrassment-- it's a national competition, and the shortage reflected poorly on my law school and on our local bar as well. Even though I'm no tax jock, the problem was interesting and engaging, and since the point is to evaluate the advocacy skills of the participants not knowing much is almost an asset-- if a team could explain its position to me, I was halfway persuaded.

If you are within the sound of my voice, have been admitted for more than two years and will be in town on the evening of March 1 or March 2 you can sign up by emailing the Moot Court Board at buffalomootcourtboard at gmail dot com.

Monday, February 19, 2007

I'd say the best coverage of the ongoing federal judicial salary discussion comes from Slate's Dahlia Lithwick, but the WSJ's Ben Winograd has an interesting point to make about the economic comparisons that are being used.

I like the way Lithwick critiques the arguments that Chief Justice Roberts and Justice Kennedy have made, and I agree with her that perhaps the most persuasive point we have have heard was made by Kennedy: "Of the nine Article III judges who resigned in 2005, "four of those nine judges joined JAMS, a California-based arbitration/mediation service, where they have the potential to earn the equivalent of a district judge's salary in a matter of months." As Kennedy noted, "It would be troubling if the best judges were available only to those who could afford private arbitration."

I'm not so sure that this illustrates an actual trend, but she is correct that as an advocacy point this is much better than the argument that judges should be paid like law firm partners, or investment bankers, or whatever. (As Ilya Somin argues, comparisons to law professor salaries don't really fly at all.)

And I would be interested in seeing some real statistics about judges leaving the bench, or lawyers declining judicial nominations. It seems to me that the talent pool is pretty deep, and that we are a long way from any sort of crisis.

Sunday, February 18, 2007

The Buffalo News' Colin Dabkowski said, "As Candy, Chet Carlin gives us a lovable old codger who delivers some of the few lines of humor in the play ("I think Curly married himself a tart") to great laughter. His is one of the more dynamic characters, and he shines particularly in a scene where he must abandon the dream he shared with George and Lennie - their own best-laid plans that can't possibly come to fruition. Other highlights are Wiley Moore as Crooks, the stable buck, and local actor David Autovino as the gossipy ranch hand Whit."

So we went to see for ourselves. My Uncle has played Studio Arena in the past, but not during our time in Buffalo, so we've been excited about seeing him since we learned he was coming through, about a month ago. I am pleased to report that both the production and my uncle are terrific, and well worth seeing.

Friday, February 16, 2007

I am of two minds about Tom Waits-- there is a lot of great stuff in his oeuvre, but at the same time it's just a little too beatnik, dig? I mean, when was the last time you played a Lord Buckley side? Still, there's no denying Waits when he is on, and he is good in this, from 19 freaking 79. Who knew they even had talkies then? I kept expecting Steamboat Willie to show up.

Thursday, February 15, 2007

The Funnies sidebar needed updating. I'd have thought that this would be a little too close to the bone, but no, I found myself laughing aloud. "Diary of a Wimpy Kid" is a gigantic time-waster, but I found it funny on just about every page. "One day I will definitely be famous, but for now I'm stuck in the seventh grade with a bunch of morons." (Via Pop Culture Junk Mail.)

I'm not sure where I found "Breakfast of the Gods". Metafilter, maybe? Probably not for everyone, but they had me at "Another morning, another funeral beneath the Freakies Tree".

The Pogo site updated too sporadically. "Medium Large" stopped updating. And I fixed the "Custom Page" link so that now it works properly-- it'll take you to three pages of funnies personally selected by me, courtesy of the Houston Chronicle, and if your taste doesn't run as much to "Gil Thorpe", "Judge Parker", "Rex Morgan" "Apartment 3-G" and "Mary Worth" as mine, well, I don't know why you are reading "Outside Counsel", but by all means visit the Chronc and set up your own page of funnies. "Supernatural Law" is (are? no, is)my old pals "Wolff & Byrd, Counselors to the Macabre." I'd forgotten how much I missed them-- really it was the reason I used to read the National Law Journal.

Monday, February 12, 2007

I'm with you, Roger Tilton of Nashua, New Hampshire. From the date she cast her vote I have been writing to my senator asking her to explain how someone from New York could have been so wrong. "If I knew then what we know today," isn't good enough-- what did you think you knew then, that the European Union and the UN and all those other people (including me) didn't think they knew?

Mr. Tilton asked her “right here, right now, once and for all, without nuance” to call her 2002 vote “a mistake.” “Until we hear you say that, we’re not going to hear all these other great things you’ve said,” Mr. Tilton said.

Faced with a choice between Senator Clinton and any of the Republicans out there, I will vote for Senator Clinton. Short of that, my first question of any Democrat running is going to be, where were you when the most important question of the last ten years came up? How did you vote when America's standing in the world was on the line? And if you got it wrong, why should we believe you'll have the courage to get it right next time?

I feel a little sad about this, actually. I want to like Hillary Clinton-- I like the idea of Hillary Clinton. But this was a simple call, I think. It shouldn't have been hard for a New York senator to have gotten this one right-- and yet, somehow, they both dropped the ball. Schumer gets a pass from me-- he's been there on judicial selection, and he remains the sole elected official I have ever voted for who promised to do something that would have a direct, positive effect on my life-- and then did it. Senator Clinton has really not distinguished herself in any way that benefits me. She has proved to be a capable player in the Senate, which is nice for her-- but what it means as a practical matter is that she has established that although she may be principled, she has the same backbone as John Kerry. Who needs that? What do your principles even mean when you lack the fiber to cast a simple vote?

Edwards, Richardson, Obama. Probably not in that order. Dodd, Biden, Clinton-- only if that's all that is between us and President McCain.

Tuesday, February 06, 2007

Even though I have never thought his version of "Hard Rain" was all that funny, I am looking forward to Brian Ferry's album of Dylan covers.

Friday, February 02, 2007

iConcert Cal is a plug-in for iTunes that monitors your music library and generates a personalized calendar of upcoming local concerts. I'd be interested in seeing The Apples in Stereo on the 11th.

As it happens, my travels over the next few months will take me to the cities where the best pizza in the country is said to be found. I really hope I get to try Pizzeria Bianco in May, and Pizzeria Mozza in March.

This page is powered by Blogger. Isn't yours?