Super Lawyers
William C. Altreuter

Monday, May 28, 2007

Playing card superstitions. (Via Follow Me Here.)

Thursday, May 24, 2007

It's Bob Dylan's 66th birthday today, a nice, symmetrical number that I'm sure caused a small smile to form beneith that odd, Vincent Price mustache he has been favoring. I picked up a copy of Christopher Ricks' "Dylan's Vision of Sin" at The Raven used bookshop in NoHo over the weekend, and am finding it worthwhile, if somewhat slow going. Happy Birthday, Bob.

How delightful to hear Monica Goodling's kewpie doll voice throwing Alberto Gonzalez under the bus. After all, if you can't trust someone as religious as Monica Goodling, who can you trust? You really have to wonder about what her qualifications looked like: 1995 graduate of Messiah College, an evangelical Christian school and a 1999 graduate of Pat Robertson's Regent University School of Law-- these aren't credentials, they are an indictment. And now she has figured out that she was in too deep, because g-d told her that George W. Bush was a righteous President. Well, that should tell you right there about the critical legal skills this Monica acquired in law school. Don't hurt your eyes looking for the dean of Regent's law school's thoughts on the pickle his most famous alum is in right now. There's nothing to see there. It makes me seriously crazy to think about all the qualified people who didn't get important government gigs because Regent University grads got them instead.

It is possible that I am being too harsh. This Monica said that she wanted to leave the world a better place than when she found it, and maybe she just did. Now she can retire to a career designing handbags.

Tuesday, May 22, 2007

What I Learned in Court Today: when I woke up this morning, I was no longer eligible to be a live liver donor.
UPDATE: Apparently I was misinformed, and I have another five years. There's a load off my mind.

Monday, May 21, 2007

To EGA's commencement at Smith College over the weekend. All of it was great, as these events should be. Smith really does it up right, and it was particularly wonderful because we were able to share the experience with T&S, whose daughter is also now a proud alumna. There are more pix at my flickr page.

I really got the sense that EGA got everything she could have out of her time in Northampton, and it was particularly gratifying to hear her praised by the faculty members familiar with her work. Maybe the best thing about her time at Smith was the fact that from the very beginning she was treated as a prospective future colleague, and the sorts of things that people said about her really rang with that quality. We were favored with a commencement address from Gloria Steinem, which managed to be entertaining, stirring and respectably brief-- probably the best thing of its sort (pdf file)I have ever heard.

T&S's youngest daughter, R has just completed her first year at A's alma matter, BU, and one of the nicest things I heard this weekend was when S told CLA that she was glad that she will be joining us in four years as a Geneseo graduate. She joked that they are going to make a big donation to the college so that they can get honorary doctorates and join her on the dais, which sounds like a good plan to me.

Thursday, May 17, 2007

There are acts that I'll go to this year's Thursday in the Square lineup, but I can't say I'm jumping up and down with excitement. 6/21 Violent Femmes (weren't they just here?). 7/19 Nickel Creek, why not? 7/26 Old 97s, sure, you bet. 8/23 North Mississippi All-Stars, absolutely, likewise 8/30 Dirty Dozen Brass Band.

Or I could do what I always do, and just wander down when I feel like an alfresco Labatt's.

Seriously, this venue could be doing better. I'd start by inviting Wide Right. I am of half a mind to put together a wish list. Like Ian Hunter-- he canceled due to illness a year or so ago, but he is touring behind a new album this year. Why couldn't we get Ian Hunter?

Wednesday, May 16, 2007

Richie Havens on the radio this morning, playing "Here Comes The Sun", got me thinking about Beatles covers. Jazz covers almost never work for some reason, and Sinatra couldn't make a Beatles song work, but there are some good covers out there. Besides Havens, for example, I like Fanny's "Hey Bulldog", and the version of "Tomorrow Never Knows" on 801 Live. Steve Earle's "I'm Looking Through You" is mighty nice.

Tuesday, May 15, 2007

LCA shone on stage today at the Richmond Speaking Competition finals, but the judges didn't see it our way, and the prize eluded her. She was clearly the best, and I'd say so even if the bonds of consanguinity did not compel me to do so, but this was not a panel of judges who were going to give it to a child of privilege from City Honors. That's fair enough, and she'll move on to future triumphs, I'm sure.

You know, you hear that someone like Jerry Falwell has died, and it makes you wish you believed in hell.

Friday, May 11, 2007

Department of Magical Thinking: Here's a breakdown of the last Presidential election by voter's religious beliefs. There are all kinds of things to be disturbed about here, but how about this for starters: 57% of Bush's vote came from three groups. As defined by the study, the Religious Right made up 26% of Bush's total. 88% of this block believe the Bible is literally true. Moving leftward a smidge, "Heartland Culture Warriors" were 20% of Bush's total vote. Among the Catholics in this group, 60% agree with papal infallibility. (Only 54% of the Protestants were Biblical literalists.) The next group, which Beliefnet calls "Moderate Evangelicals" made up 11% of Bush's total. The examples of "Moderate Evangelicals" include Jimmy Carter and Bill Frist, and I'm sure they are both insulted and astonished to find themselves in the same part of a Venn Diagram. I'd like to see where these people fit on the question of whether cavemen hunted dinosaurs.

As you might expect, at this point the numbers move into the single digits for Bush, and into the double figures for Kerry. The junior senator from Massachusetts' biggest bloc was the Religious Left-- he did better with "Spiritual But Not Religious" and "Seculars" but fewer people admitted to having no formal religious affiliation, or being atheists.

I mention it because right now things look pretty rosy for the Democratic Party, but that's not necessarily the reality. Look at who is out there voting before you get too confident: people who believe that Jonah was swallowed by a fish. People who think evolution is blasphemy. People who believe in blasphemy! I'm not so sure that I can ever be completely comfortable in this America- the America that thinks that voting on science makes science not real.

In defense of Budweiser. (Via Lawyers, Guns and Money.)

Thursday, May 10, 2007

Cell phone evidence. Because sometimes I feel the need to throw a law-related post up here.

This is for EGA: Bunnies Made of Cheese. Also, Many Worlds, Many Treats. (Via Making Light.)

You want to know how big hockey is in Buffalo right now? I'm seeing black guys wearing Sabres stuff. "Go Sabres" is what people say to conclude transactions, instead of "Have a nice day"

Wednesday, May 09, 2007

It is hard to know how New York Democrats will vote when our new, earlier primary rolls around: I imagine that Hillary will do all right, but I can't picture her rolling to a big win. My sense is that people like her, but they don't love her, and although she is a two-term senator, she really can't lay claim to favorite daughter status. Professional Democrats will support her, and those are the folks who vote in primaries. But professional Democrats also vote for their own personal agendas, and there are plenty of those to go around.

On the Republican side, it seems to me that the New Yorker is likewise a long shot. Certainly he would be a tough sell to anybody who actually lived in New York City during his time as US Attorney and Mayor. I admired his performance on September 11, but in the collective memory it seems to have morphed into something other than what it was. People think that he did something wonderfully courageous, when in fact what he did was assure everyone that they were in it together, and that they would get through it together as well. "Was I scared?" I recall him saying a day or so later. "I was terrified!" That was as human as I ever saw him, and I respected him for that. Of course, in comparison to the Leader of the Free World, Rudy was pretty good, but people recall Bush in the smoldering ruins as a fine moment now too. Funny how that goes. There was a commercial a few years back that had squirrels shaking their tiny fists and jeering a car that had nearly run them over, and that is how Bush looked to me. I guess America doesn't want to remember it that way, which helped Bush, and may help Giuliani.

It's one damn thing after another with Rudy, and I don't see how he can overcome it all. The Village Voice reports that he has four World Series rings, a clear violation of ethics law if he received them in office. I'm not sure what his strong suit was supposed to be, but accepting expensive presents seems to rule out integrity. Family values left the station a long time ago. Consistency? Not for the "Republican playing a Democrat playing a Republican." It seems to me that just about the only thing he has going is the relative weakness of the field. I wonder if that is enough.

Tuesday, May 08, 2007

It's early days yet, but I'm thinking that Amy Winehouse's "Rehab" may be my personal hit single for the summer. (It can be downloaded here.)

It's not like there isn't plenty to do, but it seems like there is so much more that would be pleasurable to learn. Waiting for LCA to complete her voice lesson last night, I sat in the parking lot and watched people come and go carrying their instrument cases, and listened as bits of voices and piano and struggling saxophone music drifted out of the windows. I should learn an instrument. I thought about it earlier this year, but the thought expressed itself as, "I guess this won't be the year I start guitar lessons."

I suppose I will have to content myself with trying to set aside some time to learn how to whistle with my fingers.

Monday, May 07, 2007

Mad props to LCA, who is a finalist in the Buffalo Public Schools' Richmond Public Speaking Contest. A and I attended the semi-final, or a semi-final (I'm not clear on how it works) and although naturally we thought she was one of the best of the seven speakers we saw, only two students were going to advance, and there were some tough choices that had to be made. The deaf girl who recited and signed a section from Helen Keller's autobiography. Both of the African-American girls, who went with African-American themed pieces, both well-delivered, both seeming to challenge the judges to deny them this. LCA was well-counseled by CLA, who told her to find a humorous piece, but after working with my recommendation, she rejected it and went with a Daniel Pinkwater piece. I think that she could have killed with "Filboid Studge", but the point is that she got them laughing. There will always be the heavy stuff, but that's hard for an eighth grade kid to sell.

Saturday, May 05, 2007

Bill Simmons says that Boston "will always be a baseball town", and perhaps he is right. The remark got me thinking though-- what sports define what cities? Right now, of course, Buffalo is all about hockey-- walking over to court yesterday I must have seen a dozen people in Sabres attire, and there is a Sabres flag flying in front of City Hall. People say it is all about the Bills here, but there are members of KRAC who have said for years that it's really always been more about hockey here. Part of that sense may come from the fact that when it is playoff time in Buffalo the weather has turned, and there are more people out and about, building a buzz, but I think it probably goes deeper than that. People grow up playing hockey here, and our proximity to Canada means that people grow up watching Don Cherry. (Actually, I think Don Cherry is one of my favorite things about hockey.) Detroit, same thing. Paul Simon can sing that it's a basketball town, and I mean no disrespect to the Pistons, but the Motor City is about hockey.

I'd say that New York is a baseball city, even though Simmons says its all about hoops. Chicago? Football, I think. LA is harder to get a handle on-- who knows, maybe soccer.

Friday, May 04, 2007

CLA's Rugby team is going to the National Invitational Tournament again this year, and she is therefore obliged to sell candy (or we are obliged to buy candy-- it is one or the other). She is not an enthusiastic candy-seller, and, in fact, this is not something that is done door-to-door these days. The revenue model has shifted, and now parents sell the stuff, something my dental hygienist mom would never have done. In any event, I asked CLA what she would propose as a better fundraiser, and she replied, without hesitation, "City Honors Women's Rugby Swimsuit Car Wash".

Maybe a calendar....

Truth(Via Making Light.)

Wednesday, May 02, 2007

From Tim Keowan's ESPN column:
"• I'm sure the philosophy chair will get to use it whenever he gets word of a big thinker he wants to recruit up near Covington: The University of Kentucky is investigating the idea of purchasing a private plane for its coaches to use on recruiting trips."

I've said some harsh things about college sports over the years, and I am prepared to stand by them all. I sincerely believe that schools' graduation rates should be posted with their NCAA basketball tournament seedings, and that students' majors should be run under their names along with their scoring percentage. Only my abiding passion for personal privacy prevents me from advocating that they show G.P.A.s. I think that coaches that fail to graduate a mandated percentage of their students should be fired, and I think that coaches should be paid what other faculty are paid. I don't approve of sneaker contracts, or television and radio programs that pay an additional stipend. I'd like to see collegiate sports receive the emphasis they receive in the Ivy League, or at D-III schools. I think the whole business is corrupt, and that it has a corrupting influence on one of the most important institutions in our country.

We all make jokes about recruiting students the way athletes are recruited all the time, but the fact is that schools actually do recruit students that way. EGA was courted by two schools that I think of as hoops powerhouses, and will be attending one of them. Neither offered her a car, but she is getting fellowship money, and they paid for her to visit, and it is because they wanted her in their Philosophy Department. Trust me, she doesn't know where the handle is on a basketball-- these schools treated her like a jock because she is a Logic jock. And in a weird way, the reason they can do this, I suspect, is that hoops makes money. (Neither of these fine schools is a noted pigskin power, so I am assuming it's their hardwood program that rakes in the bucks.) To be sure, neither of the schools we are talking about is Ohio State, but discovering that there are prospective grad students that get calls from department chairs, and taken out to dinner, and all of that sort of thing has been a revelation to me. It ain't like that when you apply to professional schools-- law schools in particular are regarded as a revenue source, and they throw nickels around like manhole covers. It is encouraging to me to learn that in the realms of pure scholarship schools behave like this, and it makes enjoying watching college sports a little bit less of a guilty pleasure. No doubt the boys in the MBA programs would value the basketball team more highly than the Philosophy Department, but the schools themselves have demonstrated by their conduct that they understand the business that they are in.

Tuesday, May 01, 2007

If you Google ""hoagy carmichael" run for the telephone whenever it rings" you get this site second. This site is first, and rightly so. CLA turned me on to a nifty toy over the weekend: if you go here you can turn any music you have on your computer into a ringtone. Mine's the into to "Hong Kong Blues" from the same movie, a song I used to sing my daughters to sleep with (after reading them "Moby Dick". People mocked my methods, and called me mad, but the results speak for themselves.)

"To Have and Have Not" is pretty indifferent Hemingway, (actually, a lot of Hemingway is pretty indifferent Hemingway-- what's up with that?) but the movie has alway defined a kind of cool for me. You are pretty good if you are just as cool as Bogart, and there is never any question that Hoagy is just that cool.

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