Wednesday, September 21, 2011

Good job, Marines!

Today's New York Times reports that the Marines are now actively recruiting gays and lesbians (here).  My favorite paragraph of the story:
The Marines were the service most opposed to ending the “don’t ask, don’t tell” policy, but they were the only one of five invited branches of the military to turn up with their recruiting table and chin-up bar at the center Tuesday morning. Although Marines pride themselves on being the most testosterone-fueled of the services, they also ferociously promote their view of themselves as the best. With the law now changed, the Marines appear determined to prove that they will be better than the Army, Navy, Air Force and Coast Guard in recruiting gay, lesbian and bisexual service members. 
Way to go, USMC!

Tuesday, September 20, 2011

The Noble-Martello family ROCKS.

See here.  We've been lucky enough to know them for a long time (but refuse to say how MANY years), and each of them is talent personified--and nice.  Yay in particular to Amelia!

Sunday, September 18, 2011

I figured out this picture on Target's website.

The "(wink)" is for
  • We don't have anything in stock.
  • We've lost one of your orders.
  • We're not going to send you your other order.
  • Our customer service won't help.
  • We don't freaking care if you're angry.

Seriously, what were the odds?

So I'm reading the Sunday paper (having gotten up early to drop a friend off at the airport), and I see this title in the local paper's Business section:  Deep in the Heart of Nevada.  (Online, the title is Jobs, weather have some Texans coming to Las Vegas--see here.)

I read this paragraph and then mopped up my spit-take:
"The town where we're from has a Walmart, a McDonald's and a couple of Mexican restaurants. It has a little shopping center with a Big Lots and a Dollar General. That's it," said Shannon Fleming, 28, who moved here with husband, Kevin, 33, and 7-year-old daughter, Amaya, from Orange, Texas, in early 2010.
Orange, Texas?  Um, that's where I'm from.  Hey, Flemings?  Welcome to Las Vegas!  We totally understand your point.

But just to be fair:  Houston is still a wonderful city.

Saturday, September 17, 2011

The perfect juxtaposition of two articles today on the death penalty.

See here and here.  There are few things in life of which I'm unshakably sure.  The love of certain family members and friends is one such thing; the belief that there is such a thing as right and wrong (although I'm not always sure that it's possible to figure out which is which) is another; and the concept that humans make mistakes in judgment is a third.  So the idea that no one has ever been wrongfully executed is just plain foreign to me.

Personally, I like my leaders with a little more self-doubt and humility.

I've started a second blog (well, a third one, really).

Jeff and I have a blog for our Law School Survival Manual (here), and today, I started a blog called Corporate Scandal Watch (here).  (We've also reserved a blog for Law Firm Survival Manual for when it comes out, but that's a while away.)

Corporate Scandal Watch has a whopping single post for now, but thanks to our economy and human nature, there will be more.

Thursday, September 15, 2011

Thank you, Cpl. Meyer.

See here.  Thanks, to, go to Sgt. Rodriguez-Chavez and Capt. Swenson, among many others.

Monday, September 12, 2011

On this day in 1962.

When and where did JFK say this?  "We choose to go to the moon. We choose to go to the moon in this decade and do the other things, not because they are easy, but because they are hard, because that goal will serve to organize and measure the best of our energies and skills, because that challenge is one that we are willing to accept, one we are unwilling to postpone, and one which we intend to win, and the others, too." 

Rice University, 9/12/62.

Saturday, September 03, 2011

What I want in a President (or a Senator, or a Congressperson).

One of the op-eds that I read this morning (here) got me thinking about what I want in a candidate for national office.*  I'm part of that vast center, neither too liberal nor too conservative.  I've toyed with both parties over the years, but the parties I knew growing up bear no relationship to the acrimonious and sanctimonious parties of today.  If politicians were still in kindergarten, they'd all be given "doesn't play well with others" grades.  But at least if they were in kindergarten, we could hope that they'd grow out of that problem.

So what do I want?  Here are the markers for my ideal candidate:
  1. They're smart.  Smart people can learn things, and they're open to questioning their assumptions.  People with high IQs who aren't open to questioning their assumptions aren't smart.
  2. They know their limitations.  Dirty Harry was right:  "A man's got to know his limitations."**  Not only should they know their limitations, they should surround themselves with people whose strengths fit precisely where the candidate's limitations are.  I worked for a Republican 9th Circuit judge.  We had very few things in common.  (Let's see:  we both went to law school.  We were both carbon-based life forms.  Later in life, I was a dean; he'd been a dean before working for the federal government.  That's about it.)  He liked choosing at least one law clerk whose ideas differed markedly from his, so that, as he put it, he could make sure that his decisions made sense.  He wanted me to poke holes in his analysis, and he rewarded me for doing so.  He was willing to buck his own predilections to get the law right.  Given that many of the more liberal judges back then weren't nearly as intellectually honest as he was, I was impressed by his dedication to justice.  
  3. They don't believe their own hype.  People in power are surrounded by lackeys.  The level of kissing-up to which they're subjected is almost unlimited.  Being told that one is brilliant, handsome/beautiful, and wise every minute will tend to affect one's self-image.  It takes strength to realize that, like everyone else, they're humans with no superpowers.  I want my public servants to have some humility.
  4. They're willing to walk away from the job rather than pander.  This one's tough.  I know that it's impossible to govern without being elected.  But with the extremists in both parties pushing for candidates and politicians to move farther left or farther right, as the case may be, at some point, the candidate or politician has to say, "enough."  Spending too much time campaigning at the cost of investing that time in governing doesn't impress me.
I don't know if we'll get candidates that meet my criteria.  I'd love to see them, but I doubt that the people who really could fit even this list of four qualities are going to take time from their productive lives to run.  We sure could use them, though.
* Of course, I'd like to see these same things in candidates for state and local offices, too.