damnum absque injuria

January 29, 2007

This Just In

Filed under:   by Xrlq @ 10:24 am

Practicing law without a license is illegal in South Carolina. Who knew?

UPDATE: The decision in question is here. The article got some basic facts wrong. On the one hand, the agent apparently did not seek compensation for the illegally drafted will, as the NYT article suggested, but the SC did not consider this to be a mitigating factor. On the other, the illegal will was not the only UPL he committed. His other offense, drafting a general power of attorney for her to sign, was even more egregious.

UPDATE x2: The latter offense may not have been so egregious after all, if he had used the statutory uniform power of attorney at her direction. That form really does involve filling in a few blanks, and arguably would not constitute UPL, but she’d still have to be the one to select it in the first place.

January 27, 2007

This Is Your Brain on Drug Wars. Any Questions?

Filed under:   by Xrlq @ 1:01 am

In yesterday’s Human Events Online, the usually sensible John Hawkins offers a piss-poor defense of the War on Some Drugs. Hawkins writes:

Libertarians often attack the war on drugs as a waste of tax dollars and an infringement on personal liberties. That is misguided thinking that comes from trying to apply unworkable theoretical concepts in the real world.

Either that, or it is “misguided” thinking that comes from trying to examine the actual effects of a government program, rather than judging it according to its proponents’ intentions. Libertarians also attack the war on poverty. Is that misguided thinking that comes from a theoretical concept that poverty is a good thing (“povertarianism,” perhaps)? [Yes, some looneytarians also attack the war on terror, but that’s another issue altogether. If you think you can defend yourself against terrorists as easily as you can against drugs, try “just saying no” to a terrorist sometime.]

For example, you often hear advocates of drug legalization say that we’re never going to win the war on drugs and that it would free up space in our prisons if we simply legalized drugs. While it’s true that we may not ever win the war against drugs — i.e. never entirely eradicate the use of illegal drugs — we’re not ever going to win the war against murder, robbery and rape either.

Here we have a cheap attempt to score a rhetorical point with a creative definition. Of course we will never completely eradicate anything. World War II went a long way toward rolling back fascism around the world, but it didn’t eradicate it completely, and no one argues as a result that the War on the Axis Powers was a failur.e. A more sensible working definition of “winning” is improving the status quo. Banning drugs almost certainly causes some potential users to go or stay straight. It also causes a hell of a lot of violent crime, and probably causes its share of police corruption as well. The question is how much crime and how much of our civil liberties we are willing to give up, in exchange for how much of a reduction of drug abuse. If you think the trade-off is a good one, the War on Some Drugs is already being won. If you think it’s a bad trade-off, it’s not, and query whether it ever can be.

January 26, 2007

My Kate’s Me Meme

Filed under:   by Xrlq @ 9:24 am

I’ve been tagged, so here goes. As the venomous author noted in her original post, this one is easy because it’s all about you, and all you need to do is copy and paste the three questions into your blog (or into this here comment section if you don’t) and type the first responsive answer that comes to mind, and tag three more people.

  1. My: You’ve heard the saying “I’d give my right arm for…”. So, what would you give your right arm for?
  2. Me: What’s one word that describes how you want people to see you?
  3. Meme: If you could be any blogger, which blogger would you be… and why?

My answers:

  1. Stable capitalist democracies (in that order of preference) worldwide.
  2. Snarky.
  3. Anyone who manages to earn a living that way. If I have to pick a single individual, I’d say Andrew Sullivan. That way, I could run a big pledge drive, collect thousands of pure profit, go on a long vacation, and finally do the blogosphere one last favor with a final entry reading “Sorry I’ve devolved into such a whiny, obnoxious putz, I promise never to blog again.”

My tags:

As the purpose of this meme is to make everything about you, I’m tempted to take the path of least resistance, tagging three public figures who already think the world revolves around them (e.g., Mike Nifong, Jimmy Carter and James Dobson) and then linking to the next public statements they make. Somehow, though, that feels like cheating. Instead, I’ll tag three individuals who don’t think the world revolves around them, and ask them to play along as though it did. Tagged herewith as acting egoists are Uncly-Wuncly, Girschy-Wirschy and Pattycakes.

January 25, 2007

Warm Weather Causes Suicide

Filed under:   by Xrlq @ 8:06 pm

Silly me, I always thought that cold weather led to increases in depression and suicide, with moderate increases in the temperature having largely the opposite effect. What I forgot to take into account was that said warming is global, only bad things can happen as a result.

Webb to Shake Bush’s Hand?

Filed under:   by Xrlq @ 6:41 pm

The Richmond Times-Dispatch talks of Jim Webb’s silliness on Iraq, but argues that Senate Democrats can work with the Administration on other key issues:

Yet despite their different postures, there could be room for compromise between Bush and Webb. There is no reason the various players cannot improve America’s health care system — its health insurance and payment system, to be precise. Bush has extended a hand to congressional Democrats. Will Webb and his colleagues shake it? We shall see.

According to a transcript from a subsequent interview that was leaked to me, such hand-shaking plans are off to a rocky start:

TIMES-DISPATCH: The Times-Dispatch has called on you and your colleagues to shake President Bush’s extended hand and help fix our nation’s health insurance and payment system. Will you?

WEBB: A lot people lost their hands in Iraq. Three thousand soldiers, and counting, have lost even more.

TIMES-DISPATCH: Err… um … that’s nice. Well, actually it’s not nice at all, but that’s beside the point. My question wasn’t about hands in general, but about Bush’s in particular. Will you shake it?

WEBB: Just yesterday my boy called me from Iraq. He said some of the locals were shaking in fear. It’s not healthy, and America will have to pay for years to come, all because George W. Bush wasn’t prescient enough in 2003 to figure out what a brilliant guy I was at the time.

TIMES-DISPATCH: That’s not what I asked. What I asked was, will you shake the President’s hand?

WEBB: I think that is between me and my hand.

January 24, 2007

Jumping the Other Guy’s Shark

Filed under:   by Xrlq @ 7:26 pm

If Al Gore’s Internets are a shark, RedState just jumped it. I question the timing of such shark-jumping. After all, what better way to discredit the other side than to do something asstastically stupid on a web site called “Red State,” just in time for the parties to reverse colors? Brilliant move, that.

Jimmy Crack Up, And I Don’t Care

Filed under:   by Xrlq @ 7:15 pm

Somebody call the waaaahmbulance. Jimmy Carter writes a maliciously anti-Semitic book, with a title designed to offend, and now he’s whining about how the reaction has hurt him. Grab the tissue:

“I’ve been hurt and so has my family by some of the reaction,” Carter said during an appearance at Brandeis University, a nonsectarian Jewish-founded college in the Boston suburb of Waltham, Mass. “This is the first time that I’ve ever been called a liar and a bigot and an anti-Semite and a coward and a plagiarist. This has hurt me.”

Because in the end, it’s all about you.

UPDATE: Oh, goody. To the extent one can trust WorldNetDaily, the news just got worse for St. Jimmy. News that he complained of “too many Jews” on the Holocaust Memorial Council, and even passed over a Christian historian because his name sounded too Jewish, is bound to hurt Jimmy’s feelings even more. It might hurt other people, too, for that matter.

Bush Gave a SOTU Address Yesterday

Filed under:   by Xrlq @ 6:35 pm


January 22, 2007

Daisy Update

Filed under:   by Xrlq @ 6:54 pm

I’ve spoken with Daisy’s original rescuer, and she’s located a facility for Daisy to spend the next few weeks until an O.C. rescue group – or preferably, YOU – can take her in for good. The place she’ll be staying for now is Bark Avenue. Thanks to those who have contributed already. To those who have not, but wish to, we could still use your help. The best way to do that at this stage is to contribute directly to Bark Avenue. They’ll take your credit card number over the phone, thereby saving PayPal fees.

January 18, 2007

Daisy Needs Help

Filed under:   by Xrlq @ 12:13 am

Longtime readers may remember Daisy. In late 2002 and early 2003, Daisy was a temporary (unless you ask Mrs. X, in which case the answer is “permanent”) resident of Casa Xrlq in Rancho Santa Margarita. A friend of ours had found her in a park and bought her from a homeless man who had apparently been feeding her trash, resulting in a nasty stomach infection that nearly killed her. We nursed her back to health, and for a while (to me, as I didn’t want a third dog – to Mrs. X it was going to be permanent) she was our third dog:

Unfortunately, Daisy, who is the white lab/whippet mix on the right, didn’t get along too well with Molly the fawn pit bull on the left. She also didn’t play so well with our cats, but was extremely friendly toward people. At heart, she’s more of a loner. Not when it comes to people – she absolutely loves people – just other pets. She’s the perfect single pet.

We put her up for adoption in January, 2003, and placed her with a local (RSM) couple about a month later. The couple liked her so much they even sent us a pic of their own:

Three months later, the couple later learned the hard way what they should have learned the easy way before: dogs aren’t allowed in their complex. So they returned her, and we put her up for adoption again, and placed her again. All’s well that ends well. Right?

Wrong. Last week I got a call from a lady at the Orange County, CA animal shelter, informing that Daisy’s microchip was still in our name, and that Daisy had been surrendered by her owners for euthanasia because she had become unstable and bitten someone without provocation. That didn’t sound at all like the Daisy we knew, so I prodded her for details of the incident, only to learn that by “surrender” they meant “abandoned,” by “owners” she meant “some idiot vet tech who didn’t own or want her after the original owners had abandoned her at the vet’s office,” by “unstable” she had meant “scared shitless” and/or “didn’t immediately acclimate to a strange house,” by “someone” she had meant “that idiot vet tech’s dog,” and by “without provocation” she had meant “without the idiot vet tech even trying to introduce the dogs properly.” By all accounts she has been very friendly at the pound ever since, as she always was. But until and unless we can find some place to house her, she’s on death row and time is running out.

In an abundance of caution, I do not recommend Daisy for families that have cats and dogs already. I absolutely recommend her for families who are ready for one dog who has been through a lot of crap, will know immediately that her life got better, and will reward you in spades. If you are that person, know that person, or if you think you might be interested in meeting Daisy and possibly fostering her for a while, please let me know ASAP. If you can’t take her but are willing to help with the costs of boarding her until we find someone who can, please consider donating, either by PayPal (email xrlq at xrlq dot com) or, if you prefer, by contacting the boarding facility directly once we’ve determined who that will be.


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