Whose posting privileges on all Google fora (beginning with this one) should be revoked forthwith. If, however, he finds this post or my comments on Google fora and finds a way to get me shut out of my own GMail account, consisting of my first name (Jeff) followed by my middle initial (W) and my surname (Bishop) followed by the usual Google Mail domain, I shall give him credit for being a more resourceful prick than previously thought.
May 15, 2011
April 28, 2011
For the past 2 1/2 years, birthers have screeched “Where’s the birth certificate?” despite having been provided with one a long time ago. Now that the long-form certificate (or, in Birther-ese, the “birth certificate”) has also been released, I’m frankly at a loss as to what the Birthers thought Birth Certificate #2 was supposed to accomplish that Birth Certificate #1 didn’t. Below is a table of the information provided by each:
|Information||Long Form||Short Form|
|Issuing Entity:||State of Hawaii Department of Health||State of Hawaii Department of Health, Honolulu, Hawaii U.S.A.|
|Certificate Number:||151 61 10641||151 1961 010-641|
|Child’s Name:||Barack Hussein Obama, II||Barack Hussein Obama II|
|Date of Birth:||August 4, 1961||August 4, 1961|
|Hour:||7:24 P.m.||7:24 PM|
|City, Town or Rural Location:||Honolulu||Honolulu|
|Island:||Oahu||Maui [JK, Oahu]|
|County and State and/or Foreign Country:||Honolulu, Hawaii||Honolulu (county only)|
|Name of Hospital or Institution:||Kapiolani Maternity & Gynecological Hospital||[Silent]|
|Is place of birth inside city or town limits?||Yes||[Silent]|
|Usual residence of mother:||6085 Kalanianaole Highway, Honolulu, Hawaii, Island of Oahu||[Silent]|
|Is residence in city or town limits?||Yes||[Silent]|
|Is residence on a farm or plantation?||No||[Silent]|
|Father’s full name:||Barack Hussein Obama||Barack Hussein Obama|
|Father’s birthplace:||Kenya, East Africa||[Silent]|
|Father’s usual occupation:||Student||[Silent]|
|Father’s kind of business or industry:||University||[Silent]|
|Mother’s maiden name:||Stanley Ann Dunham||Stanley Ann Dunham|
|Mother’s birthplace:||Wichita, Kansas||[Silent]|
|Mother’s occupation during pregnancy:||None||[Silent]|
|Date filed/accepted by registrar:||August 8, 1961||August 8, 1961|
|Is this document prima facie evidence of the fact of birth?||[Silent]||Yes|
So Birthers and former Birthers (and to the latter group, welcome back to earth, it’s good to have you back), please do tell us. Did that narrowly averted constitutional crisis turn on…
- …whether the Hawaii Department of Health was or was not located in Honolulu, Hawaii U.S.A. from August 1 through August 8, 1961?
- …the precise location in the City and County of Honolulu, on the Island of Oahu, at which he was born?
- …whether he was born at 7:24 P.m. or PM?
- …whether his does or does not include a comma?
- …whether Stanley Ann Dunham’s residence at 6085 Kalanianaole Highway fell inside or outside the city limits of Honolulu?
- …whether Stanley Ann Dunham’s residence at 6085 Kalanianaole Highway was or was not on a farm or plantation?
- …whether the County of Honolulu, on the Island of Oahu, really was part of the State of Hawaii, U.S.A.?
- All of Honolulu, that is, not just the Kapiolani Maternity & Gynecological Hospital?
- Something more hair-splitting and technical still, cite>e.g., whether “Stanley Ann Dunham” was his mother’s full maiden name (as only the long-form certificate includes the word “full”)?
- None of the above, of course we were going to write off the second birth certificate just like the first. Check out this nifty site, which contains smoking-gun proof that a file called “birth-certificate-long-form.pdf” is actually a PDF! What more proof do you need, you silly Obama fanboy, you?
- None of the above, but we birthers were just dying to finally get something in writing from Hawaii to prove that someone named Barack Hussein Obama was born in Kenya.
- None of the above, but I think Donald Trump is cool.
- Other (specify).
February 16, 2011
We interrupt this Family Law is FUBAR series to point out something else that is now FUBAR: my employment situation. If you have any leads for an attorney position, especially any combination of corporate / regulatory / insurance / commuting distance from the Triad, please let me know.
We will return to the original bitch session shortly.
February 9, 2011
When you get accustomed to something, you tend to feel like you own it, but usually you don’t. No one feels entitled to a job they just started, but if you’ve been working for the same company for 20 years and suddenly get laid off, you feel like your rights have been violated, even though they probably haven’t been. Conversely, you probably don’t feel as “entitled” to the house you just bought as you do to the one you’ve been living in for half your life, even though your legal entitlement is the same in either case. So when, and under what circumstances, is being accustomed to something actually a factor in deciding if you are entitled to it? As a former President might say, it depends upon what the meaning of the word “it” is. Here’s a table:
|Meaning of “It”||Entitled?|
|Your girlfriend/boyfriend||Rotsa ruck|
|Your favorite store or restaurant always being there||Nopers|
|Living rent-free off your parents||Fuhgeddaboudit|
|Leeching off your spouse||Yes|
|Your favorite rock band not breaking up||As if|
|Just about anything else under the sun||Don’t hold your breath|
Doing nothing while married to someone who does something can pay big dividends. For Lorna Wendt, doing nothing paid $20 million. Nice work if you can get it.
February 8, 2011
One fundamental problem with family law over the years, particularly here in the Bible belt, is the paternalistic notion that family law should aim to keep the divorce rate low, rather than accepting divorce as a reality and trying to smooth the process as much as possible when it happens. The theory seems to be that happy, perfectly functional marriages end abruptly because one partner wakes up on the wrong side of the bed one day and gets a divorce on a whim. Of course few if any couples actually divorce that way. Getting married on a whim, that’s another matter, so if we really are going to go the paternalistic route, perhaps we should stop worrying about the divorce rate, as such, and worry instead about the crappy-marriage rate that feeds into it. As Clemmons dentist Kirk Turner infamously told his late wife Jennifer, there is “more than one way to end a marriage,” only one of which impacts that dreaded divorce rate. So if we’re going to play the paternalism card, we should do so with an aim to prevent bad marriages from happening in the first place.
Needless to say, few states adopt this brand of paternalism at the front end. Individuals don’t (when was the last time you stood up and objected at a wedding when the preacher invited you to?) so it should come as no surprise that democratically elected governments don’t, either. Per About.com, no state requires couples to wait more than five days to marry after applying for a marriage license, and only six (Alabama, Kansas, Massachusetts, Nebraska, Texas and Wisconsin) even limit one’s ability to remarry within the first six months following a divorce. By contrast, North Carolina requires a full year of physical separation before either party can even file for divorce, and another month or two after that before a divorce will actually be granted. Despite this, our divorce rate has held steady at 4.5 per 1,000 in 2001 and 4.4 in 2004, well above the national average in both years. More recently, our rate has increased even as the national rate declined. While inter-state comparisons are always tricky, it seems clear that our long waiting period for divorces is certainly not helping matters, and may even make the marriage failure rate worse.
While lengthy waiting periods do little or nothing to prevent divorce, it does plenty to make the process uglier and more expensive than it needs to be. Not only does requiring one spouse to move out create an unnecessary financial burden for both in the short term, it also sets up the spouse who doesn’t move to cry “abandonment,” which should be irrelevant in a no-fault environment but which does wonders to privilege the spouse who drove the other away over the one who had the cojones to leave. The law shouldn’t favor either spouse over the other. Whoever files has to pay the filing fee, and in return, they get to choose the venue (if more than one is available) and most importantly, they get the warm and fuzzy feeling of having filed an official court document stating that they hereby “complain of” the estranged spouse who for years has been complaining of them. That’s the only difference it ought to make.
February 6, 2011
As you’ve probably noticed, I don’t post here much anymore. These days, most of the links and snarky remarkies that would have have gone to the blog end up on Twitter or Facebook rather than here. However, I do still think there’s a place for the blog, particularly when it comes to lengthy, often link-ridden discussions that don’t play well on Facebook or come anywhere close to the 140-character limit. This post is the first of several such entries.
Re the heading, no, I didn’t turn gay, but yes, I have mostly flipped on the issue of gay marriage. I still believe, as I did before, that the issue ought to be decided by the democratic law-making process, and not by judges straining to give the Equal Protection Clause a meaning none of its proponents or even opponents anticipated, and which almost certainly would have been worded differently if they had. Cf. Phyllis Schafly, who almost singlehandedly killed the Equal Rights Amendment in the 1970s, in part by arguing that a comparably worded clause in that amendment would be construed to cover gay marriage. Most thought her argument a stretch but we now know it was prescient. So while I don’t want judges getting involved in this, I do think that allowing same-sex marriage is a legislative decision that voters or legislatures, depending on the law of the particular state, should seriously consider.
The reason for my change is simple. In my heavy blogging days, when Mrs. Ex was Mrs. X and divorce was unthinkable, I naïvely assumed that our existing family law was brilliantly developed over the millennia to make the laws specific to traditional marriages as absolutely perfect as they possibly could be. Well maybe not quite so absolutely, but in that direction. I did not oppose civil unions as an alternative to same-sex marriage, but did reason that the concept of a permanent same-sex union – something most gays themselves didn’t want as recently as a generation ago – was an experiment that should be conducted separately from traditional marriage for at least a generation, with each legislature considering changes to each law separately. Maybe certain blood tests are needed for straight marriages, but not gay, or vice versa. Maybe some are needed for male-male unions but not female-female ones. Maybe no-fault marriage was a terrible idea for straights that should be rescinded someday, but for reasons having nothing to do with gays (and maybe in fact a reason gays didn’t want marriage at all in the bad old days). Too many variables that needed to be experimented with separately for a generation or so. After that period, if our Legislature’s best ideas for male-male unions, female-female unions and male-female unions all just happened to be exactly the same, we could merge the legal concepts then. In the meantime, let’s not corrupt almost a thousand years of common law genius with a brand new experiment. Baby, bathwater, etc.
My new view, after having recently gone through a divorce, is that family law is FUBAR. If you are one of those fortunate ones whose marriages go swimmingly from the day you say “I do” until one of you is dead, good for you. Family law is technically just as bad for you as anyone else, but that won’t matter since none of those crappy laws will ever be applied in your case. But those of us who they do apply to know firsthand just how bassackwards and, in some cases, downright ugly, the laws can be. North Carolina in particular is a judicial hellhole in this regard. In an ideal world, are the best rules for gay unions the same as the best rules for lesbians, let alone straights? Who knows? But I do know that both should be written on a clean slate, and if adding gays to the mix is the political catalyst we need to get the debate going, so be it. The next few posts are going to explain why I think family law is messed up, and what I think ought to be done about it. As always, comments are welcome.
January 28, 2011
It’s official: Chicago voters will get the government they deserve. The only thing they didn’t deserve was for two unelected judges to deny them that choice because “resident” means one thing and “reside” means something totally different. Good on the IL Supreme Court for straightening that out.
January 19, 2011
I’m torn over why I should hate the guy more. Do I hate him for comparing opponents of Obamacare to Goebbels, or do I hate him for pronouncing Goebbel’s name “gerbils?” Decisions, decisions.