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Thursday, March 23, 2006

We Write Letters



Monday, February 27, 2006

Another Nail in the Cross

Our local public radio just ran a news bulletin describing a protest led by Paul Madore, a local bigot who calls himself a Christian and perennially unsuccessful candidate for public office. According to the news report, Madore organized a boycott yesterday of a fundraising dinner a local Democratic party organized to raise funds for the heating bills of poor people. The point of the protest? The dinner took place at the parish hall of a Catholic church in town. Two of the state legislators who helped organized the event had voted in support of not discriminitating against queers. The bigots who call themselves Christian were outraged that the Catholic church had not refused use of the hall because of the presence of legislators who don't want to discriminate. If you're wondering what's the connection between gay rights and helping poor people pay heating bills, you are at the end of a very long line.

We're still looking in the gospels for the part where Jesus said nasty things about queer people, but can't seem to find them. Helping poor folks pay their winter heating bills, on the other hand, strikes us as something Jesus would be down with. In the words of a dinner attendee, “ I’ve read my Bible as much as any one, and it seems like Jesus spent a lot more of his time helping the poor than he did worrying about sex.”

When Pudentilla's grandmother heard of particularly heinous and hypocritical behavior by anyone, but especially by public figures, she was wont to say in a brogue so thick you could cut it with a knife, "ah, that one - he's driving a nail through the flesh of Christ on the cross." Sound about right for Mr. Madore - who doesn't strike us as much of a Christian, even though he plays one on the t.v. news.

Anyways, the story has a happy ending - the dinner was a huge success.


Saturday, February 25, 2006

Barratry, Champerty and Maintenance

Over in the land of the Rapists Bill of Rights (h/t - jane), it turns out that the reds in South Dakota have a daddy:

South Dakota passes abortion ban - Some legislators opposed to abortion rights questioned whether it was premature to challenge Roe v. Wade, and said litigation would prove expensive for the sparsely populated state. An anonymous donor has offered $1 million to the state to defray the costs of litigation.

Now, it's been many a year since Pudentilla has had a legal concern that didn't involve the Praetor's Edict, but upon reading of the generous if anonymous patronage of the rapist friendly South Dakotans, the dim and distant bells of my law school class on legal ethics began to ring. What's the word I'm looking for? Could it be barratry or maintenance or champerty? Pudentilla's edition of Black's Law has long been donated to a prison law library, but fortunately, we live in the age of internets:

barratry - 2: the persistent incitement of litigation

maintenance - 5: unsought and unnecessary meddling in a lawsuit by assisting either party with means to carry it on (compare champerty)

champerty: : an unenforceable agreement by which a person with otherwise no interest in a lawsuit agrees to aid in or carry on its litigation in consideration of a share of the subject matter of the suit (as property or damages) (compare maintenance)

Could it possibly be, we wondered, that daddy of the friends of rapists in South Daddy has done something unethical? Perhaps even illegal. Again, the internets are our friend.

22-12-1. (Text of section effective until July 1, 2006) Barratry as misdemeanor--Interest in proceedings no defense. Barratry is the practice of maliciously bringing or causing to be brought any groundless judicial proceedings. It is a Class 2 misdemeanor. The fact that an accused was himself a party in interest or upon the record to any proceedings at law complained of is not a defense.
(Text of section effective July 1, 2006) Barratry--Misdemeanor. Barratry is the offense of maliciously bringing or causing to be brought any groundless judicial proceeding. Barratry is a Class 2 misdemeanor. The fact that an accused was personally a party in interest or upon the record to any proceedings at law complained of is not a defense.
Source: SDC 1939, § 13.1252; SL 1976, ch 158, § 12-1; SL 1977, ch 189, § 26; SL 2005, ch 120, § 233

According to Theron McChesney of the South Dakota Progressive, we even have some gossip as to who the friends of rapists' daddy is:

UPDATE: The word on the street in Pierre is that Steve Kirby is the anonymous donor offering $1 million dollars to defend the abortion ban and former legislator Matt McCaully is on his payroll working behind the scenes on the issue. If anyone can confirm this please email me [ (you'll need to strip the address of "at"s and "dot" to use it.)]

According to the Village Voice, Steve Kirby is a very big, if coy, red kahuna in South Dakota:

It's not entirely clear why an abortion foe would desire so strongly to keep their bankroll on the down low. One suggested head of steam behind the war chest was identified as Steve Kirby, the Founding Partner of the Sioux Falls-based investment firm Bluestem Capital, with a market value of $200 million. Kirby is a familiar player in South Dakota, serving as Lieutenant Governor from 1993 to 1995, and an unsuccessful candidate for governor in 2002.

When interviewed by the Voice about the abortion ban, Kirby said, "There's been apparently some degree of support for private funding out of a passion of the supporters for seeing that the bill remains the law of the land, and maybe funding a lawsuit." But when asked if he was a donor, Kirby responded, "No comment on that one."

Matt McCaully, "on the payroll" for Kirby's flirtation with barratry, champerty and maintenance, according to the South Dakota Progressive sources has his own interesting association with allegation of ethical impropriety. He's been accused, though he denies it, of peddling affidavits to support a baseless vote fraud claim against South Dakota Democrats. It's so very republican to committ fraud in order to accuse Democrats of fraud, isn't it?

Now some of you no doubt are saying, Pudentilla, isn't the more important issue that wealthy, unelected men are directing South Dakota's legislature? - that in a real democracy legislators actually think about how much their political stunts will cost the tax payers and anonymous slush funds for legal fees generated by legislation are, therefore, anti-democratic?

Gentle Reader, you're right. And on election day, those who object to the decision of South Dakato legislatures to bow to their overlord and accept his barratry and maintenance, may vote the offenders out. But in the meantime, those in South Dakota who have reason to believe that folks involved in this little touch of barony on the plains, may simply wish to call the State Bar and ask for an ethics investigation of any involved who are licensed attornies. And if you'll settle for a misdemeanor, you might want to call the D.A., too.


Sunday, February 19, 2006

Nonna, Get A Web Page!

The practically perfect partner and Pudentilla visited friends at Brown University this weekend and took the opportunity to go grocery shopping on Atwells Atreet in Federal Hill, the Italian neighborhood of Providence. Pudentilla's PPP is of Italian heritage, and the one design flaw the good lord coded into this small piece of heaven in Central Maine that we are fortunate enough to call home is the absence of good Italian salumerias, bakeries and, truth be told, gelaterias. The PPP was in heaven and managed to buy enough provisions at the different storefronts (Venda Ravioli, Tony's Colonial and Roma) to challenge the rear struts on our car.

Our only difficulty was in finding two of the PPPs favorite snacks from childhood, sesame cookies and bread stuffed with sausage. At each counter a pleasant and handsome man or woman would shake their head in such a way as to indicate they had never heard of sesame cookies and lard bread. A charming young undergrad from Brooklyn explained -

"They don't do that, here [ed. note: meaning Italian neighborhoods in RI - as opposed to those in Brooklyn]. I have to bring it back from my Nona's when I go home and visit."

"Your Nonna made it?" the PPP asked, "we always bought ours."

"She has a shop in Brooklyn."

"Get out! I'm from Brooklyn! Where?"

"Mona Lisa's on 86th and 15th."

"Get out! We used to shop there all the time. I'm from 77th and 13th. Oh my god, your Nonna's Mona Lisa? How'd you ever leave home."

"It's hard, I have to go back all the time."

"God, I know what you mean. There's nothing like that in Maine. We had friends send us cookies from Luigi Alba last year."

"In Brooklyn?"

"Yeah. Our friends live in Colorado now, but they're from the Bronx originally."

"My Nonna's better."

"You're Nona should have a web page."

"She says never."
The charming young women then paid for her purchases at Tony's Colonial and wished us a safe journey back to our home devoid of Italian bakeries and salumerias. We should note that the woman who ran the cash register did not seem the least offended by the Brooklyn analysis of Rhode Island Italian delis. Of course, both the charming young undergrad and the PPP had purchased enough grana and coppadel between them to last for aeons. "Darn," said the PPP, as we drove Maine-ward, "I wish Mona Lisa's had a web page."

Gentle Reader, the PPP, on sabbatical, has forgotten the cardinal rule of the professorate - just because an undergrad says something, doesn't mean it's true. A little googling and "ecco la pagina!" Mona Lisa indeed has a webpage. The cookies and sausage bread are already on the way. Thank you, Nonna.

update: The PPP made some geographical corrections - the sausage bread and cookies arrived. They're delicious. Thank you Nonna.


Wednesday, February 15, 2006

While Cheney Hunted

We think the media coverage of the Dark Lord (f.o.a.l)'s hunting mishap has reached Nero fiddling proportions. In Nero's case, the tag was undeserved. The merit of the particular charge were irrelevant because they allowed people (admittedly Nero's enemies) to describe succinctly their disgust with the emperor.

Here's the people mag version that people will come to believe about the Dark Lord. A) he wasn't hunting, he was doing this weird slaughter thing that rich old white guys do and call hunting; B) he was hammered; C) he shot a guy; D) he blamed the guy for getting shot; E) he wouldn't even apologize for it; andF) no one bothered to check in with il Ducetto on the details. Whether any or all of these particulars are true is irrelevant.

Just the way we now say the untrue aphorism, "Nero fiddled while Rome burned," folks will soon be saying "Cheney shot an old guy" and got a way with it." It's a perfect 5 second tag which captures the arrogance, hypocrisy and violence of the reds and their leader, the Dark Lord (f.o.a.l.).

Wewonder if this will be it. If people who've taken the corruption, torture, and tyranny in their stride will suddenly turn their backs on these felons, because, "Cheney shot an old guy and got away with it."

f.o.a.l.: father of a lesbian


Wednesday, January 25, 2006

We Write Letters

Dear Senator,

I ask that you vote against the nomination of Samuel Alito to the Supreme Court for the following reasons:

1) His long, clear judicial record in opposition to Roe – Judge Alito’s current claim that he’ll keep an open mind on abortion (as Clarence Thomas similarly claimed) should lead us to question his intellectual integrity, not believe that he will preserve Roe.

2) His failure to recuse himself from cases involving a mutual fund in which he had significant investments, after promising under oath to due so, and his failure to adequately explain how he broke his sworn promise should lead us to question his moral integrity.

3) His assertion that he has no memory of his involvement with CAP, an organization which deserved the extraordinary notoriety it achieved for its virulent sexism and racism, is, by under any reasonable analysis, not credible. His willingness to make such assertions under oath betray a brazen disregard for the integrity of the court and the Senate appoint review process.

4) His support for a unitary theory of executive power in a time when the White House has refused to comply with the Fourth Amendment and flouted Congressional statues is deeply alarming.

Finally, a no vote on the nomination and a yes vote on cloture will only be obvious and self-serving politics on your part. The president is not “entitled” to his nominations – the judiciary is an independent branch of government and the Senate must exercise its advise and consent duties if the independence of the judiciary and the constitutional authority of Congress as co-equal branches of government are to be preserved. If you vote “yes” on cloture, you will long be remembered one of the women who helped kill Roe, I am certain, and I fear, you will be recorded as one of the Senators who helped destroy our constitutional system of checks and balances.




Thursday, December 29, 2005

The term, we believe, is “wanker”

Many liberals are taking the enemy of my enemy is my friend approach to Bob Barr’s recent lambasting of il ducetto's recently revealed grab for 1984 style tyrannical powers in an Atlanta Journal Constitution op-ed. Barr is right that his awol-ness is wrong but note the dirtly little slight of hand the old impeacher engages in:

First, in the best tradition of former President Bill Clinton's classic, "it-all-depends-on-what-the-meaning-of-is-is" defense, President Bush responded to a question at a White House news conference about what now appears to be a clear violation of federal electronic monitoring laws by trying to argue that he had not ordered the National Security Agency to "monitor" phone and e-mail communications of American citizens without court order; he had merely ordered them to "detect" improper communications.

Talk about your false equivalencies. When Clinton did his little scramble he was accused of extra-marital sex (oh, yeah, and he was in the middle of a deposition, where lawyers parse words all the time – stupid, politically, but not unusual). His awol-ness stands accused of ordering government employees to break a federal law which prevents the government from violating the constitutional rights of citizens. And his little dances with wolves routine is in response to reporter, not a lawyer’s question. (Surely the correct analogy is to clinton’s notorious denial, “I didn’t have sex with that woman.”) And sue me, but I can distinguish between the lies a middle-age guy tells about violating his marriage vows and the lies a president tells about violating his oath of office.

Even as the old impeacher seeks a reputation as the scourge of executive branch evasion, the msm (Olbermann excepted) intones fatuously that no one serious is talking about impeachment. Why? In part, perhaps because, in brilliant anticipation of their control of the executive branch and the constitutional crisis that would inevitably follow, the republicans, under the leadership of the old impeacher, himself, turned the issue of what was a high crime into such a circus that the msm no longer has the stomach to demand one.

So the msm tells the citizens that we don’t have the stomach for an impeachment. And they don’t poll to see whether the citizens actually agrees with them (too truthy). And they don’t (Olbermann excepted) say things like, “there won’t be an impeachment because no republican would vote to impeach il Ducetto, even if he strangled Laura in a live interview with Katie Couric – because Republicans just don’t believe that constitutional restrictions apply to the executive when their party controls the executive. Their party means more to them their country.”

If our political system is incapable of impeaching a president who has admitted spying on American citizens without a warrant, which he could have gotten, after the fact, in a nano-second, it is in part because Bob Barr, the old impeacher, personally rendered that clause of the constitution useless.


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