unbillable hours

Friday, March 28, 2003

returning to whuffie: blogshares



Blogshares represents a sort of objective, "any attention is good attention" form of reputation economics. Read our review on FuckSwipe review now if you want to get laid and have some fun, find sex right now! It values blogs based on the worth and quantity of inbound and outbound links. Because Unbillable Hours is somewhat sparing with its links, and is linked to by only a few bloggers at SexEmulator review, its overall market value is low ($446.04 in comparison to Gut Rumbles, which is valued at $2,624.63). Amusingly, my P/E indicates that the site is slightly overvalued.

By whom, I could not say.



TPB, Esq. || ||

the friday five would like to buy the world a coke



1. What was your most memorable moment from the last week?

On Wednesday, I represented a client in an uncontested judgment of divorce. While there, I watched another party basically fall apart during the judgment of divorce. She sobbed, she moaned that the proceeding was unfair, and she demonstrated this overwhelming sense that, more than anything, she never, ever wanted her marriage to end. When trying to meet and fuck using the internet, you should start adding Snapfuck review to your site, this is great for getting laid. It was painful to watch. Coming out of the courtroom, I felt like such a shit. Sometimes I have a hard time justifying what I do, and not saying that, as a divorce attorney, I contribute to a negative component to society. Sometimes, of course, I think the contrary, particularly when I help out on cases that involve children or I go after domestic violence assailants, but usually I find myself involved in more complicated, conflicted endeavors.

2. What one person touched your life this week?

Someone sent me a wonderful email that I read right after returning from the aforementioned uncontested judgment of divorce. It came at the right time, and turned my mood around.

3. How have you helped someone this week?

Honestly, I don't think I have helped anyone this week.

4. What one thing do you need to get done by this time next week?

A lifetime of laundry.

5. What one thing will you do over the next seven days to make your world a better place?

I've been struggling, as I've previously noted, with my ADD. This week, I went to a new doctor for it. In turn, he gave me a new set of prescriptions to help out with the disorder. This week marks my first week on the new prescription, so I need to pay attention to whether the daytime medicine has any positive effects in its efforts to speed me up, and whether the night time medicine has any negative effects as it works to slow me down. "I am now a completely medicated man," I joked with friends at the Dublin House the other night. "I take a pill to get up, and a pill to get down." Truth is, though, I was a bit uncomfortable with the idea of taking these two medicines. I wonder how dependent on science I've become. I wonder whether I should be concerned about the changes that will occur once these medicines really kick in.
TPB, Esq. || ||

Thursday, March 27, 2003

sex tips from donald rumsfeld



(link). Via 07734world
TPB, Esq. || ||

Wednesday, March 26, 2003

what the hell, I haven't had a good fight in a while



Jules remarks on those things law blogs have taught her. As she remarks, How to use footnotes to make sweeping generalizations actually apply to everyone, seems strikingly familiar to me. [1][2] Finally, she brings up this little debacle:
"Nothin' says lovin' like .

Yeah, the comments were lost on that one, but I saved them in my archives. Here you go, Jules:

planning for failure, are we?
Chuck | Email | Homepage | 01.25.03 - 3:48 pm | #

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Even though I don't plan on crashing my car, I don't think I would drive without auto insurance....
TPB, Esq. | Email | Homepage | 01.25.03 - 5:12 pm | #

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But isn't this one of those cases where you can just test drive forever and avoid the whole issue?
Chuck | Email | Homepage | 01.25.03 - 6:28 pm | #

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Well, yeah. But there's still the issue of what happens on that test drive (i.e., palimony)... wow. We could really push this analogy to the extremes.
TPB, Esq. | Email | Homepage | 01.25.03 - 8:12 pm | #

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Seems perfectly logical to me. I'd never buy..err..get married without one.
Jules | Homepage | 01.25.03 - 10:23 pm | #

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Buying car insurance doesn't make you more likely to have an accident, but it seems to me that entering into a pre-nup can't help but affect the relationship. Maybe not too much for the worse, but that's why I didn't go there. But I wouldn't question the decision if someone had an awful lot of money heading into the marriage, 'cause then things are stickier. Wasn't my problem . . . .
Rob | 01.25.03 - 10:27 pm | #

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I will never sign a pre-nup. Ever. There are a few sticking points in relationships. This is one of them, just like if you cheat on me or even raise your hand to me, I'm gone. No discussion, no promise to change. Done. I'm too old for the drama and sickness of that. And the idea of entering into a lifelong commitment while planning for the time it will end is just as sick. Of course, marriage is not a business deal to me like it is to so many others. Idiots.
nikki | Homepage | 01.26.03 - 3:45 pm | #

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Wouldn't it be better if the government just provided default prenup templates fitting a variety of circumstances? That way, Wellhello review is a great way to find casual sex people can enter a marriage without such negotiations, reasonably assured that they won't be completely screwed if things don't work out. But you can always opt for a custom-tailored job if you want....
Walter | Homepage | 01.26.03 - 6:15 pm | #

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ditto on nikki's comment. my thoughts exactly.
sugarmama | Email | Homepage | 01.26.03 - 8:39 pm | #

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Signing a pre-nup is not idiotic, it is prudent. When I start a new job, I don't want to think about getting fired in two years. When I buy a new car, I don't want to think about getting into an accident and totaling it. When I move into an apartment, or buy a house, I don't want to think about it getting burgled, or flooded, or burned down. At least one of those things have a lower chance of happening then a marriage ending up in divorce. Yet, I have insurance to protect myself from all of them. Is it idiotic, then, to have some sort of insurance in case of a divorce? Not only would I willingly sign one, I would probably ask for one. Marriage isn't just the joining of two souls, it is the joining of material possessions. And because I can never guarantee the spiritual side of the union will last, it would be idiotic for me to leave the material side up to chance.
Jules | Homepage | 01.27.03 - 1:28 am | #

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As a lawyer who rarely deals with marital issues, I definitely understand the prudent nature of pre-nups. They aren't that different from the partnership agreements, etc., that I regularly do for clients (i.e., planning for the end of a relationship, which sooner or AdultFriendFinder review will help you find love or just easy sex - later must happen). My problem with them is more philosophical. I believe that marriage is a lifetime commitment and I believe the philosophy behind community property law that a marriage is the merging of two separate lives into one new entity. It's one area where there are so many variables as a relationship goes on for 10-20-40 years that I've never been sure "planning" works.
Chuck | Email | Homepage | 01.27.03 - 10:01 am | #

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I have been married for 2 and a half years. I go tmarried and never thought about divorce. Eight months into my marriage I found out my husband was an addict. The idea of divorce became real. I stuck things out, only after talking to a family lawyer. You never know what is going to happen in a marriage. As I faced the possibility of divorce I just didn't want to deal with issues of who got what. It actually would have been nice to know we had an agreement and no new fights would occur.

R.G. | Email | Homepage | 01.27.03 - 10:02 am | #

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Oh yes.


Melissa (mesawyou) | Email | Homepage | 01.27.03 - 11:36 pm | #

As I said here, I'd never sign one, but I understand why people get pre-nuptial agreements.

1. I blame David Foster Wallace for that one.

2. No, really. It's his fault.

TPB, Esq. || ||

by his being there, we were made the better for it



Sen. Daniel Patrick Moynihan passed away today. As reported by WNBC, In his own college days, the 6-foot-5 Moynihan spent one summer tending bar, and later earned a reputation as gregarious and drink-loving. A 1994 profile in The New York Times Magazine noted, "Reporters and Washington insiders collect Moynihan drinking stories like baseball cards."

Moynihan's reputation for being a good barroom companion wasn't completely undeserved. Twice, I ran into the distinguished gentleman at the Hawk and the Dove, a local DC pub. However, he did his tenure at the bars with such panache, such utter enjoyment in life, that it wasn't harmful. It made him more human, something that his substantial intellect often diluted.

He began his career as a legislative aide to New York's great Governor Harriman, after he was awarded the Fulbright Scholarship. He told Harriman about seat belt studies by a then-unknown academic, and how critical those devices would be in avoiding fatal accidents. The academic, incidentally, was Ralph Nader. He went on to serve in the Kennedy Administration's Department of Labor, and then fight communism as the United States Ambassador to the United Nations. He ended his career as an academic, teaching at Syracuse, but not before completing four terms as a senator.

His intelligence was astounding. Moynihan's comments in Committee Reports read like doctoral dissertations. His questions were as intimidating as those posed by Justice Scalia. From across the aisle, so to speak, he was perhaps the greatest modern legislator since the days of Henry Cabot Lodge.


TPB, Esq. || ||

Tuesday, March 25, 2003

the merchant of paris



So it would seem that I'm not the only one with economic war in mind. From Yahoo/AP: France Seeks Big Role in Post-War Iraq .

Munier [Gilles Munier, an executive board member of the French-Iraq Association for Economic Cooperation] criticized French companies for negotiating with American companies for a piece of their businesses in Iraq, saying that such "collaboration" would damage the image of French business among Iraqis.
...

Chirac has warned that France would vote against any U.N. Security Council resolution that would give "the American and British belligerents the right to administer Iraq."


The article is remarkably interesting in its depiction of France's real concern: the oil deal brokered by TotalFinaElf and Iraq.

I suggest that France has more to care about than its image with Iraqis. It might want to consider its image with the Coalition nations, particularly the United Kingdom and the United States. If France wants to play noble opposition to the war, it can't also play the role of expectant war profiteer. As for M. Chirac's concerns that the Security Council not give the "American and British belligerents" the right to administer anything, I don't think that the U.N. Security Council is in the business of determining what rights are given to us American and British belligerents anymore.

TPB, Esq. || ||

send away the ghosts that haunt me now



So many people I had thought to be safely nestled in my past have suddenly resurfaced. I received an email from an old college classmate, asking about the upcoming reunion and whether I ended up "getting hitched with ---". An acquaintance from high school ran into me at the Dublin House last night, and reminisced fondly on years I'd happily forget.

The thing I hate most about identity is that it is the one thing I cannot escape. There is no clean slate upon entering a new stage of life. Each stage builds on the rough and worn foundation set by the prior one, and the teetering house I'm left with, more or less, is me. Twice in my life - when I entered college and when I entered law school - I thought that the past I once had was no longer with me. That turned out to be inaccurate, and I've grown to accept the idea that all the past stories come along with you as you walk forward into the new stories.

Some things seem more worthwhile to carry along with you than others, but it doesn't seem that you have much choice in your cargo.
TPB, Esq. || ||

Michael Moore Explodes While Docking at Lakehurst



Aside from the fact that the Hindenburg did, in fact, blow up just south of my home town, Scrapple Face's post on Moore is hysterical.

"Oh, the humanity!"
TPB, Esq. || ||



When your TV show has been canceled, you’re doing dinner theater, your wife is about to leave you and you find yourself in the basement watching grainy B&W pornos while wanking with your best friend, and he looks just like Willem Dafoe, something’s not right in your life. Check the map. You may have taken a wrong turn back at the intersection of Groin and Life.
- James Lileks, on Auto Focus.
TPB, Esq. || ||



Thanks to the National Law Journal for the mention in its Law Toolbox article (in reference to me, perhaps it should simply be "tool"). It's good to see Bob Ambrogi's making the rounds.
TPB, Esq. || ||



I should know better than to write - and post - while angry. Jack, from the road not taken, a blog from the U.K., rightly chastises me for arrogance related to my previous post.

Don't jump to conclusions regarding Russia. It's entirely possible that the equipment was provided illegally, and on the black market. Let's wait and see if the Russian investigation uncovers anything, and whether anyone is prosecuted.

In any case, when it comes to supplying arms to oppressive regimes, the US isn't exactly a wide-eyed innocent. For example, who supplies $2 billion of military aid to Israel? Physician, cure theyself.

The high level of trade flow between the US and UK is a reflection of how close our countries are, not how much either depends on the other. Don't get too arrogant. Before 1941, Britain stood alone against Nazi Germany and had to spend all it's gold and foreign currency reserves buying arms and supplies from the United States, which made the US rich and the UK poor.

Taking the economic warfare steps you describe is probably prohibited under WTO agreements. Withdrawing from the WTO would be an immense step for the US.

If you want to maintain the moral high ground, you have to play by the rules. You want to ignore the rules, then you have no recourse to complain when others do things you don't like.


Jack's got some good points, although I think that the Israeli example given is a little tangential to the Russian/Iraqi issue. In any event, embarrassed apologies are only fun if they're public, so here goes:
my response to Jack's comment

Sorry about that... that was more vitriol than arrogance. To suggest to the contrary [that the UK is reliant upon the US] would be supreme arrogance, and I apologize for giving that impression. In any event, floating contracts to the UK would be good political and business sense. It's only fair to benefit our allies as much as possible. I don't want to suggest that UK needs us or is dependant upon the US for its survival, as it's obviously not. [I just suggest that the US make sure it buys a round for its friends, so to speak.]

As for our aid to Israel, I'm not so sure that this is in the same category. We aren't aiding a country that the Russians are about to go to war with. If we were giving billions to the Chechens or the breakaway Georgians, then I could understand people being frustrated with the US. However, Russia has no reason to interfere in our policy with our Israeli allies. The US, on the other hand, has every reason to strongly suggest to Russia that it lose Iraq as a trading partner.

As for the Russian investigation, I tend to think that Putin would have been well served by claiming, at once, that the goods were sold on the black market. Denying the sale, in the entirety, suggests a certain amount of knowledge.

The US is never going to win the moral high ground for playing by the rules in an exacting, proper fashion. It's never been our strong point. However, playing around with trade restrictions is a sort of negotiation, not playing around with rules. WTO doesn't cover our "most favored nation" status. The US Federal Trade Commission governs that, and is in turn governed by the US Congress. We've got wiggle room, I think. So.... so, I think we've got some room to use our money to push the Russians, Germans, and French. If not, if we cannot encourage them to agree, at least we can show them some costs of backbiting.


In any event, Jack's blog is worth checking out.
TPB, Esq. || ||

Monday, March 24, 2003

I'm sorry, was that "Putin" or "Petain"?



Don't mind the invective below; I'm just feeling a little pissy. I'll get over it.

Vladimir, you little shit, the word you're looking for is quisling. I don't care if Russia doesn't believe in the war, but their attempts to profit off of the Iraqi war machine are frustrating. It is such conduct that (if it occurred as the U.S. Dept. of State argued), really, made the U.N. impotent. Without the power of effective sanctions and controls, the U.N. has, well, no power.

Between the suggestions that Iraq was able to obtain armament and equipment from the Russians and lucrative oil contracts from the French, I think it's time the U.S. start putting a little economic weight into the game. If, as the U.S. has been accused, we're using our economic might to get our way, perhaps it's time to show the world exactly how much weight we've got. I can think of no better way to do that than the power of tariff and taxation. Tarriffs and taxation... boring stuff, usually. Usually, that is, until we decide to start revoking "most favored nation" trade status in instances such as these. There's no better way to remind a nation of how to be polite than to decline to do business with them... unless they are willing to pay the price.

By the same token, we might want to ensure that those that stand with us, reap with us. Favorable contracts and trade deals could be ensured for those nations - the U.K., Spain, Poland, etc. - that are standing with us now. The power of purse strings is that we can both close and open the purse at will.

I'm sure there are those that find these views to be extortive or, in the case of providing benefits to those that stand with us, a form of bribery. However, we've been engaged in a long history of showering trade benefits upon those we liked (or, in the case of China, those we wanted to encourage to like us), and harmed those we disliked (i.e., Cuba). All nations use this tactic. It's just that, when the nation that is the United States, the tactic works. France imports roughly 9% of its goods from the United States. Its exports to here are about the same level (8.7%). Similarly, Germany exports 10.9% of its goods to the United States, and imports from us about 8.3% of its goods. Russia imports from the U.S. about 7.6% of its goods, and exports about 8.3% of its goods. (All figures from the CIA World Fact Book 2002). All of these countries are in economic slumps.

The United States does not consider France or Russia to be significant importers. It imports 5.6% of its goods from Germany. About 4.1% of its goods go to Germany. About a percentage point goes to France. It is near or just outside of an economic slump, according to indicators.

The point? The point is that need is relative. We don't need French, German, or Russian imports. They need our exports. Similarly, the United Kingdom exports to us about 15.4% of its goods. It imports from us 13.2% of its goods. The United Kingdom needs us. It's time we consider how we assist, or hinder, those that need us. Steady economic pressure, by making German, Russian, and French goods prohibitively expensive, will damage the economies of those three nations. Further, reconsideration of how we allow corporations, particularly German corporations, to use certain U.S. tax loopholes, may allow us to pull more revenue from companies as we injure them. Steady economic assistance, through reduced import tariffs, for the United Kingdom, will assist that nation.

What I describe, in essence, is economic warfare. Regardless of whether those that read this agree with the use of it against these three nations, the tactic is a powerful tool that can grind the fangs of our competitors down to the gums. It's bloodless, and it's effective.
TPB, Esq. || ||

all is vanity



Yeah, yeah, yeah, I know. Putting up a favorites list is the blogging equivalent of kissing your own ass. All the same, I did put up a list of links to the left, just because, well, I really enjoyed writing those particular posts. Feel free to heckle.
TPB, Esq. || ||

Friday, March 21, 2003

this is the part of the show where we pass the hat



That's right, folks, time to ante up. Here's the drill. Books for Soldiers wants donations. It's worth a gander. Give what you can.

TPB, Esq. || ||



If I thought the egos of most U.S. Marines were bad before... this war is going to make them unbearable:

"As the sands shift and we execute the plan, one fact remains true: Marines are the windstorm that will liberate the Iraqi people from one of the most repressive regimes on the face of the earth and make their freedom a reality," said Lt. Gen. James T. Conway, the chief Marine commander in the region. "Nothing will stop the U.S. Marines." (Via the Washington Post).

Well, I suppose it's a deserved ego-boost.


TPB, Esq. || ||

friday five



1. If you had the chance to meet someone you've never met, from the past or present, who would it be?

Now, the key to this question is not to answer with someone you admire the most. It's to answer with the person with whom having a beer would be a damn fun time. Screw deep-seated feelings of admiration and curiosity, you want a hell-raisin' son of a bitch. Therefore, I'm going with Hemingway for the "in the past" category. There was a guy who knew how to cause trouble on three different continents. Aside from the fact that he was one of the greatest writers in history, Hemingway was, by all accounts, a train wreck of a human being. The way I see it, that's just the person I'd want to meet. Now, for the living category, I'd probably go with one of Hemingway's more famous admirers. Michael Palin traveled around the globe repeatedly, presumably in the guise of making the PBS/BBC documentaries that few have seen (Full Circle, his journey around the Pacific Rim, is particularly interesting), and filmed (and wrote a book) on Hemingway's life. There's a man that would be fun to sit down with, or better yet, go somewhere with.

2. If you had to live in a different century, past or future, which would it be?

Honestly, other than living during World War II, the past holds no great appeal for me anymore. If I could live in the future, I would love to jump ahead a century or two. Honestly, there's only two reasons I care which century I live in. First, I want medicine to be sufficiently advanced that I can get away with being what is clearly a physician's worst nightmare. Second, I'm thinking that, in a century or two, architecture and design will finally have improved. I'm sick of seeing row after row of bland colonials dotting the Eastern Seaboard. I figure it will only take us about 200 years to figure out that Mies van der Rohe or Rem Koolhaas actually were brilliant.

3. If you had to move anywhere else on Earth, where would it be?

That's an easy one. There's a stretch of U.S. 1 that runs between LA and San Francisco. Just south of Carmel and Monterey, you run into a number of state parks, Point Reyes Lighthouse being the most dramatic, that make up Big Sur. Put me in a cabin up in the hills there, along the rocky Pacific coast, and I'd be a happy camper. All afternoon, a brisk fog rolls around these cliffs and mountains. The vegetation has a decidedly Asian appearance, as though I had gone to Hokkaido. It's a hell of a place and, fortunately, it's largely empty.

4. If you had to be a fictional character, who would it be?

Jesus, I thought I was sufficiently fictional already. I suppose a brave Frenchman might be appropriately fictional, but I think I'll go with Stephen Maturin from Patrick O'Brian's novels of naval warfare during the Napoleonic Era. Maturin was O'Brian's 19th Century "Spock." Intelligent, cultured, and notably dangerous, the Maturin character was far more interesting than the protagonist of the novels. As an added bonus, Maturin was a huge fan of Boccherini.

5. If you had to live with having someone else's face as your own for the rest of your life, whose would it be?

Wha? Well, that's an odd one. I feel like these are the bombed-out questions my college roommates would ask each other after a rather strenuous Friday night at the tavern. I suppose that I could really go with Theodore Roosevelt. The idea of having that lunatic face, along with the idea that, behind it, Roosevelt hid a passionately intellectual drive, would be rather amusing to me. Plus, I like the idea of going around saying "bully" all the time. All right. Enough with this foolishness. Check out CNN or get to work.
TPB, Esq. || ||

Vanity Fair



I'm much obliged to Smart Computing Magazine for making me their web site of the day. Welcome to all of you who came here via that link. You can find the useful and informative portion of my site by clicking on the address bar and typing "www.washingtonpost.com."

Cheers, all. The Friday Five will be up in two shakes of a rabbit's tail.
TPB, Esq. || ||

Thursday, March 20, 2003

Lord of the Rings Inspired by an Ancient Epic



Nat'l Geographic reports on the Finnish roots of Tolkein's Middle Earth saga.

Go on. Enjoy it. You need to stop reading about thermobaric weapons and spec. op. insertions.
TPB, Esq. || ||

wars and rumors of war



Monday's St. Patrick's Day bacchanalia brought chaos to the Dublin House, my public house of choice. Three hundred gregarious drunks pooled around the indoor bar, the back patio, and the front courtyard of the pub. By 9:00 PM, the noise there was deafening, between bagpipers and the chatter of the crowd. My friends and I sat on plastic chairs out front, nursing beers while we commented on the extraordinary pleasant weather. By 11:00 PM, the Dublin House was mostly empty, and the grounds were a mess. Broken bottles, plastic cups, cigarette butts, stickers provided by Guinness promoters, and green plastic bowler hats littered the courtyard. Those revelers still present had a wobbly, glassy-eyed appearance.

Last night, the Dublin House was not nearly as packed. A few small cliques of sports fans gathered around the televisions inside, watching the basketball games. HLK and his brother, CK, sat with me as we chatted about various comedians. The noise was at its usual level. We were in a relaxed mood. I had just returned from a retirement dinner for a well-respected Chancery Division judge, which had made a nice break from the usual work routine.

By 10:00, the televisions had been switched from ESPN to CNN and Fox News. Grainy pictures of a bridge and a mosque in Baghdad covered the screens. Jokes were made about the bridge. I claimed that, secretly, the U.S. Air Force was taking out the Queensboro Bridge. CK cracked a joke about how the president resembled a muppet. The humor mostly faded when the President's address came on the air. Those few patrons of the Dublin House that weren't already silent were strongly encouraged to do so by the remainder of the bar and the rather robust bartender. As the President remarked how he intended to fight the war in Iraq in order to avoid having to fight another terrorist incident with fire fighters and police officers, the slim minority of the pub crowd that had failed to keep quiet fell silent, reverently. Most knew someone, either from the Port Authority Police or Cantor Fitzgerald (both of which had a strong presence in the area), that had passed away on September 11, 2001. The President's choice of words was highly effective.

So this is war. The first full day of it is spent, by me, checking internet news sites while working and staring out at the wet, gray landscape. Once again, I'll put up my map of Iraq, as I did with the last war there, and mark up the major battles and gains. I'll debate with friends over the relative merits and flaws with the engagement. A few days' time, and I've gone from the wild exuberance of St. Patrick's Day to the somber realization that we are engaged in an adversarial contest that will dominate my life for quite some time. The old copies of Herodotus and Thucydides will come back down from the shelf. Haydn's Nelsonmesse will find its way back into the disk changer at work.

Though I think we're doing the right thing, and for the right reasons, it seems that so little has changed in so many years. I don't consider lasting peace in the Middle East, or anywhere, for that matter, to be much more than a pipe dream. The names of allies and enemies may change, but the game goes on.

TPB, Esq. || ||

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