Harold Hill, Esq.

Any drone that has ever toiled away in insurance defense or appellate work is only too familiar with the following scenario:

Partner hands you an utter shit salad of a case:  Claimant successfully sues/sued for injuries for which your client is clearly and unequivocally liable and has absolutely no serious defense in fact or in law. Partner now tells you to draft responsive pleadings/responsive appellate briefs – a task that is fraught with peril, given that if one sticks to the actual facts of the case and applies the actual law, your response is likely to incur the wrath of the judge and result in sanctions.

I was in this position approximately eleventy billion times over the course of my mini-career as an associate. After a while, you actually learn how to analyze a set of facts and law to find the tiniest snag so that you can pick it open and blow it up, conflate it into something favorable to you, and then use semantics, tone, and rhetoric to guide your reader/listener to a conclusion that you are unquestionably correct, even though the law, facts, reality, and common sense would dictate otherwise.

I actually developed some serious skills in crafting viable arguments in the face of such factual/legal paucity. And yes, I actually won a few times. More than a few. I can’t tell you how proud I was to be the Queen of Pulling It Out Of My Ass.

So believe me when I say, I know the difference between an argument grounded in reality and an argument grounded in ‘holy shit I can’t be wrong because I told the client I could win this and now I’m totally fucked and this whole argument is bullshit and I should just admit I was wrong but there is no way in hell I am going to do that so I suppose I will just bellow even louder in the hopes that people think that I *must* be right because if I weren’t I would have shut up long long ago.’

This, readers, would be the latter:

Sarah Palin: Extreme Enviros: Drill, Baby, Drill in ANWR – Now Do You Get It?

Sarah Palin’s Notes  Yesterday at 3:17pm

This is a message to extreme “environmentalists” who hypocritically protest domestic energy production offshore and onshore. There is nothing “clean and green” about your efforts. Look, here’s the deal: when you lock up our land, you outsource jobs and opportunity away from America and into foreign countries that are making us beholden to them. Some of these countries don’t like America. Some of these countries don’t care for planet earth like we do – as evidenced by our stricter environmental standards.

With your nonsensical efforts to lock up safer drilling areas, all you’re doing is outsourcing energy development, which makes us more controlled by foreign countries, less safe, and less prosperous on a dirtier planet. Your hypocrisy is showing. You’re not preventing environmental hazards; you’re outsourcing them and making drilling more dangerous.

Extreme deep water drilling is not the preferred choice to meet our country’s energy needs, but your protests and lawsuits and lies about onshore and shallow water drilling have locked up safer areas. It’s catching up with you. The tragic, unprecedented deep water Gulf oil spill proves it.

We need permission to drill in safer areas, including the uninhabited arctic land of ANWR. It takes just a tiny footprint – equivalent to the size of LA’s airport – to tap America’s rich and plentiful oil and gas up north. ANWR’s drilling footprint is like a postage stamp on a football field.

But it’s not just ANWR; it’s our Petroleum Reserve, too. As Governor Sean Parnell noted today in the Wall Street Journal:

“Federal agencies are also now blocking oil development in the National Petroleum Reserve—Alaska.

Although familiar with ANWR, most Americans are less likely to know about NPR-A and how vital it is to our energy security. Given recent developments, it’s time to elevate the position this area holds in our national discourse.

NPR-A, a 23 million acre stretch of Alaska’s North Slope, was set aside by President Warren Harding in 1923 for the specific purpose of supplying our country and military with oil and gas. Since 1976 it has been administered by the Department of the Interior, and since 1980 it has been theoretically open for development. The most recent estimates indicate that it holds 12 billion barrels of oil and 73 trillion cubic feet of natural gas.

In addition to containing enormous hydrocarbons, NPR-A is very close to the Trans-Alaska Pipeline, which means that there would be relatively little additional infrastructure needed to bring this new oil to our domestic market.

But even here, progress has been stalled.”

Radical environmentalists: you are damaging the planet with your efforts to lock up safer drilling areas. There’s nothing clean and green about your misguided, nonsensical radicalism, and Americans are on to you as we question your true motives.

– Sarah Palin

Ahhh, clever work, Ms. Palin (or should I say, Nameless Peon Whose Thankless Job It Is To Manage Sarah Palin’s Facebook Page). I see you have chosen my favorite weapon – the ‘I Know You Are But What Am I?’ nunchucks.  “Extreme enviros” are actually out to destroy the environment – such delicious irony! Oooo – and the exquisite (if ubiquitous) knife in the gut accusation of being unAmerican.  “Using semantics, tone, and rhetoric to guide your reader,” indeed.

So, well played Nameless Peon Whose Thankless Job It Is To Manage Sarah Palin’s Facebook Page. And don’t worry about being out of work when Ms. Palin’s crazypants float off into the rainbow sherbet sunset of lost dreams – you have a bright future ahead of you in appellate insurance defense.

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The TEA Party Movement and Race

I would like to open up a discussion on the TEA Party Movement (hereinafter “TPM”) and race.  Before we get started, let me first say that discussing race in the context of the TPM is not, in any way saying that the TPM is racist.  Every time that the questions regarding race and the TPM are asked, the answers in defense of the TPM are, almost unfailingly, that (1) there is no proof of racism and/or (2) the asker is racist for simply asking the question. Please note that neither of these responses are actual answers to the questions that I am about to ask. I also don’t really want to hear about other movements or administrations – I am looking ONLY at the TPM.  I simply want to discuss race and whether or not it matters in the context of the TPM.

In order to get a discourse going, let’s lay out a few basic parameters and assume the following to be true:

(A).  The TPM is disproportionately made up of non-Hispanic whites.  I understand some people will disagree with this; however all polls that I have looked at estimate the non-Hispanic white demographics in the TPM  to be anywhere from 79% to 89%.  The corresponding numbers for non-Hispanic white US citizens in general is 75%.

(B).  There have been some incidents of racism in connection with the TPM.  This means ONLY that there have been specific examples of either overt racism or racial insensitivity either at TPM events or voiced by TPM-identified people. “Some” is intentionally vague. But there have been “some.”

(C).  There is a perception that the TPM has a problem with race.

(D).  The TPM as repeatedly stated that it is a diverse group and that all people are welcome.

Bearing in mind (A) through (D), I would like to pose some initial questions.

(1).  Do you think that it is appropriate to even discuss race in the context of the TPM? Why or why not?

(2).  Why do you think that there are not more non-whites in the TPM?

(3).  What do you think about MSM coverage of the TPM?

(4).  How do you think the TPM should handle allegations of racial insensitivity?

(5).  How do issues of race affect how you feel about the TPM?

(6).  Do you think that the TPM would have gotten so much support if McCain had been elected president? Why or why not?

(7).  Please share any *actual* personal experiences that you have had with the TPM.

So let’s discuss.  Please keep it respectful.  Cookies for all…

Cookies of Discourse

Any Teabagger Apologists Out There?

From HuffPo:

Abusive, derogatory and even racist behavior directed at House Democrats by Tea Party protesters on Saturday left several lawmakers in shock.

Preceding the president’s speech to a gathering of House Democrats, thousands of protesters descended around the Capitol to protest the passage of health care reform. The gathering quickly turned into abusive heckling, as members of Congress passing through Longworth House office building were subjected to epithets and even mild physical abuse.

A staffer for Rep. James Clyburn (D-S.C.) told reporters that Rep. Emanuel Cleaver (D-Mo.) had been spat on by a protestor. Rep. John Lewis (D-Ga.), a hero of the civil rights movement, was called a ‘ni–er.’ And Rep. Barney Frank (D-Mass.) was called a “faggot,” as protestors shouted at him with deliberately lisp-y screams. Frank, approached in the halls after the president’s speech, shrugged off the incident.

But Clyburn was downright incredulous, saying he had not witnessed such treatment since he was leading civil rights protests in South Carolina in the 1960s.

“It was absolutely shocking to me,” Clyburn said, in response to a question from the Huffington Post. “Last Monday, this past Monday, I stayed home to meet on the campus of Claflin University where fifty years ago as of last Monday… I led the first demonstrations in South Carolina, the sit ins… And quite frankly I heard some things today I have not heard since that day. I heard people saying things that I have not heard since March 15, 1960 when I was marching to try and get off the back of the bus.”

“It doesn’t make me nervous as all,” the congressman said, when asked how the mob-like atmosphere made him feel. “In fact, as I said to one heckler, I am the hardest person in the world to intimidate, so they better go somewhere else.”

Anyone want to tell me how this shit is “patriotic,” “brave,” or “free-thinking?”

Still want to tell me how the TEA movement is fundamentally a grass roots movement of intellectuals frustrated about Constitutional affronts?

Anyone?

‘Cause it looks to me like a bunch of homophobes/racists/bigots afraid of losing their majority ‘might makes right’ control. And if you AREN’T a homophobic racist bigot, you might want to rethink your bunkmates.

Just sayin’.

Not Buying It.

This Post Will Not Contain Any References To Coke Or Porn…

…because I am a classy lady.

So, in case you haven’t heard, Virginia Thomas, wife of SCOTUS Justice Clarence Thomas, is indeed hopping on the tea party train. She has started a group called  Liberty Central Inc. Liberty Central is reportedly a nonprofit lobbying group created for the purpose of organizing activism around a set of conservative “core principals.” You can read more about this story here at the LA Times.

Now, politics aside (if such a thing is possible), I don’t have any particular dislike for Justice Thomas. And certainly a SCOTUS justice is FAR FAR more qualified to opine on just about anything than am I.  That said, I do think it incredibly disingenuous to constantly deride the more progressive side of the court for engaging in judicial activism, when the originafederalists are doing exactly the same thing.

ALL judges engage in judicial activism; if they aren’t, then they are not doing their job. As I see it, every decent judge has or should have some sort of articulable judicial philosophy. And every judge, through experience, gains insight on the law not reflected in the letter of the law. Simply put – if a judge is actually judging, there is no way that he or she will not necessarily engage in what is referred to as judicial activism.

Of all the Justices, I always wish that Thomas would get out and about more. He is so, well, quiet. And when he does speak, he is articulate and drily humorous. I know conservatives generally expect all liberals, progressives, and non-fundies to be filled with foamy hate at the mere thought of anyone with whom they disagree. While I am not filled with joy by the concept of “originalist” or “federalist” constitutional interpretation, I don’t think that it necessarily follows that I must also dislike a person who follows such an approach. Unlike a pundit or other such vile creature who makes a living off of being an obnoxious persona, I think arbiters of thought can and do exist as people distinct from their philosophies.

Take, for example, the awesome relationship between RBG and Scalia. Shit, if they can get together and share an elephant, then there should be hope for us all. Sometimes agreeable people simply disagree – certainly when it comes to academic matters that do not directly affect either party on a personal level.

But I think it is the latter part of that statement – that the argument cannot focus on things that personally impact the speakers – that is the key to understanding why there is so much animosity coming both from and towards teabaggers. If they were simply out to discuss Constitutional matters, as they often claim to be doing, then I would think reasoned discourse would be possible. However, when the Constitutional matters are either a veneer or a side item to other more personal matters, dialogue is not really possible.  I have no desire to engage in a Constitutional debate with someone waiving a sign declaring Obama is a Muslin [sic].  Conversely, they are not going to believe anything I say because I am a liberal and therefore have a liberal agenda.

Likewise, the healthcare debate has become too internalized to be rationally discussed. Everyone comes to that table with their mind made up. I, for one, am tired of the talking points. I am tired of hearing people going on and on about 10th Amendment this, or socialism that when most of the time, they have no fucking idea what they are talking about. Quit acting smart and just SAY WHAT YOU MEAN.

I think we should have a single-payer system. I believe the Constitution grants Congress the authority to enact such a system. More importantly, I think that in a capitalist society, the Government has a duty to act to preserve and protect the interests of the Citizenry from Corporations. Especially where, as here, it is undeniably clear that our quasi-free market is allowing Corporations to profit to the gross injury of the majority of the citizenry.

If you think otherwise, fine. But don’t give me some bullshit argument that you heard from Glenn Beck. Tell me why YOU think it is wrong for our government to restrict the healthcare industry in order to protect the citizens. Tell me why YOU don’t want our taxes going to the welfare of the general public health – specifically why we draw the line at healthcare.  Tell me how YOU think things are going to get any better if we don’t do something to fix them – or tell me why you think they are just fine.

In the meantime, I am going to go make some tea and leave you to gaze upon some freshly baked bread…

French Bread

Random Awesomeness: Liberals, FTW

USA! USA! USA!

h/t Ryking (via STFUconservatives)

Grand Ol’ Clustersnuggle

Well, I can’t say that I am surprised to read this:

Rep. Michele Bachmann (R-Minn.) will speak at the first-ever National Tea Party Convention this upcoming February.

The announcement of plans for the conservative lawmaker to attend the Tennessee event came from Tea Party organizer Sherry Phillips via Twitter Tuesday.

Bachmann, who has emerged as a champion of the Tea Party movement, will join ex-Alaska Governor Sarah Palin at the convention for the “purpose of networking and supporting the movements’ multiple organizations principle goals.” Palin will be the “special keynote speaker” at the event, which is taking place at the Opryland Hotel in Nashville, Tennessee.

“Press will be allowed in a designated section of the lobby of the convention only and will not be allowed inside the convention,” reports the Nashville Post. “There will be no media allowed for the banquet with Sarah Palin.”

You can read the full Huff Po article here. Or, if you prefer your crazy full-on, maximum strength and utterly undiluted by reason, you can check out the superawesome teabaggerific site here. I want everyone to take a moment and let this sink in: The teabagger national convention is taking place in NASHVILLE. As in, Tennessee.  As in, WHERE I LIVE. Oh sweet science – does this mean we have to flee the state? Or does this mean we have to attend the event? Wait…

…I actually kind of want to go. Who wouldn’t like to experience a “media-free” Palin banquet? But then I read that tickets are $549. SERIOUSLY? What the FUCK people? You want to bitch about “those” people getting a penny of your money, but you are flush enough to fork over five hundred and forty-nine fucking dollars to watch a circle jerk of a clown car train wreck greed-fueled beauty pageant clusterfuck of a vortex of evil suck all that is good and smart and kind out of life?

HOLY SHIT my head just exploded.

So, here is my proposal. If you, good people of the interwebs, would like me, your southern female lawyer friend, to go and witness this shitacular event, I will add a PayPal donation function to this blog – and if I get $549 in donations, I will GO TO THE TEABAGGERAMA. For real. And I will blog the hell out of it. Pictures and all. And, I will have a sign contest and you all can design a sign for me to tote around. Comment and let me know if you want this to happen.

Good Ol' Choaking

 

Your ‘Patriotism’ is Depressing Me

More teabaggery outrage. This time, they are outraged that people would have the temerity to believe that access to healthcare would have saved the lives of their 24 year old daughter and unborn grandchild AND then talk about it at a meeting on healthcare reform.

Last week while researching claims from a local Tea Party activist, I found myself asking a family for proof that they had lost an unborn grandchild.

The family, Dan and Midge Hough, of Chicago, spoke in favor of health care reform and in support of U.S. Rep. Dan Lipinski (D-3rd) at a Nov. 14 town hall meeting in Oak Lawn.

Their daughter-in-law, Jenny, and an unborn grandchild died recently due in part, they believe, to a lack of health insurance. They said Jenny was not receiving regular prenatal care and ended up in an emergency room with double pneumonia that developed into septic shock. Her baby died in the womb, and Jenny died a few weeks later, leaving behind a husband and a 2-year-old daughter.

Catherina Wojtowicz, of Chicago’s Mount Greenwood community, an organizer for a Tea Party splinter group, Chicago Tea Party Patriots, falsely claimed that the Houghs fabricated their story. In an e-mail, she called them operatives of President Barack Obama who “go from event to event and (cry) the same story.”

When the Houghs spoke at the Lipinski event, some Tea Partiers ridiculed them. They moaned and rolled their eyes and interrupted. Midge Hough began to cry.

The audience, Wojtowicz later explained, was exasperated by stories of isolated tragedies that cloud debate over the health care bill itself.

You can read the full article here.

Here is the video. Starting around 1.58 is when Midge Hough speaks about losing her daughter and unborn grandchild.

I am so very tired of this shit. Can we just get rid of all the bullshit and agree that it comes down to ONE issue: whether or not we, as represented by our government and tax dollars, have a duty to ensure that EVERYONE has access to healthcare?

If you don’t give a fuck that people go into bankruptcy because of the exorbitant costs of healthcare; awesome. If you have no problem with people dying just because they cannot access the healthcare system; then cool. If you are fine with the status quo and think it is just wonderful that we allow insurance companies to profit grossly by controlling access to the most basic needs of our citizens; fabulous.

But let’s be honest – your primary motivations are your own interests. You don’t want to be financially responsible for the welfare of others. I understand. I totally disagree, but I understand. However, don’t tell me that PATRIOTISM is the reason behind your belief, with the express implication that people that desire otherwise are somehow selfish/elitist/socialists simply because we believe that our government should act in the best interests of everyone.

Patriotism is the state of caring deeply about one’s country. But what the self-proclaimed ‘TEA party patriots’ don’t get is that there is a great distinction between individual subjective desires and the objective interests of our “Country.”  Our country isn’t defined by lower taxes. Or christianity. Or whatever personal belief or interest you wish to promote and protect. This country is objectively defined by its citizens and their collective work, creativity, ingenuity, and well-being.

If you feel that this country is going in the wrong direction, then do something about it. However, if you don’t like the direction it is going in because of the adverse effect it has on you, even though the direction is inarguably better for many others, don’t try to pretend that you are being selfless patriots. Because you aren’t. You are simply acting to protect your own interests.

So sack up and be honest about it.