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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I Enjoy Being a Girl

So, a conservative female friend forwarded the following picture to me today. The subject line read: Why Republican Men Are Happier.

The Married Women's Property Act Passed in 1948

Thoughts?

Here are my thoughts.  I remember when I was a little girl and I learned about Sandra Day O’Connor. I remember reading that she was the first woman on the Supreme Court. And that just blew my young mind. She was the first woman – but the Court had been around for so long. I remember being confused by this. When I got older, I read about how she graduated third in her class at Stanford Law school, but that after she graduated, law firms would only interview her for secretary positions. And again, I was confused. Why would people think that she was worth less just because she was a woman?  Hadn’t she proven otherwise?

Despite my confusion, I never questioned what *I* could do. I believed – without question – that it wasn’t like that anymore. I believed that things were better now; that merit outweighed ignorant bias. That we valued intellect and ability more than superficial things. That if you just worked hard and were smart and good at your job, you would be valued. That’s what we were told, right?

Many years later, now a lawyer myself, I would be forced to admit that things were not as I had thought. Superficial things matter more. And if you want to overcome those superficial things and succeed on the merits, you have to have more drive and more bravery and thicker skin than I could ever have. You would have to be willing to always work harder than the others, to swallow your pride, to get used to being left out of things, to pretend that it didn’t bother you when your bosses ignored your successes while celebrating others’, to force a laugh when they talked about your legs/tits/ass, and to smile and nod your way through every joke and leer for shittier assignments and higher scrutiny.

And for what? To move “up” to a more elite group of people that ignore your opinions and look down on your work? I knew early on I wasn’t willing to do that. I wasn’t willing to give up so much of myself to be a part of something that had nothing of me in it.

So when I see things like this, joke or not, all I can think is that we really have gone nowhere. Smart women are mocked for being unattractive while people like Carrie Prejean are lauded as “brave.” What has Carrie Prejean done to make things substantively better for anyone?

I’ve accepted the fact that society is what it is – and that, no matter what people want to tell you, women are simply not valued the same as men.  Just saying things are “equal” doesn’t make it so. Fight all I want, I can’t change that. I can’t change millions of minds and all the things that reinforce thoughts like those behind this email. All I can do is raise my kids to know that it is utter bullshit.

If I do my job as a mother correctly, the LAST thing on *my* daughter’s mind will be the happiness of Republican men.

I’ll Put My Cookies Where Your Mouth Is…

So, we’ve have seen the ‘Impeach Obama’ bumper stickers. Every time I see one, I am seized with the urge to tuck a mini-Constitution under the windshield. People understand that this is not England, right? Impeachment does not equal Vote of No Confidence. You can’t just demand the removal of an elected executive (or justice) because they offend thine eye.

Yet we see this over and over and over again. And for some, a bumper sticker just isn’t a large enough stage for the ignorance behind the sentiment.

Because I Said So!!!

You can read here about this expensive display of stupidity here, but I will break it on down for you.  This billboard is currently up along highway 41 in Oshkosh, WI and is under contract to stay up for 6 months at a cost of $1,000.00 per month. The sign was paid for by an unnamed company represented by one Tom Wroblewski. Mr. Wroblewski, when asked about the sign, informed talkingpointed that Washington politics are bad for small businesses (and let me point out that my very small business is doing just fine, thank you very much and STFU because you don’t talk for me). Which is nonresponsive enough, but isn’t the best part.

Wroblewski went on to say – here it comes – that despite the clear and unambiguous directive to IMPEACH OBAMA, he’s not suggesting Obama committed an impeachable offense.

Which leads me to throw down this tasty gauntlet.  If anyone can tell me, (1) with specificity and explicit references to the Constitution and (2) impeachment law and (3) based on ACTUAL REALLY REAL FACTS, exactly *why* Obama should be impeached, I will send you a batch of homemade cookies. You may choose the type – and yes, I will even put green jellybeans and judgment in them if you so elect.

More Utterly Non-Shocking Conservative Wankery

So, an article in today’s Washington Times highlights the utter douchebaggery going on in Congress.  Shortly put,

More than a dozen Republican lawmakers, while denouncing the stimulus to the media and their constituents, privately sent letters to just one of the federal government’s many agencies seeking stimulus money for home-state pork projects.

Now, bear in mind that these are but a few letters sent to just one fed agency (USDA) and discovered via FOIA.  I can only  imagine how many other such letters were sent to DOE, DOT, DHS…

I know I am probably not the only one to be utterly unsurprised by this hypocritical bullshit. Not even to hear dear Lameass Alexander is amongst this esteemed group.  Certainly not shocked to see good ol’ Joe “YOU LIE!” Wilson is on the list. These are, after all, politicians.  If they were cheesy glittering vampires, then money is their pasty-faced virgin.

I was somewhat surprised, however, to read that these secret money grabs were totally in line with a virulent anti-stimulus stance.  And of course we can thank Joe Wilson for clarifying the issue for us:

“Congressman Wilson’s position on the stimulus bill is consistent,” said spokeswoman Pepper Pennington. She said Mr. Wilson opposed the stimulus as a “misguided spending bill,” but once it passed, he wanted to make sure South Carolina residents “receive their share of the pie.”

So Screamy Joe has just effectively pointed out for us the real-life application of the ‘Can’t Lose’ objection.  What this means is that an attorney can rant and scream and rail against something that is actually factually or procedurally or legally correct – thus the client thinks that he/she is REALLY getting their money’s worth, what with all the ranting/screaming/railing, despite the fact that the ranting attorney (and judge and bailiff and clerks and indeed all attorneys in the court) knows full fucking well that:
  1. there is only ONE possible outcome,
  2. nothing you do will change (1),
  3. but because your enemy supports (1), you must oppose it,
  4. which also means you have to convince your constituency (or client) that (1) is EVIL and you are GOOD for opposing (1), when in reality
  5. your constituents (clients) will actually benefit from (1), and
  6. they will receive these benefits no matter how big of jackass you are.

Have Your Cake and Action Figure, Too...

Adventures in Local Bigotry: Burning Shame Award of the Week

At first I was going to blog this as the Fail of the Week. But then I realized it is only MONDAY. And I also realized that it just isn’t fair to the rest of the world to let East Tennessee carry all the Fail. So, in honor of East Tennessee’s commitment to keepin’ it klassy, I would like to introduce you to my new award category:

THE SFL BURNING SHAME AWARD.

Which is based on this charming photo:

The Lady's Not For Burning

And of course, our first winner comes fresh from the comments section of the online Kingsport Times-News.

Today’s topic – Muslims. Or muslin. Sometimes it is hard to tell the difference between a human and a bolt of cloth. Tough times – thank goodness we have the Kingsport Times-News – solid bastion of impartial journalism – to let us know:

Tennessee activists warn churchgoers Muslims are trying to destroy America

A belief that Muslims are out to destroy the American way of life is gaining a foothold in some Christian and Jewish circles in Nashville. The movement spreads its message through films, books and the Internet. Its sentiment: Islam is an evil religion rooted in hatred and nurtured by violence. Some churches have gotten involved, hosting viewings of movies that alert Jews and Christians of the perceived dangers worldwide. One film, produced by a local filmmaker, warns that a second Holocaust is imminent if Americans do not stand united politically with Israel.

Now, Kingsport just ran the above text with a link to the real article Is Islam a Threat to America? The full article ran in the Tennessean and, despite the HORRIBLE title, the Tennessean showed pretty clearly that the people and groups behind this bullshit are a bunch of freaking crazy political whackjobs who don’t know what the fuck they are talking about.

But leave it to the ever shitty Kingsport paper to give a short blurb that totally misses the mark and makes this lunacy seem both legit AND homespun-awesome. And basically suggests that its readership get on board. Which, let’s be honest, most of the readers of said shitty paper don’t need any further encouragement, but still… Call me old-fashioned, but I think it is nice when a newspaper tilts more towards “informative” than “persuasive.”

But at least one commenter did not need any persuadin’ on the matter. Let me introduce you to TF, the first-ever recipient of the newly minted SFL Burning Shame Award:

Yes I have spent 3 month with the Muslins and have had 7-8 in my home and had contact over the last 12 years on a weekly email, one told me ” if Michelangelo was around in my life time I would kill him for making a naked statue of my David ” and he was as serious as could be. That is the main reason they hate the US people is because of our life style and same in Europe. They birth about 5 times as many babies as all other religions and that is how they are going to take over in time to come. You need to wake up and get to know your maker!

STAY KLASSY TENNESSEE!