Tuesday, January 30, 2007

NYT Goes all "Forrest Gump" About Horses

The NYT Editorial page is determined to lionize horses with this dimwitted piece about Barbaro, the racehorse who was just put down.

The piece asks "Why should we feel so much grief at the loss of one horse?"
I hadn't felt so much grief, so I wanted to know.
The way I saw it, plenty of noble cattle were slaughtered for t-bones today and I wasn't sad. For that matter, dozens of Iraqi people were blown up at the bazaar this week and I went to work anyway. What's so special about Barbaro that I'm supposed to be wearing sackcloth and ashes?

The Times explains the answer, which is something about how Barbaro was a very athletic horse. And, of course, "It was tragic because of what every horse is."

And what is every horse?

You would have to look a long, long time to find a dishonest or cruel horse. And the odds are that if you did find one, it was made cruel or dishonest by the company it kept with humans. It is no exaggeration to say that nearly every horse — Barbaro included — is pure of heart.

Oh, good thing you qualified that with nearly every horse. I mean, you wouldn't want people thinking the NYT was defending Hitler's horse, or the Four Horses of the Apocalypse (steeds to the Horsemen).

And the statistics about dishonest horses' bad human influences ("odds are") are an indispensable disclaimer for people who are considering entering into business dealings with horses. You wouldn't want to be swindled by that one sneaky horse who's been around people. Make sure that if you're lending money to a horse he hasn't picked up any filthy human vices.

Other than that, I think the NYT has convinced me that every day, in every way, I will strive to become more and more like a horse.

Lithuanian Visitor to Litvak Chronicles

Today at around 5:00 am the blog got what I believe is my first Lithuanian visitor!  Or, at least, my first visitor with a URL in Lithuania:
Domain Name   takas.lt ? (Lithuania)
IP Address   82.135.243.# (Joint Stock Company Lietuvos Telekomas)
ISP   Lietuvos Telekomas
Continent  :  Europe
Country  :  Lithuania   (Facts)
State/Region  :  Vilniaus Apskritis
City  :  Vilnius
Lat/Long  :  54.6833, 25.3167 (Map)
Distance  :  4,319 miles
Language   Lithuanian
I guess he was searching for Litvaks and this blog is the 7th listing for "Litvak" on Google Lithuania .
I'm famous!

Thursday, January 25, 2007

Testimony for Sale!

If you want to confirm that some plaintiffs' lawyers are slimy, check out this piece about the fee dispute between law firm Thelen Reid and guy from France Francois Marland.
The case involved a whistleblower suit on Marland's behalf against a consortium of French banks who'd used a shell company to secretly buy an insolvent California insurance company in violation of California law restricting foreign ownership of insurance companies.
Deep breath. 
Yawn--  I mean... the plot thickens.
When the California Department of Insurance brought a suit, too, Thelen got Marland's permission to represent it as well. 
(Legal Ethics Rule #1:  You can represent clients with potentially conflicting interests unless they waive the conflict -- and sometimes not even then.  Actually, this is the only ethical rule most big firm lawyers deal with frequently.)
Under the fee-sharing agreement, Thelen Reid provided legal services and Marland and some lawyers he put together would secure documents and testimony ... especially Marland's testimony. 
The article notes that "[t]he fee-sharing agreement in the dispute has raised the hackles of legal ethicists, who say some provisions skate dangerously close to buying Marland's testimony."  Actually, it looks like they fell through the ice.
And stop snickering at the phrase "legal ethicists."
In the 1999 version of their agreement, "Marland and a group of lawyers he'd assembled would receive 52.5 percent of Thelen's take (65 percent if the case settled quickly). The large cut would be in exchange for securing documents and testimony, among other services. A later amendment would reduce Marland's cut by two-thirds if he failed to testify at all, and by half if he testified only before the grand jury but not during the civil trial."
If that's "not buying testimony" then Murder, Inc. was "not hiring contract killers."
The article makes a big deal out of the fact that Marland wasn't a lawyer at the time of the first fee-sharing agreement (it's okay to fee-share only with a lawyer).  But even if he'd been a lawyer, that doesn't mean you can pay for his testimony. 
Hey, maybe that could be Litvak's Rule of Legal Ethics, if it were a rule of legal ethics.  Actually, it's just law that applies to everyone.  You can't sell testimony.  Even if you're a lawyer!
Go figure.

Wednesday, January 24, 2007

Lore: Funny :: Google : Information

I mean it.  Check out this piece.
I'm ashamed to say I got the Shadowrun reference at the very end.

Tuesday, January 23, 2007

China: Orphans Need Svelte Parents

The NYT has an article about China's restrictive adoption policies.
According to the article, among other restrictions, "the new regulations call for a body mass index of less than 40."
So, if you're trying to decide whether you want fries with that, think about whether you also want to adopt a Chinese baby.  FYI.

Friday, January 19, 2007

Missile, Schmissile

China developed a "satellite killer" missile and yesterday used it to destroy one of its own satellites. The New York Times reports that this action challenges the United States's supremacy in SPACE.

Pentagon officials now plan to use our own missiles to shoot down all of our satellites.

(I'll be here all week! Take my wife, please!)

Tuesday, January 16, 2007

For Every Thing There Is a Season

It's too much SHPOSiness for one day.  Delicate readers may want to skip the rest of the post...
This afternoon I stepped into a bathroom stall at work and whoever used it last didn't flush.
Yes, but "grosser than gross"-- no toilet paper in the bowl.
No toilet paper! In! The bowl!
And I don't think he took it with him, either.
I'm going to stop shaking hands.
With these people, the time for "this is how big people do it" is way past.  And the time for methodical harpooning is long overdue.

SHPOSes Ascendant

This past weekend, Tenderfoot's bike was stolen off the bike rack across the street from the police station.
This morning, I came outside and someone had stripped the front wheel off my bike.  I don't think anyone else on the block has had a bike touched, but we've each had our seats stolen, and now this.
Then, I step onto the B train and into-- a pile of (what I really hope was) dogshit.
Dogshit.  In the train.
I take back the nice things I said about New York.

Thursday, January 11, 2007

$250m for 5 years

The Los Angeles Galaxy soccer team just signed a 5-year, $250 million contract with David Beckham.
I hear they offered him a cool billion, but he refused their condition (leaving Posh in Europe).

Friday, January 05, 2007

Some SHPOSes, but some Mensches, too

I know I complain about our SHPOSes a lot, but New York had lots of decent, admirable people.
When a man had a seizure and fell onto the subway tracks, Wesley Autrey jumped down and saved him , lying with the man between the rails as the No. 1 train screeched to a halt over their heads.