Tuesday, July 31, 2007

Too much comfort?

Mrs. Avacado and I ate with my parents tonight at Logan's. I'm stuft. Miserably stuft. My parents have told me for years that life was so much better when they didn't have any money and you really were entertained with the fridge box somebody got you for Christmas. People are far more prosperous these days, but are they any happier? And if not, what's the point of all our prosperity? I'm not saying that I'm willing to give up all the blessings of middle class American life, but I just wonder about it. Would I be happier if I had to scrape by?


Do the Rangers need another catcher?

Monday, July 30, 2007

Mas new content

On the sidebar, I've added two new features. The first feature is called "Bedside Table" and lists books that I'm currently reading. The second feature is called "Back on the Shelf" and lists the books I've read since I moved into my new house. I'm not sure if anybody cares about that kinda stuff, but it gives me the opportunity to look back in a few months and say "dadgum, I've read a buncha books. Maybe I should spend more time working on law school . . . "

. . . and yes, I really have just read Harry Potter and the Sorcerer's Stone for the first time. I was highly impressed.

Saturday, July 28, 2007

The Little Tramp

Did you know that Charlie Chaplin was an immigrant?

Happy for whom?

I can't believe it. Kenny Lofton for a class-A catcher? I know Kenny's old, but he's batting .300+ and has 20+ steals. This is why the Rangers are in last . . . again.

Friday, July 27, 2007

All 6 yo

In happy news, this site has finally been visited by someone on each of the six permanently populated continents. Woohoo! By far, I'm most popular in North America, with Europe a distant second. Asia, surprisingly, comes in third, followed by South America. It appears I have had two visitors from Africa and one from Australia.

I just thought you guys would like a non-immigration post. (:

Thursday, July 26, 2007

Real criminals belong in a real jail

. . . and those we pretend are criminals belong in a pretend-jail. Kinda like in prison dodgeball. Anti-immigration rhetoric is rife with statements like, "I don't mind immigration, but they have to do it legally," which is really just a boringly polite way to say that you prefer law-abiding people to criminals. But the fact is--illegal presence in the United States is not the kind of crime that we think of when we label someone a criminal. The wrong done when you illegally enter the United States is that of disrespect, not the kind of moral wrong that underscores penal statutes regarding murder, robbery, assault, rape, and fraud. Those are bad things and have always been illegal. Crossing an imaginary line so you can feed your kids without getting the permission of the people on the other side of the line . . . well, I'm not advocating illegal immigration, I'm just saying it's not the same thing as rape. Let's keep rapists and illegal immigrants in separate categories.

Contrary to what you may have thought, the Bible speaks out against anti-immigration laws: Exodus 22:1 and 23:9, Leviticus 19:33-34*, Deuteronomy 24:17 and 27:19, and Zechariah 7:10 all command the people of God (at that time Israel, now the Christian catholic** Church) to love foreigners/aliens/strangers and treat them as if they were natives. Sure, there are verses that tell us that, as Christians, we are to obey the law of the land . . . but only when it does not conflict with God's commands. God clearly commands that his own due process clause (Matthew 22:39: Love your neighbor as yourself, without meaningless distinctions (cf. Romans 10:12)) applies to all persons, regardless of where they were born or who they are. Again, I'm not advocating illegal immigration, but let's at least be honest in the debate and not lump illegal immigrants in the same box as rapists and murderers (whom we should love as ourselves, anyway).

All this as preface so that I can say "amen" to this Slate article: The Pardon Pander, by Bruce Fein. If the guys obstructed justice, then they need to be punished appropriately.

I'm sad to report that I cannot determine how any of my Congresspeople voted. If anybody can find a vote list, please put a link in the comments.

*This verse is my favorite one of those listed, so I'll spell it out for you here, from the NASB: "The [immigrant] who resides with you shall be to you as the native among you, and you shall love him as yourself, for you were aliens in the land of Egypt."

**The little c in catholic was intentional. Look it up, you bum.

Wednesday, July 25, 2007

Well, if Al Sharpton can agree with Wal*Mart on something . . .

Then he must be right. Check it out.

Also--check out this article on nj.com explaining why the argument that "my ancestors came here legally" is probably wrong.

Los Inmigrantes del Día

About every day or so, one of the blogs I read has a post entitled "Immigrant of the Day." The posts serve two purposes for me: (1) They remind me that there is something about being American that doesn't come from where you're born; and (2) They surprise with me who all has migrated. Surprising immigrants (at least to me) include Felix Frankfurter, Madeleine Albright, and Andrew Carnegie. America has been built on the shoulders of immigrants. When I think that the immigrant of the day is particularly interesting, I'll go ahead and post a link here. I encourage you, of course, to read up on immigration. The more you know, the angrier you'll get at our system.


Tuesday, July 24, 2007

Supreme Bears?

There's an interesting post at SCOTUSblog about potential nominees by a Republican president for the Supreme Court. I don't know much about politics and who's who among potential Supreme Court nominees, but I have this to say about that: out of 14 listed possibles, only 1 came from the greatest law school in America. Interesting numbers below.

Law schools represented:
  • Baylor (1)
  • U of Chicago (1)
  • Hahvahd (6)
  • South Texas College of Law** (1)
  • St. Mary's** (1)
  • Tulane (1)
  • U of the Pacific (McGeorge School of Law)* (1)
  • UVa (1)
  • Yalie (1)

And the following undergrads represented:

  • Baylor (1)
  • Columbia (1)
  • Florida State U (1)
  • Georgetown (1)
  • Michigan State (1)
  • Northeast Louisiana State (1)
  • Princeton (2)
  • (Southwest) Texas State** (1)
  • Stanford (1)
  • U of Texas (1)
  • Trinity in San Antonio (1)
  • Washington & Lee (1)
  • Yale (1)

Hmm. Out of 14 short-listed people, 6 are Hahvahd lawyers. Deep sociological question: are they nominated because they went to Hahvahd or did they go to Hahvahd because the kind of people who get nominated to the Supreme Court go to Hahvahd?

*Interestingly, this guy went to Stanford. Weird, huh?

**I know, I know. How did they get on the "short list"?

Friday, July 20, 2007

I always say: flip a coin . . .

. . . and if you don't like the answer you get, go with your gut. Turns out that's not a bad idea.

I've been running behind on my blog reading, so tonight while Mrs. Avacado does a take-home final, I'm reading all about psychology. Very interesting stuff, generally, but this article in particular struck me. In agreement with information overload theories, I've thought for awhile that we just can't consciously handle all the information we get, especially for big decisions. Example: My 18 months in family law were great, but there's a lot of emotional wear & tear from that, plus I really want to learn Spanish (which can apparently help you live longer: ¡Viva español!) and I work better in a rules-oriented environment than a personality-oriented environment, so maybe immigration law is my meal ticket, but I like to philosophize about the deeper issues and help people make really tough decisions plus I'm good with numbers, so maybe estate planning. Argh.

See? Too much information, too many factors to weigh. But apparently my subconscious doesn't care about all that. It makes a shortcut decision based on factors I may not realize I'm thinking about. Does that mean that it always gets the answer right? Not necessarily. But, as the author points out (and as some studies recently have shown*), it does about as well as thinking it through thoroughly.

So tonight, I'm going to bracketologize my life choices, flip coins, and go with my gut.

This just in: Slate published an article entitled: Should you trust your "gut feeling"? It's worth a read.

*The details are all fuzzy, but I seem to remember that they did a study recently comparing the results of an intentionally managed hedge fund with one managed based on the results of hockey games, and the hockey game fund did better. Weird, huh?

Thursday, July 19, 2007

Gary Johnson: Fence border? You're joking

This editorial in the Trib is one of the best essays I've seen about why building a fence along the Mexican border is just about the dumbest thing I've ever heard. I haven't been able to articulate why it's such a bad idea, but he takes some good swings at it. Let me know what you think. (It's not too long.)

Monday, July 16, 2007

Madness, I tell you

Apparently, there are too many lawyers in Wisconsin. The solution? Shut down the public law school by cutting off funding. That is pure madness.

Saturday, July 14, 2007

New Content

My frequent readers will realize that I have added some new content on the right side of this site. It's called "Cruisin' USA" (yes, in honor of the classic arcade game), and it has links to some dream road trips I have. Right now--as I'm typing this--there is only one link (West Coast Trip), but I plan to add more. Please feel free to make your own trip and put it in the comments. I'm interested to see where everybody would want to go.

My dream West Coast Trip has the following key destinations:
- Roswell, NM
- the Grand Canyon
- the Hoover Dam
- Death Valley
- Sequoia National Park
- the Golden Gate Bridge
- the Salinas Valley (the setting for East of Eden).

Where would you go?

Thursday, July 12, 2007

Desperate for Why

Stephen King gets a bit of a bad rap, but he's an incredible writer. There's a reason that he is the best-selling of all time, except for maybe Shakespeare and God. Right now, I'm reading Desperation. Check this quote:
"Why didn't you kill me like you did that guy back there? Billy? Or does it even make any sense to ask? Are you beyond why?"

"Oh s***, we're all beyond why, you know that."

My friend Mark tells me that economics is based on the idea that people act rationally given the information they have. I tend to agree. What do you think? Do we tend to make rational, if mis- or ill-informed, decisions? Or is it foolish even to try to explain why people act as they do?

Wednesday, July 11, 2007


I ran across this post today. Apparently, in some parts of America, you can't walk into the courthouse wearing shirts talking about f***ing. Talk about selective reporting. This is a perfect example of civil rights being violated without a thought by those who actually have power: the enforcer. This should be front page news, but my paper hasn't reported on it yet.*

* I don't have any idea whether this actually violates the First Amendment since I haven't taken Con Law or Civ Lib. I really only posted about this because I thought the T-shirt was funny.

Question fo' my peeps

Osler and Poseur have both listed these rules for being a good blogger. One of the rules is to update regularly. Should I update if I don't have anything interesting to say? Should I just blog about some other blog? I'm curious what my loyal readers would prefer. I guess I'm asking: would you rather have something interesting to read about once a week (what I shoot for) or just something to read every day?

Tuesday, July 10, 2007

MSM: right or left?

I grew up in a relatively conservative community, and I attended a relatively conservative college. So it's no surprise that I generally view the mainstream media as being relatively liberally biased. But today I ran across an interesting post. Apparently, the mainstream media are really in the pocket of the ultraconservatives, who ask them not to investigate the reality of the American health care system.

But isn't the media really a business? Don't they just report on what they think (in their well-researched opinions) their clientele want to hear? What I'm saying is: the mainstream media reflects what the market wants, which is what newswatchers want.

So if the mainstream media isn't reporting on something, doesn't it suggest that the mainstream doesn't care about it?

Sunday, July 08, 2007

Jose Crow?

The editor-in-chief of the Waco Tribune-Herald published an interesting op-ed today. I don't know enough about the recently failed immigration reform bill to say whether it should have passed or not, but I believe in immigration. America without immigration is an America I don't want to live in.

Friday, July 06, 2007

It's 1980 all over again, only we're not in Washington

Today, the Baylor Blawgosphere suffered an enormous earthquake: Swanburg is taking a hiatus. It seems he thinks that getting a dual degree (MBA+JD) will serve him better in his chosen career. If I remember correctly, he wants to build golf courses. Anyway--he's offered his job as #1 social columnist at B(L)S to whoever wants it. No one has asked me to fill in his shoes, but I'll go ahead and decline. My party schedule is pretty booked between now and when he returns to the edge of the Brazos. So packed, in fact, that I won't be able to blog on the Baylor Law party scene. (FYI--I think Rhett Butler had a party a few weeks ago. Or maybe it's in a few weeks. I'm partying so hard I don't know when it is.) Somehow, though, I'll find time to blog on the books I'm reading and the philosophy I'm thinking. (Reading and thinking between parties, of course.)

OK OK. The real reason I'm sticking to my genre is because a friend of mine, a link in the chain of my happiness, is marrying Hugh Grant on 7/7/7. She would rather attend four weddings and a funeral than hear about Baylor gossip, so I'll stick to my books and philosophy.

And as my nominee to fill in Swanburg's shoes: Searcey! There are two reasons I think Searcey should fill the void: (1) He's from Plano. That's really reason enough right there. (2) I can beat him at ping pong.

I think that about covers what I wanted to talk about. I'd tell you about my week at work, but I've just been dictating deposition summaries and then editing them. See? You already fell asleep.