A Little Lawyer Talk

Most people likely have no idea who John Flannery is, even though he’s a fairly well-known, former Federal Prosecutor. I know him from his frequent appearances on The Beat With Ari Melber. Ari is fond of pointing out that John is a bit of a doppelganger for Robert Redford. If you’re interested, here’s his biography at the firm of Campbell Flannery, where he is a senior partner.

John likes to take walks in the morning and record his thoughts about current events, with his primary focus on politics and the law. This is a short video where he discusses Trump’s attempt to hold on to power, as well as the progress of the pandemic we’re suffering from. I think John’s insights are invaluable and quite interesting. Three minutes and fifty-nine seconds of usefulness. Take a listen.


Removing The Toddler-in-Chief

I just have to share this interesting, evocative piece of art. I’m really looking forward to the day I can (we all can) essentially forget this asshole ever existed.

I know we’ll still have the RepubliKKKlan Party to deal with, but I’m pretty worn out having him clutter the media landscape so thoroughly.


On Being Correcto

I Can Also Speak Spanglish

We Americans (in the United States, that is) are, in my opinion, a little too fond of bad-mouthing people who don’t speak English, don’t speak it well, or speak it but don’t pronounce it like we do . . . the latter of which, given the number of regional accents in the U.S., seems a bit ridiculous. Furthermore, have you ever listened to most English-speaking Americans try to pronounce any other language? It would be humorous were it not pathetic.

I’ve always felt that pronouncing another language correctly is both a sign of respect, and an exercise in emulation. I don’t understand people who can’t learn to pronounce words from a language other than their native tongue. After all, the people who speak that language have no trouble with the pronunciation, and they’re human beings too. We share the same physiology, so what’s the problem?

It seems to me it’s cultural and, with many, culturally chauvinistic. I know, when I was younger I felt a little odd pronouncing Spanish words correctly, as they didn’t quite sound like they were coming from me. I have to admit it took a while before I was able to really pay attention and learn how to properly pronounce words that weren’t native to me. Especially important, and somewhat difficult, was learning how to roll my “Rs” when speaking Spanish.

I taught myself Spanish before I traveled to Cuba with the 6th contingent of the Venceremos Brigade, in the Spring of 1973. I purchased a Spanish/English dictionary and a book called “501 Spanish Verbs Fully Conjugated” and I spent hours every day reading and practicing. I also had a book of short stories written in Spanish with side-by-side English translations.

The rules of grammar were not terribly difficult; they’re def easier than those for the proper use of English. My first discovery was that of patterns in infinitive verbs and their conjugation in the three basic tenses: Past; present; and future. It really made the use of verbs fairly easy once I knew the infinitive. There were some irregularities, but nowhere near the quantity found in my native tongue.

Pronunciation, however, was another story entirely. I came to the conclusion—and believe it to this day—that native speakers will forgive grammatical errors more easily than they forgive errors in pronunciation. Think about it the next time you’re listening to someone speaking English with a foreign accent.

With that in mind, I spent a great deal of time learning how Spanish is pronounced. I practiced continuously. In fact, I distinctly recall sitting on the bus in which we were traveling around the country during the last week of our two-month stay, heading for the western province of Pinar del Rio. The name presents a pronunciation challenge, as the “r” in “Pinar” is pronounced with what is called an “alveolar tap,” where you touch the tip of your tongue to the roof of your mouth. The letter generally ends up sounding like the letter “t” or “d” in English pronunciation.

The “R” in “Rio,” however, is rolled (also referred to as “trilled”) as are all “Rs” at the beginning of a word. Double “Rs” are always rolled, regardless of where they occur in a word. I would sit in the bus, staring out at the Cuban countryside, repeating “Pinar del Rio” over and over and over, until I could effortlessly shift from the alveolar tap to the trill without screwing it up.

One problem this created for me was that people for whom Spanish was their native language, upon hearing me speak Spanish, assumed from my meticulous pronunciation that I could speak fluently. I could not. I could carry on a decent conversation, though deep philosophy was not in my repertoire. I can probably still carry on a conversation all these years later, and am quite certain I could blend in to a Spanish speaking area within a couple of weeks.

Bottom line . . . speaking, and pronouncing, another language correctly is both an intelligent thing to do and a sign of respect for those who speak that language as their primary tongue. The human mouth, tongue, and throat are designed to make the sounds that humans make, regardless of where they’re from or how strange their pronunciations may seem to you. It just takes practice and, maybe, a little courage.


More Zoomey Tunes

Here are a few more photos I took around the house. Just looking for interesting patterns, especially when zoomed in real close. I’m also experimenting a bit with WordPress’s various blocks for presenting photos. Here I’m using the slideshow block.


Perfection!

I don’t have much to say about this, as its meaning should be quite obvious. I just want to share it. That’s it.


Biden’s Path Forward

In the morning of Sunday, November 8, 2020 Jon Cryer (the actor and author) tweeted the following, which I’d like to share with my readers, in case they’re not on Twitter or somehow missed it:

Appoint Hunter Biden as White House advisor, give him security clearance he doesn’t deserve, then put him in charge of coronavirus and peace in the Middle East.

Berate, belittle and insult the Republican leaders and their constituents at every opportunity. And take joy in their unhappiness.

Have foreign countries, companies and lobbyists pay Biden business entities while he makes decisions affecting them.

Golf, golf, golf!

(At Biden owned resorts thus forcing taxpayers to put money directly in his pockets)

Increase the national debt by 36%.

Increase the federal budget deficit by 4 trillion dollars.

Float federal pardons to induce federal employees to break the law.

Float federal pardons to induce co-conspirators to clam up.

Publicly threaten congressional witnesses.

Extort a foreign country into fabricating a smear against his Republican opponent.

Vastly over finance his inauguration and then have millions of the money just “disappear”

Publicly ask a foreign adversary to commit crimes to help his campaign.

Lie to a special prosecutor about it.

Obstruct Justice five times about it.

Lie about the special prosecutor’s report about it.

Objectively and verifiably lie at least 120 times a week.

Have government employees illegally campaign on your behalf on a daily basis.

And I won’t even get into how Republican leaders have been fine with the worse horrors of the Trump presidency. The family separations, the increase in civilian drone deaths, the hundreds of thousands of Americans dead from Covid.

They were okay with all of it.

So anytime they raise an objection to anything, the Biden administration should just ignore what they say and shout “Trump!” In their face.

Cause really, they can STFU

Just like they did when Trump was president.

Originally tweeted by Jon Cryer (@MrJonCryer) on 8 November 2020.


Another Change of Pace

In my last couple of years in High School I took a lot of photography classes. Back then (this was in 1964 – 1966) there was no such thing as digital photos. Everything was film and darkroom work. I remember enjoying taking pictures at football games, using Kodak Tri-X 400 black & white negative film.

I had to take it into the darkroom and develop both the film and then use the negatives obtained from the film strip to project onto photographic paper, which we then developed ourselves in the darkroom. It involved a lot of banging around in the dark, getting used to working by dim red light, and lots of chemicals to develop, set, and finish the work.

I’ve long enjoyed photography and still enjoy using tools like Photoshop to tweak and improve photos; sometimes to create political memes from them as well. I recently started using the magnification app that came with my iPhone XR and I’ve realized I can produce some interesting photos by zooming way in on subjects that have intricate or visually remarkable patterns.

Several of the ones I’m publishing here should be fairly easily recognizable to most people. At least one of them requires a bit of engineering knowledge and, perhaps, familiarity with space hardware. A couple of them should be easy to discern. Two of them relate to cooking in one way or another. What do you see?


Useful Advice

I have now received a link to this video from several different sources and I think it’s a valuable resource for any American concerned about the continued viability of our government. I don’t believe it’s crazy to be prepared for the worst, because it’s been made pretty clear over the past four years that nothing is sacred to the “most powerful man in the world.”

The video I had linked to (below) has apparently been removed and is no longer available. Fortunately, I found a website that contains the very information that was in the video, which can be accessed here.

!BE PREPARED!

The reality is, he may be powerful (he does have the weight of the federal government, including the military, on his side . . . theoretically) but the true power of any nation resides in its people. Without the consent of the governed, especially the way we’re organized politically, economically, and socially, keeping things running would be near impossible.

There is one more thing that’s necessary for the people to be able to control their own destiny, and that’s organization. Without being organized, connected, and communicating we won’t be able to assert our authority, our will over the powers-that-be.

With that in mind, I’m sharing the video above. If you haven’t the time to watch (it’s 7:02) below is a list of those ten things you need to know to stop a coup. Watch the video for a little more detail. One more thing, you can learn more at https://tallyrally.org/allourvotes/.

  1. Don’t expect results on election night
  2. Do call it a coup
  3. Regular citizens stop coups
  4. Act quickly—and not alone
  5. Focus on widely shared democratic values, not on individuals
  6. Convince others not to freeze or just go along
  7. Commit to actions that represent rule of law, stability, and non-violence
  8. YES! A coup can happen in the United States
  9. Center in calm, not fear
  10. Prepare to deter a coup before the election


Justice Matters – 10/19/20

Here’s another one of Glenn Kirschner’s wonderful YouTube videos on the state of our Justice system and, especially, the legal machinations of Donald Trump and his lawless administration.

This is a particularly good explanation of why Glenn believes the Supreme Court will finally bring an end to Trump’s attempts to hide his tax returns from the American people. If you aren’t familiar with how the courts work and, especially, what the real role is of the highest court in the land, Glenn does a pretty good job of explaining it.

PS – As of today, there are 13 days left until Election Day. If you haven’t yet voted, please have a plan and . . . git ‘er done!!


Originalism is Bullshit!

The Founders … Founding.

Amy Coney Barrett considers herself a “Constitutional Originalist.” What, exactly, does that mean? According to Merriam-Webster, it is “a legal philosophy that the words in documents and especially the U.S. Constitution should be interpreted as they were understood at the time they were written.” (https://www.merriam-webster.com/dictionary/originalism)

Think about what that means. If we are to interpret the Constitution based on the realities of the day in the late 18th century, then shouldn’t the only people allowed to vote in national elections be white, property-owning men? What do we make of the 3/5 clause of Article I, Section 2 of the Constitution and how do we reconcile the 14th Amendment (passed in 1868) with the “original” intent of said Article?

In my less than humble opinion, this concept of originalism is as flawed as belief in the Bible being the infallible word of God. Both require one NOT believe in evolution; I don’t here mean biological evolution (which many Bible believers don’t recognize as real) but the natural evolution of society and its economic, political, and general attitudes toward what’s good and just for a people. Our laws, our habits, our customs, our culture, even our morals change over time; sometimes imperceptibly and others rapidly and definitively.

When the Constitution was written, the framers included (Article V) the ability to amend it and, in fact, the first ten amendments—the Bill of Rights—were needed to ensure adoption of the nascent Constitution by some of the States who wanted more guarantees of freedom from unnecessary restrictions on the States and individuals.

Inasmuch as there is a method by which the Constitution can and, in fact, has been amended how can a logical argument be sustained that it must be interpreted in light of the reality of nearly two hundred fifty years ago? This makes absolutely no sense. Two hundred fifty years ago virtually none of the structures, organizations, and technologies we currently enjoy existed. How do we interpret their use and ownership if they weren’t around when the document was written?

Originalism is a sham argument and should be completely ignored. Any jurist taking such a position is, IMLTHO, an intellectually dishonest poseur and should be ignored . . . if not ridiculed. This includes Amy Coney Barrett who, if she had any integrity at all, would not allow this raw power grab and farce of a nomination process to continue.


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