Tuesday, September 19, 2006

Training for September 19, 2006 primary

For many years, I worked at the polls for King County, leading a team of poll judges in ensuring people got their ballots according to the rules. It was pretty straightforward stuff, most of the time, as long as we were very picky according to the details. As I clean out back files, I came across this training notification. I believe this is the first time we had to use those idiotic electronic voting machines, which were some of the most amazingly badly (and yet evidently expensively) designed gadgets I had ever seen. Why they didn't hook up a standard laptop to a standard printer to output a standard paper ballot to be cast in the standard way, I'll never know - except of course that it would have been easy to audit and to produce. But we didn't make the rules; our job was to execute them, and the training helped. I'm going to try scheduling this blog post for 9/19/2006 and see where it pops up in the blog; I'm actually posting it on 3/1/2013.

Thursday, August 10, 2006

MITS Donation Form 2006

I have no idea how many years I have been shopping at the Mercer Island Thrift Shop, but it's at least been since the mid-1990s since I remember picking up a few toys for Artyom there. Donating items is an important part of thrift shopping, and for a long time I carefully recorded donations. However, over the years  I realized that my taxes never really got to the point where my donations affected them, so I now wave off the form. The forms have also gotten simpler and smaller; here's what one looked like in 2006. Note also the shop hours; at this time we were stocking on Mondays and Thursdays, and completely closed on Sundays; it's much harder for volunteers to stock now that there are no special stocking days and I think it may even have Sunday hours now too.
I'm writing this post on March 1, 2013 but I'll try scheduling it for the date on the form: August 10, 2006 just to see what happens!

Wednesday, June 14, 2006

GOP Outlines Plan To Use Iraq Debate for Partisanship

A memo from House leader Boehner shows how the Republicans plan to use the Iraq debate, not to actually think about what's the best thing to do next, but to score partisan points against the Democrats. You can read it here yourself : http://images1.americanprogress.org/il80web20037/ThinkProgress/2006/boehnermemo.pdf

I quote:

"As a result of our efforts during this debate, Americans will recognize that on the issue of national security, they have a clear choice between a Republican Party aware of the stakes and dedicaetd to victory, versus Democrat Party without a coherent national security policy that sheepishly dismisses the challenges America faces in a post-9/11 world."

Let us ignore for a moment Boehner's problem with spelling (it's "Democratic" Party, not "Democrat" party.) And let us ignore his lying about the difference between the two parties. Those are normal sliming we've come to expect from him, personally, and his political party, lately.

The key point is there: a debate about Iraq should be about Iraq. What to do. When to do it. Ways and Means.

Not scoring points against domestic political opponents.

Tuesday, June 13, 2006

Can You Face An Inconvenient Truth?



Mother Nature is a bitch. She don't care if you deny the reality of Global Climate Change.

It's real. It's coming. It's going to be very, very expensive both in money and lives.

Face it ... or hide your face.

Mother Nature don't care.

She's a bitch.

Sunday, June 11, 2006

God and Science

God not only plays dice. He also sometimes throws the dice where they cannot be seen.
-- Stephen William Hawking

This and plenty of other great science stuff FREE at
http://www.scienceblog.org

Thursday, May 11, 2006

Lincoln "On the Mexican War"

TO WILLIAM H. HERNDON.

WASHINGTON, February 15, 1848.

DEAR WILLIAM:--Your letter of the 29th January was received last night. Being exclusively a constitutional argument, I wish to submit some reflections upon it in the same spirit of kindness that I know actuates you.

Let me first state what I understand to be your position. It is that if it shall become necessary to repel invasion, the President may, without violation of the Constitution, cross the line and invade the territory of another country, and that whether such necessity exists in any given case the President is the sole judge.

Before going further consider well whether this is or is not your position. If it is, it is a position that neither the President himself, nor any friend of his, so far as I know, has ever taken. Their only positions are--first, that the soil was ours when the hostilities commenced; and second, that whether it was rightfully ours or not, Congress had annexed it, and the President for that reason was bound to defend it; both of which are as clearly proved to be false in fact as you can prove that your house is mine. The soil was not ours, and Congress did not annex or attempt to annex it.

But to return to your position.

Allow the President to invade a neighboring nation whenever he shall deem it necessary to repel an invasion, and you allow him to do so whenever he may choose to say he deems it necessary for such purpose, and you allow him to make war at pleasure.

Study to see if you can fix any limit to his power in this respect, after having given him so much as you propose. If to-day he should choose to say he thinks it necessary to invade Canada to prevent the British from invading us, how could you stop him? You may say to him,--"I see no probability of the British invading us"; but he will say to you, "Be silent: I see it, if you don't."

The provision of the Constitution giving the war making power to Congress was dictated, as I understand it, by the following reasons: kings had always been involving and impoverishing their people in wars, pretending generally, if not always, that the good of the people was the object. This our convention understood to be the most oppressive of all kingly oppressions, and they resolved to so frame the Constitution that no one man should hold the power of bringing this oppression upon us.

But your view destroys the whole matter, and places our President where kings have always stood.

Write soon again.

Yours truly,

A. LINCOLN.

---
http://www.classic-literature.co.uk/american-authors/19th-century/abraham-lincoln/the-writings-of-abraham-lincoln-02/ebook-page-18.asp

Wednesday, May 10, 2006

Get Your Picture Taken With The President?

Ya know what's odd?

It used to be that a photo of a candidate shaking hands with the President was a plus. Even the Vice-President would do.

But it's real hard to find a picture of my local GOP Congressman, Dave Reichert, even standing next to Bush. Why is that? (... or the Vice-President either.)

It's not like they're not buds. IIRC Cheney's raised a lot of money for Dave, and Dave votes as W commands nearly all the time. So why are they passing up this chance to work some magic together on film?

Let's help them! I'm collecting pictures of GOP candidates shaking hands (...or something...) with W at:

http://ShakeHandsWithW.blogspot.com/

Sending me your photos (...preferably links to photos...) at rewinn2003@yahoo.com & I'll post them ASAP.

Just trying to be helpful!

Monday, May 01, 2006

Sunday, April 30, 2006

The World Peace Through Law Section at 25

From the WSBA Bar News April 2006

The World Peace Through Law Section at 25


A Conversation with Former Section Chair Randall Winn

by Robin Lindley

In 1980, Ronald Reagan was elected president, defeating Jimmy Carter. Adolfo Perez Esquivel of Argentina won the Nobel Peace Prize for promoting human rights in Latin America, and the World Health Organization announced the worldwide eradication of smallpox.

In that same year, at the height of the Cold War, a group of prescient Washington attorneys formed the World Peace Through Law Section of the Washington State Bar Association.

As explained in a February 1981 Bar News account, the goal of the World Peace Through Law Section "is to encourage lawyers to involve themselves in the current international effort to improve the effectiveness of international law and legal institutions. A fundamental purpose of the Section is to help promote the development of world peace with fairness and justice for all human beings throughout the world."

At the Section's December 2005 meeting, keynote speaker Congressman Jim McDermott (Seventh Dist.-WA) stressed the growing importance and timely concerns of the Section, and urged lawyers to educate the public on international law and legal approaches to issues of peace and human rights. Other speakers discussed the legal workings of the United Nations, human trafficking, trade sanctions, and the proposed U.S. Department of Peace.

Randall Winn, a Seattle attorney, served as chair of the World Peace Through Law Section from September 2003 through December 2005, and is the current chair-elect. Mr. Winn earned a J.D. degree at the Western New England College School of Law in Springfield, Massachusetts, and a certificate in international law from the McGeorge School of Law (University of Pacific) program in Salzburg, Austria. Winn grew up in Everett, and decided to return to the Puget Sound area after law school. He established a private law practice, and continued his past work in computer programming. He served as the WSBA webmaster for several years.

Randall commented on the activities of the World Peace Through Law Section at 25, and his hopes for the future of the section in the 21st century.

Lindley: It's the 25th anniversary of the Section. Talk about the work of the Section.

Winn: Like all State Bar sections, we're a voluntary group of lawyers. We meet to educate ourselves and others, particularly through CLEs each month with expert speakers on issues of law and peace.

Lindley: How is the Section different from the International Practice Section?

Winn: The International Practice Section relates to commercial matters. I'd like to see more joint programs with them, [because] people who trade with one another are less likely to fight. And [for example,] we could learn how commercial entities resolve disputes and deal with cultural differences.

Lindley: In this post-Cold War world, the Section continues to deal with disarmament and related issues, but also increasingly focuses on human rights. And human rights are inextricably bound to establishing peaceful societies and international relations.

Winn: The biggest issue in the Cold War was arms control. When there's a crisis that can leave everyone dead in 30 minutes, it focuses the mind, and peace becomes the absence of nuclear war. But now, other issues are coming to the fore . . . and we can deal with the spectrum of peace issues from nations not being at war to nations extending human rights to individuals. For example, [U.S. District Court] Judge Coughenour recently spoke of his work on criminal law reform in the former Soviet Union.

Lindley: As Section chair, you've offered monthly CLEs with experts who speak on international peace and human rights.

Winn: It's a great member benefit, and members love it. It fulfills our educational mandate, and it's good for networking. [I've found that] experts love to spread their information, to talk about their work. If you've defended an accused war criminal from Rwanda or Yugoslavia, you want to talk about it. Or if you're a professor, you want to talk about your area of expertise. They're willing to take an hour of their lives to talk with lawyers about their work.

Lindley: You've attracted willing local speakers with notable expertise.

Winn: Yes, with your help as chair-elect. We haven't had to import experts from New York or Washington, D.C. We have many experts in this area. We've had programs with a member of congress, a federal court judge, a Marine JAG, two defense attorneys at the war crimes tribunals, professors from the University of Washington and Seattle University, [Washington] practitioners, and others.

Lindley: It's been an honor to recruit these accomplished speakers for the CLE programs. The first program I arranged featured Prof. Ron Slye of Seattle University School of Law, an expert in human rights law who had worked with the South African Truth and Reconciliation Commission. He started a series of programs by offering an overview of international law.

Winn: He addressed . . . the ostensible conflict between our Constitution and international law, [as well as] the sovereignty of nations, and treaty obligations.

Lindley: The CLE presentations have tackled issues pulled from the headlines. They've included programs on torture, genocide, investigation and prosecution of war crimes, the new Iraqi constitution, the Alien Tort Claims Act, the application of the Geneva Conventions, post-conflict legal reform, as well as human trafficking, indigenous rights, global health and justice, and other international human-rights issues.

Winn: There's a hunger for knowledge, and our Section members want to know more than they get in newspapers. So we've been getting experts, like a defense counsel before the International Criminal Tribunal for Yugoslavia. In the absence of knowledge, it's easy to dismiss international law, but when an attorney comes in and says I defended this person before an international tribunal and justice was done, it illustrates the way the law works. By having speakers on the International Criminal Court [ICC], some misgivings about the Court were dispelled. The newspapers and talk radio don't explain that the Court first needs jurisdiction to act. Most international courts cannot operate until national remedies are exhausted, and a case gets to an international tribunal only if the nation with original jurisdiction asks the tribunal to take it, or the laws of the nation with original jurisdiction are demonstrably illegitimate, neither of which will happen with the U.S.

Lindley: It would be unlikely that a U.S. soldier would be brought before the ICC.

Winn: Very unlikely, because we have a functioning military judicial system. If we want the ICC to work, we need to be part of it. [As attorney David Danielson described], the ad hoc war crimes tribunal for Rwanda had a slow and clumsy process, and was very dependent on the successor Rwandan government where the crimes were committed. The ICC eliminates some of these problems. Without an expert speaker, we never would have known of the conditions of the tribunal for Rwanda, convened in Arusha, Tanzania.

Lindley: What would you like to see develop with the Section?

Winn: I want to see the CLE program continue. I'd like to attract more people to leadership positions. It's good for the Section to broaden the leadership, to have a broad pool of talent to draw on. And I'd like to make a plea to younger lawyers: Our section is unique in that there are not a lot of experts on public international law, and it offers an opportunity for younger lawyers to learn to lead a section or network . . . to talk with anyone in the Bar Association and with regional experts. With the list serve, we can meet with other lawyers in the law and justice community throughout the state.

Lindley: It seems that lawyers are impressed by the quality of the speakers at the Section CLE meetings, and they feel that the sessions are worthwhile.

Winn: Absolutely worthwhile. And there's an opportunity for networking after the meetings. It's valuable, and you can't put a price on it.

Lindley: And the Section has grown.

Winn: Yes. Our meetings can't fit around a table any longer. We've had to use theater seating.

Lindley: Any other thoughts on the section in the 21st century?

Winn: I'm looking forward to progress on the subject matter. It's easy to get depressed by the news. But we've learned of many good things happening through our speakers, like the Indonesian doctor-lawyer alliance for public health described by Dr. Beth Rivin of the UW School of Law. If, in a small way, we can bring light to questions like torture and human trafficking, and ways to deal with the legal aspects, we've done a service.

Lindley: And do you have a message for the new year?

Winn: Peace on Earth. One of the first Nobel Peace Prize winners said the road to peace is long, but don't be discouraged. Keep moving forward.

The World Peace Through Law Section holds one-hour, brown-bag CLEs on the last Tuesday of each month at noon at the WSBA office. The programs are free and open to the public. For further information on programs or other Section business, contact Section Chair Robin Lindley at roblindley@yahoo.com, or Chair-elect Randall Winn at rewinn2003@yahoo.com

Recent WSBA World Peace Through Law Section CLE Events

 9/15/03: The International Criminal Court � Anne Heindel
 11/24/03: Reflections on the Right to Peace � Jorge Madrazo-Cuellar
 3/22/04: Ethical Lessons from Watergate (Discussion and Video) � Video replay featuring Egil "Bud" Krogh, lead by John Rapp
 4/26/04: Economic and Security Obstacles to World Peace Through Law � Thomas Mengert, Paul Schlossman
 6/28/04:  Constitution and International Law � Ron Slye
 7/26/04: Indigenous and National Legal Rights in Chiapas � Luis Arriaga
 8/23/04: War Crimes Trials � David E. "Gene" Wilson, Valerie Gow, Ann Lewis
 9/27/04: Prisoner Abuse, American Law, and the Geneva Conventions � Rick Lorenz
 10/25/04: The International Criminal Tribunal in Rwanda: A Defense Lawyer's View � D. Danielson
 11/22/04: Sacks v. OFAC: Humanitarian Efforts vs. Sanctions � Bert Sacks
12/27/04: Year-end Roundup: Progress in Human Rights Law � Robin Lindley, Randy Winn
 1/24/05: Defending the Rights of Environmental Defenders � Marcia Newland
 2/28/05: Alien Tort Claims Act � Anita Ramasastry
 3/29/05: About the International Human Rights Clinic � Raven Lidman
 4/26/05: Global Health and Human Rights � Patricia Kuszler, Beth Rivin
 5/31/05: Human Trafficking � Gillian Apfel, Ye-Ting Woo, Norma Timbang
 6/28/05: Corrie v. Caterpillar � Gwynne Skinner
 7/26/05: Forensic Investigations and Human Rights � Dr. William Haglund.
 8/30/05: Iraq's New Constitution and Democratization in the Middle East �Kristin Stilt
 9/27/05: A Judge's View: Judicial Reform in Russia � Judge John C. Coughenour
 10/25/05: U.S. Department of Peace Legislative Status � Patricia Kuderer, Jack Smith
 11/29/05: European Human Rights Advocacy from 1790 to Present � Walter Walsh
 12/27/05: Year-end Review � Rep. Jim McDermott (keynote), Dr. James Maynard (United Nations and U.S. at a Crossroads), Gillian Apfel (Human Trafficking), Bert Sacks (humanitarian action and trade sanctions), and Jack Smith (proposed U.S. Department of Peace)
 1/31/06: The US, International Human Rights Law, and Torture � Dr. Jamie Mayerfeld
 2/28/06: International Human Rights and the Global Economy � Martha Schmidt

Robin Lindley, a Seattle attorney, is the 2006 chair of the World Peace Through Law Section. He is a Spokane native and graduate of the University of Washington School of Law. He has worked as a congressional attorney-investigator, federal agency attorney, law teacher, legal consultant, and public health manager/analyst. He is also a freelance writer and visual artist.

Sunday, April 23, 2006

Why I Dumped Law Review

In law school, I was on Bar Review for about a week. This was supposed to be some sort of elite training, allowed for an honored few.

At the newbie meeting, the faculty gloated over how rigorous would be the training, saying "This will be by far the hardest thing you have ever done!"

I looked to my right: that student was a cop in our decaying Northeastern city.

I looked to my left: that student was a new mother.

I recalled that I had just finished a weekend of martial arts training featuring several powerlifters and at least one retired Special Forces guy. (I say this not to exalt myself, for I was and am far, far, far less capable than any of them; the point was, I was still recovering from exhaustion and fear.)

I thought: Was bar review like getting shot, having your head twisted off, and giving birth?

Or was this some outmoded ritual?

I started to lose confidence in bar review.

Later events would bear out my evaluation.

Tuesday, April 18, 2006

Fair Vote!

Here's an interesting idea for reforming the way we vote for President: get your state to pass a law awarding its electoral votes to the candidate who gets the most popular votes nationwide.

We need to reform the way we elect Presidents, because under our current system, only a few "battleground states" really matter. Most of our states lean heavily one way or the other, so candidates must ignore these "bystander states" to concentrate on the ones that could go either way.

Think about it. If you are a Republican in California or New York, you might as well sleep in on election day; the same thing if you're a Democrat in Texas or Idaho. Your vote just won't make a difference, under our current system.

BUT if California or Texas awarded its electoral votes to the candidate that got the most votes nationwide, suddenly YOUR VOTE WOULD MATTER! Even if your candidate lost your state by a million votes, your vote would still count in the national total, and therefore could determine your state's electoral votes.

Best of all, this solution requires NO CONSTITUTIONAL AMENDMENT! States have the Constitutional right to award their electoral votes any way they want!

Learn more at http://www.fairvote.org/

Thursday, April 13, 2006

Scalia Flunks Ethics Quiz

Justice Antonin Scalia failed, once again, a basic ethics question: "Can a judge ethically decide a case involving his hunting buddy?"

Recently, he boasted that his failure to recuse himself in a 2004 case involving his hunting buddy, Dick Cheney, was the "proudest thing" he has ever done on the Supreme Court. See http://www.washingtonpost.com/wp-dyn/content/article/2006/04/12/AR2006041201905_pf.html.

However, the rule in such cases is not as Scalia stated. The rule is not whether he can be trusted to be impartial. The rule, for a judge, is whether he can avoid the appearance of partiality.

Judging a case involving a hunting buddy reasonably draws into question the impartiality of the judge. It may be that Justice Scalia is, personally, able to rule on the case fairly. However, a reasonable person could question whether there would be some tilt in his judgment.

A judge motivated by and aware of ethical issues would have recused himself.

Justice Scalia did not.

For him to boast of his violation of basic ethical standards is a shame on the Court and on the entire legal profession.

Most judges would be subject to investigation for such a violation. But, under our Constitution, the body empowered to investigate Scalia, as a member of the Supreme Court, is the Senate.

And the titular head of the Senate is Scalia's hunting buddy.

Wednesday, April 12, 2006

Which is Libby's Lie?

Here's what I find hard to understand.

Libby told Miller the NIE had the uranium claim as a "key finding" ... meaning it was real solid intel.

But the NIE in fact did NOT have the uranium claim as a "key fining". In fact, it was acknowledged as supported by no reliable evidence.

So Libby, in this matter, wasn't giving out secret information, but LYING about the secret information.

If this is so, why is Bush NOW saying he declassified what Libby disclosed? You can't declassify something that does not exist.

But can you declassify a lie about the contents of a formerly classified document? It would have to be a CLASSIFIED LIE first!

"Oh, what a wicked web we weave,
When first we practice to deceive!"

Monday, April 10, 2006

Why Bush couldn't go to West Point

"A cadet will not lie, cheat, or steal, or tolerate those who do." - West Point Cadet Honor Code

http://www.westpointgradsagainstthewar.org/

Saturday, April 08, 2006

Republishing the Memoirs of William Sampson


For the past few months, I've been working on getting back into print the memoirs of an Irish Protestant lawyer, William Sampson, who in 1798 was tortured and exiled for the crime of defending Catholics in occupied Ireland. He came to America on July 4, 1806 and became a leader in promoting human rights and religious under our Constitution.

His story is a rippin' yarn, full of history, drama, horror and even some humor. Great stuff, but out of print for 190 years.

Progress so far:
1. Confirm it's out of copyright (190 years)
2. Purchase original copy (2d edition, 1817.)
3. Re-enter content.
4. Post content on web for free viewing by anybody: http://rewinn.com/3990
5. Submit content to a Just-In-Time publisher, and order a copy to review: http://cafepress.com/rewinn

I just got the review copy back from the JIT publisher. It's basically o.k. but I have some tinkering to do. Mostly, the page numbers didn't come out right (probably a disagreement between me and the word processor, not the publisher) and I want to neaten up the cover images. But it's all readable as is, but of course I want to make it better!

I'd like to experiment with other JIT publishers too. Anyone with suggestions, please email me at rewinn2003@yahoo.com

Friday, April 07, 2006

Book Of The Day: The New Male Sexuality

I sell 10-20 books a day at http://amazon.com/shops/rewinn. Most days, one stands out for some reason.
This week, it was an order for "The New Male Sexuality".

After I packed it for shipment, an email arrived:
"My husband is excited about receiving this book. Can you send it Priority Mail. I'll pay extra!"

I smiled and upgraded the shipment.

Today I got an email: "Thank you! My husband loves the book."

What could I say in reply?
"You're welcome. Have a great weekend!"

I think they might ...
It's time to look beyond the politically dead Bush & Cheney for the GOP's options for a soft landing.

Is there any doubt that Bush & Cheney told Fitzgerald things about disclosing classified information that we now know are not true? Their best defense is that they automatically declassified the material by disclosing it, which does not change the fact of the lie, and that they were not under oath, and so cannot be convicted of perjury. Felony obstruction of justice convictions can be stopped only by suborning Fitzgerald (unlikely) or getting pardons.

Legally, that may be helpful to them, but it's still poison to the Republican party. Sooner or later, the party's backers are going to explain the facts of life to the duo. If they resign, they can cut a deal; if they fight to the death, the Democrats will run the board simply by pasting Bush & Cheney's face on every GOP poster in America.

If Cheney resigns, Bush can pardon him and appoint a successor who Bush would hope, to use Gerald Ford's excuse, would ultimately pardon Bush for the good of the nation. But who might get through the Senate?

A Senator is the obvious choice; they all know each other and there's a certain amount of collegiality. But the pick would have an enormous advantage in the presidential race of '08, and so would be opposed by his rivals. Frist would block McCain; McCain would block Frist.

Also, the GOP's backroom boys don't want to give away any Senate seats since they'll need all they can get after the tsunami of voter anger this November.

The obvious candidate is Jim Jeffords: http://jeffords.senate.gov/

Jeffords has no presidential ambitions, and no following in either party. He's not part of the Republican majority, so he's no loss to the GOP machine. And the Democrats would have a hard time opposing him because he's the one man in recent memory who resigned from the GOP on grounds of principle.

Jeffords, as a man of principle and of experience, would be a good choice for America, and that may be his only weakness. President Jeffords might be reluctant to pardon Bush; that makes him Bush's most unlikely nominee.

http://rewinn.com/9971

Wednesday, April 05, 2006

Franken and Coulter? The Oddest Couple!

Last Monday, Al Franken debated Ann Coulter at a lecture series sponsored by the University of Judaism in L.A.

It seems to have gone pretty much as one would expect; you will definitely enjoy Franken's comments in An Evening With Ann Coulter.

John Ashcroft's Haiku


He peers owlishly
At a press that shall photo
No other hooter.

Oh timeless Justice,
Our Constitution's Goddess -
You forgot your bra!

Classic stone statue
Invigorates our culture
But needs more toga.

Osama? Can't find.
Anthrax terrorists? Sorry.
The breast threat? Covered!

Will our Bill of Rights
Become a scrap of parchment
As mammary fades?

There's two per woman.
Can so rare a species need
Fed.gov Protection?

Endless, endless war:
Convenient accident?
If these boobs could talk ...