Saturday, January 12, 2019

Trump Shutdown VITA Training

This Saturday I was supposed to be in training for VITA, Volunteer Income Tax Assistance, a program where volunteers help people with income under $54,000 or so do their taxes for free.
That training didn't happen (or if it did I didn't get the email), and you know why: The shutdown.
The VITA program is going to have problems this year and who gets hurt?
"When elephants fight the grass gets trampled"

The "How Hard Did Aging Hit You" Challenge

Facebooks "HOW HARD DID AGING HIT YOU" CHALLENGE πŸ™Œ upload one of your ‘first’ profile pics of yourself and one of your most recent profile pics right next to it πŸ‘‡and Let's see yours!!

This Woman’s Story Will Change the Way You Think About Public Assistance

I was raised on foodstamps. My parents got various forms of public assistance throughout the years (commodity food, Head Start, etc) and I think this was a good thing. Now it's time to pay it forward.

Stephanie Bolling: This Woman’s Story Will Change the Way You Think About Public Assistance

XKCD: Hand Tools Thor Could Have Ended Up With

16 Years Ago at the Pacific Science Center butterfly house

With Bryan Kirby before he pupated.

Friday, January 11, 2019

Seattle Walk Report

My new favorite Instagram catalogues Seattle walks:
Seattle Walk Report

(and a tip o'the hat to Pat Luby for pointing me to it)

Can All Lawyers Just Admit The Wall Will Never Be Built Because Of The Fifth Amendment?

"Can all of us lawyers and law students and legal scholars and legal reporters just talk among ourselves for a minute? Can we all just pull up a chair or a stool or whatever bouncy-ball thingy you think is blasting your core right now? Can we just talk as adults and acknowledge that the federal government has ground to a halt over a wall that will never, ever get built?
I know, when we talk to non-lawyers, “eminent domain” sounds like fancy “law talkin'” jargon. I know that the general public is so used to President Donald Trump violating all the norms and some actual laws that it’s hard for them to see how a mere Constitutional concept could possibly retard a committed president and his phalanx of hats.
But I feel like every time we talk about the wall, or the shutdown, or whether or not Trump can declare himself dictator-for-life to meet the “national emergency” of not getting what he wants, we do our friends, neighbors, and countrymen a disservice when we don’t mention eminent domain.
My real life friends know that I’m basically a Republican when it comes to takings. I don’t even put the scare quotes around the term. A whole canon of law has been built up around the Fifth Amendment’s commandment, “nor shall private property be taken for public use, without just compensation.”
We can debate the finer points: I do not happen to think that Kelo v. New London is the worst Supreme Court decision in the history of mankind, as some conservatives do. … But it isn’t great! And there are conservative justices sitting on the Supreme Court who have figuratively been bred to oppose that decision. Add them to the progressives who will view Trump’s Wall as the bigoted monstrosity that it is, and I think you’re looking at 8-1 decisions against the government in eminent domain cases to build the wall. Only Justice Brett, he of the monarchical theory of executive power, can be reasonably be expected to side with the government on this issue. And even then, we know Kavanaugh seems to like to follow along with whatever the “cool” kids are doing.
People who risk losing their land to Trump’s Wall will go to court to defend “their property.” I mean, Jesus, have you ever met a Texan?
From Talking Points Memo:
'The federal government has started surveying land along the border in Texas and announced plans to start construction next month. Rather than surrender their land, some property owners are digging in, vowing to reject buyout offers and preparing to fight the administration in court.
“You could give me a trillion dollars and I wouldn’t take it,” said Cavazos, whose land sits along the Rio Grande, the river separating the U.S. and Mexico in Texas. “It’s not about money.”'
People need to understand, the government does not own a 2,000-mile long stretch of land between the U.S. and Mexico. The people who do own it, which includes privates citizens, farmers, and churches, do not want to sell it. The government will have to take it from them.
There is no “military eminent domain” that Trump can invoke, national emergency or not, that supersedes the Fifth Amendment. And the Fifth Amendment only allows for takings for public use and just compensation.
People will fight the government’s definition of “just” compensation. People will fight the government’s definition of “public” use. There’s a whole part of takings cannon that deals with whether or not the land is being taken in whole or only in part. People will fight by saying that their whole parcels are being commandeered by the erection of an ugly 30-foot physical barrier.
THIS WALL WILL NOT HAPPEN. There’s no conceivable way that the courts are going to let the government take all of this land, for a dubious public use, when less intrusive measures can be used to accomplish the stated public purposes, at a price point that the government is willing or able to pay.
Can we all just remember that?
I mean, if Trump was saying, “I’m going to shut down the government until Congress funds my matter transporter so I can beam Latinos back to their country of origin,” I feel like the scientific community would be screaming, “The ability to deconstruct and reconstruct living beings at the molecular level does not exist because of limitations imposed by quantum uncertainty!”
Similarly, lawyers should be screaming, “The United States government does not have the capability of taking private lands on this scale because of limitations imposed by the Fifth Amendment.”
This. Entire. Wall. Thing. Is. Stupid."
Elie Mystal is the Executive Editor of Above the Law and the Legal Editor for More Perfect. He can be reached @ElieNYC on Twitter, or at He will resist.

Thursday, January 10, 2019

Simple Rule Of Funny

Ever wonder why one person uses a word and it's funny but another person uses the same word and it's offensive? As with so many things in life, it's about power. Stick with the Simple Rule Of Funny and you will rarely go wrong:
1. Punching Up (mocking someone more powerful): Funny
2. Punching Down (mocking someone less powerful): Not Funny
3. Punching Yourself: Very Funny.

Yay Roses!

I applied for three jobs today, and then rewarded myself by putting this into the ground (a transplant from a friend who's moving), Can't wait for spring! — in Seattle, Washington.

Everybody Locked Out Of Work Sing Along!

Did I crumble? Did I lay down and die? Oh no, not I! I will survive! Oh and as long as I know how to love I know I stay alive. I've got all my life to live, I've got all my love to give. And I'll survive! I will survive! Hey, hey!

Hate Group Forgets To Register Name LOL

PRO TIP: If you're going to run a homophobic hate group, you may wish to register the names before a helpful person does it for you ;-)

Everyday I Have To Choose

Wednesday, January 09, 2019

It Is Laughable

"Lapses in appropriations are nothing new.
... Such lapses are not in any sense government "policy"; rather - let us talk plainly - they are simply an abdication by the President and the Congress (which could override a presidential veto) of the duty to govern responsibly to the end that all the laws may be faithfully executed.
... Imagine a major corporation engaged in various litigation both as plaintiff and defendant. For whatever reason, it decides not to pay its attorneys and instructs them not to interact with the Court lest they have a plausible claim on the corporation for their services.
Then the corporation says to the Court, “We greatly regret any disruption caused to the court and to other litigants, but please stay all proceedings until we get our act together.”
This does not constitute “good cause” for any stay.
In fact, it is laughable."

- Judge William G Young (a Reagan appointee, not that it matters)

Tuesday, January 08, 2019

Political Memes: January 2019

Who among us does not admire the musical craftsmanship of Roger Waters?

Sunday, January 06, 2019

Bread Pudding Frugality

Continuing my forced exercise in frugality (no income does that): I had the remainder of a bag of rolls that had sat in the fridge for too long and got hard enough to pound nails. Normally I might toss them but instead I soaked them in milk for two days. This softened them up enough to bake with vanilla and lots of cinnamon. It made a great bread pudding!

For The Love Of Literature ....

I posted on Facebook:
For the Love of literature, the first five people to respond to this post will be given a book, from me, sometime this year... and, only the first five. The book will be chosen by me specifically for the person who will receive it. I will decide how and when the book will be delivered. It will be a surprise for you!
The only expectation is that you post this challenge to your wall, offering 5 books to 5 people. They don’t have to be your books or new books, just books selected for each individual.
Let’s spread books in 2019!!
(I got this idea from my work buddy Candice Wells - thanks!!)
  • Cathleen Barszewski Falconer
  • Gail Alison 
  • George William Spear 
  • Sue Fischer 
  • Ilysa Koltonow 
  • Robin Lindley

West Seattle Birdplane Chorus

I needed to talk a walk (to get my 30 minutes of exercise in without using my hurt muscle). Too bad about the wind noise, it was really interesting being there and hearing the squawking that was beautiful in a way. It's at Westcrest park, up the hill from my house.,-122.3425093,99m/data=!3m1!1e3