25 August 2015

Sweepings from my hard drive: The HAL 9000 giveth

Place of Pain:

I was in the elevator at the Marion County Courthouse last week. 

On the 3rd Floor, three ladies got in.  They were markedly upset.  The only thing on the 3rd Floor is Div. II of the Circuit Court and the Family Court.  Family Court hadn’t started. 

I have no idea what upset them.  From their perspective, it must have been something pretty bad.

A lesson: Court is a place of pain.  In theory, lawyers know that.  But we often pretend that it’s not, and that it’s just another day at the office. 

Perhaps a secret to practicing law is to function at your best, but to remember that it is a place of pain.

I wish more lawyers would learn this.

[Note to Bro. Burt: I was thinking of you as I wrote this.  You understand the practice of law better than anybody I know.]

The Courthouse Box:

Sometimes, I have good ideas.  Other times, well, I’m prone to have real dumb ideas.

One of the good ones was in the 80's as we were changing the Local Rules of Court. 

Every day, the volume of mail that originates from the Clerk of the Circuit Court is tremendous.  It includes lots of important stuff - Court orders, subpoenas, pre-sentence reports, etc.  But the Clerk also is afflicted with loads of unimportant, mundane crap - discovery packets in criminal cases, notices of scheduling orders, etc.

In the 80's, the first class rate was around 15¢ for a one-ounce letter.  Now, it’s 50¢.  So, we put a big mailbox in the front of the Circuit Clerk’s office for the stuff than can wait.  Every time I got past the Office, I check the box.  Today, there was easily $100 worth of mail that didn’t have to be actually mailed. 

Minimize all your your therbligs and concentrate on the ball.


The new EPA regulations fundamentally change America’s energy production.  Congress has nothing to do with it unless it acts to block or modify it. 

If the rules go into effect, West Virginia will have to idle 3,800 megawatts of coal generating capacity.  Whether that’s a good idea, a mediocre idea or a bad idea is beside the point for now.  In the meantime, the Chinese bring 1,000 megawatts of new coal generating capacity online each week.  India brings 350 megawatts of new coal generating capacity online each week.  Work the math.  And they don't have EPA regulations, so the stuff that is left after burning goes right into the atmosphere.

Senator Boxer of California says that the biggest job growth in California is in “clean” power such as solar, wind and geothermal.  She invites West Virginia to “Get with it.”  Sadly, West Virginia doesn’t have a desert and has no geothermal sources.  We have wind.  Two out of three ain’t bad.  But one of three?  Well, it’s kinda bad.

It’s partly our fault:

In 1890, horse breeders saw unlimited growth in the personal transportation market for the next hundred years.

She Met God:

A random memory - A long time ago, in a galaxy far, far away, we picked up a lady in the ambulance who was in cardiac arrest.  Oh, she got better.  When she arrived at the hospital, she mentioned that she had met God face-to-face.  She described him a a kinda big guy, with a moustache.

24 August 2015

The Fellowship in China: Tianjin

The Chinese government is not very popular in America.  

But the Chinese people basically are just like us.  Some are decent.  Some are jerks.  Some are our brothers & sisters.  Some are about as welcome as the black sheep pimp at the family reunion.  

Among the brothers & sisters are the people who do the truly garbage jobs in society, the first responders.

By the way, “first responder” is a misnomer.  Usually, the “first responder” is the only responder you get.  If s/he can’t handle the problem, you are screwed.  If they are not willing to "spend themselves," lots of innocents are injured and die.

In the northeast China port of Tianjin - a HUGE port - a fire broke out in warehouses that stored chemicals.  There were explosions, and about 100 firefighters are still missing.

A whole lot of mistakes were made.  

For instance, there were flammable chemicals that you use water on if there is a fire.  But nearby, there were chemicals that, when exposed to water, give off an explosive gas.  That is one explanation for the explosions. 

But you can bet that the brothers & sisters killed were NOT the ones who made the mistakes.  They were the ones running TOWARD the danger when everybody else was (wisely) running AWAY.  The owners & managers of the warehouses weren’t there.   The government-types who dropped the ball or who looked the other way weren’t there.  The people who were supposed to guard THEIR people weren’t there.

I fear this is not much of a post.  And there is no sort of answer here.  Stupid people make mistakes by omission and commission that get other’s killed.  All the world over.  

God bless the Fellowship.