Articles Posted in Random Rants

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21 Post Depositphotos_1831077_XS.jpgI’ve been taking a very long break from blogging for a number of reasons. One of the reasons is that I’ve been caught up in the bizarre dynamic, over the past year or so, of much more visible police executions of unarmed black men. Also, I’ve completely lost faith in our system of justice, on every level, from the almighty U.S. Supreme Court, right on down to the local criminal court and family court. It’s not a good thing when an attorney stops believing in the legal system he’s been practicing within for the past 23 years. But that is precisely what has happened. And I’m certain you will sense this in all of my future blog posts. This is not the country I was born into. It’s a place far worse.

The American system of justice is broken and no one seems to give a rat’s ass about fixing it and making it work. And it’s not only the justice system. It’s a cancer that goes directly to the core of the American spirit. Something is horribly wrong with America, from top to bottom. And, sadly, I suspect that it’s only going to get worse.
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620 Post Depositphotos_1145097_XS.jpgBurn it down. That’s right. Burn it the @#$% down. At least, that is what I would be saying if I were young and black and angry. Why? Because my black life could be snuffed out in a moment, for any reason, at any time, by an entitled white man wearing a badge and brandishing a gun. And not a goddamned thing would be done about it. Not. One. God. Damned. Thing. A trial? Seriously? If they can’t hand down an indictment when a white man -wearing a badge and brandishing a gun, mind you – murders a black man in cold blood, in broad daylight, with multiple witnesses, and all sorts of photography and videography, then what the hell kind of society are we living in? We’re living in the kind of society that is daring its afflicted to do something about it, a kind of society that is begging to be burned to the ground.

That’s right.
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619 Post.JPGI had planned on posting this on Monday, but my blog interface got a bit weird and The IT People had to get involved, so forgive me if the topic the post covers already feels like old news – because it is. D’oh!

While on vacation in the Adirondacks this summer, we visited the wonderful Village of Lake Placid. And while walking around the Olympic facilities, I happened upon a seemingly bizarre sign which I felt compelled to photograph. You see it here.

“Trampoline is canceled until further notice.” Weird, right?

While I am sure there must have been some sort of context for this sign, I did not immediately notice it. Now, as a kid, I remember spending DAYS bouncing around on various trampolines at friends’ houses. I mean, c’mon, who doesn’t love a trampoline?

But there seemed to be an ominous tone to the sign as well – someone, somewhere simply determined that there was not going to be anymore trampoline. Ever. Until further notice. And whoever determined that this was so was apparently so far above the law that they didn’t even see the need to give a reason or even state their name.

When I see the word “trampoline”, I just think “exuberant fun”. I think happy thoughts. Hell, why not just replace the word “trampoline” with other fun words or phrases like “being a kid”, “unstructured time”, “freedom” or, say, “Constitution”. Yeah, let’s have some fun by replacing “trampoline” with any of those words or phrases. Because that’s the kind of fun we’ve been having, as citizens of the states of New York and New Jersey, for the past few days: “Constitution is cancelled until further notice.”
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618 Post Depositphotos_10214364_xs.jpgSo, yeah, I’m back. I went off the grid way back in the middle of summer and it felt so good that I didn’t want to come back. I even unplugged from the news. Well, for a while at least. And, when I did come back, I was too angry about the news to be nice. So, I wrote a good many drafts and I deleted a good many drafts. I wanted to get back to writing about caselaw but I was too numb to do so. Whenever I would sit down to write about the latest and greatest case, my mind would wander and I would keep coming back to the two things that have happened this summer that I find so deeply disturbing that I simply cannot move on without addressing them, however lightly. So … I will address them here: criminals with badges and janitors with guns.
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585 Post Depositphotos_2328778_XS.jpgYeah, yeah, I know this is a family law blog. However, in another lifetime, I was a linguistics major who was conversational in Russian, German, and French, and who thought he had a bright future in geopolitics in the U.S. Foreign Service. At some point, the choice of a career in the law won out, but one does not merely shed past dreams. Rather, they shift to become simple hobbies. And while my Russian and German are now all but non-existent, and my French is truly pathetic, I still try to keep abreast of geopolitics, which was effectively my major at Siena College (political science with many courses in history).

So, when I see Russians, being led by their latest iteration of a totalitarian leader, intentionally (and probably with much preparation and planning) fomenting a civil war in neighboring Ukraine, it gives me pause. And, frankly, I really have to wonder, just how mind-blowingly stupid can Russians be?

Also, if you’re not just a wee bit scared about this unseemly saber-rattling, then you really should be. The last time Russia invaded a neighboring European country (Czechoslovakia), was in 1968, when the U.S. was otherwise engaged in its misadventures in Southeast Asia. Before that, it was Hungary, in 1956.

So, in other words, the Russians have just precipitated a new cold war. What fun!
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572 Post Depositphotos_12068086_xs.jpgOh, dear, oh, dear What can we do?
Five berobed monkeys flinging poo
I came to the court But wound up in the zoo Five berobed monkeys flinging poo
“All time is money Now all votes are, too”
Five berobed monkeys flinging poo
“Your blood is red But our favorite is blue”
Five berobed monkeys flinging poo
“Who pays the piper Will now call the tune”
Five berobed monkeys flinging poo
“The world’s going green So go get a clue”
Five berobed monkeys flinging poo
“You’d best move along There’s nothing to do”
Five berobed monkeys flinging poo
And there they all sit High on their perches Flinging their poo As each one besmirches Their oaths and their robes The public’s good will So blithely debauched And prideful until …

Oh, dear, oh, dear What can we do?
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507 Post Depositphotos_1061104_XS.jpgA time vampire, to be specific.

Sorry for not posting more often, but I have been drowning in a sea of work. And, like a drowning man being thrown a rope to safety, I have had an epiphany in the midst of all of this work. And that epiphany? Unsurprisingly, it’s that I am overworked. Or, rather, I am being pulled in too many different directions. While being extremely busy was fun when I was younger, it’s become a burden the older I’ve gotten. I’d like to spend MORE time with my family – not LESS. So … how the hell do I fix this?

As you may have guessed, the chorus to “Bullet With Butterfly Wings” keeps swirling through my brain. Yeah, something’s up. A safety valve needs to be released or a fuse is gonna blow.

It seems that I have reached a crossroads in my practice, just as I have reached THE crossroads in my life: I turn 50 next Thursday. And right around the time when I am thinking about what to do with Life After Fifty, I find that I am also thinking about what to do with the state of my practice. The problem is obvious: I’ve spread myself far too thin and I have to do something about it NOW before something disastrous occurs. And I think I know just what to do. In fact, I’m certain I have a most excellent solution.
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487 Post Depositphotos_1831593_XS.jpgWe haven’t had a random rant in quite some time. So, let me fire up my Indignation Machine and we’ll get right to it …

Sometimes, ya gotta know when to say when. Or, as Clint might say, “a man’s gotta know his limitations”. And, yes, “they” are overwhelmingly male. And that ain’t a good thing.

I’m soooooooooo glad to see that Proposition 6, raising the mandatory retirement age for judges (from 76 to 80 for Supreme Court judges, and from 70 to 80 for Court of Appeals judges; moreover, no other judges were included; I guess some judges are more equal than others!), went down in flames. And it looks like I’m not the only one. The proposal was thoroughly trounced with over 60% voting “HELL NO!” Look, it’s bad enough that most Upstate judges are white, male, hetero, and largely conservative, but to have them be as old as 80!!?? Gimme a break!

And how’s this for an ethical conflict of interest … Proposition 6 was apparently the brainchild of a judge (who shall herein remain nameless) who would have directly, personally benefitted if this measure had passed. How lovely! It also reeks of desperation. My advice? Put down the gavel and take up a new hobby. Bocci ball, perhaps? Spending more time with your children, grandchildren, and great-grandchildren? Sleeping? But not judging. For the love of god, NOT judging.
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383 Post Depositphotos_1596239_XS.jpgGuess what?

What You Thought Was Your Government is lying to you. Uh-huh.

Oh, and you know what else?

What You Thought Was Your Government is also spying on you. Seriously, dude.

And, for those of you who happen to go abroad and exercise your First Amendment rights in ways that What You Thought Was Your Government may not approve, well …

What You Thought Was Your Government is killing you, too. For real, man.

Surprise!

Now, you have to ask yourself, why on earth would What You Thought Was Your Government be lying to you? What did you do to be lied to?

And, stranger still, why would What You Thought Was Your Government be spying on you? After all, what the hell did you do to be spied on?

And, most chillingly of all, why would What You Thought Was Your Government be killing you without a trial, a hint of due process, or so much as a fart in the direction of the Bill of Rights? KILLING. YOU.

Well, I’m glad you’re finally asking these long overdue questions. I’m glad that you’re finally waking up. I’m glad that you are suddenly curious. Because it’s about damned time!

But I don’t think you’re going to like the answers. And you probably should have woken up a lot sooner than you did.

Because the answers are all the same: THIS. IS. NOT. YOUR. GOVERNMENT!!!!! This is THEIR GOVERNMENT, the government of those who now seek to lie to you, to spy on you, and to kill you.

Wake up, you reality tv-addicted nation of sheep! Wake the hell up! Look at what is being done in your name! Look at what is being done TO you, in your name!

What You Thought Was Your Government has been lying to people and spying on people and killing people for years and years and years. For generations even. But that was being done to Other People. To People Outside Your Nation’s Borders. To foreigners. People you didn’t have to think twice about. Because What You Thought Was Your Government could do all that hard thinking for you.
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261 Post Depositphotos_5541871_XS.jpgWell, it’s been a great run and, hey, if I don’t see or hear from you tomorrow, have a Merry Oblivion, since, as we are all well aware, the world is supposed to end.

Or not.

I tend to side with The Nots actually. You know, those 99.9999% of us who are sane enough to realize that, duh, there is no scientific evidence that the world is going to end tomorrow.

Is the world going to end? I have no doubt that it will. Will its end occur tomorrow? I have no doubt that it won’t. We were all born and we are all going to die; so it goes with worlds, though over a much, much longer scale of time.

And, quite frankly, if the world were to come to an end, it’s very likely that we would already have found at least an inkling of evidence to support such a wild hypothesis. Something, say, like an asteroid slamming into the earth at unimaginable speed and energy levels. An E.L.E. An “extinction-level event” if you will. Yeah, yeah, I know you know what I’m talking about, you saw “Deep Impact” (good movie) and you may have seen “Armageddon” (awful movie).
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