Recently in Random Rants Category

#621 Radicalizing America One Murdered Black Man At A Time

April 8, 2015

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 Burn. It. Down.

November 25, 2014

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 Profiles In Douchebaggery

October 30, 2014

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 Criminals With Badges, Janitors With Guns

September 30, 2014

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 Russians Living In Glass Federations Shouldn't Throw Stones (Or Foment Civil Wars)

April 25, 2014

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 Five Berobed Monkeys Flinging Poo

April 12, 2014

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?
Five berobed monkeys flinging poo

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#507 The World Is A Vampire

December 14, 2013

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 Too Old To Rock And Roll; Too Young To Die

November 7, 2013

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 A Nation Of Sheep

June 7, 2013

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.


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 It's The End Of The World As We Know It, And I Feel Fine!

December 20, 2012

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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#227 Breathe The Free Air Again, My Friends!

November 7, 2012

227 Post-1 Depositphotos_3378778_XS.jpgBreathe the free air again, my friends.

Where do I begin? First, I'd like to thank my bachelor of arts degree in political science from Siena College for allowing me to call the Electoral College exactly (which I will never let my wife live down). I nailed the exact vote (332 to 206) and the exact series of states for each candidate. As the evening began, with Mitt Romney ahead in both electoral votes and the popular vote, my family thought I was crazy. All I would say was this: "I did the math and my math is correct - Obama is going to win the electoral and squeak by in the popular." They laughed. Surprise! The Electoral College decides the victor, not the popular vote. I thought we all learned this the hard way back in 2000!?

Second, after channel surfing for the first few hours of the evening, I found that CBS and CNN probably had the best coverage, so I ping-ponged between the two every couple of minutes (much to the hostility of my family). The rule in our house is a simple one: on election night, I have total control of the remote. All other days of the year I hand off the remote to my wife or my son. Never on election night. Never.

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#216 Hurricane Sandy

October 29, 2012

216 Post-1 Depositphotos_1601424_xs.jpgCall me a cynic (and, indeed, I know you will!), but when one lives this far inland - and several meters above a small floodplain (the Mourning Kill flows through my property), it's hard for me to take seriously all of the alarmist "run for the hills" chatter about Hurricane Sandy. Yeah, yeah, I know, I know: better safe than sorry. Sure, sure, I get it. Look, we vacationed through Hurricane Irene last year, on the ocean shoreline in Maine, and let me tell you that I have a newfound respect for the unfathomable power of nature. I am now fully aware of what a hurricane sounds like and how terrifying its winds can be. And, yes, I'm grateful that I was not a resident of Vermont or the Schoharie Valley during the terrible time of Irene. I suspect it's the once bitten, twice shy mentality of hurricanes.

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#77 Fragile

January 27, 2012

77 Post Depositphotos_1626147_XS.jpgIt is not a pleasant thought, realizing how fragile we are. How each day could be our last. So we pretend. We pretend our days stretch out to the horizon, as far as the eye can see. It's how we get through our lives.

I have been quite busy of late, unable to write any blog posts. Duty calls and it has been calling quite a lot. However, just as I got down to writing my belated post for Martin Luther King Day, I got word of a death in the family. Not in my immediate family, mind you, but a close and beloved relative in my extended family. Someone I've known for a very long time.

My father's cousin's wife died. Her name was Roberta. A death that is perhaps a bit attenuated, one might think - as I might think, of anyone else - but every family is different and every member is valued in different ways, very often according to their personalities. Pull a thread and it might not matter all that much. Or you might unravel the entire garment.

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#50 Credit Where Credit Is Due: Thank You, David Soares!

December 10, 2011

50 Post Depositphotos_1029641_XS.jpgHaving defended numerous people against a wide array of criminal charges, as a criminal defense attorney, you can pretty much imagine how I feel about district attorneys. Nevertheless, I continue to be impressed by the incredibly principled stands that District Attorney David Soares has taken over the years - and especially the one that he is taking now, relative to the right to peaceably assemble on lands owned by the City of Albany.

And because of his principled stand, he has apparently received death threats. A district attorney receiving death threats!

That the Albany County GOP Chairman and the New York Post are apoplectic over Mr. Soares' refusal to prosecute citizens for exercising their constitutional right to peaceably assemble on city property tells you everything you need to know about the twisted priorities of Republicans and their pseudo-journalistic toadies.

Standing up for what is right is never an easy thing to do. It is only made that much more difficult at a time in our nation's history when so many are so ready, willing, and able to surrender hard-won freedoms for the false security of a national surveillance state.

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#47 Danger: Triangulation Ahead!

December 9, 2011

47 Post Depositphotos_3671691_XS.jpgWell, well, well ... It seems that Governor One Per Cent has had an early visit from The Ghost of Christmas Future. And because the Ghost of Christmas Future has shown Ebenezer - I mean, Andrew - the premature death of his political career should he not heed the winds of change, Governor One Per Cent had a Come To Jesus Moment. It was either that or rank Clintonesque triangulation (which is much more likely), but, given the spirit of the season, I suppose I should accept his sudden change of heart - and overnight zealousness to ram through a bill with minimal debate - in the spirit of forgiveness.

But, wait, there's less!

If you feel as though you have somehow entered an absurdist comedy, you're not alone. When a bill to INCREASE taxes sails through the Republican-controlled Senate 55-0 (and 130-8 in the Democratically-controlled Assembly), and the Senate Majority Leader, Dean Skelos, is quoted as saying "We're cutting taxes, in my opinion", something very strange is afoot.

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