Saturday, July 23, 2005

Deferred Success...A Rose By Another Name

I am not believing this one:

LONDON (Reuters) - The word "fail" should be banned from use in British classrooms and replaced with the phrase "deferred success" to avoid demoralizing pupils, a group of teachers has proposed.

Members of the Professional Association of Teachers (PAT) argue that telling pupils they have failed can put them off learning for life.

A spokesman for the group said it wanted to avoid labeling children. "We recognize that children do not necessarily achieve success first time," he said.

"But I recognize that we can't just strike a word from the dictionary," he said.

The PAT said it would debate the proposal at a conference next week.

We have got to get rid of this PC nonsense. If a kid fails at something, it can be character building. Yes, believe it or not. Of course, if the parents put pressure on the kid to be a "winner" and that "failure" is not an option, then it can be demoralizing. The wise parent is the one who says, "Okay. You failed this subject. You'll spend more time studying. We'll get you a tutor. You'll go to summer school and bring up your grade." It's not the end of the world for a kid to fail a subject, but it can seem to be if the parent acts like it is.

This is a world where you have to be among the best to compete for the best high paying jobs. However, not every kid is a future doctor, lawyer, or scientist. Most parents expect their kid will go to college and become a Supreme Court justice. There are only nine justices at any one time. There are hundreds of thousands of lawyers who will never even see the inside of the Supreme Court much less sit on the bench.

We need good mechanics, electrians, and plumbers. We need people to deliver our mail and packages and to pick up our garbage. We need people to sell insurance, houses, and cars. We need people to teach our kids, protect our communities, and to provide medical assistance at accident scenes. We need people to ring up and bag our groceries. We need people to entertain us on TV, in the movies, on radio and on the sports field. You get the idea. Many people in the jobs I named have degrees, some even in those fields. Many do not. Some don't require a degree, others require a licensing of some sort.

The wise parent will do what they can to raise successful children. I happen to believe that the successful person provides for their family and raises children who do their best, but aren't "demoralized" by a bad or even failing grade. They learn from their mistake and go on with their life.

The successful person may not have the job or career they once dreamed of, but many of us wanted to be cowboys or rock stars when we were young. Our dreams change with our life experiences. The successful person knows what is important in life. Their spouse and children are the most important things in their lives. They know that their job is what provides for their family, and if they are lucky and make good career choices, their job is something they are satisfied and happy doing. In my experience, the parent who is dissatified with their childrens grades wants the best for their children, either because they want the child to do better than they did, or because they are dissatisfied with their own life. Sometimes, it's one and the same thing.

It's human nature for people to want to compare themselves to other people. Grades are one way of doing that. Some kids will "suceed" some will "fail". It's up to the parents and teachers to make sure that while getting an "F" isn't acceptable, but it's also not the end of the world. Calling a failing grade "deferred success" doesn't change anything.

It just sounds nicer.

Thursday, July 21, 2005

Summer Fun Trivia Questions - Week 4

1. After the Lone Ranger saved the day and rode off into the sunset, the grateful citizens would ask, "Who was that masked man?" Invariably, someone would answer, "I don't know, but he left this behind." What did he leave behind? _______________

2. When the Beatles first came to the U.S. in early 1964, we all watched them on the _______________ Show.

3. Get your kicks, _______________.

4. The story you are about to see is true. The names have been changed _______________.

5. In the jungle, the mighty jungle, _______________.

6. After the twist, the mashed potatoes, and the watusi, we "danced" under a stick that was lowered as low as we could go in a dance called the _______________.

7. Nestle makes the very best _______________.

8. Sachmo was America's "ambassador of goodwill". Our parents shared this great jazz trumpet player with us. His name was _______________.

9. What takes a licking and keeps on ticking? _______________

10. Red Skeleton's hobo character was _______________ and he always ended his television show by saying, "Good night and _______________.

11. Some Americans who protested the Vietnam war did so by burning their _______________.

12. The cute little car with the engine in the back and the trunk in the front was called the V.W. What other names did it go by? _______________ and _______________

13. In 1971, singer Don MacLean sang a song about, "the day the music died." This was a tribute to _______________.

14. We can remember the first satellite placed into orbit. The Russians did it. It was called _______________.

15. One of the big fads of the late fifties and sixties was a large plastic ring that we twirled around our waist. It was called the _______________.

Answers to week 3

1. Boxing.

2. Niagara Falls. The rim is worn down about 2 and a half feet each year because of the millions of gallons of water that rush over it every minute.

3. Asparagus and rhubarb.

4. Ten times (not eleven, as most people seem to think, if you do not believe it, try it with your watch, it is only 10 times).

5. Baseball.

6. Strawberry.

7. Dwarf, dwell, and dwindle.

8. Period, comma, colon, semicolon, dash, hyphen, apostrophe, question mark, exclamation point, quotation marks, brackets, parenthesis, braces, and ellipses.

9. Lettuce.

10. Shoes, socks, sandals, sneakers, slippers, skis, snowshoes, stockings, and so on.

Tuesday, July 19, 2005

Judge John Roberts


Age 50
Married with 2 children


Harvard College, A.B., 1976
Harvard Law School, J.D., 1979


Argued 39 cases before SCOTUS winning 25
Law clerk, Hon. Henry Friendly, U.S. Court of Appeals for the Second Circuit, 1979-1980
Law clerk, Associate Justice William Rehnquist, Supreme Court of the United States, 1980-1981
Special assistant to the attorney general, U.S. Department of Justice, 1981-1982
Associate counsel to the president, White House Counsel's Office, 1982-1986
Private practice, Washington, DC, 1986-1989, 1993-2003
Principal deputy solicitor general, U.S. Department of Justice, 1989-1993
U. S. Court of Appeals for District of Columbia CircuitNominated by George W. Bush on January 7, 2003, to a seat vacated by James L. Buckley; Confirmed by the Senate on May 8, 2003, and received commission on June 2, 2003

Civil Rights and Liberties

For a unanimous panel, denied the weak civil rights claims of a 12-year-old girl who was arrested and handcuffed in a Washington, D.C., Metro station for eating a French fry. Roberts noted that "no one is very happy about the events that led to this litigation" and that the Metro authority had changed the policy that led to her arrest. (Hedgepeth v. Washington Metropolitan Area Transit Authority, 2004).

In private practice, wrote a friend-of-the-court brief arguing that Congress had failed to justify a Department of Transportation affirmative action program. (Adarand Constructors, Inc. v. Mineta, 2001).

For Reagan, opposed a congressional effort—in the wake of the 1980 Supreme Court decision Mobile v. Bolden—to make it easier for minorities to successfully argue that their votes had been diluted under the Voting Rights Act.

Separation of Church and State

For Bush I, co-authored a friend-of-the-court brief arguing that public high-school graduation programs could include religious ceremonies. The Supreme Court disagreed by a vote of 5-4. (Lee v. Weisman, 1992)

Environmental Protection and Property Rights

Voted for rehearing in a case about whether a developer had to take down a fence so that the arroyo toad could move freely through its habitat. Roberts argued that the panel was wrong to rule against the developer because the regulations on behalf of the toad, promulgated under the Endangered Species Act, overstepped the federal government's power to regulate interstate commerce. At the end of his opinion, Roberts suggested that rehearing would allow the court to "consider alternative grounds" for protecting the toad that are "more consistent with Supreme Court precedent." (Rancho Viejo v. Nortion, 2003)

For Bush I, argued that environmental groups concerned about mining on public lands had not proved enough about the impact of the government's actions to give them standing to sue. The Supreme Court adopted this argument. (Lujan v. National Wildlife Federation, 1990)

Criminal Law

Joined a unanimous opinion ruling that a police officer who searched the trunk of a car without saying that he was looking for evidence of a crime (the standard for constitutionality) still conducted the search legally, because there was a reasonable basis to think contraband was in the trunk, regardless of whether the officer was thinking in those terms. (U.S. v. Brown, 2004)

Habeas Corpus

Joined a unanimous opinion denying the claim of a prisoner who argued that by tightening parole rules in the middle of his sentence, the government subjected him to an unconstitutional after-the-fact punishment. The panel reversed its decision after a Supreme Court ruling directly contradicted it. (Fletcher v. District of Columbia, 2004)


For Bush I, successfully helped argue that doctors and clinics receiving federal funds may not talk to patients about abortion. (Rust v. Sullivan, 1991)

Judicial Philosophy

Concurring in a decision allowing President Bush to halt suits by Americans against Iraq as the country rebuilds, Roberts called for deference to the executive and for a literal reading of the relevant statute. (Acree v. Republic of Iraq, 2004)

In an article written as a law student, argued that the phrase "just compensation" in the Fifth Amendment, which limits the government in the taking of private property, should be "informed by changing norms of justice." This sounds like a nod to liberal constitutional theory, but Rogers' alternative interpretation was more protective of property interests than Supreme Court law at the time.

General Background

Mr. Roberts, a partner at the D.C. law firm Hogan & Hartson, has long-standing and deep connections to the Republican Party. He is a member of the Republican National Lawyers Association and worked as a political appointee in both the Reagan and Bush I administrations. President George H.W. Bush nominated Mr. Roberts to the D.C. Circuit, but he was considered by some on the Senate Judiciary Committee to be too extreme in his views, and his nomination lapsed. He was nominated by President George W. Bush to the same seat in May 2001.

Reproductive Rights

As a Deputy Solicitor General, Mr. Roberts co-wrote a Supreme Court brief in Rust v. Sullivan,1 for the first Bush administration, which argued that the government could prohibit doctors in federally-funded family planning programs from discussing abortions with their patients. The brief not only argued that the regulations were constitutional, notwithstanding the Supreme Court's decision in Roe v. Wade, but it also made the broader argument that Roe v. Wade was wrongly decided - an argument unnecessary to defend the regulation. The Supreme Court sided with the government on the narrower grounds that the regulation was constitutional.

Environmental Issues

As a student, Mr. Roberts wrote two law review articles arguing for an expansive reading of the Contracts and Takings clauses of the Constitution, taking positions that would restrict Congress' ability to protect the environment. As a member of the Solicitor General's office, Mr. Roberts was the lead counsel for the United States in the Supreme Court case Lujan v. National Wildlife Federation, in which the government argued that private citizens could not sue the federal government for violations of environmental regulations.

As a lawyer in private practice, Mr. Roberts has also represented large corporate interests opposing environmental controls. He submitted an amicus brief on behalf of the National Mining Association in the recent case Bragg v. West Virginia Coal Association. In this case, a three-judge panel of the Fourth Circuit reversed a district court ruling that had stopped the practice of "mountaintop removal" in the state of West Virginia. Citizens of West Virginia who were adversely affected by the practice had sued the state, claiming damage to both their homes and the surrounding area generally. Three Republican appointees - Judges Niemeyer, Luttig, and Williams - held that West Virginia's issuance of permits to mining companies to extract coal by blasting the tops off of mountains and depositing the debris in nearby valleys and streams did not violate the 1977 Federal Surface Mining Control and Reclamation Act. This decision was greeted with great dismay by environmental groups. In another case, Roberts represented one of several intervenors in a case challenging the EPAƂ’s promulgation of rules to reduce nitrogen oxide emissions.

Civil Rights

After a Supreme Court decision effectively nullified certain sections of the Voting Rights Act, Roberts was involved in the Reagan administration's effort to prevent Congress from overturning the Supreme Court's action. The Supreme Court had recently decided that certain sections of the Voting Rights Act could only be violated by intentional discrimination and not by laws that had a discriminatory effect, despite a lack of textual basis for this interpretation in the statute. Roberts was part of the effort to legitimize that decision and to stop Congress from overturning it.

Religion in Schools

While working with the Solicitor General's office, Mr. Roberts co-wrote an amicus brief on behalf of the Bush administration, in which he argued that public high schools can include religious ceremonies in their graduation programs, a view the Supreme Court rejected.

Pro Bono

Mr. Roberts has engaged in significant pro bono work while at Hogan and Hartson, including representation of indigent clients and criminal defendants.

Other Information

Mr. Roberts is a member of two prominent, right-wing legal groups that promote a pro-corporate, anti-regulatory agenda: the Federalist Society and the National Legal Center For The Public Interest, serving on the latter group's Legal Advisory Council.

Judge John Roberts is GW's nominee to replace Justice O'Connor on the Supreme Court. The buzz was that it would be Judge Edith Brown Clement of the 5th Circuit. GW surprised everyone by nominating Judge Roberts.

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The left my have problems because Roberts is not a woman. The left was adamant that a woman be nominated who would be the "swing vote" to replace O'Connor. Oh, he served as a clerk to Rehnquist. He's argued 39 cases before the SCOTUS (winning 25), so he has a pretty good idea of how the Court thinks (they do? Okay, this is not the time for that!). He was born in Buffalo NY, but raised in the Heartland of Indiana.

He's 50, so he could spend 30 or more years on the Bench. From what GW has said so far, he sounds like a good nomination.

Let's see what the Dems can dig up.
The Procedure

I now know, if there was any question, that a liquid fast isn't really something I want to do again. I've thought a few times that a one-day liquid fast once or twice a month might be good to detoxify my system. Not to mention weight loss. Well, I was wrong. I like the texture of food too much. Yesterday, I could drink as much as I wanted to fill me up, but I found that liquids only last for so long. Then I'm hungry again and also have the need to chew on something, anything? I couldn't have anything by mouth after midnight - eight hours and a bit prior to "The Procedure" (ba-da-dum-bum-dummm!).

I was scheduled to be at the Surgical Center at 8:15 this morning. I got up at my usual time, showered and dressed to be ready for my colonoscopy, herein after referred to as "The Procedure." My instructions were not to wear perfume, makeup, jewelry or clothing that was not easy to get in and out of. We got to the Surgical Center on time but had to wait to be checked in (of course!), and then we had to wait until they were ready for me (of course!).

Finally, my name was called and I went into the Pre-Op area. My Other Half had to wait in the waiting room until I was prepped. Good thing. There was barely enough room in the prep area for the bed and me. My glasses were put into a bin under the bed and I was instructed to take off my clothes and get into the lovely backless ensemble I was given (I was allowed to keep to keep my socks on). I climbed into the bed. Diane, my prep nurse, introduced herself as she hooked me up to a blood-pressure cuff (which tried periodically to squeeze my arm off). Diane then prepared my hand for the IV where the anesthesia would be introduced. She said there would be a "bite" and a "sting" as she numbed my hand for the IV. She was right. Ouch! Thanks to the numbing, I never felt the needle go into my hand even though Diane said I'd feel some pressure. My Other Half was finally allowed to come back and sit with me until they took me into the room where "The Procedure" would be done.

When I was rolled into the procedure room, I was told to turn onto my left side and instructed on how to place my legs (the right one bent and the left straight) and given padding where my hands and right leg touched the railings. When the doctor got there I was asked (for about the tenth time) my name, my doctor's name, and the procedure. Everyone was on the same page and agreed that everyone was there for the same reason - to do "The Procedure".

I saw the anesthesiologist start the plunger that contained the anesthesia. That was all I saw until I woke up about an hour later. It could have been thirty minutes, for all I really know, I didn't have my watch on. I was a little disoriented, but still alert. The anesthesia wore off quickly. Too quickly. I wanted to use it as an excuse for whatever silly or dumb thing I was likely to do or say during the day.
The doctor came in and told me that everything went fine. I have a couple of little hemorroids and a polyp which they cut out. His office will call me in a week or so and give me the results.

I had told My Other Half yesterday that at whatever time we left the Surgical Center, we were going to find someplace to eat. I wanted solid food and I didn't really care (too much) what it was as long as it was solid! The time would be the deciding factor whether it was breakfast, lunch or dinner. We were out early enough for a late breakfast and we went in search of Denny's or IHOP. IHOP was closest so that's where we went.

They had forgotten to warn me about the gas I would experience. I had read the literature so I new that they pumped some air in during "The Procedure" so I was prepared for that. I was so glad that we weren't seated near anyone else during breakfast. I did indeed so enjoy my breakfast of eggs, bacon, and hash browns. Carbs be damned! Tomorrow, we'll get back on track and watch our carbs the way we should (My Other Half is diabetic so he has to watch them all the time). We'll start to exercise and be more mindful of our health. And do all the other things responsible adults do.

Being a grown up can be the pits!

Monday, July 18, 2005

What Are the Lottery Numbers?

That was the question my sergeant asked when I put in for two days sick leave a couple of weeks ago. Since I knew I was going to "be sick" for two days a couple of weeks in advance, he thought I also knew what numbers were coming up in the state lotto. I laughed and told him that if I knew the answer to that, well, I wouldn't be concerned with putting in for two days off. I'd be putting in my retirement papers.

I had been to my doctor for a physical and, being at that magical age, was scheduled for a...uhm..."procedure". Because of HIPPA laws, rules, procedures, regulations, and God knows what else, the sergeant couldn't ask why I needed the time off. But, being the person I am (not really caring who knew that I was having a "procedure"), explained that Monday would be for...uhm...preparation and the second day, Tuesday, the "procedure" would actually done. He, being the smart fellow he is, figured that was the situation, but just had to be a smart a...aleck and ask for the lottery numbers.

So today I was home from work to "prepare". I was on a liquid fast all day. I could drink just about anything I wanted as long as it wasn't "red". Red is a problem for this "procedure." I found out that fasting isn't as easy as it looks. I need to chew! I want to savor the flavor and texture of solid food in my mouth. I told My Other Half that depending on how I reacted to the sedation, we were going out to eat, for a late breakfast, lunch, or dinner, depending on what time I was released.

I did have to drink two specific liquids, well, one was a liquid, the other a powder to be mixed with a liquid. The first began at 8 am and needed to be finished in an hour. The second, prepared in the morning and refrigerated, began at 2 pm. I could work on getting it down all afternoon. It really wasn't difficult, I just had to drink liquids and be close to the...uhm...facilities. Aside from the need for texture in my food, it wasn't difficult. I knew that everything would come out in the end.

And it did.

Sunday, July 17, 2005

Sandy Berger Sentencing Delayed

I know most of you probably know this. Sentencing that was supposed to be handed down on July 8 has been postponed until September. As far as I know, no reason has been given. Speculation is that U.S. Magistrate Deborah Robinson is opposing the light sentencing recommendations: a $10,000 fine, a three-year suspension of Berger's security clearance and no jail time.

Let's see, this is a man who mistakenly put classified documents in his pants, socks, and briefcase when leaving the National Archives, then accidently destroyed some of these documents.

I'm still wondering how anyone could "mistakenly" put documents into his pants and socks. The briefcase I can sort of believe. I've picked up documents with other documents from my desk. That's something that, while it shouldn't happen, it does. But even in my most distracted state I've never put documents in my clothing.

Sorry, I can't accept that this was a mistake. Sandy Berger is a thief. He should lose his security clearance permanently, receive a fine of at least $100,000 and spend at least a year in jail, which is the maximum sentence for a misdemeanor. I wish it could only be more.

Can you guess what would happen if Conde Rice were in this situation? They'd try to bury her under the prison. There would be no misdemeanor pleas, she'd have the book thrown at her.

Right is right and Wrong is wrong. Allowing Berger to plead to a misdemeanor and get a recommendation that amounts to no more than a slap on the wrist.
Shoe Bomber Sentenced

From the
Sunnyeside, I found the sentences imposed by Judge William Young. Richard Reid was sentenced to three life sentences, 4-20 year sentences to be served consecutively (for those who were educated in the public school system, that's one after the other, not at the same time), plus an additional 30 year sentence on the last conviction. That's three life sentences plus 110 years.

Fines were imposed in the amounts of $250,000 for each of the eight counts ($2 million), restitution of $6,082.17, and a $800 special assessment for a total fine for a total monetary fine/restitution/assessment of $2,006,882.17.

Mr. Reid won't live to fulfill the years of his sentence, and since he will be incarcerated, he will be unable to pay the money due. The best part of the sentencing, however, was the statement made by Judge Young. Below is the relative portion of this statement, any emphasis is mine.

The Court imposes upon you five years supervised release simply because the law requires it. But the life sentences are real life sentences so I need go no further. This is the sentence that is provided for by our statutes. It is a fair and just sentence. It is a righteous sentence.

Let me explain this to you. We are not afraid of you or any of your terrorist co-conspirators, Mr. Reid. We are Americans. We have been through the fire before. There is all too much war talk here and I say that to everyone with the utmost respect. Here in this court, we deal with individuals as individuals and care for individuals as individuals.

As human beings, we reach out for justice.

You are not an enemy combatant. You are a terrorist. You are not a soldier in any war. You are a terrorist. To give you that reference, to call you a soldier, gives you far too much stature. Whether it is the officers of government who do it or your attorney who does it, or if you think you are a soldier. You are not----- you are a terrorist.
And we do not negotiate with terrorists. We do not meet with terrorists. We do not sign documents with terrorists. We hunt them down one by one and bring them to justice.

So war talk is way out of line in this court. You are a big fellow. But you are not that big. You're no warrior. I've known warriors.

You are a terrorist. A species of criminal that is guilty of multiple attempted murders. In a very real sense, State Trooper Santiago had it right when you first were taken off that plane and into custody and you wondered where the press and where the TV crews were, and he said: "You're no big deal."

You are no big deal.

What your able counsel and what the equally able United States attorneys have grappled with and what I have as honestly as I know how tried to grapple with, is why you did something so horrific. What was it that led you here to this courtroom today?

I have listened respectfully to what you have to say. And I ask you to search your heart and ask yourself what sort of unfathomable hate led you to do what you are guilty and admit you are guilty of doing. And I have an answer for you. It may not satisfy you, but as I search this entire record, it comes as close to understanding as I know.

It seems to me you hate the one thing that to us is most precious.

You hate our freedom. Our individual freedom. Our individual freedom to live as we choose, to come and go as we choose, to believe or not believe as we individually choose. Here, in this society, the very wind carries freedom. It carries it everywhere from sea to shining sea. It is because we prize individual freedom so much that you are here in this beautiful courtroom. So that everyone can see, truly see, that justice is administered fairly, individually, and discretely. It is for freedom's sake that your lawyers are striving so vigorously on your behalf and have filed appeals, will go on in their representation of you before other judges.

We Americans are all about freedom. Because we all know that the way we treat you, Mr. Reid, is the measure of our own liberties. Make no mistake though. It is yet true that we will bare any burden; pay any price, to preserve our freedoms. Look around this courtroom. Mark it well. The world is not going to long remember what you or I say here.

Day after tomorrow, it will be forgotten, but this, however, will long endure. Here in this courtroom and courtrooms all across America, the American people will gather to see that justice, individual justice, justice, not war, individual justice is in fact being done. The very President of the United States through his officers come into courtrooms and lay out evidence on which specific matters can be judged and juries of citizens will gather to sit and judge that evidence democratically, to mold and shape and refine our sense of justice.

See that flag, Mr. Reid? That's the flag of the United States of America. That flag will fly there long after this is all forgotten. That flag stands for freedom. And it always s will.

Mr. Custody Officer. Stand him down.