Monday, July 31, 2006

C minus 2, and counting

C is for closing, as in real estate. We have been living in a plumbing-less, air-conditionless travel trailer amidst 10 acres of mud for two years. We have been trying to build or buy a house. We have had many obstacles. Many. Some self-imposed and some just the luck of the draw.

Now, it appears, we are two days away from closing on a house. A real house with A/C and a real, live bathroom. With 10 acres of pasture, instead of mud, for the horses. It’s fabulous, it’s too good to be true, and I am afraid to get excited about it – but we are so close that I almost can’t help myself. We’ve had it inspected, the appraisal has been done, and it’s beginning to look like it just might happen.

It has a laundry room. Shall I shower first, or do laundry? Perhaps I’ll just soak my feet in the washing machine for a few hours. Ahhhhhh.

With any luck at all, my next post will be from home. Home.

Wednesday, July 26, 2006

A Bush and a Battery

No, not George Bush. The subject today is car stereos. As in, installing them. All right, I could have bought one from a retailer and had it installed, but I have no money and I do have a Harvard degree. It’s a lot cheaper to order it online and install it myself. After all, I’m reasonably bright. I can read a map. I can follow a simple set of instructions, right? I don’t even have to uninstall the old one because it got stolen. That certainly simplifies things.

So my new stereo arrived yesterday. Here’s what I’m supposed to do first: "To avoid shorts in the electrical system, be sure to disconnect the negative battery cable before beginning installation." Are they talking about the car battery? Ok. Well, it might take me a half hour or so to figure out how to open the hood. That is where the battery lives, right? I can handle that.

But then there’s this: "Speakers connected to this unit must be high-power with minimum rating of 50 W and impedance of 4 to 8 ohms. Connecting speakers with output and/or impedance values other than those noted here may result in the speakers catching fire, emitting smoke, or becoming damaged." Huh. That doesn’t sound good.

Which brings me to the bush. There’s a diagram called "Installation with the rubber bush." Maybe I could get one at a porn shop – but I’m pretty sure that’s not what they mean. And I’m sure not about to ask anybody for one.

Hey, Doc, my love, perhaps you have some free time this week?

Monday, July 24, 2006

Bush doing something illegal? Naaaaah...

Well, here’s a big surprise. CNN reports that an American Bar Association task force says it’s unconstitutional for President Bush to use legislative “signing statements” to carve out exemptions from the law. I confess that I had not heard about this particular category of White House illegality, so I did a little checking around.

Presidents have always issued statements (although nowhere near as many as Bush). They’re just comments with no force of law, right? So what’s the big deal?

Well, the big deal is that Justice Scalia actually cited to one of Bush’s statements in a recent dissent. The case was Hamdan v. Rumsfeld, in which the Supreme Court was called on to determine whether federal courts could hear a terrorism detainee’s case. See, when Bush signed the Detainee Treatment Act, he had added a legislative statement saying that federal courts would have no jurisdiction in such cases – in other words, there would be no remedy in court if someone was wrongly detained.

The Supreme Court disagreed, finding that it had jurisdiction, and also finding that the military tribunal violated American and international law. So far so good. But in his dissent, Scalia – joined by two other justices – chided the majority for failing to consider Bush’s statement that the courts have no jurisdiction.

Wait a minute… Did I read right? Scalia is saying that the amount of power the President has depends in part on how much power the President says he has, regardless of the law? Uh, can you say Kim-Jong-il?

That any Supreme Court justice – much less three of them – would allow the Executive Branch to decide the extent of its power leaves me with a decidedly creepy feeling.

The ABA report, by the way, was put together by a list of highly regarded legal bigwigs including judges. It’s not official until (or unless) the ABA approves it at its annual meeting in August. But it makes for some interesting reading even if it’s finally voted down.

By the way, for an exhaustive website on Bush’s signing statements, complete with links, click here.

Wednesday, July 19, 2006

Bye Bye Ralphie

I honestly believe that in my lifetime we will see a country once again governed by Christians...and Christian values. What Christians have got to do is take back this country, one precinct at a time, one neighborhood at a time, and one state at a time. Ralph Reed
The Georgia primaries were held yesterday, with one noteably bright result. Everybody’s favorite baby-faced wingnut, Ralph Reed, was defeated in the GOP contest for lieutenant governor. Guess lying about his opponent didn’t work for him as well as he had hoped.

I’m afraid I was no help, though. My plan was to vote Republican for the first time ever, just so I could vote against Ralph Reed. Perhaps the thought of voting Republican was too much for me. I forgot to vote. Not something I’m very proud of!

Monday, July 17, 2006

Karma, Good and Bad

Just got back from a law librarian convention (heady stuff!) and a retreat for a choral group I'm in. Generally good karma all around. Then, I went to work, and my car got broken into again. They got my radio last time. This time there was just one thing missing: the rainbow sticker I was going to put on my car. Go figure.

Wednesday, July 12, 2006

Caroline's Been Violated

Ok, I finally got a car after being without one for almost a year. I drove her from the dealer to the parking garage at work, and then headed for St. Louis to spend a few wild and crazy days with those wild and crazy law librarians (some of whom are definitely wilder and crazier than others).

Meanwhile, some little punks were having a wild and crazy night of their own in Atlanta. They broke into several cars, including my poor Caroline. She's now missing the driver's side window, and the dash has been ripped out and the (pretty good) stereo stolen. I didn't even get to drive her home yet!

I won't say what I've been thinking about the creeps who did this. I'm too much of a lady, as you can see by my picture. Ast the same time, I'm also laughing -- my bad car karma is just too ridiculous!

Stay tuned for updates.


Monday, July 10, 2006

A big plug for Bark/Bite

Bark/Bite has a great post that includes links to some of his "gayest" posts. It provides a terrific sampler that demonstrates just what makes his blog so good. Check it out!

Saturday, July 08, 2006

Carolina Caravan, Party Time, and Granny

Last week, I put a dollar into a machine to get some Rolaids and three rolls popped out. And that's when I knew my luck was finally changing. And I was right. I have a car!!!!!! My very own, I-don't-have-to-share-it-with-anybody-else-except-maybe-the-passengers car!!!!! I have been without a car since October!!!!!

My new beloved is a slightly banged up '93 Dodge Caravan whom I've dubbed Caroline. All right, she's a gas guzzler but she was cheap and she's mine, all mine.

Doc got a car, too -- a '99 Honda CRV. That one we had to finance. I had hoped to avoid that, but oh, well. Zeze is happy with both of them. Now, if we can just keep them clean!

* * *

It's party time for us wild and crazy law librarians -- the annual meeting of the American Association of Law Librarians. And you haven't lived until you've partied with law librarians. Especially in St. Louis. Yowza! I'm at the airport waiting to get on the plane, and I can hardly contain myself. Actually I really am a little excited but it's mostly because my best friend James will be there and because the AALL convention is a great place to get lots of pretty decent free stuff from all the vendors.

* * *

And Granny? Well, Granny is one loyal reader -- she actually responded to my post even after my long and unexcused absence -- and I invite you to visit her (see my links). She's quite a lady, and not just because she reads my blog. Thank you, Granny!!

Thursday, July 06, 2006

And Two Steps Backwards....

Nothing like bad news to get me motivated to start writing again. Within hours of each other, two state high courts ruled against their LGBT citizens. First, New York's high court ruled that its state constitution permits the prohibition of same-sex marriages. In the second, the Georgia Supreme Court ruled that the voter-approved anti-gay amendment did not illegally include two separate issues. Translated, that means that wills and trusts are now fair game for challenges even where same-sex couples have taken legal steps to leave property to each other. Why? Because the amendment doesn't just prohibit gay marriage. It also states, "no union between persons of the same sex shall be recognized by this state as entitled to the benefits of marriage."

In my home state of Georgia, we can now expect some hateful family member to challenge a will or custody agreement, arguing that such a document confers "benefits of marriage" and therefore cannot be upheld by any state court. The argument will be raised, and soon. And probably by the same bastards who just got done claiming that the amendment passed the single-issue test.

If there's any good news here -- and there ain't much -- it's that at least Republicans are now derailed from raising same-sex marriage as a campaign issue this November.

Sigh. Big, big sigh.