Thursday, December 6, 2007

Subase Bangor sailors need a BIG timeout...(or maybe just a plain old spanking...wait a minute, that's probably what they were after...)

I was recently out to dinner with my family at a brewpub restaurant that has a separate bar and a very popular restaurant area that is family friendly. We eat here often and have known some of the staff members that work there since they were children...

We had the unpleasant experience of having a party of 16 or 17 sailors seated at the table next to us, some of whom were CLEARLY intoxicated, (well, or maybe they were just raised by wolves, no, sorry, wolves are better behaved and do not tolerate this kind of mayhem...) and the evening quickly went downhill.

Now, I will admit, we are prone to colorful language in my household. My parents came from hearty stock that consisted of families that left the coziness of the continental U.S. and settled in SE Alaska to fish, support the war effort during WWII, and generally survive in communities that did not have the refinements of NE Continental U.S...My husband is a retired Sr. Chief in the Navy and learned his expletives at the feet of some of the most respected people in the Navy during the cold war era...

This, however, is no excuse for full grown men, to plop down at a table, scream into their cell phones, note that this is a "family establishment," then drop the F*** bomb REPEATEDLY in loud voices, and slobber over my teenage daughter by first ogling her, then signalling the guy at the other end of the table by yelling, "Go for it!", all the while her father, little sisters, and me are sitting right there with her.

Now, my daughter is not one to be a shrinking violet, especially when faced with cretins of this nature. First, she is not of age to even legally be IN a bar in the State of Washington, but if she were and some guys were noticing her, she'd take care of it and be done with it. But we were in the middle of our dinner and these creeps were being so obvious...she made a comment to me about the guy closest to her acting like a jerk and he looked her up and down, then signalled the guy at the end of the table that she was a "snob" by pushing his nose up with his finger and looking back at my daughter. Gees...do your tactics work on other girls? If so, that's what's wrong with America, loose young women and men with absolutely not moral compass or sense of manners or propriety. I stared at the guy and watched him do all this...he never noticed me as he appeared to be "mesmerized" by every breath my daughter took....she is beautiful, but this guy was incredible in his moronic, obvious behavior. Our server noted it too, and apologized for the idiots' behavior.

To end the matter, my husband finally sought out the senior guy at the table...oh, a "Chief Harris" was toasted during this melee if that rings any bells out there...and explained that he is a retired Sr. Chief, was on subs all his life, understood the need to unwind, but it should be done in the bar and that their behavior was abhorrent in a family restaurant with children around. Our youngest is SEVEN. The guy apologized, and did so again on their way out, but stated that they had been out on the sub for over 130 days and things can get a little out of hand and he apologized again. Nice try, but we found out from a long time friend who is active duty and attached to Bangor, who also has a college age daughter, that the sub in question had in fact been out for only a couple of weeks, and the Sr. guy my husband talked to was the one being signalled at the end of the table regarding my daughter all evening...folks, he's an officer in the U.S. Navy.

I have partied with the Navy. My husband and I have been married for 20 years and we have had some of our best moments with Navy friends and we still see a few couples we have known throughout the years that we met during those precious years. I do know though, that the Uniform Code of Military Justice does require some things of military members that civilians get away with in their day to day life. We hold these people to a bit higher standard, and considering the jobs they are tasked with in our country's defense every day, I think it is appropriate to do so. We need people with restraint, critical thinking, and good decision making skills. Many of the men at the table next to me the other night were showing none of these characteristics, and I only hope they do better at their jobs.

I appreciate the military with every fiber in my body. I fundraise for them, rally for them, pray for them, and thank them when I see them for the service they provide that few would even consider. The behavior the other night, however, while probably limited to a few (which would be comforting) is a symptom of a bigger problem we have in society today that I see everywhere. It is the lack of public decorum, manners, and general societal norms that we used to have. Parents let children run the household and in restaurants they climb all over the furniture, bother other diners, whine when they don't get their way, and GET AWAY WITH IT.

I shopped at a store recently I am in often and while I was browsing some shelves a small group of employees who were stocking shelves with new merchandise were chatting amongst themselves but clearly audible to anyone within twenty feet...all of a sudden someone starts in with "SH*T, she looks like a whore..." and I nearly dropped what I was holding.

WHY DO WE LET THIS GO? I'm not going to anymore and a couple friends of mine I have talked to have already begun speaking up. Join us, take a stand...say something...take America back. We can have fun, let loose, and unwind without being inappropriate and offensive in a public setting.

Federalist Society Convention...huge hit

I recently attended the Federalist Society's Annual Lawyer's Convention in Washington DC. Although I have been a member for a few years this is the first time I have made it to the convention, and it was well worth the time and expense to be there. For the first time in my legal career, (law school included....) I felt as though I was in the midst of people who looked at the law the same way I did, PARTICULARLY, the Supreme Court.

A recent Time magazine article profiled the "Roberts Court" and how it differs from previous courts. The article also analyzed Chief Justice Roberts' philosophy of how the court should be used, which is to say, that the court does not look at the case before them, determine how it should turn out, but rather, what does the Constitution say, what are the facts of this case, and issues a decision based on that, and little, if nothing else. Especially, can I say, FOREIGN LAW?

I am often asked by people what "legislating from the bench" means. Conservatives who pay attention to this phenomena often refer to it in those terms, but it is not always clear what it means. It means, what I described above...looking at how you think a case should turn out and issuing a decision that supports your decision, however loosely. Conservative principles, however, support the separation of powers as laid out by our founding documents and those that fought and died to support that foundation during the years of our Revolution against the crown. It is this separation that dictates to us who makes the laws, who enforces, who upholds, and who determines the Constitutionality of the laws.

Legislatures make laws. The Supreme Court determines the Constitutionality of those laws. The Supreme Court should not make new laws based on the simple fact that a desired outcome is wanted and there is no current law that supports it. Often in state Supreme Courts you see decisions where the court will state in its decision something to the effect of, 'the outcome may seem unfair in this case, but it is the legislature's job to sort that out'...This is a clear hint from the court that it is up to the state lawmakers to look at this case and determine whether a new statute is needed, or for voters in states like ours that embrace the initiative process to take up the cause, get the issue on the ballot, and effect a change of law in that way.

The Roberts court so far, in my opinion, is headed in the right direction, and if you would like more information I do recommend the Time magazine article to you for further reading.

Final thoughts on the convention: Justice Thomas was funny, articulate, and proved to me again what a fabulous choice for the court this man turned out to be. I recently bought his book and when I'm done with textbooks and Vince Flynn novels I will be reading Justice Thomas's book first in my stack of "unreads." President Bush, Justice Alito and Justice Scalia spoke at the black tie dinner and all faced thunderous applause..it was the Society's 25th anniversary and all had kind words for what began as four law students who saw a dearth of conservative views on their law school campus, and started a small revolution.

Two huge speakers during the conference itself were Rudy Giuliani, appearing to perhaps convince this growing group of lawyers that he would appoint strict constructionist judges if elected President. He did a good job I thought, and you can see a small bit of video below, although the clip deals mostly with the great nature of Americans. Lastly, Chief Justice Roberts gave a lecture that turned out to be historical in nature, about our "mascot" at the Society, James Madison, and Madison's attempts to appoint Supreme Court Justices in his day. The Chief Justice was engaging, humorous, educational, and inspirational. A second room had to be opened for those with tickets to see him and it was akin to attending a royal wedding where you're sitting a quarter mile away but at least you're in the "same room!"

We are a lucky people to have this man in the position he is in. Those that feared his appointment, followed by Alito's, do not face wholesale reversals of previous decisions that will take us back to the "dark ages..." If anything of major consequence is reversed in the years to come under the Roberts court, the issues will be sent back to the states to decide, by their own people, which is the point behind state sovereignity and a limited federal government.

All hail the chief...


video

Thursday, November 8, 2007

GOD IN REPUBLICAN POLITICS

Some of you might think this post has to do with Pat Robertson endorsing Rudy Giuliani and the fallout that flows from that announcement...while interesting, I'll save that for another day and share with you what happened at our local county Republican meeting this week.

Our county chairman recently sent out an e-mail that asked others that might be interested, to offer to do the invocation at the monthly meeting. For some time these invocations have been given by a few people who are devout Christians, and the prayer is usually concluded with, "In Jesus's name...." The idea of opening this privilege up to others of perhaps varied backgrounds started a firestorm of controversy that I believe illustrates part of where the Republican party periodically ends up going wrong across this nation.

A motion was made by an executive board member requesting the board adopt a resolution to recognize "the God of the bible." The discussion was one of the most interesting I have ever heard. The majority, board members and public alike, put forth the position that this organization was a political party, first, foremost, and utmost, and looking back at our founding fathers we see, (as well as in the Constitution) that we are free to express our religion, and we reject the inposition of state sponsored religion. While this is a small community the slippery slope argument was made that we can not and should not exclude those that would consider themselves Republican but perhaps practice a different religion than most of the people in that room. Several stated that if they were having this discussion in their church, it would be a far different story, but this is a secular group and organization.

In the end, the motion failed, another that attempted the inverse of the first also failed, and life goes on. What I hope was learned is that our personal beliefs may drive our political leanings, but our religion should not dictate politics. I have realized in the last few years, and was actually one of these people myself once, that many people I know have personal religious beliefs but are uncomfortable being in a room of people where religion is openly discussed and people are sometimes put "in the spotlight" regarding their religious beliefs or lack thereof. If politics becomes too intertwined with religion, Republicans are going to continue to lose people who believe that Republicans and religion are joined at the hip, and believe that because they do not fit that mold they must be Democrats or Independents.

It is not unusual and should be expected that people who are devoutly religious will look for candidates that closely fit their own personal beliefs, both spiritual and governmental policywise; however, people need to recognize that once a candidate is in office the extent to which their religion can dictate governmental policy is very limited. This was the whole point of instituting three separate branches of government with checks and balances. I hope that the kind of discussion we had this week goes on more and more across this country so people that believe in conservative Republican principles will not be afraid to join the Republican party for fear that their "religious" life does not meet the expectations of the party.

Robertson and Giuliani? Let me think some more on that one and what I think it means...I'll let you know later.

Monday, October 29, 2007

GO DINO GO!!!!

I was privileged last week to witness the announcement by Dino Rossi that he is going to run for Governor of Washington State again in 2008. Those of you that live in Washington remember the fiasco that was the 2004 election in this state...and we are certainly not looking for that same kind of rematch. For those of you not lucky enough to live in the People's Republic of Evergreen Trees, in 2004 Mr. Rossi beat the former Attorney General Christine Gregoire in the first two vote counts, but on a third recount requested by Ms. Gregoire, as is allowed by law, Ms. Gregoire took the Governor's Mansion by some 130 plus votes.

The Repubicans filed a lawsuit as it appeared there were numerous problems, mostly in King County, which includes Seattle, with the votes and how they were counted. While it was found that dead people and felons voted, the statute that that covers this in Washington mandates that the challenging party to an election provide evidence of WHO cast the illegal vote. Now I don't know about you, but if you know you are commiting voter fraud, are you going to step forward and tell the authorities you did it? The judge found the Republicans did not meet their burden of proof and let the election results stand, opening the door I thought, for some statute revision. The King County prosecutor did prosecute a few folks who voted for their dead spouse, etc...but it was also discovered that a liberal leaning group went out and registered new voters for the 2004 election, some of whom DID NOT EXIST. Our Secretary of State did implement some election reforms and knocked over 175,000 dead and felon voters off our voter rolls. (Anybody wondering now if Maria Cantwell REALLY beat Slade Gorton in 2002?)

Still, as Republicans, we licked our wounds, bitter and sad, and moved forward. We've watched Christine and her minions for the last three years. As Dino said last Thursday, we're all done watching. I am proud to say I have met Dino and spoken with him on several occasions and I do not know a more honorable person to seek this office for the people of Washington. I've met his wife Terri, an intelligent, supportive woman who with Dino is raising four beautiful children, and I thank her for sharing her husband with the rest of us; it is unselfish and brave as she well knows, she's done this before.

Dino's platform as laid out is basically this...schools need more local control and testing to ensure children are learning. Good teachers should be paid more, bad teachers should be easier to get rid of. People interested in teaching math and science should have the ability to do so without going back to get a Masters in Teaching degree as our children are suffering in these areas and need expert help from people willing to help them. Transportation? For the first time in more than twenty years CONGESTION WILL BE THE NO. 1 PRIORITY OF THE DEPARTMENT OF TRANSPORTATION. A recent audit overseen by the State Auditor, Democrat Brian Sonntag's office, showed that congestion was NOT a priority of the DOT. As if any of us that travel the highways around here had any question...but if we're not ready to abandon our cars and get on a bus or a train that goes nowhere near where we need to go we're ignored...shoved to the corner with a strict finger wagging from big brother for not torching our SUV and at a minimum, buying a Prius. (Wait, the torching would provide pollution....and perhaps lead to more global warming..)

Taxes? Well, Dino is for fiscal SANITY. Yes, sanity. He made it sound pretty simple...she'll raise taxes to pay for things, he'll make sure the state government spends less. The government has grown nearly exponentially since she took over...a record surplus has turned into a huge deficit in just three years. Don't even TRY to blame this on the war in Iraq.

These are just a few of the high points. Please take a look at the video and consider giving this man your firm support...we need a breath of fresh air in this state from someone who, unlike Christine, hasn't spent all of her adult life on the public dole.

GO DINO GO!!!!!!!

video
Learn about Dino's new website where you can tell him about inefficient use of YOUR money!


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Washington's "new" First Family come Nov. 2008.....

Thursday, October 11, 2007

Supreme Court Chips Away at BI's Perceived Power

I am happy to report that individual property rights are still alive in the State of Washington. Today our state Supreme Court issued an opinion striking down Bainbridge Island's moratorium banning shoreline structures which was found to violate our state's Shoreline Management Act of 1971 and found that the City of Bainbridge Island (BI) had no power or authority to enact the moratorium in the first place. It has taken the plaintiffs some six years to get through this mess, but the victory comes complete with an award of attorney fees to stifle some of the agony suffered.

Justice Jim Johnson wrote that, "...despite the clear violation of property owners' rights, the City embraced the moratoria as a means to refuse consideration of any permit applications, thereby deferring difficult development decisions." Additionally, he added later in the opinion:
The City's moratoria also violate the principles of Washington Constitution's article
XVII, secion 1 and the public trust doctrine. The authors of our constitution would be
surprised by the City's claim of power, as would the voters who approved the SMA.
(Shoreline Management Act, added)

Not to be outdone, Justice Chambers, in a concurring separate opinion, wrote, "I write separately in part to state in unequivocal terms my view that the City of Bainbridge Island's year after year renewal of a shoreline building permit moratorium was an act of a stagnant municipal government."

This just had to hurt. Take a few minutes to do an internet search on the workings of BI's government and you will see a body of government that is constantly finding new ways it seems to violate individual's Constitutional rights. They just passed a new ordinance banning election signs on the public right of way. Today the BI council received a slap in the face from our highest court and I hope it is a wake up call to that body so my friends that live on this bizarre but beautiful piece of land can start to see changes back toward the mainstream.

I am hoping that this victory for property rights causes new citizens to be bold enough to stand up for their right to free political speech under the First Amendment on BI and that someone out there is brave enough to continue trying to stuff the clown back in the box.

Thursday, October 4, 2007

Congress wastes time again

I'm a taxpayer. You're a taxpayer. What on earth is the U.S. Congress doing wasting time to take formal action to denounce Rush Limbaugh talking about "phony soldiers?" It just goes to prove that the libs at moveaside.org don't pay enough attention to Rush before condemning him. If you do the research, you will find that there are a few soldiers out there who have come out against the war, who never served "in it." THESE are the people Rush was talking about. His phrase, his definition.

In contrast, we saw some members of Congress take action against the moveon folks and their paid ad in the NYTimes asking the question whether General Petraeus was General "betrayus?" The ad spoke for itself. The context was in black and white in the NYTimes. It posed a question, did not make a statement of fact, but the implication was that some people out there would consider the general a betrayer of the American people. All that saw it were free to draw their own conclusion, but it was clear the persons placing the ad had an opinion on the answer to the question.

Personally, and legally speaking...I think they were both "political speech" falling under the protections of the First Amendment of the U.S. Constitution. I have a bias to both the conservative, and the military, so I think the Petraeus incident was in incredibly bad taste considering the man's actual testimony (some bad, some good with regard to what's happening in the hot zones of the war) and his distinguished military record. I think the libs are trying too hard to make Rush fall within the same category as Rush was consistent within his own definition of what "phony soldiers" were, those that condemn his statements just did not take the time to find out what they were talking about. And, in using their media, which they do rather well, they are forcing the issue of what they want people to think Rush meant, not what he actually meant.

I am hoping that those members in support of this action to condemn Rush Limbaugh are not in favor of supporting and propping up any member of the military who lies about his or her service and their experiences while serving. THAT was the meat of what Rush was saying; those that do so are not credible.

We're all out here paying you congressional members to DO SOMETHING, and this just isn't it.

Thursday, September 27, 2007

Washington Policy Center welcomes former Governor Bush

Tonight I attended the Washington Policy Center's Annual Dinner...it is an independent, thinktank, committed to researching the issues of the day and issuing candid, frank, fact based reports on issues ranging from transportation to social security reform. I can not say enough about this organization to promote it, and I hope that other states have similar organizations.



This year's dinner honored Bruce McCaw, an incredible businessman from our area whose innovations are examples of what we hope our children can achieve (in type) in our future. Our featured speaker, however, former Governor Jeb Bush of Florida, reminded us of some of the shortfalls our education system exhibits in this country and what that leaves us with when we look to our future. A bit bleak, to be sure, but all is not lost. Jeb reminded us also of what makes us great, the great changes they made in Florida that weren't always easy to achieve, at times great opposition was faced, but results showed that the policies were right and the results were worth the fight. One of those policies was vouchers for schools, which allowed families to choose schools.



I have a couple friends who are teachers. I have the utmost respect for those that teach, as I wholeheartedly believe that their intent is sincere; to give our children a foundation from which to grow into citizens that produce for society and that become an integral part of that society. Many of our children do so, but some lag behind. Whether it is due to education shortfall or problems at home, or a combination of both, it is a societal problem that we all need to face and address, or we shall all pay the pice in the future.

Tuesday, September 25, 2007

Rainbow Coalition Absent in Iran

So, Ahmadinejad sets foot on American soil and the pundits go wild. I waited a day to digest all of this and formulate my position on all of this...so here goes...



As a lawyer I take the First Amendment very seriously. (Hear that Senator McCain?) I also believe that discourse on issues, no matter how radical the position, only helps solidify common sense based positions in most of our citizens, at least the ones that are paying attention. So, the question as put forth today seems to be, did Columbia University allowing Ahmadradicalizad to speak give him a positive leg up or did it hurt him because people saw how radical he was and what we're up against when looking to a civilized Iran...?



Word out there is a lot of people in Iran want him out of there anyway...they would like to be a modernized, free country where they can enjoy some of the same freedoms we do without worrying about some nut job bombing somewhere and getting them into a war. (Okay you libs and pink slippers out there...I'm NOT talking abou Bush...) So I am sure that a lot of people in Iran believed that this exposure to the world would be helpful in the rest of the world helping to something to get rid of this guy...but I'm not sure it worked.



If Ahmadradicalizad is a psycopath as I suspect he may be, the exposure only emboldened him. Let's remember folks, the last time he was here he thought some sort of golden aura surrounded him when he spoke at the General Assembly of the UN...



What it comes down to is that I graduated from a college that invited Mumia Abu-Jamal, a convicted cop killer from Philadelphia to speak at my alma mater a few years after I graduated. I have not sent one cent to my alma mater and quite frankly, when they call to ask me for funds I usually start to laugh spontaneously before I tell them "sorry" and hang up.

Columbia University had the right to invite him to speak, however, I hope Columbia alumni make the same decision I did and inform their alma mater of their feelings regarding their choice of speaker, however they choose.

And, along with everyone else, I am SHOCKED to hear that there are no homosexuals in Iran. Although, when you think about what probably happened to any that were apparent, it's incredibly frightening. Since the gay population in the audience at Columbia seemed to be the only "group" with any backbone to stand up for themselves I am anxious to see how the gay population as a whole, feels about any action we end up taking in the future against this madman dictator...we may be able to finally convince gay and lesbian population that most of us are content to let live, let live, and that we will fight against any kind of REAL discrimination any day of the week. When faced with nuclear annihilation we are all AMERICANS.

What Happened in San Diego last week?

I just returned from attending the Republican Western States Leadership Conference in San Diego. We spent three days learning the most up to date information on Terrorism and the Nuclear threat, fundraising, using new technology to get the message out and fundraise, the views of various Republican Presidential Candidates, and a number of other things that are still packed away on the notes in my suitcase.

Various thoughts....Arnold Swarzenegger, while amusing and amazingly smooth for 60, (botox? Maybe he uses weights to 'pull' the wrinkles out of his face) is not what most people think of as a conservative, however, he gets kudos from his fellow Republican State Assemblymen for reaching across the aisle and working to reach solutions on California State's issues.

J.D. Hayworth is one of the most enigmatic speakers I have ever heard, and his previous work as a right back coupled with his size makes him the Congressman I would have been most afraid of if he were across the table from me as a Democrat...Be looking for J.D. and what he does next because I am sure he will be successful at it.

Michael Steele losing the Senate race in Maryland is a huge loss for Republicans all over this country. This man is smart, compassionate, and we are very lucky to have him running GOPAC and looking for bullpen candidates for the Republicans' future.

Barbara Alby, California's State Committeewoman to the NRC is sharp, welcoming, and did a heck of a job putting this conference together. I missed her "just a few housekeeping items" she gave us after each day once the conference was over...Barbara, will you adopt me?

Rich Galen was my favorite. It appears Rich, like me, watches "The Office" on his IPod when he flies...if only I'd managed to sit next to him on a flight we could giggle ourselves all the way to our destination...but Rich...what happened to Fred's representation at this conference?

It appears this conference was the first of its kind. It was not hugely attended...my husband and I were there from WA along with our State Committeeman, Stuart and his wife were from OR, I met a few people including Peter from AZ, and there was a fairly large contingent from HI including Ms. Adrienne, my fellow attorney. I hope they do this again the next Presidential cycle, if not earlier, and it might be a good idea to rotate around to all of the western states so we can all take a turn hosting and hopefully, enjoying the tourism that comes with it.