August 23, 2011 9:18 PM - Open Thread
- gay smurf hoodlum
Since Snappy is so hesistant to start a full-fledged sex advice column, I figure i'll do it.
As many of you know I've been an ardent pracitioner of auto-sexuality for quite some time now; this is a lifestyle choice, NOT because I cant go out and hook up with people. There's tons of ho-bags out there, especially in the gay world, so again I repeat: this is a CHOICE!
I have a degree in Psychology from the prestigious Rutgers University in New Jersey so it's not like i don't know what im talking about, okay? About time I do something worthwhile with my psychology degree.
So bring on the questions!!!! nothing is too vile or base to ask, just ask!!! I ask questions all the time that most people would be too embarrassed to ask.
And it's not like im a virgin or anything, hells duh, i HAVE had sex before! I've also seen thousands of hours of porno in my life of all kinds so I can offer good solid down home advice.
Don't be shy, ask Butterfly!
ON GOVERNMENT OVER-REACH: This
should be, rather obviously, filed under the heading, “You
Can’t Make This Stuff Up,” but a kind young lady… Ms.
Schyler Capo, of northern Virginia, saved a baby
woodpecker from the jaws of a neighborhood cat
recently. Having saved the young bird, she took it home
to nurse it back to health before returning it to the wild. A
federal bird and wildlife official, having heard of her good
deed did what any self-respecting government official
would do under the circumstance: he fined her….
$525!!!... for transporting an endangered species.
Actually, to be fair, the official fined young Ms. Capo’s
mother, but that seems hardly to soften the stupidity of
This is the very heart of the problem with government
these days: it is too intrusive; it is too “Big Brother-y” and
it is “stoopid” beyond belief. But such is what the Left
creates when it allows government to become so large
and so intrusive that it errs in manners such as this.
To start this series, I thought I’d define a legal term and discuss how it affects the everyday person dealing with a lawsuit. I will also discuss an important part of small claims cases in New York City courts. With apologies to Sesame Street and CTW, today’s word is:
What the heck does that mean? Well, res judicata is Latin for “the thing has been judged.” When used in a courtroom setting, it effectively means that the subject of the lawsuit currently before the court was already dealt with in a prior lawsuit and the current lawsuit should not proceed. An example of res judicata in operation:
Lucy accuses Anna of breaking her stereo and wants Anna to pay for a new one. Lucy files a lawsuit against Anna in Small Claims Court in Brooklyn. The judge or arbitrator decides that Lucy does not have enough proof to show that Anna broke the stereo. Lucy loses her lawsuit. Unsatisfied, Lucy again files a lawsuit against Anna for the cost of her stereo. This time, Lucy files her lawsuit in Small Claims Court in Manhattan. On the appointed court date, Anna complains to the judge or arbitrator that Lucy already sued her for this very same reason in Brooklyn. Anna tells the judge or arbitrator that the case in Brooklyn was decided and Lucy lost. The judge or arbitrator finds in favor of Anna and dismisses Lucy’s claim. Not because s/he feels that Anna did not break Lucy’s stereo, but because of res judicata. The issue of Lucy’s broken stereo, as it relates to Anna, has already been decided by another court and will not be re-litigated.
Note that above, I said “judge or arbitrator.” In Small Claims Court, either an arbitrator or a judge may hear your claim. Both are legal professionals well versed in the applicable laws, but choosing one or the other will make a difference in your case, particularly your rights after the case is over. If you agree to have your case heard by an arbitrator, you must remember that the arbitrator’s decision cannot be appealed. Both parties must agree to have the case heard by an arbitrator. If you have your case heard by a judge, you can appeal his/her decision. If one or more parties to a small claims lawsuit do not agree to have the case heard by an arbitrator, it will have to be heard by a judge.
So, let’s go back to Lucy and Anna. If an arbitrator adjudicated Lucy’s case, she would be precluded by res judicata from re-litigating the case against Anna. If, however, a judge heard the case, Lucy would not need to file a new case and risk having it dismissed due to res judicata. Instead, she would simply file an appeal.
That being said, why would parties ever agree to have their case heard by an arbitrator instead of a judge? The most common reason arbitrators are chosen is that there are simply more of them available for hearing small claims cases. If, on the appointed court date, the parties insist that a judge hear their case, they may have to wait several days, possibly even weeks, before the case is heard. In some cases, the parties may be so sure of their case that they don’t foresee losing and possibly needing to appeal. Only you (or an attorney you personally consult) can make the decision about seeing an arbitrator or a judge. Be sure to think through your options and be sure you are making an informed decision.
In the next installment, I’ll discuss the standard of proof for civil cases, including small claims cases, and the standard of appeal. Until next time, stay legal!
*note that in criminal proceedings, res judicata is better known as ‘double jeopardy.’
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August 22, 2011 6:44 AM - Open Thread
August 20, 2011 10:26 PM - Open Thread
In this book, Jennifer Baszile tells the story of her life growing up in a Southern California suburb. As is evident from the title, Baszile’s family is one of very few black families in the area. Her parents moved there so that she and her older sister could have access to a better education and better opportunities.
From the very beginning, I truly felt the tension as Baszile describes the hatred aimed at her family by anonymous people in the neighborhood – spray painting racial epithets on their driveway and painting a cherub’s face black. Baszile and her father spend hours scrubbing away at the cherub, and throughout the book I sensed that Baszile was trying to scrub away the pain she feels for not being like the other kids at school. From her disappointment in realizing that makeup is made for white faces to longing to get a lye relaxer so that her hair will blow in the breeze, Baszile related a tale of hurt, but also one of strength. She doesn’t desire to be white. Instead, she has a strong sense of pride in her heritage. She is persistent in asking her parents about their life experience growing up and that of extended family. She longs for stories of strong black women and relishes learning about Harriet Tubman and Rosa Parks. But still, being an ‘only’ is tiring for Baszile. When slavery is taught in school, all the kids turn to look at her. They want to know if her parents were slaves. What is it like? How did they get free? It’s times like these that Baszile gets angry.
As if the pressure of being the token black girl in school weren’t enough, Baszile feels pressure from her parents as well. On a cruise one summer, Baszile and her sister are taken to task by their parents. Their parents noticed that the girls had not made friends with the black kids on board. Outraged, Baszile’s parents lock she and her sister out of their cabin for the day and tell them they cannot come back until they have learned the names of all the black kids on the ship and something notable about them. It turns out that Baszile’s parents feared that growing up in a white neighborhood had somehow made them ‘lose their blackness.’
This book made me quite introspective. Each time I lay the book down, I found myself flipping through the mental pages of my own youth, comparing and contrasting experiences. I’d call my mother, asking her things like if she had fears about ‘maintaining blackness’’ in a white neighborhood once we moved from Chicago. I always appreciate a book that can make me think, and this one is no exception.
Baszile’s writing flows beautifully, keeping you glued to the pages, not wanting to put the book down. However, near the end, the writing feels rushed and tired. It’s almost as if Baszile had toiled for years writing this book and once she neared the end, she was too tired to put any real effort into an ending. Things about her father are suddenly sprung on the reader without having any clue or background as to how such things came about. I felt like I was jolted out of the flow of a good story and suddenly thrust into the mind of someone in a near manic state. Overall, it is still a good read.
Rating: 4/5 stars
August 20, 2011 7:10 AM - Open Thread
August 19, 2011 6:58 AM - Open Thread
Interestingly, I have seen reference to Jarndyce vs. Jarndyce two days in a row by seperate commentators; yesterday by the esteemed Slopefarm, Esq. and this morning by a British chap who writes a daily market commentary.
I left this on Sunday to come back here! :(
In my last article for lifeinbkln.com I brought up the question of what makes living in New York City so special and whether or not this city was a net importer or exporter of culture in this day and age. I purposefully left that question open for readers to discuss and to consider. With this article I hope to add some food for thought by bringing up New Yorkers of another age with names which are undoubtedly familiar to most Americans. They are names synonymous with wealth and privilege, with history and with the fortunes of this city and of our nation as well. Many of their homes remain as a testament to the way they lived. As a sort of living history book for later generations to enjoy and breathe in while walking well worn paths etched by time. Paths still redolent with the gilded age flower gardens continuing to bloom faithfully beneath the canopy of trees hundreds of years old and who alone can hold all the weight of history within their enormous girth.
A trip to the Hudson Valley is a trip back in time. Just over one hundred miles from the madding crowd of Brooklyn sit majestic and well preserved mansions of another age. They line the East bank of the Hudson river and invite visitors to explore the way families like the Vanderbilts, the Roosevelts and the Rockefellers lived. It takes just under 2 hours to get to Dutchess county which is where the majority of these great mansions are located but even the trip there is enjoyable as it winds through the low lying Catskill mountains made famous by artists of the Hudson River school and authors like James Fenimore Cooper, Edith Wharton and Washington Irving.
My first stop was Clermont (photograph above), the ancestral home of the Livingston family. The patriarch was a signer of the Declaration of Independence and the serene home perched high over the Hudson hosted the likes of George Washington and seven generations of the Livingstons. The grounds are well manicured and the home is quite secluded at the end of a winding road through heavy forest. This home was also the launch site of the first Steam Boat which was developed by Robert Fulton and one of the Livingston clan. There are reproductions of the steam ship housed in the visitor center, objects found during archeological excavations nearby as well as a touching short film narrated by the last Livingston to live in the house;
Honora Livingston, who passed away in 2001.
Next stop was Springwood, home of the Roosevelts in Hyde Park. This is a major national historic site and is currently undergoing much renovation on the grounds of the Presidential library. The 290 acre site includes the Roosevelt mansion where FDR grew up, Eleanor’s residence Val-Kill and of course the Presidential library which FDR himself had planned to house the wealth of historical documents pertaining to his 4 terms as President. I really enjoyed looking into his childhood room to see his bed, diplomas, photographs on the wall as well as his wheel chair down the hall.
The library in the mansion looks like the Roosevelts just stepped out for lunch. Even his dog Fala’s favorite blanket is still laid out. There is a reproduction of FDR’s oval office in the Presidential Library building just as it was in 1940. Historical papers such as the actual legislation which he signed to enact the Social Security program fill rooms spanning different eras from the Depression to WWII. The Presidential tomb sits at the center of the family rose garden and consists of an enormous rectangular marble stone which seems to glow in the sunlight.
Down the road from the Roosevelt mansion, about a ten minute drive away, is the stately entrance to the McKim, Mead and White designed Vanderbilt mansion. The estate is comprised of hundreds of acres sitting high above the surrounding landscape. The drive up to the house includes a stone bridge over a creek and a winding road up a hill. The house is practically hidden from view by the surrounding trees until one reaches a flat stretch at the base of a large green field. Looking West from that point the imposing mansion is then seen full on, giving the visitor the feeling of being instantly transformed into a character in an F. Scott Fitzgerald novel or lost somewhere in an old European estate. The National Park Service runs hourly tours of the house during which you can see the priceless antiques and artwork inside. There are hiking trails throughout and convenient scenic lookout points from which to take in the beautiful surrounding countryside across the Hudson.
My short weekend family trip ended at Locust Grove, home of the American artist and inventor Samuel Morse (most notable for the “Morse Code” and telegraph machine). This is a beautiful, Italianate villa designed by Alexander Jackson Davis, the great 19th century architect also known for designing the New York Customs House which still stands as the image of Wall Street. The visitor’s center has an excellent little gallery of Morse's art work on display. Outside of the actual home which contains fantastic examples of 19th century furniture and art and within the forested grounds of this estate, are numerous hiking trails, gardens and the sounds of locusts and cicadas everywhere. In one corner of the property, right by a brook, is the family pet cemetery with small headstones denoting beloved animal companions with names like Penny and Petey. Morse himself is actually interred at Green-Wood Cemetery in Brooklyn.
In between visits to old mansions there are a multitude of things to do from antiques shopping in towns like Rhinebeck and Poughkeepsie to a drive-in movie theater in Hyde Park showing two features for the price of one beginning at 8:30 every night. If you are lucky, you can call ahead and get reservations to dine at one of the restaurants in the famous Culinary Institute of America (CIA) located just south of the FDR home.
There are too many homes and mansions to visit in one trip including but not limited to names like Olana, Montgomery Place, Staatsburgh, Wilderstein and Kykuit (the Rockefeller Estate).
Not to be missed are the opportunities to sit with the family and have a good old fashioned picnic on the grounds of one of the State Parks. Several of the homes are run by the NY State Park system which makes certain that the picnic areas are well maintained with ample parking and clean facilities. While sitting back on a sunny summer day, looking at the trees above and the river below with the sounds of a cool breeze teasing the leaves above, you can almost make out the faint sounds of a bygone era still echoing between the banks of the Hudson.