Friday, August 31, 2007

Selling Books

A friend of mine, Carolyn Mansager, just sold a bunch of books online to Cash4Books. You mail them your books, and they mail you a check. She said that she liked it, so I might give it a try too. (Truth-in-advertising: if you clink on the link above and then sell your books, Carolyn gets a small referral fee.)

Thursday, August 16, 2007

If this guy sues you, I'd advise you to settle

Lawyer Attacks Pit Bulls, Saves Woman

When Paul Geller spotted two pit bulls attacking a pregnant woman walking her small dog in Delray Beach, Fla., this past weekend, he didn't hesitate.

Pulling over to the side of the road, the 39-year-old plaintiffs securities litigator warned his 8-year-old son not to try this himself and then leaped out of his BMW and attacked the two dogs and drove them away, according to the Wall Street Journal law blog.

Geller had perhaps unique credentials for the fray: He is the partner in charge of the Boca Raton office of Lerach Coughlin Stoia Geller Rudman & Robbins. Plus, he is a practitioner of jujitsu, a weaponless Japanese martial art that is defined by Merriam Webster as "employing holds, throws, and paralyzing blows to subdue or disable an opponent."

An adrenaline rush helped, Geller told the Journal. He said he kicked and barked orders at the most aggressive dog, and both animals ran away. “In the course of litigation, there’s no doubt that you get adrenaline rushes from time to time,” he says, “but nothing like this. ... The woman was on the ground and one of the pit bulls was on top of her. Blood was everywhere.”

Why we fight and how we are winning

Spiegel magazine, one of our country's worst critics, went to Iraq and discovered -- to their surprise -- that we seem to be winning:

Army Units of the 1st Battalion of the 77th United States Armored Regiment -- nicknamed the "Steel Tigers" and sent from an American base in Schweinfurt, Germany -- approached from the north and south. But the enemy was strong and they quickly realized that in order to defeat it, they needed air support. Before long, Apache combat helicopters, F-18 Hornet and AV-8 Harrier jets approached, the explosions from their guns lighting up the night sky on June 30.

The "Battle of Donkey Island," named after the wild donkeys native to the region, lasted 23 hours. The Americans forced the enemy to engage in trench warfare in the rough brush, eventually trapping them in the vast riverside landscape. It wasn't until later, after the soldiers lost two of their own and killed 35 terrorists, that they realized the scope of the disaster they had foiled.

Three of the captured attackers, who claimed to be members of al-Qaida in Iraq, revealed their plan to plunge Ramadi into chaos once again by staging multiple attacks in broad daylight. By unleashing a devastating series of suicide attacks on the city, they hoped to destroy the delicate peace in Ramadi and bring the war back to its markets, squares, streets and residential neighborhoods.


Ramadi is an irritating contradiction of almost everything the world thinks it knows about Iraq -- it is proof that the US military is more successful than the world wants to believe. Ramadi demonstrates that large parts of Iraq -- not just Anbar Province, but also many other rural areas along the Tigris and Euphrates Rivers -- are essentially pacified today. This is news the world doesn't hear: Ramadi, long a hotbed of unrest, a city that once formed the southwestern tip of the notorious "Sunni Triangle," is now telling a different story, a story of Americans who came here as liberators, became hated occupiers and are now the protectors of Iraqi reconstruction.

In case you've forgotten the sort of thing that we are fighting against, here is a reminder:

It is early dawn as seven young men are led to the gallows amid shouts of "Allah Akbar" (Allah is the greatest) from a crowd of bearded men as a handful of women, all in hijab, ululate to a high pitch. A few minutes later, the seven are hanged as a mullah shouts: "Alhamd li-Allah" (Praise be to Allah).

The scene was Wednesday in Mashad, Iran's second most populous city, where a crackdown against "anti-Islam hooligans" has been under way for weeks.

Here is another:

Iranian authorities in Tehran lashed a man on his back earlier this year for having a bible in his car, an Iranian Christian group said in a report on its website on Friday.

The man was only identified by the initials A. Sh.

On 5 May, the man, driving his vehicle, was involved in a road accident with a car belonging to security guards for a government official in Tehran.

A bible and a video of Jesus Christ were found in the man's possession upon inspection of his vehicle by the state security forces (SSF).

Thursday, August 09, 2007

Congress bickers over ... renovations to the House gym

From The Hill: Pelosi arm-wrestles over cash for the House gym
After dueling with House Energy and Commerce Committee Chairman John Dingell (D-Mich.) to pass a renewable energy bill, Speaker Nancy Pelosi (D-Calif.) faces a wrestling match with another rogue chairman. And this one can bench-press 265 pounds.

Pelosi is set to square off against Rep. Neil Abercrombie (D-Hawaii), the power-lifting chairman of the House gym committee.

Abercrombie is touting his efforts to secure funding in the legislative branch spending bill to begin an estimated $8 million renovation of the House gym. The project is personally important to Abercrombie, who sets a yearly goal to bench-press 200 pounds more than his age, now 69.

Pelosi and other Democratic leaders are not eager for a multimillion-dollar renovation of the congressional members-only gym to be one of the first accomplishments of the Democratic majority.
Well, they've been collecting salaries for 8 months already without a single major accomplishment. At least a new gym would be something.

Wednesday, August 01, 2007

An English Magistrate

When I was a teenager, I was a big John Mortimer fan. So I loved reading this English Magistrate's blog. Here, for example, is his reaction to the news that Texas' prosecutors are now allowed to carry guns in the courtroom:
Prosecutors in parts of the USA are, it seems, to be allowed to go into court armed (or 'tooled up' as they say on my patch).
The idea of knowingly allowing weapons to be taken into court is stupid enough; but by prosecutors? Most of the [prosecutors] I deal with are people I would not trust to feed my goldfish, even if I had any goldfish. If they turn up in my court packing heat - I'm going to look for something - anything - safer to do in my spare time..