All posts by bret

From Here I Pray

On the Saturday following the presidential election, I was driving through Washington D.C.  While stopped at a red light, I looked to my right and found myself staring at the White House.  Immediately past the traffic light was a parking space, so I pulled in.  I walked to a park bench in Lafayette Park and lit a cigar, an Oliva Nub for those who follow such things. 

I just sat and thought about the election, and what it meant.  I pulled out my Blackberry and began to tap.  About 45 minutes later, I had finished the cigar, and a prayer.  I sent it to some friends.  They sent it to some friends.  Eventually, it was published in the East Cobber, in East Cobb Georgia.  The prayer is reprinted here in it’s original form.  (Minor changes were made to the version that appeared in the East Cobber):

I sit in front of the White House, the ultimate symbol of my government, just four days after a most historic election, and from here I pray.

From here I pray for our new leader. May God bless Mr. Obama with wisdom and strength, insight and fortitude, and the ability to lead our nation through perilous waters and calm.

From here I pray for our current President. May God grant Mr. Bush peaceful respite from the burdens of power, and serenity from his belief that he did what he thought was right, for better or worse.

From here I pray for the insight of perspective, that in days to come we will better understand these past eight years and where we are today.

From here I pray for the citizens of the world. May we all inhabit a planet that fosters the best in humanity, and seek to overcome the worst in human nature.

From here I pray for my fellow countrymen. May we come to realize that there are no “my” problems or “your” problems, but only “our” problems, that we will solve together or suffer accordingly.

From here I pray for the supporters of Mr. Obama. May they celebrate their victory with prideful humility and suppress the urge to settle scores. We all need a leader, not just the ones who voted for the victor.

From here I pray for those who supported another. May they set aside distrust and disappointment and help to bring an end to the visceral anger or hatred that permeates all too much of our society.

From here I pray for those who hate. Whether the hate is based on skin color or views, beliefs or background, may God open their minds and heal their hearts, and may each generation hate less and love more.

From here I pray for those who are hated. May God ease their pain and heal their wounds, and may they find the wisdom and compassion to practice forgiveness, whether those they forgive deserve it or not.

From here I pray for my family and friends. May they enjoy peace and prosperity, health and happiness. And if they cannot fix the problems of the world, may they at least be part of the solution. May they help make their own part of the world better by their presence.

From here I pray for my dear wife. May God grant us many more years together and allow us to celebrate much happiness and appreciate our blessings.

From here I pray for my children. May they never lose their youthful idealism. May they always work to make their world better than they found it. May they come as adults to where I pray, and find that this house, the People’s House, remains a symbol of all that is great about this country I love, and the people who make it so.

From here I pray.

Bret Keisling,

The White House, November 8, 2008  

 

 

 

This May Be My Favorite Headline of All Time

Clinically Depressed Poodle Mauls Former French President Chirac

Former French President Jacques Chirac was rushed to a hospital after being mauled by his pet dog who is being treated for depression, in a dramatic incident that rattled the ex-president’s wife.The couple’s white Maltese poodle, called Sumo, has a history of frenzied fits and became increasingly prone to making “vicious, unprovoked attacks” despite receiving treatment with anti-depressants, Chirac’s wife Bernadette said.

See the full report from Fox News here

Hideous Parents

From the Associated Press …  Daddy says he “likes the name!”

Cake request for 3-year-old Hitler namesake denied

“I think people need to take their heads out of the cloud they’ve been in and start focusing on the future and not on the past,” Heath Campbell said Tuesday in an interview conducted in Easton, on the other side of the Delaware River from where the family lives in Hunterdon County, N.J.

“There’s a new president and he says it’s time for a change; well, then it’s time for a change,” the 35-year-old continued. “They need to accept a name. A name’s a name. The kid isn’t going to grow up and do what (Hitler) did.”

Deborah Campbell, 25, said she phoned in her order last week to the ShopRite. When she told the bakery department she wanted her son’s name spelled out, she was told to talk to a supervisor, who denied the request.

Karen Meleta, a spokeswoman for ShopRite, said the Campbells had similar requests denied at the same store the last two years and said Heath Campbell previously had asked for a swastika to be included in the decoration.

“We reserve the right not to print anything on the cake that we deem to be inappropriate,” Meleta said. “We considered this inappropriate.”

The Campbells ultimately got their cake decorated at a Wal-Mart in Pennsylvania, Deborah Campbell said. About 12 people attended the birthday party on Sunday, including several children who were of mixed race, according to Heath Campbell.

“If we’re so racist, then why would I have them come into my home?” he asked.

The Campbells’ other two children also have unusual names: JoyceLynn Aryan Nation Campbell turns 2 in a few months and Honszlynn Hinler Jeannie Campbell will be 1 in April.

Heath Campbell said he named his son after Adolf Hitler because he liked the name and because “no one else in the world would have that name.” He sounded surprised by all the controversy the dispute had generated.

Campbell said his ancestors are German and that he has lived his entire life in Hunterdon County. On Tuesday he wore a pair of black boots he said were worn by a German soldier during World War II.

He said he was raised not to avoid people of other races but not to mix with them socially or romantically. But he said he would try to raise his children differently.

“Say he grows up and hangs out with black people. That’s fine, I don’t really care,” he said. “That’s his choice.”

New Breed of Lawyer Gives Every Dog His Day in Court

“I’d argue that breaking the leg of a pet isn’t the same as breaking the leg of a table.” — Jeffrey Delott

FOR pigeons in New York City, Bobby, Bertha and Sparky had it pretty good. After being injured in Central Park each was rescued by Gela Kline and Al Streit — founders of a group called Pigeon People — and given a home in the couple’s rent-stabilized apartment on the Upper West Side, where for years the birds passed the time cooing and making music by pecking the keys of a toy piano.

A few years ago, however, the building went co-op, and the new landlords wanted the couple — and their birds — out. They sued to evict, citing an old city ordinance that outlawed chickens, ducks, cows “or any pigeon except Antwerp or homing pigeons” in a New York apartment. Ms. Kline and Mr. Streit thought they were doomed.

Then they called Maddy Tarnofsky, pet lawyer, who quickly spotted a weakness in the landlord’s case: How exactly, she wondered, could the landlord prove that Bobby, Bertha and Sparky weren’t Antwerp or homing pigeons after all?

Read the entire story by Warren St. John in The New York Times

Judge orders lawyers to play game

I love this judge… 

Acrimonious attorneys told to settle dispute by playing a round of ‘rock, paper, scissors.’

NEW YORK (FORTUNE) – Faced with the inability of two bickering attorneys to resolve even the most innocuous scheduling questions without his intervention, a Florida federal judge yesterday ordered the two to meet on the steps of the federal courthouse and resolve their latest quarrel by playing “one (1) game of ‘rock, paper, scissors.’ ”

Judge Gregory A. Presnell of Orlando ordered the unusual measure, which he characterized as “a new form of alternative dispute resolution,” after the two Tampa attorneys had proven unable to agree upon where to hold a deposition, even though both of their offices are just four floors away in the very same building in Tampa.

Read the full story by By Roger Parloff, FORTUNE senior writer.

Read the Judge’s Order here, including parameters for the game and method of appeal.

In the Roberts Court, More Room for Argument

The U.S. Supreme Court has definitely changed under Chief Justice Roberts.  In some ways, for the better.

WASHINGTON, May 2 — This is the week that the Supreme Court, done with its regular argument sessions, enters the stretch run.

While it is too soon for substantive appraisals of the first year of the Roberts court, it is not too soon for stylistic observations about what is clearly, in the view of lawyers who have appeared there this term, a different court.

“The tone has changed,” Prof. Richard J. Lazarus of the Georgetown University Law Center, where he runs the Supreme Court Institute and teaches a course on Supreme Court advocacy, said on Tuesday.

Read the entire story by Linda Greenhouse in the New York Times.

Lawyer Dies Of Heart Attack While Arguing Case

There’s probably a message in here somewhere … 

Raleigh, CA (AHN) — A defense lawyer was in the midst of his argument for a drunk driving case when he collapsed on the courtroom floor and died of a heart attack on Thursday, officials and friends said.

A police officer and bailiffs immediately attempted CPR after Tom Farris, 57, fell in the Wake County courthouse. Emergency personnel arrived within six minuets.

A friend of Farris and a fellow lawyer, Duncan McMillan, says Harris had previously experienced heart problems.

McMillan says that the courthouse had no defibrillators and the rescue workers didn’t have any when they arrived on the scene.

Defibrillators deliver shocks to the heart which can sometimes revive patients. Last year the county allocated money to buy them, but they have been studying where they are needed.

County spokeswoman Sharon Brown said the courthouse should have a minimum of four defibrillators by June.

Mary K. Brunskill – All Headline News Contributor

Player struck by baseball loses lawsuit

America’s new favorite pastime? Frivolous lawsuits! 

SAN FRANCISCO (Reuters) – A player hit by a pitch during a college baseball game in California has struck out in his effort to win damages over the incident.

California’s top court ruled 6-1 against a lawsuit by Jose Avila, a student at Rio Honda Community College, who was struck by a pitch in a 2001 game against Citrus Community College. Both schools are in Southern California.

“For better or worse, being intentionally thrown at is a fundamental part and inherent risk of the sport of baseball,” the court wrote. “It is not the function of tort law to police such conduct.”

“Being intentionally hit is likewise an inherent risk of the sport, so accepted by custom that a pitch intentionally thrown at a batter has its own terminology: ‘brushback,’ ‘beanball,’ ‘chin music.'”

Read the full story here.

Q: Do Men Have Reproductive Rights?

A: Not once they reproduce.  The old days were simpler:  if you play, you pay. 

In a recent, controversial lawsuit, Matt Dubay, a 25-year-old computer programmer, challenges a court order directing him to pay $500 per month in child support.

Dubay alleges that when he engaged in sexual relations with his girlfriend, he was relying on her assurances that, due to a medical condition, she was unable to get pregnant, and that, in any case, she was using some form of contraception to be absolutely safe. He also alleged that he clearly informed her that he was not interested in becoming a parent at that point in time.

However, just three months into their relationship, she conceived a daughter – to whom she ultimately gave birth. Dubay now would like to disclaim any paternal responsibility toward the child – and asks the court to strike down the child support order as unconstitutional.

 Read the full story here