Wednesday, November 19, 2008

In case you wondered why Prop 8 is a big deal...

The family law society at my law school passed around a link to this paper, a greater and well-document treatise on some of the real implications of same-sex marriage. This paper answers the cry -- but how will my gay marriage hurt you?

The main idea, discussed in one of the opening paragraphs below, is that the debate isn't about if same-sex couples can exist and get legal rights--guess what...they can! They have been able to for years, in lots of states...including California. No, the issue is that same-sex couples want marriage--the real title--and all of the political sway that having that label and firepower against "discrimination" and "right-wing" groups will give them. If you don't believe me...take a look at the diplomatic approach to the dialogue taken by No on Prop 8 Protestors against the LDS Church.

"Specifically, in a society that redefines marriage to include same–sex unions, those who continue to believe marriage is a relationship between a man and a woman can expect to face three types of bur­dens. First, institutions that support the traditional understanding of marriage may be denied access to several types of government benefits, and individ­uals who work in the public sector may face cen­sorship, disciplinary action, and even loss of employment. Second, those who support the tradi­tional understanding of marriage will be subject to even greater civil liability under nondiscrimination laws that prohibit private discrimination based on sexual orientation, marital status, and gender.[1] Third, the existence of nondiscrimination laws, combined with state administrative policies, can invite private forms of discrimination against reli­gious individuals who believe that marriage involves a man and a woman and foster a climate of contempt for the public expression of their views."

Good food for thought, especially since expressing one's democratic belief apparently means that groups can boycott and name-call and call US...haters.

Monday, November 10, 2008

Scary signs you might be becoming a lawyer...

I was driving around on Saturday, my mind wandering, when I had a sudden thought.

If I got hit by some guy right now from California (only bc a Utah driver, although more plausible on multiple levels, doesn't work in my hypothetical)...would there be diversity jurisdiction?

I thought about who would be the different parties on either side and if we would reach the jurisdictional amount, and how much damage that would have to be, but that it wouldn't matter in federal quetion because there is no damages floor...but what kind of accident invokes federal question automatically--hitting a loose Army humvee on the road? But wouldn't they have governmental immunity, unless they were somewhat negligent on their part and...

I thought all of this.


And there is a month before finals. Yeesh.

Wednesday, November 5, 2008

I won't hate Obama (an essay written the night before the election by my Dad)

I hope Obama will live up to his repeated promises to usher in a new brand of governance that will turn a deaf ear to lobbyists seeking to enrich industries at the expense of the country as a whole, often times while ignoring common sense. And I hope he remembers that groups like unions, like the Teacher’s Union for example, are lobbyists too seeking to line their own pockets (even if they are his rabid self-serving supporters.)

I hope he doesn’t further destroy our economy and take our recession into a depression. If he expands government spending and increases taxes, it will happen. Our country currently spends about 9% of GDP on social programs…most of Western Europe spends 19% of GDP. Europe suffers from a list of economic woes so much longer and more severe than ours, that a quick study of the EU econometrics makes you feel almost warm and fuzzy about our financial Titanic. If we move in that direction, being big governmental entitlement expansion funded by tax hikes and/or deficits, we will find ourselves with a shrinking dollar, a growing deficit, higher unemployment, and a flight of capital. I hope I am wrong about all of these things…..and I hope the top 10% of taxpayers…..who currently pay about 70% of all the taxes…..will be giddy about paying more, and passing less on to their family, and keeping less of investment/risk rewards…….but I am afraid I am not.

I hope my unease about Obama’s political lineage is media-driven and unfounded. Maybe Wright, Ayers, Mansour, Dohrn, Rezko, Kahlidi, Marilyn Katz are just reflections of immature judgment, or necessary and unavoidable political bedfellows. I hope so. I honestly do. Because it scares me that tomorrow we will have a man elected POTUS who would NEVER get hired by the FBI, or NSA, or CIA, or receive a high security clearance. While I don’t necessarily believe in guilt by association……I think these associations are ill reflections on a man whose main selling point is his biography, not accomplishment or demonstrated character.

Let’s face it….our government is broke. Spending is out of control. Accountability is absent. The last 8 years have made things worse, not better. And less you think this is a George Bush-only problem get a grip on the reality that the public opinion of Congress (Democratically dominated since 2006) is lower than W’s. We have concentrated power and parochial ideology from a two-party system that would make our forefathers vomit. They were notably skeptical of political parties. So am I. Ideally we would elect a leader at this time who was savvy, non-partisan, pragmatic, proud of our country, passionate about protecting our historical freedoms, wary of government bloat and corruption, and brave enough to look into the pathetic plethora of media leeches and speak the truth to the American public. I don’t think Obama is any of these things, and I hope I am dead wrong.

But no matter what happens tomorrow, I won’t hate Obama. Not if he is elected President. We have had enough of that for the past 8 years, haven’t we? The small-minded and bitter liberal left, including a Hollywood crowd too long to list, constantly spewed hate about W…not his policies, not his perceived mistakes, not even about his behavior…but about the POTUS. And the hate came in unprecedented volume…even when compared to derision aimed at the international buffoonery of Carter or abject moral failure of Clinton. No…it was legitimate hate. And as far as I can see…it didn’t make any of us better, or any of W’s bad decisions less bad. So I am sure I will hate many of Obama’s policies..even if I only choose from the list he has already displayed (as opposed to the much larger list undoubtedly yet to come.) If he accelerates class warfare and/or race warfare….I will hate that. If he makes me take my money out of the country……(and one thing even a high school econ student knows is that investor’s and their capital always react to taxation policies)…..I will hate doing that. But I won’t hate Obama as long as he is President of the United States. I don’t think I can afford to….or at least initially….WE can afford to.

So I hope I am wrong about Obama. I pray I am wrong about Obama. And you know me…..I hate being wrong.

Good luck to us all.

Tax Plan Simplified...or...this is what you voted for America....congrats...

Suppose that every day, ten men go out for beer and the bill for all ten comes to $100.

If they paid their bill the way we pay our taxes, it would go something like this:

The first four men (the poorest) would pay nothing.

The fifth would pay $1.

The sixth would pay $3.

The seventh would pay $7.

The eighth would pay $12.

The ninth would pay $18.

The tenth man (the richest) would pay $59.

So, that's what they decided to do.

The ten men drank in the bar every day and seemed quite happy with the arrangement, until one day, the owner threw them a curve. "Since you are all such good customers," he said,

"I'm going to reduce the cost of your daily beer by $20. Drinks for the ten now cost just $80."

The group still wanted to pay their bill the way we pay our taxes so the first four men were unaffected. They would still drink for free.

But what about the other six men - the paying customers? How could they divide the $20 windfall so that everyone would get his 'fair share?'

They realized that $20 divided by six is $3.33. But if they subtracted that from everybody's share,

then the fifth man and the sixth man would each end up being paid to drink his beer. So, the bar owner suggested that it would be fair to reduce each man's bill by roughly the same amount, and he proceeded to work out the amounts each should pay.

And so:

The fifth man, like the first four, now paid nothing (100% savings).

The sixth now paid $2 instead of $3 (33% savings).

The seventh now pay $5 instead of $7 (28% savings).

The eighth now paid $9 instead of $12 (25% savings).

The ninth now paid $14 instead of $18 (22% savings).

The tenth now paid $49 instead of $59 (16% savings).

Each of the six was better off than before.

And the first four continued to drink for free. But once outside the restaurant, the men began to compare their savings.

"I only got a dollar out of the $20," declared the sixth man. He pointed to the tenth man, "but he got


"Yeah, that's right," exclaimed the fifth man. "I only saved a Dollar, too. It's unfair that he got ten times more than I did!"

" That's true!!" shouted the seventh man. "Why should he get $10 back when I got only two? The wealthy get all the breaks!"

"Wait a minute," yelled the first four men in unison. "We didn't get anything at all. The system exploits the poor!"

The nine men surrounded the tenth and beat him up.

The next night the tenth man didn't show up for drinks, so the nine sat down and had beers without him. But when it came time to pay the bill, they discovered something important. They didn't have enough money between all of them for even half of the bill!

And that, boys and girls, journalists and college professors, is how our tax system works. The people who pay the highest taxes get the most benefit from a tax reduction. Tax them too much, attack them for being wealthy, and they just may not show up an anymore. In fact, they might start drinking overseas where the atmosphere is somewhat friendlier.

(Originally appearing in the Chicago Tribune, 4 March 2001; see