Thursday, May 26, 2005

US Senate Club

The US senate should be called the chamber of prevaricators. To listen to their retoric is to hear self appointed saints plead their cases before a higher power. The so-called minority interest protection supplied by a filibuster is the charade. If the senate chamber is filled with independently minded individuals (a major assumption) then a bad submission by the president would be voted down, regardless of party affiliation. If, on the other hand, the chamber is filled with intellectual sheep (as demonstrated by their actions), then perhaps the filibuster is necessary. The members of the senate should answer this question themselves.
It would appear, to those not privy to the most exclusive club in the US, that the elected ones very quickly forget that they were elected by the people (us,the public) and not by some political "Old Boys Club". These members are so beholden to money, and party affiliation, that they forget (ignore) the citizens in deference to the next contributor. The concept of one term (8 years) senators is not a bad idea. If there is senatorial election every 2 years for a quarter of the membership, then the continuity issue is settled. And, we get rid of the money incentive for elected senators. Tough laws would have to be written to prevent carryover funding and electioneering by sitting senators. Just imagine, the senate would actually have to work! Oh, and they would be subject to the same laws that they pass, for instance, paying Social Security, having to pay their own medical insurance and use public hospitals. This concept has significant merit as you can see where it could lead.

Sunday, May 22, 2005

Jury Duty Thoughts

Having just read an article on how Texas is rethinking jury duty and how it's citizens are compensated and having just received my own jury summons leads me to write this.
When I was previously summoned for jury duty one of two things happened. When it was for grand jury,I was chosen to sit and in one instance made foreman. When summoned for petit jury and interviewed, I was dismissed after describing my technical background. It seems that lawyers don't appreciate people serving on the jury who are trained to think in terms of facts as opposed to emotions. Beyond this obvious bias against "truth" seekers is the matter of unjust compensation when placed on a sitting jury. The Judge is obviously well compensated, as are the other staff present in the courtroom. The lawyers and the prosecutor are well paid with the lawyers pulling in hundreds of dollars per hour and in some cases substantial pieces of any monetary settlement. Now we look at the jury, who are told they have the most important task in the courtroom. If they are lucky they get 12 cents per mile travel expenses and $5.00 compensation and they are told to be certain that they declare this"income" on their tax returns! Since the costs to operate my car are well in excess of 12 cents per mile, it seems logical to declare this loss as a charitable contribution . However, just try and put that on your tax return and wait for the auditor to call.
All of which brings me back to the matter of compensation. If the jury is so critical and necessary then the members should be compensated at least at their current/last income rate or better yet at the average rate of the lawyers present in the courtroom. Just imagine the jury pool that would become available under these circumstances.

Thursday, May 19, 2005

Voices in the Wilderness called Washington

We are now ready to listen to the minority party filibuster, having forgotten that they lost the last election. The filibuster is long overdue for extinction. It was used to maintain "Jim Crow" in the south so it's an engine for maintaining the status quo as well as avoiding "stacking the courts". I'm certain that our Congress, overpopulated with lawyers as it is, will succeed in finding new ways to circumvent whatever rules they dislike. Since the Democrats lost the election, the voices of the citizens have spoken. They chose the current controlling party and it's platform, therefore let the programs fall as they may. The majority supposedly rules and they have ruled.
An interesting aside; If you look up the definition of filibusterer in the dictionary, there are other meanings. ie. to act as a freebooter, buccaneer, or irregular military adventurer or better yet, one who engages in an unlawful military expedition into a foreign country. Strange how the shoe sometimes fits the wearer, isn't it?

Wednesday, May 18, 2005

Starting Rant

Why is it that CBS and Newsweek can't be held accountable? They apparently sit at the right hand of the law profession and are immune to the court system. Can you imagine the consequences of "Joe Blow" pulling their escapades in the US. The Legal Beagles would cover "Joe Blow's" rump like a piece of underwear. A president running for office is fair game for any unproven assumption and it's alright for Newsweek to yell fire in a crowded theater, or as they actually did, incite riots killing 15+ people by claiming that a religous object was stuffed down a LOO. They both have the responsibility to report the news, why not all the news, not just that which dumps on the U.S. Hey, we're not perfect, but, by gosh we are the best until someone invents a better system of Government and fills it with saints.