Tuesday, August 04, 2015

 

Number 0 Best Razor Video: Explanations

I couldn't embed the best video ever on the blog… but you can see it by following the link here. And you should.

 

Number One Razor Video: Panda Involvement




Because... Panda.

Monday, August 03, 2015

 

Razor Videos #2: Macots!

Man, I really love this:



Sunday, August 02, 2015

 

Razor Video #3: Baylor Punter Makes Awesome Tackle


This is from the days that a Baylor punter... well, he played a lot of downs. Daniel Sepulveda was awesome (and later played for the Steelers):



Saturday, August 01, 2015

 

Razor Videos #4: Muppets!




Speaking of Muppets, they are coming back:


Friday, July 31, 2015

 

Best Razor Videos: #5 (Worst Model Ever)


How much do I hate having my picture taken?


Thursday, July 30, 2015

 

Best Razor Videos: #6

Ronald Reagan speaking truth.


Wednesday, July 29, 2015

 

Best Videos to Appear on the Razor: #7

Cooties!


Tuesday, July 28, 2015

 

In case you missed it...

Here was John Oliver's take last weekend on… well, all the stuff I care about. It was fascinating to work with them on this, and I am glad that they included my client Weldon Angelos (and used the George H.W. Bush with crack clip I love so much):


Monday, July 27, 2015

 

In tomorrow's Star-Tribune...

You can read my take on clemency written with Doug Berman.

 

Well done, Mrs. Kontos!

I loved a lot of the haiku last week (and identified most with Jill's), but this one told such a great story:

The eye of the lens
Captures the ball in flight
A moment in sport.


Well done, Mrs. Kontos! Just one of our quality haiku-ers in or from North Carolina...



Sunday, July 26, 2015

 

Sunday Reflection: Dream Job

"Dream job" was the topic for haiku Friday, and the idea has been in my mind the past few days. The truth is that I have my dream job-- a vocation so fulfilling that I couldn't have imagined it when I was a student at law school.

In short, I get to teach smart students, write about things I care about, and try to change the world in those ways compelled by my faith. I am constantly in contact with brilliant people, some of whom agree with me, and others who don't. Every day, I am in contact with one collaborator or another, and that is one of the great joys of my life.

When I was interviewing at law firms back when I was in law school, I pondered long and hard the question of how to find out the truth about work conditions at a particular big law firm. After all, an associate or partner was not going to tell someone being recruited the whole truth, at least not in any clear or obvious way. Their job was to accentuate the positive. I developed a technique that seemed to really work: When I was interviewing, I asked the lawyer I was talking to what they would do if they didn't have this job. Some people perked up and described wholly-formed schemes to be a store owner or a comedian or a screenwriter or a professional sailor. They had an escape fantasy. The (fewer) people, genuinely happy as  a lawyer at a big firm, had to think about it for a while-- they didn't spend their time imagining a different existence.

I have no escape fantasies. And I give thanks for that.

Saturday, July 25, 2015

 

Now up on HuffPo…

This piece probably won't get a lot of hits, but it was good to work through writing it.

God, or Not, on the F train

Friday, July 24, 2015

 

Haiku Friday: Dream Job!

Hi, Razor friends! I am pretty happy that I have had a number of dream jobs-- including my current one.  When I was a kid, I thought a dream job might be driving a cookie truck, and I still think it sounds pretty appealing.

Let's haiku about dream jobs, present, past, or future. You can write about a childhood dream, or the one you have now.

Here, I will go first:

I'd be a bad king
Or sous chef or male model
I got lucky, huh?

Now it is your turn! Just make it 5/7/5 on the syllable count and have some fun!

Thursday, July 23, 2015

 

Political Mayhem Thursday: Trump the Frontrunner



Something very strange has happened in the presidential race, even as an intriguing candidate (John Kasich) entered the race: Pretty much everyone seems obsessed with Donald Trump. This is probably not a good thing for America, but people seem unable to look away.

In the New York Times, Frank Bruni put it well:

If we discuss Trump, as I’ve done in several columns, we reward his bad and transcendently self-serving behavior, no matter how negative our assessments of him or how many larger truths we engage.

If we don’t discuss him, we ignore something real, in a fashion that’s irresponsible.

By something real, I mean the fact that Trump has measurable support, at least for now. In a nationwide ABC News/Washington Post poll of Republicans and Republican-leaning independents that was released Monday, he was in the lead for the party’s presidential nomination, the favorite of 24 percent of respondents. The next closest contenders were Scott Walker (13 percent) and Jeb Bush (12).

I have three general thoughts about what is happening (all of which have been articulated by others in various ways):

1) Yeah, this is terrible for Republicans, because they present a fascinating diversity of candidates, and none of them are being heard. What a campaign craves is media attention, but the air has been sucked out of the room by the Trump phenomena.

2) It's not that great for Democrats, either. If Hillary Clinton is to build support now, she needs to be seen. Trump distracts from her, and she has hurt herself by running a stilted, conservative campaign that seems terrified of allowing the candidate to truly be seen. The Trump effect and Clinton's carefulness have created an opening for Bernie Sanders, the candidate on the Democratic side who has been the most surprising thus far.

3) I'm not so sure that support for Trump will evaporate immediately, as some think. The truth is that his brash anger appeals to a substantial plurality of Republicans-- the Tea Party folks who are mad as hell, don't trust establishment candidates, and didn't like John McCain anyways. The reason that some of the Republican candidates haven't strongly condemned Trump is that they realize this. Going forward, of course, those activists will face the usual disillusionment as the establishment chooses a moderate candidate like Jeb Bush.

4) It will be really depressing to me to watch Hillary Clinton run against Jeb Bush, as both are so carefully managed, handled, and cabined.  Now, Bernie Sanders v. Donald Trump… yowsa! But then the election is over and there would be the prospect of "President Trump."




Wednesday, July 22, 2015

 

Oh, Sepp!

Is it wrong that I like this so much?


Tuesday, July 21, 2015

 

Expand the Big 12?


As pretty much everyone expected, re-alignment of college football conferences has not finished, even after a raft of moves, including the following:

Nebraska from the Big 12 to the Big 10
Missouri and Texas A & M from the Big 12 to the SEC
Rutgers from the Big East to the Big 10
Maryland from the ACC to the Big 10
Colorado from the Big 12 to the PAC-12
West Virginia and TCU into the Big 12

Now the Big 12 finds itself as the smallest of the major conferences, with only 10 teams-- not enough to split into divisions and host a championship game. Estimable Kansas State Coach Bill Snyder recently weighed in to support expanding the league by two more teams. At least then, the name would fit!

Because the members of the "Power 5" conferences are locked in by TV contracts, newcomers to the Big 12 would probably have to come from the pool of schools outside of those conferences. Here are the teams that might be considered for such a move:

BYU
Cincinnati
Boise State
UConn
Univ. of Houston
Memphis
University of Southern Florida
University of Central Florida

To my mind, only one of those schools has the combination of size, athletic ability, and academic reputation to fit into a league like the Big 12-- BYU. But, adding just one school doesn't help much. What should the other addition be?


Monday, July 20, 2015

 

IPLawGuy rules!

Crikeys! IPLG just was on a roll last week. The subject was ice cream. Check out all of his entries, but my favorite was this one:

My Mom still recalls
Clinton, Iowa childhood
A & W.


Then there was this one, based on a true story (he needed to have at least one hand on the wheel:

Marfa Dairy Queen
Osler would not let me drive
while eating Blizzard.


Renee was drawn back in by IPLG's fine work, I think:

She herself is a
Peach,this bud,this seedling child.
Tastes,wants another

Of the cold yum that
Swirls to her lips.it is her
First cogniscent joy.

Sunday, July 19, 2015

 

Sunday Reflection: The Futility of "Your religion is wrong!"



Yesterday I was walking down Michigan Avenue near the Water Tower, and saw an older man sitting on a lawn chair handing out religious tracts. I reached out for one (I love reading religious tracts), and for some reason he snatched back the one he had been proffering to the crowd and instead handed me another. Titled, "The Pilgrimage," the pamphlet was produced by Battle-Axe Ministry of Gary, Indiana in 1999.

"The Pilgrimage" centers on one Dr. Abdul Ali, an older Muslim man who is shown returning from Mecca. He has completed his tenth Hajj, and has paid for several young men to make the journey with him. His wife waits for him at the airport, proud of his generous support of his faith and the less affluent men he has helped.

As his wife watches in horror from the terminal, the plane crashes nose-first into the runway (a disaster blamed on a failed landing gear, which seems a little odd). 247 people die, including Dr. Ali.

Next thing we know, Dr. Ali is shown meeting an angel, who takes him to visit with Jesus. Jesus informs Dr. Ali that not only is he not going to heaven, but Muhammed is not their, either. Jesus then closes the deal by informing Dr. Ali that "Allah is a satanic counterfeit." When Dr. Ali protests that he "was a very sincere Muslim," Jesus tells him that "you were sincerely wrong."

I can't believe that this is an effective way to reach out to Muslims, even if your goal is to convert them. It's not only offensive, it's just bad evangelism.

 It reflects a theology that is alien to me, too-- one that disclaims good works by people of faith, asserting that faith alone is enough to get to heaven. (Obviously, Dr. Ali's good works were the ones being diminished here, but the quotations-- i.e., to Ephesians 2:8-9-- make it clear that this tenet is important to  Battle-Axe Ministry. This claim is important to a large swath of Christians who argue against the importance of good works in the present day and attack the social gospel and the idea of social justice.

Jesus directed us to do good works, unambiguously: To feed the poor, to heal the sick, and to visit those in prison. More directly, we have him instructing a virtuous young man who comes to him and specifically asks what he must do to get to heaven. The answer, famously, is that the rich man must sell what he has and give it to the poor. He must do a good work, and be generous. Does it get clearer than that?

Jesus gave us two great commandments: To love God, and to love our neighbor. Neither commandment can be fulfilled without action. If you doubt that, consider what Christ taught when he was asked "who is my neighbor-- the one we must love?" Jesus answers that with the parable of the Good Samaritan, which reveals two things. First, that our neighbor may be those we revile or distrust. Second, that love requires action, as the Good Samaritan's love wasn't good thoughts-- it was saving the wounded traveler.

Maybe I need to stop trying to get tracts….







Saturday, July 18, 2015

 

The Beer/Hair dilemma


IPLawGuy recently took this photo, showing a classic beer/hair issue. What do you think someone in IPLawGuy's position (I'm assuming that is his beer and right foot, judging by the Franksteinish nature of the foot) should do?


Friday, July 17, 2015

 

Haiku Friday: Ice cream!


I really love ice cream… probably more than I should. Especially in the summer, it's safe to say it is my favorite food, and I love summer food.

It can mean a lot of things… but I love every permutation (except bacon ice cream-- that's just gross). Hard, soft, plain or fancy, it all is good to me.

Let's haiku about that this week!

Here, I will go first:

Up North, Michigan
A joint called the Pine Cone
Lives on in my dreams.

Now it is your turn! Just make it 5 syllables, then 7, then 5, and have some fun!

Thursday, July 16, 2015

 

Political Mayhem Thursday: The Deal with Iran


A deal got done, between several nations and Iran, to limit Iran's nuclear capabilities. The best explanation of the deal was in the New York Times yesterday.

Politically, here is what happens next: The Congress can vote to approve it, disapprove it, or take no position. If they disapprove it, President Obama can veto that legislation, meaning it can only be over-ridden by a supermajority 2/3ds vote.

My initial inclination is to embrace this agreement. A negotiated outcome is the best of three possible choices, the others being to do nothing or take pre-emptive military action.

Doing nothing is to simply forfeit our influence and allow Iran to continue towards development of nuclear weapons.

Taking military action would likely lead to disaster and another lengthy foreign war.

Of the three options, which do you think is best?

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