Tuesday, October 31, 2006


Help! I Still Haven't Decided What to Be For Halloween!

It's 6 pm, and I'm still trying to come up with a costume. It is down to four choices:

A. Bob Seger
B. Alexi Lalas
C. Arlene Wohlgemuth
D. That old guy who always yells "Get off my lawn!"
E. "Inappropriate Bear"

What do you think?



A few days ago, in discussing the Baylor v. Texas A & M game, I mistakenly identified the Texas A & M mascot as "Sarge," a drunk and sexually ambiguous soldier. I regret the error.

In response to my previous post, "Blue Gap Drifter" correctly noted that, "Actually A&M's official mascot is Reveille, in this case Reveille VII. Rev, as she is affectionately called in the Brazos Valley, is a full-blood collie and the first lady of Aggieland. Reveille is taken care of by the mascot corporal, a sophmore in the Corps of Cadets, and she goes to class with the student. If she barks in class the tradition is that class is dismissed immediately."

I apologize to Blue Gap Drifter and to all other A & M alums, a group which includes a large number of the best students I have taught at Baylor Law. I also apologize to Reveille (pictured above), who I am sure is a fine dog.

Because many people rely on Osler's Razor as their primary or sole source of news, I continue to be committed to accuracy and thorough coverage of important events. And Haiku.


One beautiful thing

Last year, I gave a CLE (Continuing Legal Education) lecture out in Odessa, Texas. Odessa is stuck out in the Permian Basin, which is flat, dry, and unforgiving. I can't say that I thought it was pretty, or that anyone described it to me as "pretty" before I got there.

The lecture was part of a day-long conference at the Odessa Country Club, which is the only country club I have ever been to with a working oil derrick in the parking lot. In the midst of a drought, the golf course looked like a survival trek. But once I got inside, I found the true heart of West Texas. The people were kind, engaging, and thoughtful, and I had a great day. In fact, instead of heading home I stayed overnight and accepted the invitation of a few of the attendees to go to the Midland-Odessa Permian game that night.

The Odessa football stadium isn't that much different than the rest of Odessa. It is set out on the middle of a big windblown parking lot, with plenty of abandoned oil equipment within sight. At least, that's true on the outside.

Once I walked into the stadium, everything changed. The stadium itself is huge, but sunk into the earth so that it cuts off the view of the outside world but for the sky. It was dusk, and the people were filling the stadium, holding signs or wearing jerseys to support their son, their brother, or their friend. The players ran out, taut and anxious, and the game began. The game itself was interesting, but not so much as the tableau of it all. The green field, the stands full of people with a passion for something, and most of all, that broad twilight desert sky above us with the reds beginning to fade-- it was the most beautiful place in the world, and we all knew it.

Monday, October 30, 2006


We Have A Winner!

The Winner of Friday's Celebrity Haiku is... Stephen Baker. Here is his winning piece:

Met Bellafonte
Couldn't remember his name
So I yelled "Day-O!

I'm just wondering if it is a true story.

His prize is ready and waiting in my office-- a framed photo of Prof. Bates.

Sunday, October 29, 2006


But is it football?

My parents are visiting from Michigan, so I took my Dad to the Baylor/A & M game yesterday. We got to be part of a crowd of 51,385 disappointed fans (actually, only 34,987 people in the crowd were disappointed; the remainder were either A & M fans, unable to compehend how football works, or both).

As usual, I was on the lookout for interesting mascots. A & M has only Sarge, who is no Vic the Demon Pimp when it comes to threatening demeanor. What was really interesting, though, was a young Baylor fan in the row ahead of us. Dressed in a little Baylor cheerleader uniform (it seems there is a state law mandating this for female fans under ten), she was waving two Barbie dolls over her head and chanting "Baylor! Baylor!"

What was she implying by this? Were the Barbies meant to be symbolic? If so, is this really a very good idea? I suspect that Dr. Lenore Wright would say "no."

"Barbie," by the way, is a registered trademark of Mattel, which is a division of Plastech, part of the Umco family of corporations.

Saturday, October 28, 2006


I'll admit it; I've been cross-blogging again

You will rarely, if ever catch me talking about politics in class. In part, I feel like a lot of our contemporary political discussion is toxic and unproductive. I do like talking about government, though. My two favorite people to talk to about these things are IPLawGuy and Ashley Cruseturner, both of whom are remarkably informed, fair, and principled men who have been engaged in these issues for years. Only Prof. Cruseturner has a blog, though, and I recommend checking it frequently. Yesterday, he asked me to write a short piece about the Supreme Court, which I was happy to do. You can read it here.

Friday, October 27, 2006


Celebrity Haiku

I think that for Haiku Friday we should have a theme-- celebrities. You don't have to use the theme, though, to be eligible for this week's fabulous prize, which is a framed copy of a photo showing Prof. Bates being arrested by a tiny U.N. peacekeeper.

My haiku is about a 1L celebrity whom I talked to yesterday. I really liked the guy, too-- I can see why he is a celebrity.

We met by the Bear
He asked about Detroit
His moustache-- it works.

Please place your own entries in the comments section below. As always, the recipe is 5 syllables, 7 syllables, 5 syllables.

Thursday, October 26, 2006


Sorry, IPLawGuy, but I can't be the Frankenberry of legal punditry

Unfortunately, there already is a Frankenberry of legal punditry: Al Franken. Not only are they both "Frankens," but they look pretty similar. Check it out:

Actually, I'm not the first to make this connection-- Al Franken himself did, back when he was on SNL in the 70's.

Strange but true connection between me and Al Franken-- in the year 2000, for reasons I still don't fully comprehend, I was invited to the annual Renaissance Weekend in Hilton Head, South Carolina over New Year's. It's kind of a big wonky weekend of policy geeks talking about stuff. Anyways, at the traditional touch football game on New Year's Day, Al Franken and I were the defensive backfield for one of the teams. Whatever else you may think of the guy... he takes touch football verrrrry seriously. During a petty rules dispute, I tried to make a joke ("It's like the GS7's playing the GS8's") and he just kind of looked at me and said "cover deep this time." It's probably a mistake to make jokes with a comedian-- that's his field. Of course, these days he does seem to be returning the favor.


I'm hoping to be the cereal mascot of legal punditry

I just got done doing an interview for NPR's "Morning Edition," which should air tomorrow (unless I end up on the cutting room floor). It was a lot of fun, and I got to talk about my favorite topic, the federal sentencing guidelines.

One big advantage I had was materials on the subject prepared by Flo Rueda, Danny Back, and Dustin Benham. It's kind of funny how that works-- sometimes you guys count on me for information, but sometimes I count on you, and it is a huge help. I'm very lucky to have that in my back pocket when I wade into a an appellate argument or policy debate, and lucky to have such students both to teach and to learn from.

UPDATE: You can hear the excellent report by Libby Lewis here.


We have a winner!

Well, Christophe Von Fahrenforger finally returned from a sojourn to San Diego, and we can now announce the winner of last Friday's Haiku. It is Ryan Lindly, who penned a lovely ode to Ayn Rand. Apparently, according to our judge, Mr. Lindly is an objectivist pubescent.

Below are Mr. Fahrenholdtenden's comments:

I vuz vonce a boy in Staaten-Mertzen, a wee canton of the Low Countries known for both eetz beautiful dikey vistas and its high quality of heineken-ku. Zere vuz a man known all over Staaten-Mertzen as zee greatest of the "heineku" poets, a man named Nathaniel Branden. Branden, of course, went on to be the Benjamin Braddock of the postwar pseudo-philosophy-cum-regurgitated-free-market-ideas world ven he vuz seduced by zat hexing philosopheress, zee very comparable Ayn Rand. Perhaps you begin to see zee connection...

Monsier von Lindly has channelled the talent of Herr Branden and the free-market grubbiness of Mademoiselle Rand herself in his lovely heineku, vich I shall call...

"Stopping by the Fed on a Snowy Eve; or, O Captain, Shy Captain?"

Ayn Rand would never
Bake you cookies shaped like trees.
Awful grandmother.

Non! Nein! She vouldn't! She vould never bake you cookies shaped like trees! Oh, but it's so true! If anything, Mizz Rand would bake them in the shape of dollar signs, or rather, pay someone to bake them for you. And oui! What a horrible grandmother she vould make! No gifts, for zey are mere coddling of zee veak that subject the transcendent ego to zee oppressive cookie-sweet tooth of zee collective. Cf. Sir Kipling ("...by robbing selected Peter/to pay for collective Paul...").

Monsieur Lindly--who I have to assume is a New York relative of zat enchanting Capeside, Mass siren-turned-tragic-mother Jen Lindley--captures zee essence of zee Objectivist zeitgeist, eetz vonderful pubescent contrarian predictability...all zee vhile maintaining a zimplistic unpredictability.

Edgy, no?

Vell done, Monsieur Lindly. Now go on more trips to Europe, and post more pictures of zee beautiful posteriors Americain on your blog.

Wednesday, October 25, 2006


Everybody Run! Osler's Got a Gun!

The report by the prof. in Juvenile Justice that I was running into the law school with a gun today was incorrect. It wasn't a real gun. The puppies are safe.

But it must have been quite an interesting moment in class.

UPDATE: As homecoming queen, I am fairly sure that Prof. Miller did NOT have a gun.


Here is a test question...

Finals are around the corner. As for my own PR final, it will be a series of short essay questions. To help people chill out a little, I'll put one question from the test here. Feel free to provide your answers in the comment section.

Question 47(h)

You and your trial partner are involved in defending a slip-and-fall case before a County Court in Texas. Your trial partner, a Wookie, excels at opening statements and you are particularly talented at cross-examination, due to your ability to use Jedi Mind Tricks, such as this:

Q: So you love your brother and would do anything to help him?
A: Well, I wouldn't lie in court for him.
Q [in a calm and even tone]: You would lie for him and are doing so now.
A [robot-like]: I would lie for him. I am lying for him now.

Your client is paying your fee with a combination of high-grade marijuana, cocker spaniel puppies, and Trix cereal. You are also strangely attracted to the judge's clerk, who often wears bike shorts (with the padding) to work and refers to you as "The Sultan" in an alluring accent. Also, there is a strange mechanical suction noise coming from the judge's bench periodically, and he frequently entertains visitors at the bench during trial examinations, including Madonna and Lisa Simpson (of television's "The Simpsons").

Based on the facts above, please answer the following three questions:

1. Can you use the business name "1-800-WOOKIES?"

2. Should you allow your wookie to talk to the press and denigrate opposing counsel, given that everything in his Wookie language comes out as yelling "Raaaaaaagh!" while waving his hands over his head?

3. Through unfortunate personal experience requiring dry cleaning, it becomes clear to you that your Wookie (who does not wear pants) is taking a leak under counsel table during trial. What should you do?

Tuesday, October 24, 2006


The Last Day

Today is the last day of Professional Responsibility class for this quarter. The last day is often tinged with some sadness for me-- that group won't be together again. I will see them in exercises next quarter, but in groups of two and four, and it's not the same. Different classes have different personalities which are built partly on some of the individual personalities in the room, but also by a group dynamic. Some are passionate while others are lethargic; some are volatile while other are calm; and once in a while there is a group that either loves you or hates you.

This was my first group of ethics students, and I'll remember them. They have been intensely hard-working and when they are confused it is about the right things; for example, about the way in which ethics (or, sometimes, principles) can pull against what seems like rational profit-driven behavior. And they have been forgiving when I take wallets or pull hair or scrawl illegible things on the board.

So I got them a little gift. I sent away for it a few weeks ago. I hope that they will like it.

Monday, October 23, 2006


SBA Election Endorsements

For SBA President: Lucius Malfoy

The Baylor Law faculty is unanimous in its support of Lucius Malfoy for SBA president. He is a strong student who has done very well in moot court, and has shown a real flair for returning the world to misery and fear in the clutches of the Dark Lord. He also has great plans for a Christmas party!

For Treasurer: Quisp

This is Quisp's first attempt at an electoral victory since defeating Quake in the 1972 Cereal War. As a meth-addicted and deranged alien, Quisp is the perfect choice to care for and disperse your SBA funds. He also is able to fly with the propeller attached to his head.

For Imperial Vice-President: Kristina Reyna

I think she's running unopposed. Based on what I have heard, I think she would be able to work well with both Lucuis Malfoy and Quisp to make Baylor Law a better place. We also have the exact same birthday, and once inadvertantly merged our birthday parties (see photo, in which I look kind of confused).

Sunday, October 22, 2006


The Lesson of Spike

As you can probably tell, I liked Alpine, Texas and the people there. In a funny way, it felt like a comfortable place-- sometimes there is a fit, and you don't know why. I feel the same way about New York City. Sometimes I get too dug into the place I am, and don't let myself feel what another place is like. Where we are from is not always where we belong.

Which reminds me of a story some of you have heard before. My Mom and Dad were travelling in Ireland, driving around in a little car. They really loved it there; they stayed in simple places and ate dinner in pubs and met a lot of people. One night, they were out in some far-off village at the pub, long after they had finished dinner, talking to the locals. After a few rounds, one of the men turned to my Dad and asked "Hey, are you Irish on both sides of your family or just one?" He said "neither," but went on to explain "I'm the first Irishman in my family."

They accepted that, lifted their glasses, and moved on to the next topic. Sometimes, if you're lucky, it's like that.

Saturday, October 21, 2006


Everyone Loves a Parade!

I went down to the Baylor Homecoming parade, which seemed to feature a lot of homecoming princesses and queens and so on sitting in convertibles. Mixed in with them was our own Prof. Miller, who was honored as the Outstanding Professor from the Law School. While I was somewhat disappointed that she wasn't in fact the Homecoming Queen, she certainly deserves this honor, which is probably more important and reflects more directly an actual pattern of accomplishment. Plus, she threw me some candy.

Somewhat more disturbing was the float with the Pillsbury Dough-boy. Though I have no problem with the Dough-Boy himself, I was kind of worried about his girlfriend, a chicken. What's with that? Why does a dough-boy need a girlfriend, anyways? And why would she be from a completely different food group? I know it is all about marketing, but that is messed up.


I'm Back in Black!

Hey, excellent Haiku, folks. I will be announcing the winner six weeks into next quarter. Ha ha-- little joke there. Sorry. But I will try to reach Christophe Van Farfenplopper within the next few days to pick a winner and receive a critique.

Driving back from Alpine after dark, I think I was being followed by Toonces, The Cat Who Could Drive A Car. Actually, this was a cat trying to drive a Chevy Suburban-- weaving back and forth, passing then slowing down, etc, etc. Then it was just gone, presumably suffering the same fate as Toonces.

Friday, October 20, 2006


Haiku Friday, pt. 4!

Did we need another reason to love Friday? Well now we have one-- Haiku Fridays! Based in heroic past efforts, I call on Swanburg and Poseur, Lindorama, Ladybird, J. Ray!, The Model, Sports Guy, Micah and A. Gill, Goth Girl (who submitted haiku late last week, but it was really good stuff), and GED3, Bosque Boys and IPlawGuy! Also, it would be great to hear from Future Law Student with the philosophical/plumbing blog, and her employer, not to mention the good folks at The Baylor Circus. And might we get our first spanish haiku from The Spanish Inquisitioner? Feel free to post both here and on your own blog-- I love cross-listing (but don't tell the Baylor administration I'm into cross-listing, ok?).

Oh, yes, prizes... this week's prize is that I will try to get Baylor Law's premier blogger and future professional writer, Christophe de Fahrenflanker to critique your haiku, then will post your haiku and the critique along with a photo of your choosing. Next week's prize will be the framed photo of Prof. Contracts.

Lee Carver beat me to the punch by posting his at 12:50 am, but I thought this one of his was particularly touching and poignant, and reminds me of our local federal Magistrate Judge:

Haiku Is Quite Strange
Talk Like Yoda I Feel Now
Small Green Man He Is

Remember, it is 5 beats for the first line, 7 for the second, then 5 for the third.

As for me, I'm still out here in Alpine. I woke up to the sound of trains and walked out and saw the stars. Do you think I should stay here and not go back to Waco?

Here in West Texas
I love the way the light falls
When night eats the day.

Thursday, October 19, 2006


Eight Hours Away

I am in Alpine, Texas, high in the Davis Mountains. It is really a perfect place to write haiku; all clean lines and clear air and stars. Which is fortunate, since tomorrow is Haiku Friday. Be ready.

Tomorrow, I am speaking to the federal criminal bar for this part of Texas. Judging from those I had dinner with tonight, they will be a very sharp and interesting bunch of lawyers.

[Note to people in Alpine Texas-- the picture above is not the one I intended to include. I do not mean to imply that 16th birthdays in Alpine, Texas are celebrated by... well, by whatever the heck is going on there]


Would you like something to read that has nothing to to do with Texas civil procedure?

Here's three things you could read in your "Free Time."

1) Check out the Spanish Medievalist's new book, "Guía básica de la critica literaria y el trabajo de investigación." As the SM puts it, this "is a book that helps students of Spanish with the difficult, if not daunting, task of writing papers in Spanish about Spanish literature." Crikeys! The guy wrote an entire book in Spanish. I find that pretty impressive for a Minnesota Lutheran.

2) My high school buddy, Ron Fournier, was on the school paper with me. He was a great guy-- and I still apologize to him regularly for accidently spitting on him during cross country races. He also repaired cracks in his car's dashboard with band-aids. Anyways, after high school he actually went into journalism, eventually becoming A.P. correspondent at the White House. He's perhaps the most acccomplished person from my high school class. Now he is part of a new internet thing called Hot Soup. Check it out.

3) I finished another chapter of my own book yesterday, which is now mostly done. The book analyzes the trial of Christ as a death penalty sentencing. If you have a few minutes, Chapter Ten is available for download here.

Wednesday, October 18, 2006


Rikki(es), Don't Lose That Number

65 Comments is a lot of writing. And an awful lot of it was good, heartfelt writing. Some of what people had to say was familiar to me, and some of it was news. It deserves some responses.

First off, a caveat. I am only one faculty member, and a relatively junior one at that. I don't represent the faculty as a whole, and I am not a part of the administration of the law school. Please understand that my comments only represent my own views, hopes, or expectations.

One thing I love about Baylor is the investment that we have in the institution. For the students, this is the school that will be yours forever-- it is the Baylor diploma that will be on your wall, and the reputation of this school will frame the way that people see you and your work. For the faculty, this place is our vocation, our life's work, and the people I know well here take that very, very seriously. You might disagree with me or Prof. Powell on something, for example, but I would contest anyone's contention that either of us doesn't love this school or work very hard to make it a great school. The same can be said for the hard work students do, and the passion they bring to our subjects. This common investment is a good starting place for working together to make it better.

I hope, too, that the students will appreciate that we on the faculty have put in a real effort to discern your concerns in the past six months. Consider just two of those concerns we have heard: Law Day and moot court fees. They are both gone, and it was because those concerns were expressed, and we took those concerns seriously. I'm not aware of any retaliation against those people who expressed those concerns, and I hope there would not be retaliation against anyone expressing concerns in the future.

Going forward, you should also know the good work that the Student Relations Committee is doing. Don't scoff at a committee as a way of changing things-- in an organization like a school or a law firm, that is how things change, through the consideration of committee reports. That Committee has for months taken seriously some of the very concerns you are expressing, especially regarding the grading policy. The often eloquent and thorough discussion of that issue on the thread below will become a part of the discussions now. We are taking these issues to heart.

Finally, I have a very definite idea (again, as just one member of the faculty) of what this school can be. It is, will be, and should be a tough law school. The stakes are high, and as a criminal attorney I know that better than anyone. My lack of diligence in a sentencing may cost someone five years of their life, and that matters. What we need to accompany this necessary toughness is a better sense of shared mission, that we are in this together. That is going to require a greater empathy for student concerns than we have shown in the past. It is also going to require the students seeing and acknowledging the commitment we are making to that shared mission (as that becomes clearer over time).

Here's what's best about my job: Once in a while I get an email from a former student telling me about their first trial. I print those out, I save them, they go into a file that is easy to find, and I go back to it often. Some, I copy and fold up and put in my pocket and carry around and re-read. That is my biggest award; a little square of paper jammed into my pocket. They are that important because that is my greatest work success-- Proof that I was able to have a small part in giving someone the skills they used for the common good, the fruit of what their hard work and my hard work could create. To be able to hold that in my hand, carry that in my pocket? What is better than that?


I'm a tired Panda...

Man, 56 comments on the post two down, and many of them well written. I have a lot of synopsizing to do tomorrow. But it has been quite a a day. The fall quarter is always hard. Here was my schedule for today:

8:15- Arrive at Baylor
8:15-8:45: Sort through email, check blog, etc.
8:45-11:45: Prepare for class (it is the first time I am teaching it, so it takes a lot of prep)
11:45-1:10 pm: Teach PR, talk to students
1:10-2:00: Dash over to Penland, eat lunch
2:00-6:20: PC minitrial
6:20-6:45: Meet with my faculty buddy, go to Harrington House, find that our dinner meeting has concluded, return
6:45-8:15: Home for dinner
8:15-10:00: Back to school for mock trial team practice
10:00-11:00: Meet with GED3 to talk about our mock trial team (albeit, this was at George's)

Now I'm home, and it is 11:57. Totals for the day:

Face time with students: 7.5 hours
Other work: 4.5 hours
Total: 12 hours

This is more than most days, but not the busiest day of the year for me, either.

Tuesday, October 17, 2006


It's the Razor Voting Guide!

A lot of my friends (such as the The Bosque Boys) have provided their readers with helpful voting guides to the upcoming elections. Because of my own background as a voter, I will do the same over the next few weeks, making recommendations for certain offices of note. Today, two candidates are highlighted and recommended:

1) For Vice-President of the United States: Snuggles the Fabric Softener Bear

After six years of depressing ruminations from Vice-President Dick Cheney, it’s time we have a vice-president who is willing to laugh a little. Though there have been rumors that Snuggles died after being caught in a bear trap and gnawing off his own little leg, tried to choke a toddler with his cute yellow pom-pom, and that he was beaten to death by an enraged housewife, these rumors have proven false or exaggerated. Snuggles epitomizes what would be a bright new day in Washington.

2) For U.S. Congress: Ched Edwards
Having served as Mayor for several years before becoming our Congressman, Ched has stood for firm principles: All-beef patties, real cheddar cheese, and a new "get-tough" attitude towards hamburglery. Some thought he did not have a chance after redistricting; others scoffed because he has a cheeseburger for a head, or because he had befriended a hamburger clown. Nonetheless, he has steadfastly fought for our V.A. Hospital and for the principles embodied in the First Amendment. Because of his record of performance and his support for our communities (and for giving one of the better Baylor Law commencement addresses in recent memory), the Razor heartily endorses Ched Edwards.

Monday, October 16, 2006


So, what should change?

Yesterday's internet spasm on the subject of Baylor Law, in part played out in the comments sections below, was fascinating to me. In the end, I came around to some conclusions:

1) Some people think we should change some things at the law school.
2) The people who were posting (in the end) seemed to be of good faith and are genuinely committed to the school either because they believe in what we are trying to do or have built up a certain financial commitment toward their degree (or, hopefully, both).
3) The urge to blast people anonymously is out there, but so is the urge to make a difference in a positive way.

I don't think posting on a blog is a very efficient way to make change happen. However, I'm hoping it can serve as good practice, at least. In the comments below, please describe one change that you would like to see at Baylor Law. Yes, I will delete comments that are personally abusive toward anyone, and I don't want people posting criticisms without solutions-- suggesting a change means you have to both identify a problem AND identify something that could be done differently to fix the problem.

I will go first, as an example.


Thinking About Denny McLain

In a comment to the last post, the Spanish Medievalist mentioned Tigers pitcher Denny McLain. Thanks-- you real put the "evil" back in "medieval," don't you?

Anyways, in 1968 Denny was the last 30-game winner in the Majors. His subsequent career was a mess, though, and he was out of baseball at age 28. In 1969, he cut an album, Denny McLain in Las Vegas. Subsequently, he got mixed up with John Gotti(!) and was imprisoned for racketeering, embezzlement, and drug trafficking. Later, he worked at a 7-11 out on Mound Road, and kids would drive out there to get a Slurpee from him.

Of course, times were different then, before pro athletes made so much money. I grew up skating at "Gordie Howe Hockeyland," a place where if you goofed around, Gordie Howe might come out and yell at you. Gordie Howe yelling at you is terrifying and thrilling all at once, kind of like practice court minitrials.


The Tigers

Like a lot of people, including the entire city of New York, I'm pretty stunned the Tigers are in the World Series. I've been a life-long Tigers fan; before I moved to Texas, I had season tickets with some of the other prosecutors. To a city that has seen so many failures, the Tigers' success is something to cling to. About the time I was born, there were around two million people living in the city of Detroit; now there are only about 900,000. That statistic encompasses millions of depressing facts.

The Tigers last won the series in 1984 and 1968. It was the 1968 win which cemented the relationship between the city and the team for those of us alive at the time. My family lived in the city of Detroit through December of 1968, then we moved out. Before the Tigers win, and before we moved, came the riots of 1967. It is hard to describe those riots. I was a small child, but I remember troops taking over the city and the smell of smoke as it seemed like the whole city was on fire. It was the next year that the Tigers won, in a city that desperately needed something to cling to.

How much did it matter in a city torn apart by racial division? Enough that I was five at the time, but remember the name of the Tigers' utility player, Gates Brown. Enough that I remember the story of my (white) friend Drew standing in front of the mirror convincing himself he looked like (black) Willie Horton. Enough to make things a little better, and sometimes that is as good as it gets.

So, yeah, I'll be rooting for the Tigers.

Sunday, October 15, 2006


Welcome to the World, IPLawBaby!

This is IPLawGuy with Elizabeth Crane Brooke, who was born yesterday. She's the luckiest little girl in the world. She has parents who are patient and warm and grandparents who will adore her, all of whom will teach her to work hard with the intelligence she was no doubt born with. She also has a dizzying set of accoutrements, all with attachments that spin cows or something overhead. But, her crib could be a fedex box, and she'd still be lucky.

I was once at a Quaker meeting in Hanover New Hampshire, and (as it should be) everyone was silent. Then, from the basement came the sound of two of the kids who were down there yelling something at the top of their lungs. People laughed a little, and then after a minute or two a woman said one of the most meaningful things I have heard. She said that when her child was born, he was all innocence, and she could hold that innocence in one arm, with his head at her elbow and his feet in the palm of her hand, and it was hard to describe her joy. Her love for the newborn was completely pure, unmixed with anything difficult or troubling or sad. It was simple-- maybe this is one reason we find it easiest to celebrate the baby Jesus than the adult, because there are no stories to sort through. Over time, of course, this woman's child grew up and made some mistakes and hurt her (as we all do to our parents), and it seemed like the purity of that love was diluted. But, she said, that wasn't right-- when she heard him laugh, it was still there, as full and round and strong as that day he was born, a parent's love.

Look, I know that the same basic point (about Jesus, anyways) was made by Ricky Bobby in "Talledega Nights," but it's that morning in Hanover that I think of when I look at the picture of tiny Libby Brooke. Welcome to the world, baby. It's a good place.

Saturday, October 14, 2006


Calling all blogs!

If you have a Baylor Law Blog (or are a friend-of-Baylor-Law blogger, like the Spanish Medievalist), put the URL in the comments below. If you use your real name, (and you aren't there already) I'll add you to my blog list to the left.

I will also make you eligible for fabulous prizes (well, prize) at next week's Haiku Friday.


Recipe #3: The Recipe for Blogging Disaster

Most of us have noticed the proliferation of new Baylor Law Blogs, and some are wringing their hands like it is a portent of the End Times or something. Lighten up! While some people have made a few mis-steps, for the most part this development has been good. I think the new community of blogs (and it is becoming that, a set of complex inter-connections) does at least three good things. First, and most importantly, it builds on what I think is a great strength of Baylor Law-- the fact that our students are not only hard-working, tough, and intelligent, but they are a bunch of memorable characters with well-defined and often goofy personalities. Second, we need as much of a sense of community as we can have, given the fact that law school and its focus on reading can be terribly isolating. Third, some of this stuff people are coming up with is pretty funny.

But there have been some disasters. At least twice in the past few weeks, a student blog has arisen, made some controversial comments, then gone down in flames amidst mutual recriminations, accusations of impropriety, and exchanges of gunfire (this is Texas). Drawing from those experiences, I offer the following recipe for blogging disaster:

1. First, make sure that you have an anonymous blog. You'll notice that almost all of the good (and long-lasting) blogs are openly attached to real people. Anonymity is lethal to discretion it seems-- letting people know who you are serves as a good check on the urge to say bad things.

2. Two, name your blog after some kind of a roundish food, such as a radish or a meatball. Seriously, people-- a radish? Hello? Who in their right mind would choose to have their alternate identity be a root vegetable?

3. Assume that you are really, really good at satire. The truth is that satire is kind of a specialized talent that consists of more than just making fun of someone. Sometimes, the trick to non-harmful satire is to exaggerate a person's strengths rather than a weakness.

4. Have the theme of your blog be what you don't like rather than what you love. Everyone loves acidic negativity! If, that is, you want to crash and burn.

I really enjoy this, and the best part is having a different way to connect to, learn from, and share with other people that are at the center of what I am doing with my life. I hope we get more, not fewer, blogs-- but I hope they don't follow my recipe.

Friday, October 13, 2006


Haiku Friday, Part III

The trumpet sounds from high atop Baylor Law School: It's Haiku Friday! The sound calls out Swanburg and Baker,, to Ladybird the fair, and to the fairly hilarious Baylor Family Circus. The tune goes out to the minstrel J. Ray!, and to Sister Ashley, and also to those on the mountain: The Spanish Inquisitionist,Candy Minx, GED3, the Bosque Boys, and IPlawGuy! Even you, Guy Who Deleted His Blog Yesterday, and Guy With Music On His Blog That Comes On Automatically-- We all shall gather at the castle of haiku.

As for mine... as I made clear in my posts, it was quite a week. I traveled to the Capitol City to witness a bit of history and to delve into the intricate workings of law I care deeply about. The Court adressed exactly those things I care about and have been working on; the most bracing and encouraging thing is that they care, too, about the discretion given a judge who controls not only the defendant's life, but the lives of those he could victimize in the future, those who depend on him, and those who have a stake in his life for good or bad. Given the import of this realization, it should not be surprising that this week's haiku is about that trip:

Hey, IPLawGuy,
Better clean all of your floors
Because IP, too.

Put your own haiku in the comments section. Remember, it is 5 syllables/7 syllables/5 syllables. I think I may start giving out prizes.

Thursday, October 12, 2006


I am the Eggman, but I feel like the Walrus

In watching the Supreme Court arguments yesterday, I felt a little tiny connection to the action. The two most animated and interesting Justices were Justice Stevens and Justice Scalia, who were particularly informed and engaged on the issue of jury rights at sentencing under mandatory sentencing regimes. Much of their discussion yesterday involved the Booker decision of last year, in which they struck down the mandatory federal sentencing guidelines as unconstitutional, effectively making those guidelines advisory rather than binding on lower courts.

The Booker decision was a thunderbolt in my field, and we all gobbled it up as fast as we could. In reading through it, I was shocked to find that Justice Stevens had quoted one of my articles in making his point in dissent. Now—and here is the good part—Justice Scalia joined Stevens in his dissent except the part in which Stevens quoted me, saying that Stevens improperly relied on “statements by various individuals.”

As I sat in the crowd watching them banter, I felt a little more like I fit in there, knowing that Justice Stevens had borrowed my words on the issue they were discussing and that Scalia had expressly rejected them.

Well, law law law, blah blah blah, hoodie hoodie hoo. Tomorrow is Haiku Friday! Be Prepared!


36 Hours

Spending 36 hours in Washington was a shock to my system. That city is thick with people I know, those who shared my schools and experiences for much of my life. William & Mary is a state school and many of the students are from the D.C. suburbs, and it was inevitable that many of my friends from Yale Law would end up in Washington. Eighteen years ago, I stood around drinking from red plastic cups in a dorm room with Jon Nuechterlein and Brett Kavanaugh; this morning Jon was arguing a telecom case before the D.C. Circuit and Brett is one of the judges on the panel. Twenty-four years ago, IPLawGuy and I were playing Clash songs at the campus radio station, and now his office is full of memorabilia of his experiences with presidents, senators, and people with enough genius to create something so valuable that their creations’ very name needs protection from pirates. Time is wonderful and alarming all at once.

We were walking out of a restaurant last night, a beautiful place with food we don’t get in Waco and the faint whiff of power. A woman in a brown wool sweater and a warm smile was walking in with her husband, and the maitre d’ snapped to attention. I didn’t greet her, she didn’t see me, and we both went on to the places we had always been headed. We do, or did, know each other. She and I shared a literature seminar together very long ago, where we fought like dogs about what words meant and whether they mattered at all, and one night danced at a party she was attending with her boyfriend, who worried. I can still see his face as he came over to claim her, knowing what it means to let a love of books bond you. And now, all these years later, I can think back on that, those shadows of ghosts, and understand it, and be glad to be where I am.

Life is good.


Welcome to... The Spanish Medievalist!

Though not really a law school blog, I noticed a new creation by The Spanish Medievalist. Because he's from Minnesota, old enough to know better, and a medievalist, you might suspect it is Professor Bates, but it's not. Really, it's not. It's "Paul Larson," a different guy from Minnesota who has a pretty good track record as an interesting fellow and strong writer.

Wednesday, October 11, 2006


When I stood up and yelled "Yes!", the marshals were concerned...

I’m in our nation’s capital, which always gives me a little chill. Literally, of course, given that it is below 80 degrees here and IPLawGuy drives all year with the top down, but figuratively as well as I pass the Lincoln Monument, the Capitol, the White House, and the grand sweep of the Smithsonian.

The reason for my visit was to watch the oral arguments in Cunningham v. California at the United States Supreme Court. Thanks to a complete set of briefing materials prepared by Misty Keene, I was well prepared and ready to go. Through my law school housemate, author and appellate advocacy hero Jon Nuechterlein I was able to get a reserved seat and was close to all the action.

I have already posted my observations of the argument on the Sentencing Law and Policy blog run by America’s legal bloggin’ superstar, Doug Berman, Professor of Law at Ohio State. You can connect to that report here. Doug’s blog is much more popular than mine, much more focused on legal issues, and much more respected in the legal community (though sorely lacking in “Family Circus” remakes—if he comes up with any, he is welcome to post them over here, and then we will be even).

Long story short: The argument revealed that I might have been right about something all along. For the past year I have been posting, briefing and/or arguing (in the 1st, 2d, 3d, 8th, and 9th circuits) on behalf of amici including Doug that federal judges have the ability to sentence outside of the federal sentencing guidelines where they disagree with certain policy viewpoints built into those guidelines. Today, at the Cunningham argument, Justice Scalia seemed to make clear that he understands the law to allow exactly that. Thus, though we have been mostly unsuccessful in the circuit court battles, we may win the war (if Scalia’s view is that of a majority on the Court and they take up our issue).

I’m typing this from the cozy confines of an office at IPLawGuy’s fancy-pants law firm on Pennsylvania Avenue, where apparently I have been provided with complementary little cans of juice, among other amenities.

Life is good.

Tuesday, October 10, 2006


Prof. CivPro is strangely like Nietszche

I noticed a link to this new blog which is having yet even more fun with the Family Circus. Huzzahs!

As for me, I'm in DC at the luxurious abode of IPlawguy. I have kind of a problematic relationship with our nation's capital, but tomorrow is going to be a very exciting day.


No Body Farm for You!

It's kind of a sad day. First, I found out that the law review at a pretty-good Christian university rejected this article as "too religious" (but didn't bother to tell me of their decision, despite having exclusive review). [Someone is interested-- I see the abstract on SSRN has gotten over 700 reads without the article being published]. Then, my class looked sort of glazed (except Ms. Stallings, who probably remained alert only out of the fear I was going to pull her hair again), so I followed suit and gave my lecture in a listless monotone while slumping dejectedly on the end of a desk.

Then, I found out from this Lariat article that Baylor U. is decommissioning its forensic science major by folding it into anthropology. Intriguingly, in the article Prof. Lori Baker explains that through some magical process forensic science "is today" anthropology, which seems to be news to the people who were studying for that major. I was a fan of the forensic science department, and gave a lecture there last year which I really enjoyed.

One further casualty of this is the hope that Baylor will begin a body farm, in which bodies are left to decompose so that the process can be studied. While I probably would not want this farm to be located adjacent to the law school, it seemed like something that would be useful for the forensic science folks, and that it could have been a strange new part of the college tour offered to eager high school seniors.

Monday, October 09, 2006


Underwood Family Circus

Inspired by the Nietszche Family Circus link below, I have paired some quotes from Prof. Jim Underwood (stolen from his Facebook fan site-- you must be good to get your own fan site in your first quarter teaching!) with some Family Circus strips. I don't know how to "randomize" (though sometimes my PC critiques may indicate otherwise), so I had to just match them up.

I’m gonna move to Hawaii and become an
Asian-American female!

“When you get out of law school, watch Rachel

“I’ll vomit on you at the end of the quarter; you sift through my garbage.”

“Hopefully if you hate me, it will be over something more substantive than that.”


This Was Inevitable...

Henry Wright sent me to a site that randomly pairs Nietzsche quotes with Family Circus cartoons. It is strangely mesmerizing.

As a child, I had bad dreams caused by the evil Bill Keane and his "Family Circus." In one, I had to run along those dotted lines all through some neighborhood. Grrrr... Damn you to hell, Bill Keane!

Anyways, here is the link. If you find a particularly good pairing, please describe it in the comments section.


Crazy Eyes: They're not just for Practice Court anymore!

For those of you who don't have enough to read (he he), the new artice I wrote with Judge Manske is available online. You can look at an abstract or download it here (to download it, click on "document delivery" in the upper left corner).

"Crazy Eyes: The Discernment of Competence by a Federal Magistrate Judge" is about a moment in court that has long fascinated me-- when a person who may not be competent comes before a magistrate at the initial appearance. In just a few minutes, with no training, the Judge has to decide (often based only on what he can observe) whether or not to lock the person up for days or weeks for a psychological assessment. This can result in the effective incarceration of someone who is likely to get a low sentence or probation if, in the end, they are convicted of a crime.

The article is based on three cases in which Judge Manske had to make such decisions, with suggestions for reform. It will be published this spring in LSU's Law Review.

Sunday, October 08, 2006


The Blogosphere is growing!

There's a new one from a 1Q with some haiku mojo. I'm a fan already. I don't really know the 1Q's other than from my kind-of-goofy, one-time-only (I don't think I could or should re-create it) orientation presentation in August, but they all come to practice court someday. Actually, not all of them, but that's a different subject.

Then Swanburg is reporting that Bradley Thomas has started a blog, but I'm not sure Mr. Thomas has started the kind of blog one finds on the internet, since I can't find it there. It may be in the side room of a bar in New York or something.

UPDATE: Thomas and Swanburg, having broken up as blogging partners, seem to be having an on-line catfight that is probably just a publicity stunt suggested by the WIlliam Morris Agency (which represents both of them). Don't worry about it too much-- the same thing happened when Prof. Bates and I started Osler's Razor in 1987.

Saturday, October 07, 2006



No blogging today. I'm going camping! I figure if Public Enemy ["I'm lampin', I'm lampin', stone cold lampin'/Me and Chuck D. in the Poconos, campin'] can do it, so can I.

That's actually just about my favorite song lyric ever. #2 is "Come here baby, I'll pour you some Moet/Listen to me, you know I'm a poet."

I really am going camping.

Friday, October 06, 2006


It's Haiku Friday!

C'mon, everyone! On Swanburg and Poseur, Ladybird, J. Ray! On Micah and A. Gill, Goth Girl and GED3! Give it a try, Bosque Boys and IPlawGuy! It's Haiku time!

Remember, it is 5 beats for the first line, 7 for the second, then 5 for the third. My effort tells you what is on my mind right now (I got past the dancing barista):

Ruth, Dave, John, Steve, and Tony

Thursday, October 05, 2006


A Salute To Mr. Raymond Puckett!

For those of you who missed it (ie, by not being enrolled in Baylor Law's Professional Responsibility class this quarter), today was a strange and wonderful day in PR. We were examining the many nuances of Texas Rule 1.09, which involves conflicts between present and former clients. But, that was only part of the excitement.

Today was also "immunity day," in which students can buy their way out of being called on in class through a donation to charity. For example, to evade being called on in my class, a $30 donation was required.

Shockingly, 88 of the 89 students in my class bought immunity. Which left Mr. Guttierez, in the first row, alone to fend off a full 70 minutes of professorial inquiry. For the first case I called on, uh, Mr. Guttierez. For the second case, again, Mr. Guttierez. To his credit, Mr. Guttierez was very well prepared and gave a fine description of the cases.

At that point, though, I got kind of bored of calling on Mr. Guttierez. I made an offer to the immunized 88: Come up to the front, switch places with me, and call on me to explain the next case. At first, no one volunteered. Then, slowly, a single hand went up: Mr. Raymond Puckett had answered the call. We switched places, and I assumed his seat, trying to avoid eye contact and hunching down in the chair so as to avoid being called on. Mr. Puckett was somewhat of a slow starter-- he began barking out questions without actually calling on me. After being hectored by the rest of the class however, he called my name and I stood to answer the question. For the next several minutes, he did a passable rendition of a Baylor Law prof: Diagramming the problem on the board (pretty accurately, too), prematurely assigning me a memo, asking follow-up questions. It was, all in all, a pretty good performance (though he was a little reluctant to switch places again at the end).

So, here's to the bravest man in practice court: Mr. Raymond Puckett!


Fashion Night Redux #3: Business Casual For the Ladies

Once again, some updates for those who missed Fashion Night at Baylor:

As with the firm function, when it comes to business casual, women want to emphasize modesty and "fitting-in-nitude." Remember the two cardinal rules: (1) Err on the side of being conservative (like Dick Cheney, below), and (2) err on the side of being overdressed. At the same time, because you will probably be wearing business casual very rarely (on Fridays, for example), you don't want to spend a lot of money on this part of your wardrobe. The model shown here, 2Q Cindy Mathers, has solved this dilemna by wrapping her entire body with toilet paper. If it rains, it is advisable to cover this outfit completely with duct tape for a more durable (and fun!) business casual look.


Famous Cornhuskers We Know...

Baylorites may find an interesting tidbit about one of our Cornhusker faculty (there are two profs from Nebraska) in this article, about halfway down.

Wednesday, October 04, 2006


Fashion Night Recap #2: Business Casual For Guys

For many guys, business casual is a tough concept. Khakis aren't nice enough, but a suit is too much. How to finesse this fashion conundrum?

Remember the two cardinal rules: You want to (1) Err on the side of being conservative, and (2) Err on the side of being overdressed. There is nothing worse than a business casual male who is not wearing enough clothes. To remedy this problem, take a tip from Vice-President of the United States, Dick Cheney. Pictured above, he is shown wearing business casual garb to a government event. Note that he has left nothing to chance-- every bit of him is covered with several layers of cloth, including his head. While some might think that this look is not practical for the typical Texas summer, there are sacrifices one must make to avoid being the subject of ridicule by "showing too much skin." No one is getting a look at Mr. Cheney's undergarments today!

In short, the male attorney does not have the option, as do women, of wearing the full burqa. By adopting the boots/thermal socks/underoos/long underwear/pants/leggings/gaiters/turtleneck/undershirt/sweater/parka/muffler/watchcap look, the stylish yet appropriate man can project the right image in his own, more masculine, way.


Fashion Night Excerpt One: What to wear for a firm event

As a benefit to some of those who missed Fashion Night, I am reprising some of the key tips provided by our panel of experts. Our first tip is for professional women attending firm events.

The key to dressing for a firm event is to remember that you want to (1) Err on the side of being conservative, and (2) Err on the side of being overdressed. For both these reasons, the full burqa (pictured here) is the perfect solution for the female associate attending a firm dinner. It assures that you will avoid being a distraction to others or becoming the target of discussion. Some may ask, "Isn't the full burqa an impediment to eating and talking?" Not if you handle things the right way, as shown in this video of two summer associates at a prominent Houston firm enjoying an informal firm luncheon.

Another advantage to the full burqa is that it greatly reduces the chance that you will be offered alcoholic beverages, which should be avoided at all times.

One more important rule: Remember that all advice goes for your spouse or date as well.


Heidi Klum Says: Auf Wiedersehen!

There's more news about Fashion Night in this Lariat article. I thought the models did a great job. Chris Fahrengolfer's ensemble consisting of a sport coat, khakis that had been run over by a car, a "Nixon" shirt (unclear whether that referred to Richard or Mojo), a tie worn over the head, and one bowling shoe and one flip-flop was particularly impressive. I have that same outfit, actually. Gordon Davenport came closest to an actual acceptable men's outfit with his "Houston Plaintiff's Lawyer" look, but as Judge Manske put it, "those jeans look like you have worn them for three weeks."



You may have noticed my link to "Taco Bueno" on the left. If you follow the link, you will see that the link is not to the restaurant chain, but to the Wikipedia entry for a game we made up called "Taco Bueno," which is played on air mattresses from a kneeling position.

On Friday, I was contacted by the Taco Bueno corporation. At first, I was a little scared they were going to pursue me for a trademark violation (though I don't think that is the derivation of the name, exactly), which would be hard for me because I enjoy eating at Taco Bueno and said "Bueno!" when they opened one near campus recently. After an exchange of e-mails with Ken Jacobson of Taco Bueno, it seems they were just curious why a game played in Canada would have that name. In the end, Mr. Jacobson sent me some Taco Bueno swag.

If anyone wants to come over to play "BMW M3!" later, let me know.

Tuesday, October 03, 2006


What I learned at Fashion Night

1. It makes me kind of uncomfortable when a woman uses the word "undergarments."
2. Seriously, I think Bradley Thomas and I have many of the same clothes.
3. We need a new sound system in 127. Maybe Marshall stacks.
4. Jim Underwood is a very witty and sharp guy (for an East German Cyborg).
5. Rory Ryan is able to combine content with brevity.
6. In a pinch, I can pronounce Chris Fahrfenhogger's name correctly.
7. Kristin Simpson has a commanding presence in the classroom.
8. One takes a great risk when he takes questions from a 10-year-old in public.
9. Moynahan and Brewton have great taste in clothes. If I were a woman, I would copy them relentlessly.
10. Um, really, where did Danny Back learn that whole "model-walk" thing? He seemed to know what he was doing.


The right clothes won't make you ethical...

... but boy, that Enron guy sure nailed business casual, huh? Let's see if Prof. Underwood agrees, tonight, 7:30, Room 127.

Monday, October 02, 2006


The prosecutor in me...

Comes out a little when I read about a case like that of Rep. Mark Foley of Florida. I hope this doesn't turn into a Republican/Democrat thing, because there are creeps all over Congress. Many of my fellow students at William and Mary (including IPLawGuy) worked on the Hill for a while, and we all heard stories.

What it makes me want to do is run the investigation. There is something about uncovering the truth about acts so dangerous that is incredibly fulfilling (and, also, something equally fulfilling when you find out the truth is not so dangerous-- when what you uncover is innocence).

That's what I miss the most. It's not "fun," and it's not easy, and it's not quick; rather it is depressing and difficult and long. But it is one of those solemn tasks so full of true meaning that one cannot look away once you have engaged the gears. Life is valued in moments, not years, and if your life includes a few moments you can look back on and know that you may have saved a child or ended an abuse of power-- as a social worker, as a parent, as a prosecutor, perhaps as a defender-- a piece of the hole that is inside all of us gets filled in.


Fashion Night FAQ

Q: When and Where is Fashion Night at Baylor Law?
A: 7:30 tomorrow night (Tuesday) in room 127 at Baylor Law.

Q: What will be the format?
A: First, expert panelists will give advice on what to wear in the courtroom, as business casual, and for the firm event. Second, models will show you what to wear... and what NOT to wear!

Q: Who are these experts?
A: For the men, advice will be dispensed by Prof. Underwood, Prof. Ryan, and Judge Manske. For the women, your experts will be Dean Jackson, Prof. Wilson, and Prof. Fusilier.

Q: Will Puckett be a model?
A: Good question! How about it, Mr. Puckett?

Q: I'm having trouble getting ink out of linen pants! Help!
A: First, take off the pants and lay them on a flat, non-permeable surface with the stain up. Second, mix a solution of one part tonic water and one part gin. Leaving the pants alone, pour the solution you have prepared into a large glass and go over to Swanburg's apartment. Repeat until the stain is gone.

Sunday, October 01, 2006


Texas Football and Politics

I went to the Baylor football game last night. It was an exciting game-- Kansas State had one very effective play, where they punt the ball, then pick up the ball when our guy drops it. I couldn't spot a mascot on their side, though. I was hoping for someone as exciting as Vic The Demon Pimp or "Sarge" from Texas A & M, but none appeared. I was really hoping for a "Manhattanville Meth-Head" or something.

You may have noticed that I don't post much about politics; that's because I don't care much about politics. I care a lot about government, but the game of politics doesn't seem to have much to do with that anymore.

The members of Congress seem pretty far away-- even when I really try I can't get much of a dialogue going with them.

I do think they are mostly good men and women, though. One that I admire is Chet Edwards, though for a reason that has nothing to do with politics. In the aftermath of Hurricane Katrina, my church (at the initiative of Mary Darden) took in about 50 refugees from the storm. I signed up to work at the shelter one night from midnight to three a.m. As I approached the church, I saw a car driving out of the church lot with "U.S. Congress" license plates. I could see the driver, and I was quite sure it was not Congressman Edwards or his wife. Given the apparent determination of the driver to get out in a hurry, I ran into the church and asked if Congressman Edwards (who is not a member of my church) was there. Another volunteer said no, and then I opined that it seemed that someone just drove off in his car. They just kind of laughed at me.

It turns out that Congressman Edwards came to the church and offered not only his car for the use of a refugee, but his own home. So while he was off in DC, a family he had not known was living in his house and driving his car.

I never read about that act of generosity in the paper, and I never saw him use it in a campaign. I suspect there are other good souls in the Congress, as well, and I'm thankful for that.

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