Sunday, June 29, 2008

I Love America

In case you haven't heard - but you probably have - the practice of law in real life rarely resembles the practice of law on television. Sometimes I wish I could say that each workday was fit for primetime TV, but such is not the case. In fact, next time you have insomnia, just switch it over to Court TV for a bit.

Criminal law probably comes closest to being worthy of the next best-selling novel, but I have no interest whatsoever in practicing criminal law. I do, however, understand its necessity, and I very much respect those that show up daily to represent both sides. The sentencing transcript I've posted below reminded me today of how grateful I am for the criminal justice system that does what it can to protect us from ourselves and those who despise us. Sometimes it's easy to ignore all the ugliness in the world and pretend it doesn't directly affect us. Things like this remind me that there are people out there pledging their lives and all their resources to destroy us. That makes me all the more thankful for those willing to look the ugliness straight in the eye. I am certain I don't say it enough, but I am proud to be an American. Someday in the future I sincerely hope that I am able to express myself half as eloquently and powerfully as the judge that sentenced the shoe bomber.

Ruling by Judge William Young, US District Court. Prior to sentencing, the Judge asked the defendant if he had anything to say. His response: After admitting his guilt to the court for the record, Reid also admitted his 'allegiance to Osama bin Laden, to Islam, and to the religion of Allah,' defiantly stating, 'I think I will not apologize for my actions,' and told the court 'I am at war with your country.' Judge Young then delivered the statement quoted below: January 30, 2003, United States vs. Reid. Judge Young: 'Mr. Richard C. Reid, hearken now to the sentence the Court imposes upon you. On counts 1, 5 and 6 the Court sentences you to life in prison in the custody of the United States Attorney General. On counts 2, 3, 4 and 7, the Court sentences you to 20 years in prison on each count, the sentence on each count to run consecutively. (That's 80 years.) On count 8 the Court sentences you to the mandatory 30 years again, to be served consecutively to the 80 years just imposed. The Court imposes upon you for each of the eight counts a fine of $250,000 that's an aggregate fine of $2 million. The Court accepts the government's recommendation with respect to restitution and orders restitution in the amount of $298.17 to Andre Bousquet and $5,784 to American Airlines. The Court imposes upon you an $800 special assessment. The Court imposes upon you five years supervised release simply because the law requires it. But the life sentences are real life sentences so I need go no further. This is the sentence that is provided for by our statutes. It is a fair and just sentence. It is a righteous sentence. Now, let me explain this to you. We are not afraid of you or any of your terrorist co-conspirators, Mr. Reid. We are Americans. We have been through the fire before. There is too much war talk here and I say that to everyone with the utmost respect. Here in this court, we deal with individuals as individuals and care for individuals as individuals. As human beings, we reach out for justice. You are not an enemy combatant. ; You are a terrorist. You are not a soldier in any war. You are a terrorist. To give you that reference, to call you a soldier, gives you far too much stature. Whether the officers of government do it or your attorney does it, or if you think you are a soldier. You are not----- you are a terrorist. And we do not negotiate with terrorists. We do not meet with terrorists. We do not sign documents with terrorists. We hunt them down one by one and bring them to justice. So war talk is way out of line in this court. You are a big fellow. But you are not that big. You're no warrior. I've known warriors. You are a terrorist. A species of criminal that is guilty of multiple attempted murders. In a very real sense, State Trooper Santiago had it right when you first were taken off that plane and into custody and you wondered where the press and the TV crews were, and he said: 'You're no big deal.' You are no big deal. What your able counsel and what the equally able United States attorneys have grappled with and what I have as honestly as I know how tried to grapple with, is why you did something so horrific. What was it that led you here to this courtroom today? I have listened respectfully to what you have to say. And I ask you to search your heart and ask yourself what sort of unfathomable hate led you to do what you are guilty and admit you are guilty of doing? And, I have an answer for you. It may not satisfy you, but as I search this entire record, it comes as close to understanding as I know. It seems to me you hate the one thing that to us is most precious. You hate our freedom. Our individual freedom. Our individual freedom to live as we choose, to come and go as we choose, to believe or not believe as we individually choose. Here, in this society, the very wind carries freedom. It carries it everywhere from sea to shining sea . It is because we prize individual freedom so much that you are here in this beautiful courtroom. So that everyone can see, truly see, that justice is administered fairly, individually, and discreetly. It is for freedom's sake that your lawyers are striving so vigorously on your behalf, have filed appeals, will go on in their representation of you before other judges. We Americans are all about freedom. Because we all know that the way we treat you, Mr. Reid, is the measure of our own liberties. Make no mistake though. It is yet true that we will bear any burden; pay any price, to preserve our freedoms. Look around this courtroom. Mark it well. The world is not going to long remember what you or I say here. The day after tomorrow, it will be forgotten, but this, however, will long endure. Here in this courtroom and courtrooms all across America , the American people will gather to see that justice , individual justice, justice, not war, individual justice is in fact being done. The very President of the United States through his officers will have to come into courtrooms and lay out evidence on which specific matters can be judged and juries of citizens will gather to sit and judge that evidence democratically, to mold and shape and refine our sense of justice. See that flag, Mr. Reid? That's the flag of the United States of America . That flag will fly there long after this is all forgotten. That flag stands for freedom. And it always will. Mr. Custody Officer. Stand him down.

Friday, June 27, 2008

Celebrity Collage by MyHeritage

MyHeritage: Family trees - Genealogy - Celebrities

Where the Wild Things Are

One of our favorite things to do in the summer is spend time in the beautiful parks of Boise. Actually, the parks are one of my favorite things about Boise, period. We have walked or biked most of the Boise River greenbelt that runs all the way from Lucky Peak through Garden City. It makes exercise a total delight!

There is a lake behind Veterans' Memorial Park that is great for swimming in the evenings after work. The water is absolutely the perfect temperature. We took Jace (who is staying with us for the summer) and Valerie for a little cool down on Monday night.

Now, I know parks, rivers, and lakes are the habitat of many undomesticated animal-types. We were totally prepared to see some ducks and geese, maybe even a squirrel or two. Unfortunately, we ran into some "wild things" of a different nature. We got into a bit of an "altercation" with the people swimming next to us at the lake. They were being unbelievably loud and obscene. It's astonishing the things some people will say, even in the presence of children. Seriously, I wanted to wash their mouths out at the carwash down the street; it was really that bad. As Danny pointed out, and many of you know, I am pretty adverse to confrontation of any kind. But, do not think for one second that I will not stand up for myself or my child when necessary. I did not think a simple request to watch their language was inappropriate. But, rarely are things so simple. Fortunately, after we "offered" to have the police settle the problem, they toned it down and, for the most part, left us in peace.

We did, eventually, have a smashing time and hope to go back soon - preferably without all the unpleasantness.
P.S. Some wild things are rather cute. I submit Exhibits A and B:

Wednesday, June 25, 2008

I Love Purses and Bags - Who Doesn't??

I love a great bag as much as the next girl. Unfortunately, I do most of my loving from the wrong side of several hundred dollars. What's that saying about caviar taste on a canned tuna diet? For me, bag browsing is a bittersweet compulsion.

I suppose it is a good thing that I am "financially challenged" because my style choices are quite fickle. In middle-class-land, where I currently reside, I think I would be ethically obligated to use the same bag for a decade if I spent hundreds of dollars on it. But, I don't want to be stuck in a 00's rut in the 10's, do I now?

And then there would be the associated guilt of carrying around a few pieces of leather or fabric on my shoulder that could have just as easily fed a family for an entire month. Now wearing it on my feet, that's a whole different story....

Regardless, I do have to have appreciation for the beautiful art that is bag-making. Pictured, are some of my at-the-moment favorites. Oooohhhh and aahhhhhh with me now....

Well, that was all pretty much one giant ramble since I actually signed on to post about Flickr's "What's In My Bag" cluster. People have emptied their purses and bags and photographed the contents. It is unexpectedly fascinating. I guess it is probably similar to the curiosity we have to read other people's blogs. It's all very invisibility/x-ray-vision-super-power-like. Post a picture of your stuff, and I'll try to guess which one is yours!!

Tuesday, June 24, 2008

Valerie Loves Her Birthday

This post is a little late in coming... blogging seems to have become another one of those things I'll get to "later." We celebrated Valerie's second birthday on June 14th. It was a lot of fun, and we're so happy to have had such a good turnout. It was quite the production, but it was just as much fun for me as it was for her. Thank you so much to those of you who joined us and spoiled her rotten. We are so lucky to have so many wonderful people in our lives. We love you!

Monday, June 9, 2008

Today I Love J.K. Rowling

I must shamefully admit that I do not remember one thing said by the speakers at law school graduation. Nor did I take much from either of my college graduations. And the same goes for high school graduation - despite the fact that I, among several others, spoke at that one.

However, I do remember, at times, feeling proud and inspired and on the edge of greatness. I got to feel a little of that again today when I read the commencement address given by J.K. Rowling at Harvard's graduation (for the price of Harvard tuition, could you expect any less?).

Parts of her speech really spoke to me - in a way that they would not have when I was 18, 20, or even 25. I believe I would have taken something different from her speech at each of those times in my life. I've had that experience before when I've revisited a favorite book, movie, song, or even a place.

Perhaps her words won't have the same effect on you. Maybe they would have been more meaningful to you at another time in your life, but maybe it's worth a try.

Sunday, June 8, 2008

X-Games Star/Beauty Queen in Training

My child has no fear. She's up for anything (and has the bruises and scrapes to prove it). Last weekend she tried out her Uncle Brandon's dirt bike with a little help from her dad. By the end she was freestyling it with one hand!

And as she passed by, she paused for her Miss America wave, like any proper lady would.

Our little angel turns two in just four days. We're having a birthday party on Saturday at 4:00 with a Princess bouncy house and lots of sprinkler fun. Come play with us!!