Friday, May 08, 2009

Curfew Question

In honor of Stephanie's mom's visit this weekend, a query:

What, if any, kind of curfew did you have when living under your parents' roof?

For me, at least after getting my driver's license, I really didn't have a curfew. The deal was that whatever time I got home, I would go into my parents' bedroom and wake up my mother to let her know I was home safe.

This was a variation on a method used by friends of my parents whose kids would have an actual curfew. The mom would set an alarm clock for five minutes past the curfew time and it was the kid's job to come in and deactivate the alarm before it went off.

Star Trek

OK, given that I'm posting this at 5:20 on Friday I'm certifying my geekiness. Thumbs up on the new movie. I'm pretty sure I can say it is the best of the movies which I admit is not a very high hurdle. None have come close to any of the TV series. It's at least right there with The Wrath of Khan.

Karl Urban as Leonard "'Bones" McCoy was genius. Plenty of hat tips to original series and the 'tude of the movie is probably not unlike what Roddenberry would have done with the original series had he premiered it in 2009.

I won't say that Nimoy's appearance was a disaster as Jonah did but it didn't add much at all.

Best news: Uhura still hawt.

It's like taking the Bar Exam all over again but this time it's real life (mine)

Husband (resident of Oklahoma) acquired certain mineral interests (in Arkansas) in his name only (per the deed) in 1930 before his divorce with Wife. Wife’s name was not on the deed conveying the mineral interest to Husband. Husband later conveyed one-half of his interest to another party. When he conveyed that half interest, Wife also signed the deed.

Wife could have signed for two reasons:

1) she was a half owner or

2) the Buyer just wanted to make sure she could never make a claim against the Buyer. The latter is often done in community property states--even if property actually the separate property of only one spouse to make the buyers more comfortable that other spouse would never make a claim against the buyer. I’m told that in many non-community property states, the effect is the same…property acquired in the name of one spouse during marriage is the property of both spouses.

Husband and Wife divorce in 1933. Husband marries Second Wife some time thereafter.

The divorce decree doesn't mention anything about any mineral interests.

When Husband died in 1977, Daughter got half of all property and Second Wife got half. At the time of probating Husband's will, all the Oklahoma real property (minerals only properties and actual dirt) to which Daughter was entitled got put into either her name or the name of a corporation she had created (“Corporation”).

Unfortunately, Husband appears to have completely forgotten about the Arkie minerals. Daughter believes that Husband thought they were worthless. The Arkie minerals were not addressed during the probate of his estate I suppose the Arkie minerals could have gone to Wife in the divorce but the deed records in the various counties in Arkansas do not reflect that. The divorce decree does not reflect that.

When Second Wife died in 1978, she left everything to Stepsister.

Of course, when Wife died, everything she owned went to Daughter.

So, the riddle is this: Who the heck is entitled to what share of those Arkansas minerals?

(A) If, following the divorce, the Arkansas minerals were just the property of Husband (most likely scenario per my gut), then Daughter and Stepsister own them in equal shares because half would have gone to Daughter and half to Second Wife upon Husband's death.

(B) If, following the divorce, the Arkie minerals were owned 50/50 by Wife and Husband, then Daughter would own three quarters and Stepsister one quarter (because Husband's half interest would have been split upon his death by Daughter and Second Wife, and Wife's one half interest would have passed to Daughter upon Wife's death).

(C) If all Wife's following the divorce, then Daughter would own them all. I can’t imagine that this is the reality.

That's poorly written but I hope it is intelligible.


(I) Try to figure out what actually happened to the mineral properties at the divorce with Stepsister perhaps agreeing to assist in defraying the costs of making such determination. As I said, the divorce decree doesn't mention them. The decree granted Wife alimony and child support. When Wife died, she did own some other but Daughter doesn’t know how or when they were acquired. I guess that wouldn’t be too difficult to determine. But, the fact that Wife owned any minerals may be evidence that she somehow got some minerals from the divorce.

(II) Assume that the minerals are owned 50/50 by Daughter (or CORPORATION) and Stepsister and get the ball rolling on getting the record title in the Arkie counties to reflect the current ownership. This is the Option with which Stepsister is most likely to agree (for obvious $ reasons) and she should be willing to split costs to get the title record sorted out.

(III) Assume Daughter has 75% and Stepsister 25% and see if Stepsister will go along. If she does, then maybe Daughter volunteers to cover all the costs to get the title issues sorted out.

(IV) Split the baby. Tell Stepsister we just don't know whether reality is reflected in (II) or (III) and see if she'll go for Daughter ending up with 62.5% and Stepsister with 37.5%.

That summarizes the broad problem. I guess my first hurdle is determining whether Wife was a half-owner of those minerals after the divorce. My head already hurts. Does OK or Arkie law apply?

The immediate problem: new landman is sending Daughter a lease. When Daughter mentioned Stepsister he said "But you were the sole heir of Husband and Wife." Of course that is not true. Daughter was sole heir to Wife and Daughter and Second Wife were the 50/50 heirs of Husband. Landman did not seem at all interested in involving Stepsister or helping to solve the puzzle.

Daughter wrote Stepsister a couple of weeks ago advising her of the newly discovered Arkie minerals. She has not heard back. If Daughter (my mother and client) likes the deal that landman sends, I'm inclined to let her sign and just hold one-half (Stepsister's best position) of any rent or royalties in an interest bearing account pending what is decided in connection with Stepsister. Any ethical problems with that? I guess Stepsister could gripe that she could have negotiated a better deal.

Thursday, May 07, 2009

Slash on Allison

Hear, hear.

Whole Lotta Love

This probably won't be up for long. It's Adam Lambert's studio recording of Whole Lotta Love.
Warning: bad guitar solo at midpoint, but just listen through it.

For those of you who don't follow Idol, Adam's performance on Tuesday was the first time that Led Zeppelin had given permission for a song of theirs to be used on Idol. I would love to know, but suppose we never will, if LZ approved it specifically for Adam or if Idol was willing to pay the high pricetag for the song for Adam (and hadn't been willing to for anyone else). Or maybe LZ has come to the realization that exposure on Idol brings sales of the original recordings.

The story of what-is-Idol-to-do-about-Adam's-gayness creeps forward. For the show, he sang the line "WOOOMAAAAAAAAN, you need love". In the recording, he changed "woman" to "baby" and de-emphasized it. (So far this season, he has avoided lyrics with female pronouns or changed them to something neutral.) In the results show Wednesday, when he was asked how he enjoyed Tuesday's performance, Adam said it was a thrill to sing Led Zeppelin and "I liked my outfit". Bless him and that lack of filter.

Wednesday, May 06, 2009


LJ, perhaps you could go with Obama to see Buchenwald.

Well done, Mr. President

It doesn't go far enough but, per the WaPo:

President Obama will seek to extend the controversial D.C. school voucher program until all 1,716 participants have graduated from high school, although no new students will be accepted, according to an administration official who has reviewed budget details scheduled for release tomorrow.

Tuesday, May 05, 2009

Hunting Eichmann

This is the book that has launched my current fascination with Nazi's and death camps. What piqued my interest in reading this book wasn't how Eichmann was captured (even though you know he is, it's still a very riveting and suspenseful event), but tracing his years and journey from post-war Germany to Argentina. Reading about all the "assistance" mid and high level Nazi's got from the Red Cross, the Vatican, and the leaders of several South American countries is just incredible. While one could make an argument that in the period just after Germany surrendered, the world didn't fully grasp what was going on with the camps and the Jews, certainly by the late 40's everyone knew. And once these guys got down to Paraguay and Argentina, they didn't exactly go underground. With the huge German immigrant populations, the support of the governments and what I can only assume was general apathy on the part of Europe and the USA, many of them lived quite openly. Eichmann's children even used his last name! What also struck me was that while some of Nazi's lived a very good life in South America, Eichmann did not. Even when he moved to the outskirts of Buenos Aires, his "house" was basically a small adobe hut with just a few rooms. He worked at a factory and had a very blue-collar lifestyle.

On a separate note, as a big Evita-file, I found it very disturbing to read about the very close ties between the Peron government and Nazi Germany - before, during and after the war. Of course, I will rationalize it by saying that was Juan's doing - Eva I'm sure had no knowledge or part in that policy.

This reads like a non-fiction spy novel, it is that good. The author researched this thoroughly and interviewed everyone still alive. A great read that will keep you up late.

Re: Prez Respect

Slate guy/gal may be right...I have no idea (hope I was clear about that). I didn't mean for it to be so much a post about parties but about the office though the video certainly was. Just seems to me that there has been a decline.

Monday, May 04, 2009

I wish this was the last that was ever heard from Joe the Plumber

Joe Wurzelbacher in Christianity Today: "I've had some friends that are actually homosexual. And, I mean, they know where I stand, and they know that I wouldn't have them anywhere near my children."

Yes, Joe, that's exactly right. There are no heterosexual pedophiles. And all homosexuals are pedophiles.

Re: Presidential respect

I'm sure this won't satisfy all, but a reporter at Slate comments on the habits of reporters standing (and not standing) for the president:
The discrepancy in treatment is all the proof a Republican needs to show that the press shows special deference to the new Democratic president. It's a distorted picture, though. We stood all the time for President Bush. Reporters customarily do so to show respect for the office of the presidency. In the East Room of the White House, we stood not only when the president came in but to ask questions. Some reporters said thank you to the president even before asking their questions. This practice continues under President Obama.

There are different rules for the briefing room though, which is the place both events on the video took place. It's more informal. (CBS's Mark Knoller talked to Bush press secretary Ari Fleischer, who confirmed that no offense was taken when the press didn't stand in the briefing room.) It's not that there is a no-standing policy, exactly, but more that the question is unresolved. The press didn't stand for Bush in February but did when the president visited the briefing room for the last time. When he held press conferences in the Eisenhower Old Executive Office Building, the press did stand. Same with the Rose Garden. (On foreign trips, it was confusing. We stood when the host country's press corps often didn't, but once in Tanzania the roles were reversed for some reason, and the U.S. press had to stand quickly to catch up with the local Tanzanians.)

[Update to add a little more; JUMP]
Why, then, didn't the members of the press stay in their seats when Obama walked in last Friday? Unlike the Bush planned press conference in February, Obama's visit was a complete surprise (you hear fewer clicks because not every photographer is there), which meant the natural instinct to stand when a president enters the room may have kicked in. As you can see from the video, they also ruined the shot, which means standing not only invited grief from conservatives but from their colleagues, too.

Re: Joker One

Update: I saw a Reuters video today in which the author said he still doesn't know whether the Iraq War was successful. The gist was to ask him again in 50 years.

Presidential Respect

There's a clip on youtube showing the press corps standing for President Obama and not standing for Pres. Bush last year. I have no idea if it is true or not but, if true, underscores a trend I've noticed over the last 30 years that I loathe...disrespect for the office.

I'm going from memory here but I think I noticed that it was under the Reagan Administration that the press stopped referring to "the President" and started referring to him as Mr. Reagan, though they certainly still addressed him as, "Mr. President."

It's one thing for bloggers/columnists/talk radio/average joes to refer to the President (or any past president for that matter...if I had a chance to address either President Carter or President Clinton, I'd still address them as "Mr. President") but hearing or reading a straight report that refers to the President as Mr. ___________ bugs the heck out of me. I don't even like it when columnists, etc... don't use the formal terminology.

Shoot, when talking to a retired judge I still address her as "Your Honor."

Maybe I'm wrong but I seem to recall a higher respect for the office in the past.

ACORN Nevada

Nevada AG has filed a complaint against ACORN for voter registration fraud stemming from an incentive system for canvassers that required each canvasser to yield a quota of completed registration cards to keep their jobs and cash bonuses for higher numbers of registration cards. Larry Lomax, a county registrar of voters described: "This is individuals ripping off their bosses because they have quotas to make." From the article:
Officials insisted today that the fake voter registrations did not translate into fake voters making it to the polls.

"This is a case of voter registration fraud, not voter fraud," said Miller. "There is no evidence that there was any voter fraud in the last election."

Here was my take on McCain's allegations about ACORN shenanigans in Florida on October 15, 2008:
ACORN operates on a shoe-string budget and has some lazy employees who have defrauded ACORN by taking a paycheck and not doing their jobs. (By all means, root them out and charge those folks with crimes.) Republicans are trying to use this to delegitimize Obama's win. Here's hoping for victories so resounding that this ploy won't work.

US Nuke Capabilities

This can’t possibly be right, can it? From Frank Gaffney:

Today, in the words of Obama Defense Secretary Robert Gates, the United States is “the only declared nuclear power that is neither modernizing its nuclear arsenal nor has the capability to produce [emph. mine] a new nuclear warhead.”

Not content with the slow demise of America’s deterrent, the denuclearizing Johnnys are making a new push for another arms control initiative – one wisely rejected by a majority of the U.S. Senate a decade ago: the Comprehensive Test Ban Treaty (CTBT). Ratification would effectively preclude the United States from ever validating its nuclear arsenal via the only tried-and-true means: actual explosive detonations. Even now, thanks to the unilateral U.S. moratorium on such testing adopted in 1992, there are grave and growing uncertainties about the reliability of our obsolescing weaponry.

Sunday, May 03, 2009


I've finished the third in my War on Terror trilogy. Just finished Joker One. This one about the Marines in Ramadi in 2004. The author was a young lieutenant (with Princeton and Harvard degrees now working for Pepsi in Dallas) who intended the book to be primarily a tribute to his comrades but a bit about his growth as a leader and a bit about faith.

I cried again. While I truly regret not having served, I'm now convinced I'd never have made it. I think I knew that already and didn't want to admit it to myself.

Bear: Age 18.7 months

From as of the end of the day Friday, May 1: