There is a common saying among attorneys that "bad facts make bad law." What this means, in a nutshell, is that when appellate judges are swayed by a particular factual situation and change the law to accommodate those facts, they generally end up making a very bad law that fails to accommodate many other related factual situations, and creates a whole lot of problems for attorneys who are trying to interpret the law. One bad appellate decision can throw a whole bunch of people into a tailspin.


A couple weeks ago, I decided it was finally time to stop denying reality and cut down the dead plum tree in my front yard. It had been on its way out last fall, but I really liked that tree and I was hoping it would come back in the spring. Such was not to be the case, and I was left with a reasonably sized dead tree in my front yard.


I was not yet old enough to vote the first time I became involved in a political campaign. It was 1972, and at that time you couldn't vote until you turned 21 -- which meant I had a whole lot of years to go before I could get to the place I most wanted to be, the voting booth.

Fortunately for me and my limited patience, by the time I turned 18 the law had changed. It was a presidential election year, and as a freshman at Pitt I had a world of political activism right outside my window. It was heaven.


I planned to blog about politics and the upcoming election this week. I thought it might be helpful to provide a brief civics lesson about the two-party system in America, and warn about hysteria and paranoia running rampant in the streets of Bellevue. I planned to urge people to remain calm and think before going to the polls.

Then my life got rocked by an unforseen crisis or two, and my desire to be the voice of reason waned just a bit.


A friend and I joke during our conversations that we have to "change hats" in order to discuss different topics, because we are both involved in so many different things, and take on so many different roles.

That, of course, is true in most of our lives. We are at different times in the same day -- sometimes in the same conversation, as with my friend -- a parent and a child, a professional, a volunteer with several groups, a sibling, a friend, a neutral observer.


"These are the times that try men's souls"

When Thomas Paine wrote these words during the American Revolution, well over 200 years ago, I wonder if he had any inkling of how deeply they would resonate throughout the centuries? Did he have any idea that, perhaps, the worst was yet to come? That men would create bigger and better ways to torture each other?


Imagine the following scenario:


Recently I was rummaging through a closet looking for something, and came across a photo album that featured scenes from my high school and college years.


I hate winter. Even the mildest of them wear me down mentally and physically. By February, my tolerance for cold temperatures, dreary days, and snow and ice is pretty much nonexistent. This year, however, it appears that we all are going to have to dig a little deeper when it comes to putting up with a winter that has shown us no mercy.