When I was around 19 or 20, I’d hang out with guys who were several years older than me. Most of my older friends drank beer and often invited me to drink with them. As we ordered beer, guys who knew I was underage would slip me their driver’s license under the table as the waitress checked to see if we were old enough to drink beer. Back in the 50s, driver’s license didn’t have your mug on the license. Thus, I drank lots of beer at bars prior to being 21. When I turned 21 and celebrated my birthday at the Patio Bar, Andy, the proprietor said, “James, you sorry butt, you could have had my bar closed if I was caught selling beer to you!” We all laughed and continued celebrating my birthday.
Today, anyone under 21 will have a tougher time than I did ordering alcohol drinks without a valid drivers license photo ID. And, though I got away for several years drinking underage, I confess that it was a dumb thing to do, and sadly many underage individuals today still do it by whatever means (false IDs, get older friends to buy, etc.).
I just recently received my voter registration card and will be voting this week on the upcoming Texas primary elections. From what I’ve read, Texas should have already had their primary elections on March 6, but were delayed due to some gripes by the Democrats over election district maps drawn last year by the Texas Legislature. On March 1, a federal court in San Antonio set the primaries for May 29 under interim, court-drawn maps. Democrats also raised cane about voters having to have fraud proof voter cards with their photo on the card. I believe Democrats were complaining that minorities (blacks, Hispanics, Asians and anyone not white) would have trouble following the new voting guidelines passed by the 82nd Texas Legislature when they passed Senate Bill 14, a voter identification law, which changed some of the rules for voting in Texas. As an American Hispanic I don’t see any intimidating reasons why I personally couldn’t comply with the new rules such as having: A valid driver’s license, election ID certificate, U.S. military ID card, U.S. citizenship certificate, or a valid U.S. passport to comply with the new rules which supposedly take effect January 1, of next year and not this coming November. My God folks, when we go to a bank, or purchase goods with a credit card we’re always asked for identification. Recently, I purchased some tools at a hardware store and the cashier, a Hispanic, asked me for my ID when I paid with a check. I asked her, “Are you checking my ID because I’m Hispanic?” She said, “No, I asked everybody who pays with a check regardless of their skin color or ethnicity for an ID.”
Seriously folks, why are Democrats afraid of with this photo ID voting card business? Aren’t they afraid of voter fraud at the ballot box like any red blood voting American would be? Or, do they believe that voter fraud doesn’t exist? I personally don’t know if photo ID voting cards will curtail voter fraud, but I can’t see where it hurts minorities. My God, don’t Democrats think blacks, Hispanics, etc. can’t read and are too stupid to vote? Having been an election judge for 10 years in my predominately Hispanic community in the 1980s I vividly remember assisting any voter who had vision problems or was not fluent in understanding voting ballots in Spanish or English. Speaking of Spanish ballots, in the 10 years I was an election judge I can only recall one vote cast in Spanish in my predominately Hispanic community. And the voter, a friend fluent in English, told me he did it for the hell of it! What a terrible waste of Texas taxpayer’s dollars!
While living in North Fort Worth, a predominately Hispanic area, I was very involved in my parish and in local politics. Though I was a Republican and was scorned for it by Hispanic Democrats who sought political office, they often solicited my help due that I was one heck of a fundraiser and I had close ties with most business owners in my turf. Whether for my parish or politicians who I supported, most business owners would generously fund my church or political endeavors.
Two Hispanic Democrats who I helped significantly in their political battles in the late 70s were Councilman Louis Zapata, the first Hispanic councilman in Fort Worth and Justice of the Peace Manuel Valdez who was from San Antonio. Mr. Zapata had monetary issues and Mr. Valdez was hardly known in North Fort Worth. Thus, I, along with an alcoholic friend raised several thousand dollars with raffles to help Mr. Zapata and I undertook the challenge to introduce Mr. Valdez to many known political activists in my parish and my community. It was during these two political involvements that I became aware of how money was spent to pay black activists within the political districts of both Hispanic politicians to secure votes for them by whatever means to ensure them black votes. Was it done by fraudulent means? Truthfully, I don’t know, the only think I do know is that black voters knew little if anything about both politicians. Blacks just sold their votes to the highest bidder. Were they interested in who was a good candidate? No, money was their motivator.
What seems so obvious to me and other concern voters is that Democrats would like nothing better than for illegal aliens to have a voice by their possible fraudulent votes in our election process. What other reason would they be concerned about photo IDs? American Hispanics, Blacks and Asians all are in most part English literate and possess the necessary ID papers to prove their citizenship. Illegal aliens on the other hand, can’t in most part read or write English, nor do they have the necessary ID papers to prove their citizenship.
Unaware to many Americans and Texans as well is that Mexico requires all who vote there to show their photo ID at the polls. In Mexico, if you don’t have this voter ID photo card you don’t vote! My fellow Texans, Mexico’s photo ID card not only has the voter’s photo on it, but a fingerprint and “the voter’s life’s history! Wow! Now how great is that? I say, let’s adopt Mexico’s voter law!
If you thought last week’s assemblage of the bizarre and ridiculous from the legal system was as strange as it gets, then as Al Jolson would say “You ain’t seen nothing yet.”Here are some more of the weirdest happenings in our courts recently.
Henry Wolf of California has filed a lawsuit against BMW North America and Corbin-Pacific, a manufacturer of aftermarket motorcycle seats.Wolf claims that long rides on the ridge-like seat of his 1993 BMW motorcycle have resulted in an unusual medical condition: a nonstop erection that has persisted for the past 20 months.According to the lawsuit, Wolf has suffered serious pain, mental anguish, and an inability to engage in sexual activity, and consequently he is seeking an unspecified amount of damages.Urologist experts say that riders can experience numbness when the neurovascular supply to that part of the body is compressed for prolonged periods of time, although they know of no medical data to support the severity of Wolf’s claim.BMW North America denies any liability.
Judges and attorneys frequently have to contend with all kinds of juror misconduct—jurors venturing to “research” a case, jurors engaging in improper communications about their deliberations, and even jurors conducting impromptu “experiments” recreating key scenarios in a case.But Delray Beach, Florida juror Dennis DeMartin may have taken his job in considering drunk driving/manslaughter charges a little seriously.According to DeMartin, a juror in the high-profile intoxication manslaughter case against Florida polo mogul John Goodman, he conducted an experiment the night before voting to convict Goodman by getting drunk.DeMartin self-published a book, “Believing the Truth,” in which he describes drinking 3 vodka and tonics the night before the verdict.DeMartin writes how his “experiment,” which left him “confused” about his surroundings, convinced him that Goodman was “not fit to drive.”Now, Goodman’s defense attorneys are seeking to have the conviction thrown out based on juror misconduct, saying that DeMartin’s drinking experiment violated the judge’s instructions and that DeMartin’s profit motives for his book are also troubling, turning deliberations “from deciding guilt or innocence into a platform for a book that he is going to publish.”
Yale law student Eric Parrie recently donated a kidney after reading an article about organ donors, giving recipient Laura Cheaney (whose kidneys failed after giving birth in 2007) a new lease on life.The unusual part of this altruistic act is that Parrie named the kidney “Dick Posner” (after famed federal appellate judge Richard Posner) before giving it away; he’s even written a series of letters “to” the organ.Parrie emailed the real Posner to tell the judge about his naming decision, a move that apparently pleased the judge because, up until now, “the only thing named after him was a house cat.”
In countless Westerns we’ve seen outlaws make an innocent bystander “dance” by shooting at his feet.In the 1980s movie “Blind Date,” Bruce Willis takes it a step further, making his nemesis dance and ultimately “moonwalk” (a lá Michael Jackson) at gunpoint.In Idaho, 30 year-old John Cross has been charged with felony assault for allegedly ordering another man to perform the moonwalk dance move at gunpoint.Hopefully, this won’t spark a trend, and we won’t see gunmen forcing innocent folks to “Cabbage Patch,” perform “The Running Man,” do “The Sprinkler,” do “The Robot,” or engage in any number of dance moves that are best left forgotten.
I’ve written about people taking steps to legally change their names to strange appellations before, but this latest one proves that some little boys never grow out of that “love of dinosaurs” phase.23 year-old Tyler Gold of York County, Nebraska recently received a judge’s permission to legally change his name to “Tyrannosaurus Rex Joseph Gold.”Gold says that he wanted to change his name to that of the mighty dinosaur because T-Rex is “cooler,” and because “as an entrepreneur, name recognition is important and the new name is more recognizable.”
As a Star Wars fan, seeing the headline “Obiwan Kenobi Arrested in Hit and Run” took me a bit by surprise.Had the Jedi master run over a Tusken Raider on Tatooine, or perhaps had a little fender-bender with a Jawa sandcrawler?As it turns out, police in Roseville, California recently arrested “Obiwan Kenobi” on suspicion of causing a 5 vehicle crash on March 19 and then fleeing the scene. The 37 year-old formerly known as Benjamin Calefeit had legally changed his name to the Star Wars character as part of a 1999 radio station contest.Police have charged Kenobi (who was already wanted on misdemeanor theft) with a felony.As master Yoda put it in describing another rogue Jedi, “Reckless is he.Now matters are worse.”I hope the Jedi mind tricks work better with the judge and jury, or else “Obiwan” is looking at some jail time, and I’m not talking about the Death Star detention block.Turn away from the Dark Side, Obiwan.
With all apologies to Shakespeare, just as a rose would smell as sweet if we called it by another name, one would think that it shouldn’t matter what business owners name their companies.However, as corporate lawyers will attest, sometimes a good deal of thought goes into naming a corporate entity.For one thing, the very idea of creating an entity like, say, a limited liability company (LLC) is about insulating oneself from legal exposures and, in many cases, shielding one’s identity.While Donald Trump may like putting his name on everything, celebrities and others interested in keeping a measure of privacy feel differently when it comes to public transactions like purchasing real estate.
Look at some of the deed records in virtually any state, and chances are you will see a few odd names.“Bubble & Squeak, LLC,” for example, is a New York real estate company that rehabs and gentrifies older buildings.Appropriately enough, it takes its name from a traditional English dish made from fried leftovers of things like potatoes and cabbage.Other LLCs in New York that have somewhat unexpected names are “Worm in the Big Apple,” “Hot Potato,” “Rabbit Properties,” “Song for My Father,” and “Shabbos Goy LLC” (“shabbos goy” is a Yiddish term for a non-Jew employed by Orthodox Jews to perform chores on the Sabbath, when working is forbidden).Sometimes, the names chosen spring from either a sense of whimsy or a nod to pop culture.Cogswell Realty, LLC, for example, takes its name from Cogswell’s Cosmic Cogs, the chief competitor of Spacely Sprockets in the beloved cartoon “The Jetsons.”And when it came time for Cogswell to set up separate LLCs for some of the properties it owns, it chose names that George Jetson himself could appreciate: “Elroy, L.L.C.,” “Judy, L.L.C.,” and “Astro LLC” (what, nothing named after Jane, his wife?).
Look at some of the lesser known publicly-traded companies on some stock exchanges, and you will see more odd names.For instance, there may be a story behind the name of the holding company for Wyoming’s Buffalo Federal Savings Bank—it’s called Crazy Woman Creek Bancorp, Inc.You may not want to keep Foley Dog Show Organ and Bull Dog Sauce Company in the same stock portfolio as Big Cat Energy Corporation or Mad Catz Interactive, Inc. (which makes videogame accessories)—dogs and cats don’t mix.And while you might expect Coda Octopus Group, Inc. to have something to do with underwater technologies, you’d probably be surprised to learn that Snake Eyes, Inc. has nothing to do with gambling and everything to do with golf clubs.
Of course, the names that are chosen for a corporate entity can sometimes come back to haunt it.Remember Enron, which referred to its special purpose entities as “raptors”?Another company that was burdened with a division overrun by product liability claims decided to create two spinoff entities—one that would emerge fresh and clean and the other that would contend with all the claims and lawsuits.Guess which one they named “GoodCo” and which they named “CrapCo”?Another corporation spun off a separate investment vehicle that was risky.How risky?It turns out that its name SNP, Inc. stood for “Should Not Participate, Inc.”And yet another corporation had a shell company with the mysterious-sounding acronym LHIW, Inc.During litigation involving that entity, it was revealed that LHIW, Inc. stood for “Let’s Hope It Works”—hardly the sort of thing to inspire investor confidence.When lawsuits come along, a lot of dirty laundry winds up being aired.Shadow corporate entities and shell companies or projects with names like “death star” or “piranha” tend to leave a bad impression with jurors.
The National Day of Prayer is an annual event passed by joint resolution of Congress in 1952 and signed into law by President Truman. Of course the tradition of calling for special days set aside for prayer goes back much further, indeed to the American Revolution and to the First Continental Congress in 1775. The National Day of Prayer is observed on the first Thursday of May each year. Because our nation continues to navigate through extremely challenging days, the National Day of Prayer Task Force chose “One Nation Under God” as this year’s theme. It is perhaps something to remember moreover, that this year is a pivotal election year. The inspiration for the 2012 theme is found in Psalm 33:12, which offers this important reminder: “Blessed is the nation whose God is the Lord...”
Another verse worth referencing is Nahum 1:7 which states, “The Lord is good, a strong hold in the day of trouble; and he knoweth them that trust in him.” Indeed, the Book of Nahum is interesting, in that, it is actually a warning to Israel about God’s wrath and the destruction of the wicked, and a prophecy about the downfall of the city of Nineveh. There may be some allusion here to these United States! But then there are the words “for such a time as this,” taken from the Book of Esther. It is in Esther we find a message of hope and also of deliverance, and one may at least pray there’s an allusion to us in that Book as well.
Esther was a beautiful Jewish maiden. She was orphaned and brought up by her cousin Mordecai, who held office and served Xerxes the king of Persia. After dethroning his very difficult wife Vashti, the king chose Esther to take her place as queen. Mordecai and Esther did not reveal their relationship, however, probably because they did not want her Jewish parentage to enter in and become a point of contention or prejudice. Meanwhile another officer named Haman hated Jews almost pathologically, so much that he actually presumed upon the king’s authority and ordered their persecution throughout the kingdom. It is upon that occasion that Mordecai approaches Esther and asks her to intervene on their people’s behalf. At first she does not appreciate her influence, and she does not quite know the limits of her position. She is cautious at least, even afraid to broach the king on this subject knowing how hot tempered he could be. She might be viewed as being difficult like Vashti. She might blow her political capital so to speak, her query dismissed as mere nuisance or worse as a bald imposition.
Mordecai nevertheless persuades her to find courage and to persevere, by reminding her of the gravity of the situation and of greater purpose beyond her mortal self. He references the unlikely series of events that brought her to the throne and suggests to Esther that she may have come into her position just “for such a time as this.” It is a peculiarity of the Book of Esther that the name of God does not once occur in it, but the reality of God is clearly present. Esther obtains permission from the king to arrange a banquet and to invite Haman. She petitions the king at the banquet to stop all the outrages being committed against Jews in the kingdom. When asked by the king who is responsible for the terrible things she describes, she fingers none other than Haman who is there present. In an amazing turnabout, Haman is hung on the very gallows he had built and prepared for Mordecai. Talk about poetic justice! As for the Jews, they “rested from their enemies” and were allowed to take revenge—their desperate situation having turned in an instant “from sorrow to joy, and from mourning into a good day” (Esther 9:22).
Today these United States of America face a desperate situation economically and politically, and the nation is in dire need of prayer. The people need Mordecai’s encouragement, in order to weather unemployment and a rapidly approaching debt crisis, taxes and overregulation; they need to be reminded like Esther, of their exalted position in the Republic. Americans have enemies around the world to be sure. They also have enemies within and our own share of officers in the government who presume upon the authority of the people and who subvert the written Constitution and intent of the Founders. It behooves us to remember, however, that turnabouts come quickly. Exposing evildoers in public can have a dramatic effect as it did with ACORN, and one single election can reverse four years of very bad policy practically in an instant.
________________________Wesley Allen Riddle is a retired military officer with degrees and honors from West Point and Oxford. Widely published in the academic and opinion press, he serves as State Director of the Republican freedom Coalition (RFC) and is currently running for U. S. Congress (TX-District 25 in the Republican Primary. He is also author of two books, Horse Sense for the New Millennium (2011), and The Nexus of Faith and Freedom (2012). Both books are available on-line at http://www.wesriddle,net/ and from fine bookstores everywhere. Email: