Kobe Bryant: The Questionnaire

Tuesday, August 31, 2004
They posted the questionnaire given to prospective jury members. I think I tend to be a good person to put on a jury because I'm intelligent and willing to keep an open mind.

For this particular case I don't think I would because I naturally have some biases. I thought I would not be selected based on these questions:

60. Do you follow professional Basektball? If yes, what are your favorite teams?
Yes, The Lakers.

65. What have you read, seen, or heard about this case?
Yes, I follow the story regularly.

71. Have you discussed this case or heard anyone else talk about it?
Yes, all the time on my blog.

72. Based on what you have read, seen, or heard about the case, which of the following reflects your opinion whether Kobe Bryant is guilty or not guilt of the sexual assault charges.
Probably Not Guilty.

The interesting thing is that I thought the last one would be the one most likely to keep anyone off the jury. After all, I would go in thinking Kobe is innocent of the charges which would make me biased. But then someone pointed out to me that my answer to 72 is the only really acceptable answer. I thought the choice of "Not enough information to decide" would be the "best" answer but it actually is not, not at least if you understand the legal system.

Kobe Bryant is innocent until proven guilty. There must be a presumption of innocence. You can not go into the jury with an unbiased mind and say to yourself "I'll go with whoever puts on the best case.". The fact is that the prosecution has to prove it beyond a reasonable doubt. Even if they have a better case than the defense, 51% to 49%, you must find in favor of the defendent. There is a bias built in into the legal system and it favors the defense.

I of course thought it was best to have no bias going in, but I guess you learn something new everyday.

Where Have All the Friends Gone?

Monday, August 30, 2004
Today is a strange day. Today Jenny leaves to drive across the country to Princeton where where will begin her seminary education. Also happening today is Sergio moving down to San Diego where he has found a new job. This weekend the twins, Marion and Tina, moved back to Fullerton.

So a host of my friends have picked up and left. Life moves on and I'm happy for all of them that they are starting a new chapter in their lives but it still is kind of sad to seem them all leave. It is strange that it is all happening on the same day.

My Take on 527 Organizations

Wednesday, August 25, 2004
Because Susan asked for it I'll give my take on 527 organizations.

Simply put I think that people should be able to do with their money anything they want so long as it hurt or defraud someone else. (You can't hire someone to kill your wife nor should you be able to use your money to start a pyramid scheme even though I do feel little sympathy for people stupid enough to fall for those). As anyone who reads my blog regularly knows I'm all about personal freedom and for the most part hate any sort of govermental regulation. If I want to put an ad in the Newpaper that reads "Vote for Nader" or that reads "Your mama's so fat, when she hauls ass, she has to make two trips!" why should the government tell me I shouldn't be able to. Its my money, let me waste it.

Now the opponents of 527 organizations will come out and say that they don't want outside influences affecting the course of an election. They will further contend that they don't want the rich to unduly influence elections.

I say to hell with that. I say I'm sick of government telling me how smart or how stupid I am. I feel that the only way you can really oppose people spending their money to elect others is to believe that your fellow man is stupid. I instead choose to believe that other people can make up their own mind, if they can't then maybe I don't want to be part of this society anyway and I'll move to my own private island.

"But the rich can spend all that money on ads and get who they want elected. They will then get more tax breaks and make the rest of us poorer." Well I think that argument is bunk anyway but even if it were true I still wouldn't care. If people can not see through the ads then we deserve what we get. Any of you who oppose 527 believe in ads put out by the opposition? Do you Kerry supporters believe any of the ads put out by the Swfit Boat Vetrans for Truth? How about the Bush supporters, do you believe anything that MoveOn.org puts out? You can use your own mind; do you really believe others can't?

The rich may be able to spend more money than anybody else but in the end they get one vote same as anyone else. Don't blame them if you decide not to use your vote or or too stupid to see through the ads.

And one final point. The U.S. Constitution guarantees freedom of speech and expression. Where in the Bill of Rights does it state that the limit of this freedom is up to but not exceeding $2,000?


Tuesday, August 24, 2004
I am a Dodgers Fan. I just heard the stupidest thing I have ever heard on sports talk radio. A caller called in and said that Adrian Beltre should be the MVP over Barry Bonds. Here are the stats as of today:

Adrian Beltre
2004 119 456 84 152 39 90 36 69 .333 .380 .643 1.023

Barry Bonds
2004 111 286 100 106 35 79 176 24 .371 .612 .822 1.434

OK, the homeruns are about equal but look at everything else. Look at the batting average. Its insane someone like Bonds who hits for power can bat .371. Its crazy that he has only 24 strikeouts. Is ludicrous that he has 176 walks. 176! An on base percentage of .612? Are you joking? Do you know how sick that is? A slugging percentage of .822?

These numbers are unheard of. I hate the Giants but I give credit where credit is due and Bonds is the MVP no matter how you slice it. Yes Andrian Beltre is on the first place team but without Bonds the Giants would be dead last. They would have lost 90 games by now.

But this isn't the stupid thing the caller said. The caller acknowledged that Barry Bonds is MVP of BOTH leagues but said they should give it to Beltre because Bonds always wins and Bonds is on a completely different level. It isn't fair to everyone else that Bonds is so much better so we should make an exception and give it to someone else. Are you joking? How stupid is that? He is so good that lets give everyone else a chance? This is pro sports not some grade school award for participation.

I have an idea. Michael Phelps won too many medals at the Olympics. Is it fair that one man has won 8 medals when countries like Somalia have none? I say we strip Phelps of his medal and give the little guys like Somalia a medal just to make them feel better.

The Surprise

Monday, August 23, 2004
So Kathryn, Sandy, and I successfully pulled off our surprise party for Jenny.

For those who don't know we had a surprise going away party for Jenny. After many months of planning it all came together. She definitely seemed surprise if not a little frazzled by the whole thing. I swear for the first 30 minutes she was in shock. Ironically enough on Wednesday Jenny was telling me that she hates parties where she is the center of attention. I listened all the time knowing I was about to throw here a huge party where all people would want to do is talk to her.

Later on in the evening we played "Jenny Trivial Pursuit". Basically I made questions up pertaining to Jenny like "What are the only soy products Jenny will eat?" (Soy Sauce and Trader Joes Soy Bars) and "Jenny claims to have woken up one morning and spontaneously learned how to do this" (Drive a stick). You have no idea how hard it is to come up with 120 trivia questions about somebody, no matter how well you know them. It basically took me three months of careful listening to Jenny every time I was with her. I'm a guy, do you realize how difficult that is?

Sandy then brought out the Lemon Cake that we tricked Jenny into telling us she liked (See previous entry). And the night ended with us watching the Olympics, something Jenny has been doing a lot of lately... hmm maybe another trivia question for the "Welcome Home Jenny!" Party.

Because I Can't Resist a Challenge

Thursday, August 19, 2004
Because Kathryn threw the gauntlet down:

my favorite......

season: spring
color: blue
spring color: green

ice cream: Breyers Vanilla
cake: any ice-cream cake
ice cream cake: anything but Mint

car: Honda Accord (of course) or Mercedes SL65 AMG Convertible
tree: palm
car tree scent: I didn't really know there were different scents for this

letter: T
day of the week: Saturday
day of the week to send a letter: What type of question is this?

musician: Eminem
island: Have I ever even been on vacation?
musician to be stuck on an island with: Beyonce

Hey Boo Boo

Found this article to be hilarious:

Drunk Bear

I love it how he actually decided to go with the better, more expensive beer.

PBS: One sided view of Wal-Mart

Monday, August 16, 2004
I have a problem with the media presenting one side of an argument as facts.

I am watching a PBS special on Wal-Mart and the effects it has on a community. Now for the record let me state that I do not shop at Wal-Mart. I do that as a personal choice but don't expect others to do as I do even if I think I am right.

That being said the PBS documentary came down on the side against Wal-mart. It argued that although Wal-Mart has lower prices it really has a hidden cost. This hidden cost is born from the fact that it does not offer most of its employees affordable health care. This causes them to seek public health care and thus puts a burden on the tax payer.

I don't necessarily disagree with them but I believe this does an incredible disjustice to economic theory. The fact is Economist are split about the overall effects that a store such as Wal-Mart has on the economy. Does the fact Wal-mart not provide affordable health care really hurt the general populace? You can't argue it 100% either way. Having a documentary as such appears that their is no disagreement but there really is.

To play devil's advocate I am here to say no. It can only be fair to say that the effects are unknown. As a consumer, am I going to pay up front or later? If the employees get health care I face a higher cost of goods, if they don't I face higher taxes. And can Wal-mart be blamed for the latter. I don't think so. We as a society have determined we want to provide public health care. We could just as easily say no to that. Wal-mart is playing the game by the rules society has set and now people are upset. If we are going to say we are our brother's keeper shouldn't we just do it? If you don't like the game Wal-mart plays with YOUR taxes don't shop at Wal-mart. If you don't like your taxes being used for public health care vote against it.

Welcome Home Jenny AND Kathryn

Sunday, August 15, 2004
Jenny and Kathryn are back from Kenya today. Welcome Home!!

Why I Hate the Government #733,000

Tuesday, August 10, 2004
Today, Kathryn Faber (I've decided to go ahead and use her name) filed a civil lawsuit against Kobe Bryant who she has accused of rape.

The other day I had a conversation with someone about how much I hate the government. The problem I have with government is that you can't fight it. They hold you at the point of the gun. Don't agree with the government, too bad. Don't want to pay taxes, go to Jail. At least with private business if you don't like something you vote with your pocketbook, much like I did in my last post by closing my bank account. Government can pretty much just screw you if it really wants to.

Take the Kobe Bryant case. I am now convinced that Kobe is innocent. I wasn't so sure before but now I am. I know if my daughter was a rape victim I would see the thing through the end no matter what. Even if I thought I would lose I would see the thing through with the faith that justice would prevail.

But to file a civil case just 3 weeks before the start of the criminal trial is ridiculous. It is a clear sign that they are going to drop the criminal case and pursue monetary damages in a civil trial. Is money going to make the victim whole? No. And what is more ridiculous is that the maximum amount of money she is likely to see is $733,000. Kobe just signed a 7 year $140 million. That's like $100 to the rest of us. I think her strategy is to settle out of court for a few million. Why would Kobe agree? Because he doesn't want the embarrassment of his sexual history coming out in a civil trial.

What does this have to do with my disdain for the government. I believe that the government had no business bringing this case to trial. Every piece of evidence that has come out to the public has been favorable to the defense. The only thing that might be damaging to Kobe is that he said some unflattering things to detectives when he was first questioned. Um yeah so what? If you had cheated on your wife and were being questioned by police wouldn't you be a little misleading. Adultery does not equal rape.

So the State of Colorado just spent a whole year, a whole lot of money, and lots of resources prosecuting a case it had no business pursuing; whose final outcome is going to be a cash settlement that makes no difference to the defendant. Whose primary witness has a known history of mental instability, drug use, and questionable sexual mores. Why? My honest feeling, if you know the details of the case, is that the Sheriff jumped the gun by arresting Kobe and the DA had little choice to file the case otherwise the city looks like a bunch of idiots.

Why do I care what happens in Colorado? Well first off its a colossal waste of tax money and even if you don't live there you pay for it as we live in a very interconnected economy. Second, it shows that government can basically screw with your life and in the end there isn't much you can do about it.

Savings Account: Why?

Monday, August 09, 2004
The other day I noticed that I was getting charged $10 from savings account. I had never been charged before but that is because I had kept a minimum amount of money required by that account. I had decided to move the money to another higher-interest account and accidentally let it slip below the minimum requirement threshold.

My question is why are there even financial instruments like this? Does anyone actually have a savings account that has a minimum required balance and they keep it below that minimum? There is no way that the interest payment on the account is gong to make up for the $10 monthly service charge so you are basically giving money away so the bank can hold and "protect" your money.

It infuriated me so much (more at myself for letting it happen than at the bank) that I closed the savings account and opened another one at a different institution that does not have a minimum balance requirement and pays a much higher interest rate.

Am I a geek or what?

Thursday, August 05, 2004
I was reading a book on Solaris and it had written in it:

"An operating system provides you with the bare essentials. It's like a tent that contains food, a sleeping bag, and a T-1 connection to the Internet"

I thought it was hilarious and I couldn't agree with it more. What if I were like Jenny and Kathryn right now without internet? I might not survive.

Privacy at What Cost?

Tuesday, August 03, 2004
Late last night the judge in the Kobe Bryant trial released the transcript which was accidentally e-mailed to several new organization.

For those who live in a cave and don't know the judge's clerk mistakenly emailed closed-door transcripts to several news organizations. Immediately realizing the mistake, the judge ordered the news organizations to not publish the transcript. The media groups immediately filed a petition to the Colorado Supreme Court claiming this was an unconstitutional example of prior restraint. Surprisingly the Colorado Supreme Court upheld the ruling. It was immediately appealed to the Supreme Court but Justice Breyer side stepped the issue and refused to rule on it.

So under pressure to resolve the issue, the Judge released the transcript with a few parts redacted in order to protect the privacy of those involved.

To be honest, while curious about what the transcripts said, I don't particularly care if the judge wants to keep the hearings private. But that is HIS responsibility and not the press. He failed in his responsibility and now expects the media to the job for him.

We are all harmed when such prior restraint is allowed. I'm shocked and disappointed at the Colorado Supreme Court and Justice Breyer. In a free country such as ours it is essential that the government not be allowed to tell the press what it can and cannot print. The media, no matter what you may believe about it, is the only reality check we can have against our government. Otherwise we would be force to believe the propaganda that our country feeds us.

I can only hope that the Media organizations move to refuse this "redacted" version of the transcript and appeal to the full Supreme Court for a full and unconditioned release of the transcript. I don't care what the removed parts of the transcript say, but I do care that my government believes it can prevent me from knowing about it.

New Toys and Impatience

I just got a new Dell Axim X30. The thing I hate most about getting a new toy to play with is that normally with something like this you have to wait 8 hours or something like that to wait for the battery to charge.

I can understand why for some things you do not want to send a charged battery. If it sits on a store shelf for a very long time it is probably not good for the battery to hold a charge for that long. But why is this peculiar to rechargeable batteries? But discounting this notion, for something like this, which I ordered from Dell and they shipped it directly to me, you would think it would make some sense for them to ship me a charged battery. They know that chances are I will open and use the device as soon as the item is shipped to me.

If anyone knows why companies don't offer this service or at least have a theory let me know.