Monday, June 28, 2010

Today I read an article about a Mexican singer who hours after denouncing rumors of his murder was murdered; I giggled a little.  I am sorry but the headline threw me for a loop.  Then a few hours later I read about a Mexican gubernatorial candidate who was killed while en route to his last stop on the campaign trail.  This was in the Mexican state of Tamaulipass, the incumbent is ok in case you are wondering.  I remember as child the murder of a Mexican presidential candidate by the last name of Luis Donaldo Colosio.  I just searched him and he died in 1994.  I recall that his murder in Tijuana was tragic; it was heart wrenching to see how a man who was simply trying to serve was shot point blank and left a mourning wife and son.  I also recall all the media attention it got, heck if I can remember it obviously it was on the news.  I recall seeing images of his son receiving his first communion from Pope John Paul II.  Now, none of those memories of feelings arise.  I catch myself feeling bad for not feeling bad about death in the news anymore.  I think I have become so desensitized because we hear about it every day, it’s a scary thought not to be scared about it anymore.  I think on a subconscious level I am still concerned about it and I am naturally not too excited about the prospect of dying, but I have made it other.  It is in that place where I have things I do not know because you can only understand them if you have lived through them.  For example child birth that is one bullet Mother Nature is letting me dodge and I am so thankful for it.  That would definitely be something I would seek to avoid; I bruise easily and childbirth seems a smidge traumatic for everyone involved.  I can sympathize with the family of a murder victim because I have experienced it in my family.  It is a sense of loss and a sense of despair unlike any other.  It is ineffable.  I can comment that I am sad that I do not feel sadder, if that makes any sense.  I am frustrated that the media so influenced me that I do not feel at least a tinge of sadness at the death of a fellow human being.  I am going to have to work on that.  Not that I am going to cry or be devastated every time I hear about it, I would single handedly keep Kleenex in business if I did that; I think I will simply make a habit to pray for them and their families.  I think that any death is a loss, because it is a reminder that none of us will beat it.  Hopefully, as a culture and a species we will learn to value each other and really seek to expand the human experience, instead of drowning it with the junk the world feeds us.
My golf swing is a work in progress.  I find myself asking many more questions about it than I should.  I have steepened it, but when I need a “go to” swing I keep going to that high weak fade and just club up.  I am excited to really tinker with it this summer; I think that July is going to bring me some good fortune.  I am lag putting well because I am more worried about distance than the line for my putts.  The short irons are fine and not really an issue.  The only thing that I have encountered with the steep swing is that I am hooking more often.  Instead of my high fade with zero power, I am getting either a draw or a hook.  I am fine with either as long as I can get some distance off it.  We will see. 
School is going well, can’t really say much about it.  We had a DA and a Defense Attorney come to class and present closing arguments for the Necessity Defense.  It was really interesting to see the zeal and skill that they presented.  If I could speak as eloquently as they do I would be very content with myself.  Both of them were very skilled and argued opposing sides.  They also offered a lot of really good advice regarding law school and the practice of law in general.  I think I would have enjoyed it more if I was not so stressed out from the work load.  School and work have been a lethal combo this summer.  Anyhow, such is life so we keep trucking along

Friday, June 18, 2010

The wins last night, Lakers and Mexico made me remember my old car.  Sometimes we think something is no good or does not work anymore, but regardless of circumstance we try and make things work.  Mexico much like the Lakers was against the odds and did not have a good history against France.  Actually the first game ever played in a world cup in 1930 was a Mexican defeat at the hands of the French.  My old car was a 95 Dodge Neon.  It was electric blue with two white racing stripes down the middle.  It was given to me by my brother after I graduated from college because I needed something to move around in to look for work.  The dashboard was painted white, very cool for the first owner, but the glare of the sun was brutal.  It was a Dodge, i.e. loud and its bark did not match its bite.  So you can imagine me driving a stick shift, loud, racing inspired vehicle around town.  Flash forward a few months… The driver seat was not able to sit up for the life of me.  No amount of WD40 will get it to give an inch.  So; naturally I being the mentalist and intellectual giant I am realized…I have two seats! Let’s just switch this thing up.  I changed the passenger seat into the driver side spot.  Lo and behold I have a seat that can sit up but that I cannot buckle into.  A few police warnings later, I opted for a racing seat from an online vendor.  It was a racing seat that could not adjust with a fighter pilot buckling system.  It was a freaking space launch every time I needed to go to the store or work.  Naturally I did not put the passenger seat back in the car because it would not match and that would make my dodge look terrible.  Ergo visa vie, now I have a one seat up front and any passengers look like hostages or passengers in a suspect taxi cab.  It was classic.  So at this point every kid with a racer wanted to take out my little dodge.  It was surprisingly nimble but come one who are we lying too.  After a few weeks with the racing seat, the hinge on the driver side door begins giving out.  The locking mechanism would not click when I closed the door, so slamming the door became option #1.  After option #1 finished off the lock, the door would casually swing open on right hand turns…this made driving especially exciting.  Stick shift, door swinging, and fighter pilot seat all combined.  It forced me to become an orchestra leader in my own car; I was a talented contortionist whenever I had a cup of coffee.  I am sure I scared the daylight out of my fellow drivers (my bad guys was not on purpose).  It got so bad that I ripped the plastic off the door and would grab onto the bare metal on right hand turns.  That car gave all it could.  And it made it everywhere I drove it…complaining a little, but it made it.  Just like the Lakers and the Mexican national soccer team.  They had some rocky moments where I knew I wanted to shake Lamar and tell him to play like we all know he can; or yell at the TV to pass or shoot as if I had a direct connection to the south african field.  Regardless of the bumps, both of these teams gave us an exciting and unique 06/17/2010; very Dodge Neon-like.

Tuesday, June 15, 2010

I read today in the NY Times that Telsa Motors raised its target for its IPO offering. They had given a preliminary target of 100 million, but now raised it to 178 million. Shares are expected to sell between $14-16. I find it interesting that they decide now to change the expectations, weeks ahead of their initial public offering. This can be both a political and financial decisions, I obviously think it is a little of both. Given the current economic climate and the grilling BP is going to get because of the oil spill, there are going to be a lot of firms looking for an eco-friendly place to invest as well as investors seeking these alternative investments to help diversify their portfolios. The energy companies and private investments in “GREEN” have not produced as expected. The economy took a dump and even if something saves the planet; if it “doesn’t make dollars, it doesn’t make sense.” Sorry, I know that we should be trying to make a difference, but at this point the economy is in “fake recovery” mode. We have kick started ourselves by having ole B at the Fed hit the print button on the Commodore 64 and walking away. The truth is, wait for it, it is going to be an uphill, oil-slick, lightly tarnished golden road and all of us are going to have to start looking at investing and saving differently than the previous generation did. I would not be surprised if Telsa’s acts were a direct response to halting off shore drilling in the Gulf of Mexico. I would not be shocked if they announce a plan to “create jobs” in the southern states and have an “American.” FYI, BP announced that it would stop the leak by august, hmm, right around the time of the Tesla IPO (initial public offering); who said stocks were not political? Options on Tesla, do it. Note: this is not investment advice, I am not saying to buy or sell; just food for thought.
I am going to work with backswing today because there are some kinks that have really annoyed me. At the top of the backswing the club points 20 yrds left of the target. It is causing me to leave the face open longer and giving me that amazing weak fade. It works but I really want to step up my search for yardage. I want to add 10-15 yards to every club in the bag and get back to standard on the lie of my clubs. I am hoping to get my shot to a draw, the last few sessions I have gotten a high draw on 8-9-PW and the wedges, but the longer clubs do not work the same. Right now I am playing 2 degree flat clubs because they appeal to my eye, but I think it is because my posture is off. I am not as straight at set up as I want to be. As my swing gets steeper I will start using the standard lie clubs and getting that draw going. I feel like I should be shooting well from here on out though especially if I keep practicing the lag putting that I have been. GIR, then lag and walk away.

Thursday, June 10, 2010

A question was posed to me regarding the level that a person should support their friends and family, either financially or time wise. 
To be quite honest I have not really considered it all that much.  I always assumed that helping whoever is in need is the appropriate thing to do at all times.  However, sometimes our help actually becomes a detriment to the person and can do even more harm than good.  I think that moderation is the key often referred to as balance.  Moderation in this sense would be neither solving their problem nor leaving them out in the cold.  For example, I have a friend who has trouble with his family and needs to vent.  Besides sharing a beer I cannot relate because I do not have my own family and it would be unfair to offer advice on subjects I don’t know.  However, I can empathize and listen.  But at some point I really do not want to hear it anymore.  I just want them to get better or get over it in the healthiest and most expeditious way.  We all need to “get it off our chest” but there comes a point where it moves from being a healthy release to becoming a dependency and victimization of ourselves merely to seek approval, comfort, sympathy or some other form of self gratification.  So when to stop?  It will depend on the situation, but prudence should illuminate and patience guide. 
As I am sure you are all aware this week a Mexican was killed along the border near the city of Juarez.  The teen was shot near the eye by US Border Patrol Agents. Near the Rio Grande that divides two nations.  The agency defended its actions by saying that throwing rocks justified a teen getting shot in the eye and killed.  Apparently throwing rocks is the use of deadly force.  I can see it, if you are David against Goliath, but really? Also there is video that contradicts the BP story and shows individuals running away, and two shots being fired after that.  I think this could be the Boston Massacre that Mexico/US needs to pass comprehensive immigration reform.  It would be unfair for me to say that the border patrol agent did not fear for his life over the stones being thrown which would entitle him to self defense.  Yet according to what I saw it was excessive use of force and I pray for a comprehensive investigation into the occurrence since relations between both countries is “strained” to put it mildly.  According the video the US clearly breached their duty of care and killed an innocent victim.  I hope this tragedy opens dialogue instead of fueling hatred because it would be a shame to lose a young life and have nothing to show for it.      The deceased’s mother stated she expected nothing to be done about it, I hope she is wrong.
Instead of golf today in honor of tomorrow...let’s talk soccer.  So I placed a friendly wager with a friend of mine on the World Cup Opening game.  I was blissfully ignorant that statistically according to ESPN; host nations have never lost an opener and have reached at least the second round of each World Cup, with six winning it. Over the last three tournaments, the hosts have gone 10-0-2 in the group stage.  So, i.e., I am screwed…but I am still excited for the cup and then the Tour de France with both I. Basso and L. Armstrong in the peloton, exciting!

Thursday, June 3, 2010

I have not written in about a week because I have been pleasantly indisposed.  But here are some topics.
Recently the Supreme Court in Berghuis v Thompkins, decided that the suspect must explicitly invoke the right to remain silent.  Simply remaining silent is not enough.  I do not think that the spirit of Miranda is well served with this decision.  The dissent, penned by Sotomayor, reminds the audience that the original Miranda decision was that the police could not presume a suspect has waived the rights of the 5th Amendment simply because he or she is silent.  What that means is that a lengthy interrogation or brutal police tactics to get a confession constituted coercion.  There was no limit or time frame to the original Miranda ruling.  Standard: the accused should voice their desire to remain silent and request an attorney, immediately whether guilty or not.  Law & Order did a fine job in demonstrating how anyone who did not do those two things always ended up in jail or caught in a web of confusing yet undeniable self incrimination.  But, aside from the regular complaints that it simply weakens Miranda and the Robert’s Court rules unfavorably against Miranda, I am concerned with; illegal immigrants who may not understand their rights and non-verbal communication.  Illegal immigrants may not have the clear understanding at the time to request to be silent.  It seems that the ruling simply protects those who know they are protected and can clearly express it.  There are cases where individuals may not be able to clearly express their desire, or the officer may not properly interpret their desire and continue the relentless questioning.  Maybe, just maybe, the police officer will say, forget it, I don’t care that you do not want to speak, and then claim the intentions were not clear so the questioning continued, not that a cop would ever do that, but its possible.  What about the language barrier!  What if they say it in Cantonese, Armenian or Spanish?  Must the request be in English to be acknowledged?  Isn’t the purpose of the law to protect everyone’s rights regardless?  Land of the free, pursuit of happiness what happened to that?  It is not fair that police officers can now inquire as long as they want so long as the illegal does not voice his desire not to speak.  It is ridiculous.  What about witnesses non-verbally identifying criminals by pointing?  Should they be forced to speak and identify them in person; what are we AZ? Do I need a birth certificate to then say that I do not want to say anything? WTF?  I see the need for the ruling in the particular case, but I do not think weakening Miranda was the appropriate move.  I do not like the ruling and I can only hope police departments around the country do not violate my first amendment right to speak; and conversely not too.  My form of free speech may be silence?  Remember passive resistance during slavery times?  What about MLK passive actions to change the way we viewed ourselves and others through peaceful demonstrations that were not necessarily vocal?  Should I be castigated for wanting my voice to express silence?  It seems to simply be shooting Miranda in the leg Austin Powers status, since previous attempts to badly burn Miranda have only weakened it.
Another topic came up in conversation with a friend of mine so I figured I will write a little about it.  I will take a minute to chat about racism.  Over the last few years racism has not approached me in the typical way, i.e. name calling and insults; it has become deceptively subtle.  It is a look or a comment and very rarely an overt act.  Overt acts have occurred recently but I will not chat about them now.  I still feel prejudice around me at times and that is a scary thing.  I understand that all people regardless have some prejudices.  However, when those inhibit your ability to see the good in people, there is a problem.  Ago; when I used to socially gather at the local watering holes I would notice that depending on the area my race felt like a detriment or an advantage.  It was a feeling; obviously it would be a tad on the creepy side to ask, hey do you care if I am Mexican or are you stereotyping me because I drive a white truck?  Its true I have a white truck, so whatever choke on it.  Anyway, I think that depending on their exposure and experiences to a given race or members of that race most people associate the whole race with whomever they have met.  I am not going to lie and tell you I did not do it too, when I was a child I thought that Asian people were all good at math and all knew some form of martial arts and that if you did not have my mom’s tamales you were missing the purpose of your life and lead a sad existence.  The second half is still true and obviously with time and having met enough different people of Asian descent to know that I was stereotyping and although innocent it is still wrong.  Unfortunately many people never have the chance to grow out of their prejudices.  They simply believe people are what they look like without ever considering anything different.  We saw a documentary at a little independent movie theatre called “the philosopher kings” that told the stories of custodians at prestigious colleges.  It is eye opening to see how much experience and wisdom they have to offer but saddening how they are disregarded, marginalized and ignored.  The best part…they do not care!  They are happy being themselves and going about their business and learning from everyone along the way.  One of them struck me in particular because he had crazy hours.  He worked an 8 hr shift, at Princeton I think, and then worked as a cab driver till 2 am.  He would send money to Haiti to feed his hometown and was trying to develop a way to get drinkable water to the inhabitants; his passion for helping his people was contagious.  Guy did more for humanity with two “lowly” jobs that many CEOs (cough, **bear sterns et al. **).  Anyway, check it out, Netflix may have it in a few weeks it is on not available yet.  You can argue prejudice can keep you safe, but there is a point where safety turns isolationist and you miss all things other cultures have and they miss getting to see all you have.