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  found it! (http://www.leavingnola.blogspot.com) 

Jul. 17th, 2005 | 11:30 pm

i like livejournal allright.  but i feel like i've outgrown it.  so i have moved in to a brand new space on blogger.  here it is.  it just seems to have more features and better options.  but i still can't figure out how to put my geoloc on there.  dammit.

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Jul. 16th, 2005 | 09:20 pm

while my girl was here, i drunkenly tried to create a shiny new blog. now i can't find it. stupid bourbon!

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pork fat rules!!

Jul. 15th, 2005 | 08:17 pm
mood: chipperchipper
music: rilo kiley-accidntel death

we're making smothered cabbage, among other (healthier) things for dinner tonight. simple recipe, we halfed it, but it's just:

-1c chopped ham (we used kielbasa)
-1c chopped onions
-a few cloves of garlic, minced
-a splash of olive oil
-1 large head of cabbage (we used red)
-1/2 c water
-1tsp sugar
salt, pepper and cayenne to taste

and then you just saute the ham, onion, garlic, and oil together for about five minutes. add the roughly chopped cabbage, water, sugar, and seasonings. cover and simmer about 30 minutes until the cabbage is tender.

i know it's crazy unhealthy, but we're also only having steamed veggies and whole wheat couscous with milled flax (now with 450g omega 3 fatty acids!), so get off my case.

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hey, how do you know how i smell?!?

Jul. 5th, 2005 | 09:50 pm
mood: drunkdrunk
music: joanna newsome-the milk eyed mender

i'm just going to go with that title for this post, despite the fact that i don;t recall having ever typed in that combination of words before (it autocompleted that in for me). i've had a few cocktails which should make this an interesting post indeedie. i want to mark for posterity the weird dream i had last night, in which keira knightly and beyonce were students at my law school. beyonce was in my study group, and we were all talking about whether or not keira would come back to school in the fall. we began smoking weed, and beyonce turned up her nose. i told her that her boyfriend was hot. then i woke up. the dog and cat are fighting like cats and dogs. bella (dogina, the monarch of hadogidda) has lost all her puppy teeth and is a whiny bitch as her big teeth come in. it's kinda funny, though, cause she lost her puppy teeth way before the adult ones came in to replace--so she looks gummy like w's grandpa. the cat is currently chasing the dog around the house, and w just informed me that he may kill one of the animals if they don't fuking stop. so they did. poor w. he has had some really frustrating poker finishes in the last few days--including a tenth place (one spot from the final table). tonight he was going strong until he flopped a set of jacks and went all in and someone called him--w had a queen kicker and the other dude had a king kicker. so fucking good and then out in 18th place. this week is the virginia prison tour as we visit the large number of people in my client's family who are incarcerated in various places around the state. then friday i am blowing off work to pick up my best biz-natch, alfina the muthafuckin vague. she likes it when i curse in front of the internets. incidentally, they have the internets on computer now. momar out.

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where to begin...

Jul. 3rd, 2005 | 10:36 am
mood: contemplativecontemplative
music: tori amos-the beekeeper

so i am working on this fairly heartbreaking case right now. i obviously can't get into details. but last week another intern and i went on an investigative trip. part of what we do for post-con is review the trial record and look for big gaps in what trial counsel has done which, if closed, might have resulted in something less than a death sentence. intern and i were looking at the sentencing phase of the trial. the client had a really fucked up childhood and it seems that very little of that was actually brought out at sentencing. so we went to where he grew up and spoke to some of his teachers and school psychologists, as well as his family. i feel like i have a really good picture of what it was like for him growing up, but that it was not adequately covered during sentencing. basically, this kid never had a chance. his teachers and psychs, while heartbroken, were not particularly surprised.

dammit. see i'm kinda in the same position as vague, where this is the place where i often work stuff out, and i can't really elaborate too much for confidentiality reasons. i met his kids. they wanted to know how i knew their daddy and when he was coming home. my heart stopped right there and i thought i was going to lose it. they are pretty young and can't really know what is going on, though apparently some evil bitch told the older child (6, i think) "they are going to fry your daddy." the child has since had nightmares and has begun acting out in school. so the pattern begins all over again.

this is the main point of my post. killing this man will not bring back the victims. it will not ease the pain of their children. it will not fix the underlying problems, it will only create new ones. it will only break another family irreparably, destroy another child's family, and basically fuck their lives up forever. how will these people ever trust their government, as it murders their son/father/cousin/uncle? what does this teach them about how to react when someone hurts you or wrongs you? these are the arguments i have always made against the death penalty, but i have never really felt them so acutely before. my heart has smashed into a million pieces. i want to take his kids out of the situation they are in, adopt them and bring them out to the suburbs and get them the psychological care they need but can't afford, make sure they finish school and go to college, send them birthday presents...i'm just so frustrated! i feel so powerless.

there is an execution scheduled for this week. not in this case, but in another with less than perfect evidence, in the wake of some big issues with dna testing by the state lab. the governor will probably not grant clemency, even though they are in teh midst of an audit to ensure that the dna stuff was done properly which could take months. there is also eyewitness testimony, which is notoriously unreliable, especially in cross-race identifications. and the witness said he was only 80% sure it was him anyway. with less than certain eyewitnesses and questionable dna, how can they kill this man? this is what is so infuriating to me about my dad's views on capital punishment. he thinks that if there is "good dna evidence and eyewitness testimony" that capital punishment is okay. the porblem is that there is often no way to know until later whether the dna testing was done propely and there is really no such thing as reliable eyesitness testimony. don't believe me? ask larry youngblood. he spent 17 years in jail, believed to be the man who kidnapped and sexually assualted a small boy. the evidence was destryoed (but supposedly not in bad faith) by the police and he was convicted based on the eyewitness testimony of the little boy. it was a horrifying crime and who doesn't wnat to believe a child who has been hurt? but it really highlights the way these things can happen.

i don't really know where i am going with this post. i have been thinking about this for a while now. i wish people knew how thin some of the cases are against many of these death penalty inmates. or how fragile and human they really are facing down their own impending deaths.

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the dutch were a friendly mademoiselle

Jun. 23rd, 2005 | 10:00 am
mood: amusedamused
music: pavement-slanted and enchanted

i have received a series of these strange spam e-mails at my school address. when i'm not on my laptop or at school, it appears to be a "valium viagra cialis" type pharmacy spam thing, and the text is a small tiny block on the bottom that is too small to make out. but on my or the school's computer, all i see is the random text and no ads. they are all pretty funny; the earlier ones were about a bloodthirsty pirate.

he roundly expressed his disapproval. The Dutch were a friendlyMademoiselle stared at him in unbelief. M. d'Ogeron rose to his feet.Benjamin will see, monsieur, that you are more suitably providedof harm's way.that Pitt was hardly yet in case to undertake the navigation of theThe very man, said Blood. Bid him get out horses. Then awaythough I may be. So I'll not be telling you what I think of you forthe prisoners.hauled aboard.to one-tenth share in all prizes taken.adventurer he had been, rather than to the staid medicus he nowFor the moment....You're awaited, I tell you. Best lend him a horse, Kent, or theAt the table sat a man of whom nothing was visible but the top ofhe gave Mrs. Barlow instructions for the day, which included theI didn't say so, ma'am. There was a tartness in his tone evoked

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good morning!

Jun. 22nd, 2005 | 10:41 am

i got up early (6am) this morning and walked my dog. i actually tried to sneakily shirk my dog walking duties (w and i have begun to split up the week, whereby i walk on days he has to work and he walks when he doesn't have to; i usually get the weekend as well), but bella was having none of that. my alarm went off at 5:50am, i snoozed once and then got up. usually the dog won't let me snooze cause the alarm freaks her out. but if i catch it fast enough my reward is 10 more minutes. i got up and went out to the living room and laid down on the couch. i was hoping that i would "accidentally" fall asleep and not have time to take her, but she curled up on the couch with me and made me feel so guilty that i couldn't stand the thought of her being a basket case all day in the kitchen while w was at work. we left the house at 6:15am.

i keep meaning to bring my camera with me, as i see the coolest stuff at that time of day. this morning it was really misty and i saw a rabbit munching down on someone's lawn. squirrels, my dog gets excited about as they are so hoppity, but this rabbit was smart. it sat stock still and looked at my dog with big eyes and attentive ears. my dog's hackle raised and she sped up walking a bit as though she was afraid of the rabbit. too funny. i also passed a bush with a huge snail in it, and the snail was all stretched out of his shell. i don't know where he was trying to go or even how he got where he was (at the top of a tall bush) but it looked really cool.

so i resolve that the next time i get paid when we are no longer quite so broke, i am going to buy a protective case for my camera so i can take it on walks with me.

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back by popular demand! the dail--i mean the weekly recipe!

Jun. 12th, 2005 | 09:45 am

kick ass turkey meatloaf

  • 1 1/2c. finely chopped onion
  • 1tbsp minced garlic
  • 1tsp olive oil
  • 1 medium carrot
  • 3/4# mushrooms (originally cremini, but i used baby bellas with smashing results)
  • 3/4 package frozen spinach (okay, i suppose you could use fresh, but this is what i had and used and it was good)
  • 1tsp kosher salt and 1/2tsp fresh ground pepper
  • 1 1/2tsp worcertershire sauce
  • 1/3 c. chopped fresh parsley
  • 3tbsp + 2tbsp ketchup
  • 1c. fine bread crumbs (i did these homemade in the food processor with pepperidge farm whole wheat)
  • 1/3c milk (i used slightly less and mine was still super duper moist)
  • 1 egg + 1 egg white
  • 1 1/3# ground turkey (we used the 7% lean kind, i think it came out better than the 99% fat free would have)

preheat the oven to 400, but you don't have to do this immediately.  i should give you the heads up that this assembles pretty fast, but there is some prep involved, especially if you don't have a food chopper/processor.  but if you don't, you should really get one.  the time you save is unbelievable and it chops very evenly.

so i ran the onions, garlic, carrots, mushrooms, and spinach throught the food processor.  if you use frozen spinach, like i did, thaw it out in the microwave and then squeeze it out really thoroughly.  the best way is to wrap it up in paper towels and imagine it is your lame ex-boyfriend's balls.  you can process the onion and garlic together, the carrot alone, and the mushroom and spinach together.  i got it all (except the onions) down to a really fine, almost ground consistency.  for the onions i did half of them that way and did half of them at a little bigger chop.

cook the onion and garlic in a 12" skillet over medium to medium/high heat about 2 minutes.  add the carrots and cook 3 minutes.  add the mushrooms and spinach and cook for about 15 minutes.  you have to keep an eye on it so it doesn't burn, but this is also where you can make your bread crumbs and maybe clean up a little as you go.  it's important to get some of the moisture out of the mix, as the mushies and frozen spinach are really wet and the loaf is moist enough as it is.  at some point after adding the last stuff, add the salt and pepper.  dump the mix into a big bowl that you will eventually have enough room to squish it up with the meat.  add the parsley, worcestershire, and 3tbsp ketchup.

in a different bowl, stir together bread crumbs and milk and let it stand five minutes.  stir in hte egg and extra egg white and mix it up good.  add that to the veggie mix and stir well.  now here's the fun part: add the ground turkey and squish the whole thing around with your hands until it's all mixed up.

the recipe originally said to form it into an oval and put it in brownie pan, but that's ridiculous.  just put it in a loaf pan, i used an approx. 9x5" one and it came out beautifully, just lightly grease the bottom.  brush the top with the last 2tbsp ketchup and cook 50-55 minutes.

we enjoyed ours with a bottle of ca de solo big house red and mashed potatoes.  bon apetit!

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in the criminal justice system, the people are represented...

Jun. 11th, 2005 | 10:19 am
mood: cynicalcynical
music: pianosaurus-groovy neighborhood

now that i'm working for a legal defense-oriented place this summer, i have to say that the opening lines to law & order kinda bother me. i mean, to say that the people are represented by "two separate, yet equally important groups; the police who investigate crime and the district attorneys who prosecute the offenders" is a lot of hooey.

in the criminal justice system, the people are represented by members of the private criminal defense bar of varying degrees of competence (see eg. the very experienced (and ancient) attorney in texas who fell asleep during the murder trial of his client mcfarland, or see the guy in one of our cases who told the family of this kid that he had defended many capital murder cases and it turned out "many" meant that he had sat second chair on one case that had plead out many years before leaving him woefully unprepared for the rigors of a capital case that actually went to trial).

the people are also represented by public defenders, who are the very definition of overworked and underpaid.

the people are also represented by guardians ad litem who act as advocates for children and the mentally incompetent, making sure that those who are deciding their legal fate keep the clients' best interests at heart.

many of our people are represented by the office of the capital defender, the inception of which comes along with mitigation specialists, investigators, experts, and attorneys who have tried actual capital cases before and can stay awake for the proceedings. since we got these offices in my state, not one defendant who had access to one has gotten a death sentence.

these are the real heroes of the criminal justice system, the ones who keep it just by making sure that each defendant is zealously represented.

take that, jack mccoy, you smug and ethically questionable motherfucker!

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sorry, internets!

May. 30th, 2005 | 10:09 am

i just want to apologize to the whole internet for promising some very ambitious new features and not really following through. i know, i'm lame. sorry. i just get so filled with zeal and energy when i have three weeks off, and now that i'm a working stiff, i just don't have the time or energy. including my commute, work consumes about 10.5 hours of my day. i've been trying to keep up with my cooking, but i'm tired when i get home and often don't feel like it. yesterday i made a yummy potato corn chowder with the four ears of corn i've been hoarding (they were 25 cents each at walmart!). w and i also made a supre yummy vegetable lasagna. very good, but a lot of prep work and messy. we used carrots, zuccini, yellow squash, shiitake mushrooms, shallot, green onion, and sun dried tomatoes. delish! and if any of my "regular readers" (both of them) want the recipe, just e-mail me.

so work. i think i may be cured of wanting to do criminal law. tough, emotionally draining, messy, and tragic on all sides. in a capital case, the process goes:
1. conviction w/ death sentence (must be death eligible crime due to future dangerousness or vileness. these are called aggravating factors. future dangerousness is sort of moot in my state, as capital murderers automatically get life without parole, unless you think people can be dangerous in a super maximum lockdown type facility. vileness is easier--torture, depravity of mind, or aggravated battery--that is, if one shot would have killed them and you shot five more times. almost all capital murders fall into the secong category.)
2. automatic direct appeal (this is known as the proportionality review--is the punishment porportional to both the crime and the criminal. my state has NEVER found disporportionality, so this is sort of a joke).
3. first chance for certiorari (though the supreme court has rarely, if ever taken a case at this stage, you always apply, as it tolls the statute of limitations for the habeas proceeding, and they could possibly take it. but they won't, so get working on that state habeas!)
4. state habeas (very complicated, this is the stage that i am working on with my client right now. you have to try to find errors by trial counsel, or mitigating factors that were overlooked.)

i'll give part two of the process next week. my state is a fast track state, so even if the procedural rules say we have 90 or 60 days to submit something, we are often working up against an execution date that is much earlier. sometimes you can get a stay, but usually, they tell you to just hurry up. my job is going to be especially tough. i am working on investigation which will involve me getting to know every detail of the client's life, and talking to him and his family. i will do all this work knowing how badly the state wants to kill him and how they will most likely get their way. i can't really talk about it too much here, but again, if my two or three regular readers want to know more, they may e-mail me.

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