Tuesday, February 28, 2006

What the Law World is Buzzing About

Just about every lawyer I know has been talking about the following email exchange between two Boston lawyers. Interestingly, not everyone takes the side I would have thought. So here is the exchange between Dianna Abdala and William Korman.

-----Original Message-----
From: Dianna Abdala [ dabdala@msn.com ]
Sent: Friday, February 03, 2006 9:23 PM
To: wak@kormanlaw.com
Subject: Thank you

Dear Attorney Korman,

At this time, I am writing to inform you that I will not be accepting your offer.

After careful consideration, I have come to the conclusion that the pay you are offering would neither fulfill me nor support the lifestyle I am living in light of the work I would be doing for you.

I have decided instead to work for myself, and reap 100% of the benefits that I sew.

Thank you for the interviews.

Dianna L. Abdala, Esq

(Ed.-Probably not the most elequent way to say that, and it is sow, not sew.)

----- Original Message -----
From: William A. Korman
To: 'Dianna Abdala'
Sent: Monday, February 06, 2006 12:15 PM
Subject: RE: Thank you

Dianna -

Given that you had two interviews, were offered and accepted the job (indeed, you had a definite start date), I am surprised that you chose an e-mail and a 9:30 PM voicemail message to convey this information to me. It smacks of immaturity and is quite unprofessional. Indeed, I did rely upon your acceptance by ordering stationery and business cards with your name, reformatting a computer and setting up both internal and external e-mails for you here at the office. While I do not quarrel with your reasoning, I am extremely disappointed in the way this played out. I sincerely wish you the best of luck in your future endeavors.

- Will Korman

(Ed.- A little whiny perhaps, but there is some justification for that given the short notice.)

-----Original Message-----
From: Dianna Abdala [ dabdala@msn.com]
Sent: Monday, February 06, 2006 4:01 PM
To: William A. Korman
Subject: Re: Thank you

A real lawyer would have put the contract into writing and not exercised any such reliance until he did so.

Again, thank you.

(Ed.-When was the last time you recieved a formal written offer for a job. Even lawyers don't +do that for entry level positions.)

----- Original Message -----
From: William A. Korman
To: 'Dianna Abdala'
Sent: Monday, February 06, 2006 4:18 PM
Subject: RE: Thank you

Thank you for the refresher course on contracts. This is not a bar exam question. You need to realize that this is a very small legal community, especially the criminal defense bar. Do you really want to start pissing off more experienced lawyers at this early stage of your career?

(Ed.-Snarky, but appropriate)

-----Original Message-----
From: Dianna Abdala [ dabdala@msn.com]
Sent: Monday, February 06, 2006 4:29 PM
To: William A. Korman
Subject: Re: Thank you

bla bla bla

(Ed.-You have got to be kidding me. And isn't it blah, blah, blah?)

Korman then forwards the email, which solicits this response:
-----Original Message-----
From: David Breen [ dbreen@bu.edu]
Sent: Friday, February 10,
2006 9:47 AM
To: 'William A. Korman'
Subject: RE: Thank

OH MY GOD!Where to begin?First of all, how unprofessional, and secondly, it is "reap what you 'sow,'" now "sew". If she is going to use a cliche, couldn't she at least spell it right?

And WTF is with her "blab la bla"? Does she not read your e-mail about it being a small community?! So, finally, can I forward this along to some folks? I am sure they would love to see how the up-and-coming lawyers are comporting themselves! (Clearly she did not go to BU!!!)
Meanwhile this exchange has been rocketing around the legal world. Massachusetts Lawyer Weekly even did a story on it that fills in some of the details.

The lesson of course is that email is just like everything else written and sent to someone -- don't send it unless you would like to see it on the front page of the New York Times. (And for the record, and in case you couldn't tell, I am in the Korman camp.)

Monday, February 27, 2006

Why are GOPers in Congress Turning on Junior?

Republicans in the House and Senate turned on Bush pretty quickly over this Dubai ports issue. (Although some, such as the particularly gutless Bill Frist, have walked that back already.)

The answer as to why, after such slavish loyalty, Congressional Republicans are "standing up" to this President is simple and can be found here and here. (I say "standing up" because only time will tell if this is a way to establish "independence from the White House"or if some members of Congress have actually grown a spine.)

(For those adverse to clicking on links the answer is 34% approval and a nine point generic Democrat lead in preference for Congressional control.)

34%!?! That is truly mind boggling. After less, than 18 months ago this President was reelected. And John Kerry thinks he can run again?

Maybe it really is time for Cheney to resign -- if only to change the story. (Cheney by the way is a 18% favorable -- that may be close to Saddam's numbers, maybe lower.)

Thursday, February 23, 2006

Bring on 2008

I have, for the most part, stayed away from 2008, but I can feel that excitement creeping up inside with my recent Cheney and Gore posting. So, dependable reader, I point you in the direction of this recent Marist poll. (Usual caveat with any poll 2+ years out: it is mostly name recognition.)

That said, there are a few fascinating points:

-Only 51% of voters don't want Hillary to run. (By comparison, 45% don't want Giuliani to run, 56% want Condi Rice to stay out and 62% don't want see Kerry on the ballot again.)

- 33% of Democrats favor HRC, 17% Gore and 16% John Edwards. Flavor of the month Mark Warner is at 2%.

-There is a three way tie at 22% between McCain, Condi and Giuliani. GOP flavors of the month Mitt Romney and George Allen are at 4% and 2%, respectively.

- But the big surprise (and shock in some GOP camps) is that HRC lead Condi in a hypothetical match up (49-44%) and trails Giuliani by only 1 (47-48%). Only McCain has a comfortable lead over HRC(42-52%).

- Of the top 4 Democrats (HRC, Kerry, Gore and Edwards), only Edwards holds McCain under 50% (41-47%).

Remember folks, only 986 days until Election Day 2008. Don't wait for the rush!

Wednesday, February 22, 2006

Top & Bottom 10

A different look at the 10 worst/best Presidents of all-time.

A few quibbles, but a pretty solid list all-in-all.

Is Gore the New Nixon?

According to Roger Stone, a "veteran GOP operative" and a swinging type of guy, Gore's public position in 2006 is eerily similar to Tricky Dick's in 1966. Both had a taste of the Presidency that was snatched away and decided to lay low for an intervening election.

Of course, I don't think that Stone's suggested platform of "[w]ithin 24 hours of taking office, he would withdraw all troops from Iraq" is a winner, it nonetheless does set the mind awandering into the possibilities of a 2008 Gore run.

Who knows, maybe the Dems could end up with a Gore/Clinton ticket in 2008.

Why I Don't Live in Northern Canada

According to this story (from ESPN.com no less) a mother in Northern Quebec fought off a polar bear long enough so that her kids could run away and her brother could shoot it four times.

(I will resist the labored attempt to make a Dick Cheney joke. But do you think that this whole port thing is just the WH's attempt to get his unpopular mug off the front pages?)

(What you thought I would go a whole entry without taking a shot at Junior and the gang? Not likely.)

Veto? I Don't Think So?

So the first veto that Junior is going to issue will be for the right of an Arab government to run our ports?

Won't. Ever. Happen.

I'll start taking bets on that right now.

Thursday, February 16, 2006

Cheney Watch Begins?

Peggy Noonan doesn't come right out and say it, but it is pretty clear that she thinks it is time for Cheney to go.

I don't think it is going to happen, but as political strategy, it does make sense. A new Veep would radically change the story line in a way that a President polling in the low 40's high 30's needs; it wouldn't alienate a core constituency, because lets face it -- even among the diehards Cheney is not a beloved figure; and it would let the WH exert some control over what will happen post-2008, since a new Veep would automatically become the front-runner, and the bearer of the Bush banner in a way that McCain clearly never would be.

As I said, probably won't happen, but there are certainly some good reasons why the idea should not be dismissed lightly.

But Seriously . . .

The Cheney thing has been great fodder for the humor industry, and has also given the right- wingers a chance to attack the press (but then again so does a sunrise), but there are a few reasons for the WH to worry about so lingering effects of this whole affair.

First, it reinforces the belief that this White House is either incompetent in a crisis or unwilling to share the truth with the American public. Anyone who was even thinking that either of these was true (and that is certainly not a small number of people), has had that belief reinforced by the actions/inactions of the WH and the Veep.

Second, it undercuts whatever message the WH was trying to get out this week (maybe healthcare? -- but that is an entirely different problem). When your ratings are in the low 40's or high 30's, any time you get off message, you are creating more trouble for yourself.

Third, it makes Cheney look a whole lot less scary and more an object of ridicule. Cheney shotgun jokes will follow him for the rest of his term. And when your position is that of "grown-up", to now be the butt of jokes is not going to help move whatever the Bush agenda is. (Which, of course, they would first have to explain to people, but again is a whole other problem.)

Tuesday, February 14, 2006

Welcome Back

Howard Mortman is back on the internet with the launching of his website and blog, Extreme Mortman.

Welcome back Howard, hasn't been the same without ya.

Cheney-Gate? The Quail-Gun Affair?

Whatever you want to call it, the most insightful (and funniest) commentary came from the Daily Show:

Jon Stewart: "I'm joined now by our own vice-presidential firearms mishap analyst, Rob Corddry. Rob, obviously a very unfortunate situation. How is the vice president handling it?

Rob Corddry: "Jon, tonight the vice president is standing by his decision to shoot Harry Wittington. According to the best intelligence available, there were quail hidden in the brush. Everyone believed at the time there were quail in the brush.

"And while the quail turned out to be a 78-year-old man, even knowing that today, Mr. Cheney insists he still would have shot Mr. Whittington in the face. He believes the world is a better place for his spreading buckshot throughout the entire region of Mr. Whittington's face."

Jon Stewart: "But why, Rob? If he had known Mr. Whittington was not a bird, why would he still have shot him?"

Rob Corddry: "Jon, in a post-9-11 world, the American people expect their leaders to be decisive. To not have shot his friend in the face would have sent a message to the quail that America is weak..."

(From The WSJ, via Hotline on Call)

Monday, February 13, 2006

A New Vice Presidential Benefit

Apparently VPs are now allowed to shoot people. (Once is an exception, twice is policy -- granted the last one didn't work out so well.)

But the big brouhaha seems to be that Cheney's people didn't bother to tell the press until a day later, and then it wasn't even the Office of the VP, but the landowner calling her local paper. Why this should be surprising is lost on me. Cheney doesn't believe that the press has a right to know anything about what the Executive Branch does, nor Congress for that matter, and don't even bother asking about the average citizen. This latest incident is perfectly in character for big Dickie C, anyone who is surprised just hasn't been paying attention.

Tuesday, February 07, 2006

Valerie Plame

I know that everyone is already bored with this, except for the right wingers and Scooter Libby fans who want to convince everyone that all the "people in the know" in DC knew that Plame was a CIA agent, but this Slate story by former Time reporter John Dickerson seems like a big deal to me. (Be sure to read Part 2 as well.)

Dickerson reports that at least two "senior administration officials" were pointing him in the direction of Plame before her identity was made public, but without identifying her specifically, because Dickerson says "they knew at the time Plame's identity was radioactive. " This certainly suggests a much larger conspiracy.

What is Up With Alaska?

John Fund neatly dissects the current political structure in Alaska, observing that local wags like to say that "eventually all the relatives of its leading politicians will get bridges for Christmas."

Fund's purpose is to attack earmarks, but it also points out the dangers of political power being in the hands of only a few leading families. This is a trend that is not only limited to Alaska (although it does seem worse there) but which is affecting the entire country. It is not at all a stretch to think that someday our history books could reflect that for a quarter century (or longer) our Presidents had only one of two last names (Bush or Clinton). (Heck it could be as long as 40 years depending on Hillary and Jeb.)

There have always been political dynasties in our history, but as we are moving toward a more open and less stratified society, you would think that this would lessen and more new people would be getting involved, but apparently the opposite is happening.

Monday, February 06, 2006

Hillary is a B*tch

Isn't the "Hillary is angry" comment by RNC Chairman Ken Mehlman really just a codeword for saying she is a b*tch?

(* because this is a family friendly site.)

Super Bowl

There was not a great deal of excitement before the game, the game itself was pretty boring, the commercials were poor and the officiating was atrocious.

Other than that, how was the play Mrs. Lincoln?

Thursday, February 02, 2006

Boehner wins

As predicted below, the next Majority Leader in the House will be John Boehner. A signal that the House GOP caucus is concerned about their image, but not enough to really shake things up.

GOP House Leadership Vote Today

I obviously don't have a dog in this internal GOP fight, but I think it will be a very interesting looking into how the House GOP members are really feeling about their party. If Roy Blunt, the frontrunner and current majority whip, is elected on the first ballot with 125 or so votes, it is a clear sign that for all the Abramoff/DeLay/Cunningham fallout, the membership really isn't too worried about how voters will react in the fall. A Blunt vote is essentially a vote for the status quo. (It is also the safest vote.)

The "rebel" is John Shadegg, who is a doctrinaire conservative, but also the one who is most likely to push back against the administration and the K Street interests. If the caucus feels an true overhaul is need, he will win. But don't count on it, my guess is that he makes too many people worried, although he does have the clear support of the conservative blogsphere, which really doesn't matter.

John Boehner is the middle ground candidate. He is a "K Street" as Blunt, but doesn't have the leadership baggage. (This is the guy who was openly handing out tobacco PAC checks on the House floor following a related vote, so he is hardly a reformer.) My money is on him, as the compromise candidate. A vote for him signals a break from the DeLay regime, but not a break from much of what DeLay actually did as Majority Leader.

Wednesday, February 01, 2006

The State of the Union

Apparently it is strong and together we will be making stronger, but despite our collective strength we are addicted to oil. (Personally, I've never know too many strong addicts, but that's just me being snarky.)

That's my only comment, mainly because I didn't watch the speech for the first time in my memory. It just seems so unimportant. Junior wasn't going to say anything of real importance and his administration really seem to be running out of ideas.

I won't call him a lame duck, but I can't imagine that he will do anything over the next three years, except tinker around the edges of what he has already done (tax cuts, Patriot Act, etc.). He has decided to whistle past the real big domestic issues, having failed miserably in his Social Security reform. The biggest deal is, of course Iraq (and maybe Iran) but those are really out of his control, for the most part.

I am sure that the Bush fans will call the speech brilliant and a call to arms for the country and his opponents will deride it as misguided (or worse), but for most of us the speech wasn't even worth watching (especially when UConn was playing Pitt!) To me that attitude, which I don't think is limited to me, says that Junior will keep his popularity in the low 40's for the foreseeable future. After all, how can he increase his ratings if most people don't care?