Super Lawyers
William C. Altreuter
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Monday, November 20, 2017

Al Swearengen: Over time, your quickness with a cocky rejoinder must have gotten you many punches in the face.
Silas Adams: Depends what you call, 'many'.

Wednesday, November 15, 2017

It would be interesting to know how Alabama became such a mess. Part of it seems to be that historically its economy has always been largely agrarian, but there was enough of a manufacturing base to have mitigated that somewhat. Birmingham was a steel city, and access to the Gulf should have meant that it would have become more cosmopolitan. Could it just be pure cussedness?

Tuesday, November 07, 2017

#47 at 9:38 at my polling place. Pathetic. I'm quite serious about running as a delegate to the proposed constitutional convention: now that the hoodoo is off (thanks again AHIA) I figure I have a shot. I don't figure the convention has a shot, however, which is a shame. New York's legislature is badly broken, and a constitutional convention seems to me to be the best shot at fixing a broken democracy

Tuesday, October 31, 2017

Caroline and Jared have a wedding page. It is, unsurprisingly, adorable

Enoch Soames.

Monday, October 23, 2017

Upcoming, a trip to NOLA with the Academy of Hospitality Industry Attorneys. The meeting will include a visit to the National World War II Museum, which I'm somewhat ambivalent about. I have mentioned in the past that I believe Slaughterhouse Five may be the finest American novel about the WWII experience, and the reason that I feel this way is that Vonnegut never tries to pretend that the experience of the war was anything other than horrific. Fairly early on he tells a story about visiting a friend from the Army whose wife becomes agitated and angry over the course of the evening. She finally erupts and says, "You were all babies," meaning, of course, that all of the combatants were children, sent to be killed. Mailer's point in The Naked and the Dead was similar: the absurdity of the war for him is embodied in the pointless scouting mission that accomplishes nothing and ends with the retreat from the wasp's nest, but unlike Mailer Vonnegut does not try to pretend that there is any point to individual acts of resistance.  Slaughterhouse Five's subtitle is The Childrens' Crusade and he does not mean it ironically.

So, for me, romanticizing wars is an abomination, and grief should be a private thing. There are the children who are sent to be killed, and when I see a soldier or a sailor in an airport or something I do not feel a stirring of patriotism. I don't think, "Thank you for your service." I think, "You poor dumb bastard," and then I think about the men who are taking those young lives, those babies, and I think, "You monsters."

This piece, about why WWI is seldom depicted in film makes a good point. It is harder to romanticize that war. 

Wednesday, October 18, 2017

I suppose any work of art can be said to be worth revisiting, and I try to walk that talk: I'm a re-reader, and every now and then I will return to a recording that I haven't listened to in a while to re-assess my thinking. Sometimes something doesn't click because of who I was when I encountered it.

And sometimes the work doesn't click because of what it is. I've returned to Their Satanic Majesties Request  more than once. It remains a mess. Is it an interesting mess? Frankly, I don't think so.

Tuesday, October 17, 2017

One of the clear trends in Supreme Court 8th Amendment jurisprudence is an increasing reliance on quantitative analysis. Although both Justice Scalia and Justice Thomas reject this approach in favor of a literal reading of the text, that is reductive in my view. At some point the so-called 'plain meaning' of any phrase or sentence requires context, and the approach Justice Kennedy takes in Roper v. Simmons seems to be a reasonable extension of Chief Justice Warren's reasoning in Trop v. Dullas, where we get the concept of "Evolving standards of decency". What does "unusual" mean? Is what was once usual always usual?

I thought this piece was interesting in view of that discussion. . In my practice I've encountered similar sorts of knowledge gaps with judges, particularly in the context of electronic discovery. It is less prevalent now, but judges really didn't understand how computers in real life are different from, say, the computer that Mr. Spock talks to. It is shocking to me that a guy like Roberts, who must have taken a statistics course at some point, finds this stuff so difficult to grasp.

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