Still Wet Thursday

Sing with me, folks; sing to the tune of that little “Annie” ditty: Will the sun come out, tomorrow? … Meteorologist Nick Gregory on Channel 5 news reports that we got a season’s worth of rain within a week. Yowza.

So, we don’t know very much about Supreme Court nominee Harriet Miers. But, she does seem like a witty tough cookie, according to the documents and transcripts or whatnot, as the NY Times’ Ralph Blumenthal and Simon Romero report:

[….] The documents, released on Monday at the archives and covering 1995 to 2000, did not touch on her views on sensitive social issues. They also were not related to Mr. Bush’s campaigns for governor and president. Those files are held with his father’s papers at Texas A&M and are not public.

Before the release, the papers were reviewed by the office of Gov. Rick Perry, a Republican, which made no objections. The lottery commission blocked the release of two confidential memorandums with appeals to the state attorney general’s office.

The search produced more than 2,000 pages from the 2,000 cubic feet of documents from Mr. Bush’s files as governor and more than 20 square feet of records from the commission. Some papers from Ms. Miers’s time at the commission , a position to which she was named by Mr. Bush, depicted her as a bureaucrat with a keen eye for procedure. They also showed she sailed through her confirmation hearing. Minutes of commission meetings showed Ms. Miers in command, questioning employees and other commissioners on topics like advertising, charitable bingo operations and bids to help manage the lotteries. One lawmaker asked what groups could run bingo, saying, “Could the Ku Klux Klan?”

Ms. Miers responded, “Well, I would certainly hope not.”

Ah, good one, Ms. Miers. 😉 At least we know you’re not for the KKK having anything to do with the ole Texas Lottery Commission.

And, as an attorney in private practice, NY Times’ Jonathan D. Glater reports that she was your usual corporate law firm partner, with corporate litigation work, and while her colleagues and opposition thought well of her, even the things they say about her don’t seem that greatly impressive:

[….] In 1998, Ms. Miers was hired by SunGard, a technology company based in Wayne, Pa. According to court documents, Southwest Securities sued after SunGard began negotiating a business opportunity with two employees of a company that Southwest later merged with. Southwest contended that the talks violated the terms of an agreement between the predecessor company and SunGard. The case was eventually settled.

“It was a pretty standard case, in terms of just run-of-the-mill commercial litigation,” said Joe B. Harrison, a lawyer at Gardere Wynne in Dallas, which represented Southwest Securities. “There wasn’t anything unique about the facts or the law that I recall.”

He added that Ms. Miers was “well prepared, very courteous.”

Lewis T. LeClair, a partner at McKool Smith who faced Ms. Miers in another contract case, said she was a “different kind of lawyer.” “You can think of the Mark Laniers, the Rusty Hardins,” he said, referring to some of the more flamboyant courtroom advocates in Texas. “Harriet’s not cut from that mold.” [….]

Margaret Donahue Hall, a partner at Locke Liddell & Sapp, also offered plaudits for Ms. Miers. “She is really a unique person, and she does not go about things the way someone who rises typically does,” Ms. Hall said. “In my heart of hearts, I know she’d make a great Supreme Court justice, but it’s hard to put into words why.”

And that is the biggest challenge for Ms. Miers’s supporters, who can point to competence, toughness and niceness but offer few signs that she has wrestled with the sensitive topics that the public seems to care about most.

Chief Justice John G. Roberts Jr., who was confirmed by the Senate last month, produced a rather spare paper trail that nonetheless looks exhaustive when compared with the one left by Ms. Miers. Senators grilled him about his thoughts on capital punishment, affirmative action and the right to die.

In all Ms. Miers’s cases on soured contracts and other corporate matters, there are scarcely even hints of what her thoughts on such issues might be.

Wow. Could you be a little more withering? Heck, you can’t even figure out how Ms. Miers was as a law review person: her one note, written back when she was a 2L in 1968, suggests she had legal thought, but nothing terribly inspiring or very indicative of how she is as a 60 year old lawyer. But, seriously, all I would want to say is that you don’t have to be an Ivy Leaguer, or a law review person, or a judge to become a Supreme Court justice. You should at least be significant or inspiring. Be someone who others (your legal colleagues, for example) may be able to clearly articulate why you deserve to be on the Highest Court.

And, in other news, Chewbacca is now an American. Well, at least the British-born actor who played Chewbacca of “Star Wars” got naturalized.

“I got married to a Texan lady. That more or less decided it,” said [Peter] Mayhew, who has been married to his wife, Angelique, for six years. [….]

When he takes his oath to become an American, Mayhew said he’ll recite what he can remember and “it will be a Chewie growl for the other parts.”

Wonder if R2D2 or 3PO (who I believe are also played by British actors) may end up becoming Americans next.

Oh, and a little more Smurfs – Anderson Cooper had a funny bit on the whole UNICEF Smurf commercial in Belgium:

Still to come, though, on 360, what’s blue and white and sort of shaped like a gumdrop with arms and legs? A smurf, of course. But why would someone bomb the smurfs? We’ll explain ahead.


COOPER: First of all, we should tell you that although what follows is about some beloved children’s characters, notably smurfs, it really isn’t suitable for children. Unless you have the kind of children who like to see their beloved characters barbecued, in which case you have bigger problems than keeping them away from the TV set. So seriously, not for kids right now.

See, UNICEF has decided to bomb the smurfs in a new TV commercial. It’s for a good cause, but seeing smurfs oblito- smurferated (sic) is — well, it’s kind of shocking. See for yourselves.


UNIDENTIFIED MALE: You think all smurfs look the same.

COOPER (voice-over): Who doesn’t love the smurfs? Besides parents forced to watch them, that is. They’re bouncy, blue, three apples high bundles of smug happiness, baffling the plots of the evil sorcerer Gargamel and his mangy cat Azrael.

Generations have grown up entranced by the coquettish Smurfette and the gruff but lovable Papa Smurf.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Keep on smurfing!

COOPER: Who at the age of 542 looks pretty darn good.

But in a new commercial now running on TV in Belgium, all is not so smurfy in the mushroom-filled town of Smurfville. One moment, the smurfs are dancing around a campfire. The next, it’s Smurfageddon. Their cute mushroom homes are blown up, and so are a number of smurfs. The commercial ends with a child smurf left crying amidst the wreckage.

Who would do this to smurfs? Turns out the bloodbath is the brainchild of UNICEF Belgium. Belgium is the birthplace of smurfs, after all. And they are blowing them apart to raise awareness and money to rehabilitate children, kidnapped and forced to fight as soldiers in the African country of Burundi.

Will seeing their little blue friends blown up send thousands of Belgian kids into shock? Perhaps, but UNICEF says the ad is meant for adults, and will be aired only at night.

For their part, the smurfs aren’t talking, but we are sure with their can-do smurf spirit, they will be up and smurfing in no time soon.


COOPER: Oh, smurfs. Papa Smurf.

We did make a number of calls to UNICEF headquarters to give the organization the chance to comment on the story. None of our calls was returned. We’re also still waiting to hear directly from the official spokessmurf. That would be smurfirific (sic).

Tee-hee. Guess Anderson’s feeling a whole lot better after getting back to town from Katrina.

And, last but not least, last week’s Time magazine covers how former Los Angeles DA Gil Garcetti has found a fulfilling 2nd career: as a photographer. The pictures aren’t on the website, but they looked fascinating when I saw them in the magazine. It’s great to hear a lawyer do more than grab publicity (which weren’t pretty when Garcetti had the Menendez brothers and OJ Simpson cases) – but finding art in life.

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