Friday, June 21, 2013

Friday's Odds and Ends

The only good thing about when the summer heat hits Texas like a blast furnace is that flowers like the Mexican Petunia start to bloom. I'm trying very hard to make it my favorite flower as it blooms from late June through late October. Unlike pansies, which are my favorites, but have a much shorter life span in Texas. 
First bloom of the year
In Monday's post I mentioned the fact that Texas Governor Perry vetoed a bill that would have allowed school districts to deal with truancy cases in ways that would not make truancy a crime. Weighing in on the topic in the Dallas Morning News, a young teen volunteer columnist, Shruti Rao, pointed out that one problem with the policy is that it redefines poverty as a crime.

"By criminalizing truancy we are sending the wrong message." Ms. Rao wrote. "The message we are sending to disadvantaged students by treating them like criminals is basically: You are bad for being poor. "

Ms. Rao is also a teen court volunteer, and cites the example of two students who have truancy issues that are totally out of their control. Their parents are not able to keep a car running to take the kids to school.

Ms. Rao acknowledges that there are some students "who don't go to school because they are defying the law." But in her role as a teen court defense attorney she sees many more defendants who are there because of family circumstances. "If we treat poor, innocent kids like criminals, they will lose their faith in society. Ultimately, we as a society will pay the price."
Have you heard of patent trolling? Apparently this is a practice where attorneys look for patent applications that even remotely resemble the product produced by their clients, and file a lawsuit. When applying for a patent, people are encouraged to get patent insurance to cover the costs of those suits. I remember a time when trolling for clients was frowned upon, and the worst stigma an attorney could have was to be called an ambulance chaser.

I am a real animal lover - just saying in case you haven't noticed. (Smile) But I cringed when I read about a Dallas man who was convicted of felony animal cruelty for killing his girlfriends cat, but acquitted of assault charges for attacking his girlfriend and her daughters with a stun gun. He could go to prison for killing the cat, but gets a walk on the assault. Doesn't seem right to me.

Now for a bit of fun from the comics. This is from Mother Goose and Grimm:

Grimm is in a store to return a toaster. He says to the clerk, "This toaster doesn't work. I want my money back."

The clerk responds, "Sorry, no refunds unless you can prove its defective."

Grimm drops the toaster, then picks up the broken pieces and hands them to her saying, "It's defective."

Literary Lesson: 

"Doubt was a necessary element of life, one often not appreciated until later in life. Only with doubt could one challenge his assumptions and ensure that his course was proper."  From Unintended Consequences by Marti Green.

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