Showing posts from August, 2010

LA Law: Profile of Judge Scott Gordon in LAT (McCourt Case)

As a Dodger fan, the problems of the ownership has indicated trouble ahead for the organization.

LAT's Bill Shaikin has been on the story of the McCourt divorce case.

Here, he profiles the judge presiding over the case.

UPDATE: If you are really interested in the following the case, check out Dodger Divorce which is a blog devoted to covering the trail written by Joshua Fisher who describes himself:
A writer and law student with experience in finance, bankruptcy, and international law, Joshua has spent considerable time in Minnesota, Los Angeles, and Kansas City. His tentative retirement plan is to own and operate an independent league baseball team. In his free time, Joshua researches and writes for his own website,, and follows the Kansas Jayhawks with religious fervor. Joshua can be reached via Twitter (@DodgerDivorce) or e-mail ( [AT] gmail [DOT] com).

LA Law: Jury Duty, Part IV, Day 3

Day three of my jury service was my first day present at jury selection.

I was one of the 75 people of panel B. The day before, the jury selection started with the 75 people of panel A.

So when me and my panel B mates arrived, there were 18 jurors (6 alternates) in the box and the remainder of panel A in the seats.

Jurors can be excused by the following methods:
(1) By agreement of judge, defense and prosecution for hardship and by the judge for cause.

Of the hardship cases, in open court, it was granted to one juror who was the sole breadwinner of the family with a pregnant wife about to give birth. In another, the juror was hugely pregnant and presented the court with a letter from her OB/GYN.

There were probably other cases successfully made in the questionnaires. In those cases, at the beginning, the clerk read the juror ID numbers and those jurors left right away. I suppose some might have been excused for cause as well.

Excusal for cause came up after a huddle of the j…

LA Scene: Dodgers done?

As a fan, we have highs and lows: the Dodgers are terrific, the Dodgers are bums.

The Dodgers are 5 1/2 behind in the wild card with 32 to go. They are too far behind to catch up in the West.

Philadelphia leads the wild card and look on pace to win 88-90 games this year.

The Dodgers are 67-63 and will have to go 23-9 to get to 90 wins.

Dodger GM Colletti is competitive and it will be hard to throw in the towel. But on the other hand, he has to plan for the future of the team.

Hence, the questions over what they will do about the Chicago White Sox's waiver claim on Manny.

There are 3 scenarios:

He goes to the White Sox outright and they take the salary off the Dodger books.
He goes to the White Sox in exchange for players or cash or a mix of both
He stays with the Dodgers.

Manny has a no-trade clause so he could veto option 1 or 2 if he wants to.

As of now, the White Sox are on the edge of being too far behind to make the playoffs. They are 4 1/2 games out with 33 games to go…

Politics: The NY Mosque Controversy

In the USA, there is freedom of religion.

Thus, if the group that wants to build a mosque near the World Trade Center site in New York has done all the proper paperwork, they are legally allowed to do so.

Having said that, I do wonder if that Mosque will a prominent and permanent display inside it that will say, the Al-Qaeda terrorists who committed the 9/11 attacks do not represent the kind of Islam we practice in this Mosque?

Will the leaders of the Mosque organize with the community of Muslims it serves and other civic minded neighbors and host a march in the New York streets declaring: terrorists acts committed by people claiming to be Muslims is against the tenets of our faith?

People often talk about "teachable moments."

Will these folks seize it?

Politics: The confusion over the President's religion

I think the polls that say a number of people in the USA think that President Obama is a Muslim or they are unsure what religion he holds is a reflection of two things:

1) People who don't follow politics for a living or out of habit (those kind of folks would know that President Obama has made it very clear through interviews and speeches that he believes in Christianity) are probably basing their assessment on his name.

If you heard that the new math teacher at your daughter's high school was Joseph Lieberman, you might "guess" he was Jewish. He might be. But he might not be. If you heard the new director of the local chamber of commerce was Kathleen Kennedy, you might "guess" she was Irish Catholic. She might be, she might not be. If you heard the new police chief in town was Barack Hussein Obama, you might "guess" he was Muslim. He might be, he might not be.

Thus, for non-political news junkies (most Americans), who don't have a s…

Theology: The Challenge of Ehrman, part III

So what are some of the variants that Ehrman discussed in his book?

Will attempt to discuss some of them here with the following caveats:

(1) I'm not a textual critic scholar so I can only access their ideas to the extent that a lay person can do so.

(2) I'll be looking at the NIV Bible since that is probably the most commonly used English translation in churches here in the USA.

(3) I'll also be taking a look at the NET Bible which is a resource for the lay reader to have some access to textual critic scholar's notes on translations.

In chapter 5 of his book, Ehrman addressed three variants.

Mark 1:41

Filled with [compassion/anger], Jesus reached out his hand and touched the man. "I am willing," he said. "Be clean!"

Ehrman argued in favor of "anger" as the correct variant because it is more likely that subsequent scribes "softened" the story by swapping in compassion or deleting the word.

The NET text note for this verse also o…

LA Law: Jury Duty, Part III, Day 2

After receiving the summons, I called in as required. I reported to the courthouse as instructed, was placed on a prospective jury panel and we were told when to call back again.

Thus, I called on the evening they indicated and was told to report to the courthouse.

From what I had heard, panel A was 75 prospective jurors, panel B was 75 prospective jurors and panel C was 50 prospective jurors. I was on panel B.

After taking roll, we filed into the courtroom. The clerk reported to the judge which jurors had not shown up. The judged issued contempt of court citations to those who missed the roll call. In the end, I think those citations were removed when those jurors eventually arrived later.

The judge addressed the big elephant in the room: I am pretty sure no one has volunteered to be here to be on a case that may last 60 days. He tackled the subject head on by saying jury duty is a responsibility of citizenship. He stressed that there are military personnel who risk their lives…

LA Law: Jury Duty, Part II, Day 1

I called in the first evening and they said I didn't need to report.

I called in the second evening and they said, please report to the courthouse.

I arrived the next morning and took a seat in the jury assembly room and started to read and nearly fell asleep!

Near lunch time, the PA announcer said, we are assembling a jury panel. She told us the judge anticipates the case will last 60 days! A groan quietly went through the jury assembly room. The lady then gave various reasons why someone could be excused (various financial hardship factors) which would be checked. None of the stated reasons applied to me. And, of course, I heard my name called.

We gathered together and we were told: you are excused for the day, please call in on such-and-such an evening and you will be given instructions as to what to do. He said there was a 50-50 chance that the case might not go to trial.

Thus, the first day of my jury service came to an end.

LA Law: Jury Duty, Part I, the Summons

About every 2-3 years, I get a letter in the mail regarding jury duty.

Jury service for the Los Angeles County can be fulfilled usually in the following ways:
1) Calling the designated phone number for 5 days and being told, thanks for calling in, you do not need to report to the courthouse.
2) Upon calling in being told you must come to the courthouse where you spend one-day where you may be called into a jury panel. If you don't get on a jury or jury panel by the end of the day, your service is completed.
3) While at the courthouse, you get assigned to a jury panel for a trail. You may or may not actually wind up on the trial jury but you go through jury selection and if you are excused at some point in the process you have fulfilled your jury service.
4) Complete one trial as a juror.

There are a series of online orientation videos you have the option to view before going to the courthouse. If you have to report to the courthouse, you could view the videos at the courthouse …

Theology: The Challenge of Ehrman, part II

One has to give credit to Bart Ehrman for making the topic of New Testament textual criticism into a bestselling book. Of course, I suspect if he didn't have a talk shows garnering thesis (the NT is unreliable), the book probably wouldn't have sold quite so well.

The guild of New Testament textual scholars all acknowledge that Ehrman is a bright star in this field. Ehrman was a student of the late Bruce Metzger who is still regarded as one of the top scholars in the field.

Metzger was more confident in the reliability of the New Testament documents such that he wrote the text book, The Text of the New Testament: Its Transmission, Corruption and Restoration. The first three editions of the book he wrote on his own and he and Ehrman co-wrote the 4th edition.

One of the textual scholars I cite below remarked that the title of the book they co-wrote is: The Text of the New Testament: Its Transmission, Corruption and Restoration. These scholars who work in relative obscurit…

Non-profit of the month: July 2010 - Stand To Reason

I listen pretty regularly to the Stand to Reason podcast.

Great topics selected by Greg Koukl for comment, interesting guests and a wide-range of caller generated discussions.

Their mission statement:

Stand to Reason trains Christians to think more clearly about their faith and to make an even-handed, incisive, yet gracious defense for classical Christianity and classical Christian values in the public square.

Definite thumbs up to the work they are doing!

Non-profit of the Month: August 2010 - International Assistance Mission

The news of the murder of health care workers of International Assistance Mission was shocking.

Here is a photo essay at NYT about those killed in Afghanistan.

The organization remains committed to serving the people of Afghanistan despite the loss of their teammates.

Please consider supporting their work or another group of your choice dedicated to serving people in need in the tough places of the world like Afghanistan.

Life: Types of Cars I've Driven

Cars are a big part of life in the USA and certainly in Los Angeles.

What have I been driving?

Well, when I was going to college, I carpooled with friends so I only drove once or twice a week so I borrowed my parent's car. It was a Chevy Monte Carlo. It got something like 9 miles to a gallon!

When I went to graduate school, I drove a Nissan Stanza. It did pretty well for a while but when it hit about 50,000 miles, it started to fall apart with frequent costly repairs.

The next car was a Honda Civic with automatic transmission. A wonderful car! Alas, it got "t-boned" at an intersection at high speed. I was able to walk away from the crash and the car was drivable but was declared a total loss by the insurance company. Thank you Honda for a good design that protected me in the crash. This was pre-airbag days.

With affection for Honda, my next vehicle was a Honda Civic with manual transmission. Loved it! Drove across the USA twice! Went well past 100,000 miles. A…

Travel: Storm Approaching Stockholm

Here is a cool video made by one of my buddies ...