Wednesday, November 30, 2016

Trump Supporter

This woman had as many votes in the election as I did.

I think for the next 4-8 years you are going to see racists such as this who feel bad about their shitty lives telling store clerks/servers with whom they are displeased (shocker, maybe a store clerk at a Michael's isn't doing such an awesome job) that the racist feels discriminated against because of "my political views."

Ladies and Gentlemen -- NBA Champion J.R. Smith

When the Cavs celebrate the 20th anniversary of their NBA title in 2036 (or late 2035, however they do those things) someone will interview the 51 year old LeBron James and the conversation will go like this:

Q - So the 2016 Cavs - great team.  Who started for you then?

A - Well, me, Kyrie, Love, Tristan Thompson was our 6'8" center.  And JR of course.

Q -- JR, Reid?

A -- No, JR Smith.  Shooting guard.  Starting off guard.

Q - Wait the guy who played for Denver and the Knicks?  He was on that team?  How much did he play?  Didn't he split time with Delly and Shump?

A - No.  JR was the starting off guard.  Against the Warriors in the Finals he played 261 minutes - 3rd most behind me and Kyrie.

Q -- So, you beat a team that had won 72 games with JR Smith playing that many minutes?  What were his Finals numbers? 

A. Well, he went 10/3/2, rounding up.

Q -- Well, at least you had Kevin Love, right?

A -- Kevin played 158 minutes and went 9/7.  Rounding up again.

Q -- (blank look) So, LeBron you are the clearly the best player of all-time. 

A - Certainly top 4.

Wednesday, November 23, 2016

Thanksgiving Memories

When I was growing up, sometimes we would go to my dad's mom's house and have a huge meal.  My dad grew up in a tiny farm house in central NY state and it always sort of gave you the feeling that you were in the movie "Oliver" except my grandma had a ton of food.  We had as many as 35 people in a 1,500 square foot house, so we made friends with our cousins, or really struggled.  I remember one Friday after Thanksgiving I fell asleep at 6PM Friday and woke up at 10 AM Saturday - still my record for continuous sleep absent surgery.

Once or twice we'd go to my mom's mom's house and my aunt would bring dinner.  She was a caterer and so she made food for 100 people when we only had 15 there.  It was great food and she was a great cook, so I would have 4-5-6 servings and people would still be begging me to eat more "or it will go to waste."  I really believe that had it been a thing in 1980-88 that I could have been a competitive eater.  I am sure that there were days I had 20,000 calories plus.

But the best Thanksgivings were when we stayed home.  My mom would get up about 4AM and put in her turkey and start making stuff.  She always bitched (which wasn't a Thanksgiving-only event) but you could tell she really loved to make a great meal.  My mom - also a very good cook, though for some reason she enjoyed making a terrible vegetable stew once every 10 days.  That was a really bleak day.

The VERY best thing about my mom's cooking was that she would make dinner rolls from scratch.  She would make 64+ rolls because she knew I could eat at least 12 (I will concede that some days it may have been 24).  She'd make dinner rolls that were 3 inches high and light as a feather.  Then she'd take a stick of butter and rub the stick across the browned top.  Then we'd eat them with more butter inside.

I always loved Thanksgiving.

When I tell people today that I eat roughly 40% of what I would like to eat and roughly 15% of what I used to eat as a kid, no one believes me.  But man could I ever eat and man did I love Thanksgiving.  Now, I had a stent put in to open a 95% clogged artery at age 45, so you probably should not do as I did.  But it was fun while it lasted.

Happy Thanksgiving to everyone.  It can be a tough time for those who do not have family near, and sometimes a far tougher time for those who do!  But try to make it a great day and either remember the great times growing up, or if you had few or none, try to make some great memories tomorrow.


The 7 Greatest Playoff Performances By WS/48 (Minimum 500 Minutes)

3 of the 7 seasons with greater than 500 MP and over .29 WS/48 resulted in no title:

1) 1964 - Wilt drags a terrible San Fran team to the finals, loses in 5 to the Celtics despite a playoff average of 35 points and 25 rebounds a game.

2)  1974 -- Kareem loses in 7 in the Finals to the Celtics despite a playoff average of 32 points and 16 rebounds a game.

3)    2009 -- LeBron, playing at a ridiculous level, puts up .399 WS/48 and yet his team cannot even reach the Finals, losing to Orlando despite LeBron's overall stats of 35 points and 9 rebounds a game.

of the 4 winners (Jordan twice, Connie Hawkins and Dr. J)

-- Jordan's 1991 season (at age 27) is the modern day gold standard at 31 points and 6 rebounds a game while going WS/48 of .333

-- Dr. J's 34 points and 12 rebounds a game in the ABA's 1976 season demonstrate why he was such a God.

-- Connie Hawkins at 30 points and 12 rebounds a game led the Pittsburgh Pipers to the 1968 ABA title.

-- Jordan AGAIN in 1996 put up 31-5 and over .300 WS/48.  Jordan easily serves as the oldest guy on the list as we have

LeBron 24
Hawkins and Dr. J 25
Kareem 26
Wilt and Michael 1991 at age 27
Jordan 1996 -- age 32.

Over 950 Minutes in a Playoff Season

Interesting note -- of the 29 guys to log 950+ MP, only 11 played on teams who won the NBA title.  18 were losers. 

Richard Hamilton played 1079 playoff minutes in 2004-05 and yet couldn't log even TWO playoff Win Shares!!!  Other just super shitty (but durable) efforts - Jalen Rose 2000; Dan Majerle 1993.  Dennis Johnson 1987.

The 5 Best Big-Minute Playoff performances?

#5 -- Larry Bird 1984 -- won the title, 4.7 WS, .236 WS/48

#4 -- Dwyane Wade 2006 -- won the title, 4.8 WS, .240 WS/48

#3 -- LeBron James 2013 -- won the title, 5.2 WS, .260 WS/48

#2 -- Tim Duncan 2003 -- won the title, 5.9 WS (the all-time playoff record), .279 WS/48

#1 -- LeBron James -- 2012, won the title, 5.8 WS, .284 WS/48. 

Sadly, Dirk Nowitzki, who had Dwyane Wade on the ropes in 2006 in the Finals before "Letting him off the hook!" (RIP Denny Green), had a tremendous playoff season (5.4 WS, .263 WS/48) end in failure, or he would have displaced Bird from the list.


Thursday, November 17, 2016

Baltimore Teacher

Are you not supposed to do/say this? 

She now awaits her future position in the Trump Administration.

Tuesday, November 15, 2016

Phil Jackson and LeBron James

I don't really care about the "posse" comment (though it is clearly a slam on LeBron).  The more interesting thing is that Phil Jackson seems to have a real problem with LeBron.  He was a bad guy in 2004, a bad guy in 2014, a bad guy in 2016.  Just an overall bad guy.  Doesn't take things seriously, requires special treatment, etc.

If I have LeBron James as a player and he asks to stay in Cleveland overnight to hang out with his mom, I say, "Fine, go ahead.  We need you in _________ by ________ o'clock tomorrow."  Is this really a great concern?  This isn't Iverson showing up at practice with "flu-like symptoms."  The guy is 29 years old and has led your team to two titles and he wants to spend a night at his mom's house.  News flash, Phil -- regular business people do this (plan trip to a town and stay an extra day to see their families).  Oooh, "special treatment!"

The complaint about LeBron traveling all of the time.  My lord, Phil.  Tiny Archibald traveled every time he got the ball.  Patrick Ewing never ever established a pivot foot.  Every single right-handed basketball player in the NBA who catches the ball with his right foot stationary immediately switches pivot feet without dribbling.  That is how it is.  Do you know how we determine the best guys in a world where they don't get calls?  When they play international ball and the refs do not give them any leeway, who are the best guys?  LeBron is always still the best guy.    As was Jordan, as was Barkley, as was David Robinson, as was Duncan, as was Garnett.

Perhaps the biggest problem that Phil has with LeBron is that LeBron reminds us that it is the PLAYERS and not the coaches who win titles.  LeBron has won 2 titles with Eric Spoelstra and one with Tyron Lue.  He has brought teams to the Finals coached by Mike Brown and David Blatt.  So perhaps what bothers Phil the most is that he doesn't like to know that guys like Brown/Blatt/Lue/Spoelstra  can ride great talent to a title appearance.  That tends to disprove the whole myth of Zen and that you need a super coach to win.  You don't.  What you need is a top 10 great player.   All of a sudden Phil's 11 rings ring a little hollow. 

Maybe that is it? 

Thursday, November 10, 2016

Trump Post-Election Option Appears to Be to Just Be an Establishment Republican.....and Worse.

Trump has an opportunity to act in a reasonable manner.  He has some policy concepts (I am not sure if he is actually serious about them) that are not awful.  Improve roads and bridges.  Try to punish corporations for moving American jobs overseas.  He sometimes (25% maybe) implies that the American worker is not making a lot of money and should make more.   He hasn't been vehemently anti-gay, so maybe he could let that whole set of social issues go. He could, if he wanted, actually be an OK President.

Then you see this.

So with a guy who lost the popular vote and who did not come close to 50% of the vote, the GOP just simply wants to gut everything done in the past 75 years to help people, and provide a $7T tax cut to millionaires and billionaires.  (No tax cut for Trump - he doesn't pay taxes, as we know).

Trump has indicated he would like to appoint as the head of the EPA someone who does not believe in climate change.  98%+ of scientists believe in climate change.  It is 65 degree in November in Minneapolis now.....regularly.  How do you even find some hack who will deny climate change?

My best hope for Trump is that he will find a way to actually try to be a "third way" between the two major parties.  If he is just going to be a whore for the establishment Republican Party, we would be better off with him resigning and allowing Pence to run the country into the ground and form a theocracy.  At least then we would not have people out committing hate crimes in the name of the President.

Speaking of theocracy, I am already so tired of the Republican talking point that non-Trump voters should not be concerned and should shut up and put their faith in God and his love.  It is so appalling to me that a campaign for President based so heavily on hate and division and bullying now says "well, guess I won, God will protect you -- just pray a lot."  WTF?  I mean, I recognize that people who follow religion are pretty gullible, but "pray and love - while we take away all of your rights and turn the clock back to 1951" cannot seriously be a talking point, can it?  People actually buy that shit?

Kids in Minnesota who are Trump supporters are writing "Fuck Niggers" and "white America" on bathroom stalls, followed by "Trump."  Kids at schools with Hispanic students are chanting "build that wall" to Hispanic students.  What can you tell these kids?  "Don't do that!"?  Um, that is what the President-elect said for 15 months!  He is endorsed by the KKK's newspaper.  Kid's reply -- Don't tell me what I can say, the American people support this behavior! 

Trump could (as he has many times) switch his position and let everyone know it was all just schtick.  It does not appear that he intends to do so.  So if you are poor or Hispanic or Muslim or fat or a woman whom he wants to OK for sexual assault - fuck you.  Not your country anymore.  There are some white folks in the South and Midwest who got all C's and D's in school and they decided who runs the country now.  Enjoy 4 years of hell.

Wednesday, November 09, 2016

Clinton Would Have Won Had She Merely "Held Serve" With Obama's Voters

Amazingly, she lost to a guy who 60% of voters stated was wholly unqualified to be President of the USA (42% voted for her, 18% still voted for him!) because..........

People simply do not like Hillary Clinton.  I mean, there can be no other explanation.  She failed to match Obama in virtually any category of Obama voter.  She got 5,000,000 votes less than Obama (even though Trump will get fewer votes than did Romney).

The short answer is that you can do all of the looking and analyzing you want, but if blacks and women and young people do not go to the polls, Democrats lose.  And these people never felt that they'd like to vote for Clinton as much as they had wanted to vote for Obama.

The most surprising exit poll was that Trump (who called Mexicans murderers and rapists) won FAR more Hispanic votes than did Romney!  Clinton was unable to even convince 70% of Hispanics that they probably ought to vote against the most racist candidate to run for President since at least George Wallace, and maybe since Strom Thurmond.  Instead of a 70-17 Obama beatdown, Clinton only managed 63-29.  That is a 19 point decline.

Sometimes you just have a bad candidate.

Michael Moore With a Prediction of Why Trump Won

Tuesday, November 08, 2016

Russell Westbrook on a Pace to Shatter Kobe's Usage Percentage Record

Russ is at 41.7 Usage Rate !!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!  41.7.  That is simply insane.  In 2005-06, Kobe, in a display of ball hoggery and shameless gunning unseen before or after. put up a ridiculous 38.7% Usage Rate.

Russ, playing without Durant for most of the year due to injury, took a shot at the record in 2014-15, but fell just shy at 38.4%.  Michael Jordan playing on Doug Collins' 40-42 Bulls in 1986-87 got to 38.3%.  No other player who has played 2,000 minutes in a season has ever reached 38%.  (Iverson reached 37.8% Dwyane Wade is #5 at 36,2% in 2008-09).

Russ is roughly 108% of Kobe's record right now.  There is a lot of season to play, and I have always felt that Kobe's mark was simply unbreakable for a few reasons:

 1) Playing at that Usage Rate requires you to be unbelievably physically fit.  You need to be a remarkable physical specimen to be able to go that hard every possession.

2) You need to combine that physical stamina with a complete disdain for including your teammates in the game.  I mean, you literally cannot want anyone else to get an isolation play or to dribble more than once (more than one dribble generally denies you an assist and reduces your Usage Rate).  LeBron is as physically fit as anyone who has ever played the game, and he has the ball ALL of the time.  But he has never even reached 34% in Usage.  The flaw in LeBron's Usage game is that he genuinely likes to be liked by his teammates.  Most seasons he dedicates the 3rd quarter to allowing some teammate to shine and have his chance at glory (I recall Mo Williams, now Kyrie, Bosh or Wade often got the 3rd Q to shine).  That makes you a nice guy, but it isn't getting you any Usage records.

3) You need to combine physical stamina and disdain for teammates with a healthy dose of "don't give a fuck".  So if the opponent puts 2-3 guys into rotation against you, you need to say "gonna shoot it anyway" or "gonna drive it anyway."  Russ and Kobe definitely share that attitude.  When Phil Jackson took over the Bulls, one of the first things he told Jordan was that he simply HAD to allow his teammates to be more involved in the game.  This wasn't a Usage discussion, per se, but the point is the same -- you cannot be at 38% plus Usage if you have any belief that your temmates are good players and can help you win.  The two things are pretty much mutually exclusive.

Therefore, I always viewed Kobe's 38.7% as basically like those before me many years ago viewed the 4 minute mile -- you just physically could not do it, it would kill someone to do it.

But, Russ may be the Roger Bannister of Usage and he may set the bar so high that no one will ever challenge it.  So maybe he is more like the Bob Beamon of Usage -- will set a mark that lasts for 20+ years.  We shall see.

Election Day 2016

The great fear I have, of course, is that Trump's undereducated wave of white males just explodes and shows up at the polls in their camo to vote.

When Ventura won in Minnesota, that happened.  I showed up at my lily-white polling place and saw guys who appeared to be either coming back from hunting or on their way to hunting signing up to vote.  (We have same-day registration in Minnesota).  I knew Ventura had a real chance then.

Today at my polling place it was a lot of people on their way to work.  There was no influx of redneck white voters.  That is a good sign, at least where I am at.  Also, I don't know where they found 1-2% minority voters in my precinct, but they all came to vote at 7:00 a.m.

Anyway - hopeful that Trump and his ilk will go down today.  The sad thing is that there are only about 30-35% of the voting public who are the ignorant racists that Trump preys upon.  If he gets 48% (which is about what he needs to win) that means that 13% of people who are neither ignorant or racist have voted for him....which makes me even sadder and more depressed for our future.

One can only hope that women and minorities are willing to stand in long lines to stop this guy, because we white men have failed our country badly in 2016.  Look, guys, I know you're angry that you had to be ruled by a half-black guy for 8 years.  That is no reason for you to allow a crazy and incompetent psychopath to become President. 

Anyway, Trump has the same chance of winning that a major league pitcher has of getting a hit when he is batting.  Which is pretty low, but way too high for my liking.  I have called and texted every Hillary voter I know to ask that they please vote.  I guess I should have volunteered or given money.  I should have done more and tried harder.  But now I am stuck hoping for a good result.  Who knows what will happen?  We shall see. 

Friday, November 04, 2016

Addendum to my Trial Victory Story (Below)

Three other highlights:

1) Opposing counsel is making some stupid cross-examination inquiry.  Something like, "Hey, didn't that REALLY bother you?"  It bothered me.  "How about REALLY bothered you?"  I wouldn't say that.  "Well, how could it bother you and not REALLY bother you?"  Judge looks over at me with the face of "I want you to object"  I roll my eyes and give him the palms up shrug like "it will be over soon and he isn't getting anywhere."

2) Judge is mad that we are going to call their witnesses by deposition and then they are going to bring these same witnesses LATER in the case and call them in their own case.  "Why can't you people work this out?"  Me -- Judge, I asked them to produce these witnesses for my case, they refused, obviously hoping that I wouldn't read their depositions and hoping that would cause you to grant directed verdict.  I cannot just not present them, but, your honor, this is not my fault."


Judge goes off.  1) You as an attorney are supposed to work things out; 2) now I have to read all of these depos, 3) I can assure you that you aren't going to win a directed verdict motion, so don't fool yourself.

I guess it wasn't me who engaged in failed litigation strategy.

3) Other side's obsession with deposition testimony was bizarre.  They'd ask things of people in depo that they had no foundation for and then bring it up at trial.  Example -- "do you bill to the 1/100th of an hour?"  Yes.  "Your depo says you don't."  Redirect - "are these 400 invoices where you billed to the 1/100th of an hour?  Yes." 

It was like watching a robot conduct cross examination -- Mr. HM, are you overweight?  "Yes."  Here in your depo, you say you are not! "Well, you can just look at me and see that I am"  BUT YOUR DEPO!!  YOUR DEPO!!!! 

Perhaps gear that back a little?  Jurors are not morons.



Thursday, November 03, 2016

Highlights from My Recent Trial Win

Just recently won a big verdict on behalf of my client.  Some trial highlights:

1) My client has to prove damages.  Put my client on the stand and ask, "What is the total amount of your damages that you are claiming?"  Objection - irrelevant.

Now, without proving damages, there can be no case win.  The objection is that the proof of damages is "irrelevant"?


Shocker (my opponents brought 5 attorneys to trial, some of whom bill $800/hour - they objected to this question as "irrelevant.").

2) Going through damages -- "And what is $4,000 times 6 years?"  "Objection your honor - Leading!"   No.  Leading would be "And $4,000 times 6 years is $24,000, right?"


3) Now, sir, by sending out this document, was it your intent to frighten my client?   "Objection, mischaracterizes his testimony!"  Mischaracterizes his testimony?  His testimony is mentioned nowhere in the question.  The question merely asks if his motivation in sending the letter was to frighten.  The question involves neither his testimony nor any characterization of the testimony.  And even if it would have (for example, "Didn't you just testify that the letter was designed to frighten someone?') I don't think that is a valid objection to cross examination.


4) Opponents brought 5 attorneys and 3 support staff every day.  One of their litigation themes?  "We are a small company being bullied."  Well, when you have a theme like that, you probably don't want to flood the counsel area with people billing a total of $3,000 an hour and leave them there for 60 hours of trial.

5) One of the key arguments in the case, raised to the judge many times, was that because my client had been in business many years that he could claim many years of future damages.  Judge had ruled on that theory 3-5 times during motions, always saying such testimony would, in fact, help to prove damages.

Q - "How long have you been in business?"
Objection - irrelevant.

Um, you have already lost this 3-5 times, there is binding case law directly on point, why continue?

6) Opposing counsel loses to my objections on the relevance of an issue 4 times.  Finally says, "You honor, may I approach and be heard?"  Judge - "On this line of questioning?"  Yes.  Judge, "No, you may not."  Ouch.

7) One opponent objection was untimely disclosure of a witness.  Move to exclude - denied.  "We have no time to prepare!"  Tough.  Witness testifies - they have a rebuttal witness and a 29 page PowerPoint presentation with 4 separate attacks.  Guess they were adequately prepared.

8) Local counsel asked me, "If we lose, are we polling the jury?"  Uh, no.  That is classless and, in my opinion, very unprofessional.  These people have given us 8 days of their lives.  We aren't doing that.  We will take our loss with dignity and thank the folks for their service. 

Then we win.  Opponent -- "I would like the jury polled." 

73 year old female juror, when asked, stops deliberately, turns to look directly at opposing counsel and says, "YES.  It IS my verdict!"  She is SUPER pissed.

9) When I won, two of opposing counsel walked up very graciously and professionally and said, "Congratulations, you did a good job."  Main opponent, "See you at the Court of Appeals!"  I relied, "You could, instead, just pay me now."  Fucker.

When I was a really young kid, my dad taught us many card games.  At the end of the game, you shook hands and said, "Good game."  It was required.  That was taught to me at age 6.  Just stick out your hand and say "Good game."  It may be hard in the moment, but it is a sign of class and good upbringing.  I have lost cases at various stages and every time I have called or emailed opposing counsel as soon as possible and said, "Good job.  Congrats."  Or some variant of that.  I could never do otherwise.

10) Doing 5 cross examinations back-to-back-to-back-to-back-to-back is exhausting.  I would not wish that on my worst enemy.

11)  Client stops me in the hall just before Day 4 of trial.  "My wife was here yesterday."  Yes, I saw.  "Last night she said, 'gee, that guy we have from out of town is really, really good.  Really good.'".

That made me smile.

12) I posted my win on Facebook.  My sister called my mom and dad.  The two 80 year olds called their 52 year old son and said how happy they were to learn I had done something well.

That was nice.