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Thu Aug 05, 2010 at 03:37 PM PDT

65 Yrs Ago - Hiroshima

by BenGoshi

= Excerpted from this last year's post at LetsJapan.Worpress.Com =

. . .  The next morning another introductory whirlwind.  I was brought to the Principal’s office where I would be officially received.  The Vice Mayor and Superintendent of the Board of Education were there, too.  In the corner of the Principal’s office a television was on, showing the morning news.  Just as the initial introductions were made everything stopped.  It was as though the wind suddenly went out of the sails of a previously fast-moving ship.  It took me a couple of beats and a quick glance over at the television:   it was 8:15 in the morning of August 6, 1990, 45 years to the minute that an atomic bomb had detonated over Hiroshima.  The television was showing the live service — then with everyone’s heads bowed for 1 minute — from Hiroshima Peace Park.  After that moment of reverent silence, we all went on . . .

   
 Photo taken 18 years later, from my room at ANA Crowne Plaza, Hiroshima. 2008.

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 Tonight CBS News committed an act of journalism, taking and running with a Bloomberg Markets Magazine exposé regarding the bloated, soulless, rapacious Prudential Insurance profiteering from the deaths of American men & women in uniform.  

 The Bloomberg exposé:  Fallen Soldiers' Families Denied Cash as Insurers Profit

 "The package arrived at Cindy Lohman’s home in Great Mills, Maryland, just two weeks after she learned that her son, Ryan, a 24-year-old Army sergeant, had been killed by a bomb in Afghanistan. . . [The] envelope [came] from Prudential Financial Inc., which handles life insurance for the Department of Veterans Affairs.

 "Inside was a letter from Prudential about Ryan’s $400,000 policy. And there was something else, which looked like a checkbook. . . "

 

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 That would be the headline, you know.

 If -- hopefully, when -- the Administration and Capitol Hill Democrats spend as much time, effort, energy and attention looking to see how they can work for the agenda ratified by a landslide vote in November 2008 as they do looking over their shoulders fretting about what Cantor cackles, McConnell mumbles or Fox fabricates.

 Obama's actually not doing too poorly in the polls and Hill Democrats seem to remain marginally ahead of Republicans in most generic polling.  But this is not due to any of their collective pandering to the GOP and its core, i.e., the T'Partiers.  It's not for throwing a more ambitious Stimulous Package, the Public Option and a comprehensive Energy Bill (to name but a few) under the proverbial bus.  No, what popularity the Administration and Democrats enjoy are based on those times when they've stood up to the GOP, coupled with general Republican loathsomeness.
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      Democratic National Convention, August 2008. Remember these days?

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Sat Jul 17, 2010 at 07:50 AM PDT

Consider Talking to a Lawyer.

by BenGoshi

= NOTE:  I do not provide Legal Advice below.  I'm just a guy who happens to be a lawyer expressing his opinion (based on lots of experience, mind you).  If you want Legal Advice, talk to an attorney you trust. =

 I posted a little comment at D Kos University, and have been e-corresponding with a friend about general legal matters, and now feel compelled to offer up my 2 cents on a couple of matters:  Wills and (pardon the non sequitur) Employment Discrimination Law.  These things, for the individual/family and for the small/medium-sized business, are too often overlooked or given short-shrift, until it's too late.

 A little background.  I've practiced law for 19 years.  I've actually been a member of the Alabama Bar for almost 20 years, but my first year as a freshly-minted attorney was spent teaching English in a Middle School in rural Japan.  You know, the way lawyers do.

 

Poll

Whether a Mgr, Owner or Employee, when was the last time you reviewed your company's Emp Discrim Policies?

38%8 votes
4%1 votes
0%0 votes
4%1 votes
52%11 votes

| 21 votes | Vote | Results

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Sun Jul 11, 2010 at 08:16 AM PDT

My Daddy was Atticus Finch

by BenGoshi

= Expanded 're-post' from Comment in Teacherken's To Kill a Mockingbird Diary =
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I'm an Alabama lawyer.  I'm from the South Alabama town of Slocomb.*  Yes, 3 letters different from "Maycomb."  I can't prove it, but I know damn well Harper Lee derived Maycomb from Slocomb.  Do Google Map of "Monroeville, Alabama" and "Slocomb, Alabama" -- you'll see.

My father, who passed away two years ago next week, was an attorney from Alabama.  Daddy never belonged to the Alabama Bar, though.  He was a DC, Maryland & Virginia lawyer.  However, in 1990 he stood-in as my proxy to take the oath when I joined the Bar as I was in Japan at the time.  We were both very proud that he could do that for me.  I bound us -- thousands of miles apart -- in a way that many fathers and sons are never bound.  I first read To Kill a Mockingbird six years earlier in September 1984, the first time I was living in Japan.  

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Sat Jul 10, 2010 at 05:30 AM PDT

Satsuma

by BenGoshi

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 While I cannot, and would not even try to, compete with this site's Mr. Science, or any of the professional, professorial historians here, I think I can chip-in some useful, if eclectic, information here and there.

 This diary is actually a teaser of sorts.  It's an abbreviated version of two (2) rather involved my-blog entries posted back several months ago.  The topic:  Satsuma in America, especially in Alabama (but they're all over the Gulf Coast).  Alabama is home to one of several Gulf Coast towns named for an ancient Japanese Province.  How weird is that?  

 

 The full tale involves a Civil War Union General, the opening of Japan to international commerce in the second half of the 19th Century and a love of citrus that spans hemispheres.
 

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Tue Jul 06, 2010 at 07:01 PM PDT

Turmoil & Opportunity in India.

by BenGoshi

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 A day-long national strike ("Bharat bandh") took place throughout the world's second most populace country, and largest democracy, yesterday July 5.

 From the BBC:

 "Normal life has been disrupted in many parts of India because of a strike called by opposition parties against fuel price rises.

 "The effect of the 12-hour stoppage was felt most in states where opposition parties are in power.

 "Transport was hit and businesses and schools were shut in the financial capital Mumbai, Calcutta and Bangalore. . . ."

 

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 In the wake of Texas GOBP Congressman Joe Barton's shameless suck-up to BP -- which was in fact symptomatic and emblematic of the entire Republican Party's suck-up to Big Oil -- and then, 6 hours later, Barton's non-apology apology for same, we have the DNC making an "Ad" about this:
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 Weak tea, DNC.  Weak tea.

 
 

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London -- June 16, 2010 (Reuters) --  In an effort to shore-up precipitously falling share prices at British Petroleum (BP) company, ever since its deadly and now environmentally disastrous and continuing Gulf of Mexico oil calamity, executives with the company have announced that BP will be changing its name effective July 1, 2010.

In a press announcement BP executives state they wish to convey to skittish shareholders that, firstly, the company remains committed to offshore drilling and, thus, wishes to emphasize the ocean, or simply, its "water"-based exploration and development as a corporate foundation.  Secondly, the press announcement states that "the company seeks to assure shareholders that it will continue operating in the black while committing billions of dollars to the Gulf clean-up and relief effort."  Thus the new company name will be "Blackwater."

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Fri Jun 04, 2010 at 05:30 AM PDT

Hi.

by BenGoshi

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 My name's Richard Newton.  Older, more long-time friends, know me as Rick.  But I answer to either.  I live in Alabama, though I was born in our Nation's Capital and grew up in Virginia.  When I was a teenager the family moved to South Alabama, where my father was from.  He and my mom met when they were both working for the FBI.  My father had just returned from WWII (we just say The war) and was going to law school at night at Catholic University.  He was a clerk in the fingerprint division.  My mother was one of hundreds (thousands?) of young women (high school girls, actually) recruited from the hinterlands of Virginia, West Virginia, Maryland, Pennsylvania to move to DC and work in typing pools.  Remember that sort of opening scene of all the typists in "Saving Private Ryan"?  Sort of like that. My mom's a Coal Miner's Daughter.

 I blog here:  LetsJapan.Wordpress.Com "BenGoshi" is Japanese for "Attorney."  I used to do a lot of litigation.  I don't do that anymore.  Now I mostly do business matching, but still keep a hand in "traditional" law with contract work and drafting the occasional Will and such.  Anyway, "Hi."  
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 I'm not saying Rush Limbaugh's a pedophile, that he's a fat old sweaty man who likes to have sex with children.  But since he's the de facto head of the Republican Party, I think asking whether his personal conduct squares with his Party's 24/7 proclamations of standing at the top of the Moral High Ground is legitimate.  Besides, his and like-minded persons' track-record, one cannot be blamed for wondering...

 Three things worth noting and considering:

  1.  We all know that a great number of Über Conservatives maintain sexual impulses that range from the merely unusual, to howlingly weird, to the tragic & creepy.  Why should Limbaugh be any different?  Well?  I mean just being a blowhard can't be the only reason he's gone through 3 wives, can it?    

  (Nos 2 & 3 below the fold)
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 Earlier tonight United Steelworkers Pres. Leo Gerard was on "The Ed Show."  Ed Shultz interviewed him re: the (ongoing) tragedy of at least 25 miners killed at the Montcoal, WV, Performance Coal Company, a Massey Energy company.  No doubt Massey's the bad guy here.  Massey's the murder by spreadsheet perp.

 With that said and acknowledged, how infuriating hearing Gerard go on, and on, and on, and on pitching for unionization while utterly neglecting to say anything akin to:

 

    Look, Ed, you know I have my opinion about the need to unionize and about the strength that collective bargaining brings with it to negotiate and effectuate safer working conditions.  But let's put that aside right now.  These are my brothers, they are working Americans.  They are coal miners.  I don't care right now if their mine was unionized or not.  I care only that more than two dozen have been killed, that their families are grieving and that we don't yet know about the fate of several others.

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