Quote of the Day - I'm completely in favor of the separation of Church and State. My idea is that these two institutions screw us up enough on their own, so both of them together is certain death.
God in the CourthouseUnless you're from Mars, a distinct possibility since it's so close, you've probably heard about Judge Moore. Regardless of where your beliefs stand, here are some additional observations to consider.
Tuesday's Los Angeles Daily Journal (you may need a subscription to view) featured an article that a statue of Moses, holding the ten commandments, is immediately above the entrance to the Los Angeles County Superior Court downtown civil courthouse. He's right there next to a medieval knight holding the Magna Carta and a founding father with the Declaration of Independence. All great documents, to be sure.
This morning's CNN Headline News featured an email comment from someone commenting on Judge Moore's stand that asked the question whether the act of swearing on the bible before you give testimony will be yanked out of court, too. (By the way, it's already gone - and you don't swear "so help me God" anymore.) Courts have consistently required the separation of religous symbols from government-related activities. There are legions of cases where nativity scenes have been removed from city parks, as required by Courts interpreting the First Amendment.
With the plurality of religions now in the United States, the wisdom of our founding fathers couldn't have been more appropos - especially when you consider that they came from the time when religon was often a government cram-down, and the need to avoid that today.
Religous symbolism exists in any number of government activities - just flip over your dollar bill, or read the Constitution as Judge Moore suggests. But we're also founded on religious tolerance, necessary even more now with the many religions observed here.
There's no easy answer to the question, and one that requires each of us to search our own beliefs for guidance before casting the first stone.
Notte di Sigari, PregoA well-known local food chain, Spectrum Restaurant Group, Inc. filed for Chapter 11 bankruptcy in the first week of this month. While not otherwise noteworthy, it sent a shudder through the ranks of devoted Prego fans, a wonderfully intimate Italian restaurant in Irvine, California. The reorganization is being handled by Mike Issa (coincidentially, my client) of Ballenger Cleveland & Issa LLC.
All is not lost for afficionados, however. Prego appears intact, and on September 25, 2003, at 6:00 p.m. the ristorante will host its famed and periodic Notte di Sigari, more commonly known to us non-Italians as Cigar Night. Great food, great fun and great people. If you're in the area, drop by and say hello.
Disclosure: I own no stock in Spectrum Restaurants Group, Inc., and would decline it if offered (think about it). I do, however, frequent Prego Ristorante.
Tired of Waiting in Line?Banks are changing, and here's one at the cutting edge: Commerce West Bank, stock symbol CWBK. Although this website is not particularly informative, it will get you contact information about the bank. A recent offering was so over-subscribed, the bank actually returned about $2M.
What's unusual about this bank is what happens when you walk in. You're greeted by a concierge and taken to a conference room, where you meet your banker. No more discussing your financial business out in the open.
Once you establish an account, you no longer have to show up at the bank to do business. Not only are there no lines, but a courier comes to your office to pick up your daily banking materials. If you're looking for this kind of service, contact my friend, Mike Lewis.
Disclosure: I own no stock in the bank, and do not yet bank there.
Go Forth and Copy No MoreThe California Supreme Court issued its long-awaited decision in DVD Copy Control v. Bunner and ruled that Hollywood can stop those who decrypt the technology that allows DVDs to be copied.
The Court resolved the issue of whether free speech controls over trade secret law, and held for that good, old-fashioned capitalist mentality (which writes my paycheck). Trade secrets won out, and cash registers will continue to cha-ching with the sales of DVDs. The Napster revolution stumbles once more.
That is until the next website posts the code to decode DVDs.
A Hole in the Seamless Web, and in our HeartsIt is with great sadness that I inform you that Evelyn Munoz, the wife of the Honorable Greg Munoz, Judge of the Orange County, California Superior Court, was killed in an automobile accident in Irvine, on Saturday, August 23rd.
The Rosary Vigil will be held on Tuesday, August 26, 2003, at 7:30 p.m. at St. Joachim Church in Costa Mesa. The church is located at 1964 Orange Avenue, Costa Mesa (corner of 19th and Orange).
The funeral mass will be held the following morning, Wednesday, August 27, 2003, at 10:00 a.m. at the same location. My thoughts are with Judge Munoz and his family, as are all members of the bar.
A Criminal Waste of SpaceI'm proud to announce that California Associate Appellate Justice William W. Bedsworth ("Beds" to his friends) has agreed to post his monthly column, A Criminal Waste of Space and to be an adjunct to this blawg.
You can click on the link above or in the left column to read this month's column. As it says at the bottom of his posting, he "writes the column to get it out of his system," and I am glad he does.
Now, as Denise Howell suggests, I'll see if I can get Beds to post on a more frequent basis. For his biography, just click on this link - and please feel free to add his blog to your blogroll and aggregators.
How to turn $5,000 into $3,000,000Scam or real-life situation? When you're a high-end museum that may have been defrauded, it's real life. The Springfield Museum filed suit last Friday against a New York art gallery over a painting purchased in 1955 that it gave back to the Italian government.
Now back in the Ufizzi in Florence and worth approximately $3,000,000, the 1597 painting was alleged to have been stolen in WWII from the Italian embassy in Switzerland. The New York gallery sold it to the Springfield Museum and told them only that it was owned by a "Swiss lady."
Talk about due diligence. If you want to make money, don't do your homework, buy an old painting on the cheap and just wait about 50 years or so.
Take my Ring, but don't Take my MoneyLee wanted to marry Yang. He worked in the United States, she worked in Hong Kong. To entice her to marry him, he gave her an engagement ring, and also added her name to his bank accounts.
She moved to the United States, and began living with him. She discovered letters from "men around the world" written to him professing their love. Apparently, he had several previous homosexual relationships that he had not disclosed to her.
Jilted, she called off the wedding. She also cleaned more than $350,000 out of their now joint bank accounts, which included some of her money. (She left a $500,000-a-year job to move the U.S., and was only able to find employment at $70,000 per year).
He sued of course.
The Court ruled that because he made the accounts joint and there was no written agreement, she was entitled to the money.
As a consolation prize, the Court gave him back the diamond (that came from his grandmother's engagement ring.)
Next time, I'm sure, he'll get it in writing.