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Showing posts from 2006
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So, finally, some good news. The house closed yesterday!! My realtor says I owe her $1400 on top of the $20,000 she made. We'll see. I got nothing out of it (and still owe about $16,000 for the work I did to make it saleable) but the $2300 a month payment is now gone. As I indicated before, we are going to stay in this tiny house for a while. Try and get ahead. Not much going on this weekend. I was supposed to be in a felony DUI trial starting Tuesday but it got postponed so I have decided to relax. Going to butcher my Christmas day moose tomorrow. Got a meat grinder attachment for my wife's Kitchen Aid to make hamburger. Mmmm. Making my oatmeal stout right now. Tomorrow night am going to have a Gyro sandwich cook-off with a fellow Public Defender, Tom. He thinks he can make a better Tzatziki sauce than me. Fool. Still trying to get my snowmachine going. Over $100 in parts and still nothing. Ruined a part today by not thinking. Now have to wait again for a part. Maybe this win…
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So, just to clarify, I wrote yesterday that the missing $800 was for deductions the state was supposed to take out of my pay. Ummmm, no. I learned that the $3000 paid to me in moving expenses was considered "taxable income" by the State. What? The State was paying me back for money I spent. Clearly not taxable income. And if the State promises me $3000 in moving expenses and then takes back $600 or $800, haven't I got less than promised? A co-worker of mine, who had $900 taken off his check for the same reason, was an IRS agent for years. He firmly declared that this was not taxable. He then firmly declared that he was quitting (although he was angry when he said this and will probably change his mind...if not it will be a tremendous loss to the office). He has three kids and just spent $1000 on Christmas just to have the State (wrongly) take almost $1000 without notice. This stuff is just annoying. I just want to be a lawyer. I just want to be a good lawyer. I want to r…
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So, the State of Alaska gave me a Christmas gift today. My pay check today was $800 smaller than last time. It turns out that the State was supposed to make some withholdings and had miscalculated the cost of some benefits. So, without any warning, they corrected the problem. All. at. once. A few days after Christmas. Before I learned this news I had the oil tank filled today. ($300 plus). The State does not pay the Alaska Bar dues, unlike everywhere else I know of. $550 due by February 1, 2007 or I can't practice law. No break for Public Defenders either. That is something I wish I had known before I took this job. Budgeting $550 is not easy for a family and something you think I would have been advised of before the bill arrived. On top of that, the house in California has not closed. So I am still paying two mortgages which total over $3000 a month. The clutch on the truck is out ($1000+). To give the State credit, someone was supposed to let me know. That is nice. I will have…
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So, Merry Christmas. None of that "Happy Holidays" crap either. This is not Syria. This is not Israel. Even though I am not a religious person, I recognize that 1. the majority of Americans are Christian and 2. the holiday has historical significance. I can't understand how anyone would be offended by "Merry Christmas". I am not offended if someone says "Happy Ramadan" or "Happy Hannukah". If you are new to the country than presumably you came to America partly for the freedom, including religious freedom, of this country. Also, presumably you knew you weren't coming to a Jewish or Muslim or "non-religious" state. If you are a native born American, then presumably you have some understanding of the First Amendment and that you live in a country with Christian roots. The whole "Happy Holidays" thing makes my blood boil. Although the day has evolved, it was meant to celebrate the birth of Christ. Anyways, my day was eve…
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So, I've made a decision. In celebration of our first Christmas in Alaska, I have decided to change the name of my blog. Although, I still hate California immensely, it is time to move on. It may throw off some of those looking for me but I will gain new readers who want to know about "A Public Defender's Life in Alaska". California is just a bad memory now.
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So, I spent over 6 hours butchering today. It is amazing how such a big animal on the hoof breaks down into such small piles after you get rid of the head, hide, feet, guts, bones etc. Not as pretty as I could do in California with a proper shop. I am determined to make a proper butcher shop here with a Hobart meat grinder, walk in cooler, meat bandsaw etc. Made three things today: roasts, backstrap and "chunks". There was slightly more waste too as I just don't have the tools for ribs and grinding. Oh well. There are 9 dogs who will eat well. It turned out be probably under a hundred pounds of boneless meat, but still well worth it. The snow started coming in today hard and fast. Finally looks like winter. Anyways, after a long day I am going to cook up some backstraps and relax. The first lager I ever made is on tap, the snow is falling and the moose is about to cook. God I love Alaska. So do the dogs today.
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So, I got a road kill moose late last night. Learned some things. First, the State of Alaska (who gave me the moose) has given me more in 2 months than California did in 6 years. Seriously, when did the Government of your state give you something directly? Second, I NEED A GARAGE!!!! I was up until 3 am in the snow and dark quartering this calf. Let's just say it is not my best work (with the exception of the hind quarters which look pretty good). I have a place to butcher it tomorrow but I am afraid it will freeze overnight. Still, I should get about 100+ lbs or more of boned out quality meat. The calf had no body damage at all and only a little road rash, which is easily cut off and fed to the 18 6 dogs we have right now. Moose calf meat is about as good as it gets. It is also rare as you can't gun down this animal. I feel sad for the moose (and her mama) but at least the meat won't go to waste. I am going to keep most of it but will share the meat with at least four oth…
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So, there are days I hate my job. You know the worst part of being a Public Defender? I am completely helpless against the arbitrary and capricious actions of the State. Even though I much prefer practicing law in Alaska to California, it is all relative. The DA in Kenai is out of control!! Every one is charged with every possible thing and there are no diversion programs to keep young or minor offenders out of the criminal justice system. There is no alternative sentencing and if there is a check on their power, I haven't seen it. Yet she should not be so cocky: out of the last 6 trials here in Kenai, the State has won TWO, and one of those was for a lesser. Of course some of that is attributed to the "slimy" tactics of overworked and underpaid public defenders. Yet the madness continues unabated. Here is an example. I have a client who, for various personal reasons including the death of a child, rejected a very reasonable plea offer because he was not in the right men…
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So, I haven't had much to write about in the last few days. My house has not closed. My agent is jerking me around and I am getting closer and closer to a law suit every day. On top of that stress, J and I are starting to feel the pressure of living in such a small house. She and are are both beginning to feel depression creeping around the edges. Even our Christmas tree seems sad. Even more, work continues to be stressful. It is only by working (too) hard that I can provide quality representation. Yet it seems that no matter how hard I work I cannot get my case load to where I would like it. I don't think I am revealing any dark secrets by saying that I am yet another overworked public defender. Being put through the wringer every day is just part of the job I guess. It is a job that is not for the timid. We are hated by everyone. The judges deny us whenever they can, even when we are right. The cops generally dislike us. Our clients hate us and blame us for everything. The p…
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So, even though I said I wouldn't write anymore about it, I am ready to explode over my realtor. My house was supposed to close tomorrow. I did everything I could to make it happen, including coming up with another $2300 to make it close. But there is a problem with the "buyer's documents". My agent says it is because there were problems with the property. Funny that when we had the inspections she called me and said everything was fine and the buyer was happy. Now those same issues are being used to justify a delay. She never called me at the time and said there might be an issue. Everybody wins but me: the realtor makes her $20,000. The buyer gets her price. I have keep paying interest at $65 a day. The title company said they now need ANOTHER $1400 to close. Where the hell am I supposed to get that? As it is our Christmas will consist of cards to people, a gift or two to the kid, a free tree (we are in Alaska after all) and a dinner. Not that any of that is bad (e…
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So, the liberal that I am (per JH), I just had to show you this sign. Wow. What a concept. More courtesy and less regulation. When was the last time any of YOU Outside saw a sign that promoted less government? Alaska is the last best place. I can only hope that those of us who think that less regulation is the way to go regain control one day. I wish I had a time machine. Even ten years ago someone like me who did not believe in regulation and government and all that nonsense would have been called a "Republican". Now, because I think that Government should be absolutely eensy teensy, I am a "liberal". I seriously think that the Republicans having been putting crack into the water supply. For God's sake I drive an '83 Suburban that gets, like, 8 miles to the gallon. I wear cowboy boots, carry a gun whenever I can and love to gun down I can whatever is in season. I oppose easy (but not all) abortion, support the death penalty on a personal (but not professi…
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So, if there is anything that I really hate it is realtors. Realtors are the epitome of greed. Especially the one I have representing me in California. I learned that I am expected to come up with $4700 in order to close. That's right...I am not getting one cent out of my house. My realtor is representing both parties. How that is not a conflict of interest I don't know. I wanted $539,00 for my house (actually I wanted every penny that I could). The buyer wanted to pay $399,000 (actually she would have paid .o1 cent if she could have). Actually, I do know: the only one who wins is the realtor. She hung me out to dry. I made an offer based on a 30 day closing. The realtor assured me there would be a 30 day escrow. Of course there was not. But instead of suggesting I have a cushion she let me come up with my own numbers. As it turns out, I am about $2300 short after using what is in my impound account. Of course, she still makes her $20,000. She was offended at the idea of lower…
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So, this post is dedicated to Kadee. She loves to type. No matter what else is wrong, this smile is aways right. Since John Wilder (http://movingnorth.blogspot.com/) skipped out to Texas, I'll try to make this blog a little bit more about "Life in Alaska". I'll be taking lots of pics. So I'll be going ice fishing this weekend and to Homer next week. Spring and summer are coming. J is right: they will be insanely busy with garden, fishing, hiking, travelling, HUNTING and all that. I'll try and show the entire state over time. But for now, here is Kadee:
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So, on a completely different note, I won my first Alaska supression motion today and got the DUI charge dismissed!! How rare and refreshing. I have been right on the law in the past just to have the judge ignore it. But the judge here agreed with me that the police did not have reasonable suspicion to pull my client over. Wow. Just at my darkest hour about America, a judge does the right thing. Alaska has to be one of the last places where the Fourth Amendment still has meaning. VICTORY!
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So, I admit it. For the first time in years, I am wondering if we should not go back to Canada. There are several reasons. First, Alaska is isolating. I am sure that this feeling will pass. Second, as I grow older, my family and friends become more important. Many of the people that I care most about in the world are in British Columbia. Third, there would be no more immigration stress. Both my wife and I would be free to do whatever we wanted. Finally, I came to America to be "free". The more I am here, the less free it seems. One of the recent comments left on my blog shows me just how twisted the idea of America has become. Although I suspect I know who left it (lets just call him PE) and I suspect it was meant to be humorous, it reveals the dark side of America in my mind. For any American to ever equate the Twin Towers falling with free speech shows just how far America has slid in the 6 years I have been here. For any American to ever say "stop writing" or &q…
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So, I learned yesterday that my blog is being monitored by the Government. I am not making this up. I won't go into details, as I don't want to make things worse. Needless to say my freedom of speech feels chilled. The thought of government types hunched over their computers looking at pictures of my little girl and me hunting and such and reading my rantings and ravings makes my blood boil. Anyone who does not understand that this blog contains just my personal opinions on life should not read it. I guess I need a disclaimer now. Well here it is: this blog contains my opinions. Everything contained herein is protected sppech under the First Amendment of the United States Constitution. Anyone who disagrees with my opinions is free to leave this site. The information contained herein is not be used for any purpose except the personal amusement of the reader. Nothing contained herein should be taken as a statement of fact, unless otherwise expressly stated. Wow.
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So, I bought a new Alaska rig today. '83 Suburban with about one gazillion miles. Funny thing is I always wanted a Suburban. $900. Should run another few years I hope. Lets me go to work and leave J with a car for once. Allows us to go to the dump and get some furniture. Hopefully I will get a call for road kill moose this winter and it will carry that just fine too. If not a road kill then next fall it will just have to carry a fresh kill. Going to make a "survival pack" in it with a good sleeping bag, clothes, heater etc in case (i.e WHEN) it breaks down. Also going to put a "meat kit" in it for butchering dead moose beside the road at 4 am in -20. You know, saws, knives, ropes and such. Going to put a pistol under the seat too. If I haven't mentioned it yet, God I love Alaska. Where else can a man be so free? P.S. Check out my new link for "Freedom first". It is for www.freestateproject.org Awesome idea and one I fully support. We can't esc…
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So, Happy Thanksgiving. Today is truly a day to be thankful for what we have. A day to leave behind the worries and troubles of life if you can. For me, most of those troubles are money. Yet today is a day to be thankful that, compared to 99% of the world, we have it really good. I worry for my daughter as it seems to me that America is being dismanted piece by piece. Yet today I am thankful that I am writing from perhaps the most free place on the Planet. It is the place where I wanted to be. I am thankful for my beautiful wife and daughter. I am thankful for my daughter's smile. Especially that one. I love her so much that so times I don't think my heart can take it without bursting. I am thankful that I live in a place so full of opportunity. I am thankful to have such quality friends, despite the fact that I miss each and every one of them. I am thankful to have no serious health issues. I am thankful for my family. I am thankful fo the all the things I have already done i…
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So, I just had to post this. On another note, my escrow agent just told me that my closing date was pushed back to at least 11-30-06 and maybe 12-15-06. ARGGGGGGGGGHHH. The offer on the house here was contingent upon closing the California house on 11-25-06. Will update when I get more info.
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So, to change the subject slightly, we put in an offer in this house. Am not sure if we will get it, so these pictures may be meaningless in a few days. This is the house with the old guy who has lived in it 30+ years. My offer of $239,000 included everything. I want him to take nothing but his personal effects and I will even help him move. Although the house needs a lot of work (it was built in 1968 and has never been remodeled), the view is amazing (as usual these pics do not do justice) and I really want this shop. This is the one with everything in it. I mean everything.Wow. There are some cons to the house as well, but it is the kind of place I would be proud to have visitors to. We would make the very top floor into a guest room. Those of you who visit one day will wake up to Mt. Redoubt and a view that you will die for. The house also has two greenhouses and a proper root cellar. I will be able to do everything I want to if we get this house. The greenhouse is big enough to ma…
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So, I admit it. I don't like cops. I think most of them are bullies and thugs. To find some pictures for this post I just typed in "police abuse" or "police torture" or "police beating" into Google. Not too hard to find examples of the police killing, torturing and abusing people. I am not saying that all cops do this. What I am saying is that all cops are willing to do this. If not they need to find another job, yet I have never known one to leave for political reasons. What I have pointed out in the past is that it is always the police that an oppressive state turns to in a time of need. It was not defense attorneys shoving people into cattle cars in Nazi Germany. It was not bakers turning dogs and fire hoses on black protestors in the Civil Rights movement. Housewives didn't turn soccer stadiums into torture chambers for Pinochet. I could go on and on but the point is made: throughout history and throughout the world it is always the police wh…
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So, I meant to post last night but the power was out. Yesterday was our second anniversary. 960 sq feet of love. On that note we looked at a new house after work today. It is almost an acre on the ocean with a neat chalet that is half stone. The house looks directly onto Mount Redoubt. It has a 20x60 greenhouse and an AWESOME shop. Even better, the old guy is moving into a retirement home and he has 30 years of tools and equipment he needs to get rid of, including, get this a PORTABLE SAWMILL!! He has every tool you could ever imagine in this shop from woodworking to metal working to lawn tractors, rototiller, snow blowers etc. He has an old Ford pickup in there and everything. I asked him what he would do with it all and he said take a bunch of to "the dump". WHOA!! The old guy also made beer and has a place that was his brewery all set up with water etc. I'm not saying we are going to buy the place but it is funny. Everything I want is there, from the shop, greenhouse,…
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So, I just wanted to show you my new workplace. The first picture is my new office and the second is the Court house in Kenai.
Despite the fact that today is a holiday I had to go into work. Of course, I was the only one there. That is what I get for being the misdemeanor attorney I guess. I was ready to quit again on Friday. I have to go to Homer next week. I might be there a day or maybe a whole week. But I don't want to leave J and Kadee alone for any real time without wheels. Especially as Kadee was in the Emergency room last weekend with a high fever. As an aside, the fabulous health care I was promise has not materialized. I will still be spending about $300 a month for health care, which is about what I was spending in California. I was sure that working in Alaska would mean more financial freedom. I was so excited about being here that I did not check into things enough. As it turns out, it is not a lot better than California. Anyways, I wanted to rent a car to go down to H…
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So, Thank God! Regardless of your political stripes I hope everyone can agree that some change is healthy from time to time. Not that I really think things will get better. The United States, at the request of the People, will continue to slide into fascism. Perhaps the Democrats will show some backbone against the worst assaults on American freedom. It is so funny. I NEVER would have thought I would celebrate a Democratic win. I guess it is just George Bush's attitude towards America that bothers me so much.

NEXT TIME: My response to several comments left here regarding my views about the police and why I don't think that my views on the world are "defense based". My only analysis of any situation is this: what would make people the most free? How do we maximize liberty? Thus, it is neither "conservative" or "liberal". Just based on freedom.