A Good Cappuccino and Other Thoughts

Becky had to work all weekend. Both days. It’s inventory time at the KU Bookstores. She’s exhausted. Nevertheless, she found the energy to buy me a cappuccino maker after work today. She had wanted to get me one for Father’s Day, but didn’t get around to it. I thought my Father’s Day was plenty satisfactory with calls from the kids and new shirts and ties. Anyhow, with some trepidation I fired up the machine after supper and made a terrific “cap” first try! I was amazed. I mean, we’re talking Mr. Coffee and a two month old bag of ground Starbucks decaf house blend.

Sunday night after work we went to see Harry Potter and the Prisoner of Azkaban. I’d say there were maybe 80 people there. I actually enjoyed myself. Naturally, despite the nearly deserted theater, long legged people decided to sit directly behind me. But, surprise of surprises, they managed to only kick my seat about a half dozen times. I didn’t even have to take any xanax!

Years ago I was already concerned about the loss of liberties in this country. I think I was still a prosecutor when the government came up with this neat idea about using property forfeiture in drug cases. On the one hand, who could argue against depriving drug traffickers of the yachts, fast cars and mansions purchased with dirty money? On the other hand, these laws permit the government to take your property away from you even if you’re found not guilty of any drug crimes. You see, in property forfeiture proceedings, that little technicality called “proof beyond a reasonable doubt” does not apply. All they need to do is convince a judge that some item of property was more likely than not used for something associated with illegal drugs. Better yet, it doesn’t even matter whether the owner knew about it. Anyway, as I said, it was several years ago I began to wonder if it was time to flee the country. Then came September 11 and the Patriot Act. This enabled the government to pick you up and detain you indefinitely with no right to counsel or open court, and without ever filing charges. I found this pretty amazing. Of course, we all know that our law enforcement officials wouldn’t do such a thing without darn good reasons. As we all know, truly innocent people don’t get arrested. Even if they’re not guilty of what the police nabbed them for, they’re probably guilty of something else. Yeah. And now we have the Bybee Memo that’s at least getting a certain amount of press coverage. Canada, anyone? It doesn’t look to me like there’s any chance in hell any of this will get rolled back. I was thinking the other day about the things “they” used to tell us about life in the Communist Soviet Union. It seems to me we’re getting a chance to experience it first hand. Except for one thing. When Dubya looks you in the eye and says, “Sure, I could do that stuff but, trust me, I wouldn’t”, well, gosh, you just gotta believe him, don’t you? :no:

Okay, so I’ve been looking at some other blogs and noticing that some people actually talk about socially relevant stuff.

Honestly, it was really good! The milk frothed up and everything!


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Father’s Day Weekend

Father’s Day was great. Stephen and Kimberly both called, and I called my dad. Also talked to brother Jeffrey, which wasn’t relevant to Father’s Day, but it was a good discussion. He gave a Father’s Day concert at the National Gallery of Art.

Becky mowed most of the yard for me Saturday. I think I mentioned before that she gets a kick out of the new self-propelled mower. I did a little patch of it, and trimmed a bunch of branches out of the apple tree, particularly, the ones hanging over the fence into the neighbor’s yard. Cinnamon had caught another rabbit recently. This time she tried to bury it intead of eating it. Hard to believe at her age she can still chase down rabbits. Becky discovered the carcass and, notwithstanding Father’s Day, I got assigned the rabbit disposal duty.

Becky and I checked out the new Longhorn Steakhouse for dinner Saturday. We had to wait for seating. There was a big bearded fellah waiting on the bench across from us, his shorts split in the crotch and no underwear. The people next to us couldn’t handle the view and moved off. I decided to tell him about it, and he appreciated the heads up, so to speak. Once we got seated the service was good and the food was excellent. I had a fine ribeye with sauteed onions and mushrooms.

This weekend was the first Wakarusa Music & Camping Festival at Clinton Lake west of town. It was a four-day 70 band three stages event that started last Thursday. Downtown Lawrence looked like a throw-back to the sixties. A whole lot of people came from a whole lot of places for the festival, a lot of them dressed in “Woodstock” costumes. The main difference I noticed in the appearance of festival goers from similar events of the sixties was a lot more tattoos and body piercings. The campers got rained on somewhat Thursday night and Friday night, but daytimes weren’t bad. Saturday and Sunday brought excellent weather, unseasonably cool, actually.


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When Worlds Collide

First an update on the lab tests I mentioned a day or two ago. The doc said, “Well, on paper, you’re in excellent health!” I got copies of all the lab results and it looks like he’s right.

I spent Monday evening at a City Commission meeting in Gardner, Kansas. Gardner is on the growing edge of Johnson County, the burgeoning Kansas City suburbia. Gardner used to be a rural small town with farms, many of which have oil wells. Some of my clients have leases around there. Drove by a couple on the way over. But now, thanks to suburban growth, some of those farms are worth twenty grand an acre to developers, unless they’re tied up with oil leases. That was the issue at the commission meeting. An oil operator with a very marginal operation won’t give up the oil lease for a reasonable price, which means the fellow who owns the land can’t sell it. The oil operator is basically holding the ground hostage in order to get a big chunk of the developer’s money, instead of what his little operation is actually worth. So, the landowner got the city of Gardner to annex it and then rezone it from agricultural to residential so the oil operator can’t drill any more wells. The operator resented this, and sued the city and the landowner. The city case went to court, and the judge sent it back to the city commission for reconsideration, which voted unanimously again to annex and rezone to residential use. So, now it’ll go back to court, and whoever loses will probably appeal to the Court of Appeals.

I’m involved because my client owns property next door with an oil lease with the same operator, and has a standing offer from another developer for his property if we can get rid of the oil lease. The twist is that a couple of years ago I represented the company in St. Louis that owned these oil leases at the time. They were about to lose them for lack of operations. I got that straightened out, and that client actually sold the leases to another client. And then the second client sold the leases to the operator that’s now suing the landowners and the city. So, I was sitting there like the cat that ate the canary, because I knew all the stuff that the oil operator’s attorney wasn’t telling the commission, and I knew all the questions the commission should’ve asked but didn’t because they don’t know anything about oil leases. But, I had to keep my mouth shut. I was just there to reconnoiter and size up the forces. Another twist is that in another part of Johnson County I’m on the other side. I represent an operator who was willing to give up his lease for a fair price, but the landowner thinks a fair price is zero, so the landowner’s threatening to sue my client and try to void the lease in court. And then I have the same situation here in Douglas County, where the landowner has already filed suit against my oil operator client instead of offering a fair price for the oil lease.

Big money, politics, and so-called progress fighting for control over patches of Kansas dirt. The more things change, the more they stay the same. Me? I’m just the hired gun. :shootem:

Shane! Come back, Shane!

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May 2020