Thursday, July 3, 2014

To My Muslim Friends--Where Is the Outrage or the Support of Free Will?

Mariam Yehya Ibrahim was sentenced to death in the Sudan for allegedly converting from Islam to Christianity and because she would not renounce her faith. The Sudan appellate courts dismissed the conviction and sentence on a technicality. Ms. Ibrahim then tried to leave for the United States with her American husband. She was again detained by Sudanese officials.

The focus on her death sentence by the media centers on whether or not she was raised Muslim or Christian and not on whether or not any government or religion should have the right to compel and force adherence to a religion. It should be irrelevant what she was, it should only be relevant what she wants to be and that every human be allowed to follow the dictates of their own conscious.

It seems so astounding to me that as usual, there seems to be no Muslim Clerics, Imans, Caliphs condemning the law and government under which she was convicted.

Here's the message they send:

“Islam is a peaceful, beautiful religion and if you do not think so we will kill you. Islam is an accommodating religion inviting all to its joyous sublime protection, but if you, once within our fold, then leave, we will kill you. Islam is so unquestionably true that it can stand up to any criticism, scrutiny or debate, but if you criticize, scrutinize or debate its verity we will kill you. And all the countries in which Islamic rules, they are beacons of enlightenment, and if you cannot agree to this we will kill you.”

Now I have friends and acquaintances that are Muslim who I know do not think this way and who understand that all people should have the agency and free will to choose what religion, if any, they will decide to follow during any period of their lives--but I ask, where are your voices? Are you only devout because of the fear of retribution or are you sincerely in your hearts and minds convinced of the correctness of your path? Also, are confident that your religion can stand on its own because of its merits regardless of the criticism it is subject to and not because of its adherents' willingness to inflict pain and death on others?

If you are so convinced, I urge you, before the bonds of oppression have clamped down upon us all, that you speak out against those who would use religion as a tool of terror and control.

Loren M. Lambert © June 26, 2014

Salt Lake City Poised to Make Millions In a Few Months–Do Your Part–Here’s How:

Yesterday, on a green arrow, I was making a left hand turn on 800 South onto West Temple to take the southbound on-ramp onto I-15. If you’re familiar with this area you have to move to the center and the far right southbound lanes or instead of going onto the freeway you wind back onto West Temple.

My practice has always been, so long as I can do so safely, during my left turn to immediately move into the center lane. Well a Salt Lake City Police Officer standing on the side of the road by his motorcycle waived me over. I thought maybe it was a routine check of everyone to see if we had our rabies shot or something.

I politely asked what was wanted and he politely told me that I was being ticketed because while making the left hand turn into the center lane I did not use my right hand signal. In fact while he was writing me a ticket, he waived over the next victim. I had no idea that that was the law. If it is the law, the law is an ass with an superfluous public servant riding it. (Superfluous, because in this case, he really could be doing something better with his time). This is true since, 1) you’re still turning left while traveling to the center lane, 2) your signal has not shut off from the left turn and it would break it to signal right, 3) if you signaled right the required 3 seconds before moving right you will be stuck in the inside lane to West Temple and, 4) since there is no intersecting traffic when making a left on a green arrow there is no one that would benefit from your signaling. Signaling in these circumstances is an exercise in futility. Or, maybe, just maybe, it’s a benevolent act of charity that can make our city wealthy.

Go to any downtown busy intersection with four lanes or more and watch how many vehicles when making a left turn cross through the inside lane to any of the outside lanes without using their right hand signal–its virtually everyone. What a great revenue producing idea!!! I did this very same thing today. In 10 minutes literally 40 vehicles violated that law. At $100 a pop, that’s $4,000 in ten minutes. Think of the possibilities. This is probably happening in every busy intersection in the entire valley. Our men in blue, black and brown could literally have the city raking in millions. Or even better they could out source the job to me for free and I’ll only charge 35% of the incoming revenue. Deal? Then the cops could be out there doing what cops do best, exercising at Gold’s Gym and maybe even stopping or solving a crime.

Comment 1: Russell Josephson - Actually it is illegal to 'make a left turn into the center lane'.
The universal traffic code indicates that you must turn in to the closest lane. That means the leftmost lane on a left turn or the rightmost lane on a right turn.

Comment 2: Loren M. Lambert - Legal/illegal/smeagol if I could howl like a beagle I'd be better than Jonathon Livingston Seagull--a mere technicality Russull, a mere technicality.

Comment 3: Elizabeth Ormond Jolley - Better yet, hire the attorney at $400 an hour to represent you during your ridiculous case for the ridiculous ticket. That will now cost you ridiculous thousands and thousands. (Sorry for the rant. I've had a rough couple years with the dreaded DMV. )

Comment 4: Loren M. Lambert - No, I want rants, I specialize in rants, I encourage rants except from 2 year olds. 3 and above is allowed.

Comment 5: Chris Adler - It drives me nuts when drivers like you, Loren, are behind me in an intersection and drive straight into the lane I'm moving towards legally.

Comment 6: Loren M. Lambert - Yes, Chris, but so you know, I make sure I can do so safely and without violating any other drivers right to never brake, slow down or adjust to my driving.

Comment 7: Lee Shawn Gardner - You don't have to move all the way to the right. There are four lanes, so you only need to move one lane to make it on the freeway since three of the four go right and you have a city block to get one more lane over.

Comment 8: Loren M. Lambert - @Lee, yes, you are correct. 10 points for Slytherin.

Comment 9: Loren M. Lambert - @Russell. Made the left hand turn at 900 south onto the freeway entrance. There you cannot turn into the nearest inside lane and still enter the freeway, yet the segway invites all to do so. The law if therefore still an ass.

Loren M. Lambert © June 25, 2014

State’s Rights

What did State's Rights and anti-federalist sentiment mean in Georgia and the South in the early eighteen hundreds? That Georgia could murder its Native American population and strengthen the institution of slavery with impunity.

What will it mean in Utah? We'll that is yet to be seen but do not blindly think that all things local are the bees knees to land use policies and health care expansion.

Loren M. Lambert © June 24, 2014

You Get What You Pay For

If you want to determine the best place to place an aging loved one, look at the pay of the people responsible for their care.

Loren M. Lambert © June 19, 2014

Thursday, June 19, 2014

Still A Jury of the Estranged In a More Enlightened World

In jury selection this week, when each member of the jury pool was answering voir dire (questions to probe suitability for jury duty), out of the 28 jurors, 2,when asked to indicate their spouse’s occupation, without pause or diffidence, acknowledged their gay partners. There was also, of course, a large contingent of WILDS (white impressive Later Day Saints), including a well spoken, slightly heavy set, attractive single-female Temple-Grounds Gardner.

This openness by the LGBT community rarely happened just a few years ago. In my opinion, this is a welcome societal shift because it shows progress in bringing these members of our community within the circle of our humanity, culture, and communion. It also engenders honesty and thereby conveys important information.

Yet this openness has adverse consequences in jury selections. This is because we do not select a jury of our peers, we winnow the pool by the process of elimination. First by challenges for cause and then by each attorney, for any unspoken reasons, eliminating 3 persons. The remaining first, 6, 8, or 12 as the case may tie, are seated. When a party or an important witness to the litigation is a minority, this most invariably eliminates any member of his or her class and saturates the sometimes collective bias of the majority.

In my particular case we had a gay man who was a key witness. The opposing side knew this. We needed a juror who could relate to the peculiar challenges that such a person sometimes faces in our society. Who do you think was peremptorily eliminated from the jury pool by the opposing counsel? If you guessed the Temple Grounds Gardner, you are wrong. It was the lesbian. (The other gay man was too far down the lineup to be selected.)

So you know, this is not a diatribe against WILDS or WASPS. Nor is it a claim that one member of a minority is invariably lenient or apt to give his or her minority a pass or an unfair advantage. They don’t. They sometimes are more harsh. What I do believe is that we in the majority sometimes are insensitive, ignorant and even at times unfairly biased against minorities. When you are in the minority and know this to be true, you would take great comfort in having a peer or two on your jury sitting in judgment.

Unfortunately, the consequence of jury winnowing is that we don’t get a jury of our peers, we get a jury that is estranged from the issues, experiences and needs of minority litigants. For instance, imagine being a WILDS in the early 1800s and having a jury trial in the Missouri capitol and having your jury selected from a pool of mainly non-mormons: Would you want to at least have one member of your faith on the jury?

We should fix our jury system to be sensitive to this issue by retaining challenges for cause and then allowing each attorney to select, rather then eliminate, persons to serve on the jury. Half the jury selected by each side. This would truly be a jury of our peers.

Comment 1: Russell Josephson - Perhaps the biggest problem is the categorization of people into stereotypical groups, instead of seeing them as individuals. I never even heard the WILDS (white impressive Later Day Saints) label before you posted this. Perhaps you can define what it means to you?

Comment 2: Loren M. Lambert - WILDS is merely a clever way to refer to the outstanding members of the LDS faith who rendered public and patriotic service as jury members. As Rush and Shaun know if you don't have something clever to say--regardless of its factual validity and connection to reality--don't say or write it at all.
Comment 3: Loren M. Lambert - WILDS (white impressive Later Day Saints) HILDS(Hispanic Impressive Later Day Saints), etc.

Loren M. Lambert © June 12, 2014

The Young and the Seasoned

Day one of trial. Litigation is a blood sport for the young, that requires the experience of the seasoned. Consequently only vampires are great litigators.

Loren M Lambert © June 10, 2014


"To command river ways, is to command the land around them." Professor Ned Blackhawk.

Loren M Lambert © June 10, 2014