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The aggression will not stand

Archive for the ‘Law’ Category

Peter Gajdics

What I Wanted To Be When I Grew Up: Me, My Gender and I

October 10th, 2009
by Peter Gajdics


One day in grade six, Teacher asked us all to say aloud what we wanted to be when we grew up. “I’m going to be a doctor,” one boy announced as we all sat cross-legged in a circle. “I’m going to be a teacher!” a ponytailed girl called out with a raised hand. Another boy with red hair and freckles said he wanted to be a fire engine: a big, loud, red, fire engine. Teacher, a kind, grey-haired woman who always wore a blue, pleated skirt and held a piece of new, white chalk, corrected him by saying, “Don’t you mean you want to be a fireman?” “No,” the boy said, shaking his head. “I want to be a fire engine. A big, loud, red, fire engine.” Everyone laughed, but secretly I was scared that Teacher would ask me what I wanted to be. I was scared because I didn’t know what I wanted to be. There was no profession I could imagine myself becoming when I grew up. Would I even grow up? That was like imagining myself outside a forest when all around me it was dark and I was alone and really, if I’d been honest, although I already knew well enough not to be, all I wanted was to be at peace. Not a doctor or a priest or a football player—at peace. (more…)

Claire Bidwell Smith

A Thousand Words: Why and Why

September 8th, 2009
by Claire Bidwell Smith


Home was Los Angeles. And my life there was one of aimless, tipsy grieving. My father had died six months before this story begins and ever since I’d been casting about listlessly. One of my best friends, Lucy, lived down the street and we spent many a day together, drinking cocktails before 5pm and pondering the meaning of our mid-twenties. One such afternoon we decided that the best possible solution to our problems would be to go into business together importing t-shirts from Thailand. This may have just been an excuse to conduct “business meetings” over Bloody Marys at a restaurant in Culver City called Dear John’s, but whatever the case, we forged ahead with the plan.


Joshua Lyon

The Thirteenth Victim

August 29th, 2009
by Joshua Lyon


A recent hangover found me still under the covers at 2:00 PM. I called out to my boyfriend Casey, but instead of asking for water or Advil, I asked him to look up details about the murder of Konerak Sinthasomphone, Jeffrey Dahmer’s thirteenth victim.

From under my pillow I’d been half-listening to Casey talk about the death of Ted Kennedy. Casey is young enough that Ted’s incident at Chappaquiddick, in the news once more, was a revelation. He was reading aloud about the crash from my desk across the room, and it got me thinking about the guilt one must feel when responsible for the death of another human. That in turn made me remember that after Jeffrey Dahmer was caught, reports surfaced about a fourteen year-old boy who had briefly escaped him. (more…)

David Breithaupt

Make Your Characters Come Alive!

August 24th, 2009
by David Breithaupt


Never expect a good literary critique from a federal agent. I learned this the hard way, through a roundabout lesson via a maze of fear and loathing. These guys aren’t readers, they have other things on their mind. Seek your feedback elsewhere. They don’t hang in bookstores. (more…)

Erika Rae

By The Way…Dressing Up Emo Will Not Save You From Jury Duty

August 7th, 2009
by Erika Rae


Just in case you happened to be wondering: no, dressing up like a Marilyn Manson fan is not, in fact, an effective deterrent for jury duty.

I’m going to blame this one on the fact that I’m a Gemini. Allow me to explain.


Matthew Gavin Frank

Pot Farm: Part 3

June 17th, 2009
by Matthew Gavin Frank


For dinner we have masa harina corn cakes with herb sauce and a dilled potato salad.  Johanna, though dejected at another day of meatlessness, eats voraciously.  We all do really.  She and I sit at a rust-painted picnic table with Lance, Crazy Jeff and Gloria, Hector, and Charlie the Mechanic.  The field crew eats with hunched shoulders, cramped forearms, aching lower backs. Johanna sits abnormally straight, exhibiting her self-described “perfect body mechanics.”   We all swat at the flies and mosquitoes as we eat with the exception of Charlie the Mechanic who seems oblivious to them.  He is oblivious also to the mayonnaise in his beard.


Stacy Bierlein

Home Sweet Mafia Movie

June 7th, 2009
by Stacy Bierlein


I spent my childhood in Saginaw, Michigan, about an hour and a half north of Detroit.  In those days Saginaw was known as a General Motors town.  It was also a gambling town.  Restaurants, inns, and the local country club hosted back room card and dice games.  Mostly these were friendly but competitive card games where local businessmen got to show off, but not always.  Police officers were aware of these back rooms, and to say they turned their heads may understate the case.  Some of our classmates’ dads were cops and also great poker players.

 While no one used the term gambling addiction in those days, a lot of people got themselves in trouble.  And trouble had this way of escalating.  Where there were gamblers, there were loan sharks, and loan sharks came with leg breakers.  Saginaw became a fertile playground for mobsters, locally grown and from notorious Detroit mob families.  We did not know it at the time, but the FBI called Saginaw an extortion town.


Peter Gajdics

Drawing Out The Sting

May 13th, 2009
by Peter Gajdics


Several weeks ago, while at my parents’ house, my mother started talking about her escape from the concentration camp in the former Yugoslavia, post World War II. Most of the stories my mother shared about the camp I’d heard before, many times before, and so it took me a minute before I realized what she’d said. This story was new.


Greg Olear

And Justice For Naught

May 4th, 2009
by Greg Olear


This week, Justice David Souter announced his retirement, a surprise that will give President Obama the first of what we hope are many picks on the Supreme Court.

In honor of this event, I’ve dredged up a blog I wrote in November, 2000, on my now-defunct LARGEREGO cyberweekly, about George W. Bush and his then-potential appointments.  Since then, Bush placed two newcomers to the Court, shifting the bias ever-so-slightly to the right (and making mincemeat of my prediction, although I have hopes for Chief Justice Roberts, who is if nothing else brilliant).

The same logic still applies, however, so I’m running the original without edits.  I’m cheating, in other words.  Here goes: (more…)

Matthew Gavin Frank

Pot Farm: Part Two

April 24th, 2009
by Matthew Gavin Frank


Of course, it took more than Robbi’s job offers to bring Johanna and me out here to the marijuana farm.  Should I write about this part in any sort of detail?  Will I be defying my own vow to keep such things relegated to the realm of “backdrop?”  Should I discuss how, in 2006, I found myself living in my parents’ house in suburban Chicago for the first time since I was seventeen, this time with Johanna in tow, due to my mom’s diagnosis?  How, after having lived in Alaska, Italy, Key West, New Mexico, Arizona, and a failed attempt in Vermont, that reentering Buffalo Grove, Illinois gave me the alcoholic shakes, the soothing drink to quell them being the swallowed desire to flee to some distant mountaintop, some beach bungalow, some bomb shelter in which I could grow, with impunity, a wizard’s beard beneath which to hide?  Oh shit, oh shit.  This is one of those stories, isn’t it?



7 Ways to Improve the Beach; Or Why the East Coast is Back-asswards Sometimes

April 13th, 2009
by Smibst


The Wife and I just returned from a lovely trip to the Bahamas. And while I had fun, I’m always reminded of two things when I go to the Caribbean: 1.) Boy, it’s hot here. 2.) Man, the Jersey shore sucks compared to this.

I grew up going to New Jersey shore points, places like Ocean City, Avalon, and Wildwood. And I continue to take my family there to this day. I love the boardwalk, relish the brown water. But the Jersey shore has a major problem: overregulation. It’s too serious. Too many rules. No fun. I think it should look to the West Coast and abroad to find examples of how to actually have a good time on the beach…and I’m not talking paddle ball.

7 Ways to Improve the Beach: (more…)

Kit Seningen

Case Studies in Stupidity Vol. I

April 1st, 2009
by Kit Seningen


Not writing when you should is stupid.

Really. Really. Really.

I’ve found myself doing to writing what I normally do to my workouts.

Brain:  Maybe you should write.

Me:  Maybe you should shut the hell up.

Brain:  Hey don’t take that tone with me mister!

Me:  Here, huff this glue. A-hole.


Savannah Schroll Guz

Silenced Dissenters

March 22nd, 2009
by Savannah Schroll Guz


This morning, I began reading about the Supreme Court Case,  Citizens United v. FEC, 08-205. So, what is it, you ask? It involves a movie about Hillary Clinton by Citizens United. “Hillary: The Movie” takes a very dark and glowering look at the former presidential candidate and current secretary of state. Called a documentary film by creator David Bossie, a former Republican congressional aide, the 90-minute film was originally intended to air during the 2008 presidential primaries. However, the film was revoked because it was classified as a long-form campaign ad, and therefore, subject to campaign finance laws.


Peter Gajdics

My Name Was Marrow

February 3rd, 2009
by Peter Gajdics


I was the shy, chubby kid who was poked and taunted by his elementary school classmates–the Rudolph, who wasn’t allowed in any Reindeer games. The difference with me was the name the kids all chanted, spat back at me with vengeance, was my own–pronounced, “Gay-dicks.”

The story goes that when my father emigrated from Hungary in the 1950’s, in order to Anglicize his surname, and make it easier for North Americans, he changed its pronunciation from “Guy-ditch” to “Gay-dicks.” He was still learning English at the time and, evidently, must not have realized the implications of such an alteration.


Greg Boose

I’m Totally Rooting for Blago at This Point

January 27th, 2009
by Greg Boose


I hate to admit it: At this point I’m totally rooting for Rod Blagojevich. I want him to beat all charges. I want him to somehow stay in office until his term is up, and then I want him to get reelected by a questionable 225 votes in 2010. And then I want him to put on a too-small red Karate gi, jump aboard the shimmering two-horned unicorn he’s got tied out back, and I want him to hunt down the Illinois Attorney General in an endless field of wheat so that we can continue this wacky palm-to-forehead story of American politics at its worst.

Perhaps I’m just bored, or perhaps it’s because my name is still on the waiting list for a converter box coupon for my perfectly fine 1996 television and I’m about to lose “free” television, but I think this Rod Blagojevich scandal has been a really fun ride to be on. Yes, it was shameful and embarrassing in the beginning, but now it’s like a Mike Tyson-meets-Tom Sizemore trainwreck that gets better uglier every week. Before my television goes to snow, I’d like to get in as much of this as possible.


Stefan Kiesbye

Narratives of the Perverse

January 22nd, 2009
by Stefan Kiesbye


In 1998, Michael G., a 54-year-old Church of England Vicar was jailed for five years after he attacked his sleeping wife with a hammer. The blow fractured her skull, and nearly killed her, but as a witness for the defense, she said, “I love him very much, we are very happy together…I know he would not do anything like this to me.” The defense said they believed that an intruder had committed the crime, but the jury did not believe that version.

That same year, Harold S., an English general practitioner, was convicted of murdering 15 patients. Nobody knows when he started to kill his older clients – the youngest was 43 – but it is estimated that he killed up to 250, 80 percent of them female.

Just last year, Josef F. of Austria was discovered to have imprisoned and raped his daughter in the cellar of his house for 24 years. He had fathered seven children with her, and kept them hostage as well. Professedly unbeknownst to his wife and family, he had expanded the cellar repeatedly and built an underground apartment for the abused.


Peter Gajdics

Polygamy, Prop 8, and the Misinformation of Right-Wing Conservatives

January 22nd, 2009
by Peter Gajdics


In a newspaper article, published this morning in Vancouver, BC, it was reported that the defense attorney representing a man charged with polygamy under section 293 of Canada’s Criminal Code, will soon be using gay marriage in defense of his client–i.e., if gays can marry a person of the same sex, others should be allowed to marry more than one person as part of their faith. The gravity of this situation cannot be undermined, or overlooked. Amidst the controversy of California’s Prop 8, and Canada’s own still recent legalization of same sex marriage, this line of defense, I fear, has the potential to reignite a fiery debate amongst the far-right. My hope is it doesn’t open the door for Canada’s Conservative Prime Minister to revisit the issue in the House of Commons.


Erika Rae

The Big Wait: Blinded by LinkedIn God’s Bling and Narrowly Avoiding a Tragic Interview with Sarah Lacy

December 4th, 2008
by Erika Rae


It was a dark and stormy night with the snow dotting the sky like static on a 1955 RCA television.  I pointed my Jeep down the mountain pass in the dark.  The radio blared Smooth Criminal.  Alien Ant Farm version. I was freshly showered, neatly dressed, sober – and I didn’t care who saw me.  I wore jeans, a powder blue shirt, a black camisole, black shoes, a black North Face coat and a necklace in the shape of a silver flower that I purchased in Denmark a few years prior.  I had eaten spaghetti for dinner.  With meatballs.  I was everything the well-dressed, young entrepreneur ought to be.  I was calling on one million dollars.


Paul A. Toth

ABC: Always Be Corrupting…Stop Bank “Fees” Now

November 13th, 2008
by Paul A. Toth


Call this Piss Americana.  Not only were we duped into believing a bank bailout was necessary, and not only must we pay the very institutions that caused this economic crisis (”Granny, can I call it a ‘depression’ now?”), but the banks have already unleashed plans to blatantly misuse the appropriated funds. I suggest we should have let them have their free market and take us all down with them, so that real change might occur…and you know what that will take: the burning, the looting, and the exposure of the police state ready to react (but perhaps not so ready as it thinks).  Yet beyond all of this, Bank of America, in particular, and major banks in general, continue engaging in an unconscionable tactic that generates billions of dollar in stolen profits every year: “Fees.” (more…)

Rebecca Adler

It Was Never Just About Marriage

November 13th, 2008
by Rebecca Adler


Early on in the battle against Proposition 8 here in California, I told one of my lesbian friends that I was fiercely opposed to the initiative, but that I felt like it wasn’t really my place to be angry since it wasn’t really my battle.

“Are you kidding? We need you, and other straight people like you, on our side. We won’t win this proposition without that support,” she told me then.

At the time I thought she was only humoring me. I didn’t realize how true those words were until now. Statistically, the LGBT community really did need us straight people to vote down that proposition. Only 1 in 10 Californians are part of the LGBT community, which means, of the votes cast on Nov. 4 in opposition to the now-infamous Prop. 8, more than 4 million of them came from heterosexuals in support of their gay neighbors, friends and family.

There were also plenty of religious people and clergy who voted against this proposition as well – the few who were able to look past the flurry of lies thought up by the proponents of this measure. (more…)