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Random thoughts through April 27, 2014

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On Sundays, I sometimes veer well beyond the law in my blog entries, including the following post that collects my random thoughts on the law, government, and beyond from my Twitter postings athttps://twitter.com/jonkatz5 and elsewhere.


SCOTUS OK’s execution where trial judge refused to tell jury not to hold defendant’s penalty trial silence v. him.

The answer: LAW — Love in Action With compassion.The question: “What do you get when you bring … lawyers for a weekend mindfulness retreat?” Great article by my three great teachers on the 2012 contemplative lawyering weekend retreat that I attended in 2012 at the Blue Cliff Monastery.

John Nivala on “Zen and the art of being (and becoming) a lawyer.”

SCOTUS: $ damages for child pornography victims requires proving defendant’s offense proximately caused the $ loss.

Trials are battles. Battling lawyers need to take care of their health. Sleep deprivation does not cut it. Inattention to nurturing the body, mind and soul do not cut it. Billing less than needed to go to full battle does not cut it. All work and no play does not cut it.

Attorney-client communications are not safe from NSA snooping.

The lawsuit against the University of Hawaii for prohibiting students at the Hilo campus from distributing the Constitution to other students. Thanks to fellow First Amendment Lawyers Association members Robert Corn-Revere and Ronald London for joining in the lawsuit.


The Obama Administration is moving towards granting more federal prisoners clemency.

New York Times: Before voting on approving Gulf War I, Congress heard the teary testimony of a teenager recounting Iraqi atrocities in Kuwait. She turned out to have been the Kuwait ambassador’s (to the U.S.) daughter, arranged by public relations firm Hill & Knowlton.

Burma imprisoned the late U Win Tin for 19 years. The New York Times relates that “He lost most of his teeth in a beating and was then denied dentures.”

My wife and eight-year-old son joined me April 23 for the D.C. ACLU’s annual bill of rights dinner. I served on its board 1992-95 as a representative of the Prince George’s County, Maryland, ACLU chapter. Here is a picture of Glen Greenwald accepting — by pre-recorded video from Brazil — a civil liberties award on behalf of himself and Laura Poitras, for their exposing Edward Snowden’s disclosures on NSA spying.

At AwesomeCon D.C. on April 20, my son and I saw Congressman John Lewis (pictured here) signing his co-authored civil rights comic book March.


The story of Emmett Till’s murder after flirting w/ a white woman must be retold. A defense lawyer regrets his role.

2001 obituary of Byron De La Beckwith, convicted in 1994 of murdering Medgar Evers In 1963.

The tragic deaths of Sherpa mountain guides highlighted their highly skilled, challenging, and physically demanding work.

Video of parts of the 2014 Peace Walk for Earth and Life, in which my teacher and friend Jun
Yasuda joined.

The Foundation for Individual Rights in Education gives low overall marks to my alma mater Tufts’ speech restrictions.

“[N]othing ever goes away until it has taught us what we need to know.” Pema Chodron, When Things Fall Apart.

Sign at Eden shopping center, near DC, marking the fall of Saigon. Mourned or celebrated, depending on viewpoint.

Doing taijiquan or other meditative practice at the start of the day, I feel more in command of the day, versus events overtaking me. Doing taijiquan or other meditative practice at night, I feel a comfortable resolution to the day rather than all coming to an abrupt halt.

Check out Living This Life Fully, the stories and teachings of the late Bengali meditation master Anagarika Munindra.

The late Steve Backer helped keep such jazz greats as Cecil Taylor and Anthony Braxton on major label distribution.

Responding to a Twitter claim that he is full of sh*t, Deepak Chopra calmly replies “But sh*t recycles as life.”

Deepak Chopra- Humans have a high rate of death at 9 a.m. Mondays, dissatisfied with their jobs. Therefore, Chopra advises such holistic health approaches as mindfulness and massage.