Saturday, June 16, 2018
The British Empire died on February 15, 1942 when the Japanese captured Singapore. The British just didn’t know it at the time. India was the Jewel in the Crown. The British did everything they could to protect the Raj by controlling the land and sea routes to India, and by engaging in The Great Game with the expanding Russian Empire until a modus vivendi was reached between the two countries. The British fortified Singapore, calling it “the Gibraltar of Asia,” or so they thought. They placed 12 large 15” cannons on Sentosa Island (the site of the recent Trump-Kim Summit) to ward off any sea invasion., but left the Malayan Peninsula undefended. The British were defeated by a well-trained, well-prepared, experienced army with aerial superiority. The British were defeated by their own arrogance and poor leadership as well as poorly trained, inexperienced soldiers. Many of the units in a military sense could be labeled “raw.” The French never thought the Germans could attack through the Ardennes. They were wrong – twice! The British never thought an attack on Singapore could come by land because the Malayan Peninsula was mostly an impenetrable swamp. They refused to erect defensive fortifications on the Peninsula. The British were wrong. The Japanese attacked the Malay Peninsula one hour before the attack on Pearl Harbor The Japanese 25th Army marched down 640 miles and captured Singapore at the end of a 70-day campaign. The British forces retreated to the Island of Singapore on January 27. The siege of Singapore only lasted a week from February 6 – February 15. The British believed tanks could not proceed down the Peninsula. The Japanese had 200 light tanks for which the British had no defense. The Japanese kept out-flanking the British position through a simple secret weapon – the bicycle! Roughly 138,708 British Empire (English, Australian, Indian, Malaysian, New Zealand) troops were killed or imprisoned by the Japanese. The Japanese 25th army was roughly 30,000 strong. The British Plan for protecting Singapore was to send a fleet and rely on the Royal Air Force (RAF). The Japanese quickly achieved air superiority. Britain’s Force Z taskforce sailed into Singapore on December 2. It consisted of the battleship HMS Prince of Wales, the battlecruiser HMS Repulse, and four destroyers. Force Z sallied force to attack the Japanese transports. A fleet without air cover is target practice for an enemy. The Japanese discovered the ships and in a very short period Japanese torpedo plans and bombers sank the two large ships on December 10, 1941. The British army now lacked both air and sea support. They lacked leadership on land. The large cannons could pivot to shoot inland, but their trajectory was too high and most of the shells were armor piercing to be used against ships rather than fragmentation shells. The Japanese destroyed many of Singapore's big guns. Many of the units fought bravely, but it was not to be. Fortress Singapore was not much of a fortress. Winston Churchill called the surrender of Singapore “the worst disaster and largest capitulation in the history of the British Empire.” The British were able to successfully defend India after also losing Burma. They regained control of Singapore at the end of World War II. The British though were a spent economic, military, and political force. The population of the United Kingdom was 46 million in 1940. Yet this small island nation’s empire covered almost ¼ of the planet (24%) and ¼ of the population (460 million). India alone had about 378 million people. The only way England could rule such a domain was through the will of the people. The quick fall of Singapore signaled England had lost the aura of invincibility; a white army had been destroyed by a much smaller Asian army. The Jewel in the Crown was gone. England no longer needed, nor could afford, much of the remaining British Empire without India. About 2,500,000 Indian soldiers fought for Great Britain in World War II. Some fought for the Japanese. Others rebelled. They yearned for freedom. England did not have the ability in 1945 to suppress any mass revolt, unlike the Sepoy Mutiny of 1857. Great Britain had peacefully granted Dominion status (essentially independence) to Australia, Canada, New Zealand, South Africa, and the Irish Free State prior to World War II. It was headed that way with India with the 1935 Government of India Act, giving India more autonomy. Further developments were suspended by World War II. England’s response after World War II was to precipitously pull out of India in 1947, giving way to the Bloody Partition. The Empire had died seven years earlier. The only British surrender comparable to that of Singapore was at Yorktown freeing the 13 colonies. The supreme irony of the British surrender is that the Japanese forces were almost out of supplies, especially artillery shells at the time of surrender. ______________________________________________________________________ Why did I write this blog? I’m in Singapore and I love history.
Wednesday, June 13, 2018
Life is an incredible journey, enjoy the ride; you never know where it will lead you. Life is a mystery to be lived, not a puzzle to solve. The only place success comes before work is in the dictionary. “For every complex problem, there is an answer that is clear, simple, and wrong.” H.L. Mencken It’s the minor frustrations in life that makes life interesting. Today is he first day of the rest of your life." The law is a noble profession, but Lawyers are the second oldest profession. If Plan A doesn’t work go to Plan B. If Plan B doesn’t work, go to Plan C. If Plan C doesn’t work, go to Plan D. If Plan D doesn’t work, start over with Plan A. When one door closes, another door may open. You learn more by listening than talking. Make the best decision you can, and move on; don’t look back or second guess “Don’t look back, something may be gaining on you” Satchel Paige If you love what you’re doing, it’s not a job or work. George Neff Stevens, a distinguished retired dean told me 44 years ago what an old dean told him several decades earlier: “We don’t get paid to teach. We teach for the love of it. We get paid for writing and grading those f…ing exams twice a year. That’s when we earn every f…ing cent of it.”” Illegitimi non Carborundum
Sunday, June 10, 2018
California’s Democrats were eagerly anticipating a blue tsunami last Tuesday. It would wipe out the residue of the California republican Party. Hillary Clinton carried California by a 4 million vote margin over Donald Trump. The once mighty, highly competitive republicans have dwindled to a measly 21.1% of voter registration in California, trailing Democrats with 44.4% of the voters, and even independents with 25.5%. The Republicans have not held a statewide office in 8 years. They are a distinct minority in the state legislature. California has 53 Congressional seats. Republicans currently hold 14 of those seats, seven of which were carried by Hillary Clinton in 2016. This year was supposed to be a blue wave – a total, enthusiastic rejection of President Trump and his acolytes in Congress. California would join the bluest of blue states. California is leading the War on Trump. The Governor and especially the Attorney General, Xavier Becera, are the generals. The seven Republican Congressional district that voted for Hillary Clinton are in the blue wave bullseye. The only question was how far left California would go? Someone forgot to tell the Democrats in California. The voters stayed home. The California voter turnout was 22% of registered voters. The percent will rise somewhat because roughly 1 million early votes have yet to be counted. Yes, early votes are counted late. They will decide a few close elections. Every vote counts. The turnout in Los Angeles was 20.1% compared to 28% in Republican Orange County. LA didn’t even vote for its former Mayor Antonio Villaraigosa. Gavin Newsom carried LA with 323,857 votes compared to 203,951 votes for Antonio. Angelinos know their former mayor. Republicans in Orange County outvoted the Democrats in three of the four Orange County districts and were close in the fourth, which is now mostly in San Diego County. Over $108 million was spent on California’s Congressional races, mostly by Democrats. For example, Young Kim led the votes in Orange County’s House District 39. She spent $640,000 on her campaign, compared to the Democratic runner up, Gil Cisneros, who spent $3.89 million, mostly of his own lottery winnings. Money can’t buy you love. Nor does it necessarily but an election. The Clinton Campaign and outside supporters outspend the Trump Campaign 2:1. The Clintonistas spent way over 1 billion dollars. The Russians only spent around $200,000 in Facebook ads. Outside charter school supported spent $22.7 million on Mayor Villaraigosa. It was a waste. He came in third with but 13% of the votes. A Republican came in fourth with 10%. John Cox, the Republican businessman who came in second with 26%, was helped not with money, but with a May 18 endorsement tweet from President Trump. Money sometimes talks. The Democratic Congressional Campaign Committee, posing as conservatives, spent 2.3 million against Republican Scott Baugh to hold him to third place in Congressman Dana Rohrabucher’s 48th Congressional District. Scott was portrayed as “insufficiently conservative.” The Lieutenant Governor outcome is very interesting. Oodles of money was spent on TV ads for Eleni Kounalakis. Most was funded by her father. She received only 23.7% compared to the union backed Assemblyman Tony Hernandez’s 20.6%. Not a lot of enthusiasm for the Lt. Governor contest. Similarly, a fortune in outside Charter School backers spent a fortune on Marshall Tuck, who came close to winning four years ago. He received 37% of the vote against the teachers union backed Tony Thurmond’s 35%. California’s Attorney General Becera only won 45.3% of the ballots. A retired Republican judge, Steven J. Bailey, will be his November rival. The AG also ran an expensive TV campaign. One wonders why both he and Senator Feinstein polled under 50%. The two recalls of the state senator and judge both came in about 60%-40% for recall. The Democrats wasted another $4million in their futile attempt to save Senator Josh Newman. A Republican will replace him, ending the Democrats legislative super majority necessary to increase taxes without a public vote. The gas tax was forced through the legislature by a supermajority. It is 12 cents/gallon on gas, 20 cents/gallon on diesel, and a $100 increase in the car registration fee. A referendum to repeal it will be on the November ballot. 12 cents may not seem like much, but it averages out to $800 per motorist annually. Drivers feel it every time they fill up as the price of gas climbs towards $4/gallon. Several Democratic incumbents who voted for the increase had thin margins last Tuesday. Some of them may be in trouble. A relatively unknown impact of the recall is the silent elimination of a stealth 95 cents tax on water bills. It had been snuck into the state budget which is about to be voted on by the legislature. Also of interest are a few district attorney races. George Soros, a financial Godfather for Democrats, has been funding nationally campaigns to elect progressive, soft on criminals, DA’s. He failed in Alameda, Sacramento and San Diego Counties. His candidate probably also fell short in Contra Costa County. The Democrats should win the November statewide elections, but who can be sure in these volatile times. Voters are surly. The Gas Tax Repeal will be on the ballot. Governor Brown run reelection 4 years ago 60%-40% against an unknown, but highly competent, Neal Kashkari in 2014. The gubernatorial election will be closer this year, how close??? Gavin Newsom will win big in the Bay Area and LA. He has boatloads of money for his campaign. Then again, Hillary Clinton outspend Donald with over Senator Diane Feinstein also only won 44.2% of the votes. Her November rival will be outgoing Senate Majority leader Kevin De Leon, who only won 10% of the votes. She even won 44% in his home district in Los Angeles. The state senator is far to the left of Senator Feinstein, who should win in a blowout. The Republicans will vote for her as the lesser of the two liberal evils. National maps of voting by counties show vast spaces of red. Democrats carry the large voting metropolitan areas. So too in California. The Republican John Cox won more votes in most counties than Lieutenant Governor Gavin Newsom, who carried the blue coastal counties from Los Angeles almost up to the Oregon border The coastal Democrats treat rural California, the Central Valley, and the Inland Empire as their Flyover Country full of deplorables, except in election years. They vote! An interesting sidelight of the primary is that Los Angeles County deleted 118,000 voters because of a printer’s error. The Fonz was one of the missing voters. One outcome in November will be an increasing number of Asian American and Hispanic American elected officials.
President Donald Trump and Mayor Rudy Giuliani: Unconventional, Non-Traditional - Just Successful Streetfighters
Donald Trump is a New York City street fighter. He fights back. Mayor Rudy Giuliani is a pit bull. He fights. Both are excellent in what they do. They are fighters, who will fight back. Neither is conventional. Neither acts in a conventional manner; hence they are both attacked as unplanned. They know what they are doing. They may appear to be shooting from the hip and winging it, but they know what they are doing and saying. President Trump can be called ignorant, unprepared, idiot, moron, racist, sexist, bigot, liar, dishonest, crook, tax cheat, unqualified, appalling, adolescent, crazy, insane, narcissistic, crooked, misled, detached, dangerous, a disruptor, disgusting, inciting chaos, a wannabe dictator, and a host of obscenities. President Trump must be doing something right to draw out these emotions. Here’s the words he uses that connect to the people: “America”, “we”, and “us.” He speaks directly to the people, hardly ever uses a teteprompter. President Obama was lost for words without TOTUS. Donald Trump is a proven mover and shaker. He is a builder, rebuilder, and doer. His career started with remodeling the run done Commodore Hotel. We know it today as the Grand Hyatt. Then came the Trump Tower, and the rest follows. He succeeds. Donald Trump is an entrepreneur. Not everything he does will be successful, but he has succeeded in New York City real estate. He will succeed in D.C. He was elected to stir things up. The economic status quo was devastating to the heartland of America and our inner cities. Hillary Clinton promised more of the same. Donald Trump had no sacred shibboleths. He was not wed to the new globalism, NAFTA. The Trans-Pacific Partnership, or The Paris Accords. Nor were the voters in Italy and other countries in Europe. He is shaking things up in America and globally. He knows America still controls the levers of power in the world. He is using them – Iran, North Korea He is restoring America the America of exceptionalism. He understands Americans want jobs, respect and pride in America. He may be a rich New Yorker, but he understood better than any other candidate in 2016 the mood in America. “Make America Great Again” is stronger than any of the epithets hurled at him by the naysayers. “America First” and “Fair Trade – not Free Trade’ sounds good to Americans. It’s much more appealing than calling Americans “deplorables.” He is also giving power back to the people from a Washington bureaucracy divorced from working America. Mayor Rudy Giuliani was vilified by New York liberals once he became Mayor of New York. He cleaned up the streets, reduced crime, make the subways safe to ride again, and showed America on 9/11 that he was a leader. New Yorkers were once again proud to be New Yorkers. Rudy Giuliani is a tried, true and proven leader. Americans are once again proud to be Americans. Donald J. Trump is a tried, true, and proven leader.
Tuesday, June 5, 2018
The first half of this blog was written before the close of balloting at 8:00pm. It’s been a veritable feeding frenzy at the California primary. All 8 statewide offices are up for election. Several office holders are termed out. Democrats are salivating over four Republican Congressional seats in Orange County. California’s top two primary system, a legacy of Governor Schwarzenegger, sends the top two finalists to the November election, regardless of political party. Thus the November ballot could have two Democrats, two Republicans, one of each, or independents. We are voting today, unless we are among the millions who cast an early ballot. We are flooded, inundated, and blitzed with annoying robot calls, throwaway flyers, and forgettable radio and TV ads. At least the TV ads can be fast forwarded. California is such a large state, both in population and size, that traditional retail, door to door, politicking, will often be inadequate to win. Advertising and media endorsements are critical to election. Over $100 million is being spent on Congressional ads in California. Democrats are salivating. They are hoping to turn California into a true one party state, taking as many as 7 of the Republicans 14 Congressional seats and reaping a super, super majority in the state legislature. Hillary Clinton carried California by 4.2 million votes, even winning the traditional republican stronghold of Orange County. The Democrats’ campaigns have several themes: Fight against Trump and the War on California, climate change and environmental protection, women’s and reproductive rights, and protecting sanctuary cities and immigrants. A quiet issue is health care: do we protect and improve ObamaCare or do we go to a single payer, the state? Many of the ads reflects the diversity of California echoing the Obama campaigns with a Rainbow Coalition, but often without a white male. The rising Hispanic and Asian population overshadows the shrinking Caucasian population. Ironically the Democratic candidates are cloaking themselves with President Obama. Hillary Clinton, the former Secretary of State is a person whose name shall not be mentioned by Democrats. Nor are they touting the endorsement of House Minority Leader Nancy Pelosi. Let’s start with the Governor race. The early prediction was that November’s battle would be between the two former Mayors of Los Angeles and San Francisco. Both former mayors have dodged the #MeToo Movement, so far. Gavin Newsom, the former San Francisco mayor, was shacking up with his campaign manager’s wife during his reelection campaign. Antonio Villaraigosa was a serial philanderer. Newsom is the frontrunner. The presumption therefore is that the current battle is for second place. The Santa Clara grad has raised $17 million, much of it from Silicon Valley. Gavin reminds me of the Gavin in the Silicon Valley TV show. The Lieutenant Governor is running a quiet campaign, mixing positive and negative ads. His theme is “Courage. For a Change.” He claims great courage in allowing gay marriages in San Francisco and fighting the NRA for gun control. Those acts require no courage in San Francisco, Courage and political suicide would have been opposing gay marriage and gun control. Former Los Angeles Mayor Antonio Villaraigosa has been running a large number of positive ads, as well as some negative ads. He is being independently funded by charter school advocates. The former United Teachers Los Angeles organizer took on the teachers union as LA’s Mayor. He gave large salary increases to the city’s public union workers prior to the economic collapse, but kept his promise to hire 1,000 new police officers and laid off employees elsewhere during the crisis. He favors charter schools. Republican Joh Cox is currently running a strong second. Political and celebrity endorsements don’t usually carry mane votes, but John Cox has been endorsed by President Trump. That should bring votes to Cox. The assumption is that Democrats will win a statewide race over any Republican. Probably, most likely. California though may be heading for a Howard Beale, Network, Donald Trump moment. A survey a few days ago said about 50% of Californians want to leave the state. Net migration out of the state exceeds newcomers by a 2:1 margin. If the remaining Californians vote with their ballots and bot their feet, then John Cox has a strong chance of winning. Senator Diane Feinstein has been running millions in TV ads against the challenger, State Senator Kevin De Leon. She emphasizes her fights for California’s environment and his decades long fight for arm control. A clever ad is the 80 year old Senator saying she “is leading a new generation” in the fight. Eleni Kounalakis has been blitzing the TV with ads, surrounding the San Francisco democrats with scores of supporters. Eleni is strangely silent. She doesn’t say a word! Perhaps because the outside funding is supported by at least $5 million from her father. Outside groups have no spending limit, but cannot coordinate with the candidate. Eleni is in favor of affordable housing, infrastructure, single payer, immigrants, DACA, free community college, and the tooth fairy. Her campaign promises are great, considering the Lieutenant Governor has minimal powers. Indeed, the best negative ad this season has the current Lieutenant Gavin Newsom so bored by the position he only makes it to the Capital about once a week. It also mentions that during an emergency in San Francisco he flew off to Hawaii for 4 days. A race to watch is the 45th Congressional District with four Democrats and an independent running against the incumbent Republican Mimi Walters. Two of the candidates, David Min and Katie Porter, are professors at the University of California Irvine School of Law. Professor Min has been running negative ads against Professor Porter. I wonder what the faculty meetings are like, especially if both lose in June or November. Two recall campaigns to watch are in Orange County and Silicon Valley. Judge Aaron Persky gave Brock Turner, a Stanford swimmer, a 6 month sentence for raping a drunk, unconscious woman next to a dumpster. Josh Newsom narrowly won election in 2016 to the 29th Senate District, and then promptly voted to raise the gas tax and registration fees. The Democrats are pouring millions of dollars into defeating he recall. If he loses, and a republican wins the seat, then the Democrats will lose their legislative super majority.
Wednesday, May 30, 2018
The legendary Dick Tuck passed away at the ripe old age of 94. Sadly he’s not known to most Americans today. Dick was a highly partisan political operative for Democrats. More significantly he was the pioneer political trickster, political magician, political prankster often focused on Richard Nixon. The stories are legendary, often building in the retelling so the truth can’t always be known. Non-Tuck antics have even been attributed to him. His prankster career of political sabotage started as a political science student at the University of California Santa Barbara in the 1950 Senate race between Democratic Congresswoman Helen Gahagan Douglas and Republican Congressman Richard Nixon. He supported Congresswoman Douglas, but was asked by a professor to serve as an advance man for Congressman Nixon’s campus visit. He scheduled the talk for a large auditorium (2,000 or 4,000 seats – the stories vary), but then did not publicize it. Only 23 or 40 students showed up. Tuck then gave a long winded, wandering speech, followed by introducing the candidate to talk on the International Monetary Fund. The flustered, unprepared Nixon bombed. That was just the beginning of the Tuck-Nixon stories. One of the Nixon’s campaign taglines was “Nixon’s the One.” Tuck had one (or many) pregnant African American women carrying “Nixon’s the One” signs at a 1968 Nixon rally. He often posed as a fire marshal at Nixon rallies, providing the media with low attendance estimates. Vice President Nixon was in San Francisco awaiting renomination at the Republican National Convention. The garbage trucks, serving the convention, carried large signs saying “Dump Nixon.” Republican Senator William Knowland and Republican Governor Goodwin J. Knight decided to switch positions in 1958. Knowland would run for Governor and Knight for the Senate. Both lost in a landslide year for the Democrats. Senator Knowland hosted a banquet for Chinese supporters during the campaign. The guests opened their fortune cookies. Their fortune read “Knowland for Premier of Formosa.” Senator Kennedy won the 1960 debate. Tuck had an elderly woman wear a Nixon pin and hug the Vice President the next morning. She loudly said “Don’t worry, son. He beat you last night, but you’ll get him the next time.” A Nixon speech at San Luis Obispo became political legend. Nixon was on a whistle stopping campaign, addressing the audience from the rear platform of the train. Tuck signaled the train’s engineer to pull out. The train may or may not have left the station in mid-Nixon speech. A 1962 Nixon rally in San Francisco’s Chinatown, or was it Los Angeles?, featured another Tuck Tale. Either Tuck, or another person, or several attendees held up one or many signs saying “Welcome Nixon” in English. A message in Mandarin was under the English. It said “What about the Hughes loan?” Howard Hughes had loaned an unsecured $250,000 to Nixon’s brother. Nixon was informed of the Mandarin language. The Nixon temper kicked in. The cameras captured him ripping the sign in half. His creativity was not limited to Nixon antics. One 1964 Goldwater campaign motto was “In your heart you know he’s right.” Tuck changed it to “In your gut you know he’s nuts.” He once displayed a sign “Nixon in ‘80; Why not the worst?” Tuck told bandleaders at Nixon rallies that Nixon’s favorite song was “Mack the Knife.” They would often play the song as Nixon walked on stage. Tuck uttered a famous political statement when he lost a 1966 bid for a state Senate seat. He said “The people have spoken. The bastards.” He had come in a dismal third with only 5,211 votes. He said during his non-serious campaign “The job needs Dick, and Dick needs the job.” Dick Tuck probably did not break the law. He knew where to draw the line. Today’s political twisters have no such restraint. For example, two Democratic operatives were fired in 2016 because they boasted on tape of hiring agitators to incite violence at Trump rallies. The media would then publicize how out of control the Trump supporters were. Ironically Richard Nixon was tagged with the sobriquet “Tricky Dicky” – not Richard Tuck.
Tuesday, May 29, 2018
Some lawyers can give the legal profession a bad name. A lawyer in Florida filed a class action suit seeking $5,000,000.00 from McDonald’s because the two named plaintiffs, who shall go nameless in this blog, felt they were ripped off by having to buy a quarter pounder with cheese from McDonalds. They complain that the McDonald’s menu used to offer four choices of quarter pounders and double quarter pounders, with and without cheese. The cheese pounders cost $.30 to $.90 more than the cheeseless pounders. The new menu excludes the without cheese option. The plaintiffs asked for, and received, cheeseless quarter pounders, but with no reduction in price. They claim they were overcharged. The lawyer is trying to puff $.30 into $5 million. Plaintiff is alleging the antitrust theory of tying, which means if you X, you also have to but Y. If you want the beef, then you must also purchase the cheese. The basic rule of tying is simple. Defendant must have sufficient market power in the tying market to substantially affect commerce in the tied market. We have options in the tying market. Plaintiffs don’t have to eat junk food at McDonald’s. They can go down the block and “Have it Their Way” at Burger King. They can pay more by going to Five Guys. The Wendy’s, Carl’s Jr/Hardee’s., Jack in the Box, In-n-Out, A&W, and a host of smaller chains, not to mention the Red Robins, Ruby’s and Johnny Rockets, are ubiquitous throughout the United States. Conversely, McDonald’s is being sued for no cheese, that’s right, no cheese in its mozzarella sticks, which contain a starch filler rather than cheese. Wendy’s Clara Peller asked “Where’s the beef? McDonald’s is being asked “Where’s the cheese” in its mozzarella cheese sticks? The MscDonald’s litigation is emblematic of the class action suits beginning to plague the fast food industry. Starbucks is fighting a wave of lawsuits. Its accused of underfilling its cups with less coffee than advertised while overfilling ice in the drinks. Judge Percy Anderson put the ice case on ice. He held it had no weight, saying: “If children have figured out that including ice in a cod beverage decreases the amount of liquid they will receive, the court has no difficulty concluding that a reasonable consumer would not be deceived into thinking that when they order an iced tea, that the drink they receive will include both ice and tea and that for a given size cup, some portion of the drink will be ice rather than whatever liquid beverage the consumer ordered.” He also stated that the consumer could always order the beverage without ice. Back in the days when I drank a lot of soda, I would always order the drink without ice. A restaurant once charged me more for the iceless Coke. I paid it, left no tip, and never went back to that restaurant. We have options. Restaurants’ profit margins rise with the percent of ice in the beverage. Frozen water is cheaper than drink extract. SUBWAY is being sued because someone, probably a lawyer, measured it to be short of 12”. Where’s the beef? Here’s the beef. These cases may be in the name of an individual plaintiff (I don’t want to say victim), but they’re brought by attorneys. This suit is not about Thirty Cents; it’s about a lawyer trying to become the Big Cheese in a class action lawsuit. The lawyer reaps a large fee out of any settlement or judgment while the class members receive chomp change or peanuts. Let us remember the great sequence in Five Easy Pieces. Jack Nicholson orders toast at a restaurant. Bobby: I'd like a plain omelette, no potatoes, tomatoes instead, a cup of coffee and wheat toast. Waitress: [points at his menu] No substitutions. Bobby: What do you mean? You don't have any tomatoes? Waitress: Only what's on the menu. You can have a number two, a plain omelette, it comes with cottage fries and rolls. Bobby: Yeah, I know what it comes with, but it's not what I want. Waitress: Well, I'll come back when you make up your mind Bobby: Wait a minute, I have made up my mind. I'd like a plain omelette, no potatoes on the plate, a cup of coffee and a side order of wheat toast. Waitress: I'm sorry, we don't have any side orders of toast. I'll give you an English muffin or a coffee roll. Bobby: What do you mean you don't make side orders of toast? You make sandwiches, don't you? Waitress: Would you like to talk to the manager? Palm Apodaca: Hey, mac... Bobby: Shut up. [to the waitress] Bobby: You've got bread and a toaster of some kind? Waitress: I don't make the rules. Bobby: OK, I'll make it as easy for you as I can. I'd like an omelette, plain, and a chicken salad sandwich on wheat toast, no mayonnaise, no butter, no lettuce, and a cup of coffee. Waitress: A number two, a chicken salad sand. Hold the butter, the lettuce, and the mayonnaise, and a cup of coffee. Anything else? Bobby: Yeah, now all you have to do is hold the chicken, bring me the toast, give me a cheque for the chicken salad sandwich, and you haven't broken any rules. Waitress: You want me to hold the chicken, huh? Bobby: I want you to hold it between your knees.