Wednesday, March 31, 2004

Tedious

I've been given a ton of paperwork to fill out for my exit interview on Monday with Dean McPherson. There's all sorts of questios regarding my experiences at Reget and my suggestions for how to improve it. I'm trying to balance out the good and the bad in my evaluation. It needs to be evident that I put some thought into my responses. I have had more positive experiences here than anything else when it gets right down to it. I imagine some of the whining I've done here would seem to indicate otherwise.

Truth be told, I didn't want to come here three years ago. It was an escape. I never saw it as the ideal place to ear a law degree, and I certainly didn't see any advantages to a degree from Regent. Thiswas a means to an end, and I'd adapt to whatever I'd lost by enrolling. But i shouldn't have taken that attitude. Under my old plan, i'd just be another local yokel who came off the University of South Carolina School of Law Assembly line. Itmay just be arrogance, but i think i'm much more than that now.

I have a ore national view, rather than just a narrow "I must be a small town lawyer" attitude. I would never have studied inEurope at USC, never joined a journal, and never been published. As much as I have disliked Virginia, living in another state has been an eye opening experience, as has being one of a very few South Carolinians. I feel ike I've finally had my Junior Year Abroad only six years too late.

There is evena twinge in me that wishes I hadn't been so bent on going back to South Carolina. It's small, but it's there. i'm sureit will pass, but it has also occurred to me that it doesn't have to. While I hae a healthy doseof realism, I know the world is my oyster. I'm now free of many things I wasn't free of as late as a year ago. Why not enjoy it? I am unbound.

Thanks, Regent.
Sunni Savages

Can someone expain to me what i have head a number of commentators assert today? You see, I've heard that the attack on four civilian contractor's van murdering them, dragging their charred bodies through the streets, and finally hanging them off a bridge, all the while grinning for the camera, is somehow related to the high jobless rate. That is, of course, the coalition's fault. But of course. I mean, we dragg bodies through the street evertime Taco Bell has a hiring freeze. How can we not expect such a high culture as fundamentalist Islam to not do the same, right?

So, if we have Abduhl Muhhamed Whatisface rebuild the infrastructure of Iraq instead of coalition members, Americans won't be dragged through the streets? Where is the outrage for the Iraqi savagery? Why is there sympathy for their actions instead? Theses were the sunnis who were treated the best by Saddam at he expense of the rest of the Iraqi people. If they want him back bad enough that they are willing to mutilate foreignors who are trying to rebuild their tattered country (tattered, by the way, because of 35 years of looting by Saddam' and his cronies, not the coalition) then I am almost tempted to say let them have him.

I was never big on this democracy in Iraq plan regardless. Middle Eastern Muslims tend to be brutes who need a big stick and a short leash to keep them in line. Today's incident is evidence of that. Turning Iraq into solid glass sounds mighty appealing right about now, no? Actually, what Iraq needs is a Ghandi. Unfortunately, they'd kill him immediately before it would do any good.

In two months, we hand over the reins of power to a new Iraqi government. Good riddance to it. By anyone's estimation, they'll be busy killing each ther by the end of July, if not sooner.
That's Nice...I Think

As a comics fan, i'm amused, but as an erudite epicurean, I'm appallled. I'm so torn.

PROVIDENCE -- Attorney General Patrick C. Lynch said his press secretary was a little worried when he first proposed putting a Spider-Man quote on the building. When the former attorney general, Sheldon Whitehouse, took office in 1999, he installed a bronze plaque outside 150 S. Main St. declaring: "I will not cease from mental fight. Nor shall my sword sleep in my hand..." The words are from one of Whitehouse's favorite poems -- written by the noted early 19th-century English poet William Blake.

Lynch, who took office last year, is now preparing to install a new plaque that declares: "With great power comes great responsibility." The words are from Stan Lee, the 20th-century American comic book pioneer who created Spider-Man. Lynch said he was inspired by his 6-year-old son, Graham -- an avid Spider-Man fan who tugged on his father's pants and said those words moments before Lynch's inauguration in January 2003.

Tuesday, March 30, 2004

Jack's Back

Jack Black Joins the Cast of King Kong: The original King Kong is one of my all time favorite movies. i did not like the travesty that was the 1976 remake, but had cautious hopes for Peter Jackson's version. It looks like it's shapig up to be a great remake. I'll syill kep my fingers crossed overall, but jack Black is slowly but surely becoming one of my favorites--even if he is a little strange. Anything Jack's in has to be at least watchable, no?
Removing the Veil

Alexandria Declaration: Between March 12 and 14, 2004, intellectuals, scholars, economists and activists from around the Arab world met at the new Alexandria Library in Egypt for the Arab Reform Conference. Among the recommendations of the conference was that all Arab governments should ratify "all international conventions on the rights of women providing for the abolition of all forms of discrimination against them." Too bad this Declaration comes from groups with no power to enforce it, noe do they have the attention of those who could implement these needed reforms. Considering the Arab League meeting in Tunisia just imploded (with reform issues being one of the main reasons for the implosion) it would seem they have a bit of an uphill battle, but more power to them.

Monday, March 29, 2004

Weather Report

It was chilly today, in more ways than one. I suppose that was to be expected. It is better, at this point, to dwell on the future. With that in mind, I've spent the late afternoon scanning for Columbia apartments. I found quite a few in my price range and have dispatched a feeer or two to scope them out. I had hoped to wait until after graduation and take a few day trips to Columbia myself, but that doesn't seem too feasible or convenient. In reality, that's okay with me. I don't want anymore upheaval than I've already had to go through in recent months.

In a slightly weather connected note, a telemarketer called me earlier. I had to flip off the CD player in orde to answer her. It was another loan consolidation firm. Currently, I get about two of those a day. I tell them all the same thing. I met a nice fellow named Vito who gave me a 23% rate and promised not to break my legs,; can your policy beat that? Heh. Somdays i hope I actually am recorded for quality control purposes. Regardless, I was ticked off this time because i was interrupted in the middle of Guns N' Roses' November Rain. They shouldn't do that to fellow.

Now, I'm going to rain on my parade further by reading the Legislation assignment for tomorrow. Good times all around.
Keep 'em Honest

FactCheck.org: A handy site that examines the 'facts" behind political claims, selling points, talking points, and soundbytes. I've only scratched the surface, but it appears to be an equal opportunity site, critiquing Democrats and Republicans alike.
Dangerous Question

You know the most dangerous question in the world to answer is, "What do you want?" I don't know what's worse, that few actually ponder before answering or that that many do ponder it. It hall has consequences down the road regardless, there's no way to double back and start again, and you only know you made the right choice at the end of it all. To bad such an ominous responsibility is wasted on the young. With all that said, back to important decision making.

Sunday, March 28, 2004

Why Doesn't This Surprise Me?

French Lawyer to Defend Saddam: i readily admit everyone deserves a cometent defense, but it just seems so natural for a Frechman to be the one defending Saddam. This lawyer has areputation for defending Nazi war criminals and Carlos the Jackal. It looks like he's trying to replace William Kunstler as the best lawyer/friend/ally a bloody, brutal dictator could have.
He Probably Needs the Prize Money

Bill Gates Enters Reno Bridge Tournament: Obviously that fine from the European Union has taken its toll on his wallet. Does anybody believe Gates doesn't have the $600 million+ under the cushions of his couch?
Tapdancing on Eggshells

I have a leveler head about things than my last post would indicate. In sort, for the last few years I have played second fiddle to someone's insecurties. It has reached a ridicuulous point, and one which is not going to remain in Virginia after I leave. I'm out of patience, and there is no joy in continuing things at all. I'm twenty-seven, and playing games got old midway through college, if not sooner. I regret that so many Regent students are late bloomers, but i can't handle it at this pont and i am, believe it or not, sorry that I can't.

One thing I’ve learned about Regent is that there is a great need to walk on eggshells around a lot of people. Being the caustic cynic that I am, I have found this difficult, although I am thankfully old and mature enough to keep my mouth shut. Thank heaven I have a blog to rant on, no?

You see, this university is full of people from sheltered, fundamentalist Christian backgrounds. One is constantly on guard about answering questions about family backgrounds or interests. There are just too many judgmental people here. A corollary problem to that is the rampant naiveté, which is something i have come up on constantly in my time here. I’m talking about an “Every client i’ll have will be innocent” attitude that I am certain no other law school on the planet has. No, we have to have cornered the market.

Heh. This isn’t going into the direction I meant for it to.

Heaven knows, I’m not one to critique anybody else’s insecurities. I’ve spen my entire life watching one person after another be consumed by theirs, in fact, and i just let them do it assuming at some point it would be all over and I’d land on my feet. But i’m still annoyed by the irrational fears some close to me have. I want to surround myself by the strong and resilient. I have not, thus far, met with much success.

So I have had to draw some conclusions. First, while i am sympathetic, I no longer have the patience to do with other’s irrational and self destructive behavior. Second, regardless of my previous experience, that is not a normal way of life. Third, you can’t change someone who refuses to be changed. Fourth, if you haven’t grown up by twenty-five, you never will. Fifth, I’m not going to spend the rest of my life surrounded by that sort of thing. Finally, I am not a jerk for drawing these conclusions.

Saturday, March 27, 2004

Balancing Act

You know, i don't believe in karma, but there has to be some basis to the fact that when something really good happens (my bar application goes through without a hitch) something bad has to happen (being stabbed in the back) to balance it all out. Or keep me humble. I don't know whicch. Maybe it's both. I may or may not write about this further. If I do, it'll be in code words and an attack on the general principles involved. Really, those are the most fun rants to read anyway, though, are they not? Suffice to say, i've been knocked for a loop. You may sympathize or rejoice as you deem necessary.

It was a bright, sunny day today. I enjoyed being out in the sun despite matters. Resiliency is my middle name. It should be anyway. It sounds much flashier than Stevenson, which doesn't sing or dance, you know what I mean? Flashy. Not boring or mundane. I mus quit settling for the mundane.

I'm rambling. I need to quit writing here. I'll be back later with more interesting things that will shed light on all of this for interested parties, assuming there is such an animal. There is a method to my madness, as inane and disorganized as it appears at first glance....

Friday, March 26, 2004

Two Supremes Have Birthdays Today

Diana Ross (60) and Justice Sandra Day O'Conner (74).
Sigh of Relief

A significant source of tension over the last few weeks has gone unmentioned here, but has finally been resolved. The South Carolina Board of Bar Examiners finally cashed my application fee. Evidently they hold on to them until the application is processed, and it doesn't matter how many months it has to sit there. I've never known anyone to sit on a check they'veasked for, but this is state government, so who can say? I never got a straight answer from the Board in the months I've been trying to track down whether my application had been filed correctly.

I watched my checking account like a henhawk, counring every light bill and tank of gas wonderingif I have missed anything ("Hey, Rosey. Remember when we went to Three Amigos in January? Did I pay for those tacos with my debit card? Hello?") I had even gone so far as to request the Washington D.C. bar application and did virtually everything but mail it off just in case. Yes, I would never, ever, ever, ever, apply to the Virginia Bar and yes, I am anal. i have to be.

You see, at some point, you have to wonder what God is trying to tell you when He puts so many strange obstacles in your way, as He has done many times in recent years. All right, are you telling me I shouldn't be a lawyer? You've certainly made the path difficult. or, are you shaping me by putting all these roadblocks in the way for the last nine years? I suppose for now, the answer is the latter.

Moments of transition are a real pain in the keister.

Thursday, March 25, 2004

Honoring a Hero

Admiral Ackbar: Our Last Hope: Yes, it's a slow news day. Check out the song clip while you are there. It's as jazzy as advertised.

Wednesday, March 24, 2004

The Pledge Case

Supreme Court Hears Pledge Case: The Court seems to be heading for the right decision as well. That right decision being that the declaration that America is "one nation, under God" is not a call to worship God, or even a government endorsement of God. the nation is more than the government; it is the people. (While it has no real persuasive authority, it is worth mentioning that 90% of AAmericans recognize the Christian God.)

Michael Newdow,the California atheist who argued the case himself, originally filed this suit in California to prevent his daughter from having to recite the Pledge because, in his opinion, it violates the Establishment Clause of the First Amendment. First, he doesnot have custodial care of his daughter. Second, she is a devout Christian; this case was the only way he could force his views onto his daughter. Third, this is really all about Newdow and his ego. It's sad that he has to use his daughter n order to promote himself as a hero against "ancient superstition."

It doesn't seem to matter much. By the gist of the Justices' questions, it seems likely the pledge will be confirmed. One key factor is Scalia's recusal on the grounds that he is a Knights of Columbus member (who originally moved to put the phrase in the pledge.) He would not have recused himself if he thought the Pledge was in trouble. Yes, I know Justices are supposed to be impartial, but does anyone really believe that, especially when hot button issues are concerned?
Adding to the Roster

Today, in my last official act as Articles Editor for the Regent Journal of International Law, I was part of an informational meeting for prospective members. About thirty people signed up for an application. The other twenty or so came for the free Chinese food. Regardless, that was the bigges turnout we've ad since I've been a member. I wouldn't expect more than five to seven of those folks to actually fill out an application, but even that would put the journal membership at fifteen or so. Considering there were only ten of us putting the Spring issue together, that iwould make things run even more smoothly.

The 1L class president approached me afterwards, whom I have had only a handful of experiences with. "Oh, your article is being published! That is sooooo exciting," she cooed. Ahe means well, but her father is a career politician, and the only why she seem to relate to others is through that aux "I feel your pain" sincerity. I'm not blasting her for it. I guess I'm really just said about the shallowness of her emotional connections Either that or I'm an irritable curmudgeon. She is cute, though. I will say that.

The Spring issue will come back from the printer at the end of April. Then I can finally hold a published copy of my article. That's exciting.

Tuesday, March 23, 2004

Smoke If You Got 'Em



Fred and Barney enjoy Marlboros out behind the house.

Monday, March 22, 2004

Regarding Richard Clarke

I have to comment on Richard Clarke's interview on 60 Minutes last night. Tossing aside the impropriety of promoting Clarke's new book when the parent company owns the television network, there certainly were no hardball questions asked. The one I'd most like to have answered? If as Clarke says, Bush was obsessed with pinning 9/11 on Iraq, what was the war in Afghanistan, a full two years before Operation: Iraqi Freedom, all about? It doesn't take a BA in Jounrnalism from Columbia Universty to come up with that one, but Leslie Stahl can't seem to swing it.
Vacating

I met with the apartment manger this afternoon regarding the note she had left on my door. You will recall it stated anothertenant wanted to move in starting n May and the manager would like to know when I am leaving. Since my lease runs through May 30 and graduation is well into the month of May, I told her I did not want to break my lease. Peter hasn't met with her yet, but he has no desire to have a roommate forced on him when everyone else in the village gets right of refusal in picking who will take over the other half of the lease. i don't know who this new student is, but he's definitely getting the VIP treatment.

Continuing with the title them, I almost vacated class this morning under the "discretion is the better part of valor" theory. Because we had a makeup class Friday, most everyone got called on analyze a case, including yours truly. Only three didn't, and since there were only four case for today, most of the class relaxed and thought they'd play the odds on getting a repeat performance. Unfortunately, he started over, and virtually no one had read. Fortunately, Kristina beside me knew the last case backwards and forwards or I might have had to wave the white flag. Now i ask, how often does federal question jurisdiction come up in the middle of South Carolina? Never, say I. Unfortunately, it will come up on the exam.
What is the Present?

Interesting philosophical ideas pique my curiousity. A new favorite is the definition of the present as a contract between the dead and the unborn 9a goofd pro-life term, by the way). The dead look to us to say, "Make our lives have meaning," while the unborn ask us "to build the world we will inherit." A good thought to contemplate, and a heavy responsibility if true.

Sunday, March 21, 2004

Cost of Living

I got one of those booklet apartment guides for Columbia, South Carolina. looking through it reminds me of how ridiculously high the cost of living is up here in Virginia Beach. Apartments in Columbia cost on average $150-200 less per month. I also signed up for Roommates.com to find a room for rent instead. I've already received several responses, but they have not been...promising. More and more, I am realizing that people who on the internet who hold themselves out for the purpose of being contacted should beavoided at all costs. They are just too strange.

I'm trying to decide the ideal living arrangment. Should I bite the bullet and find a place that I would like to stayat for a year or more as a beginning associate? It takes a good three years or more to make a decent salary as a new lawyer. What if, God forbid, i have to take the bar more than once? I don't want to think about that, but I have to. Do i wanr ro stay in Columbia? I don't know. I like the coast, actually, and Charleston especially.

I hate being uprooted. I don't know why it's irking me as much as it is. i'm no fan of Virginia and never have been. But somehow taking this next leap into nothing but uncertainty is scary. Ironically i fe at least some security here even though i don't like it, just because this place is familiar. I tell myself it won't be that way once the diploma is in my hand. I also know that I'll feel a lot better when I can stroll through Five Points in Columbia, eat at Pavlov's Dog hamburger joint, and see the Capstone dorm towering above the city from virtually any downtown spot I'm in. This whole Virginia escapade will be distant memory.

It becomes clear to me that i have never viewed Regent as a special opportunity. I always wated to return to South Carolina. i don't think that was a mistake, but I do wonder if I have shut some important doors while I've ben here. Probably not. For every decent job in D.C. I see (the only other place i'd really consider going, and then only for the experience.) I jump up and down for any reminder of the Palmetto State. We received a subscription request at the International law journal from a firm on Kiawah Island near Charleston. I've never even been there, but it was South Carolina, and that'sall that mattered as I processed the request.

Nevertheless, I have conflicted thoughts, as anyone would have during moments of transition, and as things start winding down, more introspectives are likely to show up here.

Saturday, March 20, 2004

Reality Check

Arnold Schwarzenegger is Governor of California.
Mel Gibson has made a devoutly religious movie about Christ.
Martha Stewart is going to jail.
Al Franken is a political commentator that people take seriously.
Michael Jackson may be a child molestor.
Donald Trump wants to copyright the phrase, 'You're fired!"
Giving straight guys gay makeovers counts for good TV.
Ozzy Osborne is America's favorite TV dad.

When did the world officially go mad?
Not That We Needed His Input

Arafat Says Passion Not Anti-Semitic: Well, if anyone knows the proper way to be antisemitic, it's Arafat. I suppose this isn't really an appeal to authority fallacy. So, should i laugh or bang my head against the wall over the irony?
You Try to Make Life Easier for Someone...

So I'm shopping for groceries and the bill totals $39.01. No problem, think I, because I always have loose change in my jacket. I hand the teenie bopper behind the register two twenties and a penny. The poor girl stares at this like she doesn't have the heart to tell me I'm a stupid moron who can't handle simple math.

"It's only $39.01. You know you gave me too much?" she asked.

"Yes, yes I do." I replied dryly.

She shrugs and tries to calculate my change when it suddenly dawns on her what to give me.

"Oh cool. I wish everybody would do that. it would make my job easier." she said.

Oh, mercy.

Friday, March 19, 2004

One of My Typical Reader Reactions


Don't Go Away Mad, Just Go Away

There was a note on my door this afternoon from the spartment manager. She has a new person who wants to move in my apartment in May and she needs to know what my plans are. By the curtness of the letter, I hope she'll let me rab my coat before tossing me out on the front lawn. The service here has always been rotten, from repairs that take months before anyone even looks at it to my neighbor above who practices his drum set at least twice a day--which you can get away with when you are sleeping with the assistant manager, lke he is. Well, they've gotten all the money they can out of me, so it's time to boot me out.

That's fine with me. I'm just dragging along at the moment. I'm tired of the tourist trap that is Virginia Beach, of humbling myself in front of law professors who haven't set foot in a court room in 30 years, and being a student in general. I'm getting too old for this junk. I have no more patience for it.

With the next step in mind, I applied for a job as a health care policy analyst with the National Governor's Association , tthe Immigration Litigation section of the Office of Homeland Security, and the State Department, among others. I've spent an obscene amount of time applying to everything, actually, but these sound more impressive than the real estate firm inGreenville that needs a new graduate to do the bankruptcy paperwork that is too tedious for anyone else in the office to do.

Grisham never put that in his novels, no?

Thursday, March 18, 2004

Marking the Day

My mother died one year ago today. I say this just to mark the occasion and pass no further comments on it for various and sundry reasons. I will say that my roommate Peter has offered up her name in the Holy Sacrifice of the Mass for the repose of her soul. I'm no Catholic scholar, but it is my understanding that this is a prayer for souls in Purgatory. I felt it was a very thoughtful and personal thing to do, especially since I didn't even meet him until late summer. I appreciated it very much.

In a totally unrelated pronouncement, as a good Calvinist, I readily accept that whatever will be, will be. This, however, makes me a glutton for punishment. At least I am aware of that fact.

Wednesday, March 17, 2004

How to Talk About Women and Still Be Politically Correct

1. She is not a BABE or a CHICK - She is a BREASTED CITIZEN.
2. She is not EASY - She is HORIZONTALLY ACCESSIBLE.
3. She is not BLONDE - She is a DETOUR OFF THE INFORMATION SUPERHIGHWAY.
4. She has not BEEN AROUND - She is A PREVIOUSLY ENJOYED COMPANION.
5. She is not an AIRHEAD - She is REALITY IMPAIRED.
6. She does not get DRUNK or TIPSY - She gets CHEMICALLY INCONVENIENCED.
7. She is not HORNY - She is SEXUALLY FOCUSED.
8. She does not have BREAST IMPLANTS - She is MEDICALLY ENHANCED.
9. She does not NAG YOU - She becomes VERBALLY REPETITIVE.
10. She is not a SLUT - She is SEXUALLY EXTROVERTED.
11. She does not have PREMIER LEAGUE HOOTERS - She is PECTORALLY SUPERIOR.
12. She is not a TWO-BIT SLAPPER - She is a LOW COST SERVICE PROVIDER.
Mudslinging

In a recent post, I critiqued Spain for knuckling under pressure for its rejection of an active role fighting terrorism. I tried to do so as gently as possible, as I am not one to dance on graves. Over 1600 people were either killed or wounded in the weekend bombng. Now, while I do feel the subsequent election has a Neville Chamberlain-esque "peace in our time" feel to it, I am dismayed that so many pundits in our country are spinning the tragedy as proof that we all need to support "their guy" for president.

Here you have an article that states the incident in Spain is proof that George W. Bush must be defeated or the entire world faces dire consequences. Here is another article which makes the case for John Kerry being an appeaser of terrorists in the same mode as the Spanish. Besides these, there is a lot of talk around the internet, airwaves, and watercoolers about how their guy can use this in the election. It's going to be along, nasty, political season from now until November.

Despite what the talking heads on TV say, this electio is not going to turn on any sense of idealogy. It's going to turn o which candidate the electorate is least sick of by election day, expecially if the bickering and siping continues. It's like a lawyer i spoke to several weeks ago told me about his job. He has a practice in criminal and ciil litigation. From time to time, when, "I get greedy" he takes a child custody case. He said those are lucrative because parents will spend huge amounts of many just to spite in other. To carry the anology into the presidential election, by the time the judge decides the custody issue, you're pretty sure neither one of them deserves to have chid. The whole country will probably feel that way regarding Kerry and Bush before it's all over.
Nostalgia

Want to play with an online version of Light Bright?

Tuesday, March 16, 2004

Ivory Tower

Tales from Academia: This site offers advice and war stories from newly minted PhD's on their experiences in the academic job market. This goes along with my post a few days ago where I reiteratedtmy satisfaction with getting a law degree rather than going further into Political Science. Here's further proof I made the right choice. As per my usual disclaimer, talk to me in a few years and I will probably have changed my mind. I've just spent two hours listening to a lecyure on taking depositions. My mind is officially numbed at the moment.

Monday, March 15, 2004

Back to the Millstone

Just as I knew I would, I dreaded getting up this morning and heading out in the chilly rain to sit through federal courts. Somewhere after it was decided that federal courts cannot issue injunctions to halt the collection of awarded judgments while they are being appealed in state cour, I decided I really, reallty wished I had some Spring Break time back. Spending thr afternoon drafting a discovery plan for another class only confirmed my desire. I'm just flapping in the wind here. I'm not alone, either. The whole world seems to be right there with me. To wit:

Spanish Bombing Seats Socialist Government The new Spanosh Prime Minister vows to remove the country's troops from Iraq. I'm sisappointed that the Spanish decided to knuckle under and blame Bush and Aznar rather for the bombings in Madrdid rather than the terrorists that perpetrated it. This sets a dangerous precedent. Now Al Queda may think in can install anti-American regimes by staging terrorist operations. It won't work in the US (another 9/11 would likely compel the country to rally around Bush) but what about the United Kingdom, Australia, or Poland? It's a scary thought.

Speaking of scary thoughts, it would appear the Russian election ironically indicates a slow slde back into totalitarianism. Vladimir Putin used bribery and intimidation to pull people to the polls after a campaign in which the state apparatus propagandized for him and marginalized his competitors. In the process, Putin managed to further delegitimize himself with a 71 percent landslide. It doesn't help the stated Bush policy of promoting democracy when one of our strongest allies is chippinh away at its democratic gains.

When talking about troubled democracies, you can't forget Haiti. Former President Aristide has left exile. Accompanied by the ever shrill U.S. Rep. Maxine Waters (naturally) Aristide left his African exile. You will recall Waters was the first to accept Aristides claim that Bush had overthrown him. Will he try to take power again? Probably.

See? It's only Monday and everything is screwed up already.

Sunday, March 14, 2004

No More Rest for the Weary

This was the last day of Spring Break. Considering the homework, ongoing assigtnments, graduation prep, conyinuing job search, and laundry that i never actually gor around to until today, it didn't feel much like a day off. This was the last significant break I get before graduating, as I only get Good Friday off at Easter. The net few months are going to be so daunting that i regret not utilizing my time more wisely. I'm going to miss havig this time for eflection when it's gone. Heh. I remember having all this apprehension as an undergrad, too. Uncertain future, leaving friends, new place to live--it was terrible. Until they put the diploma in my hand, that is. Then I forgot all about it.

I'm shallow that way.

Saturday, March 13, 2004

Penultimate

Tomorrow is the final day of the lasr Spring Break I'll ever ever have. Earlier, I drowned my sorrows in a shrimp platter from Captain D's. Hogh class outing, no? There is such a melanchol feeling about all of this. For one thing, this is last break I get before studying fulltime for the bar exam. It's going to be a sprint to the finish line as far as school and exams are concerned, then I have to vacare the premises up here and go off to heaven knows where in Columbia to prepare for the mosy important event of my life. es, that's a wee bit of pressure.

I never thought I'd like to have some time back. I didn't think things were fun in law school then, but I have a more positive spin on things in retrospect. Someone check my temperature. I just said I'd like to prolong my studies--in the most loathed commonwealth of Virginia, no less. I guess ou do bloom where you're planted.

I can't rememer if I mentioned it earlier, but my article made it all the way through final editing with no drastic changes and will be sent off to the publisher on Monday. The Spring issue of the Regent Journal of International Law that features my article will be available in mid-April. I'm excited about that. There are many jurists out there who never get piblished after years of trying and here I am an author before I even graduate. I'm very fortunate to have that extra legitimacy. I hope that bodes well for me.

Friday, March 12, 2004

Redheaded Epiphany

I went out to dinner tonight with Natalie and RM. We had a good time, even though most of the conversation was about the uncertainty of our next step. Natalie is going to return to Florida to be with her aging parents despite having landed a opost graduate job here with the Common Good. RM is torn: her father bought a business in Florida and is moving there, but she’s been on the path to the Virginia bar and is going to stay here. But she’s also mentioned taking the Florida bar in February after Virginia’s, not to mention she’d really like to forget this “whole law thing” and go back to being in nursing care.

In short, she came to Regent to get closer to God, not get a law degree. I think she’s done both. In the three years that I have known her, I’ve seen that change in her. She’s like me, in that we have a personal relationship with God. We don’t wear it on our sleeves. You imagine when she admitted tonight that coming to Regent was a spiritual journey, I was surprised that she said it out loud, and my heart leapt that she said it all

Let’s skip ahead a moment.

In one week, it will be the one year anniversary of my mother’s death. No one here knows the exact date, but since everyone from the Dean and down the line is watching me like a hen hawk, they know it’s getting close. Natalie, an impatient idealist, decided to go right to the source on out ride home. At this point, I figured, why not tell her everything? Cheaper than therapy, as the saying goes I don’t swap sob stories, so I’ll get right to the point. Thanks to Natalie, I’ve drawn several conclusions:

First, that wasn’t really my mother I buried last year. It was a shell of what alcoholism turned her into. No, she wasn’t a nice person at all, but after hearing details of her earliest behavior, I realize she at least moderated her behavior through my developing years. That doesn’t make her behavior towards me right, but her reach wil not extend behind the grave as far as I am concerned. I’m glad I understand two things. One, everyone leaves a legacy and two, what we do in life counts in the next world. I need to make my life count for the positive in both regards.

Second, I’ve spent my entire life trying to run away from my family, and I had good reasons. No one who knows begrudges me. But now that they are all gone, I don’t have to run. But now, I look back on where I’ve been and realize how much I’ve missed. By focusing on survival (as I saw it) I haven’t kept up any friendships for any considerable period of times, much less any romantic attachments. I’m not even certain that I know how. With thisin mind, i need to aim for more permanence in my relations. I must be more trusting and forgiving. But not too much. Old habits die the hardest.

Third, practicing law appeals to me because it’s a way a legitimately dealing with emotionally charged issues without being emotionally involved, and offers a outlet for aggressive energy. I see no reason why this is an unhealthy career choice. At least i got that much right. Talk to me in a few years. I’ll probably have changed my mind by then.

Finally, my life is a tabula rosa. My parents, my home—they are all gone. Everything that happens from now on is going to be brand new because there are no attachments to the past, other than baggage which I need to deal with constructively. If I had to put all this into one concept, I’d say the war is over, and I won. It doesn’t have to be a Pyrrhic Victory, if I cast the past aside.

So, back to the original point, why did my heart skup a bear at RM’s pronouncement? One, I’m happy she’s grown spiritually and emotionally. The seeond point is of lesser importance, I suppose. I’m really infatuated with her. ;)

Thursday, March 11, 2004

The Dumbing Down of Discourse

The Politics of the Lonely Crowd: Public positions on matters of importance have become how you feel, not what you believe. Are we headed down the slope of following fiery passions? Given our general illiteracy regarding history, do many people even realize what a dangerous road that is to travel down?

Wednesday, March 10, 2004

Do We Want to Go Back?

What to Remember Come November: I like Professor Hanson, so much so that I sat through the three hour call in show C-SPAN does on the first of every month when he was featred this week. He's a conservative, but not an idealogue. I find his views to be reasonable and well thought out. He and Thomas L. Friedman are part of a balanced diet.

This article is about Prof. Hanson's support of Bush's foreign policy and the dangers of givng John Kerr the keys to the White House. In short, we'd go back to the bombing of U.S.S. Cole and 1993 World Trade Center attack as a crime scene rather than an act of war. Prof. Hanson scholzrship extens much further beyond that. He has written highly readablebooks on theories of war, the death of classical education, and a history of California wine growers--all without the usual PC claptrap. How he got tenure in today's academia, I'll never know, but I'm glad he did.

While we are somewhat on the subject, sometimes CSPAN is a guuilty pleasure. Late night sometimes fearure members of Congress recording speeches into the Congressional record. Most are like wayching grass grow, but yu get a good one now and then. My favorite of all time was Major owen who said so many slaves and been dumped off save trader ships that sharks were still swimming the route. I don't even remever what he was talking about, but that point stuck with me. I miss Dornan's and Traficant's speeches. Those were fun, too.

But anyway, what I really like flipping by n weekends because that is when authors give lectures on new books they've written. Everyone of them is the same: unkempt hair, clothes look like the've been slept in, and loony as all get out. the author discusses his latest work on the foreign policy of Fiji from 1876-1900. Then some scarwny, pale. angry, vegan, emo feminist with Hubble telescope glasses from the audience of nine strolls up to microphone and asks how he could possibly think feminists could hold any other idealogy than Marxism. And the author finds this to be a legit criticism. Reninds me of why I chose to study law instead of be a history professor. The academic world is way too freaky nowadays.

Still, one of the things i plan to do before I'm dead and gone is write some obscure, esoteric book just like that, if for no other reasn than haveeveryone wonder,"What the heck did he write about that for?" Look for me at 3 AM on CSPAN. I'mm the one being harangued by Velma from Scooby Doo.
The Christianization of the Republican Party

Is the GOP a Religious Cult?: That the question is even being asked is the epitome of anti-religious bias and a xlear signal that there are quite a fewwho have no uderstanding of what motivates the devoutly Christian. Yes, there are some peculiar groups claiming to represent Christian political movements. They are idealogues, ans idealogues have to orgabize themselves to pusg unpopular, out of the mainstream agendas. Witness GAMPAC, for instance.

What the so-called "religious right" wants, more than anything else, is to be left alone -- to be permitted to organize their families and communities by values and traditions which are ancient and (until not too long ago) essentially undisputed in Western society. I think you'll find very few members of the religious right who want to shut down the art galleries and gay bars, or force universities to start teaching creationism in their medical schools.

If the religious right is tempted towards extremism at all, it is because they believe, with ample justification, that the secular left is completely insatiable in terms of forcing change everywhere and upon everyone, and that only equally vigorous action can result in some acceptable middle ground settlement. If African Americans in Harlem have the right to require their schools to observe Kwanza, open each school session with a brief exhortation based upon the accomplishments of a notable African American in history and make birth control patches available at the nurse's office, than Evangelicals in Alabama have the right to require their schools to observe Easter, teach abstinence only and open class with a prayer. If I protested the African American-centric practices of the Harlem school, the left wouldn't hesitate to invite me to move out to Scarsdale. Why should the Evangelicals in Alabama be less protected?

Finally, no the religious right is not the American version of the Taliban by a country mile.

Tuesday, March 09, 2004

Sneak in the Backdoor

Avoid Compulsory Registration: From time to time I've posted links to articles fro, major news sources thatrequire free registration. I dislike doing it because i hate getting on mailing lists, too. Now with this, neither you noe i have to worry with the annoyance.
Commentary

I've added a comment feature, so now everyone will know how few readers I actually have. Let the truth be known, for the truth shall set you free.

Monday, March 08, 2004

Theatre of the Absurd

Aristide to Sue United States, France for Kidnap: It has been fairly well known that the former Haitian leader was manic depressive, but this is peculiar even for that disorder. Evidently he didn't loot his people nearly enough to fund a lavish retirement and wentb in search of deep pockets to blame for his "ouster." As we all know, if here is a conspriacy to control the poorest country in the western hemisphere, you know great buddies like Bush and Chirac are behind it. I'll let in you in on an appropriate law student joke, with apologies to Ambassador Harriman: lawsuits mmake strange codefendants.
Stigma? What Stigma?

JonBenet's Father May Run for Michigan House Seat No, I'm not accusing him of killing his daughter, but he hasn't helped his case any by being uncooperative in the investigation. He and his wife alwys struck me as being self-serving and emotionally shallow. You'd think reasonable people would not want he spotlight after that. Not Mr. Ramsey, apparently.

Am I being unfair here?

Sunday, March 07, 2004

At the Movies

Today is Alison's birthday. She wanted to see a movie to celebrate, so we did. We just got back from Starsky and Hutch. It's a fun movie, with quitea few belly laughs. Will Ferrell has a bit part, but it is the funniest scene. Wilson and Stiller make a pretty good pair, especially when they are playing it straight right alongside the outlandish Snoop Dogg. It was a neat way to spend an evening. Bittersweet, too, as these outing will soon end and we all go our separate ways.
City of Angels=Cuervo Nation?

Los Angeles Ponders Selling Naming Rights: That's what I love about America: everything is for sale. Surprisingyl enough, L.A. would be following in the footsteps of New York City, which sold its rights to Snapple. I think there is a big difference between claiming Snapple as your city's official beverage and tequila, but, hey, it isn't my city. If itwere, I'd hold out for a heck of a lot more than $1 million--especially with a $250 million shortfall. I'll bet city councilmen swindle more than $1 million every year each. Geez, guys. Negotiate some, will ya?

Remember a name from this:Eric Garcetti. He'is the son of District Attorney Gil Garcetti, who survived Rodney King, the riots, and OJ, so you know the guy's got some political genes. He's also a Rhodes Scholar who's a shhining star in the Young Democrats. He may be a city councilman now, but you can tell he just oozes ambition. He'll be in Congress before the decade is out. Mark my words.

Saturday, March 06, 2004

For the 'War of Northern Aggression' Buffs

Valley of the Shadow: This is a digital archive of primary sources that document the lives of people in Augusta County, Virginia, and Franklin County, Pennsylvania, during the era of the American Civil Wa. The Valley of the Shadow is different than many other history websites. It is more like a library than a single book. There is no "one" story in the Valley Project. Rather, what you'll find are thousands of letters and diaries, census and government records, newspapers and speeches, all of which record different aspects of daily life in these two counties at the time of the Civil War. As you explore the extensive archive and you'll find that you can flip through a Valley resident's Civil War diary, read what the county newspapers reported about the battle of Gettysburg, or even search the census records to see how much the average citizen owned in 1860 or 1870.

Excuses, Excuses

Blogging has been light today, but i was out enjoying the spring-like weather. And i also took some time to dump my Martha Stewart stock. What do you think suits her best: vertical black stripes on white or basic orange? Not that the decision is up to her, of course. Remember, Martha, life is not holding a good hand but playing a poor hand well. Oh, and next time, don't lie to the nice men from the SEC.

I'm being mean, i know. Truthfuly, I've been bugged all day by a dream I had lasr night. It involved an old college..agem...friend. I dreamt I was camped out on her parents patio waiting for her. I knew i had been there a long time, and i could tell her parents were afraid of me. The kicker is that i knew she was married andnever returning to her parents house, yet I refused to leave. It has stuck with me all day, and is irritating me much more than it should. Truthfully, it shouldn'tirritate me at all. I can't understand why i am irked by so many silly things as of ate. I think i'm under way too much stress and uncertainty. Lord, I am glad it is Spring Break.
And I Hear Hirohito Wanted Dewey

North Korea Wants Kerry: There's an incentive to vote Democrat in November. You know the one thing we'd like to do in the world is make the most repressive regime on the planet happy, right? This, along with libya's about face on imost ts nuclear program is further evidence of the Bush Docrtrine's success. If that is "cowboy diplomacy," then I say, 'Yippie Kai Yay."

Friday, March 05, 2004

Spring Break

My vacation officially started today. It's also sunny and warm outside, so what in the world am I doing in here staring at a laptop? See you later, all. With a tan, no less.

Thursday, March 04, 2004

Nader's Ego Trip

Ralph Nader's Dark Alliance: In search of support for his candidacy, "...Nader has now jumped into bed with the ultrasectarian cult-racket formerly known as the New Alliance Party and its guru, Fred Newman" who "recruits and controls his followers through a brainwashing scheme baptized "social therapy," designed to create blind allegiance to Newman", and who has "dipped his rhetoric in the poisonous blood-libel of anti-Semitism, denouncing Jews as "storm troopers of decadent capitalism."
Holy Frijoles!

It is currently 74 degrees and sunny in Virginia Beach. The weather is actually nice. For once. I wondered if i'd ever feel warm weather again. Now that i've jinxed it by mentioning it on my blog, there probabl won't be any more warm weather until I leave. regardess, I've been out enjoying it, but now I am about to head out for class.

I ran into NDK in the student union. We rarely meet up anymore, so i was glad to see her. I didn't mention her by name (I still haven't, actually) but she was one i hinted at in a earlier post as joining the Common Good and foregoing the bar exam. She has changed her mind, and now plans to join a corporate litigation firm in Florida. Good for her. I am glad to see her talents are going to be put to good use. She, her roomie, and I are planning to go out over Spring Break next week and have a last fling as unattached and uninhibited students before we get chained to families and mortgages. It should be fun.

Wednesday, March 03, 2004

Clinton As VP?

No, that's wishful thinking on the part of the New York Times. Clinton has been twice elected President. By the 22nd Amendment, he is not eligible to be elected President again. So, by the 12th Amendment, he is not eligible to be elected Vice-President Clinton is constitutionally ineligible to be VP. If he fills any other cabinet position, he is waived from the line of succession. Even there could be some legal way arounf it (anyone believe the Supreme Court would go for it?) there's no way that Kerry could risk choosing a VP candidate that might be found to be ineligible prior to the election. It would be quite embarassing to have to refashion your campaign. There is also that pesky fact that Clinton lied under oath, and has been professionally censured for it. There is the lurking bad blood over what appears to be a pattern of sexual harassment by Clinton that would make him unacceptable to many feminist voters. There is also the deep wedge between the liberal left and centrist Democrats that fueled Nader's 2000 campaign.

In other words, if you want a Clinton (and heaven help you if you do), you'll have to settle for Hillary.
Talk About Ingrates

Bomb Plot Threatens French Rail System: Terrorists never met a better frend than France, and this is the thanks they get. The interesting part is on page two. The terrorists asked for $5.2 million - 1 million in euros and the rest in USD. Strange time to be preferring dollars over euros considering the strength of the euro v. the dollar. I imagine dollars would be easier to spend in many third world countries, if you want to escape with your ill-gotten gains. Dollars seem to be accepted nearly anywhere in the world, whereas euros probably haven't spread quite so far yet.

New Wave of Liberals

I talked with a fellow politico this morning after class about how parts of Oregon and new York are going to allow gay marriages. I speculate that this is a preview of the next generation of liberals. While they will have the same value system as their current brethren, how they go about their agenda will radically change. Those who came of age in the sixties say, "This law is unjust. Let's change it." Now the iphilosophy is, "This law is unjust. Let's ignore it." John Kerry is of the former school of thought; San Francisco Mayor Gavin Newsoim is of the latter. if Kerry loses the presidency, expect to see the latter school of thought ascendant.

It's already happened, with the relatively moderate Gephardt being replaced by the shrill Pelosi as the House Democrat leader. Now, just as Dole's defeat in 1996 ended the World War II generation's hold on power, the hippie generation may be kicked out for something far worse. Farewell, rule of law. We hardly knew you.
That's the Sound of Arteries Unclogging

McSupersizes to be Phased Out: The hamburger giant has started phasing out its trademark Supersize fries and drinks in its U.S. restaurants as part of an effort to simplify its menu and give customers choices that support a balanced lifestyle, a company spokesman said Tuesday. Of course, if you are eating at McDonalds, a balanced diet probably isn't all that important to you anyway.
Buyer's Remorse

The Trouble With Kerry: Well that didn't take long.

Tuesday, March 02, 2004

Primarily Speaking

There are no surprises in Super Tuesday II. It's a Kerry blowout. Now that he's the de facto nominee, I will be waiting anxiously to discover when buyer's remorse will set in for the Democratic Party. Surely thre Vush campaign is ready to go after Kerry with both barrels. It should be easy, considering the poor success rate of Senators who have run for president. Explaining those inconsistent records because of backroom deals on votes/logeolling/etc can really kill them. it should be quite a bit of fun to watch. Anway, I don't expect Edwards to concede until tomorrow and I enjoyed the fact that Vermont still voted for Dean. I can appreciate those who vote their cpnscience, even when I never would have voted for him in a zillion years.

Monday, March 01, 2004

Change of Pace

Some didn't care for that last post. I did say in the above disclaimer tat anything and everything could show up here. Oh, well. I guess the axiom that if it interests you, it will interest someone else isn't a hard and fast rule. Heh heh. Anybody going to see one of those spider crabs in your sleep tomight?

I've done quite a bit of research on locating legal jobs in South Carolina. While I am still in the phase of applying for just about anything outside of corporate law (which is an ickey subject, let me tell you) I am narrowing it down to focus on the career I really want--criminal and civil litigation. It looks more and more like the solicitor's office is the best place for me. It would offer litigation experience, plus criminal aw logically flows: thedefendant is accused of a crime, there are three elements to the crime, prove all three down the line. Boom. Boom. Boom. Plus the appearances in court give privateemployersa chance to see you in action, whereas by going to a private firm, I'd be in a library for the entire first year and sitting second chair long thereafter. So, it's a short time sacrifice forlongterm gain.

Yes, I hope i gt fortunate with a private firm instead. But I'm a realist. Clients should appreciate that about me. I'm still hoping to land a job somewhere on the coast, although i spent the best years of my life in Columbia. I'll bet I'd feel right at home there. I'd better. There won't be any other homeonce I leave Virginia. Hold on--let me dwell on that lovely thought (Leave Virginia...leave Virginia.. ) Wow i feel better. Anyway, more on my future later as things become clear as mud.
Devil and the Deep Blue Sea

Deep Sea Fish: From the strange to the fascinating and the downright frightening, here is a page featuring various critters captured from beneath the ocean. Nifty stuff, but it may make you not want to go swimming. Ever.
Oscar Wrap Up

No surprises here. Return of the King was a shoo in to sweep. I am disappinted that Sofia Coppola didn't wi Best Director, though. Lost in Translation was a fantastic film and I assume her family name would carry her further than it did. The Academy likes dynasties, after all. At leasr she won for Best Original Screenplay In many ways, that is even more important than Best Director. Most screenplays are written by committee, which explains why movies are the way they are nowadays. But Translation was her baby all the way. She had to stare at a blank page all alone and make the story come alive. As one who has an interest in creative writing (classier than John Grisham's, thenkyew very much.) I admire that

I wish Seabiscuit had faired better. I loved that movie. Continuing on a theme, the author of the book suffers from chronic fatiguesyndrome, yet still founf the energy to write it. She's one who thinks writing is a calling, not a job. I have to admire that, as well.

All right. Return of the King I'll admit it--the line, "I can't carry the ring, but I can carry you." choked me up. Itwas a great movie and deserved the accolades it received. But what i am waiting for is Peter Jackson's next film. It's a remake of one of my all time favorite films: King Kong Out of all the film makers out there, I think Peter Jackson is the only one who can pull off the epic that the Eighth Wonder of the World should be.

Finally--and humorously--did you see Bill Murray's face when he lost to Sean "Fast Times at Ridgemont High" Penn? It was priceless. I'd be ticked off if I lost to Mr. Weapons Inspector, too.