Wednesday, January 30, 2008

The (Almost) Final Four

This just in--Mayor Giuliani is withdrawing his candidacy and throwing his support to McCain.  The battle lines are being drawn ever clearer: on the Left, you've got Clinton v. Obama and on the Right you've got McCain v. Romney.

I'm pretty sure whom I support on each side, but, oddly, it's much easier to articulate why I support which Republican than why I support which Democrat.  What do you think?  Will Huckabee come flying out of nowhere and take it away?  I also hear that Nader might run again . . .

For whom will the plaintiffs vote?

I majored in political science, but I'm not a political pundit.  In the last 20 minutes, two headlines surprised me.  First, America's mayor got trounced in the only state he's campaigned in.  Second, John Edwards is dropping out.  I didn't expect either of those.  I expected Giuliani to win the Republican nomination pretty easily, given his reputation as a law-and-order type and his smooth handling of 9/11.  But maybe Floridian Republicans didn't like his iffy stances on immigration and abortion.  He probably regrets limiting his campaign thus far to Florida . . . as Michael Scott says: Play to win, because you've got to win to play.

As for John Edwards: I didn't think he would snag the nomination, but I liked him in 2004, and he was the only realistic candidate who could continue the Southern Dynasty.*  It will be really interesting to see whether his supporters line up behind Clinton or Obama.  (Or maybe Huckabee.)

So there you have it.  Last year, I thought the 2008 election would surely be Giuliani v. Edwards.  I guess I was wrong.


*Interestingly, if you ignore California, there hasn't been an elected president not from the South since Kennedy.

Tuesday, January 29, 2008

Be Afraid---Be Very Afraid

I told somebody once that there are only a few people you never (ever) want to anger. I have an open-ended list, but near the top: bail bondsmen. Here's why:

The defendant [who jumped bond] is in Brazil now, but Mr. Spath [the bondsman] is very good at finding people, and he is not giving up. He is working travel records, phone companies and a former girlfriend, and he is getting closer.

So apparently The Partner tells the truth. The Nazis could escape the Nuremberg trials by hiding away in South America, but if you jump bond, you have no hope anywhere--not even in Brazil.

Sounds like an effective system to me.

Monday, January 28, 2008

Grim Reaper Wins Double Header

I don't like to make light of death, but this weekend was rather . . . productive . . . for the Grim Reaper.  Yesterday, two of the highest ranking religious leaders in the world died: President Gordon B. Hinckley of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter Day Saints and Archbishop Christodoulos of the Eastern Orthodox Church.  How very odd that the leaders of two of the largest denominations of Christianity should die on the same day.  As far as I know, Benedict is still with us.

Is it just me, or is the Grim Reaper being really productive lately?

Friday, January 18, 2008

Sometimes Goliath Wins

I've seen some blowouts in my day, but this is just plain insane.  The Lady Jackets smashed debilitated paralyzed vanquished conquered erased the Lady Bull Dogs of Texas Lutheran 102-22, including a 46-2 run to start the second half.  All-American Meia Daniels, one of the team leaders, could have beaten TLU on her own, scoring 23 points.  Sting'm Jackets.  Dang.

For those of keeping track, that puts HPU at #2 in the nation, 10-0 in the American Southwest Conference and 14-0 overall.  Sting'm Jackets indeed.

Wednesday, January 16, 2008

Red Flight

Some quotes are irresistibly good and must be passed on.  So here you go:

Illegal aliens have always been a problem in the United States.  Ask any Indian.

Robert Orben said that.

Tuesday, January 15, 2008

Whan that Apryll

And it's time for narcissism!  What I'm taking in the spring quarter and why.

Oral Advocacy -- With profs like this, who can ask for more?  Seriously, though, I love to speak in public (read: jeremy = ham).  Now I want to be good at it.

Alternative Dispute Resolution -- When I was little, I had two very close friends.  When we'd play, one would be Shredder and the other Michelangelo.  I liked Raphael, but I'd always try to get everybody to sit down and talk our problems out.  Born mediator?  Future ADR hero?  Maybe so . . .

Juvenile Justice -- I tend to believe that a lot of criminals get started young, and I'm very curious how our system deals with them.  Plus, the professor's name is pretty dadgum long and I want to learn how to pronounce it.

Secured Transactions -- My blog's "About Me" section used to list my profession as "Prof K's Dog."  Since Prof K teaches Secured Transactions . . .

Consumer Protection -- It was either this or Remedies.  They're offered at the same time this quarter.  This is 3 hours; Remedies is 4 hours.  If I take Consumer Protection, then I can take one more hour of something elective.  (Read: If Remedies, then no Oral Advocacy.)

Family Law -- I spent 18 months as a family law paralegal, and I loved it.  I don't know if I'll end up practicing family law, but I'm sure that at some point, I'll handle somebody's divorce or adoption, if only to pay the bills.  Besides that, the prof went to Purdue but loves the Cowboys.  I don't know why that intrigues me, but it does.

Sunday, January 13, 2008

Imaginary Lines

Yesterday, President Scott and I were discussing the best Billy Joel song ever.  It's hard to pin down a single best one when you have to choose between such classics as The Stranger, Piano Man, New York State of Mind, Scenes from an Italian Restaurant, Tell Her About It, Goodnight, Saigon, Allentown, We Didn't Start the Fire, The Downeaster Alexa, Uptown Girl . . . OK, so I lost credibility with that last one.  We'll pretend it never happened. 

Anyway, my favorite Billy Joel song is Leningrad.  Born in 1949, Mr. Joel "was a Cold War kid in McCarthy times."  The Russians, for his generation, were evil personified.  Without the Russians, there never would have been a Korean Conflict War, a Cuban Missile Crisis, an American presence in Vietnam and the concomitant "civil unrest" over here.  The Russians were not only evil, they were the wellspring of evil.  Yet, in Leningrad, Mr. Joel tells us about his realization that Viktor, a consummate Russian soldier, is just another person.  The lines he thought divided him from Viktor were a lot thinner than he had ever supposed.

I love Leningrad because it gives me hope that one day the War on Terror will end, and we'll all realize that our brothers and sisters from the Fertile Crescent--or if you care about accuracy, a stretch of geography from Morocco to Malaysia--are really that: our brothers and sisters.  Despite our theological differences, we are all children of the same planet.  The lines that divide us are a lot thinner than some would have us believe.

Now, go watch The Kingdom and think about the lines that divide us.

Saturday, January 12, 2008

Lost in Metaphors

Students at Baylor Law got an email just before the break explaining the school's reasoning in removing a couple of oak trees.  Yet, a casual perusal of the Baylor Law School Faculty Index page indicates that an oak of my class's legal education is mysteriously missing.  I have yet to receive an email.

I'm usually not a boat-rocker, a rumor-monger, or someone who goes searching for gossip, but does anybody know what happened?  She scared and intimidated me, but I also learned a lot in her class about legal thinking and writing.  It's a shame for her to disappear in the middle of the night.

Thursday, January 10, 2008

Not My Role

When I was in college, people used to ask me, "How could you defend somebody you know is guilty?"  I used to dodge the question by saying, "Well, it'd be my job."  But I don't think that fully--or satisfactorily--explains it.

Our legal system works by assigning roles.  And it works best when the players assume those roles zealously.  The judge, for example, has to be zealous about the law, even when bad facts make it tough.  The jury, likewise, has to be zealous about figuring out what happened. 

Do you know who doesn't get to decide the facts?  The lawyers.  If you, as defense counsel, decide you're not going to represent Joe because you think he's guilty, then you're usurping the jury's job and short-circuiting the system.

And short circuits cause fires.

Just a thought.

Wednesday, January 09, 2008

No Sympathy

I will be secretly cheering (or publicly blogging) every time the Celtics lose--especially to a team like the Bobcats

Boston--you got the World Series, you pulled off a 16-0 season--what else do you want?  Let Texas have the NBA, aight?

New Hampsha

Everyone else has jumped into the fray, so too dive I.  I haven't decided whom I'm supporting in February much less November, but I have decided at least two people for whom I will not campaign:

  • Romney -- It's really pretty simple: I like immigration, and he doesn't.  (I'm not a one-issue guy, but this is a big one for me.)
  • Clinton -- I have a problem with presidential candidates who are arrogant members of the Good Ol' Boys Club and run on the coattails of former presidents with the same name.  For some reason, that sounds familiar . . .

That's all I know.  I hope you enjoyed the New Hampshire primary.  If you weren't a poli sci major like me, please don't be deceived by all these people who claim they know who will be nominated next summer.  If Iowa and New Hampshire told us anything, they told us that there's no telling who will be on each ticket come next November.

Saturday, January 05, 2008


Dignity is the personal ability to demand respect, even when that demand is ignored.  I don't care how you feel about Justice Thomas's politics or jurisprudence, he has dignity.  Read his autobiography.  I just finished it, and it is one of the best biographies I've ever read.  Maybe even the best.

I only have one comment.  During Justice Alito's confirmation hearings, I was struck by his background more than anything else.  Where else but in America could an immigrant's son find his way onto the highest court in the land?  After reading My Grandfather's Son, I ask again--where else but in America could a black child reared in the depths of poverty in the Jim Crow South find a seat on our Supreme Court?  There may be silver-spoon babies in the Capitol or the White House, but there are surprisingly few at One First Street, NE.

To tell you the truth, I am shamed.

Friday, January 04, 2008

How do you sting a Comet?

I don't often get the chance to root for my alma mater against my classmates' alma maters, so I take what I can get.  Last night, the Lady Jackets pounded the Lady Comets (?) of the University of Texas at Dallas, 83-40 in American Southwest Conference women's basketball action.  Now if only we could climb higher than #3 . . .

I Owe . . . Uh . . . Hawkeyes!

According to CNN, Barack Obama has won Iowa.  He took 38% of the delegates, with Edwards's 30% and Clinton's 29% far ahead of the pack.  Interestingly, Bill Richardson took 4th with 2% and--my favorite speaker at Alito's confirmation--Joe Biden finished 5th with 1%.  Dodd, Gravel (who??), and Kucinich tied for last with 0%.  Dodd's and Biden's campaigns have reportedly given up the ghost.  With only 49 states left, Obama has the early lead.

With only 93% of Republican precincts reporting as of 11:21 p.m., Huckabee (34%) has a 9-point lead over conceded runner-up Romney (25%).  Thompson and McCain are basically tied for third (13%), with Ron Paul taking fifth (10%) and Rudolph taking sixth (4%).  Hunter--another candidate whom I don't know--has so far gathered 499 votes and one delegate to finish seventh.

I don't know how important Iowa will be in the long run, but it's exciting that Primary Season is starting.  Can't wait to see what happens next week in New Hampshire!

Thursday, January 03, 2008

The Case of the Missing Grades

I'm not usually the one to complain about this, so I'll let others vent.  Does anybody know where the Negotiable Instruments and Basic Tax grades are?  Has anybody heard anything?  Am I the only one who hasn't gotten either of those grades?

And for my reader or two who thinks I'm whining too soon, I'll remind you that we took these finals back in October and that the two grades I don't have seemed to be the easier two to grade.  [Makes frustrated sound.]  Law school.

Tuesday, January 01, 2008

It is what it is--no more, no less.

Each year, the English faculty at Michigan's Lake Superior State University publish a list of words that ought to be banished from English usage.  I hope you like it.  Here's a taste (the site gives more commentary):

  • "post-9/11"
  • "X is the new Y"
  • "Black Friday" (used in reference to the Friday after Thanksgiving)
  • "sweet"
  • "decimate"

And last--and the title of this post--"It is what it is."  Said one commentator:

This pointless phrase, uttered initially by athletes on the losing side of a contest, is making its way into general use. It accomplishes the dual feat of adding nothing to the conversation while also being phonetically and thematically redundant.

And in light of my penchant for overusing jokes--it is what it is.