Saturday, April 22, 2006

Post on "Horrifying" Decision to Follow

I did not quite finish my post on the Ninth Circuit's Harper decision yesterday, since the opinions total nearly ninety pages.  Also, my new motherboard arrived yesterday, so I spent much of the evening bringing my primary computer back to life.  Look for that post later today Monday. 


In the meantime, I will take this rare occasion to say that I think Libby's comment is spot-on: this is a horrifying decision, indeed.  It becomes more so when you see how Judge Reinhardt gets from point A to point B.


UPDATE:  Busier weekend than I expected.  Look for it Monday.


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Friday, April 21, 2006

Ted Kennedy Does Late Night

Ted Kennedy was on the Daily Show last night, raising my blood pressure just before bed. Anyway, he's running for re-election. Again. And he has a new book. Fine. If I could get my hands on a full transcript of the interview, it might make for classic fisking fodder, but there were a couple of choice statements that stood out last night.



  • At one point, Kennedy said that his vote against the Iraq War was the "most important" of his Senate career. He seemed to have forgotten a few other votes:

    • The Civil Rights Act of 1964

    • The Voting Rights Act of 1965

    • The Americans with Disabilities Act

    • The Department of Housing and Urban Development Act

    • The Higher Education Act of 1965, which developed federal college financial aid.

    • You know, all of those major votes that Kennedy built his senate career on? Even Jon Stewart looked like he wanted to call the liberal lion out.



  • He noted that the "Democrats got us out of Vietnam." Ahem, the Democrats got us pretty well entrenched in Vietnam, including a Democrat who Teddy knew quite well. I'm not saying that the Republicans had their hands clean by any stretch, but good God -- he had a ringside seat on this one!

  • He also noted that there was too much money in American politics. Of course, he's sitting on $8.5 million dollars to run unopposed in a state that has not sent a Republican to Congress in, what, over 20 years? He's not noting a problem; he's a part of the problem.


Does he listen to himself anymore, really? I have no delusions about the GOP picking up his seat anytime soon, but can we just put him out to pasture already?


And, it's sad, actually. I heard another interview with him yesterday on NPR's "Fresh Air". When asked about how one would fund all of the proposals in his new book, he made a point about the GI Bill: a government study some years ago found that for every dollar spent on the program, the government got back seven. A 600% return on investment gets anyone's attention.


Kennedy, for the first time since he's been my senator, sounded eminently reasonable.


I'm not saying that his data marks the end of the inquiry -- we would obviously take a closer look at the numbers -- but it's a better starting point than we usually have when it comes to policy discussion about social issues. Unfortunately, though, the junior Democratic members of Congress don't have the institutional knowledge on hand to make those arguments, and the senior ones like Kennedy usually opt against it in favor of some nonsense that appeals to the progressive interest group of the week.


And, as a result, I endeavor not to burst any blood vessels when he is on the television.


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Programming Note

Look for posts throughout the workday.


First, there should be a piece on this story.  The Ninth Circuit decided yesterday that a high school student essentially did not have a First Amendment right to wear a t-shirt that read "HOMOSEXUALITY IS SHAMEFUL" at school.  Looks like a classic Reinhardt / Kozinski battle of the opinions.


Second, Ted Kennedy was on "The Daily Show" last night.  I didn't quite have a stroke while watching it, but things were dicey for a while.


Third, I started a long-ish post yesterday on the Duke rape case.  I might finish today, unless I run out of time or something huge breaks in the case that renders the whole thing moot.


Stay tuned.


UPDATE (2:00 p.m.): Speaking of apoplexy, I am working my way through Judge Reinhardt's majority opinion in the speech case above.  I usually strenuously disagree with his reasoning, and this opinion is developing no differently.


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Wednesday, April 19, 2006

It's About Damn Time: McClellan Resigns

WaPo reports that Scott McClellan has resigned.


With his frequent deer-in-the-headlights facial expression, he was the P.R. point man for an administration that has been an abysmal failure at forcefully and coherently articulating policies over the last three years. 


I have never been a fan of Scott McClellan, and have hoped for a new press secretary for some time, say, one who doesn't just sit there and take it from the press corps every day: one speaking on the offensive, not the defensive. 


I can only hope his replacement will be an improvement.


MORE:  His Honor the MayorHe reminded me of some lost kid on a high school forensics team who has just been given the assignment to write an impromptu speech in favor of serving bald eagle meat in school lunches.


A brilliant mental image provided by someone who I trust once experienced such a thing.


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Manchester Airport to Change Name

In as little as 30 days, the airport in Manchester, New Hampshire, will change its name to Manchester-Boston Regional Airport.



The new name, which could go up in as little as 30 days, is hoped to boost business at the airport, which is predicting its first passenger decline in five years.


Dillon presented a research study saying that only 3 percent of travelers surveyed out west know where Manchester is, while 93 percent know where Boston is.


"This is an issue for the other side of the country," Dillon said.


Logan can sometimes be reached in an hour's drive from Manchester, if weather and traffic conditions are favorable.



(emphasis mine)  Read: During the summer, on an off-weekend for tourists, maybe.  But, it could happen. 


And the 50 bucks you save on the airfare would be totally worth it.  [/sarcasm]


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TomKitten? Are you serious?

That's what CNN dubbed Tom Cruise's new arrival on American Morning today.  Can we put him back on the shelf now?


Oh, and Katie Holmes was there, too, what with actually giving birth and all.


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Tuesday, April 18, 2006

What is the matter with people???

Yesterday, I was taking the train home from work.  Because it was Patriots Day, many of the businesses downtown were closed, but the crowding on the train was far above that of a typical afternoon rush as runners and spectators from the Boston Marathon made their way back to homes and hotels.


Some of these runners, clad in foil ponchos to preserve body heat, looked like they were about to die, while others looked remarkably well for having run farther in a couple of hours than I have in any given year.


A few of these runners were on my train and held onto the handrails to remain standing.  Meanwhile, students and young professionals throughout the car took no notice and none offered a seat to the four runners standing within an arms length from me.


WTF?


It's bad enough that every day, seats are denied to the elderly, the expecting, and the disabled.  But the one day out of the year when 20,000 people visit your city for the privilege of running 26.2 miles, do you think you could fold over that vacuous "Us Magazine" you're reading, use your free hand to hold the handrail, and give up your seat?


Thank you.


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Making Mischief Elsewhere

I was going to blog here this morning, but I got caught up in an exceptional conversation over at The Impolitic.  The conversation -- about "liberal libertarians" and defining the free market -- was spurred by this post by thehim post at Reload


Libby thinks so; I don't.  What else is new?  [ETA: When that is the summary, does it ever really matter what the question is?]


Check it out and join the conversation.


UPDATED TO ADD: We have called a cease-fire for the present time.  Seriously, though, go read it.  The debate today exemplifies why, despite our differences, Libby is one of my favorite people in the Blogosphere.


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Monday, April 17, 2006

A little shameless self-promotion

I have a new job!


This is the exciting news I alluded to on Friday.  Two weeks from today, I will be joining a Boston litigation firm as an associate.  The firm specializes in products liability and medical malpractice, the latter of which I find particularly interesting.  I am very excited because 1) the job is permanent, and 2) it sounds like I will be getting into court sooner rather than later.


How I landed the job is a bit of a story unto itself and requires a bit of background.  This story is about two law firms and three brothers, who I will call "One," "Two," and "Three," ordered by age from eldest to youngest.  (Anonymity is necessary for the moment, so please bear with me.)  One owns a firm where I formerly worked.  Two is a partner in the new firm.  Three is a member of the firm where I formerly worked.


Last Thursday, I went to a pub downtown for a bon voyage party for a former co-worker who is moving to Washington.  About 20 minutes into the party, Three showed up to make an appearance (and bought a round for the party).  We exchanged pleasantries, seeing one another for the first time in about a year.  I casually mentioned that I had met Two a few weeks prior when I interviewed at the new firm.  (Despite being near the end of the interview process, I had heard nothing either way and believed that the position had gone to someone else.)  Three asked why I didn't call him, because he and Two are very close and talk several times a day.  (It had never occurred to me to call Three because most of my work in the old firm had been for other attorneys.)  Three said that he thought the position was still open and excused himself to CALL HIS BROTHER.  I was a little stunned at that moment about how quickly things were suddenly moving.


Three returned about five minutes later and said that he had left a voicemail for his brother and that I should call him the next day: a decision would be waiting.


At about noon the next day, I received a phone call from the Hiring Partner at Two's firm, offering me the job.  I. Was. Stunned.  Good salary (not six digits as Libby guessed, but certainly enough to cover bills, beer, and other essentials, putting to an end my days of living like a grad student :) ), good benefits package.  It was all moving so quickly, but I was flying.  I stammered a request to think about it over the weekend, promising to call Monday.  The Hiring Partner agreed.


I was almost immediately certain that I would take the job, but I did want to ensure that everything was covered on my end and that I had not forgotten any details.  I only had a few minor questions today when we spoke and I accepted the offer about an hour ago.


So, I made it.  After months of searching for my first job while strapped to an emotional roller coaster, I'm finally setting out to do what I want to do.  It's been one hell of a ride, and I could not have done it (not with my sanity intact, anyway) without Lady E, who has been flying high with me all weekend. 


Also, thank you to all of you who have offered words of encouragement over the last year or so.  In the last year, I've learned a lot about perseverance, tenacity, humility, self-assurance and self-doubt, about myself. . . .  I could continue the list, but I'm sure I would never fully complete it.  All the same, whatever your role, thanks for joining me on that journey.  I can't wait to start this next one.


And to think that I almost didn't want to go to the bar on Thursday.  I won't fall into that trap again.  Heh...