Archive for August, 2008

So Who Had Palin in the Office Pool?

August 29, 2008

I know nothing about Palin, but that doesn’t stop me from sharing my initial thoughts:

#1: I like the pick right off the bat.

#2: I suspect the Democrats will hit two for two in the debates – both Obama and Biden ought to shine.

#3: Picking Biden says, “We’ve got foreign policy now, but our big CHANGE mantra took a hit.” Picking Palin says “We’re not just white men now, but so much for arguing how much experience matters.”

I’ve got to go to Civil Procedure class now, but any thoughts out there from anyone else?

Talk to Me

August 28, 2008

So here I am at school in Conservative Land, nestled oddly enough in the city of Liberalville. But with law school, I spend my 25 hours a day studying in Conservative Land. Clarence Thomas will be here next Friday. One of my new friends wrote “In Defense of the Bush Doctrine.” (I’m circling October 13 on my calendar. My new friend will be representing McCain in an on-campus debate with a most impressive law professor representing Obama. Ought to be lots of fun.)

Now the truth is that, of my five professors, only one has been overtly espousing conservative doctrine so far, and he is a really nice guy about it. I think one of my professors is a liberal (given her past), and though I’m sure the other three are conservatives, I haven’t seen much of it yet.

Now I think (thought) I have (had) a good idea of the basic liberal vs. conservative debate. Suddenly immersed here, however, I guess I’m thinking about it more and more.

So here’s the economic argument, right: admit people are self-interested, find a way to sort of channel it for good, and let it loose. A system where people’s pursuit of stuff helps people is preferred to a central government suppressing natural self-interest. Admit the natural tendency and turn it around for good instead of fighting a losing battle. Simplistic I know, but that’s pretty much it, isn’t it?

I need JU/Sandi and others to talk to me a bit. I have a feeling I’m not going to hear much from the other side in these hallowed halls.

Permanent Exile

August 25, 2008

Two years ago, my parents and maternal grandparents moved from the Mississippi Gulf Coast, where I grew up, to Huntsville, Alabama. The other day I was thinking that among the many losses that move signified for me, including maintaining a connection to my childhood and teenage years, was the loss of my grandparents’ house. They had lived in that house since before I was born. It was the only constant place in my life.

I hate not having a sense of place. I have moved every four years or less for my entire life. The place I’ve lived longest as an adult was my college apartment in Baton Rouge, where I lived by myself for three years. I’ve had so many dwellings that I can’t remember all the addresses or phone numbers anymore. I don’t know why those memories are so important to me, but they are.

And it’s not just residences, but towns, cities, states, and even regions. David and I have nowhere to call home, no logical place for us to go in order to be closer to family. Both our parents no longer live in the places where we grew up, and they are clear across the country from each other (while I’m from the South, he’s from the West Coast). If we moved closer to my family, we’d never see his. If we moved closer to his family (although they are too scattered themselves to make it worth it), we would be much further from mine. The area where we live now is connected to no one and nothing except our work. We don’t even have any close friends here — they all live in other cities, other states. In a lot of ways, we are alone. We don’t even have a babysitter. We had to put someone from David’s office down as our emergency contact for Casey’s day care. They were like, um, don’t you have someone local? Well, no, now that you ask, we don’t. We don’t know a single neighbor or anyone who lives in our town. Not. one. person.

I get the sense that a lot more people are in this predicament now than were in it 50 years ago, and in case you missed my glum tone, I don’t think it’s an entirely positive development. Sometimes I long for small town life because I think that having that sense of place would fulfill something that is missing in the life that I have. I know I’m romanticizing it — there are a number of negative aspects of small-town life as well, chiefly nosy and judgmental neighbors and the related woe of having everyone know all your business, and then of course there is the not-small matter of politics — I remember hating being around all conservatives when I lived in Mississippi. It was incredibly isolating. There are reasons that I used to say that I would never live in any but an urban area. But even though I have a lovely family and good friends, sometimes I feel as though I have never been so lonely in my life.

I guess in a way what I really wish (sometimes, only sometimes) is that there wasn’t so much freaking choice, that people stayed the same and in the same places for the whole of their lives, that families could see each other more than once or twice a year, that they didn’t miss seeing their grandchildren, nieces, nephews, and cousins grow up. That going far away was not considered so normal, that people’s dreams for their lives were smaller and simpler. That we had a community to be part of, a place that felt like home.

728b: Our Al, He is Alive

August 19, 2008

So here I am, living in the twilight zone. Scads of celebrities live all around, though we haven’t seen many just yet (though Henry Gibson was in line behind us at the grocery store!). We’ve heard reports of sightings of the great professor, Michael Lasley, though we believe those are just cruel rumors.

But back to the twilight zone. On the one hand, we live in the land of liberals, what with Hollywood and all. But on the other hand, I specifically live in the middle of more conservatives than you can imagine.

(WARNING: To Sandi and certain other close friends, you may not want to read the following, as it could be considered hazardous to your mental health.)

#1: I meet Ken Starr tomorrow.
#2: I listen to Clarence Thomas speak two weeks from Friday.
#3: I’ve met Bob Kaufman, a super nice guy whose daughter went to camp with my daughter. He wrote THIS book.
#4: Hillary also went to camp with Ed Larson’s daughter. Mr. Larson, a Pulitzer Prize winner, had a private audience with President Bush recently to discuss his latest book about the Election of 1800.

Now there are other voices around: my program advisor (and Civil Procedure professor) went to Berkeley, and Doug Kmiec (our Constitutional Law chair) is an outspoken Obama supporter.

It should be an interesting world to live in during this particular election cycle.

Speaking of…

Put your money on the table boys and girls. It’s VEEP time, and enough of the maybes. Who ya got for both sides?

I say, Bill Richardson for Obama, and Mitt Romney for McCain.

Um. Riiiiiight.

August 17, 2008

It’s been interesting to see the reaction to Russia’s invasion of Georgia (the country on the Black Sea, not the state on the Atlantic).  First there was Iraq invasion supporter John McCain saying, “Countries don’t invade other countries in the 21st century.”  Then there was President Bush.  As TPM put it:

Displaying his typically acute self-awareness, President Bush is now reacting to the Russia-Georgia crisis thusly: “Bullying and intimidation are not acceptable ways to conduct foreign policy in the 21st century.”

Seriously.  Do these guys really just think the rules — rules they themselves rhetorically subscribe to — don’t apply to them?

Randomness

August 5, 2008

Random musings on a random Tuesday (I think I’m turning into Michael):

1. I could spend all day watching Flight of the Conchords on YouTube. I’ve posted a little sampling for your  enjoyment. I also highly suggest “Albi, the Racist Dragon,” and “Business Time.”

 

2. My friend Holly and I recently came across a cassette tape by a kickin’ group called Five for One. And, whaddayaknow, one of the sensational singers is our very own Michael Lasley. If memory serves me right, one Juvenal Urbino frequented the group for a time as well. If only I could convert a cassette to mp3s. Now I have a little weekend project.

 

3. Last weekend, I moved from glorious midtown Memphis to the sad suburbs. People have always asked me if I feel safe in midtown. I tell them that I’ve never had any problems, unless you count people asking for bus fare as a problem. But, lo and behold, I move to Bartlett, and my house gets broken into my 3rd day there. (Confession: It’s not really my house. I’m living in the spare room of some married friends’ home. How Bohemian.) I’ve always argued that there’s a false sense of security in the suburbs and a false sense of danger in the city. Now I have proof! It’s bonafide! Yes, JU, just like Vernon T. Waldrop.

 

4. I just returned a couple of weeks ago from a trip to South Dakota, Montana, Canada, and Wyoming. We saw a bazillion wild animals, including a grizzly bear! Thankfully, this didn’t happen to us.