31 October 2008

"Philly Fix My Car"

Local filmmaker Ted Passon was as happy as everybody else when the Phils won the World Series this week -- until he found that his car was one of the ones flipped and smashed on South Broad Street late after the game (WPVI-6 article and video).

Ted has set up a blog asking for help to pay for repairs:
Hey Philly,

Remember when we just won the world series for the first time in 28 years? That was great! Then my car got flipped over and that wasn't great.

I couldn't afford a full coverage insurance policy on my car so my insurance company won't cover a vandalism claim. I also had to hire a towtruck to flip it back because Triple A doesn't cover this either. I can't afford to buy a new car or to have this one fixed - if it's even possible. I work as a freelance videographer and a car is crucial for me being able to work and get to my different jobs.

So I was thinking...

There was alot of people on Broad Street last night. If all the people who were hanging out near Broad and Washington (where the car was flipped) gave me ten dollars I could probably buy a new car... or if all the people who actually flipped my car gave me a thousand dollars that could work too.

Either way Philly you broke my car... please help me fix it!
Please read Ted's blog for updates, and PayPal him a few bucks if you can spare 'em. If you are a blogger, please link to Ted's blog as well and get the word out. Thanks!

Friday jukebox: D. Christie

"For the Werewolf Have Sympathy":

30 October 2008

"Give Barack a Day"

As part of my continuing effort to embody the extremist Christian right's worst nightmare -- I'm a radical feminist, atheist single mom putting myself through law school -- I'll be doing legal voter protection this Tuesday. I've been assigned to a polling place in West Philadelphia, in a neighborhood where the university students are urged not to try to find an apartment. I had considered bringing a bottle of champagne with me, as Mithras says he'll be taking to his assigned polling place, but my assignment is at a Methodist church.

Darn Methodists. Maybe I'll bring a bottle of that Martinelli's sparkling apple juice instead.

But my point, and I do have one, is that you don't have to be a lawyer, like Mithras (speaking of the extremist Christian right's worst nightmare), or a law student, like myself, to help get Senator Obama elected president. Anyone with a sturdy pair of shoes, a somewhat pleasant phone demeanor, or a sofabed can help. Please give Barack Obama a day of your time before or on Election Day, and let's make history. Obama is leading mightily in Pennsylvania polling right now, but that's an accurate prediction only if we get out the vote and monitor the polling places for shenanigans on Tuesday.

Texas newspaper finds, interviews the state's (probably) oldest active voter

Photo: Larry Kolvoord, Austin (Tex.) American-Statesman

This is Mrs. Amanda Jones of Bastrop County, Texas. She's 109. Her father was born a slave; her mother was born just after the Emancipation Proclamation. The first time she voted in a presidential election, she voted for Franklin Roosevelt -- but only after she'd paid her poll tax. (Voters in Texas were subject to poll taxes for state and local elections until 1966.)

Because she's too frail to travel to her polling place, Mrs. Jones had two of her children help her complete and send off a mail-in ballot this week.

Mrs. Jones didn't vote for Senator McCain and Governor Palin.

29 October 2008

Intersection of election and law school

A couple of nights ago I dreamed that I'd forgotten to go vote.

I don't remember if I'd spent all day studying (yeah, right) or dicking around on the Internet (a far more likely scenario). But 8:00 p.m. rolled around, and lo and behold the polls were closed -- and I hadn't voted. I don't think the dream continued with the obvious conclusion that since I personally failed to vote my candidate lost. However, I distinctly remember knowing that I'd lost all my street cred with my wacky liberal friends and with my family. But at least I wasn't naked.

Similarly, some weeks ago I had the familiar "I didn't prepare for this exam" nightmare. Just like in high school, in the dream I hadn't attended the class all term, I hadn't prepared an outline, I hadn't studied, in fact I hadn't done any reading at all, and I think I hadn't even bought the casebook. Because I'm in law school, there were other twists: I hadn't picked up my anonymous student number under which to submit my exam answers. Also, I hadn't done the required "practice exam" with the exam software, because I hadn't installed the newest version of the software in the first place. I was sitting in the exam room with my computer open, about to take an exam in real estate law -- a course I never signed up for -- unprepared in just about any way a law student could possibly be unprepared.

But at least I wasn't naked.

28 October 2008

Governor Palin: "go ahead and call Senator Obama the N word; I won't stop you"

Governor Palin at a rally in Iowa yesterday or the day before. She accuses Senator Obama of wanting to collectivize our property. When someone in the crowd helpfully yells, "And he's a n-----!" Palin hears (she loses a beat in her speech and stumbles for a brief moment) but doesn't disagree. She doesn't know how to react or what to say. She had an opportunity here to prove to America that she is not a racist, red-baiting, divisive, unprepared, anti-American religious extremist. Instead, she chose to let the word echo around the venue:

This video includes titles over the outburst. Someone else has posted a version without displaying the offensive word.

27 October 2008

"Skylight's last gleaming"?

Did Patti Labelle say "skylight's last gleaming," "through the perilous flight," and "for the ramparts we watched" last night when she sang the national anthem (video)? God bless America. They don't call it Killadelphia for nothing.

And I mean that in a good way. I don't think I've ever heard the national anthem murdered so brilliantly.

26 October 2008

Senator Obama in Chester, Penna., on Tuesday

From my inbox this morning:

Change We Need Rally with Barack Obama

Widener University Main Quad
One University Place
Chester PA 19013

Public Entrance off of E 17th St

Tuesday, October 28th
Doors Open: 8:00 a.m.
Program Begins: 10:00 a.m.

This event is free and open to the public. Tickets are not required; however, an RSVP is strongly encouraged.

For security reasons, do not bring bags or umbrellas. Please limit personal belongings. No signs or banners permitted.

"8 Years Later"

This one's been making the blog rounds, and who am I not to jump on the bandwagon?


25 October 2008

"Hiding Behind Subordinates"

Mithras has provided a thoughtful and detailed explanation of how the national McCain campaign bears more responsibility than they'll admit for the recent "local young, white, female McCain supporter beat up by scary black Obama supporter" hoax:
To sum up, the McCain campaign and the Republican party in Pennsylvania have implied that a vote for Obama is a vote for Hitler, and that black Obama supporters will beat, sexually assault, and mutilate McCain supporters. They have done it in a way that leaves all the heat on local operatives, and insulates the national campaign.
And wraps up:
The best part: I predict McCain will drop 5 points in the polls here over the weekend.

Governor Palin: abortion clinic bombers are not terrorists

Governor Sarah Palin is an anti-feminist shame to her state and our country. She believes that people who bomb medical clinics in order to kill abortion providers and their patients are not terrorists:

Williams: Is an abortion clinic bomber a terrorist [. . .]?
Palin: [Short, dismissive sigh and eye-roll.] . . . I don't know if you're going to use the word terrorist there.
I would like to see Palin roll her eyes at Emily Lyons and repeat those words to her face. I would like Palin to peruse Eric Rudolph's web page and explain just exactly how he is not a terrorist. (Google it. I won't provide a link. Suffice it to say that the page is hosted on the Army of God's website -- also home to a hagiographic page for Paul Hill, who was executed in 2003 for shooting two abortion providers at close range with a shotgun outside a clinic.)

You don't need to resort to sexist language and imagery to attack Palin's statements and beliefs. You only need to focus on her words and actions. And that's why the vast majority of attacks on Palin aren't sexist. Almost all of the anti-Palin rhetoric you see addresses the merits of what she's said and done. You can be a feminist and attack Palin. What's difficult -- and weird -- is to be a feminist and not attack her, or, even worse, to defend her on any basis.

24 October 2008

Tom Ridge: Palin is causing McCain to lose Pennsylvania

If you ask Tom Ridge, former governor of Pennsylvania and first head of the Department of Homeland Security, the GOP would be winning the Commonwealth right now if only Senator McCain had picked Ridge as his vice presidential running mate. According to Ridge, McCain "had several good choices" but instead opted for Governor Palin in a "typical[ly] bold McCain-like choice." And the result? Today, Quinnipiac reports Senator Obama ahead 53% to 40%.
Sen. Obama is no longer the candidate of the young, the well-educated and minorities. He is now virtually the candidate of the "all." He is winning among all age groups in all three states. He wins women by more than 20 points in Ohio and Pennsylvania and is competitive among men in all three states. Whether voters went to college or not, they are voting for him.
So much for trying to get Senator Clinton supporters to knee-jerk vote for the female vice presidential candidate. Maybe Ridge will abandon the sinking GOP ship like so many other Republican rats and endorse Senator Obama now.

23 October 2008

On dividing and conquering ourselves, and on $150,000 makeovers

Please take five and a half minutes out of your day to watch Senator Obama in Richmond, Virginia, yesterday. In the brief speech, he strongly refutes the divisive language of the other party's candidates, reminding everyone that America works best when we consciously put our differences aside and work together, rather than seek to divide and conquer ourselves in the face of adversity:

Governor Palin speaks of small-town, rural America as the "real America." That would not include me, even though I live six blocks from Independence Hall, in one of the oldest neighborhoods of the United States of America, among houses that were built before the United States of America existed. That said, don't get me wrong. I am not saying that the fact that I walk past Independence Hall on my daily commute makes my neighborhood "more" American than any other place in the country. It simply makes Palin's statements completely absurd and un-American. My neighborhood is as American as any other neighborhood in the country. "There is no caste here." I may live six blocks from Independence Hall, but I also live six blocks from Starbucks; an interstate highway; people who are not native speakers of English; people who trace their ancestry to the Mayflower; thrift stores and high-end fashion boutiques; and churches, schools, and parks.

I joked on a chatroom the other day that I was amused to hear Governor Palin insinuating that people like me are not "real Americans." But in fact, I'm deeply offended. And I reject her lame statement to the press, where she apologized for people misunderstanding her, but where she did not apologize for her hateful words. Palin did not say she was sorry that she used the phrase "pro-America areas of this great nation" to describe only the more rural regions of the country. She did not apologize for denigrating my city, where the document was written that makes it perfectly legal (as opposed to seditiously libelous) for her spew her vile, hateful, divisive speech all over our great nation. Rather, she apologized for my misunderstanding what her plain language said.

Palin's plain language insulted me and my family. She used this McCarthy language, promoting small-town, small-business, small-farm America, condemning urban America, and assuring us she knows how middle-class people live -- while wearing clothes and jewelry that cost as much as what I owe the bank on my home mortgage. And the past two weeks are hardly unusual; she's been a huge fan of perks and emoluments for years. How anyone can continue to drink the McCain-Palin kool-aid any more is beyond my comprehension. McCain and Palin are seeking to further divide the country along class, race, and income lines while we're at war on multiple fronts and while the economy is tanking to depths we haven't seen since my grandmother was a teenager.

At least they appear to have quit defending Palin over on the Feminist Law Profs blog. There hasn't been a "leave Sarah Palin alooooooone!" post since last week, when someone complained about the "sexualizing of Sarah Palin" at a topless Palin look-alike contest in Vegas. I've said it before and I'll say it again: Palin was tapped for VP almost solely because she's a good-looking woman. She campaigns in short skirts, deep-cut blouses, and figure-hugging jackets; and she just spent over $150,000 in clothing, makeup, and accessories. The very basis of her campaign is that she's a sexy, younger woman you should vote for because she's sexy and young. She lies during her speeches that she reined in spending and rejected federal money as mayor and governor. So Palin shouldn't be heard to complain that people are basing satires of her on her appearance and sex and on how much the RNC spent of their donors' money on her clothes. I mean, really, are you kidding me? Sarah Palin sexualizes herself, with or without topless look-alike contests in Las Vegas that would get little publicity unless blogs like the Feminist Law Profs linked to them.

You can be a feminist and reject Palin. You almost have to reject Palin if you're a feminist -- though certainly it's not feminist for me to tell another woman what to do or what to believe. So let the facts, Palin's words, and Palin's actions speak for themselves.

Link of the day: YesWeCarve.com

"Stencils We Can Believe In"


21 October 2008

Sorry I missed Drinking Liberally

Oh, um. Sorry I missed Drinking Liberally. You are all my dearest friends and I regret leaving you outside on this bitterly cold night.

We went to the Belgian Café up in the Fairmount section for a beer tasting and dinner tonight with the Victory Brewing Co. I came home with supplies for election night: a 40 of Baltic Thunder and a mix 'n' match six-pack of various Victory bottles.

Maybe I won't have to budget for a bottle of champagne after all.

20 October 2008

Session laws from the 1780s? Microfiche?

For purposes of a research paper I have to hie myself to the Jenkins Law Library this week and look up a state statute from the 1780s. At least I have the actual year (1784) and the state (South Carolina). I'd been concerned that I would have to look through 13 states' worth of statutes from 1776 to 1789.

I haven't used microfiche in 15 years, probably 20. I thought it was called "microfilm." And last time I did use it, I got motion sickness because the screen occupied my entire field of vision, like IMAX.

The conditions I have to endure in the name of scholarship!

Monday art house: Hammering Man

Learn something new every day. I thought there was only one Hammering Man, but I learned this morning that there are several around the world. The one in Seattle, which is the only one I had been aware of, isn't even the largest.

There are even knockoffs. This one has an anti-Nazi message that the copyists added to it:

19 October 2008

Colin Powell's endorsement is worthless

Colin Powell has endorsed Senator Obama for President. Well, whoop-de-do.

Powell spoke to the U.N. Security Council in 2003 and told them that Iraq was producing weapons of mass destruction. We know now -- hell, we knew then -- that Powell was not giving the Security Council the truth.

There are two possibilities here. One, Powell was knowingly lying to the U.N. This conduct makes him a despicable warmonger who is largely responsible for the tens of thousands of civilian and military deaths in Iraq since 2003.

The other is that Powell actually believed he was telling the truth to the Security Council and made his speech in good faith. If that's the case, then he is an idiot who was stupid enough to be fooled by President Bush and who didn't bother checking with the CIA to verify what he was saying in his speech.
My colleagues, every statement I make today is backed up by sources, solid sources. These are not assertions. What we're giving you are facts and conclusions based on solid intelligence. I will cite some examples, and these are from human sources.
Over 4000 Americans dead and over 30,000 wounded in Iraq because of Powell's lies to the U.N. Whether liar or idiot, either way Powell is our generation's McNamara: Iraq's purported WMDs are our generation's Gulf of Tonkin Incident. Powell's endorsement is worthless, and neither candidate should be happy to get it.

Governor Palin on "Saturday Night Live"

Dear Governor Palin,

They weren't laughing with you. They were laughing at you. What a freakin' mockery of your campaign's gravitas and credibility.



17 October 2008

What's the legal term of art for "conventional wisdom"?

For the past few days I've been trying to recall a particular legal term of art, so I'm fishing here to see if anyone can remind me.

What's it called when there's a law that everyone ignores, or has ignored for a very long time, and nobody cares if the law is violated so it's not enforced, to the point where the law is deemed invalid? It's not conventional wisdom or general acceptance or well, that's just how it is. It's not just a law that's still on the books but isn't enforced. I mean a law that is still on the books but if you're prosecuted or sued, you'd win in court.

The example I'm thinking of is the general acceptance that Senator McCain is citizen enough to run for president. (I'm not asserting that he's ineligible on this -- or any -- basis. I'm using the situation merely as an example. And to prove that, I'm not using the "election" tag for this post.) The deal is that there has been a question as to whether he's a "natural born citizen" because he was born in the Panama Canal Zone, at a time when people born in the Canal Zone were not considered natural born citizens. But he's been a Senator since the 1980s and no one has proposed (seriously) that he is constitutionally disqualified because of the circumstances of his birth. And actually, to tell the truth, I think this question is totally moot, because since the mid-1950s, if you were born in the Canal Zone after February 1904 and at least one of your parents is a citizen, you're "declared to be a citizen." The only question left is whether citizen in Title VIII there is equivalent to the constitutional language of natural born citizen. I'm sure there's caselaw about that, and I'd bet that the terms are one and the same. This is a 10-minute blog post, not a law review Note, so I'm leaving it at a bet. Basically I'm wondering what you call it, if there is no caselaw about it, or if the statute hadn't been passed in the 1950s, when people would just say, "Well, this person was born in the Canal Zone in the 1930s, and we owned the Canal Zone at that time, so he's a constitutionally enough a citizen."

What's the term for that?

15 October 2008

Prof. Abbe Smith to present excerpts from her new book (FREE EVENT)

Prof. Abbe Smith, a renowned criminal defense lawyer (and former Philadelphia public defender), will speak about her new book, Case of a Lifetime: A Criminal Defense Lawyer's Story. It's a memoir about Prof. Smith's work as a defender and includes a section on her work for Patsy Kelly Jarrett, a woman wrongly imprisoned for robbery and murder. As a consequence of Prof. Smith's efforts, Ms. Jarret was released after almost 30 years. Prof. Smith, a Fulbright Scholar, started working on Jarrett's case as a 2L at NYU. A recognized expert on legal ethics and a prolific scholar and writer, Prof. Smith is currently a professor at Georgetown University Law Center.

Details about the event:
When - Wednesday 22 October 2008 5:00 - 7:00 p.m.
Where - Drexel University Earle Mack School of Law, 3320 Market St, Philadelphia PA 19104
Cost - Free to everyone
Open - Open to the public
RSVP - Not required
Food - Reception to follow
Co-sponsored by Drexel Law's student chapter of the American Constitution Society.

Washingtonpost.com provides an excerpt of the book.

(I'll post again closer to the event.)

14 October 2008

Senator McCain's transition chief was a lobbyist for Saddam Hussein

Senator McCain's transition chief was a lobbyist for Saddam Hussein.

I'll say it again.

William Timmons
, whom Senator McCain has hired to lead the presidential transition team after he wins the election, was a lobbyist for Saddam Hussein, and two of his colleagues in the effort "were convicted of federal criminal charges that they had acted as unregistered agents of Saddam Hussein's government" (HuffPost):
In early 1992, [Samir] Vincent joined together with John Venners, then a public relations consultant, and William Timmons, a Washington lobbyist, to pursue the purchase and sale of Iraqi oil and the exploration by a consortium of companies of the Majnoon oil field in Iraq. The business plan, intended as a possible alternative to a United Nations oil-for-food program, envisaged that the United Nations would receive the bulk of the profit form sales of Iraqi crude oil from this field. Mr. Vincent suggested that sanctions against Iraq would be lifted imminently and that the Iraqi government might grant a long-term concession to an American oil company.

GOP, Act III, Scene II

Senator McCain has failed to admonish GOP extremists like Jeffrey Frederick (chair of the Virginia GOP), who says that Senator Obama and Osama bin Laden are alike "because they both have terrorist 'friends.'" And, until only very recently, McCain has failed to hush people yelling "terrorist" and "kill [Obama]" at rallies for him or Governor Palin. That's shameful, really, and questionably American, and arguably criminal incitement to violence. But the point of this post isn't to say that McCain is an un-American coward who seeks the annihilation of his opponents. The actual point is that I absolutely love Senator Biden's continual "for Brutus is an honorable man" references to McCain:
"I don't believe it . . . I can't believe it," Biden said of [Frederick's] comments. "I'm surprised John McCain hasn't gone down and whacked the guy with his fist. I mean, I don't think there's a prejudiced bone in John McCain's body. But that kind of stuff is really off the wall. I refuse to let myself believe John McCain has anything to do with any of that.”

13 October 2008

The GOP's most famous high-school dropout (for today)

Brendan notes that Bristol Palin's fiancé, Levi Johnston of Wasilla, Alaska, has dropped out of high school to start an electrician apprenticeship in the oil industry:
Is this the kind of message McPalin wants to give the kids of America? That it’s OK to get pregnant as a teenager and OK to drop out of school? That’s the message of hopelessness and despair I associate with the rap music the Republicans always seem to be criticizing...
I'm likewise curious to understand how it's better for him to take off for an apprenticeship in the north fields, leaving Bristol Palin at home alone with the baby. Of course she'll get family support, but baby will miss out on having dad around, and dad will miss out on baby's early nurturing and development. I don't know what Alaska GED and teenage parenthood programs are like, though. Maybe there's no real option for him to stay in Wasilla and get his GED while actually co-parenting his child. But I did find an AP interview with at least part of the answer; it seems to indicate that Johnston is not planning on getting his GED.

Also, in addition to Brendan's point about the message that the McCain-Palin campaign is sending here, there's a point buried at the bottom of the article, in sort of a "isn't that cute?" type of coda:

What about Johnston's politics?

The young man said he wasn't an expert on politics by any stretch. Asked about Barack Obama, he replied: "I don't know anything about him. He seems like a good guy. I like him."

Johnston [who is 18] didn't register in time to vote, according to the Mat-Su Division of Elections Office in Wasilla. But he's still rooting for John McCain and Sarah Palin.

The Death of the Republican Intellectual

An acquaintance of mine who writes over on Livejournal has written a thoughtful piece about The Death of the Republican Intellectual. Here's a nice excerpt that sums up a lot of what I've been seeing on his blog for the past few years:
First they came for the war protestors, but I thought it was important to support our troops so I said nothing. Then they came for the Muslims, but I saw a scary guy on TV so I said nothing. Then they came for the persistently vegetative medical patients, but I'm still in good health so I said nothing. Then they came for the married homosexuals, but I'm married to a lady so I said nothing. Then they came for the civil libertarians, but I thought "I have nothing to hide" so I said nothing. Then they came for the biologists and climatologists, but I thought that the scientific consensus on evolution and climate change wasn't quite strong enough so I said nothing. Then they came for the elitists, but I've only got a master's degree from a state school so I said nothing. And that's why this year it's just me and a bunch of GED-educated pentecostal luddite homophobes holding "Sarah Palin 2012" signs.
Tongodeon lives and works in the Bay Area. He's been an internet acquaintance of mine for about 15 years and almost always has something interesting and readable to say.

Monday art house: "Guernica 3D"

Guernica was horrifying; Guernica is shattering; artist Lena Giseke has brought the figures out and examines the carnage in 3-D:

12 October 2008

The Articles of Confederation were bad news for inventors and authors

Here's a question I never expected to have to answer: How do you cite to the Articles of Confederation in Bluebook law-review style?

Because, you see, I learned today that Congress under the Articles of Confederation did not have the authority to pass any kind of federal intellectual property protection (i.e., a patent or a copyright). Here's why. The States retained all powers that the Articles did not delegate to Congress. The Articles did not delegate the power to pass protective laws to promote "science and useful arts" -- an issue that was resolved later, without controversy, during the Constitutional Convention by the happy drafting of Art. 1, sec. 8, cl. 8. So under the Articles, every State had its own copyright and patent laws, except where a particular State hadn't enacted any. Authors and inventors were left to rely on the Articles' full faith and credit clause. I wonder if it squelched innovation and commerce at all, or if it really just didn't matter too much because only a small, small percentage of the population were in industry, as opposed to farming.

But imagine 50 States having 50 (or fewer) separate patent and copyright statutes. It would be like blue laws. And for the love of christ, imagine 50 different rules on reversions of assigned copyrights, and then interrelating the rules across States. I mean, I think it's a pain trying to figure out if I can buy a case of wine over the internet, or whether that's an unmarked car in the parking lot at Kreston Liquor Mart radioing my license plate to a cop at the Delaware-Pennsylvania line on I-95.

Or maybe it would go like a lot of entertainment law, and there would be basically only 2 sets of rules, California-style and New York-style.

In conclusion, in my expert opinion the Articles of Confederation were a mess, and I approve of dropping them in favor of a document that gives the national government more power. Also, I need to figure out where I stowed my Bluebook after my failed attempt to write on to the law review a couple of summers ago.

10 October 2008

Lead Weathermen prosecutor "amazed and outraged" at attempts to link Senator Obama to Bill Ayers

Dig these excerpts from a letter to the editor of The New York Times. The author is William C. Ibershof, lead federal prosecutor of Bill Ayers and other Weathermen (Weather Underground) in the 1970s:
I am amazed and outraged that Senator Barack Obama is being linked to William Ayers’s terrorist activities 40 years ago when Mr. Obama was, as he has noted, just a child.
And further:
Senator Obama['s recent service] on a board of a charitable organization with Mr. Ayers cannot possibly link the senator to acts perpetrated by Mr. Ayers so many years ago.
And clarifying just why charges against Ayers and others were dropped:
[The indictment was dismissed] because of illegal activities, including wiretaps, break-ins and mail interceptions, initiated by [convicted Watergate conspirator and perjuror] John N. Mitchell, attorney general at that time, and W. Mark Felt, an F.B.I. assistant director.
Via Phillybits.

Friday jukebox: George Michael

Easy-listening pop-blues version of the Yip Harbug and Jay Gorney standard "Brother, Can You Spare a Dime?"

I don't ask, I merely post:

09 October 2008

CNN calls Virginia for Senator Obama

Depending on which poll you look at today, it's 49% Senator Obama to 45% Senator McCain, or 53% Obama to 44% McCain in the Commonwealth of Virginia.

Mithras, who has a job, as opposed to me, who will be leaving law school to face the worst American economy in the history of the universe, was wondering which swing state he should go to, if McCain abandons his campaign in Pennsylvania. Looks as though the list of those states may be a little shorter than he thought it was. "Virginia Republicans," writes CNN, "have not won a statewide race since Democrat Mark Warner won the governorship in 2001."

Speaking of which, since when did we start calling swing states "battleground" states? There's a navel-gazing academic essay in there somewhere about the militarization of language in a militaristic, sovereign-country-invading society.

And speaking of Virginia, Brendan has pointed out that Ralph Stanley of Dickenson County has endorsed Obama in a radio ad that warms the cockles of my Piedmont heart.

Senator Obama's Philly appearances this weekend

Via Phawker:

Saturday 11 October 2008

Change We Need Rally with Senator Obama
Progress Plaza
1501 N Broad Street
Philadelphia PA 19122
Doors open: 6:15 AM
Program begins: 8:15 AM
RSVP and SEPTA strongly encouraged

(Another) Change We Need Rally with Senator Obama
Mayfair Diner
7373 Frankford Ave
Philadelphia PA 19136
Doors Open: 7:15 AM
Program Begins: 9:30 AM
Public Entrance: on Frankford in between Tudor and Aldine
RSVP strongly encouraged

(Yet Another) Change We Need Rally with Senator Obama
Vernon Park
5789 Germantown Ave between E Chelton Ave and W Rittenhouse St
Philadelphia PA 19144
Doors Open: 9:00 AM
Program Begins: 11:15 AM
RSVP strongly encouraged

(And Another) Change We Need Rally with Senator Obama
Intersection of South 52nd St and Locust St,
Philadelphia PA 19139
Public entrance: Spruce Street.
Doors Open: 11:00 AM
Program Begins: 1:10 PM
RSVP strongly encouraged

Don't bring bags, don't bring anything that looks remotely like a weapon, don't bring signs, don't bring banners. But bring yourself and bring a friend!

07 October 2008

Sarah "Heathers" Palin

I followed some bouncing links today, and someone pointed out that one reason why Tina Fey does such a sharp impression of Governor Palin is that Fey was, one should remember, one of the primary artists responsible for that movie Mean Girls.

And Mean Girls itself, of course, was informed by Heathers.

Sarah Palin is Heathers. Which one? Doesn't matter. Any of them. All of them. Christian Slater.

I pointed that out already in a post last month, but I buried the reference in a link that didn't overtly point to the film's IMDb entry.

06 October 2008

Did Bruce Springsteen get a parking ticket on Saturday?

On the way to the show Saturday morning, I saw a private charter bus parked in front of the Westin on 17th Street. It had an Obama yard sign on the dashboard inside, showing through the passenger-side windshield. Under the windshield wiper on the driver's side was a parking ticket.

Then after the show I saw what I'd swear on a stack of bibles was the same bus parked behind the stage area.

Maybe I should register phillyparkingauthorityformccain.com. Or paybrucesparkingtickets.com.

05 October 2008

Bruce for Obama: the American Reclamation Project

(Photo from AP.)

Mithras has posted a transcript of Bruce Springsteen addressing the Obama campaign's voter registration rally on Saturday. Some 50,000 people attended. I won't copy & paste his post here, but I'll give you the YouTube cell phone video that he linked to:

Confidential to John at Drexel Dems

Yo, my friend, your drinks are on me this Tuesday.

So long as you keep it to beers. The super-cheap mystery beers. OK, one super-cheap mystery beer. I'm on a budget.

04 October 2008

Deep thought on very narrow maritime borders

I live in Philadelphia. My home is less than a mile from the Delaware River, a very narrow maritime border separating Pennsylvania from New Jersey. There's a lot of interstate commerce between these two states. Also, I sleep a lot in my home. Thus, I should be an expert on the Dormant Commerce Clause.

I will take this urgent matter up with my Con Law professor right away.

01 October 2008

Legal employment landscape: empty

I'm about smack in the middle of my class, grades-wise. I'm not in the rarefied top 10 percent, but I'm not a bottom-feeder, either. As a single parent and older student, I have a lot of other stuff going on in my life that the students in their early 20s don't have. So for someone in my situation, my placement in the class isn't too damn bad at all.

Here's the most recent result of my job search, indicative of all my attempts at on-campus interviewing (OCI) this year:

I learned yesterday that Heller Ehrman, LLP, one of the larger and older West Coast firms, will dissolve on Friday because of debts in the neighborhood of $50 million.

God save all us new J.D.s who graduate in the bottom 90% of our class.