Law, politics, pop culture, sports, and a touch of Oregon.
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Really, really good. A little less of the teen-love subplots would've been nice, but otherwise, very satisfying. It's going to be a long wait for the last book. On the plus side, I was glad to be relieved of the obligatory scenes of Harry being abused by his stepparents.
On the theory that summer shows get held to a lesser standard, I think I might have to check out an episode of "The Law Firm." It sounds like "The Apprentice" meets "The Practice." On the plus side is that David E. Kelley is behind it. On the minus side is that the Trump role is played by Roy Black, who's one of those smarmy defense lawyers who's on cable TV talk shows too much.
Of course, you might think it's weird that I would be interested in watching a show about lawyers competing in the sort of arena that I left to become a law professor.
So I'm weird.
Besides, the kind of stuff I did as a law firm associate is not what this show is going to be about. This is about trials, which is the World War I trench-warfare of legal practice: blood, guts, close-up yuckiness. The closest I got to that was taking and defending depositions, which was plenty enough of nastiness. I preferred writing the motions to dismiss or for summary judgment, which is more like mdoern aerial warfare, dropping smart bombs from 30,000 feet.
Amazon.com sells "starter set" DVDs for a number of TV series. You pay less than $10 and get the pilot episode and the second episode of a series to see if you like it. It's nice that you get something beyond the pilot, since many series look somewhat different from the pilot.
But why oh why would anyone who knew anything about the show want to buy the starter set for "24"?!?
Speaking of "24," here's something I've been wondering. Is President David Palmer (Dennis Haysbert) a Republican or a Democrat? I'm leaning toward Republican. Anyone who's first instinct when confronted with a national security emergency is to call Jack Bauer, thereby Guantanamo-izing everything, is probably part of the GOP. . . .
New York police are going to start randomly searching the bags of subway passengers. Is that likely to be an effective solution? It strikes me that the London bombings were different from airline attacks; with the latter, explosives triggered in the air are catastrophically worse than those triggered on the ground. But with the subway bombings, the difference between a bombing in a subway train and a bombing at the turnstile is less significant. Both will result in a large number of human casualties.
So a suicide bomber who gets stopped for a search may simply set off his or her bomb right there, and a lot of people will still be killed.
I suppose the police could search in tandem, with one officer ready to draw a firearm and shoot the suspect, but that wouldn't leave me feeling very comfortable as the line of protection against suicide bombers.
It could well be. Summer, being something of a bleak time for television programming, gets held to a lower standard than the regular TV season, so it may be that my enjoyment of "Rock Star" is a relative matter.
While the idea of finding a lead singer for a pop/rock band that hasn't been on the charts since, oh, before I went to law school is a bit weird, as a musical talent show, "Rock Star" has a number of advantages over "American Idol."
First, perhaps most importantly, there isn't the all annoying, "And the person who is going home . . . will be revealed after the break" that Ryan Seacrest is forced to do, ad nauseum, on "American Idol." Nope, on "Rock Star," the results are given quickly, which means that even the result show isn't full of filler.
Second, the voting by American doesn't automatically eliminate anyone; rather, the three lowest vote getters then have to sing for INXS, who decide which contestant gets cut. That means we're less likely to get the Scott Savol/John Stephens types who hang on long past the time they should.
Third, while there are some blah singers on "Rock Star" as well (such as Neal, who seemed like nothing more than a Mick Jagger wannabe), the overall level of talen at this stage is better than that at the beginning of the "American Idol" finals. "Rock Star" doesn't have an age cutoff of 29 (which itself was raised from 25 or 26 for "American Idol" for this past season), and it shows in the increased presence and vocal control of a number of the "Rock Star" singers.
Finally, it is undeniable that Mark Burnett, who's behind "Rock Star," knows how to produce and package reality TV.
Apparently, one of the major criticisms of Supreme Court nominee John Roberts is going to be his co-authorship of the United States' brief in Rust v. Sullivan during the first President Bush's term, which argued in part that Roe v. Wade was wrongly decided.
Roberts critics will point to this brief as evidence of an anti-Roe mindset on his part.
On the other hand, Roberts defenders will argue that Roberts was merely doing what a lawyer does: advocating on behalf of his client to achieve the client's desired goal.
Unfortunately, in this era of the 10-second soundbite and wall-to-wall cable news coverage, I doubt we'll get a nuanced discussion of the role of lawyers and political advocacy. We can think of lawyering on a spectrum. On one end would be a lawyer who goes to work for a single-issue advocacy group, such as NARAL or its pro-life equivalent. Here, I think it would not be unreasonable to infer that such lawyer probably holds judicial views similar to those of the group. After all, going to work for such an organization means that you will pretty much be doing nothing but arguing that organization's cause.
On the other end of the spectrum would be a short-term position with a wide variety of work involved, such as clerking for a federal judge. Some clerkship applicants only apply to judges of their particular political party, but many apply to judges of both parties. It may be that the first offer you get is from a judge of your less preferred party, but you nevertheless accept the offer (risk aversity kicks in at some point). Should we infer that we agree with the judge's views? Perhaps not. As the story goes, when the law clerk disagrees with the judge, the judge says, "That's my name on the commission, not yours."
A political position like the one Judge Roberts held in the Bush Administration (he was the principal Deputy Solicitor General) is somewhere in the middle, I think. The SG can expect to come across a huge variety of federal issues, of which abortion would be one. We might reasonably expect that Roberts was sympathetic to the general Republican principles of the Bush Administration; otherwise, he might not have sought such a high level position within the administration. (Though not necessarily, since career government attorneys stay in their jobs regardless of which party the President belongs to.) But that is a far cry from concluding that he necessarily agreed, on a personal level, with the arguments set forth in the Rust v. Sullivan brief. He may have, or he may not have.
Toward that end, I think the Democratic Senators, who have been reported to say that they would scrutinize Roberts' record and views during the upcoming weeks and the confirmation hearings, have taken a more judicious course than, say, NARAL, whose webpage already trumpets, "
If Roberts is confirmed to a lifetime appointment, there is little doubt that he will work to overturn Roe v. Wade. As Deputy Solicitor General under the first President Bush, he argued to the Supreme Court that 'Roe was wrongly decided and should be overruled….'"
That was my main thought as I listened to the President announce his nomination of D.C. Circuit Judge John Roberts to be a Supreme Court Justice. I'm thinking particularly of the point when President Bush expressed his confidence that the Senate would act quickly and see Judge Roberts' qualifications, "as they did by unanimous vote in 2003." Yep, reminding America that the Senate confirmed Judge Roberts by a 99-0 vote earlier.
Here's a pretty poignant account (L.A. Times, reg. req'd) of how some of the members of the 1980 U.S. Olympic team -- the one that didn't get to go because of President Carter's decision to boycott that year's Olympic Games in protest of the Soviet invasion of Afghanistan -- still feel bitter about being deprived of their moment in the sun.
Those Francophobes will note that France was not among the 65 nations that supported the boycott.