Disclaimer

This blog is not intended to provide legal advice, legal services or legal anything else. Don't sue me. All I have is debt anyway.

Tuesday, July 29, 2008

The Future

So, I've been absent from blogging for awhile... I've been going through a bit of a funk. Discouraged about my career options, and dissatisfied with a lack of work at the office (and the work I do get is lame), I've been a little down in the dumps, and anything I would post on here would be one big pity party. I've found that I'm happy in most aspects of my life, yet not content. Does that make any sense?

Anyway, I've been making changes in my diet and have gotten into an exercise routine. Not really much notable change, but at least it's an escape a few hours a week. I've sort of started studying for the MPRE, which is next Friday. By sort of, I mean, I went to the Bar/Bri session and filled in my outline.

Very discouraged by the firms on the OCI list. It's ridiculous. The majority of the firms aren't even in our city. And of course the majority of the firms are Big Firms and Mega Firms, that wouldn't dream of even considering me. I applied to the two firms that are local, so we'll see if I get any interviews. I also applied to a few government agencies, and I signed up for the IRS and FBI info sessions. The g-man salary might not be great, but they do pay back some student loans, which would be enormously helpful. And with starting salaries around here, frankly, I could work at Starbucks and make more money. Completely ridiculous.

Anyway, that's pretty much what's been going on. Some traveling to visit family. Some friends having new babies. Baby swim classes at the YMCA (which are totally lame), and having loved loved loved the new X-Files movie.

One more month of summer, then school starts back. Now there's a depressing thought!

Friday, July 25, 2008

Resume question

OCI is starting super early this year. Which means I need to work harder at shedding some pounds since my suits still don't fit right. Sucks. I bought a couple "professional" dresses that coupled with a jacket will be fine for interviews, but I much prefer my "power suits." I don't like to show my legs in an interview.

Anyway, since my class rank took a hit thanks to Med Liability and finally getting my Tax grade, I'm no longer "top 50%," I'm now somewhere slightly lower than that. So, how do I put that on my resume? I omitted my gpa and class rank while looking for jobs in 1L and I found that people assumed it was much worse than it was, rather than just mediocre. But if I put my gpa on the resume, it's not very impressive, especially since I'm applying for some federal jobs competing with kiddies at other schools that have higher curves. Career services is zero help. So what do you think? Do I put "Middle 1/3"? "Top 60%"? 2.6-whatever gpa?

Where exactly does it get pathetic? Top 75%? Top 90%? Top 98%? Hey, at least I'm not last? Meh.

Ugh, I don't even get to be plain ol' mediocre, I'm now below mediocre. Fantastic. Job hunting stresses me out.

Thursday, July 24, 2008

I Want to Believe

And so does Cora...



The moment I've been waiting for all summer... hell, for six years... midnight movie tonight. I'm unbelievably excited. I know I'm a total dork, but I grew up watching The X-Files, all nine years of it, and still totally excited about the second movie.

I know, I've been slacking on the blogging, but I will be back to it all soon and update as to current happenings. Lots to blog about, but so little time. Anyway, that's all I've got for now. Go see the movie. It's going to be awesome.

Sunday, July 13, 2008

Yuck

I am a mess. There's nothing "hot" about it either.

Phase 1: I start out with allergies. Probably caused by cleaning the house. I'm allergic to dust, but it doesn't bother me if it's just laying there two inches thick on my bookshelves. It's when I clean it off that it stirs it up and gets to me. So, I spend an entire afternoon sleeping it off (fortunately, I was done with my work week at this point). The next day I felt better, but the nasal funk, despite my best efforts, then caused a sinus infection. Phase 2. Fantastic. That knocks me on my ass and I spend an entire day in bed. I'm one of those people who refuses to take antibiotics in fear of super-bugs (and my husband works with super-bugs, so it's not really an irrational fear), unless it's really necessary. So I've been using over-the-counter treatments and saline nasal rinses and whatnot. I start to feel better, but then on to Phase 3: Chest Congestion. The nose is getting better, but now it's migrated into my chest. I smell like Vicks VapoRub and sound like I smoke 4 packs a day. Awesome. Finally, we've gone on to Phase 4: the Cold Sore. Ugh. I put some Abreva on it, but it'll take at least a week to heal I'm sure.

So now the challenge is keeping Cora's hands off my face and making sure my hands are frequently washed. I'm going to go take another nap.

Wednesday, July 9, 2008

Cute break!

Sorry, I've been lazy in the blogging and haven't continued in my politicking series. I will soon. Right now I either have some sort of cold, or horrible allergies. After work today, I'm going to go home and go to bed and hope that Cora will play by herself/nap long enough to allow this.

Anyway, some interim cute:







I'm not sure Cora recognizes any difference between bathtime and the baby pool. Both have ducks.

Last night was Cora's first baby swim class at the Y. It was really lame, but Cora had a great time. I guess I must prepare myself for a whole lot of lameness to come in pursuit of entertaining children. ("Lame" as in playing the "hokey pokey" and other singing done in the pool with babies who didn't give a crap.) The part Cora enjoyed the most was she got to pick out a toy (she picked out a duck, of course). Then, to encourage "swimming," placing the duck in front of her, just out of her reach, so she would make an effort to paddle towards it. She really liked that. Well, she liked actually getting the duck. Prying it out of her hands (and her mouth) was surprisingly difficult (iron grip, that one).

I was trying not to be too grossed out by the fact she was sticking a random duck in her mouth, and who knows where that's been. Chlorine should kill anything, right? I was also grossed out when Cora spit up in the pool. First, because she spit up in the pool, and second, because I realized lots of other kids do lots of gross things in the pool too. Chlorine should kill all that too, right? Doesn't make it less gross though.

I'm also a bad mother because I didn't put her in a cute little swimsuit, just a swim diaper, so everyone thought she was a boy. It was one less thing to worry about, so oh well. She was still by far the cutest baby there. Fortunately it's Husband's turn to take her on Thursday to Lame Baby Swim.

Wednesday, July 2, 2008

Politicking: The War in Iraq

Here is the first part of several political blogs. Enjoy (or not):

Issue 1. McCain is for continuing the war in Iraq, Obama wants to pull out and put in more troops in Afghanistan.

On McCain's website, he outlines "The Importance of Succeeding in Iraq." On this point especially, McCain has disappointed me greatly. The man served in Vietnam, and was a POW for several years. He had an upfront seat for another time when American foreign policy was a complete failure. So he of all people should know the folly of taking a "Nixon stance" on this war: putting in more troops will not magically fix the problem. While I generally dislike blanket comparisons between events in history, especially wars, I think there are lessons from Vietnam that have been forgotten. In this case, it is that a failed foreign policy has resulted in a war of which the importance has been gravely overestimated.

The war in Iraq was admittedly illegitimate, based on faulty intelligence and a certain bloodlust in this country following 9/11. Even still, the Bush administration (specifically Rumsfeld) bungled post-war reconstruction so badly in the crucial time following the fall of Baghdad that it is no longer even possible to "win." For a comprehensive look at the Iraq War (from the perspective of someone who supported the war effort), I recommend The Assassin's Gate. There are other books on the topic of Iraqi politics and the war, and trust me, I've read more than I ever care to read on Iraq, past, present and future. (If you'd read all 1300 pages of Hanna Batatu's The Old Social Classes & The Revolutionary Movement in Iraq, you'd feel the same way too.) But Assassin's Gate is probably the most clear picture of what went wrong. It also includes a nice history of the neoconservative movement that lead us to the war in the first place. Fascinating stuff. But my understanding of the Iraq situation isn't just from reading books, it is also from talking to many soldiers who have served in Iraq, from the invasion to initial stages of reconstruction to very recently. It paints a very clear picture of what went wrong and why.

But success in Iraq? McCain states that, "The best way to secure long-term peace and security is to establish a stable, prosperous, and democratic state in Iraq that poses no threat to its neighbors and contributes to the defeat of terrorists." That ship has sailed. There will be no "success" in Iraq without an indefinite troop presence that has to be maintained at the expense of our military personnel (and the burden placed on their families), and even then, actual stability (which has not occurred yet) will be difficult to achieve without a massive crackdown on the country, requiring many more soldiers than are currently serving and maintaining unsustainable troop presence. You'll be hard-pressed to find soldiers who haven't done at least one tour in Iraq, usually multiple tours. As McCain says, "When Iraqi forces can safeguard their own country, American troops can return home." We messed up big-time in Iraq, but while an unstable Iraq is certainly unfavorable, and a tragedy we caused, it is not nearly as serious as an unstable Afghanistan. While we randomly decided to invade Iraq, we botched Afghanistan. Now the argument is that we have to make Iraq stable, otherwise it will become a haven of terrorism like Afghanistan. Only, Afghanistan is quickly becoming a haven of terrorism again right under our noses.

Additionally, ignoring the importance of culture in these situations has disasterous consequences. An in-depth examination of Iraq's history reveals the complexities of sectarian conflict, the impact of western imperialism, and the underlying reasons for the success of the Ba'ath party. We have this naive view that democracy works for everyone. While I believe democracy is the superior choice, I also believe societies have to get there on their own. You can't "teach" people "freedom," nor does everyone want it. They have to develop it for themselves, on their own terms, with their own interpretations. These things develop over time, and are unlikely to occur as a result of "liberating" a nation from its dictatorship. I think there was a window of time where American forces were seen as "liberators," but de-Ba'athification created such massive instability that it is difficult to view invadors as "liberators" when the general populace is greatly worse off than before.

I think we have a choice. We can either stop a futile effort and concentrate on the most urgent problems in the Middle East, such as Iran, Syria, Afghanistan, and the porous borders of Pakistan, to name a few (Afghanistan through finishing what we started, and the rest through diplomatic measures). But if we keep going in Iraq, Dr. Herring will have to change the title of his book to America's Second Longest War.

This is a secondary concern, but one that continues to nag me. One of the big reasons I supported Obama over Clinton comes down to a single vote: the one for the Iraq War. No, Obama didn't have the opportunity to cast a vote, so it might not seem fair. However, he did speak out publicly against the war while serving in the state legislature. This wasn't something he had to do; his opinion didn't matter at that point. The war could easily have been a big success, and his political career would have been tanked. But he still spoke out, and to me, that says a lot about his character. Clinton and McCain both cast votes to go to war. They can both claim now to have been "deceived" by the Bush administration but frankly, either they're both incredibly gullible or they just weren't willing to make an unpopular stand which would have scuttled their political careers. Anyone who was even slightly familiar with the politics of Iraq knew that claims of a connection between Iraq and al Qaeda were suspect. That should have been a big red flag that the "intelligence" coming out of Iraq regarding WMD's may not be all that reliable, especially considering the sources of that intel. But they've stuck to the whole "Bush deceived us!" cry of foul, instead of owning up to their own personal mistakes. Every member of Congress who cast a vote to go to war in Iraq is responsible for this mess, as much as Bush and goons are responsible.

So, here is Obama's stance on the Iraq War, and here is his plan. Essentially, it breaks down as structured troop withdrawal, and international cooperation to provide humanitarian aid for reconstruction, which I believe is the only chance Iraq has to build a future that (might) not include eruption into civil war. As far as I can tell, and someone correct me if I'm wrong, John McCain's plan for Iraq is to keep doing what we're doing. Which isn't working. Despite claims to the contrary, Iraq is not stable. Yes, with an increase in troop presence, violence decreases. However, that troop presence is not sustainable, and neither is a decline in violence. I suggest listening to what the military has been saying, not what the Bush administration is saying, for an accurate picture of the future of Iraq.

The underlying theme of this topic is, of course, foreign policy. McCain doesn't specifically address the issue of foreign policy on his site, other than supporting international pressure on Syria and Iran, so I'm unsure what his actual stance is on foreign policy. I'm going to try to find out before I say much more on the topic. Since I have a great deal to say about foreign policy and diplomacy (I have a master's degree in it, I'd better have something to say about it), I'll leave that topic for the next blog.

So, if anyone is actually interested in politicking, comment away.

Tuesday, July 1, 2008

Politicking: The Process of Choosing a Candidate

I don't often write about politics here. (I usually save my politicking to bore friends to death on my personal blog.) But I was recently asked (via email) about my views, and reasons for my choice of candidate (Barack Obama), so here we go.

I should also make the disclaimer that I'm not going to put a great deal of time and effort into this. I'll state my views, and make citations when possible, but I'm much too lazy to track down links to stuff I've read that form the basis of my opinions. Sometimes my opinion is just my opinion, and it doesn't get a citation anyway. If I state any facts wrong, feel free to correct me. But this is a blog, not a graduate thesis, so it's mostly just free-flowing thoughts anyway. So...

First, I am very liberal on social issues. Even still, I don't vote for candidates based solely on social issues. While issues such as gay rights and reproductive rights are important to me, I don't believe that voting for a Republican will necessarily undermine those efforts, nor will voting for a Democrat necessarily further those efforts. However, I do consider those issues as part of a larger picture when choosing a candidate. In my state, even the Democrats are fairly conservative on social issues, so those issues cannot be absolute even within my own party.

Another issue I weigh (concerning the presidential election) is what kind of justice(s) would the candidate appoint to the Supreme Court. Not because of Roe v. Wade, although again, that is simply one issue in the big picture, but rather because I am really anti-Federalist. Although I'm not a member of ACS, I agree that Federalists do nothing but cry about "judicial activism," while cloaking themselves in "strict construction," however such claims of neutrality are nothing more than intellectual dishonesty. (And frankly, Scalia can suck it.) I believe the Constitution should be interpreted as a living document, examined in the context of its time, not viewed as simply the exact words written long before any of us came into existence, interpreted in the context of the present, thereby ignoring the evolution of language and cultural values in our society. For example, I believe there is a right to privacy inherent in the spirit of the Constitution, even though it does not explicitly say so. But I don't want to turn this into a debate on constitutional interpretation. I'm just stating the basis of my beliefs for not wanting a president packing the court full of Scalia clones.

However, while those issues are important to me, they still aren't the issues I find most important and form the real basis of my voting decisions. Those issues are currently health care reform, the economy, and repairing our foreign policy (starting with the mess we caused in Iraq). And the candidate I believe is the best choice to deal with these problems is Barack Obama.

I used to have a great deal of respect for McCain. He didn't just throw in with the neoconservative movement at the height of its popularity, he wasn't kissing the asses of the craziest members of the religious right, and he worked with Democrats to find common solutions to problems. I of course disagree with him on a variety of social issues, but he seemed to be willing to compromise and work with the other side, something I truly value in a leader. However, the more he has talked during this election, the more incredibly disappointed in him I have become.

Meanwhile, the biggest complaints about Obama are that he is too inexperienced and that he hasn't said anything substantial, just keeps saying "change." And perhaps he hasn't said enough. However, by reading what he has written, and by reviewing his positions as stated on his website, his ideas are much more substantial.

Anyway, so on to the issues, McCain v Obama. Since these discussions of the issues are going to be so incredibly long, I've decided to break them up into parts, the first of which, will be the Iraq War. Stay tuned for some discussion on that topic.

I guess in the meantime, what issues do you find most important when choosing a candidate?