"If you want others to be happy, practice compassion. If you want to be happy, practice compassion."

-- The Dalai Lama

Saturday, July 31, 2004

Cheer Up, America!

Susan Sheybani, Terry Holt's assistant, has a new plan for American workers:

“Why don’t they get new jobs if they’re unhappy — or go on Prozac?” said Susan Sheybani, an assistant to Bush campaign spokesman Terry Holt.

The 'they' Ms. Sheybani is referring to is apparently lower-to-middle class Americans unsatisfied with their job quality. How out of touch is this campaign, and this administration, when an assistant to the national spokesman believes that these workers are simply "unhappy" and that they can just run out and find a "new job"?

But let's say that these workers do follow Ms. Sheybani's advice and try to medicate their problems away as she suggests. How does she propose they pay for this Prozac? With all of their expendable income? Or with all those health care benefits that I'm sure they have?

Bush said Kerry had a history of voting for higher taxes. "His prescription for America is the wrong medicine," Bush said.

No, to the Bush campaign the right prescription for the "Heart and Soul of America" is self-medicating with anti-depressants.

Friday, July 30, 2004

Go Balloons!

And you thought your job was stressful?

(Check out a recap of the whole fiasco here.)

Thursday, July 29, 2004

Cut Your Losses?

About a year ago I had a conversation with a friend over some beers about her wanting to move to Norway because she felt she could no longer deal with the political situation here. I remember telling her that this was the coward's way out. That she had to stay and fight, if only with her vote and with her dollars. She didn't really think this was enough, and she hated the feelings of helplessness she had after the 2000 election and so many times since.

I'll admit that dearest BF and I have seriously discussed moving out of the country if W gets re-elected (or "re-elected.") I still believe that because it is the US that causes so much of the damage it is from within the US system, working for change, that a person can do the most good. Still, sometimes it is tempting to go the route that is best for you, personally, rather than what you think would be for the best, overall.

Here's hoping that Kerry has a great speech tonight and it reaches some of those undecideds and the Nader voters. (I'm happy to report that everyone I know who was going to vote for Nader has since joined the ABB (anybody but Bush) camp or the Kerry camp - either way planning on voting for Kerry.)

Wednesday, July 28, 2004

The Convention

Tonight I'm looking forward to hearing from John Edwards and Dennis Kucinich.  Last night I missed Obama's speech and had to read it instead, which isn't nearly as fun.  He sure is getting some great press, isn't he?  I feel for the sucker who runs against him for the Senate seat. 

I enjoyed Teresa's speech much more than I thought I would.  I'm glad that she talked about herself, and not just about John and her relationship to him.  Oh, I know her speech was handled and was most probably not written entirely by her, if at all.  Still, she came across as real to me, which was somewhat refreshing.  Although she is "exotic" (a term used to describe her on NPR this morning) I think many women can relate to being called "opinionated" or worse when speaking out while in a comparable situation a man is termed "smart" or "well informed." 

Update: CNN decided Dennis wasn't important enough to show.  Grr...I should have known better!  It's C-SPAN for me for here on out. 

Tuesday, July 27, 2004

Hey, Michael Moore!

Update your blog!

Bill's Speech

I miss Bill. 

If you missed his incredible speech last night, you can read it or view it here.

Some excerpts:

"Here is what I know about John Kerry. During the Vietnam War, many young men—including the current president, the vice president and me—could have gone to Vietnam but didn’t. John Kerry came from a privileged background and could have avoided it too.  Instead he said, send me."


"Since we’re all in the same boat, let us chose as the captain of our ship a brave good man who knows how to steer a vessel though troubled waters to the calm seas and clear skies of our more perfect union.  We know our mission. Let us join as one and say in a loud, clear voice: Send John Kerry. "

Happiness In An Email

Okay, so I know schools give out fee waivers like the Gideons give out those little bibles but still every time one appears in my email it makes me feel like this.


Happiness also comes in the form of a link.  Thank you Janine!

Monday, July 26, 2004

Law School Applications

So there are only two major items on my "Apply to Law Schools To-Do List":  Write the personal statement, and settle on a final schools list. 

The only concrete decision I have made regarding the personal statement is that I am going to write one for each school I apply to.  My list is going to be short enough that there's no reason other than laziness not to get the "why I want to go here" questions answered in each.

I've spent more time lately thinking about what schools I want to apply to.  I started with a very long (20+) list.  I have since removed all the schools where the primary (and in some cases only) reason it was on the list was:

1.  It's ranked pretty high and I think I can get in.

Now I am down to 5 schools.  Yes, I did think I was that much of a prestige whore.  Here is my current list in no particular order with only the top positive reasons noted:

School 1

1.  It is a beautiful school with big, beautiful gothic buildings and I have always wanted to go to a beautiful school with big, beautiful gothic buildings.
2.  It has a national reputation
School 2
1.  I love the location - a busy city with lots of cultural opportunities and politics I agree with
2.  The school's politics and reputation
3.  Friends in the area
4.  The school's history
5.  Has a good reputation for the broad area of practice I am interested in
School 3

1.  I am instate - much cheaper tuition
2.  Would not have to leave my boyfriend and my family
3.  Has a decent reputation for the broad area of practice I am interested in
School 4
1.  Ranked #1 by USNews in the broad area of practice I am interested in
2.  Very small town (a good thing for me)
3.  Relatively very cheap cost of living
4.  From talking to people who go there it is probable I would receive some $$$
School 5
1.  The only school with a program in the specific area of practice I am interested in
2.  The only school with a journal in the specific area of practice I am interested in
3.  Well known (at least regionally) for the broad area of practice I am interested in
4.  I love the campus
5.  I love the location
6.  From visiting and speaking with current students I think I would be comfortable in the atmosphere there
7.  They offer study abroad opportunities
8.  They offer a clinical internship seminar in the specific area of practice I am interested in
9.  They have a loan repayment assist program if you go into a public interest job

Okay, so it's pretty obvious that #5 is my number one choice.  Since I think it is so perfect for me, I'm considering just applying to #5 with #4 as a backup.  My numbers are good to go at both of these schools.  My numbers are actually okay at any of these schools so that is not really a factor.  So what, I am asking myself, are the reasons to even apply to numbers 1, 2 and 3?  Up until now I figured I wanted to "see" and to "keep my options open."  Maybe I'm just wanting to see if the prestige whore in me will win out after all? 

Any and all opinions are appreciated.

Saturday, July 24, 2004

Cactus Ferruginous Pygmy Owls

Cactus Ferruginous Pygmy Owl

When I was studying at the Biosphere in Arizona last year I was fortunate enough to have the opportunity to be trained by US Fish and Wildlife to survey for Cactus Ferruginous Pygmy Owls under the terms of the Endangered Species Act.  There were two kinds of surveys - one was for scientific purposes, just to see how many owls there were in the area.  The other was for developers who had to have field biologists go out and survey a property several times before they were allowed to develop in areas where conditions existed that are known to support pygmy owls.  The surveys I participated in were all the second kind - developers are very anxious to build in Arizona, and don't at all appreciate little things like endangered species getting in the way of their strip malls.
So now even though the Cactus Ferruginous Pygmy Owl is one of the most imperiled birds in North America, according to the Center for Biological Diversity, the Bush administration wants to remove the owl from the endangered species list because the 9th circuit court of appeals said that its cousin, a different kind of pygmy owl from Mexico, is not in danger and that the US Fish and Wildlife Service did not do a good enough job demonstrating that the survival of the more specific group of pygmy owls was important.  Luckily the federal judge was not in agreement and refused to agree to the removal. 

Friday, July 23, 2004

Making Bone: Complete

My cast came off today and apparently my ankle is almost 100% according to my nice-but-very-dull doctor.  Bike riding may start again immediately and kickboxing and other kickboxing-type of activities in a couple of weeks.  Yay!

Thursday, July 22, 2004

Why Blog

On the bus this morning on the way to school I found myself thinking about this post by stag commenting on this post by Tony Pierce regarding how one should conduct oneself in the blogosphere.  I was thinking about why people blog, and while I'm sure there have been many profound posts on this topic, I have decided to follow Tony's rule #15 (dont be afraid if you think something has been said before. it has. and better. big whoop. say it anyway using your own words as honestly as you can. just let it out.) and talk about it anyway.

Why Blog?  While I think there are as many reasons for blogging as there are bloggers, I think there are a few that are relatively common:

To Reach Out
I had another blog, a long time ago.  This was back when the way coolest thing was to have comments on your blog and you never,ever heard the word "blog" on the Today show.  Anyway, I made that blog mostly because I was in a transitional state - I had just left my corporate job to go to college.  I had disconnected completely from the old life and had yet to get into my new one.  While I didn't literally think, "Okay, I'll make a blog and that will make me feel like I belong somewhere" I think that's at least partially what my unconscious motives were. 

I think in many ways we as individuals are relatively very isolated.  We're busy, we're goal oriented, and I think many times very disinclined to have real conversations, or even really get to know our own intentions and opinions.  A blog can be a set up for opportunities that we may not be able to find "in real life" or even know that we want to find them.  A nice, blank white screen that's patient, that doesn't interrupt, that isn't evaluating you.  You just write, and then you publish.  And you reach out to anyone who cares to share your thoughts. 

To Connect
This time around I went blog hunting during the time I was studying like mad for the LSAT and wanted to find "normal people" (as opposed to board people) who were in my same standardized testing boat to see if they were having the same experiences I was.  I guess I just wanted to know that I wasn't alone.  Happily, I did find a couple of people who were taking my same test on my same day.  Not a big deal, it's not as if I necessarily had anything in common with them, it just sort of made everything more real and more in perspective.

I think it's natural, and probably goes without saying, that most people don't like to feel too alone or too different.  Even if someone considers themselves "non-mainstream" every once in awhile probably everyone wants to feel as if "we're all in this together."

To Learn
Years ago I was really only interested in the kinds of blogs where people talked about their day to day lives and their opinions about relatively day to day kinds of things.  Now I seek out all kinds of different blogging experiences.  I still enjoy reading the personal blogs, but I also get a lot out of reading different people's opinions about current events and the Big Philosophical Questions, too.

The blogging community is really quite an amazing phenomena to me, especially when it comes to discussing current events.  Not only the diversity of opinions that are generated and accessible, but also the diversity of backgrounds approaching the topics.  Reading the news as interpreted by experts in whatever the story is about is a much more fulfilling experience to me than having current events interpreted to me by news people.  Now, I still think there is value to the ideal of objective journalism, but I think there's room for more - including the opinions of "everyday" people with their unique perspectives.

To Teach
While I have no personal experience in this area (I ain't no expert in nuthin') I can see where many who do have lots of knowledge to share could get a great deal of satisfaction from doing so via their blog.  I think it's great that law students share experience and advice for those of us who are following along after them, for example. 

As I said, I'm sure there are a multitude of reasons why people blog.  My reason today was to share my bus-riding musings with you. :)

Wednesday, July 21, 2004

cc: Etiquette

When is it proper to cc: and when is it considered tacky, or even rude? 

I think if you are announcing something like an event it is okay to cc: because it's just like sending an invitation or a flyer.  You wouldn't personalize each of these so you don't need to personalize the email. 

However, if you are planning a small get together, or a camping trip or something for a small group of people I think it is tacky to send a cc: list email saying "Want to go camping this weekend?"  Take 5 extra minutes and just send them separately.  Seriously, it sends the message: "My time is too valuable to write to you personally but if you'd like to show up and spent time as part of my entourage you are encouraged to do so.  I may or may not converse with you, sign autographs, or remember your name."

Is it rude to send a cc:'d email to your closest friends announcing a major life change, such as moving across the country?  How about engagement or pregnancy announcements?  My unsolicited advice is:  If you call someone your friend, don't cc: them on major life events.  And if you don't call someone your friend, why are you emailing them about it in the first place?  I think a cc: email from a friend regarding something big says, "I don't really care what you think, just send me a gift/I feel obligated to update you on my very exciting life."

Tuesday, July 20, 2004

My First

Fee waiver, that is.  Yep, right here in my little inbox is a fee waiver from good old Northern Illinois University College of Law.  Am I loved?  Am I special?  Northern Illinois University College of Law sure thinks so!

Monday, July 19, 2004

It’s Getting Kind Of Hectic Up In This Piece

Thanks go out to Law Dork for pointing out the funniest article I have read in a very long time.  I literally LOL'd.
An excerpt:
"As a quick-thinking senatorial aide switched on the Senate’s public-address system and cued up the infamous “Seven Minutes of Funk” break, Mr. Leahy and Mr. Cheney went head-to-head in what can only be described as a “take no prisoners” freestyle rap battle."

Sunday, July 18, 2004

I, Robot

I had listened to the book, which is actually a collection of short stories, by Isaac Asimov a few weeks ago during my West Coast Law School Tour.  I was ready to be thoroughly disappointed by the movie, but surprisingly I really, really liked it.  It didn't follow the book of course - there was little action in the short stories.  However, many aspects of the three laws issues were written into the plot - quite well, I thought, considering it is a mainstream summer action movie. 
It's a fun movie and a fantastic book if you enjoy science fiction.  I don't know how much non-sci fi people would like to read Asimov - he was pretty cheesy with the dialogue.  I can put up with quite a bit of goofy dialogue and flat characters if there's robots that go along with them. 


Saturday, July 17, 2004

So Much To Do...

and so little time to do it.  So why in the world did I just waste two hours watching a crappy Lifetime movie?  Because I'm a sucker for made-for-TV movies, that's why.  Especially if they involve amnesia.  Or the mom from Family Ties.  Or the sister from Growning Pains.  Those anorexia ones are classic.

Thursday, July 15, 2004

John Kerry's Forest Plan

I think this issue is representative of the differences between Kerry and Bush.  It was reported today that Kerry plans to take $100 million away from the timber industry and create a new "Forest Restoration Corps" that will create jobs by restoring forest areas. 
Compare to Bush's Healthy Forest Initiative which took the science (and the trees) out of forest management.  Instead of asking scientists and forest management technicians what the best options for "healthy forests" were the Bush administration jumped at the chance to hand our wilderness over to Big Lumber. 
The Sierra Club says, "The Healthy Forests Initiative (HFI) is President Bush’s response to the past year’s forest fires. The initiative is based on the false assumption that landscape-wide logging will decrease forest fires.   This premise is contradicted by the general scientific consensus, which has found that logging can increase fire risk."  Read more about the details of the Sierra Club's findings.  
While I have yet to find the text of Kerry's plan I have a lot of hope.  It sounds like policy for wilderness, and policy for job creation.  Who, besides Big Industry, is against that?

Wednesday, July 14, 2004

Philosophy Class - The Love My Instructor Has For His Own Wisdom

I attend a state university that is considered a bastion of liberalism. It is often presumed that the most liberal of departments in the Arts and Sciences college is that of Philosophy. Now, maybe it is simply that I don't understand the underlying concept of philosophy classes, but I had assumed that at some point critical thinking and independent thought may be activities that would be considered acceptable. Perhaps even encouraged. My assumption was apparently wrong.

You see, in my Philosophy class we are not taught how to think but rather what to think. And I don't think it would go too far to say my instructor would actually rather we did not think at all, but rather regurgitate his own interpretations of philosophers.

Now, am I missing the point? Is this all there is to philosophy classes? Do philosophy majors fill their college years with the mindless repetition and reiteration? Is one ever encouraged to have their own 'philosophy?' Maybe those Indigo Girls were on to something.