Sunday, July 31, 2005

Good-bye to all that

Wow, I hope I never have to take that exam again (please, God) -- once is enough! And I know Florida's isn't even the hardest exam out there, as my Ohio friends had to come back on Thursday morning for another three hours and I know New York's, for example, is really hard. But my test was still hard enough for me. The MBE people in particular seemed to go out of their way to make things confusing, which I personally think is just mean of them. (Jeremy has an entertaining take on the MBE here.) Oh well. Flew back to BWI on Thursday afternoon and now I'm back in Columbus for possibly the last time in the foreseeable future, to supervise the movers coming for my (meager) possessions tomorrow to Maryland. Since every other member of my family is also moving this month (to Orlando (2), Dallas (1), St. Louis (1), and South Bend (2)) we're taking our leave of the house we've been in for 15 years. It's definitely a time of changes and there's a lot I'll miss (like Graeter's ice cream -- where did the key lime pie flavor go??), but, I do have to say it will be nicer to vist my parents in Florida in the winter than up here :)

Sunday, July 24, 2005

Off to Tampa

Admission ticket? Check. Flight information? Check. Suitcase? Check. Study books? Check. Anxiety? Check check check.

At least there will be palm trees around outside the testing center. Good luck to everyone taking the bar this week.

Tuesday, July 19, 2005

Cool news

Roberts for the Supreme Court nomination. The rumors I heard turned out to be right.

EDIT: Here's the Post article, and SA has lots of commentary. I think this is a great choice.

Sunday, July 17, 2005

T minus 9

I have my study schedule written out for the next seven days (which includes my intent to do the three full practice exams BarBri gives us -- one more multistate and two more Florida ones) and so getting ready for this exam is pretty much going to be my exclusive focus until it's done. But before I check out for ten days, a partisan aside to last for that time, if I may :) It comes from this NYT article on Democrats and their belief that among the main reasons Republicans are doing so well is that the Democrats just aren't framing their issues right. But if only they could use the right words like us clever Republicans, then surely the people would have to come round to their way of thinking. Well, you can read the article for yourself (it's interesting), but one paragraph I noted was this one on the Dems' relative success in the filibuster showdown a few months ago:

For their part, Democrats were euphoric at having played the G.O.P. to a draw. The facts of the filibuster fight hadn't necessarily favored them; in reality, the constitutional principle of "checks and balances" on which the Democrats' case was based refers to the three branches of government, not to some parliamentary procedure, and it was actually the Democrats who had broken with Senate tradition by using the filibuster to block an entire slate of judges. ("An irrelevancy beyond the pay grade of the American voter," [leading Democratic pollster Geoff] Garin retorted when I pointed this out.)

A rather condescending attitude towards the people Garin probably likes to suppose himself to be a good representative of, no? At the least, an arrogant attitude towards the people he'd like to be persuading to his view of things (apparently with dumbed-down, easy-to-grasp phrases). Quite.

The undesirables

Via Dawn Eden, a link to this strong piece from George Neumayr on eugenic abortion. He believes that as more doctors become afraid of being sued under "wrongful birth" or even "wrongful life" suits for not providing enough prenatal information so that parents can decide to abort, and as more parents with disabled or even just possibly disabled children are choosing to abort, we have already come a long way towards widespread acceptance of a new eugenics. As one disabled rights activist said, what this promotes is a mentality that being disabled is literally a fate worse than death. What does that say to people who are handicapped in some way but who are inspiring, wonderful, functional people -- or to those who are dependent and struggling but who all are still human beings with integral worth? What does this say to parents who know their children may have genetic conditions or birth defects and still have the courage to raise their children to the best of their ability? As Neumayr writes, the shift taking place is from the choice to abort to the duty to abort, when a child is or could be disabled. After all, abortion is more economical (your insurance might not have covered disability in any event) and supposedly less emotionally taxing and really, just easier on the parents. Never mind the effects of abortion on the soul or on a marriage -- or on the child itself, who never gets a chance to live. What a terrible situation all around.

I've written about wrongful birth suits here, the desire for "genetically perfect" children here, and thoughts on suffering and utilitarian views of life here.

Friday, July 15, 2005

Legal misnomers, and what God has joined

Senior year of college I did a small internship with a public defense and family lawyer in South Bend. I got to help with one issue relating to an adoption case, but otherwise all the "family" law issues dealt with divorces and child support. The incongruency struck me again this week when we had our family law lecture, wherein about 15 minutes (out of three and a half hours) dealt with marriage and adoption, and the entire rest of the time dealt with antenuptial agreements (premarital contracts in expectation that there will be eventually be a postmarital time), common law annulment, divorce, distribution of assets, alimony, child custody, and child support. Yesterday on our practice Florida exam one of the questions was a "family law" question, and I did well enough in neatly going through the issues one by one on the fact pattern couple's divorce -- but I couldn't help but think the whole field should just be renamed "divorce law" since that seems to be the primary focus of the field.

Sorting through marital assets and alimony calculations also leads to reflection on the ways in which divorce is truly a wrenching event, something that's simply wrong no matter how common it is. Except in the cases of your Hollywood two-month marriages (in which divorce is more like a regular break-up) or dangerous and abusive situations (where divorce may be necessary to protect yourself and your kids), divorce, and especially no-fault divorce, is an ugly thing. It breaks apart something that isn't meant to be broken apart. Like most people, I've known families where the parents got divorced when their children were young, were preadolescents, were teenagers, were college students, or were even adults themselves. It never seems to be any less confusing or devastating, and for what? Sure, most children and adult children of divorce turn out to be just fine. But also for most, divorce leaves a scar that didn't have to be there. Kids aren't supposed to deal with their parents dating new people, aren't supposed to have to smooth over interactions between their parents at family events, aren't supposed to have to choose which parent to spend time with, aren't supposed to quantify their parents' contributions to their lives in terms of dollar amounts and number of days of visitation. Kids are supposed to be able to trust that their mom and dad will stay together, for their sake and also for each other's, because that's the promise they made. Spouses are supposed to be able to trust in that promise as well, so that one person can't just walk away for no reason (for no fault) even if the other wants to save the relationship. Marriage isn't supposed to be the kind of promise that you can extricate yourself from by claiming boredom, unhappiness, impatience, a need for independence, or a need to be truer to yourself. Marriage is about putting someone else's needs ahead of your own, loving and forgiving even in difficult times, and honoring commitments and duties to your children and your spouse -- because it's what you promised, and it's what is right. When Christ says that "for this reason a man shall leave his father and mother and be joined to his wife, and the two shall become one flesh," it expresses a powerful reality. Divorce wrenches apart what is one flesh, and in doing so it hurts the spouses, their children, and the community.

Right then, pardon the rant . . . I suppose I should get back to the practice exam review. A bientot.

The enemy within

Speaking of European-born Islamist terrorists, Charles Krauthammer has a good op-ed today discussing the problem, with particular reference to the unrepentant, brutal murderer of Dutch filmmaker Theo van Gogh:

Last Nov. 2 Theo van Gogh, Dutch filmmaker and descendant of the painter, was cycling through Amsterdam. He was accosted by Mohammed Bouyeri, who shot him six times as van Gogh pleaded, "We can still talk about it! Don't do it!" Bouyeri then cut his throat with a kitchen knife, practically severing his head. Bouyeri was not done. He then took a five-page Islamist manifesto and with his knife impaled it on van Gogh's chest.

On trial now in the Netherlands, Bouyeri is unrepentant. In court he turned to van Gogh's grieving mother and with infinite cruelty said to her, "I do not feel your pain." He feels instead glory.

Bouyeri lived on unemployment benefits for several years before the murder. More on his trial here and the broader nature of the threat here.

But they liked cricket

Here's the Post's description of Britain's first suicide bombers: one was a special ed teacher, one just got a Mercedes as a graduation present, two loved cricket matches. Oh, and several had been to Pakistan in the last few years, at least one drove an extra half-hour to mosque for one with more radical messages (not too hard to find in Britain), and ultimately all of them became murderers. I saw one interview where a man from Leeds expressed his bewilderment that the men could have become terrorists, because they weren't economically deprived. The comment was strange: did he mean to imply that, had the bombers been poorer, it would somehow have made it more understandable that they would murder dozens and wound hundreds? But actually the comment could be important, because the myth has persisted in the West that suicide bombers or terrorists must all be desperate, oppressed, or impoverished, when in fact many have families (including young children), are educated and well-off, and live in places where any religious oppression that may be occurring isn't of Muslims. Somehow they've convinced themselves that the word "martyr" doesn't refer to one suffering and dying for his faith at the hands of other persecutors, but actually means committing suicide and murdering innocent others (preferably as many as possible) in the process. This is dangerous, wrong, and not at all justifiable.

If people like the man in Leeds start to realize that the problem of terrorism is one of fanaticism and not of poverty, they might be better equipped to start dealing with the problem. It's just devastating that it takes an attack like last week's to make an impact.

Monday, July 11, 2005

Back in business

My computer is fixed, which makes me happy :) I've spent a little while reinstalling programs and making it functional, and it seems to be working well. Quieter than in its previous iteration, too. In any event, now that I have my computer back . . . I have to buckle down for the bar. I'm definitely starting to hit panic mode, since even though I think I'm doing all right on Multistate stuff (with the glaring exception of Property) there are an awful lot of state subjects to be studied. I'm sure I'll be posting some, but otherwise, the two-week countdown is on.

Thursday, July 07, 2005

Underground

Woke up this morning to news of the British terrorist attacks, which were awful. When I was in London I lived right off Edgware Road around the corner from the tube stop and rarely stopped to think about terrorism, especially given that by the time I lived there the Real IRA and other such groups always phoned ahead if they were going to set off a bomb. Now it would be impossible not to think about it. My prayers (along with so many others') are with the victims today. I have every confidence the British will stand firm in the face of the attacks -- Tony Blair has been admirably steadfast since 9/11 -- and not capitulate the way the Spanish did last year.

Computer should be fixed by Monday. I'll be at all-day MBE reviews this weekend in the meantime.

Tuesday, July 05, 2005

Walking on ice

Still waiting to hear back from Best Buy on whether my computer is salvageable or whether I need to get a new one. In the meantime, I took a break after the Florida Partnerships lecture today (and Trusts practice essay in the morning) to go see March of the Penguins, which is a really cute documentary about a year in the life of emperor penguins. It would play better in IMAX, but was a nice movie as it was with some pretty impressive photography. And how can you not love the birds waddling and sliding together across the ice shelf, with their fuzzy baby penguins? :)

Friday, July 01, 2005

Philosopher-president

The AP has this report on Fr. John Jenkins starting his new job as president of Notre Dame today. I'm optimistic about his tenure, particularly given comments like this:

Jenkins said the Catholic character should permeate every part of life at Notre Dame, whether it is studying religion, literature or technology.

"At Notre Dame you can have conversations that bring in faith and morality as well as the kind of technical or scientific or intellectual issues in an integrated away," he said. "We are really distinctive in that and it's a tremendous contribution we can make to society and the world."

Keeping -- strengthening -- the Catholic character at ND should be a primary focus of Fr. Jenkins. Thousands of Irish faithful will be watching in hopes that it is.

All she wrote

No, I'm not talking about Justice O'Connor's retirement, but rather about my computer, which yesterday suddenly displayed the Blue Screen of Death, gave a sad little electronic wheeze like the Millennium Falcon when its hyperdrive fails, and proceeded to refuse to boot up even to safe mode. I think, if it's not quite dead yet, it's pretty much gone. Now I am hoping I can get it to a diagnostic technician sometime over the weekend so that at the very least some of my data can be recovered -- I'm sure it's still on there, there's just a major block when it comes to loading the operating system. In any event, it looks like I need to add a computer to my list of major purchases to be made this month. Lovely. In the meantime, I suppose I can use my computer-free time (when I'm not borrowing computer time at my boyfriend's house) to maybe, I don't know, study for the bar exam more.

That would probably be a good option for me :) We did our all-day Multistate practice exam today at BarBri and I didn't do too badly, but I definitely need to show more improvement by the end of the month.

But about Justice O'Connor and replacement rumors . . . some interesting posts here and here, Post article here. Also, In the Agora is in good form today, with posts by Paul Musgrave on court-packing, and Joshua Claybourn on potential nominee (and Domer!) Emilio Garza.