VOTE TOMORROW!!!

11/3/2008

OK people.  One day left.

VOTE VOTE VOTE VOTE VOTE VOTE VOTE VOTE VOTE VOTE VOTE VOTE VOTE VOTE VOTE VOTE VOTE VOTE VOTE VOTE VOTE VOTE VOTE VOTE VOTE VOTE VOTE VOTE VOTE VOTE VOTE VOTE VOTE VOTE VOTE VOTE VOTE VOTE VOTE VOTE VOTE VOTE VOTE VOTE VOTE VOTE VOTE VOTE VOTE VOTE VOTE VOTE VOTE VOTE VOTE VOTE VOTE VOTE VOTE VOTE VOTE VOTE VOTE VOTE VOTE VOTE VOTE VOTE VOTE VOTE VOTE VOTE VOTE VOTE VOTE VOTE VOTE VOTE VOTE VOTE VOTE VOTE VOTE VOTE VOTE VOTE VOTE VOTE VOTE VOTE VOTE VOTE VOTE VOTE VOTE VOTE VOTE VOTE VOTE VOTE VOTE VOTE VOTE VOTE VOTE VOTE VOTE VOTE VOTE VOTE VOTE VOTE VOTE VOTE VOTE VOTE VOTE VOTE VOTE VOTE VOTE VOTE VOTE VOTE VOTE VOTE VOTE VOTE VOTE VOTE VOTE VOTE VOTE VOTE VOTE VOTE VOTE VOTE VOTE VOTE VOTE VOTE VOTE VOTE VOTE VOTE VOTE VOTE VOTE VOTE VOTE VOTE VOTE VOTE VOTE VOTE VOTE VOTE VOTE VOTE VOTE VOTE VOTE VOTE VOTE VOTE VOTE VOTE VOTE VOTE VOTE VOTE VOTE VOTE VOTE VOTE VOTE VOTE VOTE VOTE VOTE VOTE VOTE VOTE VOTE VOTE VOTE VOTE VOTE VOTE VOTE VOTE VOTE VOTE VOTE VOTE VOTE VOTE VOTE VOTE VOTE VOTE VOTE VOTE VOTE VOTE VOTE VOTE VOTE VOTE VOTE VOTE VOTE VOTE VOTE VOTE VOTE VOTE VOTE VOTE VOTE VOTE VOTE VOTE VOTE VOTE VOTE VOTE VOTE VOTE VOTE VOTE VOTE VOTE VOTE VOTE VOTE VOTE VOTE VOTE VOTE VOTE VOTE VOTE VOTE VOTE VOTE VOTE VOTE VOTE VOTE VOTE VOTE VOTE VOTE VOTE VOTE VOTE VOTE VOTE VOTE VOTE VOTE VOTE VOTE VOTE VOTE VOTE VOTE VOTE VOTE VOTE VOTE VOTE VOTE VOTE VOTE VOTE VOTE VOTE VOTE VOTE VOTE VOTE VOTE VOTE VOTE VOTE VOTE VOTE VOTE VOTE VOTE VOTE VOTE VOTE VOTE VOTE VOTE VOTE VOTE VOTE VOTE VOTE VOTE VOTE VOTE VOTE VOTE VOTE VOTE VOTE VOTE VOTE VOTE VOTE VOTE VOTE VOTE VOTE VOTE VOTE VOTE VOTE VOTE VOTE VOTE VOTE VOTE VOTE VOTE VOTE VOTE VOTE VOTE VOTE VOTE VOTE VOTE VOTE VOTE VOTE VOTE VOTE VOTE VOTE VOTE VOTE VOTE VOTE VOTE VOTE VOTE VOTE VOTE VOTE VOTE VOTE VOTE VOTE VOTE VOTE VOTE VOTE VOTE VOTE VOTE VOTE VOTE VOTE VOTE VOTE VOTE VOTE VOTE VOTE VOTE VOTE VOTE VOTE VOTE VOTE VOTE VOTE VOTE VOTE VOTE VOTE VOTE VOTE VOTE VOTE VOTE VOTE VOTE VOTE VOTE VOTE VOTE VOTE VOTE VOTE VOTE VOTE VOTE VOTE VOTE VOTE VOTE VOTE VOTE VOTE VOTE VOTE VOTE VOTE VOTE VOTE VOTE VOTE VOTE VOTE VOTE VOTE VOTE VOTE VOTE VOTE VOTE VOTE VOTE VOTE VOTE VOTE VOTE VOTE VOTE VOTE VOTE VOTE VOTE VOTE VOTE VOTE VOTE VOTE VOTE VOTE VOTE VOTE VOTE VOTE VOTE VOTE VOTE VOTE VOTE VOTE VOTE VOTE VOTE VOTE

No Comments

laughing and crying (all in a good way)

10/29/2008

I haven’t been posting too much about the election, even though (as with every campaign cycle) I’m completely overinvested and reading about 150 blogs on the topic (thanks google reader!). I have a tendency to get burnt out, and forget just how profound this election is. Which is why, when I found myself sitting in front of my computer on Monday night reading this story, I started crying.  And I don’t just mean that I got choked up.  Full-on, tears rolling down my face, sobbing.

Amanda Jones, 109, the daughter of a man born into slavery, has lived a life long enough to touch three centuries. And after voting consistently as a Democrat for 70 years, she has voted early for the country’s first black presidential nominee.

On the same note, meet Charles…

And, of course, Obama himself giving his closing argument speech. I particularly like how he manages to tie in, pretty seamlessly, the theme of his 2004 convention speech about red america and blue america. Talk about running a fabulous campaign that allows you to make a callback like that.

So then, of course, I had to find some stuff to make me laugh, because I’d end up crying the whole week over the stress of this election season…

The first one’s been around for a while, but it makes me crack up every time I see it. As a long-time Les Mis fan (instead of a sweet sixteen, I took my 5 best friends to the city to see the show, and I’m fairly certain I can still sing the entire soundtrack from beginning to end), this is just so spot on…

and finally, from the Obama campaign…all of this excitement is fantastic, but remember to ACTUALLY GO OUT AND VOTE NEXT TUESDAY. Seriously.

No Comments

bookends…

08/28/2008

I like to think I’m not an overly sentimental person, but in actuality, I can be a total sap. So it wasn’t entirely surprising that, sitting at home by myself watching Barack Obama accept the nomination for President of the United States as the candidate for the Democratic Party, my eyes welled up a bit with tears. In the day-to-day watching of the campaign, and in the weighty analysis of everything from policy positions to lapel pins, we sometimes forget how momentous this moment, even without regard to the positions either candidate takes, is. On the 45th anniversary of the March on Washington, an African-American has been nominated as the candidate of a major political party.

For everything about this country that could be better, for everything in the last eight years that has caused me profound disappointment at how we, as a country, have squandered global opportunities in favor of narrow-minded, irrational and downright unconstitutional agendas, sometimes…

sometimes we still strive to live up to the dream…

No Comments

Happy July 4th!

07/4/2008

When in the Course of human events it becomes necessary for one people to dissolve the political bands which have connected them with another and to assume among the powers of the earth, the separate and equal station to which the Laws of Nature and of Nature’s God entitle them, a decent respect to the opinions of mankind requires that they should declare the causes which impel them to the separation.

We hold these truths to be self-evident, that all men are created equal, that they are endowed by their Creator with certain unalienable Rights, that among these are Life, Liberty and the pursuit of Happiness. That to secure these rights, Governments are instituted among Men, deriving their just powers from the consent of the governed, That whenever any Form of Government becomes destructive of these ends, it is the Right of the People to alter or to abolish it, and to institute new Government, laying its foundation on such principles and organizing its powers in such form, as to them shall seem most likely to effect their Safety and Happiness. Prudence, indeed, will dictate that Governments long established should not be changed for light and transient causes; and accordingly all experience hath shewn that mankind are more disposed to suffer, while evils are sufferable than to right themselves by abolishing the forms to which they are accustomed. But when a long train of abuses and usurpations, pursuing invariably the same Object evinces a design to reduce them under absolute Despotism, it is their right, it is their duty, to throw off such Government, and to provide new Guards for their future security. Such has been the patient sufferance of these Colonies; and such is now the necessity which constrains them to alter their former Systems of Government…

No Comments

things I like to read

06/18/2008

One of the less typical blogs that I read with regularity is Arthur Frommer Online. Frommer, who has been writing about travel for 50 or so years, has some really good insights into the travel industry. While he does, of course, often post about travel deals and whatnot, much of the time his writing takes on a more…political…bent. He writes about how to travel cost effectively even in the era of the declining dollar. Whether you should or shouldn’t travel to various unstable parts of the world, and lately, he’s been on a tear about Amtrak.

The latest: The moment may have arrived: We may at last be on the brink of empowering Amtrak to offer a sensible method of alternative travel in the U.S.

I’ve never quite understood why we have such crappy rail service in the US, compared to Europe. Over there, I could bicycle across France secure in the knowledge that if I got tired, there was a nearby train to take me and my bike to the next town. And it was completely sensible and both time and cost effective to travel by high-speed rail from Brig, Switzerland to Paris, France. A distance that would have pretty much required flying in this country. As someone who regularly used amtrak to go between philly and nyc when I was in school, I’m very excited to see some real movement to encourage train use in this country. It’s too bad that it took getting completely screwed by the oil industry to get there.

No Comments

overwhelmed…

05/17/2008

I kept reading the news this week and thinking “hmm, that might be something to blog about” and then proceeded to get distracted by other things, like work. and TV. and rearranging my closet. Yeah. This was a week of serious procrastination. So much so, that I have to go in to work at some point this weekend to catch up on something that I totally could have gotten done during the week except that I kept putting it off and then got hit with a bunch of stuff that needed to get done by Friday. So that was smart.

So, in an effort to put off going into the office just a bit more, here’s a list of the things that I thought about blogging about this week but never got around to…

  • Edwards endorses Obama (finally). Just in time for it to make a really big difference in the last three remaining primaries. Good job waiting until it’s both a foregone conclusion and utterly useless in having any effect.
  • California Supreme Court overturns gay marriage ban. I have to say I was genuinely happy about this, particularly given how much more influential California is than Massachusetts on an electoral level, but I also wondered why these things always seem to happen in a way that will drive the fundies out in droves during a Presidential election year. All in all though, good news.
  • Oscar Pistorius can compete in the Olympics (if he qualifies). A little less obvious, and I normally don’t talk about work, but I had to throw this one in here since my firm actually represented Pistorius pro bono. Very cool.
  • President Bush, apparently forgetting that his own grandfather did significant business with the Nazis, compared Democrats to Nazi appeasers. By quoting a conservative Republican in 1939 who wanted to negotiate with Hitler. Someone needs to explain history to Bush, because “talking” is not quite the same thing as “allowing Germany to annex half of the sudetenland without any substantial opposition”.

And on that note, maybe someone should put this guy in the same history class.

I’m not normally a big fan of misogynist-in-chief Matthews, but I nearly snorted my coffee through my nose from laughing so hard when I saw this the other morning.

No Comments

Trading Paris for London

04/22/2008

With the death of congestion pricing here in New York City, Streetsblog takes an in-depth look at our next best alternative – a Paris-type model of street reclamation for public transport and cycling. I would personally love this, as I’ve been trying to figure out how to ride my bike to work for years (only to be hampered by crazy traffic and antiquating building policies that won’t let me bring my bike inside).

In related news, I’m totally in love with the Dahon Glide P8.

No Comments

bad blogger!

04/11/2008

Two whole posts in March! I know, I’m a very bad person. Perhaps it was all the time that I spent actually getting those India photos up and running. Five years ago, it made perfect sense to have my own photo pages. It was certainly before Flickr became mainstream (or even existed). I’m afraid I missed the boat on that one.

Perhaps it’s because I keep thinking I should talk about the election, but I’ve already got election fatigue and we haven’t even finished the damn democratic primary season. It’s just getting really ugly between the dems, and I’m not sure that it’s helping. And I’m speaking as someone who doesn’t have an irrational dislike of either of them. Of course, I’d vote for my stapler before I voted for McCain (and seriously, nevermind that he such mysoginistic asshole that he actually called his wife a c***, what does it say about his judgement that he doesn’t have the presence of mind to not do it in front of a room full of reporters?!).

Or, perhaps it’s because I’ve been working like crazy. The late night car service people got to know me very well for the last few weeks. I don’t really mind, it’s part of the job, but I am a bit exhausted. But my 3rd deal in two weeks is closing today, so I should be a bit calmer. My biggest problem isn’t the work, it’s that, when I get stressed out, and particularly when I have to get to the office earlier than my usual start time, I get this really annoying “waking” insomnia. Let’s say that, normally I wake up between 6 and 7 to go to the gym and get to work by 9:30. But instead, I have to be in the office at 8. No problem, right? I’ll wake up at my normal time but just skip the gym, right? Except that, ignoring all sense of tiredness (and my alarm clock which hasn’t gone off), my body decides I should wake up at 4am. So I can lie there for 3 hours trying to go back to sleep until I realize that it’s pointless and just get up. Which is why I’m sitting here at 6:30 in the morning explaining why I haven’t written a post in so long.

But it should calm down after today, and I’m looking forward to sleeping away most of the weekend. When I get some more energy, I’ll actually do an entry explaining some of those 600+ photos that I posted.

No Comments

primary day!

02/5/2008

I voted bright and early this morning.  There wasn’t really a wait, but people were pretty steadily streaming in and out of my polling place (one of the workers told me that they haven’t had downtime all morning).  So that was cool.  Looking at the little pile of green (democratic) and pink (republican) cards that indicate who voted next to the machine, there appeared to be about 50 green cards to each pink card.  Of course, I live on the upper west side, which is the liberalist liberality around. 

And ultimately, I did vote for Obama (Edwards was still on the ballot, and I thought about pulling that lever for a few seconds, but then I snapped back to reality).

By the way, even though apparently millions of dollars have been poured into improving voting technologies, we’re still voting on the antiquated lever machines.  While I personally love them in a nostalgic sort of way (I learned how to vote on them, when my junior high school would "borrow" the county machines for school elections), I can’t help wondering where all of the money has gone.

No Comments

esoteric law school subjects

11/13/2007

The NY Times this weekend had an article on my absolutely favorite property class topic ever – adverse possession

Essentially, if you take certain steps, you can claim title to someone else’s property without, you know, paying for it:

Under the current law, as articulated by the Court of Appeals in June 2006 in the case of Walling v. Przybylo, a claim of adverse possession can be made if an individual “openly, notoriously and exclusively” uses someone else’s property continuously for 10 years, believing he has the right to do so.

It’s a favorite of law school professors, particularly around exam time, and one of the property professors at my law school (not mine) was actually attempting to adversely possess a neighboring piece of property and would discuss it in class. 

So anyway, why did I love this subject?  Because I actually investigated at one point the possibility of having my dad adversely possess the land across the road from our old house in the Berkshires.  The owner was absentee, the house was an eyesore (including a bright orange tarp instead of a roof), and I figured, if we could spend enough time fixing things up and generally using the property as our own, we could, eventually, lay claim to it outright.  However, as I ALSO learned, you cannot claim adverse possession over property of someone who is in prison.  And yep, the owner was apparently put in jail for arson, when he tried to burn down the house for the insurance money.  It may seem silly now, but the attempt to practically apply this esoteric section of property law to my own life actually helped me understand and remember the concept.  Which came in really handy at exam time.

(by the way, the law actually varies depending on the state – in some, it only takes five years.  In others, you need to also make "substantial improvements" to the property). 

Oh, and the next time you’re walking around New York City, keep an eye out for little plaques embedded in the sidewalk on streetcorners, that say things like "property of…", particularly where buildings, for decorative reasons, don’t extent all the way to the property line.  These are there to give pedestrians "permission" to cross into the space.  Because explicit permission to enter property automatically defeats claims of adverse possession.  After learning this little fact from my professor, I’ve noticed hundreds of these while walking down manhattan streets.

No Comments