Friday, January 07, 2005

Word of the day

u·su·fruc·tu·ar·y: One that holds property by usufruct.

What is "usufruct" you ask? Well of course it means "The right to use and enjoy the profits and advantages of something belonging to another as long as the property is not damaged or altered in any way."

Gotta love reading cases from the 19th century which cite King James' Bible, Roman Senate decrees, and Ancient Greece. I am hitting the dictionary hard for these days.

Let's use these great words in real life: I am the usufructurary of my parent's house this weekend while they are in San Diego. Or: May I usufruct the car tonight, roomie?

Class dismissed. That was too much fun.

49 percent nation

According to a recent AP poll, Bush has a 49% approval rating and 49 percent disapproval. The remaining 2%? Maybe they are the Debolt machines. By the way, other polls have Bush even lower (like 47%). That's the worst a re-elected president has ever faired since they started modern polling.

Presidents Reagan and Clinton had job approval ratings near six in 10 just before their inauguration for a second term, according to Gallup polls.

President Nixon's approval was in the 60s right after his 1972 re-election, slid to about 50 percent right before his inauguration and then moved back over 60 percent. President Eisenhower's job approval was in the low 70s just before his second inauguration in 1957.

This president makes me feel like there is another aspect of my life that I am repeating 35 years after my dad. We graduated from college 35 years apart, will graduate from law school 35 years apart, and will be married 35 years apart. Bush is 32 years apart from Nixon, but close enough. Both managed to get re-elected despite people's suspicions because the other side's candidate was so terrible. And now people are having buyer's remorse.

Personally, I doubt Bush's social security elimination gambit will succeed. Primarily because of an email leak from policy guys in the White House saying they need to cut benefits to finance the conversion, something Bush has explicitly promised not to do. Plus, the Democratic Party, if it stands for anything any more, stands for the New Deal and Social Security. This is a program they will fight to the death over because it is how they got to be as powerful as they got.

The Democrats might crumble on Alberto Gonzales, because they don't have the votes, even though he gave Bush bad advice as Governor and President. Further, Gonzales has proven unwilling to the necessary work to give Bush the right information, not just want Bush wants to hear. This is why he should not be confirmed. The whole torture thing is just another symptom of a larger problem: syncopation.

Thursday, January 06, 2005

Kabuki Theater

I am actionally glad that I missed the Debate over Ohio's electors and the posturing by all sides about voters. If the congress really cared about the voters there would be a nationalized election system, federally funded with clear rules on what is and is not allowed. How come we are the only Industrialized, non-post-Soviet nation that can't seem to have elections that isn't mired in doubt (1876, 1960, 2000, 2004)? What's so damned hard?

Instead I have been longing strangely to get back to school. At the bookstore I encountered classmates and chatted them up for a bit. Although I have 70 pages to read for the first day of Criminal Law, I am very excited to be taught by Judge Cassell. We even get to sit in on his proceedings later this month. By all accounts he is my type of conservative-- smart, consistant, and intellectually honest. Plus, he is supposed to be a good teacher to boot. Perhaps I am a big nerd, but I find all this stuff interesting and am excited to learn. I am also looking forward to doing Pro Bono projects this semester and seeing if I actually like the practice of public interest law or just the idea of it.

School starts on Monday; maybe I will get a head start this weekend. Oh by the way, the Utes are 4.5 in the nation after their Fiesta Bowl crushing of Pitt. I think they should have played a better team like Auburn or Texas. Personally, I always thought Texas and Oklahoma were overrated. But now that Urban Meyer is gone, I can go back to not caring about currupted College Football.

Wednesday, January 05, 2005

Ethics reform

I agree with Bull Moose Blog, we need a Pennsylvania Avenue Project and get rid of the rampant cronyism and corruption from the GOP-controlled Congress to the GOP-controlled White House and K Street.

There is a big need to prevent former members of Congress and former White House employees from landing cushing jobs at big K Street lobbying outfits. Prime Example: ex- Energy and Commerce Chair Bill Tauzin, whose only delima was whether to go with the pharmacutical industry (who Rx drug benefit handout/legislation he drafted) or big music industry; he chose big Pharma and got $2 million a year. I think we need to go further and get a no nepotism clause for government jobs and lobbying. Linda Dashcle should not be allowed to lobby for the airline industry anymore than Orin Hatch's son gets to land a huge job in a law/lobbying firm. It should be easier to bring charges against members of Congress for violating the law and the so-called Ethics committee needs to get some dentures after DeLay and Co. knocked out all its teeth.

This a fight Democrats can win. They lost the house in 1994 because of scandal and arrogance of power (and raising taxes and the gun control bill), they can win it back by being the party of Mr. Smith goes to Washington.

Tuesday, January 04, 2005

Clark is back with a vengeance

I didn't watch it but per a Kos Diary, it sounds like my presidential candidate is back in action.

General Wesley Clark told Hardball's Chris Matthews in unequivocal terms that the nomination of Gonzales for AG was an outrage and unacceptable because Gonzalez believes (1) torture is permissible under American law;(2) that the Geneva Conventions are "quaint" (3) the President has unfettered power.

"How could Americans feel confident in the rule of law with an Attorney General who does not respect the most basic tenets of American law?"

Clark responded to Matthews by saying that he would indeed testify against anyone who signed off the documents Gonzales approved.

Good for him. He sounds like the guy that enchanted me in 2003. He is a straight shooter and an anti-politician in a time of out of control spin. I am glad there are still honest people who seek the highest office in the land. He still has my support. Wes is the best choice for 2008.

Monday, January 03, 2005

Two fewer liberals

Shirley Chisholm, a minority rights advocate who was the first black woman elected to Congress in 1968 and later the first black person to run for president in 1972, joins Representative Robert Matusi as liberal minority democrats who passed away in 2005.

Chisholm represented New York's Bedford-Stuyvesant section of Brooklyn, the area that inspired RFK to work towards social justice and become a champion of the African-American cause. Matsui was born in a Japanese internment camp and represented Sacramento for decades. In 1988, he helped shepherd the Japanese-American Redress Act through Congress, in which the government formally apologized for the World War II internment program and offered token compensation to victims. Matsui was also head of the DCCC in this year's ill-fated attempt to regain power in the US House of Representatives (where Democrats have been out of power for a decade now). Matsui had been battling Milo Dysplastic Disorder, a rare disorder that causes an inability of the bone marrow to produce blood products, such as red blood cells, white blood cells and platelets.

During her failed presidential bid, Chisholm went to the hospital to visit George Wallace, her rival candidate and ideological opposite, after he had been shot,— an act that appalled her followers.

"He said, `What are your people going to say?' I said: `I know what they're going to say. But I wouldn't want what happened to you to happen to anyone.' He cried and cried," she recalled.

That shows a person's character. These two people were all that was right with being liberal: they had beliefs and values which they stood up for, even if they knew they were unpopular, even with their own constituents/constituencies.