Wednesday, March 31, 2004

The L Word - Looking Back 

Road trip and flashbacks - whee!

That was nice of Tina to invite Jenny along. I couldn't read Marina's reaction. Was she hoping to run into her at The Planet over the weekend? Is she concerned that Jenny's going for the full lesbian identity, and not just interested in her? Has Francesca left yet? What ever came of the wine dumping?

Mr. Piddles gets pills three times a day? Yikes! What's wrong with him? Or are they kitty multivitamins? I wonder if Kit knew what she was getting into when she agreed to cat-sit? I used to cat-sit for a neighbor when I was in high school. Whenever she was on vacation I had to go by twice a day to feed them, which included cutting up raw liver and kidney from the deli counter for them (ack!), mixing it with their canned food, and giving each of them several pills. But the neighbor was a little crazy. And she paid me well.

The Jenny-Dana silent interaction was fabulous when Alice's mom was telling her coming out story. I'm glad their not freaky about the abandoned sex efforts of last week.

I loved Alice's flashback. She was such a great angry, grunge-rocking, full of her own importance and lust-for-the-new-bass-player rockrgrl. If you're looking for a movie to rent, check out All Over Me, in which Leisha Hailey also rocks out.

I wasn't digging the look Bette was sporting during the flashback. The current look suits her better.

Of course Dana had an early teen coming out story. And of course Shane's occured in elementary school. But Dana and Shane seemed to be confusing their identities a bit in this episode, what with Dana going along with the gratuitous sex moment, and Shane turning down the opportunity for, well, whatever she wanted from pretty much any woman in that hotel, in order to call Cheri. And was she dancing around the idea of saying The L Word???? At least she had the courtesy to thank the woman who raved about how cute she was.

Apparently when Dana was picking up the casual sex tips from Shane, she wasn't paying attention to the "one night stand" portion of the lesson. Oof - that hospitality chick is really scary. Anyone who refers to you in the third person, by your full name, while having sex is someone to be avoided at all costs. Opportunistic, leechy, manipulative, controlling... What? No, I don't have any really painful personal experiences with people like that. What would make you think that? Let's hope that relationship ends quickly once hospitality chick figures out what a goofball Dana is. I don't think that's what she's hoping to glom herself onto. But we love Dana for it, so shoo, hospitality chick, shoo!

Bette, no! Don't do it! Okay, phew. I was grimacing painfully when they were clearly Tina's hands wrapping around Bette's waist but she clearly assumed they were Candace's. I'm glad she recovered gracefully. Tina doesn't need a big blow up right now. And at least Bette appeared to be horrified at her own behavior after The Kiss. And The Weakness In Me. Brilliant. I love that song. We used to play Joan Armatrading records (yes, vinyl) endlessly in college. The Girl and I saw her perform in Boston last year, and she still puts on an excellent show.

Who would have thought that little Jenny would be holding court at a Dinah Shore party? And then hooking up with a trapeze artist of all things? I'm now picturing Jenny on a trapeze - she is rather freakishly thin, and has been wearing circus-like outfits. I'm glad she didn't go through with the harsh telephone call to Marina, though. Hopefully that means she's realizing that she had some responsibility there, too. Or maybe she's just still being dismantled.

I'm still dismantled over the ending. So many emotions, so little time.

Next week: Tim's friends question his manhood, and Bette & Candace go to jail. I think there will be some trapeze activity in the studio, as well. Hence the questioning of manhood.

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Posted by Beth Henderson at 4:50 PM

AG Tom Reilly - Yes, But 

Frank Phillips of the Boston Globe has a piece on Boston.com with more details about the letter sent by Gov. Romney to Attorney General Tom Reilly, requesting that Reilly petition the SJC for a 2.5 year stay on implementation of gay marriage, and Reilly's response. Apparently the letter lacked any legal arguments. Romney separately stated, regarding the specifics of the "confusion and complications" he fears would come without such a stay:

"I don't feel I am sufficiently schooled as an attorney to say what they might be," said Romney, who has a Harvard Law School degree.

He said that prior to the press conference he had been briefed by a lawyer in his office on a long list of issues that may arise.


So Harvard Law School didn't provide him sufficient schooling, and despite a briefing on a "long list of issues," the only issue he would mention in his press conference was a case where a gay couple married here, moved out of state and then sought a divorce in that state. Given that other states have recently been amenable to dissolving Vermont civil unions, that doesn't seem like an insurmountable issue.

While Reilly has refused to petition the SJC for a stay, given that the SJC has made its decision on the matter quite clear in two separate opinions and that Gov. Romney did not raise any issues not addressed in those opinions, the AG did pull out the 1913 MA law I mentioned in an earlier post. Created during the days when states had differing positions on antimiscegenation laws, this statute bars out of state couples from receiving MA marriage licenses if they would have been barred from marriage license issuance in their home state. Reilly declared that gay couples from the 38 states which have DOMA laws will not be able to receive MA marriage licenses. There is disagreement over whether that law will stand up to scrutiny should couples decide to challenge it. The author of the article referenced above, Raphael Lewis, discussed the issue with Harvard Law School Constitutional Law Professor Laurence Tribe, who is of the opinion that :

"...the issue is cloudier than Reilly or Romney let on and that legal challenges are sure to result if gay couples from other states are refused marriage licenses.

Because the US Constitution forbids discrimination against any class of citizens, Massachusetts officials may be compelled to ignore DOMA laws in other states, Tribe said.
"

If Gov. Romney would make a quick trip across the river to his alma mater, I'm sure Prof. Tribe would be happy to help fill in the self-described gaps in the governor's legal education regarding such constitutional questions.

The NY Times also has an article on the 1913 statute issue and the AG's refusal to request a stay.

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Posted by Beth Henderson at 8:40 AM
Tuesday, March 30, 2004

Blowing Up the Ball 

From Boston.com is the latest summary of where marriage stands in Massachusetts. At the very end the author, Jennifer Peter, mentions that some legislators are still attempting to find ways to circumvent the SJC's decision that denying civil marriage to same sex couples is unconsititutional in Massachusetts. She singles out Holliston State Representative Paul Loscocco:

"Rep. Paul Loscocco, R-Holliston, said Tuesday that he was preparing a bill that would abolish the state's civil marriage law, replacing it with civil unions for both gay and straight couples. Under his bill, which could potentially take effect before May 17, marriage would become solely a religious institution."

So after accusing same sex marriage activists of seeking to destroy the institution of civil marriage, this state lawmaker has determined that he would rather destroy it himself than allow gay couples in. Talk about taking your ball and going home. Plus, if "marriage" would then become a religious institution, would that mean that Massachusetts would recognize as marriage whatever was recognized as marriage by any Massachusetts religious organization? That would mean same sex marriage, as many religious groups in Massachusetts have been active in the effort to include gay couples in recognized marriage. Or would Massachusetts no longer recognize marriage at all for purposes of benefits, obligations and protections? Would the federal government provide recognition to opposite sex couples in civil unions? What is he thinking?

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Posted by Beth Henderson at 3:36 PM

Catching Up 

Perhaps it seems I've been missing for a few days. I like to think of it as wildly attending to everything else. Reading, reading, reading, prep for oral argument for Legal Research and Writing (to be presented at the courthouse in my hometown, where my professor is a judge), working extra hours to get the currently due projects done on time, making plans to see various family members, and most importantly - bowling.

Yes, The Girl and I visited a friend of mine from high school on Saturday night, and after a fabulous Mexican dinner she and her girlfriend made, the four of us went candlepin bowling. For anyone reading this who isn't from the far northeast, candlepin bowling involves a smaller, roughly softball size ball which is held in the hand. The pins are a different shape than ten pin (which we refer to as "big ball bowling"), and you get three balls per frame. Fun was had by all, but now various muscle groups are making their protests known.

Catching up a bit on thoughts from the last few days:

-Pres. Bush's visit to Boston: I walked past the Park Plaza Hotel after all, just to see what was what. My route took me the street behind the hotel. Had a good view of the press check-in tent, lots of police and police dogs, lots of crowd control barriers along the sidewalks, and that was about it. Apparently there were some demonstrators of various stripes in front of the building, but all was quite quiet (limited auto traffic) in back.

-Open Forum on Same Sex Marriage: There was quite a crowd for this event, jointly sponsored by the school branch ACLU and the school branch Republican Club, with all seats filled, people sitting on the floor and standing by the walls, and flowing into the hallway. The Republican club speaker was a former chair of the Massachusetts Republican Committee, while the ACLU speaker was with the Mass. Gay and Lesbian Bar Association. They each spoke for 10 minutes, followed by questions from the audience. Unfortunately I was only able to catch the pre-question portion, as I had to get to a 6:00 class. Also unfortunately, the Republican speaker's presentation was primarily based on no legal authority, and referenced religious foundations and unsourced statements such as: teenaged boys need tough love, and unless there's a man in the house no one will be there to provide it; men are genetically programmed to care only for their own biological children; women need to be supported by a man in order to stay home and provide full time nurturing for the children, as women are better at that sort of thing and should do so; if there is same sex marriage, religious groups will be forced to provide ceremonies and recognize these relationships; same sex marriage should not be allowed because children who come from families which do not have both a mother and a father, who are married to each other, are violent and tend to use drugs and commit crimes. A straight friend of mine commented that she was embarrassed for the Republican Club that they were not able to find a more appropriate speaker, who would address the issues from a legal standpoint or at least provide some backing references for his statements. The only sources he did provide were quotes from gay rights and other social activists from the very early 70's, in support of his statements that gay men and lesbians who are seeking the right to marry are actually seeking to destroy and eliminate the institution of marriage. The ACLU speaker addressed many of the first speaker's misstatements, and moved into a discussion of the legal situation.

-Wonderfalls is continuing to be an excellent show. The Girl likes it better now that the speaking objects have taken a smaller role, with the human characters being the focus of the show. Their take on Gen Y "nonwinners" in Karma Chameleon was excellent. "Don't parse the blurb." And how perfect was it that the Gen Y achiever was pushed back on track from her temporary side trip into slackerdom by the dedicated slacker writing a great article and submitting it in the "achiever's" name? The achiever gets to the top by skirting the system, and the slacker remains in her low stress, low expectation environment by pulling out the Ivy League skills heretofore being ignored? Then in this week's show (Wound-Up Penguin): a toy penguin advocating for a nun! Crack barrel! I also found it telling that the priest, who was the authority figure over the nun who had been at the convent for 12 years, had clearly only been in the priesthood for a few years. His pre-calling child couldn't have been more than 7 or 8 years old. "If you're going to turn to God, we just feel that you should turn to our God." The God of Presbyterians. Ha! We're bobbin' along in our barrel...

-Tru Calling: "Daddy's Girl surprised me. It was kinda... you know... good! Finally! And last week's guest star Clare Kramer was followed up with this week's guest Wade Williams, whose character General Gregor on Buffy was killed by his nemesis Glory, played by Clare Kramer! When Davis unzipped stepmom's body bag and Tru gasped, "Oh god!" I had to rewind and replay several times. It was good acting! I believed it! They didn't make Tru analytical and on top of everything in this episode. She was confused and emoting. It was great! Even Harrison was played well, especially when Deadbeat Dad was poorly advising him to play the field and he caved in (on round 1), the look on his face was that of an ignored little boy whose dad is finally paying attention to him. Then on round 2 when Tru told him to stick to his guns, he just accepted it, spoke up for himself and Lindsey, and it worked out well. I like the addition of Jason Priestley. The slightly worn, slightly aggressive, cynical character works better as a foil than pretty boy Luc. My only complaint (can you believe it?) was Dad's cover story. Why would he think Tru would believe that he, as a former assistant district attorney, would allow himself to be forced to pay protection money to keep a convicted felon from extracting retribution on him? It wasn't a fictitious blackmail - he said himself that the evidence was rather flimsy but sufficient for a jury verdict. If this had happened, the ADA would have the guy arrested. And why did Tru actually believe it? Perhaps it was just confusion and turmoil with all the childhood trauma coming up.

-Second Tru Calling note - The first establishing shot before the walk in the park was a sky cam shot of the Boston Public Gardens, with the duck pond, Hancock tower, Prudential building and other architectural features clearly visible! The second establishing shot was of the George Washington Statue in the Public Gardens. But the actual walking scene was clearly not in either Boston Common or the Public Gardens. They aren't heavily wooded like that.

-Massachusetts Constitutional Convention and aftermath: Yes, one of the amendments passed, which would ban gay marriage but authorize civil unions. The identical amendment would have to be passed at next year's convention before getting near the ballot box in November 2006. And there are legislative elections before then. Plus the marriage licenses are set to begin being issued on May 17 of this year. Gov. Mitt Romney is hoping to convince the SJC to stay enactment, but Attorney General Tom Reilly has stated that he will not make such a request on the governor's behalf. The saga continues, and the clock ticks.

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Posted by Beth Henderson at 10:06 AM
Friday, March 26, 2004

Neither Picks My Pocket Nor Breaks My Leg 

Today's NY Times has an Op-Ed piece, "Jefferson, Madison, Newdow?" written by Kenneth C. Davis. He uses this week's Supreme Court oral arguments in the pledge of allegiance case to frame a discussion of the role of religion in the writing of the constitution. He provides interesting insights into the religious beliefs of Washington and Jefferson, and the notion of being free to practice or not practice religion according to one's own beliefs.

Apparently Jefferson wrote that it was no concern of his whether his neighbor worshiped no god or 20, since the neighbor's belief "neither picks my pocket nor breaks my leg."

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Posted by Beth Henderson at 10:14 AM

Scenes From the Statehouse 

This week's edition of Bay Windows has a guest opinion column by Victoria Steinberg, a current Boston College Law student (I took the LSAT there) and former legislative director for Massachusetts NOW. "An open letter to our legislators" takes us onto the scene at the statehouse on March 11,discusses how the various groups present that day highlight the three sides of the issue, and calls on legislators to reflect on how history will reflect on those who will once again have to choose a side next week as the Constitutional Convention resumes.

Also in this week's issue is an editorial from Bay Windows' editor in chief, Andrew Rapp. Titled "Maybe Romney supports same-sex marriage?" the column explores how it is impossible to claim a valid middle ground in this debate. Once you declare that same sex couples should have access to some benefits of civil marriage, it becomes difficult then to specify those benefits which should not be available, and why.

To illustrate, Rapp relates a series of interactions he had with Gov. Romney's press secretary, Shawn Feddeman. It's good reading.

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Posted by Beth Henderson at 8:33 AM
Thursday, March 25, 2004

Street Closings 

President Bush is attending a fundraising dinner this evening at the Park Plaza, which is a couple of blocks from school. For security reasons many of the streets in the area have been closed all day today and will be until 9 pm. There's also been an advisory that people should avoid the entire Park Plaza area, even on foot. I'm sure that's doing wonders for the many business in that area. Wonder if he'll consider making some donations from his funds raised to compensate the owners. Guess I won't be walking from Copley/Back Bay today, since there's no way to get from there to school without going by Park Plaza, unless I go on a big detour. I need the library time more than the extended walk.

There was quite a flurry of planning before class last evening, since the parking garage used by many of the evening students will apparently be inaccessible.

Today is also the day that the campus ACLU and Republican Club are co-sponsoring an Open Forum on Same Sex Marriage. I wonder how much the opportunity for presidential protesting and/or viewing will cut into the potential attendance for the forum.

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Posted by Beth Henderson at 2:38 PM
Wednesday, March 24, 2004

Zel Miller on the U.N. 

Democratic Georgia Senator Zel Miller, who today announced that he will be leading a "Democrats For Bush" organization, also criticized John Kerry on a number of issues. One of his criticisms had to do with Kerry's position on Iraq. The following is from an AP article by Jeffrey McMurray:

Miller also criticized Kerry's view that more diplomatic channels should have been explored through the United Nations before moving almost unilaterally.

"I cannot imagine the great Democratic Party leaders of past generations waiting with their hands in their pockets while a bunch of dithering diplomats decided the future of the world," Miller said. "That is the worst kind of indecisiveness. That is the wrong kind of leadership at this critical moment in our history."


I had to reread that quote several times to make sure I wasn't misunderstanding it. Nope. Zel Miller doesn't feel that the U.N. is the appropriate body for debating and making decisions which are international/global in nature. That is the exactly what the U.N. is there for, and as it was intended to be by those Democratic Party leaders of past generations who were so involved in its creation and continued existence.

From the U.N. Charter:

"...AND FOR THESE ENDS
to practice tolerance and live together in peace with one another as good neighbours, and

to unite our strength to maintain international peace and security, and

to ensure, by the acceptance of principles and the institution of methods, that armed force shall not be used, save in the common interest...
"

I've gone to the Bush-Cheney campaign site to read the full text of Miller's speech. There's just too much in there for me to even begin... I'm just incredibly happy that Senator Miller will be retiring next year. Hopefully his world view will be retired from popular thought as well.

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Posted by Beth Henderson at 4:57 PM

A Scent of Summer - In the Snow 

We had a dusting of snow last night here in the Boston area. When I first looked out the window this morning, I thought there was fresh snow, but upon closer inspection I saw that the street was totally snow free, so I thought it must have been my imagination. But we really did have a little snow - it's just been warm enough that the pavement melted the snow that landed on it, while the ground was still cold enough to maintain the frozen stuff.

I mention this only because as I was walking from my car to the T station, I noticed a familiar scent in the air. One which I couldn't quite place but which triggered a summer feeling in my brain. It was the smell of fresh rain on warm pavement! That scent that arises from the beach parking lot after a sun shower, or that slowly develops after a drenching rain has stopped and the sudden appearance of a blazing sun is causing steam to rise from the street. Ah, summer. Are you really coming back?

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Posted by Beth Henderson at 9:57 AM

Scalia's Airline Admission 

The NY Times today has an Op-Ed piece by Yale Law School professors Ian Ayres and Barry Nalebuff. They discuss a secondary issue that Justice Scalia raised in his memorandum regarding his decision not to recuse himself from the upcoming Cheney v. United States case (Docket No. 03-475).

In justifying his accepting a ride to Louisiana on Air Force Two, Scalia states that as Cheney returned to Washington prior to the rest of the party, Scalia and his son-in-law purchased round trip tickets to use for the one-way trip home, and therefore spent the same amount of money as he would have if he had not travelled on Air Force Two. He states that the round trip tickets were less expensive than the one-way tickets. Ayres and Nalebuff point out that the airlines have legitimate business reasons for charging more for one-way than round trip tickets, and that they indeed have rules prohibiting the purchase of round-trip for intended one-way travel.

The professors go so far as to label Scalia's purchasing strategy as promissory fraud, and close by suggesting that should a case regarding the pricing policies of airlines, Justice Scalia should perhaps recuse himself.

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Posted by Beth Henderson at 8:34 AM
Tuesday, March 23, 2004

Kleenex Getting Pricey 

At this moment, one of the top headlines on the Yahoo! homepage is: "Kleenex maker to raise prices by six percent."

Yes, this is a top news story, one of the 5 or 6 that merits attention by being headlined on the home page. Dig deeper into the 6 short paragraph article, and you will find that the price hikes will apply to, inter alia, Kleenex tissues and Scott paper towels, and will commence this summer. But don't panic - the hikes will be staggered, first applying to "bathroom tissue, paper towels and napkins" in July, followed by the facial tissue hike in August.

This story ranked higher in the presentation than the news that Bob Edwards will no longer be hosting Morning Edition on NPR after the end of April. NPR is apparently "trying to refresh all the network's broadcasts." Wow. Bob Edwards is like my morning coffee on the drive to the T. He's been bringing me my morning news since I was in college in the early '80s. I may need some Kleenex for his last broadcast. Good thing the price hike won't have gone into effect yet.

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Posted by Beth Henderson at 6:09 PM

The L Word - Liberally 

Let's just call this one The Awkward Episode. Not because the acting, directing or anything else production-related was awkward, because that was all spot on. The characters simply all repeatedly either found themselves or got themselves into incredibly awkward situations. When Bette was describing how some of the pieces in Provocations make her so uncomfortable she can hardly bring herself to look at them, but she knows she must look at them, I was thinking, "I know exactly what you mean."

A run-down of awkward moments:

-Jenny, with incredibly tragic bedhead, is caught spying on Tim by the student who has apparently spent the night. She compounds the awkwardness of the situation by launching into an endless series of statements meant to smooth her exit but which just serve to prolong and expand the humiliation.

-Jenny later points out to Tim that he's putting himself in an awkward situation by carrying on with a student, but she does it so ineptly that the two of them end up having a spat in front of Trish. Awkward for all.

-Bette runs into Angry Woman Yolanda from group at Kit's show. Angry Woman Yolanda asks Kit if the group had fun talking about her since she dropped out. Angry Woman Yolanda is great at creating awkward moments, but Bette is suave as ever and points out that they had enough other issues to discuss, but that group is definitely less intense without her.

-Any scene with Slim Daddy. He just continues to say things that make everyone around him uncomfortable. And was Bette checking out Candace? Repeatedly? No Bette, No!

-"I could use a drink." Not really funny, Kit. A little too soon, I think. And judging by the nightclub audience's nonreaction, definitely awkward.

-"Bette, have you cried yet?" Pause. "I don't need to cry." Awkward for Tina, who is immediately approached by Oscar in order to push her into volunteering, since assisting people who know nothing but despair is the best way to forget your own despair. Okay, I can kind of see where he's going with this, but his delivery just made me wonder "What's this guy's problem?" He seemed more like he was scolding her than offering help. I hope he's not on the Suicide Hotline.

-All scenes involving Francesca. Marina has lost all her poise and self-confidence (and even her perfect posture) since Francesca's whirlwind return visit. Apparently at some point Francesca "rescued" Marina and got her set up with The Planet, and is now using this as leverage to justify requiring that Marina keep house for her and be ready and willing whenever Francesca blows into town, without any obligation of mutual respect or fidelity when she's away.

-The spine was still forgotten or beaten down while they were at The Planet, and Francesca was criticizing everything Marina did, and ordering her around like a handmaiden, which is what I pretty much think Francesca believes Marina to be. Shane and Alice recognized the awkwardness and smoothly excused themselves but Dana, Queen of Awkward that she is, didn't know how to remove herself. Fortunately Francesca jumped in and dumped some more discomfort around by saying pointedly, "Aren't you late for something?"

-I literally clapped my hands and cried out "YAAAAYYYY!!!!" when Marina finally remembered her spine and dumped the two glasses of wine (which Francesca had pooh-poohed as less than worthy) into Francesca's suddenly and rapidly filling suitcase. I thoroughly enjoyed it, but I'm thinking there may have been an awkward moment afterward. We didn't have to see it, though, and can just revel in the rebellion.

-Shane and Dana are making it rather awkward for Alice by their attempts to press her into having a baby and giving it to Bette and Tina. The poor woman doesn't even know if she's actually pregnant and if so, what she would prefer to do, and they're treating it like a done deal.

-While Dana is looking quite hot with her new hairstyle courtesy of Shane and her new outfit courtesy of Alice, the entire concept of her getting together with Jenny was just an awkward situation from the moment either of them first got a glimmer of the idea in their heads. It made for a hysterical scene, though, that's how awkward it was. Thankfully they realized the error before getting in too far.

-As a subset of the above - is Jenny spring-loaded? How did she manage to whip down her top that fast and with one motion? And why on earth did she think that was the smooth thing to do? For that matter, why did she think that outfit works? She vaguely resembles a badly dressed stick figure. "Maybe we should just be friends." Yes, please. You two should never, ever attempt physical contact with each other again.

-Back at the coffee shop, after Dana sat down with her hot new look and they all complimented her, Shane asks Alice pointedly, "What are you doing?" Alice replies quickly, "Nothing." It turns out that Shane was referring to the coffee drinking during possible pregnancy. I initially thought that Shane was bagging Alice for checking out Dana a little too closely. I still think Alice was indeed checking out, and that Alice thought Shane was calling her on it.

-The whole Shane-Cherie-Steve-Cleo situation is just one giant ball o'awkwardness and really bad ideas. But I'm definitely moving on board with the whole "Shane is hot" view of things, especially with the continued use of those glasses, and more insight into her history and personality. I'm also glad that she at least appears to have some insight into the fact that her drug use is problematic. And that she recognized the incredibly poor judgement that would have been demonstrated by any sexual contact with Cleo. She tried to make some good decisions regarding Cherie, but was quickly talked out of that.

-Subset of the above: Cherie - put your freaking leg down! I can understand the initial impulse, but the continued elevation of that fishnet and spiky sandal clad leg as the action continued was just incredibly awkward. Perhaps if you hadn't been in the barber chair it would have worked better, but be willing to modify your approach to fit the situation.

-Shane's putting style was truly bizarre. Her teaching style was fiiiine, however. But that really set her up for the later awkward moment under the tree when mopey teenage girl went in for the kiss.

-Fae Buckley is the Queen of Awkwardness Imposed, but Bette is the Queen of Awkwardness Deflected. Bette's subtle deflection of the issue onto the porn star prodical Buckley daughter, without actually naming names, was brilliant, and pushed Fae into a blatantly hateful attack on apparently live television. Fae's desperate lashing out, blaming the miscarriage on Bette and Tina's mere existence, then calling it a blessing was beyond outrageous, but her follow-up attempt to regain audience favor by going in to offer a comfort hug to the now finally tearful Bette was horrid. Again, Bette handled the situation perfectly and elegantly by blocking Fae's access and issuing a quiet statement, "Monster." Bette finally gets catharsis, Fae shows her stripes, and hopefully the audience sees things as they are. The audience of the debate, that is, not us. We already know how things are. I just wish that Bette and Tina had had an opportunity to make out in front of Fae as they had planned on their way into the studio. Unfortunately Fae had to ruin the chance with her thinly veiled racist remark regarding makeup blending for Bette's skin tone.

Next week: Group road trip to the Dinah Shore!!! This is going to be so good...

*******
Update: AfterEllen.com points to WillowFriendly.com, who has some excellent screenshots. The recapper on AfterEllen also has a brilliant description of the terminally-awkward scene between Jenny and Dana. Scribe Grrl's recaps are excellent and most detailed, by the way. I always put off reading them until after I've finished, and it's torture not looking.

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Posted by Beth Henderson at 9:12 AM
Monday, March 22, 2004

Pledge of Allegiance Analysis 

Today's NY Times has an interesting article, "One Crucial Issue in Pledge Case: What Does 'Under God' Mean?" Author Linda Greenhouse provides an overview of the history, issues and arguments behind the upcoming Supreme Court case Elk Grove Unified School District v. Newdow, No. 02-1624, to be heard on Wednesday.

The Petitioner's Brief, Respondent's Brief and Petitioner's Reply Brief can be found via the Supreme Court's Website.

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Posted by Beth Henderson at 8:23 AM
Saturday, March 20, 2004

Tru Calling - Drop Dead Gorgeous 

"I just thought you should know - I'm going on a date tonight." Who the hell thinks it's really vital to let your ex of a few months (and with whom I'm convinced there was absolutely no sex) know that you have A Date, simply because you work in the same building and you don't want her to hear it from someone else? Maybe if it was with someone in the same office, or if it wasn't the first date but was becoming something serious, or they were going to be at the same social event and he didn't want her taken by surprise. But going all the way down to the morgue just to let Tru know that he was going on an awkward first date? Please.

I liked the opening being Tru confronted with a consequence of her calling. Unfortunately, I quickly grew to dislike Michelle, the reporter, and therefore had to find as many holes in her backstory as possible.

1) In all of Tru's backsteps, how many of her undead had to file a police report? And of those, how many knew her name?

2) The City seems like a pretty big place, with lots of crime. We're supposed to believe that she's been sifting through police reports just looking for any and all possible connecting lines, and she not only happened across those few occasions where the crime against the intended victim came close enough to occurring that the police were called and the intended victim praised Tru to high heaven for saving her life and the police dutifully noted it all down in the reports, but that there were also a large number of these unlikely reports lying around from when Tru's dead mom was running around backstepping over a decade earlier, and Michelle also picked those out of the massive numbers of police files she was digging through. Please.

3) If she's such a good investigative reporter that she found all those reports, couldn't she have come up with a more appropriate dead person for her to claim as family? And why on earth would she think it a plausible story that the Records office sent her over to speak to a flunky in the morgue about skirting the rules regarding official documents? I mean, she hadn't met Davis yet, so she wouldn't have known what a gullible moron he is.

4) Okay, that's enough holes regarding Michelle for now. Unfortunately, I'm sure she'll be back with more in ensuing episodes.

Where is Meredith? Is her car okay?

I had no idea that Alex was played by Clare Kramer. I didn't recognize her at all. I loved Clare as Glory. Glory is Ben. Ben is Glory. This show sucks. The Girl doesn't understand why I keep watching it. Now it's all clear. There's some sort of mystical veil up that prevents the audience from making the connection between the bad show and the bad taste in our mouths. The Show is Bad. Bad is The Show.

Yes, from the description of "kinda burned" around the eyes, Davis was able to figure out that death was induced by topical application of a particular type of pesticide. And what a lame-ass way to plan a murder. And what a lame-ass reason. And let's just say it - what a lame-ass beauty pageant that has the corporate sponsor and his wife as two judges and randomly selected man-on-the-street Harrison as the third, and they can just drop one judge in midstream. And just pop in a finalist at the last minute. This isn't Miss Congeniality and Tru doesn't have the weight of the FBI behind her. Although when the MC first cut across the camera during the opening, kvetching that he wasn't going to sing, I had to Tivo instant replay it because I thought it was William Shatner. How great would that have been? But this show's too bad even for a Shatner cameo. But I do see that he's on board for Miss Congeniality 2!

Did it really have to take Davis 10 minutes of airtime to spit out that Tru's dead mother was the person who saved him and many others, while doing that thing you do? We all figured it out months ago, and we all knew that's what he was going to say. And if this is why Davis "could accept so easily" the whole backstepping thing, why did he seem rather befuddled by it at first, and why is he so confused about how it's supposed to work? How did he get through med school? He's such a moron.

But I'm a bigger moron, because I keep watching this show. What a lame-ass. Please.

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Posted by Beth Henderson at 9:32 AM
Friday, March 19, 2004

Rhea County Reversal 

County Commissioners in Rhea County, Tennessee have reversed their decision to request a legislative change allowing them to charge gay men and lesbians in the county with crimes against nature. They are also trying to downplay their original stated intentions behind the requested ban.

"They wanted to send a message to our (state) representative and senator that Rhea County supports the ban on same-sex marriage. Same-sex marriage is what it was all about," Fritts said. "There has just been so much misunderstanding about this. It was to stop people from coming here and getting married and living in Rhea County."

Other articles here and here.

Oh, so they just wanted to prevent individuals from living in the county. And the misunderstanding of their intent was...?

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Posted by Beth Henderson at 1:17 PM

Another Book for the Stack 

I've been listening to The Connection on WBUR (AP's News Station of the Year - congratulations), with an interview of Eve LaPlante, the author of American Jezebel: The Uncommon Life of Anne Hutchinson, the Woman Who Defeated the Puritans.

It's an interesting interview, and now I'm going to have to add the book to my growing stack of summer reading. You can access and listen to the archived interview through The Connection website.

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Posted by Beth Henderson at 11:35 AM

Rumsfeld on the Light of Freedom 

Defense Secretary Donald Rumsfeld has authored an editorial entitled "The Price of Freedom in Iraq," in today's NY Times. He doesn't say anything new, or really anything substantive. It's another example of "Rally 'round the flag, boys" hyperbole and optimistic predictions of vindication:

"Americans do not come easily to war, but neither do Americans take freedom lightly. But when freedom and self-government have taken root in Iraq, and that country becomes a force for good in the Middle East, the rightness of those efforts will be just as clear as it is today in Korea, Germany, Japan and Italy."

He opens the editorial with an anecdote of how he justified the war in Iraq to a South Korean reporter. He told her about a satellite photo:

"We were speaking on an upper floor of a large hotel in Seoul. I asked the woman to look out the window — at the lights, the cars, the energy of the vibrant economy of South Korea. I told her about a satellite photo of the Korean peninsula, taken at night, that I keep on a table in my Pentagon office. North of the demilitarized zone there is nothing but darkness — except a pinprick of light around Pyongyang — while the entire country of South Korea is ablaze in light, the light of freedom.."

The light of freedom, as exemplified by headlights and neon.

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Posted by Beth Henderson at 8:25 AM
Thursday, March 18, 2004

Scalia's Recusal Memorandum 

Justice Scalia's Memorandum concerning a motion for his recusal from the upcoming case involving VP Dick Cheney has been published on the Supreme Court's website. It's interesting reading, both in terms of the details he provides of the duck hunting trip in question, and his analysis of the issues surrounding the decision to recuse oneself or not.

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Posted by Beth Henderson at 2:12 PM
Wednesday, March 17, 2004

Tim Minear Needs Your Help 

Tim Minear, the executive producer of Wonderfalls, has written an open letter seeking assistance in bringing viewers to the show.

I have to say that Wonderfalls is definitely worth checking out. It's fun, well-written, well-produced and worth an hour of your time.

The second episode will be on this Friday at 9:00 on Fox, and they'll be rerunning the pilot episode on Thursday at 9:00. Check it out - you'll be glad you did!

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Posted by Beth Henderson at 4:00 PM

Keep 'Em Out 

The commissioners of Rhea County, Tennessee have voted 8-0 in favor of requesting the Tennessee legislature to change state law in order to allow the county to charge gay men and lesbians with crimes against nature. The commissioners feel this is necessary "to keep them out of here."

Rhea County was the location of the 1925 Scopes trial which inspired "Inherit The Wind."

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Posted by Beth Henderson at 3:07 PM

Charmed - Hyde School Reunion 

What is up with Chris and his selective revelations? The whole point of his coming back was to change the future so that Wyatt wouldn't become evil. How is it that he decided that's the only thing he can change? And doesn't he realize that just by being there he's changing all sorts of things? He didn't seem to have any problem advising Grandpa to lay off the smokes, in an apparent effort to prevent future cancer issues.

If that's how Phoebe's class behaved when they were seniors, how did any of them survive this long? They were more like 13-year-olds on rage-inducing uppers.

Why all of a sudden would Chris decide to distance himself from Piper to prevent getting attached? Wouldn't he have been doing that all along? Contrivance.

Chris is now once again saying that once he prevents Wyatt from being turned, he has to return to his own time. I thought he no longer had the ability to return. I'm so confused. But it doesn't really bother me that much, since I'm sure if I figured it out they'd change the backstory. Again.

Next time: Reruns, reruns, reruns.

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Posted by Beth Henderson at 2:51 PM

Marriage and the Full Faith and Credit Clause 

The NY Times has an interesting article that takes a look at how marriage has historically been handled under the Full Faith and Credit Clause, and speculates on how same-sex marriage would be treated.

Turns out that the Full Faith and Credit Clause generally has not been successfully used to force one state to recognize an out of state marriage if that marriage were "offensive to their public policies."

In another interesting twist the author, Adam Liptak, points out a paradox involving Massachusetts marriage law and NY marriage law according to AG Eliot Spitzer. Based on a 1913 law, a MA marriage license may not be issued to a couple whose home state would not authorize such a marriage. Spitzer stated in his recent opinion that under current NY law, same-sex marriages cannot be authorized in NY, but NY would be required to recognize same-sex marriages from another jurisdiction in which they are legal. So NY will not grant a marriage license to a gay couple, but will recognize a MA same-sex marriage, but MA cannot grant a license to a gay couple from NY. Huh.

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Posted by Beth Henderson at 11:46 AM

Celebrities and Lawyers 

I would imagine that being an attorney to the stars has certain rewards. They can pay your fees, you get free publicity, and despite claims to the contrary they do seem to get some level of preferential treatment. But then there are the drawbacks.

Diana Ross is currently having a dispute with the judge in her DUI case. She was supposed to spend 48 hours in jail, with at least 24 of those hours consecutive. They allowed her to serve in her hometown of Greenwich, CT, rather than in Tucson where she was charged. The Greenwich prison records show that she only served 47 hours, and only 22 of those were consecutive. Ah, but she has provided her attorney with proof that she served as ordered: "I think we actually have proof from her. She documented it in her diary," said Ross' lawyer Jim Nesci.

I'm not certain an attorney for anyone but a superstar would have the nerve to enter their client's diary as proof that the official prison records are incorrect. In any case, the judge didn't buy it, and Ms. Ross has been ordered to serve 48 consecutive hours in the Pima County Jail in Tucson.

Courtney Love's attorney, Michael Rosenstein, obtained a delay for his client's preliminary hearing. He achieved this only after his client showed up to court two hours late, made several spontaneous outbursts regarding her prescriptions and pill bottles, and fired him. After Judge Eldon Fox pointed out, "Miss Love, you're not doing yourself any favors," she rehired her attorney. The preliminary hearing will be on April 15. Let's hope Mr. Rosenstein can keep his sanity until then.

On the other hand, being the one behind the prosecution of the stars apparently has its perks as well. Variety.com reports that former Los Angeles district attorney Gil Garcetti is listed as a consulting producer in the new ABC Friday night series "The D.A." I'll have to check out the premiere this Friday. At least it's not opposite Joan of Arcadia or Wonderfalls.

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Posted by Beth Henderson at 10:42 AM
Tuesday, March 16, 2004

The L Word - Luck, Next Time 

What on earth possessed Jenny to accept a solo dinner invitation to Francesca and Marina's? That was just so clearly not ever going to go well.

I'm starting to feel a little sympathy for Marina. I get the impression that she and Francesca were once in the same place in their attitudes toward relationships and scheduled monogamy, but that they've been growing in different directions. From Francesca's attitude and her statement that "I like to find my home the way I left it," that she views Marina as a possession, a home accessory. Other people can play with it while she's away, but it darned well better be where and how she left it when she gets home. Marina seemed to be getting a little tired of the situation, like perhaps she's ready to have more continuity in her life.

I think it might be easier for Francesca to compartmentalize since she's the one always on the road. Marina is always in LA, in their house, so she has to frame her two lives in one setting. The people she shuts out when Francesca comes home are still there. Francesca's conquests are far, far away.

That being said, what was Marina thinking, having Jenny over for dinner with just her and Francesca? She had to know that Francesca was going to chew Jenny up and spit her out.

Look - Jenny carries a little toiletries basket, like she's in a dorm! I guess that answers the question about there being a bathroom in the studio. Nope.

Is Jenny really so unaware of her incredible shallowness? She comes directly from professing the depth of her emotion to Marina, then when given an opening she's all over Tim and tells him how much she loves him. The next morning she has the nerve to explain to Tim that it's definitely over between her and Marina since she was treated so badly the night before that she threw a bottle of wine at their house. That's right, Tim - just before she came home and USED YOU!!! And she seems shocked, SHOCKED, when Tim doesn't take kindly to this and dumps her again.

Thank you, Tim, for explaining to Jenny that she is being the exact shallow, manipulative and unfeeling person that she is complaining about Marina and Francesca being. You expressed the thoughts of the audience perfectly.

Helen Shaver makes for a really scary right wing adversary. "It's not personal." I don't know about Bette, but I would take rather personally being told that I'm going to burn in hell. But go Bette in driving the protesters off her front lawn. Now call the police and get it documented.

Mr. Piddles? I'm gay. Hah! I guess she has to start her coming out process somewhere.

How cute was Dana's expression when she realized she had just prank phone called her mom? I'm still holding out hope that she manages to get Lara back. "She's dealing with it through denial." Yes, because that's always a sign of progress.

Yes Alice, Lisa is a total dreary cliche ridden pain, but perhaps it would have been slightly more considerate to break up with him before marching over two tables and hitting on the new guy?

Why is it that Bette can never get to appointments with Tina on time because she's so very busy, but she still manages to take several hours out of her day to hang on the set of Slim Daddy's video? Good for Kit for finally standing up and saying this is me and I'm not changing to fit your image.

"I see." Shane certainly has the gift of understatement. I like her better with her glasses on.

Next week: Rosanna Arquette becomes a threatening, manipulative abuser of power. Helen Shaver continues being a threatening, manipulative abuser of religion. And she sinks to what has to be the lowest depth of opportunistic interpretation, by blaming Tina's miscarriage on their being a gay couple.

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Posted by Beth Henderson at 10:26 AM

TV Flu 

Television really is bad for your health. I apparently caught Luke's flu after watching Joan of Arcadia on Friday. And while I was barely able to lift my head from the pillow all day yesterday, I still managed to drag my coughing, sniffling butt to class last night. Of course. This is why there are always at least a handful of sick people in class. We're all so afraid of missing something and falling behind that we attend class regardless of our health status. Then we thoughtfully pass our illnesses on to others who will insist on attending with 103 degree fevers, pass it on some more, and so on.

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Posted by Beth Henderson at 10:19 AM
Sunday, March 14, 2004

Wonderfalls - Wax Lion 

I really enjoyed this show. The Girl found that it required her to suspend disbelief a little too much, but she enjoyed the family interaction scenes.

Of note:

-Everyone, including Jaye's family, refers to Asst. Mgr. Guy as The Mouthbreather.

-Jaye's friend berates her for underachieving, as demonstrated by her new boss being a mouthbreathing high school student. The friend then gets back to work serving drinks.

-Monkey statue peeks around bag. "I love you."

-"That sound you hear? That's stunned silence."

-Mom attempts to be hip by using the words snarky and 'sode. She also tries to get Dad to randomly prescribe antidepressants.

-Mom doesn't want Jaye to see her therapist, as "it will give him ideas."

-"Hello my baby, hello my honey, hello my ragtime gal." This technique was used quite successfully by Patrick Swayze against Whoopi Goldberg in Ghost. I was hoping the lion would break into "Henry the Eighth I Am," but perhaps they would have had to pay royalties to the creators of Ghost. I had that album, by the way.

-Sharon is able spontaneously to rattle off a list of the reasons she has to be bitter toward Jaye.

-Cat box and a space heater in the closet. Twisted, but brilliant! It's all in the details.

-Why did her friend freak out when told about the talking lion? She didn't seem freaked when told about the talking monkey statue. Maybe she thought Jaye was speaking metaphorically about the lion.

-"I converted for love." "So you don't really believe in it?" "Oh, please."

-The pen of choice for emergency tracheotomies.

-The ex-wife seemed totally not the type for either EPS guy or Sharon. But as long as they're happy, whatever.

The inevitable comparison to Joan of Arcadia. Joan has it hands down for subtlety, but Wonderfalls brings out the snark and the laughs. They're two different genres, and both do it well. I'm looking forward to the rest of the season.

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Posted by Beth Henderson at 4:15 PM

Joan of Arcadia - Requiem for a Third Grade Ashtray 

Steps were taken, art was made, food was prepared, and Kevin's hopes for recovery were rekindled by the usually inauspicious arrival of a pull-my-finger joke.

Joan is horrified when Cashier God at a convenience store tells her to bring home milk. She's really horrified later on when Goth God tells her to go home after her last class and look in on Luke, who is home with a nasty flu. Back at the convenience store, Grace is horrified by something she's requested to do via cellphone, so she spouts off about hypocricy and throws the phone into the convenience store dairy case. She has a great facial expression when she brings the milk to the counter at Joan's request. Sort of put upon yet resigned to her fate.

Joan is also horrified that Helen plans on sacrificing Archie, the ceramic ashtray turtle she made in third grade, on the altar of art. She rescues him from the to go pile. Will and Helen are astonished that Joan thought to pick up milk the night before. By their reaction, you'd think she announced that she had picked up 5 gallons of fresh pig's blood.

Turns out the lesson of the day is about kids taking steps toward adulthood and responsibility, and about parents accepting the adults the kids are becoming. It was very nice, actually. Grace, in her quest to avoid her family's religion, has put off her bat mitzvah for three years. Her father is now using the sick grandma card to get her going. "You can't fight a rabbi when he pulls out the guilt." She figured she'd just go and piss off the teachers by advocating for a Palestinian homeland, and she continued the horrified-fest when her father expressed pride at her questioning the meaning of religion and our place in the modern world, "in the spirit of Talmudic scholarship." She and Joan have a nice bonding moment on the stoop as they realize that their relationships with their parents aren't as easy to predict (and/or manipulate) anymore.

Joan, in her quest to "help out" has found herself facing a series of conflicting obligations. She eventually sorts out her priorities and gets them all done, but in the meantime Helen has come home to Luke fever-ridden and sitting in the dark (Joan was out getting fuses), the kitchen a mess (Joan made a full dinner, with meatloaf and extensive salad items), and no Joan (she was picking up Luke's chem notebook from Grace) or Kevin (he was at a secret medical test) anywhere. Helen has a hissy fit when Will comes home, contemplates quitting teaching, then takes out her frustrations on Joan when she gets back with the fuses and notebook. This time Joan doesn't resort to the time-honored angst and retreat tactic, but states what she was doing and why, and that she now has to go take Luke's spacecamp scholarship essay to the post office or the universe will fall apart (okay, a little teen angst).

By the next day, emotions have settled, and at Goth God's quiet prompting, Joan goes to the art room and quietly offers up Archie as her price of entry to adulthood. Helen isn't going to quit. They have a nice adult conversation in which Joan reveals that she may have failed her chem test, Helen says that's too bad, Joan is shocked at the lack of anger, Helen says that Joan has learned the skill of punishing herself. Helen then shares that she's been cranky from lack of sleep, due to constant worrying about teaching and whether she's good enough. They also bond over food preparation, as Helen loves what Joan did with the garlic for the meatloaf. Joan reveals that she roasted it, as she learned from watching Iron Chef.

The show wraps with Joan having prepared dinner again, with everyone sitting together (although Helen is a few minutes late).

In the B1-story, Will and Toni bust a cubicle guy for embezzling, but end up stuck in the elevator with a woman who proceeds to give birth. Turns out Cubicle Guy has three kids who were home delivered, so he walks them through it. In the most bizarre line of the show, when they've gotten out of the elevator Will asks Cubicle Guy "what a father of three is doing embezzling money from his own company?" First, embezzlement usually involves an inside job. Second, what does his parental status have to do with his criminal activites?

In the B2-story, Kevin has an EMG done to determine if his nerves are "waking up," as he had a gaslike feeling, which he hasn't had since the accident. The tests say no, but the medical folk say if it happens again, it could be neural regeneration. At the dinner table in the last scene, Kevin asks Luke to pull his finger, and proceeds to rip a big one. He then repeats his nifty trick a few times, but only he and Luke (who he filled in about the secret test) understand the significance.

Notes:
-Cashier God was just phoning it in. No, really, he retrieved Grace's cellphone from the dairy case and called Joan. Joan's cell even played When the Saints Go Marching In, and the caller ID said "GOD."

-Food is a central theme to this series. Whenever she goes to Grace's house, Grace's dad is eating dinner and Grace isn't home. Good vibes at the Girardi house are indicated by dinner together, while bad vibes are accompanied by skipped or individual meals. They bond over food preparation. Plus Joan and Grace's ritual sharing of the sandwich.

-Rebecca is "on hold."

-I loved Goth God's kilt.

-Glynis is becoming a tad co-dependant.

-Luke and Glynis are planning on attending Space Camp together! I want to go to Space Camp.

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Posted by Beth Henderson at 9:17 AM

DARPA Prize Unclaimed 

All 15 of the competing vehicles in the DARPA Grand Challenge broke down without completing the course. The best distance achieved was 7 miles of the approximately 200 mile course. The million dollar prize will be rolled over to the next competition, perhaps in 2006.

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Posted by Beth Henderson at 9:12 AM
Saturday, March 13, 2004

Liability for Violence in Sports 

Greg over at the Sports Law Blog has an interesting post on criminal liability for acts of violence during an athletic event. We discussed this topic from the civil liability standpoint in Torts last semester.

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Posted by Beth Henderson at 1:09 PM

Twisted 

Ashley Judd plays Jessica Shepard. Jessica has issues. She has anger. She has loss. She has sex. She has drinks. Jessica hides her feelings. Ashley Judd is a great actor. Ashley hides her acting skills. Jessica hits people. A lot. Twisted hits the audience with anvils. A lot.

Can you tell I was a little disappointed? Here's a movie with a great plot: Jessica Shepard is a newly promoted San Francisco homicide inspector. The victim in her first assignment is a man she knew briefly. As is the second. And so forth. Her parents died when she was young when her father, who was also on the SFPD, went on a shooting spree which concluded with his wife and finally himself. Jessica was raised by her father's partner, who by the time we come into the story, is the Police Commissioner.

Jessica pretends she's the perfectly well-adjusted rising star, but each night she cuddles up with a bottle of wine and her parents' crime scene photos. She begins experiencing blackouts around the time of the new murders and no one, including Jessica, can be sure if she's a target or a suspect.

The cast is great: Ashley Judd at the center, Samuel L. Jackson as her boss/father substitute, Andy Garcia as her new partner, David Strathairn as the department psychiatrist, Camryn Manheim as the crime labster extraordinaire, D.W. Moffett as the ex-prosecutor and present defense attorney, and Leland Orser as the creepy perp.

And look! It's Russell Wong, of the brief-lived Black Sash! I guess he got his job back on the SFPD after all. I hope Mako is taking good care of the school. It was such a cool place. We know that Nick moved on and became a witch/whitelighter from the future, who has to make sure his parents create him in the past and that his perfect big brother doesn't grow up to become a crazed magical maniac. But that's another story. At least everyone stayed in the Bay Area.

Back to Twisted. I got the feeling that Ashley Judd was trying so hard to project Jessica's efforts to hide herself from everyone around her that she forgot to show anything to the audience. I didn't feel any depth from the character most of the time. I could understand if they started off this way and then slowly let us see more as she understood more, but I never felt like we were let in on the process. She had a really cool black vintage Mustang, though.

There were a few times when the dialogue, blocked acting and lack of chemistry between actors combined to make me really think "Oh, this is so bad." Most of the time, though, I just wished they had given us something more than what the final cut turned out to be. Any scene between Ashley Judd and D.W. Moffett felt like it had been filmed separately for each actor. The first such scene included the timeless line, "Back when you were in the district attorney's office, you lived to nail guys like this to the wall."

They do a good job of keeping you guessing as to who the killer is, but that's mostly because almost all the characters are so flawed that you can picture any and all of them having done it. I can think of only one character who is likable all the way through. I won't say who, but you'll know who I mean if you see it. If you don't see the film, it's probably because you just don't care, so it won't matter if I don't tell you. If you just have to know and don't want to drop the $10 at the theatre or wait until the DVD, drop me an e-mail and I'll fill you in. I'll even tell you whodunnit if you ask nicely.

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Posted by Beth Henderson at 12:00 PM

Oregon AG Opinion - Marriage Ban Unconstitutional 

Oregon's Attorney General, Hardy Myers, has issued his official opinion that although Oregon statutes define marriage as being between one man and one woman, the Oregon Supreme Court would likely find that definition unconstitutional. If you don't feel like wading through the 11-page opinion, here is a summary article from Yahoo! News.

He did state that the current statutes bar issuance of marriage licenses to same sex couples, the State of Oregon has stated that it will not attempt to prohibit Multnomah County from continuing to issue the licenses. The County has posted an Advisory on their website that the marriage license will be close to all couples until Monday at noon, so they can decide how to move forward based on the AG's opinion. They will be announcing their decision at noon Monday.

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Posted by Beth Henderson at 11:44 AM
Friday, March 12, 2004

In Other News... 

-No Fenway Franks on opening day for catholic Red Sox fans, as it falls on Good Friday. I remember a few years ago when Cardinal Law gave a special dispensation for the consumption of corned beef on St. Patrick's Day when it fell on a Friday during Lent. An archiocese spokesman hopes that the scheduling was merely an oversight, since otherwise it would be "very insensitive to the huge number of people who are Christians and fans." And the catholic church is never insensitive. And of course by "Christians" he meant "catholics." Because the catholic church would never presume to dictate what other religions should do.

-Fifteen of 25 vehicles have qualified for the DARPA self-navigating unmanned vehicle competition in the Mojave Desert. The competition for the $1 million prize will be held tomorrow.

-A woman in Utah has been charged with one count of first degree criminal homicide and one count of child endangerment after refusing a recommended cesarean section for her twins. This should create some interesting discussion in Monday's Criminal Law class.

-NASA chief Sean O'Keefe has stated to a Senate hearing yesterday that no repair mission to the Hubble telescope would be feasible, due to the safety requirements put in place since the shuttle Columbia explosion. Is his ultimate goal to scrap the Hubble or to loosen the safety requirements?

-New show to check out tonight: Wonderfalls. Reviews and previews here, here, here, here and here , and the official website is here. Tim Minear, formerly of Firefly and Angel is executive producing, the main character is a brilliant but antisocial slacker with a degree in philosophy and a job in a Niagara Falls gift shop, her sister is a successful immigration attorney and semi-out lesbian, and seemingly inanimate objects speak! What else could you need?

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Posted by Beth Henderson at 2:02 PM

Mass. Constitutional Convention Translated 

MassEquality.org has posted a Boston Phoenix article by Kristen Lombardi, which explains in detail the strategy and significance behind each of the votes taken last night.

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Posted by Beth Henderson at 1:52 PM

Strong Words 

I admit, I do have a tendency to attempt diplomacy in all things, including my general posting tone. Recorded for all posterity, inflaming situations doesn't help, etc. I try to look at things from many sides, to understand the thoughts behind the ideas and rationales to which I find myself in opposition. At least that way I can better form my own arguments.

Which is why I'm glad there are other folks out there more willing to lay it right out there on the line, no filters involved. And that there are still other folks out there with pointers to the folks who put it out there.

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Posted by Beth Henderson at 10:53 AM

Words 

"We knew this was an uphill fight. We knew this was a long-shot strategy," Isaacson said. "There will be more votes to come in 2004. We cannot give up. We cannot let them discourage us. We can't let them make us feel defeated." - Arline Isaacson of the Mass. Gay and Lesbian Political Caucus.

"No sex is better than same sex." - Sign held by a child outside the state house.

"Got AIDS Yet?" - Sign held by protester Eric Camo

"Would I be standing here with a sign like this if I didn't love you?" - Pastor Leonard of Lawrence, referring to his sign which read, "Homosexuals are possessed by demons."

"For so long now, the folks we consider our opposition have been the professional anti-gays, the haters. They've focus-grouped and sanitized their rhetoric, of course. But they're still the "God didn't create Adam and Steve" people. The people who've skimmed Leviticus and found the one sentence, the one abomination, they'd like to enforce. The people who, let's face it, don't object to gay marriage -- they object to gay human beings. - Amy Hunt of the Mass. Gay and Lesbian Political Caucus.

"I hope that those who advocate for same-sex marriages will try to hear what we are saying about marriage, family, and the common good. They may not agree with what we are saying, but they should be reassured that the church wants all people to live in harmony and mutual respect and to have everyone's legitimate civil rights guaranteed." - Sean P. O'Malley, Roman Catholic archbishop of Boston.

"New Hampshire's Episcopal Bishop V. Gene Robinson, who is openly gay, said it serves the common good also to support same-gender couples who wish to pledge fidelity, monogamy and lifelong commitment." - as reported by Anne Saunders, AP Writer.

"For no rational reason the marriage laws of the Commonwealth discriminate against a defined class; no amount of tinkering with the language will eradicate that stain. The bill would have the effect of maintaining and fostering a stigma of exclusion that the Constitution prohibits.” (pg 11) - from the SJC opinion regarding civil unions, as reported by GLAD.

" "If you vote for this, you're putting religious freedoms" in danger, deMacedo said. He said that a high court that voted 4-3 to create gay marriages would think nothing of forcing churches to perform gay civil unions." - State Rep. Vinny M. deMacedo of Plymouth.

"The court stated then, and we reaffirm, that the State may not interfere with these convictions or with the decision of any religion to refuse to perform religious marriages of same-sex couples.” (pg 10) - from the SJC opinion regarding civil unions, as reported by GLAD.

"It doesn't affect me personally so much, so I don't follow it so closely" - Darren Wilcox, a straight bartender from Jamaica Plain

"Everybody should have equal rights; everybody works," - Bob Sawtelle, 62, a straight carpenter from Dorchester.

"For many legislators, prejudice won out over equality," Arline Isaacson of MGLPC.

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Posted by Beth Henderson at 10:08 AM
Thursday, March 11, 2004

Sigh... 

MA - "compromise" amendment passed 129-69. Apparently it has to go through a Third Reading before it is officially passed. Then it has to go to the back burner until the next session in 2006 before being available for popular ballot in fall 2006 at the earliest. There is speculation that some opponents of the amendment voted for it in this round only to shelve other more virulent proposals, and are planning on withdrawing support at the Third Reading later this session.

CA - The California Supreme Court has halted issuance of marriage licenses to gay couples in San Francisco, in advance of hearing the case in session in May or June. No statements regarding the legality were made.

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Posted by Beth Henderson at 5:51 PM

Blogger at MA State House 

Boston.com is running the Constitutional Convention weblog of Amy Hunt, a member of the board of directors of the Massachusetts Gay and Lesbian Political Caucus. She'll be posting on events throughout the day.

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Posted by Beth Henderson at 11:19 AM

MA State House - Round Two 

So the constitutional convention resumes today. They're hyping a "compromise" that would ban gay marriage but authorize civil unions. How exactly is that a compromise? A ban on gay marriage has been declared discriminatory, civil unions have been assessed as also discriminatory (separate is not equal). By what rationale therefore is an amendment making both discriminatory approaches a part of the constitution a compromise?

I sent e-mails to both my legislators yesterday (thanking one for his previous votes and encouraging his continued committment; expressing my dismay at the other's previous votes and urging his reconsideration on the issue). A classmate of mine works in a legislator's office, and said her entire days of late have been taken up with phone calls, letters and e-mails from constituents on both sides of the issue.

I walked from North Station to Copley this morning. It's a nice walk which takes me over Beacon Hill and by the State House, through the Common and Public Gardens, up Newbury Street (or Boylston or Comm. Ave.), then cutting over to Copley. It's usually very quiet, with a few pedestrians on Beacon Hill, then all the dog-walkers and Tai Chi practitioners in the Common, the ducks in the Public Garden, and perhaps folks getting their shops ready for the day on Arlington.

This morning at around 7:00 there were more pockets of people gathering and drinking coffee in take-out cups on Beacon Hill, and many more illegally parked cars than usual. Then once I stepped around the corner onto Beacon Street, there was all this rumbling and humming of the various news trucks lining the street, each with their satellite dishes raised high on the cherry pickers, getting ready to cover the events later today. Providing a steady accompaniment was the thwack-thwack-thwack of the helicopter hovering directly overhead. I didn't see any large groups of people, though. Once I started crossing the Common, the scene was back to usual, with a number of dogs playing tag while their owners chatted nearby, plus a small assortment of folks heading to class or work.

By 8:15, NPR was reporting that hundreds of people had already gathered. Some of the anticipated buses must have arrived in the interim.

My question to ponder now is whether I walk back up to the State House area after work to check things out firsthand, or do I go to the library and prepare for this evening's Civ Pro and Criminal Law classes? Hmm...

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Posted by Beth Henderson at 9:49 AM
Wednesday, March 10, 2004

Liberty and Justice 

Jen Garrett pointed out a Village Voice article by Laura Conaway, "I'd Leave the Country, but My Wife Won't Let Me". The article is another which puts a very personal face on the gay marriage "debate" and the impact it has on those of us whose personal worthiness is being debated.

It is accompanied by a wonderful illustration by Mirko Ilic, showing Liberty and Justice enjoying a little Equality.

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Posted by Beth Henderson at 1:03 PM

Subverting Campaign Tools 

Wonkette! has a post today on the make-your-own-poster feature on the Bush-Cheney '04 website. Apparently the feature has a built-in blocker for certain words and phrases, but if you're persistent and creative, you can come up with something appropriate. She managed to add "But not if you're gay!" to a campaign poster. I tried it out myself, but the application kept freezing. Perhaps their server is overwhelmed with people trying to add their own unique contributions to the placards.

Yesterday I received in the mail my very own invitation to be a leader in the Massachusetts Bush-Cheney '04 campaign. It even included a personalized photo of George and Laura, thanking me in advance for my generous contribution. There was also a letter notifying me of all the evil, manipulative, and downright not nice things those darned liberal democrats are doing in their mad quest to elect one of their own into the White House. The postage paid return envelope had a little note on it that "your first class stamp is an added gift!" So I wrote on the contribution section a polite note requesting that they remove me from any and all lists, folded the letter and photo, and stuffed them both into the prepaid return envelope and dropped it in the mailbox. They can provide the gift of postage to themselves.

How do I keep getting onto these lists? I'm a registered Democrat, so it's not from the voter registration lists. I think it stems from my having subscribed to the Wall Street Journal a number of years ago. But I've moved since then, and the Bush-Cheney letter had my current address. Are they just sending these to everyone? I hope that's what it is, and perhaps everyone else who received one and is not actually a member of the target demographic will find it as aggravating as I did. It might provide a little fuel on their personal political fire and ensure another non-Bush voter at the polls in November.

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Posted by Beth Henderson at 9:38 AM
Tuesday, March 09, 2004

L Word and Visibility 

Stacey D'Erasmo wrote an amazing preview of The L Word back in January in the NY Times (free registration required), "Lesbians on Television: It's Not Easy Being Seen." D'Erasmo, who self-describes as "Being an L myself," gave a glimpse into the show, but also discussed a bit of the impact of moving from media invisibility to media stereotypes to media representations of everyday moments without fanfare. Now that we're several episodes into the season, I can see that D'Erasmo's insights and predictions for the success of the show are both holding true.

My one question is: who is Jenny in bed with in the headline photo for the article? I don't think it's either Tim or Marina. Hmm...

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Posted by Beth Henderson at 10:59 AM

Criminal Law Humor 

At the start of the semester, our Criminal Law professor warned us that she has a twisted sense of humor at times. The cases which provide the best opportunities for learning, or which establish notable developments in the law, are the unusual ones. In criminal law this usually means bizarre. So as a way of dealing with all the heinous and heartbreaking details in the cases we have to read and discuss, she uses gallows humor. And I have to say, she does keep us laughing.

Last evening we were discussing the various levels of recklessness in common law and the Model Penal Code, and where intent fits in. Someone brought up a question of where criminally negligent murder fits in, and she pointed out that criminally negligent murder by definition is unintentional. She made a comparison to Torts, and that negligence is separate from the intentional torts.

"I mean, you can't negligently batter someone."

Pause.

"Unless you're at a bread factory."

Pause.

"You know, you could negligently knock someone into a vat, at which point they'd be negligently battered. But not baked!"

Pause.

"But you know - way back in time one of the forms of the death penalty was to be boiled in oil. So they could be battered first before being deep-fried."

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Posted by Beth Henderson at 10:06 AM
Monday, March 08, 2004

Dream Abs 

I mentioned in an earlier Angel post that I am envious of Christian Kane's abs. I've now found a replacement goal: I want Karina Lombard's abs. Again to clarify - instead of my own, not in addition to.

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Posted by Beth Henderson at 2:37 PM

The L Word - Listen Up 

This episode seemed a bit like exposition and glue. They had a bunch of stuff they needed to get across, characters that needed some development, and some lonely threads that needed to be stuck together. So they gave us Listen Up. There were good moments, the plots definitely got kicked up a notch and are ready to progress, and we found out more about Dana's mom than Dana knows herself. But somehow Shane was intuitive enough to see right to the heart of the matter. I'm glad Dana at least noticed that it was an odd thing for Mom to have said: "We all have feelings for our girlfriends, Dana, but it doesn't mean we have to act on them."

If I'm not mistaken, this episode should appease those groups outraged in Australia over the explicit sex scenes. I don't believe any sex was to be had anywhere in this installment, either explicit or implied. Dana's mom had a little attempted groping in her flashback opener, but she was soundly rebuffed. The Girl was quite excited at the equestrian flashback, as she was an avid rider growing up, and competed all the way through college. And we've got the Most Valuable Rider awards on the living room wall to prove it. I asked her if she had to ride in endless circles like that, and judging by the way she groaned, "Yes," I don't think it was the most favorite part of the sport for the riders.

That was sort of an odd explosive exchange with the bike messenger. While Jenny perhaps should have checked more closely before opening her door, I don't think that said opening of door on a parked car counts as "driving," so the angry messenger's warning that she should "Learn to drive" didn't really apply here. Maybe "Open your eyes," or "Look before you leap," or "Be aware of the consequences of your actions" might have been more appropriate, but I may have transitioned to more general aspects of her life somewhere in this sentence.

Speaking of the consequences of Jenny's actions, the ex-roommate provided some good exposition and backstory on the wayward waif.

Exposition: Jenny's "one night" in the studio has apparently now evolved into the studio being Jenny's apartment. She's still working at the overpriced grocery store. Tim leaves the housekey on the top of the doorframe. I know I should make some witty "The Fact of a Key on the Doorframe" comment here, but I'm tapped. Does the toolshed / writing studio / studio apartment have a bathroom? Or does Jenny climb on a chair to get the key every time she needs the facilities? Because that could get tiring.

Backstory: Jenny and Tim used to have sex in the dorm while The Roommate was also in the room. Tim makes funny little sounds at intimate moments. No, wait - we knew that, since we've seen more than enough scenes of Jenny and Tim having sex. While we already knew that Jenny had some sort of b-j relationship with her writing professor (maybe she confused oral skills with verbal skills), but we now know that she apparently "tramped it up" for a number of her former professors. Judging by The Roommate's (I'm sorry - I didn't get her name) automatic assumption that Jenny was using Marina as the basis for a character, it would seem that Bette was not too far off the mark when she speculated to Tim that Jenny's affair was simply an exploration of life experiences. Clearly Marina means more than that to Jenny, but I think we can infer that she has used people for literary fodder before.

Okay, so now "Twat," the event has occurred. What a lame party. I hope that scene was from REALLY early on in the evening, or Shane's roommates aren't going to clear enough cash to pay the naked cage dancers, let alone see a profit.

Note to The Roommate: saying things like "But things are really different now, right?" is like shooting a signal in the air that you're posing as lovers in order to fake out the person you're addressing, or at least someone within the sound of your overly-projected voice. Both Marina and Francesca have been around the block WAY too many times to fall for these types of schoolgirl tactics.

Alice's outfits. The Young Republican outfit was perfect, although I would have loved to hear the explanations for the tatoo an inch further down the arm than the sleeve. But what was with the green bandana and white tank top early in the episode? I can see her wearing that while doing laundry, etc., but on the previous forays to The Planet that we've seen, she's always looked more like she had showered and dried her hair. But it's good to see these less put-together sides of her personality.

I loved Dana's Republican outing (so to speak) suit, but did she borrow it from Bette?

Quick notes:
-Dana's brother (Howard?) is really annoying. So I guess he's the perfectly scripted younger brother.
-"For women like me. Who are out. Doorsy. Playing tennis all day."
-Yay Shane for calling your Twink Druggie Friend on his leechy behaviors.
-Boo Shane for having drugs in your possession.

But thanks to the sidewalk fight between Shane and TDF, we know that Shane is continuing on her path of rising stylist star, complete with the cash and drugs to prove it. It would appear that we're getting more on that story next week, with the help of Rosanna Arquette.

I loved the therapy scene where people expressing their inner thoughts were superimposed on them sitting in silence, and that Tina was the only one who was actually saying what she thought. They did that with Cordelia in "Earshot." Bette thinks she's falling out of love? What? I think she's under extreme stress and is doing everything she can to avoid dealing with it. I hope she doesn't trash her relationship instead of resolving her issues.

How much does Francesca know, and when did she know it? Why would Bette's assistants just pass her that threatening phone call without giving her any warning? Why didn't they use *69 to track the person(s) down? Good for Bette for maintaining her poise with the protesters. These kinds of protests are great publicity, anyway. It's a private museum, so it's not like this petition being assembled by people who haven't even paid to see the art is really going to persuade the board to cancel the show. They really aren't the target demographic.

Did it seem a bit presumptious and inconsiderate for The Roommate to ask Tim to take care of Jenny in this difficult time she's having? I mean, he seems like a basically nice guy, but I don't think even A Wild Patience could have Taken him that Far.

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Posted by Beth Henderson at 10:46 AM
Sunday, March 07, 2004

Sea Breeze Mind Clear 

I've been feeling the need for an ocean fix lately. Friday on my way home I took the long way, walking from South Station along the Harbour Walk up to the North End, then meandered around the North End a bit before heading over to North Station. Took about an hour, and it felt good to get out and walk along the water, but I needed some serious waves and rocks.

So today, since The Girl is off in NH sitting in on drums with a band up there, I decided to take off a couple of hours from studying to go on up to Halibut Point. This is one of my favorite places to get away and soak up the ocean environment. Hiking trails, huge boulders for clambering or stretching out on, ocean birds, waves, tidepools, wind. On the hike out to the ocean from the parking area, you pass by an old quarry. The trail goes all around the quarry, and there's a self-guided tour to learn about the history of the place. The picture on the website might look familiar if you've seen The Next Karate Kid, Hilary Swank's first starring movie.

The weather's been nice (i.e. 40 degrees and above), and I spent an hour and a half hiking, sitting, watching the waves, etc. Heaven. On the way out I sat on the edge of the quarry, with my feet hanging over the edge (my oldest sister would have had a conniption), and listened to Cyndi Lauper's recent cover of Unchained Melody on my Nomad. The wind was blowing a perfect accompaniment, and the water in the quarry is still mostly iced over but with a fantastic array of textures and cracks. For me, it was perfect meditation. Then I went for a drive along the shore of Cape Anne, through Pigeon Cove, Rockport, Annisquam, and Gloucester.

God I love New England. I've moved away several times, but I always end up right back here.

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Posted by Beth Henderson at 2:25 PM