Friday, April 30, 2004

Poem on Your Blog Day 

Thanks to feministe, I discovered that today is Poem on Your Blog Day. Here's my contribution to poems on blogs, inspired by a walk along the Charles River yesterday:

red jacket
under cherry blossoms
watching the river

Now for the references to poems and poets who inspire me:

-Jabberwocky, by Lewis Carroll.

-The Embarrassing Episode of Little Miss Muffett, by Guy Wetmore Carryl.

-Snapshots of a Daughter-In-Law, by Adrienne Rich.

-The Floating Poem, Unnumbered, by Adrienne Rich.

Posted by Beth Henderson at 10:54 AM

Contracts Paper - Check 

I was up until midnight, but I finished the contracts paper. Then it was up at 6:00 a.m. to go to work. I'll be driving into town at lunch today to drop it off in the faculty office. Now I can focus on Criminal Law and get ready for Monday's exam. I haven't really been able to put any quality time into studying for the exam because I kept thinking about the paper even when I had stepped away from it. We had dozens of choices of general topics for the assignment, and I chose to review a law review article dealing with restitution. Why didn't I just choose to summarize and compare several cases on a particular subject?

No, I had to dig up a dense, theory laden article from Theoretical Inquiries in Law. Oh well, it's done and I can take comfort knowing that the awarding to the plaintiff of the breaching party's profits from the breach is not likely to become part of restitutionary damages for breach of contract anytime in the near future. Now on to homicide and conspiracy!

Posted by Beth Henderson at 8:56 AM

Bob Edwards Moves On 

I just listened to Bob Edwards conduct his last interview as host of Morning Edition. His choice for this interview? Charles Osgood, who was his first interview on Morning Edition 30 years ago. NPR has a feature on Edwards on their website. You can read his biography, view photographs, listen to selected interviews and read tributes from his colleagues. Bob Edwards will now move into the position of Senior Correspondent for NPR News.

Posted by Beth Henderson at 8:47 AM

Archbiship O'Malley and Feminism reports that yesterday Boston's Archbiship Sean P. O'Malley apologized for and attempted to extricate himself from comments he made on Holy Thursday, in which he included feminism in a list of social problems. He states it was merely an incident in which word order and his neglect to define feminism that led to a misunderstanding. From the article:

"Feminism is a very elastic term, and I did not try to define it or categorize it," O'Malley wrote. "Other influences I mentioned were obviously negative, and so my comment was construed as an attack on feminism."

Regis College president Mary Jane England welcomed the archbishop's statement:

"The Catholic community has some very serious problems to work on, and we can't be distracted by ideologies or rubrics," she said. "I was glad the archbishop clarified his view of feminism. It can happen sometimes that you place words too close to one another, and they all sound like one thing, and I gather he had not intended for that to occur. I don't think we should be distracted by this, because we have to keep our eye on the ball, focusing on keeping sure that no child is ever abused again and working with the poor and with new immigrants."

What exactly was this simple slip of word order? O'Malley stated that the members of the Baby Boom generation:

"...are heirs to Woodstock, the drug culture, the sexual revolution, feminism, the breakdown of authority, and divorce." The sentence came in the midst of O'Malley's discussion of the challenges of ministering to baby boomers, of whom he said, "Typically, they are religious illiterates, but they are interested."

I really don't see how this statement can be taken as anything other than a criticism of feminism, and of anyone of a certain age (that would include me - I'm on the cusp between Baby Boom and Gen-X) who doesn't agree with the Catholic church teachings as a "religious illiterate." That kind of broad generalization sounds like the product of a distracting ideology.

Posted by Beth Henderson at 8:24 AM
Thursday, April 29, 2004

Paramount's Wrench in My Plans 

Just as I set out my goals yesterday for the summer, with one of my priorities being to see Sky Captain and The World of Tomorrow, I discover today that Paramount has bumped the release date from June 25 to September 17!!! This sucks. If ever a movie screamed "summertime fun," this is the one. Now not only can I not see it early in the summer, but I'll have to work it in after classes start again in the fall.

Paramount attributes the move to Sony's announcement that Spider-Man 2 will open on June 30 rather than July 2, and that by moving their own date Sky Captain will not get lost in the Spidey frenzy and will benefit from pre-opening promotions at summertime events such as Comic-Con International in July.

Posted by Beth Henderson at 9:15 AM
Wednesday, April 28, 2004

Irony in New Paltz 

The Advocate reports that New Paltz mayor Jason West was denied a motion to dismiss in the lawsuit brought against him by village trustee Robert Hebel, who claims that West violated state law and should be barred from conducting further same sex marriage ceremonies. West had argued that Hebel did not have standing to bring the suit, but the judge determined that Hebel could bring suit from his standing as a resident of New Paltz. The temporary restraining order against the ceremonies was left in place.

But where's the irony, you ask? Oral arguments are scheduled for May 17, the day same sex marriage licenses will begin to be issued in Massachusetts.

Posted by Beth Henderson at 10:13 PM

Status Change 

Last week as I was walking up the hill from the bus to my office, another MBTA bus drove by and I noticed that it had the ad for Harry Potter and the Prisoner of Azkaban emblazoned on the side. I momentarily became quite excited, until I realized that with this reaction I had transitioned from geek to dork...

Posted by Beth Henderson at 9:49 PM

Things To Do 

The semester's not over yet, but it's getting close. Occasionally a thought pops into my head regarding something I'd like to do over the summer. So far:

-Improve my cardiovascular health.
-Reduce my body mass index.
-Dig my kayak out from beneath a mountain of boxes, and get out on the water.
-See Sky Captain and the World of Tomorrow.
-Reduce the percentage of my clothes that no longer fit (see first two items).
-Play my guitars (acoustic and electric) and piano.
-Read inconsequential novels. Preferably at the beach.
-Read one or two books related to Property, Constitutional Law and Evidence. Preferably at the beach. I know, I know - but I really love school and can't just let it go entirely!
-Brush up my Italian skills. I just discovered yesterday that a friend of mine speaks Italian. I'm hoping that I'll be able to carry on a passable conversation by the end of summer.

Posted by Beth Henderson at 1:53 PM
Tuesday, April 27, 2004

Sharon Stone and Media Portrayals 

The National Center for Lesbian Rights awarded Sharon Stone the NCLR Spirit Award this past weekend. NCLR describes the award as follows:

The Spirit Award recognizes important contributions by allies of the lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender community. Ms. Stone has long been active in her support and involvement with organizations that serve the lesbian, gay and HIV/AIDS community.

NCLR's About Page states:

NCLR is a national legal resource center with a primary commitment to advancing the rights and safety of lesbians and their families through a program of litigation, public policy advocacy, free legal advice and counseling, and public education. In addition, NCLR provides representation and resources to gay men, and bisexual and transgender individuals on key issues that also significantly advance lesbian rights.

So given that the goal of this organization is to advance lesbian rights and safety, and that this award recognizes contributions toward this goal by "allies" (aka straight but not narrow individuals) towards this end, I found it interesting that the AP's brief article (which is the basis for most of the news items) on the award to Stone opens by highlighting her fundraising efforts for AIDS research (a good thing) and her portrayal of "lesbian characters in movies including 'Basic Instinct'..."

Stone's character Catherine Tramell in 1992's Basic Instinct was a bisexual, extremely manipulative, sociopathic murderer who uses her sexuality to further her agenda. While this was Stone's breakthrough movie and one which received several awards and nominations, it would have been appropriate at least to mention her more recent work as Fran in HBO's 2000 If These Walls Could Talk 2.

If These Walls Could Talk 2 was a film entirely dedicated to portraying three sets of lesbians, each in a different era. The challenges faced in each setting (1961, 1972 and 2000) and the lives of the women in each segment reflect the progress made over those forty years. Sharon Stone co-starred with Ellen Degeneres in the 2000 segment, in which they portray a stable couple trying to get pregnant through artificial insemination. It's a nonsensational portrayal of a couple trying to start a family, and addressing both their fears and their hopes of what the future may bring. This film received even more nominations and awards, several of which were recognition for positive portrayals of GLBT characters.

If These Walls Could Talk 2 more appropriately embodies the goals of the NCLR and its Spirit Award. It would have been great if the media had at least mentioned it, rather than singling out the tried and true lesbian psycho-killer character from Basic Instinct.

For more information on media portrayals of lesbian and bisexual women, check out AfterEllen, a website dedicated to "Reviews and Commentary on Lesbian and Bisexual Women in Entertainment and the Media."

Amazon links: Basic Instinct, If These Walls Could Talk 2

Posted by Beth Henderson at 9:52 AM
Sunday, April 25, 2004

Romney - Out of Staters Need Not Apply reports that Gov. Mitt Romney has now taken it upon himself to interpret the marriage laws of every other state in the nation, and has declared that only gay residents of Massachusetts will be able to marry in Massachusetts. Despite Attorney General Tom O'Reilly's determination that the recently dusted off 1913 marriage statute would bar issuance of marriage licenses to gay couples from any of the 38 states who have laws specifically banning gay marriage, Romney has decided that unless a state has a law specifically authorizing gay marriage, then gay marriage is specifically illegal in that state.

Our esteemed governor can't even agree with how the Massachusetts Supreme Judical Court interprets the Massachusetts constitution, but nonetheless he is interpreting every other state's constitution and how the highest court of that state would interpret a challenge regarding gay marriage.

According to

This week, Romney will send letters to the governors and attorneys general of the 49 other states, explaining to them that same-sex marriages are due to start in Massachusetts on May 17, and informing them that it is his administration's view that gay marriage is not legal in their state. The letter will ask other state officials to inform the governor "if we're wrong" about that, Fehrnstrom said.

The NY Times also has a lengthy article on the governor's announcement. Apparently Romney is afraid of Massachusetts becoming the "Las Vegas of same-sex marriage," and adding confusion to the various marriage laws of the country. He is also pulling out the child card, stating that:

...his main motivation was to protect a same-sex couple's children if the couple separated and "one or the other of them would stand up and say, `Hey, I don't owe you any alimony, I don't owe this child any child support because the marriage was null and void to begin with.'

I find myself quite angered over the governor's continued actions and statements, such as justifying his actions because he is obligated to enforce all the state's laws including the 1913 statute, and that he cannot simply pick and choose which to enforce. He has and continues to do everything in or beyond his power to avoid enforcing the Goodridge decision, which as of May 17 makes gay marriage part of the law of Massachusetts. If he's worried about damage to children should marriages be declared null and void, then take efforts to validate the marriages, don't put additional roadblocks in front of them.

However much I disagree with the governor, I have to admit that this latest is a brilliant maneuver. He's putting the burden of proving him wrong on the other 49 governors. There are some flaws in the implementation, though. Town clerks are going to be instructed to require identification from all applicants, gay or straight, proving Massachusetts residence. All out of state applicants will continue to be required to sign affadavits that there is no impediment to their being legally married in their home state. But while straight couples will be issued a license once they've signed the affadavit, it appears that there will be no point in even having the gay out of state couples get to the affadavit stage, since the governor has pre-emptively declared that any such signature would be perjury. I saw no mention that the clerks will equally be kept apprised of the other marriage restrictions of the several states, restrictions which might bar a heterosexual couple from marrying in that state.

The governor's actions demonstrate his committment to continue discriminating against gay couples as long as possible. Many (myself included) have speculated that his efforts are aimed at bolstering his reputation among conservative voters and the Republican party. My hope is that history will look back on the governor's actions as desperate attempts to cling to by-then outdated prejudices and fears.

Posted by Beth Henderson at 12:47 PM

March for Women's Lives 2004 

Kudos and best wishes to all who are participating in today's March for Women's Lives in DC. I wish I could be there, but academic obligations keep me at home in Boston. I'm proud to say that while in college I took part in the first and much smaller March for Women's Lives back in 1986. I still have the t-shirt to prove it, although it's getting a little raggedy from nearly 20 years (yikes!) of wear.

These marches and demonstrations are so important, on both a large-scale and individual level. I also took part in the 1987, 1993 and 2000 GLBT Marches on Washington. The participants spend an entire day seeing that they are not alone in their commitment and beliefs, and those who couldn't or wouldn't go are inspired by those would could. The media coverage presents the issue to the world, and puts faces (hopefully incredibly large numbers of faces) on the issue.

So to everyone there, congratulations and my heartfelt thanks!

Posted by Beth Henderson at 11:04 AM
Saturday, April 24, 2004

Pax RolandUS 

Ah, quiet...

I've mentioned before that The Girl is a drummer. With my being in law school and both of us working full time, this has led to problems. The drumming resounds throughout the house, so either she can practice or I can study, but these events cannot occur at the same time. Plus we live in a duplex, so there's a 6 pm curfew to appease the neighbors.

Until now.

This week we acquired a Roland electronic drum kit and set it up in the basement (which we totally cleaned out and Queer Eye'd into a warm and inviting practice studio last weekend). This thing is so cool. It's set up like an acoustic set, but with electronic trigger pads instead of drums and cymbals. She can feed the stereo into the sound module, and plug headphones into the sound module, then drum away all night long if she wants. All I can hear from the second floor is the tapping of the sticks against the rubber pads. But to her ears, she's rockin' out with Alanis or Melissa!

Better (and more harmonious) living through technology.

Now back to this paper on restitution...

Posted by Beth Henderson at 8:08 PM
Friday, April 23, 2004

Legislative Overreaching 

AP via Yahoo! News today reports on a new bill filed in Louisiana. State Rep. Derrick Sheppherd is mad as hell, and he's not going to take it anymore! He's requesting that the state step in where parents are failing to take appropriate measures. From the article:

"I'm sick of seeing it," said Shepherd, a first-term legislator. "The community's outraged. And if parents can't do their job, if parents can't regulate what their children wear, then there should be a law."

Yes, Rep. Shepperd wants a law that makes anyone caught wearing low-rider pants subject to a fine of up to $500 and/or up to six months in jail. He is attempting to attach this to the state's obscenity law.

Joe Cook of the Louisiana ACLU doubts the situation would meet the US Supreme Courts First Amendment standards for prohibiting obscene behavior, and aptly brings up the question of sarong wearers and workers with heavy tool belts.

The concept of putting someone in jail because the legislature doesn't like what they're wearing is astounding to me. Plus if he's framing this as a parental failure, why would he be fining or jailing the unregulated teenager? What about adults who choose to wear low slung clothing? What about plunging necklines? Open backed evening gowns? He'd have a field day at the Academy Awards! I thought Angelina looked great, but she'd better not wear that gown in Louisiana.

If he feels it's appropriate to regulate personal clothing choices in this way, what else would he like to outlaw because he doesn't like it?

Posted by Beth Henderson at 10:47 AM
Thursday, April 22, 2004

Last Class Over 

New - NESL OUTLaws Blog 

The New England School of Law OUTLaws, the campus group for GLBT students, faculty, staff and alumnae and their supporters, now has a multi-contributor blog. I'm proud to say that I am among the contributors, and we're very excited about this new project.

While some posts will be mainly of interest to members of the NESL community (meeting announcements, speakers on campus, etc.), we hope also to create a place where anyone can go for news updates of interest to the larger GLBT legal and political community. Stop by and take a look around, return often, and please let us know via Comments or e-mail if you have any suggestions, thoughts or ideas.

Posted by Beth Henderson at 10:58 AM
Wednesday, April 21, 2004

Attn. Buffy, Angel, Wonderfalls Fans! 

E! Online's Watch With Kristin this week reports that there may be more to come for these most favored shows.

Kristin reports that The WB may be talking with Joss Whedon about possibly one or more Buffy or Angel TV movies.

She also provides the very welcome news that while UPN has passed on picking up both Angel and Wonderfalls, The WB has agreed to review an episode of Wonderfalls (late of FOX) along with the pilots being considered for the fall. Kristin includes the address of Jordan Levin, CEO of WB, should you care to send him your thoughts and animal figurines.

Posted by Beth Henderson at 12:36 PM

The Courts, The Legislature and The People 

When the Massachusetts SJC issued the Goodridge opinion and set the stage for the upcoming issuing of marriage licenses to gay couples, opponents of the decision cried foul. The court was accused of attempting to usurp the role of the legislature and of imposing its will on the people.

Now that the issue of gay marriage is working its way through the courts in California, there seems to be a different opinion of the role of the courts. A California assembly committee has approved a bill which would define marriage as being between "two persons." Opponents now say the legislature should not be taking up the issue, but it should be decided by the courts, so as not to offend the will of the people. From

Opponents of the bill said it would contradict the will of the voters, who passed Proposition 22 in 2000, defining marriage as a union between a man and a woman. "This is something that should be decided in the courts before it ever comes here," said Assemblywoman Pat Bates (R-Laguna Niguel), who voted against the measure. "I think it trivializes the will of the people."

For an insightful article on the California initiative process, check out this entry from California Justice William W. Bedsworth's blog, A Criminal Waste of Space.

Posted by Beth Henderson at 11:03 AM
Tuesday, April 20, 2004

Three Strikes Is Out 

AP via Yahoo! News reports that on Monday the Ninth Circuit Court of Appeals overturned a three strikes conviction in which the first two convictions were for unarmed robbery and the third strike was for theft of a $199 VCR. The AP report points out that the Supreme Court has upheld the three strikes rule, if the first two convictions were for serious or violent felonies.

The opinion concludes that:

"Ramirez’s sentence of 25 years to life in prison is grossly disproportionate to the offenses he committed. The California Court of Appeal’s decision to the contrary is an objectively unreasonable application of clearly established federal law because it erroneously characterizes and otherwise fails to consider the unique, objective factual circumstances of Ramirez’s case. Because this is indeed the “exceedingly rare” case, Ramirez is entitled to habeas relief under 28 U.S.C. §2254(d)(1)."

Posted by Beth Henderson at 2:30 PM

Biking and Donuts 

I've been helping set up a blog for The Guyfriend. As well as being a fellow geek, Buffy fan and rockin' bass player, he is also an altruist. Two summers ago he began taking part in fundraising via long-distance bike rides. The first year he did the Boston-Provincetown AIDS Ride, and last year he added in a couple of MS Rides. This year he has FIVE rides scheduled, all long-distance, some over multiple days. The season will culminate with a two day, 150-mile MS Ride in San Diego.

He'll be blogging about his training and event experiences, fundraising updates, and some low pressure direct fundraising (there may be an opportunity for purchasing cool custom logo goods). I'm sure there will also be some commentary on culture and current events, as well as geeky goodness.

He has yet write his first post (I've got a couple of introductory entries on the site), but I'm hoping he'll get going soon, as he's a witty and intelligent guy with an interesting take on the world. Check out the site, Punk Ass Biker (I'll leave it to him to post about the name) if you have a moment (which you must, since you're surfing the web at the moment), and if he hasn't posted yet leave an encouraging comment to get his Punk Ass in gear!

In related news, while searching out interesting links for him, I found a great post on No Signal, in which Trevor weaves a cautionary tale of bicycling, messenger bags and donut holes.

UPDATE: Punk Ass has now posted! Bravo!

Posted by Beth Henderson at 1:43 PM

Keeping the Big Picture 

Kevin over at The Sleepy Sage has an eloquent and inspirational post on why we go to law school. I'm glad to see that even after his last day of classes he has managed to hang on to the passion that I'm guessing brought him there in the first place.

I should note that the post is Part II of an ongoing series on the question, and Part I was also well-written, although more grounded in the day to day than the ethereal thoughts of Part II.

Extra kudos for intelligent references to radical feminism, Bell Hooks, and a Sapphic quote!

Posted by Beth Henderson at 10:41 AM

Bill of Address 

A single state Representative, Democrat Emile J. Goguen (D) of Fitchburg is sponsoring and filing a "bill of address" tomorrow. The bill is the first step in a process designed to remove from the SJC the four justices who issued the Goodridge opinion. While the lawmaker acknowledges that the bill has little chance of passing (it would have to be passed by both the house and senate, and the acted upon by the Governor and Governor's Council), he stated that he hopes the action will pressure the justices into reconsidering or nullifying the ruling.

The most recent removal of an SJC justice was in 1803. An attempt in 1922 failed. The most recent removal of a judge by a bill of address was in 1973 (a municipal court judge), but this was after the judge had already been disbarred and removed by the SJC.

The idea of the bill of address was brought to Rep. Goguen by members of Article 8 Alliance, a group formed in response to the Goodridge decision. You might want to poke around their website a bit to get an idea of the ideas behind the bill. This website is full of inflammatory rhetoric and unsubstantiated conclusions. I do find rather ironic that one of the statements featured in the center page, bright yellow highlighted appeal for the people to act now and prevent "judicial catastrophe" from being enacted is as follows:

"We live here, raise our families here, and pay taxes here. We pay the salaries of our legislators so they can protect us. We demand that they do their job."

Posted by Beth Henderson at 10:29 AM

Law Firm Merger 

Both the NY Times and the Washington Post report today that Boston law firm Hale and Dorr LLP is merging with DC law firm Wilmer Cutler Pickering LLP, to form a 1,000-plus firm named Wilmer Cutler Pickering Hale and Dorr LLP. The merger, which is expected by the end of May, will result in one of the 25 largest firms in the world.

Hale and Dorr has this letter on their website regarding the merger, while Wilmer Cutler Pickering has this letter.

Posted by Beth Henderson at 10:01 AM
Monday, April 19, 2004

All Hail Wonkette 

Sunday's NY Times included an article on Ana Marie Cox, aka Wonkette, who started her political gossip blog this past January. The site was an immediate hit and has developed a loyal following, myself included. For an example, check out yesterday's entry on Bob Woodward's new book, Plan of Attack, in which Cox references some of the same quotes used by the NY Times, but analyzes the quotes to come up with the following conclusion:

"And you have the skull-pounding mixed metaphors: The rock stars are on horses headed to Pottery Barn? No. Uhm: The Iraqis once redecorated their circus horses in muted Mediterranean tones? Wait. How about: While attempting to ride two rock stars, the president injured his cojones. No wonder things are so fucked up."

Among my favorite Wonkette! items are the Sloganator and the "rough draft" of Bush's statement on a constitutional amendment to ban gay marriage.

Posted by Beth Henderson at 8:06 AM

King Kong, Godzilla and Legal Ethics 

The NY Times reported Saturday on the withdrawal of law firm Weil, Gotshal & Manges from New York City's lawsuit against the gun industry. The firm has been representing the city in the suit pro bono for the last two years but has now withdrawn, citing "positional conflicts" with a previous client. The issue was brought to the law firm's attention by a client after that client had received a phone call from an attorney who represents Smith & Wesson and also this client. I know - that's not a very graceful sentence, but this isn't a very graceful situation.

There is some debate over whether the firm was ethically obligated to withdraw, especially as the case is getting closer to trial (expected this fall), or whether it was simply yielding to pressure from a valuable client. The city is now relying on its own Law Department and the staff attorneys who had been working with the powerful firm. The Times article has some analysis of the legal ethics question, and how this change affects the city. According to the NY Times, the withdrawal leaves the city at an extreme disadvantage:

"The city has just lost an invaluable resource," said Elisa Barnes, a Manhattan lawyer who has handled other cases against the gun industry. "You've got to get King Kong to fight Godzilla."

You can read the original complaint here, on the website for the US District Court for the Eastern District of New York.

Posted by Beth Henderson at 7:31 AM
Friday, April 16, 2004

More Mitt 

Governor Romney's got his back to the wall, but he'll go down fighting if he needs to. today reports on yesterday's emergency legislation request from the governor, and it would appear that his latest attempt to block gay marriage has served multiple purposes to both sides of the issue.

Romney has cemented his image for his conservative supporters. Each time a strong opponent of gay marriage has acknowledged that the SJC decision is going to stand despite what they want, or changed their minds on the issue entirely, that person has received strong criticism from their previously ardent supporters. The governor instead is receiving praise from those supporters and shifting the blame onto everyone else, especially if they happen to be Democrats.

On the other hand, Romney has also cemented his image for those who disagree with him, and in doing so has clarified the weakness of his position. A while back I commented that when the pressure is on, people can be counted on to drop the polish and show their unvarnished positions. Another phenomenon that goes along with this is that as those positions are stated more clearly, their flaws and sometimes their desperation also become more clear.

Romney is now reaching out in all possible directions to justify his actions. He claims that because the legislature has not yet changed the wording of the marriage laws to come in line with the SJC decision, it is up to him to take action:

‘‘I believe the reason that the court gave 180 days to the Legislature [following its ruling] was to allow the Legislature the chance to look through all of the laws developed over the centuries and see how they should be adjusted or clarified for purposes of same-sex marriage; the Legislature didn’t do that,’’ Romney said. ‘‘Without an extension of the stay, it leaves to the executive branch . . . the responsibility to sort out as well as we can how we can interpret and execute these laws.’’

So what is he saying? That he's not trying to block gay marriage, he's just trying to make sure the laws are changed to comply with the court's decision? He has specifically stated that his goal is to prevent these marriage from occurring, not to ensure the statutes are appropriately adjusted. The arguments against the SJC's decision in Goodridge are often founded on an allegation that the court is trying to usurp the role of the legislature (even though decisions regarding constitutionality of laws is indeed the role of the court), but the Governor is now specifically trying to do the legislature's job, and stating as much. Of course yesterday he stated that to do so would require the law to be changed, "in just this one case."

Not satisfied with blaming the legislature, he's also blaming Attorney General Tom Reilly and the Massachusetts governmental structure itself:

Yesterday, Romney complained that under current law, he has to rely on Reilly to petition the court — ‘‘someone independently elected that happens to be from another party.’’

‘‘Look, people that don’t have any income are entitled to representation. Everyone in the Commonwealth is entitled to representation, but somehow as governor of the Commonwealth it’s deemed that I can’t represent my view before the courts. I think that’s a mistake,’’ Romney said.

Where to begin? As governor, he is not without representation. As he stated, he is represented by the Attorney General. The structure of the Commonwealth calls for the governor's representative to be publically elected, not appointed. For someone who claims to be all about letting the people choose, letting the people decide, and abiding by the will of the people, he seems rather upset that he has to rely on the representative chosen by the people, who doesn't share his view on the legal issues. Our elected representatives aren't there to parrot our opinions, and neither is the Atty. General there to heed the orders of the governor without question. Ideally, elected representatives consider the opinions of their constituents (and those opinions can be all over the spectrum on any issue), but also to consider the law, the common good, public policy concerns, and the big picture in general.

Once again, Arline Isaacson of the Mass. Gay and Lesbian Political Caucus, sums it up well when she:

said Romney was ‘‘beginning to act like a religious zealot.’’

‘‘He won’t let go of this, even when the attorney general, who doesn’t support gay marriage, who fought it tooth and nail, is saying that there is no legal basis to pursue this in court,’’ Isaacson said. ‘‘We’re going to work very hard, of course, to kill this in the Legislature, and we think we have a very good chance of being able to do so.’’

Posted by Beth Henderson at 7:51 AM
Thursday, April 15, 2004

MA Marriage Update 

House Speaker Tom Finneran has now indicated that he will take no further action to attempt a block on issuance of same sex marriages, scheduled to begin May 17. Arline Isaacson of the Mass. Gay and Lesbian Political Caucus is holding back on her assessment of Finneran's position, however, until staff members have had a chance to examine a state budget proposal released yesterday, and to which Finneran referenced. Apparently it involves creation of a report on the "revenue and expenditure impact" of same sex marriage licensing.

Governor Mitt Romney, however, is stepping up to the plate once more. He announced today his intention to seek emergency legislation that would authorize his appointment of a special counsel to request a stay of the SJC's order, since the state Attorney General has declined to do so. Romney states this action "will allow me to protect the integrity of the constitutional process." It appears instead that he is trying everything he can to dodge the constitutional roles assigned to the various branches of our commonwealth's governmental structure.

He apparently hopes to appoint retired SJC Justice Joseph R. Nolan, who has referred to the Goodridge decision as an "abomination." But I'm sure they're each keeping an open mind on the issue.

As the various political opponents to the SJC decision are dropping away from the fight, the Governor's latest effort doesn't appear to have much hope of getting very far. But he perseveres nonetheless. The official press release on this issue concludes with this statement, referring to the section of Massachusetts General Law which vests the Attorney General with "control over the conduct of litigation involving the Commonwealth, which includes the power to make policy determinations regarding legal strategy."

""I have introduced legislation to change the law, in just this one case, so that I can put the argument for a stay before the court directly, and ask them to respect the Legislature’s action, the constitutional process and the will of the people,” said Romney."

This strategy is consistent for Gov. Romney. The court determined that banning issuance of marriage licenses to gay couples is unconstitutional, so he focused on writing that discrimination into the constitution. But the constitutional process takes time, in part to prevent the enactment of amendments based on potentially short-lived popular movements. The governor has stated that he wouldn't act outside of the law to block implementation of the court's decision. He can't stop the order within the law, so he'll change the law - just this once.

Posted by Beth Henderson at 12:39 PM

Commuting, Mass Transit, HazMats, and Marathon 

I generally prefer taking mass transit rather than driving. I can read, people watch, take scenic walking diversions, and observe the surroundings rather than just focusing on the road and the cars in my immediate vicinity. When we go away on vacation, one of the first things I'll research is the public transportation system in our destination. I love the system in San Francisco. Prior to each of two visits out there, I've secured passes over the internet, and we were good to go upon arrival. They have lots of options and connecting systems, and you can get anywhere in the city with the right kind of pass. The Girl thinks I'm a bit crazy in this way - she would much rather lift her arm and hail the nearest cab. But you don't really get to know a place when you have someone else drive you around, or even if you drive yourself.

Utilizing a transit system effectively requires you to analyze your options, learn the streets, associate landmarks and interact with people. If you see something interesting along the way, just press the signal or pull the cable, hop off and go exploring. We don't need no stinking parking places!

But you also have to be prepared to adjust, make accomodations, and be patient. If you're coming from or going to somewhere outside the city, the trains just don't run as frequently. Bring a book or a personable companion. The Girl and I went to rural Tuscany with some family members a few years ago, and one day decided to take the bus to Florence from a nearby town. We had to wait an hour for the next bus, so we had coffee and pastries while we were waiting, and chatted in our broken but passable Italian with some of the locals. When we got to Florence at 1 pm we discovered there was a strike scheduled for later that day. If we wanted to get back to Panzano, we would have to be on the bus by 4:00. So we established our priorities (the open air marketplace and the area from there to the Ponte Vecchio) and got to it. The Girl and I wanted to explore more, so we returned the next day on an earlier bus (9 am) and left on the last bus out (9 pm). The rest of the family went on winery tours. Everyone was happy.

But sometimes the daily commute can be a bigger challenge. Yesterday here in Boston a tanker rail car carrying hydrochloric acid developed a leak, and caused the partial closure of several transit lines, including the one I use to get home. They were still working on it this morning. But there are options to work around it, and we all do. The shutdowns affected some of the lines that are to be impacted with the upcoming Democratic National Convention this summer, so this was kind of a dry run.

Then there's the marathon. Visible preparations started this week for this coming Monday's big event. Copley Square is the end point, and is basically impassable for most of the day. They close down the Copley T-stop for the day, I guess on the assumption that so many people would be trying to get on an off that the trains wouldn't be able to move. By closing that one stop, they force people to spread out to the surrounding stops. My commute usually takes me through Copley twice each day. I may seek alternate routes, though.

Much of the state has the day off, as the marathon is always held on Patriot's Day, a Massachusetts state holiday. This is the commemoration of the Battle of Concord and Lexington, and Paul Revere's ride. Many dedicated history fans are up at the crack of dawn for the re-enactments, and fife and drum corps abound throughout the area. Pretty much everyone else is somewhere along the marathon route if they have the day off, or are following the race on tv, radio or the internet if they can't make it. The school is closed on Monday, but I still have to go to work. Much of my family will be watching the early part of the race live, as many of my relatives live directly on the route.

But I will be at work, deciding which route to take home. Perhaps I'll go through Harvard Square and do a little people watching while having a latte. I'll let you know how it works out.

Posted by Beth Henderson at 10:04 AM
Wednesday, April 14, 2004

A Vision Thing 

The Girl has recently had an eye exam, at which she was given a prescription for reading glasses to wear with her contacts, and for computer glasses or bifocals if she's not wearing the contacts. She was not at all pleased with development, and made a couple of attempts to share her misery.

Monday afternoon phone call:
Me: I've got a killer headache.
The Girl: Maybe you need reading glasses!
Me: Maybe I need to eat lunch.
The Girl: Oh.

Tuesday morning I related the story to a mutual friend, who completely understood The Girl's feelings, as she had the same response when she had to get bifocals.

Tuesday evening while cooking dinner:
Me: I told J. about your reading glasses trauma, and how you're trying to impose the misery on me.
The Girl: What do you mean?
Me: You remember, when I said I had a headache and you said maybe I need reading glasse?
The Girl: Well, maybe you do! How do you know? You haven't had an eye exam in quite a while.
Me: Trust me, if I were having difficulty reading, I'd know.
The Girl: Oh yeah, that's true.

I can't imagine trying to plow through the amount of reading neccesary for law school if the pages were all blurry.

Posted by Beth Henderson at 10:39 AM
Tuesday, April 13, 2004

Palm Tips for Law Students (and Lawyers) 

I'm fast developing a profound love for BoleyBlogs! at Lewis & Clark. They've now posted an entry which points to The folks behind have put together a site dedicated to helping law students and lawyers get the most out of their PDA.

I love my Tungsten C. I have DocumentsToGo, Adobe Reader, Avantgo, and the MBTA scheduler all loaded on it. I have a PDF version of the first three chapters of my contracts book (provided as a free sample online by the publisher) loaded, as well as all my classnotes, papers, relevant law review articles and cases, the FRCP, and the Goodridge case in its entirety. I use it to check my e-mail and surf the web from wireless access points (such as the entire NESL main building). I have read cases and articles, reviewed my class notes, and worked on papers while commuting with it. I have even posted to this blog with it. And now these kind and thoughtful people are providing me ways to get even more out of it. I love them.

Posted by Beth Henderson at 3:07 PM

Lime in the Coconut 

During the usual pre-class chatter last evening, I began singing Harry Nilsson's "Coconut." You know the one - "You put the lime in the coconut and drink 'em both up...I say doctor!" I had a reason for singing this song, but it's long and involves chewing gum.

Anyway, a friend of mine mentioned a sociological phenomenon that she's noticed when people hear this song. They often think of one of two movies, and there's a noticable gender difference.

Go ahead - sing a few lines. Are you thinking of a movie? Was it this one or this one? According to the theory, women tend to think of the first one, while men recall the second. I adhered to the hypothesis.

Posted by Beth Henderson at 2:48 PM

Muzzle Awards 2004 

The Thomas Jefferson Center For the Protection of Free Expression has announced the winners of this year's Muzzle Awards. According to the official description the awards are given across the political spectrum, with this purpose:

Announced on or near April 13 -- the anniversary of the birth of Thomas Jefferson -- the Jefferson Muzzles are awarded as a means to draw national attention to abridgments of free speech and press and, at the same time, foster an appreciation for those tenets of the First Amendment. Because the importance and value of free expression extend far beyond the First Amendment's limit on government censorship, acts of private censorship are not spared consideration for the dubious honor of receiving a Muzzle.

Indeed, when you read through the detailed explanations for each award, you may find that you don't agree with the speech that was blocked in many instances. But each explanation includes a walk through analysis of the various clauses of the First Amendment, and why the speech is protected, even if you might not agree with it. Again, I think of my favorite movie monologue, from The American President.

From the awards page you can also review the winners of previous years back to 1992.

Posted by Beth Henderson at 1:15 PM

Think It, and It Will Move 

The NY Times today reports on an upcoming clinical trial by Cyberkinetics, Inc.. The goal of their BrainGate neural implant system is to enable people with limited or no mobility to operate computers or robotic arms by thinking about it. The trials will involve having wires come through the skull from the implant, with these wires then being hooked up to cables for signal transmission. The goal is to have the whole process be wireless.

Could this eventually create a technotelepath system? You can use a PDA to beam information to another similarly programmed PDA. I'm picturing a system in which a number of people are outfitted with the wireless implants, and they could then trigger an electronic communications subroutine with each other when they are within a certain range. Add file storage capabilities, and the implications for students alone are endless! I'm thinking you'd still need some sort of external device for viewing the contents of files, but that could be something PDA sized, or at most a tablet PC. The bookstore could sell you textbook uploads from which you could selectively download to your viewing device when needed. The files could have settings which would enable their use only in the purchaser's brain storage and viewer system, to counter copyright fears. No more wheely-bags or backaches! Hmm - what's the number for R&D and Cyberkinetics?

Posted by Beth Henderson at 11:13 AM

Scalia Speaks (On the Record?) 

After last week's fracas involving a deputy federal marshall seizing and deleting digital recordings of a speech (on the Constitution) given by Justice Antonin Scalia at a high school in Mississippi, there were qualifications, justifications, statements of outrage, and bland statements from Supreme Court spokespeople that it is up to the Justice to set guidelines for press coverage, and that the voice recording restriction should have been announced beforehand. Commentary and coverage here, here, and here.

Yesterday it was announced that Justice Scalia has now apologized for the seizures. I'm still a bit muddled, though.

In the published letter referencing the apologies to the reporters (if that's not confusing enough), he states that the actions were not at his direction, but that he is "revising [his] policy to permit recording for use of the print media." He also hopes that this will prevent misquotes, as he said came from that Hattiesburg speech (although he didn't correct the misquote, just pointed it out). He also expressed his hope that "electronic media" will continue to extend the "courtesy" of respecting his "First Amendment right not to speak on radio or television when I do not wish to do so."

If he has to revise his policy to allow for recording by print media journalists, wouldn't that mean that his policy previously banned such recordings? Would not the deputy marshall therefore have been acting in accordance with that policy, essentially at his direction? Does a Supreme Court Justice, as a very public official, have the right to ban selected segments of the media from recording? Could video or audio recordings be made by all journalists as long as they promised not to display them, but only use the recordings for verification purposes, as the print media do? What really is the difference in today's world between "print" and "electronic" media? What better way to be on the record accurately than with a recording? Perhaps that is the point, though.

Posted by Beth Henderson at 10:37 AM


The Boley Law Library of Lewis & Clark Law School have brought up an enthusiastic legal research and news blog, named BoleyBlogs! (title includes the exclamation point). Their tag line is, "Sharing the finest legal research links, news and hints since 2004." Some of the entries are specific to the Lewis & Clark community, such as posting of exams or the latest books on display, but many are general news and research info. Much of the general entries are culled from other sources (properly cited, of course), but there's something about the style they've chosen, and the particular news pieces they pass along that make this just a fun place to be.

Yesterday brought an entry that included this introduction:

"In honor of the Tuesday hearing in Washington, D.C. considering a rule allowing the citation of 'unpublished' federal court opinions, we present this BoleyBlogs! special report containing links to articles and primary sources.

Among the links provided are "Unpublished Opinions: Inedible Sausage or Crazy Uncle?" (originally from Tony Mauro, Legal Times) and "The Law that Dare Not Speak Its Name" (originally from Howard Bashman, The Legal Intelligencer). Further on are the perhaps more substantive but potentially more dry links to actual texts of proposed FRCP changes and information on how the rules are made and changed. But they get you hooked on the clever, snarky stuff and draw you into the learning. What's better than that?

By the way - this looks like a breathtakingly beautiful campus. Much more scenic than Stuart Street. And they have an evening division. But I love NESL, and Boston is much more convenient for me than Portland, OR. Plus we have Starbuck's and P.F. Chang's directly across the street!

Posted by Beth Henderson at 9:48 AM
Monday, April 12, 2004

The L Word - Limb from Limb 

Well, they managed to answer many of my questions, yet still leave me hanging on the edge and waiting for the next season to begin.

Thanks to some sisterly, eye-opening, denial-ending advice from Bette, Kit started to deal with the issue that is Ivan. I'm actually glad that Ivan wasn't immediately dissuaded, but is continuing with polite pursuit. But I really don't get the attraction of having someone order your meals for you, even if they do get it right. Maybe I would have had a last minute impulse to try something wild if given the chance to review the menu. I enjoyed the whole he-she exchange between Bette and Kit, and that Kit began to move away from "no, you're wrong," to "mind your own business, Little Sis."

Speaking of the business of Little Sis - oy, that was so disturbing. First I was yelling at the tv for Bette to stop right there and go home, then I was yelling at the tv for Bette and Candace to get a room instead of macking in the hotel hallway (then I remembered that they had already gotten a room, so clearly that bit of snark wasn't going to do any good), then I was feeling such sadness for and anger on behalf of Tina up to the CAC opening. As soon as Tina started walking around the exhibit on her own it was clear that the curtain was about to be pulled, but it was still devastating when she saw the soulful looks and lingering fingertips. But the confrontation at home was incredibly disturbing, especially when Bette ripped the dress. And was that biting? The Girl and I couldn't decide. Whatever it was, I was greatly relieved that Tina got the hell out of Dodge and over to Alice's sanctuary. How poignant was it that up until that point Bette and Tina had no other links in the chart?

All the musical selections in this episode were fabulous. I'm just saying.

Tonya must go. I clapped and cheered when Alice finally kissed Dana, and upped the enthusiasm when Dana responded in kind. It was perfect that Alice then left immediately. The very effective hit and run. Or as Oz would say, "The time-honored drive-by. You've gotta respect it." They're leaving it up in the air as to whether Alice is really in love with Dana or if she's just doing this to save her from a horribly mistaken marriage, but I'm going with the love camp. Alice is always the one watching out for Dana and offering herself up to the pearls and sweater country club set, plus she was totally checking Dana out after the makeover. I'd still prefer that Lara come back, but I'm happy with Alice. Heck, I'd even settle for a Jenny-Dana combo if it would get that Mr. Piddles murderer (she totally instigated that) out of the picture.

Tim's turning into a jerk again. His self-preservation defense of "At least I'm the only man," was so Chasing Amy. Gene is growing on me; I found the whole sex against the seal tank concept disturbing (but not as much as the Bette-Tina fight); I now believe I was completely in error in my early assessment of Marina (everyone - stay away from her); and I found Jenny's collection of dates into a group board game and chatfest oddly comforting. I like the chemistry and rapport they all seem to have with each other. No one's threatened or threatening, no one's lying or hiding anything - how often does that happen on a drama?

Shane - get far, far away from that entire family. You have skills - become a success on your own. Maybe you could rent a section of The Planet and wall it off for a mini-salon. The chicks would be lining up to have you style them, and it would help Marina and Kit with their joint venture. And please, don't wear your hair in a ponytail like that anymore. It definitely made you look more vulnerable, which was appropriate for that scene, but hopefully by next season you'll be recovered enough to look bold and confident once more.

Now - when is that DVD going on sale? I need to free up some space on my Tivo.

Posted by Beth Henderson at 1:51 PM

Asteroid Impact Simulator 

Robert Roy Britt on has an article detailing the new online catastrophe calculator at the University of Arizona. It took a while for the page to load, so it would appear that the Earth Impact Effects Program is quite popular already. Once on, you enter in the distance from impact and the impact parameters of velocity, projectile and target density (enter manually or select from a list), angle and diameter. The results also take a while, but are quite detailed. There are also links for further information on each section.

Note that at the bottom of the results page is the following disclaimer: "These results come with ABSOLUTELY NO WARRANTY." So if there's an object coming in and you're vaporized despite having used this tool to calculate minimum safe distance, don't go crying to the tool designers.

Posted by Beth Henderson at 1:05 PM
Sunday, April 11, 2004

The L Word - Locked Up 

Right is left, up is down, in is out (and out is in, as always). I haven't posted my comments on last week's episode until now because I was just so confused. But I wanted to get something up before tonight's season finale. So here goes.

Tonight's on Mutual of Omaha's Wild Kingdom... Manatees and other water mammals on tour in the Catskills... No wait - is this Showtime? Oh, there they are.

What is up with Kelly Lynch's hair? Yikes!!!

What is up with Kit and Ivan? Did she not realize that the person in charge of the entire drag king show, and who was the final performer, was in fact a drag king herself? Or did she expect her to show up in drag as Ivan? Is she attracted to her? Was she attracted to her as Ivan and is trying to justify a same sex attraction as being based on the masculine persona? Does she realize the attraction and is just going with it because hey, why not? Does Ivan realize that Kit has been straight up to this point? I mean, she does sing and run events at the women's bar. Are any of the other characters confused or at least intrigued?

We've heard Bette previously tell the protesters that they were on private property. How is it that they've now apparently acquired a permit to protest there? Can you get a permit to protest on and block entrance to private property? Maybe they could get a permit for the sidewalk, but they were clearly on the Art Center grounds. And why did the cop decide to arrest the artist who was just standing there, apparently on the grounds that the protester didn't like what she depicted in her video piece? What was the justification for deciding that Bette and Candace were high risk and therefore in need of a separate cell? High risk of getting freaky with a concrete wall, is all I could see.

Speaking of which - stop Bette, stop! Haven't you looked at Tina lately? I know, she's no longer available to do all your household chores like picking up your drycleaning, but isn't this more like the Tina you fell for back at that dinner party?

Tonya - get thee back to wherever slimy personal assistants such as yourself are created. You're manipulating and deceiving big-hearted but not cynical enough Dana, and you kicked Mr. Piddles off the bed! Lara - where are you?

I'm glad to see that Jenny has come to the conclusion that spontaneous kisses are probably a better option than spontaneous popping of of shirts. Leave the girl something to work towards, you know?

Tim - is that really a logical conclusion? That Jenny's apparent turn to women (I don't think he knows about the biologist yet) is due to his imagined state of being "not man enough?" If she left you because you weren't man enough, why would she turn to people who aren't man at all? Do your ego a favor: if you have to frame it in these terms, consider that perhaps you were too much of a man for her. You stud, you.

What is up with Marina? Just when she's winning me back, she starts having all sorts of weird behavior. First she's desperately pushing Kit to borrow money from Bette to invest in The Planet, when Kit clearly isn't comfortable with using her sister as a banker, then she's putting the moves into high gear on Robin just because Robin's dating Jenny. And all the wrong moves, too. Robin clearly isn't interested in the literary scene. Why force it on her? Is Marina trying to take Robin away from Jenny? Is she trying to get to Jenny through Robin? Is she trying to prove to Jenny that Robin isn't as worthy of Jenny's attentions as Marina is? Is she simply a controlling psychotic? I'm so confused.

Shane is going to sit at the police station all night on the off chance that Cheri is going to show up? Hello? What happened to the independent, go with the flow, no strings attached Shane we all love?

So tonight is it until the fall. I'm afraid that with this lead in episode, tonight they're going to throw everything totally up in the air for the summer, and we'll all be left confused and counting the days until the summer break is over. But I guess that's the whole idea.

Posted by Beth Henderson at 6:39 PM
Friday, April 09, 2004

I'm So Happy 

I've gotten a chance at work to break out of my normal tech writing routine, and am creating an-easy-to-use but solves-all-your-problems Access database for someone. They've been using an Excel spreadsheet, without very good results. I used to do a lot of Access design work in my former career, and I had forgotten how fun it is. I'm creating tables, queries, forms, and reports. I'm redesigning relationships, normalizing data, tweaking lookup instructions, modifying input masks, seeking out redundancies, experimenting with colors and formats, anticipating future needs, targeting usability.

I'm in geek heaven.

Posted by Beth Henderson at 4:06 PM

Tru Calling - The Getaway & Two Pair 

In the interest of getting caught up, my reactions to the last two episodes will be combined here.

Reporter Michelle still bothers me. On the do-over day, after she's been hounding Tru for days (or perhaps weeks - the passage of time between episodes isn't always that clear), and Tru finally agrees to tell her everything that night, Michelle's response is a threatening, "This had better be good." What? You're looking for a news story, not an excuse for why her homework was turned in late. Perhaps you should be more interested in the truth. Ah, but Tru already established that you can't handle the truth.

I really like the way Eliza Dushku has been playing Tru for the last few episodes. She's more relaxed, more expressive, less like she has all the answers (recall the foam cone incident). She doesn't appear to be letting Davis draw her into his endlessly analytical fate restore/fate interrupt/Prime Directive confusion and tedium. Hey Davis? The whole point of the show is that Tru gets a chance to interfere and change things! So don't worry about whether she, you know, CHANGED THINGS!!!

Tru said to Davis something along the lines of, "No worries, D." She called him "D!" I got all giggly in my Faith nostalgia, and had to Tivo instant replay it a few times. Sigh. Good times.

During "The Getaway," I was really enjoying the new dimension Jason Priestley's character was bringing to the show. Jack is brooding, sarcastic, insightful, weathered, intelligent, and mysterious. It seemed that something was up with him, but it wasn't obvious what. Or was I reading too much into it? He seemed to know more than he should on the backstep days. On his first episode, his description of Tru's hidden side was a little too spot-on. Or is he just observant. But he knew about the name on the soda can. In The Getaway, he knew exactly where the diner was on the backstep day even though the first time he appeared not to. Yesterday at lunch The Guyfriend said he hoped Jack didn't turn out to be the anti-Tru (I prefer "Reverse Backstepper." It sounds more gymnastic and less anti-Eliza), as that would be too obvious. I agreed that I hoped that would not be the case. Didn't they go that route on Touched By an Angel?

Sadly, it appears this may be the case after all. I wish they could have dragged it out a while longer before showing that Jack is restoring to death those that Tru kept from dying before their time. But maybe Tru is the one screwing around with Fate. And Jack is a supernatural Cleaner! Or maybe Jack has a connection similar to Tru's, but is using his power to "stop the suffering" of the people he sees as having the opportunity to move on to "a better place." That would be in line with his description of his sister's death.

But the good thing about all this? I'm asking questions about the unfolding story, instead of wondering how stupid plot holes and convoluted storylines got on the air. I'm involved! I'm pondering! Tru Calling LIVES!

But she still needs to do something about bringing back Wonderfalls. It must have been Jack's doing.

Posted by Beth Henderson at 8:52 AM
Thursday, April 08, 2004

Requiem for a Wonderfall 

The show died before it's time! Tru Davies - get over to Niagara, stat! If your show could hang on and finally find its legs near the end of an entire season, surely this smart, quirky and insightful series deserved more than FOUR EPISODES! With three in the Friday night timeslot of death!

Too late. Fox has cancelled it, pulled the unaired episodes, removed the title from their list of shows, and redirected the official website link to the Fox home page. The Fox Ministry of Truth has corrected the historical records. It doesn't exist and it never did.

And yet, this deleted show has become part of me, and will live on in the reference phrases that geeks like me have made part of our lexicon.


-Your sister's not a cold-blooded killer. She was never a planner.

-It's a crack barrel!

-Get off your ass.

-I'm fate's bitch.

-An expectation-free zone.

-Don't parse the blurb.

-That sound you hear? That's stunned silence!

-He's her goth pimp!

And finally, something that the show needed more of: trappings of permanence. Fare thee well, Wonderfalls. We hardly knew ye.

Posted by Beth Henderson at 1:24 PM

Tweaking the Oscillation Overthruster 

The Guyfriend was quite pleased with himself today, as he managed to work the term "oscillation overthruster" into his response at a company meeting, without challenge. When asked to provide an update on the resolution of a problem one of the top execs was having with his notebook, The Guyfriend responded:

"Oh yeah, that's all set. I doubled the memory and tweaked the oscillation overthruster, and it's working great. He's very happy with it now."

His next challenge is to slip in "flux capacitor." I'm of the opinion that this will be more difficult to slip by, as it's likely to ring a bell for more people.

Posted by Beth Henderson at 12:55 PM

Rice Transcript 

Washington In Depth has a transcript of National Security Advisor Condoleeza Rice's testimony today before the 9-11 Commision. Note that the site defaults directly to the Q&A section. If you want to read Dr. Rice's opening statement, click on the link near the top of the page.

Posted by Beth Henderson at 12:46 PM

Gov. Romney Supports SJC Role 

Amy Hunt on her weblog shares with us a statement Gov. Romney made yesterday. He was discussing a recent 4-3 Massachusetts SJC decision:

"It's likely to be somewhat disruptive, but that's the nature of government. We have to live with the fact that the courts have to do what they feel is right and it's our job to implement the decisions."

Interesting. This particular case involved the unconstitutionality of a recent tax law change. Yet when it came to another recent 4-3 SJC decision involving the constitutionality of state law, he didn't feel this accepting of the court's role in determining such constitutionality. In fact, he stated last week that,

"It's up to me and my administration, as well as legislative leadership, to see if there are any other options to delay the implementation of the court's decision."

Posted by Beth Henderson at 10:55 AM

Colleague Kudos 

There's a woman in my classes with whom I've had some differences over the course of the year, both substantively and stylistically. We'll call her Thorn (short for Thorn In My Side). But in last night's Contracts class, she both earned and received the hearty applause of the entire class, myself included.

We were covering a case that occurred over two decades ago, in a state not very near Massachusetts. It happens that Thorn is from that very state. She was discussing the case in class, and as she went along she became more and more animated, and increasingly improved the general humor of the class, to the point that even before the applause broke out at her conclusion, many of us were wiping away tears of laughter. It was an employment case, and she was familiar with the town in which it took place, and had on many occasions driven past one of the businesses involved secondarily.

The case had gone up to the Supreme Court of that state, and there were subtle indications in the opinion that the court perhaps did not entirely believe Plaintiff's assertion that she had medical reasons for abandoning her job contract, even though she had signed statements to that fact from her doctor. When Thorn brought up this point, the Professor stated that this had bothered him, as well, as there weren't any details about why there was this doubt. But before he could continue, Thorn revealed that she had the previous day tracked down the plaintiff, who is now living in a different state than where the case took place, and had a lengthy conversation with her about the history of the case.

The Plaintiff admitted to Thorn that she had not been eager to pursue the case herself, but that her union had been eager and therefore had paid for the costs and supported the case all the way to its conclusion in the state Supreme Court. She further admitted that while she did indeed have signed statements from her doctor, the underlying medical condition was neither as severe as it was made out to be, nor the actual reason she had left her job!!!

Thorn had gone the extra mile, demonstrated the dedication to the details and the truth to which we should all aspire, and last night transformed herself from a thorn to a Rose. I can only hope I never find myself as opposing counsel to her, and if I do, that I tackle the issues with the same enthusiasm and determination.

Posted by Beth Henderson at 9:50 AM

Silence and Redirection 

Charles "Social" Grace, etiquette columnist on PlanetOut, has advice today for dealing with inappropriate questions. He sums up the goal of one faced with such a dillema:

"Your mission: to escape unwanted and inappropriate scrutiny with your dignity intact -- and without ruffling any feathers unnecessarily."

His recommendations:
-Avoid snappy one-liners or as comebacks. Sarcasm is often both wasted on the other person and assaults their dignity, thereby lowering any moral highground you could have claimed.

-Silence is golden. Vary the facial expression and follow up as needed. Maybe change the subject, maybe just walk away.

-Pretend you misheard the inappropriate question, and respond to what would have been a more appropriate related question.

He also gives advice on redirecting the spotlight onto the questioner, politely clarifying that you don't wish to discuss the particular subject, and even better - how to prevent the question in the first place. You'll have to read the article to discover these gems.

Posted by Beth Henderson at 8:21 AM
Wednesday, April 07, 2004

1LE Spring 

-Forsythia buds about to bloom.
-Freshly chipped mulch waiting for distribution.
-Freshly printed registration forms.
-Jeans and t-shirt students appearing in suits. Oh - your oral argument is today.
-Outlines. Reviews. Open book? Closed book? Only two weeks of classes left? Oh shit.
-Movies? Yeah, I think I remember those.
-No, I'm fine. I can sleep after finals.

Posted by Beth Henderson at 4:53 PM

Guest Speaker Lawrence Friedman 

Yesterday the NESL Outlaws (NESL's GLBT organization) hosted a presentation and discussion by Prof. Lawrence Friedman, who is currently a visiting faculty member at Boston College Law and who is joining the NESL faculty in the fall.

The official description was: "This informative and lively program will focus on constitutional issues raised by cases such as Lawrence v. Texas, Baker v. State and Goodridge v. Department of Public Health, and the intersection of state and federal law pertaining to the issues of same-sex marriage and individual liberties."

It indeed was both informative and lively, and Prof. Friedman took us through a history of the evolving relationship between state constitutions and the US constitution, the history of individual liberties and protections through two threads of criminal and civil cases, and the various strategies and rationales presented by the parties and judges/justices involved in many decisions. About half of the hour was dedicated to Q&A, and he successfully fielded questions to a range of issues.

I posted recently on an open forum on same sex marriage, and stated that the anti-gay marriage speaker did not present any legal arguments but instead relied on emotional and religous statements to support his case. One of the students at yesterday's discussion asked Professor Friedman if he could possibly explain to us exactly what some of the legal arguments are that are used by the anti-gay marriage advocates. He confirmed our suspicions with his response that it is often difficult to pin them down on what exactly is the legal basis for their arguments. He further mentioned that this is one reason they often turn to constitutional amendments banning same sex marriage. Such an amendment would remove the need to support the position with convincing legal arguments.

Prof. Friedman will be teaching Civil Procedure and Constitutional Law next year, but not in the evening division. I would enjoy taking a course from him, so I'll just have to hope that in the future he'll be teaching some electives.

Posted by Beth Henderson at 2:27 PM

Discovery Limits, aka Fishing and the Fish 

Crescat Sententia has an excerpt from Judge Posner's opinion in the Northwest Memorial Hospital v. John Ashcroft case having to do with the subpoena of medical records related to abortions. Judge Posner takes the "fishing expedition" description of discovery one step further, and points out that FRCP 45(c):

"allows the fish to object, and when they do so the fisherman has to come up with more than the government has been able to do in this case despite the excellence of its lawyers."

Posted by Beth Henderson at 9:46 AM

Tales of Driving In Boston 

being jennifer garrett has a post that starts off as a rail against posted lane restrictions and ends with a cautionary tale of attempting to subvert construction cones. I'm sitting at my desk alone, cracking up, and having to explain this to all passersby.

Posted by Beth Henderson at 8:46 AM

Kinja Will Assimilate 

Lots of folks are abuzz about, a new customizable blog digest. So I've hopped on over to give it a try. I was using Feedster, but that's a little slow. Kinja seems more streamlined.

Once you've created a free account, you simply list addresses of blogs you want included. If the blog is already being tracked by them, the posts appear immediately. If it's one they haven't yet had requested, a notice pops up that it will be added within a few hours. I've had new blogs appear within a few minutes. You can also copy the Kinja bookmarklet to your favorites, and anytime you're reading a blog that you want to add, just click and it's in (you might have to log in first if you aren't already). Deleting blogs from your digest is as easy as clicking on the minus sign next to a digest posting for that blog. The digest entries are short excerpts from posts, with a large number appearing on each screen for easy scanning. Once an entry is in your digest, you can click on a link to go from a post directly to the blog itself to read more.

They have a number of premade digests in such categories as Tech, Food, Movies, Gay, Politics, Liberal and Conservative. You can browse through postings in these digests, or in other people's digests if they've opted to make them public and posted the address. When you browse through these other digests, you can click on the plus sign next to a post for a blog you like, and add it to your own digest.

Here's my Kinja digest, for anyone who's curious. It's a work in progress. I may take out one blog that I read daily, simply because they're frequent posters and they tend to fill up the digest. For a blog you read that is this prolific, you might want to stick to visiting their site directly. You pretty much always know there'll be something new. I think I'd rather use Kinja for those blogs that post a couple of times a day or less. But I'm still pondering.

Posted by Beth Henderson at 8:31 AM
Monday, April 05, 2004


Per the Advocate, TV Guide Online has announced that Fox is cancelling Wonderfalls. This sucks.

Posted by Beth Henderson at 11:13 PM

Polyphonic Spree 

The Girl and I went to the Fleet Center last week to see David Bowie. He rocked. But what generated more discussion was the opening band. The Girl had heard a rumor that Macy Gray would be opening, but this was not the case. At all. Polyphonic Spree took over the stage to warm up the crowd for Bowie. I must say, they're an energetic lot, and they must have rock hard calves. They're just so bouncy!

I had seen a little bit about them on Best Week Ever a few weeks back, but even the exuberant snarkiness of the BWE commentators could't prepare me for the live experience.

Before I provide a link to their website so you can see some photos, let me set the scene for you: there were a total of 25 musicians on the stage (I counted a few times, to be sure). The lead singer, bass, 2 guitars, drums, 2 keyboards, trumpet, trombone, tamborine, flute, french horn, harp, a choir of 9 plus 1 choir coordinator, percussion, and violin. And they were all outfitted in flowing white robes, each with a silky band of color at the hem (an assortment of colors, but just one per person). Yes, robes. Okay, now you can view some pictures. That link is to a file listing of photos, because their website isn't set up for convenient linking to the image page. Here's the website. Clearly a lot of work went into it, as it opens with the creation of a stained glass design by way of an animated line drawing followed by the color fill. Then you have to move your mouse over each panel to find the easter eggs hidden in each one. Cool, but tiring. Kind of like the group.

These folks are talented, but could use a little reigning in. Almost every song felt like the high point of the spring musical. Lots of triumphant dominant chords and dramatic arm gestures. The lead singer/cult leader even had two little ramps upon which he could leap and from which to make even grander arm gestures. And the choir, led by the man I referred to as "The Revver," was in nonstop motion. They were just bouncing all over the place, and some were joining in the grand arm gesturing while others were just rockin', bobbin', swayin' and generally having a good ole time. At one point they suddenly broke into robotic movements all at once, but it wasn't really coordinated and just seemed too controlled for the group. They seemed happier once they could let loose again. The little tamborine guy looked like he'd been taken by the spirit at a particularly lively revival. I felt like I had arrived at Tommy's Holiday Camp.

Have you seen the new Six Flags commercial? A guy who's made up to look really old and really creepy pulls his magic bus into a quiet neighborhood where everyone's outside tending their gardens and dutifully washing their cars. He puts bouncy music over the loudspeakers, and next thing you know everyone has piled onto the bus and is chair dancing all the way to their nearby Six Flags, where the dancing and fun-having continues. It's the most frightening thing I've ever seen. You just know that they're all going to be lured into the Tunnel of Cult Indoctrination. It's all fun until you've been sleep deprived for six days. Anyway, at one point I had an image of a bunch of Up With People alums having been lured onto the bus, and they emerged as Polyphonic Spree. Great skills, uplifting atmosphere, but my goodness it's tiring. You just watch them and get worn out.

But there was one number in the middle where the lights went down and they trained a spot on the trumpet, violin and flute. And the three of them went into this opening segment that was groovy and mystical and echoed and filled the arena. I was enthralled. Then the lights came up and they all went back to high energy, dominant chords and more jumping about than I've seen since some of the big triumphal dance numbers in the high school shows like The Music Man, Mame, The Wiz or Guys and Dolls. That took me back and prompted some thinking (like I don't have enough of that).

I was really into the music department when I was in high school. In the social hierarchy of high school, we "band fags" and "drama fags," as we were called (there was quite a bit of overlap between the two groups) were rather close to the bottom. In my school the AV nerds were slightly lower. This was before geek was cool. But unknown to the world outside the confines of the music room and auditorium, we also had an internal hierarchy. At the very bottom were those with no skill, either musically or socially. Just above them were the "happy people." These were the kids who were just happy to be there, and seemed unaware of their unenviable place in the social strata. They were usually quite talented, either musically, dramatically or in some support fashion (costume design, sets, etc.). The theater, the stage and the pit were their world, and they reveled in it. Those of us who were at least aware that we were outcasts to most of the school looked down upon them in their blissful ignorance. Whatever would happen to them after graduation?

Now they're touring with Bowie. And they appear just as happy and enthusiastic as ever just being able to do what they love and share it with the world. And that. Is. Cool.

Posted by Beth Henderson at 11:31 AM
Saturday, April 03, 2004

Orlando Girl 

The Girl took the quiz: "Which American City Are You?"

You are sunshine and playtime. You just wanna have fun and nobody can drag you down.

I think that makes for a nice balance.

Posted by Beth Henderson at 10:33 PM

I Am Seattle - I Am Also Sleepless 

being jennifer garrett pointed out a new quiz which I of course immediately had to try: "Which American City Are You?":

Your dark exterior masks a caffeine driven activism. You'll take up a cause and you'll get ugly to advance it.

I love Boston, but frequently ponder giving the west coast another try. I lived in LA for about a year, and have visited San Francisco a couple of times. This quiz analysis seems to indicate that perhaps I'm more of a Pacific person than I realized. Of the possible cities to match, I scored 0 for Boston, but 1 for LA, 2 for San Francisco, and 3 for Seattle.

Posted by Beth Henderson at 9:04 PM

Two Classes Done! 

I survived the dreaded oral argument. I had been quite nervous about this over the past week, but woke up this morning feeling quite calm about it. The courthouse is less than a mile from the house where I grew up, so I had no worries about finding it. We were going in half hour increments, 2 at a time, so I left early enough to wish the pair ahead of me good luck, and then have time to relax and breathe the air.

I arrived a few minutes before they were to go in, but only one was there. Fortunately, her opposing counsel got there in time, but just barely. The poor thing barely had enough time to say hello, confirm our post argument lunch plans and into the courtroom she went! My opposing counsel arrived about 5 minutes before our appointed hour, so I had 25 minutes to myself to review my notes, the briefs, etc.

He asked if I was nervous, and I said that I had been, but not today. He was just the opposite - calm all week, and quite nervous today. I liked my arrangement better. He also had forgotten to bring a hard copy of his own brief and was feeling like he'd lost his security blanket. So after letting him sweat a few minutes (is that evil?), I passed him the copy I had brought along. He seemed greatly relieved.

I represented the party bringing the motion, so I had the joyous occasion of going first. Instant dry mouth, but I pressed onward. Fortunately, the judge (our writing professor, who is a also full time district court judge) started in with the questions fairly early, so I was able to switch out of one-way presentation mode and into question/response, debate the issues mode, where I was much more comfortable. After I had discussed a particularly relevent case from another jurisdiction, the judge had me take a break so he could hear the plaintiff's opinions on that case and start in on the rest of his argument, then they'd return to me. Phew! A chance to resume breathing and refocus my thoughts.

My opponent was very smooth in his delivery, but lucky for me he left a few openings upon which I could expand, which I did when my rebuttal time came. A few more questions for both sides, and we were done! The judge commented on my opposing counsel's smooth delivery, and on my "excellent rebuttal concerning the KFC case." I'll hang on to that as a small victory.

I joined the previous pair at John Harvard's Brew House for lunch and to celebrate the completion of our last assignment for that class. Add this to the single semester Torts class last semester, and we've now finished two law school classes in their entirety. How many more to go? Small steps. And hopefully many more small victories and friends to share them with.

Posted by Beth Henderson at 2:04 PM