Thursday, January 31, 2008
Wednesday, January 30, 2008
Just another piece of evidence to heap onto the debacle that is the federal government's response to Hurricane Katrina (of course not to take anything away from the impotence of the New Orleans government).
At this point, I'm no longer surprised by this type of story so much as I'm increasingly disappointed in my government and steadily losing faith in its ability to deal with domestic emergencies.
The most disturbing subtext about the entire article is that people are still living in their FEMA trailers. 2.5 years after the storm hit, roughly 40% of the city's population has yet to even return, presumably many of those never will. Of those few that have returned to the hardest hit wards, many of them are still in the process of rebuilding their homes while often coping with the difficulties of establishing insurance claims and navigating the convoluted procedures for claiming their federal funds.
I'm not trying to characterize the region's problems as easily fixable. I understand there are a million reasons why the rebuilding process has been so slow in New Orleans, only a few of which I can pretend to understand.
I'm just particularly disheartened because I've been to New Orleans twice since Katrina, in June of '06 and March of '07 and seen how decimated things still are. The damage was still extensive; one local cabbie estimated that "80% of the city is still essentially destroyed." It's an unbelievable sight. I know many people have said it's one of those things "you can't comprehend until you see." Well, I normally don't like to buy in that sort of thinking, but it was accurate for my experience.
I'll leave you with a piece of anecdotal evidence that I found most poignant.
This picture was taken in June 2006:
When I went back in March 2007, roughly 20 months after the storm, I took this picture:
I have no idea why the car is still there, whether it was merely abandoned by an evacuee in 2005, or something worse. Either way, that car is a chip off the tip of the iceberg that is the project of rebuilding New Orleans.
Tuesday, January 29, 2008
The next time we'll see all the candidates together on national television will be at the next debate. The California Democratic debate takes place on Thursday, and can be seen on CNN. After the debate, more polling may be conducted, so hopefully we will have some fresh poll numbers after Thursday. Anyhow, here's the round up:
Alabama - Clinton +15, no MOE provided, 1/23/08, Rasmussen
Alaska - no poll available
Arizona - Clinton +10, (+/- 6.5), 1/20-24, Behavior Research Center
California - Clinton +17, (+/- 4), 1/23-27, LA Times/Politico, CNN
Colorado - Obama +2, (+/- 3.5), 1/21-23, Denver Post
Connecticut - Clinton +14 (+/- 5), 1/9-17, The Courant
Delaware - no poll available
Democrats Abroad - no poll available
Georgia - Obama + 6, no MOE available, Rasmussen
Idaho - no poll available
Illinois - Obama +29, (+/-) 4.5, 1/21-24, Research 2000
Kansas - no poll available
Massachusetts - Clinton +37, (+/- 4.1), 1/22-23, Survey USA
Minnesota - no poll available
Montana - no poll available
New Jersey - Clinton +17, (+/- 4.6), 1/15-22, Quinnipiac
New Mexico - no poll available
New York - Clinton +28, (+/- 5), 1/23-26, USA Today/Gallup
North Dakota - no poll available
Oklahoma - Clinton +20, (+/- 3.9), 1/11-13, Survey USA
Tennessee - Clinton +14, (+/- 5), 1/19-21, WSMV-TV/Nashville
Utah - no poll available
West Virginia - no poll available
Monday, January 28, 2008
There have been seven Democratic presidents since 1900. Of these seven, went to law school, but only one (Clinton), graduated. Interestingly enough, three are actually members of a state bar (Wilson, FDR, and Clinton). Of the fourth president who attended law school (Truman), he actually never received a bachelor's degree. So USF law crowd, harboring any political ambitions? Just look at the list below. It, clearly, does not take a law school degree to become president. By those standards, you're overachieving. I mean, come on law school students, you must be able to do better than an MBA grad.
List of Democratic Party Presidents since 1900 and where (if) they went to grad school.
Woodrow Wilson, one year of law school at the
Franklin D. Roosevelt,
Harry Truman, two years of law school at the University of Missouri-Kansas City (interestingly enough, he did not receive an undergraduate education.)
John F. Kennedy, no law school, attended Harvard undergrad, then audited business classes at Stanford
Lyndon B. Johnson, no law school, undergraduate at Southwest Texas State Teacher’s College
Jimmy Carter, no law degree, undergraduate completed at the
The national leadership of NOW apparently responded with this distancing statement about Senator Kennedy's endorsement.
I couldn't find a copy of the state chapter's statement, but I wanted to respond generally to the excerpts used by CNN.
Does anyone else see the state chapter's reaction as unnecessary/inaccurate? My first reaction was that the state chapter was reading far too much into the Senator's endorsement when it claimed the endorsement represented an unwillingness to "handle the idea of Clinton becoming President of the United States." This statement seems especially unfair as the CNN article linked above indicates Kennedy will support Clinton if she wins the nomination.
I'm also troubled with the divisiveness of the NOW-NYS statement as I've yet to hear that Obama is any more or less sympathetic to NOW-issues than Clinton. The excerpts in CNN's article indicate to me that NOW-NYS is more concerned with the gender of the candidates than the positions those candidates hold, which again, since I don't have a copy of the entire statement, might be unfair to NOW-NYS.
But if that is the case, and NOW-NYS is supporting Clinton mainly because she is a woman, that makes about as much sense as not supporting her because she's a woman, which is not something that can be established merely because one chooses to endorse Obama over Clinton.
[edit: I have since been provided with a link to the full text of the original NOW-NYS statement: http://www.politico.com/blogs/bensmith/0108/NY_NOW_Betrayal.html]
Sunday, January 27, 2008
In reality, the polls got it right. Averaging 5 major South Carolina polls suggested Clinton would win 26.8% (compared to an actual number of 26%), Edwards 19.2% (compared to an actual number of 19%), and Obama 38.4% (compared to an actual number of 55%). This left 15.6% of the electorate undecided. This is what the polls could not predict - the undecided vote. If you add 15.6% and 38.4%, you get 54%, which is mighty close to Obama's actual vote of 55%. (Of course there's the margin of error to contend with, but that seems less of an issue).
I think that is a tremendous victory for Obama, to convert ALL of the undecided voters will be very beneficial for Obama. While I haven't looked at all of the polling for the Super Tuesday states, California has an estimated 20% of voters undecided, while Hillary maintains a 12 point lead (Field Poll). This could be huge for Obama.
Going back to the South Carolina poll, Obama beat Hillary in every single category. One thing that stands out is that Obama certainly turned out the African American vote. Similar to the female support of Hillary in New Hampshire, the African American vote turned out to support of the first legitimate African American candidates in order to allow America to get a better look as well. Could South Carolina be Obama's New Hampshire?
The big question is what does this all mean for Super Tuesday? And the answer is: "a lot" or "nothing." For the most part, South Carolina looks nothing like the rest of the Super Tuesday bunch, save possibly Georgia, Alabama, and possibly Tennessee. The rest of the states, from California to Connecticut, are completely different. In addition, whereas voters were able to get a really solid look at candidates because candidates could focus in on a particular state, Super Tuesday will be much different. With so many states in contention, candidates will have to spread themselves thinly, meaning voters will not get as unique a perspective as in New Hampshire and South Carolina.
One other thing to note, is the Super Tuesday features 5 states that are considered, "battleground" states: Colorado, New Mexico, Missouri, Tennessee, and Minnesota. A battleground state is a state that has not had a consistent historical trend of voting one way or the other, or current trends show that the state could swing the other way. Watching these 5 states will be important simply as a foreshadow of the 2008 election.
Before I sign off, though, I would like to note that Citizen Kendrick will be having a more in depth look at the Super Tuesday primary. So check back with us, and we'll be sure to keep you informed.
Friday, January 25, 2008
Coming off of a tough loss against the always strong Gonzaga team, our Dons, despite falling behind in the first half, managed to scrap together a solid 20 second half minutes to split the second half, 35 points a piece. Looking at the Gonzaga box score, it's readily apparent the Dons need to do a much better job of taking care of the ball against St. Mary's. Gonzaga posted 12 steals, which accounted for USF's 13 turnovers. USF must also play together better as a team, improving their passing and finding big men down upon the block. They only posted 10 assists, as opposed to 16 assists by Gonzaga. One positive note is USF shot .850 from the free throw line. If the St. Mary's game gets close, help from the charity stripe will definitely give USF an edge.
Overall, though, USF faces a tough challenge. St. Mary's leads the West Coast Conference in 10 key conference statistics. I won't go into all of them, but examples include: Scoring (78.4 ppg), Opponents points allowed (62.2 ppg), Rebounding (38.7 rpg), and Assists (15.06 apg). While I won't go into the details of where USF places, I'll just say that there's a statistical reason why USF is 5th in the WCC and St. Mary's is tied for first (with Gonzaga).
St. Mary's is led by freshman sensation (and WCC player of the year candidate), Patrick Mills, who is averaging team highs of 14.8 ppg, 4.2 apg, and 1.7 steals per game. He is backed up by a fairly balanced front court, which averages a combined 33.3 ppg and 20.9 rpg.
USF is led by forward Dior Lowhorn, who is averaging 20.6 ppg and 7.4 rpg. He is supported by guard, Manny Quezada, who is averaging 15.3 ppg, but has a terrible assist/turnover ratio (.88, in comparison, Patty Mills has a 1.45 a/to ratio. Quite simply, USF is facing, likely, their toughest match up of the year.
Still, USF did get a road win against Portland on Jan. 19 (albeit a very lowly team- tied for 6th in the WCC), and came up just barely short against Gonzaga. If USF can build on that momentum, make a few corrections with their team offense, and surprise St. Mary's by getting off to a quick start, they might be able to pull off an upset. It'll be tough, but it's possible. Until next time, Go Dons!
Thursday, January 24, 2008
As earlier projected, it looks like Obama will take South Carolina, however and upset is not out of the question. A look at the numbers states there is a 5 point margin of error. Assuming Edwards stays at 19%, and assuming Hillary gets a 5 point boost, while Obama gets the opposite, Clinton could defeat Obama 35% to 33%.
Something that does not play into Hillary's favor is the fact she is essentially splitting the female vote. While Hillary carried the female votes in Nevada and New Hampshire quite handily, this appears not to be the case in South Carolina. What is interesting though, is to look at the split in the female vote. Hillary is carrying 43% of the white female vote, while Obama is carrying 55% of the black female vote. For Hillary, this rivals the percentage of women she won in New Hampshire (46%- we're assuming that most of the women in New Hampshire were white). If Hillary can consistently carry the white female vote in the high mid to high 40's and work on better establishing herself with female voters of color (the polls in Nevada suggest she can, as it was estimated she won 50% of the Latino vote) this will bode well for her in the upcoming primaries.
Something else that I really hate to bring up, but is glaringly apparent, is that for all the talk about white voters accepting a black candidate based on the results in Iowa, this trend falls utterly flat on its face in South Carolina. Obama is polling at 10% with all white voters, while at 59% with all black voters. These numbers could narely be more opposing. Broken down even further, he's attracted only 11% of white males, and 8% of white female voters. He has the flip side though, with African American voters, polling at 66% male voters and 55% female voters respectively. This is very disturbing. Although South Carolina is 55% African American and 42% white, if this South Carolina polling trend continues on Super Tuesday, it could pose problems for Obama. In the bigger picture, its seems apparent Iowa and New Hampshire are, indeed, fairly distanced from South Carolina.
One last thing I'd like to note, is that 13% of polled voters were still undecided. And further down the poll, 20% of Hillary voters and 15% of Obama voters stated that they might change their mind. When the actual voting takes place on January 26, it will, indeed be interesting to see where these votes fall into place. Though the polls show Obama with an 8 point lead, in reality, it's any candidate's game.
Wednesday, January 23, 2008
Democratic presidential candidates with JD's:
Hillary Clinton - Yale
Barack Obama - Harvard
John Edwards - UNC
Joe Biden - Syracuse
Chris Dodd - Louisville
Tom Vilsack - Albany
Bill Richardson (But has M.A. from Tuft's Fletcher School of Law and Diplomacy)
Republican candidates with JD's:
Mitt Romney - Harvard
Rudy Giuliani - NYU
Fred Thompson - Vanderbilt
Sam Brownback - Kansas
Duncan Hunter - Thomas Jefferson
Tommy Thompson - Wisconsin
Mike Huckabee - but for what it's worth he has an honorary LL.D from Ouachita Baptist University.
My highly unscientific conclusion: there is a correlation between "presidential candidate without a JD" and "slightly nutty".
Tuesday, January 22, 2008
But first, a recap and links to what Greg has already done:
Curve: The curve determines what percentage of students in a class can get a particular grade. Curves are often described by the what the median GPA is likely to be. Up until recently, USF has had a pretty tough curve (2.7). Compare that to top-ranked schools like Stanford, which has a 3.4 curve. The faculty voted an increase in the curve that begins in Fall '07. I believe this new curve will be a 2.9 curve for first-years, though I may be wrong.
USF's old curve (prior to Fall 2007)
USF's new curve (beginning in Fall 2007)
Class rank percentiles: This information lets a student identify where in her class she stands. All of the following info is based on the old curve, and are thus of dubious validity when comparing to students who will be evaluated on the new curve.
Bar Passage Rate: This info lets students know how previous classes have performed on the bar on their first attempt based on their class rank quintile.
USF Bar Passage Rate by Quintile (2000-2006).
A lot of other comparative graphs Greg has put together are available here.
Monday, January 21, 2008
Saturday, January 19, 2008
To be fair, the most recent polls were in Hillary's favor. She had a fairly comfortable 9 point lead over Obama amongst all voter. She was dominating the female and Latino voters in equal margins (about 50% to Obama's 29%). She was fairly even (after taking into consideration the margin of error) in the under 50 years of age category and had a significant advantage in the over 50 years of age group. It will be interesting to see how the post caucus polls reflect the pre-caucus polls.
A number of things initially come to mind about this most recent Democratic caucus. First, the Obama culinary union was heavily covered by the media, but seemed to have little effect. I wonder what that implies? Are the unions simply losing their ability to turn out the vote or influence their members? Or are they simply not listening to their troops on the ground?
Second, for all the talk about Latino voters being in contention in Nevada, there was surprisingly little chatter about the women's vote. They played a huge rule in New Hampshire, one would have thought that attention might carry over in Nevada. It's possible, and may be likely, that there simply aren't a lot of female voters in Nevada.
Which brings up my third thought: young voters? Are there no young voters in Nevada? And if there are, did they vote for Obama? As they are his bread and butter, I would have thought that might again be emphasized like the under 25 vote was emphasized in New Hampshire and Iowa. But again, there simply might not be too many young voters.
Fourthly, Obama has a clear lead in South Carolina according to recent polls. What kind of bounce, if any, will Hillary get from her Nevada victory?
And lastly, at some point in time John Edwards will have to withdraw. He won little less than 4% in Nevada and is only polling at 15% in South Carolina. What effect will this have on Super Tuesday and beyond? As Dick Morris points out, the majority of Edwards supporters also support Obama. If this makes any difference, I suppose we'll just have to see.
Thursday, January 17, 2008
Recently posted on SCOTUS blog was a very interesting article by Terri L. Peretti, an Associate Professor of Political Science at
Now, at first glance, one might suggest that this makes sense. If you’re trying to fill the position of a judge, why not hire a judge? If you’re hungry, you go to a restaurant, not a sporting goods store. This response, however, is much too simplistic for it ignores what the Supreme Court is, a branch of government, and assumes the Court is only in place for the sole purpose of issuing opinions in a vacuum. This simply is not the case. Its decisions are in real time and affect real people and can often create significant social change. To not understand this is to ignore the political realities and public perceptions of the Court.
Simply look at the partisan view of the Court today. Many people view the Court as merely a political tool for whoever happens to be in Executive office. The 2004 presidential election was dominated by fear of which party would be able to nominate a justice who would lean one way or the other – ignoring the fact, albeit, that despite any track record, it’s still very difficult to predict how a nominated candidate might vote once on the bench. The nomination process of Justice Samuel Alito was dominated by partisan talk and the implications of his judicial track record as opposed to his ability to write well reasoned legal opinions that accurately follow precedent. At the end, Justice Alito, who will serve a lifetime tenure on the bench writing opinions that affect all Americans, was met with a divided Senate, split along strict party lines.
Because of the partisan implications of the Court, the Court must be politically aware of the effects its decisions have, not just on law, but on policy and people of all walks of life outside of the ivory towers of the judiciary. Real world experience in the political arena often hones skills necessary to navigate these difficult waters. If court decisions are left to be enforced by political branches (Executive and Legislative) and received by constituents who are aware of such partisanship, it only makes sense the Court makes decisions balanced by reasoned law and political acceptability.
This of course is the point of the article, that occupational homogeny is unhealthy for the Court and unhealthy for
Tuesday, January 15, 2008
Here are some links that can give you more detail.
New York Times
Saturday, January 12, 2008
Nominated for an academy award for best documentary, the War Room is a great look at how a presidential campaigns is run. While the movie is over a decade old, from my experience, this is what most campaigns are like. They are fairly disorganized, you work long (and unpaid) hours, meet great people, travel to a lot of interesting places, and are a hell of a lot of fun. The focus of the film isn't to discuss large, overarching strategy, but rather the documentary keys in on everyday decision making: how to address the press, how to rally the campaign volunteers, etc. It is this focus on the small, ordinary details of a campaign that separates the movie from a normal "CNN special" and gives the film it's charm and humanism.
Here is the trailer. It's a bit cheesy, but still good.
With the upcoming elections, this is an excellent film to help the casual political observer take a step back from the daily barrage of newspaper articles and polls in order to get a feel for what campaigns are really about: the people.
I rarely pay too much attention because it seems they update their postings about as often as the Night Students Coalition. By the way, if you're interested, the NSC is having their next meeting on Thursday, October 2. I know this because they have already put up two posters advertising the event. Evidently this meeting is significant as it is the only thing the NSC feels worthy of placing on their board. Of course, the alternative is that there is not one ranking member willing to expend the requisite energy to tear down the advertisements of the one-and-only thing NSC did last fall. This proposition is also likely as the poster indicates that October 2 is “tomorrow.” I could rant further about my distaste for school-group-advertisement-tear-down-apathy, but I’ll save that for another day.
I write today because I actually did take the time out of my day to peruse what the Federalist Society was offering via their board postings. I was appreciating the colors and multiple fonts of their “Toxic Diversity” ad. And like a hot coal in the eye, I was shocked to read: “Tired of the cool-aid? Come here the ‘other’ side of diversity…”
Oh my, how did I not notice this before and how did I escape someone pointing it out to me? Doesn’t that group have a hard enough time getting respect (and friends) around USF? Now they’ve gone and added “careless” and possibly “slow” to the illustrious list of “Adjectives Commonly Used to Describe the Federalist Society.”
Maybe I’m being harsh. Maybe they meant “the ‘other’ side” as a literal place and not a philosophical point of view lying somewhere on a spectrum. In that case, they probably could have used a few strategically-located commas, otherwise running the risk of looking like they have a grasp of the literary word on par with me when I was in first grade. Pick your poison Federalist Society.
It is also worth noting that the last time the Federalist Society updated their board was after I notified one of their board members that their Vice President’s (a male) email was listed as a female classmate’s, and she isn’t even listed as being a member. Can’t take the sole credit for that correction though, it was pointed out to me by Mr. LawSchool, now known as Mr. TakingTheBar.
I won’t go so far as to say ACS has been doing weekly upkeep on our board postings. But when we do, at least we use the write words.
And here’s to writing a few hundred words about a typo instead of polishing up a Jessup brief.
Friday, January 11, 2008
Among California ABA-approved schools, that puts us in fourth, ahead of Davis, Hastings, and 3% points higher than The Law School Formerly Known As Boalt Hall!
Well done, USF Class of '07!
The USF Dons men's bball team (4-11) opens conference play against the University of San Diego Toreros (7-10 overall), on January 12, at San Diego.
The men's team faces a very competitive San Diego team. The Toreros played very well in a loss to USC in November. More impressively on December 29, 2007, they stunned Kentucky in their own Lexington backyard. As for the Dons, though showing some spark in an OT loss to a good Holy Cross team, coming off of six straight losses, a "W" in San Diego might be too much for new USF coach (the legendary) Eddie Sutton (798 career D-I victories) to ask for.
The women's bball team (9-6) opens conference play against U of S.D. (10-5), also on January 12, but in San Francisco, at War Memorial.
Sorry, I don't know much about the strengths of the women's teams... but the women's season, so far, looks more promising than the mens'.
Just in case you were wondering here are the 2008 democratic presidential primary schedules, mixed in with your 2008 Spring academic schedule:
Democrats: Candidate must capture a majority of 4040 delegate voters.
January 19: LAST DAY TO ADD CLASSES
January 21: MLK
February 5 (“Tsunami Tuesday”): Alabama (60), Alaska (18), Arizona (67), Arkansas (47), California (441), Colorado (71), Connecticut (60), Delaware (23), Georgia (103), Idaho (23), Illinois (185), Kansas (41), Massachusetts (121), Minnesota (88), Missouri (88), New Jersey (127), New Mexico (38), New York (281), North Dakota (21), Oklahoma (47), Tennessee (85), Utah (29), Democrats Abroad (11)
February 12: D.C. (38),
February 18: PRESIDENT’S DAY
February 20-25: LRW FINAL
March 3-7: SPRING BREAK
March 20, 21: HOLY THURSDAY, GOOD FRIDAY
March 24: MOOT COURT PROBLEMS DUE
April 5, 6: MOOT COURT ORAL ARGUMENTS
May 5: FINAL EXAMS BEGIN
August 25-28: Democratic National Convention,
Monday, January 7, 2008
Question Presented: Whether an
Why This Matters: Since Bush v. Gore, 531
By all accounts, Crawford v. Marion County is a prime example of Professor Hasen’s observation. Very clearly, Democrats support the Petitioners, who want the Voter ID Law overturned. They argue the law is merely a Republican ploy to disenfranchise poor and minority voters, who traditionally vote Democratic.
Republicans, meanwhile, supporting the Respondents, overwhelmingly want the Voter ID Law affirmed. They state there is no bias and the Voter ID Law is merely a mechanism to prevent Democrats from committing voter fraud.
This case is important because the Court’s ruling could potentially reinforce or potentially relieve the public’s opinion of the court’s partisan, or non-partisan, role in the political elections. With opinions divided by party lines, the court must tread very carefully to come to a decision that is both legally and socially acceptable in order to uphold the integrity of the Court. A failure in this regard could turn a closely watched Crawford decision into another Bush v. Gore: an opinion many in
The Court must also show unity and bi-partisanship in their decision. Crawford must cross the Bush v. Gore party lines. As the
First, the Petitioners have no standing under Article III because Petitioners have not identified any people unable to vote because of the Voter ID Law.
Second, the Voter ID Law does not impose a “severe burden” on the right to vote and there is no discrimination against minorities, Democrats, “non-drivers,” urban dwellers, the elderly, the poor, the homeless, the disabled, or anyone else.
Third, the Voter ID Law is a reasonable effort to combat in-person voter fraud, which has historically existed in
First, they, indeed, have standing. Indiana State Representative, William Crawford, has standing to assert the interests of their constituents; as does the ACLU for its members.
Second, the Voter ID Law imposes a severe burden to those trying to exercise their right to vote: the elderly, the disabled, the poor, and minorities, among other groups.
Third, there is no evidence of any in-person voter impersonation fraud in
Fourth, the Voter ID Law is not narrowly tailored enough to the State’s interests.