February 21, 2004

Two big music events this week: tonight, the singer with the voice of Patsy Cline and the looks of Tara Reid, Annette Summersett, plays at the Springbok in Van Nuys at 9:00 p.m. And of course, Thursday will bring us the start of the Ken Layne & the Corvids 2004 World Tour, at King King in Hollywood. The Seeds (of "Pushin' Too Hard" fame) will open, and many elite SoCal bloggers will be there to sign autographs and pose for pictures beforehand. For those of you who bought the CD, liked what you heard, but have yet to hear them perform live, it the universal consensus (actually, just me and Kaus) that the Corvids are even better in concert.

February 20, 2004

Smythe's World is officially endorsing Damien for President !!

February 19, 2004

Twenty-five of the forty-two men to have been President were, by profession, lawyers. For men and women whose ambitions aim towards a life in politics, the practice of law is a popular choice: both Kerry and Edwards are lawyers, and Bush famously was rejected when he applied to law school at the University of Texas. Although the education, training, and even the definition of what it is to be an attorney have changed during the history of the republic, it has from the outset been the career option most taken by politicians before they sought office.

Very few of the lawyers who became President, though, could truly be said to have "practiced" law. Clinton, for example, pretty much went straight into politics after law school, with a brief sojourn as a law professor, and I doubt FDR ever saw the inside of a courtroom. Kerry worked as a D.A. for a few years, but pretty much was angling for a career in public service from the moment he passed the bar. Being an attorney opens some doors for the would-be public servent, and a legal education exposes one to many of the same issues faced by politicians, but the actual nitty-gritty details of representing a client, building a practice, handling a caseload, and sweet-talking a jury, are well outside the norm for what someone whose ultimate goal is to run for high office.

That makes the case of John Edwards somewhat extraordinary. He is not just a lawyer. He was one of the top trial attorneys in America when he decided to run for the Senate in 1998. Not only was he gifted in court, but for most of his adult life, it was how he fed his family. Clearly, he practiced law because it was what he did for a living, not so that he could get placed on the fast track to the Presidency.

Thus, Edwards is the exception among lawyer-politicians, not the rule. Looking back at the men who preceded him, only a few stand out as having been skilled in the practice of law. Adams, of course, made his name in the pre-Revolutionary period representing British soldiers involved in the Boston Massacre, and his son was an accomplished attorney himself. Lincoln, who incidentally never went to college, much less law school, secured some degree of wealth for his family representing anyone who could pay a retainer (including a few odd debtors in bankruptcy). Of the rest who actually practiced law, almost all of them worked at some level for the government, usually as prosecutors, except for Nixon, who started off as a low-level attorney in the government during WWII before joining a small transactional firm in Whittier.

Anyways, I hope to begin a study of the legal careers of Presidents, and eventually give you some idea as to what kind of practitioner someone like James Monroe or Chester Arthur was before they became Commander-in-Chief. In the meantime, if anyone can identify another President who was a trial lawyer between Honest Abe and Senator Edwards, I'd love to hear from you.

February 18, 2004

The latest Gallup Poll now has both Kerry and Edwards with double-digit leads over George Bush among likely voters. The combination of the Kay Report, the AWOL charge and now the admission that the employment forecast last week was bogus operate as an anchor around the President. If Kucinich pulls ahead in the horse race numbers, SELL !!
Osama Found !?! If true, what does this say about whom we really are fighting?
Michael Totten discovers the "Little Green-Eyed Monster" phenomenum. [link via Roger L. Simon]

February 16, 2004

Remember last week's story, about how a "stadium full" of soccer fans in Mexico had supposedly taunted American players during an Olympics qualifying tournament with the chant, "Osama, Osama"? Turns out it didn't quite happen that way....
Those who forget history...a previous whitewash in twelfth century England, compliments of The Guardian:
"I find the allegation by the Broadsheet of the Borough of Canterbury and its reporter, Andrew of Gillingham, that four knights acting on the orders of King Henry murdered Archbishop Thomas Becket to be totally without foundation and tantamount to libel.

"Archbishop Becket was a well known eccentric and I totally accept the evidence of the respected knights that he repeatedly ran at, and impaled himself upon, their swords when they entered the cathedral to make confession.

"The suggestion that the knights had previously had any communication with King Henry is a gross calumny on the part of the BBC.

"While the allegation that there had existed some dispute between the archbishop and the king is regarded by some as important, it is outside the remit of my inquiry and has no bearing on my investigation."

The Lord Brian de Hutton
[link via Avedon Carol]
I never thought this could happen to me...Why does every "account" of political correctness on college campuses read like it was drafted by the editor of the Forum section of Penthouse.

February 15, 2004

Obviously, this has not been a good week for our War President. The document drop at the end of the week doesn't appear to have killed the media's interest in his activities (or lack thereof) in the National Guard thirty years ago (here, here, and here). An exonerating witness comes forward to place him with the Alabama Guard, but his story is discredited by the President's own records. The Kay Report has shattered the President's credibility with the American people, diminishing the one aspect of his personality that people liked. His likely opponent continues to gather momentum, and a potential sex scandal involving Kerry has apparently fizzled for lack of evidence, innoculating him from future accusations. Bush has not only fallen behind Kerry in almost all of the national polls, but according to this poll, he's barely beating the Democrat frontrunner in Kansas. Needless to say, if the Jayhawk State is in play this November, then a Democratic landslide may be in order.

It ain't September 12th anymore, and neither Bush nor his supporters appear to have adjusted to that reality. This election may follow the historical precedent of 1920, but in reverse. In that election, the American people, having grown tired of the moralistic, hyper-religious scold residing in the White House, and unwilling to embark on any more crusades, dealt the Democratic Party a crushing defeat, one that the party did not recover from for ten years. Bush has run perhaps the most negative, pessimistic presidency since Nixon, and as I wrote a few weeks back, his type generally doesn't get embraced by the public for too long.