Thursday, July 31, 2008

Great Stories from Legal History

For the better part of the last two weeks I have been here in Boston completing my Directed Fieldwork Requirement at the Social Law Library. For the better part of that time, I have been working on a project with rare books, which is quite enjoyable if you enjoy British History the way I do.

Today, I processed the print copy of the complete trial Queen Caroline, wife of George IV (who ranks in the top V of my least favorite British Monarchs).

Her philandering husband had the audacity to try to divorce her for infidelity. Parliament exonerated her though and his divorce was denied. Unfortunately, she only lived another year after the trial to enjoy her triumph. Also unfortunate for her were the reports about her that neither she nor her underclothes were washed frequently.

Also today, I processed a copy of Speeches by Oliver Wendell Holmes, Junior that was also signed by Oliver Wendell Holmes, Junior.

Finally, today I also read some of the trial accounts of the Salem witch trials. The trial accounts included some of the history of witch trials in the British realm. The estimate of people put to death for witchcraft in British lands since the reign of James I - over 3,000. That is pretty staggering.

Sunday, July 20, 2008

Coming Soon to a Public Restroom Near You

Dyson has now made my new favorite invention:

Not only do they make a mean vaccum cleaner, but now they have this amazing hand dryer to match. I will be honest, I never liked hand dryers. Nope. I much preferred the more environmentally unfriendly paper towel. However, mass distribution of the Dyson Airblade will certainly change my public bathroom hand drying habits. In fact, I might look into installing one of my own in my own home bathroom.

Where did I discover this invention? Well, it was at the AALL conference in Portland. The Oregon Convention Center had exactly one installed. And let me tell you, that particular bathroom was the most highly used bathroom in the entire venue. And let me also tell you, that the hand dryer was the talk of the conference.

I was so impressed with this marvel of European design and craftsmanship, that when I went to the new AMC Theaters in Tukwila on Friday to see The Dark Night, I literally leapt for joy when I saw that they too had installed these hand dryers. Only they spared no expense and installed multiple ones. And let me tell you, I heard the clamour in the audience at The Dark Night. They couldn't stop talking about these hand dryers either.

Friday, July 11, 2008

Mail Problem Solved!

Well, I figured out the mail mystery. When we didn't get mail either of the past two days, I finally went to the post office. What I discovered is the following:

Last month, when David and I went to the Azores, we asked the post office to hold our mail. Only they didn't. So, the post office employee told me that the hold mail request was supposed to be from 7/10 - 7/18 (We were in the Azores 6/10 - 6/18). However, she couldn't explain to me why the mail actually was being held from 7/3-7/10 (since yesterday, when I went to the Post Office, it was only 7/10).

Anyway, she took the hold off, and I picked up the huge stack of mail and now do not have to worry about someone stealing my identity, at least for the present.

Wednesday, July 09, 2008

You're Awesome Hillary!

While Barack Obama has decided that the constitution really isn't worth supporting in his race to be seen as a "strong" candidate in the general election, Hillary Clinton has shown once again why strength isn't capitulating to right-winged demands for spying on Americans, but rather having the courage to stand up for constitutional protections guaranteed by the Fourth Amendment. Thanks for voting against FISA Senator Clinton!

Her statement is so fantastic as to why she voted against FISA, I had to post it here:

July 9, 2008
Statement of Senator Hillary Rodham Clinton on the FISA Amendments Act of 2008

One of the great challenges before us as a nation is remaining steadfast in our fight against terrorism while preserving our commitment to the rule of law and individual liberty. As a senator from New York on September 11, I understand the importance of taking any and all necessary steps to protect our nation from those who would do us harm. I believe strongly that we must modernize our surveillance laws in order to provide intelligence professionals the tools needed to fight terrorism and make our country more secure. However, any surveillance program must contain safeguards to protect the rights of Americans against abuse, and to preserve clear lines of oversight and accountability over this administration. I applaud the efforts of my colleagues who negotiated this legislation, and I respect my colleagues who reached a different conclusion on today’s vote. I do so because this is a difficult issue. Nonetheless, I could not vote for the legislation in its current form.

The legislation would overhaul the law that governs the administration’s surveillance activities. Some of the legislation’s provisions place guidelines and restrictions on the operational details of the surveillance activities, others increase judicial and legislative oversight of those activities, and still others relate to immunity for telecommunications companies that participated in the administration’s surveillance activities.

While this legislation does strengthen oversight of the administration’s surveillance activities over previous drafts, in many respects, the oversight in the bill continues to come up short. For instance, while the bill nominally calls for increased oversight by the FISA Court, its ability to serve as a meaningful check on the President’s power is debatable. The clearest example of this is the limited power given to the FISA Court to review the government’s targeting and minimization procedures.

But the legislation has other significant shortcomings. The legislation makes no meaningful change to the immunity provisions. There is little disagreement that the legislation effectively grants retroactive immunity to the telecommunications companies. In my judgment, immunity under these circumstances has the practical effect of shutting down a critical avenue for holding the administration accountable for its conduct. It is precisely why I have supported efforts in the Senate to strip the bill of these provisions, both today and during previous debates on this subject. Unfortunately, these efforts have been unsuccessful.

What is more, even as we considered this legislation, the administration refused to allow the overwhelming majority of Senators to examine the warrantless wiretapping program. This made it exceedingly difficult for those Senators who are not on the Intelligence and Judiciary Committees to assess the need for the operational details of the legislation, and whether greater protections are necessary. The same can be said for an assessment of the telecom immunity provisions. On an issue of such tremendous importance to our citizens – and in particular to New Yorkers – all Senators should have been entitled to receive briefings that would have enabled them to make an informed decision about the merits of this legislation. I cannot support this legislation when we know neither the nature of the surveillance activities authorized nor the role played by telecommunications companies granted immunity.

Congress must vigorously check and balance the president even in the face of dangerous enemies and at a time of war. That is what sets us apart. And that is what is vital to ensuring that any tool designed to protect us is used – and used within the law – for that purpose and that purpose alone. I believe my responsibility requires that I vote against this compromise, and I will continue to pursue reforms that will improve our ability to collect intelligence in our efforts to combat terror and to oversee that authority in Congress.

Click here for Senator Clinton’s December 17, 2007 statement on the FISA Amendments Act of 2007.

Awesome, Hillary. That is all that I can really say.

An invitation

The following invitation was in my inbox today:

Dear Leslie,
Michelle Obama is in Seattle on July 17th for a luncheon -- and I don't want you to miss the opportunity to see our future First Lady.
This event is selling out, so it's important for you to RSVP today to reserve your seat.
RSVP today at
Event details are below
Noon, July 17, 2008
WaMu Theater at Qwest Field 800 Occidental Ave South, Seattle
Tickets start at $200
Contact Ansley at or 206-903-0520 to sign up to be a table captain or for more information.
I hope to see you there!
Thanks, Chris Gregoire
The maximum donation per individual or organization is $3,200 per election cycle, half of which will be allocated to the primary election and half to the general election. Because of the participation of a campaign for federal office in this event, People for Chris Gregoire is soliciting only contributions from individuals in amounts not exceeding $1600 per election. Only contributions from federally permissible sources are being solicited. Corporate and labor treasury contributions are not being solicited. Contributions from currently registered federal lobbyists, registered foreign agents, federal political action committees, or minors under the age of 16 will not be accepted in connection with this event. Political contributions are not tax deductible for any purpose.

So that is the reason why Barack Obama opted out of federal funds for his campaign, not because he is raising $20 via the internet from some grandma in Des Moines. Suddenly, like any other politician, his events cost thousands of dollars.

I can't really say that at this point in time, either Michelle Obama or Chris Gregoire are two Democratic women that I would pay hundreds of dollars to spend an evening with...

Tuesday, July 08, 2008


I think someone is stealing our mail. Seriously, the last time we had mail in our box was last Thursday. I recognize Friday was a holiday but still... And I know of several things that were sent by people, but that we never received...including an order of photos from Kodak.

What is even more concerning is that we have a locked mailbox. Meaning that it must be someone in the mail service.

And considering my paranoia about identity theft, this is not a good thing.

The Next Book on my Reading List

Monday, July 07, 2008

What I have to look forward to...

When I move to DC in a little bit over a month, I am so excited because this will be my new kitchen....
All of that cabinet space! For a girl who is in love with Cuisinart kitchen appliances and Le Cruset pots, I am so excited for the storage space. We will even have a huge kitchen island with even more cabinet space underneath:

Seriously, I am thrilled to have such a great kitchen. Just the fridge alone makes me giddy. This means that dinner parties are a must. Good thing that we actually have friends in the DC metropolitan area...

Here is a picture of our apartment building from the outside:

Yay for new experiences in a new city!

Wednesday, July 02, 2008

Where Dreams Come True

I realize that it has now been over three months since our Disney World trip. However, I have neglected to post an event that occurred that convinced me that the Walt Disney World Resort might really be the place where dreams come true, as it advertises itself to be. Yes, there is the fact that I had my wedding reception there, an event which I thought would never take place. However, I had a dream that predates my desire to want to marry David. This dream went back to childhood. In fourth grade, I lied to my fourth grade class about being born in New York, and I told my Primary teacher that I would never get married or have children because I wanted to make this dream closer to a reality.

To understand this dream, you have to be as excited and amazed as I was that I saw these two people playing a game of Keep-Away with their daughter at the pool at the Animal Kingdom Lodge. Does anyone else know who these people are?

I'll give you a hint - her elongated muscles should give her away as classically trained by this master. I recognized her by these traits before I actually figured out who she was. And then, when I looked at her husband, it was jaw-droppingly obvious who it was that was staying at the very same resort where I was staying...

Give up?

That is Darci Kistler - principal dancer with the New York City Ballet. She was the last dancer with the company truly annointed by Balanchine himself before he passed away. And who is her husband? Peter Martins - legendary Danish dancer, partner to Suzanne Farrell, and now Ballet Master in Chief for the New York City Ballet. Not only has Darci Kistler been my favorite dancer for quite some time (her autobiography was one of my favorite adolescent books), but I had pictures of her and Peter Martins from Dance Magazine's feature on the restaging of The Sleeping Beauty, pinned up on my walls. (If you don't believe me, you can go here for a picture of them, not in their swimsuits for a comparison. Note: her hair isn't blonde anymore, this is what originally threw me.)

My dream of course, was to dance with the New York City Ballet. Unfortunately, my body never has worked quite like a Balanchine dancer. I had to content myself with attending performances of NYCB when I visited, and later lived in New York. That was as close as I ever thought that I would come to such greatness.

However, this was an opportunity to good for me to pass up. It was an opportunity for my dream to come true, albeit in a much more informal way.

I took the opportunity to do a grand jete into the pool. I then did pique turns in the water.

It counts. I, like Homer Simpson, can now saw that I have lived out my lifelong dream.

Thanks Mickey, for having a resort where ballet royalty brings their daughter.