Sweet Land of Liberty

I’m in Philadelphia, the land of liberty, with P- for a Asian lawyers conference. More exactly, I’m here for the conference to score some continuing education credits, and she’s here to eat and shop.

Since it’s mostly on my own dime, we took the Apex Chinatown bus. $20 round trip is an unbeatable price, even with a few glitches. The driver had the heat ramped up while we were waiting – it was like 95 degrees even with the roof vents open. Someone convinced him to turn the AC on instead. Then we were in the stop and go traffic of the Holland Tunnel, and the clutch wasn’t cooperating in the low gears – every once in a while the driver would misshift and the transmission would jar the bus as if we ran over the curb. It got much better when we made it to the Turnpike and got up to highway speeds. In Cherry Hill, a few guys got off – apparently they use the Apex bus to commute to and from jobs in New York. That is really crazy.

Walking from Chinatown, we headed to our hotel at Club Quarters, which was a 15 minute walk through the heart of the city. We stopped by at 5 Guys burgers on Chestnut Street – even 15 minutes to closing, the food was fresh and flavorful. Recommended.

Tomorrow, judging moot court while P- goes while through the city and possibly gets a pedicure.

Oh yeah, I guess I was too pessimistic in my last post – the Dems did win that 51st seat in the Senate. To think that at the end the Republicans lost the Congress because that 51st senator insulted an Indian American – now that’s what I call karmic payback. Sweet!

Veterans’ Day Observed

Election Night had the feeling of Living In the Middle of History. Exciting to think “Good Grief, the Dems are really pulling it off?!” Montana and Virginia pulled through for Democrats in the senate races. The Founding Fathers’ checks and balances (and compromises) may prove victorious – and an end to one-party rule in this country for the last several years.  Indeed, the whole Election season reminded me of the time when I was young and watching the Democratic convention of 1992 on tv – when VP candidate Al Gore made that stirring speech of “It’s Time for a Change!” Time for a change all right.

Bob Menendez keeps NJ Democratic. Elliott Spitzer is Governor-elect, finally – kind of felt anti-climactic. I guess the hard part is the governing part now – something our friends in D.C. and Albany are going to have to pull off now.

TV coverage was kind of odd – I watched mostly ABC (considering that we segued into Election Day coverage after Dancing with the Stars – where more Americans probably called in to keep Joey Lawrence on tv than actual voting) – well, I kept wanting more from Charles Gibson. Katie Couric didn’t bother me, but I felt a little weird when Couric and the CBS crew seemed to be pulling out the exit polls stuff (when I thought we were moving away from the lack of accuracy in exit polls). I found myself wanting to watch more of Brian Williams and the NBC crew (they even brought back Tom Brokaw as an analyst), but kept going back to ABC, since that’s been my habit. ABC News Now on-line, via Yahoo, was entertaining actually – Sam Donaldson being funny; then into the wee hours as Sam in DC and the NYC ABC News Now pair kept hoping something would come out of Virginia but knowing “not really” and the NYC pair realizing that they haven’t eaten food yet (me thinking, “umm, you ABC guys are on the West Side and you can’t just order food in? Embarrassing!”).

NY Times’ Alessandra Stanley felt the whole coverage seemed to have a bit much testosterone. Can’t say that I disagree. Slate’s Troy Patterson thought there was some color – well, that and how Anderson Cooper had a nice suit.  Of course, I don’t have cable, so I wouldn’t know if Anderson had a nice suit or not – but I went to CNN.com and they had a photo from Election Day – mmm.  Yeah, that’s a nice suit.  He wears things very well (considering he was once a model – is it a surprise?).
The end of Rumsfeld as Secretary of Defense. Time for a change… Change for good? Well, I’m in the middle of some interesting reading, and the thought that kept coming up in my reading is that when Pandora opened the box, at least hope stuck around. Kind of an apt thought for the age we’re living in.
An amusing profile on Senator Harry Reid, Democratic Party leader, in the NY Times:

Harry Reid began Election Day with 50 situps and 80 push-ups (very red state of him) and 40 minutes of yoga (very blue state of him).He spent most of the momentous day in his Senate office, waiting. Just after 2 p.m., he finally heard some actual news: Britney Spears was filing for divorce.

“Britney Spears,” Mr. Reid said, shaking his head. “She loses a little weight, and now she’s getting all cocky about things.” He added, “Britney has gotten her mojo back.”

Few would peg Mr. Reid, 66, as someone with anything to say about Britney Spears or, for that matter, someone who would ever use the word “mojo.” But he is a tricky figure to pigeonhole or predict, a Democrat who is a Mormon opposed to abortion and who looks more like a civics teacher than someone set to become the most powerful person in the Senate.

As much as I think he must be excited to become majority leader, it is really weird to imagine that Harry Reid would (a) care about Britney Spears (who really did the GOP a huge favor by filing for divorce and taking some attention away from them) and (b) use the word “mojo.” Heck, would any senator use the word “mojo”? That was probably the one word not coming up during the whole Menendez v. Kean campaign and the mudslinging.
The passing of Ed Bradley of 60 Minutes. It’s just so sad and sudden. He was different and interesting as a journalist – not just a model as a journalist who was a person of color. The obituary that I linked was from the NY Times and it had a moving quote from one of Bradley’s close friends, Charlayne Hunter-Gault (formerly of MacNeil/Lehrer Newshour):

For Ms. Hunter-Gault, who left The New York Times for the “MacNeil/Lehrer News Hour” on PBS in 1978, Mr. Bradley was more than just someone who helped clear an early path to national television for herself and other black journalists — a distinction he shared with, among others, Max Robinson and Lem Tucker.

“I think people might want to characterize him as a trailblazer for black journalists,” she said yesterday, by cellphone from outside Mr. Bradley’s hospital room just after his death. “I think he’d be proud of that. But I think Ed was a trailblazer for good journalism. Period.”

In the weeks before his final hospitalization, Mr. Bradley had been scrambling to finish the Duke report in particular, while fending off what would become the early stages of pneumonia.

“He just kept hitting the road,” Ms. Hunter-Gault said. “Every time I talked to him, he was tired. I’d say, ‘Why don’t you go home and rest?’ He’d say, ‘I just want to get this piece done.’ ”

“He was proud of what he did,” she said. “But he never allowed that pride to turn him into a star in his own head.”

“In his own head,” she added, “he was always Teddy.”