Catching Up

Fell behind on things, including blogging. Ah well.

As we head towards April, that McDonald’s Fish-o-Filet promotion’s coming to an end, and that might explain why there’s less of THAT commercial; nonetheless, I’ll link to this: Channel 11’s Kaity Tong commenting on that McDonald’s Filet-O-Fish commercial; yeah, THAT commercial. The commercial actually makes me sing along with the silly song, and of course, what did I do – I eat the filet-o-fish sandwich. The idea that Kaity Tong and her co-anchor Jim Watkins were talking about the commercial means that… they’re a lot like us at work, talking about the commercial…

My NCAA Men’s Basketball brackets went kaplooey when Syracuse went down the other day; why did I get caught up in their magical moment? Oh well. Now with even Pittsburgh out, I’m still have my other two final four picks alive – UConn and Louisville (at least, I hope Louisville stays alive).

Slate’s Dahlia Lithwick had some interesting legal-oriented articles of late. Apparently, being dean of Harvard Law School isn’t enough experience to be confirmed as US Solicitor General, to the Republicans. Lithwick was on point on the whole looniness of the partisan reaction to judicial/legal selections, as applied to the recent confirmation of Elena Kagan (the first woman Solicitor General, btw).

Plus, well, the speculation continues, but I think Lithwick’s article, about the US Supreme Court’s coyness about their futures, makes an interesting point: do we really want a spring of endless speculation, and – big if – a summer of confirmation insanity?

More follow up on Chancellor Michelle Rhee of Washington D.C.’s public school system: I think NY Times’ Nicholas D. Kristof raised some interesting comments on the D.C. education reform situation, under their Chancellor Rhee – yes, there’s a need for reform; yes, her “bedside manner” needs some help; but all this also assumes that everyone buys into coming up with compromise – the stakeholders (parents, principals and rest of management, the teachers, the students, the people-at-large) aren’t actually giving me the feeling that they’ll end their stalemate.

NY Times’ Mark Bittman on the excellent point: “organic” is not that same as “healthy.” Junk food is still junk food, even if it’s “organic”; it’s about respecting food, or else continue eating badly. Which a good many of us (me too) do…

Bittman’s video and article of his variant of “anti-ramen” – Egg Noodles in Soy Broth (with the not-so-secret ingredient of ketchup) – the idea of using a simple base – sounded quite cool.

Interesting NY Times article on cutting clutter and being organized. I need to find ways to cut the clutter at home and at work. Can I ever figure it out?…

Time Magazine is covering the issue of Big Law Firms’ plans to defer 1st year associates’ start date by sending them to work as subsidized $60,000/year public interest lawyers (or in some cases, outright rescinding the employment offers to the 3L’s, in the name of cutting back for financial reasons). When a trend makes it to mainstream media (like Time) rather than remaining in the confines of industry reporting (like Law.com, where – face it – only us lawyers/law students read), it must mean that the trend is real. Big Law Firms subsidizing law students to go into the public interest (because the firms have no work and won’t pay the 6 digit salary…) – yeah, that’ll save the legal field… Pardon some slight skepticism on my part, but this is a trend to watch, I think.

March 28, 2009, 8:30pm-9:30pm – Earth Hour 2009. Symbolic, yes; but symbols do say a lot.

The passing of historian John Hope Franklin. I had no idea that he had a local connection, being the first black chairperson of a department of a majority white institution (namely, Brooklyn College). NY Times’ Brent Staples had an moving anecdote:

Every death leaves a conversation unfinished. The one I regret not finishing with the historian John Hope Franklin, who died Wednesday at the age of 94, focused on what it was like to be a rising black intellectual in the Jim Crow South. In particular, I wanted to hear more about Dec. 7, 1941, the day he and his wife, Aurelia, drove from Charleston, S.C., to Raleigh, N.C. — covering the better part of two states — before they reached home and learned that the Japanese had bombed Pearl Harbor.

Clearly, the car had no radio. But wouldn’t they have heard the news when they stopped to gas up and get something eat? No, he said; I had misunderstood the period. Black families motoring through the Jim Crow South packed box lunches to avoid the humiliation of being turned away from restaurants. They relieved themselves in roadside ditches because service-station restrooms were often closed to them. They worried incessantly about breakdowns and flat tires that could leave them stranded at the mercy of bigots who demeaned and wished them ill.

“You took your life into your hands every time you went out on the road,” he said. It was, of course, a relief to come upon a black-owned service station. But he said that you could drive from Charleston quite nearly to Baltimore before finding one.

We had that conversation in 2006, in connection with an article I wrote for this page on his powerful autobiography “Mirror to America.” [….]

He continued to speak out against injustice and never let himself be flattered into the role of the black factotum who would conveniently declare the race problem solved. If anything, the militancy grew fiercer over time. It reached its zenith in “Mirror to America,” which recounts in vivid detail how the decision to segregate the armed forces poisoned American civic culture. He refused to serve during World War II for a country “that had no respect for me [and] little interest in my well-being.”

I had hoped to sit down with him one more time to reconstruct that trip back in 1941. I must now do that without him.

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