Tuesday, 20 May 2008

Who is that Rockstar?

A crowd of 75000 people have gathered in Portland, Oregon.

The Washington Post describes the above scene as follows:

'The scene suggests this is not an exaggeration. The sea of heads stretches for half a mile along the grassy embankment, while others watch from kayaks and power boats bobbing on the Willamette River. More hug the rails of the steel bridge that stretches across the water and crowds are even watching from jetties on the opposite shore.'

Who could it possibly be? What could the occasion possibly be? So many people, so much anticipation - a concert perhaps?

Here's another pic:

Upon closer examination, the centre of attention appears to be one particular individual - on the stage at the front.

He is black, he is a politician and he is the front-runner for the Democrats' nomination for President of the United States. An unlikely scenario. Believe.

Sunday, 18 May 2008

Funny hats

Lacklustre Lawyer, in a bid to do anything but revision, has found a new way of amusing himself. Its called taking the piss out of women with silly hats. It all began when Lacklustre Lawyer couldn't stop laughing after hearing one particular description of Camilla Parker Bowles in, I believe it was, this hat:

I believe it was this particular hat that Amanda Patelle of the Daily Mail remarked that it looked like 'a pigeon had crash landed on her head'

Further research suggests that there may be a predisposition to wearing terrible 'hats' in the family. This is of her daughter:

'Like she got her head stuck in an old tree', perhaps? Is it just me, or did young Parker Bowles actually expect that hat to go with her outfit?

Of recent times though, the hat that has made me giggle the most is this one:

Can you even call these hats any more?

Saturday, 17 May 2008

Democrats Nomination: the race is over

After primary upon primary, the race for the Democratic nomination finally seems to be drawing to an end. Like the race for the Premiership title between Chelsea and Manchester Utd, it too has gone down to the wire. Obama, rightly, is being called the presumptive nominee - it is his to lose now.

Clinton's recent victory in West Virginia was supposed to give her the defence that the 'tide is turning'; that she is the only Democrat standing that can beat McCain in November. Thankfully, its a ploy that isn't working.

Obama has recently been endorsed by John Edwards - a former contender for the Democratic nomination himself who dropped out of the race when he lost his home state of South Carolina to Barack Obama. Its difficult to tell just how much 'help' this particular endorsement will give Obama. On paper, which is really all that matters, Edwards is just another super-delegate vote that Obama will have that Clinton won't.

Speaking of super-delegates, winning a huge majority of them over, was Clinton's last throw of the dice. As of last week, Obama has long overtaken the number of pledged super-delegates that Clinton has secured. A couple of months ago he was about 100 super-delegates behind Clinton; but ahead of Clinton in the number of ordinary delegates by 100. Since then, Obama has managed to build upon his lead in both types of delegates.

It is unfortunate that Clinton has lost the way she did. She is right when she says that if the Democrats played by the same rules as the delegates - she would already be the nominee. But that's a big 'if'. Winning requires 'electioneering': you do what you can, you exploit what you can't. Things change - and if they aren't going as expected - you have to come up with a new plan. This is where Clinton fell. Riding high in the polls throughout 2007, she planned to have the nomination rapped up by Super-Tuesday. Her problem, in short, is that she mis-judged Obama.

Incidentally, I think I might just find myself in Denver where the Democratic Convention will take place in August. I will be in the US for some of August and I am crossing my fingers that I will be able to be there when Obama officially wins the nomination. I have a cousin who has already secured a place as a volunteer for that period and I am hoping that its not too late for me to follow suit.

Anyway, looking ahead to the general election in November, I have been dreading the Democrats' chances because of all this in-fighting as a result of a prolonged election. According to the polls, however, my feelings are unfounded. RealClear Politics has some very encouraging figures for Obama. My feelings were that in some of the big states that Clinton won, Obama wouldn't have as much support as he should have. The polls suggest however, that contrary to what most pundits are saying, most voters will not be siding for McCain because their preferred Democrat isn't on the ballot. Florida is an exception; but Obama is way ahead of McCain in important states including California and Pennsylvania (which I am very surprised about).

I do love electoral maps. Here's may favourite:

Thursday, 15 May 2008

Feeling like Sex

Procrastination has taken a new turn with me. It used to be things like surfing the Internet, reading an interesting news article, going on facebook etc - not now though. Obviously, with imminent exams, I have to be a little more creative. When I'm not studying or revising, I need to be conserving my brain energy, usually until the evening, which seems to be my peak time for getting work done.

This week and last, I have been spending most mornings doing different things. All very, very unusual. After I have finished reading the Times each morning, I have been doing the crossword, the three Sudoku puzzles and the other word puzzles. All tolled, that's a good 2-3 hours of procrastination. I'm hoping that whilst doing these tasks, I am still engaging my brain - keeping it warmed up - because, it is, after all, a muscle, like any other.

In revising for Jurisprudence, I have been thinking a lot about sex. Too much about it, in fact. I think I am seeing the world now in terms of sex - Freud could not do better. The reason for this, of course, is that the jurists that I am reading about can't stop talking about it; so I can't stop thinking about it. I am sure that its affecting my hormones too - it can't be good - I want to go back to my old self.

Anyway, the reason that I am posting now is that I've got my first exam in a few hours and, in trying to prepare for it, I decided to play Snake. After about my 6th go, I managed to achieve the respectable score of 176 on level: WORM. Can anyone, hand on heart, say they can beat that? I'd love to hear if you could. Until later, best get on with preparing for my exam...

Saturday, 3 May 2008

Update on Revision

Why does revision seem so tough and impossible now? This is my third set of university exams and whilst there have been some definite improvements in my preparation style etc, I just can't understand why I can't motivate myself more. I mean: these are my last university exams and then, fingers-crossed, I am going to have an amazing summer doing lots of relaxing things.

Revision is tiring of me. There have been times, when sat in the last lectures of my subjects, that I have felt energised and encouraged by the opportunity to do well in the up-coming exams, but all those feelings just seem to go down the gutter shortly thereafter.

I must acknowledge though, that having started revision early, I have already covered a lot. I am comfortable with both Trusts law and Employment law; for my other subjects though - Jurisprudence and I.P. Law - I am not nearly as comfortable.

I have not taken the time to enjoy Jurisprudence this term. The topics that we have studied are absolutely dreadful; they are: Feminist perspectives on law; Foucauldian analysis of Law; Globalisation & the Law and a few others.

For all these areas in Jurisprudence, I have found my lecturers to be completely boring. These subjects have only a few interesting things to say and these can be easily summarised in a few short sentences. The lecturers at my university seem to have decided that lectures were going to be used to repeat and repeat those few senteneces. Its just so uninteresting. On top of that bore, I have had to work through the most disproportionate reading list imaginable. A lot of the reading is centred around trying to understand what, for example, Feminists think of the Law on rape; or, what somebody thinks Foucault would think about the law on privacy. It is not possible to miss a single element of the reading - not a single bit. A cursory glance at past examination questions demonstrates that although there is a choice of question, all the questions are really narrow in focus and so are very demanding in the knowledge that you are required to use. It is rumoured that each year the lecturer spends more time lecturing on a specific case-study that will be of much use in the exam. I don't know whether any of my peers have managed to detect any guidance in the aforementioned repetitive streaks of the lecturers, but I certainly haven't, which is worrying.

I have tried to interest myself in the reading and in parts that has been possible to the extent that I have finished reading a piece and thought it comprehensible. Most of the time, though, I can't even begin to understand what is being said and why. My lecture notes for the Foucauldian analysis on law and Globalisation & Law are slightly more readable than the same for Feminist perspectives on law. My lecturers were so bad that it took until well into this term to be able to put their thoughts to paper.

In terms of doing the reading. Some of it is more engaging than other areas. I have absolutely no interest in anything to do with Family law. Its an area of law that I would absolutely detest studying. But Feminists have picked-up on a lot of Family law areas to demonstrate gender-bias in the law. Rape, on the other hand, as a crime, is something I am far more interested in. Some of the reading in this area by some Feminists is very enjoyable. Feminists fall into different categories: Radical Feminists, Liberal Feminists, Difference Feminists and Post-modern Feminists are some of the ones I have read about. My favourite, are of course, Radical Feminists. I will share with you one particular quote by Catharine MacKinnon, a Radical Feminist, which made me sit up and take notice:

"man fucks woman: subject verb object"

Finally, and fittingly, I should end with mentioning I.P. law. For revision, the challenge that I have with I.P. law is that I have a tremendous amount of rote learning to do. There is very little in the way of controversy or difficult areas of the law that I need to spend time upon; instead, I need to familiarise myself with many many many statutory provisions and case names and details, that I seem to have forgotten all about. Its because, I find, that much of the I.P. law syllabus is relatively uncontroversial that I have spent so little time on it, in comparison to subjects like Employment law.

So, I am feeling the heat of revision, but it is hoped that I will manage to prepare myself sufficiently for the up-coming exams and then find something more interesting to share with you. Until then, spare a thought for Gordon Brown and recognise that no matter how hard you work to achieve something, sometimes its just not good enough.