Friday, April 29, 2005

The Interpreter

One of my friends and I went to see The Interpreter earlier today. What a great movie!

On the other hand, I can't, for the of me, figure out who is the target audience. All this talk of the UN? Americans hate the UN, remember!?! Plus, even I was getting a little mixed up in the beginning and a whole lot of people are going to be confused as heck about the ICC. Also, a big Hollywood movie doesn't make a profit by appealing to the fuzzy feelings of Model UN dorks (like me, of course).

But, yeah! There need to be more warm, fuzzy UN movies. Also, ones that are intriguing and actually managed to keep us guessing until the very last second!

Apparently, there's a whole generation of Model UN kids who started because of the Mary Kate & Ashley Olsen movie Winning London. (I'll admit that I've seen it, but I'd just gotten back and life was traumatic. I think that's a valid excuse.) Wonder if we'll get any more recruits now? Heh.

Wednesday, April 27, 2005

The next-to-last day of classes

Dawns upon me that I'm never going to meet any of the 1Ls whose blogs I've been reading, even if I keep reading as they become 2Ls & 3Ls, 'cause I won't start law school until they've graduated. I'll be replacing them, not in their classes.

I had a challenging conversation today. Raja, the awesome econ. professor, challenged my decision to go to LSE and do this masters degree. I must have passed, because he told me that he would have been doing the same thing if I'd decided to go to law school instead. This whole time, he's the only one at Earlham that's really, really helped me think about grad/law school in a "you should think about these schools," "you should try for the reach schools" sense. You know, practical advice combined with a helping of encouragement. I think, deep down, he was unhappy that I was set on attending WCL. He seems to think I should aim higher and I like having someone around who will actually challenge me, even if it is rather exasperating (and made both Behar & I late to the last Politics of the EU class).

Tuesday, April 26, 2005

Thesis soon, I promise.

Of note:

+Thesis presentation went fairly well, I think. Even if I was the only one who didn't have either a power point or a prepared script. Maybe I'm better at talking on my feet than I give myself credit for. Or, perhaps, I'm lazy! (I'm going with lazy, personally)

+Thesis presentation also helped me figure out how idiotic my current organization of said thesis was turning out to be. (Bad Joyce, ending sentence in a preposition.) Have decided to go chronologically, rather than by section of the Bricker Amendment. Good thing is that this gets my weakest stuff out first (the stuff about the Constitutional Convention), so that I can, hopefully, write the rest more quickly once I'm dispensed with the Founders. (Who else thinks of DS9 when mentioning the Founders?)

+Season 4 of Buffy finally appeared just before said thesis presentation. Woot! (Oz: "On the plus side, you killed the bench, which was looking shifty.")

+Everyone else (well, all the 1L blogs that I started reading in anticipation of going to WCL) is reflecting upon their school year. I don't think I can do that yet, because it's certainly not over yet. Boooo! Right now it feels like all I can do is make it through the next week and a half until graduation, but I know that I'm going to be incredibly sad when it happens. I guess part of me doesn't really believe that college is going to be over in 11 days. And, then, unlike high school where everyone lived in the same general area, my closest friends are going to scatter all over the country (and world). Not that I'm helping by moving to London for the year, but still! Things are going to change a whole lot and I can't think about them because I still need to focus on stuff like my thesis and finals.

+Whiskey Tuesday next door has now extended into Whiskey Wednesday Morning and that's a bit extreme. Joyce & Diana have Tuesday TV night...they have Whiskey Tuesday. What does this tell you? On the other hand, that loud music might be the house on the other side, where we never see the guy and he likes playing music very, very loudly at all hours. Good thing I sleep like a log.

+It's getting easier to share my roommate with her annoying boy. Plus, she's finally gotten some job nibbles, which would be fantastic if they worked out!

+It dawns upon me that for the next year I will not need to skimp on using too much of my favourite Vanilla tea, because I will go to school literally across the street from the Twining's shop on the Strand. On the other hand, being in the UK for a year might do horrible, horrible things to my caffeine intake levels. So MUCH tea!

+Bloody BBC ran a story today about how Americans don't care about the General Election because it's hardly being reported in our press. Then, they didn't leave a "send us comments" link, like they ALWAYS do, for the dorky Americans (who, you know, have it set the UK edition and do their best to keep up on the coverage and join British political parties) to defend themselves. Narp. God, now I know that I've lost it. So WEIRD! (Ryan: if you're reading, I was talking to my friend Scott today about the election...he's probably worse than I am about things British....and discussed how I'd won a copy of the Orange Book from the Backbencher. At which point he professed a sincere desire to borrow it, which made me think how lucky I've been to find a kindred soul at Earlham, who has not only heard of the Orange Book, but wants to read it. Then we had an argument about when Charles became party leader (which reminds me that I need to check). Everyone else, excuse the tangent).

+I think that's enough for now.

Sunday, April 24, 2005

A new look

So, my thesis presentation is tomorrow. Am I ready? Heck, no!

How do I prepare? By spending hours playing with my template...I was tired of having the same one as another blog that I read with some frequency. Found a great idea that wouldn't work within 15 minutes, then spent 3 or so hours trying to accommplish the same goal: for the blog to appear on the screen of an iBook G4. Doesn't help that I don't know html. Juliana helped as best she could, but....

Future goals include the restoration of a sidebar, although the links are all down at the bottom of the page now. That's the best I could do at the moment. But now, I should really go back to reading Madison's notes.

For loads of odd fun, try scrolling down...a screen shot within a screen shot!

Saturday, April 23, 2005

Alvarez-Machain II

I had a paper due for baby Con Law yesterday, which I now realize that I should have started before Thursday night at 11. Now, there was some significant roommate/her boyfriend/me drama that was a huge distraction, but it doesn't make me not a procrastinator by any standard.

Last year a group of us went to a human rights law conference at the University of Cinncinati law school, paid for by Uncle Eli (Lilly, via the Plowshares grant). One of the coolest things about the whole conference was that all of us, who had just had Welling's International Law class, could follow exactly what was going on. One of those moments when you realize that you actually are learning things in college. You know, those are always nice.

Anyway, the other amazing part and the last event of the conference was a discussion on the Sosa v. Alvarez-Machain case, led by the two attorneys who would be arguing it before the USSC and who had also been in charge of the A-M criminal case.

(Humberto Alvarez-Machain is a Mexican national who was kidnapped by men hired by the US Drug Enforcement Agency so that he could be arrested once he had been brought into the United States. During his criminal trial, the Supreme Court ruled that kidnapping was an appropriate means by which to extract someone from their country, because it wasn't specifically prohibited by the US-Mexico extradition treaty. Idiots. In the second case, A-M filed a civil suit against his kidnappers under the Alien Tort Crimes Act, a portion of the original Judiciary Act which allows foreign nationals to file suit in US courts for somthing done, in violation of the law of nations, in another country.)

It was something like two days before their brief was due and they wanted to get feedback from their colleagues who were in attendance. Honestly, I got really lost at times, but I faithfully took notes. I never bothered (bad me) to find out how the Court had ruled, so I used the opportunity of this paper to write on the subject. At least I'd know what had been decided.

I can't tell you what an amazing experience it was to be able to look back through my notes from the Cincinnati conference and compare the issues that the attorneys presented and see how the Court answered those questions. And, although my heart sank when I saw that Scalia had written a concurrence, the opinion actually represents a pretty big victory for American human rights lawyers. Alvarez-Machain may have not had suitable standing to bring a civil suit under ATCA, but at least now the ability of others to do so has been affirmed. Woot!

Wednesday, April 20, 2005

A Child's First Con Law Class...

Yesterday, in Con Law II for undergrads, we talked about Milikin v. Bradley, the case in which the USSC says that interdistrict busing is not ok to try and repair de facto segregation that exists when all the black people live in the inner city and all the white peole have moved to the suburbs and the suburban schools. Incidently, this is the same case that was the reading for the day that I went to IU's admitted student day.

Bob explained what the case said and moved on. The professor at IU assumed people could read the case on their own and instead discussed how the rule in Milikin was used to allow a challenge to Indianapolis' own de facto segregation. Bob never answered the question: if the USSC says that busing isn't allowed as a remedy, then how come we've had busing in the north for years? I'm so done with undergrad.

Sunday, April 17, 2005

Our paddling pool

The weather has been wonderful these past few weeks, here in good old Indiana. The tulips started blooming earlier this week and I don't think I've ever managed to spend so much time outside (I'm more of a hide indoors sort of person). I've even avoided a sunburn so far, which is a miracle when you're as pasty as I am. I win all the pasty-ness contests, yet another reason why moving to a more northerly climate is a really good idea. I have to love a country of pasty people who don't seem to sell sunscreen any stronger than 15 SPF.

So, the project for the weekend, other than that 10-15 page paper I'm writing on British politics (hah), was to raise a paddling pool in our backyard. One of the other houses had one and it seemed like such a great idea! So, we went to Walmart, bought a "family swim center," a bicycle pump and a hose. Dave came over to help us later an comment that God was punishing us for the combination of paddling pool and pump. Today, on our second try, we discovered that it was probably more efficient to blow the thing up using good old fashioned lung power. My diaphram had fun this afternoon. Sadly, we started filling it up and realized simultaneously that the water was absolutely frigid and that my roommate had to leave for the Gospel Revs. concert and soundcheck. So, we have not yet used the paddling pool that consumed the weekend. But we will! I hope the sun is out there now, warming up the water! And if I keep trying to fall asleep, it might be a good way to focus the brain back on Britain in the European Union Today.

On the other hand, I am pleased to report, that what we skimped on the pump we made up for by buying squirt guns and rubber ducks. Priorities!

Monday, April 11, 2005


I got an acceptance letter in the mail today from the MA half of American's JD/MA International Affairs program. And a large part of me can't help but thinking that it wouldn't be such a bad idea. I think the second thoughts are because I'm secretly nervous about the idea of moving to a new country and being a grad student (especially in light of my severe case of senioritis). Somehow, being a student in the States seems less scary, although I don't know why I think that being 1L would be any less of an adjustment. Silly me. I bet I'll feel better once I've gotten my LSE packet, which has been/will soon be shipped from my godparents in Indy. Still, there's just a lot of uncertaintanty that's making me nervous; housing being the really big one for now.

And the thesis saga continues. I'm doing a revised version of the first draft for Bob tomorrow, hopefully with at least some of the major holes plugged and some work to clean up very sloppy prose. I would remind the assembled audience (hah!) that this version is actually named "draft 4" on my computer, 'cause there were two false starts.

Thursday, April 07, 2005

blech. draft.

I realize that no one but me cares about the status of my undergrad thesis, but writing about isn't the worst way to keep myself apprised of progress. So, this is for me.

I turned in a draft today and I feel horrible about it. It's 25 pages and even I haven't read it yet. There are also massive holes that say "insert stuff about the Federalist papers here." God. I'm taking the night off, then it is time to at least attempt to fill in the holes and do a bit of editing before I force that thing on anyone else.

I guess this is my own fault for turning a topic into a thesis on Monday night. A bit late, eh? Le sigh.

Tuesday, April 05, 2005


Work on the thesis continues.

It dawns on me that if I'm still going strong at 7 am, that I can watch Question Time on CSPAN-2 and try to do something with my excitement over the British General Elections. Being over here is killin' me.

I get to have breakfast with a UN Under-Secretary General tomorrow! *giggle*

Monday, April 04, 2005

What a day!

Wow, it is beautiful outside! I'm inside, working on the thesis draft, but I picked a room in the library with a window and I might just have to run over the LBC (social sciences building) to chat with a professor! Sun, sun, sun! And the humidity hasn't come yet. The only downside is that the spring flowers are having issues coming out.

Have also written a better introduction for the thesis and realized that I need to be at least better informed than I am now as to the Constitutional Thursday!

Sunday, April 03, 2005

There's going to be a slight delay in calling the General Election. Blair is going to spend tomorrow visiting Westminster Cathedral (the ugly one on Victoria Street) to pay homage to the Pope. 'Tis very fitting, of course, but I think everyone's pretty anxious to get on with the campaigning. Not that it hasn't been going on unofficially for months, of course.

Thesis land didn't go too well Friday night or Saturday, as I found myself completely unable to concentrate or work. I'm going to make a great grad student, eh? Le sigh and back to the fascination that is the March 5, 1985 Senate Foreign Relations hearing on the Genocide Convention.

Friday, April 01, 2005

I think I've made a decision

I think I've decided what to do. I will be a postgrad student reading for a Masters in Human Rights at the London School of Economics in the fall. I will do this from October 1, 2005 to September 30, 2006. Then, I will spend 8 months doing something interesting, probably working for a human rights organization. During the summer, I will have taken an LSAT prep class (something I should have done the first time around) and will retake the LSATs in London in June, like I did last year. This means reapplying to law schools. I still think that American is a perfect fit for me and for what I want to pursue, but I suspect that I will reapply to some of the schools from which I got rejected (read: NYU, not Georgetown, 'cause if I'm going to be in D.C., its going to be at WCL) and to schools that I talked myself out of applying to on the basis of a lowish LSAT score. If American would let me defer for two years, I probably would and I would be happy to do so, but I can't. So, I'll enter law school in the fall of 2007 (yikes, that seems far away right now).

I've thought about this a lot and talked to a lot of people. I was all set to go to American, had even written a to do list that said "send in seat deposit." And I was really, really excited to move to D.C. and start attending law school at a place which seemed like a perfect fit for me. I certainly never expected to get admitted to LSE, but I think it is an amazing chance to spend a year trying to answer some of the questions that have plagued me for the past couple of years about the origins of human rights and how to best protect them. Seriously, I applied on a whim and never, ever expected to get accepted. I love London and, although the idea of being abroad for a year is a bit unsettling, I don't know if I'll ever have the same sort of opportunity to be young and free in a foreign city. Certainly, when I left London after my 4 months in the spring of 2003, I never expected that I would able to go back to the extent that I have. But then, there were quite a number of things that I never expected would happen when I left London, some sooner and more horrific than others.

I, like most of my friends, have spent a lot of time in limbo over the past two years. On the other hand, there are circumstances of my life which have made the sense of uncertainly even more powerful and more difficult to handle. I was heartbroken when I was so briskly rejected for the Truman & Marshall scholarships; the Carnegie Foundation hasn't even bothered to tell me I was rejected for their junior fellowship yet. I felt like I was at a huge disadvantage throughout the process of applying to law schools (which I now realize was partially my fault for not being more proactive) and that I could have done so much better at it. A lot of my academic experiences haven't been especially satisfying over the past two years. And darnit, I JUST WANTED SOMEONE TO FIGURE MY LIFE OUT FOR ME! But getting rejected from all those "easy" options really made me question what I wanted to do with my life and what was going to be the best sort of academic preparation for that life. If I'd gotten a Truman, I probably would have felt obligated to ignore my passion for international issues and the Marshall application was the sole reason that I even considered looking abroad for grad school. My heartbreak also made it pretty clear that I wanted to be in England. 'Course, I probably wouldn't have been so gracious if things hadn't worked out in the end....

I started crying when my roommate brought that big envelope from WCL over to my study carrel in the library and woke her up screaming when I read about the LSE offer on their application tracking database. I was lucky to have these options and I am so grateful. I'm sorta sad to be skipping DC this fall, after I'd gotten myself so psyched up for WCL. On the other hand, I keep walking around campus thinking, "in six months, London'll be my campus." I giggle when the BBC World Service (who put me to sleep every night) announce that they're broadcasting from Bush House (because it's right near LSE, not for that reason, sicko) and I look at my painting postcards and remember that I can go to the Courtald Institute any time I want. Alice gave a presentation on the history of Earlham Hall today at lunch and I remembered that she's leading the Earlham program next year. She always takes the kiddos to visit Norwich and Earlham Hall and has already said I can go along. Its really nice to know that I'll have friends over on the continent, the ones who I've gotten to know on my other visits, Kenneth & Arunima on the France program in the fall and Scott & Alice in London in the spring. And any time I want, I can whip out a £5 note and remind myself of the proud Quaker & Earlham traditions that have shaped the person that I am today. I "heart" you, Joseph John Gurney!

Narp. I'm going to have to change the title of this blog.

Ooooh, and I got elected to Phi Beta Kappa today and got notice that I'd qualified for college honors. I'm going to go update my resume, then get back to the Senate testimony that I should have been reading all night. My bad.