I only have 14 contact hours per week, but my calendar for this week looks like this:
This is caused, in part, by the amount of events they hold here, which is insane. There’s often several events during lunch or in the evening that are worth attending – though unfortunately they tend to conflict – and it doesn’t hurt that most of the events provide a free meal (seriously, you could go through a whole semester and not have to buy lunch). The events are mostly student organised, and the things is, the entire law school only has about 550 students. Then there are university functions, housing community functions, graduate functions, etc… So it’s busy, but it’s definitely a good type of busy.
I’m currently in the middle of an IT Strategy for Tech Companies lecture where a couple partners from Weil and the GC of a large tech company are discussing negotiating IT agreements (including negotiating tactics when the other counsel is responsible for dragging discussions on interminably). It’s all very nice to listen to and all, but it’s all in the abstract if you haven’t done it before and I don’t think it’s of very much real, practical use. That and it’s giving me bad memories of a rather hairy deal I was involved in the closing months before I left work earlier this year.
South African President Thabo Mbeki, Israeli Prime Minister Ehud Olmert, Japanese Prime Minister Yasuo Fukuda and Thai Prime Minister Samak Sundaravej have each been booted out of power prematurely within the last month. And Pakistani President Pervez Musharraf was ousted in mid-August. Wow.
Malaysian Prime Minster Abdullah Ahmad Badawi might be gone soon as well, if Anwar really has the numbers and a no-confidence motion is successfully passed.
(There’s of course been movement on the domestic front too – NSW Premier Morris Iemma was axed, as was federal opposition leader Brendan Nelson.)
This mid-week holiday was brought to us by “flyback week”, the week when all the law firms fly the JDs to New York and other major cities for job interviews. There are no classes during this week so us advanced degree students and the 1Ls use the opportunity to take a weeklong holiday (even though it’s actually only the second week of term!). We went to Lake Tahoe, which is beautiful. We hired a boat and took it out to Emerald Bay. Christoph is skippering the boat in the picture.
Amid all the coverage of the finance markets, many other interesting things have been progressing in the world.
A couple nights ago, I caught up with Justin, a Malaysian friend I hadn’t seen for some years. Justin was in San Francisco for a couple weeks, working for a major mobile phone company on some undisclosed big ticket project. We took the opportunity to catch up over dinner in Palo Alto and he filled me in on the dramas of Malaysian politics. To cut a long story short, Prime Minister Badawi, the leader of the governing coalition has been rapidly losing support, both within his own party and with the public, including its traditional Malay support base (usual story of mismanagement and corruption). The last federal elections saw Barisan Nasional (the governing coalition) being returned to power, but with its normally clear majority severely cut down. Anwar Ibrahim, the leader of the opposition coalition, recently won a by-election after his bar from being a politician recently came to an end (the bar stemming from a doubtful corruption conviction). Anwar is also currently facing a charge of sodomy. He has been charged with that offence in the past, only to be acquitted. Over the past few months, Anwar has been announcing that he has a list of about 30 government MPs willing to defect to his party. With such defections, Pakatan Rakyat (Anwar’s party) would essentially become the governing party, ending the rule of BN which has been in power since Malaysia’s independence. Pretty monumental. Anwar threatened to announce the defections this Tuesday, and over the weekend some pretty bizarre events occurred, including the jailing of several people – including a journalist, a blogger and a politician – under the country’s Internal Security Act (a distateful piece of legislation which allows indefinite detention without trial). The move was a misstep by the government and was met widespread condemnation. A BN cabinet minister resigned in protest over the incident.
A bunch of BN MPs were also ferried to Taiwan under the guise of “training”, but which many suspect as a ploy to keep the MPs out of contact with Anwar. When Anwar’s party sent 5 of its own members to Taiwan on a “cultural trip”, BN promptly cancelled the “training” and recalled the MPs. There are also many racial elements in play here which add another layer of complexity to events. Today Anwar announced that he would miss his own deadline for announcing the MP defections. Badawi thinks Anwar is bluffing and so the story continues…
Back in Australia, Turnbull has ousted Nelson for leadership of the opposition. Maybe now Australia will move more quickly towards becoming a republic.
At the municipal level, Labor got totally routed in the recent NSW local elections, mostly due to a backlash caused by the utterly incompetent state Labor government. Former Premier Iemma, of course, is now history.
In Zimbabwe, the text of the agreement signed between Mugabe, Tsvangarai and Mutambara has been published. I had a quick skim, and it’s pretty hazy as to who really holds the power (but I think when push comes to shove, we can guess who will assert their dominance). I have never seen so much preamble in a single document. There’s more aspirational text in there than operative text.
A late night snack after a night of drinking (of course, that meant
that I was the DD as usual). In-n-out has a “secret menu” so the
double-double burger animal style was the go. However, my attempts to
order an “Arnold Palmer” were met with ridicule. Don’t believe
everything you read on the net.