Back in Newcastle

    I left the farm today and am back in Newcastle so I should be blogging more faithfully now. (Dial-up over static-ridden rural telephone lines sucks, especially if you have to pay long distance!)

    I can’t believe the break is almost over. My classes start back Wednesday so I’ll be book buying tomorrow and back in the swing of things as far as reading cases then as well. Bleh…

    My spring classes are as follows: LR&W II (yuck! I’ll be glad when that is over), Civ Pro II, Contracts II, Property, and Criminal Law (Woohoo! I’m excited about this one.)

    On a side note, I began today another academic venture by enrolling in an online class at Nations University. The class is The Hebrew Scriptures. So far I really enjoy what I’m studying. This course is a survey of the entire OT (for me a refresher on what I’ve learned as an undergrad) which will be good to get the “big picture” before plunging in on more specific course work in their graduate-level program.

    My hope is that this course will help me to maintain a little more balance in my life during the remainder of Law school. I think as long as I only take one course at a time, it will be a nice break from Law. (and it will be cool to have another degree too in a few years 🙂

    As far as news goes, I’ve been a bit out of the loop this last week, but here are a few links I found tonight of interest…

  • Washington Post/MSNBC: Sex trade thrives in China – This story is in my eyes a tragic story of what happens when out-of-control captitalism (the P.R.O.C. is rapidly becoming a capitalist paradise) is coupled with a social structure that has banished religion from the public arena and allowed a horrid lack of gender equity. Here is are a few excerpts that are so, so sad and disturbing…
      In a way, Liu and her cohort are models of the kind of rugged individualism that China’s leaders have sought to inculcate as they have tied the country’s future to the free market. “These prostitutes have solved the unemployment problem for themselves,” said Pan Suiming, a sexology professor at People’s University in Beijing. . .

      Four years ago in Shenyang — an industrial city in China’s northeast — the mayor, Mu Suixin, urged the opening of bars and massage parlors as an antidote to unemployment.

      He gave prostitutes licenses and applied 30 percent taxes to their earnings. The resulting windfall encouraged other cities to follow suit.

      That has helped make China’s sex trade one of the world’s more brazen. At the Zhaolong Hotel in Beijing — a five-star, government-owned establishment that is often full of Chinese military officers — an older woman solicits male guests in the lobby during evening hours, in a normal voice and in full view of hotel staff. At other hotels around the country, male guests are routinely awoken by hotel receptionists, who ask, “Are you lonely?” A company that calls itself Yuan Union organizes sex parties geared to foreign diplomats and businessmen in Beijing, Shanghai, Shenzhen and other major cities, according to an e-mail solicitation. . .

      “In China, daughters are not very important,” she said. “It’s the son that matters. Unless I leave and find work, there’s no way that my little brother can continue his education.”

    It is that last paragraph that is especially heart-breaking.

  • Washington Post/MSNBC: In Ga., a ban on hate, or heritage? — School divided over Confederate-themed shirts — My personal opinion on this is that the Confederate flag is a very loaded symbol with so many meanings. I am proud of my ancestors (3 who fought for the South, including my namesake James C. Branum who was shot in the arm at the Battle of Shiloh) who fought for what they believed in, state’s rights. At the same time, I loathe what their fighting in fact protected for a time (the abominable practice of slavery). The flag to me is so a mixed signal, especially in light of the supremacists and bigots who use the flag as a symbol of oppression.

    But in another way, the furor of the CSA flag really seems to be the same as that of th USA flag. I love my country, but I feel like I would have to give a disclaimer before wearing a US flag ribbon or the like, so that it would be clear that I love my country and its Constitution, but neccesarily the innane and sometimes immoral actions of our government in a time of war. The best compromise I’ve found so far is a bumper sticker that has the flag with the text “Peace is Patriotic.”