Greetings, readers!

After an incredibly long hiatus – due mainly to the Blawgirl questioning the purpose and value of this blawg and blawging in general – the Chronicles of a Blawgirl is up and running once again! The Blawgirl still questions the value of blawging, but thinks that it would be fun to write down her experiences with her third and final year of law school, and with the California Barzam, for her mom and posterity.

You’ll notice there have been some minor changes around here, notably the addition of a “Clipbook” to the navigation bar, and a handy, dandy bar at the bottom of your browser that allows you to find/stalk the Blawgirl on the Interwebz if you so choose.

This post finds the Blawgirl several weeks into the first semester of her final year in law school after a summer of sitting/broiling on the freeway to get to her internship at the ACLU of Southern California office in Downtown L.A. All in all, she would take the busyness of these first several weeks over having to crawl on the 5 freeway any day.

These past weeks have seen her celebrating her 20-ish birthday, organizing the in-house competition for the mock trial team, reading/briefing cases in her remedies and constitutional law classes, learning the ins and outs of California’s Domestic Violence Protection Act for a clinical class, piecing together documents for her Moral Character Application, and putting together this loverly website.

Somewhere in there, she’s also started reading book three of George R.R. Martin’s “A Song of Ice and Fire” series, started swimming at Corona del Mar, continued Turbo Kickboxing and Zumba-ing, and picked up a road bike to start riding on the Santa Ana River trail here in Orange County, Calif.

Dayyum. It’s even tiring just reading about it! Anywho, the Blawgirl will mosdef add blawging to the list of things she will be doing. She can’t promise that she will post every single bowel movement of her mind, but she can promise to try to be as regular as Jamie Lee Curtis.

Photo via icanhazcheezburger.com

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I’ve just returned from learning about and being immunized against all the nasties that could possibly hitch a ride on my insides during my trip to Cambodia, and, to be honest, for some reason it made me feel a bit like a super finicky, overly squeamish, ugly American.

I mean, as a child, when I visited the Philippine provinces – the place where my folks grew up and where I was born – my parents threw caution to the wind, didn’t get shots, and allowed me and my brothers to chase after chickens, pet the local wildlife, brush our teeth with the water from a water pump, wear shorts, tank tops and chinelas (flip-flops), and order food from the street vendors. The most we returned home with were several mosquito bites, super dark tans, and fairy stories about the little, brown, bearded men who lived in the hill in front of my uncle’s old house.

No puking. No chills. No sweats. No crazy runs. Definitely none of the horrors described in the literature given to me by the vaccination company, which specializes in travel immunizations.

Got Hepatitis A? Get ready to have flu-like symptoms, jaundice and the runs. Got typhoid? Get ready for high fever, stomach pains, and, you guessed it, the runs. Got polio? Get ready for nothing, cause you ain’t moving after you get that ish. For good measure, whatever god you believe in will probably also throw in the runs and a bite from a rabid, ankle-biting raccoon or monkey because you were dumb enough to forgo immunizations before traveling abroad,

Yeah. Sounds unpleasant. But, to quote Disney’s “The Little Mermaid”, how could a world that makes such wonderful things be bad? Just look at that glorious photo!

But, as they say, better safe than sorry.

Photo: tylerdurden1 / Flickr

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Episode_4_Millennium_Falcon_1Since my last video post earlier this last month, things in law school have gone from 0 m.p.h. to being able to make the Kessel Run in less than 12 parsecs. In other words: Son, this ish has picked up speed.

I turned in my final 14-page Legal, Writing and Research open memo on doorway arrests (they’re no bueno), participated in a Moot Court practice round (aka ZOMFG! Barf.)  in front of six student judges the day after the memo was due, participated in the first round of the 1L Moot Court competition, advanced to the top 32 quarter-final rounds, and accompanied The Boyfriend to his law school’s Barrister’s Ball (aka law school prom).

On top of that, the day before the memo was due, I found out that I was selected for an eight-week internship with the Open Society Justice Initiative, a non-governmental organization, in their Phnom Penh, Cambodia, office working with media rights. Another Chapman Law student was selected to intern with the same organization for six weeks to help with the monitoring of the Khmer Rouge tribunals.

For sure, I’m super excited about going and the work I’m going to be helping with, but I also had to start thinking about funding for the whole venture so I wouldn’t have to pay the costs 100 percent out-of-pocket.

whosawesomeloldogThankfully, the professor who informed me about the internship, the law school administration and upperclassmen from some student organizations were incredibly helpful in finding funding (Seriously, they’ve been super awesome). An awesome board member from the Student Bar Association arranged for me and the other student to appear before the board and request funding. It was a not-so-awesome experience there, and, um, loud to say the least, but, thankfully, the amazing people at the Public Interest Law Foundation and the law school’s Center for Global Trade & Development more than made up for the lack of support from the SBA.

So the flight and hotel have been booked, vaccinations are scheduled (so I don’t come home puking and my important bits falling off, like Zombie Cat), and now I can just focus on preparing for my flight toward the end of May.

Oh, and for those teensy, little, insignificant things called finals in two weeks.

Urgh.

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Jonathan Mann committed himself to writing and posting a song a day to his YouTube channel. The inspirations for the songs cover such diverse topics as Battlestar Galactica, Israel and Palestine, and Tumblr.

And what was his inspiration April 19?

Why, the torture memos of course.

Mann took the text of a portion of the memos released last week and set them to music. The result is a somewhat peppy guitar and piano tune that sounds like an unsettling mix of a CNN news anchor, Jack Johnson and the Moldy Peaches. Throw in some air quotes ala Dr. Evil, a couple of tortured-looking grimaces, and a split screen and you have yourself a music video. Check it out.

(via BoingBoing)

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5697895_5c57981a6dMemos from the justice department that condoned the use of torture and that outline the methods used by the CIA in secret prisons overseas are scheduled to be released today by the Obama administration, according to The Caucus, a political blog of the New York Times.

The Times writes that among the memos expected to be released is one penned by former Bush legal advisers John Yoo and Jay Bybee that is “a legal authorization for a laundry list of proposed C.I.A. interrogation techniques.”

Yoo, who is a professor at the U.C. Berkeley Boalt Hall School of Law, is currently a visiting professor at the Chapman University School of Law.

It is unknown how much of the memos will be intact when they are released.

According to The Times, CIA Director Leon Panetta had pushed for weeks to have portions of the memos redacted because information contained in them could “pave the way for future disclosures of intelligence sources and methods, and would jeopardize the C.I.A.’s relationship with foreign intelligence services.”

The “most immediate concern of C.I.A. officials is that the revelations could give new momentum to a full-blown congressional investigation into covert activities under the Bush Administration,” The Times wrote.

The Spanish court was considering pursuing its own criminal investigation into six former Bush officials. The Times reported this morning, however, that Spain would not be opening an investigation of the Bush Six.

The Bush Six includes Yoo, former Attorney General Alberto Gonzales; former Undersecretary of Defense Douglas Feith; Vice President Dick Cheney’s chief of staff, David Addington; Justice Department official Jay S. Bybee; and Pentagon lawyer William Haynes.

Photo: mindgutter / Flickr

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117048243_7cc6bb0b87Scott Horton of The Daily Best is reporting that, according to sources close to the case, Spanish prosecutors will be going forward with a criminal investigation of six Bush administration officials, including Chapman University School of Law visiting professor John Yoo, over their role in the torture of five Spanish citizens held at Gitmo.

Horton writes:

“Baltasar Garzón Real, the investigating judge, accepted the complaint and

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117048243_7cc6bb0b87Paul Haven of The Associated Press is reporting that Spanish prosecutors are likely to make a decision this week regarding whether to pursue criminal charges against six former Bush administration officials, including Chapman University School of Law visiting professor John Yoo, for enabling torture.

Haven writes:

“Under Spanish law, once the judge receives the prosecutor’s recommendation, he can either drop the case or open a full-blown probe that could lead to an

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john-yooThe Chapman University School of Law dean and a professor at the Orange County, Calif., law school gave LA Times readers a preview of what the upcoming debate between former Bush administration legal adviser John Yoo and professors at the school could look like.

Published in the LA Times Opinion section Thursday, Dean John C. Eastman and professor Lawrence Rosenthal wrote separate pieces arguing whether Chapman visiting professor John Yoo, who teaches at U.C. Berkeley’s Boalt Hall, is fit to mold and Socratize young legal minds.

Mr. Rosenthal, whose piece ran above Eastman’s, stated that Mr. Yoo should not be teaching because the memos he produced for the Bush administration, including one that said the president could allow torture, were flawed in their legal reasoning.

Mr. Rosenthal writes:

“While I yield to no one in my respect for academic freedom, the memos reflect a kind of tunnel vision that I would not tolerate in a student’s work and certainly not in the work of an attorney for our government.”

Dean Eastman disagrees, stating that Mr. Yoo’s presence on the campus inspires healthy debate, and Eastman even goes so far as to disagree with those who have criticized Mr. Yoo.

Mr. Eastman writes:

“As the dean of the law school, I welcome his presence and the debate it has provoked. The opportunity to confront positions with which one disagrees is the hallmark of a first-rate education. As a constitutional law scholar, I should also note my disagreement with Yoo’s detractors.”

Read why Mr. Eastman disagrees with the critics of Mr. Yoo’s memos here.

There’s no mention of the recent developments in Spain, where prosecutors took the first steps toward a possible criminal investigation for six Bush officials.

Mr. Rosenthal is one of two professors at Chapman scheduled to debate Mr. Yoo 11 a.m. Tuesday, April 21 in the university’s Memorial Hall in a dialogue titled “Presidential Power and Success in Times of Crisis”.

If you’re planning on going, it sounds like it would be a good idea to show up early. The university, in anticipation of a large turnout, has moved the event to a larger location than originally planned and will not be including lunch.

For more information on the event, Chapman’s Web site says to contact Barbara Babcock at bbabcock@chapman.edu.

Photo: John Yoo Wikipedia page / Wikimedia Commons

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117048243_7cc6bb0b87Author and British barrister (lawyer) Philippe Sands told The New Yorker’s Jane Mayer: “If I were they, I would think carefully before setting foot outside the United States. They are now, and forever in the future, at risk of arrest. Until this is sorted out, they are in their own legal black hole.”

And who is part of the “they” in question?

Sands, who released a book titled “Torture Team” last year, singles out six former Bush administration officials, including John Yoo, a former Justice Department lawyer and currently a visiting instructor at Chapman University’s School of Law.

When Sands book – which accuses Bush officials of complicity in acts of torture – came out, his predictions seemed far fetched, Mayer said. But Mayer writes that last week “Sand’s accusations suddenly did not seem so outlandish.” That’s because a court in Spain took the first steps toward the start of a criminal investigation of the Bush Six, the group of officials Sands cited in his book.

Here’s what happened in Spain. According to the New York Times, an official close to the case said the case was sent to the prosecutor’s office for review. According to the article, the official stated it was “highly probable” the case would go forward and that it could lead to arrest warrants for the six, though experts have said the warrants would be more symbolic than practical.

Mr. Yoo declined comment on the Times’ story, telling them he had not seen or heard of the petition. But, if you’re in the area, maybe you’ll luck out and he’ll speak on the matter when he debates Chapman Law professors 11 a.m. Tuesday, April 21 in the university’s Memorial Hall in a dialogue titled “Presidential Power and Success in Times of Crisis”.

I’m no psychic, but something tells me this is going to be a debate to watch. The university, in anticipation of a large turnout, has moved the event to a larger location than originally planned and will not be including lunch.

For more information on the event, Chapman’s Web site says to contact Barbara Babcock at bbabcock@chapman.edu.

And here’s a Q&A with John Yoo from the local newspaper, The Orange County Register.

Photo: Joe Gratz / Flickr

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220px-wildersAs if it didn’t have enough people shaking their fists and writing strongly-worded letters to them over the hiring of former Bush administration legal adviser John Yoo, Chapman University’s School of law will play host to a screening of controversial Dutch filmmaker Geert Wilders’ short film “Fitna” Saturday, April 4. To state that Wilders – who was banned from entering the United Kingdom for his points of view – is anti-Islam is putting it lightly.

“Islam is not a religion, it’s an ideology … the ideology of a retarded culture,” Wilders told The Guardian newspaper in the UK last year. He states that he intends the film to “show the real face of Islam. … I see it as a threat. I’m trying to use images to show that what’s written in the Koran is giving incentives to people all over the world.

As of the posting of this entry, I didn’t see any news on the Interwebz from the Council on American Islamic Relations, which has an office in Anaheim, regarding Geerts’ visit to the nearby campus.

Here’s the first 8 minutes and 15 seconds of the film on YouTube as a preview for tomorrow’s event. Be sure to read the lively debate in the comments section.

Geerts’ visit to the university marks the beginning of a weekend blitz of the West Coast, according to FrontPage magazine. Following his visit to Chapman, he will visit the David Horowitz Freedom Center in Sherman Oaks, Calif. to show his movie, then deliver a keynote speech in Beverly Hills. He’ll round out his tour Sunday in Los Angeles.

Saturday’s event takes place at 2 p.m. in Memorial Hall. It is co-sponsored by the Freedom Center, the Claremont Institute, the Lincoln Club of Orange County and the International Free Press Society. Students with ID are free, and public non-reserved seating is free. For reserved seating, a $50 donation to the Geert Wilders Defense Fund is requested. For more information, call 818-849-3470 or send an email to Stephanie@horowitzfreedomcenter.org.

(Read about this in an article by Ask a Mexican’s Gustavo Arellano on OC Weekly)

Photo: Wikipedia

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