Saturday, November 1, 2008

Election and stuff

I’ve been meaning to write a new blog for a while now. I keep thinking of topics while sitting in my car on my long commute each day (ok, it’s only a 10 minute commute, but that’s still plenty of time to come up with some good ideas). The problem is that there are so many good topics that I could write about – but most are ones that I want to go incredibly in depth with – i.e. the election – why I think Obama is a MUCH better choice than McCain, or why Prop 8 is the most bigoted narrow-minded piece of . . . well, let’s just say that I’m definitely voting NO on 8. Or I could write about health care and how our system is so completely backwards – which relates to the election, but is not necessarily one and the same. Or I could just give a life update, but that’s pretty short: Aaron is still working nights. I’m still at Extreme. Our cat may be the most adorable creature to ever cross my path.

With the election coming up so soon, I think maybe that will be my topic for tonight - though I won't go nearly as in depth as I would like - mostly just my opinion. It is hard to understate the importance of this election. This is one of those elections that, regardless of outcome, is going to make a huge impact on America, the World, and more importantly each individual’s life. For the first time in my life, I am holding my breath in anticipation of Tuesday. This is the first time ever that I have felt so invested in an election. It is really exciting – and scary all at the same time. It’s refreshing to have so many people my age and younger talking about politics and actually caring about it. These are some of the same people that, I’m sure, back in high school when everything on the world stage was hunky-dory, didn’t care one bit about politics. I remember as a kid going downtown with my parents to watch election results – some of my friends in school thought that was weird. To me, Election Day has always been kind of a family holiday – even though I didn’t feel nearly as personally invested as I do now.

Everything in the world has become so difficult that it has everyone looking at this election as a single ray of hope for something to change. America’s reputation on the world stage has deteriorated to nearly a joke. Even though our economy is tanking, America is still such a dominating power the entire world is looking to us. They want to see which direction America will take. Will it still turn a blind eye and pretend like the rest of the world doesn’t exist? Or we will start acknowledging that there is life outside the US, and maybe, just maybe, other countries might have some ideas that are better than ours? The current administration’s belief that the US is the best country in the world to the point of ignoring all other policies and social structures drives me crazy!

By saying that, it doesn’t make me un-American or un-patriotic. I still love the US and, for the most part, I am proud to be an American. However, I do not like the direction our country has gone in the past 8 years. I was living in England during the first year of the Bush presidency. I saw what an impact an inane president could have on a country’s reputation – and this was before 9/11, Afghanistan, Iraq, the horrendous economy.

One of my friends from Pepperdine posted a thing on facebook saying, “I know high schoolers who understand economics better than Obama.” At first, I was hurt and a little offended. My gut reaction was a quick retort of “oh yeah, because the Republican economic policies have been working SO well for the past 8 years.” But then, I stopped myself, and realized that what makes this country so great is that we can have different opinions. I didn’t bother responding to my friend’s message because, obviously, I am not going to change her mind.

However, I have several reasons why the Republican “top heavy”/“trickle down” (whatever you want to call it) does not work. McCain says he doesn’t want to take “Joe the Plumber’s” money and give it to other people. (I take issue with the Republicans labeling Obama’s economic policy as a Robin Hood-type concept in this manner, but that topic is for another day) McCain says he wants Joe the Plumber to do give away his money on his own. Now tell me, how many “Joes” do you think are really going to give away their own money? If they don’t want to give their money to taxes, they certainly don’t want to give it to you or me. Don’t get me wrong; I’m not saying that Republicans never give to charity. I have this theory that people are innately greedy. Rich people get rich by not spending money. All those jobs that the Republicans say rich people are going to create – where are they? Oh wait, I know! The jobs have been eliminated because the rich people decided that there was more profit to be made by eliminating people’s jobs and replacing them with machines or cheap overseas workers. That tax deduction for charity donations is pretty nice, too.

Before you jump and call me a cynic – I also believe that people are innately good (again a topic for another day). But I don’t think that supersedes the fact that people are greedy and want to hold on to what they earn. I understand – you work hard for your money and don’t want to give it up. However, there are certain aspects of a civilized society that I feel should be rights, and not privileges for the few who can afford it – i.e. healthcare, education, etc.

I also think people think they earn more than they actually do. I think that people hear that $250,000 mark and think “Oh my goodness, that could be me in a couple years!” I have news for those people - $250K is a LOT of money. You can almost buy a house in Southern California for that amount of money! I’m a lawyer and that amount is still way out of my reach. I would love to earn that kind of money – and honestly, if I ever do, I would be willing to shell out a little bit more. Of course I’ll gripe about it, but at least if I know that my money is going towards healthcare and education and anything else where I can see my tax dollars at work, it will be worth it. Maybe Obama should be touting is as a “quarter of a million dollars” instead – I think phrased that way, most people wouldn’t think they earn that amount.

Ok, I’m tired now. Prop 8 will have to wait for tomorrow. I just have this to say – I saw a sign today that said “Prop 8 = Religious Freedom.” I couldn’t help but think, “No, Prop 8 = Religious Oppression, which is exactly what this country was founded against.”

Friday, October 3, 2008

Digital Distribution Royalty Rate

From the LA Times today:

Royalties for digital song downloads unchanged,0,1330228.story

This doesn't affect me or my job directly because Extreme doesn't sell its music commercially, but I thought it was interesting. I also think the Copyright Royalty Board was wise in not granting either party exactly what they wanted (the music publishers wanted a higher royalty and the digital distribution companies wanted a lower royalty). Regardless, I don't think this is the last we will hear of this issue.

Thursday, October 2, 2008

Update regarding Pepperdine and Prop 8

I just received the following email from Pepperdine's administration regarding the Prop 8 commercial starring Professor Peterson:

From the Department of Public Relations

Dear Pepperdine Alumnus:

Many members of the Pepperdine community have voiced opinions over a TV ad regarding Proposition 8. The ad features a Pepperdine professor and currently includes reference to his affiliation with the University.

We’d like to stress that the professor does not represent a Pepperdine University-endorsed position, as the University does not advocate for/against political candidates or ballot propositions.

The professor in the ad was not advocating a Pepperdine position, but his own personal position.
We have received confirmation that our request to have the reference to Pepperdine University deleted from the ad will be honored. We have been assured that the ad will be revised, perhaps by today.

Jerry DerloshonExecutive DirectorPublic RelationsPepperdine University

Pepperdine UniversityLeading Lives of Purpose, Service, and Leadership24255 Pacific Coast HighwayMalibu, CA 90263Phone: (310) 506-4000E-mail:
I'm glad to see that the administration has done something about that ridiculous ad! Maybe Chemerinsky will come out with an ad giving counter-arguments to Prof Peterson's scare-tactic type statements.

Love Poem

So far, I like this better than ANY ad I've seen on tv regarding Prop 8.

Take a look - open your heart.

Wednesday, October 1, 2008

You can't write this stuff!

Some of you know this story already - others don't. I have received permission from my sister to post the happenings of her life for the past week (and for background going back about 6 months).

Here's the story:

Tony (my sister's now ex) lives here in LA. Sharon (my sister) lives in NYC. They had been dating for 4 1/2 years - 2 while here and 2 after she moved. Turns out that Tony started dating an 18 year old (he's 30) who works directly under him at LMU. This has been going on since about March (I think). In June, right before Sharon came out to visit to see the Mehtropolis show (which Tony and I were both in), Tony sent Sharon an email breaking up with her and telling her that there was someone else. Meanwhile, he had told all his friends that he and Sharon had broken up "a long time ago." Naturally, she was devastated - who breaks up with someone via email after 4 1/2 years?

Sharon still came out in June, stayed with me - we had some good sister bonding time. She met with Tony and he back-pedaled on everything. He told her he didn't mean a single thing he said in the email, that he knew it was the wrong thing to do the moment he clicked send, blah blah blah. Meanwhile, he was bringing the 18 year old around Mehtropolis and even volunteered her to do box office for us - so I had to witness the hideousness of the kid hanging on his every word and them fondling each other . . . ew. So anyway, Sharon decided to believe him - because she was still in love with him and it was just easier for her at the time.

Since June, Tony has been telling my sister that he wanted to work things out with her, texting her that he loves her, emailing her how much he wants to be with her, etc. He decided to come out and visit her in NYC in September. However, he wouldn't give Sharon any flight details. He finally provided her with the dates - he was supposed to get in last Wednesday.

Here's where it all went screwy. On Tuesday, Tony sent Sharon an email saying his flight was changed and he was getting in Thursday morning instead, but he was trying to change his flights so that he would still get in on Wednesday. Meanwhile he said his phone wasn't working and he couldn't receive or send phone calls, but he could text. But his texts would come in random spurts - like 10 all at once. Somehow, he supposedly got stuck in Chicago on Wednesday afternoon. Sharon had no idea what was going on and started to get worried about him. She texted him to find a payphone - after all, airports are one of the few places where payphones still exist and are plentiful. She still hadn't heard from him by midnight my time (3 am her time) on Wednesday night/Thursday morning. So she called me to get Tony's roommate's phone number to see if Joey (the roommate) had heard anything. Joey said he hadn't heard from Tony and that he didn't even know Tony was going out of town until he got a text from Tony that day saying "I forgot to tell you I'm going out of town for a few days."

Sharon finally heard from Tony Thursday morning when he sent her an email (yet again) saying that this whole thing was just too stressful and he couldn't take it so he was turning around and going back to CA. He said he wasn't "breaking up but I guess that's what this is." Obviously, Sharon was upset and confounded. She knew right then and there that their relationship was over. She had taken the entire week off of work (which she can't really afford to do). She had bought a bunch of groceries so they could eat in instead of eating out. She had done all the things someone does when they have someone special coming from out of town to visit.

So, she did what any rational human being would do and she booked a flight to LA. :) It just happened to work out that Aaron and I were planning on going down to SD this weekend because Aaron had a film in the San Diego Film Festival. So we brought Sharon with us and she got to see our parents and spend quality time with people who actually love her.

I picked Sharon up on Thursday night. She wanted the opportunity to slap Tony across the face in person, so she emailed him to see where he was (without telling him that she was in town). He claimed that he still wasn't back - that he was so upset about the whole thing, he got drunk and arrested for disorderly conduct. Several emails went back and forth between them over the course of the weekend. He said he was back, but not home, etc. until Sharon finally told him she was in town. Then he told her that he had rented a car and "just started driving." On Sunday, he finally told her that he was 19 hours away and that he would do his best to be back by Monday night, but he wasn't promising anything. Meanwhile, he told his roommate that he would be home on Tuesday night.

Sharon knew then that she would not get the opportunity to confront the cowardly Tony in person. So she wrote him a 5 page hand-written scathing letter. Joey let her into their apartment on Monday morning so that she could leave the letter on his bed and take back any items of hers that Tony still had. Then she sat down and talked to Joey to get as much of the real story as is known at this time. Joey told her that Tony was definitely still seeing the 18 year old - in fact, she's there almost every night. The 18 year old drives Tony everywhere because he does not have a car of his own.

Speaking of the car - (this is the one that gets me the most) - Tony told Sharon that labor day weekend he had gone camping with his friends and forgot to tell her, which is why he didn't call her that weekend. On the way back from camping, he said he got into a car accident and totalled his car. He said he was in the hospital getting his cuts and bruises taken care of and he couldn't call her bc he couldn't remember her phone number. Sharon was so worried about him that she had our parents call Tony to make sure he was ok. In reality, Tony spent the entire labor day weekend sitting on his couch with the 18 year old. What happened to his car? He got too many parking tickets and the car has now been impounded.

That's about where we're at. Aaron and I had Joey over for dinner last night and we all talked about the situation and about Tony's inability to face confrontation and how he lies to avoid even the most minor of confrontations and how that just makes everything 5 million times worse because it has now snowballed into this monstrosity of a situation. I really think Tony has lied so much that he now has no idea what is real and what he made up in his head. Joey promised to keep us informed when he finds out where Tony really was - none of us think he ever intended to actually go to NYC.

Tony used to be my friend - we danced together in Mehtropolis for a long time. But at the moment, I don't ever want to speak to him again. Not with the way he treated my sister, and not with the way he lied to everyone who has ever cared about him.

Really, Sharon is sooo much better off. She is way too smart, pretty and mature for him. I knew that before all this went down. But seriously, this is just so crazy that it feels kind of like we're in the middle of a tv show or some other work of fiction - not real life!

Pepperdine and Prop 8

This was an email I received from a dear friend who went to Pepperdine Law School with me:

Dear Friends,

By now many of you have seen the first ad for Yes on Prop 8 (to ban same-sex marriage). It's been running since yesterday, and it features Prof. Richard Peterson, one of the professors at Pepperdine University School of Law. I've attached the link so you can view the ad for yourself. This email is meant to be informational, and to show that Pepperdine's reputation has been hurt by the stupidity of a professor being involved in a campaign television ad, and to ask you to do something to make it known that this is inappropriate.

Like many of you, I am disgusted and disappointed that one of our professors would take such a position in any sort of political ad, especially a television ad on a controversial proposition and link the law school to his name. I am all for professors having the freedom to discuss controversial propositions and the merits for and against such propositions. But engaging in campaign ads crosses the line of academic freedom when it associates the entire law school (and frankly the University) with a political position. No one doubts it would be just as inappropriate for a professor to be in an ad for No on Prop 8.

To date, many alumni have already written letters and called about the ad in opposition to the fact that a professor would take part in something like this and link the law school to it. Ken Starr has reportedly asked that Pepperdine's name be removed from the ad or that the ad be removed. No word yet on whether this has occurred but the ad is still on the website with Pepperdine's name. However, to date, no formal public statement that I'm aware of has been issued by the University or law school regarding this.

The problem is the ad has already been made public, and articles have already been written about the ad. I was not that surprised to see that Christian News Wire had picked up the press release about the ad being launched ( (press release details).

What surprised me was that Reuters had it (full article with Pepperdine reference)

As well as the following news outlets:

Yahoo News (full article including Pepperdine reference) (press release details) (

Lexisnexis (full artlcle with Pepperdine reference) (, (full article including Pepperdine reference)

The press release mentioned above also includes this statement: "Additionally, Professor Richard Peterson of the Pepperdine University School of Law, who appears in the ad, and Mr. Andrew Pugno, counsel to, will be available to answer questions." What is a law professor doing at a press release for a political campaign that uses the affiliation Pepperdine University School of Law? And how did this not get vetted by Pepperdine's PR people?

The San Diego Union Tribune blog notes that Professor Peterson at the news conference unveiling the ad stated that there are broader potential implications, and directly quotes him as saying, "It's not just about tolerance and discrimination anymore." ( Actually that's exactly what this is about!

The only reference to someone at Pepperdine PR is in the San Francisco Weekly blog ( It poetically states that the Yes on Prop 8 ad "unleashes Pepperdine University School of Law professor Richard Peterson, who makes a complete ass out of himself and the school." It further cites Jerry Derloshon, the University PR Director as saying in his 10 years at the University, he can't recall another Pepperdine professor lending expert opinions to a campaign ad, and quotes him as saying, "The ad is not part of a Pepperdine University endorsed position. Pepperdine does not advocate for or against political candidates or ballot measures." However, as noted no official formal statement has been issued by the University yet, to my knowledge.)

Most humiliating is the article written by the San Jose Mercury News ( In the article, Dean and Professor Erwin Chemerinsky calls the arguments by Peterson "preposterous" and outlines why each of the fear-based arguments for Proposition 8 do not carry much legal weight (of all the articles to read, this one would be the most important).

When the most well respected constitutional scholar is now weighing in on this television commercial and basically states that the legal claims made by one of Pepperdine's professors is baseless, we have a real issue regarding Pepperdine's reputation being permanently damaged.

I would urge each and every one of you to write a letter, email, or make a phone call to Pepperdine in opposition. Even a quick call reiterating that "I just want to let you know I find this inappropriate" means a lot. The list of articles above was compiled last night, and numerous other blogs (including large ones like DailyKos, LAWeekly, LAist, and Rough & Tumble) have articles mentioning Pepperdine and the ad as well, so undoubtedly there will be more sources that have picked this story up.

I and others would like to see Pepperdine issue a formal public statement disaffiliating itself from the ad and that actions will be taken to ensure this doesn't happen again. To an extent, the damage to the school's reputation has been done, but it's important to voice concern as alumni. I will be writing my own letter with much of the same information outlined above later today, and will be placing a call to the Dean's office, but I wanted to get this information out to all of you as soon as possible. Please forward this information to other friends who might be interested as I don't have email addresses for everyone.

Alumni Affairs Office info is below. Other alums have contacted the Deans directly.

I. Mailing Address

Pepperdine University School of Law
24255 Pacific Coast Highway
Malibu, CA 90263

II. Phone: Alumni Affairs

(310) 506-4492
(310) 506-6567
FAX: (310) 506-7467

III. Contact Emails

Brad Benham, Director of Alumni Affairs,