Rock’n Roll San Jose Half Marathon

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I had a terrific morning running the San Jose Half-Marathon with my friends Professor Frank Wu (Hastings Law) and Professor Carol Suzuki (U. New Mexico Law).   I came in at 2:15:07, a personal best, just edging out Frank (2:17), who also ran a personal best.  Even though Carol would have been faster than either of us, she decided help pace Frank.

The highlight was seeing a group of my first-year torts students at the corner of Washington and Newhall, closest to Santa Clara University, who had come out to cheer me on (Bekah, JP, Garrett, Osvaldo, Justin, Davis, Hikari, Caitlin, Joyce, Felipe, Alexis and Roosa). There even seemed to be a student who had called in via face-time, though I don’t know who.  What a cheer squad!  Of course I had to stop and take a selfie with them.

In my Garden: A Confused Tree

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Some of my friends know that I am an avid gardener. Over the past several years, I have been transforming both my front and backyard into something more of an mini-orchard/farm.  The farmer in me enjoys the connection to the land, the work that is part of producing food, and the idea of self-sufficiency.  But it’s definitely still a work-in-progress.  My front yard is now a mini-orchard, with the lawn that used to grace it now gone and replaced with wood chips.  (Some of my neighbors probably see it as as something of an eyesore; but I feel good about getting rid of the front lawn, which was purely ornamental and served no useful function (at least not to me) .)

This morning, as I was inspecting my fruit trees  (in my suburban version of “walking the land,” something I used to do when we still lived in Vermont and had 2 acres of land for our house),  I noticed this on one of my Asian Pear  tree.

It appears to be a set of blossoms.  In late September!  After I just harvested a nice crop of pears just a month ago! Obviously, the tree is confused.

Ordinarily, fruit trees require some period (several months) of chill time before they will bloom and fruit again.  However, we’ve had a rather hot summer.   It is rather mysterious.  In June, something similar happened to my blueberry bushes.  One of them also set some blossoms, well after I had already picked all of the ripe berries.  Those few additional berries just ripened recently.  I had attributed that to a late bloom.  But the blooms on the pear tree are a real anomaly.  Very peculiar indeed.

Jim Rubin

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I am deeply saddened that my friend Jim Rubin, a great Washington, DC environmental lawyer, passed away last week.   The environmental bar lost an incredibly  talented and dedicated attorney far too soon.

Law 360 has a write-up  on him. https://www.law360.com/articles/949845/dorsey-whitney-enviro-pro-best-partner-jim-rubin-dies

Tidbits: 40th SF Marathon

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The 40th San Francisco Marathon took place today, Sunday, July 23.  I ran the first half of it, which included the stretch across the Golden Gate Bridge and ended in Golden Gate Park.  [The second half of the marathon then looped through the Park and ended up back at the Embarcadero start line.]  What a great experience to run across the bridge (even though it was foggy as pea soup)!  I was able to keep up with the 2:20 pace maker and made through the half marathon finish line at just under that time.  (I am on the left.) My next half marathon will be the re-match race with Professor Frank Wu (Hastings) and Carol Suzuki (New Mexico) at the San Jose Rock’n Roll Half Marathon

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Taiwan’s Constitutional Court Rules in Favor of Same-sex Marriage

In a rather remarkable, progressive, and individually rights-minded decision, Taiwan’s Constitutional Court ruled that its Constitution guarantees the right of same-sex couples of get married and ordered the legislature to change its laws within the next couple of years.  Here’s a link to the Court’s official English-language press release, and general webpage which has a link to Chinese-language full opinion.  In the first footnote of the Chinese language opinion, the Court cites the 2015 US Supreme Court decision in Obergefell.

That makes Taiwan the first place in Asia to allow gay marriage and shows how different from mainland China it is now as a society, in terms of its values, commitment to individual rights, and the rule of law.   I’ll be in Taiwan in a few weeks to speak at a water pollution conference, and I’ll be really interested to see this plays out there.

Hon. Leon Panetta Commencement Speech at 2017 Santa Clara Law Commencement

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Inspiring commencement speech by former Secretary of Defense and 1963 SCU Law graduate Leon Panetta at Santa Clara Law’s 2017 commencement exercises on Saturday.

https://www.scu.edu/news-and-events/press-releases/2017/may-2017/a-trumpet-call-to-defend-the-rule-of-law.html

Here’s an excerpt from linked article:

“The story of the last election was the story of lost trust, angry voters who felt that no one in Washington, no political party, was working to deal with the problems they were facing,” he said.

He said such divisions are surmountable, but “you cannot be a good leader or a good citizen if you do not respect our Constitution and the institutions responsible for enforcing the requirements of that sacred document.”

Panetta is the son of immigrants, and he told of how his parents traveled thousands of miles to give their children a better life. “We are a nation that builds bridges, not walls,” he said. “And most of all, we need to respect the truth.”

He told a story of when he was CIA director and met the families of seven CIA employees killed by a suicide bomber in Afghanistan in 2009. He said he gave each family a plaque with a biblical verse from Isaiah: “Whom shall I send? … Here I am Lord. Send me.”

“That, ladies and gentlemen,” said Panetta, “is the sound of the trumpet that must summon all of us to action.”

It was a great call to service for our graduates as they enter the profession and an inspiring message impressing on them that their chief duty is to justice and the rule of law .  Godspeed to all of them.