The Bright Coast

Progressive Thoughts from San Diego Alums on Law, Politics, and Culture

Archive for December, 2010

USD School of Law Dean Search Finalists

Posted by demkid on December 24, 2010

Got this email the other day from Mary Jo Wiggins, Associate Dean and Chair of the Dean Search Committee:

The University of San Diego School of Law Dean Search Committee is pleased to announce the finalists in the search for the next Dean of the School of Law:

Robert B. Ahdieh Associate Dean of Faculty & Professor of Law Director, Center on Federalism & Intersystemic Governance, Emory University School of Law

Nicholas W. Allard Partner and Co-Chair, Public Policy & Administrative Law Department, Patton Boggs, LLP Washington, D.C.

Lawrence E. Mitchell Theodore Rinehart Professor of Business Law Executive Director, Center for Law, Economics & Finance, The George Washington University Law School

These finalists will be visiting the USD campus in January 2011 for meetings with law school and university constituencies, as well as law school alumni. Schedules for the on-campus visits are forthcoming.

We thank you for your participation and support in what is one of the most important decisions for the future of USD School of Law School.

USD Law’s current dean is Kevin Cole, who announced that he’ll be resigning his position as of next summer.  He’s been a member of the faculty since 1987 and dean since 2006.  The first obvious thing about this trio is that they’re all men.  A quick Google search to brush up on my School of Law history shows that there’s only been one female dean in the school’s 56 years.  This was Kristine Strachan, who served from 1989-97.  Between Strachan and Cole was Daniel Rodriguez, who was the youngest dean when he was named in 1998.  I’m sure all three finalists are top-notch candidates, but it would have been nice to see a female receive strong consideration.

After a quick look at the finalists’ CVs, I have to say that I was pretty darn impressed by Ahdieh, in particular.  If I have my years right, he’s still in his late-30s, and his experience, honors, and publications are exceptional.  He also worked briefly for Arlen Specter, and that gets bonus points from me!  Here is Professor Ahdieh’s faculty page at Emory Law.  Check it out.

Whatever the search committee decides, the new dean will be charged with continuing the School of Law’s upward trend in the US News rankings.  While the dean may not have much personal control here, enhancing the school’s reputation should be at or near the top of his list of responsibilities.  Dean Cole should be commended for his work in this area, as USD currently holds its highest rank ever in the annual rankings, just outside of Tier 1 status.  Perhaps Top-50 awaits under new leadership!


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Results of the Election and World Cup Selections

Posted by demkid on December 2, 2010

Now that almost all of the 2010 midterm election results are official (save a congressional race in New York and the Minnesota governor’s race), I can go into a deep and meaningful analysis of all that transpired!  On second thought, it’s already been discussed many times over, so I think I’ll just brag about my stellar predictions.  My big win on November 2nd was my call in the race for California Attorney General.  I thought it was the only legitimate shot state Republicans had of winning a race in the Golden State, and felt that the final call would have to wait until after Election Night.  I was correct on both counts, as all other statewide Republicans lost, and the race was decided not just a day after voters went to the polls, but 3 weeks after they did so!  The Attorney General’s race turned out to be one of the closest in California history, as Kamala Harris defeated Steve Cooley by about 73,000 votes, 46.1%-45.3%.  I predicted a .5% win for Harris, so I think I get a gold star for that one!  Poor Steve Cooley…he claimed victory on Tuesday night only to see himself trailing when he woke up Wednesday morning.  Despite a nationwide GOP victory, California Democrats swept statewide and didn’t lose one state congressional race.  We truly are blue to the core!

As I also predicted, Jerry Brown is back in the governor’s office and Barbara Boxer is back in the US Senate, but the final margins of victory were even wider than I had anticipated.  Governor Brown creamed Meg “Don’t Call Me Margaret” Whitman by 13 points and Senator Boxer took out Carly “Don’t Call Me Cara Carleton” Fiorina by 10.  Pretty amazing.  By the way, since I’m always interested in the accuracy of polls, the big winners for these two races were the USC-LA Times Poll (Brown by 13, Boxer by 8), the Field Poll (Brown by 10, Boxer by 8), and SurveyUSA (Brown by 11, Boxer by 8).  Keep these pollsters in mind for future elections.  The big loser?  You guessed it: The Right Coast’s favorite pollster, Rasmussen!  They had Brown by 4 and Boxer by 3.  Nice try.

To conclude the predictions analysis, the California propositions all turned out the way I thought, and I get another gold star for hitting Prop. 19 (marijuana legalization) right on the nose.  I predicted a 6-point loss, and it failed by 7.  California, while blue, is not yet green.  Prop. 23 (suspending AB32) lost by 23 (I predicted 16), and Prop. 25 (majority budget vote) passed by 10 (to my 18).  My final gold star was earned for my prediction on the results for the House of Representatives.  I predicted a GOP pickup of 61 total seats.  What happened in the end? 63.  Thank you, and goodnight!  For full California election results, go here.


Now that the election is over, we can turn our attention to a voting process that is much more fair and transparent, and not underhanded at all: the selection of host countries for the 2018 and 2022 FIFA World Cups!  (I’m kidding on that fair stuff, by the way.)  As I write this, all 9 bidding countries have given their presentations and the announcements will be made in a matter of hours.  The 2018 World Cup is being contested between European nations, with 3 bids having any legitimate shot at winning: England, Russia, and Iberia (Spain/Portugal).  I’ve read different articles in the past week that claim to have inside information that each of these 3 bids is favored to win.  As of yesterday, Russia seemed to be the favorite with the oddsmakers, but they’ve been overtaken on announcement day by once long-time favorites England.  Currently, England is a 4/5 favorite (56% chance), Russia is at 2/1 (33%), and Iberia is at 4/1 (20%).  England clearly have the best bid out of the three as they’re basically ready to host a World Cup right now, and they haven’t hosted since 1966.  I don’t think the ability to host right now should be a big deal, though, as the event won’t take place for another 8 years.  If I were deciding, I’d actually lean towards Russia.  There’s never been a World Cup in Eastern Europe, and I think that having the event there would do the most good to the country and its people.  Plus, England has the Olympics coming up and you can’t have those two events in the same country so close to each other, right?  Oh, wait…Brazil.

As for the 2022 contest, there are also 3 main contenders.  The odds-on favorite is a huge surprise, and it’ll be a huge leap of faith if FIFA decides to go there.  I’m talking about Qatar, which is up against the United States and Australia.  Qatar is currently at 4/6 (60%!) against the US at 13/8 (38%) and Australia at 9/2 (18%).  Qatar is about the size of Connecticut, and the average summertime temperatures average about 115 degrees.  Also, there’s only one main metropolitan area where matches can be held (Doha), and the population is tiny.  However, the country is the richest in the world per capita, can put tons of money into building state-of-the-art stadiums (supposedly with air conditioning), and it would be the first World Cup in the Middle East.  Perhaps the success of the first World Cup in Africa will make it easier for the FIFA Executive Committee to choose Qatar, but I just don’t see how the two countries can be compared.  I get that FIFA wants to put the World Cup in different parts of the world, but this seems like a big stretch.  Yes, it’s 12 years from now and it could turn out to be absolutely fantastic and open the Middle East up to the world, but it’s going to take some balls for FIFA to make that call.  The safe choice, of course, is the United States.  The 1994 World Cup set records for attendance, the infrastructure is already there, it’s the most diverse country in the world and there would be no problem as far as money is concerned.  I’d love to see it here again, but is 28 years a long enough break?  England has had to wait 52, at least.  It’s in the member’s hands.  An Australian win would surprise me if it were picked over the US, but I would definitely go in 2022!  I’m going to go with the oddsmakers and say that FIFA will be lured by the money and location and pick Qatar.  How wild would that be?

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