#DCtoDenver: Day 1

In Personal, Random Stories on July 29, 2010 by rparikh

After six years in our nation’s capital, I’m heading out to Denver, CO, for the University of Denver’s Sturm College of Law. To get there, Bryant Avondoglio and I drove from the Commonwealth of Virginia to the Centennial State.

Here are highlights from our first day on the road, which took us to Nashville, TN:



Wall Street in Turmoil

In Actual News, RP News on September 15, 2008 by rparikh

There’s lots going on in the financial markets today — the stock market has plummetted on news that our country’s major financial firms are suffering from the ongoing housing and credit crisis.  

Here’s what I’ve pieced together — 


Bloomberg says its “the biggest reshaping of the financial industry since the Great Depression.”  One analyst said: “The tectonic plates beneath the world financial system are shifting, and there is going to be a new financial world order that will be born of this.”  Here’s what’s happened so far:


  • Lehman Brothers, a 158-year-old global financial services firm, “filed for Chapter 11 bankruptcy protection after failing to find a buyer.”  
  • Merrill Lynch, 94 years old and the world’s largest brokerage firm, “agreed to sell itself to Bank of America for $50 billion in an emergency deal.”
  • And the world’s largest insurance company, AIG, asked the government for a $40 million bridge loan 
  • “The dollar lost traction against the yen but rallied against other major currencies” (CNBC).
  • The price of oil dropped to below $100 per barrel, the first time since February.  It’s trading around $94 currently, showing that the price is “responding to the turmoil in financial markets more than Hurricane Ike” (CNBC).
  • In global trade, European markets tumbled in the afternoon and Asian stocks ended lower. Many major Asian markets, including Tokyo and Hong Kong, were closed for holidays.
Here’s why:  “The engines that powered record growth in the financial industry over the last decade — cheap credit and surging property values — have been thrust into reverse. Companies that once thrived on making real estate loans and holding assets bought with borrowed money are now under siege, giving the upper hand to those less reliant on leverage and holding the fewest assets tied to property” (Bloomberg).
The government, which helped out Bear Stearns and J.P Morgan Chase earlier this year and most recently took over Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac last week, “steered clear of a bailout,” but “the Federal Reserve is expected to take new steps to stabilize the broader financial system. These steps, expected to be temporary, would make it easier for banks and securities firms to borrow from the central bank by using a wider range of collateral. Bankers say these financial institutions might need short-term funds as they unwind their many trading positions with Lehman” (WSJ). 


Labor Day

In 2008, Mark Warner on September 2, 2008 by rparikh

Cross posted on Mark Warner 2008:

Governor Warner spent this Labor Day the same way he spends every Labor Day – running up and down the streets of Buena Vista and Covington in their annual parades.

Here is a video of the Buena Vista Parade:

On the unofficial start of the fall campaign season, Governor Warner led the pack of politicians at the Buena Vista Labor Day Parade by shaking almost every hand along the parade route.  In the hills of Rockbridge and Allegheny Counties, our team showed once again how organized we are; nearly everyone in both towns had a Mark Warner sticker on their shirts and a rally sign in their hands.

“I’m working hard for it,” Governor Warner shouted to one parade-goer who remarked how much he was sweating. “I really want this job.”

Here’s what the Daily Press of Newport News wrote:

Democrat Mark R. Warner certainly looked like a front-runner in the U.S. Senate race Monday, trotting ahead of his opponent in the Buena Vista Labor Day parade.

Read More »


Alaska Governor Sarah Palin selected as John McCain’s running mate

In RP News on August 29, 2008 by rparikh

This was an RP News Alert.  To sign-up for alerts to your inbox, click here:

So, this is somewhat of a surprise.  As early as this morning, when I woke
up, everyone thought John McCain’s vice presidential nominee was going to be
Tim Pawlenty or Mitt Romney.  But it turns out that he’s asked Sarah Palin,
the 44 year old governor of Alaska, to be his running mate.

She is young and a woman — the youngest and first female governor of that
state.  She is known as a reformer in her party in a state that has an older
Republican party, including Ted Stevens, who was just indicted.  She is very
conservative, was the mayor two years ago of a town that has 8000 people,
and was a former runner up for Miss Alaska.

Very surprise pick, but out of the box that could play well with
conservatives and disaffected women.  They have their first appearance in
Dayton at noon today.

Read More »


Joe Biden selected as Barack Obama’s running mate

In RP News on August 23, 2008 by rparikh

This was an RP News Alert.  To sign-up for alerts to your inbox, click here:

The text message hasn’t been sent yet, but there are several indications and independent reports/confirmations that Joe Biden will be Barack Obama’s vice presidential running mate.

The major networks haven’t reported it yet, but since I have no reason not to send this email out.  Other than being wrong, but I’m pretty sure this is it.

Biden, who was one of the Democratic candidates that ran for president
against Obama, is one of the longest-serving member of the Senate.  He is particularly adept in foreign affairs and national security; he is chairman of the Senate Foreign Relations Committee, and recently returned from Georgia during last week’s conflict.

Biden also has strong “working class” credentials — he is the least wealthiest member of the U.S. Senate and appeals to blue collar voters — a demographic that Obama has trouble connecting with.

The campaign hasn’t confirmed it, but there are several independent reports that indicate he is the VP, including reports that Secret Service have gone to his house and charter planes from Delaware, his home state, to Chicago.

Obama and Biden — or whoever Obama’s running mate will be — will appear together in Springfield, IL today at 1pm EST. It’s the same place where Obama launched his campaign in February 2007.


Russia invades Georgia, escalating long-standing conflict

In RP News on August 8, 2008 by rparikh

This was an RP News Alert.  To sign-up for alerts to your inbox, click here:

Around the same time that the world focused their attention on Beijing for the Summer Olympics, Russia sent troops into a region of neighboring Georgia this morning, escalating a longstanding conflict that has dated back to the fall of the Soviet Union in 1991.  It’s an ethnic conflict, but also a territorial conflict, and one that involves (surprise, surprise) oil.

The control over the region in question is a very complicated matter — which is why it’s taken me a bit to send this email out and why this email is so long (and includes a map!)

Here is some (lengthy) background on the region and the conflict:

 Georgia and its breakaway regions

Russian troops entered South Ossetia, which gained de facto autonomy from Georgia since the early ’90s, when it engaged in armed conflict with Georgia after the fall of the Soviet Union.  Legally, it is part of Georgia; it is not recognized as an independent nation, even though South Ossentians voted in favor of a 2006 referendum for indpendence.  Yet its people and their separatist leaders do not want to be part of the Georgian state, in any shape or form.  Read More »


President Bush shortens tour of duty in Iraq

In RP News on July 31, 2008 by rparikh

This was an RP News Alert.  To sign-up for alerts to your inbox, click here:

President Bush announced this morning that, starting on Friday, new tours of duty to Iraq will last 12 months instead of 15 months.  However, there is no resolution on a long-term security agreement between the American government and the Iraqi government over how long U.S. troops would remain in Iraq.

The Bush administration hoped an agreement would come by the end of July, but the negotiations are under intense scrutiny from both governments because it will provide the legal basis for American troops to remain in Iraq.

The hold-up comes because the Bush administration doesn’t want to specify an intention to withdraw troops.  They believe that the progress that has been made in recent months — thanks to the U.S. troop surge and the improvement of the Iraqi military — can quickly erode and get worse.  Case in point: earlier this week in Kirkuk, a suicide bomber killed 24 people and set off accusations from different ethnic groups that quickly spiraled into a riot.

Read More »