Tuesday, December 14, 2004

Once Again, The Problem Arises: What To Take?

Despite just finishing my finals 3 days ago, I can't help but consider what to take next. As a 3L, this is it. No more chances. Right now, I'm thinking about Evidence, Tax, English Legal History, and Corporate Fraud. I'm worried I shouldn't be taking any of these classes, but instead expanding my horizons somehow. Can I really be a lawyer and not no anything about wills and trusts? Graduate without ever taking a Con Law course on Equal Protection? Why did I take that Class Action seminar 2L year instead of taking advantage of these offerings last year? For all the first and second years out there: consider these things now. Create a plan. Don't be like me, turning down offers to do wills left and right, doing so on the basis of gender, and not comprehending the consequences.

Tuesday, November 30, 2004

Edison Film and Sound: Chronological Title List of Edison Motion Pictures - 1891-1896

Some of the videos at the Edison Film and Sound site are really amazing, particularly the old videos of Los Angeles. Check it out. (from Laobserved).

Saturday, November 27, 2004

The New York Times Finally Makes Sense!

Translate anything into Redneck. The whole world is now open to y'all.

Sunday, November 21, 2004

You Don't See This Everyday




I wonder if Bush has ever wanted to get out of Dodge more in his life.

Friday, November 12, 2004

Firefox Rocks

Let me be the very last blogger to confirm what everyone's saying: Firefox 1.0 is awesome. It runs like butter, its open source architecture provides an incredible palette for modding, and it has built in RSS support. All that, plus tabbed browsing, better find functions, etc etc etc have made it clear to me that Firefox isn't just an great competitor to IE - it's a generation ahead of it. Definitely worth a look.

Friday, November 05, 2004

A Readable Lament

Michelle Cottle's piece in the New Republic is one of the better post-election laments I've read. Here's a few snippets:

"Now I realize that regaining your zip can be difficult when everyone's yammering about the utter bleakness of your position. So to help jumpstart the recovery, I'd like to point out a handful of bright spots to come out of Tuesday. Most are minor, but, hell, this week, non-conservatives have gotta find solace wherever we can:

The Iraq mess. As badly as his team has bungled the occupation thus far, Bush still has a better shot at making things right than Kerry did. If nothing else, George and Dick will have greater freedom to request more money or troops (or, alternatively, to start calling the troops home) than would a Democratic commander-in-chief who had to keep one eye on the Republican Congress and one on his reelection chances."

A little honest realism there. Takes some guts to say that when your party is reeling.

"We will all be spared Teresa Heinz Kerry as First Lady. Forget Hillary: A few months of the imperious, impolitic Tuh-ray-zah would have convinced all of red-state America (and a fair chunk of blue) that maybe the Taliban was onto something with that policy about women being neither seen nor heard"

Yeah, Teresa got annoying fast. I tried to like her, but in the end, I think everyone realized that 4 years of Teresa would be intolerable. Half-drunk eccentric socialite heiresses are better left to the foreign countries they came from. Teresa is politics' answer to Karen from Will and Grace, and like Karen, Teresa can only be taken in small doses (aka, less than 23 minutes a week, with a much-needed break in the summer).

Thursday, November 04, 2004

If the Country Is Divided . . .

. . . the dividing line is placed in some spot in which the Republicans win everything.

Not that the House and Senate races weren't fairly predictable. Last December, I guessed 54-46 for the Senate, just based upon state stereotypes. I was only wrong about Daschle, who I expected to win back then. Little did I know Thune was such a star. Watch out for him. A handsome guy, that one, and to quote Chris Rock, "he's so well spoken!"

Anyway, as for the President thing, it looks like Kerry finally took control of his campaign, although it was one day too late. Mary Beth Cahill and Edwards seemed to think that Ohio could be won by the sheer force of lawyers. My theory is that thousands of lawyers were necessary not to file complaints, but to vote a couple of times for Kerry, thus making up the 125K+ deficit in Ohio. I'm glad he didn't take that route, although he didn't have much choice, given that he had a snowball's chance in hell of winning. Call it virtue by necessity.

Lastly, this map of the results by county is interesting:




Alaska doesn't have counties, it seems.

Wednesday, November 03, 2004

Advice

It's almost 3 AM. My thinking is clouded, but this much is clear to me: Kerry is really making a mistake here. He desperately needs to weigh his chances of victory with the reputational harms of dragging this on. He could've left a tiny bit of uncertainty and ended the campaign on a note of class. Instead, he just brings out the Edwards puppet show and leaves everyone in the lurch, which I think says a lot about what kind of person Kerry is, and what kind of president he would've been.

P.S. Edwards' gestures after his speech were so embarrassing, I really felt bad for his party. If these are the shining stars, better start from scratch.

P.P.S. Phrases I'd prefer never to hear again until I die:

It's a divided nation (or its close cousin "this nation has never been more divided").

This could go on for a long time (as Wolf Blitzer licks his chops at the thought of an extended ratings boost)

Every vote needs to be counted (as if this has anything to do with whether one should concede or not. If Kerry had won by 350 electoral votes, would we respect Bush for not conceding because "every vote needs to be counted"?)

Bedtime.

Thursday, October 28, 2004

Monday, October 18, 2004

Electoral College Scenarios

Things are getting a little dicier for President Bush. Though it seems increasingly likely that Bush will win the popular vote, it also seems increasingly likely that he will lose some "cushion" states in the electoral college. Obviously, the latter losses are all that matter, so it's time to get a little concerned if you're a Bush fan. Let's work through some situations, starting with some reasonably pro-Kerry assumptions:

Let's assume Kerry wins Delaware, Connecticut, Washington, California, and Michigan. That gives him 181 electoral votes (I won't list all the certain states). He needs 270 to win (a 269 tie kicks it to the House, where Bush will almost surely win). So Kerry needs to pick up 89 more votes. I think Kerry is going to win in New Hampshire, New Jersey, and Maine, despite all being within the margin of error on some recent polls, giving him 23 more votes.

Now Kerry needs to pick up 66 votes from: Oregon (7), Minnesota (10), Pennsylvania (21), New Mexico (5), Iowa (7), Ohio (20), Wisconsin (10), West Virginia (5), Florida (27), North Carolina (15), Nevada (5), Colorado (9), and Arkansas (6). I consider all of these states to still be in play. They add up to 147 votes total.

If Kerry wins all of the above states, except Ohio, Pennsylvania, and Florida (the big ones), he'll have 79 votes, more than enough to win. This scenario is unlikely (I'd say less than 5% chance), but it goes to show that you don't absolutely need to win some combination of Florida, Pennsylvania, and Ohio to win the election.

Now let's say that Bush wins North Carolina in the above scenario. A recent Survey USA poll, largely unfavorable to Bush in other states, still gave him a 3 point lead here. Many other polls show it at about 7 points. Now we're at 64 votes for Kerry, and Bush wins.

I'm going to keep making educated guesses. Now let's say Kerry wins Pennsylvania, which the same Survey USA poll gave him at 6 point lead in. Kerry now has 85 votes, and Bush loses, even if he wins Ohio, Florida, and North Carolina. This is a tad more likely scenario, and again goes to show how Kerry's efforts in smaller states, combined with a win in one big one, gives him some chance of winning.

What kind of chance? Still not a good one. In the scenario above, Bush needs 20 more votes to pull of a victory. This is very likely to happen. Just winning Nevada, Colorado, and Arkansas will do it, and Bush is winning in all of those states, as he has been for a while.

So Kerry can't settle for just winning Pennsylvania in my scenario, even if he has a chance of winning with it alone. In reality he needs to aim for either supplementing Pennsylvania with any one of Nevada, Colorado, Arkansas, Ohio, or Florida. How likely is that? I give him better than 50% odds, if just slightly better. Call me a pessimist.

If Kerry picks off Nevada, Colorado, or Arkansas, Bush could compensate by winning a state like Iowa or Oregon. Iowa's the best bet there - that race is exceedingly close, equally likely to go to either side. But if Bush can't compensate, he loses.

Now let's say Bush keeps Nevada, Colorado, and Arkansas, but loses Ohio. This makes things tougher for the President, obviously. He needs to win West Virginia and New Mexico, which now lean slightly for him, plus add Iowa and a more unlikely small state, like Oregon. I give him less than a 25% chance of doing this. Or, Bush can win Wisconsin and any two of the states above. This is more likely to happen.

So Bush can lose Pennsylvania and Ohio, but still win the election by taking Nevada, Colorado, Arkansas, Wisconsin, and any two of West Virginia, New Mexico, Iowa, and Oregon. Overall, I'll give Bush a 33% chance of winning if he loses Pennsylvania and Ohio, an event that could very well happen.

But all of this analysis assumes one thing: Bush wins Florida. The same unfavorable Survey USA report has Kerry winning by 1 point now. If Bush loses Florida, Pennsylvania, and Ohio, he's sunk. If he loses Florida and wins Pennsylvania or Ohio, he needs to win Nevada, Colorado, and Arkansas, plus gain an additional 22 votes somewhere. If Bush wins Iowa, then he must win either of Minnesota or Wisconsin, and then win Oregon, or New Mexico and West Virginia together. Obviously, winning Minnesota and Wisconsin will also do the trick. Still, the odds are sinking pretty low at this point - less than 25% chance of Bush winning with a Florida and a Pennsylvania or Ohio loss, I'd say.

Of course there's many more scenarios to throw out there, and my percentage predictions are about as reliable as Mariano Rivera was tonight. But hopefully this gives some idea of where the candidates are at - assuming things keep going Kerry's way, Bush's chances are diminishing quickly. Keep watching those Florida, Ohio, and Pennsylvania polls people, and keep ignoring those deceptive national polls showing Bush with a lead. They may be accurate, but they aren't helpful.

Oh, and thanks to Gerry at Daly Thoughts for providing a great way to keep up with all of this. Check out his Electoral College Breakdown. It's well done.

Saturday, October 16, 2004

Jon Stewart v Crossfire

Crossfire is a really bad show. But the addition of the clapping/jeering audience made it so bad that I can't watch a second of it anymore. I think they should introduce the hosts, and then say, "and featuring our Shakespearian crowd of useful idiots! Aren't they great folks?" Thankfully, Jon Stewart's social capital recently rose to a point where he can remind, to Crossfire's face, that it's awful. I don't think that Stewart comes across that great either (the whole holier-than-thou "I'm for the people shtick" is obnoxious, and Stewart deep down does fancy himself a bit of a journalist, despite his "I'm on a comedy show" caveats throughout), but overall I enjoyed the exchange. Watch the video to hear, if nothing else, Stewart call Tucker Carlson a "big dick" as they fade to a commercial break.

Monday, October 11, 2004

Prius or Pancreas?

According to the Sierra Club, it takes longer to get a Prius than an organ. But let's face it, Prius' are much cooler. I could do without a liver if I get keyless driving and bluetooth in return.

Thursday, October 07, 2004

Bill Kristol Gets Pissed, or, How Crazy Can Susan Estrich Get?

I happened to watch Greta Van Susteren's post-debate analysis, because I liked that Bill Kristol and Rich Lowry were on the panel. In particular, I think Bill Kristol is one of the very best talking heads on TV - he's scholarly, susinct, and insightful. He is also on the board of my old research institute, college roommate and best friend of my college mentor, and a very nice person. So obviously, I'm a little biased.

Susan Estrich, on the other hand, is a wacko. I think she gets on Fox News precisely because she's a wacko. Who better to have as your token representative of the democratics than a complete lunatic? Fox News couldn't do any better (or worse, I guess). She and Teresa Heinz have to be best buddies; that is, if there's room enough in one building for the both of them.

On a personal note, Susan Estrich is also very mean. She came to a conference put on by the aforementioned research institute a few years ago. To say she was a terror would be an understatement. She yelled at everyone from the moment she got there, acted like she couldn't stand being there the whole time, and generally made the experience very unpleasant for all involved. It was clear that she enjoys making a scene, even at students' expense. I will say that she later wrote a letter of apology to the students she was particularly harsh to, but let's just say the letter wasn't quite enough to make us cool with her. So obviously, I'm biased here too.

Anyway, with that background, check out this transcript from the post-debate discussion:

ESTRICH: I also think, I’ve got to make one more point because I hate it, hate it when people don’t tell the truth. And neither my friend Bill Kristol nor my friend Rich Lowry is telling the truth tonight. Now you may agree or you may disagree with Edwards’s defense of Kerry, but he does defend the record. I refer to the transcript here. He goes on at some length defending Kerry’s record on defense. You guys, you’ve just got to tell the truth. Here it is.

VAN SUSTEREN: All right, well I got to let these guys respond. So Bill, I’ll start right there first with you.

BILL KRISTOL [THE WEEKLY STANDARD]: Well, I don’t respond to, I mean, I’m not on this show to be accused of not telling the truth, and I don’t--

ESTRICH: It’s right here in the transcript.

KRISTOL --no, Susan, that’s just ludicrous. John Edwards did not do much--did he defend Kerry’s vote against the ‘91 Gulf War? Did he defend Kerry’s oppositions to the defense programs? He just didn’t, and he didn’t--

ESTRICH: Yes, he did.

KRISTOL: He didn’t. I don’t believe he did. You could show me, if you want to waste a lot--

ESTRICH: I want to go back to what the Vice-President just said. “John Kerry has voted for the biggest military appropriations bill in the country’s history. He voted for the biggest intelligence appropriation. The Vice-President, when he was Secretary of Defense, cut over 80 weapons systems, including the very ones”--

KRISTOL: But that’s a really impressive defense of Kerry’s record, Susan.

ESTRICH: He’s going on and on, what do you want--

KRISTOL: He is not going on and on. There are two sentences. Look, OK, fine, you think it was a very fine defense of Kerry’s record. I’ve talked to Democrats tonight who don’t think Edwards did a terribly good job on that. But look, it’s a reasonable disagreement, you don’t accuse someone of not telling the truth, Susan.

VAN SUSTEREN: Wait, I’ve got to at least give Rich--

KRISTOL: You have a different interpretation of the debate. And I’m not amused by appearing on this show and have Susan Estrich say that I’m not telling the truth. That’s just ridiculous.

ESTRICH: Well he did defend it.

VAN SUSTEREN: All right, well let me at least give Rich his bit. Go ahead, Rich.

RICH LOWRY [NATIONAL REVIEW]: Greta if I could just briefly also defend my truthfulness. Susan, I guess, didn’t hear what I said. What I said is that Edwards didn’t have a good explanation when he was asked by Gwen Ifill who said that France and Germany were not going to come into Iraq even if John Kerry was elected. What I said was Edwards didn’t have a good answer on that, and he didn’t. And I also said he didn’t have a good answer to the question of whether Kerry would have actually toppled Saddam Hussein or not. Susan can read from the transcript on that if she likes, but he didn’t give a clear answer on that because I don’t think anyone really knows what Kerry’s answer is on that question even as [unintelligible].

VAN SUSTEREN: All right, I need to call a halt on it...

I'll try to find video if I can - the transcript doesn't do justice to how angry Kristol was. Even if Estrich was right, the way she attempted to make her point was so childish that the whole thing just ended up embarrassing her. Decent commentators shouldn't have to face the disgrace of being on a panel with her again. I doubt Kristol ever will.

A Headline You Don't See Everyday

Former NFL kicker sought in shooting at Siegfried & Roy home

Note that Hollywood recognized long ago the threat angry kickers pose to our society. Clearly we failed to heed its warning.

Wednesday, October 06, 2004

The Election Situation

President Bush changed the topic of his speech today from domestic to foreign policy at the last minute. Very uncharacteristic of him. He also is very displeased with his own performance in the first debate. Because the time to stop Kerry's "momentum" (this could be some variation on "Joementum," mind, since the polls haven't bourne this out yet) is short, he's acting a little more desperate than usual. Republicans will have to hope this doesn't translate in the 2nd debate - he can't show too obvious an attitude change, lest Bush seem a sort-of flip-flopper himself. He should bring out Kerry's record more, but since the debate will be in the context of crowd questions, he should be kind of folksy about the whole thing. Just my advice. Bush never seems to take it, despite being a devoted reader.

And let's not take our eye of the ball - even if Bush messes everything up the next two weeks, it doesn't matter unless Florida, Ohio, Wisconsin, and Missouri care. Without a significant shift in those states, Kerry's toast. Someone should give him some nice "Debate Winner!" trophies in consolation.

Saturday, October 02, 2004

Ichiro! and My Predictions

259 hits in one season (and counting). What an achievement.



Before the season began, I made this prediction:

God/Ichiro will really take-off this year, batting .350 and staying strong through September.

This was just about the only thing I was right about (actually I was wrong by about 25 points on the average). Just for fun, let's go through the others:

Jamie Moyer will come close to 20 wins. Wrong!

Freddie Garcia will too. Wrong!

Raul Ibanez will get some attention. Rich Aurilia won't. Wrong!/Correct.

Radical prediction: Both John Olerud and Edgar Martinez will bat around .300, hit around 25 home runs, and score around 100 runners. They've only been doing that every year since the dead ball era (aka the '80s). So, so wrong.

Some superstar-laden team will win the AL East, while some minor league team will win the AL Central. Pretty good, though Minnesota has some good people.

There won't be a subway series. You know, between the Cubs and the White Sox. Yep.


No one takes the red line between those two parks anyway. Why start now?Pitchers won't even bother will Barry Bonds. 600 AB, 600 IBB. He'll end the season batting 1.000, or .000, depending on what your childhood was like. Ok, just saw him hit a game-tying home run. He'll get some of those too somehow. Pretty much right.


Cubs, Cardinals, and Astros fans will all contend that their team is by far the best in the NL Central long into October, despite the fact that only one of those teams will still be playing. About right.

The Braves will win the NL East again, all this Phillies nonsense notwithstanding. Atlanta just doesn't know how not to. Right.

The Padres will feel much better about themselves now that they have new digs. They'll need it, since they're still a bad team. Way wrong!

I guess Arizona will win the NL West. I don't really know. That's what the smart people say. The smart people were stupid, and so was I for listening to them.


Ken Griffey Jr. will get hurt again. Oh wait, that's already happened! Still true.

(Real) radical prediction: The Mariners will win AL West. Anaheim will be a wild card (and thus the peace between my girlfiend and I will be kept until October). Tough luck, A's and Red Sox. Embarrassing.


Thursday, September 30, 2004

Oh Patty, Patty Patty Patty

George Nethercutt's new ad for the senate race in my home state of Washington is going to tighten up the race a bit. It shows Patty Murray talking up Osama. Bad move. But who knew there was video?!

Tuesday, September 28, 2004

Electoral College Time

As November approaches and the debates loom, it seems like a good time to remind everyone that the national polls coming out daily don't matter much. Bush could drop 10 points in some national poll on Friday, but unless Kerry sees some serious movement in his direction in Florida, Ohio, Wisconsin, etc, this thing is over. If you need to get your electoral college fix, I advice the ECB. Get the RSS feed and obsess.

Monday, September 27, 2004

Conan is the Next Host of the Tonight Show

A while back Ben posted on the difficult position Conan was in - Jay seemed locked-in forever, Conan wanted the 11:30 spot, but he wanted to stay loyal to NBC. Plus, there were questions about how well Conan's 18-25/12:30 AM focus would translate at 11:30 (though people said the same thing about Letterman). Well, NBC made the right choice. 11:30 will definitely be weird for Conan, but I think without some career advancement he was going to quit. We can't have that. Plus, the switch isn't happening until 2009, so by that time, Conan (and his audience) will all be old enough for primetime anyway.

Saturday, September 25, 2004

My Girlfriend Is Smart

The blog Agoraphilia came up with this puzzle:

Using only a coin, how can you generate a probability equal to exactly one-third?

Here’s more context, if you feel the need for it:

Suppose you want to vacation at the beach, mountains, or desert. You want to choose your destination randomly, with equal chances for all three outcomes. Your only randomization device is a coin. What should you do?

Lauren and I talked about this for a while last night. I came up with some simple-minded ideas, but she came up with The Answer (or at least the most "elegant" Answer). Apparently recognizing infinite series isn't in my skill set. I'll live, I guess.

Thursday, September 23, 2004

Shocking Revelation

Instapundit links to a polling site, which notes that Wonkette is, in fact, a statistics nerd. The polling site, in turn, links to a George Mason profile of Wonkette. Here's the profile:

Ana Marie Cox is the editor of Wonkette.com, a many-times-daily updated compendium of Washington D.C. news, gossip, and satire. She is a graduate of the University of Chicago and was a Mellon Fellow of the Humanities at the University of California, Berkeley.

I guess Wonkette and Cass Sunstein have more in common than I thought.

Saturday, September 18, 2004

Friday, September 17, 2004

The Dangers of Counterprotesting

AP

Three-year-old Sophia Parlock cries while seated on the shoulders of her father, Phil Parlock, after having their Bush-Cheney sign torn up by Kerry-Edwards supporters on Thursday, Sept. 16, 2004, at the Tri-State Airport in Huntington, W.Va. Democratic vice presidential candidate John Edwards made a brief stop at the airport as he concluded his two-day bus tour to locations in West Virginia and Ohio. (AP Photo/Randy Snyder)

Three-year-old Sophia Parlock cries while seated on the shoulders of her father, Phil Parlock, after having their Bush-Cheney sign torn up by Kerry-Edwards supporters on Thursday, Sept. 16, 2004, at the Tri-State Airport in Huntington, W.Va. Democratic vice presidential candidate John Edwards (news - web sites) made a brief stop at the airport as he concluded his two-day bus tour to locations in West Virginia and Ohio. (AP Photo/Randy Snyder)

Editorial comment: that's not nice!

Tuesday, September 14, 2004

Ichiro In NYT

My personal MVP choice has a feature on him in the New York Times today. Be sure to check out the "multimedia" pictures.

Thursday, September 09, 2004

Virtual gaming worlds overtake Namibia

BBC News

Namibians don't seem too concerned about it, if the picture in the article is any indication.

By the way, a while ago I wondered if the public (or at least public intellectuals) would start noticing the social impact of MMOGs. Here's your answer.

Wednesday, September 08, 2004

John Kerry's Office Plan

Wonkette's secret copy can be seen here. Observation: Howard Dean seems dangerously close to People Who Will Come and Take Your Guns Away. And who knew the Gang of 500 were more than just Kerry's inner circle?

Tuesday, September 07, 2004

The Power and Politics of Blogs at the APSA

Two Chicago profs (including Cass) and Wonkette on the same panel - need I say more? Read a summary here. (from Intapundit)

Registration/Judgment Day

Today is the first day of registration at Chicago. Unlike past years, I now must choose my classes very carefully. This is it. If I don't take tax now, I guarantee I will never know anything about tax for the rest of my life. Consequently, I might innocently avoid some taxes, and innocently fail to disclose other taxable income, and might innocently be sent to straight to federal prison. If I ignore Criminal Procedure, I can kiss being a U.S. Attorney goodbye. And if Admiralty law and Patents continue to conflict on my schedule, my dreams of patenting an indestructible dock, and thus making Levmore's "the rule doesn't matter" theory of Ploof and Vincent moot, will be shattered (like the dock). If I don't take Judge Posner or Judge Easterbrook for something, they'll never know me, and thus won't recommend me to fill in their vacant seat on the 7th Circuit. And if I don't take a class with That Kid Who Is Going to Be President (whoever that may be), then I won't become his or her best friend and thus The Kid won't listen to the judges' recommendations anyway. Not that my history of tax evasion didn't already seal the deal.

The point being: registration isn't just about your classes, it's about your future.

Wednesday, September 01, 2004

U.S. Says It Won't Remove Dams

Washington Post

I read this headline twice, and both times mistook "Dams" for "Dems." It's clearly an election year.

But either way, I'm glad the U.S. keeps all of its options on the table.

Tuesday, August 31, 2004

A Word To The Wise

I dared click on the "next blog" link in the header above. It gave me this site. I'm not sure if I should be scared of the kids these days, or just depressed that they're our future. One can't deny the insightfulness of this observation, however:

-*watch cindwella st0wii+ -*new bAg+ -*new wAllet+ -*rAinb0w rEsuLtx+!!!

Indeed!

Conventional Wisdom

Arnold - spectacular. You couldn't watch that speech and not feel good about the Republican party. You know you're a good politician when you can make a Nixon reference work. But to make it a highlight - that's special.

Bush twins - awful. Before their thing tonight, I didn't like them, but couldn't come up with a reason why. Problem solved.

Laura - boring.

My title to this post - cliche.

But hey, how about that Arnold!

Saturday, August 28, 2004

College In A Nutshell

Chuck Klosterman's review of another silly "real college" book in the New York Times is a much better (and shorter! and cheaper!) guide to college. Here's a sampler:

ACADEMICS: Your academic adviser will probably tell you to take at least a year to figure out what you want to do with your life, and there is no rush to pick a major. This advice is why everyone now goes to college for six years. Pick a major immediately. If you have no idea what you want to do, major in English; there are no wrong answers, and you can always change the totality of your life next semester. If nothing else, you'll get some reading done.

. . .

IDENTITY: If you are female and have a one-time sexual experience with another woman, you are probably exploring your physicality, expanding your morality, gaining an understanding of what you will (and will not) desire within the context of a mature, ideologically consensual relationship. If you are male and have a one-time sexual experience with another man, you are probably gay.

. . .

SEX: It will happen a lot, yet not enough. And it will happen to other people more.

His conclusion:

High school is hard. Life is hard. College is easy. Can you hang out and smoke cigarettes you hate for six hours a day? Can you advocate political movements you'd never possibly join? Can you hold polarizing opinions about books you haven't read and can you memorize things you never needed to know in the first place? Of course you can. And you'll be perfect.

Thursday, August 26, 2004

Internet Gives Teenage Bullies Weapons to Wound From Afar

New York Times

Reading this article first made me think, "boy, I'm glad I got out of high school when I did." Then I realized it really wouldn't be that different. I'm sure the vast majority of this bullying is just an electronic version of talking behind someone's back. Except now you have a better chance of finding the source! IM names aren't bulletproof, and blogs authors are even easier to figure out (not me, though. My anonymity is airtight. Sure, the RSS feed of this site had my full name for the first 6 months of the site, but whatever). So maybe all this electronic bullying is good for the bullied. Or at least a preferable alternative. Now if we could just find a way to limit beatings to electronic form only . . .

Thursday, August 19, 2004

You Know Your Undergrad Has Hit The Big Time. . .

. . . when it gets a mention on How Appealing. Of course, it's because some visiting prof destroyed her own car, but we'll take what we can get.

US News Rankings - Best Colleges 2005

US News had this up on their site for a while, though I think it's gone now for some reason. Here it is:


1.
Williams College (MA)
2.
Amherst College (MA)

Swarthmore College (PA)
4.
Wellesley College (MA)
5.
Carleton College (MN)

Pomona College (CA)
7.
Bowdoin College (ME)

Davidson College (NC)
9.
Haverford College (PA)

Wesleyan University (CT)
11.
Middlebury College (VT)
12.
Vassar College (NY)
13.
Claremont McKenna College (CA)

Smith College (MA)

Washington and Lee University (VA)
16.
Colgate University (NY)

Grinnell College (IA)

Harvey Mudd College (CA)
19.
Colby College (ME)

Hamilton College (NY)
21.
Bryn Mawr College (PA)
22.
Bates College (ME)
23.
Oberlin College (OH)
24.
Mount Holyoke College (MA)

Trinity College (CT)
26.
Bucknell University (PA)

Macalester College (MN)

Scripps College (CA)
29.
Barnard College (NY)

Kenyon College (OH)
31.
College of the Holy Cross (MA)

Lafayette College (PA)
33.
Colorado College

Sewanee – University of the South (TN)
35.
Bard College (NY)

Connecticut College

Whitman College (WA)
38.
Franklin and Marshall College (PA)

Furman University (SC)
40.
Dickinson College (PA)

Union College (NY)
42.
Centre College (KY)

DePauw University (IN)

Occidental College (CA)
45.
Gettysburg College (PA)

Rhodes College (TN)

Skidmore College (NY)
48.
Sarah Lawrence College (NY)

Wabash College (IN)
50.
Denison University (OH)
51.
Wheaton College (IL)

Willamette University (OR)
53.
Agnes Scott College (GA)

Beloit College (WI)

Illinois Wesleyan University

Kalamazoo College (MI)

Lawrence University (WI)

Reed College (OR)1
59.
College of Wooster (OH)

Drew University (NJ)

Pitzer College (CA)
62.
Southwestern University (TX)

St. Lawrence University (NY)

St. Olaf College (MN)

Wheaton College (MA)
66.
Spelman College (GA)

Wofford College (SC)
68.
Hobart and William Smith Col. (NY)

Sweet Briar College (VA)
70.
Austin College (TX)

Birmingham - Southern College (AL)

Earlham College (IN)

Hendrix College (AR)

Mills College (CA)

Muhlenberg College (PA)

Ursinus College (PA)
77.
Gustavus Adolphus College (MN)

Knox College (IL)

Lewis and Clark College (OR)

St. John's University (MN)

University of Puget Sound (WA)

Virginia Military Institute *
83.
Albion College (MI)

Allegheny College (PA)

Randolph - Macon Woman's College (VA)

Washington and Jefferson Col. (PA)
87.
Hollins University (VA)

St. Mary's College of Maryland *
89.
Augustana College (IL)

Hanover College (IN)

Millsaps College (MS)

Ohio Wesleyan University

Presbyterian College (SC)

Thomas Aquinas College (CA)

Washington College (MD)
96.
Bennington College (VT)

Goucher College (MD)

Hillsdale College (MI)

Hope College (MI)

Principia College (IL)
101.
College of St. Benedict (MN)

Hampshire College (MA)

Juniata College (PA)

Luther College (IA)
105.
Coe College (IA)

Lake Forest College (IL)

Randolph - Macon College (VA)

Transylvania University (KY)

Wells College (NY)

Wittenberg University (OH)

Tuesday, August 17, 2004

Give 'Em Helland

Eric Helland, a CMC prof (and occasional co-blogger Lauren's mentor), is guest blogging at Marginal Revolution. Thanks to Ben for the heads up.

Racial Composition of Los Angeles

These animated maps are very interesting. LA used to be just a bunch of white people. Now its much more colorful.

Thursday, August 12, 2004

Great Amicus in California Same-Sex Marriage Case

Example heading:

"Master of Universe or Earth Sole Owner's Heir on Earth in Place of Messiah Jesus Return to Earth, as World Divine Commander-in-Chief."

Read the rest here.

Wednesday, August 04, 2004

They Stole My Idea!

Way back when, I posted on how great it would be if there was a "Bush blog." Well, here it is.

Monday, July 26, 2004

Tuesday, July 20, 2004

US flies 'illegal' Mexicans home

BBC NEWS

The quotation marks around "illegal" are there because these immigrants "crossed the border" without authorization, making their act against the "law."

I'd like to see the BBC expand this "careful" headline technique, creating headlines like "John Kerry 'says' he'll make a good president" or "the French 'claim' they're not all anti-semitic." Somehow I don't think that's going to happen.

Sunday, July 04, 2004

4th of July Update

Not only are we on a quasi-holiday over the summer, but this is a holiday weekend. Plus, the Federer/Roddick Wimbledon final is going on at this very moment. And I'm in Seattle. So I wish we could say more blogging to come in the next few days, but I'd probably be lying if I did. Check back anyway, though - Tom's been much better at Ben and I at keeping the site active.

Have a great Independence Day. And remember, if it weren't for independence, Wimbleton would be our event.

Ok, maybe not a great example.

Thursday, June 24, 2004

Funny Things You Find In Research

One of the reasons this blog won't be updated as much this summer is that now I sit in front of a computer all day, instead of just most of the day at law school. This makes coming home to read more stuff on the computer less than attractive. However, that doesn't mean I don't find good stuff at work! For example, check out this holding:

The FTCA does not apply to tortious acts or omissions occurring in Antarctica.

And not just any court decided the case either. Check out the case here.

Wednesday, June 23, 2004

Guess Who

From a Dorf Findlaw Article on Reagan's federal court legacy:

A former law clerk to a prominent Reagan appointee to the federal appellate court once told me that his erstwhile boss said he liked to dismiss at least one case per week on jurisdictional grounds. The former clerk was not joking, and the judge's remark was consistent with his and many of his colleagues' rulings.

Caught red handed! (and he looks it)

Saturday, June 19, 2004

News Visualization Project

It visualizes the news impact of certain individuals and events. You really have to see it to understand, but it's very cool, trust me. Try the sitehere. (from Slashdot)

The Terminal

Just saw it. Initial conclusions:

1. Spielberg has finally solved in his own head the age-old problem: how do you end a movie? His answer: don't. Just keep it going.

2. Catherine Zeta-Jones is bad in this movie. But then again, Spielberg was never known for coaxing great performances from actors.

3. It's cute.

4. The set is really something. The set's embedded avertising is really something.

5. Don't underestimate the skills of Gupta, the cleaner.

Thursday, June 17, 2004

For All You "The O.C." Fans (me included)

This writer is one of us:

A proposal to rename the Orange County, Calif., airport after "The O.C." has disappeared faster than Marissa's little sister.

After being besieged by criticism of the proposal, Orange County Supervisor Chris Norby says he's dropping the idea, much as Ryan dropped Luke with a punch at the Crab Shack. John Wayne International Airport will keep its name and not be changed to "The O.C. Airport - John Wayne Field," as Norby suggested earlier this week.

"Let's just say it was a trial balloon," Norby tells the Los Angeles Times. "It crashed and burned." In effect, Orange County residents said "Eww" to the idea and shot it down, sort of like Summer did to Seth at first.

Read the rest here.

Monday, June 14, 2004

A Tiny Little Blog Post

This graphic on the ownership of The Strip is cool.

Not much of a blog post. Gotta warm up, you know.

Sunday, June 13, 2004

Blog Update

All bloggers still in the process of getting settled. Not to fear - I have first-hand knowledge that both Ben and I still exist. I hope to get back to blogging this week.

Monday, June 07, 2004

Recent Titles on the LA Times Editorial Page

"Stinky Toilets, and, Maybe Worse, Stinky Grammar"

"What Some Texans Want Is Kinky"

"Sistani Is Winning, and That Helps U.S."

"Beneath Bombast and Bombs, a Caldron of Humiliation"

"You Have Rights -- if Bush Says You Do"

"A Potter of Gold for Those Who Think Big"

"Dumping on Girls: Now That's Mean"

"'No-Communist Zone' has No Place in America"

And that's just in the last week! They must have just given up, and are now simply amusing themselves. They're probably just stealing titles from The Onion at this point.

I hope so, for their sake.

South Park on Protesters

[the U.S. Capitol. The Romanian father and two Romanian officials sit in Janet Reno's office]

Romanian Official: [no beard] Mrs. Janet Reno, you must understand, the father has right to his children.

Janet Reno: [flanked by two agents in riot gear] Yes, but the girls seem to wanna stay here. Why don't you all stay here in America, and this whole thing can go away.

Mr. Vladchick: Okay. [the official smacks him with the back of the hand] Heh!

Romanian Official: Our home is Romania. We love it there.

Mr. Vladchick: Ah, yes, uwuh we love it there.

Romanian Official: If daughters will not return on their own, you must force them to return.

Janet Reno: Gentlemen, this has to be handled very delicately. You don't understand Americans' power to protest.

Romanian Official: Protest?

Janet Reno: Look, people have it so good in America that they get bored very easily. And when people get bored they start protesting things.

. . .

[The Marsh house, day. The protesters leave one by one. The Marshes stand in the bombed-out ruins]

Sharon: Oh, Randy, it's gone! It's all gone!

Cartman: [arrives with Kyle] Dude, what the hell happened?

Stan: The government came and got the quintuplets. No more Cirque du Cheville for us.

Kyle: Damnit! How come every time we get a sweet idea, the government has to screw it up?!

Stan: Yeah! Well, not this time!

Cartman: Huh?

Stan: We've just gotta get that angry mob back on our side! [addresses the mob] Alright, everybody, listen up! Those bastards broke in here and took those poor quintuplets to the mayor's office downtown! But they haven't won yet! I say we all go over to the mayor's office, and demand to see the quintuplets right now!

Protester 1: Hmm.

Protester 2: Yeaahh.

Protester 3: I don't know. I usually like to stop protesting by 5:30.

Protester 4: Yeah, ah, do we get overtime for this?

Stan: Uh, sure, you can all get overtime.

Protester 5: Alright!

Protester 6: Yeah!

Protester 7: Down with Japan! [the mob moves away]

Sunday, June 06, 2004

Ronald Reagan

Lauren and I were sad to hear of the death of President Reagan on Saturday. It wasn't totally unexpected, of course, but sad nonetheless. If nothing else, growing up he was always the rote answer to the question: who is the President? We didn't know much about politics, but we knew that Ronald Reagan was the President, and he was protecting us from the evil communists.

Yet for a long time, I never really "got" the Reagan thing. I remember seeing a picture of him on a Claremont professor's wall and thinking, "was he really that special?"

I soon came to realize, however, that Reagan represented, perhaps for the first (and only) time in the 20th Century, a president that truly believed in the ideas of the modern conservative movement. He distrusted big government. He liked cutting taxes. And, perhaps most importantly, he despised relativistic thinking. He truly believed in the Declaration of Independence's principles, Lincoln's words, and 20th century conservative thinkers' writings. It's rare for such a true believer to enter the White House.

So whatever your politics, I think there's a lot to admire about Ronald Reagan. "Ideas" people are always preferable to wishy-washy politicians in my book. Thus, We should all hope Reagan's influence on public life endures, if not because of his politics, then because of his character.

The Perfect Question

Here's a fun game: if you had to ask one question to figure out, say, whether someone is a lawyer or not, what would it be? In other words, what's something every lawyer would know, but every non-lawyer wouldn't?

Here's my suggestion: What is Erie?

I bet there's better ones though.

How about figuring out if someone lived in California?

My suggestion: What's a sig alert?

Perhaps I'm simply amusing myself. Good enough for me!

Thursday, June 03, 2004

I'm Back . . .

. . . but I'm sick. And I don't have much internet access yet.

Today I worked all day, like a normal person. Yesterday I did the same thing. Tomorrow, too. Weird. But even weirder: when I get home, I have nothing to do. Hasn't been a problem so far, since my first two days both lasted 12 hours or so.

I'm not complaining, mind you, just noting that jobs aren't like school. For example, heard yesterday:

"I'm not interested in the law. I just want to make money."

I'm not in Hyde Park anymore, kids.

Saturday, May 29, 2004

The George Bush narrative

John at Ex Nihilo links to, and discusses, this article from Mother Jones. Both the post and the article are interesting and worth reading.
Here is how Mother Jones characterizes the Bush presidency:
According to Karl Rove, Rush Limbaugh, & Co., the president of the United States of America is a great gentle warrior, the scion of a noble line: He’s a Texas cowboy descended from George Washington descended from the Pilgrims at Plymouth Rock. He’s a man of God and family. Truly, the story goes, he’s a simple man--wanting only to care for his own, tend to his plot of land, and go to church on Sunday.

I agree with John - the article's point is quite insightful. John goes on to point out that
What if, even in the haze of our "Reptilian brains" we are picking up on the truth of a situation through narrative. I am almost pessimistic enough to believe that everything in politics is a lie and a play (as the writer so obviously does) but the only reason the Bush narrative remains so effective (other than basic hatred of the left by many on the right and vice versa) is that it seems so real. Perhaps, in contrast to what the writer believes, it is real.

I'd like to write more, but it's crunchtime for my last final.

Friday, May 28, 2004

Help A Poor Guy Out

I liked these:

Borrow my car for the summer: '91 Toyota Pickup (manual trans, no power steering, no speedometer) needs love while its owner is away. Take care of it, use it as you wish, and try not to get it towed. No need to wash. Contact Dan Levine, dlevine - at - uchicago.edu.
___
Sublet my apartment: Large 1BR on Woodlawn and 53rd that its lazy renter hasn't subletted yet. Bargain price of $600/mth. Feel free to use the Jacuzzi. Wash. Contact Dan Levine, dlevine - at - uchicago.edu.

For Anyone Heading to LA This Summer

Avoid these beaches.

Thursday, May 27, 2004

The Story of the Weeping Camel

It's not about R.J. Reynolds, though they have reason to be sad too. Nope, this movie is actually about a camel. The trailer seems to contain just about zero dialogue (naturally), though the camels do get a few good grunts in. The movie reminds me of the great Police song (technically, "The Police"), "Behind My Camel," which coincidentally also contained no words. But, of course, no collection of songs about our dromedarian friends could be complete without mentioning the Elton John classic, "Camel in the Wind." Look for all of these hits and more on the Weeping Camel soundtrack, soon to be released by Death Row records.

Wednesday, May 26, 2004

Washingtonienne/Wonkette Interview on Fox News

The video is here. Anchor Brigitte Quinn seems very disapproving of the whole thing. Cutler seems nervous and keeps looking off camera. Wonkette is cool, as usual. All-in-all an odd mix.

Speaking of odd mixes, Reliable Source provides an account of a Heritage Foundation party with the following attendees:

Mike Starr
Douglas Ginsburg
Hillary Clinton

I always assumed the Heritage Foundation had special devices installed to repel Hillary from their presence. The fact that Hillary survived the night proves bi-partisanship isn't dead.

Anyway, if you want to read more on this whole Washingtonienne thing, The National Debate is covering it pretty closely. With pictures!

Tuesday, May 25, 2004

Massively Multiplayer Online Gaming Market

This chart shows the subscriber levels for the various games over the last few years.

The results are interesting, because you get a great view of how this market works. No one wants to go online and walk around by themselves. Thus, if a MMOG wants to survive, it looks like it needs about 100,000 subscribers by the end of the first year. All of the games that didn't quite get there puttered out, including big names like The Sims Online. I don't see a single example of slow growth - you have to burst through the ceiling right away or settle for a token subscribership and an empty playfield.

Note that this gaming market is much different than the normal "install it, beat it, move on" approach to games. With MMOG's the product is intended to last many years, and all of the profits come from subscription fees. Games like Anarchy Online are even willing to provide you a copy of their product for free.

The development costs are enormous. In the first few years, games were often virtually unplayable at launch, and people would lose interest before the company could funnel the subscriber fees into adding bandwidth. Consequently, in order to have a fighting chance, game makers realized they needed to bite the bullet and prepare for a huge subscriber-base up-front, even if it never comes. This is why the recent entries have all been "big name" licenses - Star Wars, Final Fantasy, and (soon) Warcraft. Without some goodwill coming in to the market, the barriers to entry are just too high.

But boy, if you can get off to a good start, there is a ton of money to be made in this industry. Everquest, which I thought was a lame duck, actually has more subscribers now (about 420,000) than it did in January 2001 (about 400,000). All of those players continue to pay over $10 a month for a game that is largely running itself at this point - the players are experienced, the world polished, the server costs paid off long ago.

Meanwhile, Final Fantasy XI looks like the MMOG industry's next behemoth with 500,000 subscribers and counting. Apparently a game called Ragnarok is also quite popular in many Asian countries.

Needless to say the behavior of this market is quite fascinating. As the most successful games get bigger and bigger, it will be interesting to see if the public starts to take notice. After all, 5,000,000 18-34 males playing Final Fantasy every night (as is the nature of these games) would have quite an impact on other media markets. Or perhaps no game will be able to hold more than 500,000 individuals' interest at one time. We'll see.

Boalt Is Better Than This

Per Ben's post below, I'm not sure what's more disappointing - the fact that these Berkeley students think it isn't even debatable whether the Geneva Convention really had in mind protections for nationless enemies without uniforms, or this argument that "we're all for academic freedom, but he was acting in some official capacity, so he's fair game."

What's the pedagogical system at Boalt? Do people ever have to defend arguments they might disagree with? Are students supposed to ignore statutory avenues if they don't sit well with their own predilections? Pretend ambiguity doesn't exist if they don’t like its implications? This group seems to think such an approach is "moral." Sounds intellectually dishonest to me.

And what's with this "official capacity" distinction? It should cut against their arguments. Yoo was asked to write this memo. This isn't some sua sponte work of an academic. Yet, these students think the former situation leaves him vulnerable, while the latter approach makes him invincible. Why? Apparently academic freedom ends at the classroom door – they can sack a professor for what he might think, so long as where he thought it is far enough away. I wonder what they’d think of such a rule if it was applied to a Middle Eastern studies professor espousing, say, the end of the Jewish state at a private conference? Ah, but such a hypothetical is too fanciful to be entertained.

Ultimately, this effort reeks of pretext. The goal is to get rid of a guy who will throw out perspectives some students don’t want to be exposed to. This attitude seems to be all too common at Boalt. I suppose the goal is that certain issues should never be debated. Certain ideas should never be given a chance to rise or fall, even if they reveal strengths and weaknesses in other arguments, or challenge students to think differently. These kinds of inquiries simply make people feel too uncomfortable. Better to suppress such ideas than to tackle them with superior reasoning, the local wisdom goes. Sounds familiar, doesn't it?

Or maybe their reason really isn’t pretextual – maybe the petition’s supporters really think Yoo caused the prison scandal, has blood on his hands, etc. In which case, these Boalt kids aren't just unprincipled. They're blind. Iraqis aren't "non-state actors." They are not the focus of the memo. Sure is fun to have conspiracy theories though, huh? Bowling for Columbine is a masterpiece, right? Better to be passionate than to be honest.

As a final note, I think it’s important to recognize that one doesn’t have to be a First Amendment absolutist to tolerate Professor Yoo. If Professor Yoo’s deeply held opinion was that “Asian people are stupid,” it wouldn’t be too hard to discover that this opinion was not built upon academic inquiry, but upon hatred and irrationality. We might think such an opinion unworthy of our attention, not because it is misguided, but because it is devoid of any real content. It substitutes hatred and biases for argument. It too values passion over honesty.

In stark contrast, Professor Yoo’s arguments are not irrational. It’s quite clear Al Qaeda is a different type of enemy than we’ve seen before, and Geneva may not have properly anticipated what protections such combatants might merit. It is entirely proper, not to mention quite useful for reformers, to recognize a potential gap in the law. Thus, unless some students can show that Yoo based his propositions on, say, a hatred of Arabs, not on this state of the law, there’s no good reason for effectively silencing him. In fact, you may be shooting reform in the foot.

Well Berkeley, after all this, if you still don’t want Professor Yoo, Chicago will keep him. We will even give him a chance to say what he thinks. We might come to the conclusion that everything he says is misguided, poor as a matter of policy, or just plain wrong. But whatever we decide, our institution will be the better for accepting his input and striking back with ideas, rather than with petitions to resign.

Monday, May 24, 2004

Snoop Dogg is Getting a Divizzle

That's a direct quote. From the AP.

That's too bad. I liked Snoop the family man. I wonder if this means he's leaving Claremont? I hope not; he's our second most famous resident, coming in just under Pamela Gann, who recently took over the top spot after winning the highly coveted "Jackass of the Month" award.

Also, having heeded Cosby's call, Snoop will stay in his children's lives. In fact, Snoop says he wants "joint" custody.

. . .

That joke is very funny if you're high, trust me.

Boalt's silly petition

So, here's the petition calling for Professor Yoo's resignation from Boalt's faculty. The comments are about as thoughtless, misguided, and reactionary as you'd expect, given their source. But here are a couple of my favorites:


Love y respeto a las personas who endeavor to reduce human suffering / Our grandchildren will play together / To those who use the law to increase or justify human suffering, countless eyes watch / we shall not forget


Or there's this one:

FREE PALESTINE FROM ZIONIST OPPRESSION


But most of them are like this:

I am outraged that a professor at my law school would participate in returning us to the lawlessness of pre-Geneva barbarism


(More links through How Appealing.)

News Aggregators

I've been using Newzcrawler for about a year now, and am generally pretty happy with it. But the other day I began to wonder if any other news readers were making their move. Turns out, FeedDemon is quite the program. It's much better looking than Newzcrawler, and makes for easier reading through an autopreview/newspaper layout system (you'll just have to try it to see what I mean).

Ultimately, I've decided to stick with Newzcrawler. It's free, it has a much better system for updating feeds, has a newsticker, and places article names in its pop-up balloon. These features won me over. I just wish they'd add the autopreview.

Then, I come to find this article, which compares the relative merits of the two readers head-on. If you're still deciding on a news reader, be sure to read it.

Last, I should note I also tried SharpReader. I must say I'm not too impressed, despite the good review Will linked to the other day. It's neither pretty or feature-packed. But if a bare-bones reader is exactly what you're looking for, give that a try, or go the web-based route.

But for goodness sakes, whatever you do, don't be aggregator-less. I've tried to impart this wisdom on co-blogger Ben, but he doesn't seem to listen. He says he has "better things to do," like "doing his work." I'm using quotation marks because I have no idea what these statements mean.

Sunday, May 23, 2004

Google apology ad

Apparently Google bought the ad space for the search term "Jew" -- and used it to post an apology for the (potentially) offensive material the search raises.

Interesting response... This seems to me to be a reasonable solution to the "problem" (if it really was a problem), as compared against re-ranking search results to satisfy angry (even rightfully angry) groups.

Incidentally, the URL, "http://www.google.com/explanation.html" makes me think that this is the only "explanation" for offensive searches that they have made available (although possibly not).

You Learn Something New Everyday

From the University of Chicago student guide:

What should I call my professor?

It was pronounced publicly in the first issue of the campus newspaper, the University of Chicago Weekly, which came out the summer before the University opened: 'By mutual agreement between all the faculty and officers of the University now on hand, the uniform appellation of 'Mr.' has been adopted in mutual intercourse, thus doing away with all doubts and mistakes as to the proper title of any man connected with the institution.' This custom is also a form of, well, snobbery: since everyone around has a doctoral degree, it's not worth making a fuss over.

Do the undergrads follow this rule? "Professor" is definitely the term of choice at the law school, but then most of us came from other institutions.

Saturday, May 22, 2004

SNL Season Review

Check it out here. Just keep scrolling. I particularly like some of the quotes from this season. Here are a few choice ones:

10.11.03 -- Justin Timberlake as Jessica Simpson: "If I'm so retarded, how come my driver's license says 'functionally retarded'?"

10.18.03 -- Will Forte as Gary the speedreader: (after reading the Bible) "Pooooor Jesus..."

12.13.03 -- Chris Parnell as Joe Lieberman: "If you're looking for someone who can energize the party, Joe Lieberman is that cat. I am a hardcore, hip-hop, rock and roll candidate. I bring in the noise, and provided that it is fiscally responsible, I shall bring in the funk as well. And that, my fellow Americans, is fo' shizzle."

1.17.04 -- Chris Parnell as Simon Cowell: "Your singing is wretched and your outfit is ridiculous - I can see your vagina."
Finesse Mitchell as Kelis: “That’s called my stage presence!"

2.7.04 -- Announcer: "You're watching Bravo, the gay stuff and poker network."

2.14.04 -- Tina Fey: "Cartoon character Cathy finally got engaged to her boyfriend in today's Valentine edition of her strip. Meanwhile, Marcie and Peppermint Patty are moving to Massachusetts."

2.21.04 -- Jimmy Fallon: "This week, Georgia's board of education approved the plan that allows teachers to keep using the word 'evolution' when teaching biology. Though as a compromise, dinosaurs are now called Jesus Horses."

Fockering around

It appears that filming has finally begun on the eagerly anticipated (by me) "Meet the Fockers". It looks like Dustin Hoffman will be playing Focker the Elder while Barbara Streisand will be Mrs. Focker the Elder. It's bodes well that the IMDb listing does not give the first names for either character. I look forward to that revelation in the movie.

This may, unfortunately, be the sowing of the seeds of the demise of That's News. Brian, has expressed his feelings in re Babs, but if she's in Meet the Fockers I may have to defend her honor. I'm sorry it had to end like this.

In other news, Moammar Gadhafi is still a fucking idiot.

And that's news to me.

An Age-Old Debate Settled

Sorry Democrats, God is a Republican. Or so says David Klinghoffer in the LA Times.

"Today, the ideological struggles of liberals and conservatives mirror the clash initiated by Marxists and Freudians with 19th century individualism. Conservatives encourage individuals to make their own choices, except where those choices invariably harm the innocent (as in abortion) or undermine the pillars of civilization itself (as in gay marriage). Liberals see the function of government as parental, with citizens in the role of children too unaware and irresponsible to cross the street by themselves."

Hilarious. Let's see if I can help the liberals out here. Roleplaying time!

There's a "harming the innocent" exception to the free will nondelegation principle? We (liberals) wholeheartedly agree! We just think that exception also applies to people dying on the street from hunger. Or kids getting shot from their parents guns. Or people kept down by racism. Or workers dying from asbestos. Are you telling me these people aren't innocent? Are you telling me these people weren't harmed?

As for the second exception for "undermining the pillars of civilization," we think the fundamental pillar is one of tolerance. Thus, accepting gay marriage, Islamic culture, etc, are key to keeping civilization on its feet.

"Generally speaking, liberalism distrusts the individual, while conservatism trusts him enough to give him a chance to make the right, or the wrong, decision. If he makes the wrong one, he will have to answer to his own conscience, or to his God."

I'm pretty sure the legal system might have something to say too. But I digress.

I think Klinghoffer explains away far too much with his "exceptions." Pro-choice advocates are all about individual choice on that issue. Why don't most Republicans feel the same way? Because they think it's wrong. Ultimately, the Democrat/Republican distinction is a value conflict, not a disagreement on free will. Either group will lay off people when they think they'll make the right decisions, and both will act on those who have fled the flock. Kind of reminds me of that "God" character one reads of from time to time. He must belong to both parties.

Oh my goodness, God is John McCain!

Schwarzenegger's Saliva for Sale

Or at least it was, the LA Times says. Some guy fished the governor's used cough drop out of the trash and attempted to sell it on eBay for $500. Then the eBay anti-commodification police (I wrote about this a bit here) removed the listing.

Here's the most interesting part. It's not impossible to sell the cough drop. The seller just needs to have a purpose other than selling a body part. So if this guy sold the cough drop as a "collectible," that would be ok. I wonder whether one could sell, say, Jennifer Aniston's hair, so long as the seller phrased the listing as "collectible from another era: remember when Rachel's hair was a hit?" Or something like that. Clearly I'm not cut out for eBaying. Just goes to show you that when it comes to commodification rules, line-drawing is hard.

Justice Served on Streisand

Way back when I posted about Barbara Streisand's suit against the owners of this site. Two people take pictures of the California coastline for preservation purposes. Babs sued them because they happened to take a picture of her house. She lost. But as LAObserved noted yesterday, turns out she lost big. Almost 200K in lawyers fees went to the defendants. The court must have invoked the old doctrine of "fee shifting for rich hypocrites."

Mobile Law Office

Check it out at Overlawyered. With pictures!

Friday, May 21, 2004

7th Circuit Follies

From the oral argument of In Re K Mart, 359 F 3d 866 (7th Cir 2004):

Appellee's Attorney: The second thing I wanted to respond to was the Crawford case, Judge Posner's decision in a Chapter 13 with a plan confirmation . . .

Easterbrook: I didn't remind your colleague of it, but it is a decision of the Seventh Circuit, not of a particular judge.

Attorney: I apologize. It is the Court's decision. Judge Posner just happened to write it.

Later:

Attorney: . . . I think you have to read 363(b) in the context of the entire code.

Easterbrook: Ugg. Now I've got to read all of the decisions from the 18th and 19th centuries, and the entire Code. I won't have time to watch Survivor on TV!

The attorney, Steven B. Towbin, also mentions Professor Baird a few minutes later.

Setting up Easterbrook for a joke and having Douglas on your side? Guess who won?

But still, there are lessons to be learned here. 1. Judge Posner's opinions are in fact not his, but Seventh Circuit's opinions only. 2. Don't mess with Judge Easterbrook's Survivor-watching schedule. 3. Cite Professor Baird as much as possible. In fact, try only citing Professor Baird. Just file a brief consisting of his Bankruptcy book. Add anything more, and Judge Easterbrook will find some way in which your addition destroys federal jurisdiction. Even if it's just your signature at the end. Have Douglas sign it.

But if you're also looking to avoid violating local rules, just forget it. Your tie alone surely violates at least 17 local rules, which Judge Easterbrook will readily recite to you off the top of his head ("Let me ask you again counsel, because you're clearly not listening. In what way does that tie comply with Rule 30b, requiring Windsor knots? And don't even get me started on its warm hues, a clear violation of Rules 32(f), 0(c), and 273.15(k).")

I'm sure this is how the attorney for Illinois felt in this oral argument. You know things aren't going well when you're told your case is moot, you forgot to include a key (unpublished) lower court opinion in the appendix, and Judge Easterbrook at one point asks, in short, "are you calling me an idiot?"

In sum: if you ever have the pleasure of arguing before the 7th Circuit, don't say I didn't warn you.

Procrastination Aid

Tis the time of year again at the University of Chicago in which we are really supposed to do our work. This is also the time of year when procrastination aids are most desperately needed. Thus, I bring to your attention this site. Legos are here to help.

I recommend Drome Duel first, and then Supersonic AC if you're adventurous.

Little Miss Hooters Contest

Yep, you read it right. Girls 5 years old and under only. Have to dress up like a Hooters waitress. You can see commentary and pictures of the ads here.

The funniest thing about this idea is that South Park already thought of it. (from Instapundit)

Harold & Kumar Go To White Castle

"The Asian guy from 'American Pie,' the Indian guy from 'Van Wilder,' and the white guy who brought you 'Dude, Where's My Car?,'" now bring us this movie. It looks like the main characters scream and run away from things a lot.

I've never been to White Castle myself. If it's anything like Cracker Barrel, I'd just as soon keep it that way.

Thursday, May 20, 2004

Supreme Court of Mexico Newspaper Ad

Apparently Judge Wolin started a trend. Read about it here. (from How Appealing)

Star Wars: Episode III Proposal

MSNBC has this article, entitled "Can Star Wars: Episode III be Saved?: Fire Lucas, fire Christensen and resurrect Ed Wood from the grave." Here's a bit of it:

"Maybe the best thing to do would be to get Anakin to embrace the Dark Side as quickly as possible, perhaps by forcing him to confront some terrible disappointment that will haunt him for the rest of his days. We suggest this two-line scene set in a Coruscant restaurant:

WAITER: Here’s your green salad, sir.
ANAKIN: What? You fool, I told you NO CROUTONS! Aaaaaaargh!

Anakin puts on his black helmet and storms off to his local county clerk’s office and fills out the paperwork to have his name legally changed to 'Darth Annie Vader.' (He later quietly drops the middle name, realizing it doesn’t help his macho image.) And then for the next two hours, it’s all special-effects spaceship battles, which is the real reason most of us will go to the theater anyway. Fade to black."

Sadly, it's far too late to fire anyone. The movie (probably titled "Birth of the Empire," btw) is mostly done. I wonder what Lucas thinks of the Lord of Rings films. Do you think he saw them and was like, "Wow, Fellowship of the Ring is almost as good as Phantom Menace!" Or do you think he realized that they upped the ante a bit? Not that Battleship Earth wouldn't have upped the ante for the Phantom Menace too.

Despite being secluded on that ranch much of the time, he does watch other movies. Plus, Trey Parker told him Phantom Menace sucked. So I think he knows, but he has this attitude like "hey, everybody told me the original sucked too, and then I made a quadrillion dollars." Well George, this time everyone is right.

I'll still see it though. (from Slashdot)

Wednesday, May 19, 2004

Virtual Church

Here's the website to try it out.

It's not what I expected at all. It basically seems like a 3D cartoony chat room for Christians. Except they can't vet everyone, so it's really just a normal chat room, complete with your usual helping of lunatics. Ship of Fools indeed. It also features some Phillip Glass-like errie/minimalist sounds in the background. Weird.

Obviously I don't really get it, but maybe its point is to make chruch seem really mainstream and hip. It is sponsored by the UK Methodists, after all. From what I understand, they're like the United Methodists here. Aka, their motto might as well be "We Make Religion Easy."

Bankruptcy

I love this quote from my bankruptcy book:

This is simply a requirement that creditors may not capture the entire value of a solvent debtor. Thus, this requirement is only as important as solvent debtors in bankruptcy are common.


Chuckle, chuckle. What a little gem! I've always thought § 1129(b)(2)(C) was amenable to sarcastic remarks.

"New York Minute" review

It's worth checking out Mr. Cranky's review of "New York Minute". Hilarious. The opening quote:

I would like anybody (teenage girls excepted) who thought this film would be even remotely tolerable to stand up now and walk to the middle of an open field far away from other people, because I can absolutely guarantee that you are about to spontaneously explode due to the overwhelming pressure of your own stupidity.


I leave it to our readers to determine whether his "The Olsen Twins Are Hot But No One Is Talking About It" thesis is accurate.

A Dissenting Opinion . . . By Press Release

Judge Wolin, of the District of New Jersey, issued this press release today. Here's a portion:

"A panel of the Third Circuit Court of Appeals has decided by a two-to-one vote that my joint administration of three major chapter 11 asbestos cases should be terminated. These cases were assigned to me by former Chief Judge of the Third Circuit Court of Appeals Edward Becker. My responsibility was to take an intractable litigation problem cloaked with a sense of urgency and to dispose of it with dispatch.

. . .

The Court of Appeals gave lip service approval to the concept of experts employed to advise a district judge, but held that such confidential advice necessarily crosses the line into extra-judicial or ex parte knowledge. It is unclear how expert advisors are to be used, if at all, following the Court of Appeals' opinion in this case. The dissenting opinion criticized the majority for excusing the delay of almost two years before an objection was filed to my management of these complex cases. The majority refused to recognize the significance of the fact that attorneys representing committees of creditors and indeed the entire asbestos bar knew long ago of the supposed conflicts of my advisors.

The Court of Appeals' focus on complete transparency and actual notice to the exclusion of other considerations is an unfortunate development in the jurisprudence of complex litigation. These principles were developed in simpler times and for cases with but a few parties. Here, where the parties number in the hundreds of thousands, the decision in this case was profoundly impractical. I am convinced that it will work to the detriment of legitimate creditors – injured persons, commercial creditors, and debtors – willing to play by the rules and avoid the scorched earth tactics of a few, distressed-debt traders. The trust the judiciary has earned over centuries of honorable service is not wasted by the case management techniques I put in place. On the contrary, that trust is put to its highest use to solve one of our society's most difficult and intractable problems."

The only explanation for this press release is uncontrollablele hubris. A district judge has a right to do this only in the strictest sense - no lower court judge should be recurring to the press to critize a superior court about an active case. Now, the case will go forward without the Third Circuit having the last word. Like it or not, the Third Circuit answer is the right answer for a district court, at least until another appellate panel says otherwise. Call it a charade or a noble lie, that's how we do things in this country. Judge Wolin seems to have forgotten this.

Ironically, Wolin has vindicated the Third Circuit's decision - this is clearly a man too passionate about covering his behind to see the case objectively. Want proof of his motives? Check out this portion:

"The Court of Appeals, after a full examination of the record has found that I did nothing wrong, unethical, or biased. Moreover, their review has not revealed the slightest hint of any actual bias or partisanship by me. On the contrary, they found that throughout my stewardship over these asbestos cases, I exhibited all of the judicial qualities, ethical conduct and characteristics emblematic of the most experienced, competent and distinguished Article III jurist."

Apparently he forgot to add "But I flatter myself" at the end. Must be scrivener's error.

Lastly, Judge Wolin could use a little brush up on the Canons of Judicial Ethics. Canon 3A(4)requires that "a judge should accord to every person who is legally interested in a proceeding, or the person's lawyer, full right to be heard according to law, and, except as authorized by law, neither initiate nor consider ex parte communications on the merits, or procedures affecting the merits, of a pending or impending proceeding."

Can anyone name another judge who had this section thrown in his face recently? Answer: Thomas Penfield Jackson in the Microsoft recusal. You're in good company, Judge Wolin.

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