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Saturday, November 06, 2004

Query 

What ever happened to flash mobs?

Tuesday, May 25, 2004

I started my summer associate gig last week and I've already learned a few things:

1) There is no such thing as a comfortable silence when you're at lunch with a partner. You're either talking or it's awkward. Hell, some of the time it's pretty awkward when you're talking. I've noticed it's not so good for people with low tolerance for small talk.

2) If you want to start working again right after giving birth, that's okay because we've got the facilities for you. The first thing I heard last Monday as I entered my office for the first time were the wails of a newborn babe. And she kept wailing. Then, I found out today that there is a "Lactation Room" on my floor. Yes, a lactation room. That was kind of weird.

Anyway, it's started out well. I've met some great people and I've gotten to work on an interesting project; I couldn't really ask for much more. So I'll just ask that it stays this way.

Saturday, May 15, 2004

Toluca Jim, please don't hold back 

I guess there is a good possibility that he hasn't come back from the bar yet (I know I wouldn't have if it were Liverpool), but I'm still a little surprised that I haven't seen a post from Toluca Jim at The Visible Hand celebrating Arsenal's undefeated season in the English Premier League. As much as it pains me to say it, congrats to the Gunners who have just accomplished something that hasn't been done since the 1888-1889 season and might even be more impressive now, especially considering the money that's being thrown around and the extra wear and tear of European competitions.

In other news, South Africa was awarded the 2010 World Cup, so I am going to go ahead and book my ticket over there. Liverpool played to a draw with Newcastle, assuring their place in Europe next year, and American Brian McBride scored a brace for Fulham in their match against Bolton. And finally, and perhaps most importantly, my WISL team won this morning to push our record to .500 for the year with three games left.

Friday, May 14, 2004

One step at a time 

Over at the Volokh Conspiracy, David Post notes the recent success of the Iraqi National Team as they qualified for the Olympics this summer, which should be great for the morale of the country. He goes on to note that under the currect FIFA alignments, Israel is kept away from competing in the Arab world by placing them in Europe (which, incidentally, makes it pretty difficult for Israel to qualify for anything, although every once in a while their clubs give some bigger teams a scare in the European club competitions), while the rest of the Middle East competes in Asia. He continues:
I keep a list of things that, were I to fall asleep for 20 years or so, I'd hope to see when I awake; one of them is regularly scheduled soccer games between the Israelis and the Palestinians, and Kuwaitis, and Iraqis, and . . . In the current soccer world, Israel is placed into "Europe," while the Arab nations are in "Asia," so they don't routinely meet for things like World Cup qualifying. The world will be a much better place if/when they do.

It will certainly be a great day when Israel can finally play football against her real neighbors and refer to them as such, but my dream is a bit more simple: that the region becomes safe enough that UEFA actually allows Israel and Israeli clubs to play their home games in qualifiers and club competitions in Israel, and not in some "neutral" location like Cyprus.

UPDATE: Looks like my dream just came true.

Tuesday, May 11, 2004

Two-thirds 

It's been a few days now but it's time for the end of the year post. Two years gone and it has certainly flown by.

As hectic as this semester was, it was probably one of my favorites and I have to give a lot of credit there to my professors. They really helped bring out in my classes the intellectual rigor that I've been searching for. I can't imagine a better way to learn Separation of Powers law than with a professor who has extensive experience in the OLC. It was a small class and he basically turned it into a seminar. Cases weren't discussed by simply stating the facts and the holding but instead by pitting two students against each other and having them make the arguments for each side. His hypos were always interesting and made you think beyond the caselaw and consider the political ramifications, how something would play out in the press, how would it affect the branch in the future. Of course, then they would always end with, "Well, let me tell you how we ended up dealing with this . . ." and you realized that the very problems that we slogged through in class were the things he dealt with on a daily basis in the OLC. Very cool. (And I say this in spite of the fact that he called on me five times.)

Administrative Law was equal to the task. I'm not particularly fascinated by the Administrative Procedures Act, but the class gave me a great insight into the processes by which so many of our rights are created and adjudicated. The class was also taught by one of my favorite professors at GW. He was incredibly effective teaching Civ Pro II and he brought the same energy to the classroom this time, even when confronted with 2Ls and 3Ls who weren't necessarily always there. His method of questioning is quite effective at drawing out the doctrine from each case, but he also dives into the policies underlying each decision and law, which provides us with a much stronger sense of why things happened the way they did and maybe why they shouldn't have happened that way. He's a young professor who definitely enjoys what he does and I think he'll just keep getting better.

When finals were over, it was time to get out of DC so I went to Boston for a few days to go see a Buffalo Tom concert. They've been my favorite band since early on in high school, but they don't play together with any great frequency anymore and when they do, it's always in Boston. Needless to say, when I saw two months ago that they would be playing a show in their native Boston right after finals, I jumped at the chance to go and bought four tickets with the hope that I could drag some friends away for the weekend. Well, that didn't happen, but I went anyway, undeterred by the lack of law school company. I stayed with some high school friends that I hadn't seen for five or six years and had a great time at the show. It was the sort of thing where I can now cross something off my life "to do" list. I really liked Boston too; it seemed like a fun place to be. Now I'm back in the law review office, edits surrounding me, but I think I might just play with some of the new templates that Blogger just put up.

Anyway, two years gone. It's hard to believe that I'm two years removed from college, much less done with two years of law school. One more to go, but first, it's time to enjoy the summer.

Saturday, May 01, 2004

Derby Day 

I speak to you now with some bitterness. I should be outside, glass of bourbon in hand, enjoying the afternoon with some friends. We should be dressed for the occasion, with the women wearing sundresses and hats. We should have the grill on and mint nearby for those who want mint juleps. We should have Derby Pie. I should have organized the betting pool and I should be preparing myself to lose for yet another year. I should be watching the 130th running of the Kentucky Derby.

But instead I am stuck in the library studying for my last final.

It's difficult to grow up in Kentucky and not come to appreciate the magnitude of the Derby. For the fastest two minutes in sports, everyone is watching Churchill Downs. Since leaving Kentucky for school, I've definitely found myself becoming increasingly proud of things like this that connect me to my state and give me and Kentucky a sense of identity.

As the only Kentuckian in my class in undergrad, and one of three or four schoolwide, I took it upon myself during my senior year to throw a Derby party like the ones my parents always used to go to. It was a gorgeous day and we started early with burgers on the grill, bourbon on the bar, and a keg in the kitchen. The Northern girls looked almost Southern in their sundresses and the betting went smoothly (my horse might have finished last). As the afternoon wore on, we made our way inside and situated ourselves in front of the television to watch the ponies. My roommate hooked his four-feet tall speakers up to the television and the commentary was blaring through the house and out to the street. Then, as tradition dictates, the University of Louisville Marching Band began playing our state song. Perhaps it was the bourbon, or maybe it was just a newfound pride and confidence, but just then I remembered the words they taught us back in our 4th grade "Kentucky Heritage" portion of social studies and I knew that it was my duty as a citizen of the commonwealth to share them with my friends. Without another thought, I proceeded to stand in front of everyone and belt out My Old Kentucky Home. Everyone laughed (maybe not so much at me as at my singing ability), but I thought that I would do the same for my readers today (and you don't even have to hear my voice).

The sun shines bright on my old Kentucky home.
'Tis summer, the people are gay.
The corn top's ripe, and the meadow's in the bloom,
While the birds make music all the day.
The young folks roll on the little cabin floor,
All merry, all happy and bright.
By 'n' by hard times come a-knocking at the door.
Then my old Kentucky home, good night.

Chorus:

Weep no more, my lady.
Oh, weep no more today.
We will sing one song for the old Kentucky home,
For the old Kentucky home far away.

Tuesday, April 27, 2004

Not photogenic 

I just got the summer associate picture book from the firm I'm working at this summer and my picture is hilarious. I guess it wouldn't really be "ha ha" funny if you didn't know me; I probably look kind of scary. I don't know why, but I look really mad in this picture. In my own defense, I went to the place to get my picture taken and the guy snapped the photo without prior warning. Then, he disappeared and came back with my picture. I was $12 poorer and outside before I even saw that I looked like an idiot. Apparently I should have gone back inside.

The thing I keep thinking about though is that there are going to be partners and associates looking at this thing and saying, "Damn, who is that pissed-off kid with the Beatles' haircut?" And I feel like that can't be a good thing.

UPDATE: If you're one of the three people who read this and also know what I look like, yesterday's haircut had nothing to do with this. I swear.

Wednesday, April 21, 2004

If this is what passes for humor, I'll take it 

Not many funny things happen during finals, but I'm sitting here in the law library (with a growing audience) paging through my Evidence outline (which is actually finished, though with large portions taken from a friend) and watching the plight of the poor 1L who somehow locked herself into a study room. The librarian at the front desk has now tried just about every key that he could get his hands on and campus police are here and seem to be calling for backup. Maybe they should call for a locksmith.

It's actually kind of nice, sitting here, reading Evidence, talking to my friends, laughing about the library's state of disrepair, all while being forced to listen to the incredibly loud stylings of a band playing some salsa music at a party in the law quad.

UPDATE: About 30 minutes have passed now. When we get her out, it's going to be like extracting baby Jessica from that well.

UPDATE II: Because I know that you're all dying to know, just wanted to let you know how it ended . . . Campus police finally showed up and, in an incredibly ineffective move, tried one key and then shook the door handle REALLY hard. The policewoman gave up quickly and called maintenance. Considering it was nearly 11 pm, it took a while for them to arrive so in the meantime some industrious 2Ls who were looking for a new method of procrastination started trying some things. Eventually they got her out by using a Safeway card and sliding it between the doorway and the latch. It seemed pretty anticlimactic. She was stuck in their for so long and all anyone needed to do was get out their wallet. Hmm.

The maintenance guys showed up about 20 minutes later.

No, it's not Admin Law Day 

I just finished up a little bit more of my Administrative Law outline (I'm not entirely sure why I do outlines; I know I won't finish it and I am fairly sure I'll end up using someone else's). I'm about to move on and do some Evidence, but I thought I'd take a quick internet break first. When I opened the browser, right there on MSN.com it says: "Admin Day: Send an e-card to say thank you."

Now, after grappling with the APA for the better part of the last 7 or 8 hours, I'm stuck here wondering why anyone would want to send an e-card to an agency. What exactly would we be thanking them for? Their tireless promulgation of regulations according to that ever-so-important intelligible principle?

Dear Social Security Administration,

Thanks for taking care of all of those really boring social security cases. We really appreciate it. We're now going to return to our much more rewarding jobs.

Love,
The Federal Judiciary


Intrigued, I clicked on the link, and, alas, "Admin Day" was just an abbreviation for Administrative Professionals Day. Is this what we're currently calling secretaries? When did that happen?

I guess that makes more sense, but I'm not going to lie; I was a little disappointed when I found out that I couldn't send an e-card to the Commodity Futures Trading Commission. I guess I'll just have to go wish them a happy Admin Day on my walk home. From the law library. When I leave. Tomorrow.

Saturday, April 17, 2004

At least we don't buy it by the litre 

My mom forwarded this to me the other day. Makes me glad (a) that I don't have a car and (b) that Pepto Bismol is not an alternative form of gas.

Think a gallon of gas is expensive?

This makes one think, and also puts things in perspective.

Diet Snapple 16 oz $1.29 .......... $10.32 per gallon

Lipton Ice Tea 16 oz $1.19 ...........$9.52 per gallon

Gatorade 20 oz $1.59 ..... $10.17 per gallon

Ocean Spray 16 oz $1.25 .......... $10.00 per gallon

Brake Fluid 12 oz $3.15 .......... $33.60 per gallon

Vick's Nyquil 6 oz $8.35 .... $178.13 per gallon

Pepto Bismol 4 oz $3.85 ........ $123.20 per gallon

Whiteout 7 oz $1.39 ....... . $25.42 per gallon

Scope 1.5 oz $0.99 .........$84.48 per gallon

And this is the REAL KICKER...

Evian water 9 oz $1.49..........$21.19 per gallon?! $21.19 for WATER - and the buyers don't even know the source.

So, the next time you're at the pump, be glad your car doesn't run on water, Scope, or Whiteout, or God forbid Pepto Bismal or Nyquil.

Saturday, April 03, 2004

We're number 20! 

So the rankings are out and we're number 20. I wish I could say that the rankings don't matter much, but people do look at them and they certainly affect how students choose where to go to school. We made a two-place jump and we're finally ahead of the University of Iowa. No offense to Iowa, but I could never understand that. And this is what some other people think about rankings.

Tuesday, March 23, 2004

Diversity Statements 

I remember applying for law school not so long ago and seeing the portion of the application which said you could submit an optional diversity statement. I don't think I ever submitted one; I'm a white kid from a middle class family. There were things that might have made me diverse back home (Northerner living in the South; only Jewish kid in my school system until my brother came along) but that certainly wouldn't make me diverse where I am now (Washington, DC; law school).

It's difficult to figure out just what it is that makes a person diverse. Is it their skin color, their religion, their experiences? I think that the experiences that I had as a Jew in the Bible Belt were valuable, but I don't think it would have been as valuable if I grew up in Brooklyn, or even Allentown, PA. I think my problem is that people often equate the superficial diversity that someone has with the stereotypical experiences that we would expect that person to have had as well. By doing that, we don't use diversity considerations the way that we advertise them, which is as a method of bringing diversity (or diverse viewpoints, but using race, religion, or ethnicity as a proxy for this) to the classroom (like the University of Michigan argued in Grutter and Gratz), but instead use them for the aesthetic that they create (as Justice Thomas pointed out).

I'm thinking about this because at the journal editorial board meeting that I just left, we discussed the use of our constitutionally mandated diversity statement. I would really like to know what people think about the use of diversity statements for merit organizations such as law review, which take their membership from a static pool of applicants who arguably start at the same point (the first day of law school at the same school with the same classes and the same professors). I'd like to see what people say, and I'll definitely join the conversation once it starts. I just want to see if I can generate some discussion here.

Sunday, March 21, 2004

Pregnant Women and Admin Law 

(Blogger just ate a much longer post. Bummer.)

There is a pregnant woman that sits behind me and Steve in Administrative Law. I'm not entirely comfortable with this (for myriad reasons, which I discussed in depth in the aforementioned Blogger-eaten post). Anyway, on Thursday, Steve decided that it was time to create some sort of game plan should we have to assist with an in-class delivery. I'm always up for being prepared so we talked about it for a few minutes and I think we're ready. Steve will handle the actual birthing and I will help with the breathing. The rest of you can get pots of boiling water. Or something like that.

(In other news, a friend of ours got engaged on Friday night. Congratulations, Michelle! We wish you two the best of luck.)

Wednesday, March 17, 2004

Long time, no post 

So this is the first time I have posted in... well, months. I only post now because I need to do something that isn't what I am doing right now, which is reading submissions to the law review. Not the most exciting thing to do. Much less exciting when it's 8:30 on a Weds night, a nice night, on St. Patrick's Day (which I purport to dislike but would jump for a beer in a heartbeat) and I'm in the same place I have been for the past three nights, by myself.

In any case. Recently, I found out that a top-ten law school accepted one article I turned down and a professor canned. Not sure if that's an oops or a Haha. As Eminem says, you've got one shot, did I miss mine?

The biggest criticism of law reviews is that as students, we're simply not qualified to pick articles for publication. Articles which could bear heavily on a professor's career. This is not to say that some schools may be more qualified than others. We are ALL students. None of us have the requisite immersion and experience in these varied topics to make these decisions alone. The more I read the more I realize that this criticism is pretty valid. I pretty much depend on the various authors to make sound arguments. Once I identify our interest in the topic of the article, my lack of expertise forces me to largely defer to their expertise. I can really only call out obvious holes in their arguments, decide citations are lacking, and research the authors' backgrounds. With this in mind, I rely heavily on authors to produce top-notch work, which is true in the great majority of articles. After all, if they produce sub-standard work and we publish it, it may harm us, but only a little. It will harm them much more in the end.

What I can judge is bad writing. I would say that nearly 75% of the articles I see fall victim to the trash based on bad writing. Amazing. Not just people you have never heard of either. Not just students, practitioners, or others that you might expect it from. I'm talking about prolific authors who have recognizable names and polished reputations.

In any case, though I'm not sure I'm qualified to pick between some great pieces that cross my desk, I can thankfully say that I've got a plethora of professors willing to take a look at articles and guide me into making decisions based on content and merit rather than name or institution.

That being said, I'm going to sit back and settle on a "haha." We didn't lose out on anything.



Thursday, March 11, 2004

Terror 

Tragedy struck Madrid this morning as a terrorist attack during rush hour has left at least 180 dead and approximately 1000 people injured. The Spanish government is blaming the Basque separatist group ETA for the attacks, although they have not yet taken responsibility for the bombings. The motivation for the attack may be the upcoming elections and the popularity of current ruling party, the Partido Popular, a center-right party that has taken a firm stance against the separatist group. I blogged a bit about the Pais Vasco and ETA here.

UPDATE: I've heard from some friends and my Spanish family in Madrid and thankfully everyone who's contacted me so far is okay. I'm still waiting nervously on a few. They seem to be in good spirits and some are more sure than others that it was ETA. The newest theory is that it was Al Qaeda, as this article from ABC notes.

UPDATE II: In the aftermath of 11-M, Spain has stayed in the headlines. The Puerta del Sol Blog, written by some English-speaking Madrilenos (American or British I think), has posted some good first-hand accounts of everything that is going on.

Wednesday, March 10, 2004

Not quite the next Ayn Rand 

I just took the Libertarian Purity Quiz they've been talking about over at Crescat Sententia. I scored an ever-so-low 13, which means that I am starting to have libertarian notions and I ought to explore them. That's a little disappointing, considering I've been talking up my libertarian game lately with friends.

Sunday, March 07, 2004

Sunny Sunday Mornings 

Always nice to see that people read this and link to us. I'm pretty sure this guy is making fun of me though.

Monday, March 01, 2004

Bittersweet 

I went to see Big Head Todd and the Monsters last night at the 9:30 Club here in the District. I had never been there before and I really liked the venue. We went up to the balcony area and had a great view and easy access to the bar. I couldn't really ask for much more.

It was a good show, and it was definitely better than working on my Note. My only complaint would be that when they came back out for an encore, they only played new music. Who does that? To me, the encore seems like the time when you play those songs that everyone wanted to hear during the set, but you just didn't have time to get there; it's a time for some more old favorites. Playing stuff that no one knew just sort of killed the energy that they built up by getting people to clap and yell for three straight minutes to get them to come back out.

Otherwise, it was great and I would recommend taking in a show if you get the chance.

Sunday, February 29, 2004

Master of the dead languages 

Well, she is my mom so I think it's appropriate to link to this article about her latest scholarly work.

She really did study a lot of languages; it's just too bad nobody speaks them anymore.

Sunday, February 22, 2004

Nader runs again... 

I have a hard time figuring Ralph Nader out. On the one hand, I like his message, sometimes he goes a bit over the top I think, but I like what he has to say. On the other hand, I think he's a tad hyppocritical. This is mostly because he knows that his candidacy can do little but to help elect a President who represents exactly what he finds abhorrent in American politics. I always feel that elections are more about pushing the ball forward just a little bit than finding wholesale or revolutionary change. Elections involve game theory. If you vote for a person that you like the most, yet has no chance of winning, it's theoretically nice, but in the end you end up much worse off (Election 2000). So you should vote against the person you like the least. Some call this undemocratic, but I don't think that's fair. I'm just saying that at times you have to play the game or risk coming away with nothing to show.

Back to Nader. Though I don't think that his candidacy will cause much of a stir in this election, especially since the Florida debacle, it shows that Nader is more concerned with making a point than with making a difference. I honestly don't think that Nader is an egotist, but I think that he is running mostly because people (The Nation included) have begged him not to - thinking that it amounts to a suppression of democracy.

But in the long run, which sets democracy back further - four more years of recess judicial appointments, rampant pandering to special interests, and an increasingly illegitimate war? Or just sitting out this election, where your only effect will be to take a slice of the pie who would otherwise vote, by default or by desire, to support the Democrats in the election?

By running, he risks four more years of what is his worst case scenario Presidency - one completely submissive to the military-industrial complex. Though the "protest candidate" serves a purpose in some circumstances: it can help realign parties and can energize an otherwise marginalized voting base, for example. Nader will not serve that purpose in this election. If he truly wants to advance the interests of all Americans, I think he can have his cake and eat it too if he helps to energize the left-leaning base but withdraw before the election and support Kerry or Edwards. These might not be Nader's ideal candidate, but America should not have to endure four more years of this President. Our freedoms have suffered enough.

Thursday, February 19, 2004

Make it stop 

It was a beautiful Thursday afternoon and we were out on the law school patio enjoying some frosty beverages courtesy of the SBA. It's a great way to end the week of classes as we all have a drink or two and chat to take a break from work.

Apparently SBA elections are coming up and one of the candidates was handing out matches (??) with his campaign platform written on the cover to everyone mulling around outside. A friend of mine, who perhaps had one too many complementary beers, decided to light one of the matches while still in the pack, which then ignited the entire pack. Big surprise there. He then proceeded to throw the matches toward what he thought was a sand ashtray, but in reality was the pants of another one of our friends.

Some people might have freaked out. But our friend simply said, "That's a f***in' tort."

Probably not the first thing I would have said.

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