This is my site. Cool, huh? If you don't like it, well, I guess it lives up to its name for you, then.

Sun 21 Dec 2003

Most people who know me know this, but I generally do the cooking on Sunday nights. Most of the time I make taco meat, using my own recipe:

  • 1 lb. hamburger
  • 4 tsp. onion powder
  • 1 tsp. Garlic powder
  • 1 tsp. Chili powder
  • 1/2 tsp. Salt
  • 3/4 tsp. Season-all
  • 1/4 tsp. Pepper
  • pinch of cumin
  • water (as needed)
Add the onion and garlic powder to the meat, then cook it up in a skillet or frying pan until it's cooked. (If you can't tell when hamburger is fully cooked, then I can't help you.) Then add the other ingredients, with enough water so that the seasonings get mixed in with the meat. The season-all is kinda like Lawry's Seasoned Salt, but I'm not sure if it's exactly the same stuff.

Of course, if you use fresh ingredients (fresh onion and garlic), it'll probably taste better. One variant I really liked was cutting up an orange bell pepper and throwing that in. However, at our house we have to be careful with fresh seasonings -- if Jacob sees something other than meat in his taco meat -- a piece of onion, for example -- he'll pick it out. And Benjamin has tired of it entirely; he picks the cheese off the top, thus thrashing his father's miniscule ego.

I have at times used cilantro as well, but it has fallen out of favor in our home. Anyway, if anybody uses this recipe, I'd appreciate a note to let me know what you thought of it, and if you have any suggestions.
Posted in the evening./society ]

Wed 17 Dec 2003

Good article by a Brit named Janet Daley. The essence is, "How to react to news from Iraq if you're a leftist." Everybody already knows the answer, of course, but it's fun to read it. Via Blair.
Posted late at night./politics ]

Wed 03 Dec 2003

In an immigration case I'm reading now, I came across a passage that struck me as funny -- "The Government argues that the statute means what it literally says." The Court then goes on to pooh-pooh the Government's argument, and says, well, not really. Ah, literalism, much too simple. Reminds me of the saying, "A foolish consistency is the hobgoblin of little minds", from Emerson. Granted, literalism and consistency aren't exactly the same thing, but they're dang close.

In all fairness to the Court, I actually agree with the opinion; otherwise the INS could lock up people indefinitely. But if I were Bradley, I'd probably yell about how when a statute's wrong, you throw it out completely, none of this, well, we'll interpret it differently. Man, Bradley's class was fun. I'm glad I get to take him again next semester!
Posted later in the morning./law ]

With two kids, it'd be nice to have a minivan. People have asked me why we don't have one already -- um, because we don't have the money, OK? I was thinking of getting one when I graduate from law school -- assuming that I'm able to scrounge up a job of course. And now my decision on which one to get has been made easier -- I sure as heck won't get a Caravan.
Posted after Con Law./society ]

Tue 02 Dec 2003

One more week of classes. In one of my classes, the professor sent out an email with this week's reading assignments just last Sunday. Being my procrastinating self, I just looked at it. Turns out he wants us to read 100 more pages this week, along with 30 extra pages to help us with our last assignment. Hmm. Oh well, it's not like I had to study for my final next Monday anyway, right? Grrr...
Posted before Legal Professions./law ]

Mon 01 Dec 2003

They lashed out at Dr. King, they lashed out at Nelson Mandela, they lashed out at Jesus, so all of those who fight for change become the object of frustration
So who is it comparing himself to all of those people? Check the link...
Posted before ConLaw./politics ]

Fri 28 Nov 2003

Since I categorically reject Buy Nothing day, I went out to find something to buy today. Problem is, being a poor law student, the financial situation isn't conducive to large purchases. So, I just bought some buttermilk and sausage, and will make pancakes for breakfast tomorrow. Featherweight pancakes, mmm...
Posted in the evening/society ]

Thu 27 Nov 2003

Normally I am the last guy you'll hear extolling contracts law, but I was thinking this morning about The Little Mermaid. Man, talk about harsh contract law -- the ruler of the entire freaking ocean can't nullify a contract signed by his minor daughter? And not just any contract, but one which condemns her to eternally sitting in that garden thing? Suffice it to say, contemporary contract law in the U.S. is not nearly that restrictive. Of course, Ursula could claim breach of contract based upon Ariel's theft of her voice, but that does her no good legally; that only would nullify the contract. Ariel might have a shot at claiming that the terms of the contract were to give her a fair shot at claiming the prince, and when Ursula intervenes as Vanessa, that was a breach on her part, thereby nullifying the contract.

Anyway, I noticed on the imdb page that Tim Curry had a bit role in the movie. I can't think of what character he might have been! Maybe one of the sailers in the opening scene? Or the more likely explanation, to me at least, is that he performed a voice in the tv series...
Posted before the kids are up./law ]

Fri 21 Nov 2003

Interesting interview with Bill Joy. I know many of those who read this blog (hi, Forest!) probably don't know who he is, but you probably should. He's a serious computer guru, easily within the top ten most important computer geeks around. Not too long ago he wrote an alarmist article warning that the Terminator/Matrix scenario of machines taking over the world might actually come to pass -- which freaked out a lot of people, coming from such a prominent computer guru.

He says, "Democracy is about individuals giving up the ability to do whatever they want so that everybody can have some rights." Bzzzt, wrong. That's what government in general is about, and if I'm not mistaken, the idea originated with Hobbes, who wasn't really much into democracy.

It also struck me what he is doing for fun -- he's trying to set up a meditation wall in his apartment! At first I thought, gee, what a self-absorbed loser, but I've thought the better of it. Everybody needs to do something for fun.
Posted in the afternoon./computers ]

Thu 20 Nov 2003

I am mad. One of the classes I wanted -- indeed, perhaps the only class that I REALLY REALLY wanted, is full, and the recorder let us know about it a week after registration. Kind of her, huh? Now I have to take something else. Insurance Law is full, so I can't take that. (Resolution of earlier problem -- I ended up signing up for Federal Jurisdiction.) So I guess I'll take Copyright law, even though it starts at 8:15 in the morning on Thursday and Friday. The way my schedule was, I wouldn't have had any classes at all on Friday. *sigh*...
Posted in the afternoon, before Legal Professions./law ]

Wed 19 Nov 2003

I think I've figured out just when I should quit surfing the internet -- when the cursor starts to move toward Dave Winer, The law of diminishing returns has definitely kicked in. There is literally nothing interesting that he could possibly say. I guess you can all take that to mean that I'm not a computer geek anymore; so be it.
Posted before Con Law, but then edited afterwards/computers ]

Tue 18 Nov 2003

I have a new favorite song; Sloop John B will drop from my most-played spot -- most likely to my wife's great relief. My new favorite song is Island in the Sun. So much for the thesis that all good music must be more than 10 years old.
Posted late at night, when I should be writing a paper for Strategies./society/popculture ]

Fri 07 Nov 2003

This is so depressing -- we're diagramming sentences and identifying dangling participles in my legal writing class -- and the sad thing is, we need to hear it.
Posted during Strategies./law ]

Thu 06 Nov 2003

Bought my first song from iTunes today. "Still Loving You" by the Scorpions. At first, I noticed a hiss in the song, but I decided that it was simply the headphones I was using. Pretty cool. I was glad to see that "Still Loving You" is the top downloaded song by the Scorpions, and not "Rock You Like a Hurricane" or "The Zoo", although I do like "The Zoo". Showing my age, again...

I wouldn't recommend it unless you have a high-speed connection, though. Luckily, I can plug my laptop in at school -- instant broadband! Gotta like that.

I'm a bit disappointed in the selection, though. Every time I think of a single song I would like to have, they aren't there. "I'll Be There" by The Escape Club? Nope. "Baby Mine", by Alison Krauss? Nope. Oh well. Hopefully it'll get better.
Posted while Jacob is getting his bath/society/popculture ]

Just got back from the school vouchers discussion (second item), and am rather dissatisfied. First off, there's the idiot who insisted that them evil conservatives are selling snake oil to poor black people by getting them hooked on school vouchers. That was just the icing on the cake, though; my problems with the arguments began before that.

One of the anti-voucher panelists insisted that a voucher program is like giving blacks in the 50's vouchers to eat lunch at Woolworth's -- of little value, because blacks wouldn't be served there anyway. Her argument was that there is nowhere to use the vouchers. She apparently doesn't think that schools would not come into being, or at least that it would take too long for the schools to be formed if a school voucher program began. She explicitly excepted Catholic schools, though. Another panelist insisted that the government is "pooring money into the coffers" of these religions, thus violating the establishment clause. Hang on here, if these religions are taking so much money from the government, "into their coffers", as it were, then why aren't competitors springing up to challenge them for the right to that dough? It's not as if the Supreme Court insisted that voucher money go to religious schools.

The other thing that annoyed me is that no one had the nerve to even mention, let alone discuss, the vested interest of the teacher's unions in fighting school vouchers. I would not be a bit surprised if the anti-voucher panelists turn out to have financial connections to the unions. If not financial, then at least social; the lady who isn't a law professor here is a professor at the IU school of education, and therefore has a vested interest in teacher certification and such nonsense.
Posted in the afternoon/law ]

Tue 04 Nov 2003

OK, here's the question: I can take Federal Jurisdiction, Insurance Law, or Copyright Law. As my schedule stands now, I only have one class on Thursday, in the morning, and none at all on Friday. Fed. Jurisdiction is only two credits and it's taught by a federal judge. Insurance Law is in the afternoon on Monday, Tuesday and Wednesday and is three credits. Copyright Law is at 8:30 on Thursday and Friday, and 3 credits. My course load with two more credits keeps me exactly on track to graduate, if I took the same number of credits both semesters next year. Of course, I could always take information security law, which is only two credits but meets three times a week, at 8:45. hmmm...
Posted in the afternoon/law ]

Just got spam from Dell. Take a gander at this:

To me, it looks like a cross between Twiki and the Leader.

Oooo, Dell is selling songs for 99 cents, too! wowee. Are they Windowsmedia format? Do I have to buy Musicmatch's software? Bigger question -- even if I don't, will I bother? Not hardly! Apple won, guys, you don't compete by offering up the same darn product -- only uglier -- for the same price. Flashbacks to the Astro *shudder*
Posted in the morning/computers ]

Sun 02 Nov 2003

Finding Nemo was a great, great movie. I realize I'm a bit behind the times, seeing as the DVD is coming out in a couple of days. The father-son interplay really hit home for me; I could relate to the father character really well.
Posted before the kids got up./society ]

The other day I was laying on the couch, minding my own business, when Ben decided he wanted to say 'hi'. He ran up at me head-first, and we bonked heads. He then pulled away and said, 'Hurt', with a sad expresion. Let me get this straight, kid. You head-butt me, and then you want my sympathy? Ah, the naivete of a two-year-old.
Posted before the kids got up./home ]

Wed 22 Oct 2003

Claude Rains is one of my favorite actors. He plays the complete slimeball so well, as exemplified by Reynault in Casablanca. I've seen him in only four different movies, but he is excellent in each. Oddly, in those movies, he plays a Frenchman, a German, an American, and an Englishman. Only the Englishman isn't a slimeball. Coincidence? Hmmm...
Posted in the afternoon./society ]

Since posting below, I remembered another great, great movie ending -- The Bridge on the River Kwai. It's a long movie, but it's absolutely worth the payoff at the end. I still think Mr. Arkadin has a better ending, though. And my wife thinks I'm nuts for liking that movie, but oh well.
Posted in the afternoon./society ]

Sat 18 Oct 2003

I was thinking the other day about movie endings -- what is the best ending to a movie that I have seen? First and foremost, a person has to mention Casablanca here. Rains is just amazing in that movie, and Bogart and Bergman are excellent, too. For Hitchcock, not that I've seen a ton of his movies, but I'm partial to the ending in Rear Window. Great payoff, when Kelly puts down the travel magazine... The Man from Snowy River has a pretty good ending, too, for the chauvinist in me -- "I'll be back for what's mine!" yeeaaahhh.

But I think my favorite movie ending is a movie few people have seen. That's Mr. Arkadin. It's a pretty dang weird movie; just what you'd expect from a Welles flick, but the payoff at the end is worth it. Some of the individual scenes are hard to follow. OK, MOST of the individual scenes are hard to follow. But the ending, Welles gets absolutely perfect. If you're a movie buff, watch this movie.
Posted in the morning -- fall break has begun! Yea!/society ]

Thu 16 Oct 2003

Hey out there -- whoever it was that read the site with Lynx, you made my day.

I also want to say that there are few pastimes as enjoyable as browsing the logs. Sure, there's all kind of bots in there, but the search strings and the odd Lynx hit make it all worth it. If my traffic actually reached a reasonable level, it'd probably be too much to handle, but right now it's just about right. What can I say, I guess I'm easily amused.
Posted when I really should be studying for my Human Rights final./computers ]

Tue 14 Oct 2003

This article is perhaps the most subversive thing I have ever read with regards to linux. I simply cannot believe that anyone would cast the Free Software Foundation as villians. The author's description of the GPL is largely accurate, but the article completely misses the larger point. Now, repeat after me -- they are giving software away. How can these corporations complain about that? There are two huge benefits to using GPL software:

  1. A person can see the code. If they want, they can get into the program and change it themselves.
  2. When somebody else comes along and changes the code, they don't have to release those changes. Heck knows I've changed plenty of stuff on my linux systems, but I don't have an ftp server up with my changes. You only have to release the code if you are also distributing the program.
Think about it. Richard Stallman, Linus Torvalds, Alan Cox, and many, many others have put many, many hours into creating the software that goes into a linux system. How in the world can Forbes complain that these corporations have the right to profit from their work? The scary thing is, the GPL does allow corporations to profit from the work of others -- see Red Hat, which employs Alan Cox.

Let's all have a moment of silence for poor, put upon Cisco. Their market cap isn't even twice that of the closest competitor -- and Nokia isn't really a competitor of Cisco, now. Just because they dwarf the rest of the industry doesn't mean they shouldn't be allowed to profit from the work of others now, does it? Oh, but it was all Linksys's fault, oh wait, no, it's really Broadcom's fault. The argument boils down to feeling sorry for poor little Cisco because they're too dang busy destroying the competition to actually look at what the heck they are selling. No wonder so much computer hardware is crap.

You know, I respect people who use the BSD license, but it just seems so fruitless. I mean, if you're going to give away software, why would you want others to be able to take it and sell it with nothing given back to the world?
Posted after Human Rights/computers ]

Fri 10 Oct 2003

If there is anybody out there reading who finds it outrageous that I get my news from Instapundit and Best of the Web with no balance, I just wish to say, I read left-wing websites (besides Balkin -- it'd be hard to get too much news from him, he might post even more sporadically than me!). Really. It's just that generally I have no wish to pass along what they say. I'd like to say that they're more profane than the right-wing sites, but sadly, I'm not sure that's the case anymore; certainly Talking Points isn't nearly as bad as Tim Blair. If you want this site to be balanced, well, tough. You don't have to read it, now do you? I have no doubt that I'm at least as balanced as Marshall or Balkin are.

Speaking of Blair, I saw linked from his site the story of Jake Ryan, a guy who was at the Bali club during the bombing last year. Very compelling reading.
Posted just after the post below./potpourri ]

Had to add Greg Easterbrook to the blogroll; he's pretty dang good. Yes, he's the same guy who does monday morning quarterback for ESPN, but I'll be danged if I'm gonna link to that; I'm afraid of what Camille or Amy would say. (As it is, if they ever read this, I'll probably hear it anyway just for calling Rush an idiot. Oh well.)

Anyway, to try to get back to what I was wanted to say, he rants about SUVs here. You know, I don't like SUVs. I agree with most of his points. But when he says,

The growth in popularity of SUVs and pickups continues to account for multiple social problems in the United States--road rage, traffic congestion, increasing greenhouse gas emissions, political dependence on Persian Gulf dictators. Yet still no political leader has made doing something about these vehicles his or her cause.
I have a couple of questions. First, I disagree that "no political leader has blah blah". This is what Arianna tried to do in the recall election -- boy, that sure went over well.

Second, I have to wonder what the heck he's proposing. I think he wants to even the playing field for CAFE standards; allowing SUVs to get away with murder because they're "trucks" is kinda stupid. However, this doesn't get past the fact that there are people out there who need trucks for work -- farmers, construction workers, Elder's Quorum Presidents, etc. -- and this would make their trucks prohibitively expensive. Do we create some sort of registration system where Big Brother decides if you can have a truck or not? AUGHH!!! Of course, even with such a registration system, the rich would be able to get their 25 MPG truck, it'd just cost an arm and a leg. Is that fair? (And shut up, you there in the back, saying, well, I don't have a Beamer, that isn't fair, either! If I hear you say that again, I may have to kill you. ;)

I've heard before that we should just quit calling SUVs trucks for CAFE purposes -- but this doesn't get past all those people out there who have made the F-150 the best selling vehicle in America, at least per Easterbrook. It's a good start, though.

Hey, I probably dislike SUVs more than nearly everybody you know, but I honestly can't think of a decent political solution.
Posted before lunch and class./society ]

Thu 09 Oct 2003

We're cite checking an article by a guy who's younger than I am. Home-schooled prodigy, published a book 6 years ago, and another this year, whatever. Pure pretension, and IMHO, this article is more of the same. Writes for The American Prospect, which if you know your political magazines, ought to tell you enough to know that I'm probably not a fan. But I digress. This article about him is great.

Rush is an idiot, yes, I have to say it. More so for the drug thing than the race thing, but even I liked this article about the issue, but watch out -- the lefties out there can't stand this sentiment. Apparently, Graham is a racist because, well, I'm not sure. I think it's because she is condescending to the black family at the next table (even though she says in the article that her kids aren't nearly as well behaved, but I digress). The problem with this reasoning is that if you take it to its logical extension, you have to agree with John McWhorter, Alan Keyes, and other black conservatives who insist that affirmative action is -- wait for it -- condescending to black people!

Oh, the lefties also hate it that she only mentions black republicans. Sorry, I guess she should have mentioned Charles Barkley or something -- oops, he's a republican, too, umm... Isiah Thomas?

Also of note: Phil Hendrie, responding to Warren Sapp, who was responding to Limbaugh. I was so sad when they changed Hendrie's time slot in DC, I had to quit my job. (NOTE TO IMPRESSIONABLE YOUNGSTERS: This is not a suggestion that you listen to Phil Hendrie! Or maybe I should just say, don't ever call in!)
Posted even later at night./potpourri ]

Wed 08 Oct 2003

Jacob can be quite a sweetheart sometimes. This morning he came into our room in the morning to tell us that he loved us. Of course, it was 5 am at the time, but it'd be a hard-hearted father indeed to get grumpy over that.
Posted later at night./home ]

OK, so Arnold Schwarzenegger is now the governor of California. I'm a good republican and all, but doesn't this remind anybody else of the planet described by Ford Prefect in So Long, and Thanks for All the Fish? First, let's set up the story: a spaceship crashes on Harrods, and a huge robot comes down the ramp and says, "I come in peace, take me to your lizard."

"It comes from a very ancient democracy, you see...."

"You mean, it comes from a world of lizards?"

"No," said Ford, ... "nothing so simple. Nothing anything like so straightforward. On its world, the people are people. The leaders are lizards. The people hate the lizards and the lizards rule the people."

"Odd," said Arthur, "I thought you said it was a democracy."

"I did," said Ford. "It is."

"So," said Arthur, hoping he wasn't sounding ridiculously obtuse, "why don't the people get rid of the lizards?"

"It honestly doesn't occur to them," said Ford. "They've all got the vote so they all pretty much assume that the government they've voted in more or less approximates to the government they want."

"You mean they actually vote for the lizards?"

"Oh yes," said Ford with a shrug, "of course."

"But," said Arthur, going for the big one again, "Why?"

"Because if they didn't vote for a lizard," said Ford, "the wrong lizard might get in."

Posted late at night./politics ]

Mon 06 Oct 2003

I just want to say, if you see Veggie Crisps at your local grocery store, buy them. They seem to be pretty popular, since the company that makes them has since come out with another variety, and appears to be at least considering a third (note that there's a "cheddar & jalapeno veggie crisps" in that table). I'm obviously not being paid for this, but these things are excellent, and I don't want to see them go the way of Hershey's Bar None.

That's right, this is Of Little Consequence -- bringing you news on only the most important issues of the day.
Posted before Legal Professions/society ]

Wed 01 Oct 2003

I'm trying to write a brief (for a class, of course) trying to get a guy off the hook for growing dope (for medicinal purposes, of course) and giving it to all of his 'sick' buddies. Problem is, federal law is pretty much cut-and-dried on the topic -- he's dead meat. In a case two years ago the Supreme Court came straight out and said that there's no medical necessity defense for distribution. Period. Unanimous decision. Odd, since that seems to be what we're supposed to be focused on. Well, I googled around a bit, and found this piece concerning Lawrence v. Texas, the case that came out this summer overruling Bowers v. Hardwick and making homosexuals everywhere very happy. The author of the article, Randy Barnett, is a fairly prominent libertarian law professor and contributor to the Volokh Conspiracy. Anyway, he argues that with Lawrence, the court has made a shift away from the "right to privacy" and toward, instead, a "right to liberty". Reading the case, it's hard to disagree with him. Not only that, but Barnett specifically mentions medical marijuana cases as the sort of defendants who might be most interested in this result.

Then I thought back to Con Law and remembered Stenberg v. Carhart, the partial birth abortion case from a few years back. Since the court there seemed to overturn the partial birth abortion law based on the lack of an emergency provision, maybe I could find something helpful, and bingo:

the State cannot prohibit a person from obtaining treatment simply by pointing out that most people do not need it.
Just now looking, I found another good one:
Where a significant body of medical opinion believes a procedure may bring with it greater safety for some patients and explains the medical reasons supporting that view, we cannot say that the presence of a different view by itself proves the contrary.
Certainly the New England Journal of Medicine, along with the other groups that have endorsed medical marijuana, constitute "a significant body of medical opinion". But just one year later, in a medical marijuana case, the court said:
It is clear from the text of the Act that Congress has made a determination that marijuana has no medical benefits worthy of an exception. The statute expressly contemplates that many drugs “have a useful and legitimate medical purpose and are necessary to maintain the health and general welfare of the American people,” §801(1), but it includes no exception at all for any medical use of marijuana.
Of course, only one person signed on to both of these opinions -- O'Connor. Excuse me -- what was she thinking?

And the kicker is, I'm heavily immersed in all of these opinions, yet I find all of them morally repugnant. Ugh.
Posted late in the evening./law ]

Tue 30 Sep 2003

I generally ride the bus to and from school; IU students get to ride free. (whoo-hoo!) There are some interesting people you meet on the bus. Yesterday, I somehow got involved in a conversation between a Walmart employee and a new SPEA student who had, apparently, just arrived from Azerbaijan. The student said he was a graduate student, and the Walmart employee apparently had some difficulty with that concept. I tried to explain it to him. Then the student talked about where he came from, asking the employee if he had heard of Azerbaijan. I just had to bury my head in my hands -- if he doesn't know what a graduate student is, being from Bloomington, then there's little chance that he knows where Azerbaijan is. Then the sad thing is, the student tried to explain where it was by explaining about the "Soviet Country", and going on for a bit about the Cold War, which, as you can probably imagine, the Walmart employee didn't know anything about, either. I tried to explain then, to the foreign student, about how here it's usually called the "Soviet Union", just an idiom, you know, but I don't think his vocabulary extends quite that far yet. Shoot, I don't think I know what the word for "idiom" in Spanish is.

Geez, no wonder foreigners think we're all idiots. The only people who talk to them are, well, special.

(Just a note in case Duncan is reading this (which is highly unlikely, but hey -- you never know) -- I vehemently deny any bias against Walmart employees in general, they have very difficult jobs, and I don't envy them a bit.)

I almost have to wonder if it wasn't some sort of set up, like I was on Candid Camera or something, the whole situation was so silly.

A few weeks ago I saw a bus regular (you know, you sort of see the same faces a lot when you ride the bus regularly) ranting about people who just rode the bus all day long! I mean, come on, get a life, people! When I ride the bus, I've got business to do, you know, I have important things to do, I don't just ride the bus all day long! OK, I admit, I've done a whole route once or twice, when I was bored, but ALL DAY?
Posted in the evening./society ]

Well, the my yahoo rss aggregator seems to be working again, and not only that, but it can actually read my rss feed. Wow. But that seems to be the old Blosxom rss feed, and I migrated from Blosxom to Phposxom a while back. Hmm, maybe I ought to enable RSS output for Phposxom... aw, better things to do. I'm excited to see that they're working the bugs out, though.
Posted in the evening./computers ]

I'm not a fan of farm subsidies, and I have to apologize to my relatives out there who are. I just found this, which goes into painful detail about sugar tariffs and the like. I liked the article, though I would take his factual assertions very sceptically -- if only because this guy writes as if he knows everything about everything.
Posted before Con Law./society ]

Tue 23 Sep 2003

Gordon Jump has passed away. I think that's a shame. I will echo the sentiments of some when I say that he delivered perhaps the funniest line in sitcom history: "As God is my witness, I thought turkeys could fly."
Posted after Con Law./society ]

Sat 20 Sep 2003

via Dave Barry, an absolute must have. Be sure to read the customer reviews.
Posted around lunchtime/society ]

Fri 19 Sep 2003

Apple has a new deal going now for students -- for education purposes, you can buy a computer from them and make interest-only payments on the computer. "$11 a month for this computer!" Yeah, $11 a month for three years, then you have to pay the full purchase price. Sounds great, paying $1100 for a three-year old computer. NOT! Corporations are scum.
Posted in the afternoon -- classes over for the week! Yea!/computers ]

Thu 18 Sep 2003

This is genius. Wow. The rest of the stuff is pretty funny, too, if a bit law-student centric. Via How Appealing.
Posted late at night./society ]

Wed 17 Sep 2003

No offense to anyone, but after reading Layne, I realized he was right. I don't think I added anything to any great "conversation" out there, but I needed to vent. And hey, this blog is mine, after all.
Posted at night/society ]

Just some things that I thought were interesting on the net; call it bookmarking if you will.

Saletan points out that both sides lie. Imagine that!

College freshman builds a fusion reactor. Via /.

Spock sings about Tolkien. Not for the faint of heart.
Posted at night./potpourri ]

Well, I may as well report on how the tomatoes turned out. I ended up planting the last two plants near a shed out in our yard. One of them had been eaten in two days; probably the bunnies that frequent our yard. The other one was behind the potted plants for a long time, then suddenly it exploded. We got a bunch of really nice, sweet tomatoes from that plant; in fact, it is still producing now. The potted plants didn't do nearly as well.
Posted at night./home ]

I simply don't understand what the big deal is about Neal Stephenson. I read Cryptonomicon, sure. Apparently you can't be considered a geek without having read it. It was OK; Stephenson keeps the plot going pretty well. Some parts of the book just bugged me, though.

Randy was out on the sidewalk, swiping his card through a pay phone like an assassin drawing a single-edged razor blade across the throat of a tubby politician.
I mean, what is up with that? That is quite possibly one of the worst similes I have ever read in my life. This kind of I'm cool attitude permeates the book.

And I know I'm going to sound like a total snob writing this, but I much preferred Anna Karenina and Moby Dick. At least a person can relate to the characters in those books.
Posted at night/society/popculture ]

Best of the Web gets off some great zingers today.

The Times notes that plans are under way to replace the city's voting machines, but laments that "the Shoup will probably stay on the job until 2006, and in the meantime hundreds of thousands of votes may die within the confines of the antique booths." If the paper's agreement with the Ninth Circuit were based on principle rather than partisanship, it would urge the cancellation of the 2004 election as well.
"The Shoup" is an older election machine. On another note...
Bush's political opponents are now arguing, in effect, that Saddam got a bum rap because he was only bluffing, and that this somehow means he should have been left in power so he could murder thousands of Iraqis using weapons of light destruction.
And finally, there's a note about the ACLU fighting an abstinence advertisement in Nevada. Gotta love the ACLU -- NOT!
Posted at night/politics ]

Do you know what bugs me? People who print out page after page of stuff they found on the internet. Especially when it's on the public printer that I want to use, too. Call me weird.
Posted in the afternoon/computers ]

Wed 10 Sep 2003

In my writing class, the most recent readings were on narrative. One of the recommendations for creating a compelling narrative was to make it about people. So read Best of the Web today, and scroll down to "The Boston Globe's 'Freedom Fighters'". This is the story of a father and daughter who were killed in one of the recent suicide bombings in Israel. When I read such a story, I get sick. In fact, I read it several hours ago, and it is still bugging me now; that's why I'm typing this. I've read other stuff along these lines, and you can find the same sort of stuff for the palestinians. The problem is, the Israelis don't go around aiming for the kids and civilians; they're aiming for the murderers.

Jeff Jarvis has some interesting criticism for PBS along these lines regarding the 9/11 documentary. Oddly, he also criticizes them for keeping the footage of people jumping IN the documentary. Another interesting article is at Esquire, of all places (can't remember where I got the link right now, sorry), about the most famous picture of a jumper, and the search to figure out who he was.

I'm sorry, I can't forget. I watched very little of the footage that day, and none later, but the memory has seared itself into my conscience. It wasn't some vague, anti-globalization movement that took those buildings down, it was ... well, others have said it better than me. And I'm sorry, but I'm not going to get over it.
Posted really late at night./politics ]

Sat 06 Sep 2003

Real transcript of IM session a few minutes ago...

(14:49:58) me: yo
(15:23:14) him: hey
(15:53:46) me: it's about freakin' time.
Note the time stamps.
Posted in the afternoon/society ]

Fri 05 Sep 2003

I saw yesterday that My Yahoo now has an integrated rss reader, so I tried it out. Can't read Dave Winer or Instapundit, but it seems to do OK with How appealing and the Volokh conspiracy -- until this morning. The most recent post from How appealing that shows up in My Yahoo is this one, from yesterday afternoon, even though Bashman has posted much more since then. Hmmmm...

and yes, I realize I'm a total hypocrite because I've never even looked at my own rss feed, and I'm pretty sure it's broken. In fact, when I try to add it to my my yahoo page, it doesn't even show up. Sad.

Oops, when I delete the blogs that are there, they keep showing up. Which means the module is effectively hosed right now.

It's particularly sad that it can't read Dave Winer, considering he's the guy who pretty much invented rss in the first place. Quick tutorial for everybody out there who isn't a geek like me -- rss is basically just another file format, kinda like html pages you read on the web, but can save to your computer, or .doc word documents. The format is standardized so that anybody can build their own rss reader (in theory). Kinda like anybody could build their own web browser back in the day... umm, slight digression. The thing with rss, though, is that (to the best of my knowledge) it is strictly a text format, so an rss reader, or aggregator as they're usually called, can display information from several different sites at once, as opposed to the web browser, which only shows one page at a time. This has the result of killing the banner advertisement, a development I fully endorse.

And in case you're interested, I do not have an rss agregator installed on my machine, though I have considered it.
Posted before class/computers ]

Well, my first cite-checking assignment is done. The cite-checking wasn't so bad; it was a lot like what I did this summer, only easier. The hard part was actually turning the thing in.

Oh, since I imagine some people reading this don't really understand what the heck I'm talking about, I should explain. Law jounal or law review is sort of a rite-of-passage for law students. The law school will put out at least one law journal containing articles about, surprise, the law. Some journals are completely student-run; these are usually the journals named after the school, like the Indiana Law Journal. The journal I am working for, the Indiana Journal of Global Legal Studies, is peer reviewed, which means that other professors and experts look at the articles before they get published. Second-year students (like myself) receive an accepted article and an assignment of a group of citations and footnotes. Our job becomes to find the sources cited, consider whether the source cited really supports the proposition (which it almost always does, academics don't generally lie), and put the citation into accepted legal format, which is, of course, completely different from citation of any other sort. Then third-year students split up the actual management of the journal. All of this is done for the padding of resumes furthering of legal knowlege and betterment of mankind. Having law journal on your resume helps a great deal, or so I'm told.
Posted before class/law ]

For about a week or so, Jacob has a new thing. When it's time for him and his brother to brush their teeth before bed, he insists that the whole family be in the bathroom at the same time. Usually I stand in the bathtub, as there's not really room to stand anywhere else, and not be in the way of the sink. It's kind of odd, but I guess Jacob feels that's a neat way for the family to all be together. So I try to humor him.

Since school has started, I haven't been able to spend as much time with the kids, and it stinks. I've thought about taking just Jacob with me some Friday evening and going camping, not just so that Mommy can have a break from the strong-willed four-year-old, but so that we can spend some time together, just the two of us. I just wish there was somewhere around here that we could go for less than ten bucks. Yes, I know, I'm cheap.
Posted before class/home ]

Thu 28 Aug 2003

I have been asked in the past, if you like computers so much, why didn't you go into IT as a profession? Very simple. Frankly, I don't think the market for IT professionals is expanding, at least not anymore after the dot-com implosion. It's just that I think that IT is an artificially bloated profession, and would like to see corporations make changes to their IT budgets along the lines of what this guy proposes. Besides, computers for me are a hobby. If I had to work with them all the time, the fun might go out of it.

Anyway, the moral of this story is: buy a Mac. (do as I say, not as I do!)
Posted in the afternoon, waiting for Immigration law/computers ]

Mon 18 Aug 2003

I can quit anytime I want to. Really!
Posted in the afternoon./computers ]

Couldn't agree more -- Bud Selig is Josef Stalin. You'll have to scroll down a bit.
Posted in the morning./society/baseball ]

Tue 29 Jul 2003

Via Instapundit, evidence of U.S. brutality in Iraq:

Oddly enough, that picture was snapped by Agence France-Presse. Maybe they don't all hate us, after all... oh wait, the photographer's name is Stan Honda. Probably an American. Never mind.
Posted in the morning./politics ]

Fri 25 Jul 2003

I wish I knew more about corporate law (never thought I'd be saying that!) so that I could better analyze Cringely's "snapster". On the surface, it seems brilliant. (read the article, he explains it much better than I could.) The only possible hangup is in corporate law. Are there any sort of restriction on where corporate property must be stored? Probably not, so never mind. I just thought of another hangup, though -- I believe that fair use allows the owner of the media to make only 1 backup copy of the media, and Cringely's plan clearly goes far beyond that. Interesting idea though, a highly-recommended read.
Posted just a bit later, but still during lunchtime/computers ]

WHOA! That was unexpected. And I just finished Bobos in Paradise, too. David Brooks isn't exactly P. J. O'Rourke, but he does work for the Weekly Standard, one of the best known conservative magazines. Wow, there's going to be a real conservative on the Times op-ed page (and don't talk to me about Safire, because I don't want to hear it. Friedman is a solid moderate, I'll grant you, but I don't think he's a conservative.)
Posted during lunchtime/politics ]

Thu 24 Jul 2003

OK, I imagine you've heard the 'Bush lied' mantra over and over again -- I know I have. The first response to that is here. Of course, even if it isn't still true, as xrlq claims, it's not necessarily a lie, as -- of all people -- Bill Clinton had to point out.

The funny thing is, it appears that Saddam might have believed that he did have WMD, when in reality, he didn't. (Just follow the link and the instructions, and you'll see what I mean.) Or to the extent that he did know that there weren't any weapons, he felt he had to pretend that he did have them, or at the very least stand up to the Americans, in order to maintain the "respect" of the "Arab street". (And that's pronounced "A-rabb", or "eh-rabb", with "eh" the Canadian expression.)

Anyway, if you have any questions at all about what the heck we are doing in Iraq, I suggest you read this essay.
Posted in the afternoon./politics ]

This is awesome. I miss Reno, but I don't miss the RGJ one iota. Click through to the story, and the guy backpedals a bit, saying it was a joke, and if it wasn't, he really meant Laughlin. Only way to make the Renoites happy, bag on Southern Nevada.
Posted in the afternoon./society ]

Wed 23 Jul 2003

Benjamin has learned a new word that he uses quite regularly -- "fun". For example, when we were at the campground last week, there was a swingset nearby, so I rode the swing while holding him in my lap. He enjoyed that immensely, just kept saying "Fun! Fun! Fun!" over and over again.
Posted after dinner (from Rigbytimes)/home ]

Well, I finally went to the doctor today about the pain in my forehead. Cost me $42 to learn that it was probably a virus, so I'll have to just wait it out, anyway. Oh, and she suggested that taking Tums 2 or 3 times a week might not be a great idea, so why don't you take Pepcid? Maybe because it's way more expensive, and I'm naturally risk-averse, anyway -- why take something I've never taken before, when the Tums works?
Posted after dinner (from Rigbytimes)/home ]

Mon 21 Jul 2003

Great. Now I find out that an MIT comp-sci professor thinks that people over the age of 25 shouldn't use Linux. Oh, come on! I'm not old, really! I'm serious!

Is 29 really over the hill?
Posted in the early afternoon./computers ]

Thu 17 Jul 2003

There's a contest called the Bulwer-Lytton Fiction Contest, named for the guy who actually did start a story with "It was a dark and stormy night." Anyway, the winners were (apparently) just announced, and are posted here. My favorite is

Had Dorothy known Duncan was a psychopath who would seduce, then brutally murder her, and that her best friend Dana, a forensic pathologist would investigate her death and also fall in love with him, but be saved just in time by Dwayne, her much maligned colleague, perhaps she wouldn't have bought him that Screwdriver.

Karen Clark
Barkers Creek, Victoria, Australia

Posted WAAAY too late at night, or early in the morning/society ]

Well, we got back from PA just fine. Had a good time seeing Horseshoe Curve and the dam that broke, killing 2000 people. It's a sobering site, thinking that there was once a lake there. The national memorial lays the blame pretty thickly on the private club (which included Andrew Mellon, and probably Andrew Carnegie, among others) which owned the lake and the dam. It's interesting, though -- the club won all of the lawsuits filed against it. Maybe I'll post some really long exposition of tort law here later, explaining why (I think, anyway) they were able to win. Nowadays you can be sure any jury would jump at the chance to take money from Carnegie et al. to give to grieving survivors -- but would the lawyers be able to convince the judge to allow the case to proceed? Well, it depends.
Posted pretty late in the evening (from Rigbytimes)/home ]

Tue 27 May 2003

So last Thursday evening, we were getting the kids ready for bed, and it was a bit late. It was time for a story, but because it was late, neither of us wanted to read, say, War and Peace. Of course Jacob picks out a rather lengthy book. So instead of reading the whole thing, I read the front cover, then flipped the still-closed book over and said, "The end." Jacob thought that was the funniest thing ever. He told me to read it again, more slowly. So I read the front cover, opened it up to the first page, read one sentence, then flipped the book shut and said, "The end." Same reaction from Jacob; hysterical laughter, then an urgent request to read it again, "more slowly". We did this about 5 times, each time reading a sentence from one more page. It was just a magical moment, really, the kind that I wish could last a lot longer than it does. So I needed to record it somewhere -- here ya go.
Posted around lunchtime/home ]

Check out this article in the Washington Times (motto: Us Moonies aren't all bad!). Hentoff is a strange one; it's not too often you meet a pro-life atheist who thinks William Douglas was the greatest. However, in this case, I couldn't agree with him more. He certainly is not a cheerleader for one side or the other, Washington Times notwithstanding.

via How Appealing, of course.
Posted around lunchtime/politics ]

Mon 19 May 2003

First blog from my ancient Dell laptop -- fun. Anyway, since this is my stinking blog, I want to whine about tomato plants. You see, some friends of ours raised a whole bunch of plants from seed, thinking he would then sell them at the local farmer's market. Ho, ho! Nope -- he needs a nursery permit and a state sales tax certificate -- so instead of selling them, they are now just trying to get rid of them. We've given some to family and neighbors, and still have two left. I had the idea we would plant them below a short retaining wall by our driveway, so that we wouldn't have to get any more buckets or planting pots. Well, turns out that six inches down, there's cement, extending out three feet from the wall. It would take at least a pick, if not a jackhammer to get through that crap. So, the options left to us are:

  1. Get a pick and/or a jackhammer, and possibly tick off the landlord (not that that is necessarily a bad thing...)
  2. Go out and buy two more pots -- we should have enough potting soil left over from the others we already planted,
  3. Plant the things right in our front yard, which is the only part of our yard which gets sun most of the day,
  4. Plant them in the back yard, and see if they can get by without days full of sun, or
  5. Just throw the plants away -- an increasingly attractive option.
Anybody out there have any advice for me?
Posted late at night, but not TOO late./home ]

Hey there! I finally got the blog to look, well, closer to what I wanted it to look like. Notice the indentation in the blogroll to the right? Oh, yeah.

Maybe eventually I will get around to pointing out Gary Farber (of Amygdala) is not really a Canadian. Boy, do I feel stupid. He is from Colorado, though! Colorado, Canada...
Posted in the early afternoon/computers ]

Fri 16 May 2003

Today, Benjamin wore 5 different outfits. One of those are the pajamas he got up in, and since he wears them multiple nights, he has them on again tonight. During the day he dirtied no fewer than 3 sets of clothing. The first got dirty while he was “helping” Mommy clean the car outside. The second got filthy when Daddy (who is still, apparently, clueless with kids) forgot to put a bib on him for PBJ and applesauce at lunch, and the third was the usual diaper blowout. If only I taken pictures of each outfit... umm, nah. Especially that last one. Kids are fun.
Posted after the kids are in bed./home ]

Wed 14 May 2003

This morning my wife called me out to the yard to see something. It was a bird that had fallen out of its nest; before this morning, I wasn't even aware there was a nest in that tree.

An aside: to excuse myself, I must point out that it's a cedar tree with very heavy foliage...

Sadly, two of the bird's siblings had also fallen out of the nest, and were lying dead nearby. It was a baby grackle, which is not a particularly pretty or nice bird. It's wings had not developed nearly enough for it to be able to fly; the feathers looked like little sticks.

But what do you do with such a thing? Especially when you have two impressionable boys around. There's no way the parents of the bird would have been able to carry it back up to the nest. All day it sat there in the grass, chirping, and sticking out a wide open mouth each time someone came close...

Clearly the poor bird is going to die. Why, oh why do I care about it? Why am I letting it bother me so? I think my wife and I care more about the thing then the kids do, frankly. Should I have taken it upon myself to put it out of its misery, or should I leave it to natural causes, such as the neighbor's cats, or the skunk we've seen wandering around? We left it to natural causes. It's easier that way, at least for me.

Anyway, not much point in that post, but at least I'm posting again. Hello, world!
Posted waaaay too late at night./home ]

Fri 11 Apr 2003

Some new signs for anti-war protestors:

Credit where credit is due – these are from Jim Treacher. Warning, though – his blog is at least PG-13, if not R rated.
Posted in the early afternoon./politics ]

Uh-oh. I've been found. Ah well, it's my own fault, really, for testing the links on the site. “Unpleasant confrontation” is possibly too strong a word, although I don't know how I could have phrased it more innoculously. Umm... maybe, “heated discussion”? Nah, that's worse. “A frank exchange of views”? Maybe that would be better. I don't know quite how to describe the law school classroom experience, though.

I don't quite understand what Will is thinking with that post. I can't really relate; my father was a pharmacist, so I got to see what he was doing at work all the time. Just counting pills, explaining to people what the medicine was going to do, etc. My dad often filled a prescription for me, no big deal. I do know that my kids are growing up too dang fast, though.

Oh, and I don't think it'll make Will feel any better, but I'm actually closer in age to Eugene Volokh than him (assuming he was born later than 1980, which I think is a fairly safe assumption). And if you think that fact might get me a bit down, well, you'd be right. Even worse, though, is this web site. Or this one.
Posted in the afternoon./computers ]

John Hunt has a nice tribute (scroll down a bit, past the baseball stuff.) to Rod Miller, a fellow owner in one of his expert leagues who passed away recently. Apparently he was a Methodist pastor who had to squeeze in his weekly transactions between mass and sunday school. (umm, not that I've ever done anything like that!) He includes this quote from the guy:

"I tell people there are really only three things in life you have total control of," Miller said before the season. "Who you marry, where you will spend eternity and who you draft on draft day."

That will be the next quote at the bottom of the page.
Posted after my last Legal Writing class! Woo hoo!/society/baseball ]

Thu 10 Apr 2003

So, I'm reading a contracts case about impossibility. I found this sentence a bit difficult:

But this rule is only applicable when the contract is positive and absolute, and not subject to any condition either express or implied; and there are authorities which, as we think, establish the principle that where, from the nature of the contract, it appears that the parties must from the beginning have known that it could not be fulfilled unless when the time for the fulfilment of the contract arrived some particular specified thing continued to exist, so that, when entering into the contract, they must have contemplated such continuing existence as the foundation of what was to be done; there, in the absence of any express or implied warranty that the thing shall exist, the contract is not to be construed as a positive contract, but as subject to an implied condition that the parties shall be excused in case, before breach, performance becomes impossible from the perishing of the thing without default of the contractor.

Any guesses as to what the heck it means?
Posted around dinnertime./law ]

Wed 09 Apr 2003

I've told Martin in the past that he should be reading Lileks every day. Today, he is more powerful than usual. Frankly, I have trouble understanding how anybody can be anti-Iraq war. I don't care if they don't find any WMD – the humanitarian reasons alone were and are sufficient. If you didn't hear about it when it was delivered, here is an excellent speech by Tony Blair about this very subject. Scroll down a bit, past the self-congratulatory socialism, and you'll get to the part I'm talking about.
Posted before class/politics ]

Mon 07 Apr 2003

Boy, what an awful weekend. Well, it was worse for others, but hearing about them made me horribly depressed. First Michael Kelly died. I really don't have the words to say about that. Then Ken Griffey (who is, of course, on my team) dislocated his shoulder. I think the time has come for me to give up paying attention to baseball – school is just too important for me to be keeping up with fifth starters and new call-ups.

I have been getting more and more stressed about school and career. I don't have a job this summer yet, and there's only one month to finals. I feel like I'm way behind in my classes, yet the job search needs to be a priority too, right? AUGHH!!! Anyway, enough of my whining. If anybody out there (yeah, right!) has a job in Bloomington, Indiana, for a first-year law student, please let me know.
Posted close to bedtime/home ]

Fri 04 Apr 2003

So for my birthday a couple of weeks ago, I got some DVD's. Two of them were movies featuring the same actress, Daphne Zuniga. I didn't even know her name before, and now she's a fixture in my DVD collection. I guess there are worse actresses out there. And at least I didn't get three of her movies.
Posted before dinner/home ]

Dave Barry has the solution. All I can say is, I'm glad I haven't graduated yet.
Posted before Con Law./law ]

Wed 02 Apr 2003

I just want to say that I'm mightily disappointed in the Kinks. Boy, Ray really turned out to be a bitter old man didn't he?
Posted during Civ Pro./society/popculture ]

Fri 28 Mar 2003

OK, I'll bite. Martin posts this on his blog, referring to some software designed for law students here. It looks interesting, certainly quite a bit different from current bulletin boards, chat rooms, or online communities. I wouldn't mind using it here. However, I remain kind of a cynic. I don't think such a system would actually help anybody here learn anything unless they were forced to do it, at the risk of a grade or two. My experience with the legal esearch and writing program has been, shall we say, not the most stellar experience of my time in law school. A large part of that is that some of the work seems painfully like busy work. Another part is that it's just so dang hard to care about it in a pass-fail course. Of course, all of us know that writing and research will be important to any job we get, especially the first few years of practice. But we also know that to get one of those briefcase-carrying jobs at a big firm which pay so well, and which would require the good writing and research skills, a person has to get good grades. And to get good grades, one must study hard at their regular classes. Something has to give here, there's time to read your class assignments and outline, there's time to spend on personal stuff, and there's time to bang your head against a wall perfecting a writing assignment in a pass/fail course, but there (at least to me) doesn't seem to be enough time for all three. Without the personal time, I'd go insane, so I opt to skimp on the writing assignments.

So if we were to use this system, it'd have to be graded. Sad but true. And grading on the basis of something other than final exams is not a law school tradition, and there'd no doubt be resistance to this system.

And don't get me started on this law school's resistance to change. That's a rant for another day.
Posted after the post below, but really and truly I am going to start my studying now./law ]

I love Bloomington. It's odd; I hear quite a bit of complaining about it in classes here and there, mostly from out-of-staters, but even from some Indianapolis people. I can't understand why. The culture here, to me, at least, seems a unique and appealing mix of the intellectual elite (at least in their own minds) and rednecks. Two groups with bigger egos you never will meet. Even so, both groups, for the most part, just accept the other's presence and move on. The worst any conflict between the two gets is the sniping I hear in my classes about how lame Bloomington is.

Of course, the “intellectual elite” that is here in Bloomington is kind of a Double-A intellectual elite. These are the people who would probably give their right arms to have gone to the Ivy league or some other more prestigious school, but ended up here. Either that, or they're the people who sincerely want to be here and can enjoy themselves. I remember a guy in my classes say a few weeks ago, “Salad? Geez, I didn't come to the midwest to eat salad, I got enough of that in California.” And, if you ask me, those are the kind of people that make this place so cool. Thanks, Dave.
Posted after Con Law, right before I get to work studying./home ]

Tue 25 Mar 2003

OK, like I say in my links to the side, I read Balkin mainly to make my blood pressure go up. Boy, how about this post. Just two points: The New York Times says that the media wasn't critical enough of Bush's plan? C'mon, guys, we can't do it all by ourselves!!!! Why can't anyone else see the truth but us? Umm... maybe it's because IT'S NOT THE TRUTH, you boneheads! (see, Martin? Now that's ripping someone.) Second point: Balkin states:

This Administration is handling the press quite well for its own short term political purposes, but the techniques of diversion and disinformation it has perfected are not good for the long term health of a free press in this country.

Umm... sure. Again, that Clinton guy had nothing to do with “spin”. It's Bush who has perfected spin. RIIIIGHT. And remember, this guy is a constitutional law professor at the most prestigious law school in the country, and he can say straight up that Bush is a liar – but Ashcroft is crushing dissent!!!
Posted at lunchtime/politics ]

So, I was thinking the other day, what is it that really makes America great? Certainly you can read about this just about everywhere, especially post-9/11; Andy Sullivan sure talks about it a lot (or at least used to, I don't read his blog too much anymore). You hear a lot of different postulates: Our nation is great because:

  1. The freedom we have (civil liberties version – political freedom, democracy, freedom of speech, assembly, yadda yadda)

  2. The freedom we have (economic version – less regulation, allowing the free flow of capital, yadda yadda)

  3. The freedom we didn't have (this nation was built upon the backs of the slaves, and stolen from the Native Americans)

And while those arguments certainly have merit, I think it's something a bit simpler. This nation is great because of – drum roll, please – the NCAA tournament!

Don't laugh (well, not yet, anyway). I feel that the great impetus behind the USA's greatness is our superior research capabilities; certainly that is why our army can kick any other army's butt (unless they break the Geneva conventions and don't fight a straightforward war, viz. Vietnam and what was tried in Afghanistan and Iraq, and even then we will probably win – but I digress). So where is most research undertaken? In universities.

OK, that's great, but how do I connect the research departments with the basketball teams? Simple. The most prestigious universities would, one would imagine, have the easiest time recruiting professors. Oxford, Cambridge, whatever great universities are on the European Continent (go ahead, call me provincial) should have an easy go of it. But for some reason, many scientists seem to move to the U.S. to do research; for example, look at just Nobel laureates. Many of them seem to have left Europe to some to the U.S. Why is that? Sure, Harvard or some other Ivy League school can talk someone into coming over to join their staff. But the other schools, the state schools, have economic reserves to draw from that might not be available if it weren't for intercollegiate athletics. Therefore, the Michigans and the North Carolinas (and dare I say it, the Indianas) can afford to wave moolah at the brains to bring them here.

OK, you can laugh now.

Oh, in case you're interested, my professor doesn't have a blog himself, but his two sons do.
Posted between Contracts and Civ Pro/politics ]

Mon 24 Mar 2003

So, my brother (who I think is the only person besides myself to have read the post below) thinks I was unduly harsh to my Constitutional Law professor. Well, in all honesty, I don't think so. Maybe I should note some context up front: his is not like most law school classes where students are picked upon by the professor to be the victim of the day. The only way you're going to be abused in his class is to raise your hand. Although he does seem to enjoy confrontation more than my other professors, the fact that he doesn't force anyone into it, I feel, makes it OK. It is a fantastic way to examine complex issues like the law, where there are arguments both ways almost constantly. Besides, as I also noted, he freely admits that he is full of crap, at least some of the time.
Posted just before Con Law./law ]

Wed 19 Mar 2003

OK, so where do I start? The war started last night, I think. Benjamin's ear infection has just about gone away by now, though we still have to force-feed him the antibiotics; poor little guy. He's been very clingy with his mother the last few days. Jacob is learning how to endear himself to his grandparents, and they are swallowing it hook, line, and sinker. Not that there's anything wrong with that. I'm looking forward to our birthdays this weekend. I hope my parents have enjoyed their time here, but I'm afraid we've rather bored them.

I'm still not sure what I want to be when I grow up. Now I'm going to law school, and doing pretty well at it, if I do say so myself. It seems as if the law is profession which very much puts an emphasis on who is the "smartest", whatever that means. But I have a lot to learn about people skills, keeping my temper, and so forth. Just in the past few days my dad has been opening my eyes a bit. To illustrate:

We took our car to a local shop to have the brakes checked recently, and they tried their level best to sell us a pair of tires.

An aside: Of course, me, who as a kid always swore that I would patronize only small businesses, refused to have it done there.

Instead, we took the car to a local warehouse, which I will call "Bam's Club". The guy there informed us that one of the studs on one of the tires had been basically stripped, and that they didn't do it, and we should go back to wherever we had last had the tires taken off. So we went back to the local shop and confronted them about it (I must say, that really my wife did it; I am not too good with confrontation) and the guy there was kinda rude, said that it was just normal wear and tear, and that the manager's usual position was not to do anything. But he wasn't there today, so we'd need to come back tomorrow. On the way out, we told my dad, who was ready to head back in and speak with the guy himself (geez, I'm 28 years old and still can't take care of myself?) until we told him the manager wasn't around.

So I'm rather upset, and immediately draw on my law school experience to think of what theory we're gonna sue the jerks under, even if it is just a stupid bolt, probably worth about 30 cents. But my dad says, oh, just talk to them, explain that it's just a stupid bolt, worth 30 cents or so, and why can't they just fix it, and build some good will, etc.

Law school seems to be all about unpleasant confrontation and argument; indeed, that's about all my Con Law professor lives for. Another aside: my Con Law professor is full of crap, and readily admits he is full of crap; apparently it's all part of the game for him for us to identify exactly what is crap and what isn't.

Aside over. However, I managed to lose points on my Contracts exam, of all things, for not pointing out that for the client's situation, the course of action most likely to benefit him was just renegotiating, and had nothing to do with legal action at all. For some reason, I had it in my head that, if he's coming to see a lawyer, he must be getting ready for a lawsuit, right?

So what happens today -- I find a job announcement for a summer job in an area of law in which I am very interested, but one of the requirements is "must be assertive". Boy. I'm still gonna apply, though.
Posted pretty late at night./home ]

Boy, talk about a generic blog. What can I say, I'm not a design guy. My brother says he'll design a template for me if I want...

These are the sites that I read the most:

instapundit (like many, many other people)
Google News
OK, OK, so I'm biased. Big deal.

Arts & Letters Daily

The best dang writing on the web, period. (At least it was, when I set up this blog 4 years ago.)
Lileks (especially the Bleat)
Eject! Eject! Eject!

Dave Barry
Tim Blair
Worse Than Failure

Legal Stuff
How Appealing
Balkin (when I want to get mad)
Volokh & Co. (I like Phillipe the best) (where did he go, anyway?)
Some Harvard graduate who happens to be totally hilarious.

Other interesting political commentary
Colby Cosh
Impromptus (and what happened to him, too?)
Best of the Web

Baseball stuff
Hunt (What the heck happened to him, anyway?)
Viva El Birdos

Geek stuff

Sites I used to read all the time, but rarely visit anymore
Yahoo Money
Andrew Sullivan
New York Press

Marvelous ways to waste an afternoon
Travels with Samantha (rated PG-13)
The Institute of Official Cheer
The Fabulous Ruins of Detroit
Insultingly Stupid Movie Physics
The Tolkien Sarcasm Page
Wikipedia's BJAODN

Contact me here


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