Sunday, July 24, 2005

Question

I Jean-Paul Sartre right?

He claims that existence precedes and rules essence. I think Sartre may have been on to something. I have, for a few years now, been trying to define the essence that is 'humanity' and I cannot. It leads me to believe that either I have failed, I am not smart enough, or Sartre was right. What do you think?

Embarrassed

So the one person I never thought would read this actually did. If you look down at 'Old Memory' you will see the comment she left. I would think it was one of my friends playing a joke, but she put in what we tried to do. I grabbed some gold paint from the garage and we tried to paint over the blackened part of the frame. If I remember correctly the paint didn't quite match up, but I left it there in hopes my mom wouldn't look to close. That is funny stuff.

Tuesday, July 19, 2005

The major media outlets make me sick

So the major media outlets have been reporting non-stop speculation over whether or not Karl Rove should be fired by Bush. They are printing that reporters keep asking whether or not President Bush will fire Rove. They are printing that speculation keeps growing. They are laying out the case that Rove might have broken the law. They have published reports that say how bad this leak was and how terrible it would be if Rove were to be found responsible.

This is quite possibly the most hypocritical thing I have yet to see the media do. The reason it is hypocritical is because they (ABC,the AP, CNN, CBS, NBC, Newsweek, Reuters, LA Times, Washington Post, the White House Correspondents, et al)filed an amicus brief in the grand jury hearings. They all said that there was serious doubt that a crime was even committeed. They went on to say that governmental 'Leaks' are an important function in free reporting and often the only way the truth is discovered. They put into considerable doubt whether, even if Rove leaked Plame's name, they could charge him with anything. They also say that this 'leak' isn't what the statute was drafted to protect.

They say that and then they have the gall to print all this speculation. To say one thing and then print stories that allude to and even outright suggest another thing is hypocrisy. Where is the story saying that there was no crime committeed. Where is the story saying that the statute was not tailored for this situation. Where is the story saying that Plame was not a covert agent. These stories are not present in their publications, yet they file them in a court of law.

If you say that one thing is the truth and you then allow to be printed articles that clearly allude/state that another thing is the truth then you are tacitly approving the other statement. This would not be true had they printed these other stories. If they were just airing both sides then it would be fine, but to say one thing then print the other as if what they said doesn't exist is a serious lack of journalistic integrity. This is why the media cannot be trusted.

Tuesday, June 28, 2005

here again

So I am reading through the Kelo decision and I don't like it. Basically a city or a state just has to come up with a valid pretext to take your land. If they decide that your land would benefit the community through 'economic development' then you are screwed. The only thing is that they can't have a particular private party in mind before they take your land. So they decide to take your land and then they decide who gets it. That apparently makes it acceptable, but if they know who they want to give it to before hand then it isn't allright. Basically this paves the way for a community to say your area sucks, it is 'blighted', and it would be much better for us to have an industrial park there as part of a plan of making a lot in taxes. Then you lose your land. Yes you are paid 'just compensation' for it, but sometimes a house is a house and you want to live there. I imagine a married couple that has been living in their house for 60 years might have grown to like it. Apparently the judges in the majority are all about giving great deference to the decision of the legislatures of the states when it comes to taking your land. The problem is the same justices say that state legislatures get no deference in deciding whether or not substances will be legal in their home states. This is poo.

Wednesday, June 08, 2005

After a very long absence from participation in this blog due to skewel, writing competitions, going to my parent's home which doesn't have Internet, etc...

So, I started my summer internship with a matrimonial judge. Right now, as I write this, I am sitting in the jury box of the court room (which, thankfully, has wireless), waiting for counsel for plaintiff-wife to get their act together. These two attorneys are from a very large, reputable, Wall St. firm and they clearly have no idea what they are doing. The judge basically had to tell them step-by-step what they had to do, starting with how to determinine marital assets and how to calculate child support under the domestic relations law. It seems to me that the two attorneys are perhaps first- or second-year associates who aspire to be litigators and despite having no knowlege of matrimonial law, jumped on the opportunity to appear in court. This scenario just strikes me as a solid example of how important it is to have competent counsel.

Sunday, June 05, 2005

California

It really is a different world from New York. I just got in from partying and I am watching cable tv. Not the ordinary cable, but the stuff you don't have to pay for. They are showing a Grateful Dead concert. That is AWESOME. This place is great. It is good to know that there is more than 1 place I would like to live.

Wednesday, June 01, 2005

Old memory

So I was watching MTV's Cribs and they were showing this jacuzzi bath that looked a lot like one that my mom had in her old house. They were talking about the candles around the edge and this memory just popped into my head. So here it goes.

My mom is out of town for the weekend. I invite over a lady friend. Mind you this girl is way out of my league. She will remain nameless even though I doubt anyone who reads this could identify her. Anyways, she is smokin hot and so I think I am a suave little kid. Remember I was in high school and still had a lot to learn. So she is coming over and I run a hot bath and get the jacuzzi goin. You know with the bubbles and everything. I have some champagne chilled on the side and a good CD goin on the speakers. I think I am just the biggest pimp ever. So we go up and strip down to our underwear and get in the jacuzzi. We are sippin on champagne and having a good time so I turn down the lights and light some candles. I thought this would just seal the deal. So the mood is set and I make my move. To my own amazement it works. So we are getting hot and heavy and then she pulls back. She said do you smell something? I was like no baby its just the scented candles. (a real smooth operater, let me tell ya) Next thing I know she yells FIRE! I turn around and a picture frame is lit up like a bonfire. So I start splashing water all over it. I soaked EVERYTHING. Then I run it out of my house so it doesn't set the fire alarms off and stink up the house. There is nothing more romantic then a man running in wet boxers with a picture frame that is still billowing off black smoke.

Ahhh the great memories that Cribs brings out.

D'oh

3 days before I leave town for almost a week I did a stupid thing. I bought a loaf of bread. It was just a poor decision. For some reason I can't leave bread behind. Now if I was never leaving I generally have no problem letting it spoil and throwing it out. The problem is I knew I was leaving and it was just taunting me from the top of the fridge. So I have been eating bread with every meal. I literally make a sandwich and have some toast with it. I do grilled cheese and then a hot dog with bread around it. It is getting ridiculous. I have to leave in the morning and I still have half a loaf of bread. It is like the freakin never ending loaf. Atkins would want to chop off my head. I don't think i'll eat bread for a week now.

Sunday, May 29, 2005

Constitutional Chaos

I just read this article by the New York Times: http://www.nytimes.com/2005/05/29/nyregion/29cigarettes.html?

Basically it was the state of New York, through Eliot Spitzer, telling the Post Office that they needed to regulate people shipping cigarettes into the state of New York. They were pointing basically to tax laws and saying that the Post Office wasn't doing enough to make sure that people couldn't get cigarettes shipped to them in New York. The premise is that everybody in New York is doing 'their part' to stop the shipping of 'illegal cigarettes' and the Post Office is 'shamefully' sticking their heads in the sand and doing nothing about it.

I have a few problems with this. The number one problem is that after 'the Wine Case' the Supreme Court had just decided that the State of New York, amongst others, couldn't use protectionist measures to allow only certain wines to be sold in NY. The real crux of the opinion was that the 21st amendment allowed the state to restrict the age of people that could buy alcohol, but interstate mailing of wine had little to no effect on this and the dormant commerce clause reigns supreme. I see that same issue here. They are saying you can only buy cigaretters through NY merchants that make sure to put in all the applicable taxes. The only reason I can think of for this ban on internet cigarettes is because the state is losing tax money. I surely doubt there are serious concerns about underage smokers. It seems to me that this is covered by the dormant commerce clause. Why should the state get to regulate who can sell cigarettes to New Yorkers?

I have other problems with this action by the state. Another huge problem is that this seems to me like the state is trying to make federal officials enforce state laws. I can't remember the exact Con Law case, but it was decided that the federal government cannot make state officials enforce federal laws. There was a whole host of reasons why this is so, but the gist of the decision is that if the federal government makes a law then they have to enforce that law and cannot force the state to enforce it. I think this is the exact reverse of that. The state is trying to force federal officials, Post Office employees, to enforce NY state law. I think this is terrible. If New York enacts the law then NY can enforce the law. It is no different if NY passed a strict anti-jaywalking law and said that anyone caught jaywalking would spend 1 year in jail. This law obviously would never be enacted, but I am using it to provve a point. If NY then said 'hey FBI you have to enforce this and stop turning a blind eye to all the jaywalkers out there'. This is crossing a line. NY has to enforce NY state laws. This article is a butchering of the post office where it should instead be angry with the State.

Another problem with this is that NY is trying to regulate internet transactions. Many internet transactions have been exempted from state and federal taxes. There is a host of reasons for doing this. YOu can check out http://www.becker-posner-blog.com/archives/2005/05/blogging_spam_a.html for a better argument about internet taxation then I could ever give. Basically NY state is saying that you can't sell cigarettes over the internet without paying NY state taxes. They are De Facto taxing the internet. I think this is terrible and shouldn't happen at all. You may or may not agree with me about whether or not internet transactions should be taxed, but whether you do or don't they just aren't at this moment and NY shouldn't try and levy a tax.

Lastly I think this is a problem with Eliot Spitzer. Granted he has done a lot of good things through his post as NY's Attorney General I think sometimes he overregulates. Here the newspaper basically just pandered to his position and it doesn't seem that they took much time if any to research both sides of the issue. They saw that Eliot Spitzer was spearheading this and they took it for granted that it was good. They should have researched both sides of the issue instead of just asking a few Post Office officials their feelings and expecting that they are really going to cover the issues. I mean the consumer and taxpayer have a dog in this race and it seems that the newspaper assumes that they should be paying these excessive taxes and it is probably better if they do. I don't like it.

Lastly I think these types of taxes are not good in the first place. It is the state finding something that it doesn't particularly think people will stand up for and taxing it to death. Sin taxes are the name they give to it. I think that you shouldn't arbitrarily tax products just because they are considered sins and it is acceptable to tax them. Next thing you know in NY when you pass through a toll booth in an SUV you'll be paying a sin tax on driving a large vehicle.

In sum, I think that the article really missed a good story. They love state protectionist measures and will stand up for anything Eliot Spitzer does. It may seem to some that I am going against state rights here. I usually stand up strong for the rights of the state. Here I am standing up for the rights of the citizen. The right to decide whether or not you want to buy a product from your state or another state where it is cheaper and also the right to send something through the mail without it being searched.

Sunday, May 22, 2005

Quick Things

First it is the weekend of the legal writing competition. It is killing me, but I think I may be nearing completion. I wish my roommate was smarter and was involved because his incessant phone conversations are driving me up the wall. I seriously looked up how much it would cost to buy one of those cell phone jammers and have them same day ship it to me.

Next I just found out that this past week when I was drunk I applied to up the limit on my credit card. Apparently it went through. I guess that is good news. In the past I have done other 'good' things drunk and not realized I have done them until later on. I ordered TiVo on night when drunk. I went to GA one night when I was drunk. I went to Myrtle Beach in high school and I believe I was drunk. I am thinking of these times because when this competition is over I imagine I may get drunk and hopefully good stuff will happen.

Lastly while taking a break from writing I downloaded a freeward spy checker for my PC. So far it has found over 100 possibly 'infected' files. That just cannot be good. Oh well my 10 minute break is up. Time to edit my scholarly paper yet again.

Tuesday, May 17, 2005

Done

The 1L year is over. All we have is the writing competition this weekend. I will post about the 1st year after that. Then I will truly be all the way done and just sitting around wondering why my grades haven't been posted yet.

Tuesday, May 10, 2005

Quick Question and an Update

The tagline of some article I just looked at is "Christian Rock for Muslims". Wouldn't this be called Muslim Rock?

Friday, May 06, 2005

Is this news?

http://www.nytimes.com/2005/05/06/national/06time.html?hp

Yet another convention for the socially inept. Also it is an alcohol free event where they specifically said someone is bringing brownies. I hope there is some psychotropic substance that led to the creation of this convention.

Thursday, May 05, 2005

Must See

Enought with the serious stuff. The 'Harvey Birdman: Attorney At Law' season 1 DVD is out. This stuff is great. Especially if you watched cartoons when you were a little kid. Yes that means every single person. It is about the superhero 'Birdman'. He is an attorney and his clients are cartoon characters. It is 98 percent animated. For instance, they did one where Fred Flinstone was charged as a mafia boss. The whole start where they played the music from the opening of the Sapranos and had Fred driving around Bedrock with a cigar in his mouth was priceless. This cartoon is on nowadays on adult swim on the cartoon network every sunday night at like eleven or eleven thirty. I also recomment 'Robot Chicken'. If you like family guy humor then you will probably like this stuff because they were created by the same guy. (Robot Chicken and Family Guy were not Harvey Birdman). Anyways watch the Harvey Birdman: Attorney at Law season 1 DVD. It's really funny

Wednesday, May 04, 2005

Curiousity

http://nytimes.com/2005/05/05/nyregion/05license.html

I just finished reading this NY Times article. I just don't get it. The obvious slant here is that Mr. Medina is a hard working man who is just caring for his family and has spent money and time putting his roots down here in the United States. That is fine with me. I expect the NY Times to take this position. The problem is that he is a criminal. GASP. Yes he was ordered deported and he never went. He is in the country illegally. So they collared him on a broken taillight. Cry me a river. I know many people who got tickets for expired insurance or expired license or any numerous amounts of violations becuase of a broken taillight. I imagine if you are breaking the law then you would make extra sure not to have a broken taillight.

I guess what I don't get is the shock and awe that this man is being deported. Yes it is sad and yes he has tried to become a legal alien. The problem is that he isn't a legal alien. Please don't go off saying that we need illegal aliens or we wouldn't have people to work the jobs we don't want to work. That argument is a valid (somewhat) argument, but that is an argument you make to the legislature.

I know all of this is in political response to the new drivers license provisions that are going through Congress. I haven't looked at the bill so I couldn't personally comment on whether it is good or bad in its entireity. What I do know is there is a provision that says that to get a drivers license they have to check if you are in this country illegally. Also your drivers license wouldn't be able to be valid past the valid date on your visa. I don't understand why this is so bad. Do I think that they can make states do this? No. Do I think they have legal ways of making states do this? Of course. They can withhold state funding until and unless the state complies. Is that legal? Yes it sure is. Do I feel bad for illegal immigrants that would potentially get collared? No.

I know also that people will find that heartless or insensitive, but I am sorry. If you want the benefits of living in this country then you should do it legally. Do I have anything against immigrants? Not at all. I have had many friends that are immigrants or whose parents or grandparents were immigrants. I am a white guy so I know if I traced far enough back my family immigrated here. The problem I have is that they are breaking the law. I don't think we should go out of our way to make sure not to catch them. I think it does pose a security threat. I don't think that matters. If you are breaking the law then you must suffer the consequences. I also think it was a risk for Mr. Medina to buy a house in a country he was in illegally. No he won't lose his house. Yes he probably won't be able to live there anymore. He has a wife who is here legally and two daughters that are citizens. It sucks that he will have to work on regaining legal status from his home country, but that is the risk he took.

I guess in the end it is just that if you are going to take the risk then you should live with the consequences. I think that it is HIS fault what his family is going through. I think it is especially sad for his family, but the whole time he knew that he could end up in this spot. I just don't see why everyone thinks its so horrible to enforce federal law and if you do think so then lobby to get the law changed. Please don't lobby to have the law not be enforced.

Should be studying!

I should be studying but instead I am posting. This is about something I saw on MSNBC today. They were running a story and had some talking heads. They were discussing this 'scandal' over American Idol. For those that don't know about it apparently Paula Abdul may have been coaching, and possibly having a sexual relationship, with a contestant. They weren't talking about the specific situation but instead they were talking about reality tv and how they may be fooling us.

I mean c'mon. Whomever thought that reality tv was actually real and there was only cameras there to document the situation has to be kidding themselves. Have people forgotten that this is ENTERTAINMENT. Of course producers are keeping the people in the game that are entertaining to watch. That is what they are putting the show on for. The more people they get watching the more money they get in advertising revenue. That is how they make money.

What really got me going was when they threw around the idea of creating federal law to force shows to tell us whether or not they had infleunce on the outcome. I thought this idea would get laughed off. The people seriously thought this should be an option and if they don't create a law congress should investigate and producers should be made aware of what they were doing.

Are people going nuts? Do they not realize that television is entertainment? What is next when a soap opera star goes into a coma should there have to be a disclaimer that it is just acting and no person is actually in a coma? People may say that this situation is different because they don't purport to be reality. So what! Did you detrimentally rely on Cody being the actual winner of Survivor (I don't watch Survivor and just made up the name)? Are people really shocked that maybe since American Idol is giving a professional services contract to the winner that they would fudge things to make sure they didn't give it to a hack? This stuff is ridiculous.

Now you may have a claim (a terrible one) with American Idol. You could say that you detrimentaly relied on their statements that your phone call would matter and you had to spend money to make the phone call. You could say that they induced you do to this using fraud. They knew that you would rely on their false statement when making the decision to make the phone call. I am thinking class action would be the only way to even think about suing. I would also think you would have problems convincing a jury that it was reasonable that you relied on the assertions of a tv personality.

To end up this post. People trust what they see and hear on television way more than anybody should. If you get duped by a show into thinking their outcomes are based totally on the events and there is not producer control then too bad. If you don't like it don't watch the show. If Congress (which I 98% doubt they will) gets involved then I will want to sue the government for misappropriation of taxes. The only worry I have is that more people vote for american idol then they do in many (if not most) political elections and Congress could see this as away to garner attention and support. Not very likely, but not impossible. CRAZINESS

Tired of politicking

So I was watching the news today. A pundit was on a news show talking about energy policy. Now I am fine with that so far and I a fine with pundits putting forth their parties and their particular candidates and politicians position, that is good. What I don't want is people drumming up false support. What I am talking about is a specific statement where a certain pundit said that when he travels around to listen to constituents he hears them talking about how we haven't built an oil refintery on US soil in 20 years. You have got to be kidding me. I seriously doubt that regular people were thinking, without any prodding, that they haven't seen an oil refinery go up in a while and in fact it has been 20 years since they have seen one go up. Maybe a very small percentage of people that are very knowledeable about the oil business in the US. Maybe they have been talking about it. I would bet that at a minimum 90% of Americans, if asked 6 months ago, would have no clue when the last oil refinery was built in the US.

I am imagining that you are asking yourself why this matters. Especially if it is a good idea. Shouldn't our representatives bring such things to our attention? Of course they should and I am not passing judgment on whether we should build more refineries. What I am saying is that the tail is wagging the dog here. Tell me that this is a good idea and tell me that I should support this. Don't tell me that the public is bringing up this issue. I mean if you throw a stone in a pond don't tell me that the pond is rippling all on its own. Your stone caused in. When you get out there and say we need new refineries and you need to worry about this, don't then come to me and say look at what the public wants.

I know the argument against this is that they are just telling the public the issues and the people's strong response is what they are pushing and the people have latched on to this and responded to it and brought the attention to it themselves and they actually do want it. No that is not what is going on. If that was what is going on then it would be acceptable. They are telling people that this is important and that this is key in energy policy. Then people hear that and say hey we need this. We elect politicians to make decisions for us. That is the way our government works. I just don't want them 'peeing on my leg and telling me it is raining'.

Many people will not understand why I care about this or why it matters. The problem is that when the fire comes to the front door the politician will scream that he/she was 'following the will of the people'. No you made a good or bad decision. This obfuscates the issue and clouds what politicians are really doing. We elect them to act. They should use their judgment when acting and not set things up to look like they are just doing 'what the people demand'. This is bad politicking and it makes me sick.

Lastly this was a republican pundit and I didn't catch the name so that is why I am not linking to it and I saw it on Fox news. I also tell people that I am conservative/libertarian politically and lots think that I only side with republicans. I have been growing more libertarian lately and I think this is a good show of it. No I didn't type it to prove I don't side with just republicans and this issue shouldn't be taken as pushing one side or the other. I just want to point out that I don't just attack one side or the other.

Saturday, April 30, 2005

Journalism?

http://nytimes.com/2005/04/30/politics/30plan.html?hp&ex=1114833600&en=2d9bb090191a6cd1&ei=5094&partner=homepage

The link is a NYTimes article. I am having a harder time getting through articles than I have had in a while. I mean if you are halfway intelligent and you listened to President Bush's speech at the news conference last night you would realize that nobody is having benefits cuts. But the NYTimes says that he is making major cuts to the middle class and the NYTimes would never mislead me. Get used to it. He is slowing down the rate of growth for the middle and upper class and shifting that growth to the lower class. Cutting down the rate of growth is not cutting benefits. Also with the slower rate of growth the personal accounts would more than make up the difference. I just don't get why the NYTimes has to spout out the democrat's talking points. It just doesn't make any sense. I hear Nancy Pelosi give her spin and then that night the NYTimes is copying her almost verbatim.

Now don't just think this is an attack on the left. No there are plenty of journalists that just spout out the republican's talking points. I remember when we used to be fooled into thinking that journalists were independant and would report what they saw and give no bias. Those days are over. Where it really bothers me is when I see an event, the press conference last night, and I can tell you before anything is printed which newspapers will support it and which newspapers will say that it is just creating more partisanship. It is ridiculous and I think it is a big reason of why newspapers are losing huge numbers in circulation. Also the internet has to play a part in this, but if the newspapers were better then people would be reading them.

Lastly I have yet to hear an actual alternative to Bush's plan. I like his plan and I think it is a good idea. It is the plan that the federal government gives to its own employees. I don't really understand why people oppose this. Most likely this is because in politics lately there is no concern given to the people. Politicians just don't want to see the other side do something good. Even if it hurts their own constituents they don't want the other side to say look what we did for you. I think it is ridiculous. I think the real starting point was this years election. I can't help but remember hearing tons of people saying that they don't care who else is in there but they just don't want Bush. They were voting not for another person but against Bush. You can't create a political theory based on the 'not the other guy' platform. Then all you end up doing is opposing everything they put forth and spend little to no time putting forth your own ideas. I also think it is funny when you have a poll where 70 some percent say they think social security won't be there for them when they retire and then the same people are opposed to changing the program. Two conclusions. Either those people are just dumb, or the questions asked are leading. Imagine that journalists coming in again and pushing things their own way. I gotta stop writing and get back to studying. It makes it easier to study when you don't want to watch the news. pretty soon my 1L year will be over. that is good.

Tuesday, April 26, 2005

More about purchase rights

I think that the comments were on to something. When I was writing that post I was searching to the ends of the earth to try and justify my position and the more I thought about it the harder it was to justify and in the end it is just plain wrong. Where it fails is exactly what was pointed out. No buyer would want to have you making a profit by making it tougher to sell their bag. If they did give you this 'right to purchase' it would not be an unqualified right. It would be more like an easement. Yes you have it and you can use it to buy the bag, but you can't let someone else use it. In other words your right to buy is limited. It is only a right to buy. Also there is a problem about selling the right. She pointed out in the comments that 'there is only one (bag)'. Also once you sell your right to buy you still have the right to buy because you can't really sell it. I don't think my point is coming across quite clearly, but the main point is that you don't have a right to grab bags and make others pay. I think the store would be well in their rights to chuck anyone they saw doing this. I would imagine it does happen on occasion.

That brings us to I think another point. The point about selling water at higher prices after a hurricane. Sabrina says it is 'ethically vapid' to take advantage of someone in this manner. I am not so sure about that. I think when you use the water hurricane example it definitely is morally wrong. The hard part about the argument is because it is situational. Is it 'ethically vapid' to buy a property that is highly sought after for the sole purpose of waiting until it is worth more to sell it? I think not. Yet this is nearly the same situation. The difference being if a person needed the water to live. Let's assume they don't and they will be fine, but water has just become a hot commodity. We have to assume this because nobody needs a Kade Spade bag in order to survive. I think the statement that it is 'ethically vapid' to acquire something that is in high demand for the sole purpose of reselling it is wrong. If this were so then the stock market would be ethically defunct. You buy on speculation hoping it will be in higher demand and then you sell. I guess the question is whether the store situation is more like the hurricane water or the stock market.

I personally think it is more like the stock market and I think the way these sales are conducted by people like Kate Spade invite this type of activity. They come out with a box and dump it out and let whomever can grab on to it get it. It creates an atmoshpere of limited supply and high demand. It also creates a first in time first in right atmosphere. If they didn't sell this way then you wouldn't be able to do this. For instance if someone in a regular store tells me they'll let me buy the particular shirt they are holding I will laugh at them and then walk over to the rack and grab one in my size and buy it. It is sort of a what did you expect argument. The reason I think this argument holds is the fact that they create this fervor over their product. They send out promotionals that uplay the elbowing and 'grab it first' and 'fight it out' mentality. If I put a bunch of bees in a box and then shake the box like hell then I expect them to come out stinging.

In the end the original thought was that there was a right to sell. There is no right. So it is not necessarily right, but I wouldn't go as far as saying it was wrong or 'ethically vapid'. I think there are situations where this exact behavior is morally reprehensible and there are different situations where the behavior is perfectly acceptable. I don't draw the line at this. Remember though that I would personally hold myself to a higher ethical standard. I don't draw the line in so far as I wouldn't punish the behavior, but I also wouldn't personally endorse the behavior. Drawing lines of where something is ethical at the boundaries is far different from a statement proclaiming the acts to be worthy of praise or something to be imitated.

Thursday, April 21, 2005

Buyer's Rights?

So my friends were having this conversation at school. They are going to this sale where some designer plops stuff out and it is cheaper than it usually is. Apparently they bring out boxes and it is sort of a 'if you grab it you got it' type deal. Apparently there is rampant elbowing and pushing and the like going on. Also apparently if someone sees that you have what they want they will follow you around hoping you put it down. I then suggested that you could make money by grabbing stuff and if someone is following you around waiting and hoping that you put it down then you sell them the right to buy this.
I was immediately called out for being truly unethical and basically an all around horrible person for suggesting this. I like to think of it as entrepreurial genius. They said that you have no right to do this until you actually purchase the said product and want to sell it. Here is what I think. From the start the designer is offering these products as first come first serve. So whomever picks it up first can then walk to the register and purchase it. You have acquired, by picking up the product, the right to purchase it. You can then sell that right to purchase to another shopper. You are not selling the product because you don't own it. You are merely selling your right to purchase, which you have the right to do.
I think it is fairly analagous to the legal situation of someone who steals something. The person who has stolen the item has a right to keep you from stealing it even though the person that actually owns it can take it from them no problem. They have a superior right over you even though someone has a superior right over them.
I know it is not exactly analogous, but I think this helps us frame the issue. Yes until you actually purchase it you have no right to resell it, and often when you buy things you don't actually buy the right of resale. Either way the owner of the items puts them in the stores and says the first to pick it up can take it to the register and buy it. The reason it is so important is because there is a limited stock. It is not like in a regular store where there are 30 more items hanging on the shelves. Here there is a limited variety so when you pick it up and gain that right to buy you have a right to sell that right. I think this is a recognized property right and it is perfectly ethical to do this.
I know people will disagree, but think of it like this. What if you were walking around with an item in hand and someone comes up to you and proffers 20 dollars if you will hand them the item? This is the same situation except that they are initiating the sale instead of you. You have the right to say no as do they if you offer them the same deal. Ethically there is nothing wrong with it. Once that right is created then you can sell that right and it is ethically sound.
The obvious argument against this will be that you don't have the right. The problem with this is that it is wrong. Otherwise you couldn't buy the item. There are more nuanced arguments saying that all you have is possession and the right not to be harmed. These together keep people from taking the item from you. I would say that you have a right. Anyone has a right to buy, but there right is not qualified until they pick up the item. Then they have the right to buy plus possession. This means their right to buy is now worth something because they have possession and they can sell that right. I can't think of anything ethically wrong with selling a right. We do it all the time. One easy property example is someone selling an easement. That is selling a right.

Tuesday, April 19, 2005

2 things

First, I am going to try and not talk about religion as much or at all. It is a hot button issue and I feel, from the response, that my message was getting lost and that was probably my fault because of my unclear writing so I will leave those issues for somebody else to discuss.

Second, I was dissapointed that the Supreme Court didn't give its opinion in Aschroft v. Raich today. I have read a good bit on that and I read the oral arguments and they were really good (in a dorky I like the commerce clause litigation sort of way). I can honestly say that I have no clue what I think the outcome will be. I know what I think it should be, but it puts forth a neat dynamic. It'll be interesting to see the answer and I have been waiting patiently for a long time.

Sunday, April 17, 2005

On to a new issue

First i'd like to thank my co-blawger for bringing up good counter points. Debating the issue ad naseum will be left up to others in another forum or the comments section because I am moving on to a new issue.
This issue is the media and the election of a new Pope. All I hear in the media is that the new Pope needs to be more progressive and less traditional and has to open up the Catholic Church to new ideas and new thinking. I particularly do not like this at all. There is one book and one set of rules that the Catholic Chruch follows. They follow the Bible and the teachings of Christ. I don't want to get into the particular issues, but I just think that the Catholic Church will follow those teachings and to try and get it to change is a bit ridiculous.
I know that some of the practices and procedure come from different leaders from the Church and are not central to its teachings, but in the end I don't think the Catholic Church has the same goals in the minds of the media. To me the media seems to think that the Catholic Church has to worry about numbers. Let us not forgot that under John Paul II the Church has grown in size. Also the Church's mission is to save people. They are not interested in changing some rules so that some more people are happy calling themselves Catholics. They are interested in people becoming good Christians and following God's words. I just don't think mainstream media really gets this.

Saturday, April 16, 2005

My Rebuttal

"Polite society should strive for higher standards and should reject gutteral attempts to degrade and shock."
- Andrew

Some thoughts on this statement:

1) What "polite society" are we referring to? Is it the same polite society where a U.S. Senator likens sex between consenting adults who are of the same sex to incest (Rick Santorum re: Lawrence v. Texas, asserting that if the court struck down the law banning sex between homosexuals "then you have the right to bigamy, you have the right to polygamy, you have the right to incest, you have the right to adultery. You have the right to anything"). Or the one where the nation's president implies that non-traditional families are less "moral" than nuclear families in his State of the Union address?

2) Shock can be a good way for people to realize there is a need for change. Sometimes shock is a way to jolt us into a different perspective, even for a moment, to realize that where we're at and where we've been going may not be what we really want. Shock can be an effective tool to drive home a more subtle point; it may make you stop and think "why does that message mean so much to someone that he would deliver it in that manner." Shock is how you get people talking about little pondered issues while huddled around the water cooler.

3) Whose "higher standards" are we striving for? The higher standards of empirical science and strongly demonstrated mechanisms of physics, chemistry, mathematics, and biology? Or "higher standards" in the divine sense where the standards are so elevated that they cannot be brought down by something as pithy as the theory of evolution or "arguments" that the Holocaust really occurred?

I do agree that the comment Mr. Brendt made was rude and did not show deference to such an esteemed member of our nation's judiciary. At the very least, it made for a very uncomfortable situation for many who were trying to impress Justice Scalia in hopes of earning a clerkship in the high court. However, I commend Mr. Brendt for his commitment to his belief and his acumen in illustrating, although lost in the controversy, a good point - the way two consenting adults choose to be intimate is not an issue for a public forum such as a Q & A session at NYU, let alone the legislation.

As an aside, I am an NYU alum and made-it through four years of walk-outs protesting the war, sit-ins against the military’s biased recruiting practices for the JAG core, marches against abortion, rallies for equal protection of Muslims after 9/11, petitions criticizing President John Sexton's investment of university proceeds in mutual funds connected to prison industries, and letter-writing campaigns to local papers protesting the university's hiring of non-union contractors. While I was not involved and am pretty apolitical, all this definitely made for a very rich, very rewarding, and very enlightening college experience. I am not surprised this "degrading and shocking" event took place at NYU, especially since the university is more than supportive of the free exchange of ideas.

E-Mail clarification

I received an e-mail from a reader. Even though it wasn't a happy e-mail it makes me happy that somebody is out there reading. The point of this post is that clarification is in order. The e-mail basically talked about restricting freedoms and how bad that was. I agree with the e-mail and I think there is a fine line between security and freedom and we should pick freedom as often as humanly possible. What I was advocating in my last post is social repulsion. I don't think the government should be involved at all. The student's remarks were perfectly legal. I just think we should not socially condone this behavior. NYU is a private school and as thus can set standards of behavior that are above government standards. This is perfectly legal. Also private firms should not want to have somone work fo them who cannot follow society's normal etiquette. Again what this student said was perfectly legal and he does have a right to say it. I am advocating that polite society, not government, should reject this behavior. I guess what I am looking for is NYU, not a government entity, to say that yes student you have a right to say this, but as a private school we will not allow you to act in a manner that the situation does not accord. We will expect you to live up to a certain standard of behavior at our functions. This is not the government restricting this person's freedom or liberty it is just a private organization saying that you have to act like an adult if you don't want to eat at the kiddie table. Polite society should strive for higher standards and should reject gutteral attempts to degrade and shock. let's not forgot that this person's stated goals were to 'dehumanize and embarass' Justice Scalia.

Friday, April 15, 2005

Scalia at NYU

You can find a reference of the events I am talking about here http://volokh.com/posts/1113585884.shtml

This is just terrible I think. I have heard a lot of discussion about this and it just seems to go in the wrong direction to me. There should be a minimum amount of civility that one has. There are certain things you just don't do. This is one of them. I understand that this individual may have very strong feelings that Justice Scalia was incorrect in his dissent in Texas v. Johnson, but that in no way makes this behavior acceptable. One would think that an educated person that is bright enough to get into NYU Law would understand that this doesn nothing for his cause. Yes it gets him and his cause discussed, but it hurts his cause at best by victimizing the person he is against. I feel sorry for the people that brought Scalia to NYU to get an award. Apparently (in one of the comments to volokh.com's post one person said he was present and had talked to people on the committe that brought and honored Scalia) they were completely embarrassed. I understand dissent and I understand not liking someone's views, but there is a common level of decency that should be adhered to.
I can only hope that this person has a hard time getting a job. I know that is harsh from one statement, but think about having this person advocating for your clients. You may say that he knows 'shock value' and can bring attention to your case, but it is all negative attention. I imagine if he had asked an eloquent questioned that shook up Justice Scalia then it would be getting press (admittedly not as much) and it would do good things for his cause. I know that if he came into my office I would immediately send him packing. I would be afraid that he would yell at a judge causing my firm embarrassment and possibly fines. I dont' think this is the way you want to make a name for yourself in your legal community.
I don't know. I just don't like this at all. I think it stains NYU's reputation and this particular person's reputation. I think we should not forgot that we represent not only ourselves, but those of us that we associate with. I am done with this.