Saturday, February 26, 2005

Background reading

Here are some sites for background reading for the last post in case you haven't read much about them
http://www.rockymountainnews.com/drmn/news_columnists/article/0,1299,DRMN_86_3530404,00.html
http://www.insidedenver.com/drmn/education/article/0,1299,DRMN_957_3501617,00.html
http://nytimes.com/2005/02/26/education/26harvard.html
http://www.becker-posner-blog.com/archives/2005/02/the_summers_con.html

I know the NY Times requres signing up, but it is free and not a bad idea because you can read the entire paper on the internet and that is nice. Also they don't send any spam. the becker posner blog is great and is a blog by two great minds. Really worth reading. A short disclaimer: I have not yet read the specific becker posner post, but judging from thier previous works I imagine it will be a very good and inciteful look into the situation.

Freedom of Speech

It seems to me that many people extend freedom of speech to the speech that they like. There is an excellent juxtaposition in the media. The first example is the professor from Colorado, Ward Chruchill. What this guy said was offensive and horrible. I think nobody should ever invite him to their school. The next example is Larry Summers. I know their situations aren't the same because one is a tenured professor at a public university and the other is a president of a private university, but I think the reactions are a neat juxtaposition.
The conservative reaction: they treated Ward Chruchill like the terrible person he is. He called innocent civillians 'little Eichmanns' and all sorts of other terrible things. Many, not all, conservatives called, and are still calling, for him to lose his job. They say various things such as that taxpayers should not be paying for this and people have a right to free speech, but not to be heard. A lot is going around, but the gist is he should lose his job. When Larry Summers said what he said the conservatives said that people need to chill out. He was trying to be provocative and he was citing a study. Conservatives are saying that all this uproar about what he said is ridiculous and they should be talking about the substance of his speech and not about him keeping his job.
The liberal reaction: They are championing Ward Churchill as a bastion of free speech. They purposely avoid talking about what he said but they viciously defend his right to say it. They try to use it as an example of how the right is restricting speech. They stand behind this guys right to say what he wants. In regards to Larry Summers they treat him as a bigot. They hold meetings and want to have a vote of no confidence for him. They think he is terrible and anyone that says anything like him should automatically be ousted from their post.
I know this doesn't begin to show the whole gamut of responses, but these are the troubling responses. Both groups, conservative and liberal, have decided that somewhere free speech should be put down. I think this is horrible. As soon as you start curtailing others free speech you are inviting others to restrict your speech. I think the power of our country is that you can say horrible vile things and we have to let you. We can not make content based restrictions on speech. I think tha is a beautiful thing and as I get older I believe in it more and more. If conservatives want to quiet Churchill then they have no right stading up for Summers. Vice Versa for the liberals.
So what do I think? I think Ward Churchill said some terrible things. I think he should have never gained tenure at the university in the first place. He is a liar, attributing to himself a false relationship with and Indian tribe. I hate what he said and I think it causes considerable pain for those involved with September 11th. Should he be fired? No ofcourse not. They can fire him for lying on his application, but Tenure is a contractual relationship and the University gave it to him. They should have to live with it and learn not to tenure crazies in the future. I hate to say it but I hate what he says but I will voraciously defend his right to say it.
It goes the same way, almost, with Larry Summers. He brought up a controversial viewpoint. I know his situation is different because the private college has a lot more leeway in hiring and firing whomever they want for whatever they want. That said I think he should be championed by all free speech advocates. He made a statement that has taken a lot of flak. The problem with his statement is that liberals automatically object to that type of statement whether it is backed by empirical evidence or not. I think he has created a ton of discussion and debate on the issue and that is exactly what you want. I think anyone that champions his free speech has to do the same with Ward Churchill. It is a terrible double edge sword, but one that I like. Not only do I have to allow the speech that I think is useful and good, but I also have to allow the speech that I hate and think is counter productive.
I also think that the really interesting part of this is the liberal and conservative split on these issues. They are basically mirroring each other. I am just curious as why one group always protects a certain kind and the other seems to gravitate to the exact opposite kind. I guess it is good because that protects people the most.
In the end I just don't want to end up like Canada. I know a lot of people like Canada, but it really does curtail a lot of freedoms that we think of as basic, unalienable freedoms. Two of these are free speech and double jeapordy. I'll put a link to an article here in a minute, but I think stories like these make me proud to be living in America and happy that we can debate these issues openly. I think that is the strenght of our system. http://cnews.canoe.ca/CNEWS/Law/2005/02/24/941148-cp.html Again I do not condone the speech that these people were making. They were saying horrible things, but since there is no immediate threat I can't see disallowing them the right to free speech. Also they were acquitted and that should have been the end of it.

Our Loss

Our loss is Hofstra Law School's gain. Professor Aaron Twerski's appointment as Dean of Hofstra Law School is a good thing. I am glad to see him get such a prestigious appointment. He will definitely be great for the school. I had him as my torts professor last year and I think that I am lucky that I did. He was a great professor and I feel that I really learned a lot in the course. I was looking forward to taking products liability with him, but that will no longer happen.
For those of you that don't know Professor Twerski is just about the man when it comes to products liability. He was a Co-reporter for the Restatement of Torts Third on Products Liability. He has written numerous law review articles in all the prestigious journals and he taught as a visiting professor at such schools as Cornell, Boston University, and the University of Michigan Law Schools. I mean the guy had a teaching fellowship at Harvard Law School. I guess what I am getting at is that I am sad to see him go, but I am happy for him. I hope Brooklyn uses this opportunity to try and gain someone as accomplished, but I don't think Twerski's shoes can be filled here. It's rare when you meet someone that when his name comes up not only does nobody have anything negative to say, but everyone clammers to say what they like about him.

Monday, February 21, 2005

response

Someone finally commented. First off I want to say thanks. Second I don't want to get into the whole debate. I had a whole list of things naming people and what they did (great procrastination work when I should have been doing my appellate brief). I think I will leave it well alone. I have been too political lately. I actually make myself watch certain shows on television now. This is so my life won't consist of waking up, going to class, studying, exercising, and sleeping. This way I have some entertainment in there. I am extremely dissapointed that Arrested Development looks like it is going off the air. I thought the show was great. I wish you could have a tivo that would keep making shows that you like. I don't think Seinfeld would miss a single week if that existed.
I like President's Day. It means that I can work on my appellate brief all day and not go to class. It really was a cheat of a three day weekend since the whole weekend will be/was spent at my desk. Oh well. It is time for bed now. Great roommate just got home. Now I get to listen to him clomp around and talk on the phone for the next hour. I really want to meet the people that live under us becuase he is so heel heavy when he walks that my bed shakes. I imagine the people on the floor below us must just despise this cat. I should go down there and give them a picture of him. After tuesday I think I may have a break and will actually be able to make a funny list or something. Also i am going to visit the Gates so I will tell you whether it is worth the subway ride or not.

Sunday, February 20, 2005

funny stuff

I caught this little ditty today http://www.bloglicious.com/tony/archives/000964.html
It's pretty funny stuff. I wish I had a chance to look at my exams here and the comments that were put on them, but like one of the commenters said on that post said that less than 20% percent of the class actually gets to look at their exams and I didn't fall into that category (luckily). Anyways that comment made me think about professors and how people complain about how mean they are. Some are and some aren't. I find myself wishing that they would be angrier and meaner. People make dumb comments in class and ask stupid questions. If they were afraid that the professor would bit their head off then they would keep their mouth shut and I would learn more. I think the socratic method needs to be revived.
Also what is the deal with this 'I Pass' crap? I mean at first it was thought of as a horror if you said it and now almost every other day I hear those words. Why have people quit reading? Don't get me wrong I love it and they will be worse off during exam time, but I get annoyed with this attitude that they can say pass and then twenty minutes later ask the professor to repeat everything he has said since last wednesday!!! It really chaps my ass. I am paying a premium amount for this education and I don't want to learn less because you refuse to work hard outside of class.
Also why are these kids expecting law school professors to coddle them? I mean we all at a minimum have a bachelor's degree. We should understand how to learn and how to do work on our own. Why do people still expect the professors to hold their hand the whole way through. Are these people going to ask a judge to be nicer to him when said judge is sending thier client to jail? Are they going to complain that the judge should have been more constructive? These professors are preparing students to be lawyers in a damn competitive, cutthroat legal world. When someone says 'your going to jail' as a comment they could be correct. Remember that gross errors on law school exams draw harsh comments, but gross errors while practicing law get you thrown in jail or at a minimum slapped over the head with a hefty rule 11.
In sum I just want people to grow up. Mean, biting criticism can be very constructive if you use it in the proper way. We are all adults and we should take this criticism. Let us not forgot that law school is a weeding out program so that employers can find out who to hire based on your rank. It is an ugly system that we all voluntarily joined full well knowing how harsh it can be. Don't take a vacation to the Sahari and then complain about the lack of water.

Freedom

I am starting to see the tide turn on the Iraq War. I am seeing columnists and journalists actually looking at it as a good thing. They are starting to realize that other nations in the Arab world are looking at this as a positive step forward. Lebanon people actually stoop up and told the Syrian government to get out of their country. Thomas Friedman (in an opinion piece in the NY Times) is calling this an 'Arab Renaissance'. I think our country is finally remembering how precious freedom is. We have fought more than one war over freedom. I remember one great patriot, Patrick Henry, who said "give me liberty or give me death". Now I admit to you that losing american lives has been tough and it will always be tough, but lets look at what has been gained. A whole nation that can now look forward to freedom and democracy. They have the opportunity to empower their country with all the essential freedoms that we hold dear and they couldn't even dream of just 3 short years ago. I think people are finally viewing our soldier's sacrifice in the proper light. They gave their lives towards the same cause that our forefathers fought for so many years ago. I think they would be proud to see us standing up for nations that can't help themselves. I dare say that George Washington would come to understand this as an exception to his entangling alliances theory.
Lastly I just want to make sure that we remember those who stood in opposition to freedom. We have short memories sometimes and we are all too often able to give people credit where it is not due. Let's not allow those that opposed this to use our great victory as an advantage to themselves. I am reminded of the Democrat from West Virginia who led a 14 hour filibuster to try and keep the Civil Rights Act of 1964 from being passed. You say that those ideas are gone, but then you look at the Senate's make up and see that yes Robert Byrd, the former Ku Klux Klansman, is still in the senate and is actually the Dean of the Senate for the Democrats. He wrote a letter in the early 90's to the KKK's imperial wizard saying that the Klan was needed in West Virginia now more than ever and he was 'anxious' to see its rebirth.
I am using that example to show that we shouldn't forget the past so quickly. Lets show our opposition to those who opposed freedom every step of the way. They went as far as to try and not fund the effort. They called us occupiers and they called war criminals. Many countries continued to work against us even after the war started. France still can't get it right since they are refusing to call Hezbollah a terrorist group and allowing them to collect money through charity organizations. Let's remember what these people said and did and when they try to use this momentous swing of power to the individuals in the Arab world let's call them on it. Let's say you were agianst this every step of the way and you now have no right to hijack the good that comes from it. We should also lead an investigation into France's connection to terrorism. They sold arms to the Iraqi's well after we had invaded them. They will not denounce Hezbollah as a terrorist organization and so Hezbollah is allowed to raise money legally. Let's take those who stand by and allow terrorism to happen and let's hold them responsible for what they are doing.

Friday, February 18, 2005

Honesty In Politics

An oxymoron right? Well for some. The lady from congressional district 47 in California, Loretta Sanchez, was questioning Donald Rumsfeld today during a committee meeting. She was accusing him of 'bandy'(ing) around numbers about the level of Iraqi policemen in Iraq. He didn't know what she was talking about and said that they weren't his numbers they were General Petreus' numbers. So she says "I have Petreus' numbers. They're differant than your numbers, by the way". He then tells her that their not different if the date is the same. He he tells her the date that he got his numbers "February 14". He then asks her "Whats yours"? Her reply "December 20". She is a freaking congresswoman. She is trying to make Donald Rumsfeld look bad by using old numbers. Democrats have continually tried to underestimate the number of Iraqi's that are trained to fight. I am glad it has come to the surface that the reason they have such low numbers is they just use numbers that are 2 months old. This doesn't pass the smell test folks. It stinks. Where is the media coverage for this? Oh yeah they are busy trying to create territorial disputes for our new intelligence head. I know I have said earlier on this that I would try and not be biased. I have reported things that republicans have done that don't pass the smell test either. This is just blatant and I wish it would get the coverage it deserves. This is the type of manipulation that goes on that makes it impossible to trust politicians.

Thursday, February 17, 2005

Hands free?

As I was walking home from school today I saw a woman using a hands free device for her cell phone. Nothing out of the ordinary, right? Well she was holding the microphone peice up to her mouth with her hand. It seems to me that she could have just as easily held the phone up to her head. It just seemed to defeat the whole point of using the hands free device.
I imagine a lot of gadgets are used just because they are gadgets. My dad used to tell me that sometimes the things you own end up running your life more than you. This is true of a lot of things. I think one of the best examples is the car. It is a great thing and I really enjoyed having one, but it was a lot of work and often I had to spend time fixing it up rather than doing the things I bought the car for. I know stupid lesson and not much real connection with the hands free cell phone device. Oh well. I think I will write something profound later. Right now roommate is playing loud music and it is tough to gather my thoughts. he is annoying.

Tuesday, February 15, 2005

Reality TV

I want to pose a question. I don't think anyone will answer because I have serious doubts whether or not anyone reads this. So NBC is coming out with this show The Contender. Apparently one of the contestants has committed suicide. I don't think the show will be liable and I also don't think reality shows would drive people (generally) to suicide. I say this with the caveat that most (at least as far as I know) they make contestants undergo psychological testing before they come on the show. Watching The Apprentice the other week made me think of this because one lady on the show about had a mental breakdown and then quit the next week. Now this guy commits suicide. My question is whether or not this marks the end for reality tv? I mean of course the liability goes up as soon as people are committing suicide. This makes it ultimately more expensive and the low cost was one of the reasons that these shows were so popular amongs those shelling out the bucks to make them. They were cheaper than sitcoms and were netting the same if not more money. I don't know how I feel about it. I think it seems morbid. I also think when you talk about reality tv you have to deal with reality and unfortunately suicide is a reality. I'll be interested to see how the show handles it. I'll be interested to see if this effects reality shows in general. I am interested in what you guys think?

Monday, February 14, 2005

what day is it again?

I think I have realised the gist of law school. It seems to be about focusing your energy into the proper channels at the proper times. I mean you could just say organization, but it is more than that. It is having an assignment that may take two or three weeks and sparsing out time over those weeks to do it instead of waiting till the last minute. I think this is why professionals do so well in law school. Coming straight, or very recently, out of college you haven't had quite this environment. I mean in college you could always just knock out stuff as it became due.
Enough with that. I have decided that my life is rather boring. On the other hand I am accomplishing everything I want to and I think the dull monotony of the weeks really leads to productivity. I am in better shape then I have been in probably 2 years. I am getting all my stuff done and am actually, finally, getting the job search truly under way (only about half a month later than I should have, but oh well). I think it really takes that kick in the pants to get things going. That kick in the pants for me was signing all the loan agreements. Knowing that very soon I will have to start paying back giant sums of money to banks is enough motivation to make you want to put yourself in the position to make a little bit of money.
coming soon is a post about reality television.

Saturday, February 12, 2005

Two things

First is that I really love CostCo. I mean where else can you get an eight pound bag of ChexMix and a 48 pack of capri sun to wash down all that mix. All the while getting glasses, a diamond for the wife, a new computer, an eight gallon tub of butter, and a new DVD for the kids. It is crazy, but I like it a lot.
Second I want to sue various computer companies. If anybody that reads this has done any research on vision problems related to computer use I want to know about it. Computers could be the new cigarrette companies if you get my drift. Also I just had to purchase a new pair of glasses and apparently eye doctors see a correlation between computer use and your vision worsening. This could be good. Also if you are an engineer hit me up so that I can talk to you about better computer screens that don't compromise your vision.

Tuesday, February 08, 2005

long day today

Professors sometimes need to control their classroom better. At first I was getting angry at the dumb kids that kept asking dumb questions. I mean if you don't understand the definition of something then look it up. Or ask the professor after class or through e-mail. I was getting tired of it and was blaming it on the other students, but then I realized that the blame shoudl fall on the professor. At some point they need to just move on and stop taking questions. I mean they should have an idea of where the middle performers in the class are and keep the pace just past them. I am paying good money to listen to them lecture and I am not paying all this money so some dumb kid can be spoonfed the lesson plans on a daily basis. I just had 2 classes today where at least half of the course time was spent teaching these kids easy concepts that they should have picked up from the reading. I am getting tired of that. Oh well. Hopefully i'll have some time this weekend to write a decent post. Right now I am caught up in trying to do good and these kids are getting in my way. It is annoying.

Sunday, February 06, 2005

Nescafe

So there is this commercial right that is saying that you can go to Nescafe's website and put in your information and they will send you a free thing of their coffee grounds. Then it cuts to a shot of Donald Trump's secretary and she is informing Trump that his free thing of Nescafe is in. They then have a voice over a shot of product and the voice says something along the lines of turns out everyone likes free stuff. I guess you are wondering why I am talking about this. Well I think it is hilarious in the light of the 35 million dollar lawsuit that Nescafe just lost. They used this guys picture on their coffee bottle for some 20 odd years or something like that without compensating this guy. One day in a store this woman tells him that he looks like the guy on her coffee. He sued and the jury just awarded him like 32 or 35 million. So apparently Nescafe likes free stuff too.

Thursday, February 03, 2005

Roommates

At some point you just get too old for them. Some people I don't think I could ever life with. One example is my current roommate. I just don't think there would be any situation where I would ever want to live with the guy. I think that there is something wrong with him. Seriously law schools should do entrance interviews. I am about 90% sure that he would not have gotten in. I don't know. I am just angry that I was taking a nap and woken up because all he ever does is talk on instant messenger and listen to rap music.
On another note some rap singer just gouged his eye out. Seriously. Apparently his record just went gold and his bodyguards just kept him from jumping out a window. Then they put him in a windowless room and he gouged his eye out. That is weird.
I feel sorry for the people that grow up and want to be like these people. I am going to now go and get ready and go hang out at the 21 club. He should get an idol like Frank Sinatra or Humphrey Bogart.

Also on a funnier note his parents took him out for his birthday and he came back with all these shopping bags. For the next week all I saw were valour jumpsuits. ha ha ha.

Bankruptcy or Solvency

The Republicans say that in 2042 Social Security will be bankrupt. The Democrats say it will be solvent. The Democrats line is that they will be able to pay 72 cents on the dollar. I don't know about you, but I am sure that when I am paying back my loans that I accrued going to law school that the bank won't accept 72 cents on the dollar. In fact if I can only pay 72 cents on the dollar on my loans then I will have to declare bankruptcy. Maybe I can tell the bank that I am solvent and they'll just have to accept it.
I think this is where the Democrats could have gained some real juicy political capital. If they had agreed with Republicans on social security. The reason for this is not that complex. First off their solution is to raise taxes and throw more money at the problem. Now the reason social security is failing, a completey bi-partisan fault, is that there was more money then was necessary and the people in the government dipped their hands into the fund promising to pay it back later. Also baby boomers are retiring. The Democrats think that throwing more money is the solution for most things. Anyways recent polls have shown somewhere in the region of over 50 percent of likely black voters support private accounts. This is a demographic they lost big in. Also I would assume mexican americans would like it too because both of those groups have shorter life spans comparatively. So they don't get as much in return and their family doesn't get the left over. So they are paying money into a system where they will never see a return. If the political left said yes we see there is a problem here and we will do what everyone thinks we won't do and fix it with the Republicans then that would be huge. Suddenly they look like the party that is coming to the middle and not being devisive and in the next Congressional elections when Republicans are talking about how they saved social security it could suddenly become a non-issue because the Democrats could claim it also. I think it would be a wise move politically. I am sure they would take some blows, but those are in traditionally liberal areas like California and New York and Massachusetts. Places they will win anyways and it will give them tremendous political capitol in the midwest and south where they can't seem to buy a vote.
Next while I am ranting I just want to say those of us on the right are not fooled by the move you Democrats are making. It is a shrewd move, but I don't think it will work. What move you ask? Well that would be having Hillary Clinton running around the country saying how moderate she is and how wonderfully she wants to find common ground on all of the hugely devisive issues. Then you go and elect Howard Dean to be the leader of your party. Your plan is to make Hillary look like she is more moderate than she actually is. It is supposed to distance her from the far left and make her more palatable to those in the states where Democrats have a problem winning. I just want to let you Democrats know that we know what you are up to. Also Hillary's votes will be brought up and she is a northeastern liberal. Yeah I know she is from Illinois and lived in Arkansas with Bill, but as soon as she got a chane she went straight to where her ideas were accepted. People in the south will see her as a northeastern liberal just as much as they did Kerry and they will look at her worse because not only did she move up there, but she defected from a southern state. Also Dean is a crazy and will do more harm than the party can sustain anyways. I mean yesterday he said he hated republicans and everything they stand for. Aren't the Democrats the ones who said that we need to come to the center and mend the nation. Hopefully he goes into one of his hollering spells and loses his voice.
So in sum if I ran the Democratic party they would be winning a lot more races then they are now.

Sordid array of a post

Few quick reactions to the State of the Union. I thought Bush did a good job. One thing that never ceases to amaze me is the fact that he is a politician that keeps his word. He is still pushing the programs he said he would push. In fact our good friend Barbara Boxer pointed out that he has been pushing private accounts for social security since 1977. I know she said it in reference to the fact that he thought social security would be in trouble much earlier than it is, but still I think it is a good thing that he pushes what he says he will push. All in all I thought it was a good speech and I think Democrats are shooting themselves in the foot by saying the only way they will change social security is through increasing taxes. Speaking of Democrats I thought the unenviable task of the oppositions response went fairly well. The one thing that should be outlawed is Harry Reid telling jokes. He is so terrible at it that it makes his whole speech look fake.

Enough for now on politics. I got my hair cut the other day for the first time in NY. I should have taken my friends advice and gone to the cheap barber shop in Manhattan. Instead I went to this place down the street. First of all I wash my hair and it is clean. I don't need an extra person washing it. Also I hate tipping someone for something I do every morning and nobody ever paid me to do. Second off if you are cutting someone's hair you need to keep your crotch off them. I think that is self-explanatory.

I am excited about going to the 21 Club. If you don't know about the restaurant then look it up. Any place that Frank Sinatra frequented is good enough for me.

Lastly this opinion was sent to me by my friend. I try not to mention anybody's name on hear, but if you want to know who sent it just leave your e-mail in a post and I will tell ya cause she deserves credit for this find. The cite is 147 F.Supp.2d 668 It is probably the funniest opinion I have ever written. Seriously it's hilarious

Tuesday, February 01, 2005

21 Club

Got reservations with my friends at 21 Club for thursday. No it is not a bar or a dance club, but it is one of the best restaurants in NY. I love restaurant week and I should have taken bigger advantage of it. Getting a new suit tomorrow so I had to knock out extra work tonight. It seems like when I have less time I get more done. I kind of like it. Usually something funny happens when I go into Manhattan. I'll blog about it if it does. I may also have found some road blocks to the paper I want to write this summer. It has to do with states retaining rights they had before the Constitution. I might have to study the Articles of Confederation a little bit. This paper is getting intense.