Sunday, December 21, 2008

Fandom turns ugly

The latest chapter in my saga of mistaken identity:
From: m lay
Date: Fri, Dec 19, 2008 at 11:16 PM
Subject: to
To: saisai[AT]gmail.com

fuck you}

Wow. Even my fake fans hate me. That's just sad.

Thursday, December 18, 2008

Exam 4: Done!

Subject: Constitutional Law II--Free Speech.

Length: 8 hours, 4 questions, 3,000 words.

Plan of attack: Well thank heavens I read for this class...

Distinguishing feature(s): Having a question include the words "In your opinion...". Seriously, how often does that happen on an exam?

Next move: 1) Heat. 2) Eat. 3) Pack. 4) Sleep. 5) Shuttle. 6) Airport. 7) Fly. 8) Home.

That's it, folks. I'm half a lawyer. God save us!

Wednesday, December 17, 2008

Exam 3: Done.

Sorry this is delayed. I took the rest of yesterday off. Anyway, yeah, Exam 3 is done done done.

Subject: Corporations.

Length: 39 multiple choice (3 hours), 2 essays (1 hour). Yep. 4. Hours.

Plan of attack: (1) Make sense of questions (2) Guess answers (3) Pass.

Distinguishing feature(s): Not that it isn't lovely to have a multiple choice question not actually ask a question, but maybs that could be avoided in the future?

Next move: Well rested, well tested!

Monday, December 15, 2008

For KT (& the human race)

Psst!

Pollution makes boys with tiny penises.

Pass it on.

Honestly, who throws a shoe?!

From The Huffington Post: At President Bush's press conference in Iraq with Iraqi President Maliki, an Iraqi journalist--who had previously been kidnapped by Shiite militiamen--stood up and threw his shoe at President Bush, then bent down, fetched his other shoe, and threw that one too.

President Bush's response:
"So what if the guy threw his shoe at me?" Bush told a reporter in response to a question about the incident."Let me talk about the guy throwing his shoe. It's one way to gain attention. It's like going to a political rally and having people yell at you. It's like driving down the street and having people not gesturing with all five fingers. It's a way for people to draw attention. I don't know what the guy's cause is. But one thing is for certain. He caused you to ask me a question about it. I didn't feel the least bit threatened by it."
See the link above for video and photos. Notice the President's quick reflexes. Quite impressive!

UPDATE: A Saudi man has offered $10,000,000 for the shoe.

UPDATE 2: I'll be just as surprised as you if I'm the first person to make this joke.

Sunday, December 14, 2008

Also news: sand

Thanks to Man Dartin for this addictive link, better late than never.

This is sand.

Kanye, stick to producing.

He's on SNL tonight. The guy can't carry a tune to save his life. It's not like the melodies are so complicated, either. And he has a guy in the back of the stage to hit the high notes for him! Like we won't notice if the pictures on the video screens are cool enough or something.

Srsly K-West, stick to what you're good at. Singing ain't it.

Friday, December 12, 2008

Hey, come back!

Harvard has stolen Lawrence Lessig from Stanford. He couldn't stick around for me to take, like, ONE class from him before peacing out? Not cool, dude. Not cool. (Via VC.)

Exam 2: Done.

Subject: International Intellectual Property.

Length: 2 questions, 4 or 5 pages, 3 hours.

Plan of attack: Ps get JDs!

Distinguishing feature(s): Isn't it great when you decide not to go to class for the last month of the semester and then the test is overwhelmingly stocked with material from the last month of the semester? I love when that happens!

Next move: I got me a big ass bottle of Lambic Frambois [the girliest of the girlie beers] and am cracking that open. Okay, now. Bye!

Thursday, December 11, 2008

Exam 1: Done.

So thus endeth my first ever SLS exam. Woo!

Subject: Criminal Procedure--Adjudication (read: bail to jail).

Length: 6 questions, 3 and 1/2 hours.

Plan of attack: Do. Not. Fail.

Distinguishing feature(s): Who names a character in a law school exam fact pattern Darla? I mean, honestly.

Next move: Fix bike, go home, wash mountain of dishes, watch West Wing, study study study for my final tomorrow. Brilliant!

Tuesday, December 9, 2008

Shopping revolution

I'm taking a break from this Day of Productivity (hello finals right around the corner!) to extol the virtues of online shopping for the holidays. Oh. My. God. My shopping this year was so easy! I did everything through Amazon.com: I opened up a new cart for the holidays, and every time I'd think of something I wanted to get someone, I could open up the cart from anywhere and add it in. Or, if I changed my mind, it was so easy to go in and just click "remove." (It helps that I give mostly books, which Amazon tends to sell cheaper than traditional bookstores.) A couple days ago I finally hit "submit" and now everything is expected in my box this week! Amazing! Now to get some wrapping paper: I think it'll be therapeutic after two days of back-to-back crappy finals to spend Friday night making my gifts pretty and shiny.

Friday, December 5, 2008

iTunes Genius

Apple is trying to woo me back, to win its way into my favor with its nifty new features. Hear me now, Steve Jobs: it won't work! Do all the shiny things you want--I can resist your charms. My iPod saga is still fresh in my memory. In fact, I'm wounded all over again just thinking about it. And for healing, I return to my playlist.

Well, I mean, if you really want to get serious, I might accept an iPhone with your long letter begging my forgiveness and asking for another chance. Just saying.

Finals time

When it comes time to buckle down and study at the end of the semester, my reading habits change. I stop reading the news entirely and instead stick to web comics, celebrity blogs, and friends' websites. I stop watching TV--and if I do watch something, it's bad reality TV on Bravo or some such junk. Music is on at all times. I eat a lot. I have dreams and remember them (not typical!). Sometimes I feel an obsessive need to scrub the bathtub. Basically, things get weird.

I have six days til my first exam, one more the day after that, and two the next week. I may blog six times a day until then, or not at all. I may be up all night once or twice with my books. Last year this process was, at times, perversely fun. Now it just sucks. I can say one thing for sure: I'll never take a four-final semester again. Ever.

Hey believers out there: pray for me, will you?

Thursday, December 4, 2008

Absurdity of the day

At VC, David Post writes:
As many of you know, "patent trolls" are parties that buy up issued patents for the sole purpose of using the patents offensively to collect licensing fees (or, failing that, to sue for infringement) from 3d parties. There's been lots of writing about the phenomenon over the past several years and about what it says about the (sorry) state of our current patent system.

In a new wrinkle, it appears that Halliburton, Inc., has filed a patent application claiming a patent for the process of patent trolling! Pretty cheeky!!

According to the WSJ law blog, Halliburton claims that it does not intend to "apply the technique offensively" -- i.e., it's not trying to monopolize the business of patent trolling -- but rather it "intends to use any patent that may issue from this application defensively to discourage entities that engage in such tactics."

There is, incidentally, approximately 0% chance that the patent will be granted.
Nice try, I guess.

Idiot's guide to subprime loan-induced economic collapse

This is what I've been looking for. Thanks Abhay!

Tuesday, December 2, 2008

Monday, December 1, 2008

Free Speech prof gem of the day

Today he was trying to convince us it'd be a waste of time to try to find our take-home exam's fact pattern in some "podunk district court case" as we write our responses. The inducement? "You all are much more competent than the average district court judge." Scary.

Thanksgiving is over

As the push towards finals begins (ugh), I leave this weekend with an appropriately-themed lolcat. Srsly, what else were you expecting?

Tuesday, November 25, 2008

Undying love and adoration

"What's something bigger than a tractor? The box the tractor comes in?"

"Um, a building?"

"Perfect!"

LATER:

"Dear audio diary! This afternoon found me with my mouth wrapped around the brick corner of the library, suddenly wondering if this was all life held for me. Later, I had cupcakes!"


Oy. My sides hurt. All this funny, I can't take it. T-rex, I see myself in you. We are one. Canadian comedic genius dude, please, never, ever stop.

Who ARE you guys?

So I broke down and got a site meter. (See the bottom of the page.) I figured out how to stick the code into the template so it would track how many hits I got each day. And oh my lord! There are so many of you! Who are you? Where do you come from? How did you find me? Hey Mesa, Arizona! Hey East Lansing, Michigan! Hey Tao! (Wuhan was a dead giveaway.)

Anyway, I just thought I'd 'fess up and get my total amazement out there in the public record. I hope you are enjoying this weird blog. Please consider commenting. Now that I know how many of you are out there, the silence is a little creepy.

Monday, November 24, 2008

Basic principles

I've been reading Ross Douthat recently, adding in some new (to me) conservative thoughts to my daily dish. Today two things caught my attention.

1. Talking about the need for the Right to engage in debates it has historically avoided, Ross says:
This problem is not, repeat not, a matter of conservatives needing to abandon their core convictions in order to win elections, as right-of-center reformers are often accused of doing. Rather, it's a matter of conservatives needing to apply their core convictions to questions like "how do we mitigate the worst effects of climate change?" and "how do we modernize our infrastructure?" and "how do we encourage excellence and competition within our public school bureaucracy?" instead of just letting liberals completely monopolize these debates, while the Right talks about porkbusting and not much else.
I'm all for conservatives "applying their core convictions" to climate change and education. But I'd prefer not to limit climate change discussion to "the worst effects," and I'd like a discussion of the merits of competition in public schools specifically rather than just a blanket assumption that it would be a positive thing.

2. On Christina Romer, Barack Obama's choice to head his Council on Economic Advisers, Ross says:
[She's the appointee] who should give Americans the most hope that Obama won't be significantly hiking their taxes any time soon.
Would it be so hard to acknowledge which subset of Americans--the wealthiest--are the ones facing potential tax hikes under Obama?


Ross is a smart, eloquent, and reasonable dude. But he starts from a set of basic assumptions about the world, and I think they are really pretty different from mine. It's those assumptions that keep us from agreeing, so it's those that I want to talk about. Hey, you conservatives out there, let's talk first principles! I'm all ears.

Lori Drew

You may recall the mom who posed as a teenage boy on myspace and taunted 13-year-old Megan Meier to suicide. She's on trial for something like "accessing protected computers without authorization"--essentially a terms of service violation, akin to defrauding myspace.

That's all prelude to this, the best single-sentence assessment of the case I've heard so far, by commenter Bill Poser at Volokh.

The correct outcome of this case will be acquittal followed by Ms. Drew being struck by lightning as she leaves the courthouse.

Grossssssss

I usually try to stay away from tabloid fodder--the rags do a better job than I ever could, so why bother?--but this was too much. Apparently Heidi and Spencer from The Hills eloped in Mexico this weekend. Here's the cover of the Us magazine. This couple, especially douchy mcdouche Spencer, is icky to begin with (Heidi, girl, someone needs to smack you upside your head & knock some sense into you!) but it's so much worse with that obscene facial hair growth. My gag reflex is in overdrive today.

All together now: ew.

Come on, Citibank!

I'm pulling for you guys. Please recover. Don't make me take my next loan refund to the check cashing store!

Wednesday, November 19, 2008

Joe Lieberman keeps his job

Senate Democrats voted yesterday to allow Sen. Joe Lieberman, who switched to a third party when he lost a fair fight in the Democratic primary in 2006, and who endorsed John McCain for President, to stay on as Chairman of the Homeland Security and Governmental Affairs Committee. Lieberman is a wolf in sheep's clothing. This is a bribe. We'll regret it.

Monday, November 17, 2008

Waste an hour or ten

Here for more. Highly addictive. Consider yourself warned. Thanks to Paul-Jon for the distraction.

Sunday, November 16, 2008

The poetry of judicial opinions

"Struggles to coerce uniformity of sentiment in support of some end thought essential to their time and country have been waged by many good as well as by evil men. [Ultimate] futility of such attempts to compel coherence is the lesson of every such effort . . . . Those who begin coercive elimination of dissent soon find themselves exterminating dissenters. Compulsory unification of opinion achieves only the unanimity of the graveyard. It seems trite but necessary to say that the First Amendment to our Constitution was designed to avoid these ends by avoiding these beginnings. * * *

To believe that patriotism will not flourish if patriotic ceremonies are voluntary and spontaneous instead of a compulsory routine is to make an unflattering estimate of the appeal of our institutions to free minds. We can have intellectual individualism and the rich cultural diversities that we owe to exceptional minds only at the price of occasional eccentricity and abnormal attitudes. When they are [harmless] to others or to the State . . . the price is not too great. But freedom to differ is not limited to things that do not matter much. That would be a mere shadow of freedom. The test of its substance is the right to differ as to things that touch the heart of the existing order. If there is any fixed star in our constitutional constellation, it is that no official, high or petty, can prescribe what shall be orthodox in politics, nationalism, religion, or other matters of opinion or force citizens to confess by word or act their faith therein."

-Justice Jackson, West Virginia State Board of Education v. Barnette (1943).

I swoon!

Sunday punday

Sunday reading: Karl Rove

Check out this interview in the NYTimes Magazine. It's pretty amazing to witness such unselfconscious jackassery.

Thursday, November 13, 2008

Which is better?

In the restrooms at school, we have a choice of drying our hands with plain old paper towels or using the scary loud super duper air drying machines. As you might be able to guess, I use the paper towels.

I think--but I'm not sure--that this is the sounder environmental choice. Whichever way you look at it, trees are a more renewable resource than the electricity needed to move air at high speed through a small vent. The electricity is likely produced by coal, or maybe oil or natural gas, or maaaaybe wind power (we are in California, after all). But once you use up a lump of coal, it's gone. You can't regrow coal. You can, however, regrow trees. And, you can make paper towels from already-made paper via recycling. Though, there is electricity expended in the making of the paper towels (and in the recycling process).

So, what should I do? I think it's a toss-up in the end, and I prefer paper towels, so I've been using them. But I still wonder which is the better conservation choice. Any thoughts?

Wednesday, November 12, 2008

Quick and dirty Big Three analysis

[Keep in mind I've been thinking about this for approximately 7 seconds.]

If we're going to be pumping billions of dollars worth of taxpayer money into the US auto industry anyway, why not use the money to completely reconfigure it to be a world leader in producing various clean (or almost clean) cars? Some parts of a comprehensive plan:

(1) a new research institute, combining universities and private R&D companies, to develop new models that run on a variety of fuel sources (solar cells, better hybrids, full electric cars);

(2) shifting the burden of retiree pensions & health care from the companies to the government--if that's what we're paying for, let's pay for it directly and not through an extra middleman;

(3) retraining of current Big Three employees so they can work on these new cars;

(4) restructuring the car companies: (a) spin off the profitable cars & trucks into a new business that can support itself; (b) retool the remaining bum parts of the companies to make use of the new technology coming out of the research institute;

(5) heavily subsidizing the resulting cleaner cars for purchase by US consumers;

(6) after a few years of this, determining which of the prototypes are working and wean them off the subsidies as they get cheaper.

Leave aside the problems of political will for the moment: your thoughts?

(Inspired by this over at Volokh.)

Long-awaited haircut update

Earlier I posted that I got a haircut that made me look like Chrissy Hynde. (In)Sanity Gal requested evidence. It took me a while to get a picture worthy of distribution, but it was bound to happen sometime. So, here you go.

Fab or fug? You be the judge.

Class note

Today in Free Speech someone said he had "a bone to grind." I thought, if you're going to mix your metaphors, why not go with "an axe to pick" instead and wholly avoid the double entendre?

Tuesday, November 11, 2008

Don't publish how to make a hydrogen bomb

"A mistake in ruling against The Progressive will curtail defendants' First Amendment rights in a drastic and substantial fashion. But a mistake in ruling against the United States could pave the way for thermonuclear annihilation for us all. In that event, our right to life is extinguished and the right to publish becomes moot." 467 F. Supp. 990.

Ha.

AIG

I need help. Can someone please try to make sense of what's going on with AIG, why it has become such a money-pit for my tax dollars, and what might happen if the government stopped injecting money into it? Are these loans, or are we buying stock? What's the long-term strategy? (Is there one?) I don't understand what's going on, and my cursory search didn't produce a primer worth reading. Explanations, links, and insults about my intellectual capacity are all helpful and encouraged.

Monday, November 10, 2008

Oh how I wish

Mourning John McCain

It probably goes without saying that I was not a fan of John McCain during this presidential race. But over the last month, as his campaign ship was sinking, we got to see a few bright flashes of what could have been. At the Al Smith dinner, McCain brought the house down. Not only were his jokes funny, but his comic timing and delivery was perfect. He was likable! There was no hint of the smarmy persona he picked up on the campaign trail in front of audiences filled with the Republican base. On SNL the weekend before the election, his performance was hilarious and personable. And, at the end of the long road, his concession speech was gracious, poised, and humble in the face of a crowd openly hostile to Obama. I knew he had this in him, and it's a shame we didn't get to see more of it when it mattered.

I couldn't help thinking to myself: self, wouldn't it have been great to have this election be a battle between two great titans of personality? To have both sides debating on the issues, to leave the smears and lies aside and really talk to each other? He wouldn't have gotten my vote, but it would've been fun. And come January 20th, we'd probably be seeing a different guy put his hand on the Bible.

Thursday, November 6, 2008

Turnout numbers please

On election night, I predicted that this year's voter turnout would break the 60% barrier. (That's the % of registeredlikely voters that cast a ballot (I think).) I'm gonna go all out now and say that it's going to be between 64% and 71%. There are a couple of reasons for this: (1) large increases in numbers of registered voters because of campaign-based get-out-the-vote efforts; (2) more options for how to vote, including by mail and early voting; (3) side issues on the ballots (gay marriage anyone?); and (4) the obvious one: enthusiasm about the candidates.

But I can't find the numbers! Does anyone know when these come out? Where can I get them? I'd rather someone else add them up state by state and just give me the final answer, but I'll do it myself if I have to.

Help?

Wednesday, November 5, 2008

Libertarians

Prof. Volokh has some thoughts about a possible renewed Conservative-Libertarian coalition.

I can understand that, having to make a choice between free markets and free societies (think Wall Street deregulation versus ending the drug war), Libertarians would vote with their pocketbooks instead of with their consciences. But given that both parties are big spenders, have we seen any indication of Libertarians leaning Democratic? How big-government do Republicans have to get before Libertarians put the monetary issues aside and for a moment focus on social liberties? (Besides guns?)


Yes yes I know this post may not be my most eloquent, but it's late and I've been severely underslept all week, so gimme a break.

Tuesday, November 4, 2008

Final thought

I'm not quite done processing this very long, very emotional day. But before I go, I just want to say:

56 Senators?!

56 Senators.

Hello Supreme Court. We're the Democratic Party. Nice to see you again.

Goodnight!

If Fox says it, it must be true.

omg

omg. omg. omg. omg.

President Obama?

YES.

Absurdly awesome CNN projection

Even if McCain wins every single state still in play except the pacific northwest--California, Oregon, Washington--he'll still lose the election.

The nasty campaign loses

Kay Hagen has just trounced Elizabeth Dole in the race for North Carolina's Senate seat. This despite Dole's absolutely despicable ad calling Hagen "godless," mimicking her voice, and generally lying to the degree that Hagen might just win her suit. I refuse to allow that ad on this blog, but you can see it here if you're so inclined.

Northeast

Obama just went on a tear in the northeast and is beating McCain by more than 100%. Alabama--Alabama--is too close to call. Kerry got a whole 37% of the Alabama vote in 2004.

This is big.

Discrepancies

For some reason MSNBC has the Democratic Senate count at 38, but CNN has it at 40. That's a variance of 5%. Very scientific, this thing.

First results

Vermont (3): YAY!
Kentucky (8): BOO!

Turnout

Since 1972 we have not broken 60% voter turnout in a presidential election year. I'm gonna go ahead and say this year is going to cross that line.

Hello dahling

I hope you all voted . . .

*coughcough*forobama*coughcough*

. . . sorry, had a tickle in my throat.

Today is the day, people! We elect our new leaders! If this isn't the perfect occasion for live-blogging, I don't know what is.

Stay tuned.

Friday, October 31, 2008

Halloweenie

I think I'm going to spend this Halloween as a grown up. I'm going to buy some candy, go home, and wait for children dressed as ghosts and Batmans to knock on my door. Meanwhile, I'll make some homemade caramel or dulce de leche for dipping apples. I'll put on a cheesy movie and be glad I'm not stuck out in the rain with costume make-up running down my face. And I'll probably curl up in bed around midnight with a book and catch up on some much needed sleep.

But, it is Halloween, and I'm not entirely stodgy yet. So for your entertainment, here's a reminder of last year's shitshow.


Happy Halloween!

Thursday, October 30, 2008

Baby's first SCOTUS case

The Supreme Court heard Pearson v. Callahan today. Information from SCOTUSwiki here, and oral argument transcript here.

UPDATE: Analysis from SCOTUSblog came out last week. I missed it then, but better late than never. Here you go.

Wednesday, October 29, 2008

But Mo-om! He's a SOCIALIST! I don't WANNA play with him!

[My friend Adam's blog gets way more comments than mine. I responded to this one:

What about socialisim is your favorit thing? Because when the MESSIAH is elected welcome to socialisim in a big way! Tell me is OBAMA really your candidate of choice! Convince me why I should vote for him! (typos hers)

. . . with this.]

Socialism is a doctrine that calls for public (rather than private) ownership or control of property and natural resources. So, for instance, a factory that produces cars would be owned by--and distribute its profits and losses to--the people who contribute to the functioning of the factory. Barack Obama doesn't support things like this, because he is not a socialist. He is a capitalist. All capitalists (except some libertarians) support taxation.

Both Obama and McCain support taxing people. They just have different philosophies on how to go about it. Obama thinks your income should be taxed more as you make more, and that the middle class and the poor should get some tax relief (AKA, pay less). One argument for this is that the poor and middle class tend to spend a larger percentage of their income and save less, so cutting their taxes increases the amount of money flowing back into the economy through their purchases. Some people also think this is fair.

Under McCain's plan (I found this on his website), he would cut some taxes--the capital gains tax rate, the corporate tax rate, and taxes for the top income bracket--that tend to favor people who make more money than average. One argument for this is that heavily taxing top income brackets may dissuade people from making more money, since they keep less of it and can pass less down to their children; and also, that taxing investment gains discourages people from buying stock. Some people also think it's just unfair to tax people more as they make more.

To be clear, both Obama and McCain support some taxation, which is, in essence, redistribution of wealth: we pay taxes, and in return we get some percentage of the social services the government provides to everyone as a whole. They go about it in different ways, but the philosophy is the same: we pay taxes as members of a society, and we get something in return. Obama and McCain do differ in what they think we should get back, and in what they see as the proper role of government in providing social services. But neither candidate supports seizing the GM factories and giving ownership of it to the workers. That would never, ever fly in this country.

I support Obama, and I am not a socialist. I believe in free markets, but that markets fail and government regulation can help prevent that. I believe everyone should have access to primary health care and a good education through 12th grade. I think it's silly to provide subsidies for business if you're not also going to provide subsidies to individuals. I hope that this country's economy remains competitive internationally, but I think that will come from innovating--something we're historically good at--and not from propping up industries that can't compete. I also believe in property rights, in keeping the government out of my bedroom, and in making lots of money.

I won't try to convince you to vote one way or the other. My tax discussion above was as unbiased as I can manage. I don't know why people say Obama is a socialist; I do know that makes the real Socialist Party in this country very unhappy. They don't like to be misrepresented. And they have someone running for President too. His name is Brian Moore, NOT Barack Obama.

Three unrelated things

Thing the first. I saw this bumper sticker on my way out of campus yesterday and couldn't help myself:


Thing the second. Some law students were playing hide and seek outside the school today. Just for fun. How retro!

Thing the third. Speaking of retro, I now look like I was born to rock in the 80s. Kinda like this:

That is all.


UPDATE: in response to requests from numerous readers (thanks IG!), you can see a real photo here.

Tuesday, October 28, 2008

Moustache month

Ah, Mondays. Not that I don't love having six hours of class between 8:35 and 7:15. By the time I get home, all I want to do is schlump on the couch with House MD and a bowl of pasta. Instead, I get to stay up late doing more homework! Hooray!

But this post isn't about me. It's about justice.

Moustaches for justice.

Justaches.

Several fine young gentlemen I happen to be acquainted with are growing out their moustaches for sponsorship, with the money supporting public interest fellowships. Not coincidentally, the man in charge is quite a burly fellow and very capable of growing a full beard in approximately 0.4 seconds. For the uninitiated among you, quick facial hair growth makes the process of cultivating a moustache much less painful for everyone involved.

These fellows flirted with this idea last year around this time, evidenced by Michael Jordan's* heroic effort:

If MJ can do it, so can you! Moustaches for justice!


(*Identities have been concealed to protect the innocent.)

Monday, October 27, 2008

An excellent law

In my Free Speech reading I came across this Cincinnati statute:

It shall be unlawful for three or more persons to assemble . . . on any of the sidewalks, street corners, vacant lots, or mouths of alleys, and there conduct themselves in a manner annoying to persons passing by."

Damn the vagueness doctrine! I'd like that law applied to the INCREDIBLY LOUD children living in my building.

Sunday, October 26, 2008

A V.I.L.E. henchman!

. . . "You must be on the right track!"


Last night, in a fit of nostalgia, I downloaded a version of "Where in the World is Carmen Sandiego?" that plays on my puny laptop. It's every bit as awesome as I remember from "computer" class in 2nd grade. I'm currently ranked "Sleuth" and have recovered the Mona Lisa, a prized carp, and a country's entire tea crop. So fun! I highly recommend this to anyone wanting to relive their elementary school glory days.

Friday, October 24, 2008

Lose-lose

Somehow I got hoodwinked into joining a Fantasy Football league with the Fella some friends. Now, I'm fairly well-versed in football rules, at least for a girl from a non-football family. But teams? Players? Please, I'm totally lost. So the Fella's been kind enough to manage my team, and I've been kind enough to act like Al Davis, badmouth him to the media, and threaten the axe after every defeat. (Hey, I am in Raider country, after all!)

This week, we play each other.

I could make some geeky jokes about fiduciary duty, but instead I'll just say: This is gonna get ugly.

For the love of the 'stache

I'm not such a fan of Keith Olbermann, but the other day as I surfed across "Countdown" I got to see David Axelrod, Obama's chief campaign strategist, on live video feed. I've heard so much about Axelrod and had developed a vague of mental picture of him. A completely incorrect mental picture, as it happens.


Check out that moustache! It is clearly the source of all his power. David Axelrod, if I see you shorn before November 4th, Obama's defeat will be on your shoulders. Consider yourself warned.

Thursday, October 23, 2008

Message creep?

Here's a video of some eloquent McCain supporters:



Check out at 24 seconds where the argument against Obama is, "His middle name is a terrorist's name!" Followed by, "He takes money from terrorists!"

See how conveniently the link to Bill Ayers--a 60 year old white dude--has meshed with the H in BHO to make Obama sound like an Al Qaeda operative!

I know many McCain supporters have valid, rational, and even clever reasons for supporting him over Barack Obama. I respect that. The shouters in this video do not qualify. "Vote McCain, Not Hussein"? Do us all a favor and stay home on the 4th.

(HT: Matt Yglesias.)

Tuesday, October 21, 2008

I voted!

Today I did my civic duty for the first time. (In my defense, I was thoroughly disenfranchised in 2004 when Miami-Dade County conveniently forgot to mail me my absentee ballot despite 3 mailed requests and several irate telephone calls.) My voice has been heard--or will be, once I put this in the mail.

Hooray!


I also got to vote on Florida's constitutional amendments, including the Florida Marriage Protection Amendment:

This amendment protects marriage as the legal union of only one man and one woman as husband and wife and provides that no other legal union that is treated as marriage or the substantial equivalent thereof shall be valid or recognized.

It seems like the amendment bans not only "gay marriage" but also civil unions that grant 100% equivalent rights. Can that be right?? Good grief, Florida--why?! Now you're just being mean.

UPDATE: My momma says this gender-neutral ban actually will affect a surprising constituency: elderly people in relationships that started late in life, who don't want to jump through hoops to get legally married. Domestic partnerships between straight couples suffer too.

Socratic method

I used to be a fan. All 1L year I was pretty comfortable answering cold-call questions in class. I didn't get too nervous and usually managed to sound passably articulate in my responses. This year is different. Maybe the questions are harder. Maybe my prep needs to change but hasn't yet. Maybe I'm still unsettled in this new environment. Maybe I'm preoccupied with trying to impress my new classmates instead of thinking through the question. Maybe I'm less engaged in class generally. Maybe I'm perversely more comfortable in front of 100 people than 30. Maybe the bar is just higher and I'm limbo-ing instead of climbing over it. Who knows. I just wouldn't be surprised if my FS prof wondered briefly this morning "who let that idiot into my class" before moving on.

Monday, October 20, 2008

Weekend explorations

The Fella was in town this weekend for our monthly conjugal visit. (Which one of us is in prison? You decide!) It was a great excuse to rent a car and do some exploring of the gloriousness of the Bay area. I'm still operating sans camera and using my phone as a poor substitute, so please excuse the subpar quality of these photos. I'm doing my best to hold out 'til Christmas.

Saturday was spent doing nature things. We drove down to Henry Cowell Redwoods State Park, just northwest of Santa Cruz.

When I first saw the trees, I was a little disappointed. It was my first redwood experience, and I guess I just thought they'd be... bigger. After a while, though, I realized: they're fucking big.


Keep in mind the Fella is 6'2". No manipulating the scale here. Crazy, right?

Also at the park I realized that camouflage works both ways:

It's a tree! Disguised as a snake! Brilliant!!!


After leaving the Land of the Ents, we made our way down to the 17-mile drive, which is run by the Pebble Beach Company. It was a cold, overcast day--not ideal for standing on windy mountain sides and taking pictures. Still, totally worth it.


The Lone Cypress (the official symbol of Pebble Beach!): a study in fortitude, and solitude.

The coolest part of the drive for me--by a long mile--was Seal Rock. Seals and sea lions are awesome. They look like little puppies! Except, you know, not little. And kind of awkwardly fishy shaped. They bark and flap and nuzzle and share their rock with a raucous bunch of birds.


There were 25-cent telescopes, and while the mister was able to get a pretty cool close-up picture through the telescope view, my phone was not being so cooperative. I started cooing and shrieking as soon as I looked at them up close... might've freaked out the tourists at the neighboring stations. Sorry 'bout that, fellas.


We capped off our weekend with the Raiders-Jets game on Sunday at the Coliseum in Oakland. It was my very first live NFL game, and it involved, in no particular order: the craziest owner in the league, Brett Favre, approximately 348,973,150 penalty calls, sudden-death overtime, and a 52-yard field goal to win the game for Oakland. It also featured Raiders fans, a strange sub-species of football fan that quite possibly evolved in times of high stress where mad devotion and hyper-loyalty were naturally selected. See Exhibit A:


saisai: Hi! Can I take your picture?
gentleman above: Sure.
saisai: Your outfit is awesome! What's your name?
gentleman: Barbarian.
Not even kidding.

And of course, no long-distance photo opportunity would be complete without some flattening of heads:


I CRUSH you, New York Jets! See if you can play now that you are squished! Crush, crush, CRUSHHHH!

Because I had the sound mind to obliterate the Jets via crushing, I take full credit for the subsequent Oakland victory. Sure, green and white blood is on my hands, but who cares? I'm a winner!

Wednesday, October 15, 2008

Should be studying for midterm

And I will, in a minute. For now, though, I want to respond to something William Saletan said in Slate today:
Sarah Palin spent her first days as John McCain's running mate being pounded over her daughter Bristol's out-of-wedlock pregnancy. In this predicament, critics saw Puritan hypocrisy, maternal neglect, and the predictable consequences of abstinence-only education. There are many good grounds for criticizing Palin. This isn't one of them.
I disagree. Not because I think it makes Gov. Palin a bad mother; my silly doings as a teenager certainly shouldn't determine the quality of my own mom's parenting. (She was great, btw, and still is.) But Gov. Palin has said that she supports overturning Roe v. Wade and giving the decision back to the states, and that she personally opposes abortion even in cases of rape. It's not farfetched to assume that, were Roe overturned and the decision turned over to Alaska's voters, she would vote to ban all abortions except where the mother's life is at stake.

And yet! And yet, when the Palins announced that their daughter Bristol was pregnant and keeping her baby, they referred to Bristol's decision. She made a choice. It would be one thing to come out and say, "We as a family believe that the only choice--a mandate, in fact--is to let this baby live. It is a human being and we refuse to kill it. Abortion is not an option for us, and it should not be an option for any healthy woman who becomes pregnant, unless her own life is at risk." But she didn't say that. She talked about her daughter's choice as exactly what it was, and what it should be. That is hypocricy, and it's worth criticizing.

Tuesday, October 14, 2008

BHO

I'm sorry, but when did having the middle name "Hussein" become not only a disqualifier for public office but also a badge of terrorism? My name means "shadow of the world" in Farsi. Well shit, then I must be the devil.

Monday, October 13, 2008

I can has corporations?

A LOLcat illustration of the business judgment rule, a la Kamin v. American Express:

Duty of care violation? Hahaha NO.

Sunday, October 12, 2008

Seasons?

Sitting in the library, I looked outside the window--really looked for the first time--and saw a tree with red leaves. Fall has come to California.


Friday, October 10, 2008

New links

My eight regular readers doubtless will have noticed the changes in the links to your right. While before that list was populated by more intellectual pursuits, the past couple of months have seen a marked shift toward entertainment of the more common sort. Now, along with your democracy, law profs, humanities, and news, we've got a selection of sports, food, friends, and of course celebrity gossip. I figured, instead of pretending to be into all brains all the time, I'd let this blog reflect the things I actually read.

For better or worse, there they are, displayed for your perusal and judgment in a neat little list. If any of you have suggestions for other good things to read, just leave 'em in the comments. I reserve the right to ignore your suggestions completely, or to steal your ideas and pass them off as my own.

An upside, perhaps?

This post is a little more, ah, potty-mouthed than you might normally see on this pure and clean piece of virtual estate. But given the unadulterated seething hatred that the Fella and I have for publicly funded luxury sports stadiums (and also given my total lack of inspiration of late), I thought this rant was worth sharing. The faint of heart, consider yourselves warned. Turn back now before it's too late.

People have long despised the idea of public financing for new stadiums. But, despite that general sentiment, pro sports owners have always managed to sucker some idiot mayor or county commissioner somewhere to either build them a new Ball Mahal, or to help them gain leverage against other local officials.

But those days were all but instantly ended by the events of the past few weeks. There will be no more sweetheart deals. There will be no more looming threats of moving a team as a way for owners to get what they want. What’s that? You’re gonna move the team to LA? Sure you are, asshole. I’m sure California officials, now in need of a $6 billion federal loan, will help you out. Good luck with that.

If there’s any good to come out of this complete disaster of an economy, it’s that the all the carping of supposedly needy pro sports owners will either go away, or be met with pure, brutal hostility. “We can’t compete at this revenue level.” “We reserve the right to explore our options.” Yeah? WELL FUCK YOU, AL DAVIS. I can’t afford to go to a movie, so fuck your gay stadium. No more leverage for you. If you want a new stadium, you’re gonna have to pony up for the whole fucking thing yourself. Maybe you can take out a loan. I hear real estate loans are real easy to come by lately. Eat shit and fucking die.

If you liked that little taste of delightful goodness, read the whole thing over at deadspin.

Monday, October 6, 2008

Oh, and also

The idea that Barack Obama is somehow "far left" just goes to show you how incredibly far American politics has moved to the right. How far left is communism, then? Japan?

Just once!

Just once, I would like to see a major party presidential candidate point a finger at the other guy and say, unequivocally: "You, my friend, are a liar."

Sunday, October 5, 2008

Coincidence

From today's TP:

In his column this week, Clark Hoyt, the NYT ombudsman, notes a finding by Politico that "Obama" has appeared six times in NYT crossword puzzles since January 2005, while "McCain" hasn't appeared once. Political bias on the part of crosswords editor Will Shortz? Nope. "Obama is a godsend for crossword constructors because the name is short and has three vowels out of five letters," Shortz said. Hoyt notes that "McCain", with its successive c's, is much harder to work with. No pun intended.

Genius or desperate

The guest judge on tonight's late-night rerun of Iron Chef America is a rapper named Bone Crusher. No I am not kidding. He was surprisingly coherent for a dude who hangs out with someone called "Young Jeezy," and kinda cute to boot. Still, what's the philosophy behind this choice? Did Mr. Crusher ask to be on the show? Or is Food Network soliciting modern rap artists to add a dash of flavor?

UPDATE: During the judging of Iron Chef Bobby Flay, Bone Crusher made for some outstanding television:

Bone Crusher: I don't know if I like this dish, but I don't hate it. But it's interesting.
Another Judge: That's very cryptic.
Bone Crusher: Right, isn't it?
Another Judge: You sort of didn't say a lot there.
Bobby Flay: I think he said it all.
Bone Crusher: It's not bad. I don't know if I don't like it. Or I do like it. I don't know. But it's--it's good. Kind of. Sort of.
*Laughter*

And later (having previously expressed his dislike of raw meat), eating a rare steak:

Bone Crusher: It's great.
Another Judge: Do you need this cooked more, or are we cool?
Bone Crusher: No, we're very outstanding with this one.
Bobby Flay: Thank you.
Bone Crusher: I'm very proud of you.
Bobby Flay: Thank you Mr. Crusher.

Saturday, October 4, 2008

Evidence?

How are you Sai Sai?
I saw your id in L Lun wa VCD ,
is it your real addess,Could i letter you.
i like all of your character.It is your real id
I will letter you again,bye bye.
-Pazuam

This email, which I received today, may hold the key to the saisai madness. What is "L Lun wa VCD"? Is there something out in the universe that says my email address belongs to the real Sai Sai? This requires further investigation. Stay tuned.

Friday, October 3, 2008

Expectations Shmexpectations

I hate, hate, hate when people evaluate a politician's performance by comparing how he (or she) really did to how he was expected to do. In fact, I'm going to go out on a limb here and say it's one of the--if not the--dumbest bits of analysis one could engage in. Who cares if Palin was expected to royally screw up and she only kind of screwed up? Who cares if Biden was supposed to win by a mile and actually only won by half a mile? What happened to objective values in these situations? Don't people realize that these expectations are manufactured by the politicians themselves in advance? Doesn't it seem perverse that one campaign has to try to raise expectations for the other side's performance in order to secure some sort of relative performance victory? I don't think this will ever make sense to me.

Thursday, October 2, 2008

Another apple experiment

Since apples are pretty easy to work with and also pretty tasty (and grown on the West coast! Local!), I've been trying to figure out different ways to use them in delicious desserts. This past weekend my adventurous cousin made us a pear pastry using frozen puffing pastry sheets, and it was yummy, so I tried to sort-of-replicate that with apples tonight. Notes to self: grease foil before putting down pastry sheets; get baking pan. Oh, and if you've noticed that these recipes are a little iffy on the amount of each ingredient, that's because I'm not working off recipes--I just sort of throw stuff in and hope it tastes good. Okay, moving on.

Ingredients
3 golden delicious apples
6 or so little spoons sugar
1 or so big spoon cinnamon
a little less than 1/2 a stick of butter
1-1/3 pillsbury pastry sheets

The pastry sheets are easy: they come two big sheets to a box, so just cut each into thirds and pick out the four thirds you like best. For those of you not so good at math, that means you'll have four equal-sized strips of pastry sheet. Cut each strip into 4 equal squares. Do not smush the dough.

Line a baking pan with aluminum foil and lightly grease. (Lessons learned.) Put the pastry squares on the foil leaving at least an inch in between. Bake in oven for, oh, I don't know, 10 minutes or so? Until they're just shy of golden brown, but have puffed up.

Meanwhile, put the butter in a saucepan to melt (I used a medium sized pot) on LOW heat, so it doesn't burn. Add in most of the sugar and all the cinnamon, and stir til it gets kind of hot. Peel and core the apples, and slice thinly (I cut into chunks--not the best move). Add the apples to the pot. Just cook and stir, cook and stir on low heat until all the apples have deliciousness all over them and are starting to fall apart.

When you take the almost-done pastry squares out of the oven, depress the puff in the middle of half of the squares and put a generous spoonful of the apple tastiness in the middle. Distribute the apples onto the squares, then use the other half of the squares to top them, making little pastry-square-and-apple sandwiches. Sprinkle a spoonful of sugar over the top of the sandwiches for prettiness and crunch. Put the sandwiches back in the oven until the tops start to get toasty brown, then take out and let cool before eating (I learned that one the hard way).

The result:

I think they turned out really well for my first try. Next time I'm going to try with peaches before they totally fall out of season. But I think any fleshy fruit like that would work if you want to experiment.

Tuesday, September 30, 2008

The question no one is asking?

Why was Congress closed for a holiday today? Isn't there, like, a looming crisis that threatens the stability of the economy and the retirement savings of like a million Americans? They worked through the weekend and now they're taking a day off for New Years? It just seems a little strange to me--I mean, is it an emergency or isn't it? 'Cause if it's not, how 'bout we stop yelling that it is so the markets can stabilize and, you know, correct themselves like they're supposed to. And if it is an emergency, get your butts to work. Is that too much to ask?

Monday, September 29, 2008

scotus and potus

Can you tell which is which?

I wants.

Wednesday, September 24, 2008

The falls, they are great

On Saturday, to celebrate my last day in DC (and to do something we've wanted to do all summer), the Fella and I took our lazy butts out to the Virginia side of Great Falls Park. It's pretty, but Saturday is a crowded day to go--I'm sure it's much more lovely minus the hoards of small children and animals, say on a lonely Wednesday at 6am. Anyway. I wasn't wearing appropriate shoes, so we stayed off the trails and kept to the overlooks near the visitor's center. Since I'm still living sans camera, you'll have to content yourselves with these phone pictures, and I'll hear no complaining about it!




It's no Niagara, but certainly worth the trip.


This one is just in case you didn't believe that I was actually there.

Friday, September 19, 2008

In honor of today being International Talk Like A Pirate Day, I made up these terrible jokes. Enjoy.

Where does the pirate Fella live?
ARRRRRRRlington!

What does pirate saisai need to get around Palo Alto?
A cARRRRRRRR!

Where do pirate law students go on Thursday nights?
BARRRRRRR review!

What do pirates join when they retire?
A-A-ARRRRRRRR-P!

Thursday, September 18, 2008

Experiment: baked apple slices

Ingredients
5 tart green apples
a good amount (1 cup?) brown sugar
a good amount (2 tbsp?) cinnamon
a dash (1/2 tsp?) nutmeg
1/2 a stick of butter
some (2/3 cup?) water

Peel and core apples. Cut into quarters, then cut each quarter into 5 or 6 slices, so the slices are about 1/4 inch thick. Mix brown sugar, cinnamon, and nutmeg (in that order) with water in a separate bowl, blending with a fork. Pour water/spice mixture and melted butter over apples in square pyrex pan. Make sure all the apples are coated with yummy deliciousness. Bake uncovered in oven at 350 degrees, mixing/basting apples every 10-12 minutes. Bake until apples are soft but still hold their shape. Broil for a few minutes to brown if you're into that.

Updates forthcoming.

UPDATE: Tasty! I put them in for 12 minutes, then 12 minutes, then 12 minutes... and then put them under the broiler for 5 minutes. I separated the apples from the liquid. Next time, I might add flour to make the liquid thicker and more edible. Anyway, they were great on waffles.

Tuesday, September 16, 2008

"Can I poke it?"

Chris Cooley, Redskins TE, has been all over the Internets today.  I think it might have something to do with a playbook and a schlong.  Whatev.  It's really just an excuse to post this hilarious picture of Cooley's tight end.  Enjoy.

Thursday, September 11, 2008

What is it with professors and Cardozo?

I spent last year under the tutelage of the most lovable contracts professor ever. He had, you could say, an obsession with Judge (later, Justice) Cardozo of the NY Court of Appeals. Almost every time we read a Cardozo opinion, his photo--complete with the requisite bushy eyebrows--made an appearance in class.

I thought this was a quirk of this particular gentleman. It appears I was mistaken--the powerful allure of Mr. Justice Cardozo is not to be underestimated. In Corporations the other day we admired the photo below while discussing Meinhard v. Salmon. Not satisfied with the presence of the photo alone, the professor asked a student to read aloud from the opinion. While standing up. With Shakespearean emphasis. So it seems our adventures with the great Cardozo continue.

Image from Wikimedia Commons

Tuesday, September 9, 2008

My face is a windshield

On my way home today, I got hit by not one, but two smooshy, fat, juicy bugs. Right in the face. And this in the middle of Palo Alto--it's not like I'm riding through the Louisiana swamps.

Ahh, biking. I can't wait until rainy season!

Monday, September 8, 2008

Two useless things I learned today

1. The women's bathroom on the 2nd floor of the classroom building has two soap dispensers. This is amusing because there is only one sink.

2. The costumes in the movie The Fifth Element were designed by the world famous and possibly totally insane fashion legend Jean Paul Gaultier.

Happy Monday.

Sunday, September 7, 2008

San Francisco!

I live about 30 miles from San Francisco (map, in case you're curious, or a stalker). But, since I'm living without a car, getting up there is an adventure. First, I ride my bike to the Caltrain station. I take the train for 40 minutes, then transfer to BART. (NB: No article is used when referring to BART. For example: "I took BART from Millbrae to Civic Center." Not: "Let's ride the BART to San Bruno.") Then, depending on where I'm going, I will have to transfer to the Muni or walk to get from place to place. I've been twice so far, and it's taken me 2 or 3 hours to make the one-way trip. I suppose all the transfering from one mode of transportation to another adds up.

Last weekend I made my first trip up to SF to hang out with my college buddy and lifesaver Abhay. We wandered around Chinatown, walked up to Nob Hill, walked down to Van Ness, and wandered over to Hayes Valley where we had Belgian fries.

Abhay.

My first view of SF: Montgomery Street.

Grace Cathedral.

SF has some nasty hills. My calves were sore for two days.

Then, this weekend, my DC friends Navah and Katie were in town for a conference. I met them in Golden Gate Park, wandered around the Japanese Tea Garden for a while, and then made our way to the neighborhood ("the Sunset") and ate at Cafe Gratitude, a vegan raw food restaurant. The food was actually pretty good. I think the key is to not expect the food you get to be like the food you're used to--a raw vegan enchilada is not going to look or taste anything like the enchiladas you'll get at the local taqueria. Once you get over that hump, it can be kinda tasty.

Inside the very crowded Muni.

The N-Judah Muni, toward Ocean Beach.

Outside the Japanese Tea Garden, where I sat in the sun and ate an ice cream sandwich.

Navah & Katie in the Tea Garden, in slo-mo.

My raw meal, called "I Am Accepting."

Friday, September 5, 2008

Best interview question so far

As soon as I sat down, the gentleman asked: "If you could take a one-year sabbatical, what would you do?"

I said I'd go hang out with my great-grandmother. I stand by my answer.

UPDATE: That must not have been the right answer, 'cause, yeah, no callback there. Le oops.

Thursday, September 4, 2008

Fine. Update. Hmpf.

As you may be able to tell by the title of this post, I haven't been in a blogging mood lately. It's hard to know what to say when every single thing that happens in my life every single day is new, notable, and worthy of comment. I've had 420 minutes of screening interviews. (What does it mean that the first time I wrote that sentence, I wrote screaming?) I've started two of my classes and they're pretty good: one had a planted "student" who actually worked on the deal for the initial financing of Facebook; the other included a critical review of TNT's new terrible show Raising the Bar. I've met a couple handfuls of people, several of whom are on the cooler side. I "followed" the conventions exclusively through The Daily Show. I am addicted to the U.S. Open tennis tournament, for which DVR is coming in quite handy. All the while, I miss my old life. It's still a little lonely here. I know it'll get better once interviews are over and people settle down and all my classes start and I get closer with my new classmates. This is an amazing opportunity, and I shouldn't complain. But since you were just begging for an update, you get what's in my head today. And you'll like it!

Sunday, August 31, 2008

Took the words right out of my mouth!

At one of my interviews so far, I've gotten this question: "What do you want us to know about you that's not on your resume?" I mumbled something borderline incoherent about my "journey to law school" and certainly don't expect to receive any sort of call-back. [UPDATE: I totally called that one: no dice. And good riddance!] I thought it was a silly question, and a new contributer at Nuts & Boalts said it well enough that I'm just going to quote him instead of writing something myself.

"What is the one thing you want us to know that is not on your resume?"

A lot of firms asked me this, even some I really love, so I don't mean to make fun of them. But this question is pretty ridiculous. I put everything I want you to know on the resume. That's what it's for. Anything I say in response to this question is, therefore, post-hoc b.s. Still, I thought of a few good answers, including:

--[whispering] "I'm Batman."
--[rapping] "I...like...big...BUTTS AND I CANNOT LIE!"
--[glancing around and silently mouthing] "They're listening."

Saturday, August 30, 2008

Coen love

I must, I must see this movie.

Friday, August 29, 2008

Tuesday, August 19, 2008

I must be in California

Palm trees.
Mountains.
Sunshine.
The 101.
Peet's Coffee.
In & Out Burger.
Stanford.
I'm here! Happy!

No monuments.
No kittens.
No Five Guys.
No Mocha Hut.
No metro.
No GW.
No friends.
No Fella.
I'm gone. Sad.

Wednesday, August 13, 2008

Moooooooving

My time in the seat of government is coming to an end. I'm leaving this glorious city and heading off to the west coast wilderness known as "the San Francisco Bay area." The blog will be officially on hiatus until I get settled in my new life. But please don't forget about me! I'll be back soon.

DC, it's been fun. See you soon.

Tuesday, August 12, 2008

Sunday, August 10, 2008

FREEDOM FRIES!

OMG! Did you just see the US snatch victory from under France's nose in the men's 4x100m freestyle relay?!? It was unbelievable. We were jumping up and down and screaming along with Michael Phelps and his teammates. If you missed it live, do yourself a favor and find it on YouTube ASAP. The water cooler crowd will thank you tomorrow.

UPDATE: video here. Ho. Ly. Crap.

Friday, August 8, 2008

Olympic opening ceremonies

I missed most of the opener because I was on the train, but I'm back in time to catch the athletes' parade. The speeches are going on now. When the Chinese guy (a party leader) was making his speech, the announcers talked alllll over it, giving only a vague translation of what he was saying instead of a word-for-word translation or subtitles. When the IOC dude got up: total silence.

And now, a Chinese children's chorus is singing the Olympic theme, in perfect pitch, in Greek, and the stupid announcers are talking all over it! What is wrong with them!

Wednesday, August 6, 2008

Amtrak regional to Boston

Observations from my eight hour train ride:
  • Standing in line at Union Station is a sucker bet. It's always better to slide in through the side once boarding starts.
  • Train seats are significantly cushier than plane seats. My legs haven't fallen asleep once.
  • New York City is really pretty from far away. Going north, sit on the left side of the train.
  • Amtrak coffee isn't bad.
  • During a brief stop, the conductor announced: "We're waiting for the fancy-pants Acela to pass us on the right..."
  • The track in Connecticut sucks. So do the roads there in the winter. Sand on snow isn't a good idea, folks. Do us a solid and just pay for the salt, okay?
  • If the train had wifi, I'd never fly again.

Friday, August 1, 2008

Health care

There's something that's always bugged me about the idea of injecting market incentives into the health care system as a check on patients' consumption of services. As far as I understand it, the idea goes like this: if patients have to bear more of the cost of their health care, they will decide to purchase the combination of services that is most economically efficient for them. People will go to the doctor when they need to, they will stop getting unnecessary tests and treatment, and the overall costs of health care will go down.

The problem is in the assumption that people should consume health care services the way they consume other goods. Take shoes. Say I have two possible shoe insurance plans. With Plan A, I pay a flat fee (copayment) every time I visit a shoe store, but while I'm there I can pick up almost all the shoes I want. For the really really expensive ones, the Manolos whatnot, I have to convince the shoe shop owner that I really need them. But if I can prove that I need them, I can have them, and it'll only cost me a fraction of the price. With Plan B, instead of paying a flat fee, I have a shoe deductible, so that in one year I have to pay for the first $1000 of shoes I buy. But, if I end up needing lots and lots of shoes, the Plan will cover much of the cost over the first $1000. Having to pay that first $1000 out of pocket is going to be a big deterrent for buying shoes, so I'll almost certainly consume a lot fewer shoes on Plan B than on Plan A, and then only the ones that I need, rather than the ones that are just really pretty. Plan B is therefore minimizing my shoe purchasing costs.

With health care, on the other hand, there's a big difference between the cost of primary preventive care (a check-up, an HIV test) and the cost of catastrophic care (pregnancy, cancer). There's also the link between the two, such that consuming the right amount of primary care can reduce your consumption of catastrophic care: getting a patient to exercise and stop eating butter and shrimp when they come in with high cholesterol is much cheaper than hospitalizing him for a heart attack. High-deductible plans put the cost of primary care on the patient but cover the cost of catastrophies. What kind of incentive does that give to the patient? If I have a cold, and I have to pay for my doctor and my meds out of pocket, I'm more likely to wait until I have pneumonia before getting treatment.

The incentives are backwards! We want people to get primary care. We want everyone to go to the doctor at least once a year, to go to the dentist at least once a year. Some healthy people should do more: women should get annual pap smears, pale people should get annual skin check-ups. This care should be free, or at least very very cheap. And I'm sorry, but $500 a month in health insurance premiums is not cheap.

Wednesday, July 30, 2008

"Rogue state"

Could we please stop talking about how Iran is a "rogue state" like it's the only one on Earth? Let's take Zimbabwe, where the current government has undertaken an intense and borderline unbelievable campaign of suppression to further its stated intent of remaining in power forever and ever. Or Burma, where the military junta moved the capital out of paranoia and has kept the country's elected leader under house arrest for more years than I have fingers. Or, for Christ's sake, Turkmenistan, where the demented leader has banned opera, libraries, and beards, and recommends that people chew on bones instead of going to the dentist. Seriously, I am not making this stuff up.

Iran has a nutjob for a president. But--and this is the key--he has no real power. He doesn't have his finger on any big red nuclear button. He's all talk and no walk. I don't think heads of state should be able to talk about wiping their neighbors off the map without feeling any international repercussions. But Iran isn't any more of a "rogue state" than its neighbors in the middle east or any one of the dozens of other oppressive regimes around the world. As for nuclear weapons, you know who else has them? Pakistan, home of Al Qaeda. And also, North Korea, a country we have tried to bribe time after time after time to stop.

Tuesday, July 29, 2008

It has to be said

John McCain is running a bastard's campaign. I don't want to think he's a bastard, but he's not really leaving me a lot of choice here.

"[Barack Obama] made time to go to the gym, but cancelled a visit with wounded troops...."

That's a line from McCain's new ad, "Troops." (Here: click on the tab "TV Ad: Troops.") The thing that makes me use the word "bastard" is that the basketball footage in the ad is from Obama's visit with troops. He's in a gym surrounded by military uniforms! Of course, the footage as used in the ad is so blurry that it's hard to see the men and women standing around him. I have no idea if that was deliberate, but I wouldn't be surprised if it was.

Monday, July 28, 2008

My tumor was driving

You know the (recent?) practice of playing down reputation-breaking incidents by admitting to alcoholism. See, e.g., Mel Gibson. Now, just days after running down a pedestrian and attempting to leave the scene--despite reports that the man was splayed on his windshield--Robert Novak, age 77, has said he has a brain tumor. Novak isn't using the tumor explicitly as an excuse for hitting the guy, but he did say that he didn't know he had hit anyone, and the papers are saying that it's unclear whether his tumor contributed to the accident.

This all adds fuel to my long-held belief that everyone over 65 should be required to undergo random driving inspections. At the same time, it supports the implicit conclusion that if you're famous, you can find excuses to get you out of consequences for the bad things you do.

Friday, July 25, 2008

Juxtaposition

Watching the USA-Canada basketball exhibition game. Guess who's sitting next to Bill Gates?


Ludacris.


Awesome.

Thursday, July 17, 2008

hi sai, are you happy?

Sai Sai,

Now have you state show?
I also sing with you, allow me.
I'm not famous singer.
But i want to sing.
I admire you.
I want to meet you at 20.7.2008 (Sun day) with your state show.  OK.
I'm chin and myanmar.
I'm a girl and not married.
My mail address is [email].
OK, please send me your mail, once.

Best regard,
[Poor misguided girl]

Tuesday, July 15, 2008

Whispers

Talking about the satirical Obama New Yorker cover, Matt Yglesias says:
I found the image to be neither especially funny as satire, nor especially outrageous as bad satire. The problem, though, is that the actually existing whispering campaign against Obama is so severe that it doesn't really admit of satire-by-exaggeration.

I've been reading Ayn Rand's The Fountainhead before bed. Whisper campaigns are one of the situations where her crazy reality actually becomes true, where her drooling beast comes to life. Take this exchange, for instance:

Me: Hey man, what do you think of Barack Obama?
Whisper Campaign Victim: Oh, well, isn't he a Muslim?
Me: What? No! He's Christian dude. Don't you remember his reverend making all those headlines a while back?
WCV: Well, yeah, but I still think he's a Muslim.
Me: What?! Why do you think that?
WCV: His middle name's Hussain, isn't it?
Me: Sure, but what does that have anything to do with it?
WCV: And didn't he go to one of those madrassas, where they teach you how to blow up American soldiers?
Me: Dude, most schools in Indonesia are Muslim, and CNN even said that story was false. Seriously, you still think he's Muslim?
WCV: He feels like a Muslim.
Me: We're talking about a fact! What do feelings have to do with it?
WCV: You can have your opinion, and I'll have mine.
Me: I give up.

If you don't believe something like this is possible, I've got a cabbie down in Key West that I'd like you to meet.

Thursday, July 10, 2008

Thoughts on Crazy Paparazzi

Over at What Would Tyler Durden Do (generally NSFW), the author writes:
How is it legal that someone is allowed to stand in front of a moving car and repeatedly hit the driver in the eyes with bright flashing lights? Is that not a violation of the drivers rights? I'm assuming Tobey Maguire is wondering the same thing, as last night he was trying to drive his SUV when he lost it and yelled at the paparazzi, screaming, “"get the fuck out of the way, I can't see. There are cars here motherfuckers." And good for him. You’re not even allowed to take flash pictures of fish at the zoo, yet for some reason it's okay to blind people while they try to aim a V12 engine. Why not just sound an air horn off in their ear too, or throw a snake in their lap. No rules, right?
I've been pondering this topic recently. If a jaywalker crosses the road against the light and not in a crosswalk, and he is hit by a car driving at the speed limit with the right of way, whose fault is that? The jaywalker's, right? Shouldn't the same thing happen with these crazy photographers? Every time Britney Spears runs over some jackass photographer's foot, there are stories all over the news. But the guy was asking for it! He was standing close enough to a moving vehicle to have his foot run over, while flashing blinding lights in the eyes of the driver--isn't that some sort of defense? I know it sounds harsh, but why can't the people harassed by the paparazzi just run them over?

Answer: because they'll get sued, that's why. Ahh, lawyers. They solve all problems.

Old Folks Doing Their Thing, You Know

At Trivia last night my team got a question that sparked some heated discussion at our table: what percentage of old people (65+) regularly engage in sexual activity? We answered 69%, partially in homage to the topic at hand. (My guess was 70%.) Of course, our team had its share of naysayers, convinced that grannies can't get it on or that, even with viagra, the physics of the act of love just weren't possible for people with canes and walkers. This despite recent evidence of rampant STI transmission in retirement communities and assisted living facilities.

Luckily, the more optimistic among us won out. The correct answer: 68%.

Why are people so weirded out by the thought of elderly sex? I mean, why not? As long as people are aware of what's going on and consenting, the idea doesn't bother me. Although, since I brought it up, the consent issues can get pretty thorny, especially as older people grapple with demenia and families get involved. See, e.g., this heartbreaking tale from Slate.

Wednesday, July 9, 2008

New Friend

A while back I was reading through the archives of Crescat Sententia, which went offline right before I started law school. It had a recurring segment of 20 questions for interesting bloggers, which is where I was introduced to Matthew Yglesias:
18: What does Matt Yglesias look for in a woman?
I think the more relevant question may be what sort of woman is looking for a Matt Yglesias. I seem to always wind up dating vegans, which doesn't work all that well with my food-consumption patters. I dunno if that means I'm really looking for a carnivore or if vegans are my type or maybe I should compromise and find a vegetarian and we can go cheese shopping together. Seriously, though, it's pretty hard to say. Like all single people, the one thing my previous relationships have all had in common is failure, so I clearly don't really know what I'm doing.

Yes, yes, I'm a little slow on the uptake here--he's been blogging for several years now. Anyway, I've been reading his stuff for the past few days, and I like. You can meet him too, right here.

Wednesday, July 2, 2008

The Stalker Is Back?

Today, 3 people found the GW Law Student Blog by running an Internet search for my name. Yesterday, it was 5 people. My name is the 14th most common term of all time used to find the blog. Weird!

Monday, June 30, 2008

Robert Thurman on meditation

"[W]hen I am annoyed with Dick Cheney, I meditate on how Dick Cheney was my mother in a previous life and nursed me at his breast."


(It's only one gem of many, as you can see for yourself.)

Wednesday, June 18, 2008

Reader Poll

Who reads this?

Should I keep this blog online, or call it a day?

I've been feeling particularly uninspired of late, and if no one is listening, I'm inclined to stop talking altogether. It's hard to know what to write here. I feel a little lost.

Help?

Friday, June 6, 2008

Si Se Puede!

So Obama won! I am absolutely thrilled and can't wait to see how the general election unfolds.

Monday, May 5, 2008

Hair: Who Needs It?

Not me! On Sunday I went to a salon on 16th and U and lopped off a good 12" of my hair. It's sitting in a bag in my purse waiting for me to send it to Locks of Love. It was going to waste on my head anyway. Better that someone who needs it gets it.

Before the big snip:


And after:
You know, my hair and I went through a lot together. It hasn't been this short since I got lice (all together now: eww) in 7th grade. We went to High School #1 together, transferred to High School #2 together, moved to New York City for college together, suffered through bitter winters and biomedical engineering together, got our first job and worked like dogs together, quit and went traveling and started law school and finished first year together. And now it's gone. You might be thinking boo hoo, but I feel more like hip hip hooray.

Thursday, May 1, 2008

Exam 4: Done done done!

Subject: Civil Procedure II.

Plan of attack: at this point, I'm just going to sit down, write for three hours, and try not to vomit on my keyboard.

Distinguishing feature of exam: the number of names the wise Professor came up with that started with the letters "P" and "D." Some names not represented: Parvati Patil, Dumbledore.

Number of beverages consumed: 0.5.

Number of bathroom breaks: 1.

Next move: ...

...

...

That's right! There is no next move! I'm done! 1L year is over! Wooooohoooooo! This is a proud moment, people. Your little girl is all growns up.

Tuesday, April 29, 2008

New (To Me): Too Much Rod Benson

In just the most recent instance of the Big Fella raising my street cred, I was introduced today to Rod Benson, his blog, and the Boom Tho movement. Seriously, how did I live without this man until now? (Rod Benson, I mean, not the Big Fella.) If you know who he is already, you're probably having fun mocking me for my late arrival. If you don't, here is his appearance on E:60, which is all the introduction you need. (I'll save my enthusiasm for Bill Simmons for a later post.) And, since it's not like you have finals to study for or anything, you can check out his personal blog, Too Much Rod Benson, and his posts on the Yahoo blog Ball Don't Lie.

Anyway, Rod, welcome to the That's Relevant link list. Keep fighting the good fight, buddy! And if you ever have trouble getting a Boom Tho girl, look no further than this humble blog. What I lack in Boom quantity, I make up for in quality.