Friday, October 31, 2008


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.


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


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.


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


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


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


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.

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


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.

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.

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.