Tuesday, December 22, 2009

"The Omnivore's Dilemma"

I say: WHOA. What a mindfuck. Look for more soon.

Thursday, December 17, 2009

Ya so I'm on vacation

Just FYI. See you in the new year, bitches!

Sunday, December 6, 2009

This is NOT progressive behavior, and I heartily disapprove.

While interviewing law students for jobs as paid summer interns and full-time associates for my firm, I noticed several had résumés listing their activities in the Federalist Society. Some of my partners have conservative views similar to those of the society, but I do not. These students’ politics would not affect their professional function, but my review is meant to consider their judgment and personality (though I don’t need to give reasons for the assessments given). May I recommend not hiring someone solely because of his or her politics?
-NAME WITHHELD, GREENWICH, CONN.

What did Name Withheld choose to do?

Believing that all the applicants were qualified, but able to hire only a few, this person recommended rejecting each member of the Federalist Society.

Friday, December 4, 2009

What else would you expect from a letter written by a hotel?

The lack of a Christian White Male [on the California Supreme Court] is important to the German hotel because
it was Christian White Males who founded this country, and it is unfair to completely passover [sic] them, to the detriment of our legal system. Also, overall, they seem to be the one [sic] with the most potential to be a scholarly ethical jurist [sick], and less likely to engage in shenanigan [sic], based on history and empirical evidence. Putting aside, of course, wise Latina females.
Zing. Once again, hard to argue with that evidence. We all know that Christian White Males are unlikely to engage in shenanigan. Everyone knows that, because of all the history and empirical evidence. Isn't that right, Ku Klux Klan? Like just the other day, I was talking to my White Christian Male friends, and I asked, "Hey, do you guys feel like engaging in any shenanigan today?" And everyone just busted up laughing because of how absurd that is. "Leave that to the Armenians!," Tom said, and everyone nodded in solemn agreement.

While Sua Sponte didn't survive the Law School Blog Ennui Disease, Nuts & Boalts--out of UC Berkeley--is thriving. Great blog, funny writers, good content, tons of comments. Hats off to the Boalties making it work across the Bay. Having tried it myself, I know how difficult it is to do what they do. In any case, the whole post quoted above is totally worth reading.

Wednesday, December 2, 2009

Whoa. Dude.

"Klebsiella pneumoniae is one such bacterium. It has resided in the human gastrointestinal tract for as long as we have been able to identify microbes. Each time someone is treated for strep throat, syphilis, Lyme disease, or any other bacterial illness, it learns a little more about our medical arsenal. In 1996, doctors identified a strain of Klebsiella that produced an enzyme called KPC, which has the ability to destroy virtually all modern antibiotics.

"The mutant Klebsiella is harmless in the G.I. tract, but if it escapes to another part of the body—because of poor hygiene or any number of other minor slip-ups—it can turn a routine urinary-tract infection into a life-and-death struggle. To make matters worse, Klebsiella has transferred the genetic recipe for KPC to other—sometimes more dangerous—pathogens. Doctors are now seeing strains of E. coli and Pseudomonas that can produce KPC. To combat the bugs, doctors can either throw a cocktail of antibiotics at the infection or dig up classes of antibiotics that were abandoned decades ago because of their intolerable toxicity.

"Mutant Klebsiella is now spreading around the world, jumping from person to person. It is a particular problem in New York City, where hospital studies have shown that as many as 60 percent of Klebsiella cells can produce KPC. When these bacteria cause an infection, more than one-third of the victims die."

Tuesday, December 1, 2009

Why Iran is crossed off my post-bar travel list

Maziar Bahari was imprisoned in Iran for 118 days on charges of espionage. What did he do? He gave an interview to The Daily Show's Jason Jones, who was pretending to be a spy. Clearly the Ayatollah didn't get the joke.

What follows is a snippet from his Daily Show interview with Jon Stewart last night.

Maziar Bahari: I thought that maybe they'd cancel my press card or maybe they put me in prison for 2-3 days, maybe a week, and then they let me go, but charging me with espionage because of an interview with Jason, it was beyond my wildest dreams.

Jon Stewart: You know, we hear so much about the banality of evil, but so little about the stupidity of evil.

MB: It's--evil is stupid, you know. Whenever you take anything to the extremes, you see the humor in it and you see the stupidity in it. And I think what the Iranian government did, and what my interrogator as the representative of the Iranian government was doing to me, it was stupid and it was funny at the same time. It was not funny while I was in the interrogation room, blindfolded, in a dark room, and being beaten, you know, that was not funny. But when I was going back to my cell, I had to laugh. I mean, that was my defense mechanism.

JS: Well they say comedy is imprisonment plus time.

MB: Exactly, yeah. And you know, my interrogator, for some reason after a while he became my muse. And I never told him, but he gave me ideas. You know, he was so exaggerated in whatever he did, that he just gave me ideas. And I just, I just laughed at him.

JS: It's all so Dostoevsky--or this crazy existentialist nightmare that you entered into, but--he was obsessed with the idea that you had been to New Jersey.

MB: Yes.

JS: This is--this is true!

MB: You know, to him, New Jersey sounded like the most American place that you could be. And he thought that New Jersey is paradise on Earth. And, you know, he thought that New Jersey is a place where people drink all the time, they have sex all the time, and where there are no Jews.

JS: I'm apparently the exception to the rule, I didn't get to do any of that stuff.

MB: I never told him about you, yes.

JS: It's funny and tragic and horrible because this is a man invested with a great deal of power. He is in the Revolutionary Guard in Iran.

MB: He was a Revolutionary Guard and he was in charge of my life, you know. I had to be very respectful of him, I had to be very deferential, you know, I always had to call him "Sir," and whenever I wanted to answer back I was always saying that, "I beg to differ, but you're stupid." I never said that, but you know, I always had to respect him. And he had a lot of power. I mean, he--you know, one thing that was very smart was that I was not confronting the system, I was not confronting the government. They made him in charge of my life. So it was as if that he had a personal grudge against me, not that I was, you know, tried or imprisoned by the Iranian government. They made it more personal. He came to arrest me. He was my interrogator. And on the last day, just the night before I left Iran, he told me that "We can arrest you wherever you are, we can always bring you back in a bag."

Sunday, November 29, 2009

The Flaming Lips

Saw them recently at the Treasure Island Music Festival. Apparently it's perfectly routine for the lead singer to come out on stage in a bubble and roll over the crowd. Made for a fun video; check it out.

Epilepsy warning: may induce seizure. View at your own risk.

video

Another ad I like

Have you seen the Southwest Airlines "bags fly free" series? Worth pausing your DVR fast-forwarding.

Friday, November 20, 2009

I go on vacation and leave you a dinosaur

"I'm so tired of all my actions having consequences! OH MY GOD, is there SERIOUSLY no room on this planet for a dude who loves actions but hates their consequences??"

Bye kids. I'll be back when all that's left of the turkeys is bones.

Thursday, November 19, 2009

Flaubert's "The Dictionary of Accepted Ideas"

Lawyers. Too many in Parliament. Their judgment is warped. Of a lawyer who is a poor speaker, say: 'Yes, but he knows his books.'

Typical father-daughter convo

"Why can't attorneys be more like normal people?"

Dad, I wish I knew.

What any author's website biography should aspire to be

"Carl Hiaasen was born and raised in Florida, where he still lives with his incredibly tolerant family and numerous personal demons.

"A graduate of the University of Florida, at age 23 he joined The Miami Herald as a general assignment reporter and went on to work for the paper's weekly magazine and later its prize-winning investigations team. Since 1985 Hiaasen has been writing a regular column, which at one time or another has pissed off just about everybody in South Florida, including his own bosses. He has outlasted almost all of them, and his column still appears on most Sundays in The Herald's opinion-and-editorial section. It may be viewed online at www.miamiherald.com or in the actual printed edition of the newspaper, which, miraculously, is still being published. . . .

"Together, Hiaasen's novels have been published in 34 languages, which is 33 more than he is able to read or write. Still, he has reason to believe that all the foreign translations are brilliantly faithful to the original work. The London Observer has called him "America's finest satirical novelist," while Janet Maslin of the New York Times has compared him to Preston Sturges, Woody Allen and S.J. Perelman. Hiaasen re-reads those particular reviews no more than eight or nine times a day. . . .

"One of Hiaasen's previous novels, Strip Tease, became a major motion-picture in 1996 starring Demi Moore, and directed by Andrew Bergman. Despite what some critics said, Hiaasen continues to insist that the scene featuring Burt Reynolds slathered from his neck to his toes with Vaseline is one of the high points in modern American cinema."

I thoroughly enjoy this guy's books, in large part because they remind me of the real Florida. (It doesn't hurt that the books are just super-fun to read, too.) As Hiaasen says, "Nothing that happens in my books, no matter how twisted, transcends the reality of South Florida."

Monday, November 16, 2009

You and I are complicated but we're made of elements!


Catchy. Lyrics in comments in case you're a science geek like me.

Thursday, November 12, 2009

Hope is touching, and sad

"In 1992, Arkansas convict Ricky Ray Rector, who had brain damage from shooting himself in the head after killing a police officer, ate a final meal of steak, fried chicken, and cherry Kool-Aid, but famously said he wanted to save his pecan pie for later."

Thursday, November 5, 2009

Makes sense

"She stated that earlier he had broken a window in their home on accident and then broke another because he was upset about breaking the first one."

Monday, November 2, 2009

Metaphor for life

"No matter what you do, your battery will become a useless piece of junk—one day it will reach a point where it can no longer be charged, and then you'll have to recycle it. It will die if you use it often. It will die if you hardly ever use it. It will die if you charge it too much. It will die if you charge it too little. You can pull the battery out of your camera, stuff it under your mattress, and come back for it in five years. Guess what? Your battery will be dead."

Self-proclaimed martian sues doctors, President Clinton, and others for falsifying his DNA results

While conspiracy to do harm to someone is the basis of many actions in this Court there is a fundamental flaw in the position of Mr. Joly. Rule 1.03 defines plaintiff as “a person who commences an action”. The New Shorter Oxford English Dictionary defines person as “an individual human being”. Section 29 of the Interpretation Act provides that a person includes a corporation. It follows that if the plaintiff is not a person in that he is neither a human being nor a corporation, he cannot be a plaintiff as contemplated by the Rules of Civil Procedure. The entire basis of Mr. Joly’s actions is that he is a martian, not a human being. There is certainly no suggestion that he is a corporation. I conclude therefore, that Mr. Joly, on his pleading as drafted, has no status before the Court.

Joly v. Pelletier, via Volokh Conspiracy.

Wednesday, October 28, 2009

Everyone needs balance.

"The work/life balance is one of many child-raising issues that men can sidestep (starting with actually giving birth to the child). Men get credit for staying at home. Men get credit for going to work. Women get criticized no matter what choice they make."

Read the whole Freaky Fortnight series starting here.

Tuesday, October 27, 2009

"Precious"

"I am so used to having two faces. A face that I had for black America and a face for white America. When Obama became president, I lost both faces. Now I only have one face. But old habits die hard, and sometimes I can't remember who I'm supposed to be."

Friday, October 23, 2009

Chief Justice = fashion snob?

"[John Roberts' college roommate, Robert Bush,] also remembers Roberts as a stickler for formality. 'When he was considering law schools, John removed Stanford from his list because the Stanford interviewer was wearing sandals and didn’t have a tie,' Bush said."

Sent by email for someone at today's Chief Justice Roberts talk to ask at Q&A. I hope they webcast this...

Thursday, October 22, 2009

What every Facebook comment should aspire to be

"when i was a kid i was watching the news during a snow storm and they were showing people using all kinds of stuff to sled down a hill. they were talking to a man who was using a trash bag and the caption had the guy's name and underneath it said 'bag sled guy'."

Wednesday, October 21, 2009

On Atlas Shrugged

"I remember it being a good enough novel for me to read through it at a pretty swift pace but I always viewed it as being a surreal work of fiction with comic book characters (which isn’t necessarily a bad thing) rather than anything that was supposed to change my life."

That's a comment from this VC post, which I admit I enjoyed.

Wednesday, October 14, 2009

Closing the distance between preparation and consumption

"My family, like most families, generally lives on the go, and we rarely get to have a decent breakfast in the morning. So most weekends I make twelve muffins (a different flavor each week) as breakfast for the week. I'm sure that someone, somewhere is scolding me for feeding my kid a muffin for breakfast. But here's what I know. When you make Mocha Chip Muffins, as I did this weekend, and see the ingredients going in--the copious amounts of butter, dairy and sugar--it makes you think long and hard about what you're eating, and what you should eat the rest of the day. It's one thing to know that a muffin is fatty. It's another thing to actually add the fat in yourself. Moreover, it's another thing to see the size of your muffins, and then see the gargantuan muffins that are sold in the stores.

Cooking--and really cooking from scratch--creates a consciousness about food. It creates a respect, an understanding of what, exactly, you're putting in your body. It's not that cooking is magically healthier. I'm not convinced that, say, my fried chicken has less calories than KFCs. But that isn't the point. The point is doing the actual work of frying a great chicken. It's actually having to see all the oil and eggs (depending on your recipe) used in the process. For me at least, doing that, has made it unlikely that I'll fry chicken every day, or even every week."

Savage Love does not discriminate against zombies

"A question in the spirit of the season: Can zombie sex ever be consensual? Because I think if confronted with a zombified Zac Efron, I might go for it if he were properly restrained. Can you teach a zombie a safe word? Does it count if it's "braaaains"? It's not necrophilia with the WALKING dead, is it? What would you say is the sexual morality of this situation?"

Tuesday, October 13, 2009

"The facts resemble a scene from 'West Side Story' without the music."

Appellant was a passenger in a car driven by Ruben "Whispers" Juarez. Also in the car were Ramon "Munchies" Guerra, Rodrigo "Crazy Boy" Menchaca, Carlos "Chuco" Martinez, and Mike "Penguin" Escamilla. (Appellant's moniker was "Joker.") All were members of Sur Town gang. Juarez picked up April Perce and Georgina (Gina) Martinez, who were walking home from school. Jose "JoJo" Lucero, a member of Colonia gang, was walking on J Street with his girlfriend and her niece when Juarez's car drove by. Lucero yelled "Colonia," and someone in the car yelled "Sur Town." Lucero and the occupants of the car made obscene gestures and hand signs connoting their gangs to each other.
-People v. Fernandez, 26 Cal.App.4th 710 (1994)

When courts take on street gangs, the results provide a good chuckle.

Friday, October 9, 2009

Appeals are fun

On arguing appeals against traffic court pro per (self-representing) defendants: "It's like stepping on kittens."

Deadspin is subtle

"Dan Snyder, you are fucking worthless. You are a tiny little sociopath who should be wearing giant old person sunglasses and running one of the Koreas. You fucking suck, and it seems you're more than happy to bask in it. The only thing you can do to help your team at this point is to walk in front of an oncoming cement mixer. Way to ruin everything, shithead. DIE."

(Thanks to our good friends over at PaytheMoneyandTakeaShot for that one.)

Thursday, October 8, 2009

I love my mom

"Has anyone in your building got swine flu? Since your neighbors are mostly Mexican?"

[Hope she doesn't kill me for this one.]

I prefer pastrami, but still

"The number of Jewish delis has declined substantially, and the remaining few are in jeopardy. Can a federal bailout be far behind? Personally, I’d much rather my federal taxes go to preserve good corned beef than bad Buicks."

For the record, the deli in my first- and second-year dorm at Columbia was pretty delightful. I hope it's still around.

Wednesday, October 7, 2009

A man died, T-Rex!

"By we, I mean of course the membership of the People Who When They Hear A Story About An Avoidable And Crazy Death, Laugh As Is Expected Of Them And Then Make A Mental Note To Not Do That Thing Anymore. Our slogan is 'Hi, you are probably already a member of our awesome club!'"

He means donkey. (I think.)

"Last year, America produced 3.6 billion pounds of yogurt. It is unclear whether this figure even includes camel- and ass-milk efforts."

Roseanne Cash

"Brain surgery is not for sissies, in case you were wondering. I had 19 staples up the back of my head. My morbid sense of humor really got me through it. I went to the hospital singing, 'If I only had a brain.'"

Tuesday, September 29, 2009

"You asked with your eyes."

I don't know why I love this commercial, but I do. Dumb jokes crack me up.

Monday, September 28, 2009

Apple? Acting badly? Heresy! Blasphemy! Rubbish! (True.)

"Apple often gets away with behavior we'd never sanction from other companies. If Microsoft began preventing rivals' devices from connecting with Windows, the tech industry would go ape. If Google gave preferential treatment to its sites on its search engine, European regulators would threaten a lawsuit. Apple's exclusionary ways weren't very consequential when it was merely a tech-industry also-ran. But now that it's a behemoth, we—its customers—should demand that it play by the same rules as everyone else."

I had a realization today, you guys!!

I like funny things. I read a lot of the Internet, and sometimes I come across funny things. I like to share said funny things, even though in many cases they are funny to me but awkward, uncomfortable, and at best unfortunate to the average person. Often the sharing happens via gchat status. But in a sad, sad twist of fate (so sad, you guys!) gmail only saves something like your last 3 status messages. This is too few storages to keep funny things that I may like to repeat at some point. I may have cried a little tear, maybe.

But then I realized something: I have a blog. And for the last few weeks I have known not what to do with this here dear blog. SO. You can see where I'm going with this, right?

Anyway, if you see absurd quotes that are totally out of context and seem to strike a chord in you that makes you want to find me, pat me on the head, and give me an IQ-slash-sanity exam, don't say I didn't warn you. Because I just did.

Sunday, September 20, 2009

A sentence I liked

"Saved on the page, it captured the imagination of at least a few young couples in New York City, people moving from the bars into the construction of nurseries, away from $80 midweek dinners or takeout grub and toward the sophistication of grown-up dinner parties, the sort where the fall night ends with cigarettes on the fire escape while the baby monitor hums."

Saturday, September 19, 2009

Help me plan a vacation

Hello my four readers,

I'm gathering ideas. Thinking about going somewhere special for Thanksgiving week (weekend before to weekend after, roughly). Leaning toward Europe, but that seems to be a bit pricey. Can't seem to find a good deal. Any of you been traveling lately? How'd you find your flights and hotels? Did you splurge or go budget? Is there a specific website you'd recommend? Help a girl out, yo!

Love you dearly,
saisai

UPDATE: We decided on the Florida Keys. Snorkeling, fishing, and Ernest Hemingway, here we come!

Monday, September 14, 2009

DELPOOOOOO!!!

Juan Martin Del Potro upsets Roger Federer to win the U.S. Open: 3-6, 7-6, 4-6, 7-6, 6-2.

Friday, September 11, 2009

Everything you ever wanted to know about Craig and his list

I'm not always a fan of the "rest day reading" on Crossfit.com, but this one from a few days ago was well worth the time. Enjoy.

Saturday, September 5, 2009

"Attractive, affordable housing is possible and I'm out there to prove it."

Who knew Texas would teach the rest of the country about recycled housing? Thanks to KT for the heads-up.

Wednesday, September 2, 2009

Monday, August 24, 2009

Slate, you are BREAKING my little heart!

Today's Papers is dead.

UPDATE: I've checked out the new news-aggregator feature, The Slatest, that Slate launched today. I'm sure it's a fine news aggregator, but it's not a replacement for TP. Several things made TP great. One: its simplicity. Just white background, black text, and blue links. No divided page with multiple features; just an ad or two and the regular Slate sidebar. It published once. Easy on the eyes, and also easy to read. Which brings me to Two: its style. The beauty of TP was that it wasn't a news aggregator. It was a news summary. I didn't have to click through to the original article to get a fairly good understanding of what the article said. There are enough sites that provide the "link plus one sentence description" service for headline news. What I loved about TP was that it talked in paragraphs instead of sentences. And finally, Three: it was well-written! I know Daniel Politi is still around writing the morning issue of The Slatest, but will we still get the great narratives? Will he be able to compare coverage between newspapers? Will he pick out that one idiosyncratic story to stick at the bottom of the page? Oh, I'm grieving here. It's taking willpower not to start bawling right here in the library.

Slate. Please, pretty please, with a cherry on top. Do whatever you want with this Slatest thing, but have mercy on us--bring back Today's Papers!

Thursday, August 20, 2009

Reader Poll

Should That's Relevant start--ahem--tweeting?

(a) Yes, you're hilarious. The more saisai, the better.
(b) Nah. Your blog's just a bunch of one-liners anyway. Leave twitter for the celebs (and their PR guys).
(c) No, see, you're not very funny, or even all that interesting. Your blog's bad enough. Don't make it worse.
(d) Fuck you.*


*If you ask me, this should be an option in every reader poll ever taken, ever.

Saturday, August 15, 2009

Why that was my only post on health care

Because I can't stand it, this flagrant, consequenceless lying. It drives me up the goddamn wall. I can't watch the news; I can't read more than an article or two before reaching my limit and triggering my gag reflex. The fact that people who lie, lie, lie aren't immediately called out, publicly and unequivocally, means there's no disincentive to just lie, lie, lying. I feel guilty for not paying more attention, but it just disgusts me, and I have to back away slowly or risk harming myself or others.

My only post on health care

I understand health insurance reform is something about which reasonable people might disagree. But wouldn't it be nice if the reasonable people were the ones we heard, instead of the psycho loony fear-mongerers on either side? Especially the "Obama will kill all the old people!" And, jeez, look at folks on Medicare worried about socialism and government intervention. Man I hate that shit.

Today, Obama joins the chorus pleading for sanity to prevail.

Thursday, August 13, 2009

REQUIRED reading

Liberals and conservatives alike, take 30 minutes and digest this. Not the way I would've written it, but the substance is well worth your time.

The new summer accessory: the man-belly

I hope these guys don't expect their girlfriends to be 36-24-36.

UPDATE: And I'm not the only one.

Monday, August 3, 2009

First pull-up!

YESSSSSSSSSSSSSSS!

Friday, July 31, 2009

Take back the goddamn beep

From the NYTimes (hat tip to one of my favoritest people, J.K.) David Pogue wants to start a movement:

Over the past week, in The New York Times and on my blog, I’ve been ranting about one particularly blatant money-grab by American cellphone carriers: the mandatory 15-second voicemail instructions.

Suppose you call my cell to leave me a message. First you hear my own voice: “Hi, it’s David Pogue. Leave a message, and I’ll get back to you”–and THEN you hear a 15-second canned carrier message.

* Sprint: “[Phone number] is not available right now. Please leave a detailed message after the tone. When you have finished recording, you may hang up, or press pound for more options.”

* Verizon: “At the tone, please record your message. When you have finished recording, you may hang up, or press 1 for more options. To leave a callback number, press 5. (Beep)”

* AT&T: “To page this person, press five now. At the tone, please record your message. When you are finished, you may hang up, or press one for more options.”

* T-Mobile: “Record your message after the tone. To send a numeric page, press five. When you are finished recording, hang up, or for delivery options, press pound.”

(You hear a similar message when you call in to hear your own messages. “You. Have. 15. Messages. To listen to your messages, press 1.” WHY ELSE WOULD I BE CALLING?)

I, the voicemailbox owner, cannot turn off this additional greeting message. You, the caller, can bypass it, but only if you know the secret keypress–and it’s different for each carrier. So you’d have to know which cellphone carrier I use, and that of every person you’ll ever call; in other words, this trick is no solution.

[UPDATE: Apple iPhone owners don't hear these instructions--Apple insisted that AT&T remove them. And Sprint already DOES let you turn off the instructions message, although it's a buried, multi-step procedure, which you can read in the comments below.]

These messages are outrageous for two reasons. First, they waste your time. Good heavens: it’s 2009. WE KNOW WHAT TO DO AT THE BEEP.

Do we really need to be told to hang up when we’re finished!? Would anyone, ever, want to “send a numeric page?” Who still carries a pager, for heaven’s sake? Or what about “leave a callback number?” We can SEE the callback number right on our phones!

Second, we’re PAYING for these messages. These little 15-second waits add up–bigtime. If Verizon’s 70 million customers leave or check messages twice a weekday, Verizon rakes in about $620 million a year. That’s your money. And your time: three hours of your time a year, just sitting there listening to the same message over and over again every year.

In 2007, I spoke at an international cellular conference in Italy. The big buzzword was ARPU–Average Revenue Per User. The seminars all had titles like, “Maximizing ARPU In a Digital Age.” And yes, several attendees (cell executives) admitted to me, point-blank, that the voicemail instructions exist primarily to make you use up airtime, thereby maximizing ARPU.

Right now, the carriers continue to enjoy their billion-dollar scam only because we’re not organized enough to do anything about it. But it doesn’t have to be this way. You don’t have to sit there, waiting to leave your message, listening to a speech recorded by a third-grade teacher on Ambien.

Let’s push back, and hard. We want those time-wasting, money-leaking messages eliminated, or at least made optional.

I asked my Twitter followers for help coming up with a war cry, a slogan, to identify this campaign. They came up with some good ones:

“Where’s the Beep?”

“Let it Beep”

“We Know. Let’s Go.”

“Lose the Wait”

“My Voicemail, My Recording”

“Hell, no, we won’t hold!”

My favorite, though, is the one that sounds like a call to action: “Take Back the Beep.”

And here’s how we’re going to do it.

We’re going to descend, en masse, on our carriers. Send them a complaint, politely but firmly. Together, we’ll send them a LOT of complaints.

If enough of us make our unhappiness known, I’ll bet they’ll change.

I’ve told each of the four major carriers that they’ll be hearing from us. They’ve told us where to send the messages:

* Verizon: Post a complaint here.

* AT&T: Send e-mail to customerissues@attnews.us.

* Sprint: Post a complaint here.

* T-Mobile: Post a complaint here.

Three of the four carriers are just directing us to their general Web forums. Smells like a cop-out, I know.

Yet all four carriers promise that they’ll read and consider our posts. And we have two things going for us.

First, I have a feeling that the volume of complaints will be too big for them to ignore. To that end, I hope you’ll pass these instructions along, blog them, Twitter them, and spread the word. (Gizmodo, Engadget, Consumerist, and others have agreed to help out.) And I hope you’ll take the time to complain yourself. Do it now, before you forget.

Second, we’ll all be watching. I’ll be reporting on the carriers’ responses. If they ignore us, we’ll shame them. If they respond, we’ll celebrate them.

Either way, it’s time to rise up. It’s time for this crass, time-wasting money-grab to end for good.

Wednesday, July 29, 2009

Makes me mad

Seriously, reading stories like this drives me batshit crazy.

Tuesday, July 28, 2009

51-Across

"Don't ____ me, bro!"

Well, it only took two years or so.

Monday, July 20, 2009

This conspicuous absence of Dinosaur Comics must end now

Yep, I still love 'em.


I hope you enjoyed that, you guys!!

Sunday, July 19, 2009

The summer of "broad, general, inclusive fitness"

To refresh your memories: when I first got back in the gym and started doing CrossFit, I felt like this. I don't feel like that anymore. I'm no longer scared, and I'm hooked.

Since May 25--my first workout day in DC--I've been tracking my workouts in Excel. Maybe a little creepy, sure, but also very revealing. The verdict: this stuff works.

The whole idea behind CrossFit is, basically, to keep your body guessing. The workouts are varied in every way: what you do, what order you do it in, at what weight, how many times, how fast. In the 55 days recorded in my spreadsheet, I've repeated the same workout exactly once. I've become comfortable with almost all of the olympic and power lifts (except these two, which I've never done). My gymnastics movements are progressing, though the pull-up still eludes me and I stick to girl-style push-ups when I have to do more than 10 at a time. I did my first double-unders. More importantly, I'm comfortable in the big boy part of the gym--the part where all the heavy things are and people grunt and there isn't a bicep curl machine in sight.

I have muscles! My legs and arms look different. Especially my calves--and perpetually small calves run in my family. I've managed to avoid hurting myself--which actually isn't hard when you practice good technique.

And the numbers just get better. That one workout I repeated? My performance improved by almost 50%! I can lift 110 lbs off the ground, I can lift 80 lbs to my shoulders and at least 70 lbs over my head. I can squat (and get up again) with 90 lbs on my back. Very soon these numbers will all be in triple digits.

You might be thinking to yourself, "who cares?" To you skeptics I say, number 1: it makes my life easier. I can lift carry-on suitcases into the bin over my head. I can walk home from the store with a gallon of milk and a gallon of juice at the same time. I can open bottles. I can run away from muggers faster. If you collapse on the floor, it's easier for me to drag your unconscious body to safety.

But above all, I actually like it. It's the only workout program I've been able to do for this long without getting bored. It keeps me interested and engaged. I like the lifts especially, and the technique involved in them, and how being efficient and using lots of muscles at the same time in particular ways can make you so much more powerful. It's really nice to see measurable improvement, to feel like the workouts are doing their jobs.

I've seen a difference not just physically, but also mentally. I push harder. I go faster. I do more. Not necessarily because I'm stronger--though I am--but because I have more confidence that, even though my mind is ready to quit, my body isn't. I can run each 400m faster than the last. I can push out another rep. I can do the workout of the day even though I'm sore from yesterday. And I hope, eventually, the mental difference I see in my workouts will translate past CrossFit to other parts of my life: I can read one more case even though I'm tired; I can write this paper today even though I feel blocked; I will pay attention in this class even though I'm bored.

People can get fit and stay fit using lots of things besides CrossFit. If you find something that works for you, that's great.* This works for me. I don't think I'll be competing in the 2010 games or anything, but I'm going to keep at it for now. And I promise, when I get that first pull-up, you'll be the first to know.

*Though please, for the love of God, don't bother putting in 45 minutes on the elliptical machine if you're going to read Us Weekly the whole time. If you can concentrate on Jon & Kate Plus 8, you're not exercising; honestly, you're probably not doing anything more strenuous than pooping.

Friday, July 17, 2009

Disagreeing with the Ethicist

I don't always agree 100% with Randy Cohen, the Ethicist columnist in the NYT. (He's no Dan Savage, after all.) Today's advice, however, was especially irksome.

"Name Withheld" drives along a pothole-filled 2-lane road everyday, and sometimes is followed by one particular tailgating douchebag driver. One day, NW waits until the last minute to swerve around one particularly big pothole; the tailgater behind him hits the pothole and gets a big enough jolt that he pulls over to check on his car. Okay behavior?

Randy says no.

I say yes. Enthusiastically, overwhelmingly, yes.

Randy says NW's "pedagogical purpose" isn't sufficient justification for intending to damage someone else's car. But there's so much wrong with that statement. First of all, the other driver's tailgating risks damage to NW's car all the time: if NW were to brake suddenly, the tailgater might well slam into his back bumper. Also, NW didn't intend to damage the other dude's car [or, anyway, nothing suggests that]. He simply stopped subsidizing the behavior of the free rider behind him by refusing to permit the tailgater to substitute someone else's judgment for his own. Such are the risks of tailgating, and the other driver can't complain when the risks of his behavior are realized. Plus, tailgating is really fucking annoying, especially on hazardous streets, and any non-violent efforts to get people to just stop already have lots of value.

Does anyone out there want to take a stab at defending the other side?

Wednesday, July 15, 2009

Holy health insurance, Batman!

Miracle of miracles: we have a health care reform bill.

The House bill's text here (all 1000+ pages of it).

Section-by-section summary here (shorter but not entirely helpful).

Slate's Timothy Noah approves, as does CAP's Matt Yglesias.

I haven't read it so I'll reserve my comments for later. Starting this Friday I'll have a good two months off, so it's not like I don't have time to read the damn thing.

As for what it actually looks like in the end...

Why is Frank Ricci in the room?

He has no place in Sonia Sotomayor's confirmation hearing. Get him out of there!

Tuesday, July 14, 2009

Who says Niagara Falls is boring?

Not when you look at it like this. (From The Daily Dish.)

Shawty, same doubt!

Late, as usual. Thanks to Navs for the many minutes of hilarity this has given me tonight.

Monday, July 13, 2009

Pigeonholed

I just noticed that the last three posts were derived from the New York Times. Sorry 'bout the lack of variety, folks. I'll try to spice it up in the future. I'm really not a stooge of the liberal elite media, I swear.

Though I'll admit to being a judgmental asshole every now and then.

Exhibit A: my not-so-secret love of The Anti-Real World DC.

Random bit of happiness

A couple days old, but this essay [and the neat little drawings that go with it] are worth a few minutes of your time.

Saturday, July 11, 2009

Whales

I think I'm starting to get weepy in my old age. This article didn't help matters much.

"A female humpback was spotted in December 2005 east of the Farallon Islands, just off the coast of San Francisco. She was entangled in a web of crab-trap lines, hundreds of yards of nylon rope that had become wrapped around her mouth, torso and tail, the weight of the traps causing her to struggle to stay afloat. A rescue team arrived within a few hours and decided that the only way to save her was to dive in and cut her loose. For an hour they cut at the lines and rope with curved knives, all the while trying to steer clear of a tail they knew could kill them with one swipe. When the whale was finally freed, the divers said, she swam around them for a time in what appeared to be joyous circles. She then came back and visited with each one of them, nudging them all gently, as if in thanks. The divers said it was the most beautiful experience they ever had. As for the diver who cut free the rope that was entangled in the whale’s mouth, her huge eye was following him the entire time, and he said that he will never be the same."

Thursday, July 9, 2009

A woman on the Court

From this upcoming weekend's NYT Magazine.

"I think back to the days when — I don’t know who it was — when I think Truman suggested the possibility of a woman as a justice. Someone said we have these conferences and men are talking to men and sometimes we loosen our ties, sometimes even take off our shoes. The notion was that they would be inhibited from doing that if women were around. I don’t know how many times I’ve kicked off my shoes. Including the time some reporter said something like, it took me a long time to get up from the bench. They worried, was I frail? To be truthful I had kicked off my shoes, and I couldn’t find my right shoe; it traveled way underneath."

Monday, July 6, 2009

Wimbledon

Yeah, I don't have too much to say. I'm surprised I didn't bust an artery what with all the hair-pulling tension I was feeling during that final match. I'm proud of our boy Andy Roddick, though his win over Murray did lose me my ice-cream bet. Oh well. This all should make the U.S. Open quite interesting. Maybe tickets to Flushing Meadows are in order? Can't wait!

Thursday, July 2, 2009

Andy Roddick

He's playing really well at Wimbledon this year (though I've got an ice cream cone riding on his losing to Andy Murray in tomorrow's semifinal). But Andy Roddick is at his very bestest after the match, in the interview room. Here, from the NYT, he talks about the pain of becoming a second-tier player:

“When you’ve seen the Rolling Stones from the front row, and then all of a sudden you’re like, you know, seven or eight rows back and there’s a really tall guy in front of you waving his hands and screaming, you can’t see much,” Roddick said then. “It’s not going to be as good as the other shows.”

So what row is he in now?

“Getting closer,” Roddick said. “I can see what Mick Jagger is wearing now.”

Monday, June 29, 2009

RIP Billy Mays

"Billy Mays, a beloved and parodied pitchman who became a pop-culture figure through his commercials for cleaning products like Orange Glo, OxiClean and Kaboom, died Sunday at his home in Tampa, Fla. He was 50."

Tuesday, June 23, 2009

"Really classy dudes."

Jason Rezaian, a journalist who recently left Iran, has a nice on-the-ground piece in Slate.

"I had watched public sentiment go from one of apathy a few weeks before the election to the point at which many people felt they had been robbed. In Iran, public opinion flows in waves. The sea seemed tranquil for the supreme leader and the president in the run-up to the election, but after June 12 a tsunami of resentment and frustration came crashing down on top of them, and they've been bailing water ever since. I don't even think they realize how ridiculous their public reactions to the current turmoil look. . . .

"When I got to Imam Khomeini airport, it was crawling with government security forces. They're never hard to spot: dark suits, blue shirts, cropped beards, big ruby or turquoise pinky rings, trying conspicuously to be inconspicuous. Really classy dudes.

"People preparing to depart huddled around a lone TV monitor to watch a report about the terrorism being inflicted on the people of Tehran by the protesters. It showed a member of the Basij being beaten with his own baton. It was meant to induce sympathy for the militiamen. People only smiled. These punks, who have long been a face of Iran to many outside the country, were finally getting some comeuppance.

"Over the years, I've read several authors describing Iranian society as a place where people live as if they were free—doing all the things that are banned in public behind closed doors, accepting the rules of the Islamic republic as a series of annoyances to be worked around. Over the last few weeks, those doors blew open, and now it feels like the regime is the one acting as if it still has a handle on things. . . ."

Monday, June 22, 2009

This makes sense

To those of you who've asked me about what's going on in Iran, I recommend this Op-Ed in the NYT.

I believe the loss of trust by millions of Iranians who’d been prepared to tolerate a system they disliked, provided they had a small margin of freedom, constitutes the core political earthquake in Iran. Moderates who once worked the angles are now muttering about making Molotov cocktails and screaming their lungs out after dusk.

Thursday, June 18, 2009

Worthy

This is possibly the best piece of sports journalism I have ever read, a piece worthy of the greatness of Rafael nadal, and it's today's must-read.

"There is debate among serious tennis watchers . . . as to whether Nadal’s victory over Roger Federer in the Wimbledon final last year was the greatest tennis match ever played or whether it has only been called the greatest tennis match ever played when, in fact, Nadal’s victory over his Spanish countryman Fernando Verdasco in the semifinals of the Australian Open in January was greater. Each match went on for more than four and a half hours. Each was desperate, operatic, repeatedly to-the-brink-and-back; each ended with Nadal collapsing to the court in triumph and the spectators exhausted and perspiring, and if you are not a tennis person, I suspect this may be somewhat hard to fathom — the idea that watching two men spend that many hours hitting a ball could actually make your heart pound so hard that you have to keep jumping up and yelling and grabbing your own head. But let me just suggest that if there were ever a time to understand why people invoke Shakespearean tragedy and ancient gladiators and so on when they carry on about competitive tennis, now is that time."

Wednesday, June 17, 2009

What has two thumbs and got paid today?

This girl. Right here.

Silly Bullshit

"This very second, a 30-minute TV program is in progress that is predicated on the assumption that you are stupid. Depending on which one you watch, you will be told that sitting in a little rotating chair will give you six-pack abs, that juicing all your vegetables will give you six-pack abs, that jumping rope/dancing to very specific types of music/pretending to kickbox/turbojamming (all of which feature things called "moves") will give you six-pack abs. You might be encouraged to buy an Ab Roller, Ab Lounger, Ab Belt, Ab Energizer, AbTronic, Ab Rocker, Ab Doer, Ab Force, Ab Swing, Ab Rocket, Ab Flex, Ab Dolly, Ab Away Pro, Ab Lifter Plus, Abrageous, FastAbs, HipHop Abs, or 6-Second Abs by the promise that they will give you six-pack abs. The iGallop really looks like fun—like riding a horse!—and will give you six-pack abs. You might even own a ThighMaster, bought many years ago (Still available today! Call now!) because they promised that it would give you six-pack abs."

This alone was worth the $25 annual fee. Thanks to Mark Rippetoe and his disgust with "silly bullshit" for my biggest laugh of the day.

Tuesday, June 16, 2009

Headings are important

a. Oat bran craze.

How great is that!

Tuesday, June 9, 2009

Who said this?

"It is neither possible nor desirable for a [judge] to whom the State entrusts an important judgment to decide in a vacuum, as if he had no experiences."

Put your best guess in the comments. I'll post the answer tomorrow.

Monday, June 8, 2009

One of the worst opinions ever

California v. Ramos, 463 U.S. 992 (1983). It makes NO sense. Hey Sandra Day: WTF?!?

Thursday, June 4, 2009

Lawyers need pats on the back sometimes

"The Court commends counsel for their advocacy of the issues presented in this motion. Counsel for the Class and the Defendants have each done a remarkable job in distilling complex and important issues into concise briefing. The fairness and effectiveness of the advocacy is appreciated by the Court and is an increasingly rare commodity."

Compliments of the U.S. District Court for the Northern Distict of Georgia, Atlanta Division.

Wednesday, June 3, 2009

Never thought it could happen

Today I ran 800 meters in less than 4 minutes.

It was the last in a set of 3 runs, and the fastest of the day.

I fell down afterward and scared these guys who were trying to un-parallel-park their car. I was tired.

For someone who runs an 11-minute mile, this is A Big Deal. It was a good start to the day.

Sunday, May 31, 2009

Robert Wright says

"[President Obama] shifts between the professorial and the preacherly in a way that is reminiscent of the Apostle Paul, although Paul probably attended church more often and worked out less."

Wednesday, May 27, 2009

Le uh oh

I have a rule: whenever my gmail inbox breaks 3,000 emails, I have to spend a chunk of time cleaning it out. I always try to get it below 2,000 on those days. They follow each other too quickly.

Just now I checked my email, and I'm at 2,999.

Le uh oh indeed.

Saturday, May 16, 2009

. . . and one more

Maybe it's from being up ridiculously late (again) and drawing out the pain of this tax policy paper, but The Pioneer Woman's love story gave me a much-needed cry. Highly recommended when you've got an hour or three on your hands.

Thursday, May 14, 2009

New link

Now that you're all done with finals, this won't count as procrastination, but as pure, clean, good fun. Enjoy.

Tuesday, May 5, 2009

Exam 2: Done.

Again, a day behind. I stared at a computer for 8 hours straight. So sue me.

Subject: Constitutional Litigation

Length: 8 freaking hours. And no talk of "oh, it's a 4-hour exam and you get 8 hours to do it!" No no no. No.

Last thought before beginning exam: "Hm, when can I take my first coffee break?"

First thought after finishing exam: "Wow, it would've been nice to have had time for a coffee break."

Comment of the day: "Constitutional litigation, huh? You wanna be a Supreme Court Justice or something?" Nooooo... but my professor does!

Next move: Got back in the gym, had a lovely dinner in San Francisco, and now on to this tax policy paper. By this time next week I should be an expert in all things congestion-pricing related. Yippee!

Saturday, May 2, 2009

Exam 1: Done.

Totally forgot to post this yesterday, but the tradition MUST continue.

Subject: Evidence

Length: 3 hours (90 min each essay and MC) + 10 minutes break (to shit one's pants between parts)

Last thought before beginning exam: "Our Father, who art in heave---oh, damn, I don't believe in God, do I? Guess I'm f$&ked."

First thought after finishing exam: "That was the gentlest and most relevant test I've taken so far in law school, and it still kicked my ass halfway to Las Vegas."

Next move: Spent today at a CrossFit regional competition in Aromas, CA, cheering on a very blond, very disciplined, very bright, and very fit friend. Enjoyed the company. Got to watch dozens of shirtless wonderfully-built men pull themselves up the rings in a way that is just undeniably hot. Got motivated to get myself back into the gym. But not til after Monday noon, 'cause Exam 2 is right around the corner.

'Til then, ciao bellas.

Friday, May 1, 2009

Oh, the poignancy of T-Rex

"We'd all be a heck of a lot more productive if work was as entertaining as--you know, entertainment! In particular, I'd be a lot better off if learning [evidence] was as relentlessly entertaining as learning, I don't know . . .

. . . about the sexual histories of my friends and acquaintances, PERHAPS??"


The way this comic mirrors my life is stunning, and frightening.

Better than nothing?

The NY Times ran an article today about women in ultimate frisbee. Wonderful. But WHAT THE F$&K is it doing in the f$&king FASHION section.

NY Times, I am NOT impressed. Just because women play it you call it "fitness" and not "sport"? I'm calling foul.

Monday, April 27, 2009

Every culture needs one

Meet the Persian Richard Simmons!



I about fell off my chair. Thanks to JMC for the tip.

The little things

Both today and yesterday, I have mistakenly put my left contact lens in my right eye, and my right one in my left. As soon as I do this I realize my mistake (my eyes have very different prescriptions) and switch them, of course. But why am I doing this? The lenses have different packaging. I can tell them apart (I'm not that blind). And two days in a row??

I blame finals.

Saturday, April 25, 2009

The fate of Project Runway, or one more reason to despise lawyers

The mention a few posts back reminded me that I'm missing my yearly dose of Project Runway! Bravo re-aired season 5 a few weeks ago but wasn't doing anything to promote season 6, which was odd: usually Top Chef and Project Runway alternate, and Top Chef has been over for a while now.

So what gives? Well, there were rumors last year of the show's producers moving it to Lifetime, and they turn out to be true. But apparently Bravo's parent, NBC, isn't happy about that and is suing the producers for breach of contract. The Lifetime got involved, trying to remove the case to federal court (though that didn't work, apparently). And now everything's in limbo, who knows when there'll be a trial, and until the dispute is resolved, the show is on hold. No matter: the top three designers have gone ahead and shown at NY Fashion Week! The whole season has been shot! And it's just sitting there, waiting! Because of lawyers!

I say boo.

"Take the discount or donate?"

I just noticed a new (well, new to me) feature on Slate called "My Goodness" that gives advice on how to make the world better. It's pretty neat, actually, and the latest Q&A was particularly relevant to my life: what to do when supermarket cashiers ask you to donate to charity at checkout. I shop mostly at Whole Foods, and I have dutifully purchased several of those reusable green bags to do my little part for the environment. (Baby steps.) When I go to pay, the cashier asks me whether I want to take a bag deduction--5 or 10 cents per bag--or donate that money to whatever charity is on the menu that day. I almost always take the deduction, and feel just a little bit selfish when I do it. But I figure I'm currently the object of some form of charity myself (in the form of subsidized student loans, where the interest is paid by the good ol' taxpayer), and so long as I'm in the red, I can't really be expected to give to others. Then again, it's just a nickel or two on top of a $100 grocery bill, and not at the cheapest store in town, either. But on the other hand, I did pay for the reusable bags, so maybe I'm entitled to recoup my investment, and then some, before thinking about giving that discount away? And why should Whole Foods get to decide where my money goes, anyway?

Thoughts welcome, as always, in the comments.

Also, pardon the quality of the writing as I get back into the rhythm of this thing. My muscles are atrophied and need some TLC before they work properly again.

Oh, and the strawberries!

You might be curious what happened to that mass of strawberries I bought the other week. (Might be? Of course you're curious! You've been waiting for this your whole life!)

It was actually kind of dumb. A lot of the strawberries went soft and overripe before I got a chance to do anything of substance with them. (Though I did eat at least two pints with just whipped cream. A lot of whipped cream. Yum.) I only had about a pint left to work with. So, I took the easy way out: I baked a cake out of a box in two layers, frosted the whole thing with frosting out of a can, and put cut strawberries in between the layers and on top of the cake. It was tasty, but that's about all I could say for it. I think my classmates enjoyed it, and it looked kinda pretty.

I really don't think baking is my forte. But some time this summer, we will attempt no-knead bread.

Friday, April 24, 2009

Better late than never: the dish

I promised pictures of my walk by the Dish, and here they are.

First things first, here's Dish One:


And here's Dish Two:


The view from the path is really pretty incredible. My photos don't really do it justice.


I climbed this craggly old oak tree.


It was a gorgeous day, and it's been pretty perfect weather every since. So I'm looking forward to going 'round that way again--it makes for better procrastination than Project Runway, fo sho.

Thursday, April 16, 2009

In procrastination solidarity

Embedding is disabled, but here's the link. It's nice to have your cynicism soundly defeated once in a while.

Tuesday, April 14, 2009

Sick day

Oof. This life of hard livin' is catching up to me. You should see the stuff coming out of my nose. It's hot.

Monday, April 13, 2009

Justice Thomas revealed

"I have to admit that I'm one of those people that still thinks the dishwasher is a miracle. What a device! And I have to admit that because I think that way, I like to load it. I like to look in and see how that dishes were magically cleaned."

That sounds like something I would say.

Sunday, April 12, 2009

Back, for now

Hi again!

New developments in my life since we spoke last:
  1. Spring break ended
  2. Moot court ended (at least, my participation in it)
  3. I wrote & argued a Fed Lit brief (neither particularly well, in case you're curious)
  4. My computer got a new hard drive
  5. I picked up said computer (just yesterday!)
  6. I walked the Dish for the first time (pictures forthcoming)
  7. I made frosting for a cake for the first time (not as good as I expected)
  8. I bought a flat of strawberries & am trying to figure out what to do with them (suggestions in comments pls?)
  9. My new shoes officially mess with my foot and must be returned
  10. I cleaned my desk and filed 6 months' worth of papers (!!)
There's more than that, but 10 is enough for a catch-up post, I think. Less than a month of school remaining. Taxes to file, resumes to update, clinics to apply for, trails to hike. Lots and lots going on! Hopefully I'll be blogging enough for the next few weeks to capture some of it.

Missed you guys!

Tuesday, March 31, 2009

Ow

I had an eventful ride to school today. Animals and I, we didn't really get along.

First, a little black squirrel decided just as I was coming up that it was a great time to cross the sidewalk. Then, halfway through, he decided it was a great ideat to just stand still. In the middle of the sidewalk. Under my oncoming wheel. I almost made that squirrel into roadkill! Only my lightning fast reflexes saved us both. Squirrel, you owe me one, dude.

Then, I met a bug that was clearly depressed and not in a good mental place. I know this because he used me to commit suicide. By flying directly and unhesitatingly into my left eye. Yep, bug in the eye. Eeep, I shudder just thinking about it. I had to stop right then, pull out a mirror, and dig it out with my not so clean fingers. Needless to say, the bug did not survive. Sorry buddy. There was nothing I could do for you.

I wonder if I should look at these as good omens or bad ones. In approximately 6 hours I'll be delivering my moot court oral argument. Either we'll do better than my wildest expectations and advance, or, who knows, I'll have a heart attack at the podium or something. It was an interesting start to the day, to say the least.

Monday, March 30, 2009

By popular demand?

Totally not substantive, but what do you expect, it's after midnight and I have class in 9 hours. Whatever, this may be my favorite xkcd yet.

Thursday, March 12, 2009

In case you're curious...

...why I haven't been blogging more: that thing I said before about the dead computer? Yeah, I wasn't kidding. On Saturday morning, two days before moot court briefs were due, I experienced, for the first time, the Blue Screen of Death. I spent the next two days in front of the public computers in the libs, which, let me tell you, is not an ideal way to write. (I wanted to take that 2nd floor door off its goddamn hinges.) The Doctor is coming on Saturday to take a look at it, and hopefully by that night we'll be up and running again.

But! Let's be glass-half-full here. The brief is done! Since I know you're so interested in Fourth Amendment questions, here's a taste.


QUESTION PRESENTED FOR REVIEW

May a county government, in order to protect the public trust and the integrity of its welfare program from the pervasive threat of fraud, condition the receipt of public welfare aid upon an applicant’s compliance with an interview program and residential visit designed to verify her eligibility for aid, consistent with the Fourth Amendment?

SUMMARY OF THE ARGUMENT

Project 100%, San Diego County’s considered response to a congressional mandate to protect the integrity of its welfare program, is reasonable, effective, and constitutional under the Fourth Amendment.

Under settled Supreme Court precedent in Wyman v. James, a home visit undertaken as part of a welfare program is not a search within the meaning of the Fourth Amendment. San Diego County’s eligibility visits under Project 100% share the material elements of Wyman, compelling the conclusion that the eligibility visit is not a search. First, the visits are part of a rehabilitative welfare program with the purpose of distributing public assistance benefits to eligible individuals, and the public has a corresponding interest in ensuring that its funds support their intended beneficiaries. The Project 100% eligibility visit is not a criminal investigation, and the warrant requirement poses serious administrative difficulties in the non-criminal welfare context. Finally, the Project 100% visits and the Wyman visits share relevant procedural safeguards that protect applicants against excessive intrusions on their privacy. Although the Wyman opinion seems unorthodox, it fits neatly within the Supreme Court’s prior and subsequent Fourth Amendment jurisprudence, and there is no reason to justify overruling settled precedent.

Even if Wyman’s first holding is inapposite to this case and the Project 100% eligibility visit is a search, it is a reasonable search within the meaning of the Fourth Amendment. Controlling precedents, recently affirmed by this Court, indicate that reasonableness of non-criminal searches may be evaluated by either the special needs analysis or the totality of the circumstances analysis. Under either approach, Project 100% is constitutional.

The Project 100% eligibility visit fulfills the threshold requirements of the special needs framework because the County’s non-criminal purpose of protecting the integrity of its welfare program from fraud is a valid special need unrelated to criminal law enforcement, and the warrant and individualized suspicion requirements are impracticable and ineffective in the welfare context. The County provides ample notice to the applicant that eligibility visits are required, and only conducts the visit with the applicant’s express and continuing consent. The scope of the visit is also limited: its focus is entirely on substantiating particular facts that are dispositive for eligibility and typically takes no more than 20 minutes to complete. The visit is therefore but a minimal intrusion on the applicant’s legitimate expectation of privacy, and it is substantially outweighed by the government’s need to provide for the integrity of its welfare program, prevent fraud, and ensure the proper distribution of public funds.

Alternatively, the Project 100% eligibility visits are reasonable under the Court’s general totality of the circumstances framework. Wyman controls here as well, and its traditional balancing of interests, which predated the Court’s explicit development of the special needs analysis, fits squarely within the Court’s subsequent Fourth Amendment jurisprudence. For the same reasons applied to Wyman’s first holding—the non-criminal nature of the visit, the procedural safeguards to protect applicants’ privacy interests, and the County’s valid and weighty interest in protecting its welfare program against fraud—the totality of the circumstances indicate that the Project 100% eligibility visit is reasonable under the Fourth Amendment.

Even if the Court goes against the great weight of its precedent to find that the Project 100% eligibility visit is an unreasonable search under the Fourth Amendment, San Diego County should still prevail because the applicants have given voluntary and valid consent to the visit. No coercion or threat of force is present; the applicant is free to terminate the visit at any time, and may forego the visit entirely by refraining from applying for government aid. And because condition of receiving public assistance is reasonably related to the benefit, the overcited doctrine of unconstitutional conditions does not apply in this case.

Saturday, March 7, 2009

Of course.

Of course my computer would die, suddenly and without warning, 50 hours before my moot court brief is due. Of course.

Thursday, March 5, 2009

Oldie but goodie

I just disturbed everyone in a 10-seat radius in the library reading room. HILARIOUS. But not for the faint of heart, or those in studious and quiet environments. Thanks to Paul-Jon for the laugh and the resulting embarrassment and shame.

***

Bloodninja: Wanna cyber?
MommyMelissa: Sure, you into vegetables?
Bloodninja: What like gardening an s**t?
MommyMelissa: Yeah, something like that.
Bloodninja: Nuthin turns me on more, check this out
Bloodninja: You bend over to harvest your radishes.
(pause)
MommyMelissa: is that it?
Bloodninja: You water your tomato patch.
Bloodninja: Are you ready for my fresh produce?
MommyMelissa: I was thinking of like, sexual acts INVOLVING vegetables... Can you make it a little more sexy for me?
(pause)
Bloodninja: I touch you on your lettuce, you massage my spinach... Sexily.
Bloodninja: I ride your buttocks, like they were amber waves of grains.
MommyMelissa: Grain doesn't really turn me on... I was thinking more along the lines of carrots and zucchinis.
Bloodninja: my zucchinis carresses your carrots.
Bloodninja: Damn baby your right, this s**t is HOT.
MommyMelissa: ...
Bloodninja: My turnips listen for the soft cry of your love. My insides turn to celery as I unleash my warm and sticky cauliflower of love.
MommyMelissa: What the f**k is this madlibs? I'm outta here.
Bloodninja: Yah, well I already unleashed my cauliflower, all over your olives, and up in your eyes. Now you can't see. B**ch.
MommyMelissa: whatever.

The Comment of the Day Award

VC [jukeboxgrad] takes it again.
"Honestly, don't you react inside when you see the four black teens with the hanging pants at the mall pimp walking …"

No. However, I am inclined to think I might be looking at a gang of sociopathic thieves when I see an SUV full of investment bankers on their way to the golf course.

Tuesday, March 3, 2009

The week in CrossFit

I promised you updates, and updates you shall have. Possibly against your will.

The past three days were "on," which means workouts of the day were posted here. Since Sunday I have run 1200 hard meters, swung a 25lb dumbbell 63 times, deadlifted 85lbs 7 times (that was fun, actually), and done 125 squats, 100 sit-ups, 90 push-ups, and 86 assisted pull-ups. My legs have been sore pretty much straight through. My arms periodically turned into noodly appendages. My knees creaked a little, but my back held up fine. I am ready, ready, ready for rest day.

Fuck you, Rush.

Rush Limbaugh is a hack. He's the worst of the Republican Party. His hypocrisy is stunning. He's a sing-and-dance entertainer masquerading as some sort of political leader. And for reasons beyond my understanding, instead of running screaming in the other direction, the right has brought him into its warm embrace.

Rush Limbaugh is a douche. There, I said it. I wish more people on the right would say it, too. But I'm not going to apologize.

UPDATE: Ross Douthat has a more eloquent, balanced, and thorough critique. I know it's long, but it's a good read, and worth clicking through for the rest.

Just imagine, for a moment, how conservatives would react if four months after the worst defeat liberalism had suffered in a generation, an Olbermann (or a Moyers or a Michael Moore or a Bill Maher or whomever) showed up to deliver the keynote address at a liberal equivalent of CPAC, and during the course of his speech he blasted every Democrat who disagrees with him as a miserable sell-out, suggested that conservatives are fascists and conservatism a psychosis, lectured the crowd on the irrelevance of policy ideas to liberalism's political prospects, and insisted that the only blueprint liberals need to win elections is the one that Lyndon Johnson used to rout Barry Goldwater. And then further imagine that both before and after this speech, a series of left-of-center politicians ventured criticisms of Olbermann, only to beat a hasty and apologetic retreat as soon as he turned his fire on them. Conservatives would be chortling - and rightly so! Not because liberalism needs to purge or marginalize its Keith Olbermanns, or because impassioned liberal entertainers don't have a place in left-of-center discourse - but because when your political persuasion faces a leadership vacuum, you don't want to have it filled by someone who appeals to an impassioned but narrow range of voters, and whose central incentive is to maximize his own ratings.

Sunday, March 1, 2009

Policy Prescriptions by Flight of the Conchords

Any thoughts on the president’s new stimulus package? What do you recommend for the U.S. economy?
Jemaine: Budgeting. Bret: Yeah, the government should do a budget.

I believe we already have a budget.
Jemaine: It doesn’t seem like it. Bret: They need to put aside a certain amount each week for rent and then some money for food and then some money for partying, having a good time. Jemaine: Put aside some for invasions!

Saturday, February 28, 2009

Tapas

Last night I went out to a happy-hour-ish thing with friends at a Spanish restaurant. My favorite small plate: dates stuffed with chorizo and wrapped in bacon. Let's go through that again: dates + chorizo + bacon. Dates. Chorizo. Bacon.

Heaven.

Thursday, February 26, 2009

Sneezy LOL

It's been a while since we had a good lol 'round these parts. To celebrate this happy Thursday, here you go--enjoy!

Wednesday, February 25, 2009

Why's it called a brief if it's so long?

My life has been taken over. I am no longer in control. The Brief has the power now.

My client is San Diego County. I'm arguing--against the weight of my moral convictions, but flowing with the current of constitutional jurisprudence--that requiring welfare aid applicants to consent to an intrusive search of their homes as a condition of receiving assistance is totally, completely, 100% okay under the Fourth Amendment. Of course, the word "intrusive" will appear nowhere in my brief. Neither will the word "violation." And I'll avoid "search" like the motherfucking plague. Unless it's to say something like, "The unintrusive home visit is not a search within the meaning of the Fourth Amendment, and under no balancing test should it be held a violation of the applicant's rights."

Headings! Who was the insane person who decided that brief headings should be and four lines long and in complete sentences and generally much more like the first sentence of a paragraph than anything resembling a layperson's understanding of headings?

ACCESS TO IMMIGRATION HEARINGS DOES NOT FALL WITHIN THE EXCEPTION TO HOUCHINS CREATED BY RICHMOND NEWSPAPERS AND ITS PROGENY BECAUSE THE JUDICIAL SCRUTINY APPLIED TO CRIMINAL TRIALS IS INAPPLICABLE TO EXECUTIVE PROCEEDINGS, PARTICULARLY THOSE INVOLVING SENSITIVE JUDGMENTS AT THE CORE OF EXECUTIVE POWER.

I am not even kidding.

I did not write that heading, in case you were confused.

The case that is the basis for the competition, and my brief, is Sanchez v. County of San Diego, 464 F.3d 916 (9th Cir. 2006), rehearing en banc denied 483 F.3d 965 (9th Cir. 2007). That is probably not bluebooked correctly. I do not care.

I've got some clever arguments in my pocket, and my partner is quite good, and I am enjoying this, sort of. But, ahh, I long for the days of having time to actually read for actual class! The hearsay rules are just passing me by. No bother. For another 13 days, I submit my will to the will of The Brief, and on we go.

Monday, February 23, 2009

The one where this blog states the obvious

Hangnails are really fucking annoying when there aren't any clippers handy.

Friday, February 20, 2009

I'll LOL you

Rod Benson is indeed too much. Check out his site for its newest feature, LOLBoom. Also just 'cause it's hilarious.

Rod, whenever you need a boom tho girl, I'm here for you buddy.

Thursday, February 19, 2009

NYC

I miss it. And not just the food.


People just don't dress like this in Silicon Valley.


New York, I'll come back to you soon.

Wednesday, February 18, 2009

Morning ride

As I rode onto campus this morning, I saw something fluttering low above the grass to my right. It looked like a seahorse, with wings! My first hummingbird. Good morning.

Tuesday, February 17, 2009

CrossFit

Blame whatever you want. Blame California. Getting winded climbing one flight of stairs. Motivational company. The pants not fitting the same way anymore. Who knows what broke the camel's back. Whatever the reason, I am back in the gym. And not at any old time: we're talking 6:30 in the morning. Who am I? Where has saisai gone? What has taken my place?

In all seriousness, it's been incredibly nice to be physically active again. I didn't realize how much I missed feeling able and strong. I like seeing progress, feeling my muscles get sore after a particularly hard day. This all fell by the wayside for over a year and a half as law school took over my life. I'm taking it back!

Many of you loyal readers may be unfamiliar with the beast that is CrossFit. It is scary. These people are scary. The barrier to entry is high. The similarities to a cult are not insignificant. I'm lucky to have guides around that have been doing this for a while; even so, when I see sumo dead lift or squat clean or 21 reps 95 lb thrusters as the workout of the day I can't help but think, "Uh, wtf, I'm gonna go try to do A pull-up now mmmkay?" So, I'm easing into it. For now, cheesy as it sounds, every new workout is a new adventure. More updates forthcoming.

Monday, February 16, 2009

"What are you doing right now?"

Facebook status updates "are the appropriate places for spontaneous bursts of joy and being. You shouldn't do it at work, you shouldn't do it in the middle of a conversation, you shouldn't do it on the street, you shouldn't turn to a stranger on the bus, you shouldn't leave it on someone's cellphone. But on this grand constantly updating Christmas card that we are all free to access or withdraw from at any time, we finally have a polite space for "My sponge smells like a hot dog.'"

Today's forecast

"Rain."

Tonight: Rain.

Tomorrow: Rain.

The dream is dead.

Thursday, February 12, 2009

"Colorable"

How can a word mean two contradictory things at once?

Colorable:
1. seemingly valid or genuine (a colorable claim in law)
2. intended to deceive; counterfeit (colorable and false pretenses)

WTF, mate?

Carnage

I've avoided blogging about the layoffs in BigLaw because I'm not ATL, but today has been just insane and deserves some attention.

So far today 828 attorneys and staff have been laid off from firms big and important enough to garner Above the Law attention. That's eight hundred and twenty eight people just today. One firm, Luce Forward, even rescinded the offers it had made to people graduating in 2010. What those people will do for gainful employment in this economy, who knows.

Reactions are as expected:
Dear Jesus: Thank you for this box of documents I am about to review. Amen.


If you know a lawyer who was laid off today, buy the poor soul a drink, would you?

Today's must-read

"Online the promise of anonymity, though far flimsier than most suspect, unlocks something ugly and menacing in ostensibly normal people."

"[AutoAdmit] offered its patrons a peculiar, vicarious kick: It allowed people who were straitlaced and risk-averse enough to want to be lawyers in the first place to become briefly, crazily irresponsible. . . . They could spout outrageous lies, or . . . invent entirely new personalities for themselves, invariably as homophobes, racists, or misogynists. Speaking a common language and flouting the same taboos, such posters became a close-knit fraternity of complete strangers who rarely even knew one another’s names. But for all their trash talk, many could even feel principled about their misbehavior; after all, they were free-speech absolutists. And they became cyber-survivalists when anyone tried to tone down or remove their posts."

"Fearing that any interference would prompt the kind of mass exodus that had sunk the Princeton Review’s message board [when it took down offensive messages], Cohen had kept his hands off his own site. But the result, he now concedes, was that he lost his website to “parasites” and “freaks.” Even his timid, belated attempts to weed out the worst abuses, an effort Ciolli seconded, prompted open rebellion."

"Last spring, Cohen quietly removed the offending threads. He’d have done so sooner, he says, had he been asked more nicely."

Here.

Wednesday, February 11, 2009

Libs

Cheesy music is leaking into the reading room from a movie being shown in the room next door. Girl behind me: "This is the soundtrack to our lives."

Tuesday, February 10, 2009

A-Rod + Steroids > Michael Phelps + Ganga?

From Chris Lund at PrawfsBlawg:
A-Rod and Michael Phelps: It's surprising in combination. Michael Phelps is caught using marijuana, a non-performance-enhancing drug, a single time. And he gets a three-month suspension from USA swimming, dropped by Kellogg's, and criminally investigated by the local sheriff's department. A-Rod is caught using steroids, an illegal performance-enhancing drug, for three years. He lies about it. And apparently he will not be charged with any crimes, and may not even be in breach of his employment contract. One even wonders if A-Rod has a cause of action against the Players' Union relating to the unauthorized disclosure... Really?
In related news, I wondered several times during the recent Australian Open tennis tournament who was on the juice. My best guess so far: of the men, Fernando Verdasco; of the women, Carla Suarez Navarro. Just guesses people: please nobody sue me.

Monday, February 9, 2009

Winter at Lake Tahoe


. . . is beautiful.

Thursday, February 5, 2009

New link

"A blog where I tell cute animals what's what."

The anti-LOLcat? But just as awesome. Enjoy.

Wednesday, February 4, 2009

Unexpected

I'm reading an article from 1952 called "The Uneasy Case for Progressive Taxation" by Walter J. Blum and Harry Kalven, Jr., 19 U. Chi. L. Rev. 417, and just spat water all over my keyboard over footnote 180: "This is as good a place as any to quote the Communist Manifesto."

Funny ha-ha

Some time yesterday was spent dissecting the anatomy of a joke. (This is one of those things Wikipedia is actually pretty good at.)

Here's a good one.

Happy Wednesday, people.

Tuesday, February 3, 2009

You never know what you'll find in the congressional record

On April 17, 1975, Senator Jacob Javits (R-NY) introduced S. 1450, "a bill respecting the decriminalization of personal, private use of marihuana." Supporters of the notion included William F. Buckley and Ann Landers. 121 Cong. Rec. 10,575-84 (1975).

Monday, February 2, 2009

Today's forecast

"Abundant sunshine."

Sunday, February 1, 2009

Superbowl 43

I should've expected it given the state of the economy, but the ads were lame--totally forgettable.

Also I could've done without basically the whole first half. Really almost everything until the last 10 minutes of play was also, unfortunately, totally forgettable.

Until 2010...

Today's forecast

"Plentiful sunshine."

Saturday, January 31, 2009

One more pass

After 17 years of graded education, this process is somewhat unsatisfying.

Thursday, January 29, 2009

Trickling in

Grades are (finally) starting to come back. Don't you just love how the class you read everyday for is just okay, and the class you stopped going to a month before the final is stellar? I think this is the part of law school that's the hardest for me to figure out.

Lots of stuff's been going on but I've been (*gasp*) too busy to post! I'll try to post some photos of the Purisima Creek hike and my bike ride to and from school in the next few days. (Yes, I'm still riding my bike. Yes, I'm still alive.)

It seems like there's been some discussion recently about comments on blogs. Not that this applies to me since I get like one comment a year. But still, it never gets easier to accept how quickly anonymity turns people into savages.

Thursday, January 22, 2009

...Don't you get brained by a teacup?

Dinosaur Comics brought back the funny yesterday. Check it out.

Wednesday, January 21, 2009

Baby's first SCOTUS case: win!

The Supreme Court handed down their decision in Pearson v. Callahan today, unanimously granting the Petitioners qualified immunity and overturning--or at least heavily modifying--the Saucier v. Katz "order-of-battle" requirements. A big (and deserved) win for the officers involved, and we'll see what the district courts do with their newfound freedom to skirt difficult constitutional questions.

The opinion is short--check it out here.