Monday, October 30, 2006

The Law is Amazing

You learn a lot of amazing things in law school, things that seem to pervert justice entirely for the sake of following abstract rules.

Take Dusenbery. When you are in prison and the government is about to forfeit all the property they took from you in your criminal investigation, they basically just need to send a certified letter to the prison. If it gets to you, great! If it doesn't, because you're in prison and sometimes the mailroom screws up delivery, oh well! Due process has been satisfied because the government tried, or at least tried to try, to give you notice.

I would call that a genuine injustice if the guy wasn't a big-time drug dealer who deserved to have his cash stolen, but still - wow. I guess the lesson is, don't commit felonies.

Uh, so, yeah, crime is bad, kids.

Saturday, October 28, 2006

Blogger Problems?

Blogger seems to be having issues.

I might wonder if this is related to Google (who apparently owns blogger). I mean, when all your resources are devoted to propping up the worst Communist dictatorship in history and preventing the United States from fighting terrorism, you sure don't have energy left for maintaining the blogs!

Yeah, I went there.

Friday, October 27, 2006

Spirit Journey Transformation Anniversary

I must offer a giant, heartfelt, sincere Happy Birthday to one of the gems of this country. This man was there when we needed him, and never faltered in the face of adversity. He is an inspiration to millions, and if everyone emulated him and his passions, this country would change drastically for the better.

Happy Birthday Teddy Roosevelt!

Oh, and happy birthday to you too Vernunft.

Thursday, October 26, 2006

Serious This Time?

I want to believe this, but then I wanted to believe tunneling too. Just so I can be sure about this, can someone with any science knowledge confirm that information was preserved?

OK, that makes no sense without at least some explanation of the article. Apparently some Danes managed to avoid drawing awesomely offensive cartoons long enough to do some science. They basically pulled a Star Trek and manipulated matter from a distance using energy (this is a really big paraphrase). The problem with tunneling was that it was useless because the information was not preserved in the transfer, so it was a neat effect that could not be used, say, for quantum computing, unless you really enjoy random effects.

Like Windows 98, but on the quantum level.

So, anyone with any idea of anything physics-related can let me know if this new thing is good or just the next Segway.

Wednesday, October 25, 2006

Make sense please

I will start by saying that I am anxiously awaiting Jimbo’s take on the issue, but it seems that New Jersey has, you know, sorta maybe, instituted gay marriage a little perhaps.

New Jersey's Supreme Court opened the door to gay marriage Wednesday, ruling that homosexuals are entitled to the same rights as heterosexuals, but leaving it to lawmakers to legalize same-sex unions.

The high court gave lawmakers 180 days to rewrite marriage laws to either include same-sex couples or create a new system of civil unions for them.

Well, that sure feels nice. I feel all warm and fuzzy knowing that everyone will have the same rights. Cause, you know, we don’t all have the same rights to begin with. Privileges and rights aren’t quite the same, fryman.

Anyway, as I experience this wonderful feeling of renewed equity for my sexually different brethren, I come across this line.

Gay couples in New Jersey can already apply for domestic partnerships under a law the Legislature passed in 2004 giving gay couples some benefits of marriage, such as the right to inherit possessions if there is no will and healthcare coverage for state workers.

So did the legislature sarnath the courts?

It is like, Court: Ok you guys have to give gay couples these benefits.
Legislature: Ok we will get to that in negative 2 years.
Court: When was our tee time again?

Also, I hope that someone with a more subtle understanding of the complexities of the law could explain this one to me as well:

"Although we cannot find that a fundamental right to same-sex marriage exists in this state, the unequal dispensation of rights and benefits to committed same-sex partners can no longer be tolerated under our state Constitution," Justice Barry T. Albin wrote for the 4-3 majority's decision.

N.B. When it is a 4-3 decision, you know it must be a strong one. But I digress. They admit that there is no right to same sex “marriage.” Why does it need to go beyond that? And what changed in the state constitution that the previous system can “no longer be tolerated”? I thought that constitutions only changed by amendment. Is there a recent amendment to the state constitution that allowed this to happen?

Or is the court just doing what the elected representatives of the people of New Jersey just won’t?

Tuesday, October 24, 2006

Lowering taxes by making you pay more

When Ed Rendell was elected to the governorship of Pennsylvania four years ago, he sailed through on a promise of lowering property taxes, especially for the poor and elderly. Leaving aside that Democrats seem to do everything for the poor and elderly, let's examine Rendell's success.

Four years later, property taxes haven't been altered. Thanks, Ed. Way to go.

We did have that ridiculous Act 72. It was a plan to force school districts to lower property taxes and forbid them to raise them faster than inflation. The balance of their operating costs would be furnished by money from slots parlors.

"But gee!" you say, "I didn't know Pennsylvania had gambling parlors!" Well, before Rendell, you would have been right. Rendell was unable to accomplish his goal of lowering property taxes, but he sure opened the state to gambling. Thanks, Ed. Way to go. Oh, and by the way, nearly 80% of the state's school districts rejected this plan.

Now, here is where it gets even more interesting. According to the Governor's Own Webpage, 34% of the income from the slots parlors will go to offset the property tax decreases. Hmmm.

Let's crunch some numbers to see what this means. Suppose, for instance, that across the state we want to save just $100 in property taxes. Now, everyone pays a combined total of $100 less, because the State is going to give that $100 back from slot money. Sounds great!

The State gets that $100 by taxing the slots parlors at 34%. In other words, for this system to break even, $100 has to equal 34% of slots revenue. That means 100=0.34r, which tells us that r=$294.12.

So, in order to save the people $100, the people need to pay $294.12 at the slots parlors. The State just saved the people negative $194.12.

Thanks, Ed. Way to go. Oh, and just take a wild guess who will be pouring the most money into the slots: the poor and elderly, because they are the most attracted to the idea of winning a fortune at these parlors. Way to embrace that Democrat ideal.

To now use some more realistic numbers, the Governor's page says that each homeowner would save an average of $333. This means that the slots parlors need to take in $979.41 for every single homeowner in the state. In other words, I could take that money I saved on my property taxes, use it at the casino, and then go into debt for the remaining $646.41 so that the system can break even. Too bad that doesn't leave me any money left over to buy some KY for the raping the government is giving me.

To me it seems like this should be a simple issue. If you want people to pay less to the schools, the schools either need to spend less (gasp!) or they need to get money from elsewhere. If the money comes from the same people spending more elsewhere, you are not saving anything. It is akin to driving 400 miles to fill your gas tank for $0.06 less per gallon. Overall, you lose.


As Jay Nordlinger often says, how about a little language? This time, from the American Constitution Society, the liberal answer to the Federalist Society.

On Monday, 10/23 at 12:30 pm in room F209, ACS Guest
Speaker Nathan Slotnick will speak on the Morality and Ethics of Stem Cell Research.

I am very glad he is speaking both about the morality and about the ethics of stem cell research - I'd hate if it were one or the other. Except they're completely synonymous. Mores and ethos are Latin and Greek, respectively, and mean the same thing.

Part of me, a large, vindictive part, wants to connect this linguistic blunder to the ideology of the ACS. So, go with that!

Friday, October 20, 2006

Ed Rendell's Cognitive Dissonance

Anyone of our readers in Pennsylvania will have known about the legislative pay raises that caused an uproar of controversy and lost some state legislators their careers. For those of you who never heard about it, I'll do a very brief summary. Democrats and Republicans in the state legislature voted to give themselves pay increases and tried to be cute about it by being semi-secret. Now, though the vote was bipartisan, it really was supported more by Democrats than by Republicans, to the point that Democrats who declined to vote for the raise were denied leadership positions, and those who voted for it were given nice jobs as chairmen of committees. And read this from the article: "Every letter writer opposed the raise except Gov. Ed Rendell, who thought officials deserved it."

So, we get that a bunch of Democrats and some Republicans voted to pay themselves a lot of money and tried to hide it from the voting public. The governor, Ed Rendell (D), supported the pay raises.

But, of course, after the news came out, the public went absolutely insane. People were literally and figuratively calling for blood, especially after the judiciary of the state claimed that everything was a-ok (and the judicial pay raises couldn't be revoked in any case. Wonder why the court decided that?). Anyone who supported the pay raise saw his support drop and his chances of re-election plummet. And since judges in the state are elected, not appointed, even the judges found themselves on the block - the main judicial supporter of the raises is one of the few, if not the only, judges in Pennsylvania history not to survive a retention election.


Skip ahead to the present, where I was watching a Philadelphia Eagles football game, and saw a campaign commercial for Ed Rendell during the game. Rendell is running against Lynn Swann, for those of you who don't know, so I suppose it's incumbent (pun) on him to try to garner support from football fans, since Pennsylvania football fans know, respect, and may well vote for Lynn Swann without even knowing his platform.

A major part of this commercial was the statement "Lynn Swann still supports the legislative pay raises. Ed Rendell, on the other hand..." Now, let's recall history. Let's recall that Ed Rendell, a Democrat, supported the pay raises, and that the state Democratic leadership made it a litmus test for legislators - vote for the raise and you'll get a cushy job heading some committee; vote against it, and you'll be cleaning the Capitol's bathrooms with a toothbrush. Now, of course, Ed Rendell has suddenly changed his tune, and is blaming his opponent for exactly what he himself was doing all the time. Even after the public found out about the raises, Rendell was still there, supporting them!

It's as if FDR came out and said "My opponent still supports the New Deal! What's up with that?"

Please, Pennsylvania voters, vote the logical choice. Vote for Lynn Swann, because, well, he doesn't say "both a and not-a." And also, I think he played football.

Wednesday, October 18, 2006

Pennsylvania - Throwback to Athens?

I am not sure how well-documented my aversion to democracy is, but I will set the record straight right now. I dislike democracy. The idea that political truth is subservient to the brains of millions of mouth-breathing morons pulling levers is disgusting. Democracy has been bad since the time of Socrates, and we have somehow managed to make the tyranny of the majority work even worse mischief than the execution of that intellectual giant.

My anger has been renewed by my recently finding that justices of the Pennsylvania Supreme Court are elected, not appointed. Given my hatred of democracy, people in general, and being cordial, I think it is safe to say that I am unelectable. So, that shoots that career idea down, huh?

However, I still like Bill Buckley's quote about the Boston phone book.

Tuesday, October 17, 2006

Opening Gambit?

Anyone who's been in a law school classroom in the last five years knows that a lot of the students will browse the Internet and IM friends during class. Class is boring. Taking notes on a laptop is more efficient than taking notes by hand, so your professor is likely to be fooled into thinking you're actually taking notes. Whenever I see someone actually taking notes by laptop, I laugh inside. Because, well, he's a sucker. Lectures are for ignoring, friend, not for transcribing the bloviating of your professor religiously.

Anyway, to the point! As I was watching a fellow student, a female of not-unattractive appearance, use her laptop to split time between taking notes and chatting with her friends, something...incredible occured. I saw the website she had open, and it was this.

I might "look into" this.

This Thing, a Thing

So by now everyone has heard of The Nietzsche Family Circus. Did you know that Nietzsche took Contracts, though?

People who have given us their
complete confidence believe that they
have a right to ours. The inference is
false, a gift confers no rights.

You...go, Friedrich! Speaking as a philosophy major, I must warn you that reading Nietzsche without the non-sequitur cartoons is actually much, much more confusing. Lunatic ravings are almost coherent when coming from Billy's mouth!

Monday, October 16, 2006

Madonna's adoption and...

And a big healthy dose of so freaking what.

Madonna is an idiot. We get that. Honestly, she is a prostitute, with the exception of, well, nothing. She just acts like a raging slut, doing anything necessary, to separate pathetic individuals from their money. And all the while she unfortunately makes me wonder what having sex with my grandmother would be like.


We. Get. It.

Why does anyone care what she does with this kid? Apart from Michael Jackson syndrome, why does anyone give the proverbial rat's ass about this? Madonna adopting a child is as newsworthy as the fart I just ripped while cleaning out navel lint.

True, Madonna is worthless as a human, and worthless as a parent. But, newsflash: so are the welfare cheats that live up the street from me (thank God I am moving again in a week). And when these dregs on my street (or, really, all throughout my city) sit around squirting out kids, it doesn't make the front page of the paper.

Why are the actions of famous people always news worthy? Mel Gibson was drunk!!! Extra extra!!! He apparently hates Jews! Wow... drunk and Jew-hating. Sounds like Ted Kennedy. IT IS NOT A STORY. MOVE ON PLEASE.

Now, here is the portion of the post wherein I offer my brilliant insight and analysis on the question I just posed, namely, the perceived importance of actions of famous people. Well... oops you're screwed. I am not going to do it. Here's my analysis: let your medulla evolve a little. Figure it out on your own. It isn't exactly difficult. Caring about celebrities indulging themselves is akin to missing part of your chromosome 4; you have severe growth and mental retardation, and will die soon and likely alone.

Friday, October 13, 2006

Happy Anniversary!

Final Score

Pope Clement V: 1
Jacques de Molay: 0

Honest, if I hear one more mouthbreather whine and moan about today being Friday, October 13th, I think I will shoot him. Get over it. Or better yet, why not give me just one of the reasons people are superstitious about this date. Just one. Wait... you mean you don't have a clue?! Really.

Go away. Try reason on for size.

Thursday, October 12, 2006

Unions! Yay!

Apparently there was some business at the University of Miami about unionizing recently, and the union won; I wasn't around for the drama but I've heard about it. Knowing the background makes this conversation I overheard just savage technology:

Janitor #1: Hey, you workin' hard?
Janitor #2: Not around here, man (chuckles)
Janitor #1: Yeah, haven't you heard we have a union now? (both chuckle)

Thanks, organized labor!

Sexual Revolution - A Fight for Justice

First, let me express pleasure at our new template. The appearance of this blog is asymptotically approaching awesome, the Form of the Template, whereas our content (when it occurs!) synthesizes and transcends awesome in a Hegelian orgy.

I cannot wait to see what Google searches direct here after those last two words.


A thought came to mind as I was walking down a Florida sidewalk, cooled by a recent rainstorm. For one thing, when not sweating gallons of water, I can actually think. Second, the so-called Sexual Revolution, whatever it was really about, was epitomized in the young woman running in front of me. She was extremely beautiful, barely clothed, and equipped in that peculiar mix of short, tight shorts and a top just managing to cover enough to qualify as more-than-a-bra that I see gracing the campus grounds daily. Just think - before the sexual liberation of women from oppressive patriarchy, that lovely thing would never have been allowed to be seen like that in public.

I take it, then, that the demand of the early feminists was this: we'll parade around half-naked in our toned, gloriously gorgeous bodies all around you, and in return you'll have premarital intercourse with us.

Lay down your arms, boys. This is one fight we simply, utterly cannot win.

Surrender. For justice.

Wednesday, October 11, 2006

Perhaps, Perhaps, Perhaps

Wow. I mean, like, wow man. Verny actually posted content. Maybe I will do the same at some point. It makes for good time killing. I did update the template with something I ripped off of one of those ready-made template sites. That sure is easier than making one on my own (you all saw how that worked -- anyone remember the amazing green?).

Anyway, I likely will try to get back into this. There are events occurring in the world about which my thoughts are demanded by no one. That there is sufficient reason, yes?

Until then.

Tuesday, October 10, 2006

Internships - the 13th Amendment Exception

On Sunday, after I returned from the awful fake test mentioned in the entry below, I got to speaking with my landlady. Apparently she is involved in some litigation and cannot afford a lawyer, so she bugs me constantly for legal advice, though she obviously knows that I, being a 1L with no experience in practicing law, can tell her much more about the English common law roots of our legal system than about how to actually argue a real case to a real judge.

Bitter? NO! Well, maybe a little.

Anyway, she's not really that bothersome, and sometimes we just make normal conversation. On Sunday, she told me she knows a federal judge in the southern district of Florida, and she asked me if I would be interested in working for him. Obviously I said I would be.

Then I looked at the website for the southern district, and at their definition of a "judicial intern." Apparently, judicial internships are unpaid.

I don't know what possesses people to become unpaid interns. Perhaps they want the "experience" or to suck up shamelessly to their bosses in the hopes of securing paid employment in the future, but accepting slavery for those goals seems to be accepting harsh means tailored very poorly to the ends supposed to be achieved. If you were really doing good, useful work as an intern, and were therefore serving your employer and providing yourself with experience beyond "how to make killer coffee for the office," it would only be appropriate that you get paid. If you're pretty much an eminently replaceable slave, then you don't get paid.

So unpaid internships strike me pretty much as schemes by employers to get free labor where cheap labor (illegals could very easily complete the stupid, unskilled tasks required of an unpaid intern, and they work for less than minimum wage) is just not cheap enough. But I have a different reason for resenting judicial slavery. My parents are not rich. My rent is extremely high. As it is, I will probably have spent the last of my loan money for this year by June. In other words, if I take an unpaid internship for the summer to get the "experience" so craved by overachieving law school drones, I will have to forgo shelter, water, internet access, and food. I happen to like eating and drinking, and sleeping in a bed, to say nothing of the luxury of checking my e-mail daily, so, sadly, I may have to bag groceries or enter data into spreadsheets for three months instead of actually using the lawyering skills I will have learned by next summer and cultivating new skills so that when I get my JD and pass the bar, I will have some vague idea what I am doing, instead of no idea.

Yep, so when you're complaining at that kid in South Miami accidentally putting your frozen chicken in with your shampoo, go easy on him. He's got a bachelor's degree and one-third of a doctoral degree, and he's damn well earning that six dollars an hour.


Sunday, October 08, 2006

Midterm Madness

I had a "practice midterm" today, and I am sure all two of our faithful readers are snickering.

Because "practice" anything is stupid.

If you launch a bowling ball awkwardly and it starts going in the gutter, what do you call it?

A practice ball!

If you make a horrible mistake and lose your queen in the first few moves of a chess game, what do you call it?

A practice game!

And if you give law students an ungraded examination that is far shorter than a final exam and will actually cover completely different material than the exam that counts, what do you call it?

Yep, you guessed right. Bull...plop.

The practice midterm is only given in one subject out of four, and that subject is randomly determined. Now when I found out that my midterm would be in Civil Procedure, the monster class that makes us all cringe, I actually thought that might be helpful. I'd take the midterm, see what I needed to know, and if I bombed it, I'd know to study hard for the final in that class.

However...the final, we've already been told, is multiple-choice. This midterm is an "affirmative memorandum," meaning, essentially, a sort of essay where we cite case law to support a proposition. The midterm was closed-book.

Closed-book, and you need to cite case law. This is inherently useless, since I cannot think of any situation where you would need to write a memo without having access to legal research tools. I suppose if everyone in your law firm were struck blind, and no one knew Braille, and you had to prepare a memo in one hour, then yes, this midterm was a real help for my future career.


Thanks, law school. I had to walk two miles to school, waste an hour of my time BSing an argument for some stupid fantasy client, and walk two miles back home, on a Sunday, for something that will help me neither on my final exam in that class, nor in any situation in my career as a lawyer/judge/academic/burger-flipper.


Saturday, October 07, 2006

Geneva Say What?

It's always refreshing to know that you're paying fifty thousand dollars a year (loan indebtedness, right, I'm not actually paying it) for some supposed expert to show you that you had more expertise in his field when you were four years old. Are everyday English words really tough to understand? They must be for law professors. Recently I was told that George W. Bush and Republicans in the Senate were fundamentally changing the way justice works in this country, and were altering the Geneva Convention.

I'm a curious guy, and I've been reading for over twenty years, so I thought I'd go ahead and read the Geneva Convention Relative to the Treatment of Prisoners of War. I mean, I'd feel silly arguing about something I didn't know, and I don't want to be stupid; I want to be smart, like my professor.

Here's the relevant document, and I must give deserved props to Yale for this "Avalon Project" thing, which is a goldmine of information. Apparently really, really smart liberals are capable of doing good (or at least useful) stuff occasionally?! Who knew?

Anyway, check out Article 4. I don't want to go point-by-point on this, since I'm not getting a grade for this blog entry, nor am I able to bill for the time spent on it. I may go in depth at a future point if this hysteria over torture continues to be annoying. Just notice that the terrorist "insurgents" currently enjoying the hospitality of a warm bed in Gitmo are not actually prisoners of war, as defined by the Convention. Saying that the Convention ought to apply to these people is not simply reading and interpretation, but a speculative vision of what a future convention should delineate.

Let me clarify that: if you think the terrorists are prisoners of war, you are actually the one trying to change/get us out of the Geneva Conventions. What Geneva does say is at issue; what Geneva should say, or someone wants Geneva to say, or wishes Geneva had said, or wants a future treaty to say, is fantasy, and requiring that the President of the United States entertain fantasy and hold himself to the strictures of a doctrine that has not been approved by any international body nor legislature of this country, is bizarre to say the least. Implying that George W. Bush is somehow failing the intent of Geneva and abusing human rights, if that implication is grounded in this false interpretation of the definition of "prisoner of war," is intellectually dishonest.

I really dislike having to fork over massive sums of money to intellectually dishonest partisans so they can treat me like a person so naive I can't see through this insanity.

Again, for someone who supports Geneva, he sure doesn't seem to like the text of it.

It's Official

I am doubleplusunsmart. I somehow managed to forget my username. Blogging should be more frequent than "never" or "once a year" now.

I wonder why every blogging law student has nothing but complaints about law school. I suppose that someone who is enjoying law school, being a total psychopath, is probably not going to blog about law school. Instead, such people probably blog about how much they enjoy the Holocaust, or, in the alternative, how deep the Holocaust myth has pervaded the intellectual community.

Holocaust denial - just when you thought conspiracy theorists were harmless, pathetic loners, HD is here to make you weep for the future. Presidents of countries, influential political figures, tenured academics - all sorts of people that might be expected (at least hoped) to manifest common sense, all people capable of engaging in these tiresome antics.

I think it's a sort of cognitive dissonance, something monopolized by the intellectual. That is not to say that every intellectual is bound to say "both A and ~A, at the same time, are true," but rather that such baffling illogic is something I encounter daily among professors and intellectually-capable students.

Example: A law student claimed that, by requiring that any discussion of the Geneva Convention should begin by interpreting the text of the Convention, I was showing that I had no respect for law. Law, apparently, consists in formulating subjective opinions of the way the world ought to work, and then utterly fudging the meanings of treaties, conventions, statutes, and common law so that what clearly says one thing is "interpreted" to mean exactly what you already knew it meant. Respect for the law, then, consists precisely in disregarding whatever the law is and substituting your own deeply-held beliefs of what the law would be, if only I could write it.

I fail to respect the law, because I respect the law.

I'd like law school a lot better if it weren't populated with law students.