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May 31, 2005

So Long and Thanks For All The Briefs

And so the Supreme Court can all agree on one thing: the Arthur Andersen conviction has no legs. Well, OK, so it has legs enough to kill one of the Big 5 accounting firms, and put thousands of people--some of them friends of mine, some of them continents away--out of work or into other jobs. But it's not legally justified.

Of course, it's probably impossible for AA's partners (or worse, the little guys and girls who got hurt in the AA debacle, though most of them had nothing at all to do with operations in Dallas) to recover what they lost. Isn't it wonderful the way law works sometimes?

Break's Over

I know that some people don't like extended warranties, but my solid piece of advice for buying a computer: factor in the price of the nicest warranty you can get for it. Maybe you'll never need it. If it's a Dell, you probably will.

Actually, I shouldn't pick on Dells. I've known Dells that went forever and a day without a breakdown, and I've known machines that were supposedly legendary for quality that broke on a regular basis. Sometimes, I think, people just get a machine out of a bad batch.

Anyway, if there's one thing I will say for Dell, it's that their Hong Kong-based customer service beats the heck out of their US version. Only two choices faced me on menu tree, a customer service representative answered the phone almost immediately, they gave me no static before sending out a repair person, and when he arrived, he did his job with an admirable speed and grace. The machine was gutted and rebuilt in fifteen minutes, and he only had to reopen it once to put the bluetooth card back in. (Unlike the US-based techs I've known, he stuck around not only to make sure I could boot up the machine, but also to let me test out the features--otherwise we wouldn't have caught the missing bluetooth card.)

Anyway, that's the long version of the story. The short version is, I'm back, and you'll be hearing from me soon.

May 29, 2005

Brief Hiatus

I'm afraid that updates to the blog will be briefly delayed. My Dell has chosen this moment to have terminal motherboard problems--what else is new with this damnable 8500--and thus I can only browse while at public terminals. Updates will therefore be a bit haphazard. With any luck, I should be back in action by the end of the week... at least, if technical support gives me no problems.

May 24, 2005

Swimsuit Issue

I rarely read James Lileks, but his piece on Sports Illustrated's swimsuit issue made me laugh:

It is a rather rude folio, if you're easily offended. The swimsuit issue has nothing to do with the stated goal of the magazine, which is to Illustrate Sports. Pouty women clawing through the sand with their fundaments aimed at Old Sol have a tenuous connection to athletic endeavors. It's as if Martha Stewart Living suddenly devoted an issue to Mortal Kombat cheat codes, or DogFancy suddenly spent an entire issue on automatic transmissions. . . .

I'm betting that Martha plays a pretty mean game of Mortal Kombat.

Quick Book Review and Thoughts on a Culture of Life

This summer started in much the same way as the last one, in that I left New York with a book given to me by a young lady, the idea being to pass the hours on an international flight. In this case, I was given Kazuo Ishiguro's Never Let Me Go. Sadly, the book is impossible to properly comment upon or review without giving away the entire novel. It's an enjoyable, if somewhat frustrating book, so if you normally like the kind of reading that I do, I'll spare you the spoilers by putting the review in the full entry.
cover

[Warning: a bit long and rambly. Ishiguro wrote a thought-provoking novel, and these are my initial thoughts.]

The Book Itself
Right: if you've gotten this far, you don't mind me spoiling the novel for you. It's about cloning. Specifically, it's about the old science fiction idea of cloning human beings and harvesting them for organs. The idea itself isn't particularly original: I last came across it in Michael Marshall Smith's Spares, but I remember first coming across it in a children's book in my elementary school. (Clones as second-class citizens made for a good analogy to racial prejudice.) So here we have Ishiguro, whose Remains of the Day holds a long-standing place in my heart, dipping his feet in the waters of science fiction.

The novel is a memoir written by Kathy, a clone and a "carer," the role assigned to clones before they are asked to become "donors." Carers travel around the United Kingdom visiting the bedsides of other clones and helping them to recover for their next operation. After a maximum of four "donations," the clones "complete," a sterile term for death combined with a harvesting of any other available organs.

Nothing in the last paragraph is made clear until the last third of the book. Kathy's memoir begins with her time at Hailsham, a curious boarding school cut off from the outside world. Only at the end of this part of the story does Ishiguro spell out the fate in store for the various children you've watched at play. In the meantime, Kathy and her friends create artwork, feud and play pranks, and occasionally learn about the world around them, with the occasional cut back to present day narration.

Ishiguro has few equals when it comes to memoir-style narratives. Memories are hazy in a way that feels honest, and Kathy's description of events at Hailsham are mixed with just the right amount of indeterminacy to feel like a thirty-year old looking back on her teens. (At least, it feels a lot like what happens when I think of high school.) That said, Kathy has a bad habit of peppering her text with heavy-handed foreshadowing: "As I'll tell you later,"; "As it turned out," etc. In order to maintain the suspense about the fact of cloning, and later regarding the special nature of Hailsham as a clone-school, Ishiguro can't let his heroine tell her story in anything approaching an organized chronology, but he also can't resist dropping a bushel of hints before the reader. Besides being annoying, it means that by the time he's revealed to the reader how his alternate present works, he doesn't have the space required to fill in the obvious plot holes. Why do these remarkably docile clones consent to their donations? Why don't any try to escape? And how can there be so little protest to what is obviously inhuman treatment?

Ishiguro uses his style to create a freakishly horrible mood: while his narrator writes with a complacent, almost clinical avoidance of what's happening to her and her friends, it's clear to the reader that everyone, every cute child Kathy has encountered, is doomed. Worse, even the privileged children of Hailsham are well-tended veal, lambs that willingly wander not only to the gates of the slaughterhouse, but right into the operating theatre. Indeed, to a degree it's not even science fiction: Ishiguro has produced a horror novel of such malevolence that several times during my flight I was forced to put it down.

Two Views of the Slaughterhouse
Whatever emotional impact is carried by the writing, I'm unconvinced by Never Let Me Go as a story. It's a good novel, but bad science fiction, as a comparison with Spares makes clear.

In Ishiguro's alternate present, cloning technology is a holdover from the 1950s. As the mistress of Hailsham describes it late in the novel:

After the war, in the early fifties, when the great breakthroughs in science followed one after the other so rapidly, there wasn't time to take stock, to ask the sensible questions. Suddenly there were all these new possibilities laid before us, all these ways to cure so many previously incurable conditions. This was what the world noticed the most, wanted the most. And for a long time, people preferred to believe these organs appeared from nowhere, or at most that they grew in a kind of vacuum. . . . So for a long time you were kept in the shadows, and people did their best not to think about you. And if they did, they tried to convince themselves you weren't really like us. That you were less than human, so it didn't matter."

The resistance movement takes the form of Hailsham, a school in which clones are referred to as "students," and where each student is encouraged to produce artwork, the best of which is displayed at shows in the outside world to prove to a skeptical public that their organ-cows have souls. It's hinted that clones at other facilities, even before Hailsham gets shut down, are treated much less humanely, but even the less fortunate donors that Kathy meets seem to have been taught to speak.

As I said, it's horrible but unconvincing. What kind of alternate 90's is it--particularly alternate 90's England--that doesn't include bevies of student protestors ready to flock noisily together at the drop of a Socialist Worker? Is it really believable to think that defenders of clones will be limited to a knitting-circle of kind-hearted old ladies prodding their charges producing oil paintings? In the real Britain of the 1990s, animal rights protestors are willing to take action so direct as to be criminal against laboratories that do animal testing, and I've never sensed that they started protesting over the existence, or otherwise, of animal souls.

Nor does the strange passivity of the protagonists make a great deal of sense. It's clear that some parts of the clones are engineered--for instance, they can have sex but can't reproduce--but unless they've somehow been jury-rigged for passivity there's no explaining the utter lack of clone rebellion over Ishiguro's last thirty years. The caring centers at which the clones recover from their donations are notable for the lack of security, and while interactions with outsiders are rare and marked with discomfort or contempt, the clones never encounter any source of real, hard authority such as a police officer.

I find the tending of the "spares" in Michael Marshall Smith's novel to be a much more convincing description of how a modern Britain would handle cloning. (I don't have my copy of the book here, so I'm going from memory as to the details.) First of all, the entire enterprise is illegal, but available to those wealthy enough. Secondly, there is no attempt ever made to treat the spares as human: they're not educated nor even clothed, but live out the majority of their lives in a filthy darkness. The main character of the novel accepts his position as their tender due to his own flaws and regrets, and hates what he does. While in both books clones are hidden from a public that denies their humanity, Spares is far crueller about it: once hidden, Smith's society is emphatic in treating the clones on the level of animals, or perhaps even less.

Rejection of Humanity as a Need to Cope With Guilt
Smith doesn't have half of Ishiguro's talent on a good day: his characters aren't as well-built, his imagery never as subtle. But science fiction writers are often like macro-economists, much better at capturing the behavior of multitudes and aggregates than explaining individual actions. Smith's more cruel and less horrific world feels more convincing.

When I was reading Never Let Me Go, what kept coming to mind was public attitudes towards the abortion debate. At the moment, Democratic strategy seems to be Howard Dean's take:

Here's the problem--and we were outmanipulated by the Republicans; there's no question about it. We have been forced into the idea of "We're going to defend abortion." I don't know anybody who thinks abortion is a good thing. I don't know anybody in either party who is pro-abortion. The issue is not whether we think abortion is a good thing. The issue is whether a woman has a right to make up her own mind about her health care, or a family has a right to make up their own mind about how their loved ones leave this world. I think the Republicans are intrusive and they invade people's personal privacy, and they don't have a right to do that....

But when you talk about framing this debate the way it ought to be framed, which is "Do you want Tom DeLay and the boys to make up your mind about this, or does a woman have a right to make up her own mind about what kind of health care she gets," then that pro-life woman says "Well, now, you know, I've had people try to make up my mind for me and I don't think that's right." This is an issue about who gets to make up their minds: the politicians or the individual. Democrats are for the individual. We believe in individual rights. We believe in personal freedom and personal responsibility. And that debate is one that we didn't win, because we kept being forced into the idea of defending the idea of abortion.


(Link from Prof. Althouse. I liked her editing of it, so I've kept it.)

Ishiguro seems to think humanity adopts easily to Dean's view, but Dean's argument is emotionally weak. Maybe no one thinks that abortion is a good thing, but why don't they think that? If it's because a life--a human life--is being snuffed out, then the issue certainly isn't who gets to make up their minds. If it isn't, then what is the fuss about? The difference between the parties is about the substantive nature of abortion, not about choice, not whether abortion is wrong but what kind of wrong it is.

Hence the need to hide abortion. I remember sitting studying outside the law school cafe one day when one of my tablemates mentioned an article about women requesting burial services for their aborted fetuses, sometimes years after the fact. The story itself wasn't surprising--hang around any pro-life conservatives and you'll hear such stories--but the reaction of one of the more liberal members of my table was. Immediately, abruptly, and all a bit too loudly, she denounced the idea as silly, ridiculous, and something that no woman ought to be doing. Remembering it now, the words aren't so strongly set in my mind as the scathing tone.

I myself am sympathetic to the idea of mourning an aborted child. Even if one doesn't believe that abortion amounts to murder, it is the loss of something, and even if one wants to call it "potential" life, that potential is valuable and emotionally compelling to me. But my compatriot would have none of it. There was a need to thrust it away, to say that abortion had no moral component, and if it did, then there was no reason to show it publicly.

Anyway, that conversation came to mind again and again when I read through Never Let Me Go. Somehow I can't imagine the same people who feel compelled to reject the humanity of an unborn child allowing a clone--human in every way but their "soul"--to walk among us. Shut them in cages with tortured jailors, and take out only the half-mad and ignorant body before surgery? Maybe. Know that one could be serving a roadside cup of tea to a creature that a doctor will be cutting open for spare parts? Man obviously has the capacity for cruelty that makes him capable of the former. I don't believe humanity's ability for self-delusion will support the latter.

Current Currency

My mind has yet to get used to the Hong Kong dollar, and as a result is suffering perpetual sticker shock. There's a little less than eight Hong Kong dollars to one American dollar, and the smallest bill is a twenty. Having a ten dollar coin, or getting a $130 tab from a restaurant, still shakes me up a bit.

My rule in Japan was pretty simple: yen are pennies. Very light, aluminum pennies. Sure, I've lived there in periods when there were anywhere from ninety-some to one hundred twenty-some yen to the dollar, but to get a rough idea of price I could always just knock off two zeros and add/subtract "a bit."

I'm sure I'll get used to this too. About the same time I stop crashing into bed at ten o'clock and waking up at 4 AM.

May 23, 2005

The Trouble with Jetlag

Normally, I do my best work after lunch, but spend the morning doing administrative work in order to kick my brain into gear. But today, just like yesterday, I've woken up at 5AM local time and been unable to sleep. So I've checked the internet and answered emails at my apartment before heading off to work, where I start in fresh. After lunch, however, I start to slow down and get tired.

I guess I'm a morning person, at least for a few days after a 20 hour flight.

May 22, 2005

Arrived in Hong Kong

I arrived in Hong Kong late on Saturday afternoon. Please don't think that I've been messing about with new open source software today instead of going out and exploring the city: my jetlag was such that I awoke at 5:45 AM on Sunday morning and needed something to distract me until the stores opened up. I'm now in possession of most everything I need for work tomorrow morning. I'm still apprehensive of fitting in with the business casual policy, but I figure I'm going to show up in a suit tomorrow, observe closely what everyone else is wearing, and modify my wardrobe appropriately next weekend.

The strangest thing about Hong Kong (at least after my first twelve hours or so in the city) comes from my knee-jerk reaction to the language. Even if my Japanese speaking skills have grown rusty while I've not practiced them, I've kept up with my reading, and because the Japanese and Chinese character sets are similar, I'm having little problem with things like street-signs and shop windows. Most everything's labeled in English anyway, of course, but I often find myself reading the characters first.

It's proving an odd feeling to look at something that says "銀行" (bank), want to pronounce it "ginkou," and realize that it simply isn't right. I wonder how long it will take for that to fade.

I know none of this is too deep or insightful, but I haven't been here long enough to have any real impressions worth mentioning. I'm off to see Sith tonight, and then it's early to bed for me. Hopefully the two alarm clocks I bought on sale at a department store today will wake me in the morning.

Update on Law Review Software

Some time back, I mentioned the Public Knowledge Project's Open Journal Systems, an open-source project for creating peer-reviewed journals. They've now updated the software, and version 2.0 is looking ready for prime time. I've implemented a test site that I'm jokingly naming the Journal of Law and Social Parody, and in only about half an hour I submitted, reviewed, and published some of my old blog posts as the first "issue."

They've improved the work process such that I can now see it being usable for low-volume law review work, such as a review that publishes only a few issues a year. (Because law review articles are relatively lengthy, a given project is often edited by a group. That process isn't well-suited to OJS, which only supports a single copy editor, proofreader, and layout editor.) On the other hand, the workflow process is now extremely modular, and I could see a journal using the software to produce its website, manage online submissions, and approve and decline submissions without using the online editorial processes.

The best bit? The software now supports multiple journals. In other words, an enterprising law school could put the software on their servers and allow any journal that doesn't already have some sort of online management system to be up and running relatively swiftly.

It's cool stuff. If you're currently working on a journal that might be interested in using the software and would like to kick the tires, go to my test site and sign up as a reader or author, then send me an email, and I'll make you an honorary "editor" of the Journal of Law and Social Parody.

UPDATE: Welcome to Volokh Conspiracy readers. Wouldn't you know it, my computer breaks down so I don't notice a Kerr Package arriving until the next week...

May 18, 2005

Why One Should Love the Huffington Post

Barely a week into existence, and the Huffington Post is already living up to expectations. While there is the occasional air of "gravitas" provided by Prof. Volokh, the Post remains mostly a stew of the famous, careless, and mostly redundant. Within a week, it may very well be a wholly-owned subsidiary of the Democratic Party, or may be worthy of rechristening as "PopKos." Even now, it functions quite nicely as a Carnival of the Unhinged.

Case in point, yesterday Norman Mailer figured that so long as he's blogging, he might as well start out by insulting bloggers. Or worse, he might insult them and not realize he's doing it. Let's give ol' Norm a good fisking, eh?

I'm beginning to see why one would want to write a blog. At present, I have a few thoughts I can certainly not prove, but the gaffe over the Michael Isikoff story in Newsweek concerning the Koran and the toilet is redolent with bad odor.

Ah, yes, "one" would like to write a blog so that "one" can make unproven assertions of skullduggery about "one's" opponents. That's what blogs are here for, after all.

Note to Mailer: Bloggers build a reputation by commenting on things that they're qualified to talk about, or if not, digging up clever arguments and linking to interesting sources, and finally putting forward solid arguments for a position. Check out your colleague Volokh for some hints on how to do this. Until then, most sensible people are going to relegate you to the Tinfoil Hat Brigade.

Who, indeed, was Isikoff's supposedly reliable Pentagon source? One's counter-espionage hackles rise. If you want to discredit a Dan Rather or a Newsweek crew, just feed them false information from a hitherto reliable source. You learn that in Intelligence 101A.

Ah, Norman Mailer, who must have garnered a C+ at best in his freshman counterintelligence class. Mr. Mailer needs a bit of a shave, so let's get Occam's Razor out of its case and lather up the old gent. A tip: RatherGate would have been one hell of a brilliant Republican plan, but it's more easily explained by hubris and a normal human capacity to screw up. If you were risking possible exposure by giving fake documents to a political opponent, you'd make sure to forge them using something other than Microsoft Word. (Or if you didn't, you'd have to think very little indeed of your opponents to suspect that they'd run with such crummy forgeries.)

In order to engineer RatherGate, you'd have to have very fine sensibilities indeed, knowing how to craft a document just well enough to get by rabid partisans like Blunkett and Rather, but badly enough to be spotted by amateur (and later professional) typology experts. Apparently, the Bush Machine is that good at knowing exactly how stupid Dan Rather and CBS actually are.

Counter-espionage often depends on building "reliable sources." You construct such reliability item by secret item, all accurate. That is seen by the intelligence artists as a necessary expenditure. It gains the source his credibility. Then, you spring the trap.

As for the riots at the other end, on this occasion, they, too, could have been orchestrated. We do have agents in Pakistan, after all, not to mention Afghanistan.


It's this kind of paragraph that makes me envious of Karl Rove. The man can go to sleep at night secure in the knowledge that in order to take credit for being the greatest evil mastermind ever whisper in a President's ear, he need merely kick back, drink some scotch, and wait for the witless opposition to do something stupid. Two hundred years from now, he'll have replaced Cardinal Richelieu in Hollywood remakes of Three Musketeers flicks:

Porthos: [pulling back Bill Burkett's shirt to reveal a black fleur du GOP tattooed on his shoulder] Why, Cardinal Roves even has Burkett doing his bidding. This is just like when he fed that fake--but possibly accurate--story of the Koran in the latrine! Mon dieu!

Forget what such accusations say about the White House: folks like Mailer long since passed the point where their casual accusations of perfidity could shock. Think about what this says about Mailer's opinion of Newsweek and Michael Isikoff: taking them out was so important that the the White House was willing to engineer riots, cast doubt upon the troops in Gitmo, as well as risk that their nefarious plan would be exposured through the hackles of Mr. Norman Mailer. Well, OK, I guess Mailer thinks that his hackles are Roves' one blind spot, a kind of Rovian kryptonite or something.

Obviously, I can offer no proof of any of the above. There still resides, however, under my aging novelist's pate a volunteer intelligence agent, sadly manque. He does suggest that the outcome was too neat. It came out too effectively for one side, one special side.

In other words, this is all the idle speculations of a petulant novelist. Just pause to think what kind of twisted worldview this fellow has: the possibility that someone on his side could have simply screwed up is so remote that we must explain away Newsweek's mistake as part of an elaborate and improbable cloak-and-dagger scheme.
At the age of eighty-two I do not wish to revive old paranoia...

..."oh, hell, who am I fooling? I do wish to revive old paranoia!"

The rest of the article is quotations from Stalin and the same bald accusations, devoid of reasoned analysis, attempts at verification, or even the timid concession that this all could have been a stupid mistake on behalf of a press corps thrilled by the idea of a scoop and none too concerned with the consequences of their actions.

You want a bait and switch, Norm? Here's my thoughts on the Newsweek fiasco: in the end, this kind of thing is going to be bad for bloggers. The CBS Memos scandal was rare for the boldness and stupidity of the mistake: it involved scans of tangible documents of ridiculous inauthenticity, followed up by hubris not often seen outside of Sophocles.

Since then, (particularly right-wing) bloggers have been searching for the next RatherGate, but Big Media has gotten smarter. Remember that Republican talking-points memorandum about the Schiavo case that right-wing bloggers seemed determined to prove was a fake? Well, it turns out it was real enough, but merely reported in an entirely inaccurate manner. "Not fake, but inaccurate" seems to be the order of the day.

The problem is, the idea of disturbing a detainee during an interrogation by throwing a copy of the Koran in a latrine doesn't seem outside the bounds of plausibility. Newsweek shouldn't have run its story, and was foolish to do so. But if it eventually turns out that the substance of the story was true, I doubt procedural carelessness will give much succor to the now-triumphalist bloggers when the backlash kicks in.

Were I Norman Mailer, I'd mark this all down to a Vast MSM Conspiracy. Sadly, it's probably just a matter of human nature.

UPDATE: Gah! No sooner do I finish this and read through my blogroll than I find that Prof. Althouse got here first. At 5:30 AM. Really, I'm not getting up that early in the morning just to beat her to the punch...

May 17, 2005

Idealist? You must be joking

Heidi and Adam take this quiz which alleges to tell you what your world view is. The quiz pegs me as an "Idealist." I think we can now safely discard this test as having any claim to accuracy. Use at your own risk.

(Wow. I've gotten busy enough that I'm posting a quiz instead of real content. How the mighty--or at least mightily loquacious--have fallen.)

You scored as Idealist. Idealism centers around the belief that we are moving towards something greater. An odd mix of evolutionist and spiritualist, you see the divine within ourselves, waiting to emerge over time. Many religious traditions express how the divine spirit lost its identity, thus creating our world of turmoil, but in time it will find itself and all things will again become one.

Idealist

88%

Cultural Creative

69%

Romanticist

63%

Modernist

38%

Postmodernist

38%

Materialist

31%

Existentialist

31%

Fundamentalist

13%

What is Your World View? (corrected...hopefully)
created with QuizFarm.com

May 16, 2005

Outgeeking Bainbridge

Now, I'd never take on Professor Bainbridge when it comes to wine: I haven't the taste buds. And on corporate law? More fool me to challenge the guy who authors textbooks. But outgeeking? There we're on more equal ground. And I'm afraid that his accusation that George Lucas has sold the soul of Star Wars to the Democrats just rings hollow.

Basically, the good Professor is upset because:

...Lucas betrayed the basic story arc of the Star Wars mythology in order to score these cheap political points. In the original trilogy, Luke struggled against the absolutism of Obi-Wan and Yoda. It was Luke who insisted that there was still good in Vader, which Yoda and Obi-Wan rejected.

The betrayal in question is in having Obi-Wan say to Anakin, after the latter has muttered some you're-for-me-or-against-me line, "Only a Sith thinks in absolutes."

Now, I've not seen the movie yet, and to the best of my knowledge, neither has Prof. Bainbridge, but to my mind his internal critique doesn't hold up. Bainbridge spends a great deal of time talking about how an older (presumably wiser) Obi-Wan was still doctrinaire and absolutist in his consideration of the Force. But if we consider this Obi-Wan to be less mature than Alec Guinness (and who wouldn't), then the plot still hangs together. Obi-wan may just be full of it. And there's no "betrayal" for "cheap political points" so long as the elder Jedi isn't doing anything more than the lightsaber equivalent of Godwin's Law: you know the conversation's over (and someone's limbs are about to go) when somebody mentions the Sith.

So why are so many assuming that Old Kenobi needs to be taken seriously? It seems that the New York Times found political meaning in the film:

"This is how liberty dies - to thunderous applause," Padmé observes as senators, their fears and dreams of glory deftly manipulated by Palpatine, vote to give him sweeping new powers. "Revenge of the Sith" is about how a republic dismantles its own democratic principles, about how politics becomes militarized, about how a Manichaean ideology undermines the rational exercise of power. Mr. Lucas is clearly jabbing his light saber in the direction of some real-world political leaders. At one point, Darth Vader, already deep in the thrall of the dark side and echoing the words of George W. Bush, hisses at Obi-Wan, "If you're not with me, you're my enemy." Obi-Wan's response is likely to surface as a bumper sticker during the next election campaign: "Only a Sith thinks in absolutes." You may applaud this editorializing, or you may find it overwrought, but give Mr. Lucas his due. For decades he has been blamed (unjustly) for helping to lead American movies away from their early-70's engagement with political matters, and he deserves credit for trying to bring them back.

Dear goodness, we can only hope. I mean, if Democrats can't do better than Lucas's tin-ear for dialogue for their political bumper stickers, then I suspect the Republicans will get the geek vote. But now the New York Times has done the impossible: it's made me curious about the final Star Wars film.

Let's face it: Lucas is about as subtle as a chainsaw running through a screen door, at least when it comes to dialogue. I'd expect that even if Chewbacca were mouthing Bush-lite rhetoric, you wouldn't need to be Han Solo to figure out the reference. On the other hand, the New York Times could probably scan Beowulf and find hidden anti-Bush meanings.

So who is it? Is George L. taking on George B.? Or is this all a figment of the Times' fevered fantasies? Sadly, I'll have to see the film to find out, because when it comes to a conflict between the Lucas lack of subtext and the Greying Lady's determination to find same, we reach a level of difficulty almost equal to that of the Great Sci Fi Paradox: What happens when a bunch of clueless red-shirts, guaranteed to survive less than three minutes after a beamdown, meets a platoon of Imperial Stormtroopers, who can't hit a barn from inside it?

Getting Ready for Hong Kong

Sorry for the radio silence over the last few days. I'm getting my stuff together to go to Hong Kong. The trip is the hardest of hard deadlines, and before I leave on Friday, I have to:

  • Hand in clerkship information
  • Finish the research and pro-bono projects I put off until after exams
  • Go to a Westlaw course today
  • Purchase some sunglasses, casual clothing, and maybe even splurge and get some sandals before I head off to Hong Kong

Also, this is my last chance to see friends and loved ones before I head off. So it'll be a busy week, and updates might be scarce. On the other hand, I should have internet access in my apartment when I'm in Hong Kong, so you'll hear from me more regularly there.

May 13, 2005

Done

Done. Man, nothing wears you out like an eight-hour takehome exam. Afraid that my evening is either drinking (less likely) or sleeping (more likely), but not blogging.

Congratulations to Chris and Irishlaw, who graduated today. (And anyone else out there who's now graduating. Lucky devils, you.)

Last Exam Today

My Japanese Law exam (8 hour takehome) is today, so I'll be offline until further notice. I know the Exam Watch reported I was already done, but I'd messed up the date.

But once that little counter says DONE, it's time for a beer. Or two.

May 11, 2005

Blogging a Summer Job

Ambivalent Imbroglio asks about the propriety of blogging one's summer job. Unfortunately, before I could adequately express my feelings about this, Prof. Brad Wendel at the Legal Ethics Forum beat me to it:

From the perspective of a risk-averse professional responsibility teacher, the answer is clear: No, no, no.

No kidding, though of course I'm no professor. As Wendel points out, mentioning anything about work risks being branded as having "poor judgment." Besides, it falls afoul of my own rule of not mentioning other people--well, at least non-bloggers--without their explicit permission.

Like Heidi, I'm in the habit of naming what city I'm working in but not the firm. Last summer I didn't mention a thing about work. (Well, I think I said it was "interesting," which I'm pretty certain doesn't violate Rule 1.6 of the Model Rules of Professional Conduct.)

Fortunately, I doubt I'll have any shortage of things to write about. I've just read over what I'd put together in Tokyo last summer, and despite a lack of work coverage, I think it functions well as a travel diary. This year I'll be splitting my summer between Hong Kong, a city I don't know at all, and London, a city I know as well as any other, if not better. I guess you should expect a few more pictures, and a couple of "clueless foreigner" stories as I get used to Hong Kong. If anyone has a list of top ten things to make sure I do while in the Fragrant Harbour, please leave a comment.

UPDATE: Sorry about that... for some reason, the title didn't show up the first time. I've corrected that now.

May 10, 2005

Law School Deans Defend Judicial Independence

In a round-up of reaction to the letter by law school deans condemning "threats of retaliation against federal judges by members of Congress and others":

  • Prof. Leiter says shame on the three Deans who didn't sign;
  • Prof. Kerr asks how effective this will be anyway, since most critics of the judiciary aren't exactly unused to criticism from the signatories;
  • and Prof. Ribstein questions the wisdom of "a stampeding herd of deans signing letters."

I'm going to have to go with the last two, which are quite worth reading.

Five Things I'm Not Crazy About

So Adam of Don't Know It From Adam passed me this game, in which I'm supposed to list five things my friends are wild about but I'm not. First I was having exams, then I just wasn't having any inspiration, but finally tonight I've decided to put my hand to it. So, with no further ado, five thing I'm just not that crazy about, though my friends are. Since Adam wanted a different perspective, I'll start with a political matter that's been bugging me, and go from there.

(Before we start, since this is a long one: I'm supposed to hand this on to two other bloggers. Over to you, Chris and PG.)

Fear of Theocracy: When some of my European friends would wonder at how I could be a--shudder--conservative, they'd inevitably bring up the "religious wackos" that make up my party. Even among the more libertarian of conservatives that I know at Columbia, I'll occasionally get a "Yeah, but aren't you afraid of the religious right?" Heck, one of my good friends looked at me the other day and said, "But, you know, you're smart. You've gotta worry about these theocrats."

Actually, I find such spinelessness amusing when it isn't embarassing to watch.

Look, a few months ago a 20-minute cab ride would take me to a giant image of a woman boldly going where we didn't want to see (barely safe for work). My Student Senate recently passed a resolution stating that the administration needed to make the signs protesting JAG recruitment bigger on the same day that I saw devoutly Christian student assigned the task of checking a website mostly notable for having images of women covered in dung. (Not intentionally, mind you, but it just wasn't something anyone thought about. The warnings signs weren't, it seems, big enough.) If this is a theocracy, it's being run by the most incompetent bunch of theocrats this side of a Douglas Adam's novel. So Long, and Thanks for The Holy Wafers.

Look, I've been an agnostic for as long as I can remember, certainly since early high school. I'm thirty years old and unmarried, and anyone familiar with my modest dating history is going to realize it's enough that James Dobson's not ringing my phone off the hook asking me to help teach his abstinence-based education courses. I do things that a goodly number of my more evangelical fellow-conservatives disagree with. The title of the blog should have been a hint.

But I'd have to be living in a paranoid fantasyland to think we were living in theocracy. What, an Alabama judge wants to put a rock the weight of my car in his courtroom and stamp it with the Ten Commandments? That's kind of funny in a Faulkneresque way, but so long as he's not sentencing folks to death for adultery--or heck, so long as such sentences are being overturned--the sweat's just not on my brow. Some state wants to put stickers on their textbooks promoting Intelligent Design? It doesn't matter what's on the sticker, it's graffiti-bait. (Actually, one would think that a sticker on the outside of a textbook would be the first place you'd want to put an idea that you'd like to see buried.)

Yeah, there's folks out there who have a different moral code from mine, and they'd like to use democracy to promote it. But democracy is fantastically favorable to us hedonists: oddly enough, pleasure gets votes. In the meantime, maybe just maybe this Pythonesque Inquisition will find a way to keep forty foot softcore off public billboards. See? Every so often, they and I find common cause.

Linux: Most of the more tech-savvy bloggers are far more into Linux than I'm ever likely to be. I just don't have the urge to play around with my machines so that I can run it, and I don't see much payoff to the learning curve. Sure, Linux is probably a more stable operating system, but my Windows XP box (knock on wood since I'm tempting the gods here) is pretty stable as well. The way I figure, Heidi's laptop has had more operating system problems due to orange juice than either of ours have had due to actual operating systems.

To the extent that Linux is more stable, I'd screw it up. I figured out that my Outlook crash a few weeks ago was mostly a result of my third-party spam filter having a hard time with a few tweaks I'd made to ActiveSync and some other mail-based software. I admit: I'm a compulsive tweaker when it comes to software. Just imagine what I'd be like on an operating system where everyone is handing out betaware and in moments of ambition I could get at the kernel.

New York: Lots of my friends love this city. My friend Martin visited once or twice and never failed to tell me how wonderful it was. Me, it's nice, but I'm not in love.

I love London. I liked Tokyo. I'm in a kind of restless anxiety about Hong Kong because I've heard it called "the New York of the East," and to me that brings to mind dirtiness, rudeness, and relentlessly box-like architecture. (I'm sure the Fragrant Harbour will live up to my expectations, at least in being different.) I know this is supposed to be a great melting pot, and hey, I like the ethnic diversity as much as anyone. "Troglodyte like cosmopolitanism! Gimme a Cosmopolitan!" But the melting pot seems to have boiled everything down to a degree of aggression only differentiated by varying degrees of passivity. In other places it was nice to know that my friends had my back. There's something about the air in New York that makes one think they have to.

Cooking: I like to cook, but sometimes when I wander over to Crescat Sententia on food (and this goes double for Waddling Thunder, who, I have it on good authority, doesn't even waddle), I wonder if Will and Raffi are engaged in the same task I am. Strange ingredients, sci-fi-style cooking implements, and conversations that can become heated about... erm... I think it's vinegar they're talking about?

Cooking for me tends to be an experimental endeavor by an impoverished researcher. I once read Isabelle Allende's Aphrodite and loved every bit of it, but quickly figured out that I couldn't make her soup stock without commandeering every inch of cupboard space in my dorm kitchen. What of my kitchen equipment hasn't been pilfered from others in my hallway--I've lost most of a nice set of knives--has been purchased with Lexis points. Basically, I can make you anything that can be made with a no-stick skillet, a single pot, large cooking chopsticks, some basic spices, and a curious mind.

Fortunately, like any good Jekyll I experiment on myself first.

Clothing: You know the old saying about one of the kids in the family getting the brains and the other the looks? Well, it would be true, if my brother hadn't gotten a fair share of the brains too. And whatever else he got, he purloined the fashion sense. In the meantime I absolutely loathe clothing shopping.

Put me in a bookstore and I'll stay for hours. Curio shop or an antique-seller? Just go get a coffee, I'll be back by the time you're on your second round. But for some reason the process of looking through rack after rack of clothing wondering what's right for me bores me to tears. (Sadly, it shows. Some of my friends have been trying to get me to go on What Not To Wear for so long that I think they expect a bounty from the producers.)

Fortunately, there's two exceptions to this general rule. First, I love shopping with my brother, because he combines a ruthless shopping efficiency with a skill at clothing that frankly bewilders me. A hundred dollars with my brother will get me plenty of good clothing and leave me enough to buy him a beer. Secondly, I "get" suits. Indeed, not only am I intent on someday buying a bespoke suit, but I'm hoping that maybe a family friend will know a good tailor in Hong Kong.

Anyway, that's my five. Now back to that last exam.

Funny As Hell

I wish I'd come up with anything today as funny as Paul's caption contest for a poorly-cropped photo.

May 08, 2005

WEATHER FORECAST FOR TOMORROW: Warm Front Blowing East from California...

Oh, yes, Ann Althouse reminds me that The Huffington Post, Arianna Huffington's new massive group blog, is launching tomorrow. Over 250 mostly-left big name celebrities in one massive group-blog-o'-fun. Oh dear:

Ms. Ephron, the writer, who is one of the bloggers, said it was this casual aspect of the venture that appealed to her. "The idea that one might occasionally be able to have a small thought and a place to send it, without having to write a whole essay, seems like a very good idea," she said.

She also sees the Post as a chance for the left to balance out the right.

"In the Fox era, everything we can do on our side to even things out, now that the media is either controlled by Rupert Murdoch or is so afraid of Rupert Murdoch that they behave as if they were controlled by him, is great," she said. But sometimes, she added, "I may merely have a cake recipe."


A place for the left to have small thoughts and whine about how horrible it is that there is one right-wing news channel as opposed to three left-wing major networks? I thought they already had CBS News for that.

Ah well. Be sure to click over there tomorrow for your daily dose of redundancy.

(In all seriousness, there's a reason that things like Air America or--from the sound of things--The Huffington Report have a hard time taking off. For a the whinging that one hears about how "unbalanced" the media is at the moment, there are a lot of media outlets available for the left, or at least the moderate left. Meanwhile, the right has The Drudge Report, Fox News, and sites like Instapundit. We may have half the country, but the left is cursed with having the half that controls all the media, and thus any new entrant faces an already mature market.

Somehow, I don't see getting the latest worthy diatribes from Warren Beatty and David Mamet is going to unsettle the established left-wing hierarchy. These guys are just not going to give Kos a run for his money.)

Update: Fixed link to the HP, which broke when the site went live.

Chris, Leadership, and The Wisdom of Not Digging When One Is In A Hole

Over at Law Dork, Chris has a smaller branch discussion going in the now perpetual debate among Democrats as to "whither the party." Particularly, he's giving Kerry a hard time for reasserting his long-time stance on gay marriage: that he's against it, and for civil unions:

...Kerry is not only wrong "in principle" -- he's also wrong in fact, as most Massachusetts people and a large majority of Democrats support marriage equality.

Go home and stay home, Kerry. We were looking for leadership, not a timid follower.


Sadly for Chris, Kerry actually is showing signs of leadership here, inasmuch as he's attempting to lead his party to political victory and some kind of power.

As the debate on Rumsfeld v. FAIR heats up, look at it this way: the Democrats need another major judicial win like Lawrence in the same way that my (rapidly expanding) waistline needs a few more helpings of kimchi rice from The Mill. Sure, those Kennedy opinions--full of artificial history and spicy invocations of universal and international law--fill the hunger one has for political change. There's even the possibility of a sweet and vicious little Scalia dessert...er, dissent, so that the Democratic faithful can wonder how fortunate they are that he's in the minority. But in the longrun, these greasy feasts will clog the arteries of your body politic, or at least the party that's eating them.

(Surgeon General's Warning: Blogging while hungry can be bad for your metaphors.)

This is essentially what's happened to the Democrats. Maybe Chris is right--although polls have bounced on this issue, my guess is depending on whether you call it one of "marriage equality" or "gay marriage"--and there is a Massachusetts majority in favor of gay marriage. It wasn't enough of a majority to actually push through a bill on the subject. Rather than try for the artful compromises of politics, proponents took to the courts. As a result, there's homosexual marriage in Massachusetts, and thirty-some anti-gay marriage amendments in state constitutions... and counting.

So where does that get us to Kerry showing leadership? By forcefully rejecting gay marriage, and coming out in favor of compromise. Civil unions are about as American as Mom and apple pie. That is to say, they're the kind of compromise Mom makes when two of the children are arguing over the apple pie, even though she knows that this argument is, in most senses, window-dressing for deeper familial debates going on under the surface. Maybe Elder Brother is upset that the family is paying more attention to Younger Brother's flamboyant ways, or Younger Brother's upset at always having to wear Elder Brother's hand-me-downs and doesn't feel valued enough.

Who knows? Though the compromise satisfies neither brother in the long term, but suffices as a short term resolution so that both sisters, Father, and even Mother can go on to worrying about other things. Implicit in the compromise is a threat: ok, you may not get what you want, but complain too loudly and I'll make sure this comes out on the side of your brother.

Civil unions are just this sort of compromise, and sensible political figures on the left lose nothing by saying, "As much as we might like expanding marriage, we should respect the fact that vast portions of our nation do not want to see traditional marriage altered in this fashion. Let us compromise with civil unions, and come back to it in five or ten years, after we've laid the groundwork necessary." With that issue aside, they could concentrate on dividing the religious vote, becoming the party that once again smacks Republicans on wedge issues, and actually gets themselves into power.

The risk at the moment is also pretty clear: if a majority of the victories of the Democratic Party emerge from the judiciary, Republicans are going to concentrate their fire there. Admittedly, it's a fortified position, and difficult to get at, but it's not impregnable. Sensible leadership--of the kind Chris is criticizing and Kerry is offering--seeks to expand the power base.

But hey, if the Democrats run Howard Dean or Hilary Clinton in '08, I'll be a happy clam.

May 04, 2005

Not the Best Day In The World

Well, my inbox is now full of bounce messages from yesterday's virus attack, thus proving that whoever's infected hasn't solved the problem yet. This has been a huge distraction from both my (now finished) seminar paper and any hope of studying for Professional Responsibility.

Meanwhile, over at the Business School, there's this very silly parody (requires Windows Media Player). No one, and I mean no one should ever put the lyric "If Excel was a drug I'd sell it by the gram" in a song. Still, if you want three minutes and forty-one seconds of exam distraction, you could do worse.

May 03, 2005

EMERGENCY REQUEST FOR HELP (AND A HEADACHE I DON'T NEED)

In the last two hours, I've started receiving dozens of bounce emails from various sites, all of them claiming that variations on the threeyearofhell.com email address have mailed them. Most of these files had attachments on them, and those attachments seemed particularly dodgy: they seem to be a payload for the SOBER.O virus or some variant. Most of them, however, had this standard SOBER.O text in them:

Account and Password Information are attached!

Visit: http://www.threeyearsofhell.com


Now, here's the disasterous part. Somehow, this seems to have spammed a large number of addresses at USCourts.gov. Yes, that's right, a copy of this virus, seeming to come from my address, appears now to have landed in the inboxes of a completely unknowable number of judges. Or maybe I'm lucky: most of the bounce messages seem to be variations of proper email addresses.

I've now taken a couple of hours away from studying for exams to scan this--and all my other--hard drives to a fare-the-well. I've found nothing. I'm skeptical that these are being sent from my machine anyway: the email address most commonly used (blog--at--threeyearsofhell.com, replace --at-- with @) is one that I don't use to send outgoing mail. Furthermore, none of the addresses that are bouncing back come from my machine--it looks like they came from someone who either (a) had a list of judges on their site for clerkship purposes, and (b) had mailed the "contact me" address at my site. [1] Given that much of my readership is law students, though, that doesn't narrow it down much.

(Another reason that I'm skeptical that the mail is coming from my computer: to the best of my knowledge there's not a list of federal judges on my PC. I'm that far behind in considering clerkships.)

Does anyone know how I might track down the source of this problem? Some of the emails have source IP addresses, but TraceRT can only get so far as some locations in Atlanta that aren't particularly helpful.

In the meantime, if you're one of my readers, and especially if you've sent me an email recently, I'd ask you to please update your virus software and scan your hard drive. It can't hurt.

Just my luck, eh?

[1]: There's also the possibility that rather than poor fortune, someone's doing this intentionally. The last thing on earth I need just before clerk season is every Article III judge in the country getting an email from "me" with a nifty viral payload. But that's more paranoid than I care to be. UPDATE: To make it clear: it would be easy for this to be a coincidence. I really don't think it's intentional.

UPDATE II: One of the bounce messages has now included a copy of the virus. Does anyone know how to take one of these apart? There might be some clues on exactly where it came from.

Solemn Solomon Prediction

As just about everyone in the law school world knows by now, the Supreme Court granted cert in Rumsfeld v. Forum for Academic and Institutional Rights, the case arguing for the constitutionality of the Solomon Amendment. BuzWords is asking for predictions, and Prof. Yin and Prof. Kerr oblige, predicting a solid reversal.

Much as I'd like to agree with them, I predict that the court upholds the Third Circuit's opinion. I think the reasoning behind the case is stretched and tenuous, but I thought that about Lawrence, and I also don't believe we've heard the last from Justice Kennedy. I wouldn't even be surprised to see Romer work its way in here.

My reading of the tea-leaves? Five-four decision, Kennedy writing the opinion. Expect a broad reading of the facts, a broader reading of the law, and a Scalia dissent.

Post Exam Rant

Don't worry: this isn't a post about how badly my Corporations exam went. (I mean, it didn't go well, and not only because Wings & Vodka would seem a paragon of preparedness compared to how I felt this morning. But I don't feel the need to complain about it, really.)

Rather, I want to say one more time--not that it matters--how much I hate ExamSoft, the cheating-prevention program used at Columbia to make sure that we future attorneys don't try to beat the curve by accessing the internet or anything. I am happy to go on record as saying that this software is the most ridiculous garbage I have ever inflicted on my hard drive--no, any hard drive, ever, including an old WWIV-based text games I half-finished in the early 90s. Dorothy Parker once reviewed a novel by saying it shoudn't be set aside lightly, but hurled with great force. Similarly, there is no feature of ExamSoft that justifies its existence, or suggests why every copy should not be wiped from any magnetic storage mediium, its source code run through some kind of randomizer, and the utterance of its very name proscribed on penalty of never being allowed to own a functioning operating system again. [1]

What's so wrong with this software?

  • It's pointless: We're supposed to be entering an honorable profession, and as my professional responsibility course points out, one of the purposes of a very expensive legal education is to provide a bond that ensures ethical behavior. Is there that much risk that someone's going to put $150K at jeopardy by accessing their electronic notes? (Besides, most of my law school exams have been open-note to begin with. Why not just let us use electronic outlines that are easily searchable?) We could avoid all these problems by saying, "You're on your honor, boys and girls. Cheat and we'll kick you out of here, and by the way, we're monitoring net usage during the exam."
  • It doesn't work: I have yet to attend a law school exam in which someone's computer didn't reject ExamSoft, forcing them either to start (and thus finish) the exam late, or handwrite the exam. This fantastically unfair to the person taking the exam--now stressing over whether their machine will hold up through the entire four hours, and quite often allows them to listen to students yakking about the exam on the way out of the room, while they're still working. One would think the certainty of the software failing would outweigh the utility gained by reducing the possibility of cheating.
  • It discriminates against non-Windows users: As I've mentioned, I have a stable of old laptops that I keep around specifically to give Macintosh (or potentially Linux) users around exam time. But these are old and clunky machines, and I'm sure Mac users would be happier with their one-buttoned clamshells and the little apple-shaped logo. (That said, if I saw the little bomb-symbol that Macintoshes used to throw up during a system crash on an exam, I might very well lose my mind.)
  • It's inconvenient: For those of us with widescreen monitors, exam-taking is an exercise in walleye-vision. In order to block your desktop, the ExamSoft window is forced to its maximum size, but there's no easy feature that allows you to resize the writing area. It always takes me a while to realize that just because my paragraph is only two lines long doesn't mean it's short: it takes a lot of words to cross a 15.4" screen.

Sadly, none of these problems look set to change any time soon. Thankfully, I only have one more in-class exam on Friday, and then I can once again uninstall this miserable excuse for a program.

[1]: Non-Windows users will inevitably insert some crack here about ExamSoft only running on Windows, and thus you didn't have a functioning operating system to begin with, natch. Guess we'll see which commentors take the time to read the footnotes...

There Ought To Be A (Corollary to Godwin's) Law

Bush-hatred/fear of the Religious Right/general anti-religious bigotry has gotten to the point amongst some, generally on the political left, that we really need an extension to Godwin's Law to counter it. I'm speaking of the now commonplace habit of comparing the American religious right to the Taliban.

References to the "American Taliban" (or in Prof. Leiter's case, continual references to the Texas Taliban) are just the same inflammatory drivel that Godwin's Law is usually invoked to avoid when it comes to the Nazi's or Hitler. [1] Amy at Crescat put it nicely:

I really really really hate this sort of rhetoric. What bothers me most about the suggestion here that the Bush administration is equivalent to the Taliban is not that the comparison is unfair to Bush et. al., it is that it is unfair to the Taliban.

What made the Taliban a vile, despicable regime whose death went entirely unlamented was not the fact that they wished to enforce certain religious norms upon the population, but rather the brutally extreme measures to which they were willing to go in order to achieve that goal.

What made the Taliban stand out--and what gives the term "Texas Taliban" its emotive force--were the violent methods that the regime was willing to use against those who transgressed. To describe the religious right as part of the "Texas Taliban" isn't just to say that they think homosexuality should be discouraged or proscribed by law: it is to imply they believe that homosexuals should be crushed beneath toppled walls. To talk of Republicans willing to roll back abortion as part of an "American Taliban" agenda means more than such words: it implies a desire to see women draped head to toe, unable to be seen in public.

Such things are deeply unserious at best, calumnies at worst, and generally grounds for dismissing an author who uses them. Godwin's Law has served for a number of years as a way of dismissing--not to mention shaming--those who made such ill-considered comparisons. It's time for us to come up with a corollary.

The trouble is, I can't think of a pithy way to phrase one. Any suggestions?

[1]: I know that Godwin's law doesn't formally state anything about the quality of an argument invoking Nazis or Hitler. I'm going by the more colloquial form, often stated as "the argument's over when someone mentions Hitler."

May 01, 2005

Corporations Craziness

Sadly, you're unlikely to hear much from me until after my Corporations exam on Monday morning. I'm afraid that I'm barely aware of the rules for mergers, and am thinking that poison pills are what bad law students who haven't studied hard enough take in order to avoid shame and ignominy.

But in the meantime, I leave you with the strangest thing I've seen lately. I sent this to Heidi, thinking that our resident chicken-obsessiveenthusiast might enjoy it. Now, I give you: The Poultry Internet. (Quicktime Required)

From your friends at MXR labs.

UPDATE Most disturbing response I've received thus far to the Internet Poultry site: "Cool. Are they making one of those for boyfriends?"

Just to make it clear, by the way, I think the technology involved here is fun, but it's a chronically bad idea. A human isn't going to get much joy out of stroking a plastic chicken, and the whole "remote petting" thing is likely to scare the hell out of the poor bird.

Giving The Devil His Due

So Long and Thanks For All The Briefs (1)
Tony the Pony wrote: Have you heard or read any stats fo... [more]

Break's Over (4)
shell wrote: I'm beginning to regret not to get ... [more]

Brief Hiatus (0)
Swimsuit Issue (5)
Vanessa wrote: I agree that the SI swimsuit issue ... [more]

Quick Book Review and Thoughts on a Culture of Life (2)
arbitrary aardvark wrote: The Farm, by Harlan Ellison, collec... [more]

Current Currency (2)
Alison wrote: Preferable, perhaps, to pounds, whi... [more]

The Trouble with Jetlag (0)
Arrived in Hong Kong (3)
Anthony wrote: Will do my best, AP.... [more]

Update on Law Review Software (0)
Why One Should Love the Huffington Post (4)
Tony the Pony wrote: Let me revise: a very funny send-u... [more]

Idealist? You must be joking (0)
Outgeeking Bainbridge (9)
Anthony wrote: If you notice, Dave, the above isn'... [more]

Getting Ready for Hong Kong (1)
Tony the Pony wrote: Okay, the greedy & ambition of the ... [more]

Done (0)
Last Exam Today (4)
Gisa Propecia wrote: Good luck And enjoy those beers ... [more]

Blogging a Summer Job (3)
lala wrote: Eat lots of Shanghainese soup dumpl... [more]

Law School Deans Defend Judicial Independence (2)
Tony the Pony wrote: It's not as novel as you think. Si... [more]

Five Things I'm Not Crazy About (2)
Adam wrote: Well, hey hey, look who finally got... [more]

Funny As Hell (1)
Frankenstein wrote: Sometimes they write themselves. ... [more]

WEATHER FORECAST FOR TOMORROW: Warm Front Blowing East from California... (7)
PG wrote: Wonder if it was "p0ker" (spelled w... [more]

Chris, Leadership, and The Wisdom of Not Digging When One Is In A Hole (7)
Terrance wrote: I'm aware that not all gay v... [more]

Not the Best Day In The World (2)
Dave wrote: Hey I just found your site because ... [more]

EMERGENCY REQUEST FOR HELP (AND A HEADACHE I DON'T NEED) (3)
Anthony wrote: Thanks, guys. Martin: I figured ... [more]

Solemn Solomon Prediction (3)
Tony the Pony wrote: Aha. I have a somewhat grand theor... [more]

Post Exam Rant (9)
Richard wrote: while taking a bar certification ex... [more]

There Ought To Be A (Corollary to Godwin's) Law (4)
Randy wrote: The terrorists abhor civil rights, ... [more]

Corporations Craziness (3)
PG wrote: "Cool. Are they making one of th... [more]

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