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Friday, October 31, 2003
The New York Times is reporting that Democratic candidate Howard Dean will have to reconcile his previous views on gun control with his current stance, the latter of which is somewhat hazy (login required.) Apparently, in 1992, while campaigning for the governor's chair in Vermont, Dean filled out an NRA questionnaire stating that he opposed any restrictions on assault weapons. A Dean spokeswoman has claimed that Dean was referring only to a state ban, but the question from the NRA specifically addressed both federal and state law.
Hmm. The article asserts that gun control tends to be a wedge issue for Democrats, about which I'm not convinced. It seems unlikely that Dean could have gotten elected in a state like Vermont without opposing gun control, and it's true that Democrats in Vermont, like those in my home state of Wisconsin, tend to be more gun-loving than is the norm. So, what plays to the left in there might not elsewhere. Personally, I'd like to see Dean take a consistent stand on the issue. All things being equal, I can't see Democrats choosing someone else over him solely based on an anti-gun control stance. These days, there are bigger issues to tackle and I think Dean might win some support among moderates by opposing certain types of gun control but most of all for being consistent.
Ugh... kind of a downer today. Besides hanging myself on a noose of my own making in Civil Procedure this morning (thanks for the support to those who gave it!), it appears I won't be able to visit with family in Green Bay over Halloween. The tradition was that my wife and I would take my little sister trick-and/or-treating, basking in the glorious Wisconsin autumn, and later nurse our frostbite over cribbage and hard cider. But, between my LARC assignment due Monday and my wife's indexing work, we'll probably end up like those sad sacks I used to pity... passing out candy and watching milquetoast horror films that are "scary" but not scary enough to drive my wife from the building.
Ah well. I suppose it could be worse. I haven't caught much of the news, today, but this story piqued my interest, since it isn't being widely reported. Also, the Associated Press reported today that, after the death of Halloween's importer to France, observance of the holiday, itself, is likely to pass on, too.
Sadly, this poor, poor French child will have to rob this store for candy.
Thursday, October 30, 2003
The Blogosphere Claims Another One
Daniel Altman, a fellow 1L in my section, has is own blog. That brings the total of known IU-Indy law blogs to six, not counting this one. If you have your own blog let me know and I'll add the link to our left hand sidebar.
Maybe they're something to that satyagraha stuff.
When two Florida sexagenarians had their evenings interrupted by a shotgun-wielding intruder, Tuesday night, instead of panicking, the women offered the man a sandwich, pickles, rum, and a shave.
After his meal, he asked for a cab and the women called for one, but the driver called back because he had trouble finding the house. Inebriated and with a tummy full of ham sandwich, the intruder let one of them go outside to flag down the taxi, and when she returned, he had fallen asleep. When the driver discovered the scene, he called the police, who picked up the intruder.
What a great story. Would that all break-ins could be diffused with ham and a little rum.
George Will, a sesquipedalian fellow after my own heart, penned this article today in the Washington Post about the death penalty. Surprisingly, Will seems somewhat sympathetic to the arguments advanced by legal writer Scott Turow in the latter's new book, Ultimate Punishment: A Lawyer's Reflections on Dealing with the Death Penalty. I'm only part-way through the book, myself, but I was a little surprised to see Will quoting from it. Interesting.
Law.com has an article about a new study analyzing racial and gender diversity among the lawyers at the Department of Justice. The Unlearned Hand wonders "whether opponents of affirmative action would also be opposed to recruiting and marketing drives that clearly target minority groups." Weigh in with your thoughts here.
There's still hope for Prof. Cooper's Stu the Garden Gnome! Perhaps the neighboring dog didn't really kill him. Maybe the French abducted him. This sheds an all new light on the damages he should be rewarded.
Wednesday, October 29, 2003
It appears that James Nichols, OK city bomber Terry Nichols' brother, is suing filmmaker Michael Moore for libel. He apparently feels that Moore implicated him in the bombing and is seeking $10-20 million. Having seen the movie, I honestly don't get Nichols' problem. Even if you don't like Michael Moore, it's pretty clear that Nichols was taped saying some pretty kooky things about the government. The conversation, especially when they were at his kitchen table, was near-contiguous. Nichols claims that he was misled about the nature of the interview, but he certainly didn't have to answer the questions when confronted with them. Cripes.
As a sometime-reader of the web magazine Salon, I thought the site suffered a loss of fantastic proportions when it lost Camille Paglia as a commentator two years (was it really that long?) ago. She's just one of those fascinating people whose ideas, even if you don't agree with them, are like candy.
Well, she returned to Salon this week for a brief (I thought) interview with comments on everything from the current stable of Democratic contenders to the state of AM talk radio. As always she's entertaining, insightful, and just... great. I missed her forthright and learned commentary.
Anyway, you can get to the interview here, but you'll need to watch the little commercial to get a "free day pass." It's worth it.
Tuesday, October 28, 2003
The Onion reports on just how useful those advocacy skills really are. Personally, I'd go with the wings.
E.J. Dionne has a fascinating op-ed piece in the Washington Post today regarding Lt. Gen. William Boykin's recently revealed remarks on the role of the U.S. in the war on terror. Dionne discusses the conundrum for people of faith in public service and whether Boykin's comments ought to result in his removal.
According to a CNN/USA Today/Gallup poll, support for retired General Wesley Clark is slipping. Among registered Democrats, he's down to 15% from 21% in early October. What this means among unaffiliated moderate voters is unclear, but, at least among Democratic voters, the poll also shows an increased willingness to support a more liberal candidate (39% up from 27% in August), which might be good news for Doctor Dean and possibly bad news for candidates like Joseph Lieberman.
What all of this will ultimately mean is unclear, but I think things are going to get interesting in the coming months when the candidates move on to further primary campaigning.
Monday, October 27, 2003
Bobby A-G, a law student in Kansas, is fishing for questions to ask of Judge Jeffrey Sutton, a federal appellate judge who will be speaking to his Con Law class tomorrow. Consider offering a hand.
Friday, October 24, 2003
Beyond the Packers, I'm not much of a sports fan. It isn't so much because I don't "get" sports or because I'm unathletic, myself, but rather because watching games seems like a lot of time invested without much to show for it. I'd much rather read, study, or let my wife paint my toenails.
In any case, there are a few sporting spectacles that actually sound fun to watch, and, looking at the calendar, it appears that it's that time of year again. Of course, I'm talking about The World Rock Paper Sissors Championship held this year in Toronto. I'm betting it'll be another epic battle of wits and hands, just at is was last year. NPR's Melissa Block interviewed Graham Walker, the managing editor of the organization's governing body.
Now, some of you might be thinking, "that's not a sport, Kevin... there's no strategy to it!" And, if you thought that, you'd be abysmally wrong. There are many strategies to winning at RPC (or even just "Rock," as many call it). There is, for example, that tactic of "cloaking," in which a combatant withholds their throw of "paper" for a split-second, to dupe their opponent into thinking they are actually throwing a "rock." After all, it takes just a second longer to make one's hand into a fist, and many novice players fall for this simple ruse. Ah-ha!, the winner will exclaim!
This isn't to say that RPS is all fun and games. This is a serious sport for serious hand-athletes. If one is to play RPS professionally, one must duly conform to their Code of Responsibility:
The World RPS Player's Responsibility Code
1. Safety First! Always ensure that all players have removed sharp jewelry and watches.
2. Ensure agreement, before the first round, on priming conventions (we recommend the standard 3 prime shoot).
3. Always establish what is to be decided or whether the match is to be played for honour.
4. Pre-determine the number of rounds required to win the match (remember odd numbers only).
5. Encourage novice development by explaining blunders in judgement with a mind towards being helpful. Don't berate.
6. Think twice before using RPS for life-threatening decisions.
7. Always respect foreign cultures. When abroad consider yourself an ambassador of the World RPS Society.
I don't know about you, but I know what I'm going to do this weekend... I'm going to study my brains out... and follow the hot, hot action of competitive RPS
Thursday, October 23, 2003
I'm going to make an attempt to recover a modicum of respectability after yesterday's rant with this neat discussion on the bastard children of the deceased Total Information Awareness scheme.
In case you've never heard of it, basically, it was an anti-terror surveillance plan that involved powerful database and information-gathering tools. It was supposed to help law enforcement red flag potential terrorist activity by combing through various computerized credit, air travel, medical, and other sorts of records of Americans (and possibly non-Americans). Did it work? Well, we won't know because the Pentagon pulled the plug on it last September. Now, however, it appears that some of the tools developed under TIA's auspices have survived to potentially fulfill the dreams of some in the government.
Personally, I'm of two minds on the issue. I do have 1984-ish fears about the government knowing more about me than I'd care to share. Since the Patriot Act's passing, its provisions have been used in non-terror-related matters, and I do fear that such is likely in a TIA scenario. Though I'm interested in working for the government, someday, I'm suspicious of such a massive consolidation of power and access.
Still... still, I'm stuck with a nagging, NIMBY-inspired question: what could the government possibly do to harm me even if they knew every detail about my life? Even the most scandalous item they could catalogue (my fetish for brunettes, perhaps?) could never serve to incriminate me. Maybe I'm being anti-post-modern here, but I can't conceive of what the government would even do with perfect information regarding myself and most of the people that I know.
A legal treatise, this is not, and you'll excuse my lack of intellectual vigor (it's been a long week), but the issue of whether or not it would be a good to have such schemes will be with us for a long time to come. I suppose we'd better get used to discussing it.
Wednesday, October 22, 2003
It wouldn't be America without the occasional lawsuit laying blame where it couldn't possibly belong. Now, these suits crop up every now and again, for sure, but this one in particular tweaked me. The saintly lawyer in this case, Jack Thompson, had previously sent letters, prior to the shootings, asking Wal-Mart and Sony to drop the games. So, naturally, when this case came along, confirming that his sage-like foreknowledge regarding the imminent lethality of these murder training programs was true... he had no choice but to file a million-dollar suit on the victim's behalf. According to him, Sony and Wal-Mart practically begged him to help save the children. "It's not like this is coming out of the blue," he told CNN, "they chose to ignore this danger."
Uh-huh. I suppose since he lost a similar suit in 1997 stemming from the Paducah, Kentucky school shooting, perhaps he's betting that a post 9/11 world will see things his way... for the children, I mean. The $33 million in the Paducah case had nothing to do with it. Nothing at all.
Now, despite the fact that millions of minors and adults around the world play the insanely popular Grand Theft Auto games and don't go on shooting sprees, apparently these games are the cause of the violence in this case. It wasn't poor judgment on the part of the kids. It wasn't inattentive parents. And it wasn't the fact that the means to unlock the gun cabinet weren't cleverly hidden enough. No, it was the game, apparently. After all, the kids "got the idea" for the crime from the game.
Hmm, that's some pretty good reasoning, and, by that logic, it's Knitting Digest's fault that my Grandma has foisted so many bad sweaters upon me over the years. I suspect she got her "ideas" from that loathsome tome, and I want my due! Sure, you can take away her needles and her yarn, but the real culprits are those cowardly sexagenarians up in the ivory tower they call the Knitting Digest corporate office. They cravenly wrap themselves in the intarsia knit blanket of the First Amendment, caring nothing for the bulging storage boxes and awkward stares suffered by our nation's grandchildren. It means nothing to the soulless, black-hearted capitalists at Knitting Digest that I suffer. Jack Thompson, if you're listening, I need your help!
More Rap in the News
A British High Court judge, in a June copyright infringement case, ruled against the composer of the 2001 song "Burnin'."
The judge explained he was compelled to rule against the composer because he didn't know the meaning of certain lyrics, including "shizzle my nizzle." The judge went on to explain that though the lyrics were written in a 'form' of English, they were "for practical purposes a foreign language" and he was therefore unsure if the borrowed use of them constituted infringement.
What, Snoop wasn't available to testify as an expert witness?
Tuesday, October 21, 2003
Just in case you haven't heard yet, judge Deborah Servitto sent down her decision on an Eminem slander case in a 14 page brief, as well as in the form of a rap. You can read it here (it's actually pretty good).
Rita, over at Res Ipsa Loquitur has an amusing post about a new and most likely frivolous law suit.
Sunday, October 19, 2003
What seems to have become THE law school hangout--The Bourbon Street Distillery--gets a 3-star rating from the Indianapolis Star.
Thursday, October 16, 2003
I'll second the "ugh" of working over the misnomer that is our fall "break." I'm working so damn hard, and I can't tell if this outlining jazz is going to help me. I know, I know, it's what everyone does and it's what all of the professors harp on, but I don't feel like I'm retaining anything for all of this work. After all, my notes are pretty well organized by topic and sub-topic already... I sometimes feel like I'm just adding the veneer of roman numerals and letters to an organizational structure that's already present. Maybe I'm doing it wrong. Ah well.
Interesting news day, on this blissfully chilly (for this boy from "up nort") Thursday. The U.N. voted unanimously in favor of the much-maligned Iraq resolution put out by the Americans. Having read through it, I have to say that I agree completely with Fred Kaplan on Slate, that it is almost completely toothless and unbinding. I can see why the Bush administration is chalking up its passing as a victory. Truly, it is a good sign to all that we and our allies (even Syria, though it won't help them in other affairs) can agree on anything at this point. Still, I've been suffering under the delusion that we needed a commitment of money and warm bodies for Iraq. This resolution, however, doesn't appear to bind its signatories to any such thing. In fact, it bears certain similarities to Resolution 1441, in which both sides of the debate could reasonably agree upon it, come away with a victorious feeling, and yet have functionally agreed to nothing.
As evidence, one need only look at what occurred immediately following the vote. While Secretary of State Colin Powell was lauding the vote and grinning for the cameras, the delegates from the three main dissenting countries, France, Germany, and Russia, commented that they have no current intention of giving either money or muscle to the Iraqi effort. So, once again, everyone's happy that next to nothing happened.
Wednesday, October 15, 2003
Law school studying during fall break. Unnecessary evil? Take time out for oneself? How are we supposed to outline and synthesize when some profs hand out LARC projects and excessive torts reading? Older students, tell me what you think. I thought I would get ahead this week, but now I am not so sure.
Tuesday, October 14, 2003
Farewell, for now
Prof. Cooper, who many of us here at Sapere Aude have or had in class, is taking an extended leave of absence from blogging. His commentary on things ranging from baseball to politics will surely be missed. As I was deciding whether to attend IU-Bloomington or IU-Indy for law school, Prof. Cooper and my interactions with him in the blogosphere were instrumental in convincing me to choose Indianapolis, so I'm definitely going to miss it. My prayers are with his son and family.
Sunday, October 12, 2003
Don't forget to breeeeth
Yes, the October break is upon us. Decompression. People outside the school with whom I associate are surprised we get a whole week off. No, no. It's a break, not a vacation. There's a big difference. Now we can study without the interruption of classes and further assignments. I'm taking the weekend off, but there's still a voice within me saying, "But you only have nine days to catch up, and you are blowing off two of them!" Maybe I should send that voice to the beach.
Saturday, October 11, 2003
Well, my uncle-in-law is doing just fine. After several bypasses and some metal plates in his chest, he's now giving the hospital staff hell with his corny sense of humor and bombastic laugh. Good for you, uncle Tim.
We're all sopping up some much-needed time off here at the Indianapolis School of Law. I gave my opera ticket to my Mom-in-law so that she and my wife could enjoy an evening together in their finery during her visit. Meanwhile, I had a little "bachelor night" with the fantastic sequel to one of my favorite PC games, Homeworld 2, and a splash of Absolute mandarin. I also discovered a fantastic "board" game called Zertz that reminds me of another game I'm fond of, Go. So far, my wife still beats me, but if I didn't enjoy being outwitted by her, we'd have never gotten married.
I hope that all the other IU-Indy folks are enjoying their break, and that all of you other law students out there enjoy yours, if you have one.
Also... a hilarious roast of 60 Minutes creator Don Hewitt is currently on C-SPAN. Catch it if you can.
Friday, October 10, 2003
The Wireless Network
I've often wondered about the harmful effects of wireless networks. Are we all getting cancer from it? If so, students IU-Indy's law school are prime candidates.
It seems some parents at an affluent Chicago school are convinced it harms their children, so seriously in fact that they're going to court over it. According to the complaint, evidence outlines "serious health risks that exposure to low intensity, but high radio frequency radiation poses to human beings, particularly children." Hmm, should the administration be worried?
Thursday, October 09, 2003
Hmm, odd news. My wife's uncle had a heart attack last night. That's not the odd part, though. My Mom-in-law, who is currently teaching art at the international school in Ghana, is flying in for this afternoon. This means a few things in particular for me:
1. The heart attack was evidently far more serious than we were told, and
2. My Mom-in-law will be staying with us for the entirety of my fall break (next week).
Ugh. I feel so conflicted. Of course, I am deeply concerned about my wife's uncle. He is a great man, and I shudder to imagine what he's going through right now. Still, there is a part of me that also feels an acute loss for the time my wife and I might have had this next week if the heart attack never happened. We had a bed-n-breakfast planned along with some general time out and about together that we haven't had since law school began. Additionally, we'll have to miss the opera tomorrow night, which I was looking forward to.
All of my family is in good health, so these sorts of feelings are new to me. I'm filled with self-loathing about my selfish thoughts, and it bothers me mostly because I can't help but feel a little short changed.
Maybe it's partly a law school thing. I mean, I've had jobs where time off was difficult to acquire, but this isn't the same. Here, I feel that I absolutely can not leave for today or tomorrow. The decision to not be there, right now, with my wife at the hospital and picking up her Mom... that was a decision I made because I couldn't not go to class or miss a day of finishing my LARC paper.
It's an awful thing to make such choices.
It looks like the Supreme Court is going to have a contentious year ahead of it. The Justices plan on hearing the 9th Circuit's decision against the phrase "under God" in the Pledge of Allegiance, as well as a Washington state's constitutional ban on scholarships for religious studies. Also, by denying a writ of certiorari for Jacoby v. Prince, the Supreme Court allowed a Bible study to meet in a school during classtime.
Wednesday, October 08, 2003
Hasta La Vista, Baby
I am no pundit, by any means. But I do have some concerns about last night's victory by Governor-Elect Arnold Schwarzenegger.
Why did Arnold win by such a decisive margin? I can't help but think that reality has become blurred to an almost dangerous point for many California residents.
Who did they vote for? Arnold the man? Arnold the actor? Arnold the superhero?
I pride myself on keeping an open mind in many aspects of life. My parents taught me at an early age to be accepting of others; that lesson has served me well and translated into a desire not to be judgmental or jump to conclusions about people. I don't have a problem per se with the fact that Arnold is an actor. There have been many others who began as entertainers and went on to achieve political 'success.' (Ronald Reagan, Sonny Bono, Jesse Ventura, etc...)
For some reason, however, I am bothered by this particular election.
Perhaps it is that this entertainer-turned-politician phenomenon is becoming more common. That one day interviewers will ask celebrities when they plan to run for office instead of when we can expect their next movie or album.
Perhaps it is the possibility that Californians were so unhappy with Governor Davis' inaction that they simply voted for the Terminator, the one man who can always get the job done.
Perhaps it is the discomfort I felt when I read the Oui article. Should this man really be elected to run a state, especially such a large state that so often influences the entire nation?
I hope that the interest generated by this uncharacteristic state election caused the voters of California to investigate their options and vote for the candidate that they felt would best govern their state. What I think truly happened, though, in this day of reality TV and idolizing of entertainers, is that California voters chose the most 'popular' candidate - based on their limited, 'tinsel town' perceptions of Arnold.
Good luck to those of you 1Ls who have a property midterm today and a LARC paper due Friday.
Big accomplishments deserve big celebrations! :)
Tuesday, October 07, 2003
No wonder people have a distaste for lawyers based on a thinking that they unnecessarily complicate things.
I just read this sentence in my Secured Transactions book: Cliff's Ridge's mortgage grants an interest in the real property together with the hereditaments and appurtenances thereunto belonging or in anywise appertaining.
Monday, October 06, 2003
Not much time to post this week... midterm in property and a LARC paper due Friday. I see that Mr. Claybourn has taken a brief hiatus from his own blog and I'm tempted to do so for the rest of this week as well.
Howard Bashman, author of the always-interesting (and oft-updated) blog How Appealing, notes that the U.S. Supreme Court will release their order list for the year this evening.
Also, Salon.com reported today that one man would like to have a parrot offer testimony at his trial. Having previously owned a parrot (green amazon), I can state with confidence that parrots would probably offer more competent testimony than many human beings. I'd wager they're easier to interview, as well.
Friday, October 03, 2003
We're all pretty busy here with a big writing assignment due next week and a midterm on Wednesday. Ugh. Also, we will can retrieve our first writing assignments by noon today. Perhaps to head off our disappointment, our LARC professor gave us a big pep talk about how none of us are stupid and how normal all of our mistakes were. I suppose it was a good thing, though I'm sure I wasn't alone in thinking that the bigger and more sincere her smile, the worse we did. I've a feeling that my compatriots came away from the class with similar feelings, all of which amounted to: "yack."
Then again, I've no idea how I did, personally. I mean, I deviated from some of the organizational things she noted today, but I think my content was good. At any rate, I'm hardly a scapegrace when rigid guidelines are given.
Ah well. I'm so busy I really shouldn't even write this, and if I sound depressed, I apologize. I hate people who blog and just bleat about their problems. So, on that note, here's something to pick up all of our spirits.
Tat tvam asi
Thursday, October 02, 2003
If you're like me and don't subscribe to the journal Measurement, Science and Technology, you may have missed this groundbreaking (crumbling?) study. The title of the article is: "A novel application of speckle interferometry for the measurement of strain distributions in semi-sweet biscuits."
Man, I want some grant money.
And for some odd reason, that damn Limbaugh story is getting more attention than matters of which we ought to be truly concerned. Why this lout eclipses the rest of the news boggles me.
Wednesday, October 01, 2003
What possessed him?
Have you seen this? I truly cannot fathom what would lead a person to do such a despicable thing. I suppose the answer is greed. But that seems too simple. It must take more than greed to drive a person to pursue such a charade.
What a shame - bet he spent every penny he received.