Saturday, December 31, 2005

To a HHappy and PPPeaceful New Year

As I write this, I still don't have New Year's resolutions. Or even one for that matter. But I suppose I can come up with a few things I hope to see in 2006.

At Boalt, I hope everyone gets the grades they hoped to get. Kidding aside, I seriously do hope that in the upcoming year Boalt becomes a better place to study law for the sake of its current and future students. 2006 promises a reading room with noise levels below that of a shuttle launch. The rest of the stuff has been adequately outlined by the Dean. I just hope those ideas get shifted into operational status from the planning stage. And I don't mean to sound like an ingrate. This school is blessed with things that almost every other law school (with the exception of about 5 or 6 law schools) could only dream about. For the Class of 2007, during the following year, we will move that much closer to becoming members of the bar. Scary huh. Nine and a half years ago I entered high school scared of changing in the locker rooms. In another year and a half I might represent some of my classmates.

On the global scale, I hope there's a secret weapon the Democrats will unleash in aught six. I don't understand how something like the NSA scandal can shift in focus so quickly to those patriots who leaked information about this program to the press whose freedom is guaranteed to serve precisely this purpose. If CNN wants to improve its ratings, it should adopt a new format, instead of hiring Bill Bennet. The network should take a cue from Fox News circa 1995-2001 and serve as the watchdog network of the Bush Admin. Screw access to the White House. As the ratings sore, watch MSNBC suddenly shift its focus as well.

I also hope the media continues to cover disasters, both natural and human. If there is any silver lining to Katrina, the Kashmir Earthquake, the Tsunami, Darfur, etc., it's that it shook the conscience of anyone who's too complacent and secure in his/her very existence. For all the opposition to Darwin's theory of evolution, conservatives sure seem to be in favor of social Darwinism. Survival of the fittest...but only in the present tense. But much like other firm conservative beliefs (such as sending the nation to war to topple a world leader you kinda don't like), this social Darwinist theory falls apart as soon as any light is shed on it. Oh, it's bad when we don't help out when a State lacking in resources is hit by a devastating Hurricane? Crap, let's spend spend spend to look good but then cut other programs that aren't getting as much press coverage. This is my long-winded way of saying that Democrats need to seize on this and emphasize the absence of compassion from compassionate conservatism. See, e.g., House measure to criminalize assistance to undocumented aliens. That's right folks, if you're doing CARC, you could go to federal pen. Compassion for your fellow man? WWJD?

Happy New Year.


Friday, December 23, 2005

He Puts the B in Undy

Aside from creating a near-perfect algorithm for ordering people on the waitlist for Civ Pro II based on merit, our beloved Professor and Associate Dean Stephen McG. Bundy will not be leaving to be dean of Hastings. (Hat tip: Leiter, and as an aside, I beg to differ on his argument that SF is the third greatest city after New York and Chicago).

SIDENOTE: With the inevitible flu/cold onslaught and the upcoming holidays (I don't like to say Christmas to piss off fundamentalists), I'm gonna seclude myself to a room with plenty of theraflu. Meaning, while I won't be posting much, feel free to use this as an open thread for any post exam rants. And congratulations to the Class of 2007 for being 1/2 way done with law school.

SIDENOTE II: Found the results of the Calbar broken down by schools here (Hat tip: Volokh, where he has also reproduced a table that juxtaposes the bar passage rate with USN&W rankings and SSRN rankings. Why? I don't know. It is noteworthy that UCLA is 88.7%, Stan 88%, and Boalt 87%. Damn those three slackers who put us behind these two schools. And in other news, The Recorder has a story about Gibson raising its first year rates to $135 and increasing all other associate salaries by $5. Obviously Gibson is no Irell, so let's see how long until every other firm follows suit.

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Monday, December 19, 2005

Chicken Pox and Library Behavior

This chicken pox thing has pushed DS over the top and forced him to write on library etiquette.

Fortunately for DS, he is not worried about getting chicken pox as he has already had it twice. That's correct - once in elementary school, then once in high school forcing him to miss his freshman year baseball tryouts - don't worry, he still made the team.

Anywho, DS has no way of knowing whether the infected student was spreading germs around the library, but seeing as almost all students who were at Boalt at least once over the last two weeks were in the library, there's a good chance others in the library have it now as well. Which brings DS to the topic of this post: Library etiquette. Specifically how pissed off DS is every time he goes into the library. He proposes the following rules:

1 - Cell phones. If your cell phone goes off, other students have the right - nay, the responsibility - to take that cell phone and throw it against the nearest wall as hard as they can. What don't students understand about the "SILENCE ALL CELL PHONES" sign in the entering hallway. And, don't think DS is out-of-line by saying that he thinks this is a mostly 1L thing.

1a - if you answer your phone and talk on it, other students have the responsibility to make sure your head is smashed into the wall along with the cell-phone.

2 - Sniffling. You know what DS is talking about. Those people that would rather sniff their nose loudly every 5-10 seconds instead of blowing it. This is DS's pet-peeve and he traces his frustration with those that refuse to blow their nose like proper citizens to the administration of his SAT test in high school when the student sitting next to him proceeded to sniffle the entire 4 hour test - single-handedly preventing DS from obtaining the score he should have achieved.

3 - Coughing/Sneezing. No doubt how the chicken pox were spread at Boalt. Coughing is one thing - everyone has to do it. Those who choose to cough without covering up their mouth are bad enough. Sneezing is entirely preventable. DS never sneezes out loud - he always holds it in, as there is absolutely no scientific evidence indicating that is a bad thing. So, because DS does it, all students should. But, in the library, there are multitudes of students who both cough and sneeze out in the open. Disgusting! Have these individuals no sense of others?

4 - Any other noise you make. It seems that people in the library are just not aware of their surroundings. Everything you do in the library should be designed to minimize the impact you have on those around you. Unnecessary shuffling around in your book bag, texting people on your cell phone, switching chairs, and talking are all things that just don't need to happen.

DS proposes that we institute a complaint system - much like the point system at Hogwarts School of Witchcraft and Wizardry. If you're doing something that annoys another student, that other student should simply note who you are, and report to the librarians what you did. Your offense and name will be kept on a sheet. Three strikes and you're out. Expelled. Done for ever at Boalt. Just because poor grades can't get you kicked out, doesn't mean poor manners shouldn't either.


Terrorists may be using the chicken pox virus to attack law students here in Berkeley. If you haven't scratched yourself for about a week your entire life, then you're in grave danger. Heads will roll, phone lines will be tapped, bums scratching themselves a little too much will be burned at the stake, but we WILL fight this enemy.

Unfortunately, the current administration refuses to release data on other viruses and bacteria that law students spread to each other in various ways. They don't want to discourage what little physical contact law students already have with each other.

The Good, the Bad, and the Volokh

Am I alone in getting utterly pissed off every time Volokh n off tries to pawn off his Academic Legal Writing on the VC? We get it! You want to sell your book. No need for a new post during every holiday. He's already done the "With the start of law school..." bit several times. Christmas and New Years...check. I'm just waiting for, "Well it's Easter, and what Jesus really could have used on the cross is some good Academic Legal Writing." Anyway, I just think it's really tacky.

Below that, Prof. Kerr reveals that he's in the midst of writing a post on the whole NSA fiasco. I can't wait to read that. I haven't written anything about it myself because I only skimmed the NY Times story without thinking about too much. But after two days of not doing any studying, I can say this. I'm incredibly troubled by the supporters of Bush and even non-supporters having the following reaction: "What's the big deal? It's not like they're going to eves drop on me." I heard another version of this on NPR's Talk of the Nation regarding the use of cell phones to pin point someone's location. The caller said, "Well I don't think anyone has thought this out, but if you're a law obiding citizen, then you really don't have anything to lose from this. I mean it's not like your location itself can be a crime." The host had to correct him and remind him that in the 50s someone's attendance at a particular meeting WAS a crime.

And that's what we're in danger of forgetting--the other times in history when we cheerfully gave away our civil liberties like a bunch of animals on a farm for the sake of fighting some common enemy (or as the case was in WWII for the sake of manifesting inherent racism). As far as the legalese is concerned, I'd wait until Kerr's post, but it seems to me the gist of the Prez's argument is that the authorization of force, and his powers as commander in chief (ah those amazing powers) allowed him to gather intel against the enemy without relying on courts. Interesting argument, how about this: Because we're in a state of war, or a Jihad if you will, we should all fear God Allah, and give away all of our power to the proverbial "strong man" and have him rule over us with no bounds. Oh how wonderful, Dick Cheney and a few Middle Eastern regional heads would be proud. Honestly, this should not be a Dem vs. Rep issue. What's the point of fighting a war if the very thing we're fighting for is being lost at home? I really don't give a flying fuck if it's Al Qaeda ransacking my home or DHS.

UPDATE: "The fact that we are discussing these measures is helping the enemy." -- El Presidente. I think he forgot to add, "booga booga booga."

UPDATE II: Prof. Kerr's analysis here. On the cable news circuit I've heard a couple of constant Bushist talking points (since at least some Reps in Congress are not buying into it). First, there is no shortage of mentioning "terrorists" "9/11" and "war." This is just pathetic. Second, "plenary power" or "Commander-in-Chief" powers. Again, this is also pathetic. The Commander-in-Chief could not send active duty forces to help with Katrina because Congress limited that authority. That's why I'm not too impressed with the argument that FISA is unconstitutional because it encroaches on a pres's inherent powers.

Oh and what's with the release of Dr. Germ and Mrs. Anthrax? Any given 007 movie has better "Evil" names.

Sunday, December 18, 2005

Around the World Trade Organization for a Few Days

I'm a bit struck by the protesters at the WTO ministerial conference in Hong Kong. They are mostly farmers from S. Korea protesting the WTO and the U.S. when it is the goal of the conference to finish the Doha Round of trade concessions aimed mostly at ending farm subsidies. Hmm and I wonder which countries have the largest farm subsidy programs? That's right, the same ones the farmers are protesting against. Hey idiots, if you don't like cheap Iowa corn, then you probably should support the trade talks (of course then you'll get cheap Malaysian corn instead).

Saturday, December 17, 2005

5 Indonesian Made Gold Rings

The AP via Yahoo has a report on protesters challenging Walmart's use of "Happy Holidays" instead of "Merry Christmas." The gem of the story was this:
About 50 protesters took part in Saturday's demonstration, organized by religious leaders. Dick Otterstad of the Church of the Divide donned a Santa Claus costume and greeted shoppers with the message: Don't forget about the meaning of Christmas.

Umm, a guy named Dick in a Santa suit protesting a store that is destroying the lives of god (and you may insert whatever you belive in here, if anything) knows how many people for its use of "Happy Holidays" is supposed to remind me of the TRUE meaning of Christmas? Santa suit!!! True meaning of Christmas!!!

Friday, December 16, 2005

The Only Thing to Fear

"We have more to fear from terrorism than we do from this Patriot Act," Frist warned.

Hmmm, shall we look at history or take Frist's word for it?


Thursday, December 15, 2005

Take Me Home

I know I'm wading in dangerous waters by bringing another exam related topic to this blog, and we all know how upper management feels about that, but any comments on the new online take-home mechanism? Aside from the page not loading on the first try a few times, things seem to be working fairly well. Just think, when we 2Ls set foot on this campus there was no meaningful wireless in the classrooms, no electrical outlets, the gas lanters were still operational, and of course you had to commute for 3.5 hours to pick up your take homes (assuming you lived on Shattuck and had to take public transportation to get to school). Now the gas lanters don't work.

Still better than Whittier Law School though. They have to fill out paper forms to register for classes.

Oh and I almost forgot. Please remember to follow proper protocol by using the [censor] label freely whenever you have the urge to name any exam. But don't hold yourself back from sharing your browser's history both before and after you downloaded your exams.

UPDATE: Am I the only one who's having problems using the take home website with firefox?


Wednesday, December 14, 2005

Gift Ideas

Turning away from exam talk, DS would like to selfishly use this blog for personal purposes.

He badly needs a xmas gift for his new fiancee. He's recently engaged, as of Thanksgiving, and having spent roughly a semester's tuition on the rock he has no money left to spend. Any lady readers have a romantic, cheap, gift idea for a new fiancee?

No thoughts from the peanut gallery - dj this means you.

PS - you know what's funny? In doing a spell check on this post the word "blog" is not recognized by the spell check.

TPS Cover Reports Memo

I'm passing this along from Holly:

Hi Armen,

Could you get the word out that people should not be discussing exams in the comment section of your blog? We still have students who haven't taken the Tax exam. In fact, for most classes there are students who reschedule so people shouldn't be discussing the exam until after the exam period is over.


My thoughts: I have no problems complying because Holly and the rest of the Student Services staff are incredibly nice (contra, the fire-breathing dragons at the registrar's office), BUT, I firmly believe discussing the exam either online, or in person, or for that matter using a skywriter is not a violation of the Honor Code, and I reserve the right to change course at a later time. For now, I have to get back to my [censored] take-home.

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Monday, December 12, 2005

It's the Most Wonderful Time of the Year

It was really refreshing to see all the desheveled 1Ls today. I hope most of you awoke from the caffeine induced euphoria with an have just passed your first law school exam. The initiation rites have passed, and you now will find yourself pausing every time someone in your family uses "in consideration" during winter break.

But I am perplexed that someone ran the following Google Search. With that, if anyone wants to spread malicious rumors about the "dumbest mod at Boalt Hall," the floor is yours. And as Mr. Chavez so courteously mentioned below, best of luck to everyone on finals (which is kinda pointless when you're in direct competition, but I say it anyway).

Edit: Modified AIM away message from a friend attending Hastings: "I join X and Y in sarcastically thanking all of our classmates who voted to have our Criminal Law final be closed book." Let this be a lesson to all budding law students and 1Ls who may face this next semester...given a choice NEVER EVER choose closed book exam over anything else, including shit you might see on Fear Factor (pun intended).


Sunday, December 11, 2005

Warm and Tingly Inside

Between all the law texts, syllabi, readers, commercial outlines, personal outlines, Holy Bibles, Torahs, Korans, and 10 Commandments Granite Statues that are sprawled out on my table, I can't seem to find the remote for the TV. Unfortunately this means, I'm stuck with watching the local news. The lead story was about the Cal. Sup. Ct.'s rejection of a last minute appeal by Tookie Williams a little over 24 hours before he is set to be executed. The anchor then detailed Williams' schedule for the day tomorrow. As he went through I felt nauseous.

Let me be clear, I don't know anything about the merits of his conviction. And I'm also not advocating that we free anyone who has a book deal. But that there is a process to lead an individual to his death on our behalf makes me sick.

Saturday, December 10, 2005

An Armen of One!

I can honestly summarize my law school experience thus far as being like in the Army Reserves: I've only put in one weekend a month and two weeks a year of intense studying. [I really don't need some stressed out psychopath to comment anonymously while freaking out in the library about how I shouldn't post stuff like this during finals. I only write to point out all the time that I waste during the semester watching TV or mindlessly IMing. Though I leave it up to the readers to figure out where journal hours fit in all this.]

Thursday, December 08, 2005

Don't Recite "Meet the Parents" While Flying Out of Miami

[Note, cross-posted at De Novo]

Along with the title, I've had a few thoughts running through my head following the shooting of Alpizar by Federal Air Marshals yesterday. First, Chris Matthews (my favorite Darrell Hammond character on SNL) asked if the Air Marshals were at risk of being sued. The answer of course is yes, but I don't know if the suit will be 12(b)(6)ed based on qualified immunity. So if anyone knows the answer to this, I'd definitely like to know.

Second, I couldn't help but chuckle (and no disrespect to the deceased) during the Gov newsconference yesterday. It sure sounds like this incident is a bureaucratic nightmare. Fed Air Marshals involved in a shooting. But shooting took place in the airport, so Miami-Dade PD has jurisdiction. FBI investigating possible terrorist related crimes or other crimes on the airplane. TSA in charge of passenger security, and so on. It is certainly refreshing to see government streamlined [sarcasm]. More substantively, if a few questions from reporters have to be passed around among the four people in charge of various aspects of the investigation, I would really hate to imagine how the actual investigation is going to be conducted.

Lastly, perhaps it's because I'm outlining for tax, but I'm reminded of Gilliam v. Commissioner, 5 T.C.M. 515 (1986) (holding that a Schizo going nuts on a flight, attacking a passenger, and getting charges against him dismissed for temporary insanity cannot claim a deduction for the legal fees as a business expense). So pre 9/11 you don't get a tax write off if you go nuts on a flight, post 9/11 you get shot. This paragraph is meant to be snide and not serious. The serious side of me has not fullly thought about how it would even be feasible to train Air Marshals to dintiguish the mentally ill from actual threats.

Tuesday, December 06, 2005

And the Answer Is?

A friend of mine who worked as an IT guy for one of the Dem candidates in 04 pointed this out to me [third column, 10th paragraph]. He added:

"You wanna know why the democrats lost the election? Voter turnout percentages in the low single digits for minorities and women in red states and we're busy trying to figure out how to get gotv to work in SAN FRANCISCO."

I reserve judgment.

Friday, December 02, 2005

Lend M a Hand

I just found out that the beloved and much admired editor, publisher, and mystic leader of Boalt Briefs, MW, will be having shoulder surgery, putting his hands out of commission. I'd like to offer the services of this blog in serving as a sign up list for anyone willing to offer him a hand (j*b). I ran this by Skipper J and he exclaimed:

***********sen: haha
***********sen: fuck that
***********sen: me first
***********sen: i mean, hand job for me first

As an aside, I want to apologize for the comment moderation mix up. I never intended (as evidenced by the fact I haven't approved any comments) to actually moderate comments. I just wanted to add the word verification to stop spam. Sorry all, the comments will be added very shortly.