Wednesday, March 31, 2010

Go Butch Crazy!

I love how fringe conservatives have suddenly become constitutional scholars on health care, while they were silent on the war on terror. (And for the record, the fringe liberals are no worse; they'll cheerfully rake John Yoo over the coals while politely declining to notice that the President Obama has reserved the vast majority of President Bush's most constitutionally questionable polices.)

Both sides (the liberals with Yoo and the conservatives with health care) are making the same ridiculous mistake -- both sides assume that the way to resolve a controversial policy dispute is to constitutionalize the problem. In Idaho, the constitutionalization of the healthcare issue has gotten out of hand.

Enter Exhibit A.

Idaho's Governor Butch Otter (yes, that's really his name) was among the first to grab a pitchfork over the healthcare bill -- in fact, he ordered the Idaho AG to bring a constitutional challenge to the bill before it even passed.

That's fine. I don't think the suit has much merit, but I also doubt Butch's view is so outrageous as to warrant sanction. The courts can work it out, while the Governor beats on his talking points, conservative academics steal some attention, and academics from the other side try to steal it back. That adds up to a pretty normal day in America.

Enter Exhibit B.

It's Otter's next move that puzzles me. His next move has been to spearhead a campaign to pass a 28th Amendment to the United States Constitution, forbidding government-backed healthcare:
The Congress shall make no law requiring citizens of the United States to enroll in, participate in or secure health care insurance or to penalize any citizens who declines to purchase or participate in any health care insurance program.
So, which is it? Is he suing because the bill violates the Constitution? Or, is he proposing an amendment because the bill is valid?

I understand that constitutional rhetoric has political value, but I wish people would think these things through enough to at least assert the same points in the same breath. The healthcare bill is constitutional, or else it is not. I don't think a person can have it both ways . . . even if that person's name does call to mind a sexual ambiguous aquatic mammal.


Tuesday, March 30, 2010


Watch this video.  There was a high speed pursuit in LA.  Must be a day that ends in "Y."  The suspect is wanted for murder or attempted murder (I'm a bit hazy on that) in Indiana.  He ran off when the CHP attempted to pull him over, which probably triggered a license plate search that revealed the murder/attempted warrant out of Indiana.  So he drives on the freeways until arriving at Burbank/Universal Studios/Toluca Lake, near where I grew up.

On Cahuenga (for those of you cheating on the "are you an LA native" test, it's pronounced co-eng-uh) and Barham, he hits traffic and Burbank PD decide to use that as a chance to draw their weapons and force him to exit the car at gunpoint.  He veers towards the officer, when the car is clearly past the officer, he fires inside, and misses the suspect.  More adrenaline.  A few more turns on Cahuenga, and he is almost at the entrance to Universal Studios.  This is not the main entrance off Lankershim, so I would not expect much pedestrian traffic.  But still, when the suspect runs at this point, the Burbank PD shoot him once.

I'm not standing up for this scumbag.  I personally feel a little gratified that this coward who stabbed his girlfriend got some hot lead.  But at the same time, to say that Burbank is a police department with issues is an understatement.  Even the helicopter pilot recognizes the novelty of their actions.  "I've never seen the LAPD do this."  And when you're making the LAPD look restrained, you've reached the depths.  And I guess that brings me to the title of this post.  There's something about this series of events that's unsavory.  Small town, suburban cops with a history of excessive force and apparently rampant racism.  Adrenaline rush.  Voila.  You have deadly force.  Isn't this what most police departments now teach to contain?

Slight update here.

Saturday, March 27, 2010

Summer Sublets

It's nearing that sad time when many of us will have to abandon the Bay Area for less green pastures, leaving our fancy overpriced apartments behind. One of your fellow students has asked me to link to this google group, where Boalt students and other East Bayers can find and post information about summer sublets. Your wish is my command.

Tuesday, March 23, 2010

Health Care Reform Is Unconstitutional

Like everyone at George Mason University, the Volokh Conspiracy, and the Heritage Foundation, I pride myself on intellectual honesty. Which is why it pains me to conclude—in an analysis that has absolutely nothing to do with my political leanings—that, based on clear text and precedent, the health care bill is unconstitutional. The President used too many pens to sign it.

As everyone knows, Article I, Section 7 of the Constitution provides that for a bill to become law, the President “shall sign it.” We need look no further than the plain text of that clause to understand that the President has not fulfilled this mandate. According to the Beck-Webster Dictionary (2d ed. 1790), “to sign” means to “mark with one’s usual signature; to apply one’s name, as to a legal document.” Yet Obama did not “sign” the document in any such manner.

Instead—as everyone who watched Fox News this morning witnessed—Obama picked up one pen at a time, made a mark on the bill, paused, picked up another pen, and repeated the process over several minutes, eventually spelling out the letters of his name, using some twenty different pens. This is not a “signature” in any sense of the term as the framers understood it.

There can be no doubt that the phrase “to sign” denotes the use of a smooth, continual stroke, without gaps or pauses. What’s more, this is one of the rare cases where proof of the framer’s intent on this point is indisputable—if not photographic. Take a look at this image:

Do you see any half-strokes? Any pauses? Evidence of multiple quills? Of course not. The framers meant "sign" to mean exactly what they signed. You don't need some fancy Berkeley law degree to understand that. (OK: If you prefer original meaning originalism over original intent originalism, contemporary legal documents of the period will illustrate the same point on how ordinary citizens signed important documents (such as their slaveholder deeds)).

To be sure, several court cases from the 1930s and 1940s expanded the definition of “to sign” beyond this original meaning. In Dook v. Logg, 301 U.S. 619 (1937) and Legally Red, Inc. v. HH Russell, 317 U.S. 111 (1942), the Supreme Court held that Presidential use of writing instruments was essentially delegated to the policy judgment of the executive.

But those decisions occurred during a very short time, in an era of unprecedented deference to the President, and with a Court that has never before or since taken such an expansive view of documentation. The people need not recognize or heed such decisions, because they contravene the original meaning—nay, the original picture—of the signings clause.

Indeed, if we uphold what the President did today, where does it end? Does the President simply have absolute power to do anything he wants to the bill and call it a “signature”?

What if he just placed a checkmark on it? Or smudged his hands at the bottom? What if he has an aide sign the bill? What if he’s on a trip to Morocco, using a bathroom in the parliamentary palace, and he calls up Bob Kowalski of Kowalski Plumbing in Cedar Rapids and tells Bob to sign the bill? Under the expansive liberal view of the Constitution, this would be proper.

Put another way, because I can find no principled distinction between the President’s “signature” today and the President-on-a-Moroccan-shitter-so-Bob-signs-the-bill hypothetical, one must not exist. Therefore, the bill is unconstitutional.

Indeed, due to widespread political ignorance, we cannot rely on the political process to police these acts—it is too hard for the people to pay attention to how many pens were used, what color, Bic v. ballpoint, etc.—leading to explosion in the size and complexity of televised bill-signings. By enforcing stricter, smaller signage requirements, we will empower the people (or something).

If the judiciary it not up to this task, I hope a new political movement will be. A groundswell to repeal health care—with its flagrantly unconstitutional Presidential signature—may well be underway. A new Gallup poll showing 49-40 favorability for the bill augurs well for this counter-revolution—so long as you read those numbers backwards. (Always begin with the plain text as it appears in your head.) Finally folks, remember to never give up hope—even on the most arcane conservative minutiae imaginable. Trust me: this is a big fucking deal.

Rule 11?

Here is the complaint filed by 13 states today challenging the HCR Act.  I have only glanced through about half of it, but this does not get past the Rule 12 stage.  Unfortunately, the defense side is the United States, so it's very unlikely that the U.S. will seek Rule 11 sanctions (and generally the standard for sua sponte Rule 11 sanctions is higher).  Nevertheless, there is no way this suit can succeed under existing precedent or through any reasonable extension of the law.  The complaint is really not a complaint but a political opposition to the act with lots of grandstanding and assertions that actually have no legal basis.  Just as an example, I cannot distinguish HCR's state spending requirements from the alcohol consumption age limits imposed under National Highway Spending. 

There's this gem from Paragraph 46:  "Although the federal government currently contributes 67.64 percent of every dollar Florida spends on Medicaid, that percentage is artificially and temporarily raised because of federal stimulus outlays."  Would you like a permanent stimulus Florida? 

Anyway, even if one opposed the HCR, I think a reasonable mind would have to read this complaint as meritless and the quintessential plea for legislation from the bench.

Edit:  And to piggy back on Carbolic's updated post on Prof. Liu, you can get a preview of tomorrow's hearing by reviewing the transcript of Mr. John G. Roberts' nomination to the D.C. Circuit.   Just cross out the D and replace it with an R, and vice versa.  I'll be damned if Jeff Sessions does not sound like Ted Kennedy tomorrow.  [Use the CTRL F search function to find the relevant portions.]

Sunday, March 21, 2010

The Healthcare Vote

So watching C-SPAN, I'm noticing a certain pattern among the callers who are opposed to the Bill.  First, there's a disconnect between their own personal situation and what the Bill actually accomplishes.  One caller complained about spreading Communism...because her husband is in the Army.  Sooooooo you're on government sponsored healthcare!!!  Great.  Second, a few callers complained about natural rights and what have you.  One caller was on his parents insurance.  I'm sure he will bitterly complain about having the "right" to stay on that coverage until the age of 26.  Another caller didn't have insurance at all.  The specific complaint was about the mandate.  Unfortunately, no one asked this 20-year old sage who will pick up the tab if he has an unfortunate accident requiring immediate medical attention.  Because I certainly want the freedom to operate a motor vehicle without a license and under the influence if we're not concerned about the burdens we impose on society.

I yield the balance of my time to the commenters.


1.  A senior citizen from Texas:  "We are not totalitarian."  Followed by complaints that some doctors will not see her because she has Medicare coverage.

2.  Caller confused why the House would amend the Senate bill using reconciliation.  "This is not how this country works.  I'm confused."  Well yes, this is not how this country works.  Normally, a majority would pass a bill and not be obstructed to this degree by the minority.  Please direct all confusion inquiries to Mitch McConnell.

3.  Still waiting for a caller to say, "Umm I have [Insurance Company X].  I love them to death.  No pun intended.  They jacked up my premiums and reduced my benefits, but hey, at least we have our natural rights and freedoms.  They also declined to cover my cancer treatment, but honestly I was just looking for a handout.  Viva Capitalism, and I oppose this Bill."

4.  "I'm not a constitutional scholar, but I feel that somewhere somehow this is against what America stands for." -- "Do you have health insurance?" -- "Yes" -- "Through?" -- "My husband."  


Wednesday, March 17, 2010

"Come on, Man. This Affects All of us"

A commentator in the thread below asks for a discussion on the nominations for the faculty graduation speaker. The nominees are:
  1. b*rring
  2. m*rphy
  3. m*rray
  4. s*lansky
  5. s*ift
They're all fantastic. They're all funny. And they're all worth hearing. Nominating speakers is tricky business, however. Success depends not only on whether students like the person or what they have to say, but also how well they will deliver that message. Case in point: last year's speaker.

I actually submitted a vote for John Yoo - think about it: he's funny, non-confrontatinal, and pretty much the star of Boalt's annual gradation ceremony anyway - but I see he didn't make the list. I won't say who on the list I did end up giving my vote to, but feel free to speculate to your heart's content in the comments.

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Tuesday, March 16, 2010

N&B March Madness Tourney Challenge

*Updated: Make sure to fill out your bracket by tonight!

Hi All,

I set up a bracket pool on ESPN for the N&B community. Fill out your NCAA bball tourney brackets now. Compete to exert your sports dominance over the rest of us. It's free, and I hereby volunteer Patrick to give a foot massage to the winner (foot massage may or may not be included). Make sure to fill the brackets out by Wed. night!

password: sexyarmen

*This was Matt's idea, so hat tip to him!
**$20 says Armen picks UCLA to win it all.

Monday, March 15, 2010

On Asking Professors to Move Up Exam Dates

So, you're in a class where the last few weeks of class are canceled. You've had your outline prepared since week five and boy oh boy, wouldn't it be great if you could just take the exam a few weeks early? Gee, it would be swell, wouldn't it. Why don't I just raise my hand and ask my professor to move the date up?

If this is you, please don't do it.

Moving up an exam, a few weeks before said exam would take place, is not fair to your classmates. Every class should have a syllabus. The syllabus should be distributed at the beginning of the semester and it should set the expectations for when exams will take place. If the syllabus does not list any exam times, it has to be assumed, 10 weeks into the semester, that the exam will take place at the scheduled time, not a few weeks ahead of time.

Setting aside the fact that it isn't fair to anyone who has scheduled (or not scheduled, as the case may be) their studying to coincide with the exam taking place on the actual scheduled exam date, you look like a huge fucking gunner.

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Sunday, March 14, 2010

Down the Rabbit Hole

I came to school today to pick up some books, preparing for another relaxing Sunday evening of Con Law at the laundromat (complete with the music stylings of Kenny G, of course). Sunday at the law school being much like a mortuary when the morticians go on strike, imagine my surprise when something suddenly came flying at my face out of nowhere.

Literally flying.

Somehow, a tiny bird had gotten into the building and was flying around the east wing, trying to find a way back out into the courtyard. (As an aside: you know you're living in a construction zone when there are enough gaping holes in the building for wildlife to find a way through - I'm hoping next time it's a donkey that I can ride up and down the stairs to the 3rd floor.)

I dunno, maybe I wasn't quite ready to get my Downy-and-Constitutional-Gender-Issues on quite yet, so I approached the little guy. He landed on the floor and started hopping around in the most enticing way... I got even closer, thinking that maybe I could corral him over to one of the doors and set him free.

But he had ideas of his own. He maneuvered deftly around me and starting hopping off toward Zeb. Of course, I followed. He hopped past Zeb, and into the hallway that leads to the CDO office and bookstore. This is too good, I thought. And then he hopped right up to the door of the CDO office, turned around, and plaintively cocked his head at me. Is the term "CDO office" redundant? Perhaps. But I swear that bird looked like he expected to be let in.

Mad hatters came to mind (for many reasons) and I quickly backed off. But as I hefted my books back to the car, I couldn't help thinking about the advice that little bird might get if he finds a way in: "When you're asked about your hobbies, poop once for golf. Twice for writing fan-fiction SCOTUS opinions. Screech loudly, as though you're about to be eaten, for falconry or if they ask you what your plans are for the next 10 years..."

Alas, I will never know. I chickened out. Or should I say sparrowed-out? Anything is possible the week WOA briefs are due.

Thursday, March 11, 2010

Our Activist 9th Circuit

As pointed out by a reader, the Ninth Circuit has published its decision in Newdow v. Rio Linda Union School District. In an opinion by Judge Bea, the court upheld the use of the words "under God" in the pledge of allegiance. Judge Reinhardt wrote a blistering dissent.

Astute court-watchers will remember that the Judge Reinholdardt was the author of the 9th Circuit's 2002 ruling, which reached the opposite result. That decision was appealed to the Supreme Court, which used standing as an excuse to overturn the decision.

Judge Reinhardt has long been used as the Right's exemplar of an activist judge. But after skimming both the opinion and the dissent, it seems to me that Judge Bea is the one who is straining in order to reach a preordained result. As the dissent correctly points out, the issue in this case isn't the pledge as a whole, but the specific 1954 alteration--whose religious purpose was to insert a theistic profession into what was hitherto a purely secular and patriotic affirmation.

"Activist judge" is one of the terms I really dislike. It reminds me of one definition of an alcoholic: a person you don't like who drinks as much as you do. If the accusation is that judges modify their adjudications in light of political or pragmatic considerations, at least it's fully clear that this goes both ways.

That being said, it's hard to imagine the circus that would have arisen if the 9th Circuit again reached its earlier result. To the extent to which appellate courts are able to pick and choose their battles (which is debatable), I would prefer they do so in areas that have a more meaningful impact on the lives of ordinary people.


Monday, March 08, 2010

LAT on Liu

A short story in the LAT about the significance of the Liu nomination.  Nothing critical, but DE's quote that he laments the loss of a good teacher stood out.  Loss?  Why?  It's not like a Boalt professor going to the Ninth Circuit is unprecedented.  The most recent example, W.F., continues to teach a popular class that is actually enriched by his experience on the bench. 


And Proud We Are of All of Them

Oscar open-thread.  My quick thoughts:  Happy that Jeff Bridges won.  Happy that Hurt Locker dominated, especially with Bigelow's history-making win.  I'm glad the Academy learned from the travesty that was the Best Picture Oscar for Titanic (up against LA Confidential, Good Will Hunting, As Good As It Gets, and The Full Monty), and snubbed Avatar.

Anyway, floor is yours.

UPDATE:  Some military folk are griping about The Hurt Locker winning because, among other things, it glorifies a character who would normally be disciplined, rather than rewarded for his recklessness.  This strikes me as a truly bizarre criticism.  Ever since the history of the medium, there has been a great divide between what's on the screen and what's in real life.  I think we can all agree that law school was neither The Paper Chase nor Legally Blond.  Even sticking with the genre, I can watch A Few Good Men, The Hunt for Red October, Patton, etc. for ever, yet they all have very lengthy literary licenses with the subject matters they portray.  Unless we're talking about documentaries, there's little relevance of accuracy of subject-matter to the craft of film-making.  To go back several decades, the film The Grand Illusion portrays an almost romantic image of WWI--completely divorced from the reality of war.  But it is a cinematic masterpiece.   In short, I can appreciate the gripes about the accuracy of a subject-matter, but I think they are misplaced when directed against Kathryn Bigelow's and the rest of the cast and crew's achievement with the film.  

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Friday, March 05, 2010

A Crazed Ideologue By Any Other Name

Yesterday, a lone gunman (John Patrick Bedell), attacked and injured two Pentagon security force officers--and himself died of gunshot wounds.  Turns out, he "worshipped private property rights" and other screeds typically found in the pantheon of anti-government right wing agenda items that seem to rise to the surface during Democratic administrations.  And a couple of weeks ago, Joe Stack, your run of the mill tax protester (and if you've exterened or clerked at a federal court, you know who these people are; I call them "the flag has yellow fringes" people) flew a plane into the IRS building.

In both cases, the news accounts were quick to report, "No link to terrorism" (though in fairness to the news reports, they simply parrot lines from investigators).  This really pisses me off.  Domestic terrorism is defined in 18 U.S.C. 2331(5) (emphasis added):
the term “domestic terrorism” means activities that—
(A) involve acts dangerous to human life that are a violation of the criminal laws of the United States or of any State;
(B) appear to be intended—
(i) to intimidate or coerce a civilian population;
(ii) to influence the policy of a government by intimidation or coercion; or
(iii) to affect the conduct of a government by mass destruction, assassination, or kidnapping; and
(C) occur primarily within the territorial jurisdiction of the United States.
What am I missing?  When someone with dark skin lights himself on fire, the entire right wing political operation is frothing at the mouth because he wasn't immediately placed in an armored personnel carrier.  When someone with an equally dangerous political ideology kills or injures Americans, we find no link to terrorism.  In fairness, Matt Yglesias had some thoughts on a topic related to this (how we generally remain calm and don't overreact in the face of domestic terror), and the House passed a resolution condemning the Austin attack as terrorism.

My objection is to the initial characterization by law enforcement and the media.  What does it mean "no terrorism link?"  It IS terrorism.  Or are we defining terrorism by religion/national origin?

Edit:  Let's add the Holocaust Museum shooting from last year to the list.  (H/t: James).  

Thursday, March 04, 2010

Liveblogging the Triva Bowl: FINAL ROUND!

You are about to embark on a tale of hardship, redemption, and triumph. Although the journey is long and difficult, with lots of ego-stroking from yours truly, the payoff will probably be worth the cost. Plus, if you're here, it's not like you have anything better to do. So follow along with the greatest story ever liveblogged:

12:45: Just arrived. The pizza is not here yet, but the crowd remains enthusiastic.

12:50: The teams are announced. They are as follows:

PROFESSORS: O*ppenheimer, M*urray, and S*wift.

DEANS: B*erring, T*om, and someone I don't recognize (fix in the comments!) G*uzman.

STUDENTS: Team Double Jeopardy, which took down my team in the semi-finals last Tuesday (Boo). They are: C*harles Ainscough, G*rant Shrader, and D*avid Mishook.

12:57: Two questions have been asked that NO TEAM could answer. The first was about Leona Lewis (who?), and the second was the identity of the youngest Jonas Brother aka "the bonus Jonas" (who cares?).

12:58: One correct answer to each team. Students knew characters from Animal House, and Prof M*urray knew "Mr. Big" from Sex and the City, while B*erring earned a spot on my "favorite people" list by knowing that Buffy features a fictional band called "Dingoes Ate My Baby." Bonus points to anyone who can tell me the REAL band that played Dingoes, minus Seth Green.

1:00: Professors just took the lead by knowing that Nicolas Cage named his dumb baby Kal El, after Superman.

1:01: Which two lead Glee actresses live together in real life? Everyone knew Lea Michele, but no one knew Diana Agron. I happen to know that G*rant kind of knows Agron, so he should have gotten that. No points. Profs are still up 1, I think.

1:02: Dan realizes that points are deducted from all WRONG answers, throwing his entire point count out of whack. Also, bizarrely, decides to write in the third person. Real scores: Professors: 00; Deans: 600; Students: -600.

1:03: No one knew Binary Code. M*urray knew "the mighty mitochondria." Not sure what the question was!

1:04: PIZZA HAS ARRIVED. Dan momentarily tunes out. Scores are now: 500, 600, and -500 (same order as above).

1:05: Professors just answered a question about an R and B star who threw an audience member from the stage (or something). I think it was H-Ron? Regardless, M*urray continues to be ridiculously good at this.

1:07: The Pizza is the NEW Dominoes, which tastes suspiciously exactly like the old dominoes.

1:08: Here's a thinker: which actor married two actresses who played Batman's love interests? Warning: requires you to remember one of the Schumaker movies. Answer: Tom Cruise. Points to Professors (again, apparently M*urray).

1:09: S*wift, acting reliably adorable, looks embarrassed by how many questions M*urray has answered (she also just got that Vanilla Ice was was born Robert Van Winkle--WHAT?). M*urray pats her on the back and says "we're all on the same team!" Dan sheds a single tear and remembers that there is good in the world.

1:10: After the aforementioned M*urray runaway, Profs are at 3700 POINTS! Deans are second with 700, and students are at -1100. It's not quite as embarrassing as it sounds, since M*urray is inhuman, and students have offered some pretty good guesses.

1:12: Longest win streak in men's college basketball? B*erring knows. The UCLA Bruins, where my youngest brother proudly attends, since you care.

1:13: First Asian player in the NBA? Students guess Yao Ming, which is wrong. B*erring seems to also think it was Yao Ming. No one in the entire room knows, except the guy who asked the question. Clearly, whoever it was pretty much sucked.

1:14: M*urray knows the largest artery in the human body is the Aeorta. What a nerd! The host calls out "Professor Team," and S*wift responds, "You can just call it Melissa's team," for the win.

1:15: Who was the only president to remain a bachelor his entire life? M*urray: Buchanan. Everyone laughs at what a NERD she is!

1:16: What Middle Eastern capital was once known as Philadelphia? No one in the room knows, and I didn't hear the answer. Commenters?

1:16: Our fist daily double! It goes to the professors, obviously. Not sure what they wagered. "Which US State has produced the most US Presidents?" As my alma matter reminded me semi-daily, the answer is dear ol' Virginia.

1:17: What was the first Pixar movie to get a PG rating? Students guess Cars, which is wrong. No one else knows it, except me. It's The Incredibles. Scores: 7100, 1200, -2300. Ouch.

1:18: The Dean who I don't recognize G*uzman just asked the Students, "Who did you guys beat?" That would be my team, the fighting Cobra Kai!

1:20: No one knows Seth Cohen's favorite band from The OC. I raise my hand, without shame. They call on me, and I gleefully answer Death Cab. Hey, Seth Cohen is like 50% responsible for convincing attractive women that it's ok to date nerds. I worshiped the man.

1:22: What was the final score of The Big Game? No one here knows, but I bet Armen does.

1:23: WHOA STUDENTS!! They just got a Math and Logic question. One of those "what's the next number in this sequence" things. The Deans ask how C*harlie knew it, and he answers "Deduction." Brilliant.

1:24: They ask a golf question ("what is the record for most under par?"). No one gets it. It goes to the audience and I yell "golf sucks!" because I'm hilarious.

1:24: Deans just named four countries that border China, after conferring for a few seconds AFTER buzzing in. Cheaters.

1:25: Score update (now with semi-colons!): 10,700; 4,400; -1,800.

1:26: MAD MEN TRVIA! What is the name of Don Draper's newly formed advertising agency? NO ONE GETS IT!!!! COME ON NOW!!! Say it with me, everyone: STERLING, COOPER, DRAPER, PRICE! I watch too much television.

1:28: What is the most decorated unit in the history of the US Armed Forces? D*avid, probably after watching Band of Brothers, guesses the 101st Airborne, which is wrong. I don't know the real answer. To redeem themselves, G*rant correctly answers a question about Aaron Sorkin's worst television show: Studio 60 on the Sunset Strip.

1:30: Interesting volley. Question is about the genre of some French film director, M*urray buzzes in and says "Film Noir," then says "no wait--French New Wave Cin--." She is cut off. Sensing an opportunity, students buzz in with French New Wave Cinema. That's TWO IN A ROW, nerds!

1:31: Students get a question about Sonic the Hedgehog, after a hint. They then get one about Chimeras (but pronounce it wrong). That's four in a row! They're climbing out of the red, folks.

1:32: No one knows how many bones are in the human body, except for one failed med student in the back. Commenters?

1:33: C*harles impresses everyone by knowing that Sweden is the country that switched its driving from Left Side to Right Side in 1967. And they just got another one that I didn't hear. Only -300 now, guys!

1:34: Question about which state makes Fortune Telling a Class B Misdemeanor. I know the answer, because it's featured in an issue of the brilliant comic Ex Machina. Anyone else? -------------------------------- (NEW YORK!) I get some points for the audience on this one.

1:35: What is the city where Andy and Morgan Freeman end up at the end of Shawshank? My friend Christine was just making fun of me for not knowing this like two days ago. Looks like no one else knows it either, sucka! The audience chimes in with Seo Jua Teneo (spelling?).

1:36: THE STUDENTS ARE BACK IN THE BLACK! By process of elimination due to incorrect guesses from the other teams, C*harlie figures out that the skeleton Lucy was found in Etheopia! Utah, represent!

1:37: G*rant for the student team knows Dr. Suess's real name (Theodore Geiser). Now at positive 1200, but still behind the Professors' 7300 and Deans' 3400.

1:39: M*urray just missed a question about Sesame Street. Which character has a twin brother who wears a fedora and a suit and is a salesman? Bert, apparently. Also, rumors of Bert's death have been greatly exaggerated.

1:40: Commenters have begun to chime in with answers. Now I feel bad for giving out so many for free. Anyway, good job commenters! If you Googled, you are a dirty cheater.

1:41: B*erring knows that there are 81 squares in a Soduku puzzle. 9 times 9, people.

1:43: Categories are running out, which means it's time for Math and Logic! Deans' team answered a question about weekly pay that basically required you to multiple 52 by 60,000. It makes my brain hurt.

1:44: After two math answers from Deans' team, they are just 900 points behind the professors. Students just got that 4/15 (I think) is halfway between 1/3 and 1/5. I was thinking 1/4, because numbers make me want to cry.

1:45: Students have figured out that you get a few seconds to think after buzzing in, so you should just buzz in on any math question that looks solvable. Unfortunately, they still get it wrong.

1:46: STAR WARS TRIVIA! I'm betting C*harlie gets this. Last Tuesday he knew the species of Admiral Ackbar (commenters?). Who is the only non-Jedi to wield a Light Saber? C*harlie David got it, obviously, but I'll also leave that one for the comments.

1:48: Students just went on a ROLL! G*rant knew that the longest band name without vowels (sort of) belongs to those boys who weren't really from Sweet Home Alabama: Lynyrd Skynyrd. The students also knew where Freddie Mercury was born. Do you?

1:50: Ok, after a just-in-time run on the board from the Students and some rare incorrect guesses from Team M*urray, the scores are fairly balanced going into Final Jeopardy. Profs: 6900; Deans: 6200; Students: 4000. Depending on the wagers, it's still anybody's game!

1:51: FINAL JEOPARDY QUESTION: Who was the first President to be born in the U.S. after independence and the only one whose native language was NOT English? That's kind of awkwardly phrased, but I'm thinking J.Q. Adams.

1:53: Nope, I'm wrong. BUT STUDENTS ARE RIGHT! The man in question, who also has a fictional television gang named after him (they're as mean as he was), is MARTIN VAN BUREN. Students wagered 4,000, bringing them to 7990.

Ok, it all comes down to this. Drum roll...... Cymbal CRASH!


1:55: From now on, I am calling every member of the student team "The Van Buren Boys!" Congrats to C*harlie, G*rant, and D*avid. Also, the name of the Dean I did not recognize was G*uzman. Good job, G*uzman!

This is the first time in my history at Boalt that the students have won this thing. Does anyone know if it's ever happened before??

Tuesday, March 02, 2010

Fake Mark Yudof Resignation Site a Sign of Things to Come

I was sent this fake Mark Yudof resignation by another Boalt student who was momentarily taken in by the hoax.

The hoax becomes clear, however, when the letter verges on the surreal stating:

It is clear to me now that we must all do our part to avoid social death. In that spirit, I have decided to go back to school to study the history of social movements.

Yudof's office has already hit back via Twitter, stating, "News of my resignation has been greatly exaggerated."

After going to some of the sites linked from the hoax letter, I think we can anticipate students attempting to take over more buildings and generally disrupt the functions of the University on Thursday. There's no word on whether or not this will be a non-peaceful repeat like last Thursday's protests. The police behaved in an incredibly violent manner towards protesters who were generally peacefully assembled, with a tense stand off occurring at about Telegraph and Durant (I am guessing the police were blocking an advance down Telegraph to Bancroft).

The video also shows a few protesters breaking windows and knocking over a scooter (which is picked up after several of the protesters exclaim how uncool it was to have knocked it over). It would be my guess that those attacking public property are not protesting the UC specifically, but are likely anarchists (the face covering and breaking stuff in what was meant to be a peaceful protest are generally indicative of violent anarchists, at least in my experiences as a peaceful protester).

I'm not aware of any plans to picket the Zeb/Simon Hall entrance to the building, but there should be some sort of protest out by the fountain. There are likely to be more legal observers in place after the last protests on campus turned violent and hopefully there won't be the similar sorts of clashes and injuries to students that happened last time.

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