Wednesday, September 28, 2011

Solutions for Making New Cafe Zeb Less Like a Sad Tomb of Silence and More Like the Linoleum-and-Mismatched-Chairs 90's Party It Used to Be

In case you never had the pleasure of rocking out to Boyz II Men while eating a chicken quesadilla (R.I.P.) in the old Café Zeb, you have been sorely deprived. The new Café Zeb is architecturally stunning, but sadly quiet now that there’s no music, the floor is made of stone, and it’s the most well-lit portion of the new addition (drawing people to study there rather than the Deep Earth levels of the new library).

As several commenters on N&B have pointed out, this is clearly an unacceptable state of affairs and something must be done. But instead of kvetching about it (as we are prone to do on N&B), I propose we brainstorm some real solutions. To inspire some discussion, here are five modest ideas I put together – feel free to add your own in the comments:

(1) Tell our BHSA reps to spend $50 of the bounty they collected by overcharging us on textbooks to purchase a Boom Box for Café Zeb.* 3Ls will then be responsible for bringing their childhood 8-tracks, or maybe some burned CDs,** and will take turns playing our ‘tunes.

(2) Organize various Café Zeb flash mobs to disturb the activities of misguided students who think they can STUDY where they are really meant to EAT and SOCIALIZE. Hey 1Ls – looking for ways to earn coolness points? Organize a Café Zeb flash mob. For example: At 12:45 next Monday, have 15 people who appear to be reading in Café Zeb burst out singing “Don’t Stop Believin” while sprinkling jelly beans on every open textbook in your vicinity.

(3) Show up to Café Zeb at 10am when it is the most silent and tomb-like. Suddenly and unexpectedly make a very, very loud noise.

(4) Encourage more LLMs to sit in Cafe Zeb, as they are generally loud and unaware of their surroundings (love you though!)

(5) Appoint a Café Zeb monitor*** responsible for Boom Box maintenance, ensuring individual students don’t take up an ENTIRE BOOTH (when the signs clearly say for “Groups of 3 or More”) just so they can spread out all their textbooks while sitting on a plush seat, and making sure people clean up after themselves. That last point is unrelated to the whole silence issue, but seriously guys, I slipped on an avocado slice the other day and it really hurt.

*If you think this is ridiculous and that we should instead buy speakers and an iPod dock, you clearly don’t understand what Café Zeb is meant to be. I don’t want to hear your new Lil’ Wayne downloads from iTunes when I could be listening to Mariah Carey circa 1995.

**Acceptable genres of music include, but are not limited to: Boy bands, slow jamz, 90’s music, Motown hits, R Kelly, and elevator music.

***Who shall wear a golden sash.

Monday, September 26, 2011

Racist Bake Sale Still On for Tomorrow, Not Yet Clear What the Consequences Will Be

**Update: If you didn't have a chance to visit Sproul Plaza today, these are pretty good recaps by the Huffington Post (includes photos) and SF Gate about the bake sale and related protests. Highlights include a surprise appearance by Ward Connerly, who helped BCR sell racist cupcakes, and a number of bake sale tables that sold "opposition pastries" including a Harry Potter-themed table offering "enchanted Costco muffins" priced differently for pure bloods and Muggles.**

This afternoon, UC Berkeley students received an open letter from Chancellor Birgeneau condemning the recent baked-goods controversy that has inflamed the campus community and garnered national media attention. At the center of the proverbial food fight are the Berkeley College Republicans, who last week unanimously approved a pay-by-race bake sale and began advertising the sale on campus with posters that read:

Bake Sale Prices:

White $2.00
Asian $1.50
Latino $1.00
Black $0.75
Native American $0.25
$0.25 Off for All Women

The tactic, which BCR has admitted is intentionally racist and discriminatory, is meant to draw attention to pending legislation (SB 185) that would allow CA universities to consider race, gender, ethnicity and national origin during the admissions process. Defending the bake sale, BCR President Shawn Lewis wrote, "It is no more racist than giving an individual an advantage in college admissions based solely on their race (or) gender."

Last night, in response to widespread campus disapproval of the tactic, the ASUC Senate--which has previously endorsed SB 185--convened an emergency meeting during which they passed a resolution that, in part, "condemns the use of discrimination whether it is in satire or in seriousness by any student group." In addition, ASUC President Vishalli Loomba has commented that the tactic is offensive and harmful to campus inclusivity. At this point, it is unclear what the consequences will be under the new resolution if BCR conducts the bake sale as planned.

Endorsing the ASUC's resolution, Chancellor Birgeneau's letter also criticized the sale as contrary to UC Berkeley's Principles of Community [queue Full House music]:

The Principles of Community are not about political positions. They require a consciousness of the potential effect of words or deeds on others: a positive intent not to hurt, offend, or denigrate others while expressing a reasoned position. Regardless what policies or practices one advocates, careful consideration is needed on how to express those opinions. The issue is not whether one thinks an action is satirical or inoffensive, the issue is whether community members will be intentionally - or unintentionally - hurt or demeaned by that action. The same applies to the way we interact with each other, whether academically, professionally, or socially.

According to the most recent news reports, the bake sale is still scheduled to take place tomorrow--and I'm curious to hear what we law students think about it. BCR has admitted the sale is intentionally racist and discriminatory, albeit in a satirical manner. Has UC reacted appropriately? What is preventing something like this from happening again when, arguably, BCR has gotten exactly what they wanted with campus- and nation-wide attention for their anti-affirmative action stance? Does anyone else find it ridiculous that muffins have somehow gotten mixed up with race politics? Discuss.

Wednesday, September 21, 2011

Netflix Apology Shameless Self-Promotion

This is unrelated to the law and law school, but our blog covers tech issues sometimes, right? Anyway, I made a video encapsulating my reaction to the Netflix controversy that has caught on a bit. (Look, I'm linked on Techdirt!) It seemed like a shame not to share it with the blog I actually used to write for. (My narcissism can eat and eat, but it will never be full.)

Monday, September 19, 2011


From the San Francisco Call

January 31, 1914

Law Library Pasted Up With Stuff and Faculty Action to Check Practice is Planned

Chewing gum stuck under table covers and in the telephone booths in the new Boalt hall of law on the campus of the University of California has attracted the attention of the authorities, and a ruling will probably be issued to stop the habit of pasting up the furniture with the stuff.

Some of the students, including a number of the coeds who use the law library, have lately modeled their discarded gum into fantastic shapes which give prominence to the growing custom of gum chewing on the campus. All the furniture in the building is new and of white finish, on which the gum shows up in startling fashion.


Tuesday, September 13, 2011

Then And Now

I wanted to piggy-back on James' post below regarding the New Addition by linking to this Flickr slideshow.  For alumni who have not seen the school since the addition, the transition is breathtaking (in a good way).  To put in perspective, here is a picture of what Boalt looked like before, though don't be fooled by the sight of those trees...they stank!

Monday, September 12, 2011

Once Upon a Clerkship Dreary

By popular request, here is a clerkship thread. So for those of you who rejoice in the hope of one day perusing mouldy tomes by buttery candlelight (or mayhaps oil lamp, if you should be so lucky)--getting drunk on that heady vintage named Law, kept company by the sweet, sweet chill of granite walls and the fine music of moth wings against velvet curtains, this is the place to share your tales: Of success, frustration, octogenarian antics, dreams for the future--what have you.

Friday, September 09, 2011

Someone is attempting to Ebay the free library mug all 1Ls get

Maybe this free publicity will get the enterprising seller past the initial bid of one cent. I wouldn't count on it, though, as I'm pretty sure these things are free. For all of you out there collecting Berkeley Law memorabilia, here's your big chance.

That being said, if there were a plate collection featuring portraits of Dean *dley in a jean jacket or sweater I would buy it in a second.


Tuesday, September 06, 2011


From the Los Angeles Times
 May 30, 1913

On the verge of a nervous breakdown as the result of his arrest, Robert L. Bradford, a graduate of the University of California with the class of 1913, is held at the city prison pending the decision of H. H. Hart, Oakland multi-millionaire as to whether there will be a prosecution.

Bradford is accused of forging Hart’s name to a power of attorney.

At the city prison Bradford, a clean-cut, keen-looking young man, declined to discuss his predicament.

"I am ruined," was the burden of his statement.

He graduated from the College of Jurisprudence at the commencement exercises in May, at the Berkeley University, and is said to have shown unusual brilliancy in his studies.