Sunday, October 31, 2004

A Plea For Reason... From An Unreasonable Man

Whatever your personal beliefs are on gay marriage or civil unions, if you live in one of the states with a proposed gay marriage amendment to your state constitution, I plead with you to think about it logically and compassionately and vote NO!

To support this plea, I provide an analogy (albeit an imperfect one). If your state was proposing a constitutional ban against interracial marriage, would you support it? Sure, politically and ideologically, marriage between blacks and whites (or whites and Asians, or whatever) was not very popular in many states in the '50s and '60s... but just because it was politically unpopular, does not mean the constitution should be used as a tool to interfere in peoples basic human rights. Why is gay marriage (or at the least gay civil unions) any different?

Please, PLEASE be a decent human being and reject these amendments. If you don't, I guarantee you will regret it later.

Saturday, October 30, 2004

Policy Blog

I've recently been reading All Things Policy, a (fairly) new forum blog written by a law student (Matt from Matt Schuh Online, fairly moderate, I think), a political science student (also moderate), and a Microbiology PhD student (seems to be right-wing conservative). They discuss some interesting topics. Unfortunately, the authors themselves are the main people who engage in the debates. I encourage you (if you aren't busy studying your ass off or writing your open memo) to read it and comment if you are so moved.

This has been a Public Service Announcement of the Unreasonable Man.

Friday, October 29, 2004

What Words Put Fear In The Hearts Of 1Ls Everywhere?

Open memo... How could two such small words cause so much pain to so many people?

For those of you who've wondered where I've been this week, this was my first really heckish week of law school.1 We had to do legal research for our open memo this week. For those of you who aren't in law school yet, and are checking up on good ol' Unreasonable Man to see what this crazy game is all about, an "Open Memo" is a creature (Latin name - Studenticus Lack-of-sleepicus) where you are given a hypothetical situation that invokes a particular legal topic (ours is satisfaction clauses in Contracts), and then you the "student" have to research the case law to figure out an answer. That's the open part (as in open research). The memo part, as you might expect, is where you write a predictive memo, based on said legal research, to a senior partner at the fictitious law firm you work at.

As you would expect, it's a hoot. There's nothing like several hundred law students (generally a very competitive bunch, as you know) all looking for that "perfect case" that matches the hypothetical's facts exactly. Of course, the "perfect case" doesn't exist. If it did, the legal writing teachers would not have given these facts to us. But it's fun to see hyper-competitive souls scrounge in AmJur and the Restatements in the hope that they will find that case in their jurisdiction that will blow all the other students away. The funny part about that is LEGAL WRITING IS A PASS/FAIL CLASS!!!

Next week looks to be even more fun, because while this week was the research part of the assignment, next Thursday our first draft of the actual memo is due. Plus, our substantive classes are really starting to kick into high gear with more reading. And now the professors, who just two short weeks ago were saying "You don't have to worry about outlining yet," have started saying "If you haven't started outlining yet, you are behind and about to be in DEEP TROUBLE. BWA HA HA!"2 Oh yeah... it's gonna get interesting. We've started a pool for my section on who will snap first. My money's on me.

1It wasn't quite hellish... but it was darn close.
2They may not have actually said "BWA HA HA!" That may just be in my imagination.

Have A Clark Bar

General Wes Clark spoke at our law school today, so instead of going to Contracts today1 I sat in a auditorium packed with other students (many of whom were in my section, and also Skipping Contracts2). It was really cool. I've always liked Clark, and I hope he stays in the public eye. He had some really great things to say (my favorite was "Saddam Hussein was like a two-foot long copperhead in a box. If you stick your hand in the box, it's going to bite you... but otherwise it's contained"). Definitely worth missing a discussion of the parol evidence rule.

1Which I wasn't prepared for anyway
2Coming to theaters this holiday season... it's Unreasonable Man and Nicole Kidman in "Skipping Contracts"

Tuesday, October 26, 2004

The Worse Curse

Being a Chicago Cubs fan, I have a problem with Red Sox fans who claim that the "Curse of the Bambino" is a more powerful curse than the Cubs Billy Goat Curse.

My biggest argument for the Billy goat curse is this: The Cubs have consistently sucked since the beginning of the curse. They haven't been to the World Series since 1945 (when the curse was established by Bill "Billy Goat" Sianis [original owner of the yummy Billy Goat Taverns in Chicago]), and they haven't won a World Series since 1908 (that's right, four more years and it will be a century of baseball futility in Chicago). The Red Sox, while not winning the World Series since Babe Ruth left the Red Sox, have still been there 3 times (4 counting this year).

But, after tonight's Red Sox victory to go up 3-0 over the Cardinals... I can say without equivocation that if the Sox blow this Series, I will have no doubt that the Curse of the Bambino is by far the more powerful curse. Imagine it. The Red Sox doing something that has never been done in the history of baseball (coming back from being down 3-0 against the Yankees), only to lose in the same spectacular fashion as the Yankees... in the same year! That would be one *spectacular* curse!

Talk about a f**k you from the Bambino to Boston!

Monday, October 25, 2004


I meant to link to this last week..., but I got busy. There was a column in the Minneapolis Star Tribune last Thursday which ran through some highlights of Kerry and Bush at different points in their lives. The timeline is by age, so that things that happened to Kerry when Kerry was 22 are next to things that happened to Bush when Bush was 22 (along with some tidbits about other famous presidents every once in awhile).

Here are some of my favorites:
Age 18
Despite a C average in prep school, George Bush is accepted at Yale. They see something in the young man, perhaps a resemblance to his father the congressman (Yale, 1948) and his grandfather, former Connecticut senator and now Yale trustee Prescott Bush (Yale, 1917)
Age 21
In May 1968, George W. Bush graduates from Yale with a low C average. Now eligible for the draft, he avoids service in Vietnam by jumping to the front of a long waiting list of young men to join the 147th Fighter Group, the so-called "Champagne Unit" of the Texas Air National Guard. On his application, under the heading Overseas Assignment, Bush checks the box marked "Do not volunteer."
Age 22
John Kerry is chosen to deliver the class oration to the Yale graduating class of 1966. In his speech he questions the wisdom of the Vietnam War.... Despite his misgivings, he enlists in the Navy.
Age 26
At Christmas 1972, in Houston, Bush is driving drunk when he plows into a neighbor's garbage cans. When his father asks to have a talk, George Jr. challenges him to a fistfight.
Age 30
Bush is arrested for drunken driving in Kennebunkport, Maine, September 1976. His teenage sister Dorothy is a passenger in the car. He pleads guilty and pays a $150 fine.

Kerry is earning a law degree at Boston College, 1974.
Age 39
In late 1986, Bush's new oil company, Spectrum 7, is $3 million in debt when it is rescued by Harken Energy, which is owned by friends of his father, the vice president. He is put on the Harken board, has his debts paid, is given another $2.2 million in stock options and a salary of $120,000 a year, with no real duties to perform.
Age 43
In June 1990, Bush sells two-thirds of his stake in Harken Energy at 2.5 times the original value of the stock, netting $848,560 two weeks before Harken announces a disastrous quarterly report. The SEC investigates the president's son in association with the sale of his stock.
Age 46
In October 1990, Kerry votes to follow Cheney's recommendation to end the wasteful B-2 Bomber program. Kerry votes to stop making the F-14, which Cheney is growing skeptical of as well. Cheney proposes cutting the Trident submarine program and the Bradley Fighting Vehicle program, and Kerry, again, votes to support the defense secretary's wishes. Fourteen years later Kerry's support on these defense cuts will emerge as Vice President Cheney's bitterest criticisms of Kerry in the presidential campaign.
Age 54
He [Bush] is the first U.S. president to be sworn into office with a criminal record.

I am fairly sure that the book which this column is excerpted from has a somewhat pro-Kerry (or at least an anti-Bush) slant... but even with that slant, I think many of these facts are pretty damning. If you had read these encapsulated life stories without knowing anything else about either candidate, who would you want to be your president?

Here We Blow Again

Continuing from my post from a couple weeks ago... this story made me curl up on the floor and cry for a few minutes. You should have seen the look on the faces of the other law students in the library... it was pretty comical.

OK, so there wasn't any public outrage when it was determined that nuclear material was missing... now there is evidence that 380 tons (that's 760,000 pounds) of explosives are missing in Iraq too. Wow. Forget outrage... how about terror... that I-can't-go-out-into-the-world-and-be-a-normal-member-of-society kind of terror. The good news is that 380 tons isn't all that much (thanks to Pandagon for pointing out this absurdly Conservative argument)

The good news is it makes the reading I have to do much less stressful, because there may not be an United States of America much longer (because it's going to get blowed up), so it hardly seems relevant to study their laws.

Friday, October 22, 2004

Your Team OR Your President

Matt has asked the interesting question... would you rather have your presidential candidate win the election OR have your team win the World Series?

I can understand why this would be a dilemma. Sports teams can be a very important part of the community, and its fun to have something big to cheer for. But, a presidential election is such a bigger deal, that effects so many more people, that I still think hands down I would want my candidate to win (even if the Cubs were in the World Series [HA!]).

Congrats to the Red Sox and The Cards. I hope I can watch the World Series... but I fear I will be too busy catching up on the reading I didn't do when I was watching both of your Game 7s.

Thursday, October 21, 2004

Hat In Hand

Apparently, the Chicago Tribune feels they have to justify their decision1 to endorse Bush in the presidential election. Hmmm... maybe they are regretting it now because they based their endorsement on Bush's "strength" against terrorism, and then they realized that Bush has created more terrorist than he has captured.

1I find it funny that the title of the article is "How we came to make that endorsement" (emphasis added) instead of "How we came to endorse Bush." If you really endorse him... why don't you say so?

Opportunity Costs

Costs of watching the baseball game last night:
- Hours of sleep lost because I had to finish my legal writing memo after the game, instead of getting it done before: 2
- Hairs I will pull out trying to finish my Contracts reading before my 11:00 a.m. class, because I didn't read it because of the game: 6,000
- Additional hairs I will pull out after Contracts trying to finish my Torts reading before my 2:30 p.m. class, again because I didn't read it because of the game: 10,000
- Number of hands played on my computer's Hold 'Em Poker game while watching the baseball game: Roughly 150
- Amount of fictitious dollars won during said hands: Roughly $ 800,000
- Watching Yankee fans cry as their team underwent the biggest collapse in post-season baseball history: Priceless

Wednesday, October 20, 2004

Damn Baseball

I was good about studying during the baseball playoffs until last night (except for the Twins playoff games, but, thanks to the Yankees, there weren't very many of those). I broke down and watched Game 6 of the Red Sox-Yankees series last night instead of studying (at least Boston won, so it wasn't a wasted effort, or rather lack-of-effort). I'm glad I watched the game, because it was fun to see A-Rod get caught for being a dirty cheater, but now I have to pay because I have Contracts and Torts to finish (granted, I am mostly done, but I hate being swamped and rushed in between classes).

Random thoughts and occurrences from the game last night:
- My wife and I are immature. In the eight inning, with the Yankees behind 4 to 2, they flashed up a stat of how many "come-from-behind" wins the Yankees have had in the playoffs. She laughed... then I laughed, for about a minute. Yeah, we are in junior high.
- The guy in charge of music at Yankee stadium missed a golden opportunity when the police in riot gear started filing out onto the field1... if ever a situation called for The Imperial March from Star Wars, this was the situation.
- Why does Boston's Bronson Arroyo have corn rows? Doesn't he know that doesn't even look good on black guys... let alone on a white guy?
- Best sign in the crowd - "Deposit Schilling Here" sign in the outfield seats (referring to Boston pitcher Curt Schilling)
- Stupidest thing in the crowd (other than the throngs of Yankee fans) was the guy who dressed up like the ghost of Babe Ruth by putting on a white sheet and writing "Ruth" on the back (in his own childish scrawl)

So that is what I did instead of learning about "agreeing to agree."

1Many Yankee fans were dissatisfied with the umpires... even though the umps pretty much made all the calls right... so the fans started throwing s**t onto the field. You know, baseballs, garbage, crack pipes and used heroin needles.

Tuesday, October 19, 2004

Posting During Westlaw Training

This proves how worthless this stupid training is. If it wasn't for the points, and the fact that it's required, I don't think anyone (including the Westlaw rep) would show up at all.

Monday, October 18, 2004

Differences Between Straight-Outers And Real-Worlders #1

In what hopefully will be an ongoing cataloging of my observations (wait, isn't that what a blog is?), I am going to start writing about differences I notice between myself, someone who has worked in the "real world," and people who came to law school straight out of college.

My first of these observations occurred this morning when I heard a couple of these "straight-outers" complaining about the lack of a break from school until our two-day break for Thanksgiving (actually, complaining might be too strong... discussing would probably be more accurate).

This is a major difference between real-worlders (or at least me) and straight-outers. I understand law school is hard. I too would love a break. But, in the real world, you don't get a break every couple months. You may get a day off for the 4th of July, a day or two in November for Thanksgiving, another day or two in December for Christmas or Hanukkah, and maybe a day in the spring for Easter. Except for these holidays, I didn't get a real vacation from the time I started at the law firm I worked at to this September when I started law school (except for my Wedding and Honeymoon, which were obviously special circumstances). Life is different than school... you don't get breaks.

That being said, I used to be the same way. When I was a student in undergrad, I would complain about the "endless" 2 1/2 months between the start of classes and Thanksgiving, or between the start of Spring semester and Spring Break. Now, after working in the real world, I'm grateful for the long break I get between semesters and for Spring Break.

Leaving Education Behind

I apologize in advance for the following political rant, but I am angry, and need some catharsis.

In the most recent CNN/USA Today Gallup poll, Americans have now shifted dramatically in how the view the candidates on the issue of education1. One result of the polls is that:
In the most recent poll, 49 percent of all respondents said he [Bush] would do a better job on education than Kerry, who had 46 percent. The October 9-10 poll had Bush at 43 percent and Kerry at 50 percent.

Besides the absurdity of believing that a conservative Republican on a crusade against terrorism is going to be better for education than any Democrat, there is the absurdity of Bush's only real education policy, the "No Child Left Behind" Act (NCLB), a.k.a. the under-funded, poorly planned attempt to fix education.

My biggest problem is not the fact that it is under-funded, because throwing money at a problem doesn't always fix it2. My biggest problem with it is that NCLB, by its very design, will not fix the education system. I have very strong doubts that it will even accomplish one of its main goals, which is to identify the system's problems3. The problem with the NCLB tests is that the students themselves have no accountability. If the smartest kid in the class intentionally fails the exam just to get back at his math teacher for giving his last homework assignment a D, it doesn't hurt him... but the math teacher will get in trouble. This is stupid. Especially because a simple solution would just be to make the students continuation in school dependent on passing the test... i.e., make it the final exam, or at least part of the final exam. That way, the teachers have the additional incentive (other than making sure their students learn the material) of making sure they pass so their job isn't at stake, and the students have the incentive to pass the tests so they don't have to stay behind. I'm sure there are many other errors with "No Child Left Behind," that could be improved upon as well, but this one bothers me the most.

OK, rant over. Thank you, and enjoy your day.

1Which I feel is the most important issue in just about any election, despite what Republicans say, because education is the best way to prepare for the future... including our future ability to combat terrorism, the Republican's "most important" issue
2One of the few statements of policy that I would agree with Republicans on.
3One of the big things about NCLB is the use of diagnostic tests to see if students are learning anything, and if they aren't, there are possible sanctions against schools that have "below standard" students.

Saturday, October 16, 2004

Seriously, There's Stuff Out There Besides Law?

My wife and I went to one of those bars that had dueling pianos last night. It was fun, except one of them picked a few songs that were really weird in that kind of environment1
Tonight, if my wife is feeling better2, we might go see a midnight showing of "Rocky Horror Picture Show" in Minneapolis. It will be interesting to see if people dress up at this movie theater. I've never seen Rocky Horror "live" before, but I've heard it can be crazy, so I hope we can make it. If not, we'll go next week. The same theater is doing the showings for Halloween.

That's all I have right now. Last week I was too lazy in my studying, so I have to make sure I understand the stuff I sort of read last week... AND read and understand the stuff I need for this week.

1Who wants to go to a bar for lively piano music and hear Fiona Apple's "Criminal"?
2Let's just say she "enjoyed" herself a little too much last night.

Friday, October 15, 2004

Phoning It In

I'm being lazy today (or at least this morning)... so like any law school blogger worth his salt, I want to get "credit" for a post without doing any real work, I am going to link to someone else who wrote something funny (this is from Jeremy Blachman's very thorough and very funny parody of Wednesday's presidential debate). Here's my favotire part (regarding Kerry's answer about his strong wife):
KERRY: I married up. I married way up. Do you know how rich she is? Do you? She is so goddamn rich it's totally awesome. I don't even need to win this election, Bob. I am so rich that it's absolutely astonishing that I don't get laughed out of the room when I say that I identify with the problems of the middle class. If you divided the money I have among everyone in the state of Arizona, we all still wouldn't be middle class.

It's funny because it's true. Ha!

Thursday, October 14, 2004

Debates III: The Final Showdown

I caught the final debate last night. I thought Bush held himself much better this time around... substantively it still made bile rise into my mouth... but stylistically he seemed less stupid, unprepared, and unconnected.

Here are my questions and observations:
- Is Bob Scheiffer (the moderator) the picture of the "grandfather of America"? Every time he asked a question, I kept picturing him smoking a pipe in a cardigan sweater.
- What was that crud in the corner of Bush's mouth? - I might have been the only one to notice it, but it looked like he had just eaten a sandwich with mayo. I could just picture Karl Rove freaking out backstage screaming "Wipe your damn mouth puppet!"
- What is Bush's obsession with sending people to community college? - he mentioned it a lot. If I just lost my high paying IT job to some guy in Bombay who was willing to do it for $0.96 per day, I don't community college is the answer.
- Did anyone else catch Bush giving an insult to CBS news... which the moderator was from? Don't bite the hand that feeds you the questions.
- What was Bush so happy about? He kept smiling the whole time... and not an inviting smile, but a creepy "Hey kids, I've got some candy in my car" smile.
- How can either candidate get away will such bald faced lies? - Bush mentioned at least twice Kerry's "global test" which is complete bulls**t. Kerry never said he would use a global test... just the opposite in fact. Kerry only mentioned that passing the scrutiny of world leaders is important when you want to build a coalition. Seems like a good point to me... seems like it would be hard to get anyone but Poland1 on board when what you are doing makes the other countries of the world go "Whoa! I can't believe that freak is trying to pull THIS off!"
And Kerry has said over, and over, and over that the country has lost 1.6 million jobs. Really, it's only private sector jobs that are down by 1.6 million, but if you include government jobs, we're only down about 850,0002 (according to

On this last point, I'm glad Kerry didn't focus as much the 1.6 million number, and focused more on the fact that although we have been gaining jobs in the past half year or so, the jobs we are gaining are worse then the ones we are losing. We're losing well paying manufacturing jobs and IT jobs, and we're gaining positions at the Sizzler.

1Sorry, I couldn't resist one last Poland joke.
2Wouldn't that mean there are 750,000 more government jobs now than when Bush took office. I thought Bush was for smaller and cheaper government... No? that was all BS? I guess Bush's record doesn't match his rhetoric.

Tuesday, October 12, 2004

The Uniform Commercial Code... a.k.a. Uck

Today's reading for Contracts was our first trip into the land of the Uniform Commercial Code (UCC), or the "bane of law students everywhere." For my fellow law students1 the cases we were reading dealt with section 2-207, which basically says even if there isn't exact agreement between the parties, a contract is still assumed to be formed... but there are a whole bunch of rules which determine exactly what terms they agreed on. This is commonly referred to as the "Battle of the Forms" because the party which has the *magic* wording in their form usually wins.

Anyway, we had to read three of these big, excruciatingly detailed and long contract cases which go into even more excruciating detail about the particular rules of this section of the UCC. Fine, this is what law school is about, reading cases with excruciating details... I can live with that. But then, at the end of the section we learn that they are rewriting the frickin' UCC so that the rules I just read about won't apply, and the actual rules will, in practice, be very different. I don't care so much about this right now, because I don't think our professor will require we learn both the current UCC section and the proposed UCC section... but what steams me is these changes could get passed next year, and then I would have studied, in excruciating detail, the old UCC rules, and in two years when I have to take the Bar exam, the rules will be completely different.

I'm probably making a big deal out of nothing, considering I won't even remember what the UCC is when I graduate law school2... And I'll have to pay Barbri3 to re-teach me everything I will have forgotten.

Cheers, time for Con Law and the powers of the Executive Branch... Yipeeeeee!

1For my non-law student readers, or people who would have liked to have forgotten Contracts, you can ignore the next sentence or so.
2Just Kidding Prof. Contracts!... Sort of.
3More accurately, my future employer will pay BarBri, I hope.

And In Other News

This story (from instilled pants-filling terror within me!

Missing nuclear materials capable of being made into a nuclear bomb... MISSING!

According to Chief Inspector for the International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA) Mohamed ElBaradei, this might have happened because "[t]he U.S. government prevented U.N. weapons inspectors from returning to Iraq - thereby blocking the IAEA from monitoring the high-tech equipment and materials - after the U.S.-led war was launched in March 2003." (quote from article, not a direct quote from ElBaradei)

I'm sure glad we went to Iraq to keep us safe from rogue nations or terrorists trying to acquire nuclear materials. Thank you Mr. Bush! Now excuse me, I have to start making plans to build a nuclear bomb shelter in my basement a la' Blast From the Past.

UPDATE: Just found this article (AP story, also from thanks to Barsk for letting me know about the international poll). Two-thirds of people in our ally countries of Australia, Britain, and Italy1 and 52% of the people here in the U.S. think the war in Iraq is making the threat of terrorism worse2. I totally agree... and the above CNN story shows evidence of that, because not only are we pissing off a whole lot more future terrorists by invading Iraq, but now we have let them get some Nukes.

1 Part of Bush's grand coalition... hmmm... why doesn't it mention Poland?
2 Only three out of ten Americans think the Iraq war has decreased are terrorist threat... those are the 30% that I call "idiots" or "blind"

Monday, October 11, 2004

May It Please The Court

Prof. CivPro has required us to observe civil court for a couple hours this semester and write a "reaction paper" on what we saw. I only had one class today, so I went to the Hennepin County courthouse and watched an auto accident bench trial and jury selection for a medical damages trial. It was really interesting.

The auto accident trial was about whether or not a trucker was negligent when he turned out of the right lane and hit a pick-up truck who was making a right hand turn out of the shoulder (the plaintiff pick-up driver said it was a right turn lane). I really enjoyed watching the lawyers asked their questions in the best light for their case, especially the defense lawyer who framed his case so that the judge just went "Duh, of course the trucker wasn't negligent."

The jury selection was cool too, mostly because of how interesting the prospective jurors were. There was a former law school graduate, a "holistic healer" (really a massage therapist), a lady whose children had recently been rear ended (which is what happened in the trial that this jury was being selected for... therefore she got stricken), and a lady whose airplane had caught fire and nearly plummeted out of the sky (that was her experience with lawsuits).

Of course, as a result of my foray into the trial process, I didn't get nearly as much work done during the day because of the court stuff... and now instead of studying efficiently, I am watching a recording of "The Apprentice" from last Thursday.

I wonder if the law school apathy is starting to set in?

Superman Can't Die!

Barsk beat me to it, but I just learned that Christopher Reeve has died. I know he was only an actor, but it is still sad. I remember growing up loving the Superman movies, and Reeve was the symbol of strength... and now he's gone. I hope his memory will do something to advance research to cure his condition.

Sunday, October 10, 2004

New Blogs

In case you haven't noticed (and why would you)... I've added a couple of blogs to my Blawgroll... Barsk (by a fellow Minnesotan who is disgusted with the Twins fate as well), and Matt Schuh Online. Check them out.

Saturday, October 09, 2004

Debates Part II: The Leapening

First off, there are many that have a much better analysis and review of the debate than me... two so far that have caught my eye are Josh Marshall at Talking Points Memo and Ambivalent Imbroglio. But, I'm still going to give my opinion because I don't know how to not give it.

I particular I like Josh Marshall's comments about the woman who asked President Bush to list three specific mistakes he has made during his presidency and all he basically said was "some appointments." As Josh says:
The fiscal health of the country is a wreck. The country faces an unfolding disaster in Iraq. And numerous examples emerge day after day showing how that disaster grew directly from bad decisions the president made. And faced with a questioner who asked for just three mistakes he thinks he's made over four years, he couldn't come up with one. His answer was to say that on each of the big issues he's gotten everything exactly right.
In the Bush world you never admit mistakes. The only mistakes the president can think of are the times he appointed people who do admitted mistakes - who put reality above loyalty to the president.
Anyway, the thing I noticed was that Bush couldn't wait to leap out of his seat to try and refute something Kerry said, in flagrant disregard for the debate rules. There was even one point where Kerry was still in the middle of his time (I think the warning light was on green, meaning Kerry had somewhere between 15 and 30 seconds left) and Bush stood up and held his microphone at the ready. And of course, there was Bush's little hissy fit he threw at moderator Charlie Gibson.

Although, as with the last debate, I don't think Kerry delivered any kind of a knock-out blow, I think Bush showed that he is like a petulant little child who thinks the rules don't apply to him, and that the only way to be heard isn't to think things through and speak logically, but rather to try and yell louder than everybody (including the guy who is there to moderate the debate). Very presidential.

Friday, October 08, 2004

Dirty Little Secret

I think I have stumbled upon a chicanery among the law schools of this great land. Our professors don't assign all this reading to get us to learn the law (that is merely an unintended side effect), rather they do it as part of a vast conspiracy perpetrated by the highlighter industry. You know sometime in the mid-80s, there was a cabal between highlighter executives and law school deans:
Highlighter Exec: Welcome gentlemen. How was the blood from your virgin sacrifice... good? Now lets get down to business. How can we make those poor saps use up lots and lots and lots of highlighters?
Dean of Prestigious Law School #1: I've got it! We'll tell them they have to read thousands of pages each semester... you know "for their education" *wink*... and they'll be forced to comply and highlight, HIGHLIGHT AWAY! Not because logic dictates it to be so, but because they will all fear that another student's highlighting will somehow make that other student's grades higher.
Dean of Prestigious Law School #2: We could even plant one student in each section who furiously highlights for every case, and then have our professors call on the Highlighter and then say how brilliant, well thought out, and persuasive the Highlighter's comments were. The rest of the students will follow the Highlighter off the cliff like lemmings.
Hightlighter Exec: I love it. Brilliant!
Deans (simultaneously): Of course its brilliant, we went to law school.
Dean #2: Please excuse us. We have a meeting in a half-hour with representatives from Gilbert, Emanuel, West, and Aspen. We also have to put the fear of God in our students to never use study aides so that they will flock to the bookstore to buy them. BWA HA HA!

Unfortunately, they've got us. How else are we to digest all this material, and then be able to synthesize it later, without using highlighters? I suppose we could take notes... but it's so much easier to highlight... and I think the highlight pushers and the law schools know this.

Thursday, October 07, 2004


Let's say, "hypothetically," that someone in one of your classes... I don't know, hypothetically Contracts... raises his hand and begins his statement with "Yesterday in [other class] (again, hypothetically Civil Procedure), we talked about something like this topic1 and I wanted to clarify why the law does this... [blabbity] [blah] [blah] [I feel my voice is so much better than yours] [blah]," you should, hypothetically, be able to close your ears and start playing FreeCell2. You also should feel free to laugh, at least under your breath, when the professor dismisses this brilliant scholar's comments instead of giving him the applause he felt he deserved.

1Note: It wasn't anything like the topic we... I mean this hypothetical class... was talking about
2Hypothetically you could also play solitaire (either normal or Spider) or any other game you feel is just (I, hypothetically, would have played Texas Hold'em Poker)

In The News

Our Law Library was in the Minneapolis Star Tribune today (front page, above the fold even... which tells you how slow of a news day it was yesterday in Minneapolis) because we got the letters of Clarence Darrow1. This has been a huge deal at our law school because it is the Library's [trumpet fanfare] One Millionth Volume2. We've had free lunches and music provided by the library all in celebration of the wonderfully round number 1,000,000.

To this I say 1) congratulations to the law library and 2) pass the chips and shut up about it so I can study. It's great that one million is so important to you, but I don't really care. With the advancement of the online legal database, it is becoming less and less important to look things up in books. And in the rare instance where I do have to trod up to the stacks and pull out a book to look something up, I will be able to do it with one of the 999,999 volumes you already had. Thanks thought. Enjoy your party.

1If you follow the link to the story and look at the picture of Darrow, you will see the ugly-ass picture us law students at Minnesota get to see every day as we are walking into the building. Now imagine that mug on a huge 30 ft. by 10 ft. banner. The nice thing about it is if you aren't completely awake in the morning, Mr. Darrow's stern gaze will scare you wide eyed.
2 Which apparently, as a student, I should give a crap about.


So I'm up until 12:30 writing a paper for a class that is pass-fail AND the Twins blew their game tonight because Gardenhire (their manager) was too stupid to put in a different releiver in the bottom of the 12th. Crap!

Wednesday, October 06, 2004

VEEP-bates and Baseball

Rather than doing some hard core studying like I should have been doing last night, here is what I did. I watched the Vice Presidential Debate and the Twins-Yankees game (thank you TiVo for making this possible). Here are my thoughts... in order of importance:
1. THE TWINS WIN! - Yeah... screw you Yankees! The Twins showed why they shouldn't be counted out. They can pitch, they can play defense, and they can string together hits to score just enough runs to win. Even with Santana pitching at nowhere near his normal dominance, the Twins still shut out the Yankees and pulled together two runs to take game 1. Awesome.

2. Cheney Won - Damn it! As much as it pains me, I think VP Cheney won last night's debate. He was more prepared, appeared to have a better grasp of the details, and didn't come across as the curmudgeon he normally does (at least not much). On the flip side, John Edwards pretty much just said exactly what Kerry said on Thursday for most of the issues without really adding any new insights. It seemed like all he tried to do was make Cheney and Bush look bad, rather than trying to make Kerry and Edwards look good. Edwards took a lot of big swings, but he never really landed any punches; Cheney seemed to either dodge them or block them with what I thought were thoughtful counterpoints. It just seemed that Edwards showed his inexperience too much while Cheney came across (to me) as someone who knew what he was doing and what he wanted to do. That being said, I don't think it was necessarily a landslide victory... but Cheney acted more Presidential than Edwards (or is it Vice-Presidential?).

OK enough about the "serious" issues of the day. I've been going at this law school thing for almost 5 weeks now, and I have some insights about law school rolling around in my head that I hope to flesh out either today or tomorrow, so please tune in for some Unreasonable commentary about law school.

Tuesday, October 05, 2004


Why o' why does the faculty of this fine institution NOT understand that the playoffs start tonight... and yes, even our local Twins are in it. How can they expect us to read cases, or write a 5 page memo when Santana will be taking the mound against the hated Yankees?

You always think bad things can't happen to good baseball fans.

Monday, October 04, 2004

Bush Should Have Forgotten About Poland

After Bush's insistance that Poland is awesome, it looks like Poland may want to pull out of Iraq, which will probably make them look less awesome to Bush.

From the article, "Poland may reduce its commitment of forces to the war in Iraq by 40 percent by January 2005 and have all its troops out by the end of that year, Polish officials said Monday."

Mr. President... I must inform you that you've been Punk'd.

Expensive Weight Loss Program

I weighed myself yesterday (I don't know why, I just did), and I've lost twenty pounds since starting law school. Twenty pounds!!! I think it is from a combination of the following factors:
1. Missing lunches - I have had a bad habit of forgetting to pack lunches (like I did today) and then just eating nothing. Although many of the student groups here have meetings with free lunch inclued, there is only so much free Papa John's pizza I can eat while sitting through meetings I'm not interested in.
2. Stress - Although I haven't been hugely stressed out, I have experienced some extra stress over the past few weeks.
3. Lugging weight around - I am now forced to carry around a backpack filled with heavy books and a laptop... which probably burns a few extra calories over just sitting around on my ass.

The good news is I think I've stumbled upon the next great diet craze. Move over Atkins, make way for the "Law School Diet" (also known as the "Life's No Day at the South Beach South Diet"). You too can lose as much as twenty pounds in just four short weeks. Just "enroll" in the Law School Diet and watch those inches disappear from your waistline, and those thousands of dollars disappear from your bank account. As an added bonus, you will get several heavy, overpriced casebooks (soon to be filled with highlighted text that is of little use to you in the future... don't worry you can sell these books back at the end of each "semester" at a huge loss... yeah!). Act now and you will also receive a set of matching bags... under each of your eyes from the lack of sleep you will get. Act now, spots are limited!

Don't be the only one on your block to miss out on that svelte, washed out look that will be all the rage in law libraries and summer associatships across the country... nay, the world!!*

* Warning* the Law School Diet may cause exhaustion, dry mouth, social anxiety disorder, loss of ability to relate to normal human beings, increased interest in what Justice Learned Hand has to say, severe impairment of sense of humor, rickets, loss of perspective, poor judgment, lack of jurisdiction (both subject matter and personal), scurvy, taking jokes WAY to far, and other problems of a physical, medical, emotional, mental, spiritual, cultural, comical, and musical nature. Consult a physician, priest, rabbi, parent, advisor, shrink and your own common sense before starting the Law School Diet. The proprietors of the Law School Diet disavow all liability for any damage caused as a result of the Law School Diet, you have been warned... don't sue us... please.

Sunday, October 03, 2004

A Moment of Silence... And Hair Pulling

I will have trouble posting over the next couple days because it will be hard to see through the tears I will be shedding over the Cubs failure to make the playoffs... AGAIN!

Stupid goat curse! And any of you who think the Boston Red Sox are more cursed than the Cubs are stupid heads!

Friday, October 01, 2004

Master Debaters?

So I caught the debate last night (actually I had TiVo record the debate and I watched it later in the evening, but why trifle?), and in my (biased) opinion, Kerry won... but just barely.

Kerry seemed more well spoken, laid out some actual plans he might have (although he didn't elaborate much), and he fumbled a LOT less then the President did. Plus, Kerry didn't take repeated pot shots at the President, without at least backing it up. Bush didn't appear to say much of anything (except of North Korea, after Kerry brought it up) except to state veiled insults for Kerry. I don't how many times I heard Bush say "He changes positions" (a nicer way of saying he's a flip-flopper), and "What kind of a message does it send to our troops when you say 'Wrong war, wrong place, at the wrong time.'" I don't know, that you're a person who thinks things through before acting and that he cares enough about the troops to take them into consideration before sending them to die.

My favorite part of the debate... when President Bush pointed to Poland to say that we have such a strong coalition1... and then when Kerry pointed out that all we really had was us, then England (a little), and then Australia (a lot less)... THEN, in his rebuttal, President Bush said "Well, he forgot Poland." Wow.

1To which I would have responded "We've got POLAND?! I didn't know POLAND was on our side. I retract my statement that we didn't have a coalition, especially with a powerhouse like POLAND"