Saturday, January 31, 2004

Create your own Crackpot Bush Conspiracy - No Michael Moore needed!
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test your knowledge of harmful drugs
take this quiz

Friday, January 30, 2004

The Apprentice - and womyn are better than men
Yin is running a post on how pathetic the men in The Apprentice are. I want to take Yin's post a little bit farther - I think we suck in general compared to ambitious women. Intelligent women seem to have the nuances of polite conversation and masking your intentions down better than men - both of which seem important for high powered corporate life. Interesting to note though that all the girls I meet always prefer hanging out with men over other women - further that everybody I meet hates corporate culture...

Perhaps there is a connection here? Perhaps the way women treat each other is the way corporations generally treat its employees. This would explain a bit why women hate each other and everybody hates corporate culture. Also this would lead to women in many senses being better prepared to handle the corporate mating dance.

Just a thought

But where are the jobs? Please shutup
I just read another crappy article complaining about economic growth without jobs. Honestly - did these "business" reporters ever bother to take a basic economics course? Of course not - or they slept through the one they took without absorbing its lessons. In case one of them is reading this blog, here is a primer
1) Economic growth per person is unsustainable long term without productivity growth
2) Economic growth without job growth means that productivity is growing, which in the short run means fewer jobs
3) In the long run it means each job can do more, and leads to sustainable longterm econcomic growth
4) So stop complaining - these are good signs
Greg Kefalasas and Joe Bailari have blogs? Plus, Ohio People are Better
Talk about a surprise from my past - two of my highschool classmates are on the web. You can click on their links below. Both are Ohioans (living elsewhere as far as I can tell).

What is it about us Ohio people going elsewhere? Wherever I go, I meet somebody from Ohio, which is a good thing, because we Ohio people tend to be nicer, more down to earth, less materialistic, and just plain better than people from other countries (no hint of bias, eh?) Seriously though, it is usually a huge surprise and pleasure to talk to people from my home state - I was wondering if transplants from other states have the same reaction?

Thursday, January 29, 2004

JAG Litigation and the FAIR Ammendment

I, along with a few of my classmates, received this email from Dean Sullivan yesterday

January 28, 2004

Dear Stanford Law School Community:

I write to update you on a development in the Solomon Amendment
litigation. You'll recall that the United States Armed Services closes its
ranks to persons revealed to be lesbian, gay, or bisexual, that most law
schools, like ours, close their doors to employers who discriminate on the
basis of sexual orientation, and that the Solomon Amendment is the federal
law that cuts off federal funds to universities that deny access to
military recruiters on this basis. Faced with communications by the
military threatening to apply this sanction, many of the nation's law
schools have let military recruiters on campus despite their
nondiscrimination policies. Some of those law schools or members of their
faculties have filed lawsuits against the Secretary of Defense challenging
the constitutionality of these threatened applications of the Solomon

Unlike those law schools, Stanford Law School has always abided by its
non-discrimination policy and has never been found by the military to be
out of compliance with Solomon. Nonetheless, many Stanford Law School
faculty members and students (especially members of American Constitution
Society and Outlaw) have worked hard over the last few months to find a way
to contribute to the significant constitutional issues raised by the
pending legal challenges. In particular, they have focused on the possible
participation of a body of individual faculty members in a lawsuit filed in
federal court in New Jersey and now pending in the Third Circuit by an
association called Forum for Academic and Institutional Rights ("FAIR"),
which challenges Solomon as violating universities' freedoms of speech and

As a result of these efforts, the following resolution was approved at
the Stanford Law School faculty's regular December faculty meeting:

"'United Faculty of Stanford Law School,' acting as a majority vote
of thirty of the forty-three vote-holding faculty members of Stanford Law
School, to wit,

Voting aye: Janet Cooper Alexander, Barbara Allen Babcock, Joseph Bankman,
R. Richard Banks, Richard Craswell, Mariano-Florentino Cuellar, Michele
Landis Dauber, George Fisher, Barbara H. Fried, Lawrence M. Friedman, Paul
Goldstein, Henry T. Greely, Thomas C. Grey, Deborah R. Hensler, Pamela S.
Karlan, Mark Gregory Kelman, Amalia Kessler, William Koski, Lawrence
Lessig, Jennifer Martinez, Miguel Angel Méndez-Longoria, Maude H. Pervere,
Robert L. Rabin, Margaret Jane Radin, Deborah L. Rhode, James F. Strnad II,
Kathleen M. Sullivan, Barton H. Thompson Jr., Michael S. Wald, and Allen

Voting nay: none;

hereby joins the Forum for Academic and Institutional Rights (FAIR) on the
following conditions: (1) As soon as is convenient and practicable, FAIR
will amend the complaint filed in Forum for Academic and Institutional
Rights, et al., v. Donald H. Rumsfeld, et al., (Civ. Action No. 03-4433
(JCL), D.N.J. (2003)), to state words to the effect that 'every member of
FAIR has permanently suspended the application of its non-discrimination
recruiting policy to military recruiters or has taken steps to accommodate
official access by military recruiters that it would not have taken in the
absence of the Solomon Amendment'; and (2) in the meantime, in all FAIR's
future descriptions of its members, it adopt the quoted language (or
sufficiently equivalent language) and, if appropriate, cite to the
particular paragraph of the complaint that is to be amended."

For those interested in learning more about this litigation, see
Yours truly,
Kathleen Sullivan

Personally, I think our military should be desegregated. I think the don't ask don't tell policy is outmoded, and sexual orientation has little to do with a professional armed forces. However, I think the FAIR group of law schools are overreaching in their argument. In whining that it "is not right" for the entire university to lose all federal funds for only the law school refusing to allow JAG recruiters, these administrators and distinguished professors are realizing the force of the trap they set with Title IX.

Let me explain - if a school offers the same number of spots for its male and female soccre clubs, it risks losing ALL its federal funding, just as with JAG recruiting. Why? Because current interpretation Title IX demands an equal number of women and men athletes on scholarship at a university. If universities do not comply, well they are vulnerable to lawsuit and losing all federal funding. In some cases you will have 20 men competing for a scholarship in a sport other than football/basketball (if it is recognized as varsity) while the same unversity will give varsity status (and plenty of scholarships with it) to sports such as horseback riding - so long as it is for women. Yet, the same "distinguished" professors and law students who are so inflamed at the possibility of the law school costing the entire univeristy funding don't bat an eyelash at this disparity.

So excuse me if I think, in spite of my support for equal right for those of alternative sexual lifestyles, that those complaining are using arguments that smack of hypocrisy.
The Cavs Could Make the NBA Playoffs
They seem to only be a few games out of the eigth seed......stranger things have happened.

Wednesday, January 28, 2004

Fuck Bush
According to Drudge, Bush is set to propose that the NEA's budget be doubled. I am foaming mad about this. Just getting started, it is a betrayl to his supposed sfmall government principles. If Bush believed that his supporters won't desert him for this stuff because the Democrats are so far out in left field, he is on the verge of a serious miscalculation. Medicare pissed many of his base off, Immigration (which I think he was right on) was even worse, and this is downright sacrilege in Republican circles. Each day that passes, I realize how much of a fool I was to support him in 2000. Apathy seems to me be the only path.

Boxes and Corners
Cramming things into a box – we are trained to see categories. First year curriculum is neatly compartmentalized into Contracts, Torts, Property, and Constitutional issues. Our legal education treats the law as discreet categories. I only learn this because I took a clinical course. Otherwise I wouldn’t even realize that I am cramming things into boxes.

Mr. Garcia walks into the interview room. I saw on the intake sheet that he was workers’ rights. The kind of cases the clinic does on workers’ rights is wage and hours.

“Mr. Garcia, what brings you here today?” His story gushes out. I latch onto the really long hours he seems to have worked. I latch onto the lack of break periods. Rather, the lawyer side of me latches onto those. “What result would you like to see, Mr. Garcia, if you could choose the outcome?” He wants his job back. He wants to know if they owe him money. He wants to know if they could really fire him like that.

I flip open the file and scan down to the intake form. Current income: $560. Rent: $800. Status: Married. Children: Three; 11 years old, 7 years old, and 2 years old. He asks again if they can really fire him like that. He is a good worker … he has witnesses who could testify to it – how he stays late to make sure things are clean, how he never misses work, how he always arrives on time.

He doesn’t quite fit into my box, and I recognize this. If it’s a wage and hour, we can help him; but he doesn’t need wage and hour help. He needs I-have-to-pay-the-rent kind of help.

I explain to Mr. Garcia that we cannot say anything until we see his pay stubs. He agrees to bring them tomorrow. I see Mr. Garcia out. We get his pay stubs – no case. I send Mr. Garcia a letter covering our bases, pointing out his possible options, although none are any good.

Mr. Garcia fits neither in Torts, nor in Contracts, nor in Property, nor in Con Law. He’s nowhere, in Limbo, where the law does little to help him and lots to hurt him if he’s not careful. Although he didn’t fit into one of law school’s little boxes, he’s still backed into a corner.
Eugene Volokh coming to Stanford on Monday
Ying sent out an email this morning that Volokh will be giving a speech on Free Speech v. Work Place Harassment Laws. Too bad we don't get to hear guys with Volokh's perspectives more often here. It would be a godsend if the faculty made his visit a bit more "permanent"....but what are the odds of that? Here is one guy who is keeping both sets of fingers crossed.
Setting up the StanfordLawSki Listserve
I'm hoping to get a list together of law students that ski so as to better set up trips. A few quick things I have learned from Phoebe from her trip.
1) Apparently there is a ski shop near Heavenly at South Lake Tahoe that is selling non-parabolic skis for $20
2) Diamond Mountain charges $77 for a two day pass
3) There is a Super 8 in Carson City that charges $34 a night
4) Borreal (sp?) has a deal of lodging and skiing for $69 and $10 fridays if you have a college ID
5) Alpine Meadows has $39 a day lift tickets provided they don't sell out

Something I found out myself
- If you go on Orbitz, search for hotels in Reno - you can usually find really cheap, yet 4 star ones that charge about $50 a night.

Happy Skiing!
Kerry Wins...should I be happy?
Assuming that I want Bush to win the election, I am of the uninformed opinion that the results tonight coming from New Hampshire have been good news for Republicans (perhaps on the erroneous assumption that Kerry is a less humorous version of Bob Dole). The irony of course is that Kerry is running in the primary on the platform that he (as opposed to Edwards) is the one Democrat who can beat Bush.

Tuesday, January 27, 2004

Rant overflow discussion of today - Have the Republicans questioned the Democrats Patriotism?
Posted in a probably futile effort to reduce spam - commenting available below.
"Republican Youth Majority" comes to Stanford
Who are these guys? Two representatives from their national were stationed at White Plaza today. I talked to them, and signed their list for a meeting on Thursday. They used the terms pro-choice, pro-environment, and Republican (all of which I like), but also progressive. Two questions - are they RINO or libertarian and what is their goal for coming to campus?
"Sky is falling" fliers at Berkeley (surprise)
Angry Clam has the scoop.

UPDATE - I think it was UCLA...My bad
I have nothing to say.
The Conservative attempt to get Moveon to Move On.
Click here to go to grassfire
Dean is up, who cares?
Sorry. I just can't get into this nomination process.
What Arab Street?
This is a fun read on NRO.

Monday, January 26, 2004

Voting Republican May Currently Aid the Party's Ideological Destruction
In 1994 the Republicans were a party of small government ideology. Today that fire is gone - they mirror the big government spending machine that they criticized before assuming control of both Congress and the White House. Why has this happened? Partly because of Bush's strategy to co-opt the major issues of the Democrats before they could threaten the election viability of Republicans - Medicare being the major example. Co-option requires the Republicans give in a little, but at least prevent a worse (larger) form of the entitlement than if Democrats were to gain control (at least that was the logic). By taking a wedge issue here and there, Rove is seeking to cast the Republicans as the new majority party.

This status, if achieved, has a cost - by co-opting issues, what would have been a powerful opposition to them has been muzzled - conservative Republicans. In being concerned with winning, the Republican hierarchy is not interested in advancing a consistent theme of ideas, except the now empty pander to the philosophy of smaller government.

Is this a temporary aberration, to be fixed after the next election? Those of us who are conservatives and libertarians can be optimists, and have faith the reward for continuing to support the party is coming after this election, with a stronger majority, and a more consistent set of idea. Or we can believe that consistent control of all levers of power only will addict the Republican party to it, whom will increasingly put maintaining its power ahead of advancing ideas, with the only effectively organized opposition pushing them on the left. If this latter framework is the case, majority status could effectively muzzle conservative ideas.

I have my doubts with this later conclusion - but it is on my mind as try to decide how badly I want Bush to win this election. If anybody can dissuade me of if, please comment by clicking on the tab below.
why condemn them to a life of misery? every child deserves to be loved; for some special children, that means going to heaven a little sooner. after all, the romans did it, so it must be ok.....
How NOT to get your car unstuck from the snow
Watch this
Back From Vacation - and the world is going to pot
So the following things happen while I'm gone.
1) Bush Promises to hold Spending growth to 1%
(except for defense, homeland security, and a few other things we probably don't know about)
2) Kay says no weapons of Mass Destruction, then clarifies (sorry, to tired to link to it now)
3) Sharon encourages future kidnapping in Israel
4) Kerry maintains lead in New Hampshire
A Discussion With Seth Morgan
Seth Morgan is one of my good friends who is also from Ohio. I am not sure if he is a social democrat, a socialist, or a communist these days, but whatever he is, he is definitely not a limousine liberal. The guy studied econ and agriculture (how often do you see that combo?) so that he could help out indigent farmworkers in Latin America. Then he put his degrees to work the hard way - in the fields with the farmworkers. He's back in the states these days, and has done a lot of work with migrant workers. The guy is brilliant, and with his permission, I thought I'd publish a discussion I've been having. My response and his will be posted in the comments when I get around to it.

Hey Republican....I mean, Elliot!!! What's up man!? Glad you sent the quotes.....although I was a little lost as to the reference of the quotes, here are my initial thoughts....

1) Having worked (and currently working) with illegal, mainly Mexican, ag-workers, if they have the opportunity to achieve legality through amnesty, they will do it; they will grasp legality with or without employer pressure to "keep quiet". Why? For the sheer fact that a legal or illegal
immigrant can easily find another unskilled to low skilled ag job or construction job easily accomplished through family connections and farm contractor relations (typically a Mexican born entrepreneur who now lives in the States and speaks both languages). In fact, it appears much easier for an unskilled Mexican worker to find these jobs because of these connections than for native born Americans. Thus, employer pressure would incite no fear.

2) Penalties for employers....well, the point of hiring illegal immigrants is that a) in the menial agricultural jobs, Mexican workers work harder and are more reliable than domestic hires (for reasons I will not enumerate here) and b) low wage. If we have strong penalties for employment of illegals here, we need penalties for multinationals using cheap labor abroad. It all comes back to the economic (capitalistic) principle of competition. Labor is the single largest cost for production industries....cutting labor costs makes a company more competitive. Since ag companies can not physically move ariable land over seas like Levis, for example, could simply move production over seas, ag-business cannot hide their use of cheap labor. Thus, the years of stagnation over illegal immigration. Our economic system "depends" on cheap labor, workers with no other choice but to work for what they get because of their poor situation. But, it is happening within US borders in respect to ag jobs. What to do? A catch 22. Economics and law with conflicting interests......and, of course, there is the third party...the workers' interest, often ignored.

I will stop there. I await your comments.


Update - The Discussion Continues....

Thursday, January 22, 2004

Elliot taking break - will be back on Monday
After turning in my pseudo masterpiece 38 page paper today, and I'm going to take the weekend off. I'll post again early Monday morning.
phoebes and "squeeze" on vacation
the per person cost of skiing in tahoe:
$50 a day * 3 days for lift tickets = $150
$20 per day for ski rentals * 3 days = $60
$17 per person for super 8 motel room *3 days = $51
delectable defrosted chili for 3 consecutive days plus year-old safeway water - priceless!

yes, some things in life are priceless. for others, consider selling your soul to skadden

Wednesday, January 21, 2004

Today's Federalist-Rant Spam Section
For threaded discussions that are getting to long on the rant
Mike Zummer joins the Blog
Former FBI agent and Stanford Law 1L Mike Zummer is now blogging with us. He's been great on Federalist-Rant, and its going to be a pleasure to read his writing here as well.
RE: Stupid White People #2
Ying, you're absolutely right. I grew up surrounded by those idiot limousine liberals trying assuage their white guilt by trying squalor for a few weeks. It's a hell of a lot easier than actually working for a living or going out and serving your country in a way that is truly needed or anything. Most of these idiots use mommy and daddy's money which was earned in the "evil" free market to bounce around the world and talk about how horrible the U.S. is. I was in Rio last year and heard some friggin' hippie leftover apologize to a Brit for Bush. It took EVERY ounce of self-control for me not to belt the bastard. (That and the thought of a Brazilian jail.) Most of the young ones come back, go to law school, make tons of money, then try to make themselves feel better by throwing money at the Democratic Party to help all the "poor", because of their liberal arrogance that they know better than working people what is good for them. Although, I have to say Elliot's friend seemed to make sense.
RE: Stupid White People #1
Ying, that observation is right on the mark. There is nothing more infuriating than some idiot limousine liberal that mommy and daddy have sent off to find themselves by squatting in a mud hut. It would be a hell of a lot more character building if they would actually work for a living instead of living off their parent's success in the free market. Also, it's quite easy to fall in love with the poor and oppressed when you're giving them handouts. Try getting information out of them to throw a scumbag in jail.

Tuesday, January 20, 2004

Bush on Foreign Policy
Besides taxes, the one good part of his speech. Some excerpts

Nine months of intense negotiations involving the United States and Great Britain succeeded with Libya, while 12 years of diplomacy with Iraq did not. And one reason is clear: For diplomacy to be effective, words must be credible and no one can now doubt the word of America.


From the beginning, America has sought international support for operations in Afghanistan and Iraq, and we have gained much support. There is a difference, however, between leading a coalition of many nations, and submitting to the objections of a few. America will never seek a permission slip to defend the security of our people.

Oh yeah, this too

Objections to war often come from principled motives. But let us be candid about the consequences of leaving Saddam in power. We are seeking all the facts already the Kay Report identified dozens of weapons of mass destruction-related program activities and significant amounts of equipment that Iraq concealed from the United Nations. Had we failed to act, the dictator's weapons of mass destruction programs would continue to this day. Had we failed to act, Security Council resolutions on Iraq would have been revealed as empty threats, weakening the United Nations and encouraging defiance by dictators around the world. Iraq's torture chambers would still be filled with victims terrified and innocent. The killing fields of Iraq where hundreds of thousands of men, women, and children vanished into the sands would still be known only to the killers. For all who love freedom and peace, the world without Saddam Hussein's regime is a better and safer place.
Bush on Health Care
I am on the verge of vomiting

Meeting these goals requires bipartisan effort and two months ago, you showed the way. By strengthening Medicare and adding a prescription drug benefit, you kept a basic commitment to our seniors: You are giving them the modern medicine they deserve.

What is it to "deserve" this? Maybe its that my generation hasn't figured out what issues to vote for yet, so we "deserve" to get fleeced.

Bush on Spending
Who else is skeptical?
In two weeks, I will send you a budget that funds the war, protects the homeland, and meets important domestic needs, while limiting the growth in discretionary spending to less than 4 percent. This will require that Congress focus on priorities, cut wasteful spending, and be wise with the people's money. By doing so, we can cut the deficit in half over the next five years.
Bush on Drugs
Give me a break
In my budget, I have proposed new funding to continue our aggressive, community-based strategy to reduce demand for illegal drugs. Drug testing in our schools has proven to be an effective part of this effort. So tonight I propose an additional 23 million dollars for schools that want to use drug testing as a tool to save children's lives. The aim here is not to punish children, but to send them this message: We love you, and we don't want to lose you.
The Name, Phone Number, and Email Address of a Spammer
Have you gotten those adds to "expand your manhood"? Sick of them? This website article is dated, so I don't know if the information is still good, but here is how you can "let these spammers know how you feel"

From Wired
But records on file with the New Hampshire secretary of state show that Braden Bournival, a 19-year-old high-school dropout who is also listed as vice president of the New Hampshire Chess Association, owns Amazing Internet Products.


To that end, one of Amazing's websites, which has since gone offline, listed a toll-free customer service number -- 800-576-4044. The company's PayPal account shows two e-mail addresses: and

I called up the number and it still works. Melissa in Customer Service no longer takes calls, but takes messages. Who knows if she reads them, but hey - it might be worth your while to vent.
Stupid White People
Why do white people find it so thrilling to backpack and live in squalor? The budget accommodations in Third World countries are just disgusting and yet they're teeming with white people. The ones from France always want to know why W. is hurting their feelings. Honey, because you guys deserve it.
In India, a white girl from Canada tells me that she's a big fan of digital cameras because after she takes pictures of the locals, she can show them what they look like. Oh, please. How far does your white guilt extend? If the locals really want to know what they look like, they can look in the mirror.

Monday, January 19, 2004

Here comes the Protectionists
IBM is moving jobs to asia, because labor costs are signifcantly less.

While everybody starts complaining about the jobs that are "fleeing the U.S." look at it this way. First, computers will now be cheaper meaning the rest of us will effectively have more money. If you are a techie, sorry dude, life sucks. But the rest of us get to make out like bandits. Second, eventually, the exchange rates are going to change, and it won't be so cheap to have workers do these tasks abroad. When that happens we may start seeing some factories come back to the U.S.
(thanks to DrudgeReport for the link)

Wow - We Actually Could Make Money off the Moon
The moon has large amounts of Helium 3, which could serve our energy needs for a few thousand years. Read all about it here.
(thanks to Andre Vanier of Federalist-Rant for the link)

Sunday, January 18, 2004

Pakistani Nuclear Scientists Quizzed
Neither surprising nor good news. Pakistan was the country that installed the Taliban, and its people still are very sympathetic to that organization's aims. Our worst nightmare is the nuclear expertise of that country falling into the hands of an organization like Al Queda.
NYTimes loves Kucinch....Surprised?
I am pretty sure that I never saw this kind of coverage for a libertarian candidate (whom would have the same chance of winning as Kucinch). I swear, the gatekeeping function of journalism all but ensures that objectivity is fundamentally impossible, so why bother pretending?
Off to Tahoe
The plan is for the girlfriend to get up to page 30 on her 35 page paper by midnight PST. Then we will either make the four hour drive and sleep for a few hours upon arrival, or sleep a few hours then leave. Hopefully by tomorrow I'll be going down some black diamonds.

Plan fell through. Phoebe with her typical charm offered to find a replacement for her spot by calling an escort service.
Environmentalists Screw it Up (again), Blame Republicans After Fact
Another editorial at least somewhat concerned with the "revision" to the Clean Air Act in the Wall Street Journal

Key Quote
Let's start with the environmental decision. The D.C. Circuit's ruling is the latest act in the long-running saga over Clean Air Act provisions known as New Source Review. As the name implies, the 1970s-era rules were intended to force the latest clean air technology on new pollution sources, not on existing power plants and the like, which are subject to strict emissions caps in any case.

So everyone understood for two decades, until the Clinton Administration decided that routine maintenance activities created a "new source" and hauled companies into court with the demand they install expensive scrubbers. The resulting legal uncertainty left many companies deferring further repair work, threatening safety and reliability. The Bush Administration decided it would be a good idea to clarify the rules.

Let's see here - a Democratic adminsitration under the guise of reform making things in effect more dirty and dangerous, then calling Republicans extremists when they try to undo the damage.... Am I the only one surprised?

Saturday, January 17, 2004

ladies, treast your family to a sumptuous feast and help alleviate the world's population crisis.
The latest sign that Corporate Taxes are too high...
In Slate Today

Kerry didn't directly criticize Howard Dean or Dick Gephardt on Thursday (though the veteran who introduced him did criticize Dean when he compared Kerry's Vietnam experience to "another candidate" who "asked for a deferment," then went skiing). But he emphasized tax reform, not just the repeal of the Bush tax cuts. "I'm not looking for some great redistribution" or a "confiscatory" tax scheme, he says. "I'm looking for fairness." He also promises to "scour" the tax code for provisions that benefit "Benedict Arnold" companies and CEOs who move their assets offshore to escape taxes. Fifteen years ago, Kerry says, U.S. businesses had $250 billion in offshore assets. Today, it's $5 trillion. "This system is rigged against the average American," he says. "America is losing its democracy to a dollar-ocracy."
What happened to Subcomandante Marcos?
Read recent events about the EZLN here.
The article this links to is about gang rape in France. Read it and get disgusted.
Prevent ID Theft
I received this email yesterday. Thought I would pass it along

The next time you order checks have only your initials (instead of First Name and Last Name). If some one takes your check book they will not know if you sign your checks wiith just your initials or your first name but your bank will know how you sign your checks.

When you are writing checks to pay on your credit card accounts, DO NOT put the complete account number on the "For" line. Instead, just put the last four numbers. The credit card company knows the rest of the number and anyone who might be handling your check as it passes through all the check processing channels won't have access to it.

Put your work phone # on your checks instead of your home phone. If you have a PO Box use that instead of your home address. If you do not have a PO Box use your work address.
Never have your SS# printed on your checks (DUH!) you can add it if it is necessary. But if you have it printed, anyone can get it.

Place the contents of your wallet on a photocopy machine, do both sides of each license, credit card, etc. You will know what you had in your wallet and all of the account numbers and phone numbers to call and cancel. Keep the photocopy in a safe place. I also carry a photocopy of my passport when I travel either here or abroad.
We've all heard horror stories about fraud that's committed on us in stealing a name, address, Social Security number, credit cards, etc. Unfortunately I, an attorney, have firsthand knowledge because my wallet was stolen last month. Within a week, the thieve(s) ordered an expensive monthly cell phone package, applied for a VISA credit card, had a credit line approved to buy a Gateway computer, received a PIN number from DMV to change my driving record information online, and more.

But here's some critical information to limit the damage in case this happens to you or someone you know: We have been told we should cancel our credit cards immediately. But the key is having the toll free numbers and your card numbers handy so you know whom to call. Keep those where you can find them easily. File a police report immediately in the jurisdiction where it was stolen. This proves to credit providers you were diligent, and is a first step toward an investigation (if there ever is one).

But here's what is perhaps most important: (I never even thought to do this). Call the three national credit reporting organizations immediately to place a fraud alert on your name and Social Security number. I had never heard of doing that until advised by a bank that called to tell me an application for credit was made over the Internet in my name. The alert means any company that checks your credit knows your information was stolen and they have to contact you by phone to authorize new credit. By the time I was advised to do this, almost two weeks after the theft, all the damage had been done. There are records of all the credit checks initiated by the thieves' purchases, none of w! hich I knew about before placing the alert. Since then, no additional damage has been done, and the thieves threw my wallet away this weekend (someone turned it in). It seems to have stopped them in their tracks. The numbers are:
Equifax: 800-525-6285

Experian (formerly TRW): 888-397-3742
Trans Union: 800-680-7289
Social Security Administration (fraud line): 800-269-0271
We pass along jokes on the Internet; we pass along just about everything. Pass this information along. It could really help someone you care about.
by popular demand, i have brought you a post that i found, well, amusing from these pre-college/pre-law boards. i hope you enjoy.
this one is from collegeconfidential, and it can be viewed here (as long as the link is still good)
By Gnrgurl (Gnrgurl) on Tuesday, January 06, 2004 - 12:49 am:
I heard so much ••••. i go to a school in LI with alot of people that "seem" to be liek the kids that go to Penn. and i hate those kinds of people. Im describing snobby, rich, Jewish (not that i have anything against them, but i want diversity), and just competitive. I mean isn't college where you make you everlasting friendships and i really don't wanna make them with rich snobs. Can someone who's been there describe the people, atmosphere, and esp. the people at wharton b/c that's where ill be applying.
By Aquaman (Aquaman) on Tuesday, January 06, 2004 - 01:28 am
Your rude attitude certainly won't get you into Penn or Wharton. You talk about how you don't want snobs, yet you are saying "I don't want to go to school with rich Jewish students." This might be the most blantanly offensive thing I've ever read. Also you talk about competition. Welcome to the Ivy League schools. If you don't want a very competitive atmosphere go to fourth tier school. You obviously are without a clue and this message board isn't going to give you one. Get off your butt and go visit the campus. Also anyone with any idea would be able to realize that diversity isn't necessarily different religions or people from different socio-economic backgrounds. Diversity can also be diversity of thoughts, which tends to be the most important part of college, learning from you peers. I could continue to rant, but there really isn't anything that will make you actually get it. In closing, I would just like to let you know that your message has not only been the most offensive, but also the most ignorant.
By Jro813 (Jro813) on Tuesday, January 06, 2004 - 06:49 am haha sorry, i'm gonna have to agree to with Aqua...
you probably should have researched Penn a little better before you picked it
By Gnrgurl (Gnrgurl) on Tuesday, January 06, 2004 - 03:41 pm
Aquaman, I am truly sorry that I offended you, by the Jewish comment. I really want you to know that that wasn't my intent at all. I was just trying to be honest about it. People who I haved talked to have said the things that I posted above, like Penn kids be snotty, cutthroat, and the student population having very little diversity. I understand diversity can mean diversity of thoughts but I meant it as diversity of ethnicity, religious, and race.
I couldn't visit Penn's campus because i honestly didnt have the time or money to go all the way to Penn. I live really far away.
And there is no reason for you to start insulting me and telling me to go to a fourth tier school. College is not all about academics, I'm a laid back person and i picked Penn because it is a competitve school, but I heard about kids there being very cutthroat and just downright rude.
By the way, "Welcome to the Ivys"... about that comment, not everyone at the Ivys are competitive, they are good students but they CAN be laid back.
So again I'm sorry if i offended you but please don't b!tch at me for my whole post.

Friday, January 16, 2004

Should Nader Run?
Here is one prof trying to goad him into it. A funny read.
(thanks Instapundit for the link)
Have a Prayer? - send it to Jesus via text message
Some con artists seriously tried to make money off this stunt until the Finnish government shut them down.
Professionalism and Repressed Humanity
Since I made the editorial decision to run a few posts that were clearly satire, I've heard a mixture of things from those who have read the blog. Some people think they are the funniest things they have read. Others have worried about the image it projects. What does one make of this?

I think the answer is clear - people who go to elite schools or try to climb a corporate ladder truly care about their appearance to the expense of ignoring what they would naturally find amusing. To succeed, one must say the right things, talk the small talk, put in face time, play golf, and appear to be a steady person who exudes tranquility. While these traits can be admirable, they are not natural for us, at least in the quantity that they are demanded.

I think maintaining this veneer of constant objectivity when we are by nature crass gossips creates a need to act out. Lawyers get drunk and say stupid things with surprising frequency. Bulletin boards such as the TPR and GreedyAssociates spring up so that midlevel associates and frustrated law students can take out their anger. Yet those that type the most disgusting and rude things ON A REGULAR BASIS under anonymous names (yes I post on TPR as Phoebe said, but only under my real name) must divorce themselves away from the screen and resume the super professional veneer in public.

An entire class of people are having two selves that are increasingly at odds, yet must maintain the peace to secure their illustrious place under the sun. Some of us are capable of this and succeed, some can get by and stagnate, others deny the truth about their nature and fail in an "embarassing incident."

Well, this blog fights the good fight against that tendency. You will find great commentary here from Ying, Tyler, Nathan, and TCleve, who are some of the smartest people you will meet. I will throw in general interest stories, and Phoebe Kozinski will contribute satire to make the thing not a bore.
General Student Group Complains about new Law Dorm. Please do us a favor and don't scare away the funders.
Dean Kathleen Sullivan here constantly gets no love from the peanut gallery. I've had the woman for conlaw class - she has the rare gift of expressing complexing thoughts in simple yet clear ways. She also has raised more money for the law school then anyone previously, tried to make the law school ever-so slightly more balanced in its political persuasion, and now has funding lined up for a new dormitory - which if you have ever been to Crothers and are not a member of its cult, is obviously needed

Some students are now trying (without success I hope) to prevent her latest project, the new law school dorm, from happening. While there are potentially legitimate concerns (i personally think the overall university does not pay enough attention to parking in the new studios) the cost concerns that they have, such as making buildings more energy efficient in the long run, miss a crucial point - probably (ok I am not sure) the amount that we would save on energy costs through the life of the dorm is nowhere near how much we are receiving from the Mungers to build the thing. Yes, we would want to make the dorm energy efficient - especially if it was our own money. But if the guy giving the money is adamant about the way the thing is to be, and it is truly just an issue of long-term costs which always get discounted in present value terms, just shutup and don't get in the Dean's way. Unless of course you have a better idea on how to get a $100 million donation in the next few years.
Are you a NeoCon?
Both Phoebe and I were disappointed to learn we were only realists as opposed to NeoCons (well, I was disappointed, Phoebe wasn't). See where you fit with this quiz.
Girl with X-Ray vision in Russia?
Somehow this seems like a hoax.

Natasha is capable of distinguishing even the tiniest pathology on a molecular level in the deepest corners of a human body, which are usually left undetected by regular ultrasound. "It's like having double vision. I can switch from one to the other in no time if I need to know a person's health problem," says the teenager. "I see an entire human organism. It is difficult to explain how I determine specific illnesses. There are certain impulses that I feel from the damaged organs. The secondary vision works only in daytime and is asleep at night."

Thanks to Drudge for the link (via Andre Vanier at Federalist-Rant)
Beware of this when buying a car
CNN has a good read on what is known as the "YO-YO" trap. Basically the dealer comes up with an excuse to get you back in to renogtiate after you thought the deal was done. He will, of course, get a higher price because it will be a second round of negotiation.

Thursday, January 15, 2004

Clark's troubles may have only begun
Wesley Clark's 9/26/2002 Congressional testimony, in which he strongly supported the war in Iraq, is not the only political skeleton in his closet. His recent praise for George W. Bush and his support for the war are only the latest examples of his exquisitely malleable (and convenient) political bearings.

It remains to be seen, however, just how much of what Clark has said will be revealed. His Congressional testimony was public record; his cocktail conversations are not. The question is whether anyone in polite Little Rock society will tell what they know. I hope so.
Israel discovers more leverage in negotiations with Arafat's Clique
This article in Slate has the info.
For those of you who follow the Middle East, in 2000 Arafat rejected a peace deal that would have given him shared control of Jerusalem, a city that is holy to three religions, but not the right of return, a demand Arafat knew would be the deal breaker. Jack Kemp phrased his tactics as "peace through other means, those means being violence and terror." Probably the calculation was that given Israel's reliance on the tourism industry Arafat could cripple its economy, damage its reputation, and get more of what he wanted by waging a campaign of terror. Basically, Arafat said give me what I want or get screwed.

In large part he was right. Israel's economy has been in tatters, and anti-Israeli feelings are at an all time high with the citizens of many countries feeling that is a greater threat to world peace than North Korea.

Now things seem to have changed ever so slightly - as the article from slate makes clear
[E]ver since Sharon's landmark speech last month when he said Israel will take steps to disengage unilaterally if the Palestinians don't come to the table, the parameters have changed. He's no longer just offering carrots to tempt the Palestinians and the world. Now he's waving a stick that has sent the Palestinians into a panic.


Read on in the slate article...

Sharon didn't ask the Palestinians to sign off on the route he chose for the fence, and they are rightly outraged by the steep price it exacts. But their outrage should be aimed at the Palestinian Authority, not at Israel. If Arafat would crack down on terror, there would be no need for the fence.

The barrier seems to be paying off. In 2003, "only" 213 Israelis were killed in terror attacks, down from 451 in 2002. The defense minister attributes much of the fall-off to the effect of the fence.

Israel's talk of unilateral moves has forced Palestinians to confront what many Israelis have suspected for months: that the fence may become Israel's unilateral withdrawal line. Last week, PA Prime Minister Ahmed Qurei said that if Israel makes good on its threats to disengage unilaterally, the Palestinian Authority may seek to merge Israel and the territories into a single Jewish-Arab state.

One puzzling thing - why would the PA want to merge Israel with Palestine in an apparent change of tactics? Keep reading the article -

The West Bank and Gaza are home to some 3.5 million Palestinians. Of Israel's 6.5 million citizens, some 1.2 million are Arabs. Do the math, and you'll see that in the territory between the Jordan River and the Mediterranean Sea there are 4.7 million Arabs and 5.3 million Jews. Each time a Palestinian mother gives birth to her sixth, seventh, eighth, or ninth child, the demographic balance shifts a little more. Unless a huge number of Jews decides to move to Israel in the next decade (it's not out of the question; think of the million immigrants from the former Soviet Union in the 1990s), at current rates of increase, it's only a matter of time - not all that much time - until Arabs constitute a majority in the area.

And there is the final reason for the leverage - Sharon no longer believes it is in his country's interest to retain the "occupied territories" because he is fearful that the Jewish majority will be voted out of office in the future. His logic is apparent, his threat is therefore believable, increasing his leverage because the Palestinians don't believe he is bluffing. Worse for them, he is giving them pressure to make a deal, for if they don't he will dictate the terms of the new border between the two states, which will be more manageable than the old one, and will, suffice it to say, not be the best border for the Palestinians. So now the pressure is on them. Make a deal, or get screwed. How the tables seem to be turning.
Ying Gets Her First Title Censored :-)
I was shopping for shawls in India recently. The owner of the store informed me that he had all kinds of cool stuff made of pure silk, pure pashmina or part silk and part pashmina. They cost anywhere between 1000 to 2000 rupees (which is enough to buy a few people in India). Upon seeing a shawl that costs only 250 rupees, I asked the owner what the difference was between that and the expensive ones. "This one is a fag," he exclaimed. Excuse me? "It's a fag, no good. You don't want it. The real silk or real pashmina better." What do you mean by fag? "It's cotton. See, touch. Different." Hmm, maybe, but the silk and pashmina ones are so much more expensive. "You getting it for your mother? Get her a good one. Don't get fag." But being the cheap Stanford Law student that I was and also a terrible daughter, I said, "No, I'll just take the fag."

Later, my UN friend and travel companion indicated to me that by "fag," my Indian friend was trying to say "fake." Ohhhh, I see. Silly me, I was beginning to think that Indians were just insensitive to gay people. See, I am acquiring new depths of cultural understanding from these foreign expeditions.

PMS, cont'd (or how to make hummus)
with the knife at my boyfriend's throat, and my mind in complete disarray i knew it was time for some salty food, or else. my first plan involved a thirty-minute trek to the local in and out burger joint (no I will not link you the secret menu) got nixed by mr. sanctimonious-i-will-not-risk-a-one-in-a-million-shot-of-a-mad-cow-burger-nor-will-I-suck-it-up-and-get-the-grilled-cheese. so after rattling his cage a little bit with one of my excellent german cleavers (arbeit macht frei, nein?) i decided to get down to business and satisfy my pre-bloating craving. i don't know why i am giving you ungrateful curs this, because it is the best, but here is the recipe for my renowned and PRESTIGIOUS hummus, famous throughout all the elite institutions i have wasted my time and my parents' money on.

Cuisinart Mini Prep Plus

one can ORGANIC garbanzo beans
juice of one half lemons
pinch of salt
three tablespoons olive brine (this is where most of the PRECIOUS salt comes from)
three tablespoons olive oil
two teaspoons dried mint
one teaspoon hungarian paprika (hot or sweet)
seven grinds of the peppermill (but I like it peppery)
one clove thinly sliced garlic
two heaping tablespoons of non-manishevitz tahini

dump all ingredients into cuisnart and GRIND until smooth. that's all - now i'm off to bloat
PS - perfect for getting boys to forgive your little spasms (when Mr. Sanctimonius tried this one, he forgave the little knife incident)

Al who?
According to Drudge, Al Gore is planning a major speech about global warming tomorrow in New York City... on what will probably be the coldest day in 50 years. Can you imagine if Dan Quayle tried a stunt like that? Even if he did, nobody would pay attention to it. Same for Walter Mondale. So why do we care what Al Gore thinks (I use the word loosely) anymore? Why doesn't he go finish his law degree or get a job?

Andrew Sullivan, on the warpath
When Sullivan is on, you just got to quote the guy, because his writing is just that good.

Key Quote -
LET THE KIDS PAY FOR IT: I'm talking about this $170 billion foray into space. After all, the next generation will be paying for a collapsed social security system, a bankrupted Medicare program, soaring interest on the public debt, as well as coughing up far higher taxes to keep some semblance of a government in operation. But, hey, the president needed another major distraction the week before the Iowa caucuses, and since he won't be around to pick up the bill, why the hell not? Deficits don't matter, after all. And what's a few hundred billion dollars over the next few decades anyway? Chickenfeed for the big and bigger government now championed by the Republicans. This space initiative is, for me, the last fiscal straw. There comes a point at which the excuses for fiscal recklessness run out. The president campaigned in favor of the responsibility ethic. He has governed - in terms of guarding the nation's finances - according to the motto: "If it feels good, do it." I give up. Can't they even pretend to give a damn?

I was thinking the exact same thing. Just not as eloquently.
Legislators sit on their hands while jobs leave the state
Greenhunt has a great article in the Orange County Register. Read it here (registration required).

Key quote
I think of the Legislature as a giant make-work project for journalists. We've been kept quite busy on the editorial page documenting one piece of insanity after another. There are legislators who want to "nationalize" industries (electricity, petroleum), just as they did in the communist bloc. Others think the government can simply, with the snap of its fingers, provide health care and something called living wages. Still other legislators specialize in punishing those nasty, rotten profit-seeking businesses with vindictive regulations, higher taxes and costly mandates.

Later he goes on....

Kosmont Partners of Los Angeles and the Rose Institute of State and Local Government in Claremont recently produced a survey called "Manufacturing in California." The survey points to the obvious: The state is losing more than 60,000 manufacturing jobs a year, and that number has accelerated in the last four years under an onslaught of anti-business legislation.

Read the whole thing - it is worth your time (especially if you live in California)

Wednesday, January 14, 2004

Raise the Gas Tax - Lower the Sales Tax
According to the journal, environmentally friendly cars were absent at the Detroit Greater North American International Automobile Show. The Journal is not surprised with this development.

Key Quote
There is no debating that hybrids and fuel cells make sense in terms of the environment and reducing fossil-fuel dependence. But until these new powerplants can equal current conventional gasoline engines in terms of performance, cost and durability, auto makers will respond to the harsh realities of the marketplace. No amount of government mandates, media pressure or high-minded pontifications can replace the simple laws of supply and demand.

I think the journal is wrong. There is one thing that the government can do to make us appropriately price (i.e. demand the "true" cost which is cost plus externalities) - it can raise the gas tax. A rise in the gas tax that is large enough will reduce the cost-effectiveness of gas engines, and hence demand for them, because their input will become significantly more expensive. The problem is that we are already over taxed.

Here is the solution - at the same time the gas tax is raised, lower the sales tax by an amount so that the government's revenue will be unchaged. Our total tax bill ends up being the same, just more "efficient" because it is altering behavior in a better way than a straight sales tax does.

The danger is that anybody advocating this rhetoric must be prepared to be sold out and have the government raise the gas tax without changing significantly the sales tax, so that the tax burden actually increases.
Santa Clara Bush2004 Meetup
So I went with my girlfriend, Tai, to the meetup down at Dave and Busters. Nobody at the meetup was the biggest Bush fan, but everybody was scared of what the current crop of Democrat candidates stand for. We have some fun stuff being planned out, so sign up for Bush2004 on meetup today if you are interested in getting involved. I recommend that people at Stanford help us get the San Mateo meetup going so that maybe we could meet at CoHo in two weeks.
Free Trade is now an Insult in Democrat Circles
At least according Ryan Lizza. One thing I disagree with in her article - trade is one of those issues that the press, which is overwhelmingly pro-free trade, uses as a major litmus test to define a candidate on the left/right spectrum. I think this may have been true for physical products, but the press seems to be very protectionist when it comes to service jobs. For a good example of this see the following article, or watch Lou Dobbs sometime.

Tuesday, January 13, 2004

Readers - please comment on this idea.
Let's suppose Bush made a mess of our diplomatic relations - so what?

Slate is now having a debate over the war between several liberals who supported it. One point that is coming up repeatedly is that whatever the merits of removing Saddam, Bush has handled this clumsily and alienated our allies. My question is if that is necessarily a bad thing. Perhaps an ally needs to be alienated once in a while to stay honest within the relationship.

This is an idea that is still forming in my head, but basically it goes like this - Countries that always seek to make their allies happy in the end become viewed as pushovers at the negotiation table. There is a sense that I have, whether accurate or not, that this was the view of America before Bush came to office. Then Bush takes a hardline on many sensitive issues - Missile Defense, Kyoto, Steel Tariffs, farm subsidies, and finally the Iraq war. He was willing to defy for better or worse "world opinion" and take the domestic/international heat that came with it.

What is the effect of this? Well, it for sure pissed our allies off. But there is an additional effect - it increases the leverage of a future administration at the negotiation table. If an American President says she will do something in the future, other nations will have a diminished opinion of their ability to apply the international pressure/domestic heat card than they would have otherwise had. With more leverage, this future president could have more room to manuver - she'll be taken more seriously.

Those that read this page please let me know what you think of this idea - like I said, it is just forming in my head.
There's more coming to this site! Set us as one of your bookmarks!
We update this site at least daily, and some of our columnists are still traveling, taking exams, moving to a new city, or have yet to post for unrelated reasons. So come back and tell your friends - you'll all at least get a good story and maybe a good laugh from one of Phoebe's onion like posts each day.
Bohemians do not help a city's job growth
Seems obvious - why would people who don't work make a city more dynamic? A lot of smart people have been buying into the idea however, that bohemians serve as a form of catalyst to lure creative people to an area. This page debunks the myth. Thanks to Tyler Cowen at Volokh for providing the original link.
with "that time of the month" fast approaching, i've been forced once again to reflect upon the ups and downs of being female. having been raised with reverence for the sexual revolution of the 1960s and beyond, i have always thought women are (or at least should be) on an equal footing with men. but for the last few hours i've been wondering whether the next leap forward for womankind isn't just around the corner. my sisters, ask yourselves this question: how would your life be different if you didn't own a clitoris?
consider this: current studies estimate that perhaps 50% of women suffer from female sexual dysfunction (read, inability to achieve orgasm). and according to my boyfriend, the chances are great that the rest of us are probably faking it. men are holding us captive with their lies, telling us that if we stay with them and serve as incubators for their young we may someday reach what they call "climax." they say that if only we were "normal" females, we would be able to achieve this so-called climax through clitoral stimulation. this perverse game must come to an end! women must cast off the chains of this lie of female orgasm which exists only in the male mind. only by destroying our clitorises can we finally eliminate from the face of the earth the dehumanizing myth of female orgasm. only then will women ever achieve true equality with each other and fight shoulder to shoulder for our rights!

but then again, maybe all that's just the pms talking. you never know...
Why are there so many law blogs?
Volokh Conspiracy, Instapundit, How Appealing, Three Years of Hell, The Kitchen Cabinet, etc.

Don't get me wrong - I think the writing on these blogs can be good to excellent, which is why they are linked to. But is there some reason why so many of the blog writers happen to be lawyers, law students, or law professors?

Yes, I am aware that every poster on this blog is a law student as well.
Wrigley Rooftop Watchers to pay Cubs
At least they get to keep the right to watch the games from their roofs.
Guess whose taking advantage of Mad Cow disease?
Organic Beef owners
The Nation Has an interesting story on Nader
Apparently he is running around with a pseudo-political cult....

Monday, January 12, 2004

Stanford Columnist compares Israel to KKK in criticising CampusTruth ads
The ads can be viewed here. The criticism by Sheba Najmi can be viewed here.

A little background. Campust truth ran a series of ads at Stanford about the Israel - Palestine conflict that were eye catching to say the least. Much criticism has been focused by several interest groups on the editorial board for allowing the ads to run, basically on the basis that the ads were misleading and told only half the story. This column is part of a general criticism of the decision to allow the ads.

The key quote is at the end
The important question is: Where does the editor in chief draw the line? If a hate-based organization such as the KKK wrote a sensationalistic ad listing only negative “facts” about African-Americans, would the editor in chief publish that too? It could well be a “factual” ad and, under the line Setoodeh has chosen to follow, he certainly would. Would he dare to argue as well that the KKK message “foster(s) greater understanding among those in the University community” (“Controversial ads will keep running,” Nov. 4) and that these published “facts” do not demonstrate prejudice?

Yes, the middle east is complicated. Yes, the Israelis have done quite a few naughty things. However, comparing the ads, which are shown above, to the KKK seems to be a bit much. Whatever the justification, the Palestinian public do value the killing of innocent civilians, as this apologist in the Guardian makes clear. In the Muslim world, then, we celebrate what we call the martyr-bombers. To us they are heroes defending the things we hold sacred. Polls in the Middle East show 75% of people in favour of martyr-bombings. This is all the ads speak to (as opposed to other things on the website). They do not say one side in the conflict is right. They do not say one side is wrong. They only point out the difference in values that is implied with different tactics. Imlying that this makes these ads similiar to the past behavior of the KKK demeans not only the ad makers, Israelies, or the past victims of the KKK, but also the rest of us who are confronted with this garbage.
Who Does Al Sharpton Think He is?
Sharpton confronted Dean at the Debate last night by saying "If you want to lecture people on race, you ought to have the background and track record in order to do that" .

Here is an idea for Al Sharpton - if you want to lecture people on race, why not stop first pulling stunts like this - and saying things like "If the Jews want to get it on, tell them to pin their yarmulkes back and come over to my house."

French Police Stop Biological Attack
Yes, the French are apparently a target.
Modest Proposal of the Day
after realizing the hydrogenated oils contained in the little orange bag of cheetos i ate today will remain lodged in my fatty tissues for all eternity (realistically until my wednesday lipo treatment), i actually emptied the contents of my stomach onto my boyfriend's lap.

then it dawned on me: the public, not knowing better than to scarf down frito lay's altered grain of the month, is seriously reducing its average life expectancy. those who repeatedly ingest these substances are a drain on the health care system. our move to nationalize it will become prohibitively expensive unless such products are banned or good citizens voluntarily agree to abstain from them.

my solution? (1) allow sale of such substances only from duly licensed vendors, and never to children under 21 years of age. (2) require vendors to renew licenses biannually (3) require individuals to report their level of saturated fat consumption when applying for jobs and health insurance coverage.

by adopting this proposal social capital can be maximized. long live the republic!
Congrats to Northwestern FIJI
I've heard reports that my old frat house has kicked ass during their rush week. Great job guys.
Depressing Soldier Letter From Iraq
Leiter has it.

Sunday, January 11, 2004

Boy gets stuck in Toy Machine
You really gotta see this. Remember those machines where you put in a quarter, and tried to hook a stuffed animal before you inevitably failed? Well, a little boy got stuck in one of those machines.
Did capitalism spring from religion?

The Protestant Ethic and the Spirit of Capitalism
A Classic of Sociology
by Max Weber

full text:

This short book, originally published in 1904, rests on the following idea: That Protestantism made people feel like they had a moral duty to earn and accumulate as much money as possible, not so that they could have fun spending it later, but so that they could keep it and build it up as a monument to the glory of God. The point is not that Protestantism caused greed-- it didn't-- but that it removed greed as the primary motive for wealth-seeking behavior and replaced it with the motive of wanting to fulfill obligations to a higher power. This sanctification legitimized wealth-seeking in the popular imagination (where before it had been regarded suspiciously) and created a culture filled with the type of godly "ascetic capitalists" typified in the shrewd image of Ben Franklin.

Part of Franklin's autobiography is exhumed, and tends to make him look like a mixed meathead-genius who knew how to accumulate wealth but could appreciate little else. For example, Franklin recommends that, even if there is no business, shopkeepers should work extra hours in order to give creditors a degree of false assurance about whether they will be able to recover on their outstanding loans. His recommendation of this tactic betrays the type of emotional and experiential poverty afflicting men who are so overly rational and future-oriented in their thinking that they can't conceive of anything better to do with their free time than to throw it away on make-work.

Weber thinks that the overt religiosity of capitalism has faded, but that its influence on our economic thinking continues in full force. I think he's right. Consider the new wave of overzealous free-marketers who insist always on using "economic efficiency" as the universal yardstick for deciding every issue. If pressed to explain why efficiency is so important, they mumble something about the greatest good for the greatest number and excuse themselves from the table. They do not see that, if efficiency is to be maximized, then people in society will have to work maximum hours, making life suck.

These people remind me of the modern-day social reject who stays late at the office pretending to work so that, if a partner happens to notice, the display will function as an (essentially false) advertisement of his dedication and hardworking-ness. "My life sucks now," he says to himself, sniveling and hunching over his keyboard, "but when I finally make partner and retire at the early age of eighty-three, then I will have all the free time I want. Ha, yes-- then I will kick back, sip some lemonade, and finally get around to contemplating why nobody ever really liked me or wanted to get to know me."

Who does not have an uncle like this, who slugs away at a job he professes to hate because "the money's good"? He is the type of person who doesn't know how to have fun, and who will die knowing he wasted the moments of his life by always obsessing about the future.

Buy this book and give it to that dude. I bet his reaction will be kind of funny and ironic.
Mutual Funds Had a Good Year - Don't Buy Them
So says the Washington Post (at least the first part about them having a good year).
After listening to the gospel of Prof. Grundfest (old SEC chairman currently teaching at Stanford Law), here is what I don't get - why invest in a fund other than an index fund in the first place? Over time, all funds are going to return the market rate, and mutual funds will have that return reduced by two factors (1) Costs, (2) Unethical Cheaters. The only way you are going to be able to find a fund that will beat the market over the long run is to find the fund with top notch analysts that can over time (and through skill not luck) beat the market. Even if these analysts exist, do you really think that they will be working at a mutual fund? Hell no! They'll go cater to people who have the real wealth to play with at a hedge fund. The analysts that stay at these mutual funds are either the inexperienced analysts or the ones that didn't have those skills (or the ones that haven't had a ridiculous lucky streak yet). So basically at a mutual fund you are paying for analysts who have yet to do squat (consistently beat the market) and have less than a 50-50 chance of doing it in the future.

The problem gets worse though when you realize that even if you DO get lucky and make more than the S&P, your gains have probably been reduced by cheaters. The most simple scam is that a larger customer, after seeing a fund go up during the day, gets a corrupt employee or officer of one of these funds to let them buy into a fund after it closes. Let's say that the fund closes at 4:00. All subsequent trade orders for the fund will take place the next morning. Next, let's say that at 4:30 there is an announcement that productivity grew at 7.5% that quarter when the market was only expecting a 1.5% growth rate, meaning profits are much more likely to be up. The market will rise very sharply the next day, along with mutual funds, but that only benefits the people who already own stock. Those that don't own stock or want more stock will have to pay extra for this good news.

But what happens if you had a time machine and could go back in time? You'd buy stock by the boatload! Well time travel is possible on wall street - just get a corrupt official at 5:05 at a mutual fund to say that you put an order in at 3:59 for stock, and viola! you now traveled in time and owned stock that you didn't own when the announcement was made. As the amount of stock that the fund owned didn't change (because the fund didn't get your order in time to actually buy any more stock), the only way that you are able to have profits is by reducing the rest of our profits. Basically, you steal your profits from the rest of the honest shareholders.

Far fetched? Guess what - it happened, and was much more widespread than most grandmothers with nest eggs wanted to think. Read all about it here.
Khatami: U.S. Must Accept Iran Right to Nuke Power (as in electricity)
Somehow, I don't think we are going to accept this "obligation" (all rights are in the end obligations on others). Perhaps because they have a history of hiding their actual nuclear activity? Or have long sought to join the nuclear club? Maybe because they have ties to groups that use suicide bombings?

Just a hunch.
Study links marijuana buzz to 'runner's high'
Am I the only that thinks this sounds ridiculous?

Saturday, January 10, 2004

Bush's State of the Union
I couldn't bring myself to watch the whole thing. When Bush started talking about the need to give the American taxpayer money back through tax cuts because the taxpayer can spend it better than the government, the following thoughts ran through my head

1) Farm Subsidies
2) Medicare
3) Mars
4) Explosive Growth in Discretionary Spending
5) Other things I am afraid to remember
6) Bush Cooking the Books

So I turned off the webview of it in disgust. I'll try and read the transcript of it later.
"you know i love you sweetheart, but that EMBARRASSING abdominal pooch of yours has just got to go! you're so special to me and i really hope we can keep on shopping together." why aren't single grad school women talking the straight talk to their girlfriends??? has anyone else noticed that we have begun to blossom alarmingly in all the wrong places? sadly, our days of donut-pounding, burger-huffing waifdom are over. as your metabolism slows, your chances of attaching yourself to a man on his way UP are waning fast. remember that all other wiles held equal, the size and quality of your engagement rock is bound to be INVERSELY proportionate to your size. so buck up, sister, but don't you dare chow down. and remember, NO PANTIES IN THOSE JEANS!!!

PS - if you're so far gone you need help DISCREETLY (i.e. the gym is no longer a workable dating resource), here's where you can begin your trek back to meat-market eligibility). it's a jungle out there!
When it comes to Abortion, the Democrats Hate Democracy
The observation that Democrats are fundamentally anti-democratic about legalized abortion is nothing new, but William McGurn's column in today's makes the point particularly well. I've long shared his belief that Democratic support for unregulated abortion has become more an article of religious faith -- almost some sort of holy sacrament -- than a public policy position. Anyone who dares question, for example, the practice of sucking the brains out of a viable human infant (before he or she escapes the birth canal, of course -- though I wonder how long we'll maintain that distinction) has departed from the faith. A heretic and an apostate, no less.

On a related note, the left cannot seem to complete a sentence with the word "Republican" in it these days without including the word "extremist." Of course, extremism is in the eye of the beholder. But when solid democratic majorities favor at least some restrictions on abortion, and one party is willing to thwart the democratic process to prevent any such restrictions, who are the real extremists?
Bush defends tax cuts, wants more of them
MSNBC has the story
Key quote
Bush gave credit to the three tax cuts he approved. “Tax relief has got this economy going again, and tax relief will keep it moving forward,” Bush said.

Another Key quote
Bush gave credit to the three tax cuts he approved. “Tax relief has got this economy going again, and tax relief will keep it moving forward,” Bush said.

Two things - Tax cuts are not the only thing that got the economy going. There is such a thing as low interest rates. That being said, I think cutting taxes is a good thing, because it might "starve the beast" and keep spending growth lower than it would otherwise be, which is the important thing for our long-term prosperity. The strange thing is that spending keeps growing under a faster rate under this supposedly small-government president than under Clinton.
Dean Unelectable? I am not so sure about that. Plus, bet on the election.
I love going back to my hometown of Canton, Ohio. The people are nice, things are cheap, and weather is repeatedly and predictably terrible. But two things make trip home very enjoyable - I get to see friends/family and I get to hear what average Americans (as opposed to average Californians) think about politics. Remember, as Ohio votes in political elections, so votes the nation (I think they have voted for the losing candidate only once in the last fifty years, and my hometown of Canton has been accurate even longer). And the obvious things that I saw when I was home were that (a) Cantonians are scared off by Dean and (b) Nobody thinks he can win.

The first point should be troubling for Democrats anywhere. Having your candidate being seen as an unstable extremist when you are trying to portray the president that way is not a good sign for them. The other point however, despite receiving quite a bit of press is overstated in my opinion. I THINK DEAN CAN WIN. That doesn't mean he will win, or is likely to win, just that HE CAN WIN. Why? Because you never know what will happen in an election. Bush may have a huge gaffe, or Dean may just upstage him at the debates. One thing I am calling here - Dean, if he gets the nomination, will significantly narrow or even close the gap between the candidates, and as he is doing so, the press will begin eagerly printing editorials to the effect of "Dean, once thought to be a long-shot, is now viewed as having an even chance of winning the general election." Just a prediction - I still think the guy will lose though.

Kristol, who is not anywhere close to being on the same side of the political aisle as where Dean has placed himself these days, has a dated editorial on this same idea that Dean can win here. Ramesh Ponru disagrees with Kristol's argument here.

I think Ponru misses the big point. Nobody knows the exact way a Dean upset would occur. Upsets usually don't occur in predictable ways. The real question is what the odds of such an upset are. Too bad the Iowa Electronic Market is not listing the odds of that matchup yet. About the last site - there you are able to bet on certain outcomes of the presidential election. It is a cool site, and I recommend you look at it.
Interesting Article on differences between Berkeley in the 60's and today
Read it
Midnight Parking Lot Watch
Time: 12:37 a.m.
Date: Saturday, January 10th, 2004
Place: Parking lot of the law offices of Wilson Sonsini Goodrich and Rosati
Parked Cars Counted: 35

Friday, January 09, 2004

File Sharing on College Campuses is Down
RIAA is pleased, number of complaints of illegal swapping at Stanford up.

Guess lawsuit strategy is working
Midnight Parking Lot Watch
Place: The law offices of Wilson Sonsini
Time: 1:14 a.m., Thursday, January 9th
Cars Counted in Parking Lot: 33

Coming soon - the Gibson Dunn Parking lot Watch!
Like this site? Tell your friends and Family! Hate it? Tell them anyway!
It is difficult to start a blog, and we could use any help to get the word out about this webpage. If you have any suggestions, feel free to comment, and we'll get back to you.
If you are "For Free Trade, but" you probably aren't for free trade
Thank goodness I am not the only one who is getting worried at the rising protectionist rhetoric. Look at Kinsley's piece in Slate undressing some of the more ludicrious "free trade, but" arguments that we are seeing today.

Key Quote
The core of free-trade theory is the concept of "comparative advantage." Schumer and Roberts make the classic college-student mistake of confusing comparative advantage with absolute advantage. Nations trade because for each one there are goods or services it is more efficient to buy from abroad than to produce at home. If there is nothing America can offer the world that is either uniquely desirable or cheaper than elsewhere, the world will not buy anything from America. And after a while the world won't sell anything to America either, because we won't have the foreign currency to pay for it. So, even in this extreme case there is no need to restrict trade because trade will restrict itself. But in fact, as Ricardo demonstrated, there will always be something worth trading. Even if Nation A can produce both apples and oranges more efficiently than Nation B, it will still make sense to concentrate on producing one fruit and import the other. And Nation B will make itself poorer, not richer, by keeping out fruit from Nation A. If Nation A retaliates by keeping out fruit from Nation B—and why shouldn't it?—Nation B will be doubly punished.

That's the theory. It's pretty rock-solid. You can reject it in its entirety—as, for example, Dick Gephardt, the most protectionist of the leading Democratic presidential candidates, pretty much does. But most critics don't have the guts to defy reality and/or conventional wisdom (take your pick) to that extent. Schumer and Roberts cling to the free-trade label and endorse the general principle while claiming it no longer applies because "the factors of production can relocate to wherever they are most productive." In fact, that makes the theory even more compelling. If the factors of production become more productive, the whole world becomes richer. If there is some explanation of how a society can get richer by denying itself the fruits of this process (and most likely curtailing the whole process itself, as others misguidedly retaliate), Schumer and Roberts do not offer or even hint at it.

Read the whole thing, even if you are against the idea of Free Trade. If you are still against it, please post a comment, and we'll talk about this over the next few days.
The Wall Street Journal Supports the Immigration Plan
Their lead editorial is in favor of it.

Key quote
Like it or not, the U.S. is part of an integrating regional and world economy in which the movement of people across borders is inevitable. Despite nearly 20 years of efforts to "crack down on the borders," the immigrants keep coming--an estimated eight million without legal U.S. documents today. As long as the per capita income differential between the U.S. (nearly $32,000) and Mexico ($3,679) continues to be so wide, we can't stop immigrants short of means that will violate our traditions, our conscience, and our national interest.

Do we really want to deputize all of American business to report and arrest illegals? We tried a version of that in the 1986 reform that was promoted by restrictionists, and it proved both a nuisance and a failure. We later beefed up the border guard, but all that did was move illegal crossings deeper into the shadows of organized crime and cause more illegals to stay here for longer periods. We could always next build a Berlin Wall along the 2,000 miles of U.S.-Mexican border, or deploy the 101st Airborne, but we doubt Americans would be morally comfortable with either.

Another Key Quote

The proposal also has the advantage of making it easier to track foreigners who enter the country in our post-September 11 world. Valuable homeland security resources are now being squandered chasing down Honduran gardeners instead of more likely terrorist threats. Giving them legal status would let the law-abiding move out into the open and away from possible exploitation by cynical employers or landlords.

Couldn't agree with the Journal more. Let's face it, without the people working here wages at positions that illegals formerly worked at would be raised to attract only "True Americans." The costs would get passed on through the economy making the most product more expensive, slowing down our economic growth, and in the end costing a significant number of jobs (perhaps on par with the number opened for "True Americans," anybody know of a study attempting to quantify this?). Oh yeah, and the southwestern half of our country, plus Chicago would probably be shut down as well. So we have an interest to turn a blind eye to the problem, but that means that we aren't security checking this immigrants either. I like Bush's proposal because it deals with both of these issues.
Grad Students and Misery
Yesterday, I was talking to one of my friends in the Law Cafe about life after graduation, and he was quite miserable. Said he had never had fewer friends than while at law school. Another guy told my girlfriend the same thing later that day. I hear a week ago from one of my other friends, that a guy in our fraternity who went to med school is now so lonely that he got a dog. Last year, one of the guys I roomed with had not been on a date in over a year and a half. What is it with grad students? Why are we as a group so miserable?

For me, I have only felt this in part. Those of you at SLS know I have been dating the same girl for the last year, and that the two of us go out quite a bit. Even so, I feel a bit of the loneliness that is talked about so frequently. I don't have nearly as many friends as in undergrad, my life seems to be at a crossroads, and everybody I know is suddenly very, very, serious. This was definitaly not true when I was in Undergrad, especially with some of the guys in my fraternity

I think what makes us so unhappy is that we are at a point of decision. College is a time for unlimited expectations and optimism, law school (and other graduate programs) are about the looming reality and limitations. The same people act much differently due to changes in their perspective and this reverberates through any community.

Update - One of my friends writes me -
A common myth is that all graduate students are depressed. In fact, MBA
students are very happy and outgoing and they make, on average, almost as
much as law students on graduation.

I'm living in Schwab this semester. It's unreal.

Screw You too Ricky Davis
Ricky Davis rips the Cavs.

Key quote
"[The team] went backward. It's like the same team from last year with me scoring a lot of points and them losing games. It's pretty much the same thing. They're going to be looking for another addition next year. Hopefully, they can get another draft pick. They've got good players. They're good guys. They work hard. The guys who came from here really know how to win games. You could turn it around, but you've got the two guys up top . . . it's going to be hard to turn it around."

I don't really like my hometown area being called "a black hole" Let's reserve that term for New York. Anyway, let's see, the Cavs won 17 games with you last year, and this year have already won 12 with three months or so to play....Hope you are enjoying your time in Boston...on the bench.

The Flu Strikes another

Andrew Sullivan is making this one sound pretty bad -
Key Quote
PLANET FLU: Man, this is brutal. I can't remember a worse bout. Now I know what everyone was going on about earlier this winter. I had one of those day-nights when you don't seem to be sleeping but you also don't seem to be awake. In bed, I get drenched every two hours. Out of bed, I get the chills.

I just hope I don't get this thing while working on my paper this week.

Thursday, January 08, 2004

Bush to announce Beginnings of Man to Mars mission
This is not going to come cheap - key quote
No one, least of all members of Congress, knows how NASA would pay for lunar camps or Mars expeditions. When the first President Bush proposed such a project, the estimated price tag was $400 billion to $500 billion.

Excuse me for being a grouch, but doesn't it seem fitting that an administration that has allowed spending to rise faster than any other administration in recent memory is on the verge of proposing another new program?
Alas, her husband must not have discovered Viagra in time
Teacher Charged for Having Sex With 11-Year-Old
FOCUS ON AWARENESS - more attention needs to be focused NOW on the concerns of middle aged women whose partners' sexual vigor is not what it used to be. the place for this woman is not prison; obviously her husband needs to find viagra or be held accountable for his wife's perfectly understandable need-driven sexual release. on the other hand, if her husband has tried viagra without success she would benefit from therapy from an accredited sex surrogacy practitioner. these practitioners have been trained through a "revolutionary hands-on method" to help patients learn to please themselves.
Troops acting despicably in Iraq?
Not a good story
(Thanks to instapundit for the link)
The Immigration Plan
CNN has a basic primer.

Tyler Cowen at Volokh Conspiracy wonders about the plan's efficacy.

Key Quote -
The full details remain to be hammered out, but I see at least one obvious flaw with the idea. Most illegal immigrants do not much trust governments of any kind. Unless they expect a significant boost in wages, why should they step forward? To enjoy the benefits of U.S. federal labor regulations? Try telling that story around rural Mexico, where many of the workers come from. The only question is whether you get laughs or hostility in response.

I wonder also how employers of illegals should feel about such an offer to legalize the workers. Either wages will go up or not. If wages don't go up, workers won't step forward. If wages do go up, employers won't necessarily want illegal workers to step forward and may pressure them not to. There is also the question of what legal liability the employer would have, if his workers step forward and admit their illegality.

While I don't have a strong opinion about Tyler's point on the employee side, I am not sure if I agree with him on the employer side - here is why - look at the text of Bush's speech

Key Quote -
Employers must not hire undocumented aliens or temporary workers whose legal status has expired. They must report to the government the temporary workers they hire, and who leave their employ, so that we can keep track of people in the program, and better enforce immigration laws. There must be strong workplace enforcement with tough penalties for anyone, for any employer violating these laws

If the penalties are harsh enough, companies that violate the plan by prefering undocumented workers would have to face if they were caught not only the bad publicity (remember Wal-Mart) of cheating on the system, but also have to pay monetary damages, which could be greater than any cost savings of having undocumented workers. These monetary penalties could change the incentives that a corporation hiring undocumented workers faces by raising their expected costs (through more expensive risk of discovery), which would cause them to shift on the margin to more documented workers. The degree of the shift should depend on how much teeth the government puts into that section of the law if it is passed.