Wednesday, June 30, 2004

Latest Sign That The Apocolypse is Nigh in California
Received this email from a friend:
Republican FreakShow
Sunday, July 18th, 6:00-10:00PM, The Cat Club, 1190 Folsom Street @ 8th,
San Francisco.
$10 requested donation, 21 years of age and over.

A benefit party to help send the creative activists of the Ronald Reagan
Home for the Criminally Insane (SF Bay Guardian Local Hero Award winners)
to the Republican National Convention.

The party will feature:

Art: slide shows by cartoonists Lloyd Dangle - "Trouble Town" and Keith Knight - "K Chronicles" and "(th)ink)".

Live Music: the surf sounds of the Copper Tones and the semi-conscious hip
hop of the Marginal Prophets (California Music Awarded winner for Outstanding Rap Album).

Short Films: "The Lord of the Rings of Free Trade" and "The Two Towers" by
the st01en collective. "War Pigs" and other short films by Jeff Taylor of Whispered Media and Ronald Reagan Home for the Criminally Insane movies by
Bill Carpenter.

Photography: Eric Wagner's photos of anti-war and pro-war demonstrations.

Dance: performances by Mila Salazar and Amy Little.

Clowns: Clownarchy - A farce to be reckoned with!

Audience Participation: A political impersonation contest and special
surprises from the Ronald Reagan Home for the Criminally Insane.

Food: Ya Mo, a vegetarian Thai restaurant, will be serving food for just
$3 a plate.

Republican Drink Special: The $6 glass of water

Saturday, June 26, 2004

5,000 Nude People in Cleveland!
You've got to be kidding!
We Probably Interpret This Statement Differently.......
"We're all anti-George Bush. Everything ever learned in school about human rights has been contravened by this man."

What does that say? That Bush contravenes human rights, or that schools aren't teaching human rights correctly? You make the call.
What NOT to do at a Job
A story I heard yesterday from one of the partners:
Many states have laws against a corporation making an illegal distribution. In other words, money can not flow from the corporation to its shareholders unless there is more than enough assets to pay off creditors . To give the law teeth, if a corporation does make an illegal distribution, than the board of directors can be liable to the creditors.

Many years ago, an attorney I know was a partner at a different law firm. He was also on the board of a Virginia Corporation which had gone bankrupty. At 4:30 p.m. on a Friday, an associate put on his desk a memo saying that all the directors of this corporation would be liable, under Virginia Law, for 20 million dollars. Then the associate went home. Five minutes later, the partner read the memo, and started freaking out. Couldn't find the associate. Couldn't find anything in the firm's law library about Virginia Law. So he went to the county law library, and found the statute. Turns out that the partner would only be liable if he was a citizen of Virginia. On Monday, he almost fired the associate for the scare.

Friday, June 25, 2004

How Prevailing Wages Get Set So High.
So I learned a bit more about prevailing wage law today. Remember, prevailing wage law is the body of law that mandates that workers on public projects get paid the prevailing wage, which ends up being a multiple of the market wage (meaning that workers get overpaid on government projects, leaving us with the bill).

The question is how does the prevailing wage get set so high when it is supposed to mirror the market wage? The answer - the prevailing wage, although intended to mirror the market wage, is actually the single wage most prevalent in the market. In other words its not an average, or even a median - its a mode. An example of these definitions is as follows. Assume 5 numbers. 1,1,8,9,11. The average is 6, the median is 8, and the mode is 1.

With this rule in mind, unions make sure that all their workers get paid exactly the same wage rate, to the very penny. Private contract jobs will fluctuate around the market rate (which is lower), but will not EXACTLY equal it. The result is that the Union workers can only be 5% of the workforce and get paid $47.82 an hour, with the average wage (unions being taken into account) being around $23.03, and still the prevailing wage will be $47.82 an hour. This is because all the non-union workers pay $23.01 or $23.03 or $23.02 or $23.04 or $23.05 (you get the point) but rarely exactly the same as each other. In fact, if contractors tried to all set a common wage, it might even be price fixing and be an antitrust violation (I don't know on this last one).

Thursday, June 24, 2004

Lynne Stewart's Trial Begins
Lynne Stewart, attorney to the Sheik who inspired the 1993 WTC Bombings, is set to go to trial. Her crime is that she is accused of helping the blind Sheik run his terrorist organization from jail by smuggling his messages out to them.

My particular interest in her stems from the fact that I was involved in a bit of controversey that made national attention my first year of law school. Eduardo Capulong, the former director of Public Interest at Stanford Law School, decided that Lynne fit all the characteristics of a "Public Interest Mentor." At the time I knew nothing of her, but several of the 2Ls sent an email out that she was under indictment. I did some research of my own and learned that she had also called in the June 28, 1995 edition of the NYTimes of all places, for
"violence directed at the institutions which perpetuate capitalism, racism and sexism, and at the people who are the appointed guardians of those institutions."

Now I don't think there is anything inherently "wrong" with that view, namely because I don't believe in inherent right/wrong. But I still found the thought that Stanford Law School would "endorse" such views by appointing her as a mentor disgusting, especially when she refused to retract them. So I met with Eduardo and voiced my concerns. Eduardo basically told me to fuck off - as he was telling the rest of the students who wanted him to withdraw the invitation. So I wrote a letter to Dean Kathleen Sullivan, asking for a solution - let Lynne speak (as many of us wanted to grill her anyway), just don't let her have the title of "Stanford Public Interest Mentor."

One day passed. No response. The protests had gotten louder, and somebody leaked the issue to Volokh, who made some posts on the subject (click link and scroll down). So I wrote a petition up repeating my proposal to the dean. Over 10% of the student body signed it (about 40% of the people I asked signed it, many agreed but didn't want to take a public side) but from my going person to person in the law school, the controversey spread like wildfire. Still no word from the Dean though.

The next day the story hit the Wall Street Journal's web page. Alumni phone calls are coming in droves, and a second, smaller, petition was started by Carter Ruml. The Dean's office caves. They take the out I gave them, and removed Lynne's title, but allowed her to speak.

That weekend I attended her speach at the Shaking the Foundations Conference. With Mary Stiles (much beloved former staffer at Stanford) keeping the microphone from my grasp (afraid that I would rant), I thanked her for coming and turned my attention to a different speaker (who I ripped apart with a very short question). It wasn't until two days later, when she gave a speech in front of just the law school student body that I pounced. I asked her if she would retract her call for directed violence against the supporters of capitalism. She said she wouldn't. So I asked for a followup. She let me have one. "I'm a supporter of capitalism, and one day I might be in the government. Does that mean that you will support directed violence against me?" Everybody turned aware at the true meaning of Lynne's statement. She wasn't calling for violence against the annonymous, she was calling for violence against our neighbors, our writers, our functionaries - people who could be as real as me standing before you.

Lynne gaggled. She started ranting that I should rethink my position because the "masses will rise." Whatever. Walking out the door and not wanting more attention on the issue I turned down the interview request from Fox News.

Wednesday, June 23, 2004

Slimeballs v. Geeks
A bit of a battle seems to be brewing on the DMCA (Digital Millenium Copyright Act). Stay tuned.

Tuesday, June 22, 2004

More on the Upcoming GOP Convention Protests.
I got this email today. Read for your amusement (side note - because my blogger doesn't digest links properly, I had to take the text links out and turn them to hyperlinks. So the email has small alterations)

On Sunday, August 29, one of the biggest and most important protests in a generation will take place in New York City: a massive march and rally on the eve of the Republican National Convention, organized by United for Peace and Justice.

If you’re alarmed by the direction that the Bush Administration has taken this country, you will want to make your voice heard at this historic gathering, where we will march against war, greed, hate and lies. Already, many thousands of individuals and hundreds of groups – anti-war, civil rights, immigrant, religious, labor, feminist, environmental, and many more – are planning to participate in this demonstration.

United for Peace and Justice has just launched a new section of our website with resources to help you mobilize for the August 29 RNC protest.

* Downloadable leaflets that you can photocopy and distribute in your community
* An online endorsement form
* Links to housing and ride boards
* Information on ordering posters
* Updated information on our fight for a protest permit

The Republican National Convention – and the protests – will be covered by media outlets around the world. It is vital that we bring the largest possible number of people to New York City on Sunday, August 29 to speak out against the actions and plans of the Bush Administration. Additionally, United for Peace and Justice will have a presence at the Democratic National Convention in Boston in late July, to once again promote our vision of politics based on justice, fairness, and peaceful solutions to conflict.
(See for details about the Democratic
Convention activities.)


1) Encourage your friends, coworkers, and family to join you in NYC on Sunday, August 29. Forward this email to everyone you know who cares about
peace and justice.

2) Start making your plans now to come to New York City for the August 29
RNC protest. Visit for links to ride and housing boards.

3) Ask your organization – be it a community group, a labor union, a church, or other organization – to endorse the August 29 RNC protest. Visit to endorse.

4) Photocopy and distribute leaflets for the August 29 RNC protest. Visit
to download.

5) Donate! We urgently need to raise $200,000 to make the August 29 RNC
protest a success. Make an online credit card donation or call our office at 212-868-5545 to make a credit card donation by phone. You can also mail checks payable to
United for Peace & Justice to P.O. Box 607, Times Square Station, New York, NY 10108.

Monday, June 21, 2004 the New Republic some sort of Journalistic Breeding Ground?
I just watched the movie "Shattered Glass". Did some google searching afterwards. Former editors of the magazine include Andrew Sullivan, Michael Kelley, and Kinsley.

Saturday, June 19, 2004

My Story
I've never had the chance to tell about my family story, on this blog, though I've alluded to it. Usually when a teen goes away to school for their first year of college, the parents are greatly when he or she comes back for the summer. For me, it was the reverse - when I went to College, my entire family converted to ultra-orthodox Judaism. I came home from Freshman year, and got the surprise of my life. The last six years I havd had to struggle to maintain the old relationships I had, especially as it became clear to my family that I did not have the desire to follow them in their beliefs at that (or this) stage of my life. To capture some of this feeling, I am publishing an excerpt of my personal statement that I wrote to get into Stanford. It is dated, but it neatly summarizes my family situation.

In front of me is my past, around me is my present, and in my hands is my future.

“How can one’s past be in front of you?” I am asked. ‘How can it not?” I respond. Our past is directly in front of us staring us in our face. We can choose to look or we can choose to avoid, to perceive or to ignore. Often our choice depends on the difficulty of dealing with the picture before us and our strength to confront it.

I am staring at myself staring at my brother. Last year, I did not see him as he was then, with his black hat that almost covered the curls of hair that circled around his ears and his quiet disapproval of my life. Rather, I imagined him, as he was long before, with his carefree smile, and his body language, which proclaimed me to be his best friend in the world. Once we shared everything, then it seemed as if we shared nothing. It was not an intentional divorce that pulled our relationship apart, I see now and knew then. Rather, different currents of ideology made our lives all but irreconcilable. I chose to continue following a path of secular agnosticism, he chose a new path of religious enlightenment in the ultra-orthodox Jewish world. Where before we could eat a meal at a sports bar while watching television, now neither is permissible. I mourn, yet continue to hope for a better future with one whom I have and always will love.

Around me, in the present, are many people—my own cloistered world of college friends. These peers know that I was raised in a “normal” household, as defined by attending public school, eating at McDonald’s each week, and watching the NFL on Sundays. My college friends are also aware that when I returned home after my first year of college, everything had changed. In the space of that year, my family (parents and two brothers) had become devotedly religious, removing themselves from large parts of the secular society that they now had begun to vociferously condemn.

Those in my present cannot understand how I, the son who excelled at school and had been free of any type of commonly defined (secular) discipline problems, am now viewed as the black sheep of the family, simply because of my refusal to accept this path for myself. My friends are perplexed and even dumbfounded that my parents have refused to meet my girlfriend of a year, only because she is not Jewish. What amazes my friends the most, however, is my ability not only to come to terms with my family’s path, but my refusal to accept their new-found faith as the end of our relationship. I feel their changes do not preclude questioning why the situation cannot be better in the future.

Friday, June 18, 2004

Why I Disagree With the Concept of "Racial Injustice"
1) I don't recognize the concept of "race"
2) I don't recognize the concept of "justice" or "injustice"
3) I don't think that there is sufficient evidence the beneficiaries of Affirmative Action have suffered more discrimination than those who did not benefit.
4) I don't believe that such programs are creating a more open society, but rather I believe they are leading to a new era of "racism" and prejudice.

Thursday, June 17, 2004

Tim Robbins Wise "anti-racist activist" on Reagan, White Society
You can't drink the kool-aid more than this guy

I particulary loved this quote
Whites have long been more enamored of style than substance, of fiction than fact, of fantasy than reality. It’s why we have clung so tenaciously to the utterly preposterous version of our national history peddled by textbooks for so long; and it’s why we get so angry when anyone tries to offer a correction.

It’s why we choose to believe the lie about the U.S. being a shining city on a hill, rather than a potentially great but thoroughly flawed place built on the ruins and graves of Native peoples, built by the labor of enslaved Africans, enlarged by theft and murder and an absolute disregard for non-European lives.

You Know You Are a Political Hack When........
You give quotes like this one:
"The Club for Growth was formed, in part, because of the legacy of Ronald Reagan's beliefs in limited government and tax cuts. We believe George Bush shares that belief and we will do all we can to educate the America people about the similarities between Reagan and Bush and the dissimilarities between Reagan and John Kerry."

In case you've forgotten, federal spending has grown faster under "limited government favoring" George Bush than any other president since Carter.

Wednesday, June 16, 2004

Now I See Where I Get It From
So my Dad rented a Moped for the first time this weekend. At first he rode the thing cautiously, but he couldn't resist taking it faster and faster. Finally he was zipping along so fast that he couldn't keep control and crashed straight into a brick wall. He's largely unhurt though, just a bit of a gash on his arm. But here is the real kicker - guess what he is asking for father's day!

Yep, a moped. You can knock some guys down, but they get right back up. Good for him.

Monday, June 14, 2004

Camping..........Law Firm Style
I spent the weekend camping out at around Point Reyes. To get to the site, I had to kayak across Tamalas Bay, and then I slept in a tent one night, and under the stars the second. We were completely cut off from civilization - no roads to any cities were nearby, and the only way back was to kayak against the wind to other side of the bay, braving what would have been four foot waves.

So did I suffer? Did I rough it? Of course was a law firm event! They had porters put our suitcases on a speed boat that met us on the other side of the bay. Once there, guides set up our tent for us. And for food...well, let's just say we weren't eating reconstituted tomato sauce with moldy pasta. We had professional caterers boated in, and they made some of the best food I've had in my life. The first night's salmon was so tender it melted in your mouth. The next morning we had Huevos Rancheros. Sushi, fresh baked cookies, korean style steak, turkey brie avocado wraps, cornish hens, miso soup, salad with sesame oil, fresh fruit, oatmeal, etc. were just some of the food that was offered. The rest of the group enjoyed thoroughly the seemingly unlimited supply of imported beers, mike's hard lemonades, and smirnoff ices (I don't really drink, so I had to settle for a mere contact high).

I wonder if this qualifies as being wined and dined..........

Thursday, June 10, 2004

The Differences Between Reagan and G.W.Bush
Good read
With Reagan's casket on display for the next week, I was wondering how the odor of decomposition is controlled (if it is)????

Tuesday, June 08, 2004

Anti-Torture Treaties Unconstiutional?
MSNBC is running an article suggesting that a 2002 memo from the Justice Department suggested just that.

Sunday, June 06, 2004

Remembering Reagan
He's my pick as the best president we've ever had. Read here for a good view on his work leading the country in the 80s.

Friday, June 04, 2004

I am sitting in the stanford computer lab....and the band has arrived, in their full cross dressed form. Guess its a finals thing for the ugrads. Can't make up my mind whether its cool or they are a bunch of dorks. Perhaps both.

We got the tree (our stanford "mascot'), five guys in hawain shirts, butch girls who haven't gotten boys probably in the past 10 months girating their hips, quite a few wanna be metrosexuals who didn't quite make the cut to full fledged ones, a bumble bee, a girl with caution stickers for a skirt....a guy dressed in leather like its 1980, a guy with a gas mask and something flashing over head, plus somebody humping this computer screen while I am typing.

Thursday, June 03, 2004

Trying to Implement Prevailing Wage Reform
My ex and I had dinner with Duf Sundheim last night, chairman of the Republican Party of California. It was supposed to be a large group of Stanford students, but only two other people wanted to come, so basically we got a private meeting with him.

I had a simple goal in going - to get Mr. Sundheim sold on the political opportunities of advocating prevailing wage law reform. Its a perfect wedge issue for the Republicans - you could get quite a few environmentalists pissed at labor unions, and paint the California Democrat party as further tools of special interests. Plus, the "it shouldn't be illegal to volunteer line" would go over very well with voters.

Was I successful in the sale? I'd like to believe so, but I'm skeptical. At least he asked for me to send him a background pitch on the issue. I'll do it - whether it gets forwarded around Sacramento or forwarded to the trash can is beyond my ability to predict.

Tuesday, June 01, 2004

Don't expect to see this picture on the front of the New York Times anytime soon. Sure it might be a staged photo-op picture, but that has never stopped the Times from running such pictures in the past - provided they advocate appropriate views.
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