Thursday, December 25, 2003

Scraping the Barrel

A new study out of California claims that NCLB punishes schools that serve diverse populations. As evidence they compare two schools in the Oakland area one of which serves a predominantly black population, the other which serves a more diverse population. The "average" test scores at the schools are comparable, but the latter school is labeled as failing because one of its subgroups has failed to meet its AYP benchmark for two years. The authors use this to make the outrageous claim that NCLB punishes diversity in schools.

The reality is, of course, that public schools have been failing certain subgroups of the population for over a generation. NCLB now forces schools to meet the educational needs to ALL students. Because test scores are disaggregated schools cannot hide behind average test scores. In other words a school that has 10% Z students would not be able to ignore their needs and paper over their failure by averaging out failing scores for Z with passing scores of A.

According to the researchers many of the 3,000 failing schools in California were labeled as such because of the lack of progress of one subgroup. But then the leap is made that NCLB must therefore be bad policy (and the public education apologists are already trotting out this research to discredit NCLB). Nothing could be further from the truth. By holding schools accountable to all their subgroups through testing and the resulting public criticism and pressure, we help to ensure that adequate resources will flow to the subgroup in order to raise their test scores and provide a quality education.

Now ask yourself- how can anyone be opposed to something that will provide quality education to all kids, regardless of race, gender or special need?

NYT story

Tuesday, December 23, 2003

Food for Thought

Although I would not normally post such a long piece here, I thought this was totally appropriate for the holiday season, that time when we are to have goodwill toward men (and women) and peace on earth. It is the text of a speech delivered in the Georgia House by a conservative Republican who just happened to support the hate crimes bill. I hope that this text moves you as it did me, and that it uplifts rather than depresses your spirit.

Text of Speech Delivered by Representative Dan Ponder, Jr.
Hate Crimes Legislation SB390
Thursday, March 16, 2000

Thank you Mr. Speaker, Ladies and Gentlemen of the House.

I am probably the last person, the most unlikely person that you would expect to be speaking from the well about Hate Crime Legislation. And I am going to talk about it a little differently from a lot of the conversations that have gone on thus far. I want to talk about it a little more personally, about how I came to believe what I believe.

About two weeks ago my family got together for my father’s 70th birthday. It was the first time since my oldest daughter was born 19 years ago that only the children and spouses got together, no grandchildren. We stayed up until 2 o’clock in the morning talking about hate crime legislation, this very bill.

Even my family could not come to a resolution about this bill, but we did agree that how you were raised and who we are would likely influence how you would vote on this bill. So I want you to know a little bit about me, and how I came to believe what I believe.

I am a White Republican, who lives in the very Southwest corner of the most ultra-conservative part of this state. I grew up there. I have agricultural roots. I grew up hunting and fishing. I had guns when I was a kid. On my 12th birthday I was given that thing that so many southern boys receive, that shotgun from my dad that somehow marked me as a man.

I was raised in a conservative Baptist church. I went to a large, mostly white Southern university. I lived in and was the President of the largest, totally white fraternity on that campus. I had 9 separate Great-Great-Great Grandfathers that fought for the Confederacy. I don’t have a single ancestor on all of my family lines that lived north of the Mason-Dixon line going back to the Revolutionary War. And it is not something that I am terribly proud of, but it is just part of my heritage, that not one, but several of those lines actually owned slaves.

So you would guess just by listening to my background that I am going to stand up here and talk against hate crime legislation. But you see, that’s the problem when you start stereotyping people by who they are and where they came from, because I totally, totally support this bill.

I come from a privileged background, but hate has no discrimination when it picks its victims. I have a Catholic brother-in-law. My sister could not be married in their church, and his priest refused to marry them because they were of different faiths.

I have a Jewish brother-in-law. The difference in that religion has caused part of my family to be estranged from each other for over 25 years.

I was the President of the largest fraternity at Auburn University, which won an award while I was there as the best chapter in the country. Out of over 100 members, 6 of those are now openly gay. But the "lasting bond of brotherhood" that we pledged ourselves to during those idealistic days apparently doesn’t apply if you should later come out and declare yourself gay.

Some of you know that my family had an exchange student from Kosovo that lived with us for six months, during the entire time of the fighting over there. When we last heard from her, her entire extended family of 26 members had not been heard from. Not one of them. They had all been killed or disappeared because of religious and ethnic differences that we can not even begin to understand.

My best friend in high school and college roommate’s parents were raised in Denmark during the war. His grandfather was killed serving in the Resistance. For three years, that family survived because people left food on their doorstep during the middle of the night. They couldn’t afford to openly give them food because they would then be killed themselves.

And to Representative McKinney, we are probably as different as two people can be in this House based on our backgrounds. But I myself have also known fear, because I am a white man that was mugged and robbed in Chicago in a black neighborhood.

And you are right. It is a terror that never goes away. It doesn’t end when the wounds heal or the dollars are replaced in your wallet. It is something that you live with the rest of your life.

But I want to tell you the real reason that I am standing here today. And this is personal, and in my five years in this House I have never abused my time in the well, and I only have 2 days before I leave this body, so I hope that you will just listen to this part for me.

There was one woman in my life that made a huge difference and her name was Mary Ward. She began working for my family before I was born. She was a young black woman whose own grandmother raised my mother. Mary, or May-Mar as I called her, came every morning before I was awake to cook breakfast so it would be on the table. She cooked our lunch. She washed our clothes.

But she was much more than that. She read books to me. When I was playing Little League she would go out and catch ball with me. She was never, ever afraid to discipline me or spank me. She expected the absolute best out of me, perhaps, and I am sure, even more than she did her own children. She would even travel with my family when we would go to our house in Florida during the summer, just as her own grandmother had done.

One day, when I was about 12 or 13 I was leaving for school. As I was walking out the door she turned to kiss me goodbye. And for some reason, I turned my head. She stopped me and she looked into my eyes with a look that absolutely burns in my memory right now and she said, "You didn’t kiss me because I am black." At that instant, I knew that she was right.

I denied it. I made some lame excuse about it. But I was forced at that age to confront a small dark part of myself. I don’t even know where it came from. This lady, who was devoting her whole life to me and my brother and sister, who loved me unconditionally, who had changed my diapers and fed me, and who was truly my second mother, that somehow she wasn’t worthy of a goodbye kiss simply because of the color of her skin.

Hate is all around us. It takes shape and form in ways that are somehow so small that we don’t even recognize them to begin with, until they somehow become acceptable to us. It is up to us, as parents and leaders in our communities, to take a stand and to say loudly and clearly that this is just not acceptable.

I have lived with the shame and memory of my betrayal of Mary Ward’s love for me. I pledged to myself then and I re-pledged to myself the day I buried her that never, ever again would I look in the mirror and know that I had kept silent, and let hate or prejudice or indifference negatively impact a person’s life…even if I didn’t know them.

Likewise, my wife and I promised to each other on the day that our oldest daughter was born that we would raise our children to be tolerant. That we would raise them to accept diversity and to celebrate it. In our home, someone’s difference would never be a reason for injustice.

When we take a stand, it can slowly make a difference. When I was a child, my father’s plants had a lot of whites and a lot of blacks working in them. We had separate water fountains. We had separate tables that we ate at. Now my daughter is completing her first year at Agnes Scott College. She informed me last week that she and her roommate, who happens to be black, they were thrown together just randomly last year as first year students, had decided that they were going to room together again next year.

I asked her the reasons that they had decided to live together again. She said, "Well, we just get along so well together." She mentioned a couple of other reasons, but do you know what was absent? Color. She just didn’t think about it.

You can make progress when you take a stand. Our exchange student, who grew up in a country where your differences absolutely defined everything about you, now lives in Dallas where a whole community of different races has embraced her and is teaching her how to accept people who are different from her and who love her.

To those that would say that this bill is creating a special class of citizen, I would say….Who would choose to be a class of citizen or who would choose to be gay and risk the alienation of your own family and friends and co-workers?

Who would choose to be Jewish, so that they could endure the kind of hatred over the years that led to the Holocaust and the near extinction of the Jewish people on an entire continent?

Who would choose to be black simply so that their places of worship could be burned down or so that they could spend all their days at the back of the line?

We are who we are because God alone chose to make us that way. The burdens that we bear and the problems that we are trying to correct with this legislation are the result of man’s inhumanity to man. That is hardly trying to create a special class of people.

To those that would say that we already have laws to take care of these crimes, I would say watch the repeats of yesterday’s debate on the Lawmakers. We made passionate pleas on behalf of animal rights.

We talked with revulsion about cats being wired together with barbed wire. Surely, surely, Matthew Sheppard’s being beaten and hung up on a barbed wire fence and left to die is no less revolting. Surely our fellow man deserves no less than our pets.

Hate crimes are different. When I was a teenager, on more than one water tank, I painted "SR’s of ‘72". Surely no one in here is going to tell me that the words that are painted on walls that say "Kill the Jews" or a swastika or "Fags must Die" or "Move the Niggers" are somehow the same as "SR’s of ‘72". Even today, those very words make us feel uncomfortable and they should.

Surely we are not going to equate a barroom brawl or a crime of passion with a group that decides, with purpose, to get in a car and go beat up blacks or gays or Jews without even knowing who they are.

Hate crimes are about sending a message. The cross that was burned in a black person’s yard not so many years ago was a message to black people.

The gay person that is bashed walking down the sidewalk in midtown is a message to gay people.

And the Jews that have endured thousands of years of persecution were all being sent messages over and over again.

I would say to you that now is our turn to send a message. I am not a lawyer, I don’t know how difficult it would be to prosecute this or even care. I don’t really care that anyone is ever prosecuted under this bill.

But I do care that we take this moment in time, in history, to say that we are going to send a message.

The pope is now sending a message of reconciliation to Jews and people throughout this world. Some of those crimes occurred 2,000 years ago.

Mary Ward sent me a message many years ago. A message of unconditional love, regardless of the color of your skin.

My wife and I have sent a message to our children that we are all God’s children and that hate is unacceptable in our home.

I believe that we must send a message to people that are filled with hate in this world, that Georgia has no room for hatred within its borders. It is a message that we can send to the people of this state, but it is also a message that you have to send to yourself.

I ask you to look within yourself and do what you think is right. I ask you to vote YES on this bill and NO to hate.

Ho Ho Ho.. It's the Foot in Mouth Grinch

According to this story Howard Dean has now called the moderate Democrats who make up the DLC the Republican Wing of the Democratic Party. This comes just a week after Dean clearly repudiated Clinton in a major policy speech.

The DLC's New Dem Daily had this to say--

Our differences with Gov. Dean's campaign are substantive, not personal. His name-calling yesterday echoes the age-old tactic of some on the Democratic Left who don't want to come to grips with the substance of what New Democrats are telling the party. We think it's critically important that Democrats are credible on national security issues; open and inclusive on cultural issues; imaginative on ways to implement progressive values through new ideas; persuasive to voters who care about real-life results rather than partisan invective; rational as well as energized. Those Democrats who disagree with these views should make counter-arguments instead of adopting the brain-dead tactic of suggesting they are the only "real Democrats."

Of course, Dean's comment will undoubtedly fuel the fires of his die-hard, Kool Aid drinking Deaniacs. But what does this sort of remark say to those of us who would like to support the Democratic nominee, even if it is Dean? Why should I support someone who is openly disdainful of my values and my politics and my contribution to the Party?

Further, what does it say to the vast majority of Americans who consider themselves moderate? Dean and his followers are doing their darnedest to turn off all but the most loyal of the Democratic Left. It is interesting to note that anytime this is brought up the DFA folks trot out their non-Left supporters. But the reality is that the core group of Deaniacs are not only left of center in the general population, but left of the center of the Democratic universe. Virulent anti-Bushism only takes a candidate so far and Dean must realize that at some point he has to reach out to the middle. But, if he cannot even reach out to the moderates of his own party, how can he ever reach out to moderates in general?

Monday, December 22, 2003

Playing the Race Card

According to this story, the former counsel to the New York State Assembly Speaker has plead guilty to sexual misconduct. For those of you outside of the NY State political orbit, Boxley had a rather bad reputation as a philanderer and had already been accused of rape on one other occasion. That had resulted in a slap on the wrist and an admonition not to go out deliever by Speaker Silver. There was also a rather strong rumor that the reason no criminal charges were ever filed in that instance was because the victim had been threatened with exposure of her relationship with the Assembly member for whom she worked.

This time he was not so lucky. He continued to go out to after receptions and eventually struck again. It is a serious black eye on the New York State Assembly, an institution that seems more capable of injuring itself than a 3 year old with scissors. Boxley's conduct is not unique. Stories abound of legislators and their Albany hook-ups. Whether all of the sexual relations between legislator and staff, legislator and lobbyist, etc. are consensual is a matter of debate that would take us into the issue of power in sexual relations, and thus too far afield.

But the real point here is the claim that Boxley's attorney made as to why his client accepted the plea bargain. He cited Boxley's race (black) and the difficulty he would have getting a fair trial in a predominantly white county such as Albany. But this is sheer nonsense and he knows it. Boxley would get a very fair trial, it's just that he would be convicted. And his conviction would be based on the testimony of the woman, the other victim, the drugs found in his apartment (date rape type drugs) and the forensic evidence.

It is sad that in a country where there are real race problems in the justice system, charlatans like Boxley and his attorney cry racism where none exists. It lessens the effect on people and dulls them to real instances of racism. And it is maddening that someone who was in the upper echelons of New York government would stoop so low and demean the victims of actual racism.

It really is a shame that Boxley will not go to jail where maybe he would learn what it feels like to be raped. If anything, he got off way too easily.

Party Work

If you care about the party and the country, go here and tell Nader to sit on the sidelines in '04. As many of you will guess, I would prefer to tell Nader something a bit more graphic, but in the spirit of the season I will bite my tongue.

Suffice it to say that the man ruined the 2000 elections and now he is considering doing the same in 2004. He has become BushCo's best ally in the war on American values. Compared to St. Ralph and his egomania, Ho Ho Dean looks like an everyman.

Clark Video

American Son is available online. Go watch it now and then donate to the General.

Wednesday, December 17, 2003


Given that my school does so little (in my opinion) to help 1L's land firm jobs for their first summer, it is especially disappointing that they schedule receptions in two major cities over break. Given that nearly everyone is home until January 10th-ish, it seems RIDICULOUS to schedule receptions in NYC and Chicago on January 8th and 6th. The timing would preclude attendance by most everyone but those individuals from the NYC and Chicago areas, which is a rather small percentage of the school body. However, MANY people want to practice in NYC. I know that it would be impossible for me to attend either given that I will be in Boston until the 9th.

And what is with the lack of notice? We get the invite for January 6 and 8 on December 17. Three weeks notice to reschedule your winter break plans? Yeah right!

Sometimes I wonder just what I get from the $32,000 per year I pay for tuition. Does that not include a decent CSO? Is there an extra fee I need to pay?

Tuesday, December 16, 2003

Parlor Game

Even before the canonization of Saint Ho Ho by his legion of acolytes (and Al Bore), there was speculation as to who might make a good partner for the Doc. Of course, given the leftward bearings of most Deaniacs, the candidates for VP were all appropriately left of center and included the pantheon of liberals (yet somehow left out Nader). One would hope that the Doctor, if selected, does have some sense and would pick someone with a bit more moderate aura, not to mention foreign policy credentials. (Though given his asinine response to the capture of Saddam, one really has to wonder if the man has ANY sense at all.)

Not to interrupt the coronation of the Park Avenue Prince, but I would like to speculate a bit about who might fit the bill for a Clark ticket. And I welcome your comments/suggestions as well.

First, it would be folly to chose any of his fellow White House aspirants. None bring anything to the ticket that is absolutely necessary and most would actually bring with him more baggage than benefit. So then where does Clark turn? It would seem the logical candidate would come from Congress, whether the Senate or the House. I say that because I don't know that a Governor would help a Clark administration govern, and as much as electability is a paramount issue, you still need someone to help navigate DC after the inauguration.

With that said, here is my list of potentials, in no particular order- Sen. Dianne Feinstein; former Cong. Bill Richardson (now Gov.); Sen. Maria Cantwell; Sen. Debbie Stabenow; Sen. Joe Biden; WILDCARD-- Bob Rubin.

Update: I forgot Hillary Clinton.

Sunday, December 14, 2003

Deaniac Panties in a Bunch Watch

As has become the norm, the uber sensitive Deaniacs are once again up in arms. And what has them all stroppy now you ask. Well, there is an ad put out by the group Americans for Jobs Health Care and Progressive Values that questions Dean's ability to compete with Bush. The ad, linked below, has a Time magazine cover with Osama Bin Laden's picture as the background. The ad is essentially a broadside against Dean's electability or lack thereof, as measured by his lack of foreign policy experience.

A group of Lefty/Dean bloggers have posted an open letter to the Kerry campaign imploring him to denounce the ad (there are former Kerry staffers affiliated with the Group, as well as some Gephardt folks apparently). I have watched the ad several times and still fail to grasp why they are so outraged. Maybe the photo of Bin Laden is over the top and maybe it brings back memories or Willie Horton. But, as one commenter on Atrios pointed out, if Dean cannot handle this then he certainly will not be able to take on BushCo in the fall.

But the larger point here is that on the Democratic portion of the blogosphere dissent is almost becoming forbidden. Anyone who questions Dean or his supporters is instantly attacked. And accused of forming a circular firing squad and being disloyal and ignoring the real enemy (GWB). But was it not Ho Ho Dean who lambasted Democratic members of Congress and his opponents? Clearly, Dean's attacks on other leading Democrats have been a centerpiece of his campaign. Someone needs to remind the good Doc and his followers that people who live in glass houses ought not throw stones.


Winners and Losers

Just who benefits and who loses from the capture of Saddam is not all that apparent. Well, except for the benefit to the Iraqi people, that is.

The immediate CW was that this would be a boost for Bush. I think that is probably correct in the short term, however the long term effect (ie. November 2004) really depends on what happens now. Does the insurgency in Iraq have legs? Will BushCo misread the situation and pull out sooner than is reasonable? Will Saddam detail his past dealings with Republican administrations and implicate Donald Rumsfeld? Will he divulge weapons of mass destruction?

All of these questions, and others, will have a major impact on the P2004 race. However, as of now they are too speculative. Perhaps a look at the effect all this will have on the Democratic primaries might be a bit more pertinent.

The big loser in the Dem field, one would have to assume, is Howie Dean. He has based his campaign on his opposition to the war with Iraq and one of the pillars of that support had been our failure to find Saddam. Dean also is hurt insofar as his opponents are helped by the news. John Kerry can now breathe a little easier as can Dick Gephardt. Wes Clark, though he opposed the war, chose not to base his campaign on his opposition and thus should not be hurt by today's events.

The big question, to me, is will the capture of Saddam Hussein motivate moderate to conservative Dems to get out to the polls on primary day? Many Dems actually did support the war and some of them were uncomfortable with Dean and his anti-war followers, but may have stayed at home as Dean's coronation seemed complete. But will the capture motivate them to get out and try to stop Dean, whether for political or personal reasons? Will the capture also quicken the pace at which Dems coalesce around the anti-Dean?

But to be sure, this is a good day for the Iraqi people and BushCo and potentially a bad day for Ho Ho Dean.

Saturday, December 13, 2003

Support Cool Companies

This holiday season, when you get your gift card with a check from grandma, please think of patronizing the good companies listed below. I do not get anything for this, except the vague hope that maybe I can drive some business to people who I think are darned good folks who have treated me well and sold me quality products. Without further ado.

If it is PROTEIN you need, check out Protein Factory. They are cheaper than retail and offer a wide array of pre-formulated supplements, as well as allowing you to customize your own or tweak one of their pre-existing formulas to meet your needs. No one else offers that service in the business.

If it is MUSIC you want try Parasol Records; Polyvinyl Record Co.; or, Jade Tree.

Finally, if it is TEA you are hankering for then go to Steep and pay Jeff a visit.

I have done business with all of the above merchants. All are reputable. All are non-corporate folks doing what they love.

Thursday, December 11, 2003

Personal Stuff

Although I don't tend to post of the personal often here, I will indulge in a bit of that now.
My first final is over. It was nowhere near as bad as I thought it would be and I think that I did reasonably well (this would be a good B-day present).
Also, on the good news front, I got invited to an Open House at a prestigious Boston firm in January, and I just sent my resumes out last week. Hopefully this is a good sign!
That's all for now.. Thank you and good night.

Gifts Can Be Sent Here

Yeah yeah.. December 11th and it is my birthday once again. Don't these things ever stop?
Anyway.. one of my gifts is a great big fat... contracts exam.
What else do I want, you ask? Well.. nothing for me personally except for a little bit of help getting Bush Co. booted next November. So, in lieu of sending me something, click here and give a contribution to Wes Clark.
I thank you, and America thanks you.

Tuesday, December 09, 2003

Less Irate Thoughts and Reflections

Ok.. the fuming has died down a bit over the Gore endorsement. Now for a more reasoned analysis (as opposed to the very, very angry and profane one proffered last night).

Gore is clearly positioning himself to become leader of the Democratic Party, whether that means replacing Terry Mac in a Dean administration or becoming the front runner for 2008. Gore is clearly trying to pre-empty any momentum Hillary would have going into 2008. And let's face it, the Clintons and the Gores do not exactly get along. Al blames Bill for his P2000 loss and Bill fumes at Al for abandoning the Clinton legacy (once termed the Clinton-Gore legacy, which I now think is a misnomer).

Clearly over the past year or so, Al Gore has reconnected with his inner hippie. A connection that was lost sometime in the 60's when Al Jr. joined the military in order to help Al Sr. in a tough re-election battle (Gore Sr. lost to Bill Brock). Over his legislative career Gore was a noted moderate and helped to found the DLC. As Vice President Gore presided over Reinventing Government, a highly acclaimed Third Way approach to making government smaller, more efficient and less costly. All the while no one ever suspected that little Al had a tree hugging, Birkenstock wearing inner hippie.

But that became somewhat apparent during his run for the White House in 2000, when for the first time in recorded history a sitting VP with a great economy tried to run a populist outsider campaign. But not only was Gore the VP, but he had grown up in DC, the son of a Congressman and Senator; attended tony boarding schools; and, went to Harvard. Not exactly the hallmarks of a populist outsider. For many people, the incongruity left us scratching our heads.

Al Gore veered left in the primary in an attempt to stave off Bill Bradley, but never did he move back to the center. There are those on the leftward side of the party who would claim that Gore lost in 2000 because he did not present a real alternative, that he was too moderate or conservative. Yet, the facts clearly refute that conclusion. Gore lost his home state of Tennessee and several other Southern states that Clinton had won and which were crucial to the Democrats' chances to retain control of the White House. One does not lose in the South for being too conservative or too moderate.

The rhetoric of the Gore campaign in 2000 simply failed to make sense, or to connect with most voters. Now, I know there are those who will point to the fact that Gore won the plurality of the popular vote, but that counterargument does not hold a lot of water. There is absolutely NO reason why a sitting VP with a good economy should have even had a close race. Gore should have been picking out drapes for the residence by the beginning of October at the latest.

Gore's catchphrase/theme was -- the people versus the powerful. He liked to say that the Gore administration would be day one of the fight for America's working families. But then who had Gore been fighting for during his eight years as Vice President? And who thought America's working families really were doing so poorly. (note: I realize they were not doing REAL well, but with the economy the way it was, very few people were so concerned)

Now, along comes Al to endorse the governor from Vermont, or as I like to call him- Dr. Strangelove. In his brief speech this morning Gore essentially labelled Dean the anti-war candidate and said that we needed to remake the Democratic Party and take it back to its roots. Unfortunately, neither of these are particularly good or compelling. First, over 70% of Americans supported the war with Iraq and although many Democratic primary voters are frothing mad about the war, this message does not play well with the general electorate. (What does play well, and should be emphasized, is how royally BushCo. has fucked up post-war Iraq.) Secondly, taking the party back to its roots, I assume, means back to old style liberal interest group politics. You remember the good old days, don't you? Back when we could not elect a President, when we had a succession of losers broken only by the moderate Clinton. Yeah, just what we need to do is to go back to being a Congressional Party. Of course, that won't work too well because the way the country has been redistricted after the 2000 census leaves little margin for Democratic success at the Congressional level. So then what would the party become if we cannot win the White House, nor cobble together a Congressional majority?

If we are going to move back to our roots, then we might as well become the Greens.

Monday, December 08, 2003


Gore to endorse Dean, sources say
Oh.. it is SO on.. Team Clinton versus Team Gore. The former are with Clark, the latter with Dr. Strangelove. This pretty much makes up my mind and pushes me back to Clark. As much as I like John Edwards (a lot!), he really is not gaining any ground. The only way to stop the worst electoral defeat in a generation is to stop Dean from getting the nomination. Dean will not only crash and burn himself, but will DESTROY down ballot Dems' opportunities in all but the most liberal states and districts. This is a disaster waiting to happen. Four more years of the smirking chimp and an even more Republican Congress to boot.
Thanks a lot Al.. It was not enough to have blown the 2000 race with your incomprehensible and incoherent people versus the powerful (since when does a sitting VP run as a populist outsider and who was the MORON who came up with that message?), now you have to stir up the waters in 2004! Go back to Tennessee, grow your stupid beard and shut the FUCK up, please!

Saturday, December 06, 2003

Snortle, Chuckle, Ha ha

This is the funniest thing I have read in days (that's what happens when finals are approaching). I will give you just a little teaser (and to my fellow Dems, the rest of the column is aimed at Bush, so don't get your panties in a bunch.)

Anyone who takes a look at the Democratic hopefuls this year can see that it's either going to be Bush or me. The only thing Howard Dean has is a condescending attitude towards the South, and who doesn't, really? I'm still waiting to see Ashton Kutcher run out every time Dennis Kucinich is talking and yell "America, you just got punked!" John Kerry looks more like he's going for the Triple Crown than the presidency. Carol Moseley Braun is, well, I have no idea who she is. Joe Lieberman is too short to be taken seriously, and Al Sharpton can't win with that hair. Or that insanity. Wesley Clark looks too much like a priest to succeed in a year that didn't go so hot for priests. Or went a little too hot for priests, hence the problem. John Edwards I like, and he's got the whole Princeton connection, but he's still too close to Ms. Braun in name recognition.

Friday, December 05, 2003

School's Out

Blogging from my final class of the semester- Contracts. In another 40 minutes, my first semester of law school will be over (except for exams), which means I made it longer than I had the first time I was here. This should encourage my parents and family, especially as I am openly flirting with transferring, which cause quite a few heart palpitations back on Cape Cod. I had to swear on my life that I would not drop out of law school, no matter how much I do not like law school or St. Louis.
The thing about law school is, to me, not that it is all that challenging. What irks me is that it seems too much like a job (I know.. crazy me.. it's a PROFESSIONAL school, duh). So far there is very little intrinsic value to law school. Maybe this will change and I hope that it does. Though I was never fully happy in grad school, at least I found some intrinsic value in thinking big thoughts.
Here the level of thought is really a very micro level, with many folks concerned only about class, happy hour and getting a job. Very few seem to be intellectually driven, but maybe I am wrong. Maybe the system forces people into a sort of narrow think that resembles neurotic fixation on outlining and purchasing every study aid known to mankind.
And perhaps it is the age difference. A great majority of my peers are here directly, or within two years of graduating, from college. Given the relative weakness of undergraduate education these days, and its attendant rampant grade inflation, some of them seem to have never had to work all that hard. And faced with a task like law school, where one cannot take a few days off and then catch up at the end of the semester, they are scared out of their wits. Maybe the experience of working and graduate school have given me a different perspective on how to study and manage what I need to do. But I also think that part of it is seeing the big picture and not getting lost on the micro tasks of day to day law school life. Of course, just like my peers, I want to do well and I want to get a good job (with the loans I have the kind of job I really need is a bank job, if you know what I mean), but I also realize that life will go on even if I am not at the top of my class. And that there are other things I need to do, outside of law school, not only to keep my sanity, but to enjoy life. I refuse to forego living for three years of law school. It simply is not worth it.
But that does not mean I do not work at all. I am more often than not, on top of my readings and attend class ad feel that I understand the material. I just don't get the whole "oh my god, it's November, I need to lock myself in the library until Break" mentality. Either people have been so scared by 1L and other tales of law school life, or they simply did not learn the material as the course went along. But does anyone really think they are going to learn Contracts in the time between Thanksgiving and the Final?
There really is so much hype about law school and how difficult it is. But to me a lot of this seems to stem from the legal professions desire to maintain its image as a learned and elite profession (yes, I am aware of our other image). From what I can tell, you may need to be bright to get into a top 25 law school, but I am not convinced that one has to be all that bright to succeed. It seems more a matter of one's willingness to keep up with the reading and briefing and going to class. There really is nothing particularly profound about battery, future interests, or offer and acceptance.

Thursday, December 04, 2003

Just Shoot ME

And I thought I was getting into a rhythm with blogging again. Unfortunately life sometimes gets in the way. What with flying home for Turkey Day, getting ready for finals (not that I've really outlined or anything, I think my preparation has consisted to talking my friends back from the ledge), and doing the lovely early December resume blast.. oy!
Exams will be over on the 18th, and at that time I will be back to a more proper blogging schedule, I hope. Especially as the primary season will be nearly upon as at that time.
Lucky me.. December 11th is not only my 33rd birthday, but also the date of my Contracts exam. Isn't law school life grand?
I think my CSO may be aiming a bit too low for us. They seem to tell everyone to back off from big firms for 1L summer and focus on the vastly underpaid and overworked (as opposed to the vastly overworked and umm.. appropriately paid) world of public interest or government work. The best part (yes, my tongue is firmly planted in my cheek) is that we have a stipend program that might actually pay you a grand total of about two months rent. It escapes me just how we ended up in the top 25. Very few of the top 100 firms recruit here. Heck there are tier 3 schools in Boston and NYC who get better on campus action than we do. Tell me why it is that I came to St. Louis again?
Oh, and did I mention that my own search of firms that hire 1L summers came up with over 100 just in NYC, Boston and DC (some are duplicates.. same firm, different location). Nevertheless, it makes me wonder just what the hell is wrong with our CSO. Then, I find out that Ditzy's school's CSO pimps 1L's resumes for them! (Ditzy's site) Imagine that.. a CSO that does work for you?! I mean.. sheesh.. how can we expect such extravagance for only $32,000 per year?!