Thursday, April 28, 2005

Genital mutilation...who are we to judge?

There are a number of posters on the message boards of who are so totally out of touch with reality that it is breathtaking. They sit as perfect examples of the crackpot left whose empty and meaningless rhetoric serves the sole purpose of making conservatives look reasonable. The "moral relativism" that Likudnicks and the Pope talk about puts me in the odd place of agreeing with them on this occasion. Witness this particular exchange found on post 132 at this address:

stuck:(that's me)" This is the kind of multiculturalism that makes excuses for cutting women's clitorises off"

MGB2003 (a woman from Canada):"if that was part of their culture, or their knowledge base to date......who are you to judge?? There are many activities in other cultures that the west finds appalling. But then there are cultural factors in the west that they might find appalling too."

To say that we shouldn't judge people who mutilate the sex organs of a woman because of their culture is breathtakingly stupid and an insult to human rights advocates (which this person supposedly is one of) everywhere. Amnesty Internationl has kicked off an international campaign to stop this sort of violence against women. See here

And here is an interesting article on the topic as well:

Cultural Relativism vs. Human Rights
There is serious disagreement about whether the practice of FGM is an issue of cultural relativism or an issue of human rights. Some Western anthropologists have equated the practice of FGM with such Western practices as breast augmentation and tattooing. This agrument is flawed, however, for at least two important reasons. The first is that in both the examples given, the subjects making these decisions must, by law, be adults. This is not the case with FGM, whose subjects are often as young as three. The second flaw in this argument is that neither breast augmentation nor tattoing impede natural body functions, in the way FGM can. The argument has also been made that FGM is analogous to male circumcision, which is a common practice in the West. While it is true that both procedures are cultural traditions that have no real health benefits, there are major differences between the two. The most important difference between FGM and male circumcision is that, again, FGM impedes the natural functioning of the female body in ways that male circumcision does not.

There has also been serious debate within the African American community about FGM. While some African American women see the West's attack on FGM as "ethnocentric," African American novelist Alice Walker has written about her oppostion to the practice. Walker has produced a documentary and published a book, both entitled "Warrior Marks," based on her experiences investigating FGM in Western Africa. In the following footage from the documentary "Women Under Attack," Walker shares an interview from her "Warrior Marks" documentary. If you want to see this video click here.

Many human rights organizations agree with Alice Walker, and view FGM as a violation of human rights, calling for its eradication. In a meeting in Geneva this year, three UN agencies announced efforts to end FGM. These agencies, The World Health Organization (WHO), the United Nations Population Fund (UNFPA), and UNICEF, asked for world support for their goal, calling FGM an "unsafe and unjustifiable traditional practice." Amnesty International has also come out against FGM, saying "the practice is a form of violence and a violation of boldily integrity." Non-Western organizations such as the Egyptian Human Rights Organisation (EOHR) have also joined this capaign. Egypt has been a battleground in the struggle to eradicate FGM, where the practice is currently banned. The goal of EOHR is to teach Egyptians "the harms of the operation to both individuals and society and to clarify that this pagan custom has no connection with Islam."

NY Attorney General goes after spyware scumbags...

Attorney General of NY Spitzer has decided to go after the a-holes that are constantly loading up our computers with spyware.

According to, "Spyware applications are programs and files that hide on your PC's hard drive without your direct knowledge. These programs allow hackers and advertising companies to track your every move, both online and even when you work offline. They can track the websites you visit, the items that you buy online, the emails you send and receive, your Instant Message dialog, and worst of all they can even record your credit card number, personal identification numbers, and all of your passwords. If you use dial-up to connect to the Internet then spyware can be used to bill 900 numbers to your phone bill. This is just a short list of the harm that spyware can cause."

There are certain to be a whole bunch of lawyers and techies who will defend the right of parties to spam, hack, and basically cause harm to others under the guise of some constitutional right, but all legalese aside, if I walk into your office and take over your copy machine, telephone, or typewriter while you were in the middle of transacting business, nobody would seriously argue that is legal. But somehow, since this is being done over the internet, it's okay in the minds of these folks and the people they pay to agree with them.

Here's an excerpt from the article:
"Spitzer’s civil suit accuses Intermix of violating state General Business Law provisions against false advertising and deceptive business practices. He also accuses them of trespass under New York common law.

The company is accused of download ads and software that directs ads to a computer based on the user’s activities. Spitzer’s investigators said the downloads then attach to computers, often slowing their operation and crashing the computers as well as interfering with use of the computer through pop-up ads. Often the downloads were made without notice when a user visited a Web site, played a game or accepted a screen saver. Sometimes the user was asked permission through an often vague reference in a lengthy licensing agreement which could be misleading or inaccurate, investigators said."

The increasingly popular browser from Mozilla called "Firefox" is now capturing Explorer's market share and spyware developers are targeting it, but the firefox is nowhere near as vulnerable.

Wednesday, April 27, 2005

The motorcycle diaries and the jurassic left...

Along the same lines as Sgrena's beliefs we have a recent movie that continues the re-writing of history by lionizing of all people, Ernesto Che Guevara, one of Fidel Castro's more important Lieutenants. Against the backdrop of South and Central
American politics, where American interventionism and adventurism has a bizarre history of supporting vile despots, he doesn't seem so bad. In fact, the history of communism is poorly understood. There isn't much doubt in my mind that any one of us could have ended up communists had we lived in pre-revolution China, Russia, or Cuba. But there also isn't much doubt in my mind that many of us would have been swallowed by those same revolutions in the way the French revolutionaries were by Robespierre's reign of terror. It is in this line of thinking that Paul Berman writes this excellent piece on "The motorcycle Diaries"

And from the paleozoic left...

The war in Iraq has certainly given a boost to the dinosaur left who I became intimately familiar with in my years at SFSU; wierd, disconnected characters wearing berets and dirty clothes handing out newspapers that fascinated me with their shrill, hysterical rhetoric. At the time I thought there was something romantic about it, and I read Noam Chomsky voraciously and studied Marx. I still believe that Marx is relevant, and that class struggle and the oppressive aspects of capitalism must be addressed. But characterizing all things in the world as either imperialism and the understandable response to it avoids confrontation with a cold, hard reality; that there are mass totalitarian movements in existence, cults of suicide and death who don't have a problem with empire per se. They have a problem with a non-Islamic one.
People who suppose that this collision course with the forces of reaction can be avoided have a variety of lame rationalizations. For example, there isn't really an international terror movement afoot (you would think bombs going off from Madrid to Thailand would tip them off) and even if there are, it's our fault anyway for meddling in their affairs.
Italian journalist Guiliana Sgrena who writes for the Italian pinko newspaper named, hilariously, Il Manifesto went to Iraq a while back to make nice with the "freedom fighters" who have been fighting imperialism by beheading truck drivers, shooting aid workers, and blowing up crowds of Shiite muslims. I am not sure what efforts she made to prevent Hussein from killing more than a million and a half Iraqis and Iranians but I would imagine she did the same thing most of us did; nothingl. I found an interesting article that describes what she is really like

Here's a quote "About Giuliana Sgrena
Mr. Harald Doornbos is a veteran war reporter. He is no archetypical hawk nor a staunch supporter of the United States. In fact, he used to be a reporter for the communist newspaper 'De Waarheid' (The Truth, or Pravda, if you like) before it went bust. (This doesn't necessarily mean he was ever a communist, by the way. De Waarheid used to be a huge employer.)

However, this doesn't make him overly sympathetic towards Giuliana Sgrena, the Italian journalist who was held hostage by Iraqi insurgents. Some snippets from this article which was published today in a Dutch Christian broadsheet.

'Be careful not to get kidnapped,' I told the female Italian journalist sitting next to me in the small plane that was headed for Baghdad. 'Oh no,' she said. 'That won't happen. We are siding with the oppressed Iraqi people. No Iraqi would kidnap us.'

It doesn't sound very nice to be critical of a fellow reporter. But Sgrena's attitude is a disgrace for journalism. Or didn't she tell me back in the plane that 'common journalists such as yourself' simply do not support the Iraqi people? 'The Americans are the biggest enemies of mankind,' the three women behind me had told me, for Sgrena travelled to Iraq with two Italian colleagues who hated the Americans as well.

(Doornbos goes on to explain how the women demeaned him for travelling as an embedded reporter with the US military, for security reasons. They didn't want to hear about any safety concerns.)

'You don't understand the situation. We are anti-imperialists, anti-capitalists, communists,' they said. The Iraqis only kidnap American sympathizers, the enemies of the Americans have nothing to fear.

(Doornbos tells them they're out of their mind.)

But they knew better. When we arrived at Baghdad Airport, I was waiting for a jeep from the American army to come pick me up. I saw one of the Italian women walking around crying. An Iraqi had stolen her computer and television equipment. They were standing outside shivering, waiting for a cab to take them to Baghdad.

With her bias Sgrena did not only jeopardize herself, but due to her behavior a security officer is now dead, and the Italian government (prime minister Berlusconi included) has had to spend millions of euros to save her life. It is to be hoped that Sgrena will decide to have a career change. Propagandist or MP perhaps. But she should give up journalism immediately."
The story she tells is on the surface absurd; the car she was riding in was hit with three to four hundred bullets but somehow she escaped alive. She believes the Americans were trying to kill her. It seems breathtakingly stupid to believe she would be alive if that were the case. They would kill the Italian agent but not her? Current reports indicate that the road to the airport is so dangerous, it's currently closed.
Yet there are not shortage of conspiracist dolts out there spreading this myth. As long as American and European leftists refuse to mark out their territory and exclude such incredibly stupid people, we are lending de facto support to the conservatives. We cannot remain where we have been.

Tuesday, April 26, 2005

One of the myths...

One of the "myths" (and of course that is simply my perspective) of law school grading is that there is a super-secret technique to it. My personal experience went something like this. When I concentrated on learning just the law, I did very well. When I switched to trying fancy stuff, I went off the rails. I even hired a writing teacher. The smartest thing I ever did was fire him and go back to what worked from day one; that is, studying hard enough to learn the core of every subject. Guess what? It worked.

Here's an excerpt from the below link from Washington;


This very prevalent student myth is probably heard most frequently early in the second semester of law school, after the students have received their very first set of law school grades. This belief is not entirely myth; there are, indeed, some students whose initial exam grades in law school are artificially low because of some problem in exam-taking technique rather than because of deficiencies in their substantive knowledge. Furthermore, students as a group probably become more adept at taking exams as they take more of them. However, how many students can legitimately expect that their exam technique will significantly improve over time relative to their peers, whose exam techniques are also presumably improving with experience?

I am convinced that such "technique-deficient" students are the exception rather than the rule. When students come to me after receiving their exam grade to ask how they can write a better exam, I first re-read their exam closely to see if I can discern any problems of style or approach. Typically, however, my response to the student after re-reading the exam is the same: Know the subject matter better and be able to apply the law to the facts of the exam.


Well here we are waiting another six fucking weeks to have our tests graded...which I think is absolutely ridiculous by any measure. It's usually this period and shortly after we get them that the whole concept of law school grading starts to get turned over in our heads. I found some interesting reading on the subject.

New bankruptcy laws

The firm I intern for in SF helped a woman file for bankruptcy this Friday and the lead clerk commented while we were filing at the court in Oakland that there will be a rush to file for the next six months before the new bankruptcy rules take effect. The former rules were favorable to debtors, but because of abuse, the current administration has managed to push through a new set of laws which turn things around. If you are a creditor, this is a good thing, as a lot of people are taking advantage.

Here's an excerpt from an article on that subject.

Perhaps the most significant change is not found in specific provisions of the Act, but rather in the dramatic change in attitude toward those who are in debt. In the past consumers who filed bankruptcy were viewed as being in need of relief from the burden of debt, and were usually treated with empathy. The entire bankruptcy process reflected the attitude that Debtors needed help, essentially viewing them as victims of unfortunate circumstances and giving them the benefit of the doubt. The Bankruptcy Reform Act turns that view upside down. The overall tenor of the new law is confrontational, with debtors being, at best, viewed as responsible to varying degrees for their plight due to mismanagement and greed, and at worst, being opportunists who criminally abuse the system for financial gain. Harvard Law Professor Elizabeth Warren testified before Congress that “virtually every consumer provision aims in the same direction. The bill increases the cost of bankruptcy protection for every family, regardless of income or the cause of financial crisis, and it decreases the protection of bankruptcy for every family, regardless of income or the cause of financial crisis.” While it remains to be seen what effect these changes will have on Bankruptcy Judges and Federal Appeals Courts, and consequently on Debtors, it is fair to say that the pendulum has swung dramatically toward favoring creditors.

It is true that both Debtors and Creditors use loopholes in the current law to take “unfair” advantage of each other. Most experts agreed that the playing field needed to be leveled. While we will not know the true effect of the Act for several years, it appears that the Bankruptcy Reform Act has missed the mark and will make it significantly more difficult to obtain a “fresh start” in what may become a relatively hostile environment. [Excellent materials are available from and]

Sunday, April 24, 2005


This weeks' Asshole of the week is none other than our favorite Republican, Tom Delay. Delay's stunning level of hypocrisy gives the Republicans a new low to shoot for. I found this article on a blog which I haven't checked out and cannot vouch for...but this piece is good...

ASS Tom's father was in a tragic accident that left him severely brain damaged. After twenty seven days Tom and the family made the decision not to prolong the inevitable and stopped all measures to try and save the DeLay patriarch. This has caused some stir among the left because Tom led the Almighty crusade to try and have Congress intervene in the case of Terri Schriavo, to err on the side of life even though he was faced to make the same decision with his father back in 1988. DeLay's aides have insisted that the two cases have nothing in common.

The situation faced by the congressman's family was entirely different than Terri Schiavo's," said a spokesman for the majority leader, who declined requests for an interview.

"The only thing keeping her alive is the food and water we all need to survive. His father was on a ventilator and other machines to sustain him," said Dan Allen, DeLay's press aide.

But the LA Times have been nice enough to point out a couple of similarities.

Both stricken patients were severely brain-damaged. Both were incapable of surviving without medical assistance. Both were said to have expressed a desire to be spared from being kept alive by artificial means. And neither of them had a living will.

HOLE After his fathers death Tom, the leading figure for tort reform on the Hill, sued Midcap Bearing Corp. of San Antonio and Lovejoy Inc. of Illinois, the distributor and maker of a coupling that the family said had failed and caused the tram to hurtle out of control. This is what the LA Times had to say about the case.

The case was resolved in 1993 with payment of an undisclosed sum, said to be about $250,000, according to sources familiar with the out-of-court settlement. DeLay signed over his share of any proceeds to his mother, said his aides.

Three years later, DeLay cosponsored a bill specifically designed to override state laws on product liability such as the one cited in his family's lawsuit. The legislation provided sweeping exemptions for product sellers.

Last September, he expressed less than warm sentiment for attorneys when he took the floor of the House to condemn trial lawyers who, he said, "get fat off the pain" of plaintiffs and off "the hard work" of defendants.

Talk about flip flopping on issues and ethics. If I didn't know any better I would think this was a far flung story dreamed up by the radical right to discredit John Kerry. Nope, its no other than the poster child for the silver-tongued devil that speaks righteous words but does devilish deeds and he's an asshole!


Iran: Blogger Sentenced to 14 Years in Prison
Government Broadens Its Crackdown on Freedom of Expression

(New York, February 24, 2005)--The Iranian government sentenced the prominent blogger Arash Cigarchi to 14 years in prison for expressing his opinions on the Internet and in the international press, marking a new low for freedom of expression in Iran, Human Rights Watch said today.
" The Iranian government is sending a message to its critics: keep silent or face years in prison. "
Widney Brown,
deputy program director of Human Rights Watch

Bloggin in Iran....dangerous?

Human Rights Watch recently published an article about some of our fellow bloggers in Iran. There are two points that I would like to make here; 1) if you read enough on the net today and you are inclined to believe what fits in with your views, you will be quickly convinced by the various apologists for terrorism out there masquerading as "anti-imperialist" that we are all living in some kind of Orwellian nightmare. But ivory-tower coffeeshop revolutionaries in the west who idolize Che Guevara and put a wierd gloss on the modern results of Marxist dogma pretty rarely end up experiencing the type of totalitarianism they bitch about. As much as the ISM and their ilk scream hysterically about how evil Israeli is, you will not see these same folks going into Iran or North Korea because they understand quite well the difference between a liberal democracy and a totalitarian state. They know that within minutes of being in Iran, they will be arrested, possibly tortured and even killed with no free press to take note of it. So while they claim one thing, they actions demonstrate their knowledge of the differences between Israel and Syria.

2) Western conservatives also portray Iran in an unrealistic way. While they are light years from a democracy, a brief glance at their human rights record demonstrates that there ARE democratic efforts and ideals at work, and the government recognizes that. People can and DO protest. Newspapers Do criticize the government. People ARE released from prison. In other words, there is a considerable "liberal" movement afoot in that country that the conservative Mullahs must take notice of. Western conservatives pretend it doesn't exist. Western liberals pretend terrorism doesn't exist.


The proliferation of nuclear weapons doesn't bother me nearly as much as the proliferation of biological and chemical weapons, which are much cheaper and lend themselves to use by terrorists more easily, but that doesn't mean Iranians with nukes isn't a problem. The US has already shot their wad in Iraq trying to prevent the spread of these weapons while the North Koreans actually WERE developing one. I don't think a day goes by that doesn't demonstrate how dangerously incompetent the current administration is.

The Iranians, who have been one of the largest sponsors of state terrorism in the world, are convinced that because Iraq is such a mess that they are untouchable. It is precisely this sort of idiotic machismo that got Iraq invaded in the first place. If there wasn't already ample evidence that we had a loose cannon in office with equally careless people surrounding him, I wouldn't think they were idiots. But now they are determined to get a weapons to keep us out of their country.

Of course in watching how the US is kissing North Korean ass like there's no tomorrow ever since they got a nuke, it's hard to blame the Iranians. They realize these weapons have a realdeterrent. But they are also unaware of the main difference between them and North Korea.

I am always getting the typical "why didn't we invade N. Korea if we were worried about nukes?" You don't have to believe me, go look for yourself. The North Koreans have eight hundred thousand soldiers, four thousand battle tanks, eight hundred combat aircraft, and enough artillery within range of the capital of South Korea to level the entire city in fifteen minutes. Estimated casualties in repelling an attack range around ten million.

NO such situation existed in Iraq.

Iran is a dangerous, backward nation that alongside Syria represents the greatest threat to world peace just behind North Korea, who I see as in first place.

This is usually the part in the discussion where somebody throws in Israel's nukes in order to poison the debate. There really isn't a lot you can say to people who are completely and willfully ignorant of the difference between liberal democracies like Israel that have a number of problems and totalitarian nations like Iran and Syria where the opposition is simply tortured, butchered and disappeared while the Mullahs export death and hate throughout the world. I don't know of an Israeli President who ever called on all muslims to kill a writer (and in my opinion, not a particularly good one) for offending their religious beliefs.

Sunday, April 17, 2005

Death of an activist

I had mixed feelings about the latest news regarding the death of a young woman in a car bomb attack who was attempting to help the innocent victims of the Iraq conflict.

here's an excerpt:

Marla Ruzicka, founder of Campaign for Innocent Victims in Conflict, died Saturday in the blast, which also killed an Iraqi and another foreigner, officials said. She had been in Iraq conducting door-to-door surveys trying to determine the number of civilian casualties in the country.
A skinny, ever-smiling woman with curly blond tresses, Ruzicka was untiring and undaunted as she went up against military and political bureaucracies in her effort to win help for Iraqi civilian victims of the war, and to make sure those who died were not forgotten.
"Everyone who met Marla was struck by her incredible effervescence and commitment," Kenneth Roth, executive director of Human Rights Watch, said in a statement. "She was courageous and relentless in pursuit of accurate information about civilians caught up in war."

I would say it is pretty clear what she was intending to show how the American efforts in Iraq were doing more harm than good. Why else would she feel the need to find out how many iraqis have died in the conflict? If one was driven to find out how many people died under Saddam Hussein, which totals somewhere around a million or so, I would feel inclined to wonder. Would I sacrifice ten or twenty thousand Americans in a war to rid myself of a mass murderer responsible for the deaths of a million? you bet.

The kind of people that killed this woman are the kind of people she denied existed. What a terrible price to pay for naivete...

Whose spinning us now?

After reading about the heroic triumph of the Iraqis who rescued fifteen shiite families this morning, I was under the distinct impression that this was convenient news for the Bush administration who was looking to the Iraq NG to take over, but who haven't been worth shit from day one. This story bears it out. The recent movie "Gunner Palace" gives hilarious footage of these bumblers who pretty clearly are there to earn a buck, and who it is apparent will cut and run at the first sign of trouble. The US efforts in Iraq have been pathetic and I don't think there is a single day that goes by which doesn't demonstrate how incompetent Don Rumsfeld and all the other clowns who failed to plan for the aftermath are.

I'm working for ten dollars an hour in a law library, and I saw this trouble coming from day one, along with a whole lot of other people. Kicking the crap out of a penny-ante dictator with an army that was designed to fight and defeat the former USSR war machine would be nothing. Building a nation (and this from the guy who got elected pointing out how Clinton was engaged in nation building and how bad an idea this was) was a whole other story.

If there is on lesson we should be learning in Iraq, it's that Saddam Hussein was a reflection of his nation in many ways. Who else but a brutal dictator of this sort could maintain peace among warring tribal factions with a seventh century mentality?

Nonetheless, I hold out hope that Iraq will become some liberal democracy. I'm not holding my breath.

And from the defenders of the weak...

Talk Left had a recent take on the decisions in Fanfan and Blakely, two important supreme court decisions related to sentencing guidelines which are a little more complicated than I care to go into right now. The tone of his blog rather reminds me of the Evidence Professor here at Empire and the cult that follows him around. Their detractors in the DA's office report that there are those in the Public Defenders' office who have "drank the kool-aid"...

Of course, I have always had a bit of sympathy for the defense. In this law and order society that romanticizes the victims of criminals and ignores the victims of system (wow, I feel like I'm in college again...did I really say "system"?) you always have to ask yourself why the same people who ask "How can you defend those people?" Never ask "How could you prosecute those people?"

These are scary times....

I think if I see one more godawful police/CIA stop terrorism drama on television I'm going to puke.

One interesting blog

I ran across this blog while looking for criticism of the Pope, which is sorely lacking given the instinct by which most to give the dead a little leeway...being unkind, I guess, or perhaps more inclined to care about the millions of children born into starvation and death because of the Pope's "moral" stance, I set about searching and came across "Body and Soul" which I thought was rather milquetoast in the criticism of the pope but nonetheless well-written and introspective. Those interested can go here

and check it out for themselves. I always like it when I learn a new word. Anybody know what "hagiography" means?

Paul Berman...again...

"To my mind one of the great scandals of all modern history was the anti-war movement of 2003. The regime of Saddam Hussein in Iraq was surely the most tyrannical, most totalitarian, most murderous regime in all of modern history after that of Pol Pot: hundreds of thousands, probably millions were killed, four million were driven into exile. The Liberals of Iraq have faced a nightmare of hopelessness and the horrors of abandonment by much of the rest of the world. Finally, steps were being taken to overthrow this worst of tyrannies in the modern world and at this moment the largest mass movement in the history of the entire world formed to prevent the overthrow of the fascist government in Iraq. To me this is a gigantic moral scandal. It is the kind of moral scandal which has characterized so much of modern history and is an example in microcosm of the many forces that have led to the tragic and truly unbearable fact that modern history in the last ninety years of so has been one of the cruelest and bloodiest periods in all of human history. "-Paul Berman

the fantasy of al qaeda

Here's a piece by Lee Harris of the Policy Review...I thought it enjoyable and somewhat on point although a bit long and tortured. I don't know who they are or what they are about, but judging from the writing it looks like a right-wing thinktank of sorts...

Terror and Liberals

The main point of this blog...although I'm going to be all over the place, is to point out the troubling inability of the American and European left to face up the rise of fascism with an Islamic face. If mass graves in Iraq and bombs going off from Madrid to Thailand doesn't indicate there is more going on than the simplistic struggle between greed and the reaction to it, enumerated so artfully by Noam Chomsky and his ilk, I don't know what does. The foremost spokesman and intellectual aside from Christopher Hitchens and Thomas Friedman, is Paul Berman, whose work "Terror and Liberalism" is, in my opinion, one of the more important books to be written on the subject of terrorism. Here's a brief article from him: a piece on the latest refurbishment of the myth of Che Guevara but most important is the slate dialogue found here;

Law School sucks...

Life was better before law school...If I wasn't getting threatened daily with lawsuits and dealing with fucked up kids I would still be a teacher, but the continual combat and lack of parent support, added to the efforts by politicians to scapegoat teachers for political gain did it for me. I quite last October.

I've been in law school three years. It's a fourth tier law school in SRI, which means that most of us will never work as lawyers and there is a wierd, motley assortment of people dredged up out of god knows where. Mid-fifties divorcees trying to get power back in their lives, mid-thirties guys who had too much fun in their twenties until reality suddenly crept in and they no longer looked so cool in baseball hats and t-shirts riding a bike (that would be ME). Young kids not realizing they could go to a better school...And of course people who are just looking for a fight or an argument everywhere they go.

I don't like law students for the most part. Gosh...I sound so negative...

I hate law school. A lot of it, anyway. It can be fun. It is certainly challenging, which is healthy up to a point.

Fourth tier students are like fourth tier professors; they have something to prove. Granted, there are a few of us who are no slouches. Some of the older folks are doctors, engineers and some of the kids are brilliant. For the most part, I dread the possibility that many of them will graduate and pass the bar. There is no shortage of lawyers; there IS a shortage of good ones.

That being said an ABA first tier education doesn't automatically indicate greatness. But it is fair to say that the better school you go to, the more likely you are to be brighter or molded earlier. It is also fair to say that the connections and elitism is what makes the difference.

Yet after a few years, nobody real cares where you went. You are either good or bad, and they know it.

here's a couple of links for

The housing bubble

The pressdemocrat recently posted an article that amounted to a long, slow kiss with the real estate industry, asking a real estate agent whether he thought the market would stay hot. Would you ask a barber if you needed a haircut? Here are some of the sources.. exactly low power people either. If I had to speculate, I would be looking at how to make money in the impending burst...


Somebody once asked a famous Professor if he thought Universities discouraged people from writing. He answered "I don't think they discourage enough of them." Let's just say with the proliferation of the internet and before that, the advent of mass produced books, we are victimized by more self-absorbed, worthless crap than any previous generation in history, so our skill at differentiating among them must be greater. In the vague hope that my writing doesn't add to the shitpile, I now enter the fray... THE POPE IS DEAD...SHOULD WE BE HAPPY? Many people remember the end of the popstar Sinead O'Connor's career when she ripped a picture of the Pope in half. Perhaps I'm going to be roundly hated for this, but in the same vein I'm not particularly sad about his demise. As Howard Stern pointed out in the aftermath of the event, "Here is a guy who has condemned millions of children to be born so that they may be starved to death." and presumably because of his love for human life. The stunning hypocrisy of the Catholics, and a good majority of Christians in any event, is plain for all to see. Like Ronald Reagan, the image of the Pope becomes enhanced upon his death completely apart from the reality of the man. [Date=04-17-2005]
some other bloggers
Here's some other blogs you can check out...I haven't totally vetted them but they are certain to link to other ones...see Crooked Timber...Slacktavist...The Volokh conspiracy and talkleft....Andrew Sullivan....more later..


God, as if there wasn't enough self-absorbed wannabe bloggers in the sphere already, Wallace E Francis out of Healdsburg California has entered the fray...I'm a 37 year old law student/librarian, former history teacher in his fourth year at Empire College, a fourth-tier law school out of Santa Rosa...I have a huge fat cat, a girlfriend named Debbie who supports my sorry ass, and a family who I am close to. This blog is going to be about politics...but I'm going to be all over the place because that is how I think...

My former "blog" of sorts can be found over on screen name "stuckinsamsara"...I've been writing for years and I figured it was time to branch out and stop responding to conspiracist morons, right wing lunatics, and just plain idiots.

I'm a liberal do-gooder hawk along the lines of Paul Berman, Christopher Hitchens and Thomas Friedman, although I diverge from their views in many respects. The older I get the more moderate I get...I'm continually going from left to right on a variety of issues.