Saturday, October 29, 2005

I may have mentioned this before, but I've become a big fan of, and subscriber to, emusic. I've been finding a lot of new music --both actual new music and in the "new to me" sense--by perusing and listening to 30-second clips, following "similar bands" and reader lists, and whatnot. If you check it out and like it, please please please put me down as referrer--love the pricing structure, but more free downloads could never hurt.

Among the "new to me" songs I've been listening to, is it kinda weird that this one is the one I've been listening to the most, and that I find really peppy and fun?!

Friday, October 28, 2005

I'm currently three episodes through the 10 "I Love the '80s 3-D" that I either have Tivo-ed or am about to Tivo. No, I'm not proud.

And speaking of reliving my childhood, but snarkier, Something Awful takes on Richard Scarry books this week; be very afraid.

Tuesday, October 25, 2005

When a team doesn't have success for a long time, it shows up in all aspects of football including, of course, team songs. Even bringing in a professional can't help, as Bootsie Collins proves here with "Bigg Cats." Let's call it, at best, Bullets Fever-esque.

One major change in law school policy is the fiendish shutting off of Internet access during class. The system is set up so that each student's ID is tied to their class schedule, and you can't log onto the school's wireless network during your class times. Tantalizingly, the system also fails for the day from time to time, so now everyone checks at the beginning of every class to see if this is one of those magic access days.

Access is particularly critical in Enterprise Organizations, which is our "Corporations" or "Business Organizations" class. The material is better than expected, but the class is more lecture than Socratic interplay, with some class participation, but the professor's new and isn't that good at the method yet. So the bottom line is, there's not much to be gained from class over and above the reading itseld.

Last week we had a few magic access days, and I'd forgotten how much I missed keeping a running AIM commentary during class. We were talking about Entire Fairness doctrine, which in short says that when there's a conflict of interest transaction involving a majority or controlling shareholder, the court will apply a variety of standards to figure out whether or not it should be invalidated. Under one set of circumstances, the test is Entire Fairness--were both the process and the outcome fair despite the conflict? Working our way through a flow chart, the professor declared, "So now we're in the land of Entire Fairness." This prompted the following AIM commentary:

[12:16] (joe): i want to live in The Land Of Entire Fairness

[12:17] (Salle): i hear there's great food there

[12:17] (joe): no, it's just fair

I came of age with Talk Soup, MST3K, and a lot trips to Rocky Horror; how is a class entirely bereft of running commentary supposed to compete for my attention?

Sunday, October 23, 2005

My team finished 2nd at the quizbowl thingamabobber yesterday, and had one win over the victorious team, although we were 1-3 overall against them. Congrats to all the winning team members. This also meant about 11 hours out of 36 were spent in an enclosed space with Craig's iPod, which is some people's idea of personal hell, but which I rather enjoyed. I reconnected with a lot of alterna-pop songs I really liked in the mid-to-late '90s, most of which I'm not even that ashamed to like. After all, everybody wants to be closer to free. I also particularly enjoyed the Bamford/Hedberg/Sklar comedy bloc.

In other news, I'm currently watching Game 2. Anyone else remember when they used to stop playing baseball when the driving rainstorm hit?

Monday, October 17, 2005

It's official: I'll be summering at Proskauer Rose in Los Angeles (Century City). I'm very excited about the result. I'm a tad disappointed in the process, as I feel I underperformed my grades both in terms of number of callback interviews, and number of job offers. What bugs me most is that I don't know what to attribute that to, and I never will.

That said, there's a solid chance I would have ended up in the same place even if I'd had all the options I wanted, so in the end none of the rest of it matters. Anyway, there's only one important thing about the process.

It's over!

Sunday, October 16, 2005

So, um, WOW! And also, WOW! The two teams I'm following most closely in college football right now* each pulled out games where they needed a touchdown in the last five seconds to win huge games yesterday. For USC, a possible national championship was on the line; for Michigan, it was about not getting the 4th loss that Michigan never has on Halloween. For me, it was seeing my #1, absolute least favorite person in all of sports (JokePa) take it on the chin in the most heart-wrenching way possible. You literally can't get a tougher loss than to be leading by more than 3 with 59:59 of the game gone, only to lose at the buzzer. I didn't think I'd ever be in a crazier Big House than last year's Michigan State game, but to tell you the truth it wasn't even close. The difference was that a lot of people left last year's game early, but this one was so close that no one left. Add to that the eery similarities between the two games--late afternoon games at a stadium that doesn't really have the lights to be playing after sunset, significant and rowdy fan representation from the other side, huge special teams plays, and just knowing in the back of your mind that you'd seen such a comeback before--and I can't even come up with a word for it. Even the notoriously blase law student bloc went nuts, with the hugging and the jumping and the whatnot, and the "It's great. To be. A Michigan Wolverine" song (Which I wanted to modify into "It sucks. To be. A Nittany Lion fan."). Add to that that I was yelling "Fight On!" everytime we got the out-of-town score update and getting some weird looks. What a day.

To put the game in a little more perspective, you know a game was crazy when the play where they botch an extra point snap, the kicker picks up the ball, runs around left end, makes a nice move and dives into the end zone for a two-point conversion doesn't make the highlight recap shows, or even the AP write-up.

*No disrespect to alma mater, but once you've lost to Ohio and State University of New Jersey in the same season, you tend to fall off the radar screen a bit. It just happens.

Wednesday, October 12, 2005

In kind of a throwaway part of today's class, our First Amendment professor today made and then let pass the argument that "freedom of association" (a favorite of conservatives who want to, say, keep gay scoutmasters out of the Boy Scouts) is just as much of a made-up, "judicial activist" right as the right to privacy (a non-favorite of many of the same conservatives). This seemed strange at first--the right to assemble is right there in the First Amendment, right? It turns out that the argument is a great primer in statutory construction, and I'm actually persuaded.

Here's the text of the First Amendment:

Congress shall make no law respecting an establishment of religion, or prohibiting the free exercise thereof; or abridging the freedom of speech, or of the press; or the right of the people peaceably to assemble, and to petition the government for a redress of grievances.
Yes, there it is, "peaceably to assemble," right there in the text. But as Lee Corso would say, not so fast my friend...

The key to understanding how many distinct rights are enumerated here is to follow the punctuation and the conjunctions. You may have been taught that there are five rights in the First Amendment, freedom of (1) speech, (2) assembly, (3) religion, (4) press, and (5) petition. It turns out that there are 3, and they're separated by semicolons and "or"s, following the lead-in of "Congress shall make no law:"
  1. respecting...religion, or prohibiting the free exercise thereof;
  2. abridging freedom of speech, or of the press;
  3. or the right...peaceably to assemble, and to petition the government
Note that 2 and 3 both fall under "abridging," and also that each distinct right is separated by "or". You can see "speech" and "press" as one right or two here, and I think either makes sense. But after "press" we get a semicolon that leads into the last clause. While all the previous rights are listed disjunctively (Congress can't do this or that), the last bit is written conjunctively (to assemble, AND to petition). In construing statutes and other legal writing, we generally presume that when there are changes in terms or structure, those changes are meaningful; this is often put this way: The drafters knew how to say it differently if they wanted to.

Here, if the right to assemble was a distinct right from the right to petition, the construction of the rest of the amendment suggests it would be separated by an "or" and a semicolon, or at least by an "or" and a comma. The "and" suggests this is one right, not two: the right to assemble insofar as it is related to petitioning the government for redress of grievances. Note that the rights of speech, religion, and press do not have this limitation, as indicated by the semicolons and "or"s--you do not have to be petitioning the government to exercise your free speech rights, but you do in order to exercise your freedom of assembly.

So under this view, there's no right to assembly in and of itself. To find such a right requires you to assume it's a Ninth Amendment reserved right, or that there are penumbras of rights that can be teased out from other rights, or that (gasp!) this right was created via judicial activism. All three are supposedly anathema to the federalist types who love nothing more than to ridicule Griswold v. CT, Roe v. Wade, etc. for exactly these judicial sins.

What can we take from all of this? I suggest three things:
  1. And, but, and or--they'll get you pretty far.
  2. Joe is capable of amazing levels of tedious pedantry about trivial details that would occupy the normal person for only an instant, if at all.
  3. Nope, that's pretty much it.

Tuesday, October 11, 2005

So where were we?

  • Blue failed to Go. Ugh. College football suckitude apparently follows me around, with the upside that it seems to get better when I leave. At least we have a chance to knock off The Devil Himself this weekend.
  • The note deadline has been postponed, although I think I'm on to a topic. It's not exactly cocktail party fodder, but the class I'm loving this term is Secured Transactions, and it looks like I'm going to write about the affects of a provision of Revised Article 9 of the Uniform Commercial Code. Trust me, you really don't want to hear more.
  • The concerts were great. The contrast was particularly fascinating to me--seats in the 200-level for Foo/Weezer on Friday vs. no farther than 25 feet from any band member or 6 feet from the gigantic speakers at any point on Saturday. At least today I can only notice the ears still ringing if I'm somewhere especially quiet. Still, the New P*rn*grapers were tremendous, and I also enjoyed the previous two acts, which were, well, various incarnations of New P*rn*graphers and their ilk. Even opening act Gerudo (whose next gig is listed as: "Abe's basement") were entertaining in their own way--their own way including internal disagreement about how to pronounce "Gerudo" (hard or soft G).
  • Sometime last Thursday afternoon, it very abruptly became fall here, going from about 75 degrees to about 50 in a few hours, and it seems to be permanently. At least this means we've been getting hot cider at the dining hall.
  • I know the quiz-bowl types who read this already know about this, but for the rest of you, the Arcata, California, police blotter is an endless source of amusement.

Saturday, October 08, 2005

So I am sitting here at Espresso Royale, for the first time in my law school career skipping a home football game. The sad fact is that I felt the need to come here and write this post get some work done. How did it come to that?

Step one: At the Moorsley wedding a few weeks ago, I found out that some Michigan and Chicago types are descending on Kalamazoo tonight for the New P0rnographers concert. I'm kind of a fan, so I thought it sounded like fun, and so I'm headed out to western part of the state tonight, to K-zoo and on to spend the night in Grand Rapids with the gang at Geoff's.

(This also provided me with my best on-my-feet moment of interview season. Last Thursday Kalamazoo somehow came up in conversation at lunch, and I said, "Oh, I'm going there next weekend to see The New P0rnographers." Awkward silence. I explain they're an indie band of some repute. Continue awkward silence. So I say, "It's OK, I'll know them when I see them," which of course is a very law geeky joke. They laughed way more than I expected [or deserved], but I was very thankful for it and we moved on from there.)

Step two: I am on the Journal of Law Reform, (no, really) and we have to write something disingenuously called a "Note" that amounts to a term-paper length, potentially publishable piece on an open question of law or proposing some legal change. OK, actually we don't have to write a Note, but we have to write part of a Note and a proposed roadmap for completion. Our first deadline, with bibliography and outline, is due next Friday the 14th. I though this weekend would be a good time to, you know, figure out my topic and whatnot.

Step three: Profit.

Step four: I thought I could still go to the game if I worked most or all of Friday evening. Then I'm walking back from the gym around noon yesterday, and a friend stops me in the street and asked if I wanted tickets for last night's Foo Fighters/Weezer concert at Joe Louis Arena. (More on that later.) So Friday night was shot.

Step five: I must exalt Blue to Go from afar.

Monday, October 03, 2005

As alluded to previously, I spent much of the past week in L.A. interviewing and renewing my acquiantance with several of my favorite restaurants, including stopping in at Papa Cristo's sadly not for a meal, but for a Limonata and one of those unbelievable baklava/custard thingys. I only ate at the hotel once, and it was this weird spinach/onion omelette, after which I decided to seek out less pretentious food. That said, I knew I was getting back into the L.A. mindset at two distinct moments: (1) Thursday night on the Santa Monica Promenade, when I walked down the street next to someone dressed as a Devo guy and didn't flinch, and (2) when I had a pomegranate smoothie for breakfast on Friday.

The practical upshot of the trip is that of my five interviews, I can now say there are two serious contenders, two longshots, and one that's just out. Of those I only have one offer in hand, but it's from a contender, so yay! I won't get more specific, because who knows who's reading, but I hope to sort things out in the next two weeks or so.

Like my last trip I came back on a red-eye this time, but with no home game/tailgate to get to, I was able to spend most of Saturday sleeping and/or sitting around recovering, which was outstanding. Now all I have to do is catch up in my classes, figure out a note topic, deal with ongoing emotional issues (don't ask--I'm coping), and try to start writing again. I guess this is a start.