Monday, October 31, 2005

2 Costumes. 173 Students.

Excluding myself, I counted one person that dressed up today in the spirit of Halloween. Yeah, I felt a little out of place - but sure had a lot of laughs about it. Call me a law dork if you want, but I couldn't resist making a comment in class today arguing on behalf of the defendant for the "FREEEEDDOOOM of contract." The Professor nearly lost control of herself and the class had a good laugh (at my expense?). Anyway, even if it was, I'm happy to provide some levity.

For those of you who know me, coming as William Wallace (Gibson's character in Braveheart) should come as no surprise. It's been ten years now and I am only beginning to actively confront my obsession with this movie. One day, I won't be able to make a ridiculous scene and scream in Scottish brogue. But not today and not soon.

Like I said, ridiculous.

Sunday, October 30, 2005

'Tis The Season Where Men Dress Like Kanye and Women Hardly Anything

So, I tried to pull Kanye off for the Halloween party at Crothers Hall last night. I think I did pretty good job it, honestly. I even had a baldcap on and everything. But, I still think it was too confusing a character. I got that question a few too many times. You know the one that I'm talking about...

"So, who are you tonight?"

That all changes tomorrow. On Monday, October 31st, I plan on bringing William Wallace, of Braveheart fame, to Stanford Law School. I am talking full tilt: kilt, sword, jacket, boots, and blue war paint. It's not that I'm desperate for attention. I think it would be right in line with my mission statement (footnote 1) and, in general, worth a whole lot of laughs.

Though a very sexy Carmen Sandiego won the contest for 'best costume' last night, I think my friend had her beat. Not the tallest of gents, he stuffed himself into a bumblebee costume tailored for the dimensions of your average 8 year old. He looked hilarious - especially with the stinger coming straight from his back, the black tights, the wide frame aviator glasses, all while double fisting beers. He looked like a genetic experiment gone horribly wrong - like a cross between John Belushi from Animal House and some gender ambiguous character from Sesame Street. He said he'd wear it again on Monday for a cash sum of $150. Taking donations...

A huge amount of women last night decided to go with the tried and tested route of costume selection. If you're a woman and still searching for a costume idea, here's a failsafe plan of action: 1) Think of a job. 2) Dress like you are that worker. 3) Here's the key twist: do it like you have to go pole dance after work. Halloween is really just an excuse for women, pressured into norms for 364 days a year, to dress as scantily as possible. It must be very cathartic experience. Props to my girl who came as "Class" last night - with white gloves, pearls, and heels. It's not that I'm against a culture of skimpy clothing. That's one of the overarching benefits of going to school in California. But as one 1L put it, when did it become "Whore-o-Ween?"

Footnote 1: SLS1L promises that he will do his part to combat a general 1L culture of stress, work, and pressure.

3JP in the Cro. Like I said, I gave Kanye all I had to give.

Saturday, October 29, 2005

College Homage

They say blood is thicker than water. Fine. But, here are five people from college that I would take a bullet for - that's me on the far left, if you can't tell. Tootsie, Focker, JJ, Bran and Belly were like brothers to me. And when I say brother, I don't mean like an actual brother. I mean it the way Black people use it. Which is much more meaningful, I think.

This pic was taken on the last day of class in Spring 2004 on Hey Day - a tradition at Penn that celebrates the rising Senior class...and, yes, like lots of things in college it was an excuse to drink. Heavily. Posted by Picasa

Friday, October 28, 2005

Fair and Balanced Rants

Okay, I really did not intend this blog to be political. After this weekend, I'm sure there will be plenty of fodder involving some unlikely combination of law students, keg stands, and costumes.

But, for now...

When an issue polarizes Liberals and Conservatives, the tendency is for both sides to drive the contrary position’s logic off of the precipice of rationality. In the light of the Solomon Amendment, the reasoning of the most vociferous opponents of the legislation, liberals in academia, have exacted that fate upon themselves.

The Solomon Amendment, passed in 1996, permits the Secretary of Defense to withhold federal funding to educational institutions if they choose to prevent military recruitment on campus. Most law schools are opposed to this legislation. An amicus brief filed by the University of Pennsylvania, which is supported by some of the nation’s top educational institutions, contends that the controversial “don’t ask, don’t tell” policy is discriminatory against homosexuals and that the mere presence of military recruiters connotes approval of the military’s guidelines.

Just to clarify: I think that any discrimination, including when based on sexual preferences, is morally wrong, despicable, and wildly reprehensible. Essentially, that's the result of the currently practiced, oft maligned "don't ask, don't tell" policy. By preventing openly gay males from serving in the army, the message sent is a clear one - and it loudly strikes the same chords of the segregationist policies of the pre-Civil Rights era.

Those who actually know how to run a military, maintain that the "don't ask, don't tell" policy is vital to morale. The same unconvincing argument was made about segregated units in the army prior to Truman's directed integration. But, until Congress withdraws support for the way it treats homosexuals, the vital interests of an effective and cohesive military - a mandate of Congress under the Constitution - must be balanced against a gay man's right to serve - as accorded to him under the equal protection clause. In the end, I think it is clear where the scale tips in red White House and red Congress.

The result? Prestigious privately funded law schools, in the name of academic freedom, have prevented military recruiters from meeting with students for the last few years. That's their prerogative as private associational entities. The problem, they claim, is that by conditioning the receipt of federal funding on the basis of open access for all military recruiting, the University's "academic freedom" is severely compromised by acquiescing in the face of discriminatory entity. So, let me get this straight, in the name of "academic freedom," law schools are seeking to prevent open discourse? Gerald Walpin, the author of an amicus brief filed in favor of Solomon, points out that this is a thought exercise complete with all the trimmings of Orwell's 1984. As law students, I'd like to think that we possess the ability to reason and think through information rather well. Students are smart enough to form their own decisions. For administration officials to do that for us is unacceptable and extraordinarily paternal. The contention that students, professors or third parties may associate the presence of the military with an institutional acceptance of the policy is ridiculous. Speakers, presenters, debaters, and recruiters. All enter campuses around this nation with contentious viewpoints - and none of their message is attributed to the forum. Schools are bastions of contentious discourse. I find the argument that schools may be falsely associated with a policy of this nature unconvincing.

I'm also not saying that an organization like the Ku Klux Klan party should be allowed to recruit on campus. Those entities, in their associational and doctrinal missions, are wildly discriminatory with no basis for doing so. The military, as an extension of the government, arguably does. Until Congress implements a new policy for gays in the military, legally speaking, the current practice is an accepted one. If it bothers private law schools so much, they are always free to prevent the recruiters from coming. But they should not expect to eat their cake and get their dollars, too.

Thursday, October 27, 2005

CIA Leak Rant

I'm not sure what bothers me more at this point.

On the one hand, Karl Rove or Lewis Libby or some partisan hack yet to be determined flagrantly leaked sensitive information to a conservative columnist in order to discredit an attack on the White House and score a couple short term political points. Well, that plan certainly backfired. I'm outraged that this sort of thing was used as a tactic. I understand that Valerie Plame wasn't a NOC or some Bond-like operative, but to reveal the identity of CIA operative in order to reveal a potential bias in one critic's analysis is ridiculous.

But, on the other hand, who the hell does Judith Miller think she is? This, perhaps, is the least principled stance on principles that I have ever seen. Miller sat in a federal prison for months for refusing to reveal a source of information pertaining to the leak investigation. Make no mistake about it. This woman was no Woodward, nor Bernstein. Judith Miller refused to reveal the source of her information for reasons of self-aggrandizement. Woodward and Bernstein protected us from a criminal conspiracy at the highest levels. Miller welcomed it. Miller's refusal to come forward, up until now, impeded the process of ascertaining the source of the leak - which itself was the problem. In the case of the Watergate scandal, the leak helped reveal the problem. By retarding the federal investigation, Judith Miller slowed the march of justice under the guise of "journalistic privilege." I'm sure. Even if this were the case, the interests of national security and rooting out criminal leadership is at stake. But, stay principled Judith. Tell me all about it in your book deal. Which, again, I'm sure you'll say had nothing to do with your headline making refusal.

Wednesday, October 26, 2005

Undergrads Lurk Within...

There has been a growing trend here at Stanford law -the spectre of undergrads haunting these halls. Or, to be more specific, the library. Now, I have no problem with undergrads milling about. Hell, I was one six months ago. But, I think I'm in the minority on both accounts. The number of my classmates frustrated with undergrads grows by the day - and the gripes often run something like this:

"They talk too loudly in the library!"
"They're headhunting for husbands!"
"They're taking up space at the tables and computers to read their coloring books and put on make up!"

If they want to come and look for future breadwinners, that's fine by me. I think it's funny that women at a school like Stanford still may be concerned with these gender based sociological concerns. But, as one female 2L put it, "The men in law school are like spots in the A lot. The good ones are taken and the free ones will get you crapped on by the eucalyptus trees."

Law school and fun can coexist.
This picture was taken from "bar
review" last Thursday night. Posted by Picasa

Tuesday, October 25, 2005

Two Months in Northern California...

I have now been in Northern California for two months. This much is obvious: it's a different world. I hail from back East and have noticed a ton of differences. Some are small. Some are obvious. Some are peripheral. Some are subjective. Here's a sample of my take:

Smoothies are available every one hundred feet.
There are no diners.
Dark clouds don’t mean rain.
Milk tastes fresher.
Strangers acknowledge each other on the street.
Temperature changes are frequent and profound.
Coffee tastes like dirt.
Traffic sucks at nearly all times of day.
People walk slower. A lot slower.
Baseball games starting at 10 a.m. is strange.
The market closing at 1 p.m. is too.
People talk about the weather all the time.

More to come...

The Birth of a Blog

Not really sure what to expect out of this foray into blogging. I'm going to try and write every day about my life and times as a law student at Stanford, oldest son in a happy and mildly dysfunctional family, and a boyfriend three thousand miles away from the girl that I love...

...while, in the meantime, trying to make sure that I didn't use up all of my fifteen minutes when I was just 18.