We've got a panel!
We got the two judges we were really hoping for! Now it's time to get into some deep research about these three judgely individuals.
Official pre-1L viewing
Okay...so I watched "The Paper Chase" before I started law school (wait, holy crap! The lead law student guy in that movie played W. in "That's My Bush"?! Unbelievable! Double holy crap! He also played the "kill me" soldier dude from "Johnny Got His Gun", the movie Metallica used in the video for "One"! Great video!). Anyway, I guess it's a classic or whatever. Not a very rosy view of things. The first day of Civil Procedure we watched the scene from "Legally Blonde" where it's the first day of Civil Procedure and the professor asks a question about Gordon v. Steele and the movie gives the wrong answer!!!
Anyway, a few minutes ago on this very laptop I watched the movie in its entirety. I loved it! Loved it, loved it, loved it. I'm sitting here in my apartment with my laptop on my lap (the only DVD player I have available) and I was laughing, cheering, clapping, and I was brought to tears by the end. I suppose I'm a sucker for any movie where good things happen to good people, and bad things happen to bad people except when they do something to redeem themselves. I love a movie where no good deed goes unrewarded and almost every character defies your expectations and turns out to be better and stronger than you thought they were. Well, this was that kind of movie! Not every "feel-good comedy" is like that and has the kind of moral core this movie does. I think my favorite movie of all time has that same moral core if you're looking for it.
So my point being...screw Scott Turow, screw that SOB Kingsfield, all pre-1Ls are hereby required to watch "Legally Blonde". Doctor's orders. And "Pootie Tang" too, what the hell.
Efficiency v. Fairness
We spend a lot of time in law school talking about how efficiency and fairness are at odds. Pretty much everybody has a good idea of why fairness is so great, but what about efficiency? I need to spend a little time with my nose in my old econ textbooks, but what I think I learned in college was this: efficiency drives real economic growth, which leads to broad standard of living increases in the long run. You can do a lot of robbing Peter to pay Paul (which is what many economists think much of the law amounts to), but you're just shifting things around while destroying a little wealth while you're at it.
That's not to say that justice doesn't have significant value, but I think justice doesn't have infinite value. It would be more fair if the result of every civil and criminal trial was given a thorough review every five years even after all the parties involved are dead. But the costs would exceed the benefits. It would be more efficient to summarily execute everyone indicted by a grand jury for murder. But the costs would again exceed the benefits.
Another way to put it is that principles, rules, traditions, precedents, and the like have value only insofar as they produce actual tangible benefits to actual human beings.
I like the research assistant life! I have the chance to have an impact, however small, on a real federal appeals court case! Neato!
Do you ever wonder what happened to Jay Garner? You know, the first Iraq proconsul guy, before Bremer? I had to struggle just to look up his name again. They sure buried the guy. I think it was because he actually knew what was going to happen and they needed to replace him with someone of a sunnier disposition. Anyway, here's an interview with Garner.
How about "Yours 2Lly"?
Finland is all up ins!
What's up Finland! Somebody from there keeps coming here. Thanks! You should leave a comment.
I finished my journally kind of stuff. Whew...
I forgot my editing assignment. Should I go all the way home to pick it up? Should I just do it over? I can sort of remember what corrections I made. Why does this actually seem more frustrating than the other journal applications? I would have a whole extra 2.5 hours if I hadn't scheduled a tutoring session for right after my class. Well, like I've said before, you gotta do what you gotta do.
I'm so tired of filling out these journal applications, even though I've barely started. "Why do you want to be on our journal?" You tell me! I don't think "to pad my resume" is an acceptable answer. Maybe this is one of those things where I have to ignore conventional wisdom and blaze my own trail. Maybe I should start my own journal! Or maybe I should spend the time that I would have spent working on a journal writing my own law articles and trying to get them published. I looked at a reference book that listed all the law journals and the percentage of unsolicited articles that get published. For some of them, it's very high! It seems like if you just write the article and send it somewhere, you have a good shot at getting published, period, especially with a non-refereed journal. My research project that I started last week made it clear how easy it is to have 10000 words to say on a statutory subject once you delve into the case law and legislative history.
Finished "One L"
It seems that it was definitely not taboo to talk about grades in the 70's at Harvard. Bad, bad, bad! I'm glad it's taboo now. At least I don't know anyone else's grades and I haven't told anybody (at school) mine.
"Change your grades!"
Whenever I go on the Registrar's web page, if I scroll by the two links that say "change your address" and "check your grades" too fast, it looks like it says "change your grades"! If only...
I'm pretty pleased to be going to law school here at Ohio State. I think people here are nicer than they are at the average law school. Then again, maybe I just have my head in the sand.
I started reading Scott Turow's "One L", finally! First thought: nothing ever, ever changes in law school. Second thought: Harvard Law School has 15 buildings. 15! Or at least they did in nineteen seventy whatever. We only got one! Third thought: I never thought of non-competitiveness as some kind of egalitarian conceit that everybody would start out with before discarding the facade and ripping each other to shreds. I never realized that people would think that the sin of the gunner is to be overtly competitive when other people are hiding it. Fourth thought: I'm really glad that I wasn't in a study group. I think what law students need more than anything is party groups, not study groups! Actually, I don't really know if people were in study groups. I'm not really aware of any that were stable throughout the year. I don't know how I would know if there were, but there you go. Fifth thought: If I ever get to be a law professor, I promise that I will do at least some things different from tradition. Different, but good.
"It's whisper quiet!"
Things are very slow here in the library. I'm through with B.A. for the week. I'm working on a memo for a professor. I want to really knock the guy's socks off!!!
I just realized...I went to an elementary school called Worthington Estates. Now I actually know what an "estate" is!
I'm so sleeepy...
Time for a birthday nap!
Okay, lemme get this straight: so I got my own domain name and posted my many thoughts to glory in the attention of hundreds of readers, and I'm not going to say when it's my birthday?
It's my birthday!
The comments on my little political spasm are thoughtful and interesting. Thanks! I'm glad I did it (at least so far).
But now...arrggh...gotta finish this journal writing doohickey. Whateva...I've got a lot of beer. I've got some number of hours greater than 12. I have a minimal amount of inspiration. But hey, it's a competition, and everybody else is burned out too!
Okay, I'll say something political.
I'm very open to being told why I shouldn't be upset by this. If you're aware of this but it doesn't bother you, I think you should have a pretty damn good reason. If you do, then I'm willing to hear you out, but I think that most people just don't think.
So here it is: there have been 783 American military fatalities up to this point in the Iraq War (according to this website). There have been somewhere between 9,148 and 11,005 Iraqi civilian deaths (according to this website). It's very, very hard to quantify, but this source suggests between 4,895 and 6,370 Iraqi military deaths.
So here's my point. As far as I can tell, most people in this country are more concerned with the American deaths than the Iraqi deaths. There have been, at minimum, 18 times more Iraqi deaths than American deaths (not counting the previous Gulf War and the era of UN sanctions). Doesn't this mean that we think that each American life is worth at least 18 times as much as an Iraqi life? Is it any wonder we treated those prisoners as subhuman? I'd venture to guess we care more about our housepets than human beings who had the nerve to be born outside this country.
I don't doubt that there are many Iraqis, Sunni, Shi'a and Kurd who think that an Iraqi life is worth more than an American life, maybe hundreds or thousands of times more. In fact, a lot of Sunnis probably think that a Sunni life is worth a hundred Shi'a lives and vice versa. But the point is that we're us. We're responsible for our actions, not the actions of other groups who we can't control. And we can't control them: we can try to persuade them to turn to our point of view by treating them like human beings who have just as much worth as we do (oops, too late). We can utterly destroy them (and given our attitude, I am very relieved that somehow this is not considered an option). But we can't control them. We can only control ourselves and try to do what's right. I'm willing to be persuaded that we truly are trying, but I don't see it right now.
What if I made this into a group blog and recruited some 1Ls who are incoming next year to continue it, perhaps with my interjected comments now and again? Then again, the thing would still have my name in the URL. Kind of like at the end of the video for "Let Me Ride" when they show a Parliament concert from the classic period with the "Mothership Connection" sample looping in the background, but then at the very end Dr. Dre's head is superimposed over the whole affair, as if he were the ultimate P-Funk genius even though he was probably about 10 years old at the time.
"I power blogger!"
I finally figured out what that means. I thought it was "me Tarzan, you Jane" shorthand for "I am a Power Blogger!" I thought maybe it meant that they had some fancy paid account. That and that they didn't like to use verbs.
So I saw the Chief today...not exactly in the flesh, but on closed circuit. His speech was very entertaining. Second best was the carpenter dude who spoke representing the craftsmen and women. He was very thoughtful and well-spoken. It made me a little uneasy, though, because it seemed like people were clapping extra for him as if to suggest "wow, I can't believe some dumb carpenter can speak the English language properly!" Uh, yes...there are smart people who haven't gone to law school. There are smart people who didn't go to college. In fact, there are plenty of them who are smarter and more talented than you. So have a little humility, okay?
There's some funny stuff going on in the guestbook. It may compel me to say something here about professional wrestling. I sort of feel like I'm forced to defend myself, because spending a dime of one's disposable income on the sports entertainment industry is virtually prima facie evidence of being a cultural Neanderthal.
The Supreme Supreme comes to town...tomorrow!
Chief Justice Rehnquist will be on hand tomorrow for the dedication of the Ohio Judicial Center downtown. The thing will be at 11 AM. I think I'm gonna go. Journal writing blah blah blah...I want to see one of the Big Kahunas for myself!
This is the day where I buckle down here at the ol' homestead and work on the journal-type stuff while waiting for my (hopefully) year's supply of highlighters--including the ever-elusive green--to arrive by UPS.
Just what is happening?
- Completing my first week of B to the izz-A.
- Trying to sorta, kinda make some kind of start on the journal writing and editing assignments.
- Trying to buzz through the recent articles of the professors I'm going to be working for.
- Coming up with a name for the blog for the future. "Be-Bop Tango" is too obscure. "The Life of a Mind" sounds too haughty. "Uncle Mikey's World of Cheese" doesn't sound quite professional enough.
- Figuring out how to be there to receive my UPS shipment of a zillion highlighters so that I don't have to go to the boondocks to pick them up.
- Wondering if there's some way I can make this page appear normally in Internet Explorer. Maybe some kind of change to the template. Smaller letters? Perish the thought! That's like my trademark!
- Stalling on cleaning up all the junk from my party from Saturday night. I have so many unopened bags of chips and pretzels. What's with you people? Don't you like chips and pretzels?
- Contemplating the near-completion of a quarter-century of Shecket-hood. This is the last birthday that means anything (car rentals, right?) until 30! And all the rest of them are bad! Except maybe 65.
In other news...
Boy, this blog really does weird things in Internet Explorer. Why not use the obviously superior Mozilla?
I think we may have a name...
I'm not telling you yet, but I think I got a good one.
Okay, use the comment thread below to suggest new names for this here blog. Not "Diary of a 2L". I need something punchy and memorable, yet unique to me. Something I could use as the name for my first book.
Comments are back! I think...
Oooh...I have a good reason to be lazy and not change the name of my blog yet. I haven't gotten my grades! Maybe I didn't pass enough classes to be a 2L! So...still "Diary of a 1L" for the time being. More here soon.
I really need to go turn in my exam, but let me revisit a couple of things I talked about near the beginning of the year.
This was the day after my paternal grandmother died. I didn't want people to feel sorry for me.
The person described here now talks to me. I guess she really was shy.
I like this metaphor of statutory interpretation, even though I didn't use the words "statutory interpretation".
Have I been changed by this experience? How so? Okay, geez, gotta go stop being a 1L. I'll eulogize my 1L year when I have a little more time.
I'm done, except for turning the thing in. But I want to leave myself a little time while I'm still technically a 1L to leave a final thought, a la Jerry Springer. I'll be right back...
Well, I'm in the reserve room again, and I'm frankly surprised that it's not chock full o' nuts all scratching and biting each other to get at the sweet, sweet Con Law treatises. But things are pretty easy going here. I feel good. I got a good night's sleep. I'm in a good groove. I'm listening to AC/DC. Hopefully I can knock this off a bit early so I can speed read through my entire 1L diary and post some final thoughts before I ain't one anymore.
I've been working on this exam for a very long time and I've been really thinking carefully and doing good research. But I feel frustrated because it seems like it's just not coming out on the page.
Listening to Bach...I can feel myself getting smarter...
And so it begins again...I've got an LSAT class to teach in Dayton tomorrow night! Mmmmm....money!!!
Okay...I'm really zoned out. I'm wearing glasses and earphones. Someone was talking to me and I wanted to hear what they were saying, so I...took off my glasses. Yeah, that's really smart.
I've put in a good, almost solid six hours today so far. Maybe I should give myself a longish break. Maybe a nap? I still have over 20 hours left.
Less than 24 hours to go before the exam is due! Less than 24 hours left of being a 1L!
I'm taking an exam. RIGHT NOW! And I'm on the Internet!
Only one more exam, and then the book closes on my 1L year. I will need to really reflect on everything I've experienced and try to make some sense of it, but I'm not sure when there's going to be time to do that, what with the exam, and then the journal writing thingy. But I'll try.
It's hard to get myself to concentrate. If I'm going to go into business for myself, I'll never have to tell anybody what grades I got.
As far as working on a journal goes, I am reminded of an anecdote involving Paul McCartney visiting John Lennon and friends in LA during Lennon's infamous "lost weekend" of 1974. Harry Nilsson offered Paul some PCP, and Paul said: "What is it?" Harry said, "It's elephant tranquilizer." So Paul said, "Is it fun?" Harry thought about it for a long time, and finally said, "No." So Paul said: "Well, you know what, I won't have any." Journal...if it isn't fun, maybe I shouldn't have any!
I had this whole theory that if I would stay here at the library and study until it closes (i.e. midnight) that I would reward myself by going to BW3 for some chicken fingers and trivia. But I'm not sure I've really been spending this time studying. If what I'm really going to do is just sit around for an hour waiting for it to be midnight, maybe I should just go now. I've been here a relatively solid 5 hours, and I've been studying maybe a good 35-40% of that time. Maybe that suffices.
I have a link to recommend: the English Aljazeera site, and, in particular, the editorial cartoons (the link is about 2/3 of the way down the front page). Some of these will make you laugh, some will make you very angry, some will leave you in utter confusion, some will break your heart...but they're all fascinating. I have always been interested in what people in other countries think of our country and what they think of the world at large. When I was in, I think, seventh grade, we had some French foreign exchange students visit our French class, and I asked them what people in France thought of Americans. I think they said something like we wear cowboy hats and eat a lot of hamburgers.
Did you notice that we're nearly halfway through this decade, and it still doesn't really have a name? Other than maybe "the first decade of the new millenium"? You would have thought they would have come up with something by now. All the nice decades of the last century still have their names and are referred to frequently (as in "I Love the __'s"). As for me, I always favored "the Naughty Naughts" or "the Naughty Decade".
No wait...there's something called "NewsCentral Special Report". It's some kind of competing anti-Nightline show. Weird.