happy new year

Holy crap. Three years ago, I spent New Years at the square near where one of the bombs went off. And saw the (now deposed) prime minister who some are apparently holding responsible for all this.

As a somewhat bizarre aside, the police actually started firing on part of the crowd when we were there that New Years. Some people were throwing glass bottles, so the police just whipped out their guns and started firing away. As we were dodging fire, we figured the police were probably just firing rubber bullets, but our students later said they're not so into the whole rubber bullet thing in Thailand.


part the next, in which our hero explains his prolonged absence

Finals. That's my explanation. For those contemplating law school, I give you this advice: should you choose to subject yourself to it, make sure that you outline your class materials as you go through the semester. Otherwise, you will stay up until three in the morning the night before your test (which is timed such that you need to wake up only three hours later), trying to make sense of your notes. Your wife, whose insane hours begin only after she drives 45 minutes to actually get to work, will wake up to start the day before you are even in bed. This will happen twice. One of those times, you will spend the last several hours looking over your notes and mumbling to yourself, standard of review? Why in the world did I write down the standard of review for these situations? That's way more detailed than he's ever going to care about. I'm certainly not going to waste my time memorizing that. You will then spend significant amounts of time the next morning looking over the test questions and mumbling to yourself, standard of review? Why in the world didn't I study for that? That's just the kind of details he cares about. *Sigh*

In better news, I have accepted a summer internship. I will be killing babies. Or, rather, legally justifying the killing of babies who once enjoyed idyllic lives playing jump rope and riding unicorns.
That's right, I'm doing a summer internship with the air force JAG. Sarcasm aside, I'm actually really excited about the opportunity. So take that, potential employer who wouldn't even give me a second interview (you know who you are). There are only 50 of these internships in the country, so I feel vindicated, and my self-esteem manages to remain relatively in tact for yet another semester.
I was talking with a classmate who got an internship at what I take to be a fairly prestigious firm (I personally had never heard of it before, but then again I try to stay as far away from private law firms as possible), and she said that she had just received a Christmas package from them -- a nice scarf and ear muffs. Something tells me the air force isn't really into that type of thing, but I keep checking my mail box anyway.
Finally, I'll turn to something completely different -- the '08 presidential race, which apparently is just around the corner. I was reading a Newsweek article on Hilary Clinton and Barack Obama, asking whether the country is ready for a female or a minority president. It's possible that I'm completely out of touch, but I think that mostly stopped being a problem a while ago. Not a long while ago, mind you, but a while ago nonetheless. People point to the dismal showings of former candidates like Jesse Jackson or Al Sharpton to say that minorities, for instance, still have a ways to go, but I think that's a poor example. The problem with people like Sharpton and Jackson trying to run is that they are both extremely self-promoting, and nuts. American politics seems to be quite accepting of either of these characteristics alone, but we have not yet found room in our political hearts for both to exist at the same time in a single candidate.
Instead, I think the real question is perhaps whether this country is ready for someone who doesn't need twice-daily checkups with his spin doctors. We seem to award politicians who either won't give answers to our questions unless the answers are clearly within the acceptable bounds of their respective political party ("abortion / gay marriage is the mark of the beast / a beautiful coming of age for any twelve year old") or who simply don't give answers at all ("I can't tell you what toothpaste I use, or else the terrorists / vast right-wing conspiracy will take over"). I'd like a candidate who just says what they think is right. Do it tactfully, and do it with the support of logic and research, but do it.
Thing is, if a candidate like that comes along, will we simply burn them alive? Will we call them naive and out of touch with the realities of governance? I hope not, but I'm not so sure.


uppity judges = fun times for all

It's been way too long since I've actually posted anything. Seeing as how I'm frantically trying to prepare for my last two exams, this is about all you're going to get out of me for now. But at least it's a fun one.


In Gas Futures, Inc. of Texas v. Andrus, 610 F.2d 287 (5th Cir. 1980), one contractor entered a bid of 73.45689%, and its opponent bid .82165. The Secretary of the Interior construed .82165 to mean 82.165%, and the first contractor charged that it was arbitrary and capricious to do so.

"In this appeal we are asked to determine whether '.82' is the equivalent of '82%.' Having successfully completed grammar school, we are able to answer in the affirmative.

"(B)ooks intended for scholars in and below the eighth grade do deal with just this question. On page 87 of their treatise entitled Growth in Arithmetic (Revised Edition, Grade Eight) (World Book Co., Yonkers-On Hudson: 1956), John R. Clark and Rolland R. Smith ask the pertinent question: 'Do you know how to change a per cent to a decimal?' Assuming a negative response, the authors set forth certain examples of equivalency: After inviting the students to study these equivalencies carefully, the authors announce this principle: To change a per cent to a decimal, omit the per cent sign and move the decimal point two places to the left.

The authors then ask their readers to 'Study these examples and see if you can make up a rule for changing decimals to per cents.' The examples given are: .06 = 6% .075 = 7.5% = 7 1/2% .0325 = 3.25% = 3 1/4% .125 = 12 1/2% = 12.5% And then the authors set forth this principle: To change a decimal to a per cent, move the decimal point two places to the right, and write the per cent sign after the number.

And so, with this rule in mind, any eighth grader can tell that .82165 = 82.165%"