Monday, January 31, 2005

The Coming Healthcare Boondoggle

In comments here, Ryan Bradley points us to this story.

Yeah, this would be a catastrophe. It would save business a ton of money up front, but would end up costing the taxpayers huge amounts of money. Why? Glad you asked.

First of all, the employer-provided health insurance model stinks. A state system of some kind (either one payer federal or individual state plans) would be far superior. But this "ownership society" plan for health care would be worse than either.

If you are a high-dollar health care consumer (disabled or chronically ill, e.g.), you are able to get medical care because your rate is folded into these great big employer pools. The employer (and to an extent, your coworkers who are healthier) are subsidizing your health care by paying slightly more than it would cost to insure themselves as part of a fully healthy pool of similar size. It's not really much more, since employer plans also benefit from economies of scale that wouldn't exist if each consumer bought an individual policy from the insurance company. Also, under the current system, employers bear a huge chunk of the costs, which they wouldn't have to do if everyone bought their own insurance.

A system that encourages consumers to opt out of employer plans in favor of high deductible insurance partnered with tax-deductible health savings accounts would be of questionable benefit on health care spending but would certainly cause some very serious problems for the kind of broad coverage that Americans expect.

Proponents claim that such a system would save on costs because people would be more savvy shoppers for health care services when they have a high deductible and they are paying out of pocket. This is probably actually true, system wide. But I suspect the system-wide cost savings would be offset to some degree, possibly totally. First, the ownership system encourages people to wait until they need to go to the doctor, but in many cases that means people will be much sicker when they finally do see a doctor. It's generally cheaper to prevent an illness or to treat it early. Second, those who are unable to pay for their high-deductible insurance (since there will now be no employer match, which typically picks up 60% or more of the premia) will be forced to use emergency services on the taxpayer dime. Emergency rooms are, by far, the most expensive method to deliver basic healthcare, as opposed to a prevention model. Hospitals in low-income areas could be wiped out by the increase in the amount of charity care, which is already a problem.

It's an even worse plan for sick people than it is for poor people. There are two main possibilities.

If the ownership plan encourages people to opt out of employer plans but basically leaves those plans intact, you get an adverse selection spiral. Basically, that means that as healthy people leave the plan to take advantage of cheap high deductible insurance, the plan will contain a higher percentage of those who consume a lot of health care services. This raises the premium for everyone still in the plan, which will cause more healthy people to opt out, which will raise the premia... You get the idea.

If the ownership plan abolishes employer provided care altogether (or "phases it out"), there will be a large pool of people previously insured who are suddenly uninsurable. An insurer that agrees to provide care to a whole company has to take the company's employees as it finds them. Trying to get an individual health insurance plan with a chronic illness would be as hard (impossible) as getting life insurance; any actuary will tell you that the insurance company knows that they will have to pay out too much to make taking on such a policy financially feasible.

Essentially, this would be a massive tax shift boondoggle from employers and corporations to middle and lower class families. Par for the course with the Bush administration, but still a steaming pile of malodorous excrement, policy-wise.

Sleeping is giving in

I just spent the last 3 or so hours putting together a deal to get a new car. Nothing dramatic; our old van doesn't run so well any more. Fine, it doesn't really run at all. Since the van is what we use if the family has to go anywhere out of town or in town, we were in a fix. Problem solved.

Unfortunately, those three hours should have been spent doing homework on the busiest homework day of the week.

It's going to be a very late night.

Saturday, January 29, 2005

"Next Blog" hits the lottery

Look at this site! He's a geologist "like Randy Marsh." Heh. He uses sentences. He knows about science. He's not selling anything or trying to raise any product's google page ranks. By god, "next blog" delivers quality!

Nice to meet you, Wolverine Tom, I'm uberdork Matt!

An observation

When I find myself repeatedly thinking "I don't really care" about what someone thinks of me, it's because I care very much.

Lights and Tunnels

Wake up 9:30 am.
Begin cite check: 11:30 am.
Leave library: 6:30 pm.
Homework: 7:00 pm -- 10:43pm
Write this blog post: 10:44 - 10:45 pm.
Bathroom: 10:46 pm.
More homework: 10:47 pm -- ?

Fafblog Social Security FAQ

Via Slithery D.

Q: Is Social Security in crisis?
A: Yes it is! And if we don’t do something right now it is going to EXPLODE!
Q: Oh no!
A: In forty years.
Q: Then what happens?
A: Then Social Security runs out of money! That means either your benefits are reduced, or all Social Security everywhere explodes in a giant fireball and we will have to run away from the fireball and jump away from it in slow motion to escape!
Q: Tell me more about this crisis in gritty detail!
A: The fireball is huge and loud and expensive and there is grinding guitar music on the soundtrack informing everyone that we are bad, bad dudes! The radiation turns all old people into very poor mutants who must scavenge and eat each other for food. Eventually the robots come: they are unstoppable. What has science done!
Q: I’m scared! How can we avert this terrible future?
A: There’s just one chance! We have to borrow trillions of dollars to finance transforming Social Security into a completely different system based on mandatory investments in preferred stocks.
Q: If we’re borrowing trillions of dollars, and the government already owes trillions of dollars, and the Social Security crisis is a debt problem anyway, how does this help Social Security?
A: Quick we have to act fast! We only have twenty years to go!
Q: I thought we had forty years.
A: Now we have ten! It is a ticking bomb.
Q: Oh no! In these extreme circumstances we have to privatize Social Security!
A: If we don't, the terrorists win.
Q: I’ll hold it down. You get the electrodes!
A: It’s so crazy, it just might work!

And there's more. Oh yes, much more.

Friday, January 28, 2005


Will at Crescat Sententia notes that it was today, 65 years ago, that Yeats died.

Quod he already the great Auden poem, so let me give you something from Yeats himself:


The intellect of man is forced to choose
Perfection of the life, or of the work,
And if it take the second must refuse
A heavenly mansion, raging in the dark.
When all that story's finished, what's the news?
In luck or out the toil has left its mark:
That old perplexity an empty purse,
Or the day's vanity, the night's remorse.

"Next Blog" Greatest Hits #2

We go to a blog titled "What the Hell is Wrong with You?" and charmingly subtitled "Just a general blog about how funny it is to watch stupid people do stupid stuff to themselves and then sit and wonder why."

Surprisingly, the lead post ("Edward Kennedy blows goats") proves that his subtitle is not without meaning:

The following is my emailed letter to Senator Edward Kennedy(D)-MA:

You are the single most disgusting, treasonous pig in the history of this country, unless you wish to include Jane Fonda or Benedict Arnold. Saying the US military presence as part of the problem is like you blaming Dewars scotch for the drowning of Miss Kopechne (oh yeah, you never DID take responsibility did you?).

The single, most disgusting, treasonous pig in the history of this country.

I'd say that gross, hyperbolic ad hominem attacks directed against a sitting U.S. Senator over a speech he gave might be a good example of stupid people doing stupid stuff to themselves, but I guess that the continued popularity of Ann Coulter undercuts my analysis.

Ah, the "Next Blog" button. What new gem will you yield up today?

"Next Blog" Greatest Hits

Look at this one, found using the "Next Blog" button:

The days of collective activism and quasi-togetherness, the ability to project a unified, conscious voice in the Christian and African American communities, are long gone. With God as my father, who art in Heaven, I can rest in confidence that every single, solitary event that occurs in my life will work out for my ultimate good (Romans 8:28). However, I cannot become complacent and stagnant with my shortcomings and inconsistencies, nor the community’s.

Jesus Christ is omnipotent enough to have already planned for our humanly dispositions of conflict and struggle. Famous jazz vocalist, Lena Horne once said, “It’s not the load that breaks you down, it’s the way you carry it.” Carrying the weight of the world on my shoulders is tiresome and confusing, yet necessary. Through faith and hard work, I am committed to changing our world for the better. I’ll take humility and honesty over political pomp and circumstance any day.

Is that enough as in often enough? Jesus is often omnipotent? "He's omnipotent enough that he gets most of his pizzas for free, but on Tuesdays his omnipotence goes on the blink and he has to write a check." Or is it enough as in a degree of omnipotence? You know, "Jesus Christ is omnipotent enough, since he got his Ph.D. in divinity. On the other hand, as omnipotence goes, I'm not all powerful enough."?

Drinking Karma

If it weren't bad drinking karma, I would gloat about how I almost never get a hangover after a bender. I think maybe 2 or 3 times in the 10 years that I have enjoyed a fine alcoholic beverage.

This morning, I rolled out of bed after about 6 hours of sleep and actually had more energy than most mornings.

Thursday, January 27, 2005


A friend called tonight and invited me out to the local karaoke bar. Since I clearly need a night out, I made arrangements. Since I won't be doing my homework tonight, I will also not be needing to blog as a distraction.

My friend, bless his soul, aspires to be a musician/actor but couldn't carry a tune in a bucket. His atonal wailing is particularly funny when I've had a beer or two, but I can't tell you how much I admire his courage. Despite the hilarity, I'm too busy applauding the balls it takes to stand up there and sing with no talent whatsoever to laugh. This man goes to this bar every Thursday and sings four or five times. He's a regular. He was home schooled when he was growing up, so he never had any music classes when he was young. Listening to him sing is one of the best arguments for formal education that a person could make.

I think tonight I might sing, too. I have a fairly deep singing voice, which unfortunately puts much of popular music out of my range. I keep meaning to learn Barry White, except that every time I try I remember that I don't really like Barry White. There are certainly embarassing stories to come.

Wednesday, January 26, 2005

A Drinking Song

Wine comes in at the mouth
And love comes in at the eye;
That's all we know for truth
Before we grow old and die.
I lift the glass to my mouth,
I look at you, and I sigh.

WB Yeats


The Iraq military budget for FY 2005 is coming in at $105B. There are just under 300M people in the U.S. as of January first.

That means that Iraq will cost every American man, woman, and child $350 this year. It will be more once you take into account that we are borrowing the money to pay for it, so we'll all have to pony up for interest, too. At some point, probably after Bush leaves office.

We lost 36 more American soldiers, primarily marines, in Iraq today. This brings the total American soldiers killed in Iraq to 1417. Meanwhile, violence is likely to escalate in the days leading up to the Iraqi election; meanwhile, we've found none of the WMD we were assured were there*; meanwhile, we have stopped searching for WMD altogether; meanwhile, there are reports that we are gathering intel for possible military action against Iran.


*Remember when newly-crowned Secretary of State Rice said, "We don't want the smoking gun to be a mushroom cloud"?

Best Beer Ever

I had the best beer ever last night. It was Berghoff dark, but before you jump all over me, hear me out.

Berghoff dark is what I keep stocked in the fridge for when I need a beer. It's a pretty good beer that is also pretty affordable. It's not a spot on a nice Newcastle, a Guiness, or a microbrewed stout of some kind, but it does the trick in a pinch.

But last night? Half a beer induced total noodlehood. Every muscle in my body was loose and relaxed, and I lay draped on the couch writhing ecstatically for an hour at the long-forgotten feeling of really being relaxed. Honestly, last night might have been the first time in years (!) that I felt like the weight of the world wasn't on my shoulders for a few minutes. I find myself quite unable to express what it was like.

I need to get out more.

Tuesday, January 25, 2005


Here, I fretted about my meeting with the law review editors today.

I just wanted to let any concerned parties know that it wasn't as bad as I feared. The editors were very supportive and kind while offering very useful feedback.

Not at all like the in-depth proctology exam I had imagined it could be.

Update to the Update: Let me also say that I have been astonished by the warm outpourings of support from people that I only know because of this blog and their blogs. You folks know who you are. You're terrific, and I couldn't do this without you.

Monday, January 24, 2005

I'm calling bullshit

Take a look at this.

Somehow, I failed to comment on the Owens-Sheridan-Desparate Housewives skit when it happened. I vaguely recall starting a post several times before giving up in disgust. Maybe you'll never see this because I will discard it as well. Nevertheless, I feel the need to call people on their bullshit. The producer of the piece, after revealing that he originally cast John Madden for the skit, said this:

"I didn't want to upset people. I didn't realize that 'Monday Night Football' was such a family viewing experience. I wouldn't let my 5-year-old watch beer commercials with big-busted cheerleaders, but that's just me."

That's right on. Sexually speaking, that skit was no more offensive than about 50% of the commercials that air during football games. Please. Let's call a spade a spade -- many of those who were indignant about the ad were bothered by the fact that Owens is black and Sheridan is white. It's just specious to suggest that Sheridan's back from the waist up, coupled with suggestive dialogue, is worse than, say, beer commercials featuring models in bikinis being ogled by referees. Let's not even talk about the commercials featuring attractive thirtysomethings with a woman's voiceover saying, "when you need a prolonged erection..." before hawking the latest super-erectile pill.

If you are troubled about explaining the locker room skit to your 7 year old, but have no problems explaining the virtues of a pill commonly called "the weekender," then you may need to engage in some critical introspection and ask why the former bothers you, but not the latter. You may be a bigot.

UPDATE: I failed to mention the impetus for the post. It was the thought, percolating in my brain, of how much more offensive the skit would have been with John Madden in it, instead of Terrell Owens, combined with my belief that the outcry would have been something (much) less.

Shall I part my hair behind? Do I dare to eat a peach?

I am wracked with uncertainty. Tomorrow I meet with my Note & Comment Editor and with the Senior Note & Comment Editor to go over the first submission of my comment. I think that substantively the piece turned out pretty well, but I am nervous about the fact that I just squeaked in over the minimum desired length and that I was short of the desired number of footnotes. As it happened, I had to almost completely start over about 10-12 days ahead of the deadline, because I realized my original thesis, introduction, and first section were flawed because of a logical fallacy in my argument. At first, I thought I could circumnavigate the logical fallacy and make my argument, but around 12/30 I realized that all my work to that point was a house of cards -- structurally unsound. So I went back to the drawing board. I finished the first draft about eight hours ahead of the deadline, but I could have used another week to polish and expand it so that I more easily made the minimum requirements.

On one hand, I resent the minimum requirements because it seems slightly arbitrary to select a certain number of footnotes as a benchmark for whether the piece is well-researched. In my case, the last 12 pages (or so) were composed of a series of policy prescriptions which I adapted or devised. As such, they were not drawn from any source of authority, and were largely un-footnoted.

On the other hand, I see the need for the requirements; when one has the responsibility to go over 30 or so 40-60 page manuscripts in just a couple weeks, benchmarks like page limits and footnotes would seem to be a useful gauge for the work that went into generating the content. Also, in the absence of such measures, those of us who have never written a piece of this length or complexity might feel anxiety about whether we had done sufficient work.

That doesn't assuage the anxiety or the crippling ambivalence I feel right now. I know, I know.


I have heard the mermaids singing, each to each.

I do not think that they will sing to me.

I have seen them riding seaward on the waves
Combing the white hair of the waves blown back
When the wind blows the water white and black.

We have lingered in the chambers of the sea
By sea-girls wreathed with seaweed red and brown
Till human voices wake us, and we drown.

1372 American Deaths in Iraq

Saturday, January 22, 2005

Powerball and Democracy

I've often heard it said that lotteries are a tax on the math-challenged.

The odds of winning Powerball's grand prize are one in 120.5M. There were 122.2M votes cast in the presidential election. So it's actually more likely that I will win Powerball than that my vote would be the deciding one in a presidential election.

Of course, that's too simplistic by half. In about 35 states, a citizen's vote had no chance at all of influencing the presidential election. Assuming that the electoral college came down to a single state where the candidate's popular vote totals were separated by only one vote, mandatory recounts and administrative/judicial intervention would essentially take the decision out of the hands of the voters, since we know that a vote result that close is essentially a tie anyway. So even in swing states, it seems that any one vote is meaningless; they only have value en masse.

What's the point of all this, you ask? Like Seinfeld, but less funny, I have no point. I am still reading admin law, and I ran across this, which strikes me as harsh and possibly true:

Any citizen who calculated the likelihood that his or her vote would be determinative in the election of a legislative representative, discounted by the probability that the representative would in fact correctly express the citizen's preferences with respect to legislation that came before the assembly, would conclude that voting is useless.

Who writes this stuff?

From an excerpt of a law review article* assigned for my admin law class:

While these questions may seem fanciful, they suggest the logical implications of NPR I's management philosophy. We really cannot have the cake of dispersed administrative discretion and ingest significant legal control of it as well.

I'm not sure whether this is second-degree metaphor abuse or pure comic genius. Thoughts?

*Jerry L. Mashaw, Reinventing Government and Regulatory Reform: Studies in the Neglect and Abuse of Administrative Law, 57 U. Pitt. L. Rev. 405 (1996).

Friday, January 21, 2005


I woke up this morning about an hour and a half before my 10:30 Friday class. I went upstairs, made coffee, had a banana, and then went and took a long shower. I got out of the shower, got dressed, and started packing my backpack. It was about 9:45.

For some reason, I looked at my schedule. Oops! Class is at 9:55. Considering the 15-20 minute drive from my house to campus and the ten minute walk from wherever I would park, I could just make it for the last 25-30 minutes of class.

So I am taking a completely unintended long weekend.

Thursday, January 20, 2005

Whitman, "Sometimes with one I love"

SOMETIMES with one I love, I fill myself with rage, for fear I effuse unreturn’d love;
But now I think there is no unreturn’d love—the pay is certain, one way or another;
(I loved a certain person ardently, and my love was not return’d;
Yet out of that, I have written these songs.)

Jury Duty

A murder defendant named Mark Wu killed himself in jail last weekend. It's been big news around here.

A week ago Friday, I called in to check my jury pool number. I wasn't being called in this week, but about 450 people were. After I read about the suicide in the Sunday paper, I called back. They had revised their request and only called in 135 people. So now Monday, the second and final week of my jury obligation, my pool number (821) is high enough that I won't get called in.

Looks like no jury duty for me this time around. I really would like to serve, too, since I think it would be a valuable perspective down the line.

Wednesday, January 19, 2005

Horoscope for a Law Student

Leo: (July 23—Aug. 22)
You'll be held in contempt of court by several judges you haven't even met, which you have to admit is pretty good anticipation on their part.

By Lloyd Schumner Sr. Retired Machinist and A.A.P.B.-Certified Astrologer.

Plath Reloaded

I'm haunted by the fey power of Plath's "Mad Girl's Love Song" today. Since I have previously featured that piece here, I won't quote it again in full. I find these lines tolling in my head:

I fancied you'd return the way you said,
But I grow old and I forget your name.
(I think I made you up inside my head.)

I should have loved a thunderbird instead;
At least when spring comes they roar back again.
I shut my eyes and all the world drops dead.
(I think I made you up inside my head.)

Wait for it...

In the NFL Roundup at

A Jets fan upset by the team's playoff loss to the Steelers put kicker Doug Brien on eBay, where bidding reached $99,999,999 before the auction was removed from the site, according to the New York Daily News.

Neil Drake offered to throw in offensive coordinator Paul Hackett for free.

"We don't want him, so let's see if someone else will take him," the 20-year-old community college student told the Daily News.

The online auction service has a policy against listing people for sale.

That's like reading to the end of a piece about competition for UPS and finding, "UPS has a policy against engaging in acts of piracy." A policy?



Please forgive me my late night melodrama. Predictably, today came and the sun is still in the sky (even if it is hard to see because of the swirling snow). Nickel's worth of free advice: don't write blog posts about school when burned out, at 1am, after having a couple beers.

Tuesday, January 18, 2005

First day of class

Today was the first day of class.

I've always thought that law school was exactly like high school, except that all the people at law school were the nerds and brains in actual high school. How sad, then, to be the nerd in high school qua law school, as well. The geek's geek, if you will.

I had three classes today, and in each of them, I grabbed a seat early to people-watch. Two of the classes were quite large, running from 100-150 students, the perfect size to dwell in ignominious anonymity. It's moments like that when I hear the haunting echoes of well, everyone, who has spent the last two years harping on the importance of networking in this profession. I watch as my colleagues greet each other, inquiring about the break or about class schedules or about which bar everyone is going to this week.

In six hours of class today, I didn't speak.

Monday, January 17, 2005

First as tragedy, second as farce

Dr. King:

Now, it should be incandescently clear that no one who has any concern for the integrity and life of America today can ignore the present war. If America's soul becomes totally poisoned, part of the autopsy must read Vietnam. It can never be saved so long as it destroys the deepest hopes of men the world over. So it is that those of us who are yet determined that America will be are led down the path of protest and dissent, working for the health of our land.


Now there is little left to build on, save bitterness. What of the National Liberation Front, that strangely anonymous group we call VC or Communists? What must they think of the United States of America when they realize that we permitted the repression and cruelty of Diem which helped to bring them into being as a resistance group in the south? What do they think of our condoning the violence which led to their own taking up of arms? How can they believe in our integrity when now we speak of 'aggression from the North' as if there were nothing more essential to the war? How can they trust us when now we charge them with violence after the murderous reign of Diem, and charge them with violence while we pour every new weapon of death into their land? Surely we must understand their feelings even if we do not condone their actions. Surely we must see that the men we supported pressed them to their violence. Surely we must see that our own computerized plans of destruction simply dwarf their greatest acts.

It's eery how easily one can change some of the names to remake the old anew.

1365 American dead in Iraq. No WMD, No Reconstruction, No Accountability.

Saturday, January 15, 2005

Back to the Grind

Welcome back, everyone. I apologize for my absence, but I was experiencing severe life burnout, and so I took 5 days and basically slept and did family things, despite all my ambitious goals for the time off. Since I am now starting my reading for my CivPro II class, however, the break is over.

CivPro II, or Civil Procedure II for you non-law people seems, based on a very preliminary reading of the first assignment, a lot like CivPro I: important and interesting abstractly speaking, but eye-glazingly hard to read. It requires concentration to read page after page filled with gems like, "It would be wholly unnecessary and improper in order to prove complainant's cause of action to go into any matters of defence which the defendants might possibly set up and then attempt to reply to such defence, and thus, if possible, to show that a Federal question might or probably would arise in the course of the trial of the case." In reality, rules like this determine whether your case gets dismissed, so there is strong motivation to know the stuff. One just has to slog through it and chock it up to part of being a law student, I suppose.

Tuesday, January 11, 2005

1360 American Deaths in Iraq

Sunday, January 09, 2005

Today...We Fight!

So pronounced my son Hale as he leaped off the couch to attack me this morning. Be sure that when you imagine it in your mind, you hear the dramatic pause between "Today" and "We fight!"

Hale at a wedding last summer. Posted by Hello

Saturday, January 08, 2005

Pounding Away my Law Review article, due Monday.

I hope to weigh in early next week with posts about the creationism/intelligent design v. evolution movement, the NCLB Propaganda-gate, and the political mishandling of the war aftermath in Iraq.

Of course, I will have to pry myself away from football and video games to do it, since it will essentially be my only week off between semesters -- I've got a lot of relaxation cramming to do.

UPDATE: Still pounding. I crave human contact. The Union is very empty, owing to the fact that all the students are on break. There are some old men nearby, talking in a mysterious European accent about world history and playing chess. It makes me wish I had someone who wanted to discuss poetry or sports or politics with me for a few minutes, to make this world a little less empty, for a little while.

Enough histrionic panting. Back to work.

Friday, January 07, 2005

Weave a Circle Round Me Thrice! (From Coleridge's "Kubla Khan")

A damsel with a dulcimer
In a vision once I saw:
It was an Abyssinian maid,
And on her dulcimer she played,
Singing of Mount Abora.
Could I revive within me
Her symphony and song,
To such a deep delight 'twould win me,
That with music loud and long,
I would build that dome in air,
That sunny dome! those caves of ice!
And all who heard should see them there,
And all should cry, Beware! Beware!
His flashing eyes, his floating hair!
Weave a circle round him thrice,
And close your eyes with holy dread,
For he on honey-dew hath fed,
And drunk the milk of Paradise.

1352 American Deaths in Iraq

Thursday, January 06, 2005


Haphazardly scrawling lines and verses
While riding a dingy city bus
On a cold grey rainy day,
I wonder at the way a glimpse of her
Can refract the grey
To a thousand rainbow shards
and draw up light
like a squeaky campground pump
needing oil -- at first,
nothing comes,
but then cool water, a little rusty,
in a gush.

On Irony and the Possibility that Jinxes are Real

I'm working at the Memorial Union today, using the free wireless internet. Working at home is difficult for me because my kids are distracting, even when someone else graciously volunteers to watch them.

Working at the Union has its own problems, though. It's kind of a pain to set up the laptop I borrowed (since mine is broken) with all the peripherals. What to do, then, when I need to use the bathroom, get a cup of coffee, or just stroll around a bit?

Well, my savvy readers, laptops have a neat little "suspend" button which keeps everything alive for a few minutes while the computer is folded up. So I generally save my work, suspend everything, and take just the laptop with me, leaving all the cumbersome stuff on the table.

Today I went to go get a sandwich and some coffee, and went through the usual suspend procedure. I stood in the cafeteria waiting for my sandwich and thinking, "You know, I would rather break my brother in law's $1000 laptop than lose my $50 flash drive, which has all my work." You know, I get financial aid in a few weeks, so I could replace the computer, but losing the first 2/3 or so of my law review note just 4 days before the deadline would be an insurmountable obstacle to finishing on time.

So I was a little surprised when I came back to my table and the computer wouldn't start up again. It crashed and then failed to reboot twice. Now, I'm a cheap bastard. When I say my laptop is broken, I mean my laptop has been broken for a long time and I'm just too cheap to fix it, so it's surprising when I decide that some work product of mine is worth more than a new computer.

Long story short, I got the thing going after doing a system restore from safe mode, blah blah, but there was a moment when I was reflecting on the inconvenience of working in a computer lab for the next four days. Tempt not the IT gods, mere mortals, lest you be stricken and your last sight be a blue screen...

Wednesday, January 05, 2005

If I were smart...

...I would have written an article like the one I cite-checked last semester. That article was about the whole Ovitz-Eisner drama and cited only four or five cases.

Instead, I chose to write this ambitious policy piece that draws from multiple areas of law, scholarly treatises, statutes and codes, and many, many cases.

Still, you've got to be impressed about the way I knew to use the subjunctive "were" in the title, right?

1340 American Deaths in Iraq

What's the Deal with Blogger?

My profile has said that I have written 246 posts for about two months, now. I'd like to know how many I've actually written, but I don't really care to count. Of course, one could reply, maybe I should be worrying about something else right about now...

Global Warming?

Date of first major snowfall in Madison, WI: January 5th.

Childhood recollection: driving through snow, sledding on Thanksgiving.

Tuesday, January 04, 2005

Compliment of the day

A friend referred to something I just said as "a testament to your enjoyment of raillery."

Vocabulary is fun.

Workathon continues

...and it is going somewhat better today. I've churned out a few pages, but more importantly, I wrapped my mind around the organization of the piece much better, so I know where I'm going.

Nevertheless, I am going to have to bust my ass all week to get through this.

Monday, January 03, 2005


Two hours of work, one sentence (albeit with a nice footnote).

Unfortunately, the thought that follows from the sentence is a fundamental principle of law that has nevertheless proved nearly impossible for me to find in a case. It is, briefly, this:

1. If a person has a Constitutional Right, the government may not infringe it with an absolute ban.
2. At some point, state restrictions on the exercise of the right become a ban when their practical effect is a total restriction or when they pose an undue burden on the right without a correspondingly strong, permissible state interest.

Point #2 basically is that you can't get around your inability to ban something by restricting away access to the thing incrementally. I can't find a case on point for this, of course. Any case, since I'm pretty good at using the table of authorities.

Any of my legal readers have a case on point?

At any rate, I am going to write the sentence and come back to the footnote later. There's no sense letting a little writer's block stop me cold.