Thursday, May 26, 2005

In case my wife hasn't told you yet

A preemptive strike.

As I mentioned, I've been working lots of nights and going to bed between four and six A.M. My daughter Frost still has to get up for school at 6:30, and getting her ready was always my job during the school year, a job which Sharon graciously took over so that I could sleep for more than an hour at night.

This morning, though, the alarm was going off and I woke up first, whereupon, in my exhausted state, I proceeded to spend five minutes trying to turn it down with the television remote control.

My wife, perhaps enjoying herself a little too much, said something like, "What are you doing?" I replied something like, "I can't get it to shut off," and then responded to further entreaties with "I don't even know what you are talking about right now," and further finger mashing on the remote.

After the longest two or three minutes of my life, she put me out of my misery and shut the blasted thing off. Anyway, if she hasn't told you yet (and she's told everyone, it seems), this is my side of the story.

Wednesday, May 18, 2005


In a desperate move to make some cash to pay my rent this summer, I became a prostitute a drug dealer a waiter at a pancake restaurant. It's a 24-hour place, which means that the only shift they had available was late, late, nights.

I've been sleeping all day in an attempt to adjust to the late nights. It's weird to me, going to bed as it's getting light outside. Most of the bleary-eyed people on the road at 6am are going to work, but I'm the guy who's going home.

The restaurant business is filled with interesting people, both guests and fellow employees. I worked all night last night because the 10-6 server was in jail. She claims it was for unpaid parking tickets, but I think we all know that's not true. Another 10-6 waitress got so far behind when she was on her own last Saturday that she tried to blame the entire previous shift for the place being a mess in the morning. A server who works one day a week has a restraining order against one of the "best" cooks on the night shift. For the summer, she wants more hours, and they are going to tell her that they can't give them to her because she would have to work with him; yes, this is how Title VII lawsuits are made, people.

Last night, a very drunk young woman grabbed my butt while she was ordering. Now I enjoy a nice game of grab-ass as much as the next guy, but not while I'm working, and not with women who are not my wife.

I didn't press charges.

Anyway, that's why posting has been light. I apologize if I've missed anything good in the blog-o-sphere.

Tuesday, May 10, 2005

Finish Line

I had my last exam yesterday, Civil Procedure II (or CivPro2 for those in the know). It was alright. I'm particularly proud that I managed to avoid a blog post talking about relationships in terms of the rules for joinder of parties.

I would tell (both of) you that this means life will return to normal, but after two years of law school, I'm not sure I'm qualified to identify normal any more.

Saturday, May 07, 2005

Exam update

Thursday I had my Admin Law exam. Hard.

It was a three hour exam, and out of roughly fifty students, two finished before the last five minutes. We'll see how that ends up going. As I'm taking an advanced seminar on Admin Law next semester, I hope it went well, or I'm going to feel pretty stupid.

Speaking of next semester, I get to do a for-credit internship through our judicial internship program, and I got assigned to Justice Crooks at the Wisconsin Supreme Court. Let me just say that "Crooks" as a judge name is right up there with "Learned Hand" in the running for best judge name ever.

Also, I like "Abe Fortas." I'm not sure why. Maybe it's because it sounds strong -- Fortas. Like Fortress. Or Mandamus. Damn, I don't know. Maybe I should get more sleep.

Wednesday, May 04, 2005

Missing the Target

Will Baude, discussing opposition to Wal-mart, says:

In other words, these unnamed critics ask why Wal-Mart cannot spend 65% of its profits on paying its workers above-market wages. I mean, I suppose Wal-Mart could decide to spend its profits that way (corporate law problems notwithstanding) but that seems like rather extraordinary philanthropy. And even if Wal-Mart were interested in spending most of its profits that way, I think there would be more beneficent ways to spend that 6.5 billion dollars, like paying them to people who don't already have not-awful jobs.

I think that last sentence is wrong, in that jobs at Wal-Mart are awful, paying $6.50 an hour with essentially no benefits for backbreaking work*, but it's not Mr. Baude to which my title refers.

What's with these critics? I'm pretty staunchly pro-labor, and yet I don't understand all the things I see about "unnamed critics" criticizing the labor practices of companies like Wal-Mart and Starbucks.

Will's quite right that Wal-Mart probably can't paternalistically allocate a big chunk of shareholder profits to employee wages. Is it really the strategy of pro-labor folks to try to appeal to the generosity of big corporations? That's like peace activists trying to stop war by appealing to the Army Chief of Staff; he has a duty, and it's to exert military force. What ever happened to leverage?

Workers at Wal-Mart will get better wages when they demand them and back them up with the kind of economic weapons authorized by the National Labor Relations Act. If Wal-Mart engages in illegal and unfair labor practices to resist that, then fair wage advocates will have a much better weapon to use against them than an attempt to publicly shame them.

Likewise, to the guy handing out boycott fliers outside Starbucks until management accedes to a Barista union: the Baristas have to want to unionize for that to work. Starbucks customers can impose their desired labor-relations scheme on Starbucks through a boycott, if they really have the muscle to do that. It would be far easier (which is not to say easy) to organize employees.

You'll get no argument from me (although I suspect you would from Mr. Baude) that U.S. labor laws are too weak and make it too hard to unionize. If that's your beef, then save your shaming campaign for the people who should be ashamed of the way that our law protects big companies over their employees: the people who write the laws.

*I highly recommend Ehrenreich's Nickel and Dimed: On (Not) Getting By in America for a perspective on working at Wal-Mart.

Tuesday, May 03, 2005


Had a fairly strong deja vu while reading this today:

A new USA TODAY/CNN/Gallup Poll shows that 48% of Americans approve of the way George W. Bush is handling his job as president. But when the poll-takers asked respondents if they approved or disapproved of the way President Bush is handling six specific issues, the results weren't as good.

This reminds me of the West Wing where Josh gets some poll results on Foreign Aid, and for the whole episode he keeps repeating (I'm paraphrasing):

68% think we spend to much on foreign aid, and 59% want to see it cut.

When he's asked about it later in the episode:
Will: "You like that stat?"
Josh: "I do."
Will: "Why?"
Josh: "Because nine percent think it's too high and shouldn't be cut. Nine percent of respondents could not fully get their arms around the question. There should be another box you can check for, 'I have utterly no idea what you're talking about. Please, God, don't ask for my input'."

There were respondents to this USA TODAY poll that didn't approve of the President's job performance in any category, and yet approved of his performance overall? Do we really judge the chief executive of the most powerful nation on earth by how much we like him personally?

Grammar checking the U.S. Constitution

I just wrote out the Constitutional phrase "he shall take care that the laws be faithfully executed" in an outline, and Microsoft Word thinks I should change "be" to "are."

There's no joke here. Only sadness.

UPDATE: I added in this:

Art. II § 2 cl. 2: “He shall nominate, and by and with the Advice and Consent of the Senate, shall appoint Ambassadors, other public Ministers and Consuls, Judges of the Supreme Court, and all other Officers of the United States, whose Appointments are not herein otherwise provided for, and which shall be established by Law: but the Congress may by Law vest the Appointment of such inferior Officers, as they think proper in the President alone, in the Courts of Law, or in the Heads of Departments.”

and it tells me that the sentence is too long. Why amend the Constitution when you can just let Microsoft spell and grammar check it?

Monday, May 02, 2005

No, I'm not dead

Just in the midst of finals. Next up: Administrative Law, Thursday.

I took my Trusts and Estates final on Saturday. It was the final that I was probably the most nervous about, owing to the fact that I hadn't actually read half the textbook as of about Wednesday last week. Normally, I'm not that law student, the one that has to cram at the end of the semester. This semester, though, I had two separate revisions of my Comment and an 18 credit schedule, so something had to give.

The exam went pretty well; no surprises, and I felt like I was able to spot the issues. When I handed in the exam, I was a little surprised to be handed a yellow slip of paper by the proctor. I'll paraphrase:

Some students may have had access to this exam before the test period. If you are one of these students, we urge you to report it to the main office by noon. We will not assume that your access was intentional. Failure to report yourself will be considered a serious breach of professional ethics.

Are you kidding me? Someone may have cheated and we're using the honor system to protect the curve?

From the message, it seems likely that the exam was somehow posted on the Internet or left lying around, since it was possible that someone saw it accidentally. I imagine that's how they found out that it was out there: some honest student saw it and told them.