Sunday, December 19, 2004

Never Give Up

The Fight Continues
They are tough on us at Cooley. No open book exams. No bottled water while taking exams. No “reading period” or “break” to study. I know people who had their last class a Monday and an exam for that class on Wednesday. It’s like that at Cooley. For the short bus kids like me, it’s an extra hard place to be. And it can make one really, really mean and pissed off.

After having a week of exams, one per day, I have had countless moments where I’ve wanted to give up. It would be so nice and no doubt feel wonderful – to have relief from all that is Cooley School of Law, but I refuse to give up. I want to give up, but I refuse to do so. They keep pounding the hell out of me, well they can just go ahead and keep on pounding “cos I ain’t goin down.”

I was considering a leave of absence as there is a pretty big financial risk going for another term under a bad set of circumstances. Forget it. There will be another semester of senseless law schooling and annoying blogging.

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Contracts Exam in Purgatory

It was, fortunately, nothing like Property. After Property I was planning to withdraw, return home in shame and maybe take up life as a hermit living in a van down by the river. Although that is always an option, I suspect I will just have to void-grade Property and take it again. The river and the van will have to wait.

My feelings overall on this one is that it wasn’t exactly Hell and it wasn’t exact Heaven. It was somewhere in the middle.

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Saturday, December 18, 2004

Next: Contracts Exam

A law school final exam per day helps keep sanity at bay...

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Property Law IN HELL

Property Law in Hell is rough

I have an entire blank area in my blue book. I didn’t expect an entire section to be “A to O in fee simple absolute with vested remainder in” God knows. I don’t know. I actually panicked. I’ve never had that happen, ever, on an exam. Today, you could have looked inside my head and saw the Windows Blue Screen of Death, and no matter how much I banged on control-alt-delete my brain just would not reboot.

It’s one thing to do poorly or just be surprised by some twisted questions (hence Torts); it’s another to stare blankly into space and just-not-know. We spent weeks and weeks on dead whales and lost/mislaid wallets and things of that nature – and I would say 75% of the exam was future interests and race-notice statutes. A smattering of Joint Tenancy kind of things, but overall it struck me as Future Interests, even within the multiple choice section that was probably designed to cover ownership of fluffy bunny's and runaway bears.

Oddly enough – I don’t feel too bad about-facing the prospects of having to hit the void-grade button. We get two get-out-of-jail-free cards and I’ll be using it with Property.

On a broader level, I’ve learned a lot about myself, much more in fact than I ever dreamed. I figured I was too old to change my thinking or how I see things, but law school has definitely re-ordered my mind and I like it. At first I was afraid of becoming part of The Borg, but now I actually welcome it. It has been a very cathartic experience and I intend, one way or the other, to never give up.

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Welcome to Blackacre

Property Law. What can I say? It's not exciting. It is what it is.

See above posting about hell.

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Friday, December 17, 2004

But in a dictatorship everything the dictator does is correct.

Interesting story about Hitler and taxes and how he ran his business affairs.

Thank GOD this isn't how our President operates. That man is fully human and admits when he gets it wrong and seeks to correct it, and is praised when he gets things right. Fortunately, Bush never makes mistakes, so the "mistake" or "wrong" elements never enter into the equation.

Criminal Law – Mistress Danger’s Dungeon of Hurtful Pleasures

Criminal law exam was almost fun. I say almost, because like every law school exam I automatically assume I failed it and start realizing on the way home all of the things I missed, wondering if I barfed out the right rule, or any rule for that matter. I’m doing that now and starting to feel kinda uneasy, but not like yesterday. Torts sucked.

I would compare my Criminal Law exam and my Torts exam as being the difference between being lovingly tortured in Mistress’s Dangers Dungeon of Hurtful Pleasures or a weekend at an American-run Iraqi prison. In one, I am teased, taunted and whipped with soft leather by a sexy albeit inaccessible mistress, and in the other I am just plain tortured and twisted into a human pyramid of misery while people take pictures. I’m not into the whips and leather thing, but I’d definitely take it over the latter.

So – Criminal Law was fun, so if I crashed and burned with it… at least it wasn’t quite as traumatic as Torts.

Tomorrow is Property. I might as just well play darts with that one.

Bush and The Criminal Law

"One who is the aqggressor in a conflict culiminating in death cannot invoke the necessities of self-preservation. Only in the event that he communicates to his adversary his intent to withdraw and in good faith attempts to do so is he restored to his right of self defense." US v. Peterson

At the common law there developed the rule of "retreat to the wall" - which forbade the use of deadly force by one whom an avenue for safe retreat was open.

General Defenses to Crimes in Dresseler is an interesting chapter. The above notions are in fact used by my GOP friends... "Iraq attacked us on 9/11 by taking down the WTC. Therefore, our invasion is justified."

It reminds me of how "Poland" invaded Germany in 1939 and had no-choice but to take aggressive, powerful Poland on directly. Everything else after that were "pre-emptive" self-defense measures. The closest thing I can find to pre-emptive-ness in Criminal Law is Battered Wife Syndom, and even that is a stretch.

I may or may not pass Criminal Law, but I'll at least have fun with it either way. Here goes...

Up Next: Criminal Law

I have mixed feelings about how I will perform on today’s exam, but the class overall was probably one of my favorites. A sitting judge who, unlike some of his lawyer/professor counterparts, exuded (in my book) all of the mental and moral traits I could only dream of having when I grow up (I’m 37 and hoping to be a fully mature adult when I turn 40).

The subject matter could at times be a bit macabre, but The Judge had an interesting ability to simultaneously show sensitivity and strength. Regardless of how this class shakes out, I feel as if I came away with something that I can’t quite explain. Perhaps it was an archetypal template for the practice of law that I saw in the Judge that I liked, or maybe it was just a sense that I grasped a bigger picture of “Life and Law” than I did before… I don’t know. Something. I know I came away from this one with something, but I can’t quite articulate exactly what it was.

Thursday, December 16, 2004

The Spiral of Death and Doom (Torts I)

First, I will say how I feel…

I failed Torts. Failed it. Miserably. I ended up just throwing as much pasta against the wall I could come up with in hopes something would stick. Negligence, battery, contributory negligence vs comparative negligence, assumption of risk, false imprisonment… whatever I could remember.

I am SUPER worried about my essays. I get in line and the proctors are printing out giant, massive reams of paper. I swear, most kids must have had 20 or 30 pages in their essays. I had maybe 7 or 8 pages total. Ugh. Something went way wrong. Looking back, I’m pretty sure I didn’t have near enough pasta, and the pasta I had probably wasn’t enough to stick.

I would like to apologize now to all REAL and worthy law school bloggers. I pretended to be a law school student. I attended class as a dutiful student, studied until I couldn’t stand it, and threw around phrases like proximate-cause with admitted glee – yet I am certain of my failure. I am not worthy to be in your company, and… and… I am sorry. You guys are all so cool and I am such a dork. Sorry. :-(

Next month this blog will transform into something about:

A) Truck Driving and/or Truck Driving School (seeing the country would be nice)
B) Real Estate School and life as a realtor in Arizona (which actually isn’t half bad)
C) Or… my Dinner with Lenny and why a life of crime turned out to be my true calling. Check back for prices on a wide range of illicit activities.
D) Linux
E) All of the above

There is only one question I know I got right on the multiple choice section – the Latin word for Tort. It was the first question on the MC and I was like “What the hell? Well, ok. I actually know this one.” It was all downhill from there.

Tomorrow - Crimlaw.

Wednesday, December 15, 2004

Between The Devil And The Deep Blue Sea

I've always thought Christopher Dickey provided insight that typically doesn't get much coverage from the Russert talking (empty) head-types. How or why he's on MSNBC is a mystery to me.

Anyway - great article on the upcoming year with a hint of optimism to spice up what is mostly a stew of hell. Needless to say I am less than thrilled about flying home in a few days.

The Cassandra Quotient

Update: My mistake. Christopher Dickey reports for Newsweek and not MSNBC.

Censorship is alive and well in the U.S.A.

The U.S. Treasury Department Office of Foreign Assets Control has issued regulations prohibiting U.S. publishers from publishing anything written by foreigners in countries under sanction without prior approval."

Get more on the story at IO Error's website (where I learned about the above)

Ho hum. Just Another Election Fraud Story

Nothing surprises me anymore. Here's the story - Ohio was rigged. The only problem with some of these stories is all of the evidence, witnesses, etc.

105 Year Old Smoker Dies

Headline speaks for itself.

Your Own Personal Mainframe

One computer with three (3) users (three sets of keyboards, mice, etc).

This looks like an ideal product for resource centers, libraries, the secretary pool, etc. Windows does not handle this type of situation well - at least not yet, but Linux has had this ability for years. Thanks to an ever improving Linux desktop experience, this type of product might catch on in a big way.

Walmart Sued By Weak Minded Americans

Their daughter buys a CD at Wal-Mart and it turns out someone says F&ck in one of the songs, and the shock (experienced by mom and dad) of hearing this unclean word translates into some hefty damages.

Tuesday, December 14, 2004

Canada's Goofy Leader

What's this? A leader who admits he's not perfect?

What the hell - social programs over tax cuts? Next thing you know - they'll have national healthcare and argue that a healthy population helps innovation! What a bunch of loons! Silly Canadians with their silly fiscal policies of budget surplus vs. massive deficit spending. Will they ever learn?

I'm not crazy about Martin, but he looks like Abe Lincoln compared to our guy.

Soldiers Court-Martialed for Scrounging Equipment

Yahoo links die fast, so catch it HERE while you can.

Caught the story from a visit over at Mquest.

Remember, in America no good deed goes unpunished. These rogue soldiers need to serve as examples that seeking scrap armor is wrong when the real armor they have (and need), thanks to President Bush, is the shield provided to them thanks to Bush's tight relationship with Jesus Christ. These soldiers don't need iron, they have the armor of prayer Bush extends to surround every soldier. Scrap metal would only act as a false sense of security; if only these soliders would have the faith of Beloved Leader, why those bullets would probably just bounce off those Humvee's no problem.

I Wonder If There Is A Tort In Here Somewhere

These people used Windows. They lost $90,000 thanks to a Windows borne virus/trojan. They're probably screwed. All I can say is if they would have used Linux - they'd probably still have their $90,000.

The Ford Pinto had a nasty habbit of exploding if you looked at it wrong (well... ok... if you backed it into something fast enough or had someone rear-end you), and Windows is sort of the same way. If you use it long enough eventually it will barf all over you. Just give it time.

Did these people use ordinary care to safeguard their systems? I doubt it. At least, not what I would call ordinary or reasonable care, but perhaps to a jury ZoneAlarm or BlackIce or Norton is reasonable-care. Still...

I would love to sue the bank that REQUIRES a person to use Windows and Internet Exploder to conduct business, and then let them implead Microsoft into the hairball. Man, that would be fun. It would make getting a JD so, so, so worth it. Getting to fight evil - what a rush that would be.

It was only recently that my own bank opened things up a bit and made it possible for me to use something other than that God Damn Pile of Shit Internet Explorer to access my accounts online. I think banks or entities that force people to use such a poorly architected operating system should be held liable when they force customers to use such an insecure product. Using Windows for anything important, like online banking over the internet, is akin to forcing somone to drive around in Iraq in an poorly armored vehicle...

Relaxing From Law Studies With Wikipedia

My idea lately of a good time is wandering around Wikipedia.

For some reason, Clockwork Orange caught my attention. I haven't seen the movie in ages, but the artificial "goodness" struck a chord with me given our current Bush/Ashcroftian state of affairs.

Come to think of it... perhaps Brave New World is a closer fit.

Xandros Linux 3.0 Is Worth Checking Out

I discovered an excellent review on OS News covering Xandros Linux 3.0.

About the only thing I don't like about the distubution is the tight usage of proprietary technology blended with GNU / Free Software. It's more of an idealogical reaction than anything else, and from a fit-and-finish standpoint Xandros is a gorgeous, slick, tasty temptation I contemplated over Mepis (my current Linux flavor of choice - notwithstanding their sad looking website).

Should you ever tire of Windows borne infectious diseases (spam, trojans, spyware, malware, etc), but would like to retain the ability to run some of the more popular Windows-based applications - Xandros is worth a look.

Buy Blue

I learned about this over at Hategun. I'm not sure how realistic it is, but I like the idea...

"You may have voted blue, but were you aware that every day, you unknowingly help dump millions of dollars into the conservative warchest? Simply by buying products and services from companies which heavily donate to conservatives, we have been defeating our own interests as liberals and progressives on a daily basis.

Buy Blue is a concerted effort to educate the public on making informed buying decisions as a consumer. We identify businesses which support our ideals and spotlight their dedication to progressive politics. In turn, we shine that spotlight on unsupportive businesses in the form of massive boycotts and action alerts."


Monday, December 13, 2004

US Homicide Rate Drops to 16,600 Killings (give or take)

About a dozen FEWER Americans managed to blow each other away last year! This is something to celebrate - a murder rate within the ranks of Russia and South Africa.

Canada lags behind the US (as always) with only 1 in 100,000 killings compared to our 6 in 100,000. Canada is going to have to work hard to catch up with us, but under Martin's leadership I think they can pull it off.

The Score So Far:

Canada: 548 homicides

and The United State of America! (drum roll please....) 16,500 killings!

Default Setting For Word When Trying To Outline?

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Anyone know who this guy is? Found it on as well.
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Yoda Is Concerned...

Yoda seems very concerned about the election results. Found it on the sorry website.
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Sunday, December 12, 2004

It's Finals Week - Yay!

Finals week has begun. I'm not 100% certain, but that guy in the red outfit... he might be one of my professors...

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Hell Hath No Fury...

Got this from a friend at another law school...

 A wife came home just in time to find

her husband in bed with another woman.
With superhuman strength born of fury,
She dragged him down the stairs, out
the back door, and into the tool shed in the
back yard and put his penis in a vice.
She then secured it tightly and removed the handle.
Next she picked up a hacksaw.
The husband was terrified, and screamed,
Stop! Stop!
You're not going to cut it off, are you?
The wife, with a gleam of revenge in her eye,
put the saw in her husband's hand and said,
"Nope. I'm going to set the shed on fire.
You do whatever you have to."

Saturday, December 11, 2004

Mass Media Ignorance

What can I say? Hategun rocks.

I got this link from Hategun and it says ... well... let's just call it a window into the soul of America.

America is now endearing itself to Canada by insulting it. Given enough time the plan will work out extremely well. Here's the Whitehouse talking points:

Here's the Video.

Friday, December 10, 2004

US Medical Malpractice Tort Lawyer Circa 2006 ??

Law graduate that didn't take the "Big Law" route? Former building contractor? Ex-Windows Programmer? Ex-Democrat Congresscritter? The person you're talking to when you dial 411?

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Just one of the many reasons I got out of high tech.
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And you think law school is bad.
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This one has been floating around the net for ages. I love it. It's so... true - especially for law students.
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Typical Linux coders. One of the many reasons why Linux is so much better than Windows.
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My Dog... when he was a pup. Aww.
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Thursday, December 09, 2004

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My Entire Law Student Diet
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Another Warm (and sunny) Michigan Day
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The Coming Dark Age

I've had this in my bookmarks for sometime now and stumbled on it again over at MSNBC (one of the organs of the White House Press Release machine). I figured I'd post it here.

If you are down with The Coming Dark Age - this site is fun, entertaining and very uplifting.

Rat Brains - Mark of The Beast Cards (no buy/sell/trade/fly-list)

One of my favorite geek tabloid sites - The Register - had this to say about rat brains:

Florida scientists have grown a brain in a petri dish and taught it to fly a fighter plane.

"Scientists at the university of Florida taught the 'brain', which was grown from 25,000 neural cells extracted from a rat embryo, to pilot an F-22 jet simulator. It was taught to control the flight path, even in mock hurricane-strength winds."

First it's the no-fly list, next it will be the can't buy/sell/trade/no-fly list. Ever wonder if one day you'll need to wave your National ID card over the scanner to make certain you aren't a Terrorist/Democrat/to buy a loaf of bread?

Wednesday, December 08, 2004

Leaving America

A great thread archived thread on Slashdot started after Black Tuesday about leaving America. Oddly enough, I discovered this link thanks to the blog post below.

Home of the Baheyeldin Dynasty

One of my passions is a thing called Linux. I not only love the technology that propels Linux, but I am equally fascinated by all of the geo-political aspects of the Free Software Movement. It is the antithesis of Microsoft (illegal monopoly) and Bush (elitism) rolled into a single movement, while simultaneously (and ironically) operating as a testament to free markets and individual liberty. Two concepts that seemingly oppose each other are glued together, somehow, in this thing called Linux.

While searching for information on Mandrake Linux I came across this site. It's one of those accidental links that happen while searching for one thing and winding up with something else. It's the family website of the Baheyeldin Dynasty.

The site itself is fairly eclectic, yet what struck me is the intriguing prospect that human beings on this planet can ultimately be linked together by something positive compared to the all-too-often insane notion of national politics (us vs them). There is a common thread that runs through all of humanity and once in awhile I stumble on it in places I never expect.


For some reason... I sure do identify with this kid.
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Tuesday, December 07, 2004

Dollar Falls Again (as usual)

This just wouldn't be Majqa's blog if I didn't have at least one posting per week about the US Dollar going to hell.

The US Dollar is going to Hell.

US Analysts mystified; massive tax cuts, roaring deficits, laughable lackluster job growth, and religious government - hell - what's not to like!? Stupid Europeans. Who cares what THEY think! We don't need their ... money... to finance.... our debt/taxcuts/wars... do we??


Good news! US Massive Deficits are just fine! Whew. I was getting worried for a minute, but Edward Prescott (on the short-list for replacing Greenspan no less) says "I don't see any problems with the US deficit."

December Showers in Michigan - So Relaxing.

April - er - December showers...
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The thing I love about Michigan this time of year is how it always rains. I consider myself lucky, because all my wife complains about back in Arizona is all the snow they've getting up in the high desert.

It was raining HARD when I took this picture, but for some reason it just shows up as wetness. Oh man, and it also looks like the lawn needs to be mowed again - especially after all this rain.

I am also being invaded by Ladybugs. Cute lil Ladybugs. I don't have the heart to smash any of them. I just catch-em and put them back outside.

The Matrix Rebooting?

A tear in the fabric of time and space?

From Slashdot...

"Today's Astronomy Picture of the Day presents a challenge worthy of a large audience: as it says, "Meteor experts don't think it's a meteor. Atmospheric scientists don't think it's lightning". An intriguing dark streak and bright flash that defies explanation showed up on some cloud monitoring pictures. The forumsetup to discuss it is currently hosed, so perhaps fellow slashdotters can shed some light over the mystery?"

And another Slashdot article worth passing along...

therawstory reports that a programmer named Clinton Curtis says in a sworn affidavit (mirror) that he developed prototype vote-rigging software at the request of then-Florida state representative Tom Feeney. The affidavit has been turned over to the House Judiciary Committee, of which Feeney is now a member. Should we call for inspection and disassembly of all the voting machine code to see if it contains any of these secret vote tampering functions he was asked to include in his prototype?" A follow-up interview is available.

What Law School Feels Like

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Monday, December 06, 2004

What is it like to go to Thomas M. Cooley Law School?

Part 1 of ?

What Thomas M. Cooley law school is like for a married-with-children student is the purpose of this posting. I’ll be revising this posting from time to time in the interest of posterity and other unfortunate souls contemplating law school.

My reasons for choosing Thomas Cooley were pretty simple: they offered me a partial scholarship; I could attend classes on weekends, weekdays or a mix of both; and it has a non-elitist, no-bullshit approach to law (or so I thought).

Cooley is ranked near the bottom of all ABA law schools by US News and World Reports, yet the school cranks out lawyers literally by the thousands and has one of the most diverse student bodies of any law school in the US. It also has one of the largest African-American student populations in terms of numbers and is in the top-10 with respect to raw percentages. However, this large and diverse student body was not formed by “affirmative-action”, rather the school operates on a simple principle of having a big front door and a very small back door. This wide net catches everyone regardless of race, ethnicity or economic background.

The attrition rate at Cooley is roughly 48% range and this high rate of attrition is one of the elements that contributes to Cooley’s low ranking. The other being that it admits a lot of students and “exclusivity/elitism” is the single biggest weighing factor in the USNWR ranking system. It should come as no surprise that the top schools have low admit-ratios and the bottom tier tend to have higher admission ratios. Therefore, Cooley suffers in large measure from its philosophy of letting lots of people have a shot at law school, but as a result lots students also flunkout hence driving up the Cooley attrition rate.

Facilities and Orientation
The facilities are by and large excellent and the law library is one of the largest in the country. Do not be fooled by its low rank into assuming that its facilities are in disrepair. I visited several “top-tier” law schools and several of them would be unable to hold a candle to the facilities that Cooley provides. The school is well maintained in terms of books, infrastructure and creature comforts. For whatever reasons, the ABA has standards for this type of thing and Cooley easily exceeds those standards.

The orientation period is quite long and can span over a week in terms of events, required seminars and so on. The sheer volume of entering students (about 900 in my case) can make for a dizzying, hectic yet fun orientation. Entering students are initially herded into the main auditorium and then fan out for mini-seminars at different times of the day across campus. Most of these mini-seminars are on how to use Cooley facilities, getting your student ID, Westlaw accounts, and so on.

Cooley does a great job “packaging” the orientation process. If you didn’t know better, you would get the impression that law school is going to be one of the most pleasant yet intellectually stimulating experiences of your life. Reality will quickly rear its ugly head by the first week of actual classes, but I give Cooley an A with Honors for how well they package orientation. The food they serve during orientation is also surprisingly decent, especially the lunch/dinner provided when you meet your “academic advisor” – a person you will never, ever see again. For at least one week you will truly believe not only that you are going to survive law school, but that you are going to graduate top of your class and later enter into the world as a great jurist ready and able to set the world straight. It’s a nice feeling and it will last about one week.

Class Mix
Because I was in both the weekend/weekday mix section, the students I interacted with spanned the gambit. My weekday experience reflected a student body that probably had a median age of around 23. The weekend students, on the other hand, were definitely older (I would guess the median age at around 31) and tended to be the typical non-traditional/working adult student. Just about everyone in my seating area is either married, has children, working, or some combination of the above. If you are envisioning undergraduate-degrees of hookup potential… the weekend section will probably keep you single and/or celibate.

A great upside to Cooley is that the sheer number of incoming students tends to keep the backstabbing/competitiveness that you hear about at other schools to a minimum. This tends to give Cooley a much more egalitarian student atmosphere wherein it’s you vs. the professor rather than you vs. your fellow students.

Teaching Quality
The quality of my professor’s spans from “needs work” to “excellent.” I encountered this at the undergraduate level and it is no different with Cooley. You will have professors that are exceptional and make the material come alive, and you will have professors that you wish you didn’t have to deal with. Some stick doggedly close to the Socratic method, others feel it’s bullshit and think the best way to teach is to deliver the material with a touch of Q&A to make things interesting. My Criminal Law professor is a good example of the latter. He is a sitting circuit judge and by and large this is my favorite class. Because of his background he is able to make the material meaningful while at the same time only resorts to the Socratic method on an as-need basis. What I take from this particular class will no doubt be memorable, regardless of how I end up performing on the final exam.

Some students dread the prospect of getting called upon in class. I never really took it personally, even if or when I would get something wrong. That’s not the idea of the Socratic method; at least not among the Cooley professors I’ve had thus far. Although just about every professor’s syllabus instructs you “to stand” when called on, after several weeks no one stands and the professor doesn’t seem to care either way. Where things CAN get painful is if you are called on and you haven’t prepared or read the material – my Contracts professor has probably made more than a few students squirm when he nails an unprepared student with his standing-dead silence to non-answers. He’s always let them off the hook, but only after he’s had them swing in the breeze in front of the rest of the class to serve as an example of how uncomfortable things can be when you don’t prepare (or seem prepared).

At Cooley you don’t get to “pass” when called on. I know students at other law schools get to use a “pass” – such a luxury does not exist (in so far as I know) at Cooley. You can, however, write a note to your professor telling him you are unprepared for class, but the ramifications of doing so range from professor to professor. Thus far every professor I’ve had seem ultimately fair, reasonable and approachable outside of classroom hours, although without a doubt some are much more interactive than others.

Intro to Law
This is a class that is required for all Cooley 1L’s. It will take up a great deal of time during your first term and get in the way of your regular studies if you are not careful, and if you are like me you will hate this class with considerable passion. You will also in the end discover how much good it did for you and come to appreciate it later, but initially you will curse it. Every law school seems to have some variation of this class. I’ve heard it call “Legal Studies” and some call it “Legal Writing: Issue Spotting.” At Cooley, it’s called “Intro to Law” and there is no way around this class other than going through it.

It is in this class that you will learn (among other things) something called “IRAC” – Issue, Reasoning, Analysis and Conclusion. They will drill into your head about how you have to “IRAC” the exam. IRAC, IRAC, IRAC. What it’s really about is getting you to think in a very narrow way and is part of the famous process of getting you to “think like a lawyer.”

You can take your final exams on a laptop or write them by hand in your “blue books.”

Cooley 1L’s do NOT have:

1) open-book exams;
2) take-home exams;
3) and you do NOT get to take anything into your exams with you. No notes, no outlines, zip, nada. It is just you, a hundred other students, your pen and your exam (along with some scratch paper). That’s it. You get 2 hours and 45 minutes to avoid being a complete failure.

I’ve been shocked to learn how other students, especially at the upper tier schools, have everything from take-home exams to getting to bring their outlines with them into finals. These crutches are not available to Cooley students – although I wish they were.

Depending on your overall class schedule for the term, it is possible to have your last class one day and your first final exam a few days later. There is no time-off to cram. For example, my last review class is Sunday and my first exam is the following Thursday. Exams also tend to be back to back i.e. I have one exam on Thursday, another Friday, and another Saturday, and so on until my entire battery is complete.

Exam with Laptop
A limited number of seats are made available to students who want to take their exams using a laptop. The exam program itself is pretty straightforward. Think of it as if the only program you were allowed to use on your laptop was Microsoft Notepad – that would give you the software experience of taking your exam at Cooley on a laptop.

High Rate of Failure
Your odds of failing at Cooley are very high – in fact higher than almost any other ABA law school in the country. “Look to your left, look to your right – one of you won’t be here next term let alone next year” is still valid at Cooley. We haven’t even got to finals yet and people are dropping like flies, and no doubt finals will shake out the remaining budding wannabe lawyers.

It’s one thing to have a fresh crop of 980 students every 4 months, and another to have 180 new admits once per year. An upper-tier school with low numbers of incoming students can’t afford to have a high rate of attrition, but Cooley has new blood flowing into it every semester. This is why Cooley is able to have a horrific rate of attrition while at the same time grow and prosper. It’s a mixed blessing, because it gives lots of people a shot at law school, but likewise crushes a lot of students and sours them on jurisprudence.

Saturday, December 04, 2004

The House-to-House Fight in Fallujah

16-minute special report from embedded BBC reporter Paul Wood.

Friday, December 03, 2004

Bush Won, Get Over It.

So says Hategun in his new video.

Live To Be 1000 Years Old

Came across this story on Slashdot.

I wonder... if everyone could live to be 1000 - would it be worth it?

Thursday, December 02, 2004

The Incredible Falling Dollar

This post is more for the record than anything else.

The Dollar hits a new record low.

What I find interesting is how the media never goes into why the Dollar is collapsing. An initial argument was that rising oil prices were linked in proportion to a falling Dollar, but now with the drop in oil prices why isn't the Dollar soaring? What is it about the US Dollar that caused currency traders the micro instant following Bush winning the election to head for the escape pods?

I think for starters - the world pretty much sees us for what we are. The werenotsorry website is a perfect example of most of my past coworkers mentality, not to mention friends and relatives. People giving the finger saying "Fuck You Yer-Up French Fags! I got ma guns! We's don need you! We got the Lord on our side! Who care what you think!" People in "old Europe" that used to fund our massive deficits have decided that since their input into our affairs is an automatic nullity - they'll just invest their money somewhere else. Hence, the falling Dollar.

People Amaze Me

What would you do with $315 million?

I know what I WOULD NOT be doing - driving around in my hummer hitting concrete medians on a turnpike.

Wednesday, December 01, 2004

National ID Card

Went wandering around and bumped into Lil Cup of Love, where I picked up this:

National ID Database - It's what the Republicans call Small Government (I'd hate to see what they'd do if they implemented Big Government)...

Installing Mandrake 10.1 into a VMware Virtual Machine

UPDATED 12-07-2004

Sorry fellow bloggers. This posting is for a few geek friends that are trying to shoehorn Mandrake 10.1 into a
VMware Virtual Machine on Windows XP host (although same probably goes for a Linux host as well).

Getting Mandrake 10.1 CE installed under VMware on a Windows host can be a bit tricky. Although the installation proceeds perfectly normal, getting video afterward that is beyond useful becomes much harder. If you are staring at a funky screen or perhaps an 800x600 256 color resolution, you'll need to install VMware tools and also make a few changes to one configuration file.

Before starting - it will help to boot into a normal VGA situation, otherwise you'll be trying to do work in a funky 4-screen strange looking frame buffer.

Reboot your newly install Mandrake machine and at the boot screen press the ESCAPE key and then type:

linux vga=normal (and obviously press return/enter)

Login as root and then type:

# init 3
# urpmi pciutils
# urpmi kernel-source-2.6-

Note that the kernel sources are required to install vmware-tools.

If URPMI complains during the above, make sure that your cdrom/dvd is mounted or selected by VMWARE in your machine configuration. If it is and it's still not seeing your cdrom/dvd, type:

# mount /dev/cdrom /mnt/cdrom

And then try urpmi pciutils, etc, again. Once you've installed your kernel sources and pciutils...

Go to the VM menu of VMware and choose Install VMware tools. Next...

# mount /dev/cdrom /mnt/cdrom
# cd /mnt/cdrom
# cp vmware-linux-tools.tar.gz /tmp
# cd /tmp
# tar -zxf vmware-linux-tools.tar.gz

#cd /tmp/vmware-tools-distrib/bin

You will next need to use a text editor of your choice, such as vi, joe, nano or maybe pico.

# vi

Then, find this bit of code... (if you are using vi and are a newbie, scroll down to around line 3051)

$xversionAll = direct_command(shell_string(xserver4()) . ' -version 2>&1') =~
/XFree86 Version (\d+\.\d+\.?\d*)/ ? $1: '0.0.0';

# The assumption here is that anything from is 4.4.0. We have to do this
# right now because 'X -version' on's server doesn't have a reliable version
# string. Maybe it will once it settles down.
if ($xversionAll eq "0.0.0") {
$xversionAll = direct_command(shell_string(xserver4()) . ' -version 2>&1') =~
/ Foundation/ ? '4.4.0' : '0.0.0';

Change the part...

$xversionAll = direct_command(shell_string(xserver4()) . ' -version 2>&1') =~
/XFree86 Version (\d+\.\d+\.?\d*)/ ? $1: '0.0.0';


$xversionAll = direct_command(shell_string(xserver4()) . ' -version 2>&1') =~
/XFree86 Version (\d+\.\d+\.?\d*)/ ? $1: '4.4.0';

Newbie VI note: to delete the '0.0.0' in the above text press the [DEL] key to enter delete mode and delete over the offending numbers. Press [INSERT] key to insert '4.4.0' then press [ESCAPE]; then type ':w!" to force a write and then ':q' to exit

Save the file after making the above edit.

THEN at the root prompt:

# cd ..
# ./

You can then just hit enter to everything and accept all of the defaults.

Once the module compiles, you'll be given a choice of screen resolutions to choose. In my case I use 1024x768, and odds are that will work best for most situations. After vmware-config is finished, go ahead and shutdown and reboot. Your video at that point should be normal.

I Broke My Blog

Dagnabit. Stupid Blog. Stupid HTML bad-coder-editor guy.

After 6 hours of Property (I LOVE Property! Property RULES! I can't WAIT to be tested on the RAP or Shelly rules - I am so ready, eager and willing...) I decided to spruce of The Blog.

Instead... I broke it.