Wednesday, September 29, 2004

Interview No. 1

Today was my first clerkship interview. I woke up at three thirty in the morning to catch a cab for my six o'clock flight, watched Part I of the Decalogue, and then boarded the plane and slept the whole time. Then I cooled my heels in O'Hare for a couple of hours and watched Truly, Madly, Deeply. It made Alan Rickman really unlikable and thus I did not enjoy it. Then onto another plane - another two hours of sleep. Since I laid awake until 2 or so last night (nerves), these plane naps were vital. The hotel shuttle picked me up and brought me to the hotel, where I showered, changed, read soem Copyright, and then walked over to my interview.

I was early and spent a while chatting with the current clerks. Finally it was actually my scheduled time (have I mentioned that I was nervous? and that I get lost a lot and thus allow plenty of time to get from Point A to Point B? I was way early) and I had a nice talk with the judge. I hope he calls me back. He sounds like a dream to work for. I have a West Coast interview on Monday but nothing else so far. Fingers crossed. Afterwards the clerks took me out to dinner and to check out the "clerk ghetto" where they all live. It is actually a really nice pair of apartment complexes with all the amenities I was accustomed to associating with rental life before I moved to the Northeast, land of ancient housing stock. All in all, a good day. I am not looking forward to tomorrow's flight plan, though (three legs, not two, and arrival after midnight in Boston).

Tuesday, September 28, 2004

I refuse to chill out.

The proprietor of "" thinks I should "chill out" and reserve my anger for the war in Iraq, evil thieving Republicans, and other people who aren't on Greg's side of the political spectrum. A few points:

1. This is not "a few words." If the story in the Weekly Standard is true, then many words were lifted, even if only one phrase was taken in its entirety. That is sloppy, slovenly, unprofessional research. Even in the third grade, I remember being instructed to indicate quotations when taking notes on cards and cite to the page number.

2. Whether Tribe is a nice guy and friendly to students is beside the point. If someone commits an offense, they should not get off light because they are handsome, rich, or your good buddy. That is not justice. I am glad that he works so hard on so many pro bono cases. He should have worked a little harder on this book.

3. If Richard Perle stole $5 million dollars and Greg decided to be upset about it and post, I would not question him. I fail to see how the potential thievery of a sometime contributor to the Weekly Standard has any bearing on whether or not the specific allegations in the article on Tribe are true.

4. The argument that anger at relatively minor ethical infractions is misdirected because there are serious political issues to be concerned with at present is absurd and offensive. By this logic, outrage at small injustices must be rejected and standards of morality lapse; after all, what's a theft, an instance of plagiarism, cruelty to animals, or cheating on your wife compared to the overweening evil of the Bush administration? What laughable nonsense. This is not a warblog, or a politics blog. It is the personal blog of a Harvard Law student. I address issues that affect me and which are relevant to the scope of this site. If you want outrage about Bush, go elsewhere. Contrary to Greg's suggestion, there is plenty to be angry about right here.

When it rains, it pours

After a long day of Wills and Trusts reading, scrambling to get journal kinks worked out, and staring outside at the unceasing rain, some good news: a West Coast district judge wants me to fly out. Tomorrow is my first interview, but hopefully I can schedule the second one soon and perhaps even visit some friends while I'm there.

More excuses

Local coverage of the Tribe plagiarism scandal has revealed more pitiful excuses for unscholarly conduct.

From the Boston Globe:
In an interview with the Globe about Ogletree's book earlier this month, Tribe said people who "get on a high horse" about inadvertent plagiarism are "probably revealing more about their lack of self-knowledge than their high scholarly standards."

"I have a feeling that more than a few people who would not want to admit it have in the course of their careers accidentally found something in their own work -- a paragraph, a sentence, a line -- that they had intended to take down as a research note, but that ended up, not on the cutting room floor, but instead being sent by an assistant to a publisher," Tribe said.
This is so weak. More than a few others have been similarly careless, so we shouldn't criticize? I for one am very familar with high scholarly standards, considering every honor code and plagiarism policy I have ever had to comply with has been more rigorous than what's required of HLS professors. That an error is easy to make and difficult to detect should imply that we must be very vigilant to guard against it, not forgiving of those who commit it.

From the Boston Herald:
A supporter of Tribe, Duke University law professor Erwin Chemerinsky said it wasn't plagiarism because the passages Tribe used inappropriately were historic statements of fact, rather than another author's ideas.
I am only beginning my copyright class, but even a couple of weeks have hammered in the idea/expression distinction. The issue is not just that Tribe wrote a book about the same facts as Abraham - it's that he used Abraham's unique expressions to describe those facts. I am not a fan of Duke Law professors in general, but Chemerinsky only drives that disdain home.

Monday, September 27, 2004

Deep breath, and an addendum

Welcome, Pejmanesque readers. I do wish to concur with Mr. Yousefzadeh on one point: the majority of professors do not subscribe to the questionable practices in which some HLS professors allegedly have engaged. I have worked as a research assistant here at Harvard Law and as an undergrad, and in both positions I was asked to perform conventional research tasks or was credited as a co-author if my contributions were substantial. I can also confirm that the delightful Will Baude is a scrupulously honest man who will, no doubt, produce prodigious quantities of high quality legal scholarship.

Crimson with rage at plagiarizing professors

I already posted once about the flurry of plagiarism scandals on the HLS faculty. Today's Crimson has an article covering the accusations and the aftermath. I don't mean this to be a real "Fisking" (hate the term), but the whole piece is chockablock with nonsense and questionable argument.
Harvard constitutional law scholar Laurence H. Tribe ’62 apologized yesterday for not properly crediting another professor’s work in his popular 1985 book God Save This Honorable Court, one day after a conservative political magazine accused him of plagiarism.
Note that Tribe is not described as liberal, but the Weekly Standard is a "conservative political magazine."
Tribe, who was named one of Harvard’s 19 University Professors last June, defended Goodwin against plagiarism charges two years ago on the grounds that her work was “closely documented with something like 3,500 footnotes.”
Tribe’s 1985 book did not contain footnotes and endnotes—a decision he made as part of a “well-meaning effort to write a book accessible to a lay audience.”
I'm not sure how endnotes (which do not interrupt the flow of the text in any significant way or take up space in the body of the work) make a book inaccessible. If Tribe had to dumb things down this much to make the book useful, maybe it isn't such a great and important scholarly work. (The Weekly Standard dissection makes it sound like a Cliff's Notes version of Abraham's book, in fact.)
. . . both Ogletree and Dershowitz jumped to defend their colleague from the charges leveled against him.
Ogletree, speaking to The Crimson yesterday, dismissed The Standard’s allegations against Tribe as “nonsense.”
“I think Larry [Tribe] may be overreacting,” Dershowitz said yesterday, when asked whether Tribe was right to apologize. “Abraham sat on this story for 20 years. If he had a gripe, he should have written to Larry 20 years ago.”
So let me get this straight. Even though there are passages lifted from another person's work, verbatim, the charges are nonsense? What would Ogletree need to indict, a video of Tribe throwing darts at Abraham's picture and cackling while a research assistant transcribed directly from Justices and Presidents to a manuscript of Tribe's book?

If a giant of constitutional law topples in a forest, does it make a sound? This is more than a gripe. This is potential scholarly dishonesty and theft. Abraham should have called Tribe out if he knew about this years ago. It was wrong then and it's wrong now.
“Tribe’s towering contributions to the field of constitutional law over four decades should not be overshadowed by this episode,” [Stanford Law School] dean, Kathleen M. Sullivan, wrote in an e-mail. Sullivan was Tribe’s colleague on the Harvard faculty from 1984 to 1993.
I bet an untenured professor wouldn't get this soft treatment from Sullivan. Maybe we need some kind of disciplinary guidelines to ensure equal justice in sentencing for similar plagiarism offenses.
Dershowitz said yesterday that The Standard’s charges against Tribe were politically motivated.
“Show me the man, and I’ll find you the crime,” Dershowitz said—a quotation he attributed to Soviet spymaster Lavrenti Beria. “Clearly someone was looking to pin something on the most prominent liberal constitutional scholar in the country.”
Pin something? How about take him to task for a wrongdoing he has since admitted? This is some weird mutation of the CBS-Memogate argument - while the evidence is true, the accusations are politically motivated and thus must be given no credit. Maybe if Tribe was more concerned about producing original scholarly works and less about using his position for political ends, he wouldn't have cranked out such a shoddy book.

But Dershowitz isn't in total denial:
Dershowitz called yesterday for stricter University guidelines on source citations and the use of research assistants so that scholars could avoid ideologically motivated charges of plagiarism in the future.
Stop me before I steal again!

However, while the undergraduate and law school standards for plagiarism are quite clear,
Dershowitz said guidelines in the legal profession are murkier.
He said that judges frequently rely on lawyers’ briefs and clerks’ memoranda in drafting opinions. This results in a “cultural difference” between sourcing in the legal profession and other academic disciplines, Dershowitz said.
Now I always considered law professors to to be part of academia, but apparently they are all frustrated judges and should be assessed by the standards of their desired occupation when writing. Funny, that. Does this mean that student work, such as law review notes and seminar papers, is closer to real academic writing than the output of our faculty?

Sunday, September 26, 2004

White men can't teach

Tom Bell at Agoraphilia documents the impact of affirmative action policies for teaching positions in law on white male applicants. If you are such an applicant or aspire to be one (Will Baude, please answer the white courtesy phone), it's worth a look. Tom Bell and his wife, for better or worse, were persuasive advocates for HLS when I was choosing law schools. They also have a really adorable daughter, which anyone who knows me will recognize as a rare child-oriented compliment.

Professional responsibility

Yet another Harvard Law School professor is charged with plagiarism. This is the third big name HLS prof so accused in the last year (the previous cases regarded Dershowitz and Ogletree). Perhaps a lot of this would be eliminated if professors of law were held to the same standards as their students. From the Harvard Law School Catalog:
2. Preparation of Papers and Other Work-Plagiarism and Collaboration
All work submitted by a student for any academic or non-academic exercise is expected to be the student's own work. In the preparation of their work, students should always take great care to distinguish their own ideas and knowledge from information derived from sources. The term "sources" includes not only published or computer-accessed primary and secondary material, but also information and opinions gained directly from other people.
The responsibility for learning the proper forms of citation lies with the individual student. Quotations must be properly placed within quotation marks and must be fully cited. In addition, all paraphrased material must be completely acknowledged. Whenever ideas or facts are derived from a student's reading and research, the sources must be indicated.
The amount of collaboration with others that is permitted in the completion of work can vary, depending upon the policy set by the head of the course or the supervisor of a particular exercise. Students should assume that collaboration in the completion of work is prohibited, unless explicitly permitted, and students should acknowledge any collaboration and its extent in all submitted work.
Students who are in any doubt about the preparation of their work should consult the appropriate instructor, supervisor, or administrator before it is prepared or submitted.
Students who submit work that is not their own without clear attribution of all sources, even if inadvertently, will be subject to disciplinary action.
Of course, no significant disciplinary action appears to have been taken in any of these cases. But perhaps it's too much to ask of HLS; after all, if they refuse to punish students who brag about cheating, how can they slap a protesting professor on the wrist for such "errors?"

For those students who are preparing to begin work on a law journal: keep your eyes peeled and source your articles carefully. Since academia refuses to enforce any sort of norm that would require law professors to write their own articles and books, we have to take up the slack by making sure that the publications they do produce only steal ideas and expressions from their research assistants.

Light at the end of the tunnel?

I have a clerkship interview this week. Yay. I also received the next DVD from my Netflix queue, Truly, Madly, Deeply. My boyfriend says his rom-com loving mother likes it (con), but it has Alan Rickman (pro). That should keep me entertained for part of the plane flight.

At some point over the weekend, I mentioned this story by Harlan Ellison in conversation. Ellison may have faults as a person, but he's an engaging writer. What are your most important things in life?

Friday, September 24, 2004

Mixed bag

Good news: we had at least 40 people show up at our Open House, which was going head to head with Dean Kagan's reception at the Charles.
Bad news: I ordered pizza for 75.

GN: There was an email from a judge's chambers in my inbox when I got home. He's interested in my application!
BN: He couldn't find it, so I had to put one together to send today.

GN/BN: I got called on in Admin Law and gave a halfway decent (i.e. not obviously wrong) answer.

GN: I have a guest this weekend!
BN: I have a migraine.

Thursday, September 23, 2004

Be there or be square

Such a day. Two loads of laundry before 10am, Admin Law, a flurry of journal-related emails, lunch with a friend from another Harvard grad school, back home to fold the aforementioned laundry and mop, and now it's time to buy beer for tonight's open house. A lot of you might think that's fun, but:

1. I hate beer.
2. I don't have a car, so I have to recruit journal people to drive me around. I could get it myself, but beer is heavy and I am small.
3. Because of #1, I don't know what kind of beer to buy, so whatever I get will be sort of random. There will, however, be Diet Coke in abundance, so if nobody likes the beer they'll have something else to drink with their pizza.

If you're reading this an on the journal, go to the open house! 1Ls need your reassurances that Bluebooking is fun.

Wednesday, September 22, 2004

First rule of horror movies: the pet always dies.

On the recommendation of 2 Blowhards and (IIRC) Tyler Cowen, I ordered Audition over my shiny new Netflix subscription. It started out like a cross between In the Company of Men and Ringu and just got weirder from there. I'm still not entirely sure of the origin of some of the scenes: were they dreams, possibilities, reality? The movie is well shot, with the camera maintaining a careful distance until the last act or so and many well composed images. However, the cuts were abrupt and sometimes made me guess as to whether time had passed. All in all, it was . . . interesting. I'm not sure if disturbing Japanese cinema is really my cup of tea, though. Onward to the Decalogue.

Tuesday, September 21, 2004

Mixed reviews for Native American Museum

The museum whose conservancy policies gave me such qualms over the summer gets a negative review from the New York Times. WaPo is predictably celebratory. Next time I'm in D.C. I will stop by, although that's difficult to do since they use the same timed ticketing as the Holocaust Museum, which discourages casual visits.


The files for Issue 3 (aka "Summer 2004") have arrived and are being reviewed before they get tweaked and go to the printer. I have a twitch under one eye, an incipient migraine, and an upset stomach, but that's to be expected, considering that managing editor is out on clerkship interviews and so I'll be doing this myself.

Trickle-down economics

Well, it seems like the most sought after people have already snapped up the most prestigious clerkships (the ones with judges who conformed to the moratorium requirements, that is). Since yesterday was the first official day of interviews, I am hoping that some of the judges who had interviews lined up later in the week with my classmates will now realize that their first choice has been taken by someone else and call their second choice, etc. Perhaps some of them will eventually get to me!

The best magazine advice

Belle Waring suggests that Will and other men who claim to prefer a makeup-free female face are actually deceived by skillful application of high quality products. Will has a keen eye - there's no tricking him. I do agree with Ms. Waring that many men could benefit from a light application of makeup, though. Often while carefully painting my face in the morning I reflected upon the injustice of my being expected to artfully conceal all imperfections while men could stride about and expect that theirs would not be held against them as strongly. At the time, the solution appeared to be the expansion of makeup to men; the expansion of masculine skin care lines over the last ten years or so made it seem that equality drew nigh. But the opposite end of the spectrum can be an equally satisfying equilibrium - and less burdensome for everyone involved.

Monday, September 20, 2004

Linkety Link

I finally got around to checking out some more of the new crop of HLS bloggers. This one is going on the blogroll. He's angry. I like that.

Sunday, September 19, 2004

Homophobia defeated by show tunes

This story is awesome. If I could sing, I would have done this a couple of weeks ago on Boston Common, where a deranged preacher was interrupting our peaceful afternoon of reading on the grass.

Red in (tooth and ) claw

I don't get the appeal of long, polished fingernails. I always assumed that it was one of those things that women do for other women, like wearing fashionable shoes. Apparently there is some element of sex appeal, though, at least if Ms. Fowler's commenters are representative.

My nails are very weak and thin, so I keep them almost boyishly short; as long as there's enough nail to scratch itches and gain purchase on fine work, that's enough for me. Painting them always seemed nasty, since I like to nibble (but not bite or tear) my nails, and getting shreds of paint in your teeth is an unpleasant surprise. Toenails stay painted almost all the time, but that's because they are ugly and should be covered. I did have fake nails once, but even the mid-length ones I had were so cumbersome that I wasn't able to remove my contacts without putting out my own eye, so I drove around Houston the Sunday after senior prom looking for a salon that was open that would take them off. Ugh.

One a related note, I've been going almost entirely without makeup for the last several weeks. I have noticed several things:

-My skin is better. If I have a blemish, it gets a dab of concealer, but the rest of it gets to breathe and, evidently, likes it that way.
-I am acutely aware of how much makeup other women wear. I have a better sense of the artificiality of their appearance now that I have had a chance to see the difference between my old made-up face and its freshly scrubbed incarnation. I wore some lipstick yesterday and it looked corpse-like and weird. Similarly, the strangeness of other people drawing lines and painting bits of their faces has been highlighted. I wonder what other women would look like without their makeup.
-I am better at picking clothes. Not wearing makeup forces me to confront the fact that some tones and colors are just not flattering, instead of telling myself that with the proper shade of red lipstick a red hat wouldn't wash me out.

Saturday, September 18, 2004

The Confusion

Professor Volokh is counting the days until Neal Stephenson's The System of the World comes out. I would be as excited, except last week was the first chance I had to read Book 2 of his Baroque Cycle, The Confusion. As preparation, I reread Quicksilver, which was nearly as good the second time as the first. The Confusion, though, was a letdown. So much was foreshadowed that I spent a significant amount of time simply waiting for major plot developments to emerge - the suspense was minimal. The more outlandish Jack's adventures became, the less connected I felt to his story, and the dozen or so in his motley crew of Vagabonds didn't do much more to seize my heart or attention. There was a criminal lack of Daniel Waterhouse. Eliza's story, which took up half of this volume, rattled along with little action, at least once her vengeance was preempted. And while the merely asserted ability of Miss Eliza to drive all heterosexual men wild with her beauty had grown tiresome, her transformation into a pockmarked mother of sickly and deformed offspring by a bland and tiresomely polite fellow (who suddenly reveals a sadistic streak in the last chapter - ?!?) left a nasty taste in my mouth.

Friday, September 17, 2004

Made in Japan

I can understand the desire for something like this (although there is nothing so nice as the real thing). However, $77 seems a little pricey, especially for a boyfriend pillow with half a torso.

Dunn/CMC Update

Unconfirmed reports claim

Kerri Dunn was sentenced today to 90 days in prison so that she can undertake a series of psych evaluations. At the end of the 90 day period, she will reappear in court and be sentenced for her crimes. Her new court date is December 15.

On a related note, my alma mater will institute some changes in faculty hiring procedures.
Although faculty background checks are routinely conducted for the purposes of confirming academic credentials and character references, CMC will also implement criminal and public record background checks for faculty members hired after January 1, 2005, consistent with the policy that already exists for all other employees.

I don't know which is sadder: that previously the administration thought it was more important to check whether the groundskeepers and food service workers were criminals than whether the well-paid persons teaching its undergraduates were, or that crazy Kerri Dunn will probably get off because, well, she crazy.

Women are people, too.

Over at the Reason Hit and Run blog, Julian Sanchez has been doggedly working to unmask the identity of a young man who kicked a female protestor at the RNC as she was being restrained on the ground. I won't get into the factual issue of whether Scott Robinson of the Koch Fellows 2004 blog is the person in the video. What I noticed about the discussion ("discussion" is used loosely here - civility is nearly as absent in this instance as at the RNC) was the repeated taunting of the alleged assailant for "kicking a girl." Speculations about his manliness ensued. Now there are a few things to note:

1. The kickee was clearly a woman, not a girl. She is not an infant; this is a woman who made a choice to stand up for her beliefs (albeit not in the way that many would agree with).
2. It should be no more or less heinous for a larger and stronger man to kick a restrained woman lying on the ground than if the genders were reversed. By claiming that the act was particularly terrible because the kicker was male and the kickee female, the infantilized position of women is further entrenched. The relevant facts are that a battery was committed against a relatively helpless person. Since the left/liberals are the ones who are making the righteously indignant comments about this act, I would have expected less blatant sexism. Evidently true support for sex equality is not to be found on either side of the aisle.

UPDATE: Will and the Slithery D weigh in. I do not wish to go so far as to say that using force against those weaker than yourself is wrong. Self defense cannot really be considered rude. However, the amount of force used should be proportionate to the situation. A great deal less is required to prevent attacks by persons of my size and fitness level than would be necessary to fend off the assaults by large and muscular persons of either gender. However, this is not really important to the analysis of this case - the protester, considering her actions, posed no physical threat to the young man, and in any case the authorities had the situation in hand and required no assistance from such vile persons as the kicker in preventing further disruption .

Thursday, September 16, 2004

Dunn For

Kerri Dunn was convicted of two felonies in connection with her fake hate crime at the Claremont Colleges. Sentencing to follow soon.

Wes Anderson Watch

The Life Aquatic comes out on December 25. Here's the trailer. I am cautiously optimistic; there is no Gwyneth, the father/son reunion plot seems a little cliched, and I worry about the post-Lost-in-Translation Bill Murray. But it still will drag me out of the house on Christmas, and it looks like a great cure for the absolute pantswetting terror inspired by Open Water, a movie I haven't even seen but which has made me want to never go in the ocean again.

Wednesday, September 15, 2004

Rumor mill

Can anyone confirm or deny the rumor that the construction taking place near the biology labs at Harvard is for underground rat mazes? I usually cut through the Divinity School to get to HLS from my apartment, but of late my route has been blocked by wire fences and trucks. I have to zigzig around so much I feel like a rat myself.

*Does happy dance*

I am in Manning's Admin Law class! This means I have class on Thursdays and Fridays (boo) but also that all but Tuesday have only one class per day (yay) and that I have two in-class exams (I always do poorly on take-homes). Now I can buy books!

Tuesday, September 14, 2004

Far more Blachman's bag than mine, but . . .

Oh Lord, won’t you buy me a federal clerkship ?
My friends all leave Monday, I feel like a dip.
Worked hard all my lifetime, it's no time to slip,
So Lord, won’t you buy me a federal clerkship ?

Oh Lord, won’t you buy me interviews in DC ?
Surely some judge there is looking for me.
I wait for the phone call each day until three,
So oh Lord, won’t you buy me interviews in DC ?

Oh Lord, won’t you buy me a clerkship in some town ?
I’m counting on you, Lord, please don’t let me down.
Prove that you love me and buy the next round,
Oh Lord, won’t you buy me a clerkship in some town ?

Oh Lord, won’t you buy me a federal clerkship ?
My friends all leave Monday, I feel like a dip.
Worked hard all my lifetime, it's no time to slip,
So Lord, won’t you buy me a federal clerkship ?

The Real Thing

A Polish-American was bothered by my failure to appreciate the reconstructed Old Town in Warsaw. I knew the reasons for the lack of original structures, but my reaction to the aesthetic experience of being there was still muted. The lack of authenticity undermined the uniqueness of the experience of place; this version of Old Town could be erected anywhere.

But why is the experience so tied to the perceived authenticity of the place or thing? Why should anyone care if burnt buildings rise again, complete with jaunty paint jobs, or if formerly noseless sculptures are fitted with marble prostheses? Virginia Postrel probably could say something about this. I can only piece together my intuitions. Is it that imagining the past becomes more difficult, that it requires more of a suspension of disbelief, when we are confronted with reproductions rather than artifacts? That would imply that our aesthetic pleasure in the presence of the ancient is derived partially from some totemic connection that we feel these objects provide with the past.

Is it distrust of the recreator as intermediary? Do we fear that our appreciation might be for the interposed modern elements intentionally or unintentionally introduced and thus hold ourselves aloof from the artistic mixed bag a reproduction entails?

Some might say that in a world which constantly finds new ways to introduce artificiality and commercialism, something authentically old provides a welcome respite, an object that we can be assured was not created with an eye to manipulating us into some modern channel of behavior. The images are based on the state of the art at the time of their creation, which was probably a time in which, for better or worse, things were closer to their natural state.

I cannot concisely explain my dissatisfaction with such recreations and reproductions. While Warsaw might have been painstakingly reconstructed so we remember, the elimination of the evidence of destruction can as easily make one forget. It's easier to feel a connection with the past when the evidence is solid beneath your feet. (Although the cobblestones might have been original - in a sea of crisply painted buildings, those were dark with memory.)


Another day with a silent phone. My deputy EIC is leaving for interviews on Monday. Meanwhile, I am left to sit in Cambridge and wonder exactly what my recommenders said in their letters.

Moving on up

I still can't find a class that's right for me, but today's waitlist update revealed that I have moved up from 24 to 11 on the Admin Law waitlist. If I get into Manning's class, that means I will have Wills & Trusts, Copyright and Other Intellectual Property, and Administrative Law. Fingers are crossed.

Monday, September 13, 2004

New methods of self torture

OCS just sent an email advertising a new feature of their online clerkship information system. It now can aggregate student-submitted call and interview dates and display them in handy table format. You can even have it display only the judges to whom you applied. This is a great way to see which judges you were dying to clerk for have already begun arranging interviews with your classmates.

Did I mention that I got no calls today? So glum.

I went to Bankruptcy but think it's not for me. Too bad Elizabeth Warren is not teaching it this year. The closest I got to her classroom was a mock session at Admitted Students Weekend. Tomorrow I will try out a new class on foreign affairs and the Constitution. Maybe that will save my schedule.


My phone has been silent. I just talked to someone who has had six calls, including one from a distinguished appellate judge to whom I also applied.

Dictionaries want to be free?

Someone hacked the OED. I wonder how long the free for all will go on.

Clerkship jitters

Today is the first day that judges can call to arrange clerkship interviews (if they respect the moratorium, that is - some judges started calling last week). I received an email over the weekend informing applicants that calls might begin as early as 8am today. No calls so far. I do have two classes today, so I won't be able to answer the phone for at least three hours. Augh.

Thursday, September 09, 2004

My cable internet is controlled by demons

I wrote a long post about my classes, but the stupid Comcast cable internet connection died as I pressed publish and it was lost. Suffice to say I went to two classes today. I am currently enrolled in neither. I may add the second one and will probably not get into the first one. It all depends on how uninteresting the classes I have next week (the ones actually on my schedule) turn out to be. Maybe Bankruptcy will be totally engrossing and I will keep everything just the way it is. Or not.

Tomorrow, New Haven.

Wednesday, September 08, 2004

Insert Moan of Despair Here

Today was the last student registration I will experience, although pointless paperwork updates that less actual time to complete than the walk from my apartment are, no doubt, part of my future. Afterwards I stopped by the journal office, only to discover that the mailing policy change we wanted to make after Issue 1 came out was never made, thus precipitating a flood of expensive returned undeliverable journals. I spent an hour or so in the office and then fled to immerse myself in Michael Mann's new movie, Collateral. It was not as good as Heat, although there were similarities in structure. The ending seemed improbable and some of the sequences (such as the nightclub hit) were confusingly shot. Add to this the headache I could feel brewing before the film even started. I thought the books of Polish and Bulgarian poetry I requested from the Harvard depository might be bright spots in the day, but alas, both poets are either poorly translated or deservedly obscure.

Prescription: drugs. sleep. Stephenson.

Impotent rage at USPS

There was a three week period where I was abroad but no one was here to check the mail. I just found out that (becuase my subletters or the neighborhood kids removed my name from the mailbox) that the substitute carrier (not even my usual incompetent carrier) has returned all my mail to sender from that period. It took one post office visit, three calls, and a supervisor discussion to get this information, which is not even certain - just a best guess. The reason given was that Cambridge has a rule that the name must be on the box due to the high turnover rate. This is obviously not a universal rule, as I can remember receiving mail for years in boxes with no name in Texas.
(And if that's the rule, why do I still get mail for previous occupants?) Final paystub, required for financial aid purposes: lost. The firm gave me a screenshot of their payroll system. Maybe that will work.


Tuesday, September 07, 2004

Bones, me hearties.

If you are interested in scoping out the rest of my vacation pictures, including some extra gruesome Kutna Hora photos, this link may work.


Inspired by Will, I dug out my collection of Arthur Miller quotes from 1L year.

"Does anyone know what I’m talking about? Sometimes I don’t know what I’m talking about."
"You’re all rich kids. You’re all desirable!"
"If someone wakes you up in the middle of the night and says, ‘the Supreme Court announced a new theory of jurisdiction, give it to me or you die!' . . ."
"Give me any substantive right you want. Just give me the procedure, and I’ll beat your ass every time."
"You’re in Sandra Day O’Connor Land!"
(After a student hypothesized a long chain of counter- and cross-claims) "I love it when you talk dirty."

and, of course, in inimitable style,

Bad news for the Bamber schedule

I stopped by the clinicals office today and talked with them about rearranging my schedule. I am currently signed up for the course component of Slightly Interesting Clinical but not the clinical placement component. Unfortunately, the placements are full and they have 11 people on a waiting list. So that's out.

Really Interesting Clinical is not full. However, it requires enrollment in a three credit workshop that meets five days per week from 2-9pm, starting next Monday and running through October 1. This overlaps for two weeks with the clerkship interview period, conflicts with all the recruiting events for the journal, and is just generally a giant time suck. On top of that, a good half of the placements are in Massachusetts counties that are not accessible via public transportation. I don't have a car.

It's looking like I may have to just go with my original plan of taking a slate of semi-interesting classes and starting practice when the rest of us start practice - when we begin our real jobs. Alas.

Update: I emailed the professor teaching the workshop and he should be able to tell me whether missing a few sessions for clerkship interviews, etc. is the kiss of death.

Headless Chicken Marathon

Busy day today. I have to get a haircut, grovel to the clinicals office, go to the class marshals' cookout, hit the hardware store and the library, buy sneakers, check the JLPP voicemail (shudder) . . . we are still waiting for symposium pieces.

On the bright side, my wireless router started working again, so yay. And Geoffrey is coming back today. Free lunch. Life is okay. At least I have ice in my drink and tumble-dried underwear. That's more than I can say for myself a month ago.

Update: the cookout is tomorrow. No free lunch. :(

Monday, September 06, 2004


Both my old housemate and my boyfriend have begun law school this week, and talking with them has brought back a rush of nostalgia. Vosberg v. Putney. Hawkins v. McGee. Not knowing anyone in your section. Ah, the excitement! Savor it, my pretties. The first year is the best year, regardless of what you might have heard.

Vacation Pix

For the two of you who care, here are a few photos from my trip to Eastern Europe:

The UNESCO protected town of Cesky Krumlov (St. Vit's on the left).

The ossuary at Kutna Hora. Yes, that is a chandelier made of human bones.

Karlstejn, one of the Czech Republic's better preserved 14th century castles.

Peles Castle, the seat of the short-lived Hohenzollern-Sigmaringen dynasty of Romanian kings.

Frescos at the old chapel, Sinaia Monastery, Romania.


In college I took a sculpture class in which one part of our grade required making something out of baling wire. My evil professor gave me an ancient roll of wire that was covered in rust. Needless to say, I repeatedly cut myself on the sharp ends of the twisted wires in the course of making a giant ear (don't ask) and became paranoid about contracting lockjaw.

However, tetanus does not come from rust. It comes from sh- er, the digestive tract of farm animals and humans. (pdf) This information allowed me to complete my project with some peace of mind, but evidently it is not commonly known, so I present it for your edification.

(Alas, my research on tetanus was perhaps the most I learned over the course of that sculpture class, as any attempt to make representations of humans was pooh-poohed, regular or geometric designs were disparaged as being "something a CMCer would do" (this to a artsy Pomona student, who rapidly came up with something else), and my desire to make something that I wouldn't mind looking at every day in my apartment was confused with a desire to make arts and crafts. Oh well)

UPDATE: The rusty nail myth rears its ugly head in the comments to this post. Get well soon, Ms. Fowler.

Sunday, September 05, 2004

Small World

While out shopping today with a friend, I ran into Crescatter Sudeep Agarwala on the only-partially-functional Boston T. I'm sure the beginning of classes at HLS will bring encounters with new and old Cambridge bloggers. Maybe there should be a Boston blogorama.

Saturday, September 04, 2004


An issue of last year's journal comes under fire by the author of one of the articles. I hope this year's volume will be more pleasing to authors and readers and more timely.

Damn, people

The lawyers at my firm this summer were constantly pumping us for gossip about summer associate scandals. Unfortunately, the 2004 summer classes appear to have been so well behaved that the profession has to scrape this low for things to gasp and whisper about: a microcosmic version of the Cheney Senate fracas. But is anyone really shocked that people in high stress positions can occasionally lose their temper and let lose a flurry of swear words? Would it be better for us to sit with throbbing veins and grind our teeth? Scream like animals? In an ideal world, everyone would be civil and composed 24/7, but that's not the way things are. Swear on, guys. I might have watched the convention if there had been a realistic chance of seeing Bush cut loose.

Decisions, revisions

After a few hours, I may have actually caught up on the email backlog from vacation. However, the beginning of classes next week brings its own problems. As is usually the case, pre-registration assigned me a bunch of stuff that sounded interesting at the time but now seems rather uninspiring. I wanted one of two IP classes and ended up with both, but got no Admin Law at all. Also, I elected not to sign up for a clinical but my summer experiences suggested that it might be a wise choice on my part to do so.

The upshot of all this is that I may totally revamp my entire schedule, dropping all but one of my fall classes. Of course, the rationalization for not signing up for a clinical in the first place was that I didn't have the time for it, what with journal business and writing my third year paper this fall. None of that has changed. But I am wondering if the classroom only route that I had planned to take will give me what I want from law school, teach me what I need to know. Should I just sign up for the spring clinical component of a class I already have? Drop everything for the prosecution clinical? Stick to my original plan? Oy.

Friday, September 03, 2004

Transport grumble

Objectively, I know there are economic reasons why it is cheaper to buy a bus ticket from Boston to New York than it is to buy a bus ticket from Boston to a smaller city that the first bus passes through, but must the cosmos rub it in by actually making the latter more expensive than taking a bus from Boston to New York and then a second bus from New York (backwards over the same stretch of highway) to the smaller city? And don't even get me started on Amtrak. I want my old car.

Back in Beantown

Good: after two flights and a looong train ride, I am finally back in my Cambridge apartment, which the flaky weirdo subletters left cleaner than it was when I moved into it last fall. The internet works, which means catching up on weeks of backlogged email is possible. I have the entire apartment to myself, so I can laugh out loud at funny things I read without feeling self conscious (oh wait, I do that all the time, because my flatmate and I are both nuts).

Bad: I think I have a sinus infection. It feels like half of my head is stuffed with nastiness, my ears are popping, and the pain comes and goes. Half the front steps are missing, with a note from Harvard letting me know that they removed some deteriorated sidewalk on Monday. When they plan on replacing it was not stated. I lost my friend Danielle's phone number. My To Do list is literally a foot long. Augh.