From on High

I retort. You decide.

Saturday, April 30, 2005

NEWS ALERT From on High

Shortly after midnight this evening my roommates and I were relaxing in the living room of our quiet abode on High Street when we heard an argument outside on the street followed by a series loud gunshots. Even though we're on the second floor, we instinctively ducked down near the ground. After the shots stopped, we looked outside to see what was going on. The people involved had apparently gotten away, but within a few minutes, four police cars had arrived and the cops were scouring the sidewalk for shell casings. Being the thrill-seekers that we are, we walked right over to the crime scene, where we saw a Jeep Cherokee that had several bullet holes in it. We then came back to our apartment and watched things from our window. Within about 15 minutes, the police had detained some individuals for questioning and the number of police cars in the area increased to six or seven. The commotion went on for a good hour or so. Things finally seem to have quieted down now. It's been quite a spectacle. I have a feeling my roommate, a big fan of the show Cops, got his fill for the night, as did I. High Street is a dangerous place. (And now you know where the name of my blog came from)

I've been tagged!

So I've been tagged in a game of Ceasar's Bath (ie, the game I "invented" the other day only to find out it was already out there). The question posed to me by Mansfield Fox is to name five things that people in my circle of friends are crazy about but that I don't understand the fuss over. Here they are:

1. Sports News/Commentary- I think sports themselves are worthwile and a lot of fun. While I'm not a diehard fan for any team, I can certainly appreciate the desire to cheer for a bunch of guys who happen to be from/are paid by your city as they move a ball or puck against a bunch of guys who happen to be from /are paid by another city. My patience wears thin, however, when I see the ridiculous amounts of TV and radio air-time that is spent analyzing and talking about guys who do this. Particularly loathesome are press conferences given by coaches and players who talk about how they did /didn't "give 110%" and how they did/did not match up to the other side's offensive/defensive capabilites. Since the Gladiators, people have had had some carnal need to see other people engage in controlled violence in a stadium setting. It's fun, I'll admit, and I'm all for it. Just post the scores and spare me the analysis.

2. Watching Poker on TV- I'm actually doing it right now. My roommates do it for at least a few hours a day. Yet still, I can't get into it. Like Mansfield Fox, Death, and almost all of my friends, I love to play, but seeing other people play just doesn't do it for me. Reminds me of watching someone do a coin toss...over, and over, and over.

3. Pizza Hut and Subway - Pizz hut is simply not pizza. It's greasy, manufactured-tasting and makes me feel full and slightly nauseous after half a slice. Subway, in theory, doesn't taste bad, but it's something about it being a chain that turns me off. Perhaps it strikes me as unstanitary, but I'm not sure. If I want a sub sandwich, I'd much rather go to a real deli.

4. U2: I am constantly suprised at how uncommon my aversion to this band is. For a while, I thought U2 was like Dave Matthews and that while a significant portion of people liked it, there was also a sizable group of people who couldn't stand it. Then, I started asking my friends and I could find not a single non-U2 fan. Just last week, I finally found one. So at least I'm not totally alone when I say I find their airy, slightly angsty and depresing but still upbeat songs ANNOYING.

5. Tequila - I'll second Angus on this one. Had a bad experience with it in college, and can't stand the smell/taste of it ever since.

Dirty Joizey

Run inland! Cape May, a New Jersey beach town has just lifted its BAN on speedo bathing suits. Only in Jersey.

Wednesday, April 27, 2005


So much for an attempt at orginality. According to a comment by Angus on my previous post, there's a game that works exactly like my proposed diablog called Ceasar's Bath. Oh well.

Let's have a diablog

So my friend and blogger Angus just posed a question to me; namely, does law school make people socially inept or does it simply attract people who are already social misfits? As I see it, this is what you might call a chicken or the egghead argument. I guess I'm not really quite sure whether most of the people I know come here full-fledged social butterflies only to regress into miserable cocooned bookworms, or if the apple of knowledge simply attracts worms to begin with (how's that for a string of metaphors).

What was really interesting to me, however, was not what my friend asked me but how he asked it. He did so by posing the question on his blog and then following it with one of my pseudonyms and a question mark both hyperlinked to my blog. It got me thinking about what might be a new and interesting form of communication in the blogosphere that I'm going to call "a dia-blog". A diablog would consist of one person posing a question to a fellow blogger on a particular issue and then summoning a response by linking to his or her blog. The second blogger would then answer the question via a post and request the answer of yet another blogger. The whole thing would work kind of like a chain letter, allowing web surfers who visit a "link in the chain" of the diablog to click their way from one opinion to the next. They could also traceback to previous posts in the chain. Ideally, this could go on for quite a long time, incorporating the views of bloggers from a broad array of perspectives.

So, in the spirit of my idea, I would like to start the world wide web's first diablog. Because I've devoted my post to this topic, I'm going to (lamely) pass on actually answering the question and punt it to my friend Death in the Afternoon (I know, Angus already linked to her). Death will then (hopefully) post some kind of response and summon the thoughts of another blogger. Who knows where this chain of ideas will lead us. So to repeat, the question for discussion is:

Does law school make us socially inept, or are we just born that way??

**And please, somebody tell me if this diablog concept is as old as canned beer (or if it's just stupid). I'm not exactly on the cutting edge of bloggery.

Monday, April 25, 2005

The Blog at High

There's something I've been meaning to complain about for a while now. I'm not even sure what to call it, but, to quote a legal mind greater than my own, "I know it when I see it." The thing I'm talking about is the phenomenon of naming ordinary and unsophisticated things - usually buildings, institutions, and places - in a way that makes them sound extaordinary and unecessarily pretentious.

The most common manifestation of this the "at" syndrome. You've probably seen it in your very own state or community. It involves taking a name and adding to it the word "at", followed by a geographic location. So, for example, one would take the name"The Short Hills Mall" and turn it into "The Mall at Short Hills". This convention also quite commonly shows up in the names of housing developments and gated communities (I'd be willing to guess there is a swanky development known as something like "Lakeview at Boca Raton"). Why people feel that separating a place's name from its geographic location with an awkward sounding preposition connotes class or sophistication, I don't quite get. After all, don't pretentious types usually look down on those who say things like "where's the mall at" or "isn't that place at New Haven?"

Another strain of this faux fancy naming tendency is the "the" syndrome. This phenomenon shows up more frequently in the context of schools. So, for instance, chances are if you went to a public high school, it was called something along the lines of "Madison High School". If you went to a private school, however, the chances of the name being preceded by a superfluous "the" drastically increase. In that case, you probably went to "The Lawrenceville School" or "The Peck School", etc. etc. Personally speaking, I thought until I arrived at law school that I was going to Yale Law School. I was rudely awakened however, when I was reminded again and again by our illustrious dean that I was a proud student of THE Yale Law School.

The fact that people need to engage in this kind of superfluous "at"age and "the"ing has always irked me. It's a similar pet peeve to my disdain of over-using Old English/fake Old English spellings like "Towne Centre" and "Shoppes". I realize more and more, however, that these linguistic conventions are largely unavoidable, especially in the peer-set that I'm likely to find myself in once I graduate. So, I suppose it's about time I cave in and get used to the fancified names that so many seem intent on propagating. From now on, if people ask, I go to the Law School at Yale.

Say Mercy!

Lower oil prices or I'll squeeze your hand even harder! And SMILE damnit, you're on camera!

Sunday, April 24, 2005


So I saw the Interpreter last night which I expected I would really like. Not so. Everything about the movie felt manufactured, and the dialogue between Nicole Kidman and Sean Penn was often painfully bad. It was as if the director thought their awkward dynamic would be improved by peppering every conversation with long pauses. Perhaps most annoying was that the film tried to push a preachy, pro-UN message of dialogue and forgiveness over vengeance that ended up being as contrived as it was unbelievable. There were admittedly some entertaining and suspenseful moments, but next time I want a movie about the U.N. with Sean Penn in it, I'll watch Team America: World Police.

Thursday, April 21, 2005

I think this one speaks for itself.

Tuesday, April 19, 2005

Ditch Delay without Delay

Showing his all-too familiar lack of discretion, Tom Delay made the following statement in a recent interview:

"We've got Justice Kennedy writing decisions based upon international law, not the Constitution of the United States? That's just outrageous," DeLay told Fox News Radio. "And not only that, but he said in session that he does his own research on the Internet? That is just incredibly outrageous."

I really don't take issue with the first part of that statement (This is the U.S.'s Supreme Court after all, not the U.N.'s), but the second is laughable. Gasp! Justice Kennedy (along with every lawyer and law student in the country) uses that new-fangled thing they call the internet to do his research!! What's next? Sending facscimiles and emails from his chambers?! God save the honorable Court.

What really is "incredibly outrageous" is that Delay didn't have the conscience to step down for the good of his party long ago.

O, tempora! O, mores!

In recognition of all the millions of cardinals around the world who aren't going home pope tonight.

More Pope Press

Reuters makes some interesting word choices to announce the new pope. [See intro below]

"Arch-conservative"? Read: much more conservative than Phillip Pullella and Crispian Balmer.

"...stunned moderates"/"surprise choice"? Sounds dramatic, but is it just me, or is this the guy that every single major media outlet has been reporting as a favorite for the last week?? And of course by moderates, the writers mean social moderates, as opposed to economics ones. Ahh, objective journalism.

Arch-Conservative German Elected Pope

Reuters logo Tuesday, April 19, 2005 4:45 p.m. ET

By Philip Pullella and Crispian Balmer

VATICAN CITY (Reuters) - Arch-conservative German cardinal Joseph Ratzinger was elected Pope on Tuesday in a surprise choice that delighted traditionalist Roman Catholics but stunned moderates hoping for a more liberal papacy.


Two amusing pieces of commentary I just heard from the broadcast media as the world awaits the name of the new pope....

NBC NEWS: "Brian, there is a very heavy sacerdotal presence in the crowd here right now."

FOX NEWS: "When the cardinals went into that chapel this morning, they really had their game faces on."

Sunday, April 17, 2005

Answer to the Trivia Challenge

Goes to show you that evil can spring anywhere. The previous picture was taken during a Bin Laden family vacation to Sweden.

Friday, April 15, 2005

And I'll have a.....

This prank call is pretty ingenius. Listen for a good laugh. Click on where it says "click here to start your download."

Trivia Challenge

GUESS WHO this guy is? Answer will be posted tomorrow. Winner will be rewarded with a post of praise.

A Moment of Anti-Zen.

Stare for a few seconds and clutter your mind.

Thursday, April 14, 2005

High Honor

If Bush, Cheney, and Rumsfeld are lucky, they may one day each have their names on a building, airport, or postage stamp. In the meantime, they've been duly recognized with honorific titles in the world of...mold eating beetle species. Enter, Agathidium Bushi, Agathidium Cheneyi, and Agathidium Rumsfeldi.

Wednesday, April 13, 2005

What the heck is significance of the backdrop at this press conference??? The seeds of freedom blossoming through the north pole? An ad for this year's must-have Christmas ornament? Suggestions welcome.

Tuesday, April 12, 2005

Chasing down the terrorists

Tom Friedman raises his terror alert level to orange....

The Feds grab some bad guys and slap them with an indictment. ...

And on a lighter note, The Onion (hilariously) reports on the latest weapon in the war on terror.

Back to Tom Friedman, I'd like to point out that this is one of his only columns in recent memory that has not revolved around creating some pun or play on words involving a current issue. I know he's a "pun"dit, but he generally takes it a bit too far. And is it just me, or has he straddled both sides of the Iraq war issue more than John Kerry? That said, I generally respect his non-partisanship and moderation.

Monday, April 11, 2005

Penny for YOUR thoughts - Comment!!

So I'm sick of spewing. Well not really, but I'm sick of just spewing. So here's my idea - This post will include not a single opinon from me and YOU, my loyal band of readers are called to comment. Say whatever you want. Identify yourself. Make up your identity. Express an opinion. Tell the story of how you came to pass through this obscure corner of cyberspace. I'll just sit here and listen. And of course, if no one says anything, I won't be offended. I'll just assume all those thousands of you are just shy types.

Wednesday, April 06, 2005

Iraq Takes Shape

Tony Blankley makes a very good point about the Iraqi Assembly's election of a President, Vice President, and Prime Minister, and their preliminary accord on tricky matters such as distribution of oil revenues among the sects:

"These would be very impressive negotiations for a mature democracy. Sens. Harry Reid and Bill Frist would be throwing their arms out slapping themselves on the back on television if they could achieve a small fraction of such agreements in the Senate this year. While the Senate -- the greatest deliberative body in the world, as they call themselves -- is moving toward the "nuclear option" in order to confirm some judicial nominations, the Desert Democratsof Mesopotamia are negotiating like 19th century wing-collared, top-hatted and tailed English statesmen. And our politicians don't labor under the burden of 4,000 years of blood feuds, no historical experience with anything other than dictatorship and the daily bomb and mortar attacks of terrorists, criminals, insurgents and prior regime last-ditchers."

Click here for the full column.

Commission Fatigue?

Posner gets it right about intel reform.


Most of the hotly-debated USA PATRIOT Act is common-sense legislation whose provisions were effectively in place long before 9/11. As this article points out, however, certain sections of the act are more controversial and potentially invasive of civil liberties. As I see it, there are three things that are needed to allow law enforcement to do their job in a way that protects us from abuse - oversight, oversight, and oversight. Why should the Senate have to wait four years for the DOJ to throw crumbs of information about how often the FBI has used various provisions? How are we to be sure that the Act is helping fight the terrorists when Congressional Committees are not given concrete information about how exactly it is helping?

If Congress is going to renew the Act in its entirety, it should simultaneously do the following:

1. Pass a LIBERTY Act mandating annual DOJ reports to the House and Senate (I'll leave it to Congress to fill in the acronym). The mandated reports would detail the exact number of times each provision of the Act has been invoked and for what purpose. Portions of these reports could justifiably remain classified to protect ongoing investigations and prevent disclosure to the bad guys of specific law enforcement methods.

2. Congress should immdeidately consider enacting the 9/11 Commission's recommendation of a privacy/civil liberties Board for the entire federal government. The Board would serve a function somewhat akin to those carried out by the inspectors general at various federal agencies, or the Chief Privacy Officer at Homeland Security. Unlike in the intelligence context, there is little danger that such a Board would risk creating another level of useless bureaucracy, since no governmental body is currently tasked with this important function.

3. Build in another sunset provision that requires Congress to re-evaluate the necessity and efficacy of the statute four or five years down the road.

The PATRIOT Act may be (and probably is) a wholly good and necessary law. But still the question remains - Sed quis custodiet ipsos custodes?