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Messages - Chris Laurel

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Current Law Students / Re: Your Typical Law Student Out There
« on: March 10, 2006, 12:54:03 AM »
Where is the gunner?  How about the daddy's boy/girl, who is only in law school because they don't know what to do with their life and their father is a big alum.

Even though "gunner" is often used to describe the blowhard who always talks just to "enlighten" the rest of the class as to their viewpoint, it also has come to mean "Person who is speaks up often" even when they are efforting only to express their view to have it challenged and corrected/refined, or because they feel the knowledge they have aids the discussion.

In the end, if students find it more annoying to have students speak up consistently instead of listening to the professor, I think that is evidence of their lack of imagination.  Imagination and creativity is important for lawyers.  So is voicing your viewpoint in front ofyour peers.

Stop attacking Gunners and start attacking the ideas they constantly share.  If you can debate the merits of their words, instead of arguing agains the necessity of their expression, you'll shut up Gunners quicker than ridicule and whispers-behind-their-backs.

In other words, stop gossiping about Gunners and riducling them and instead attack their ideas as irrelevant to the discussion or misguided.

Current Law Students / Re: Ruskiegirl is a man baby!
« on: March 10, 2006, 12:47:31 AM »
This thread is all about law students needing to goad and boast under anonymity.  It's dumb - don't take the bait.  That said, the person goading us can't be blamed...the pressure of the system, the debt of law school, and the high school nature of judging our peers causes stuff like this.

Or I could be wrong - maybe the postor is just an arrogant jackass - in which case, they will always sink their own ship.  Lawyers always think they are smarter than everyone else; but if you cant conceal that self-aggrandizing mental disorder, you'll be loathed by your peers.

Get over yourself.  Even if you are top of your class, it doesn't mean you have a clue how to be happy in your personal life; often the one means the other is impossible.

That's not a comfort to anyone - it is better if we all ditch our egos and realize even if we are smarter than others, we all struggle through life dealing with the same philosophical questions and difficulty in understanding our purpose.

Current Law Students / Re: Eugene Volokh and The Volokh Conspiracy
« on: March 10, 2006, 12:37:02 AM »
Volokh is indeed smart and someone you should read.  That said, he is too conservative and myopic.  He also feels he is a "public persona" and when a person thinks like that, they feel compelled to stand by their views, even when they are worthy of revision or rescision. 

I am not saying Volokh is completely a dillitante, but he risks it.  If modern history has taught us anything, it's that none of us fit in neat little boxes, yet we all crave defining others.  Still, we hate feeling we are defined.

But as Mr. Volokh demonstrates, we all risk feeling we need to support our public stances.  Even though change and growth (and thus revision) of our views is not only desirable, but an inevitability, our egos try to prevent it. 

If Mr. Volokh is reading this, I hope he knows I respect him and his viewws, but sometimes read his writing and feel he is expressing what he thinks others expect him to say, instead of trying to play opinion-maker instead of opinion-shaper. 


Despite our initial back n' forths, I think we're on the same team.  I agree my written voice sounds too angry and sanctimonious.  To a degree, it's a reaction to what seems like apathy and indifference in my school.  To another extent, it's general frustration with the country.  And also, there is something therapeutic about ranting anonymously.

Still, I stand by what I said in my posts.  I dislike the structure, but love the education, of the JD program.  I dislike how schools have become indifferent to the costs they impose on students, even though they have endowments.  Schools care too much about glamour and growth, and not enough on how their cost structure forces people into careers they do not want or limits their lifestyle and choices.

I am not miserable and I definitely do not walk around ranting like I do on this board (could you imagine?).  I'm actually known as a laid back and very funny guy.  Still, I see so many problems in our society that threaten our prosperity and liberty (sorry for the amorphous concept - but how else to describe it?)

I'm known as the funny laid back guy in real time, but that doesn't mean I am not frightened about where we are going.  If I can't post it anonymously and beg for people to not personally attack who I am, but instead attack and debate my ideas, then what good is the Internet? 

I dunno - whether you all liked it or not, these thread made ME feel better.  No, of course I did not expect to change the world with these words.  I just wanted to get this *&^% off my chest.  If you guys didn't want to be victimized by my diatribes, all you had to do was not read them.

That people did and attacked me personally is interesting when you really consider it, because hasn't this thread in particular displayed the problem the country has with discourse?  We are so quick to criticize and tear down, instead of considering and debating the merits of the idea.  This thread in particular is a prime example of this problem.  Giffy, you and I are allies in spirit, yet we were opponents on this board.  Why are Americans so ready to smack their fellow citizens and deride them when they express passion, instead of critiquing their ideas, thus helping to make them stronger?

Doesn't anyone see how this is a problem for creativity and ingenuity?  We should encourage, even if we also advise others to temper their tone. 

Interesting responses, and aside from Lincoln, well-thought.

Giffy:  "The problem I see with the way you come across is that you act like caring about your issue is a prerequisite for being a good person who is engaged with the world. You also seem to think that people who disagree with you or who don't conform to your expectations are not good or fulfilled people. I am not sure if you really feel this way or if it is just your writing style."

Not at all.  I am not talking about any issues that don't affect ALL of us.   Although I propose changes to the JD program, I otherwise am only arguing our generation is not focusing on the problems we MUST deal with.  There’s a lot of problems facing us. 

Yes, my writing style is too wordy.  I agree.  I am too lazy to edit posts.

Giffy, I currently am in law school and I do not feel the program accurately measures our abilities. I feel it is too expensive, which keeps qualified (but poorer) people out, or makes us incur incredible debt.  Those who take on the debt often are forced to work for the highest bidder. 

I am not anti-large firm, but there is no variance in work schedules.  So an attorney who wants to make partner yet, can bill 2200 hours a year to the client, but an attorney who wants to work a traditional schedule does not have that option.  They are given projects that require them to stay in the office.  Or they are senior and juniors can't do the work, or their minimum billables (2000) are low and that spells trouble for them.  This is a fact not only in New York, but Denver, Colorado Springs, Houston, Austin, etc. (I personally know for those). 

I would not argue what I argue if we could elect the track we wish to work.  But law firms see your first three years as a time to squeeze as much work from you as possible.  Whoever handled it best is seen as partner material.  The others can languish, or are asked to leave.  For instance, Hunton & Williams will ask any attorney who does not want to make partner to leave.  I was told this at one of their socials.

The cost to educate ourselves limits our choices or limits our lifestyle.  Or both.  Then we are worked crazy hours.  It's not 100% true, but it is indeed the norm. 

I argue against this because 1. I see what it does to my friends and what it did to my sister before she left a large firm to work for the city prosecutor.  She has had to default on her debt off and on it remains always over her head.  But she wanted a family.  2.  I'm not saying we are "Golden Children" but the reason we run almost everything is because we learn the history of the system, the reasoning behind it, and why some things are the way they are even if they seem unfair.  For instance, we have always felt we would rather let a guilty murderer go free than execute an innocent man.  It's a principle.

I make the connection between law school and the country for several reasons.  First, there are very serious problems we have to confront, and both conservatives and liberals are pointing them out.  It's just our leaders--who supposedly subscribe to those philosophies--who aren't listening.  Because they care more about abortion, or gay marriage, or other social issues.  That's fine, but right now there are more pressing issues.

My tone is more alarmist than preachy.  I genuinely don't understand why we don't see how severe are the problems we face.  Governor Corzine says, "It'll take a tragedy before they monitor the chemical storage plant."  We learn there were red flags to prevent both 9/11 and N.O.  I'm not blaming any political party.  I'm blaming us.  WE aren't focusing on these issues and forcing our leaders to deal with them.  NARAL and Operation Rescue and Jay Sekulow and these other groups keep us distracted from problems that could kill people we know.  It's happened twice already.  I don't know why I come across as crazy or a henny-penny.  I don't think it has anything to do with political parties.  I just am surprised that in law school, an atmosphere MOST suited to discuss these threats, nobody will even register an opinion.

Like I said, I am not preaching because I am not telling you guys you are wrong or right.  Just that I don't see us focusing on problems that could possibly hit us at any moment.  It feels like we care more if we are "Democrat" or "Republican" and will listen to whatever those labels tell us, but those guys really have messed the country up for ALL OF US. 

I'm not advocating anything.  I began these threads with ideas and proposals.  Sorry if I sound hellfire and brimstone, but it's not like the sources who are warning us are conspiracy theorists and fringe activists.  Greenspan, in his last speech, cautioned the economy.  So did The Economist.  But Bush thinks all is good.  It sucks, because conservative fiscal policies worked for us for so long, and they aren't enacting them.  Our politicians not only lie, but go completely against what they espouse.  Yet they say their ideas get them elected.

I'm just surprised others aren't as concerned.  Because this problem is going to land right in our laps.  We laugh about how we'll never see Social Security as if it's a joke and doesn't matter...I've done it too.  But we do nothing about it.  We demand nothing to fix it.  I just don't get it, is all.  It's not preachy - because I don't have any answers myself.  I just wish we'd start thinking about it.

Current Law Students / Re: Respect: Automatic or Earned?
« on: January 27, 2006, 01:12:29 AM »

Let Them Eat Words CONT.

First, however, the fear. For example, in his New Hampshire speech on education, Bush reminded parents, "In an American school year there are more than 4,000 rapes or cases of sexual battery, 7,000 robberies and 11,000 physical attacks involving a weapon."

Then, following Luntz's advice that the GOP must "restore the American dream of hope," Bush claimed that the problem with education is not a matter of education per se -- surely not a matter of how much funding is made available to schools -- but of "the diminished hopes of our current system." He went on: "Safety and discipline are essential. But when we dream for our children," -- there's that phrase "for the children" -- "we dream with higher goals. We want them to love learning. And we want them to be rich in character and blessed in ideals."

True to Luntz, these emotionally evocative words were backed up by no concrete proposals to make schools better, just the cost-free promise that charities and faith-based organizations would be invited to establish after-school activities on school grounds, and that students who attend dangerous schools "will be given a transfer to ... a safe school." (The practical implications of this proposal are mind-boggling: Would the schools in poor neighborhoods stand empty as their students are bused en masse to wealthier counties?) Bush did propose additional funding -- not to hire more teachers or improve schools but for "prosecutors and the [Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives]" to prosecute and convict children who bring guns to school.

"It's government's role to create an environment where everyone can dream and flourish," to "help people ... build and dream." The purpose of prosperity is to "make the American dream touch every willing heart. ... Because changing hearts will change our entire society. The greatness of America is found in the loving and generous hearts of its people."

If you think these exhortations sound like an inspirational sermon, or a seminar led by a New Age guru, you're right. They do sound like that. But in fact they were part of a plea for campaign contributions on the Web site Indeed, just about all of Bush's campaign speeches were studded with hearts. When speaking in Iowa on farm policy, he called agriculture "the heart of our economy." On the military, he proclaimed that we need to tell veterans' stories to the next generation "to raise a monument in their hearts." And just as preachers and inspirational speakers craft their rhetoric to reach an emotional peak toward the end, so, too, did Bush in his campaign speech to the New Hampshire Chamber of Commerce: "
  • ur problems as a nation," he intoned, " ... will only be solved by a transformation of the heart and will. This is why a hopeful and decent future is found in hopeful and decent children." This last sentence reflects another Luntz directive: Not only does it give us one heart, one children and two hopes, it looks to the future rather than the past.
Taking a Tip From Clinton
At several points, Luntz's "The Language of the 21st Century" pays homage to the public-speaking skills of the Republican Party's nemesis, President Clinton. "When Bill Clinton trumpeted his 'bridge to the future' theme at the Democratic convention," Luntz writes, "it really was over for Bob Dole." Luntz applies this lesson to women voters in particular. "Women want their elected officials to plan for the future, not just live for today," he writes. But again, this doesn't mean that Republicans, when elected, need to actually plan for the future; it's just a prescription for rhetoric. "Every speech must end with your vision of the future," Luntz advises. "Every speech should conclude with the message of 'limitless dreams, unending possibilities and the promise of a better future for ourselves and our children'." And there it is: Bush's New Hampshire speech ends, "In all the confusion and controversy of our time, there is still one answer for our children. ... If we love our children, this is the path of duty and the way of hope."

By adopting emotional language without changing policies, Luntz tells them, Republicans can have it all: Like Pavlov's dogs, voters will come running if you ring the right verbal bells. When applied to women voters, this advice makes me cringe with particular unease because it's reminiscent of my book You Just Don't Understand: Women and Men in Conversation. In it, I explained that many women are frustrated when they tell a husband or boyfriend about a problem and he tells them how to fix it; more often than not, what she's looking for is the reassurance that he's willing to listen and that he understands how she feels. This sounds frighteningly (to me) like what Luntz has to say on the gender gap. He writes: "From getting the kids out of bed, fed and off to school to the demands of work outside the home, women are working longer and harder than ever, and they want to know that their elected representatives understand this. Tell them. Empathize. Take the time to let them know you truly understand what they are going through."

But wait. Understanding may be all that a woman is looking for when telling her husband or boyfriend about something that frustrated her that day. But when they go to the polls to elect a leader, women as well as men are selecting not a soul mate but a public official whose job is to solve at least some of the country's problems -- or at least to address them honestly.

I see another parallel, too, between lessons women have learned when their styles contrast with men's and lessons Democrats can learn when their styles contrast with Republicans'. By harnessing the power of language in the absence of action, Republicans have managed to have their cake and eat it, too: On the one hand, they pursue policies that benefit the few; on the other, they garner votes from the many. Perhaps it is the very fact that Democrats have the policies and the record to justify their appeal to the many that they haven't thought as much as Republicans have about what words will galvanize voters. It's a bit like women who believed that if they did a good job it would be recognized -- only to see their male colleagues getting the credit, and the promotions.

Triumph Through Repetition
Recall the excerpts I quoted at the start. Luntz promised that changing words, not works, would be successful "if executed effectively and with discipline." This caveat was not casually tossed out. He cautioned Republicans that "good communication is more than just words, phrases and messages." I'll pause here for a moment to give you a chance to predict how you expect Luntz's next sentence to read. OK, here it is: "As a party and as a movement, we will fail if we continue to go it alone or change messages daily. We can only succeed when we work together and talk together and stick together as a team. Only through a movement-wide effort and constant repetition can our voices unite in perfect harmony."

Devising labels and phrases that win over audiences, regardless of the facts, is only a beginning. The big trick is getting the labels to stick. And that's where unity and repetition come in. Democrats have long envied the Republicans their party discipline. Now they can add discipline in agreeing on the words and phrases to use when describing the policies that Democrats oppose or support.

Frank Luntz wrote "The Language of the 21st Century" in 1997, before President Clinton succeeded in balancing the budget and President Bush succeeded in creating the largest budget deficit in American history. Now that the tables have turned, Democrats could take Luntz's advice. "We need simply to state: 'We must not mortgage our children's future to pay for the mistakes of today.' We need simply to ask: 'What does this do to the children?'"

Current Law Students / Re: Respect: Automatic or Earned?
« on: January 27, 2006, 01:12:12 AM »

Let Them Eat Words
Linguistic lessons from Republican master strategist Frank Luntz
By Deborah Tannen
Issue Date: 9.1.03

I'm one of many Democrats who watch in frustration (mixed with a touch of awe) as Republicans win with words, even as the labels they devise for their policies distort or belie the facts. Take the repeal of the estate tax. An "estate" sounds like a large amount of money. Indeed, before President Bush persuaded Congress to legislate a phase out of the estate tax, only the largest 2 percent of estates were subject to this tax. But change the name to "death tax" and many more Americans become sympathetic to repeal. After all, everyone dies. Death is bad enough without being taxed.

How many would get all worked up about an exceedingly rare abortion procedure (that the Alan Guttmacher Institute estimated represents less than one-fifth of 1 percent of all abortions performed in the United States in 2000)? But attach the name "partial-birth abortion" and a second-trimester fetus becomes a half-born baby. Legislation to outlaw the vaguely described medical procedure then becomes another success in chipping away at constitutionally protected abortion rights -- as well as a wedge issue to defeat Democratic candidates. According to an insider in Al Gore's 2000 Tennessee campaign, the vice president's opposition to this legislation was one of the factors that turned many Tennesseans against their home-state candidate.

Who among us wants to call ourselves anti-life? Win the name game and you're more than halfway toward winning the battle. Win enough naming battles and you're on your way to winning the war.

During the 2000 campaign, I was a guest on a radio talk show discussing Republicans' and Democrats' appeals to women voters. A woman called in to say, "I'm for education and I'm for the environment. Bush is for education and Gore is for the environment, so I don't know who to vote for." Beyond the breathtaking oversimplification (reducing a complex set of positions and policies to being "for"), I marveled at the caller's conviction that because George W. Bush had declared himself for education -- who on earth is against it? -- his policies were necessarily more likely than Al Gore's to improve education for all American children.

Recent news reports are filled with stories of a mounting crisis in public education: teachers fired, new hires frozen, class sizes burgeoning, Head Start threatened, even schools closing because the administration's gigantic tax cuts have caused enormous deficits at the state as well as the federal level -- all in the shadow of the shamelessly named No Child Left Behind Act, which mandates testing and changes the formula for federal aid but provides no new funding to improve the quality of schools or of teaching.

Exploiting the power of language to persuade, despite the absence of policies to back up the words, is the openly stated goal of Republican strategy as articulated by Frank Luntz, the Republican pollster and tactician who was one of the primary drafters of the GOP's "Contract with America." Luntz tests phrases in focus groups and advises Republicans on how to win votes by changing what they say, not what they do.

The cynicism in Luntz's advice is astonishingly explicit. On the subject of the gender gap, for example, he informed Republican members of Congress that they could woo women with words (no need for troublesome deeds). While acknowledging that women (like the caller to the radio talk show) care about education, he cautions against trying to back up promises with actual programs:

    I begin with the premise that we must do no harm. That is, we should not undermine our growing strength among working-class white men (1994 set a modern-day record) in our efforts to reach out and communicate to women. I refuse to advocate an educational strategy that leads to a net loss of votes just to win over a few women and silence a few media critics. It would be unwise and foolish. ...

    I do not subscribe to the notion that we must change our substance or create a separate women's agenda. Listening to women and adapting a new language and a more friendly style will itself be rewarded if executed effectively and with discipline.

These excerpts come from a document that Luntz circulated to Republican members of Congress in 1997 titled "The Language of the 21st Century." The section that came to my attention was "Addressing the Gender Gap," but it provides a blueprint reflected in Republicans' rhetoric in other areas as well. Luntz's advice boils down to this: Forget action. Improve your image by revising the way you talk. Let them eat words.

Luntz's Words in Bush's Mouth
Prominent among the words Luntz advises Republicans to use in their speeches is children:

    Women consistently respond to the phrase 'for the children' regardless of the context. From balancing the budget to welfare reform, 'for the children' scores highest of all arguments offered. Therefore, rather than creating a 'Compassion Agenda,' Republicans need to create a communication framework that involves children ... .

Luntz also advised, "'Conservative' is a more popular label than 'Republican'." Put these pieces of advice together and you get "compassionate conservatism." This is not to claim that Frank Luntz advised George W. Bush directly, but the president's speechwriters seem to have absorbed the lesson. From the beginning of his campaign for the presidency, Bush's speeches have employed the linguistic manipulations that Luntz recommended.

During Bush's presidential campaign, children darted in and out and played around in speech after speech. For example, toward the end of a campaign speech to the New Hampshire Chamber of Commerce, Bush proclaimed, "In all the confusion and controversy of our time, there is still one answer for our children." In a speech he delivered in Indianapolis on the economy, children appear 12 times; in the New Hampshire talk, a dizzying 35 times. This last is less surprising because the speech was, after all, about education. But that in itself does not account for the thrumming repetition, not only of the word children and its variants but also of the words heart and dream (three each), love (eight times, including lovely and loveless), and the runner-up, after children, hope (which, along with hopeful and hopeless, appeared a whopping total of 10 times).

Stun Them With Fear, Lure Them With Hope
The welter of words that stir emotions -- and in particular the word hope repeated as an incantation -- can also be heard as echoes of Luntz's advice. "Politics remains an emotional arena," he writes, "and television has made fear a very salable commodity. But fear alone is not enough. The commodity Americans most desire -- and the one in shortest supply -- is hope."

Current Law Students / Respect: Automatic or Earned?
« on: January 27, 2006, 01:08:02 AM »
On another thread this kept coming up, and it's worth a thread of its own.  Two questions:

1.  How do you define respect?

2.  Must it be earned or should it be automatically given (it can always be taken away)?

Question 1 is tough.  I think it should be given automatically, but I am open to changing that view.  Maybe I am confusing it with "courtesy."  If you think that is the case, how do you differentiate courtesy and respect? 

A third question:

3.  Who is worthy of respect?  Scalia and Ginsburg our really good friends - they obviously respect each other's viewpoints.  But few Americans do the same with those we disagree with. 

Scalia/Ginsburg is interesting:  Does he respect her intelligence, her principled stance, her decency, her ability to hold her own in an argument?  Is it possible to respect Lindsey Graham's character, but not his stance on habeus rights for detainees? 

I have an answer, and I asserted one earlier, but I may need to take it back.  Was I just defending courtesy, incorrectly using respect like people often incorrectly use the world "ironic?" 

How we each define that word illustrates how hard it is for us to all talk with each other when we use words that mean different things to us.  It happens a lot.  Conservative and Liberal - they've totally lost any substantive meaning.  Catholics are liberal on death penalty, conservative on abortion.  Blacks vote the most liberal, but are very conservative with traditional religious values.  Bill Weld, Republican, is a fiscal conservative, but social libertarian and started the first program in the country for gay high school kids.  Guiliani is another example.

How do we talk to each other when we define words differently?  It's like the case of that case with the ship the "Peerless" - on guy thought it was the ship arriving in October, the other another ship with the same name arriving in April.  Same word, but not the same thing.

That's happening to our political language.  Which makes it hard for us to discuss solutions to problems.  The next post is an example of how confused we get when our leaders talk.  Dems do it too, but not to the mastery of the Repubs.

Either way, what these guys are doing, all of them, is bad for the country...we aren't speaking the same language anymore.  How can we talk about respect, or give it to each other, when we define it differently?

Deborah Tannen is one of our premier linguists (and liberal).  Still, she illustrates this point in the article in the two posts below (I had to split them)

I don't mean for my tone to be preachy.  I suppose the stridence comes from how little I hear my classmates talk about how to fix things.  Not just with law school, but with the world.  With the country.  And there's so much that needs to be fixed, it's almost overwhelming.  I would love for this to be 1988, or 1992 again when it really didn't matter who was running things.  Bush/Dukakis - so they'll each tool with some social policies, but the one party always moderated the others.  Bush/Clinton same thing.  Now a party that half the country didn't vote for gives them no consideration. And that party doesn't even follow the principles of its traditional base!  And the Dems would do the same thing.  It sucks!

But the contrasts seem so stark now; the stakes for our national character so high.  Not in the parties, but in the people.  The people in charge are so unprincipled!  In both parties!  I don't even know if we all know what kind of people we are electing anymore, because we listen to attacks so much and instead of holding them to their words, we convince ourselves of their spin just so we don't feel we made a bad choice.  I see it happen all the time!  And in Bruce Bartlett's case, when he stood up for conservative fiscal principles he was fired!  And David Brooks said, "Bush is the new conservative."  Conservatives, you guys need to be careful because his policies aren't conservative and they are proving very unpopular.  You guys are going to have your policies tarred, which sucks because generally you all are theh smartest economists.  We love the thrill of the argument, but we aren't discussing enough.   

And when I sat through Constitutional Law and the professor would ask the class for opinions, nobody would give them.  It can't all be out of shyness.  Many of the people in the class were moot court competitors.  I knew who the Federalist Society guys were, and they never spoke either.

Our professor would raise historical facts that contradicted both Originalist doctrine AND broad constructionist doctrine, and nobody would say a thing.  I wish they would have.  I would like to hear conservative viewpoints and liberal viewpoints debate Constitutional Law with each other.  What a benefit that was supposed to be to law school!  Nobody speaks.  I did, but I did not want to be "The Talker" or the "Free Space" on law school bingo.  Outside of class I didn't have all that much time attend debates and lectures.  I was also working 25 hours a week.  Besides, I wanted to hear a group of my peers volly with each other, moderated by a knowledgable moderator.  He tried.  We just didn't respond.

I wish he had been socratic!  I wanted to hear perspectives. 

But then my Con Law professor would sometimes make fun of students in front of the class.  Often it was good natured and fun, and we all had a kick out of it.  But often, too, it would be cruel, and it was certain to keep hands down.  Because it was only the people who raised their hands he called on.  And it bothered me, because I didn't pay to have this short man use his tall brain to make himself feel good at the expense of learning students.  And it was nothing socratic. 

There's the activists on campus, but it always seems to be the same 30 people.  What I mean to say, is my stridence comes from wondering if anyone is paying attention?  I'm not saying they aren't, but I am saying I don't see it in class, or when we all go out. 

But it's not 1992 anymore, and that's how I was back then when I first started undergrad; but we all still talked casually about politics.  People who go to law school are supposed to love history, philosophy and/or politics, because that's all we study. 

And it seems like the problems we face--that we are going to be FORCED to face--are right around the corner.  And it's going to be all of us--you too giffy, and me--who have to deal with the consequences.  And our kids.  Whether it's Avian flu (or another contagion), a hurricane or earthquake levels another city, or Asia stops buying our debt, or what if millions and millions of us all of a sudden reached a point where we could no longer pay our debt?  That has profound implications for the economy, for our jobs.  For our families.  And it seems almost likely.  Because the credit faucet never ends anymore, and people put their basic needs on cards.  It's not just medical or law school, but it's almost every effective institution for bettering ourselves has become super-costly.  We are endangering future prosperity. It's like the Goya painting of Saturn devouring his own son.  The baby boomers are only in it for themselves, and they only care about getting re-elected and doing whatever it takes in the short term.  There's no long-term thinking anymore.

So I don't mean the tone to be preachy, but almost like "oh my God! what are we going to do about all of this?!  how are we to make sense of all this?!"  And then we are advocating torture, killing kids and retarded people; and we keep secret jails; and so few people don't mind that we have kept people imprisoned for FOUR YEARS with no access to courts, or even charging them.  And we shrug off our government shrugging off the 4th Amendment, and spying on us.  And the Incorporation Debate is coming back, and that's going to be major.

And people say "terrorism" and I want to be safe too.  I mean, I live in New York City.  But it's strange that the city that lived through 9/11 never agrees with how that event is used politically.  I don't know what that means.

I don't know what any of it means.  But I do know I don't hear many people my age (31) and younger talking about it.  And it kind of scares me, because we seem so unprepared.  And we know about these things.  Just like we had a red flag about bin Laden and FEMA had a red flag about New Orleans.  New Orleans.  One of the funnest, most unique cities we had.  I spent a month there one year.  It was so fun.  And it seems to be dying and choking.  And all the money goes to a war, that I supported in the beginning too. But what do I know?  It seems like our leaders should have known more than they did before undertaking a war that is now projected to run a Trillion dollars!  Trillion!  It's like, nobody thought ahead that there might be bigger problems.  Remember how the oil from Iraq would pay for itself?  I mean, what is going on with us?!  Why are we electing these people?  There are so few Democrats and Republicans I like, and I don't see why other people can't put aside their local pork-barrelling and elect some people to fix things!

We have no money for all these problems we have to deal with.  And God help us, Iran.  I'm not preachy, I'm scared.  Because so far two major disasters with two warnings.  What's next?!  There's so much we haven't prepared for.  And my place to start is where I'm at:  law school, and thinking about how to fix that, because I think there's a better way.  Because if we could come up with a system where people could choose how many hours they wanted to work, that would allow for more options.  But Giffy your wrong - law firms all have a minimum billable hour and it is usually 2000.  CLIENT billable.  There's a lot of time in the office you can't bill.  That's why you have to stay late, just to get that minimum BILLABLE time.  And you work for a cheap client or one that's important, there may be some hours you have to work on a matter you can't bill.  It's just the game.  And we can't afford not to play it.  Not with our debt.  And it seems like citizens are going to have to start putting their heads together more to solve some problems, because our leaders are sh*t at doing so. 

We lawyers are going to have to be in top shape financially, spiritually and emotionally because if you guys haven't checked, our ranks run everything.  That's just a fact.  And the solutions are going to have to come from our ranks.  And it's going to take a lot of us to spend a little spare time thinking like citizens again.  And I don't see it happening.  Maybe it's just my school.  That's why I came on here.  To see if these things resonated with anyone else.  I admit, my tone sounds preachy, but it's not meant that way.  Maybe declarative to provoke response, but that's not always the most effective method, I concede.  My voice is distorted by frustration, and I need to work on that.  Plus, people think I'm partisan, and I'm not.  I just think our leaders suck.  We can keep the exact same numbers, but my goodness can't we fill the seats with some thinkers and compromisers, and all agree to a truce on the social issues tearing us apart.  All sides?  Gay marriage, abortion, prayer, right to die, medicinal marijuana, etc.  Can't we just put those aside, all of us, collectively make some determination to keep the status quo on those isues, and deal with the immediate problems facing us? 

I just...don't have any answers myself.  I suppose this was my way of yelling it without actually doing so physically in the midst of these large classes, where nobody will even raise their hand to say whether they think Alito should or should not be confirmed.  Because the future don't seem so bright right now...and I guess I just wish we'd all start talking about how to fix it, and stop listening to the generation that f**cked it up.  And stop hating each other so much.

By the way, when did "disrespect" become a verb?[/font][/b]

Your value system is worthy of derision.  If you wore a sign, it would probably say "bitter old man left behind in the times."    Although maybe somebody with a Granddaddy fetish might hang a sign around your neck that read "Arrogant Hunk Bastard."  You can always dream....

I don't know the history of when disrespect became a verb, but I know every on-line dictionary, including Princeton's, considers it one.  But I guess that's not good enough for an old sawhorse like yourself, eh?


    * S: (n) disrespect, discourtesy (an expression of lack of respect)
    * S: (n) disrespect (a disrespectful mental attitude)
    * S: (n) contempt, disrespect (a manner that is generally disrespectful and contemptuous)


    * S: (v) disrespect (show a lack of respect for)
    * S: (v) disrespect, disesteem (have little or no respect for; hold in contempt)

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