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Messages - Chris Laurel

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Yeah, I totally agree Lipper.  Like those who continue to read, write and respond to threads they don't agree with or that bother them.  *Way* too much time on their hands.  Like, dude, I don't read threads that don't interest me, and if I leave a criticism it's directed at the post, not the postor.

Lipper - maybe you should use your time more effectively like I do - start your own thread and check back on it.  Get e-mail alerts when people post.  Educate yourself and that way it doesn't take long to formulate responses.  I type 85wpm - these posts take all of 10 minutes to write and edit. 

As it is now, you troll the boards and write nothing memorable, interesting, substantive, or that evidences an ability to critically reason.  Alternatively, spend some time reading my blog or reading:

The Washington Times
The Washington Post
The Economist
The National Review
The Times of London
The New York Times
The Independent
The Wall Street Journal

NPR's All Things Considered also helps

And educate yourself.  Maybe THEN you can actually add something to these discussions, instead of wasting YOUR time reading them and trying to get a rise out of people, eh? 

"We are all some of the smartest in the country.  We have knowledge people envy, and we know how to argue. "

Now that, kids, is what we call a classic case of developing gunner syndrome.

I was  not saying *I* am one of the brightest, I am saying people who attend law school are SOME of the brightest in the country.  Duh.  Look at who runs every government office.  Civil rights movement?  Wouldn't have gone anywhere without lawyers.  That was my only point.  It's really screwed up (or ignorant) you didn't understand what is essentially a fact.  Thus, what law school and law firms do to some of our country's best and brightest is ethically bankrupt.  That's my point.  If that's gunner's syndrome, so be it.  So is what we do to doctors during their residency - what those people suffer amounts to torture and threatens lives.  But I'm not in med school.

...wouldn't get wrapped up in the "oh my god I'm actually in law school, look I can have an opinion!" complex (i.e. "we are some of the smartest in the country") (and I wonder which law school that person actually attends?)...."We" is a broad group of people - and there are certainly plently of dumb ones.
  [I address this quote at the bottom]

First, thanks for not going for the "whiney female dog" tact less intelligent people than you use.

But what's the problem here?  On every thread I post I write:

1.  problems I see with the legal community and our educational program
2.  why they are problematic; and
3.  I propose a solution:  My solution is HERE

Not one of you anti-Chris Laurel postors has come up with one cogent argument against anything I say.  You attack me, attack what I use as representative samples of a larger problem, provide no evidence to back yourselves up, and only name-call and back slap each other over insults suited for MySpace, not a law school discussion board.

I suppose you guys think it bothers me, but it doesn't.  Everytime you post a personal attack on me, it is an opportunity to demonstrate how people like you run the country (Dems AND Repubs).  People like Giffy, Lincoln, lipper, deebre, etc.  What you do on this board people like you do in politics.  You personally attack the person, you never once address flaws in the ideas (unless just to say they are "stupid" - you all should try that on Moot Court as a line of reasoning and see where it gets you) and you grasp, comically, at straws to attack me, my background, my school, that I'm arrogant, a prick, etc.

But I have not attacked any of you.  I'm only pointing out what I see as a problem.  I am trying to get people thinking about it and consider ways to solve it.  I am not saying I'm right - but until someone can come up with a better solution or help to modify the one I propose, then I'll continue advocating it.

And this to all of you is "whining" or complaining or arrogance.  I don't get people like all of you, but you certainly don't anger me or even annoy me.  You all just seem like teenagers to me.  Attack the person, not the ideas.

When are we all going to stop that?  Who I am or am not is of NO importance to this discussion thread.  You all get some thrill out of it, and you think your clever but you really just look dumb...unable to think for yourselves or add to the topic. 

You don't make me angry, you illustrate the problems our country faces.  I only hope the people who read these posts see how it happens.  We *all* have to stand up to people like this and tell them to shut up if they have nothing to add.

Why don't you guys get that?  Why do you get more satisfaction out of attacking me instead of discussing (or attacking) my ideas? 

You guys all think you have me figured out; that you know my personality, my gender, where I am from, the grades I made, the school I go to...and then you slap yourselves on the back like the rednecks in "Deliverance" everytime you rip into me based on these idiotic assumptions.   

But you know nothing except what you've made up in your head.  And I can tell you, you're far far off.  Jeez, I have a profile on my blog - attack some stuff on there at least!  Stop looking like ignorant lazy dopes.  Is this how you plan to practice law?  "I bet opposing counsel is this kind of person; let's plan our strategy on that assumption." You won't be successful, I can assure you that.


Your idea of how respect is gained is interesting. If respect is earned, then I have no duty to pay respect to any stranger I meet. After all, since I don't know them and have never met them before they've done nothing to earn my respect. I can disrespect them any way I want, right? The idea that respect must be earned doesn't sound quite right to me. Respect is something that is automatically given, and then it can be lost.

Kentucky Hammer - thanks for posting substantive thoughts.  That is exactly what I was saying. It's amazing to find people on here who actually discuss ideas.  And feel free to disagree with whatever I say.  I never ask everyone to agree.  Civil discussions on disagreements over solutions and ideas not only educate both me and you, but are far more interesting than the sophmoric AOL Chat Room attacks that seem to prevail here.  But at least your are contributing positively.  Now, on to the others....

Yeah, giffy, that's exactly what I think is wrong with the country--and laws schools--today.  To you it's "don't sweat the small stuff" to me it's an inaccurate system that keeps us indentured servants to our debt for the rest of our lives.  Yeah - that's a glass of water falling.   I don't want the juris doctor program easier, I want it more accurate.  But you'll take your licks and go about your way, which is normal today....

We don't fix problems.  We don't fix levees.  Our chemical plants--including a chrlorine gas (the first biological weapon) storage yard south of New York--are completely unguarded.  Our borders are open wide.  Our ports are barely checked.  Only two localities in the United States (Norfolk and some small town in Florida) are prepared for Tsunamis.  New Orleans is unfixed and choking.  The next hurricane season is around the bend.  Meanwhile, the murder rate in Houston soared 70% since the evacuees--jobless, nothing left to lose--have made it their home.

Student loans were cut by 15 billion.  Were in the middle of two wars yet we cut taxes on the wealthy but cut student loans and medicare.  We advocate torture, secret jails, and we have kept prisoners on Guantanamo for four years holding them without charges and without access to family, friends or courts and tribunals.

Avian flu is mutating, having outbreaks in humans in increasing numbers, and it's now mutated beyond the use of two drugs previously thought effective.  Let's hope an earthquake doesn't strike, aye Cali?

Yeah, giffy, go on your way and belittle the real problems we face.  Who is to fix all this?  Is it to be lawyers, educated on these very topics?  Doubtful, at least not to the degree needed.  We go through an emotionally brutal three year program that does not accurately measure ability or worth, where we are looked down upon (not always) by the self-importance that is the hallmark of all academia (mixed with an attorney's healthy ego).  Then we get shovelled into firms that expect us to bill 2200/2300 hours a year (I include time you can't bill to the client, but is considered "firm time" - you won't always be billing).

Our families suffer, our anxiety increases, we find we can't enjoy the money we make.  And we can't engage in our communities working so many hours, so many weekends.

Then who is left out there to start figuing out how we are going to climb out of the urgent problems our economy faces (see article from The Economist below - hope there's jobs).  How are we going to deal with the extraordinary consumer debt everyone owes? Both parents must work. The United States last year now spends more than it saves - we spend more than we make, in other words.  And Asia owns our debt.  Great, if you don't mind ceding such power to others.

Yeah, Giffy, we shouldn't try and fix the problems the legal community faces.  Who cares, right?

America's economy
Danger time for America

Jan 12th 2006
From The Economist print edition
The economy that Alan Greenspan is about to hand over is in a much less healthy state than is popularly assumed

DESPITE his rather appealing personal humility, the tributes lavished upon Alan Greenspan, the chairman of the Federal Reserve, become more exuberant by the day. Ahead of his retirement on January 31st, he has been widely and extravagantly acclaimed by economic commentators, politicians and investors. After all, during much of his 18½ years in office America enjoyed rapid growth with low inflation, and he successfully steered the economy around a series of financial hazards. In his final days of glory, it may therefore seem churlish to question his record. However, Mr Greenspan's departure could well mark a high point for America's economy, with a period of sluggish growth ahead. This is not so much because he is leaving, but because of what he is leaving behind: the biggest economic imbalances in American history.


So far as the American economy is concerned, however, the Fed's policies of the past decade look like having painful long-term costs. It is true that the economy has shown amazing resilience in the face of the bursting in 2000-01 of the biggest stockmarket bubble in history, of terrorist attacks and of a tripling of oil prices. Mr Greenspan's admirers attribute this to the Fed's enhanced credibility under his charge. Others point to flexible wages and prices, rapid immigration, a sounder banking system and globalisation as factors that have made the economy more resilient to shocks.

The economy's greater flexibility may indeed provide a shock-absorber. A spurt in productivity has also boosted growth. But the main reason why America's growth has remained strong in recent years has been a massive monetary stimulus. The Fed held real interest rates negative for several years, and even today real rates remain low. Thanks to globalisation, new technology and that vaunted flexibility, which have all helped to reduce the prices of many goods, cheap money has not spilled into traditional inflation, but into rising asset prices instead—first equities and now housing. The Economist has long criticised Mr Greenspan for not trying to restrain the stockmarket bubble in the late 1990s, and then, after it burst, for inflating a housing bubble by holding interest rates low for so long (see article). The problem is not the rising asset prices themselves but rather their effect on the economy. By borrowing against capital gains on their homes, households have been able to consume more than they earn. Robust consumer spending has boosted GDP growth, but at the cost of a negative personal saving rate, a growing burden of household debt and a huge current-account deficit.
Burning the furniture

Ben Bernanke, Mr Greenspan's successor, likes to explain America's current-account deficit as the inevitable consequence of a saving glut in the rest of the world. Yet a large part of the blame lies with the Fed's own policies, which have allowed growth in domestic demand to outstrip supply for no less than ten years on the trot. Part of America's current prosperity is based not on genuine gains in income, nor on high productivity growth, but on borrowing from the future. The words of Ludwig von Mises, an Austrian economist of the early 20th century, nicely sum up the illusion: “It may sometimes be expedient for a man to heat the stove with his furniture. But he should not delude himself by believing that he has discovered a wonderful new method of heating his premises.”

As a result of weaker job creation than usual and sluggish real wage growth, American incomes have increased much more slowly than in previous recoveries. According to Morgan Stanley, over the past four years total private-sector labour compensation has risen by only 12% in real terms, compared with an average gain of 20% over the comparable period of the previous five expansions. Without strong gains in incomes, the growth in consumer spending has to a large extent been based on increases in house prices and credit. In recent months Mr Greenspan himself has given warnings that house prices may fall, and that this in turn could cause consumer spending to slow. In addition, he suggests that foreigners will eventually become less eager to finance the current-account deficit. Central banks in Asia and oil-producing countries have so far been happy to buy dollar assets in order to hold down their own currencies. However, there is a limit to their willingness to keep accumulating dollar reserves. Chinese officials last week offered hints that they are looking eventually to diversify China's foreign-exchange reserves. Over the next couple of years the dollar is likely to fall and bond yields rise as investors demand higher compensation for risk.

When house-price rises flatten off, and therefore the room for further equity withdrawal dries up, consumer spending will stumble. Given that consumer spending and residential construction have accounted for 90% of GDP growth in recent years, it is hard to see how this can occur without a sharp slowdown in the economy.

Handovers to a new Fed chairman are always tricky moments. They have often been followed by some sort of financial turmoil, such as the 1987 stockmarket crash, only two months after Mr Greenspan took over. This handover takes place with the economy in an unusually vulnerable state, thanks to its imbalances. The interest rates that Mr Bernanke will inherit will be close to neutral, neither restraining nor stimulating the economy. But America's domestic demand needs to grow more slowly in order to bring the saving rate and the current-account deficit back to sustainable levels. If demand fails to slow, he will need to push rates higher. This will be risky, given households' heavy debts. After 13 increases in interest rates, the tide of easy money is now flowing out, and many American households are going to be shockingly exposed. In the words of Warren Buffett, “It's only when the tide goes out that you can see who's swimming naked.”

I give one example and that's all you guys point to?  It's just an example.  I can provide others.  A friend of mine who is a Greek Orthodox priest went up to our Property professor to say hello outside of class.  When he asked him, "how long have you taught this subject?" the guy said "three years" and then abruptly walked away without ending the conversation. 

What's YOUR problem Lincoln?  If I am getting so tiresome, then why do you feel so compelled to read my threads?  It's almost a compulsion for you.  You can very easily ignore them.  Why don't you?  You seem to get some thrill --like a troll does-- out of goading people. And you do so w/little intelligence.  You should stick to AOL chat rooms or MySpace to get your thrills, where people are less intelligent and will fall for it more easily.   

Attack me, don't admit it, whatever.  Fact is, one exam over a year long course is an inherently inaccurate measure of one's ability to practice law.  Why don't you debate that idea, instead of debate me?  What's wrong with you all?

In the end, if what I am talking about doesn't resonate with you, then move on and go about your day and don't check back.  It's really just that simple.

Believe it or not, I heard they used to be worse at mine!

But it's a good indication that instead of being treated like accomplished adults in pursuit of enlightment and education, we are treated like children and not accorded basic respect by much of the authority we come across. 

And we pay astronomical costs to do so.  And then when we get into the working world, we will be expected to shelve any semblance of a human life.  And we take it without question.

No wonder the whole system continues.   And we are all expected to graduate and advocate for our clients, when we can not even advocate for ourselves?

This is one solution for a fix (it is not the only or even necessarily the best):

I'll give you one example before I go to bed (I have class tomorrow).

Last year I finished an exam and I brought it up to the test proctor, waited in line with the 75 other students from the class (ridiculous! we are supposed to get the kind of instruction we need--and I'm at a top school--when we are taught like cattle?!), and handed the test proctor my exam.

"Why don't you have your social security number on this bluebook?" they barked at me. "I am not going to take this bluebook [out of FOUR I missed ONE book, the last I filled in a rush] until you put your number on it."

"No problem, may I use your pen?" I asked.  I left my pen at my seat.

"I shouldn't have to supply a pen to you!  How old are you?" replied the proctor.

Do you think I took that?  I'm 31 years old. I've skydove over Italy.  I've managed the simultaneous closings of two ten-billion dollar transactions.  I've camped in the Amazon.  I moved to New York City on my own dime and made a success of it.  Who the hell are you to talk to me like that, when I show you nothing but courtesy?  I pay to take this course and this exam, I do not pay for your disrespect.

You think I didn't say that?  I certainly did.  Disrespect me, and I will disrespect you.  What were they going to do, not take my test because I did not take their disrespect?

Look - all you guys have the intelligence, or you wouldn't be in law school.  Get some confidence and stick up for yourselves. 

If you want to know more, go to the Socratic Method board and read the discussion there.

I'll give you one example before I go to bed (I have class tomorrow).

Last year I finished an exam and I brought it up to the test proctor, waited in line with the 75 other students from the class (ridiculous! we are supposed to get the kind of instruction we need--and I'm at a top school--when we are taught like cattle?!), and handed the test proctor my exam.

"Why don't you have your social security number on this bluebook?" they barked at me. "I am not going to take this bluebook [out of FOUR I missed ONE book, the last I filled in a rush] until you put your number on it."

"No problem, may I use your pen?" I asked.  I left my pen at my seat.

"I shouldn't have to supply a pen to you!  How old are you?" replied the proctor.

Do you think I took that?  I'm 31 years old. I've skydove over Italy.  I've managed the simultaneous closings of two ten-billion dollar transactions.  I've camped in the Amazon.  I moved to New York City on my own dime and made a success of it.  Who the hell are you to talk to me like that, when I show you nothing but courtesy?  I pay to take this course and this exam, I do not pay for your disrespect.

You think I didn't say that?  I certainly did.  Disrespect me, and I will disrespect you.  What were they going to do, not take my test because I did not take their disrespect?

Look - all you guys have the intelligence, or you wouldn't be in law school.  Get some confidence and stick up for yourselves. 

How do we do it?  We stand up for ourselves!

Look, the baby boomers have screwed this country up.  Our economy, our political discourse, our social security, our medical doctor residency programs, our drug laws, our social darwinisim.

The fact is, the system gets perpetuated because those who succeed at it are the ones who continue to control it.  In other words, the kids on law review have little reasons to make the system more fair "Whew!  Well, I don't have to care anymore!"  (except when they realize how miserable they will enjoy life outside of school - mark my words)  But most of us know that the best and brightest are not necessarily the ones who succeed.

Here is how to change it in the immediate future:

1.  Be informed.  Know what you are talking about, and be confident.

2.  Whenever disrespect occurs, whether in front of a class, by an exam proctor, by the registrar, you let them know that you deserve the very respect an ATT customer service representative would be expected to give you, dammit.  At the very least!

3.  If you think something is wrong, speak out about it.  Why are we all a bunch of jellyfish who take whatever we are told to take.  This is how fascism took root in Nazi Germany.  No comparison, but still - get some spines. Stop being told what is good for you.

4.  Demand reasonable working hours.  When I say reasonable, I DO NOT mean 9-5.  I mean less than 60 hours a week.  And I don't mean during tough transactions and cases, just as the norm.  Why is that nuts?  Why are we expected to shove our bodies in the meat grinder of the corporate machine?  You people only have one chance to live in the body you live in - and if you don't know how important it is, than take George Bush Sr's chief election strategist's words.  He died of brain cancer right after his greatest victory:

My illness helped me to see that what was missing in society is what was missing in me: a little heart, a lot of brotherhood. The '80s were about acquiring -- acquiring wealth, power, prestige. I know. I acquired more wealth, power, and prestige than most. But you can acquire all you want and still feel empty. What power wouldn't I trade for a little more time with my family? What price wouldn't I pay for an evening with friends? It took a deadly illness to put me eye to eye with that truth, but it is a truth that the country, caught up in its ruthless ambitions and moral decay, can learn on my dime. I don't know who will lead us through the '90s, but they must be made to speak to this spiritual vacuum at the heart of American society, this tumor of the soul. -- Lee Atwater, February 1991 article for Life Magazine

5.  Use your heads.  If one exam doesn't make sense to you, then what does?  Come up with your own solutions.  I am not necessarily right.  I've come up with a solution based on what I have seen and experienced.  Maybe it computes with you, or maybe your school is different.  Point: think for yourselves.   And NEVER think that the status quo is the best.

6.  Don't be afraid to contact your deans, your professors, your administrators, and let them know you think things can be done better. 


Out of the mouths of babes
Dec 20th 2005 | NEW YORK
From The Economist print edition

Prepare to deal with some fairly surly young people

A SURF through the “Student Debt Yearbook” on the Student Debt Alert website reveals plenty of hard-luck stories. Lauren at Arizona State University expects to graduate in 2007, $60,000 in debt. Asked what she is most looking forward to then, she replies: “Law school and more debt.” Sarah graduated from Columbia University this year owing $90,000, while Jason will leave Los Angeles City College in 2008 some $10,000 in the red.

The whingeing student is a feature of political life the world over: in America, despite rising tuition fees, they have been relatively quiet. That may change now that Congress has agreed to slash their subsidised loans. A deal reached on December 18th means that, if the current budget package gets through Congress, student-loan programmes will suffer a net cut of $12.7 billion over the next five years—the biggest cut in university funding since the Higher Education Act was initiated in 1965.

The package is a complicated mixture of savings, spending increases and accounting gimmicks. The Republicans point out that the bill generously provides $3.75 billion in new grants for disadvantaged students studying mathematics, science and foreign languages; that they have spent $1.5 billion raising loan limits for students; and that they have tried to cut subsidies for lenders, not for students. But $15 billion of the gross savings of $21 billion in the bill come from higher fixed interest rates and fees for borrowers.

The Democrats are predictably grousing that the Republicans are driving poor people away from college just to dole out tax cuts to the rich. Student PIRGs, the group behind the debt website, claims that more than 60% of undergraduates finish with some federal debt; and nearly 40% of these borrowers contend with “unmanageable” debt levels, meaning their payments are more than 8% of their monthly incomes. And those who do a stint in graduate school end up even more in debt.

Much of this is grandstanding. For the vast majority of Americans, a college education is a good investment: their post-university incomes are considerably higher (even allowing for their debts). But there are some legitimate worries.

Tuition fees have been rising fast: they are now four times higher in real terms than they were in 1975, according to the latest annual report from the College Board, a group of higher-education institutions. If you add in various necessities, such as books and room and board, private-college students (around 16% of the total) fork out $29,026 a year, while their peers on four-year courses at public colleges pay $12,127. Many states have cut the money they give public universities, pushing more of the costs on to the students. And with ever more Americans wanting to go to university, colleges have been able to hike prices.

Rising demand is certainly a sign of health, but high fees present a challenge for poor Americans. Costs put off 48% of qualified high-school graduates from attending a four-year institution, and 22% from attending any college at all, according to a study by the Advisory Committee on Student Financial Assistance in 2002.

The level of Pell grants, the main programme for low-income students, has been frozen at a maximum of $4,050 for the past four years; and its eligibility guidelines were changed last year—with the effect of excluding 81,000 young people and reducing grant money for another 1.9m. The new $3.75 billion for maths, science and language students will help, but critics say the conditions are too strict.

Another group with a legitimate gripe are students who go on to low-paid professional work in the public sector. Careers in social work, education and the worthier sorts of law all normally involve several levels of tertiary education, but the typical salary for graduates entering such public interest professions was just $36,000 in 2002. A recent survey of over 300 juvenile-dependency attorneys in 43 states by the Children's Law Centre of Los Angeles, found that more than half of the lawyers owe at least $50,000 in student loans, and nearly a third owe $75,000.

The Republicans have indeed clamped down on subsidies for private lenders, which provide around 75% of student loans. Banks have done extremely well, thanks to a fixed formula for profits and a guarantee that the government will cover 98% of a student's debts. One particularly egregious subsidy, dating back to the 1980s, allows banks a return of 9.5%—well above current interest rates. This loophole will now be closed, saving the government $1.8 billion over the next five years.

Lest you feel too sorry for the banks, many other subsidies remain. Indeed, some of the cuts in earlier versions of the bill did not make it into the final language. Cynics note that last year the Chronicle of Higher Education traced nearly $1m in campaign contributions from the student-loan industry to members of the House education committee.

Look, all students deserve respect, and you deserve to demand it from your professors, from the administration, from your fellow students, from your exam proctors, from your law firms.

We are all some of the smartest in the country.  We have knowledge people envy, and we know how to argue.  We are all PAYING for the education.  So why do we feel we DESERVE to be treated like military boot camp recruits?  Why do we female private part out when it comes to respect for our lives, for what we have achieved, for our families.  Why?  So that we can better ourselves through education and a career?  So that we can work to change society, like we did in the 1960's? 

Once they let you into the school, demand respect, if not solely because YOU GOT IN!  You deserve it!  Demand it!  What?  You think they'll kick you out or something?

Why do law students acts like sad slaves who must put up with how they are treated?  You people are some of the best and the brightest in the country, and yet you all act like you deserve this disrespect.  I don't get it.  When you really think about it, do you?

And demand Accuracy in Grades!  Demand more tests.  Demand TAs.

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