Friday, April 28, 2006

Gas price sanity

While economics may be far from the normal topics of this blog, the gripes, "expert" commentary, and political pandering surrounding the continued rise in gas prices have promted me to finally exercise my posting privilieges. The link below is to the best, most concise explanation of the problem I have yet seen.

As the link shows, the columnist does little more than remind that that no matter how much the people scream and the politicans promise, the laws of supply and demand cannot be repealed. Are oil companies charging as much as then market will bear? Sure, but so does every single business and so does every single employee who looks for a raise. Countless investigations have found no collusion among the oil companies, and if they had, that would be an issue for Antitrust law, not the griping we hear today.

What irritates me most is that the same people responsible for the supply and demand problems are those scream the loudest over the prices. We might want to drive SUVs, regulate the blends of gasoline, or not drill in certain places because we like the look of tundra more than lower oil prices. But those decisions come at a cost, and politicans who created those costs by impacting supply and demand are now blaming everyone but the responsible parties: themselves. The least they could do is be honest.

Indeed, all the political sound and fury is counter-productive, because it only increases people's fear that prices will go higher. I have heard that the "future uncertainty" premium is at least$10, and maybe $20 per barrel of oil. Fear drives prices even higher by unreasonably increasing demand now, and adding to the fear does not help.

Link to article

The circus continues

And now to tie two posts together, I bring you a link that discusses the jury deliberations for the capital punishment sentencing of Moussaoui. The article opens:

The judge in Zacarias Moussaoui's death penalty trial admonished jurors Friday to avoid looking up words in the dictionary after learning that one went on the Internet to see what "aggravating" means.
My word. This calls into question all kinds of things (jury instructions, clarity of the lawyer's arguments, value of a 'jury of our peers'...).

Monday, April 24, 2006

Git yer tikits

You have less than a week left to get your tickets for the ND Symphony Orchestra Spring Concert on Friday at 8. Come on, you know you need a break from studying, and a little culture never hurt anyone.

Saturday, April 22, 2006

THAT makes me want to take Moot Court...

Lawyer drops dead while arguing case

CNN needs to increase its budget for headline writers.

Death Penalty Laws

South Carolina recently passed a law making multiple-child rapists eligible for the death penalty. Louisiana already has a similar law, but it remains to be seen if the U.S. Supreme Court will uphold it (since it struck down a law allowing dealth penalty for rapists of multiple adults). Articles here, here, and here.

The ever-useful Wikipedia has some information on death penalty for crimes other than murder.

Thursday, April 20, 2006

Early night

Tonight as I was returning from the law school to take out my dry contacts and put on glasses so I could finish reading Property, a fellow student saw me on the sidewalk and greeted me. "Early night for you, eh?" he said. It was nine o'clock. I laughed and made some mindless reply, but the comment followed me home. There have not been many nights lately I have been seen on that sidewalk on the good side of midnight. So when I got home, I placed my Property book on my desk and I read poetry. Here is a villanelle I have loved since I first read it a few years ago.

One Art

The art of losing isn't hard to master;
so many things seem filled with the intent
to be lost that their loss is no disaster.

Lose something every day. Accept the fluster
of lost door keys, the hour badly spent.
The art of losing isn't hard to master.

Then practice losing farther, losing faster:
places, and names, and where it was you meant
to travel. None of these will bring disaster.

I lost my mother's watch. And look! my last, or
next-to-last, of three loved houses went.
The art of losing isn't hard to master.

I lost two cities, lovely ones. And, vaster,
some realms I owned, two rivers, a continent.
I miss them, but it wasn't a disaster.

---Even losing you (the joking voice, a gesture
I love) I shan't have lied. It's evident
the art of losing's not too hard to master
though it may look like (Write it!) like disaster.

-- Elizabeth Bishop

Tuesday, April 18, 2006

Not to revive an old topic, but...

I was browsing on Irish Trojan's blog and found a link to a site from USA Today that predicts which states would do what if Roe v. Wade were ever overturned. Thought you might be interested.

That did NOT come up in Ethics I

Here's an ethics question for you: if your client insists he's guilty and wants the death penalty, but you believe he's innocent, how do you best represent the interests of your client without breaching your fiduciary duty? What if your client is completely sick and you think if there was ever a man for whom the death penalty was adopted, his name is on your file? Can you respresent his wishes and yours by asking the jury for death? Or will that open you up to ABA sanction? Either way, you're not in a comfortable spot. My sympathy to the defense lawyers of Zacarias Moussaoui.

Sunday, April 16, 2006

Happy Easter

He is not here; for He is risen, as He said. Come, see the place where the Lord lay.

Matthew 28:6

Tuesday, April 11, 2006

More on Gender Roles

If you have a minute, I highly recommend this article about Harvey C. Mansfield's book, Manliness. Read it with a sense of humor and reserve judgment till you get to the end; close scrutiny may invite premature outrage. I don't think he means to be taken so dead-seriously as some take him. He's just tossing out some ideas, and I don't think they're all bad ones. Certainly not ones all of us haven't entertained once or twice.

Saturday, April 08, 2006

Shall we enter this "political thicket"?

The Observer, Notre Dame and Saint Mary's College's student-run newspaper, ran a political cartoon on Friday you can find here. It made me go "Hmmm."

Polk County Does Something Good

Kudos to my own home Polk County, Florida for catching this guy. In the video clip they interview Sheriff Judd, for whom I am proud to say I voted. I'm not sure if I caught it just right, but I believe they quote the guy's defense lawyer saying he has no problem with sting operations of this sort because "these guys should have to worry about who's on the other end." Sounds like this guy doesn't have a chance in court. At least he's not making any excuses (not that there are really any he could make). These are sick, sick people.

Tuesday, April 04, 2006

Opera Ad

We had the first dress rehearsal last night for the opera, and here's a piece of advice: Do yourself a favor and call the LaFortune Box Office at 574-631-8128 and buy yourself a ticket. It's $5-10 (probably depending on whether you are a student), 7:30 Thursday and Friday night. If you're afraid of terms like "opera," "aria," and "recitative," have no fear: this is in English, and a rather "updated" translation at that (think references to Clinton when the gods remind Jupiter of his follies). All the actors are students, and they are astoundingly good. I had trouble paying attention to the conductor because I kept wanting to see what was going on on stage. Oh, and the setting starts out as a hung over beach party. Offenbach would be proud. If you want more of the plot, read the synopsis. And ignore the Greek god bit--they use all the Roman names.

Update and correction: It would appear you can't actually buy tickets over the phone but must walk, with your ENTIRE body, over to the LaFortune box office to exchange money for admission. Also, as was pointed out to me, the performances are Friday and Saturday, not Thursday. Good to notice that now; they wouldn't have had a horn player Saturday!

Monday, April 03, 2006

Darned media's at it again...

If you have access to a library with a periodicals section, check out this week's issue of Chronicle of Higher Education (I'd post a link, but it's subscriber only and not worth the subscription). The cover article is an "expose" of Pensacola Christian College--"research" mostly gathered from disgruntled students, so you can imagine the tone. I frankly thought a lot of it sounded familiar. I do think from my own experiences on campus (my brother went there) and from talking to current students at my church that PCC does tend to be a little more strict than BJ in some areas, but the essence of the complaints does not really change. There were at least two fair criticisms, I think--an absolute distrust of students and a lack of any forum for disagreement. That being said, I thought the article horrible journalism. There was no indication that the author even attempted to interview a current student who was satisfied with the school or anyone officially affiliated with the school. That might have made the article at least LOOK fair and balanced. I'm sure anyone could write a scathing rant about any school if they got their story only from people who had been kicked out of it.

Frittering Away

Plug for the newly revitalized Frittering Away. The site's recent history is sketchy at best, but we'll pass over that at present. Perhaps one day the issues will be clear, but don't hold your breath. At any rate, it has been commandeered by a motley group of girls who plan to blather on about funny stories, stupid mishaps, and (it would seem) current weather. Come see us if you dare.