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November 21, 2005

Sic Semper Tyrannis

I just finished watching the last episode of Rome until 2007 and I have to say, HBO has really outdone itself with this series. The assassination scene was done very well; slowly, with multiple camera angles, losts of stabbing. The best part was that Caesar did not say "Et tu, Brute?" or even "Καὶ σὺ τέκνον." Instead, it was all delivered with the eyes. Ciarin Hinds deserves an Emmy for his work as Gaius Julius Caesar.

In fact, most of the cast of Rome deserve Emmys. I don't think I've ever seen such great acting from so many people on one teevee show. Kevin McKidd (Tommy from Trainspotting) was brilliant as Lucius Varenus, the centurion turned magistrate turned Senator in the last episode.

Other great performances: James Purefoy as Mark Antony. Polly Walker as Atia of the Julii who, along with Lindsey Duncan as Servilia of the Junii, brought a Dynasty-like nastiness to the show's more non-historical plotlines. Tobias Menzes as Marcus Brutus. Ray Stevenson as Titus Pullo, Varenus's, rabble-rousing sidekick from the legion.

An interesting historical point. Varenus and Pullo are two of the unknown characters introduced in the show to enable the writers to create some plotlines outside of the arc of Roman history but, in fact, Caesar mentions Varenus and Pullo in Book IV of De Bello Gallico. So the writers were even using primary sources for the characters who don't appear to be historical at all.

And finally, if you like gladiators severing heads and limbs, the 11th episode of Rome is for you. It makes Gladiator look like A Charlie Brown Thanksgiving.

Posted by Half-Cocked at 08:07 PM | Comments (3) | TrackBack

November 16, 2005

Last Schedule

Here's what I'm looking at for 3L spring.

Copyright - 1:30 - 2:45
Fed. Jur. - 2:50 - 4:20

Copyright - 1:30 - 2:45
Fed. Jur. - 2:50 - 4:20
Education Law - 7:00 - 9:00 pm

ADR - 3:10 - 4:25

ADR - 3:10 - 4:25

I have one more class to decide upon. I'm still trying to get into a couple, Mediation (MT - 4:30-6:30) and Trial Advocacy (Thursday 6:15-9:15). If I get one of these I'll be thrilled. If I get both I'll probably drop ADR.

Judge Riley of the 8th Circuit Court of Appeals is spending his Thursday nights in the Spring teaching Trial Ad so I'm really hoping to get into that. I'm the first alternate should anyone drop. Mediation is a 4 credit class which would save me from writing the Copyright paper since Copyright is only 2 credits without the paper. I've also heard that you get your Mediation certificate or whatever which would be nice.

Federal Jurisdiction is notoriously the hardest class in the school. At this time I know of only one other person signed up for it. Why am I taking it? I discovered this summer while working on a very complicated case in federal court that not many lawyers know the ins and outs of federal jurisdiction - the various abstention doctrines, habeas corpus, etc.

Education Law is the Teachers' College version which means it'll be aimed at teachers who want to be adminstrators meaning mostly people who haven't been in school for awhile meaning it'll be easier than any law school class.

Any way this schedule shakes out I'll have most of my days free for work which will be nice.

Posted by Half-Cocked at 11:02 PM | Comments (3) | TrackBack

November 11, 2005


This guy's still hanging around trying to make himself relevant. Now he's imploring the NFL and the Philadelphia Eagles to be nice to Terrell Owens because doing otherwise would be violating his free speech and rights as a union member.

Ralph. Please. If you gave a shit about free speech (and T.O. isn't entitled to 1st Amendment protections from his private employer) or union members you'd be working to boost union membership in this country among people who don't make $3.5 million per year.

Try grandstanding somewhere useful to the causes you used to stand for. If you can't do that, go away.

Posted by Half-Cocked at 11:56 PM | Comments (2) | TrackBack

Friday Random Play: Seminar Paper Writin' Edish

I haven't randomized the full playlist in awhile so here we go. My ranking of the songs are on a scale of 1 (I'm so embarrassed this is in my playlist that I might kill myself) to 10 (I could still be a cool record store guy).

  1. Billie Holiday, "Them There Eyes" - Lady Day: The Complete Billie Holiday on Columbia 1933-1944: 9. Billie is always cool, if a little too well known for the true record store guy.
  2. U2, "Angel of Harlem" - Rattle & Hum: 4. Definitely not their best effort but I can make an argument couched in contrarianism.
  3. Curve, "Cherry" - Pubic Fruit: 7. Like MBV but not as good but you can dance to it.
  4. Echo & the Bunnymen, "Crystal Days" - Ocean Rain: 7. The best album from these guys but still plenty obscure 21 years later.
  5. New Order, "Temptation" - Substance: 5, but only because I'm embarrassed at the decidedly 80's Brit dance-rock direction this list has taken.
  6. Slowdive, "Catch the Breeze" - Just for a Day: 5, for the same reasons as I previously stated.
  7. Dead Milkmen, "Gorilla Girl" - Big Lizard in my Backyard: 8.
  8. X, "Blue Spark" - Under the Big Black Sun: 9. The only thing cooler would be a Richard Hell, James Chance or Germs song at this point.
  9. DJ Spook, That Subliminal Kid & Dave Lombardo, "Metatron" - Drums of Death: 9. Solidly too cool.
  10. Gun Club, "Waiting" - Early Warning: 9.5. 80's cowpunk from L.A. = instant cred.
  11. Tom Waits, "In the Colesseum" - Bone Machine: 7. Not my favorite, but good and always relevant.
  12. Archie Shepp, "Mr. Syms" - Four for Trane: 8. Other Shepp songs would have rated higher but this one isn't nearly out enough.
  13. Miles Davis, "Budo" - Birth of the Cool: 4. Every wannabe cool record store guy has had this album a couple of times.
  14. Charles Wright & the Watts 103rd Street Rhythm Band, "Do Your Thing" - Express Yourself: The Best of Charles Wright: 8. Anything from this album but the title track ranks as pretty obscure.
  15. Iron Maiden, "Powerslave" - Powerslave: 8. Cool record store guys like 80's British invasion metal if only for the album covers and the irony factor.

Posted by Half-Cocked at 05:57 PM | Comments (11) | TrackBack

November 10, 2005

Plagues of Locusts over Dover

As I pointed out on Tuesday night all eight Dover, PA school board members who backed teaching creationism in biology classes were ousted in the general election. It was only a matter of time before God's own Drew Rosenhaus, Pat Robertson, chimed in.

"I'd like to say to the good citizens of Dover: if there is a disaster in your area, don't turn to God, you just rejected Him from your city," Robertson said on his daily television show broadcast from Virginia, "The 700 Club."

"And don't wonder why He hasn't helped you when problems begin, if they begin. I'm not saying they will, but if they do, just remember, you just voted God out of your city. And if that's the case, don't ask for His help because he might not be there," he said.

Does that mean the 11 Christian churches in Dover closed their doors this week? Maybe the good citizens of Dover prefer to keep their creation myths in their churches and their science in their schools.

It's not that surprising considering Robertson fellow traveler Falwell blamed 9/11 on gays and Fred Phelps blamed the 2004 tsunami on the (gay) Swedes. I'll bet Pat was upset he couldn't work a gay reference into his damning of Dover.

Posted by Half-Cocked at 10:55 PM | Comments (5) | TrackBack

November 09, 2005

I was hoping for Spiderland but this'll do

My Bloody Valentine - Loveless
My Bloody Valentine - Loveless

What essential indie rock album are you?
brought to you by Quizilla

Posted by Half-Cocked at 05:34 PM | Comments (2) | TrackBack

November 08, 2005

I'm a monkey!?111!?///!?222

As some of you might know Kitzmller v. Dover School District is the Scopes Trial of the 21st Century. The National Center for Science Education has been blogging the whole thing. This weekend I got to catch up on the voluminous trial trancripts and couldn't help but LOL at some of the testimony including one of the members of the curriculum committee, Bill Buckingham, who was on the ID side of the issue.

Q: Do you have an understanding in very simple terms of what intelligent design stands for?What does it teach?
A: Other than what I've expressed that scientists, a lot of scientists, don't ask me the names, I can't tell you where it came from, a lot of scientists believe that back through time something, molecules, amoeba, whatever, evolved into the complexities of life we have now.

I sincerely hope that all parents on both sides of the ID issue in Dover can, after this trial, agree that Bill Buckingham should not decide what their children, or fish, should be learning.

The point of this whole post was to point out the Dover school district board election results in which all the ID proponents lost their seats. I wonder what the odds are of an appeal should the School lose after these results?

I'm feeling a little guilty for eating so much spaghetti last night.

Posted by Half-Cocked at 11:32 PM | TrackBack

November 07, 2005

Chili 5-ways

For some reason we didn't have chili 5-ways for dinner last week so it was exciting to welcome it back to our dinner menu this week. I even had some really nice organic spaghetti as the base. I cheated a little with the chili though, driving through Wendy's on the way home. I found, though, that Wendy's chili works better for this purpose because it's runnier than other canned chili or what I make at home. The runniness is what makes Skyline chili a good topping for spaghetti.

Posted by Half-Cocked at 09:54 PM | Comments (5) | TrackBack

November 04, 2005

Friday Random Play: All Metal Up Your Ass Edition

Twenty random songs culled exclusively from the metal (hair, death, etc.) on my current playlist.

  1. Revolution Calling - Operation: Mindcrime - Queensryche: When I was a freshman in undergrad I saw Queensryche perform this album in it's entirety. Suicidal Tendencies opened. I was rocked.
  2. You Could Be Mine - Live Era '87-'93 - Guns 'n' Roses: This song flat out rocks. The live version is considerably better than the album version recorded for the T2 soundtrack.
  3. No Question - Cleansing - Prong: I love Prong even if they are just a Killing Joke ripoff. Paul Raven of Killing Joke even joined Prong in the early '90's.
  4. Snap Your Fingers, Snap Your Neck-Cleansing - Prong: The chunkiest guitar riff ever.
  5. Disfigured - Vile - Cannibal Corpse: Scary. Not as fast as I remember them being. They're no Napalm Death.
  6. Devil's Island - Peace Sells...but Who's Buying? - Megadeth: I'll take Dave Mustaine and company over the whiny twits in Metallica any day.
  7. Lit Up - Buckcherry - Buckcherry: A 1999 ode to cocaine from the first new 80's style metal band to make it big since the 80's.
  8. Ironhead - Meantime - Helmet: Page Hamilton would always try to separate his band from the metal masses by talking about his jazz guitar expertise but he wasn't fooling anyone. This album still gives me a rush of adrenaline everytime I hear it.
  9. Seasons in the Abyss - Seasons in the Abyss - Slayer: This song is so freakin' cool. The video was even cooler, filmed on location in Egypt on the Nile and inside one of the Pyramids (they bribed guards with cartons of Marlboros in order to get inside.)
  10. Eerie Inhabitants - The New Order - Testament: Another of Testament's trademark songs with the classical accoustic guitar intros fading into shrieking electric guitar and double-bass thrash.
  11. South Heaven - South of Heaven - Slayer: Probably THE classic Slayer song. Slower and more intricate than their older stuff, but even more creepy.
  12. Blessed in Contempt - Practice What You Preach - Testament: Probably Testament's best album. This one doesn't pussyfoot around with the classical pretensions. It thrashes from the get-go.
  13. Hallowed Be Thy Name - Lovecraft & Witchhearts - Cradle of Filth: I dont' really listen to this band at all but I love their goth/death metal aesthetic. Plus, their song titles are hilarious.
  14. Controlled By Hatred - Feel Like Shit..Deja Vu/Controlled by Hatred - Suicidal Tendencies - Classic, classic punk/metal angst for 15 year old skaters and law students.
  15. Dead Skin Mask - Live: Decade of Aggression - Slayer: Another Slayer classic, this one's about Ed Gein.
  16. Pre-Ignition - Nothingface - Voivod: The height of Canadian sci-fi prog metal.
  17. Holy Wars...The Punishment Due - Rust in Peace - Megadeth: This is the song that hooked me onto Megadeth back in 1990.
  18. Lustmord and Wargasm II (The Relicking of Cadaverous Wounds) - Lovecraft & Witchhearts - Cradle of Filth: Remember what I said about their song titles. This song is actually kind of cool, though. Very majestic and epic.
  19. Yesterdays - Use Your Illusion II - Guns 'n' Roses: Eh. A nice little song from a once great rock band.
  20. Empire - Empire - Queensyche: Probably their second biggest hit behind the tepid David Gilmore-era Pink Floyd ripoff, Silent Lucidity.

    Posted by Half-Cocked at 05:19 PM | Comments (7) | TrackBack

    November 03, 2005

    ID Populism

    I might have mentioned before I'm doing my legislative seminar paper on Intelligent Design legislation among the several states and it just so happens that a perfect storm of evolution v. ID hit the University of Nebraska this week. There have been speakers and panel discussions all week about the debate despite Nebraska being one of the few states in which this issue hasn't arisen.

    Today during Conflicts when we were going over Minnesota's Leflar choice of law method I asserted the court must take Minnesota's populist history into account when deciding whether to apply Minnesota or New York Statute of Frauds law. Prof. Conflicts countered that I must have gone to the ID speaker the day before because he talked about populism. Well, I didn't and I didn't really understand what she was talking about until I clicked over to Full Metal Attorney and found he had attended the lecture.

    FMA writes about what the speaker had to say: "He went through the history of the Bible’s relationship to public schools. A couple of things became clear. One, that religion as we know it in the US is not anti-science, or anti-intellectual, but instead anti-elitist." I could debate that assertion all day but the anti-elitist stance does jive well with what Prof. Conflicts assumed I was referencing.

    FMA goes on and presents the speaker's solution to the issue and I think it's a damn good one.

    So that brings me up to the lecturer’s suggestion. He implied that ID should be disregarded altogether. He also implied that ID (or any variant formulation thereof) should stay out of the science classrooms. However, he would have a sort of epistemology class offered. Call it introductory philosophy if you will. He didn’t go into much detail on it, but here’s how I would do it.

    The class would go over the very basics of epistemology. Addressing Parmenides would make an excellent introduction to the class, and would make the kids more likely to listen and open to different suggestions. It would discuss popular epistemological traditions such as revelation, reason, and, of course, the scientific method. The course would promote pluralism and would hopefully make everyone happy.

    In my world, it would be a required class in order to graduate.

    That's my world too, but being married to a high school teacher, I know there's no way it could be a required class to graduate although throwing in The Do'h of Homerand The Matrix and Philosophy might help the average student. I also can't let FMA slip Parmenides into the curriculum without equal representation of my man Heraclitus.

    FMA is also correct in pointing out mandating ID in public school science classes would eventually run afoul of the Supreme Court if Edwards v. Aguillard is still considered good law when a case finally gets there. In my research I've found the various think-tanks advocating ID in science classes have pulled back from that position in the last year because of the likelihood of losing at the appellate level. There's now a move toward mandating criticism of evolution without expressly invoking ID or Creationism.

    While this might seem more palatable, it still imposes requirements on the teachers of science. One of the questions that came up during my presentation in seminar this week was "What is academic freedom?" Do high school teachers have it? From where I sit, it is up to the local school boards to give the school principals the ability to adjust as they see fit. The thing is the administrators in public schools aren't geniuses who know the ins and outs of every subject. That's why they're administrators. They're likely to defer to the teachers as long as the the conduct isn't outrageous. That's probably the way things should be since the teachers know the students and what they can comprehend.

    Posted by Half-Cocked at 09:39 PM | TrackBack

    I don't even remember my own torts exam

    Heh. University of San Diego law prof Tom Smith calls bullshit on Judge Calabresi for waxing poetic on how brilliantly lucid Judge Alito's first year torts exam was 30 years ago.

    The technical term for this phenomenon is "confabulation." I mean, seriously. A first year torts exam from thirty years ago? I can barely remember my own life thirty years ago. I took torts from Guido and actually attended many of the classes, and I remember it only vaguely. I have not the faintest recollection of what I wrote on my exam. Guido is much smarter, richer, and more accomplished than I, but I simply do not believe it. And I say that as a Catholic, a Republican, a middle aged novice surfer, and someone whose spouse still tells him he is good looking, i.e., a person prepared to believe a lot of improbable things.

    Prof. Smith is usually pretty funny notwithstanding his wingnuttery.

    Posted by Half-Cocked at 09:28 PM | Comments (2) | TrackBack

    Texas Justice Delayed - Round and Round We Go

    This is too funny. On Tuesday Tom Delay's lawyer successfully moved to have Judge Bob Perkins removed from Tom's money laundering case because Perkins was a Democrat who had made political donations to Democratic candidates and causes. Today, DA Ronnie Earl successfully had Judge B.B. Schraub, the judge in charge of appointing a new judge to the case, removed for his donations to Republican politicians. Now it's up to Chief Justice Wallace Jefferson to pick a judge. Nevermind that Jefferson's campaign treasurer is also treasurer for Delay's PAC Texans for a Republican Majority.

    Oh, this just in. Pat Priest, a semi-retired judge from San Antonio, a Democrat to boot, has been appointed to hear the case. Is this the end or are they going to have to remove the case to India before everyone's happy?

    Posted by Half-Cocked at 05:55 PM | TrackBack