Archive for the ‘Eustace’ Category

I wasn’t really going to post anything about the strife in Wisconsin, Ohio, Michigan, and the Middle East. I mean, everything I have opined on the matter is on my Twitter timeline. I’m actually at the top of my Twitter game when there’s a revolution going on. During the Egyptian revolution, an NPR editor or something included me in a Follow Friday re: Egypt/Cairo/Tahrir, which was exciting. In a very vain, pointless, ego-stroking kind of way. But still. Occasionally I have those vain, pointless, ego-stroking moments.

Certain things have bothered me for a while now regarding these protests and revolutions. In no particular order:

Stop saying stupid things like, “In the MidEast, people are dying, and here, teachers don’t want to pay an extra 12%.” That is a bullshit argument and I have no patience for it. I got into an argument with a dude named Atraqchi who’s some kind of Iraq war analyst, a while ago. He’s a HuffPo writer (I know, who isn’t?) and he tried to advance the argument that Muslims in the US shouldn’t donate any money to the Park51 Masjid because Muslims overseas were dying in Baghdad and Pakistan and Sudan and Palestine.

That is straight bullshit. First, you can support both, but that’s not the point I’m trying to make in this context. Yes, it’s true that people are dying in the MidEast while workers across the country protest a crack-down on unions. But making that argument creates a false equivalency and is just plain disingenuous.

In this country, we are lucky enough to know that whatever happens, we will not be gunned down in the street en masse by the army or police. En masse, I said. (RIP, Oscar Grant, and the tens of thousands like you.) If we take to the streets in protest (say, about unions) we know that the President will not order air strikes on us, and we know the police won’t open fire on us as we do nothing but walk the picket line. We know this. Call it a product of American exceptionalism, that we don’t think the same things that happen in other countries can happen here, whatever.

We know this won’t happen here. We’re lucky enough to live in an environment that affords us that kind of security. We’re luckier than a lot of the world’s population. Great. Good for us.

But what we do hold dear and what we do fight for are our rights in this country. Currently, one of those rights is under attack – collective bargaining. You can’t put a price on collective bargaining. Stop trying to raise the 12% number. Just stop. The wealthy in this country have lobbyists (and, well, money). The working and middle class? We have unions. Unions are one of the top donors to the Democratic party for much the same reason, along with plaintiffs’ attorneys. And, of course, two of the things on the GOP agenda? Cracking unions and tort reform. Gee. Shocker.

The argument that people in the MidEast is are dying so we are idiots to be upset about a 12% raise is just ludicrous. The contexts and environments are two entirely different things. Yes, they’re fighting for their lives there. Here, we’re lucky to be fighting for our rights, not our lives. And just because people in Libya are being mowed down by Qaddafi’s security forces, we should shut up and sit down and twiddle our thumbs while we have our collective bargaining rights watered down and eventually stripped away?

Unlikely. If you honestly think that, step to the back of the line.

Tear gas in Cairo on Jan 28. Source: Boston.com (click)

And this 12% business is really pissing me off. “Just pay the 12% increase.” I’ve heard this over and over. Um, why? Are we Americans so glued to MSNBC and FOX that we’ve forgotten the very nature of pensions and how they work?! Pensions are not a gift by some kindly employer. Pension funds are PART OF YOUR COMPENSATION FOR THE WORK YOU DO. It is YOUR money. It’s not being given to you by the employer or the government, given at will to be taken at will. It is YOUR entitlement for the work you do. That is how pensions work.

I could go on about this and hash out the economics of it all (my mom has been teaching economics for twenty years – really, I got this, it’s basically all we talk about at the dinner table) but this article says it better than I have time to.

“Really Bad Reporting in Wisconsin: Who Really “Contributes” to Public Workers’ Pensions?”

Read this. If you read nothing else on Wisconsin and labor relations in the US ever, read that. Understand how pensions work. Understand where your money is.

Source: Inquistr (click)

This isn’t about unions, it’s about the budget. No, it’s not. First, Wisconsin isn’t broke. They have a projected deficit of something like $137M, I think. Which is nothing, really, since the last time I checked, IL was about 6 or $7B in the hole. 😛 We really don’t know what we’re doing here. Anyway, $137M is low when compared to the rest of the states in the US. WI isn’t in dire straits. Yet. Or at least, not when it comes to its finances.

Aside from that, the Public Worker’s Union AGREED to Walker’s demands for pension/benefits cuts. They agreed. And Walker told them to go screw. And he admitted in that prank phone call from David Koch, I believe, that it was about cracking down on unions. I’m sure FOX News has found some clever way to spin it, but really? Really? When it comes straight from the ass’s mouth? I mean, horse’s ass? I mean, horse’s mouth? Really?

Also refer to what I said earlier, about unions being one of the largest donors to the Democratic party. Follow the money. Always follow the money and you will have your answer to just about everything. And you will be severely depressed and need lots of chocolate.

Om nom nom.

Source: Feet in 2 Worlds (click)

All those countries in the MidEast that are revolting – they’re all the same. Okay, no one actually explicitly said this, verbatim. But it’s the prevailing attitude. The glibness of it all – “Oh, what Arab/Muslim country is protesting today? Har har har. Eh, heard it before when Country A was doing it, now it’s just Country B’s turn.” It really just – grr.

First of all, try to be a bit more precise. Not all Muslims are Arabs. Not all Arabs are Muslims. I have the feeling the world just got a lot bigger for some people. (God, could I be any more condescending today? Fine.) In a lot of cases, these are NOT even Muslim countries! Sure, most of the population is Muslim, but that doesn’t mean the country is necessarily an Islamic nation and not a secular one. That’d be like saying that just because most Americans are Christians, America is a Christian nation.

… Okay, that’s a bad example, because America basically is a Christian nation, especially if you listen to those idiot Teabaggers. For more on that, if you’re interested, read American Theocracy: The Peril and Politics of Radical Religion, Oil, and Borrowed Money in the 21st Century by Kevin Phillips. You can find it here on GoodReads.

More importantly, Country A is absolutely NOT anything like Country B. That’s nothing more than a racist, xenophobic perspective that reeks of American exceptionalism. (Hm. That seems like a theme with me today.) Bahrain is not Egypt is not Libya is not Yemen is not Sudan is not Jordan is not Syria is not Iran.

I bet it’s easy to think in those terms. Break yourself of that habit. These are countries with different governments, different rulers, different histories, different cultures, different population demographics (the Egyptian revolution, for example, was led by a youth movement as I think some huge percentage of the population is under 30 so it just makes sense; in Libya, it’s the business and middle class that is leading the revolt with the youth movement close behind), different relations with other countries in the region, and different relations with the US.

Don’t lump them all together. Don’t fall into the trap of thinking that just because Egyptians threw off Mubarak, Iranians can throw off Ahmadinejad or Pakistan can throw off Zardari. Don’t do it. It displays nothing but ignorance, and you’re going to anger a lot of people along the way.

I’ve gotten twitter replies to that effect: Oh, those countries are all the same. I never trusted myself to reply, so I didn’t. Because I would have said something really, really mean, and made the person feel like an absolute idiot. I just know I would have. I figured it was better to hold my counsel and let someone a little more patient somewhere down the line explain the folly of that mindset.

Just … don’t do it. You’d never say that Portugal and Spain and Andorra were basically the same just because they all share the Iberian peninsula. You’d never say that Sweden and Norway and Finland were the same, even though they’re all crammed up there in the Scandinavian peninsula. You’d never do that because everyone would look at you like you had a second grade education.

Don’t do the same in the Middle East.

Tahrir Square, Cairo, Egypt

Pearl Roundabout, Bahrain


Benghazi, Libya

Also, stop being so surprised that the people in the Middle East are standing up to their rulers. I’ve seen it all over the place – from lay people and from pundits on news shows and from writers for news sites. “Oh, wow, I never thought the Arabs would do this!” What? Stand up for their basic human rights? Really?

All that says is, “I never thought the Arabs were capable of doing this.” Because they’re weak and stupid and subordinate and don’t have the same taste for freedom and liberty like we do in the developed world or in the Western world. That they’re just not capable of standing up for themselves.

It reminds me of the romantic paternalism I despise so much. It sounds like a great compliment – “Yay, Arabs!!!1!” – but it’s just xenophobic and racist.

I mean, it’s an easy thing to fall into. I’m sure I’ve done it plenty of times. We generally do do it often enough – like when people remark that an African American is ‘eloquent’ or ‘articulate.’ The implication, of course, being that most usually aren’t, so we’re surprised when a black person actually is. It’s horrible and cringe-worthy but we’re used to it. That’s why few really notice the implication when someone says “I never thought the Arab world would do this.” The implication being, somehow, that they’re used to living in dictatorships, that they can’t imagine living under anything but a dictatorship, and that they could never be stirred to fight for anything more than living under a dictatorship.

And the only way to fix this is to really think about the underlying meaning of what we’re saying. It would be far more appropriate, for example, to comment on how astonishing it is to see regime after regime come under attack by protesters so quickly, like a domino effect. I think that’s what most of us are getting at – we’re surprised that Tunisia fell, and then all of a sudden everyone was packed into Tahrir with roses, and then Bahrainis retook Lulu Square after the bloody massacres there and all crammed into Pearl Roundabout, and then Libyans freed Benghazi and a day later, Tripoli fell.

That’s what we’re surprised about. That’s what we should say.

Click for source

The Democratic Senators in WI (and also IN) should just COME HOME AND DO THEIR GODDAMN JOBS. You can’t say this and support the notion of the filibuster. You can’t. The Democratic senators are doing what they were elected to do – represent the will of those that elected them. And if you can find a Democrat in WI that wants those lunkheads back in the Senate so that Walker can get his bill rammed through, you deserve a cookie, because there aren’t going to be that many WI Democrats thinking that way right now.

And I’m sick of some Republicans saying this and railing against the WI 14 for bailing. With all of the filibuster threats from the GOP we’ve had to endure this past year? Really? What is Boehner’s threatened government shut down but a giant, “Screw you guys, I’m going home?” Some Republicans are just mad because it’s their legislation that’s stalled.

Hell, I’d have been mad if Republicans pulled this over legislation I wanted passed. But again, I understand filibusters and am fine with that, for the most part. Sure, we’ve been seeing a lot of them in our Congressional sessions recently, and they seem to be on the rise, which isn’t a good thing. But too much of anything isn’t a good thing; it doesn’t mean the concept of the filibuster itself is horrible and ungodly and turrible. So I’d have to grow up and deal with it if the legislation I liked was stalled because of a GOP filibuster or mass exodus to another state.

Also, a funny little aside: Abraham Lincoln jumped out of a fricking window so there would be no quorum and a vote couldn’t be held.

I think that visual is a good one to end on, don’t you? Abe Lincoln, hat and coattails and all, jumping out a window? I like it.

I’m sure there are more things that are bothering me. But for now, this will do. Plus, I have a hell of a lot of work to do today. And unfortunately, I can’t hole up in a hotel in Rockford to escape it. Don’t think I haven’t considered that, though.

I’ll end with a picture of a masjid in Cairo.


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Obscenely rich women are, generally speaking, ridiculous. It’s like the more money you get, the bigger a waste of skin you become. Gwyneth Paltrow is showing us just how ridiculous she can be, when she tells us in her newest Goopy Goop Goop newsletter that we should buy our children designer clothes that are not yet ‘ubiquitous.’ Oh, cram it, Gwynnie.

You can read her newsletter here, although I don’t know why you’d want to. I only check in on Goopie Gwyneth so I can mock her ridiculous fashion advice that proves beyond a reasonable doubt (or was the standard, by preponderance of the evidence?) how completely inane and irrelevant she is.

To clarify, I am also inane. At least, on this blog. I don’t know, if you want to read me being intelligent for a change, read my Twitter feed when an Arab country is on fire, or skim my book journal that I recently started doing online instead of in notebooks. But here? On this blog? I am completely, butt-paralyzingly inane. Because I have to be all serious and dignified in real life, and here I get to swear and make crude jokes and squee about shoes. But the difference is, I know I’m inane. I declare myself to be inane. I don’t pretend that I need you guys to take me super seriously here all the time, or even most of the time. Even *I* don’t take myself super seriously.

Anyway, I’ll quote the pertinent part of Goopy’s post.

This week we showcase some beautifully made, very original lines of children’s clothing that we have recently discovered and are adoring. Mostly started by mothers, these companies are producing very unique, very cool, and not yet ubiquitous things for the little ones in your life.

Yeah. “Very original lines of children’s clothing” — i.e., designer clothes that cost more than my first car. And my first car wasn’t shabby – it was a 1986 Mercedes Benz 560 SEL. Or was it 650? Whatever the biggest one was. I don’t know, I’m kind of dyslexic when it comes to car models – I jumble them all up and then people think I’m insane. I’m not insane. My mother had me tested. It’s just that I don’t know anything about cars except that ever since they started making Benzos in the US, the quality (and safety) went way down.

Sigh. I miss that car. It was the best car. I was half convinced that it was sekritly alive. Like a pet. It was a freaking tank, also. I’m amazed I could see over the wheel, but God, I loved that car. I parallel parked it in downtown Chicago! 😀 This means I’m awesome.

Anyway. Designer children’s clothing. That is not yet “ubiquitous.” As in, every little brat at your kid’s posh private school probably isn’t wearing it.

This woman… just…Grrr.

I’ve already said irrelevant and ridiculous, right? Fine. I’ll try to find some new words. Where’s my thesaurus?

Don’t get me started, first, on designer clothing for kids. They don’t need it, and it teaches them a horrible lesson. Kids grow like little bean sprouts. I swear, my brother sprang up 4 inches overnight when he was 15 or 16. It was odd. None of his pants fit, because he was suddenly all legs. They STILL don’t fit, really, because he has such long legs and such a small waist, and the fact that you can see the waistband of his boxers sometimes when he wears his jeans (because, like me, he hates belts) scandalizes my mother terribly. Oh, she’s just beside herself, you guys.

Any parent can tell you how quickly kids grow out of clothes. (I am not a parent. I just talk to a lot of parents. Somehow they find me and shove pictures of their children under my nose and then I have to nod politely and make noises of wonder and amazement for half an hour, which, coincidentally, is also what Andy does on Friday and Saturday nights when he is out trying to ensnare hunnies.) Expensive designer clothes are just a huge waste in that sense. Who gives a crap about hand-stitched seams and silk thread used to embroider whatever logo or design is on the back pocket? Certainly not your kid, who is out playing in the mud and catching frogs and sticking them in those pockets with the fancy silk-thread logo/design.

Aside from that, it teaches kids a horrible lesson: the importance of branding on their person. The world will be hammering that lesson into them as they grow older; let them deal with it then, yeah? The first thing every teenage girl does when she starts working and making some money is run out and buy a Louis Vuitton bag. There will be time for that yet. But at such a young age, do we really need to make kids conscious of the fact that their clothing has a certain label that other kids’ clothing doesn’t have, and this is the basis for some ridiculous social hierarchy? They’ll figure that out when they’re older – no need to start training little douchebags in elementary school. Wait until high school or college when your kid ONLY shops at the Armani Exchange or whatever.

And more than that, the whole post is just … crass. My father has this thing where, all my life, he’s always said, children shouldn’t worry about money. When I was a kid and I really liked a toy but I tried to hide it and he asked me why, I’d say that it was probably a lot of money. And he’d say, you let me and your mom worry about that. Kids shouldn’t worry about money. Sometimes I got that expensive toy I wanted, and sometimes I didn’t. When I didn’t, I understood without them having to say anything and moved on. But I never worried about money as a kid.

And when other children made remarks about how their parents just bought them the new Barbie Range Rover or whatever the hell it was that boys were interested in those days that was pretty expensive, it always struck me as odd and out of place. Usually, I’d judge those kids that were bragging about how much money their parents spent on them. Isn’t that crazy? I would judge them. Ugh. I was such a ridiculous child. I shouldn’t have been judging anyone, of course, but I was always like, ew, when some kid would start talking about money. Even then, the idea of combining childhood and money seemed crass to me, even though I didn’t quite realize it.

Parents that delicately brag about how much money they spend on their kids’ presents still squick me out to this day. They’ll be like, oh, that sweater he’s wearing? It was $120. But it’s cashmere, and I knew he just had to have it.

Um, no. Sorry, that’s not true. Your kid doesn’t give a crap that he’s wearing a cashmere sweater as he knocks a bowl of cereal onto himself. And that LCD you got for his bedroom? Same thing. I bet he enjoyed the box it came in more than he does the television.

Beyond combining money and childhood and the crassness I’ve always found there, it just boggles my mind when people say stupid crap like that during this recession. People are losing their homes, we had to bail out the banks that we have to pay mortgages to for fear of being foreclosed on, we’re still being screwed on what we pay for health insurance but in more creative ways, college tuition prices are rising steadily as Congress cuts funds for financial aid and grants which puts higher education even further out of reach for most Americans, the price of oil is climbing, there is a global food shortage due to freak weather patterns in the US and fires in Russia and intense freezes in the UK and swarms of pests in South America, to name a few examples … and you’re telling me about the hand-stitched jeans that no one else had that you just bought for your seven year old? Really?

Seriously. Go away, Gwyneth Paltrow.

I remember during the 2008 Christmas season, when we were first starting to feel the recession, people that shopped at Hermes (couple thousand for a silk scarf! Yay! That damn scarf better be able to cure cancer, for that price) would request plain brown shopping bags instead of the store’s trademark (orange?) bags so people wouldn’t know they’d just dropped several thousand on a shopping expedition.

And yes, I do believe Hermes has trademarked its shopping bags, just like Tiffany’s has trademarked its blue packaging.

Talking about designer clothes that (1) your children will just grow out of, (2) do nothing but reinforce the bullshit ‘I am what I wear so I’m better than you’ social hierarchy mechanism, and (3) are completely and utterly out of reach for so many in the worst financial crisis since the Great Depression is just insane and deserving of nothing but criticism.

And to clarify, I don’t think that just because some people aren’t as well off as others, those that are shouldn’t enjoy what they have. Just because children in Africa are starving doesn’t mean I shouldn’t eat what is on my plate. All I’m saying is that, for God’s sake, try not to be a complete asshole about it.

Yeah, I’m sure Goopy Gwynnie is crying into Apple and Moses’s one of a kind designer non-ubiquitous clothing right now because I was mean to her in this post. 😉 I’m sure that’s exactly what’s happening.

Rant over for the day. Probably not. But you know.

EDIT: Everyone go read this comment by Merrilyn, because the anecdote she offers is, wait for it, RIDICULOUS.

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I’m sure you’ve heard about the 99, a bunch of Islamic superheroes created by a Muslim psychologist. They’re based on the 99 names of Allah, all in Arabic, and half of them will be women, and some wear burqas and I believe some will not. The 99 will be fighting alongside the likes of Batman, et al, as a way to combat the negative perceptions of Islam in the media.

Naturally, conservatives have a problem with this, notably, Andrea Peyser of the New York Post.

Hide your face and grab the kids. Coming soon to a TV in your child’s bedroom is a posse of righteous, Sharia-com pliant Muslim superheroes — including one who fights crime hidden head-to-toe by a burqa.

These Islamic butt-kickers are ready to bring truth, justice and indoctrination to impressionable Western minds.

Ah, yes, impressionable Western minds. Because cultural hegemony is only acceptable when it stems from Western traditions, and remains undiluted in its Western-ness. Frankly, I think Ms. Peyser has lost her mind.

Because, remember, folks, when you accidentally slurp down a can of Campbell’s Halal-certified soup or read about one of our insidious comic book heroes in your Western-comic-book-universe, you become a Muslim. That’s how we get you!

Our Da’wah Deparatment has really been stepping it up recently with its religious outreach and conversion tactics. But can you blame us? Mind control is so easy when the mind in question is as feeble as Andrea Peyser’s.



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Check out this awesome Tumblr, Muslims Wearing Things. And understand that there is no one way that Muslims look. That’s as absurd as saying that all Jews dress a certain way, or that all gay men look a certain way.

And to anyone who thinks that this is all about the battle to take PC a little too far, get off it. This is racism, plain and simple. Don’t think so? Guess what: Leaving my (future) kid in a room full of Catholics makes me nervous.


That wasn’t so nice, was it?

Click the Muslims below, who probably wouldn’t scare that idiot Juan Williams if he were to fly on a plane with them.

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Journalist and correspondent Juan Williams spe...

Image via Wikipedia

So Juan Williams said that when he sees Muslims on planes, in their religious garb, he gets all nervous about flying with them or some crap. I have already forgotten what he said exactly, and I’m nowhere near interested in this mess to go look it up. I don’t care all that much, but obviously, I care enough to write a little something about it.

It doesn’t matter what Juan Williams said. All that matters is that his NPR bosses disagreed with it based on their rules/ethics guidelines for their employees.

The end.

Obviously, that’s not clear to Sarah Palin, Bill O’Reilly, Glenn Beck, and moon-faced Mike Huckabee, because they’re off squawking about the First Amendment.

And where were these chuckleheads when Helen Thomas lost her spot in the White House Press Corp for daring to comment on the situation in Palestine? I guess Rick Sanchez didn’t deserve similar protection when he made a comment about Jews, either.

Isn’t it at all terrifying when we get to pick and choose which people and which views the freedom of speech belongs to?

Again, all that matters here is that Juan Williams’s bosses didn’t like what he said and fired him. It’s hardly anything surprising. People get fired for saying and doing stupid crap all the time. If they didn’t, we would have a problem.

For the record, I’m not saying Juan Williams isn’t entitled to say what he thinks. He absolutely is. In his role as a Fox commentator, he absolutely had every right/reason to say that flying on planes with Muslims makes him nervous. But that doesn’t mean he gets to skate away from the flak directed at him for those comments. Having a right to say what you want doesn’t absolve you from being a dick. Sorry.

Also, quick question. What if a journalist/commentator had said:

I don’t like riding the bus with black people and having to keep a hand on my wallet the whole time.

Would that have been okay?

Why are we more tolerant of anti-Muslim speech than we are of anti-Jew speech, or anti-black speech or anything else? The double standard is so transparent, but still ignored.

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The current United States Supreme Court, the h...

Image via Wikipedia

Really, there isn’t. SCOTUS ruled on that last month. It was a split court, though. Scalia, Roberts, Thomas, and Alito dissented, because they are massive tools. But the other five Justices agreed, so the law of the land is that I am awesome. Pretty soon it will be so ingrained in our popular culture that to find otherwise would turn our concept of justice and awesomeness on its ear, and even the Justices that were originally opposed to it will choke when they’re handed an opportunity to get rid of it once and for all.

Rehnquist. 😛

Anyway, it occurred to me that you nerds probably want to hear what happened with that mandatory moot court thing I was b!tching about.

Tuesday night was the first night of double rounds. I showed up, hung out on the floor for a bit with my opponent and the floor manager, and got up to argue at 6PM. My opponent (who was wearing a beautiful navy suit with these super pretty brown oxfords that I couldn’t stop staring at) was fabulous. He was really, really good. He had a slight twang in his voice, a little Southern, a little Chicago, which was odd since he’s not even from here, and I just loved sitting there and listening to him. He could have been reading one of Glenn Beck’s manifestos to me and I still would have been happy.

(And yes, as you’ve figured out by now, I thought he was wicked cute. Fellas? Wear suits. It’ll totally amp up your cuteness factor.)

So we filed out of the courtroom with our bailiff and I was sure he’d won. I mean, this guy nailed me on rebuttal. Just nailed me. He took the cases I cited and cited two more cases from those circuits, decided a year or two after mine, with opposite holdings. He was the Billy Jeff Clinton to my Bob Dole. Seriously.

I thought he was fabulous and had it in the bag. He was like, no way, you won, and I get to go home and drink a beer and watch TV.

We filed back in and the judges critiqued us. They were soooooo nice and had nothing bad to say at all, except that he read off the page a little too much. But their kindness surprised me. We were basically in the sudden death rounds; they should have been criticizing everything, like how I occasionally accidentally tapped the podium with the toes of my heels and shifted my weight back and forth and leaned over the podium like I was lining up a shot in pool.

(Okay, I wasn’t leaning that far, but I was kind of leaning. Sometimes. You can’t trust me around podiums, you guys. I contort myself around it in strange positions.)

After that it was time for dinner, which meant icky sandwiches from Jimmy John’s. Flame away, but I hate Jimmy John’s. Gross. There were brownie bites, thought, so I ate like 5 of those and had barbeque chips with Dr. Pepper.

I hadn’t had any caffeine for five whole days before that point, and I ended up downing 1/4 of a can of Dr. Pepper. Somewhere around there. Not much, but still. MAN was I jittery. For those of you that follow me on Twitter, you’ve seen what I tweet like when I have taken a caffeine pill or had like 4 shots of espresso.

When I am hopped up on caffeine, my eye twitches and my fingers get really twitchy, too. So I press shift at the wrong time and hit the wrong letters as my fingers spasm, and occasionally don’t hit the space bar right. If I want to type like a normal person, I have to do so suuuuuuperrrrrr slowwwwwlyyyyy. And then I have some kind of existential crisis, because I feel like if I have to type slowly, I won’t be able to say anything, and people will think I don’t exist, and they’ll forget about me and I HAVE TO KEEP THAT FROM HAPPENING.

It all makes sense in my head at the time, I swear.

But yes. I had no caffeine for almost a week and then had a wee bit of soda and was going out of my skin. So jittery! I found the guy I argued against the first night and so I hung out with him, which was great. Then the moot court people came back with scores and announced the Top 8, and I was just chanting, please don’t pick me, please don’t pick me.

They picked me.

I advanced into the Top 8, and I remember, when I heard my number being called, letting my head fall on the table as I said a rather rude word very loudly.


No one seemed to mind. Of the top 16, 14 of us were desperately trying to throw it, but not totally obviously because if you throw it and you’re totally obvious, they will flunk you. So you have to be artful in your suckitude in order to get tossed out.

So I advanced, unfortunately, which meant I had to run upstairs and argue immediately. This time I was arguing on-brief, and since I’d been arguing off-brief for three times in a row, I had come to know the other side’s argument much better than my original one. So I had like 3 minutes to brush up on it once I got upstairs.

The guy I was up against shook my hand, gave me a hug and said he TOLD me that I would win. Then when he found out that I had no idea what my original argument was anymore, he handed me his trial notes because he thought they’d help.

So I ran upstairs and argued my side. I didn’t ask for rebuttal even though I reserved time with the bailiff, and during the questioning, even though I was arguing for summary judgment, I heard myself saying that there was an issue of fact.

I don’t think I planned on it to that extent but I was up there and rambling and not caring at ALL what came out of my mouth and when I heard myself say that, I seized on it and stayed with it. The judges were FLABBERGASTED that I would concede my second issue away.

And it worked, because I didn’t make it to the Top 4 and got to stay home on my day off, which was what I wanted. Hooray for rambling and accidentally screwing yourself over! 😀 I was so ready to be out of that god-forsaken competition.

If they just made it optional after the first night of arguing, they’d have a much better crop of students that actually wanted to be there. This course is used as a recruiting tool for moot court, and when pretty much all your finalists are 3Ls who have no intention of joining the team even if you paid them, UR DOIN IT RONG.

Ah, whatever. At least I have my life back now. 😀 And I can get back to the other classes that I’ve been neglecting for this stupid 1-credit course. Ugh.

There. A super long, rambling story about my law school crap. You know, because this is a law school blog. Don’t say I never tell you nerds stories.

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Oral arguments about to begin.

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For those of you that subscribe to my rampant bitch!fest on Twitter, you already know about the Herzog competition at my law school. For those of you that don’t, know this: it is torture. Unmitigated, butt-paralyzing torture.

It is a 1 credit class (which screws up your whole course load for the semester) in which you spend 6 weeks writing a brief, which is fine. It’s not a big deal. You’re given a problem, it contains the statute, a couple relevant cases for each side, and you skip off on your merry way to read those cases and find others that are on point, along with pertinent law review articles. Then you write your brief piece by piece. By week 2 or 3, you have to have your first issue done because you do the oral argument for that issue in class. The next week, you have to have issue 2 done because you argue that one. Then you do an off-brief argument.

It’s really not that bad. It’s not difficult, just tedious and time-consuming. When you hand in your brief, it is graded and you head in to oral arguments. There are about 200 participants initially for the first round, which is counted in your grade. All of the participants are paired up in Petitioner/Respondent pairs, and they argue in front of a panel of judges. Each panel sees three pairs: one at 6PM, 6:50PM and 7:40PM. All of this is done at the Dirksen building of the Federal Courthouse in downtown Chicago. You have to show up at 5:30ish because that’s when the building closes, and then you just sit there like an idiot until it’s your turn to go.

Andy took Herzog in his second year. Since he does my schedule, we were in all the same classes, but I opted not to take Herzog with him. Instead, I just made fun of him that semester as he trudged through that hellish course.

He told me on the first day of arguments to do good enough to get a good enough score, thus a good grade, but not good enough to place in the Top 64. He told me to do number-65-good.

I tried. I really did. But I guess my rebuttal was better than I wanted it to be – my actual argument portion was so-so, not good, not bad, just whatever – because I advanced.

So that Thursday, I was determined to throw it. I was sitting with a bunch of gal pals in the little waiting area on the 22nd floor of the federal building, and we were ALL plotting to throw the damn thing. All of us were 3Ls, too, so there was no point. After the first argument, our grades for the course had been calculated and turned in. Any further advancing would not help us. As 3Ls we weren’t trying for a spot on the moot court team next year, because we’re graduating in May. We were just being forced to show up and sit around the federal building for hours at a time for no reason. And if we didn’t show up if we were scheduled? We would take a failing grade in the class.

Unbelievable.  Hate everything.

So on Thursday, I really tried to throw it. I didn’t stand up when the bailiff said “All rise.” Instead, I sat there for three long, uncomfortable seconds, yelled “OH CRAP” and then jumped up. The judges laughed instead of giving me the stink eye. Then, I purposely didn’t say “May it please the court,” because I heard that if you didn’t say that, they’d automatically reject you. Then I answered three consecutive questions with the SAME EXACT ANSWER. I was making no sense.

It didn’t work. That night, the judges made comments about how they loved my conversational tone and courtroom presence. I found out Friday that I advanced, and then I kicked schoolchildren down a couple flights of stairs and felt a tiny bit better.

Monday night, I was up again. I was arguing off-brief yet again, and I refused to even look at my notes from Thursday night, so I was fairly confident that I wouldn’t know much going. I tried to be lackluster in my presentation, and I read right off the page for quite a bit of my argument.

We were head to head this time, meaning that the judges had to pick between me and opposing counsel, rather than advance people based on cumulative brief and oral argument scores from the first two rounds. I was off-brief, rambly, and had my nose to the page for a couple minutes there.

This morning, I found out I passed. Again. So I have to wear my monkey suit all day, show up at the courthouse, argue at 6PM, wait around until dinner around 7:45ish, eat while they figure out the scores, and if I advance again (please, God, no), I have to stay and argue AGAIN, meaning I might not even leave the city until like 10 or 10:30PM.

Filled with murderous RAGE.

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