Category Archives: Uncategorized

Short Take: A Terrible Right

In 1992, Bill Clinton made the point succinctly, that abortion should be “safe, legal and rare.” Aborting a fetus wasn’t a “good thing,” some sort of abstract virtue that should be applauded, even as some of the most twisted feministish voices “wished” they had had an abortion.

But as  hysteria whips up about the omnipresent Supreme Court partisan hacks reversing Roe v. Wade and Casey, this same conflation is being insinuated back into the battle. Or maybe it never really left the argument, and so it’s raising its ugly head again doesn’t make it onto the radar of the unduly passionate. Continue reading

Tenuous Connections of a Blank Mind

In two New York Times columns, John McWhorter took aim at the University of Wisconsin, first for removing a really big rock because somebody once called it a racial slur 100 years ago, and second for removing the name of Frederic March, a “treasured alum,” because he was briefly part of a campus club which shared a bad name with an national group with which it had no association.

McWhorter’s basic position is that these were both empty, pointless gestures based on the most tenuous of connections that reflect the misguided lost cause of the woke. It’s neither about the removal of a rock or the changing of a name, expense of removal and offense to the memory of a distinguished alumnus aside. It’s about the misguided inferential leaps and the feigned claims of suffering manufactured by children seeking things to be outraged about. When real problems run dry, they move on to the trivial, and ultimately the non-existent. Continue reading

The Banality of Tessa Majors’ Death

As a freshman at Barnard, New York City was all new and cool. And it was, and is, even if nobody talks anymore about the other side of New York City, where bad things happen and people should be careful, or stay away.

Bad things happen. Terrible, terrible things that never should happen, happen. And these terrible things are done by people who shouldn’t do terrible things. Yet they do. Some Ph.D. student might write a dissertation on why society is to blame for Majors’ death, both because her killers wouldn’t have killed her if they were happily ensconced at Choate or she could roam Morningside Park at will in the middle of the night because it’s her right to do so. Someone will free-ride her Ph.D. on Tessa Major’s death.

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Tuesday Talk*: Revenge of the Slackoisie

In a Tuesday Talk last month, the question was posed whether the groundswell of a new movement dedicated to only getting out of bed when absolutely necessary was a good idea. Why work yourself to death (or momentary discomfort, as those paper cuts really hurt) when it’s only to serve the benefit of others, like corporations, the ultra-wealthy and your parents’ pension), when you can have more fun doing as little as humanly possible?

Charlie Warzel, who promoted the elevation of slackers to cult status, wrote a follow-up to address the “rage of the career defenders.” Continue reading

Intellectual Repression Through Interpretative Dance

For about a decade, Scottish solicitor Brian Inkster and I have had a running joke about being invited to the Clio convention to do “The Future of Law” in interpretative dance. It was funny because it was so absurd, as were the fantastical claims of how the law would change, how the  forward thinkers would reinvent the new normal of law with technology, with empathy, with an entirely new understanding of how the law could serve as a vehicle for progress.

Here we are, a decade later, and while some tech changes have taken hold, not much of substance has changed. The naysayers might chalk it up to lawyers being so conservative and resistant to change, but as Keith Lee pointed out, “It’s not that lawyers are anti-technology, it’s that they are anti-bullshit.” Continue reading

Yale Law Dean’s “Default”

They enter with minds full of mush, so what’s a dean to do but speak of them with a mouth full of mush? Yale prawf and deputy dean Ian Ayres has made his choice, and it’s “they.”

With the start of a new school year this fall, I am adopting a new practice. It is already common for my university colleagues and me to ask our students for their preferred pronouns at the beginning of the semester. In these efforts to thoughtfully ascertain how people choose to be described, not enough attention is paid to circumstances when it is most appropriate not to specify gender at all. I would never intentionally misidentify someone else’s gender — but I unfortunately risk doing so until I learn that person’s pronouns. That’s why, as I begin a new school year, I am trying to initially refer to everyone as “they.”

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At The VA, Critical Care and Critical Race

The scope of my involvement with the Veterans Administration was helping my father, a WWII vet, and my father-in-law, a Korean Conflict vet, deal with the bureaucracy. And that was mostly waiting on hold on the phone, which would be a full-time job in some cultures. When a human finally answered, they tended to be helpful and pleasant provided you could dedicate your life to waiting for them. I suspect the hold was no longer or shorter based on a lack of equity.

Yet, the VA, like the rest of government, is under orders to seek and destroy inequity, and so its resources have been diverted from reducing the wait on the phone to listening. Not to vets, per se, but to vets of a certain stripe. Continue reading

The Point Isn’t To Fix The Law, But Murder It

For a while now, progressive activists have done everything they can to demonize the courts, primarily the Supreme Court given that Trump appointed three justices who, they explain, are partisan hacks determined to do their master’s bidding.

But they’ve cranked up the volume to 11 following the denial of injunctive relief in the Texas SB8 case, which proves to the hysterical that they were right all along. Their outrage had been falling a bit flat up to then because they sky kept not falling. Indeed, the courts had been doing a remarkably good job of being courts until then. Continue reading

Covid Rules And Covid Cops

Vaccinations are good, so who could question the decision of New York City’s intrepid mayor in requiring restaurants to only seat people who have been vaccinated? At this point, the assertion that “vaccinations are good” might irk people who either still harbor doubts or drank dewormer because that makes more sense than a vaccine, which we’re reliably informed causes testicles to swell. But that’s the sort of concern that typically takes one’s eye off the sucker punch about to land on the left side of your head.

It began as a simple request that is becoming part of New York’s pandemic routine: A hostess at a popular Italian restaurant on Manhattan’s Upper West Side asked three would-be customers for proof that they had been vaccinated as required for those seeking to dine indoors.

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