Category Archives: Uncategorized

Overcoming Adversity

What’s the point of “adversity”? The Roman poet Horace saw it as an opportunity.

Adversity has the effect of eliciting talents, which in prosperous circumstances would have lain dormant.

Others see it less as a hurdle to overcome and more as a wall that blocks talent from showing itself, from being seen. Everyone loves a success story, a tale of the person who faced adversity and overcame it, but those stories are loved because they’re so very rare and special. Most people facing adversity aren’t quite so special, and if they possess greater talent than their circumstances allow, they are invisible behind that wall. Continue reading

Seaton: Woke Teachers Wonder Where Things Went Wrong

A group of college professors met this week to solve a crucial problem facing academia: why they can’t just teach anymore.

“We gave them trigger warnings on syllabi, safe spaces for disagreeable speakers, and emotional support animals in the classroom,” one professor sobbed. “Now they roam the campus in golf carts, wielding baseball bats to attack us when we don’t cater to their every whim!”

Another looked nervously out a window before adding, “It would’ve been nice if we didn’t have to write a statement each year affirming diversity and inclusion in our classrooms. What the hell does diversity and inclusion have to do with physics?” Continue reading

The Right To Defend (Provided the Government Approves)

The “gay panic defense” never made much sense to me. It seemed inconceivable that any jury would buy it.

A defendant using the defense claims they acted in a state of violent temporary insanity because of unwanted same-sex sexual advances. The defendant alleges to find the same-sex sexual advances so offensive and frightening that it brings on a psychotic state characterized by unusual violence.

Yet, it succeeded on more than a few occasions. It’s a pure play to anti-gay prejudice, plus some junk science, that allowed men to get away with murder. It was, without a doubt, a terrible defense and a terrible reflection of societal prejudice.

And so the statutory eradication of this offense should be cause for celebration, not just by the gay community and its supporters, but by anyone who doesn’t harbor hatred against gay people. And frankly, what the hell do you care what other people do in the privacy of their own room anyway. Continue reading

Destroy The Monster With Law (But Squishier)

Not long after the redacted Mueller Report went public, I had a discussion about whether it reflected “obstruction” with an editor from an online heterodox website. I should have known better, but I did it anyway. The argument was me talking about the legal definition of obstruction, and him arguing that he wasn’t. He was talking about the “ordinary” meaning of obstruction.

Is there such a thing? Can there be? For lawyers, crimes consist of elements, conduct and intent, as proven by evidence. For non-lawyers, they consist of a vague impression of wrongfulness, bolstered by whatever facts are known, or believed to be known, that support the impression that something bad happened. Where there are no facts, they have no qualms about filling the gaps with argument and belief. But what they do not concern themselves with is the use of legal words and concepts, but disconnected from legal meaning and proof.

The editor grew frustrated with my insistent law-talking-guy view. I wasn’t’ “getting” it, that everything wasn’t some hyper-technical legal problem, but a non-lawyer perception that wrongs were happening and, to the non-lawyer, demanded redress. Why couldn’t I just understand that he wasn’t talking about legal “obstruction,” but, you know, common-people “obstruction.” In his head, these were two entirely different things, both equally real, even if only one had actual objective meaning. Continue reading

The Defense Crack

For those who haven’t had enough of the Harvard/Ron Sullivan debacle yet, Randall Kennedy has written an op-ed about Harvard’s disgrace in the New York Times. As a Harvard law professor, he’s moderate in his approach, meaning that the dolts who can’t follow his words, and the dolts who won’t, remain unconvinced. That can’t be helped.

But there is a tangent, deriving from the scenario, that has permeated the unduly passionate minds of the woke that portends deep problems in the future.

MSNBC television personality Chris Hayes, no stranger to empathy he, asked on the twitters:

Vis a vis the latest Harvard story, the question I wrestle with is, as a matter principle, isn’t it sometimes justified to criticize a lawyer for which clients they choose to take on?

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Training Robocop For The Jersey Turnpike

New Jersey has decided to get ahead of the curve, which makes sense given how it’s been unpleasantly far behind for most of its existence. A bill has been approved by the Assembly Law and Public Safety Committee to require the attorney general to create a training program for police to deal with future tech, driverless cars.

The State Attorney General, in consultation with New Jersey’s Transportation Commissioner, would be required to create a training course to prepare law enforcement to interact with autonomous vehicles under a bill (A-4977) approved Monday by the Assembly Law and Public Safety Committee. The legislation’s sponsors, Assembly Democrats Carol Murphy (D-Burlington), Annette Quijano (D-Union) and Raj Mukherji (D-Hudson) released the following joint statement:

It certainly appears that autonomous cars will be here soon, although it’s unclear how soon it will be. There is much to commend them, and much to question. At the moment, the cars aren’t being tested in New Jersey, so it’s not as if they have even a tiny problem dealing with them. Yet. Continue reading

Rep. Shalala Tells Colleges Not To Change

When dreaded Secretary of Education Betsy DeVos withdrew the “Dear Colleague Letter” and its ensuing “guidance,” then issued new regs which were put through the rigors of Notice and Comment as required by law, heads exploded. Providing the accused with minimal due process on campus was tantamount to giving rapists a free ride, activists screamed.

But it begged the question, would any of this matter? Would colleges care what the regs provided, or would they ignore them, continue to apply rules that deprived  males any chance to defend themselves? Absent mandatory language in the regs, or court decisions like Doe v. Baum, who was going to make colleges change?

Appearing at The Atlantic Education Summit, Shalala — who served as president of the University of Miami from 2001 to 2015 — criticized DeVos for her department’s rollback of several Obama-era regulations and guidance documents, including those regarding Title IX. Continue reading

Fine Dining

It was outrageously expensive, even by New York restaurant standards, for Italian. But Del Posto was able to pull it off because it had a celebrity chef at the top, Mario Batali. Had it opened with some other chef, say one by the name of Melissa Rodriguez, the food may well have been good, but it never would have made it. It’s not that there aren’t female celebrity chefs, or that every man-chef is a celebrity, but some chefs managed to become celebrities and others did not. Batali did. Rodriguez did not.

Today, Melissa Rodriguez is the chef of Del Posto, which retains its outrageous prices, but not Batali. New York Times food critic Pete Wells begins his re-review of this previously four-star restaurant with the most critical information about a restaurant possible.

Negotiations took more than a year, but Mr. Batali no longer profits from Del Posto, having sold his stake in March to a group led by his former partner, Joe Bastianich. Employees have said that Mr. Bastianich himself helped, at a minimum, to build the sexist and disrespectful environment in which Mr. Batali operated. Mr. Bastianich has apologized, saying that he had heard Mr. Batali speak inappropriately to employees, and that he should have done more to stop the sexual harassment.

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Tuesday Talk*: Love Thy Neighbor

Just to be clear, I love my neighbors. They’re great people, and we’ve gotten along famously for decades. They respect our privacy and quiet enjoyment. We respect theirs. We dine together a few times a year, and we’ve watched each other’s children grow up. Having great neighbors makes life at home infinitely more enjoyable.

But would I want them to be able to ticket me?

Some D.C. residents may soon be receiving parking tickets from their neighbors.

A pilot program, called the Citizen Safety Enforcement Pilot Program, would allow up to 10 people per ward to dole out citations after receiving some training.

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Justice Breyer Fired The First Shot

It’s one thing to read tea leaves and claim they foretell the future. It’s possible. Maybe even probable, though it takes more than tea leaves to overcome the threshold of possibility and achieve probability. Justice Stephen Breyer’s dissent in Franchise Tax Board of California v. Hyatt may be the piece that pushes fear over the edge.

For UC-Irvine prawf Leah Litman, however, clawing from possible to probable isn’t fearful enough.

The Supreme Court made clear on Monday that Roe v. Wade may soon no longer be the law of the land.

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