Thursday, July 28, 2011

Libertarian commonsense on debt crisis

Click here to see the article by Jeffrey Miron about the debt crisis.

Jeffrey Miron is an economist from MIT and a current lecturer at Harvard. He is libertarian. I found out about him after a friend showed me his article. His non-partisan, practical, point-of-view is fresh and is the type of policy that this country needs.

There is a debt crisis on hand, not a crisis of defaulting which requires us to raise our debt limit, but an actual, omg we are heading in the direction of Greece and economic collapse debt crisis. We have too many long-term promises, too much liability, and not enough revenue, not enough working, value-adding people to pay for it all. This debt crisis, which in the short term is garnering attention by the ploy by Republicans to refuse to raise the debt limit as has been done blindly and without regard for a dozen or so times prior, needs to be fixed sooner or later. The real root of the problem is that entitlement costs are rising too high, and need to be reformed or it will break itself and the country.

The Article:
First, Democrats must accept significant debt reductions, but true debt reductions through the reform of entitlements. The Democrats lack credibility with their ignorant refusal to amend what is clearly broken. Class-warfare is not the correct way to deal with the debt, and will not solve the problem.

Second, Republicans must accept the demise of tax loopholes, which tend to overly benefit the wealthy, and do little for the common people. It hides wealth, is not clear and simple, it is a waste and is part of a solution to streamline and simplify the tax code. Higher taxes may not be good, but tax loopholes are worse.

This balance that Miron strikes, without playing to partisanship, lends him credibility. His ideas logic and sensibility lends his argument strength.

I will definitely be following this author more, & I suggest you do as well.

Tuesday, July 19, 2011

Because She Would Ask Me Why I Loved Her

(Pull out this beauty next time the significant other pulls out the "why do you love me" card when you are least aware!)


by christopher brennan

If questioning would make us wise
no eyes would ever gaze in eyes;
if all our tale were told in speech
no mouths would wonder each to each

were spirits free from mortal mesh
and love not bound by hearts of flesh
no aching breasts would yearn to meet
and find their ecstasy complete.

for who is there that lives and knows
the secret powers by which he grows?
were all knowledge all, what were our need
to thrill and faint and sweetly bleed?

Then seek not, sweet, the "If" and "Why"
I love you now until I die.
For I must love because I live
And life in me is what you give.


(this is one of the best poems I have ever seen, although I am not known to peruse poetry nor would I consider myself a poetry connoisseur, but shit this is good. Also, I've always disliked it when a girl asks why you love her)

Monday, July 18, 2011


Be sure to check out the gingergrumpkin at

Here is a video of me wrestling with the gingergrumpkin in his wrestling alias of Kane Stoke.

Saturday, July 16, 2011

Supreme Court Ends Pro-Business Term With Important First Amendment Rulings | American Civil Liberties Union

Supreme Court Ends Pro-Business Term With Important First Amendment Rulings | American Civil Liberties Union

This article provides a very concise recap of the 2010 Supreme Court term with a little analysis thrown in.

Notable Cases of 2010:
1) Arizona's campaign finance law was struck down, which would basically pay the candidate who earned less so that both candidates earnings and funds would be equal. struck down as a violation of free speech.

2) California banning violent videogames to kids was struck down, kids have 1st Amendment rights as well.

3) Free Speech protects the Westboro Baptist Church in picketing Iraq War veterans funerals with signs blaming their deaths on America's support of homosexuals.

4) In the high stakes Walmart case, the court made it more difficult for employees to get class certified and also upheld a contractual clause forbidding employees from joining a class action suit against their company in AT&T. Pro business and anti-consumer decisions.

5) In Winn, the court made a differentiation between a subsidy and a tax credit, a tax credit is not government support, so can go to causes and uses that a subsidy cannot, such as for religious education as was the present case. Who doesnt love loopholes.

6) In Brown v. Plata, California's prison overpopulation was ruled unconstitutional and they must now release a shit-ton of prisoners, I love this.

Friday, July 15, 2011

Caylee's Law

Casey Anthony was acquitted of first degree murder, second degree murder, and manslaughter, she was found guilty of lying to police officers, that is it. The American public is outraged, they are taking out their anger on the jurors. They are shocked that a woman whose child had died would not report it, lie to police at every step of their investigation, and go out partying during this time. It is atrocious. But we were not in the courtroom, we did not hear the evidence, the decision was not on us. 12 jurors unanimously decided on all these charges. A unanimous decision is not easily come by, this was not a hung jury, this was an acquittal. Although it is hard to believe, we need to step back and understand that the law is not an emotional tool of retribution, it is a careful and deliberate tool of justice meant to uphold the law yet protecting those not found guilty beyond a reasonable doubt. I am thankful that Anthony is acquitted than live in a country where the innocent are locked up arbitrarily or on mere conjecture.

Anthony will live every day with what she did. She may not be in jail, but every night, when she is by herself, and there is no one around her to lie to anymore, just her and her thoughts, she will not be able to escape the truth which she cannot hide. You cannot lie to yourself. She will live with what she did, and that is her punishment, in my opinion.

NOW their is a movement to pass Caylee's Law. Thank god there is a brave person willing to introduce new laws to prosecute people for not acting in a way they believe is upstanding and righteous. This law would make it a crime to not report a missing child within 48 hours. 1) I strongly believe that a person should report their child missing as soon as they know it, 2) I believe that Casey Anthony would have been justly prosecuted by this law had it been in effect when she was charged. However, the law is not a good law.

Just because a person should do something, does not mean it should be criminalized for not doing it. You shouldn't hit your child, you shouldn't smoke cigarettes, you shouldn't cheat on your significant other, but none of these things should be criminalized, none of them should end with the perpetrator in handcuffs being led into a police cruiser. Caylee's case is extreme, and the ensuing outrage naturally makes one want to criminalize what she did, but 99 out of 100 times it will not be the case of Caylee, it will be the mother who did not realize her child was missing for a few days (& do not think that is preposterous, you would be surprised how many parents allow their child to come and go as they please, to stay with neighbors and friends, etc, etc), it will be the well-meaning father who searched for his child with family and friends endlessly, perhaps afraid or wary of calling the police for any number of reasons, who to no avail finds his child, these people would be prosecuted under the law but should not.

Morality and Law are separate, and will not be wed well, they are meant to remain separate, should be kept separate.

Monday, July 11, 2011

Jefferson Quote

Sometimes it is said that man cannot be trusted with the government of himself. Can he, then, be trusted with the government of others?
-- Thomas Jefferson, in his 1801 inaugural address

Sunday, July 10, 2011

Suffolk University Law School

Suffolk Law is a non-top ranked school in Boston, MA. It is in an area overburdened with attorneys (Boston has a higher per capita lawyer ratio than even NYC), and competes with such stalwart  law schools as Harvard, BC, BU, Northeastern as well as New England Law and Roger Williams Law.

I just completed my first year at Suffolk Law and this is what I think of it so far.

Overall, my 1st year of law school was both harder and easier than anticipated. You have everyone tell you how terrible and hard it will be, to forget about even thinking about getting good grades, and how the teachers will be using an arcane Socratic method which will require you to learn everything on your own. The first year is not that bad. It is however difficult. I saw many a girl have a nervous breakdown and start crying. People stopped caring for themselves during finals and would be seen all haggardly, unkempt, unshaven, and otherwise completely disheveled (myself included). I do not normally stress out, and I was stressed, I was more stressed than I have ever been before and I have run a business. It was difficult but entirely do-able, and to be honest it is perfectly possible to get through.

Some people dedicated their entire lives to school. I mean Saturday morning at 8a they are in the library, and during the week they do not leave the library on a daily basis until 9p. They would not go out on weekends. They would spend the two months before finals cooped up studying with singular purpose. That was not me, I cannot do that. I would say I was one of the more laid-back students. I would go to classes in the morning, go back to my apartment then head out to the gym, eat lunch, then go back to the library at around 3-4 for like 5 hours or so, oftentimes less. It was balanced and worked well for my night-owl lifestyle. Not terrible.

Law School is not undergrad, it is not partying, booze, and chilling out all day grilling and in otherways being as useless to society and your self as you can possibly imagine and loving every second of it. Law School is work and it is serious. The people are different as well; in high school a majority of people didn't care, in college a lot of people didn't care, in law school everyone cares, and a majority care way too much.

When you go through your first year of law school, some things happen. 1) You drink a lot more coffee or energy drinks or those 5-hour energy shots or other coffee-equivalents. A lot more. 2) you drink more, or perchance that is just me. 3) You find out what a gunner is. 4) you gain weight (I gained like 20 pounds in my first semester, and that is when I got a gym membership again and got into Crossfit, but that is for another entry). 5) relationships sputter and fail, falling from their skyhigh in a fiery blaze. Most relationships fail, my friends relationship failed, a girl I know who was in a 6 year relationship had that end, my own relationship ended. (I talked to someone though who is still going strong with their significant other, I feel like law school is a very difficult test for a relationship but can make it stronger if it works, if a relationship survives a 1st year than you have a keeper!)

Let me tell you about Suffolk law in particular now instead of generalized 1st year law doom-and-gloom.

First off, lets talk about what is sometimes taboo to talk about. Stats and getting in to Law School. It is not often talked about but it is sought after knowledge and valuable to have and can help with expectations. I was not accepted to any law school better than Suffolk Law, I was offered a 25k a year merit scholarship to New England Law. I went to Bryant University and got a 3.7 there, and got a 158 on my LSAT (btw, Kaplan class I took was great, forced my procrastinating self to study, increased my score about 8 points, I have heard that the Princeton class is not as good, but this is just word of mouth, I do recommend you take a class to improve your score, it is worthwhile). I know a person who did well in undergrad and got a 156 and got accepted to Suffolk Law, another person who got a 160 on LSAT's and did very well (3.7 or better) in undergrad and got a good scholarship to come to Suffolk. I know another person who had below a 3.0 in undergrad and a 168 on the LSAT and got accepted. This is all in reference to the day division by the way.

Suffolk Law has some great teachers and also some terrible teachers. Professor Glannon and Blum are incredible professors. There are also some terrible teachers, and if you ask students they will tell you (cough...Dodd...cough). Greaney, a former MA SJC Justice, teaches criminal law at Suffolk. Overall, the teachers are good. Some classes you will have to teach yourself the material, other classes it will be difficult not to learn it (Glannon is the Man). I did not have a single "mean" teacher, the kind you see in those movies like The Paper Chase. Most teachers did not use the Socratic method, where they basically bounce questions back and forth with students until they figure it out themselves and answer their own questions. As a sidenote, the teachers of Suffolk Law overall have a much higher rating on than other law schools in the area.

Suffolk Law has some advantages over other schools. It is a huge law school, one of the biggest in the country, and so has alumni all over the Boston area, and the courts in the area. Their is a great alumni connection and networking opportunity. However, Suffolk law is not well known outside of the Boston area (excluding RI), so I would not recommend going to Suffolk Law if your ultimate goal is to practice in another market (however, I know a few students who plan on graduating and practicing in NYC and other areas and they are doing fine, one got an internship in NYC). The awesome Professor Blum has created a program for 1st year students called First Year Student Internship Program (FYSIP), where she hooks up like 80 students with an internship with a judge for the summer, which I am currently doing and can say is an awesome opportunity (2 of the judges I work with had Blum as a teacher, and she is well known and regarded in the country, and she loves to teach, great lady). FYSIP is but one example of how Suffolk Law creates opportunities for students.

Law School is graded on a curve, Suffolk Law and most other schools grade on a 3.0, which is a B. The curve has a strange effect on people. It makes people more competitive and sometimes petty, so beware. It also has the side-effect of making it really difficult to gauge how well you are doing. I have never done so bad as I did on my Law School final exams, NEVER have I done so poorly, knew so little, or had to stumble so blindly through an essay answer. Never have I not had enough time to get through so little of what I meant to write. Never have I had to qualify so many statements so many times and in other instances quite simply write "I do not know..." Never have I felt so poorly leaving a test. Yet, that is how it is supposed to be. (espeically prof. Brown's property final, which is the most saddening monstrosity I have ever stood face to face with in my life, whose sole purpose was to obliterate your maligned belief of understanding and comprehension into a million pieces and then shit on those million pieces without even having the decency to pretend it cares what it has done to your poor and mistreated psyche [his test was hard]). Yet in the end, it does not matter how well you did, or how many questions you answered correctly, it only matters how well you did compared to others. If others mucked up, and you mucked up slightly less, congrats.

OK, well after that, let me just say I was planning on taking time off of law school if I scored in the bottom half of my class. I was going to go back to my painting company or look for a job. That is because unlike undergrad, where I was a politics major and loved to study and write my papers and basically go to class, I dreaded law. I found it boring and tedious. Oftentimes I did not find it interesting. It is difficult to work hard on something, it is difficult to wake up early to study, when you do not enjoy what you are studying and doing.

Law practice is very formulaic and strict with rules of writing, form, font, fashion, and citation (the Bluebook is the bane of my very existence and the spawn of Hades himself, placed on earth to waste time and make the world and overall darker place to exist upon). I have trouble writing a paper in the correct size font (I wrote a memo for Legal Practice Skills in the wrong size font and the prof. was not too happy about that), let alone follow the rules of the Bluebook. The rules and format and strictness bothers me. I just want to write what I feel and if I cite it using See or See also is your damn problem.

Also, law in many ways is holding back society, and no that is not harsh. First of all, lawyers are paid way too much (even though I am interning for no money right now, fml). This is because it is a self perpetuating system where the government increases in size and regulates and controls more, more rules means more laws means more complexity means more lawyers and more work. Furthermore, bars to entry such as an undergraduate degree, law degree of three years education or more, LSAT, Bar exam for every state, and an ABA requirement to do anything or even have a school get accredited. The ABA does not let you go to law school fulltime and work more than 20 hours a week. These barriers to entry and licensure laws (read my post on licenses) act as a bar to entry and increase the cost of legal services. Also, the courts create very high stakes, Pennzoil v. Texaco saw Texaco fined for 10.3 BILLION, and forced Texaco to declare bankruptcy. When the law has such power, people will pay big bucks to not lose.

Let me end on a better note. Not all areas of law practice are bad. I want to do something within law which I find exciting and which will do society good, sometimes you need to fight fire with fire, and that is what I hope to do. I am excited to take my second year classes which are more focused to find out what I enjoy. A law degree opens up your options and is an invaluable tool. I hope to use it well.

Friday, July 8, 2011


First off, before I write what I want to here, let me preface it with this disclaimer. I watch MSNBC and FOX news most of the time when getting my news from TV (My favorite news programs are Freedom Watch with Judge Napolitano and Stossel). I do not agree with 95% of what I hear from either network. I watch them because it interests me and helps me understand what the base liberals and base conservatives believe and are arguing. It is a peek into the political machine and what they want the masses to believe and where the want to shape the conversation towards. Just because I am about to rail on MSNBC does not mean I blindly follow and grovel to Fox 'n friends. Too often people make the mistake when I am making a rational argument to become defensive, and start attacking the typical position a person opposed to their ideas would follow (True Example: When I argued the debt ceiling created a great opportunity to take action to lower the national debt and make real change, my liberal friend defended saying "well, we need to cut defense spending too!!!, I agree with that, it was an assumption and wrong, and often done, it is a red herring/attack of character, it is a fallacious argument to make). With this disclaimer, let me say MSNBC tonight is ridiculous!

A new economic unemployment report came out, and the employment statistics are miserable! I believe only about 24k jobs were created. That is not even on pace with the growth in population. This is but another sign that the current governmental plan of Keynesian inspiration to restart the economy is failing. It failed for FDR and put us into the greatest recession this country has ever known, and Obama is looking to have the same mistake happen again (we must learn from history or we are bound to repeat it!). But that is neither here nor there, the point I want to make is MSNBC's response to this news.

There are a number of responses to this news, a news organization could talk about the plight of the unemployed, about businesses moving overseas (human stories and sensational stories), they could talk about the reasons behind why the unemployment is going up, whether they were to blame it on Bush (the cliche and in thing to do nowadays [sometimes rightful sometimes not]), or blame it on Obama, or simply make an economic argument between Keynesian and free-market economics. You could talk about the impact of this news on the upcoming Presidential contest, or its effect on the ongoing debate regarding the debt ceiling. All of the above are expected and educational (in different ways) ways for a news organization to present this information.

What did MSNBC do!? MSNBC spent their time on Chris Matthews and Last Word with O'Donnel talking about how the Republican Presidential Nominees all released statements that they were glad that unemployment is up! (their statements were blaming the dismal economic numbers on Obama). MSNBC argued that they are happy that it is down and that they benefit from it. Chris Matthews posed a question to Michael Steele (former RNC chairman) along the lines of "Is it right for the Republican Nominees to take joy in the plight of the poor and unemployed?" (Michael Steele by the way did a great job on the show standing up for what he believed in and not allowing the other people to push him over, admirable job Steele!)

What is ridiculous about this is that a) the Republicans are more likely to get elected if the economic indicators are bad, this is a political fact, and the Republicans are going to use it, as Democrats would in a similar position, and as I believe was used against Bush when the economy was sputtering. It is a political fact and to make it out into a story is a hypocritical lie and points fingers and highlights what is unimportant, it is a distraction from real problems our country faces! Second, they are obviously not glad people are suffering, but they believe the country will be better and more people will have jobs under their plan, or at a minimum want to offer an alternative plan then Obama's, which is a better sell when the shit is hitting the fan.

Give us real news damn it.

2nd disclaimer: I wrote this too quickly and just tried a new drink mix which did not work so may have affected my writing, it is called the FireMeister and it tastes terrible, it is too syrupy and strong. 1 part Jagermeister, 1 part Fireball Whiskey, splash of cola, ice. NOT GOOD!

Sunday, July 3, 2011


"The great enemy of the truth is very often not the lie -- deliberate,
contrived and dishonest, but the myth, persistent, persuasive, and
unrealistic. Belief in myths allows the comfort of opinion without the
discomfort of thought."  JFK