Tuesday, September 29, 2009

They Want to End Immunity Day!

Ok, so the headline's a little sensational, but I'm kind of keyed up about this. At their next meeting, the faculty will discuss the pros and cons of Immunity Day, and may ultimately decide not to participate in the future. SBA has been asked to prepare an Immunity Day report, but our elected student representatives will not be allowed to present it to the faculty, or even be available to answer questions. The students and the charities Immunity Day benefits may lose out without an opportunity to speak in our own defense. Please read on for details, and tell your professors why Immunity Day should stay.


If you attend Baylor Law, you know that the Student Bar Association's big fundraiser is something called Immunity Day. You basically pay $5 or $10 bucks per class, and then you don't get called on during the eponymous Day. In the past we've given between $5000 and $7000 each to CASA, Caritas of Waco, Toys for Tots, and a number of other local charities. We've also partnered with Carter Blood Care, and let students chose to give blood for immunity instead of pay. Traditionally there's been a "party" at a local establishment the night before Immunity Day, but all the money we raise goes to the chosen charity--not to fund the party.

Of course, professors willing to offer immunity for charity are vital to the effort. But apparently, some Baylor Law professors want to end the philanthropic tradition. I've spoken with a few of them, and the main reasons seem to be (1) We hold too many Immunity Days (once a quarter); (2) Immunity Day is a lazy way to raise money; (3) Immunity Day doesn't make a difference; (4) We should be planning the kind of big fundraisers other law schools put on; and (5) The money goes to fund a party.

I'm always one to give faculty the benefit of the doubt, but this time their assumptions are way off base. We've already addressed the outlandish notion that SBA is using charitable contributions to throw a party (that one's a little insulting). And you've seen the numbers (almost $20,000 donated in the last year), so that's all that's needed rebut the idea that Immunity Day doesn't make a difference. But I'm really confused by the thought that SBA could be doing more, or holding a different kind of event to raise the funds we give to our beneficiary organization. The same professors who complain that Immunity Day is a drain on student's study time seem to argue that we should pull out all the stops to plan golf tournaments, or date auctions, or whatever other fundraisers their alma maters put on. Many of us (myself included) came to Baylor for the rigorous academics and advocacy training, especially the PC program. But the same faculty who tout Baylor's academic rigor in the recruitment materials don't seem to understand the consequences of such a tight focus. For example, Baylor has no established legal outreach clinic--all our student legal aid is ad hoc, because the 3Ls that normally participate in such things are in PC. And Baylor students are primarily represented by 2Ls, becasue the 3Ls who normally represent law students as Student Bar Association President, Texas Bar Representative, and American Bar Representative are all in PC. So if the upper third of our student body doesn't have the time for these pursuits, we're supposed to ask them to take more time off to sit in a fundraising booth, or make calls to alumni? If they've got a better fundraiser concept that interferes less with our studies, I'll propose it to the SBA myself.

Baylor is about hard work, and very little play. That's A-OK, and the main reason I'm here. Is one day a quarter, one day that does so much good for so many needy people, really that much to ask? I think not. Talk to your professors, let them know how you feel, and ask them to at the very least give us a chance to speak to the faculty.

Tuesday, September 22, 2009

Mentat

It is by will alone I set my mind in motion. -Mentat mantra, Frank Herbert's Dune.

I had the strangest hallucination as I poured over an Admin Law brief a few moments ago (at 3:30 am).  No, "hallucination" implies something that's not there--this definitely happened. As I read a citation-laden passage, suddenly "a thousand points of law" started shooting around in my brain. Each seemed to move independently, but I could detect the ley lines connecting them all almost imperceptibly. In that moment, everything made sense. I saw the Matrix. I was The Law. I could have successfully argued anything--that the Legislature intended we all wear flip-flops to work, or that the 1st Amendment contains a super-secret cheesemakers' clause.

Then, as quickly as it came, Law-vana vanished. I was left with only the words of the deranged Mentat I had so recently been:

"It is by will alone I set my mind in motion.
It is by the juice of Saphu that thoughts acquire speeds,
that lips acquire stains, that stains become a warning.
It is by will alone I set my mind in motion."

Perhaps the coffee version is more apt tonight:

"It is by caffeine alone I set my mind in motion.
It is the beans of Java that thought acquire speed,
that hand acquire shakes, that shakes become a warning.
It is by caffeine alone I set my mind in motion."

Oh well, back to work. Let's hope the final brief doesn't reek of "crazy nerd."

Monday, September 21, 2009

Baby Mama

We saw this morning on the Today Show that a couple who went in for in vitro fertilization (IVF) had the wrong embryo thawed out and implanted in the wife's womb. Wowsers! Enormous lawsuit aside, doesn't this raise some eyebrows about the whole IVF process? We don't have kids and we haven't tried yet, but it seems to me that if you are having trouble with the 5th kid, as this lady was, maybe you shouldn't be at the clinic in the first place. This isn't China, and I certainly don't think we should be telling people how many kids to have. But with so many babies out there needing adoption do we really need more rich folks buying pregnancies they couldn't work out on their own? Don't forget that every trip to the IVF clinic results in not just one implantable embryo, but many. That's a lot of potential life that gets tossed out. Thoughts?

Friday, September 18, 2009

Today is Gift

This NY Times article, titled "The Referendum," was sent to me by a friend today - it is a great testament to Master Oogway's quote from Kung Fu Panda:

"You are too concerned about what was and what will be. There is a saying: yesterday is history, tomorrow is a mystery, but today is a gift. That is why it is called the present."

Quote from article: "We only get one chance at this, with no do-overs. Life is, in effect, a non-repeatable experiment with no control."

Thursday, September 17, 2009

Zyrtec Is For Crazy People

So Zyrtec has been running these commercials for a while that really creep me out. They're basically heartfelt soliloquies from sad lonely people to their pets and household items, in which the shut-ins blame their problems on allergies. The one below runs starts with "Dear bicycle..." and ends with "...and that's where they found me, up to my knees in pig stomachs, humming the theme from Little House on the Prairie."

I wish I could have found the cat one. Whoever Zyrtec hired to write these things thought this line would sell meds: "Dear Cat, gentle cat. Your hair mixes with pollen in the air, so I have to put you out in the garden." Seriously, that's what it says. That's not a sales pitch, that's the muttered ramblings of a lady named Mabel who used to sing back up for Gene Autry. (I really know a lady who sang back up for Gene Autry, but her name wasn't Mabel...and she was way too smart to fall for this Zyrtec bull.)

UPDATE: D found the cat commercial at some site called jezebel.com. One look at that page will tell you why I avoided it in the Google results and susequently missed finding the video.


A Point of Parliamentary Procedure


All the media hype from Congressman Joe Wilson's outburst has prompted me to reevaluate the culture of our legislative body. True, his faux pas was in poor taste and form...but in the grand scheme of things, was it really that bad? When did Congress become so stuffy? As an elected representative, is it not his job to speak up as the voice of his district? And just prior to his accusatory statement, Dems had been standing, clapping, and cheering - so clearly, Congress doesn't expect members to sit quietly during a presidential speech. By reprimanding Wilson, are we setting a precedent of allowing only positive speech towards the president? Have we digressed to the 1700's age of tyranny? Granted, his outburst was rude, but how can we as a free nation legitimately say that his action (although not favorable) was inherently wrong?

I would like to see more First Amendment freedom expressed on the floor. Remove some of the pomp and circumstance/safety blanket that restricts members from expressing dissent. In the least, it might help revive Americans' interest/involvement in the process. For example, the British Parliament thrives with heated debate. It is a well attended, alive body. However, during day-to-day proceedings in Congress, members are often alone in the chamber delivering pre-written monologues rather than engaging in an actual debate.

There used to be duels and walking cane beatings in Congress over hot-button issues! I believe there is a direct correlation between the lack of passion in our leaders to the lack of passion within the American people.

Aside: While writing this post, the "Oliver Cromwell" song from Monty Python is playing in my head...coincidence?

Go to the mattresses, Congress!

Fall

Fall reminds me of the East.
The crisp cool is out of place here, otherworldly and mysterious.
Fall is leaves drifted on a gothic mantlepiece,
ocher and russet reflections of the fire in a dark Philadelphia bar.
Fall is camping in Gettysburg,
woodsmoke and pipesmoke drifting and lingering like spirits.
Fall is the burning Shenandoah,
Harper's Ferry, apple picking, and Great Falls.
Fall is Boston,
Italian food and a gale on the Freedom Trail.
Fall in the East is the ebb of life,
preparation for slumber and a slowing heartbeat.
Fall here is a brief return to life,
a last trumpet of green storms driven ahead by impotent winter.
Fall reminds me of the East, and sets my thoughts wandering.

Wednesday, September 16, 2009

We're Going to Candy Mountain, Charlie

Come hither blog readers! Jesse and I have formed a joint blog of epic proportions, titled: The Davis Firm. And I will be updating starting after now exclusively on the new blog. I am not guaranteeing that it's not a magical blog, but I'm pretty sure you won't end up losing a kidney. What more motivation do you need?

Classic:

Moving Day!

Hear ye, hear ye! "Self-Infliction" heeded the words of the Great Owl and has moved its house to the lee of the stone. No, Jenner, you are not invited.

So what this really means is that D and I now have a new joint blog (http://thedavisfirm.blogspot.com/), which incorporates all your past "Self-Infliction" and "Paperless Mache Project" favorites! We've got Baylor Law Hogwarts! We've got Baby Sasquatch! We've even got D's post from just this morning, and the post you are reading right now! Trippy!

So update your readers and blogrolls, kiddies--there's a (kinda) new game in town.

Websurdity Wednesday: Perry, Okra, and Twitter Crisis

As Jesse is revisiting his series (SFW) today, I too felt inspired to publish an edition of Websurity Wednesday. I am issuing the following awards today:

1. Most Inappropriate News Title: goes to NPR.com for "Open Your Mind (And Your Mouth) To Okra"
*the opening line of the article, "I have a wonderful relationship with okra, but it didn't start out that way." - gross.

2. Best Social Commentary on the Ridiculousness of Social Commentary During a Crisis Situation: goes to Lore Sjoberg for his most recent Alt Text on Wired.com
*kudos for exposing extra ridiculousness: "Two Australian girls, lost in a storm drain, recently used their cellphones to update Facebook to alert people about their predicament rather than calling emergency services. Some reports indicate they also took the time to complete a 'Which Smurf Are You Quiz,' and got the result 'Dangerously Oblivious Smurf.'"

3. Best Rick Perry Exposed Expose: goes to The Austin Statesman in a tie for "You can't confuse Rick Perry" and "Herman: Talk about boots on the ground - Rudy comes to Texas to stump for Rick"
*Confusion: "Throw a dime in a jar every time Perry says 'first and foremost' or tells you what 'the fact of the matter' is and you’ll have enough for a steak dinner before too long. But Perry’s favorite rhetorical tool of all time may be declaring that he, and the people of Texas, are not easily confused."
*Boots: "Hey, boys and girls, it's 'The Rick and Rudy Show,' the madcap antics of a GOP odd couple. One's for abortion and gay rights, the other isn't. One has a great head of hair, the other also has a head."

Enjoy!

SFW: Stout Claim, Wendy's

Seems like we're due for an SFW (Scenes From Waco) installment. I've got a camera phone now, so hopefully we can keep them rolling.
At left observe Wendy's promise to satisfy all prior failings with their Boneless Buffalo Wings. At least 19 suicides in the Waco area have been attributed to this sign, most notably among married men.

Thursday, September 10, 2009

Not Just for Old Men

In continuation of my apparent peanut gallery series on Drudge articles...

According to a Hitwise News and Media Category Weekly Report, the #1 search term in the US is "weather". With my degree in communications, I find it interesting how our old world culture of "talking about the weather" has transitioned into the faceless internet realm. Just as Samuel Johnson noted, "It is commonly observed, that when two Englishmen meet, their first talk is of the weather," we are still equally concerned with the ongoings of weather patterns - enough to communicate our interest out into the web abyss.

Also of worthy note on the search term report:

#8: unexplained phenomenon
#9: man slaps child
#14: chupacabra

Good to know where our national concerns and interests lie.

Friday, September 4, 2009

Fashion: H1N1 v. Sith

One of the stories on Drudge today (headlined as: The H1N1 look hits Barcelona runways...), features this photo:

However, after viewing the entire gallery from the fashion show, I think we should be more concerned about the Sith invasion:























Beware: the force is strong with this one.



Tuesday, September 1, 2009

Snow White and the 7 X-Men?

Bam! Pow! Nooooooooo! Just as Marvel has introduced most of it's big name characters in feature films (successfully, except for Hulk and Daredevil) and alluded to future Avenger films and sequels, they sell out to Disney?! For some reason, the thought of Mickey Mouse saying, "Why, hello there Wolverine" or seeing teenagers wearing Iron Man or Spiderman mascot costumes at Disney theme parks makes me want to vom. Although, Disney might see this as their ticket into the recently popular vampire phenomenon with Marvel's Blade series:

"Vampires...I'll limit myself to observing that with the increasing popularity of vampires, we're on the verge of the unicorn syndrome all over again. If it hasn't happened already, in a few months look for airbrushed posters of sad vampires in Wal-Marts everywhere, and in a decade look for female college students saying to each other 'Were you into vampires when you were nine? Me too! We were such dorks!' "

It begins. Nothing says "Magical World of Disney" better.