Wednesday, March 26, 2008

NLJ headline: Canadian law schools adopting J.D. degree designation

I got this headline in my inbox this morning. Great. It will be just like what happened with the dollar; the Canadian one will be worth more than the American one.

Tuesday, March 18, 2008

Photos of Thailand

So here, finally, are some photos we took on our recent trip to Thailand. It is an amazing country filled with friendly people and some awe-inspiring Buddhist temples. Below you will find some pictures of some Wats in both Bangkok and Chiang Mai, a trek we went on in Chiang Mai, and a butterfly garden. Enjoy!

Of Firearms and the "F-bomb"

In Supreme Court news, cases involving guns and Nicole Richie; unfortunately not the same case.

Today, the Court will hear oral argument in District of Columbia v. Heller, case no. 07-290, the Court will look at a Second Amendment challenge to D.C.'s ban on hand guns. The Court has not conclusively interpreted the "right to keep and bear arms" in a long time EVER. Might the Court have the Second Amendment in its sights, or will the Court shoot down the ban? Stay tuned for an update and more bad puns.

I, for one, wish that this case was not going up before the Supreme Court with its current composition. I hope the justices feel safer in D.C. knowing that they will be making it ok to tote around hand guns.
UPDATE from Scotusblog based on oral argument:

The Supreme Court’s historic argument Tuesday on the meaning of the Constitution’s Second Amendment sent out one quite clear signal: individuals may well wind up with a genuine right to have a gun for self-defense in their home

Yesterday, the Court granted cert in FFC, et al. v. Fox Television Stations, et al., a case involving current FCC policy regarding so-called "fleeting expletives," called the "Bono doctrine" after a 2004 incident in which U2's Bono said on NBC that winning a Golden Globe was "really, really f---ing brilliant." The Bono doctrine, a marked change in FCC policy, makes broadcasters liable even when the offensive words are a complete surprise. This particular challenge involves

two incidents in which celebrities used profanity during the Billboard Music Awards. In 2002, Cher told the audience: "People have been telling me I'm on the way out every year? So f--- 'em." The next year, Nicole Richie said: "Have you ever tried to get cow s--- out of a Prada purse? It's not so f---ing simple." (The Nielsen Co. owns Adweek and Billboard.)

Article from Adweek.

Fox challenged the FCC's decision that they should be held liable. Fuckin' A.

Monday, March 17, 2008


"Fixes," or fixed gear bicycles have become an essential accessory to hipsters nationwide, on par with ironic tees and a taste for PBR and bands you're not cool enough to know. And San Francisco is no exception. One would think San Francisco would be an exception, considering that NOT having brakes or gears would put one at a distinct disadvantage when tackling the city's famous hills. Nevertheless, they are everywhere. And it is no longer just the specialists who know how to ride them out there on the streets.

Now, I understand why bike messengers have them. The financial district is fairly flat, and having no gears and brakes makes a bike a lot easer and cheaper to maintain, as well as making it less of a target for bike thieves.

But as a commuter? I'll admit they look cool, and I'll also admit, that surprisingly, you can actually make it through SF without hitting a lot of big hills (thank you whoever invented "the wiggle"). But if all you're looking for is street cred with fellow skinny jeans-wearing academy of art students, maybe you should think twice. Not having brakes on Market Street sounds like a really really bad idea.

I thought I would share this craigslist ad I found. Hilarious.

Fixed Gear Death Trap - $350

Reply to:
Date: 2008-03-16, 6:34PM PDT

I'm selling a complete fixed gear. It is totally ready to ride and will probably kill you.

I pushed it into a bike shop recently to have the rear wheel trued. At the bottom of my receipt it read, 'My advice, get a new bike.' So, I am. And maybe you are too! He was reserved enough not to use the words 'death' or 'trap,' but I'm not!

The frame is probably an old Raleigh that could have been worth something. It's rattlecanned and chipping rapidly. The paint is almost completely gone where my car's bike rack grips. There are, however, parts of the bike that are still entirely painted.

Looking a little deeper, the headset is completely fucked. Unless you can ride a unicycle, you can't ride this bike with no hands. I'm expecting something terrible to happen in the headset in the next few rides that will pitch me onto the pavement. For the right price, this could be you!

Also, the pedals were never supposed to house toe cages. So, the cages are kind of ruined and inoperable. Sometimes when I'm skidding, my front foot will almost slip out and I'll get all wobbly before righting myself. During these moments, my eyes are usually plate-wide with terror. This could be your terror!

There are still front and rear brakes installed, because it was always kind of a half-assed conversion. These could definitely be removed, though. The bike shop guy even tightened up the rear brakes for me. You could be the only fixie rider in SF with fully functional rear brakes.

But the brake cables are also completely shot, so I wouldn't count on it.

The handlebar tape is falling off and one of the plugs is missing.

Also, I don't remember what kind of cranks are on it but the pedals are super long. Every now and then when you're riding they slam off the ground and get more ruined. Again, there's some aspect of terror here.

The gear ratio is 52/20. The rear tire is flat and the Presta valve is broken off.

This bike is what my brother affectionately refers to as a 'time bomb.' Why? Because there's no track hub or cog. Actually, there's a freewheel with loctite in it. So far, I've been able to learn how to ride fixed on this setup without it falling apart. But someday it will. And when it does, someone is going to get fucking screwed.

I paid $80 for it 8 months ago in Buffalo. Considering we're in San Francisco, the asking price is $350. I think that's only fair.

Thursday, March 13, 2008

Why Did I Come Back From Thailand?

I've had a few disturbing things happen around me over the last week, and the only common component to these two stories is the San Francisco Police Department.

Incident #1
I walk out of my apartment last friday, only to hear loud banging coming from an upstairs apartment. I look down the stairs to the front door of our building, and I see it is propped open and there are two cop cars parked outside. Then, I hear more banging coming from upstairs, and then (presumably the cop) saying "you called us, let us in!" I decide I don't want to have anything to do with this and casually and ever so gingerly HAUL ASS out of my building. After talking with my neighbors later, I find out what has happened.

Turns out one of our neighbors has been subletting his own room (in addition to the other bedroom) to foreigners who don't know any better, and then sleeps on the couch. He demands rent up front and actually hangs out in what would be his own room until 1 am before letting the sub-leasee in to go to bed. I guess the last batch of foreigners decided to not put up with his stuff, and my neighbors response was to move all of their shit to a hotel in the tenderloin while they weren't home and then change the locks. For those of you who aren't from SF, the tenderloin is one part of the city to put this...a part of the city that has successfully resisted gentrification. Or, to quote Dave Chapelle, "There ain't nothin' tender about that muthafucka!"

Holy Shit, right? But it doesn't stop there.

One of the sub-leasees returns to the building to get back the rent money that he has pre-paid, and unsurprisingly, my neighbor won't let him in. The sub-leasee insists. My neighbor calls the cops. My neighbor won't let the sub-leasee or the cops in. My neighbor tries to keep them out with a knife. He is arrested and goes to the pokie for the weekend. This is the scuffle I heard.

The entire building is wondering whether our landlord will kick him out. I think attempted assault would arise to a breach of the covenant of quiet enjoyment, but then again, I don't do landlord tenant stuff so wtf do I know. I think if nothing else the landlord would be motivated by the fact that the neighbor is living under rent control.

Incident # 2
On my way home from work yesterday, there was a belligerent drunk on the N-Judah. No real surprise there. But he sat on the steps, making everyone who was trying to either get on or get off the train go around him. These steep stairs are treacherous enough without an additional inebriated obstacle. When someone commented that he was in the way, the drunk unleashed a few elbow jabs to passengers getting off the train, and then a tirade of profanity that lasted for about 10 minutes. I don't know what he said since I had my Ipod in (listening to "the Black Kids" I might add, which adds a degree of foreshadowing here) but it was enough to make the jaded SF people around me look like miffed puritans so it must have been pretty bad.

So at the stop at Carl and Cole, which is heavily trafficked, some passenger had had enough, put his foot on the drunk man's back and sort of push-kicked him off the train. Then the passenger ran off. When the drunk turned around, all he saw were a bunch of blank stares as the rest of us glared at him from inside the train. The drunk then decides that this one man, who had nothing to do with the push-kick, did in fact have something to do with the push-kick, and started throwing punches at him, and then threw some at the rest of us too.

This other guy, who was African American, then stepped up and made sure that the drunk did not get back on the train and hurt anyone. Then someone called the cops. The drunk, the African American who helped ward off the drunk, and the rest of us go up to the cops.

Who was the first person the cops tried to restrain? You guessed it! The BLACK GUY! I couldn't believe it. Here was this drunk white guy missing teeth rambling on and on about god knows what, not to mention the 9 or so other people from the train who were explaining what had happened, and they just kept on questioning THE BLACK GUY. To their credit, the cops did seem to sort things out eventually, but it was just disturbing that the default response was "restrain the black guy."

Also, kudos to all you other N-Judah riders who (I'm sure were just as excited to be going home after work as I was ) stuck around to make sure that the cops got their story straight.

Tuesday, March 04, 2008

California Supreme Court Hears Oral Argument in Gay Marriage Cases

I only watched the first part, but the (3 hour!!) oral argument is available from local TV affiliate KTVU here:

The part I watched was well argued by the woman representing the city and county of SF.

The state mostly relies on the fact that there was a law passed in the seventies limiting marriage to opposite sex couples and a ballot measure passed 8 years ago that said the state will only recognize opposite-sex marriage. As such, they argue, it should be up to the voters, not the judiciary, to change things. Better route than actually trying to go to the merits, I would say.

I guess we'll know which way it will go June, as the California Supreme Court has 90 days to figure this out.