Posted by: bridget | 12 December 2007

Miscellanea/Open Comment Thread

Random diversion from the usual pretentious, third-person blogging:

It’s Christmastime.  Yay! It’s also finals time.  Boo. :(

The latter obliterates the joy of the former.  I’m not in Massachusetts, decorating the tree with my super-adorable little siblings; I’m not shopping for presents; I’m not going to parties, drinking eggnog, or doing much of anything except outline while gnawing on candy canes.  It’s really not Christmas until I’ve heard my fill of Beach Boys songs (with the occasional Snoopy’s Christmas or Stevie Wonder thrown in), sub-zero weather (okay, I’m not complaining about the 70-degree days, but, due to finals, my enjoyment of it was limited to the fact that I did not develop frostbite whilst changing my oil this morning), and baked goods.  That happens, starting on the 20th. 

The law school is kind enough to provide free coffee during exams.  It’s really sweet – except, of course, for the fact that we don’t have any choice but to drink coffee and study until the wee hours of the morning.  Yours truly hasn’t taken a law school exam (or done anything for a grade, actually) since April 2006.  Little weirded out by getting back into the swing of things. 

The highlight of the semester, academically, was winning Comment of the Semester in comp. con law.  Explanation is below the fold.

Kvetching aside, I’m not fish food.  My dad isn’t fish food.  We were both almost fish food after a swimming mishap in September.  (It involved, in my dad’s words, “Boneheaded fun.”  It almost turned into one or both of us out in open ocean, with no means of getting to land.)  Thankfully, this will be a normal Christmas season*.

Tammi has several posts about the Colorado shootings, the tragedy that happened, and the tragedy that was averted.  There are certainly families whose lives are better for Jeanne Assam’s bravery. 

In comp. con law/free expression, we discussed the justifications for free expression generally, and a free press, specifically.  The class decided that a lot of this is political (necessary for the existence of a society free from government tyranny, etc).  My professor (hello, Prof., if you are one of my blog-stalkers) said:

“That doesn’t tell us why we protect The National Enquirer as free speech.  What does Britney Spears have to do with politics?  or these stories about homerun records and baseball players who are on steroids? or these plainly false stories about space aliens that land in West Virginia?”

The Barry Bonds issue went into Congressional hearings.  Heck, the SD Federalist Society put on a Barry Bonds/drug use/federalism event!

Me: “Those things are not always political at first, but may become political as the citizenry decides to take action.  For example, after the Barry Bonds scandal that you  mentioned and the associated public outcry, Congress held hearings on the use of steroids in professional sports.  We protect speech that is not necesssarily political at the onset, but may become political as the people decide to make it so.”
Prof.: “Well, I agree with you on the baseball issue.  But that does not tell us why we give Constitutional protection to stories about Britney Spears getting married in Vegas, or UFOs landing in West Virginia.  What possible justification is there for allowing people to print things about aliens?  What political issue is possibly involved with UFOs?”
Me, deadpan: “National defence.”



  1. ROTFL!

  2. I am glad to hear you avoided being fish food. I still hope to see you as chief justice some day.

    I was wondering though, if your super adorable little siblings are still super adorable when you are actually decorating the tree with them.

    I once put my little brother in the kitchen trash can. He got out though.

  3. When do you finish your finals? Tieki flies home today! She should be landing in Denver any minute now. From there she has about an hour and 15 more minutes to go. :)

    Well … she has to lay over in Denver for a couple hours before flying onto WY.

  4. I just had my labor law final today. Congratulate me at your leisure.

    Re: first amendment. I think the political conception of the freedom of speech is too narrow. I assume you already agree. If you don’t, say why. Then I will convince you. :)

  5. Kelly – glad you liked my random story. :)

    SST – I’ll have to blog about the fish food story, although I don’t think it translates well to words.

    There’s a story about why your brother wound up in the trash can, and I want to hear it. :)

    Tammi – the 20th. :( I’ll be home the 21st or the 22nd. Thinking of detouring through Philly, hitting King of Prussia, and doing all of my Christmas shopping in a day.

    Ian – Congratulations. :)

    I agree that the political conception of free speech is too narrow… but it was there to argue. It was like waving yarn in front of a cat.

    You can certainly justify free expression on political grounds, and then allow almost all expression (due to the fact that policing what is political and not political is just asinine), but that is a different thing from viewing free expression as a solely political matter.

  6. We got free pancakes at night during finals week. Always a joy. I didn’t drink coffee then but I assume it was also available.

    The shootings were terrible. I live in the Springs where one of them happened. The woman who ended the rampage was a hero. So much for pure pacifism.

  7. Just shoveled a whole bunch of the white stuf your heart longs for. Good luck with all your finals etc. and best wishes.

  8. Chance,

    Ooohhh… that would be neat. I didn’t drink coffee much until law school, but I usually went to a 24-hour Dunkin Donuts in Cambridge to get caffeine, donuts, and a quiet place to study.


    The ‘rents told me that the snow is falling like… well, snow. Apparently, there’s a lot of it. I’ll have to cave and put my snow tires on my Volvo before heading back up to MA for winter break.

    Happy shoveling. :) I must say, I like snow a lot more when someone else shovels it. My dad thinks that shoveling builds character and refused to buy a snowblower… despite having a driveway large enough for half-court basketball. Sigh.

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