found/learn-ed things...

Friday, November 08, 2002  

Laptop debate:

and waddling thunder have been (recently) debating the use of laptops in the classroom. I'm not sure I'll want to take that step, as I seem to learn better by writing than by typing. However, I have a related dilemma: I'm an apple user. The midwestern school (henceforth to be referred to as "the School") is about to install a college-wide wireless network. I don't have an airport card installed, and I'm assuming that even if I did the network would still be unaccessible to me. So, I can ignore my inability to use the net on campus and stick with the pretty, white ibook, or will I need some sort of instant access to online databases? I'm not sure I'm ready to do the reverse switch. I think the college will retain a desktop-based computer lab in the building, so this question is specifically geared toward my needing a PC-based laptop. (And for any, er, intense PC users out there, keep in mind that my Word files work on PCs, too, so this is purely a networking question.)


posted by elle | Friday, November 08, 2002 |

and the saga continues:
Lord of the Peeps: Fellowship of the Peeps
(and thanks to Very Big Blog for the link)

need a good insult?
Try the Shakespearean insult generator.

news from the lawschool end:
I received a postcard yesterday from my midwestern school (the only one to which i have applied, incidentally) informing me that my application is complete. Decisions are made on a rolling basis, and I should be notified in late December, early January. This is slightly later than what I was told by an admissions counselor. Either way, I'll update my status when I know something.

posted by elle | Friday, November 08, 2002 |

Thursday, November 07, 2002  

A new blog from the legislative/academic end of things:
article one

posted by elle | Thursday, November 07, 2002 |

Morality vs. Nonmorality policies
In a Nov. 6 column, Dick Morris argues that "Candidates who focus on the economy, particularly from center/left parties, end up losing elections, while those who orient their campaigns around values issues usually prevail."

This distinction between morality and non-morality policies is actually a pretty fascinating area, one that is becoming more popular at least among policy academics. Morality policies, as the name would suggest, include issues like the death penalty, drug use, child abuse and abortion. The issues are relatively easy to understand. Citizens' opinions on morality issues are typically dualistic; either someone is for it, or someone is agin' it. There is rarely middle ground, and thus little room to compromise. By contrast, non-morality issues typically involve technical policy, including budgetary and regulatory issues. Expertise is key here, and policy movement can be incremental from year to year. Within the legislative arena, deliberation on technical issues involves "experts" in the policy, including agency and interest group representatives.

If Morris' prediction is correct -- and many scholars would no doubt agree with him -- then candidates choose to discuss easy/morality/valence issues because they are easiest for citizens to understand. Citizens don't need to (or, at least, they usually don't) gather information about morality issues; they generally just "know" how they feel about them, i.e. abortion is bad, the death penalty is necessary, child abuse is appalling. Taking a strong stand on these issues seems to signal to citizens that the candidate is an upstanding guy/gal who has the best interests of the country at heart.

The problem is that legislators are not terribly good arbitrators of morality issues. The legislative process is usually organized to provide policy experts the opportunity to work with public officials in crafting coherent public policy. While extreme stances may be suggested, compromise is a norm. Policymaking may be incremental in order to keep up with movements in the particular industry. Morality policies, on the other hand, share none of these characteristics, which may have problematic consequences for legislative institutions. Legislators have difficulty in making the legislative process -- which again is organized to permit the sharing of knowledge -- accomodate morality policies -- which are typically not about "information," but rather about "values."

If morality issues win elections, the next step might be for candiates to frame non-morality issues as morality issues. Going to war against Iraq is framed, for example, not just as a strategic action taken to prevent terrorism or the use of nuclear weapons against the U.S., but as a moral imperative (and the moral imperative sound bites became louder as the election neared). Our actions in Afghanistan were framed in a similar manner. If this trend continues, the question becomes how (or whether) our political institutions (can) adapt to the changing policy environment.

posted by elle | Thursday, November 07, 2002 |

Oh-so-accurate: Weyant cartoon from "The Hill."

posted by elle | Thursday, November 07, 2002 |

while in the midst of this conservative state, i ran into three people yesterday that each suggested they were depressed about yesterday's election results. i believe the words "i wanted to wear black today" were involved. i can't say that i was happy about the gop winnings, but i wasn't all that surprised, either. mcauliffe's democratic party failed completely to put forth an inspiring, progressive policy platform that would bring support to dem candidates or, at the least, bring dem voters to the polls. i'm already cynical about the lax democratic party establishment in this state, but i suppose there was not enough difference between the state's conservatism on monday and its conservatism on wednesday to make me feel any worse...what did they expect to happen?

posted by elle | Thursday, November 07, 2002 |

Wednesday, November 06, 2002  

i came across a post today by a man who'd gotten what he called an "abysmal" score on his LSAT. it's the *same* score that i got on the oct. test. now i'll be the first to admit that my score could have been better; had it matched my practice test scores, it would have been. granted, had i gotten more than four hours of sleep the night before, things might have turned out differently. but i can't help feeling regret/shame because i didn't pay out $900 for a kaplan course, take the test three times, and quit work/school in order to prepare.

i have to admit, my stomach sank at the thought of attending my sweet little midwestern school when i read that post. call it latent shouldn't-i-be-a-yalie shame. but i *want* to feel good about attending the school that i -- god willing -- will be attending next august. given that the law school guides, the law school rankings, etc., seem to focus on the relatively small percentage of law school grads that attend the ivy league schools, are the rest are of being subtly (or not) induced to feel guilty for attending good, solid public schools or smaller, less elite private schools? i can't help feeling that we are somehow relegated to the hinterlands of the legal profession simply because -- for whatever our good or bad reasons -- we did not attend an ivy. phi beta kappa is the same distinction if you're at harvard or colorado. is a law degree?

posted by elle | Wednesday, November 06, 2002 |

to h:
a public apology:

maybe nothingness is to be without your presence,
without you moving, slicing the noon
like a blue flower, without you walking
later through the fog and the cobbles,

without the light you carry in your hand,
golden, which maybe others will nto see,
which maybe no one knew was growing
like the red beginnings of a rose.

In short, without your presence: without your coming
suddenly, incitingly, to know my life,
gust of a rosebush, wheat of wind:

since then I am because you are,
since then you are, I am, we are,
and through love I will be, you will be, we'll be.

pablo neruda (c), love sonnet LXIX

ps: i should note, despite the apology,
that i still don't understand how a BCE
greek philosopher could know about
hedgehogs and foxes.

posted by elle | Wednesday, November 06, 2002 |

things are dark today. lack of sleep + d@mned biology + unenjoyable job + family frustrations.

posted by elle | Wednesday, November 06, 2002 |

Tuesday, November 05, 2002  

i was reading a blog from a girl visiting england for the first time. in what she promised was the "worst" her homesickness had gotten, she noted that the frustrations that can accompany the simplest of tasks in an unfamiliar place. Simply locating your hotel/hostel/lodging and finding familiar foods can seem overwhelming when you've looked for four hours. a recent (and first) trip out of the us was similar for me. my expectations were skewed, the language was foreign, the streets were incredibly windy and the trip into the city from the airport lasted a nauseating 25 minutes through traffic. finding menus in english was a small victory; incorrectly gauging which metro to take while looking *reallycoolthingiwantedyoutosee* was a tantrum (on my end) waiting to happen. and yet, things got better when we knew where we were. our sense of location feeling, somehow, appropriate to place, was lacking for much of the trip.

my first move away from home was similar. i had just moved into my first apartment. it was late. i was hungry. all i wanted was some groceries. it was a large town, SURELY there were grocery stores. but I couldn't find one. i drove in circles (literally) for 1 1/2 hours, searching for a store.i finally found one, clear across town from my apartment, about 10:00 at night. i was exhausted. the next morning i discovered that there was a grocery store 3/4 of a mile from my apartment, hidden in a parking lot behind a swath of trees. it was the best place i ever lived.

i want to go back to the international city. to make it mine. to speak knowingly of its hidden places, best cafes, secret stores.

posted by elle | Tuesday, November 05, 2002 |

Monday, November 04, 2002  

here it is. my first blog post. very exciting! (more exciting for readers had i something terribly interesting to say.) we'll see.

posted by elle | Monday, November 04, 2002 |
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